RIP Steve Gey

| 31 Comments

It’s with great sadness and not a few tears that I say goodbye to Steve Gey, someone I never met in person but who nonetheless had a huge influence on my life. Steve was a professor at the Florida State University law school and one of the preeminent First Amendment scholars in the country. He was one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in Edwards v Aguillard, the case that ruled creation science out of public school science classrooms.

A little over 4 years ago, Steve was diagnosed with ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s disease, and he had to give up teaching about a year later. He was, according to everyone I’ve ever talked to who took his course, one of the most inspiring teachers in the country. He was revered and adored by colleagues and students alike for his brilliance and his humanity.

Shortly after he was diagnosed with ALS I was able to arrange for him to receive the Friend of Darwin award from the National Center for Science Education. I called Glenn Branch to ask about it and he said that the board had, in fact, just voted unanimously to give him that award but they hadn’t yet found a venue in which to give it to him (they typically like to ambush people who win the award and give it to them when they don’t expect it).

I told Glenn I knew of the perfect time to do it. A group of his students were running a triathlon a few days later to raise money for ALS research in his name and they were going to be having a banquet afterwards. The NCSE rushed the award down to a friend of mine, who was one of Steve’s students and dearest friends. She was so happy to be able to present that award to him.

The country has lost one of its finest teachers and one of its most powerful advocates for civil liberties. And a great many people have lost a man who inspired them.

31 Comments

NCSE’s obituary is here.

Ed,

You, his family and his other friends have my condolences. He left us too soon, but at least he left us with an important legal legacy that will be upheld.

Sincerely,

John

Ed,

ALS is an obvious case were science can not find anything to blame its cause on. No germs, no tumors, no substances, no injuries. Science never gets to the root cause of anything. The source of everything one can experience is the mind. Even death is one’s conscious choice.

Christian Science means knowledge of God’s laws. It is the mind and only the mind is the subject of healing even when there is physical health problem. The body is an effect of the mind. It is not a source of problem. Doctors try to cure the body, but it is a result not a cause. Unless the cause is changed, the body will do nothing. Doctors and scientists do not acknowledge the mind as the cause of illness. The scientific method is foolish. The scientist thinks he is independent of his experiment. The law of cause and effect shows nothing can be independent of the mind. The scientist bias will be in the results of the experiment whether he acknowledges a bias or not. No wonder they are not getting anywhere.

Now when your ship is sinking, do something different. If medicine has no answer, try something different. Don’t waste your time with ignorance. The mind carries the answer to any problem. The mind that created the problem can not analyze itself. It does not want the answer. Realize whatever you know does not work so it is of no value. Now the person has chance to learn something.

I have one word this, JACKASS.

Fortunately death is not real and we are not the body. Your friend here is right in your heart where God put him and that can not be changed. You are one with everyone including the Christian Scientists. There is no such thing as loss. You can feel your friend’s love right now if you relax a little while. There is the proof. No one can do this for you.

Walter

It is somehow typical of whackjobs of all stripes that they lack decency as much as rationality. Why not? Empathy is a higher intellectual function, and their every higher intellectual function has been systematically disabled, stunted and atrophied.

So we get something like the above.

Despite its appalling indecency in this place, if it were my place to advise the moderators, I would counsel leaving it there, as a monument to the violently disgusting nature of the people and the doctrine that we oppose here.

Dave Luckett said:

It is somehow typical of whackjobs of all stripes that they lack decency as much as rationality. Why not? Empathy is a higher intellectual function, and their every higher intellectual function has been systematically disabled, stunted and atrophied.

Apparently there is peace in being a brain-dead zombie (for some, anyway)

Walter said:

Ed,

A load of disgusting bullcrap.

Walter

You are one of the most insensitive bastards I’ve ever seen post anything on Panda’s Thumb! Seriously, I’d have you banned just for that, because Christian Science dogmas are even worse $#it than most religions tend to have.

Walter said:

Ed,

ALS is an obvious case were science can not find anything to blame its cause on. No germs, no tumors, no substances, no injuries. Science never gets to the root cause of anything. The source of everything one can experience is the mind. Even death is one’s conscious choice.

Christian Science means knowledge of God’s laws. It is the mind and only the mind is the subject of healing even when there is physical health problem. The body is an effect of the mind. It is not a source of problem. Doctors try to cure the body, but it is a result not a cause. Unless the cause is changed, the body will do nothing. Doctors and scientists do not acknowledge the mind as the cause of illness. The scientific method is foolish. The scientist thinks he is independent of his experiment. The law of cause and effect shows nothing can be independent of the mind. The scientist bias will be in the results of the experiment whether he acknowledges a bias or not. No wonder they are not getting anywhere.

Now when your ship is sinking, do something different. If medicine has no answer, try something different. Don’t waste your time with ignorance. The mind carries the answer to any problem. The mind that created the problem can not analyze itself. It does not want the answer. Realize whatever you know does not work so it is of no value. Now the person has chance to learn something.

I have one word this, JACKASS.

Fortunately death is not real and we are not the body. Your friend here is right in your heart where God put him and that can not be changed. You are one with everyone including the Christian Scientists. There is no such thing as loss. You can feel your friend’s love right now if you relax a little while. There is the proof. No one can do this for you.

Walter

Here’s the reality of your idiotic belief system–children suffering and dying from treatable disease while their delusional parents pray to a god that either doesn’t care or can’t do anything about it.

Walter said:

Ed,

ALS is an obvious case were science can not find anything to blame its cause on. No germs, no tumors, no substances, no injuries. Science never gets to the root cause of anything. The source of everything one can experience is the mind. Even death is one’s conscious choice.

Christian Science means knowledge of God’s laws. It is the mind and only the mind is the subject of healing even when there is physical health problem. The body is an effect of the mind. It is not a source of problem. Doctors try to cure the body, but it is a result not a cause. Unless the cause is changed, the body will do nothing. Doctors and scientists do not acknowledge the mind as the cause of illness. The scientific method is foolish. The scientist thinks he is independent of his experiment. The law of cause and effect shows nothing can be independent of the mind. The scientist bias will be in the results of the experiment whether he acknowledges a bias or not. No wonder they are not getting anywhere.

Now when your ship is sinking, do something different. If medicine has no answer, try something different. Don’t waste your time with ignorance. The mind carries the answer to any problem. The mind that created the problem can not analyze itself. It does not want the answer. Realize whatever you know does not work so it is of no value. Now the person has chance to learn something.

I have one word this, JACKASS.

Fortunately death is not real and we are not the body. Your friend here is right in your heart where God put him and that can not be changed. You are one with everyone including the Christian Scientists. There is no such thing as loss. You can feel your friend’s love right now if you relax a little while. There is the proof. No one can do this for you.

Walter

Oh, another delusional asshat babbling about the power of prayer! If you really think talking to yourself and pretending that your imaginary friend is listening has magical healing powers, then I’ve got a challenge for you that I know you’re too much of a coward to even acknowledge.

You think your made-up god can cure ALS? Then get off your lazy ass and DO it. Pray for every single case of ALS on the entire planet to be cured, within one week from this post. Of course, we all know damn well that you won’t even try, because your ilk is too busy being smug arrogant assholes to spend a single second even trying to help anyone in need. You’ll just whine and babble and make stupid excuses for your impotent, useless, imaginary god. And meanwhile people will suffer, and die, and you won’t so much as consider lifting a finger to help them, because you’re too busy talking to yourself.

You have one week. Either show us the power of prayer, or shut the fuck up about it.

It is somehow typical of whackjobs of all stripes that they lack decency as much as rationality. Why not? Empathy is a higher intellectual function, and their every higher intellectual function has been systematically disabled, stunted and atrophied.

So we get something like the above.

I agree with all of this, except that empathy is not a “higher intellectual function”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy

Authoritarian religious fanatics are typically deficient in empathy, and this certainly may well reflect either the attraction of dangerous or damaged minds to authoritarian fanaticism, and/or damage done by an authoritarian, fanatic environment.

@harold.

I always get “empathy” and “sympathy” mixed up, and it has just occurred to me why. They pertain to beliefs and feelings, whereas to me what’s important is the action. Which is why “authoritarian” is a word I find very useful, and frustratingly underutilized. Anti-evolution activists are not conservative, or even Christian (or Jewish), in the typical connotations. Rather they are driven to “save” others, and to demand handouts from taxpayers to support their mission.

For the same reason, I find the word “creationist(s)” frustratingly overutilized. It makes no sense to use the same word for a Biblical literalist who keeps his belief to himself (possibly knowing that the evidence contradicts it, but believes it in spite), and for a “big tent” ID activist whose only goal is to promote doubt of evolution by any means possible, including discouraging any discussion of the mutually contradictory literal interpretations of Genesis.

Frank J. -

I agree with you.

Although it is entirely true that empathy refers to an internal state, rather than actions, it is of importance in understanding behavior.

While having normal empathy does not guarantee good behavior, those who lack it have greater difficulty controlling themselves.

While it may not have much to do with “altruism”, “free will”, or other lofty concepts, feelings that mirror what other people feel provide an instinctive disincentive for behavior like cheating, stealing, unjustified violence, and so on.

Those who lack such feelings may understand that they need some limits. They often, in my opinion, turn to authoritarian ideologies to provide a rationale for limiting their behavior. They also project this type of psychology onto others. They assume that all voluntary limits on behavior are the result of obedience to arbitrary authority.

In addition, although “social contract” reasoning may seem purely intellectual - I don’t mug you purely because as part of a deal that prevents you from mugging me - it actually may be somehow related to the concept of empathy, because authoritarians have great difficulty with that, too.

Because to them all rules are arbitrary and whether someone else gets hurt is not relevant, empathy-lacking authoritarians are confused and frustrated by the distinction between malum in se and malum prohibitum. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malum_in_se

The Biblical system of ethics (please recall that I am not religious, just discussing this) actually implies a society in which empathy/social contract values were prioritized, but forced adherence to cultural rituals, taboos, and hierarchy was also very important. Authoritarians lacking empathy are often confused and frustrated by the concept of such ranking, even though, for example, the traditional concepts of mortal and venial sin express this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortal_sin

Not everyone who lacks empathy is an authoritarian, and not everyone who has adopted an authoritarian system lacks empathy. But they do tend to go together. Especially since adhering to authoritarian systems by necessity must dampen empathy if it existed in the first place. Acceptance of the idea that people should be severely punished for somewhat arbitrary reasons is generally necessary for acceptance of an authoritarian system.

This may also help to explain why, in countries that have freedom of expression, support for authoritarianism is usually (not always, but usually) coupled with opposition to support for a social safety net (communist authoritarianism has nearly always emerged successfully only where it was proceeded by an equally authoritarian, but economically unequal system). At first these two things may seem unrelated. But lack of normal level of empathy may predispose to both.

Walter looks like one of these trolls with standard verbiage who surfs the net, looking for any opportunity to paste up his script.

I could detail my low opinion of him, but why bother? The only person who would have a high opinion of him would be someone just like him.

mrg said:

Walter looks like one of these trolls with standard verbiage who surfs the net, looking for any opportunity to paste up his script.

I could detail my low opinion of him, but why bother? The only person who would have a high opinion of him would be someone just like him.

Agreed. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Walter is, without question, a delusional loon in dire need of some mental health assistance.

I met, Prof Gey, the only time ever at Case Western in the run up to the Ohio state board of E “debates”. And that was the evening, RBH, when our archivist and curator who has arguably the best collection of ID-Creo literature, had displayed a shelf full of books on the subject. Prof Gey was in form that evening and many of us decided to simply hear him than pester him with questions. What a giant and legal luminary!

Come guys, if you’ve nothing to say regarding memories of Professor Gey then why fall for the troll? You’ve spoiled a thread presumably started to allow people to remember him and his life’s work. Personally I’d remove the troll and the saps that fell for it (and of course my comment too).

[Steve Gey] was one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in Edwards v Aguillard, the case that ruled creation science out of public school science classrooms.

The success against the Creator, according to the Bible, means God has ruled Gey out of His kingdom—that’s why Gey and many others are against God.

Look what Darwin hath wrought!

Atheists are comparable to that iconic aging movie star convinced of self-importance, ready for her close-up, unaware that God has forsaken them (and not the other way around).

Mr Heffer is quite right. I allowed the red mists of outrage at the indecency of the comment above mine to blind me. I regret my post, and request its removal.

I can only express my sadness at the loss of a fine scientist and a good man to a cruel disease that is slowly becoming better understood. Someday it will be defeated by the science that he did so well. I have made a donation in his name to the ALS Association to speed that day. I hope others will do the same.

Ray Martinez said:

[Steve Gey] was one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in Edwards v Aguillard, the case that ruled creation science out of public school science classrooms.

The success against the Creator, according to the Bible, means God has ruled Gey out of His kingdom—that’s why Gey and many others are against God.

Look what Darwin hath wrought!

Atheists are comparable to that iconic aging movie star convinced of self-importance, ready for her close-up, unaware that God has forsaken them (and not the other way around).

Have you no decency, sir?

Condolences to all people who knew Steve Gey. Apologies for my earlier digression into a discussion of empathy.

Just Bob said: Have you no decency, sir?

One more evilutionist bites the dust, he could not be more gleeful – unless all of them were killed off. Magnaminity, or for that matter anything but the toxic, not spoken in Ray-land.

Ah, but while Gey was here he made his contribution. I will wish Ray a long and healthy life, though I don’t know how it could be a happy one. But no matter how long it is, in the end, unlike Gey, Ray will not be missed.

So, Ray, you willingly worship a being that, according to you, tortures and murders people merely for thinking for themselves. You worship the most evil being imaginable. Lucky for all of us that it’s nothing more than a sick delusion.

Ray Martinez, you are scum. You are a delusional fraud without the slightest speck of honesty or basic human decency. You are unworthy to breathe the air of this planet. Fuck off.

Ray Martinez, delusional sociopath said:

[Steve Gey] was one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in Edwards v Aguillard, the case that ruled creation science out of public school science classrooms.

The success against the Creator, according to the Bible, means God has ruled Gey out of His kingdom—that’s why Gey and many others are against God.

Look what Darwin hath wrought!

Atheists are comparable to that iconic aging movie star convinced of self-importance, ready for her close-up, unaware that God has forsaken them (and not the other way around).

Ray … have you ever had anything good to say about anyone or anything? If so, provide a link.

I wish a long and healthy life. Because it will taste of bile to for every moment of it, and you deserve every bit of it.

Ray Martinez said:

The truth hurts.

Opinions tickle the funny bone.

The Bible explains persons working against God as rejected by God—that’s why they do what they do. And that’s why they do it without any conscience or remorse.

Ummm…just an fyi there Ray, but this would your belief. It doesn’t get the Official Seal of Truth™. You may well believe it, but not everyone does, and not even every Christian does. So thus far you’ve offered no truth to hurt. Try again…

Steve Gey is in hell where he belongs. His residency there actually began when he sought to use his power and intellect to rid society of God. Gey, of course, represents all persons who do the same.

Pssst…yo Ray? This would be an example of an opinion. See above about tickling the funny bone. Or maybe the phoney bone in this case.

See, here’s the problem: there’s no evidence that Professor Gey is in hell. Heck, there’s no evidence of this supposed “hell” place. There’s your magic Book o’ Wonders that makes claims about such a place, but see above about belief and the requirement for it to rely on the latter. Making blanket statements then about places and conditions for which there is no evidence is, as I noted, opinion and nothing more. So basically, it’s just out there to be mocked - as I’ve just done. LOL!

What is it with these crazy people and their remarks about the dead? If this is not evidence of the sickness that extremist religion causes with certain people, what would be?

Dale Husband said:

What is it with these crazy people and their remarks about the dead? If this is not evidence of the sickness that extremist religion causes with certain people, what would be?

Bigots like Ray want to use Jesus as an excuse to legitimize their hatred of anyone and everyone different from them.

Stanton said:

Dale Husband said:

What is it with these crazy people and their remarks about the dead? If this is not evidence of the sickness that extremist religion causes with certain people, what would be?

Bigots like Ray want to use Jesus as an excuse to legitimize their hatred of anyone and everyone different from them.

The profoundly mentally ill are often characterized by a self-destructive lack of social control, and an attraction to inflammatory controversy.

The reason for the stereotype of schizophrenics claiming to be “Napoleon” is that, at the dawn of proto-scientific understanding of mental illness, Napoleon was easily the most grandiose, controversial, and feared figure in the world. Today it seems like a random and whimsical delusion, but it was once, in a different social context, a deeply disturbed, offensive, and inflammatory claim to make.

Ray Martinez has what seems to be a rigid and coherent mentality (a version of harsh Calvinist pre-destinarianism that would have been mainstream in various times and places).

However, even the old Calvinists mainly told each other that they were the Elect.

If Ray Martinez thinks that people who accept scientific reality only do so because they were doomed to Hell to begin with, he has no rational reason to tell them so.

I guess that answers my question.

You do, in fact, have no decency.

Ray, we know what you’re going to say, it’s always the same thing, and it amounts to the same every time. I ask again: have you ever had anything good to say about anyone or anything? Link please.

I wish you a long and healthy life. It amuses me to think for every second of it, it will taste of the bile that has become your permanent diet. You deserve it.

I met him on that same trip (or one very near that time) when he came down to Columbus to speak to the Ohio State BOE. A good-humored, generous, and very smart man. Pity the Board didn’t listen to him.

Suman said:

I met, Prof Gey, the only time ever at Case Western in the run up to the Ohio state board of E “debates”. And that was the evening, RBH, when our archivist and curator who has arguably the best collection of ID-Creo literature, had displayed a shelf full of books on the subject. Prof Gey was in form that evening and many of us decided to simply hear him than pester him with questions. What a giant and legal luminary!

mrg said:

Ray, we know what you’re going to say, it’s always the same thing, and it amounts to the same every time. I ask again: have you ever had anything good to say about anyone or anything? Link please.

I wish you a long and healthy life. It amuses me to think for every second of it, it will taste of the bile that has become your permanent diet. You deserve it.

Unfortunately, I can’t be that charitable to a delusional creo troll like Ray Martinez, especially when the raison d’etre for his posting is to mock the dead. I’ll wish him well when he assumes permanent room temperature, not before.

Walter said:

Ed,

ALS is an obvious case were science can not find anything to blame its cause on. (snip)

Walter, I was raised a Christian Scientist. It was because of idiots like you that I left the church. Go bury your head in the Science & Health, continue to kneel at the altar of Mary Baker Eddy, and keep your brilliant ideas on how ALS can be “cured” to yourself. Please. XXX & OOO.

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