Blasphemy Rights Day Twitter Contest Winners

The Sphinx is on the top left.
In an effort to unleash the inner juvenile inside all of us, the Center for Free Inquiry held the “Blasphemy Rights Day 2013 Twitter Contest.

They called this “an initiative to focus attention and efforts on defending the universal right to blaspheme.” Immediately we see the modern confusion between right and responsibility. Just because you have a right to act like an ass does not imply that you should.

Anyway, here was the winner:

In case you can’t see the tweet, here it is: “Banning criticism of ideas is banning ideas.”

As blasphemy rights statements go, it’s on the tepid side. Worse, it’s false. It just doesn’t follow that if criticism were banned, ideas would also be banned. Only some ideas would be banned; namely, the critical ones.

I feel like a bully pointing this out, though.

@SkepticalPoet, the winner, only snagged two-hundred-eighty bucks for his cleverness. That kind of money is not going to attract the sharpest wits.

There was a tie for second place:

Text: “Criticism is the currency in the marketplace of ideas. You either pay the entry fee or you don’t get to participate.”

Perhaps all that need be said is that author of this tweet, @Krow9768, is a “UNI MPP graduate” and “Community Outreach Coordinator at One Iowa.”

The other second:

Text: “Without questions, there are no answers.”

This was sounds like it was written by a skeptical Joel Osteen. Or maybe by The Sphinx from Mystery Men. He was the not-so-superhero who said things like “To overcome the darkness, you must first become the light.” (I have no idea whether he said that, by the way.)

Point is, I think CFI could have done better (here are more entries, all sad). Why, just off the of of my head I have:

     “Only the keen blaspheme,”


     “A blasphemy a day keeps theology at bay.”

Why didn’t I enter? I could have used the money, sure. But the winner was also forced to receive a subscription to Free Inquiry which I don’t think comes in a plain brown wrapper.

Update How about some tweets about the rank depression caused by abject skepticism? All tweets have to be 140 minus the length of @center4inquiry (which should be included) characters.

See this space for when I have time to think of one. Okay, I did. I stole this one from Gary below.

Or how about:

     “Believing in Nothing is what makes us smart.”


  1. Gary

    How in any way are these pale aphorisms blasphemous? Even if “ideas” are your deity, how are they profaning it? But maybe that’s that’s the problem. The authors hold nothing sacred (that they are aware of, let the reader understand) so they don’t know how to disrespect it.

  2. I’m reminded of the quote by John C Wright

    We Christians do blasphemy better than you atheists ever will.

    And he then proved it:

    It’s certainly why sects fight a lot worst against each other then… well against any atheist or outsider. Same reason brothers fight harder against each other than people not of the family. They know the buttons to push.

    Really, watching atheists try and be offensive is… kind of pathetic. Annoying sure, but still pathetic.

  3. Ok Matt, how about a blasphemy against PC?

    “We reserve the right to be critical of all ideas… except any relating to minorities.”

  4. Rich

    “We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!” (HGTTG)

  5. Gary

    OK, you force me to do this:

    wee p-values rule!

  6. Only it’s not false to say, “Banning criticism of ideas is banning ideas,” because it is by no means clear that the second occurence of the word “ideas” refers to “all ideas” and not “some ideas”.

    As “cows eat grass” is true though not all of them do. Some very young cows have not begun eating grass. Some cows are never fed grass. And some old cows have stopped eating grass.

    That the statement is tepid and that it is in no way blasphemous are manifestly true.

  7. My attempt to post a blasphemy seems to have been eaten by your filter. I think that indicates that it really was blasphemous (or just that it had what cowardly people cringingly call “the N word” in it).

  8. Yes “Banning criticism of ideas is banning ideas” may be a bit tepid, but it certainly is NOT false (ambiguous maybe but not false) since “banning ideas” is not quantified (and here the intent is clearly existential rather than universal – ie banning some ideas rather than banning all ideas).

    My own entry might have been something like “The ultimate blasphemy is presuming that one’s own offense is shared by ‘God’.”

    P.S. I don’t subscribe to ‘Free Enquiry’ myself, but if your only reason for not doing so is fear of being known to, then I am sure you could get them to put it in a plain brown wrapper just for you.

  9. Scotian

    I think some of the above have missed the fact that this is not a contest of blaspheming. I quote:

    “As part of International Blasphemy Rights Day 2013, the Center for Inquiry announces a Twitter contest that challenges Twitter users to express in 140 characters or less why the right to criticize religion is important”.

    Not Briggs but others. I used to subscribe to “Free Inquiry”. I found it interesting but my interests change every ten years and I’ve moved on to other things.

  10. Don Jackson

    Ooh! I’ve come too late for this discussion: Our host’s maxum “The love of theory is the root of all evil” should have won…

  11. Nullius in Verba

    “that challenges Twitter users to express in 140 characters or less why the right to criticize religion is important”

    To explain why you must ‘go out and smite the heretics and false-god believers’, of course.

  12. max

    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting gain understanding.@center4inquiry

  13. John Morris

    Dunno, I wouldn’t rag on these guys too hard; unlike most of their ilk they don’t have the usual doublethink going about criticizing Mo. At least they are being consistent, something to be called praiseworthy in these insane times.

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