No, not really, but I got your attention, yes? On the other hand, these are precisely the words used by PZ in a recent post, aimed at criticizing Michael De Dora’s observations about a recent debate in Knoxville, TN on the wording of a biology textbook.
Let me start with a full disclosure: Michael is a friend, and of course one of the contributors to this blog. But this post has little to do with that, it deals with the substance and the tone of PZ’s remarks, both of which are highly relevant to the quality of discourse within the atheist community (currently, pretty low), something I deeply care about.
First the form. PZ’s post reads like it was written by an intemperate teenager in the midst of a hormonal rage. Among other things, he calls De Dora “witless,” “wanker,” “wishy-washy,” and “sloppy-thinking”; he accuses Michael of engaging in “cowardly intellectual dishonesty” and of using a “quisling” approach. So that we are crystal clear on just how low these ad hominem (a logical fallacy!) attacks go, let me refresh your memory about the dictionary definitions of some of these terms:
Quisling = a traitor who collaborates with an enemy force occupying their country;
Wanker = a person who masturbates (used as a term of abuse);
Wishy-washy = feeble or insipid in quality or character, lacking strength or boldness;
Witless = foolish, stupid, to such an extent that one cannot think clearly or rationally.
If PZ thinks that this sort of language belongs within any thoughtful writing about rational discourse, he really needs to look up the dictionary definitions of rational, thoughtful and discourse. Then again, it is precisely this sort of theatrics that apparently makes him so popular, as nothing gets people’s attention on the internet so much as shouting as LOUDLY as possible, regardless of the vacuity of what one is actually saying.
And speaking of content, what was so witless, wanky, wishy-washy, and witless about De Dora’s post? Oh, he dared question (very politely, and based on argument) one of the dogmas of the new atheism: that religious people (that’s about 90% of humanity, folks) ought (and I use the term in the moral sense) to be frontally assaulted and ridiculed at all costs, because after all, this is a war, and the goal is to vanquish the enemy, reason and principles be damned. Michael had simply noted that the recent controversy in Tennessee was a bit less clear cut than usual: while of course creationism doesn’t have a leg to stand on, and of course biology textbooks should teach evolution without apologies, De Dora also noted that using the word “myth” when the book refers to the biblical story of creation was an uncalled for breach of the principle of separation of Church and State (if invoked in the context of a biology class in a public school). Therefore, on that narrow technical ground, and on that ground only, the creationist who complained had, in fact, a point.
Contrary to PZ’s invective, acknowledging this point is in no way a cowardly act of intellectual dishonesty. On the contrary, it is a paragon of intellectual honesty because one is able to maintain the nuance that is necessary in distinguishing positive science education from gratuitous religion bashing. (And please, do note that I’ve got plenty of credentials in the department of religion bashing, but I try to do it in what I consider the appropriate manner and context.)
God has commanded PZ Meyers to apologize to Ken Ham for all the shenanigans Meyers and his atheist heathen followers committed during and after their recent visit to the evidence-heavy creation museum. A call to PZ’s representatives went unanswered. A close contact of PZ, speaking in anonymity for fear of reprisals said the following:
The trip to the creation museum was indeed sponsored with dirty money funneled through to PZ from Satan worshiping, blood drinking cults. Dark magic rituals were performed in and around the premises of god’s museum, much of which included dirty group sex, virgin sacrifices and satanic eucharist desecrations. Please don’t leak my name….please they’ll kill me.
No worries Jeff, I won’t!
Now, for the low, low price of $12.79, you can reserve a spot in heaven for yourself. This is a real business selling tickets, certificates and ID cards that claims to give you a direct line to an afterlife in paradise, with a money-back guarantee. You might think it’s just a gag…but it’s the same thing as Catholic indulgences, so it’s a gag with a little bite.
Charlotte Allen does not like atheists much, in fact she is enraged with us; she can’t stand us!. Did you know that we think that people that believe in God are stupid? Did you know that we are intent to prove not only that God does not exist, but also that he’s evil? Did you know that we are angry? I didn’t.
Thankfully for me I don’t have to give a complete rebuttal to this misguided soul (nice irony huh?) because the LA Times did a very nice thing, they actually opened this for debate and allowed PZ Meyers, The Dark Atheist Lord, to write his own article in response to Allen’s. And by reading the two side by side it is clear who is the angry one! I’m talking about you Charlotte, and I am sure after reading PZ’s piece you’ll be even more angry! Sorry, we don’t mean to irritate you, but the simple fact that you are irritated shows that we’re hitting a nerve!
Do you think homeopathy can help in the current swine flu pandemic?
Yes, but won’t be allowed to!
So obviously I went and voted No. It turns out the homeopaths are trying to be cute. Look at the message I got after voting no (I don’t know if you get the same message if you vote differently, I would guess not!):
Thank you to all the skeptics for coming to our website, reading the articles and voting in our poll. The links of http://www.Hpathy.com that you post on your websites and the traffic that you bring, all help us increase our back-links, search engine positions and advertisement revenue. Please keep coming back and while you are here do take our elementary course. It’s absolutely free! Once you have completed the course, you will still keep coming back to Hpathy.com but most likely as a convert. We respect your skepticism and we will continue our effort to enlighten you and bring you out of your ignorance. This is no battle. It is our duty to help you become better human beings! Thank you once again!
Oooh how cute the little clueless homeopaths can be sometimes. Well, in my ongoing initiative to educate the uneducated I will let them into a little wide known secret, the rel=”nofollow” secret. According to the mighty Google itself:
How does Google handle nofollowed links?
We don’t follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web. However, the target pages may still appear in our index if other sites link to them without using nofollow, or if the URLs are submitted to Google in a Sitemap. Also, it’s important to note that other search engines may handle nofollow in slightly different ways.
Ah that’s too bad, my links won’t be of any help to you, so no improvement on search engine and no increase on ad revenue for you. And I relnofollowed your “elementary course” link too so you get nothing at all from this skeptic. Now go take a homeopathic embarrassment remedy! I think I just made PZ proud!
Last night, I met up with an acquaintance of mine — A pretty hard core Christian, even compared to many of the devout religious people I know.
One of the topics that came up was PZ Myers‘ recent desecration of a communion wafer.
I’m not condoning everything PZ did, but I told my friend I thought he made a good point. That is: A communion wafer is not actually the body of Christ, regardless of your religious beliefs. It’s a symbol. And symbols only possess whatever meaning you give them.
My friend seemed to agree here. He’s a Christian after all. He thinks the wafer is a symbol, too (as opposed to the actual body of Christ).
As it turned out, my friend had a Bible with him. So I asked him a hypothetical question: How much would it bother him if I ripped a page out of his book? I mean, I would be pissed off if you ripped a page out of any book I own, but outside of that destruction of one’s property, would that torn page actually offend him?
Or, how about this: Would he ever be willing to rip a page out of his own book? Not because he wanted to mock his God or show any disrespect, but because it’s just a book and his faith was stronger that that.
His response really shocked me.
When I started Skepfeeds I had made a conscious decision to limit my entries and to concentrate mostly on gathering the best skeptical blogs of the day under one roof. However, I have reserved the right to post an entry in regards to certain things that really itch. One such thing presented itself in (not surprisingly) the IDiotic website of the (Un)Discovery Institute, an entry by Michael Egnor titled “Desecration of the Eucharist, Conscience, and P.Z. Myers’ Hypocrisy”. You may know Mr. Egnor from his never ending fight with Dr. Steven Novella over the dualism/materialism brain issue. For more on this head over to Dr. Novella’s blog, Neurologica.
Mr. Egnor starts his entry with such:
Danio, guest blogger at Pharyngula, has a post advocating the denial of legal protection for health care workers who, because of religious beliefs or other moral objections, refuse to provide services such as abortions or contraception. It’s hard to believe that any person with even a modicum of respect for individual rights would support taking legal sanction against physicians, nurses, and pharmacists who, because of genuine deeply held religious belief or other moral principles, believe that such acts as abortion or contraception are immoral. From the standpoint of traditional medical ethics, healthcare professionals are only under legal compulsion to provide care in a life-saving emergency. The controversial “treatments” in dispute are not emergencies, and are certainly not life-saving. That abortion and contraception aren’t life-saving is actually the point of the doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who are acting on conscience.
Where do I start with this one? First, if you go and read the post that Egnor is referring to you will not find not one statement supporting “taking legal sanction against physicians, nurses, and pharmacists who, because of genuine deeply held religious belief or other moral principles”. In fact, most people involved in this debate do not advocate that a doctor should be held legally liable for refusing to perform an abortion. What we are saying is that a doctor, whose job description involves performing abortions, should not be allowed to be such a doctor if he refuses to perform said duties. Claiming, like Egnor erroneously does, that we are seeking to hold these people accountable legally is simply a lie or a complete misunderstanding of the argument being put forward.
If someone is in fact making that argument, that we should jail doctors that refuse to perform abortions or pharmacists that refuse to sell contraceptive pills, then that person too is an idiot. The argument is simple. If a doctor is expected to perform abortions, as part of the duties of the profession he freely choose, then he should not be allowed to pull out the religious/moral card to refuse to perform such duties, not if he wishes to remain employed in said profession. It is a simple choice really, either you perform all your duties or don’t become that kind of doctor. Be a dentist or podiatrist or neurosurgeon for god’s sake, and keep your religious “conscience” intact.
Secondly, no one is making any statements with regards to the doctor’s personal beliefs and moral stance. Every person has the right to abide by any moral or religious philosophy they choose to, so long as that does not interfere with other people’s rights. And this is not that case. These doctors want to basically impose their personal beliefs to their patients, by refusing to follow their patient’s wishes. How would Mr. Egnor feel if a doctors found it morally objectionable to treat black women and refused to perform “non life-threatening” services for them? Would he find the use of the morality card acceptable then? What if an atheistic doctor refused to perform his duties if the patient was a Christian? Would Mr. Egnor find that acceptable? Something tells me he would be the first one to cry foul. Clearly the doctor’s moral beliefs should have no say in their performance of their professional duties. No law should allow doctors to discriminate and that is the point of the entry that Egnor is attacking. Such law is wrong and should not be allowed to pass. So how can Egnor take that and twist into a request to legally prosecute these doctors? Makes no sense to me!
Danio misses the irony. Pharyngula’s own P.Z. Myers has been the beneficiary of lavish free-speech protection, in which his own peculiar “pious” opinion trumps secular law.
I failed to notice that PZ’s opinions were being formulated into a bill to be passed by Congress. Maybe Egnor knows something we don’t!
Myers, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, has been publishing atheist ideology and anti-Christian hatred on Pharyngula for several years while on the Minnesota public payroll. In all likelihood, he’s used some public property or publicly financed time to disseminate his spew. Recently, he desecrated the Eucharist by obtaining a consecrated Host, nailing it, throwing it in the garbage, and posting a photograph of it on Pharyngula. One doubts that his prolific bigotry is produced entirely on his own time and resources; the good taxpayers of Minnesota, including devout Catholic taxpayers, likely subsidize this bigot’s performance art.
Ok, now he’s really showing the limits of his own stupidity. Pharyngula, is a personal blog, not in any way associated with the University of Minessota, which is where PZ teaches. The rules of the University of Minessota, which Egnor also quotes, do not extend to every minute of PZ’s life. He is a private citizen, and as long as he’s expressing his personal opinion, on his own time, in his own private blog, and all this activity is not constured to represent the opinions of the university, how the hell can such a stupid argument be made? Likewise, any of the good christian doctors Egnor is fighting so hard to protect, can share his religious and moral thoughts with the world in a personal blog, just liek PZs and no one would lift a finger to censor that.
Futhermore, being a regular reader of Pharyngula, I am aware that PZ owns a laptop so that does away with the “resources” claim. Also, as far as I know, tenured university professors are not paid by the hour, so the “time” argument does not make much sense either. This is such a lame attempt that it really makes me wonder how the hell did this guy ever earn a real doctor’s degree with such low reasoning skills? Because if you didn’t know, Egnor is in fact a neuro-something something.
Myers has been protected from the legal consequences of his malicious desecration of the Eucharist.
Is there really a law in the books that protects the rights of a piece of flat bread? Now that would be bigotry, and as far as I know, there are no legal consequences to desecrating a piece of bread, otherwise you could rest assured that PZ would be in jail by now. But, I could be wrong, I am not a lawyer.
Freedom of expression, whether it is expression of anti-Christian bigotry or a belief in the sanctity of human life or a disagreement with Darwinian orthodoxy in a classroom, is our most important freedom, and I will defend it even for those with whom I most strongly disagree. In fact, I defend it particularly for those with whom I disagree. Yet Myers and his minions, who are obvious beneficiaries of the right of freedom of expression, demand the firing or silencing of scientists and teachers who question Darwinian orthodoxy, and now they have the audacity to demand that the law impose legal and professional sanctions on Christian doctors who in good conscience would not abort a baby.
This is really becoming idiotic. There goes the “freedome of expression” argument regarding the teaching of ID in the classrooms. How many times will these people use the same stupid argument? No matter how many times you show the fallacy, they just don’t care and it seems that they think that by repeating it a lot, it will become valid. News flash, it wont! And why is he singling out Christian doctors only? I am sure there are some Mulsim, Jewish, and atheist doctors too who feel uneasy about performing an abortion. A bit hypocritical don’t you think?
In closing, the good Christian has this to say:
Myers and his minions are bigots. And censors. And hypocrites.
Now you’ve hurt our feelings. Bad, bad Egnor!