PZ’s Minions Are Pretty Bad, Actually

August 11, 2008 at 6:14 pm (Uncategorized)

I was kind of hoping PZ’s vacation would give me a vacation to deal with moving and other such things.  But no, his guest bloggers are all pretty strong athiests.  I’m only beginning from the bottom of the current first page, but I’ll do a retrospective if I must.

The aptly-named PZMinion has chosen this nice article to rip on.  He doesn’t seem to have PZ’s good taste in selection of publication, but whatever, his desperation screams both through his choice of article and his rhetoric.

Wait, what rhetoric?  The guy’s obviously trying to pull PZ’s usual tirade, but it just isn’t working.  He blurs the line between sarcasm and self-righteous indignation so much that it’s literally quite difficult to understand what he’s saying, for example:

Oh NOES! Not “atheists think ALL our problems stem from religion!” Not the “atheists only see the bad side of religion” meme again! And what about STALIN and POL POT? How do you explain THAT? Yes, the ‘pygmies and dwarves’ of atheism show up, on schedule.

My, how incomprehensible!

He goes on to quote nearly all of the article, and whatever he doesn’t quote he sarcastically re-words.  And he just doesn’t have much to say, because it’s a reasonable article.  It almost seems like a retarded fourth grader trying to spit back insults and failing miserably.  “Yeah…well…YOUR MOM is fat!!!”

It seems that in the minds of many people, respect takes the place of debate. No, it’s not the necessary prerequisite for debate. It’s the substitute. You can have one, or you can have the other. Not both. Do not MAKE other people try to think like you. Don’t force them. Don’t violate their minds. Don’t rape their viewpoints. Don’t steal their faith. Everybody leave everybody alone on religion, and talk about something else. No arguing.

I don’t think he’s being sarcastic, but he’s very, very wrong.  Respect is absolutely necessary for any kind of debate to be productive.  One can undergo a heated exchange of ideas in full recognition of the fact that neither party’s worldview will be altered by it, but such conversations can lead to education and, indeed, tolerance.

In case he actually does believe respect to be necessary for debate…let’s just say his actions speak volumes more than his words.  His disrespecful posting-on-the-Internet actions, anyway.

The problem with Militant Atheists apparently is that they are NOT content to leave the religious alone. Oh, they don’t go to their houses or picket their churches. But they don’t shut up, either. They go into forums intended for the free expression of ideas and niggle at them. They bring up religion-inspired violence. They criticize and critique.

Militant atheists will even bring up whether God exists or not. They make a case for naturalism and reason, and then examine the case for God. They actually ask the religious to consider the existence of God as a fact claim about the world, as a hypothesis which may be false, and they address ordinary people. Oh, those aggressive carriers of dis-ease and doubt. Damn them all. They go right out in public where everyone can see and hear to try to FORCE people to seriously consider the possibility that God does not exist.

And what bombs they drop. When religion is sensible, it stands on its own without God. But when religion doesn’t make sense, it carries its own, special, irrefutable form of dogmatism and irrationality. Belief in God can justify what can’t be justified on rational grounds, and gives it an unearned authority. Militant atheists point that out and declare that this is not a distortion of religion – it’s an inherent flaw within the system. It’s not the people. There is something wrong with faith itself.

Funny how he consistently refers to Militant Atheists as a holistic group, of similar minds and instincts.  How, again, is this different from religion?  Oh, right, they believe only in logic and rationality.  Yet, what is faith but a deep, innate instinct?  Why, instinct is so natural, normal and effective, even animals can use it successfully!

I guess because they can’t go to a library and justify it within ten mintues, whatever they use this religion to justify is an “unearned authority.”  But last time I checked most human reason and rationality was deeply flawed, at least as flawed as faith and instinct, if not moreso because it seems to give a clear, straightforward sort of justification.  Wasn’t it science which justified lobotomies, completely disfiguring all kinds of people in the middle of the 20th century?  Did Nazi doctors not mutilate and kill Jews under the pretense of research and discovery?  Some unearned authority those religious types have, what with their holidays and rituals and all.

Yes, indeed. Saying that is just like shooting up a church. Great comparison, Mr. Burkes.

No, he didn’t say that.  He said, “At the end of the day, no one wants to be blasted for their faith or lack of it.”  Which means, stop fucking up those polls and trolling believers, offline and on.

Militant atheists shut off “the conversation.” How can you possibly have any sort of dialogue with people who are trying to persuade you to change your mind?

Good question.  Why don’t you stop trying to persuade me to change my mind, first?

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PZ Myers Is In The Galapagos

August 8, 2008 at 5:42 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ll be checking in on the minions who are taking over the blogging for a while, but I’m not expecting much since they are actually halfway decent science writers. Seed Media did have to approve them, after all.

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PZ myers Is…Somewhat Agreeable?!

August 5, 2008 at 5:24 pm (Uncategorized)

I can’t do a fair job with the transcript from the radio earlier – the one PZ did is clearly biased, and I have absolutely no desire to listen to the whole thing myself.  But if the interview was really with the same guy responsible for the video below, I guess we can all agree he’s nuts:

Oh, and Kirk Cameron’s career has taken a sharp turn downhill.

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PZ Myers Is A Hypocrite

August 4, 2008 at 3:56 pm (Uncategorized)

I already linked to the poll PZ had his Believers mess up, but when Christians try to do it, it’s oh so very wrong.

Tony Sidaway informs me that a lot of people have been clicking for Jesus — this new documentary that is being aired in England very shortly has roused the creationist hordes (OK, creationist dozens) to click furiously on its TV Guide entry to downrate it. It’s pointless and trivial — they haven’t even seen it! This is the perfect occasion to marshal our godless thousands to stampede the site and teach them how to properly trivialize web polls.

Nobody’s allowed a good, fun, god-realted poll on the Internet anymore, it seems.  But how dare these Christian idiots vote on a docuentary they’ve never seen!  That’s the job of Atheist Pharyngula readers!

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PZ Myers Is So Full Of Shit, If He Had Diarrhea He Wouldn’t Know Which End To Empty First

August 4, 2008 at 1:32 pm (Uncategorized)

In response to yet another reasonable and poignant article against him, PZ has declared himself the subject of a witch hunt, which he has misspelled, and gone on with pages upon pages of sanctimonious drivel.  Onwards and upwards!

Nothing is sacred; nothing receives its value from an imaginary connection to a deity or supernatural force. Objects and people gain importance to us from their human connections. But yes, I insist that no one can be forced to bow down to the symbols and dogma of a religion, especially a religion to which they do not belong. Jews cannot tell Catholics that they can’t eat ham, Catholics can’t tell Muslims to worship their cracker, Muslims can’t tell me to pray 5 times a day. When a religion oversteps its bounds and starts ordering people to respect their foolish rituals, it’s time for people to step up and demonstrate that no, they can’t do that. You can believe your god is a cracker in your church, Mr Dreher, but you can’t tell me that I must honor your crackers in my home.

There is an important distinction between these two points which PZ fails to realize.  He makes the first, legitimate point: as a Mormon, I cannot and will not tell him not to drink coffee (hell, I’m having a cup of joe right now.  Pascal’s wager!).  I guess I’m a bad example, so let’s use my father, who remains a devout Latter-Day Saint.  My father would never, ever tell PZ not to drink coffee; he may even recommend it, as he kind of misses the stuff.  Mormons are fairly tolerant, see, unlike PZ Myers.  So yes, we cannot force our beliefs upon others, and save for certain fundamentalists, the vast majority of religious people do indeed respect religious views other than their own.

However.  “Ordering people to respect their foolish rituals,” as PZ defines it, simply is not what religious people do.  Aren’t they respecting his foolish rituals, of having Sundays free from church and guilt if he decides to get work done?  They are not storming into his house, forcing bibles on every bookshelf and a crucifix above every door.  Mormons and/or Jehova’s Witnesses may bother his front stoop every so often, but it’s his right to slam the door on them.  It was his choice to offend himself by attending a mass to escape with a wafer, and that’s him refusing to live and let live, and annoy himself for the sake of making a stupid, illegitimate point.  Nobody ever told him he had to believe the host to be the body of Christ, but he chose to go out and show everybody what he thought.  It’s his right, I suppose, but it’s rude and offensive.

Talk about hyperbole…this is a classic religious defense. Why, if we don’t keep cutting the hearts out of sacrificial victims, the sun won’t rise tomorrow. You want the sun to rise, don’t you? Throw a cracker in the trash (an act I did not consider audacious at all, but entirely trivial), and the entire social fabric will crumble! We must stop him!

Wait…who’s guilty of hyperbole here?

Dreher is not alone. I’ve got way over 10,000 emails from devout Catholics shrieking the same old message — that Eucharist is literally the body of my god! You hurt me when you hurt that cracker! Here’s a Koran — destroy it instead! I want you to lose your job! I want you to die! You’re going to burn in hell! The monster from the id is out and exposed, and it isn’t the atheists who have crossed the line.

What’s that?  Not even a single email reproduced, even in part?  Yeah man, my inbox is FULL with MILLIONS of emails from angry atheists in response to my trivial glib one-liners.  And, again with the hyperbole.

Also, the transubstantiation of the host is a very deep theological mystery.  Think of theology as literature for a moment – truth is deeper than the surface level, and it seems clear that neither PZ nor his detractors fully understand what happens, theologically, when a host is consecrated.  To say that the host is LITERALLY the body of Christ is kind of like saying Citizen Kane is about a sled.  To be fair, it’s kind of fun to watch these blind people swat at each other like girls, but I wish that the academic at least would read up on it a little before getting so angry.

I’m apparently much, much smarter than a certain devout Roman Catholic and social conservative.

He’s also much, much more arrogant!

Oh, well. They can keep on exposing their ignorance with their rants.

And so can PZ.

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PZ Myers And Kids Getting Expelled

August 2, 2008 at 7:28 pm (Uncategorized)

Some UCF kid did his retarded desecration in a campus church.  Way to win at life.  Expulsion for it is a bit retarded, but the good anti-creationist folks from the Center for Inquiry, whose letter regarding the incident PZ reproduced on his website, have horribly misused a key academic phrase:

We can understand that you are experiencing an onslaught of public pressure to punish Webster Cook and one can certainly argue that his behavior was insensitive. Yet this begs the question: what would the size of your student body be if you expelled all students who were insensitive? An enlightened university education reinforces the virtue of free speech’s role in a civil society.

An enlightened university education should also teach you basic logic, especially if you’re going to try and eschew religion.  To beg the question is to be a certain logical fallacy, NOT to ask a quasi-relevant rhetorical question.

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PZ Myers Is As Bad As FOXNews

August 1, 2008 at 2:30 pm (Uncategorized)

There’s something about sensationalst tripe being useful to ideological blowhards.  This time, it is the tragic tale of a mother being murdered by her own husband and stuffed into a freezer for months after having witnessed him raping their children.  Murders happen everyday, and freezer morgues are gross but again not unheard of  What makes this one so special?

The man is a “Christian” preacher, and PZ is abolsutely outraged at how the police handled it.

Now, I don’t know what this guy’s sermons consisted of, but listening to a man as such can fill holes in in the hearts and souls of believers.  People just wouldn’t turn to religion if it weren’t a powerful thing.  So, out of respect, when the police came for him, since he happened to be in the middle of a sermon, they waited for him to finish.

This could be for any number of reasons.  Maybe they arrived at the part where Abraham was preparing his child to be a sacrificial lamb.  Maybe the audience was enthralled and clinging to his every word.  It doesn’t really matter, because interrupting the sermon to arrest him probably would have ruined everybody’s Sunday, especially because one of your Miranda rights is to know what you’re being arrested for.  Is it really the police’s job to shatter dozens of people’s worldviews when they learn their man of the cloth is kind of a worse person than Judas?

The cherry on top comes at the very end though.  PZ says:

If only he’d crumbled a cracker, perhaps then they would have been less tolerant.

Yes, because everybody should be doing this stupid desecration shit.  Oh, and he’s telling his Atheist Hordes that being intolerant is best.  Awesome.

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PZ Myers Is A Liar

August 1, 2008 at 12:00 pm (Uncategorized)

No.

Albert Einstein: Would an atheist say, “God doesn’t play dice”?
Thomas Jefferson: Absolutely not an atheist.
Benjamin Franklin: Another Deist, not an atheist.
Abraham Lincoln: Inclined more towards religious belief as he went on in years. Certainly not an atheist.
Charles Darwin: Even this one was a believer for most of his life, and at the end was only as doubtful as agnostic.
Samuel Clemens: The jury is out on that one. After all, Muslims are pretty critical of Christianity, too.

I’ll give him Hemingway and Sagan for the hell of it. To be a little fair, PZ himself acknowledged the religious beliefs of these great men in the second comment to his post, but putting it in the post itself clearly would have destroyed his message and image manipulation of people powerless to stop him.

It is, however, unconscionable to so boldly refer to believers in a higher power as atheists. If it were anybody but PZ doing it, I would be a lot more outraged. As it is, I’m just pretty annoyed.

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PZ Myers Fucks Up Polls

August 1, 2008 at 9:00 am (Uncategorized)

Gee, I wonder why 97% of an unprecedented 4076 respondants oppose barring athiests from office.  At least this site doesn’t even try to take itself seriously.

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PZ Myers Strikes Back!

July 31, 2008 at 4:44 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

In what appears to be an O’Reilly-Olbermann sort of tiff, PZ is going back and forth with Karl Giberson, a pretentious Salon writer.  It’s actually a nice article.  Onto the hubris!

…he recounts the tale of the “Great Desecration”, but without any of the context, not bothering to mention the hideous history of the Catholic response to rumors of desecration, and not even mentioning Bill Donohue’s bullying tactics.

I must say something about this Great Desecration PZ has been pushing, which a lot of that Salon article is based on.  It’s retarded, plain and simple.  If PZ himself is desecrating hosts, and his followers are desecrating hosts, he needs to take his damn blog down this instant.  If you’re going to desecrate something, you must believe it could have been consecrated in the first place.  If you believe it could have been consecrated, you’re a Catholic, or otherwise a firm believer in God.  If you do not believe it could really have been consecrated, you are absolutely unable to desecrate it, and true believers will laugh at you.  End of story.  So either PZ and his monkeys are wasting a lot of time and communion wafers, or they’re all closet theists.  Win/win!

He babbles on quite a bit about this bizarre fantasy that we’re trying to replicate the silly superstitions and rituals of his idea of religion. Sacred blogs? Saints? This is just foolishness of his own invention.

He also talks in very clear, repetitive hypotheticals.  The sanctity was never his point, the point was the hard-headed refusal to discuss these issues like the adults we claim to be, or to treat science as the flawed creature it always has been.  Even now there are many methodological problems with how we do science, down to the institutional hierarchy of who is privy to its knowledge and secrets.  How is a Professor unlike a Bishop?  Are lectures not holy?  Students must repeat what they are told, regardless of accuracy (at least if they want a good grade).

Right there in the critical post I wrote, I said plainly, “Gould and Dawkins do not claim that evolution as a religion, or that it should be treated as one, and neither do I; that would be ridiculous, since if I were equating the two, that would mean I think people ought to grow out of their absurd faith in evolution.” In the desecration post, I plainly said that nothing should be sacred.

It’s pretty hard to argue with somebody who misses the point entirely.  Like I said about the desecration though, you literally can’t do it if you hold nothing sacred.  I find it amusing that his latest biggest hit with the crowds is completely illegitimate.

I might add that historically, Christians murdered Jews by the thousands for imaginary desecrations; I tossed an unpalatable scrap of bad bread in a garbage can. Any comparisons he wants to make will not flatter religion.

When you go for sensationalism, chances are you know you’re wrong.  People tend to use religion to justify doing shitty things; religion itself does not cause the vast majority of those shitty things, and forbids almost all of them.  The real question is, does violence on blogs on the internet encourage violence in real life?

It also makes Salon look foolish, that they would put an article written by someone with a patent grudge front and center.

I found the article reasonable and intelligently written.  I think PZ is just upset that he actually has a nasty grudge, and will never be allowed onto a classy site like Salon.

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