Friday, March 02, 2007


(Aside: Arggh, more snow! It seems like I've be shoveling for weeks!)

Professor PZ Myers is once again holding a pep rally Get Meaner! Angrier, Louder, Fiercer! against creationists, IDists, and those nasty appeasers (read Ken Miller, Francis Collins, etc.) In the fantasy world where Myers represents science, productivity is not important, only purity of thought.

(Another aside: Soon there may be enough of us to put up a good fight. You see, there is yet another reformed physicist blogger: Todd Pedlar a particle physicist and professor from Iowa. )

Back to PZ. He is crowing over the fact that he has been quoted by a non-scientist creationist. He does so enjoy playing the tough guy against cartoonists and others who don't know much science. The creationist in question, in some obscure article, brought up one of the PZisms that makes everyone's top ten list:

The only appropriate response should involve some form of righteous fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing of some teachers, many school board members, and vast numbers of sleazy, far-right politicians … I say, screw the polite words and careful rhetoric. It's time for scientists to break out the steel-toed boots and brass knuckles, and get out there and hammer on the lunatics and idiots.

In today's post, here is Commander Myers, exhorting his troops:

I think there is a place for ferocity and partisanship, too. We do not compromise on the science, ever; that is the thin bright line that we do not cross. And we should always make that clear. Others can coddle the fools who dither and simper wishfully over gods and old myths and apologetics, but some of us have to charge forward and stake out a solid position, one that excludes altogether the ancient fairy tales.

There is a lot of support out there for that kind of fiery confidence. Let's see more of us stand up and speak out, and devil take the milksops.

Well, alrighty then! As always, it is fun to select a few gems from PZ's comments:

Ricky writes:

I definitely agree PZ. On that note, I have to mention this press release that I saw today (, in which the American Psychological Association officially adopted a policy against the teaching of intelligent design. I guess it's not big news really, but being a "future" psychologist myself, I was happy to see it. The only question I had was why the heck did it take so long?

Quite a few of us in line for our punishment, to be meted out by brass knuckles and steel-toed boots (metaphorically speaking, of course) also agree that ID should not be taught in science class. Still, it's good to know that those experts in the hard sciences at the American Psychological Association have weighed in with their expert opinion. Maybe Sam Harris could arrange for the American Society of Mystics and Gurus to submit a white paper.

Ichthyic ominously reminds us that the real violence comes from the other side. Responding to someone who asked What would you say to some preacher who exhorts his flock to use brass knuckles on scientists? he writes:

Paul Mirecki would be happy to inform you that they already do, as he has the bruises and hospital bills to prove it.

For those new to these matters, Mirecki is a Religious Studies professor at the University of Kansas, which means he knows even less hard science than the denizens of the American Psychological Association. Not that that should disqualify him from teaching on scientific matters. Back in 2005, he was going to teach a class on ID. In a manner befitting the academy, he established his credentials as an intellectual who could take an unbiased approach to a controversial subject by writing:

"Creationism is mythology. Intelligent design is mythology. It's not science. They try to make it sound like science. It clearly is not."
"The fundies want it all taught in a science class, but this will be a nice slap in their big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category 'mythology. '"
The latter of which he signed in the professional manner:
"Doing my part (to upset) the religious right, Evil Dr. P. "
Not long after this, Mirecki reported an assault, in which he claimed to have been attacked in the early morning by two good 'ole boys in a pickup. As far as I know, his story has never been verified. (If it ever is, he'll be beatified.) Ichthyic, however, accepts it as fact.

G. Tingey is very clever. He'll make a sweeping statement about the comprehensive evil of religion—but since he must have been asked one too many times "but what about communism?" he sidesteps that inconvenient criticism by preemptively defining communism as, you guessed it, religion:

"All religions are a form of moral and/or physical blackmail"

And, for the USA - remember also that communism is a classic religion - false predictions and all...

I love that approach. More people have been killed in the name of religion than any thing else. But what about Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler? Religion—all religion.

When an impure commenter in need of reeducation asks the impertinent question: Why should religious people who support science be held responsible for the crimes of fundamentalists? That's like all men being held responsible for the crimes of mysogynists. Ruth gives the orthodox PZistic response:

Because, as the old saying goes, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."

If you align yourself with mysogynists by defending their views (like defending oppression of women as 'cultural practices'), then you ARE a mysogynist.
If you align yourself with the enemies of science by defending their right to attack science, then you ARE an enemy of science.

Raj, commenting on a subthread regarding the possibility of language recalling Europe's Christian Heritage appearing in the EU constitution, explains for the Side of the Intellectuals and Rationalists:

[It] was been reported that the Harlot Vatican, the Whore of Babylon, was pushing gor the admission of Poland into the EU because it (the Harlot Vatican) believed that Poland would help re-sectarize (is that a word?) the largely secular EU. They never should have admitted Poland, or any other of the Eastern European hell-holes. But, then again, the US North should never have re-admitted the South after the War of Northern Aggression--certainly not on the same terms as before.

Go to the post in question—there are plenty more nuggets in the comments.

Final Snow Note:
while writing this missive, some unknown angel of mercy has plowed my driveway! That saved me a couple hours work. Dawkins would argue that the unknown trucker's selfish gene was responsible: presumably since I can now get out and get to work, then there is the tiniest reduction in the chance of a recession, and a commensurate improvement of the odds that the throughly self-centered snow-plow-man will not get layed off, he'll be able to continue to pay for food, and have the strength to reproduce, thus ensuring the survival of his genes.

EDIT: typos and reformatting quoted text to stand out.

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