Friday, November 25, 2011

It's only a harmless bunny!

The unbearable mind of the "truly intelligent." If Pharyngula didn't exist, you'd have to.. well, you know.

So here PZ posts a comic designed to show how stupid the religious are. Alas, poor PZ, who's been slipping of late, did not properly vet the cartoon. He should have run it by Greta or Ophelia or one of the few other souls enlightened enough to examine anything, anything at all, for blatant, latent, or vestigial sexism. You see, the cartoon has two bunnies. The smart, rational bunny is a boy. (Danger Will Robinson, danger!) The dumb, religious bunny is a girl. Uh-oh. You don't have to be Fellini to figure that one out!

Predictably, the monster PZ has created reared its ugly head—no longer in the control of its maker. PZ enabled an atmosphere on his blog wherein Richard Dawkins becomes a "sexist pig" for using man and female in the same sentence. PZ nurtured and encouraged this hideous insanity, one that painted even mildly non-conformists as gender-traitors (if they were women) and rape-enablers (if they were men.)

So much so that now on Pharyngula a comment from a man often comes with a preemptive strike. The supplicant first acknowledges and apologizes for his unspeakable male privilege, doubly so if he is white, triply so if heterosexual. He announces, like a good re-educant, that he has learned a lot from the gurus and their moderated-by-intimidation discussions. He is, oh joy, much more sensitive to his own cluelessness. While he will still make mistakes (he is, after all, still a man--his bad) he stands ready to be corrected by the thought police. After all that self-flagellation he is tentatively and humbly prepared to offer a comment—but he'll "keep his finger on it" like kids do to a valuable piece when playing chess. If he gets the slightest whiff that it was a bad move, if he has disturbed the web and the spider is heading toward him ready to devour, he can still withdraw. Mulligan!

Poor PZ. You can almost feel sorry for him. He had this great cartoon bashing the religious as bumpkins (how original!) and instead of basking in its reflected glory he finds himself—PZ of all people!—at the heart of yet another sexism pogrom. On his blog! With PZ himself, P freakin’ Z, partially to blame for not seeing the evilness of this cartoon! Unthinkable!

So PZ starts a new thread, saying a bunny is sometimes just a bunny and that you can't judge from a sample size of one. This in spite of the fact that PZ has turned judging from a sample size of one into something of an art form.

Of course, trying to maintain his feminista street creds while at the same time refusing to acknowledge his error is not easy, and it is not surprising that PZ becomes relatively incoherent. The "Yes, but..." defense will eventually wear anyone out. So he writes mystical woo like:
Equality does not mean that the smart bunny in the dialog will always be the one in the dress.
It does mean that the bunny in the dress isn’t always the dumb one.
There is a difference between those two sentences, you know.

Oh, PZ, surely you know that's not good enough! (And it isn't, read the comments.)

The ├╝ber-rational. They sure know how to throw a party.


  1. Yeah, PZ is a prick (sexism alert) and so are many of his fans (uh, just the males?), but his little syllogism up there is technically valid. Not all A are X indeed does not mean that all A must be not-X. I know, you know, just saying and that isn't the core issue with him and this piece.

  2. And then there was...

    "If only this didn’t reinforce the anthrocentric notion that animals are either cute, edible, or other. By putting forth the idea that rabbits are lovable and cuddly, this encourages the abuse and neglect of animals purchased as pets."

  3. PZ serves a useful purpose though in 'a necessary evil' type of manner. I hope his tribal members eventually evolve beyond his style and the behavior of the tribe he leads.

    Many appear to be youths recently leaving theism with a justifiably bitter attitude at the abuse inflicted upon them by their communal authority figures as they were growing up. What they seem oblivious to is that while they've joined a far more honest tribe, they're still mired in the same primitive behavioral defects of tribalism in general. In PZ's tribe, that behavior is sophomoric; contrary to the tribes they left which I observe to have a different set of far more defective attributes given the latter's effective opposition to objective truth and the optimal methods which yield a better set of understandings.

    I find the comic PZ posted very funny where your deriding it as unoriginal misses the point. It would stop being funny if the observation it criticizes about religionists stopped being true. Unfortunately the comic rings contemporaneously true which is exactly why it remains funny and bears repeating.

    I get your criticism of PZ which is central to this post. I think he should have disrespectfully derided his critics. He's incapable of doing so because his defining approach is stuck in the same tribal politics he derides from other tribes.

  4. Anonymous7:16 PM

    If atheists are supposed to make the world a jolly place, it's sure not evident from the comments there

  5. We atheists are supposed to make the world a jolly place? I don't see that anywhere in my contract.

    However, in addition to being an atheist, I'm also a human being, and as such, I do try from time to time to make the world a little jollier. So here goes: what did one dinosaur say to the other? "All I'm saying, is that now is the time to develop the technology to deflect an asteroid."

    cheers from chilly Vienna, zilch

  6. Anonymous12:12 PM

    it's in the fine print :-)

  7. In the fine print, you say? Oh man, I thought that was just a decorative border. I can see that I'm way behind in knocking down old ladies in the street, too. Thanks for the heads up, iblase!

  8. Hello all,

    How about it should be in everyone's contract as a human being, "Make the world a jolly place" -? The world (whether or not God behind that) created you, your ability to think was created by the work of prior human civilization, so I say we all owe it to the Earth and to civilization.

    I say this in non-sectarian spirit as inspired by my Unitarian Universalism, syncretist reverence for Nature, and liberal pseudo-Christianity: Happy Holidays!

  9. Fer cryin' out loud, Neil, do you mean I've got a contract for being human too? I bet there's one for just being alive as well. Trouble is- what should I do if the contracts conflict?

    Merry stuff to everyone!