PZ Myers has always been an ass, but lately you can see the effects of a universal law: If that’s how you make a name for yourself, you have nowhere to go but to ratchet up the asshat-edness. People become inured to a constant level of self-righteous anger and banal antics.
Today, PZ is very angry. Clenching tiny fists O’ fury and gnashing teeth angry. He is a wee bit angry with a Christian who did something dumb. But he is head-exploding angry with some of his fellow atheists. Because they are not marching lockstep. He hates when that happens. It's just not fair.
There was a Skepitcon conference (essentially now an atheism conference) in Springfield, Missouri. A thin-skinned Christian proprietor of an ice cream shop was unnecessarily offended by some silly atheist comedian. He placed a sign on the door to his shop: Skepticon is NOT welcome in my Christian Business. He was then subjected to understandable criticism via blogs and the like.
So this man apologized. A apologized again. And, lo and behold, in a very un-PZ like display of good manners and common courtesy, a significant fraction of the atheist community had the temerity, without PZ’s blessing, to accept the man’s apology. Bad form, that.
Now some did not—some questioned whether his motive was self-serving—and that’s fair. But quite a few, even some marquee atheists, decided that the apology was probably sincere, or should be accepted as sincere, since the man’s mind can’t be read, and the apology did not contain weasel-like “notpology” phrasing.
Fair enough—but not good enough for PZ!
Those who behaved PZ-like went further. For example, they drove down the internet ratings for the guy’s restaurant. Whereas writing about what the guy did is fair game, whereas organizing a boycott is fair game, whereas making a personal decision never to darken the doors of the restaurant is fair game—dissing the quality of the fare is not—given that it was not, in fact, consumed. It is the moral, or rather the amoral equivalent of writing a bad review on Amazon for a book you never read, just because you despise the author’s politics. The PZ-ians, long noted for their lack of morality and common sense, had no trouble with this tactic, and PZ himself smugly declared:
Check out online reviews of the place at google/yelp. It’s getting trashed, plummeting to one star everywhere. This is atheists exercising their clout.
What a dick.
Anyhow, PZ then gets a direct email apology from the ice cream man. He uses it to throw his fellow atheists under the bus in a post entitled Fair Weather Atheists and Sunshine Skeptics. PZ is always going down the True Atheist™ path. He, of course, is pure as the driven snow. But the others, you see, the others--well they are often only “dictionary” atheists (if you can’t offer a cogent enough defense of your atheism) or “Fair Weather” atheists (if you are not sufficiently belligerent). The dogmatic always have a minuscule radius to their circle of orthodoxy.
Of course PZ rejected the apology. That goes without saying. He wrote back to the poor schmuck:
Apology not accepted. What I see in you is a person who hates me for not believing in the nonsense of your religion; while you may now be in a panic because your actions were unethical and illegal, and you were caught out, and face economic consequences for them, I don’t see any sign that your attitudes have changed in the slightest.
You’ll just have to live with the fact that I won’t be buying your ice cream on the rare occasions I visit your town, while I have to live with the fact that I live in a country where my rejection of your religion makes me a pariah. There’s absolutely nothing you can do to make up for that.
Did I mention, what a dick?
Now the rejection was just a pro forma move, a gambit setting the stage for PZ to unleash the Spanish Inquisition on his out-of-line brethren.
He segues by weeping the usual persecuted-atheist tears. The nation is so hard on him. Tough having a job that guarantees the upper middle class for life—he’s a tenured professor. Tough having a position of privilege where he can dictate who gets to speak and who gets invited to atheist conventions.
Tough when some of his fellow atheists for whom he has done so much, blazed so many trails, been feted with so many beers in pubs around the world—it is just so tough when they don’t see the truth.
So then…so then he attacks.
Go read his rant at the apostate. It is really very, very – pathetic.
PZ is on the verge of becoming a caricature of himself.