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Posted by on Nov 15, 2012 | 36 comments

A+ part 2: Pontiff Myers and the Chalice of Poisonous Drivel

I am one of the few people who has had the privilege of having P.Z. lie directly to my face rather than behind my back.  Let me tell you the tale.  A while back, at TAM, I asked him what we should do when religious fanatics go straight to murderous violence to advance censorship.  He said that in that case, we should all join in and republish the offending material in solidarity, since the chaps will sooner or later run out of bullets.  Cue prolonged and stormy applause.

During the Mohammed cartoon crisis, when people were murdered for being the same nationality as the cartoonists, and students were being jailed for following the line that Myers affects to believe, can you guess his response?  Of course you can: the instant there was a real threat, Myers scurried to safety as fast as his chubby little flanks would carry him.   Of course, he cannot admit this honestly.  This wasn’t abject fear, oh no, he just didn’t have any sympathy with “an exercise in pointless provocation”, we had to remember that “muslims were people too”, and they had “cause to be furious”, and after all those cartoons were horribly, horribly racist, just like  one of “an African-American figure as thick-lipped, low-browed, smirking clown with a watermelon in one hand and a fried chicken drumstick in the other”…

This from a man never happier when republishing any scurrilous cartoon about Our Lord and Saviour, and, for the record, there far more sincere believing African Christians than Americans (incidentally, I think it says a great deal about Myers mental universe that he can immediately visualize such a cartoon in such detail).  Four years on when he’d noticed that many people had the guts to take the stand he didn’t, he boldly republished the cartoons, they having magically become non-racist.  That adjective isn’t an accident, as you will see if you read the title of that post; he’s boldly “flaunting his disobedience”.

Can it possibly get any more cowardly and contemptible?  Yes, it can.  Vide Myers circulation of the following filth:  The 5 most awful atheists, posted on alternet.  Let us pass over some of the others defamed, such as Penn Jillette, a man who does more for reason with one season of Bullshit than Myers has done in his whole existence, and focus on the defamation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Sam Harris.

The line this article take on Ayaan is that “Like Rand, she’s traded one form of totalitarian dogma for another—openly contending that reason must be shunted when confronting an irrational enemy. ”  Leaving aside the accidental insight of the similarity between Miss Rand and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, focus on that sentence.  That isn’t just wrong; it is so totally divorced from reason and reality that one is struck dumb. What inexhaustible reserves malice and rot the typist must posses.

The line on Harris is worse.  The stuff on Ali is obviously nuts and equally obviously motivated by petty spite.  Writing about Harris, on the other hand, this article repeats the lie that he is pro-torture.

This line is a lie.  It is not a misunderstanding, not an ‘interpretation’, not even a distortion produced by a poisoned mind.  It is a naked lie, and it is a lie that Myers is consciously endorsing.

Here it is worth quoting Sam Harris’s response.

I do not think that I am being especially thin-skinned to worry about this. Accusations of racism and similar libels tend to stick online. If my daughter one day reads in my obituary that her father “was persistently dogged by charges of racism and bigotry,” unscrupulous people like PZ Myers will be to blame.

Think of pettiness, the smallness and spite it takes to read this and just shrug, but Myers lacks even the courage of his dishonesty.  He refers to Harris as an advocate of “illiberal policies”, neatly allowing him to scurry away from the fact that the article claims that Harris defends torture, which he does not.  Yes, I think one can say one has reached the lowest point of cowardice and meanness.  Though there is worse corruption yet, which I will come to.

Before that, let me remind everyone: the only reason Myers blog is as well known as it is, is the patronage of Richard Dawkins.  Naturally, the instant Dawkins got fed up with Watson’s self-pity, Myers dropped him with nary a second thought, and joined in the defamation with no hesitation.  Truly are these “faithless” so called.

Now remember Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s background: victim of FGM, escapes one of the most anti-woman societies on earth, works her way from cleaner to MP on a platform of defending women’s rights, and has to live her entire life under threat of death for taking up that cause.  While Myers is perfectly happy to slap his paws to the keyboard over the offer of coffee to Watson, he is willing to go along with the defamation of a woman of that quality.

Let it never be said that Myers only donned his armour of  snowy white just for Watson.  No indeed, once before he raised his hands to punch out the following:

she and her father faced down a pair of thugs who threatened to rape the lesbian out of her. These were the local ‘security services’ who try to enforce a religious propriety on every one; just living in the day-to-day situation there has to be an example of great courage. [...]  The villains here are unfortunately all men- men who think they can use and abuse women.  It makes me embarrassed for my sex… and it embarrasses me further that there will no doubt be whiny little half-men complaining in the comments of this article.  Could you all try to make that prediction false?

And who is this fair maid that calls forth such gallantry?  Amina Arraf.

A man might claim ignorance and that his good nature was taken advantage of.  That claim is made nonsense by Myers evident fear and hate of women like Abbie Smith and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  I don’t think it an accident that Myers swallowed MacMaster’s line.  This was like calling out to like.  As I wrote before, a man who is aware of his irredeemable lack of value craves those that allow him to pretend otherwise.  But he fears and hates real courage and value, which is why real heroines like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Suzanne Zeller Hirzle, Sabatina James, Nonie Darwish, or Wafa Sultan are given short shrift.  It is also why, for all his posturing about “men who think that they can use and abuse women” he defends Bill Clinton, who by any standard falls into that category,

Do you remember the line taken by Watson about Dawkins and seconded by Myers?  What was the complaint?  ”Privilege”.  Well, yes, it is always such a pleasure watching middle class americans whining about someone else’s “privilege”.  Theirs is the empty rage of Caliban seeing his face in the glass.

If you can bear it a short while, try to imagine what this kind of a mind feels like.  Someone born to wealth and security known only to the tiniest fraction of humanity, the heir to three millennia of human progress, and doing nothing with it.  And then here comes someone like Sam Harris born to the same, who willingly condemns himself to a life of insecurity to fight, for real, the cause that you only affect to value.  And then here come these children of the poorest parts of the earth who take up the struggle in a way you never will.

Imagine what that feels like, and you can understand their hate and their fear.

As I alluded to earlier, there is one final level of absolute corruption, and it is this: Myers willingness to subordinate science to politics.

I suppose should be grateful, since it’s thanks to Myers that I was introduced to a certain cute danish blonde.  I am referring to the following post in which Myers cites the following article about Bjorn Lomborg which, on the basis of a book by Howard Friel, accuses Lomborg of lying about the scientific record in no less than three major instances.  Every single one of these is flat out wrong.  For example, that Lomborg ignores the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s report on Polar Bears, and instead takes his information from a blog post and “a study that never mentioned polar bears”.  That is a lie; the research Lomborg draws on is exactly the study in question.

I will do a follow up post in which I cite all my sources on this and show that Friel is lying.  However, that is not the point here.  Myers has not read Lomborg’s work, or the original criticism, or Lomborg’s response, or the research that he cites.  He has simply decided to accuse Lomborg of dishonesty, by his own admission based on a pre-existing prejudice, and with no other evidence than a magazine article, to accuse someone of scientific dishonesty.

The enormity of this charge is hard to understate.  It is one thing to say someone is wrong.  I could easily list a number of reviews published in journals like Nature that are critical of Lomborg.  It is quite another thing to accuse someone of dishonesty in science, and you had better have damn good evidence of it.  Myers did not do the most basic investigation, does not grant the most basic assumption of honesty, and takes a goddamn popular press article as evidence.  You might as well call for FOX news to be considered a peer reviewed source and have done with it.

This is not an isolated incident.  Take his post on Ray Kurzweil.  Here is Myers grand analysis:

Kurzweil cheats. The most obvious flaw is the way he lumps multiple events together as one to keep the distribution linear. [...]

The biology is fudged, too. Other “events” are “Class Mammalia“, “Superfamily Hominoidea“, “Family Hominidae“, the species “Homo sapiens“, and the subspecies “Homo sapiens sapiens“. Think about it. If the formation of a species, let alone a subspecies, is a major event about a million years ago, why isn’t each species back to the Cambrian awarded equivalent significance?

Myers might like to trudge down to his local library and check out Evolution: The First Four Billion Years.  What he will find are two chronologies of evolution that do exactly this.  I don’t think that Myers can possibly be so ignorant as not to know that.  But science means nothing compared with defending his own prejudices.

One thing I will say for Kurzweil, though, is that he seems to be a first-rate bullshit artist

Take a look at the following.  That is the “bullshit artist”‘s achievements (as opposed to Myers’ which consist of a blog).  I’m well aware there’s a lot of debate about Kurzweil (here is a good article by Michael Shermer), but there is no grounds to charge him with dishonesty.

This is by no means the first time Myers has gone in for this crap.  A quick google search revealed the following (Kurzweil: “Myers, who apparently based his second-hand comments on erroneous press reports (he wasn’t at my talk)”). And in his final lines, Myers reveals just what value and esteem he places on science, technology and the struggle of our species to rise from its lowly beginnings.

We may think it’s a grand step forward to have these fancy cell phones that don’t tie you to a cord coming from the wall, but there was also a time when people thought it was radical to be using this new bow & arrow thingie, instead of the good ol’ atlatl.

Got that?  Myers thinks that incremental advances in stone-age tools and technology over centuries and millennia is the equivalent of space age technology advancing in a matter of years and decades.  That the cord phone to iphone, from rocket to shuttle to Virgin Galatic is the equivalent of, maybe, getting a bit of a better bow every hundred years.

Coward, liar, arrogant blowhard, bully and fool: all these might, perhaps, be redeemable.  But when someone decides to subordinate the scientific method to his political prejudices, when he is willing to not bother to do the most elementary effort due to any scientist because he does not wish to have his prejudices challenged – that is the ultimate corruption.  Science was the sparkplug for the Enlightenment, and it remains the final line of defence against the forces of unreason.  Someone who betrays it has declared that there is nothing he will not abandon.

Long before “Atheism +” was even a figment in its advocates’ minibrains, I learned to recognise and hate Myers for what he is.  If there is anyone who is emblematic of this corruption, it is he.

UPDATE:  Stand by for the final part…

UPDATE 2: Title changed by request.

  • Ronlawhouston

    Hate is a strong word; however, it’s pretty clear that probably is an accurate representation of your state of mind. You wrote an article with lots of concrete evidence. However, your “hate” makes the whole article rather repugnant as well as creating certain doubts about the objectivity of your evidence. Having observed PZ, I’m more inclined to accept your evidence, but if you had stated your evidence in a less “hateful” manner then I’d certainly be less inclined to question it.

    • http://twitter.com/GerhardPrinslo1 Gerhard Prinsloo

      You get what you give. PZ has made a name for himself with his excoriating of individuals for placing their emotions and ideologies above objectivity. He is often uncompromisingly vitriolic. If you behave like that, then you’d better be as innocent as a new born baby of the sins you accuse others of, which he patently isn’t. Hypocrisy on that scale is deserving of contempt. The bad blood he’s helped foster amongst atheists makes him deserving of such scorn, IMO.

      • Ronlawhouston

        Don’t disagree at all. Prussian has the goods on PZ. I just think he would have been much more compelling if he’d toned it down a bit.

    • ThePrussian

      “Hatred is by far the longest pleasure,
      Men love in haste, but they detest at leisure.”

      See my above comment. And Myers has this coming.

  • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

    I loved to read this!!

  • Prepagan

    Not being an american I had not been aware of PZ Meyers until relatively recently and what I have learned in that time is that he is certainly someone to polarise opinions. The apparent and unapologetic U-Turn you describe regarding the Danish Cartoon issue in particular seems very telling as to his character.

    However, as Ronlawhouston commented before me, the tone of your article is more than a little off-putting. Whilst as a sceptic I should be able to focus on the evidence and not be overly swayed by the odd pejorative here and there, the evident bias you have against PZ Meyers makes me question to what extent redeeming or exculpatory evidence might have been omitted in your enthusiasm to shine the worst possible light on your subject.

    Much as with a PHD thesis written in crayon or a scientific theorem scrawled in excrement on a wall the manner of presentation is of great importance to the appreciation of the message.

    • ThePrussian

      A son of lost Prussia does not go in for half measures. It’s time for scorched earth, and the wailings of the lost and damned.

      That’s the flippant answer. For the real answer stay tuned for the final instalment, which will cover, amongst other things, why I’ve bothered to go into such detail with this phenomenon. Stay tuned, stay tuned.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rocky-Morrison/100001552602936 Rocky Morrison

        PRUSSIA WILL RISE AGAIN!
        NOT.

  • SmilodonsRetreat

    As someone who has been the target of PZs vitriol, I can say that this isn’t really my style, but I loved it.

  • http://www.skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/ Damion Reinhardt

    “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Beyond_Good_and_Evil#Aphorism_146

    • tim hem

      or

      “Ooh you Are Awful …But I Like You”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Emery

    • Vic

      …is it bad that I don’t know whether you bring this quote in relation to PZ or to this article?

      I did enjoy reading these epic smackdowns of A+ and its revolutionary guards, but on the other hand, somebody who’s not familiar with the affair will see this as ammunition that A+ oppononents are also not interested in dialogue and/or hateful.

      And yes, you “reap what you sow”, but I think overcoming this and offering a hand to shake is more important, else we could see a spiral of negativity in which A+ can drag its opponents down to its standards.

      • http://twitter.com/GerhardPrinslo1 Gerhard Prinsloo

        Others have tried the conciliatory approach with the Bullfrog. Offer a hand, but don’t be surprised if it disappears along with your forearm. You may end up being paraded as the shamed and defeated enemy.

        • Vic

          I see. Yet, I am slightly sad about this situation.

  • CommanderTuvok

    An excellent takedown of a thoroughly unpleasant character. Although I’m very familiar with PZ’s antics, it is vital that this side to PZ, Pharyngula, and the FtB sphere in general, is exposed by the harsh analysis of daylight.

    One of the main tactics of PZ and rest of the Baboons is to control the narrative. However, there is now so much pushback that the narrative is not firmly in their hands anymore.

    Keep exposin’ ‘em!

  • Pitchguest

    A nice breakdown of the slimy nature of PZ Myers, however I wouldn’t have gone so far to paint Ayaan Hirsi Ali as a hero. She may have done some good, which I applaud, but her rhetoric regarding immigrants, welfare and yes, Muslims — in that they should be crushed and convert to Christianity — doesn’t to me mark the signs of a “hero.” That’s the one thing I agree with in that article “Five most awful atheists”, because she’s a right-wing nut who happens to have good sense in one spot in her life.

    • ThePrussian

      Sorry, wrong. Ali is a heroine. It is not necessary that I agree 100% with this or that of her positions for me to recognise it. And Ali would not have decided that a liberal Christianity was the only practical solution if she had not witnessed the abject failure of atheists in this field. Got a problem with that? Get in the game and come up with your own solution.

      • Pitchguest

        Ayaan Hirsi Ali first lied about her situation in Kenya to get refugee status, then lied about her situation with her family — that they were trying to get her killed — in order to paint herself as a victim of persecution. Two things that are true: her FGM (which her father decried and denounced), and her arranged marriage. But she was never persecuted at that time. Most things from her childhood as recounted in ‘Infidel’ are fabrications, as admitted by Ali herself.

        However, like I said, she’s done some good things, too, which I genuinely applaud (the AHA foundation, more done for women’s rights than any of the charlatans at FTB), but I simply cannot abide by her shaky veneer. You don’t become a “heroine” when you outright state you wish for your opponents to be “crushed” and urging them to “convert to Christianity” or else. You don’t become a “heroine” when you lie about the state and place of welfare, and the state and place of immigrants, in the country, for political reasons. That’s as slimy as it gets. Many of her gripes about Muslims, too, are horribly sensationalised (e.g., “The Advocates of Silence”)

        Don’t get me wrong, I symphatise that she has to have bodyguards and receives death threats, I do. But I don’t symphatise with the criticism she’s gotten regarding these statements. You’re right, you don’t have to agree with everything she says, so, fair enough, if you think she’s a hero, that’s your opinion. I disagree, but let’s agree to disagree, eh?

        • ThePrussian

          To take this in no particular order, “most things from her childhood as recounted in ‘infidel’ are fabrications, as admitted by Ali herself” Really? Got a source for that? Because that’s a new one on me. And here’s a new one on you: I know a fair bit about Somalia of that period from my and my families experience, and it rings true.

          Yes, saying “convert to Christianity or else” is contemptible. That is not what she has said. She has said that there are many Muslims who do want to get out of the life-hating fanaticism of Islam but don’t want to give up on God entirely. Her view is that a liberal, rights-respecting Christianity is a good alternative, especially since the Enlightenment emerged out of Christian societies. She has said that she’d prefer them to become atheists, but appreciates that many won’t, and that is at least another option.

          As regards “crushing”, well, how do you think you win a war, genius? Do you care to remember the tender mercies bestowed on my Fatherland? Remember the other members in that conflict, the Catholic ultras and the Japanese theocracy headed by a God-Emperor? Remember what was done to them? During the Iran:Iraq war, the Iranian parents sent their children out to be used as living minesweepers. Do you think people willing to do that are just going to roll over at harsh language? Heck, how do you think the US gov’t sorted out the Klan?

          For the record, I accept the historical verdict on my Fatherland, and I am glad of it. I am foursquare with Heinrich Boll’s famous comment that April 1945 was not the defeat, but the liberation of Germany. That required the utter expurgation of Nazism, and, again, harsh language would not have done the trick.

          As regards her lying on her refugee status (she did not claim her family were trying to kill her), we know about that because she’s repeatedly said so. I can only imagine your logic is that she should have just bowed her head and accepted a forced marriage. The fact that we don’t offer asylum for women fleeing from such things is a disgrace in itself.

          So much for that. I get the feeling you have been misinformed on a great deal of this.

          • Pitchguest

            I didn’t realise we were at war with these people. Those who say we’re at ‘war’ are usually apart of the right-wing nutters like the EDL, or the Freedom Party in the Netherlands, who appear to have nothing but contempt for immigrants and mostly Muslims. Her speech about Muslims called ‘The Advocates of Silence’ were jampacked with sensationalism and utter nonsense as far as I’m concerned, at one point attempting to rationalise the murders commited by Anders Beiring Brevik in Norway.

            http://www.citizentimes.eu/2012/05/11/the-advocates-of-silence/

            Choice excerpt:

            “Fourthly and finally, that one man who killed 77 people in Norway, because he fears that Europe will be overrun by Islam, may have cited the work of those who speak and write against political Islam in Europe and America – myself among them – but he does not say in his 1500 page manifesto that it was these people who inspired him to kill. He says very clearly that it was the advocates of silence. Because all outlets to express his views were censored, he says, he had no other choice but to use violence.

            And her justification for crushing Muslims (not just radical ones, but all of them) is recited here:

            http://reason.com/archives/2007/10/10/the-trouble-is-the-west/singlepage

            Choice excerpt:

            Hirsi Ali: Only if Islam is defeated. Because right now, the political side of Islam, the power-hungry expansionist side of Islam, has become superior to the Sufis and the Ismailis and the peace-seeking Muslims.

            Reason: Don’t you mean defeating radical Islam?

            Hirsi Ali: No. Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.

            Reason: We have to crush the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims under our boot? In concrete terms, what does that mean, “defeat Islam”?

            Hirsi Ali: I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways. For starters, you stop the spread of the ideology itself; at present, there are native Westerners converting to Islam, and they’re the most fanatical sometimes. There is infiltration of Islam in the schools and universities of the West. You stop that. You stop the symbol burning and the effigy burning, and you look them in the eye and flex your muscles and you say, “This is a warning. We won’t accept this anymore.” There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.

            Reason: Militarily?

            Hirsi Ali: In all forms, and if you don’t do that, then you have to live with the consequence of being crushed.

            But back to Ali. You say she lived in Somalia, well, that’s just it. She didn’t live in Somalia: she lived in Kenya. She was born in Somalia, but moved to Kenya when she was eight. Her father was a freedom rights activist who abhorred violence and wasn’t a practicing Muslim, but her grandmother was; hence the FGM, which occured when her father was away. She also never saw any war in Somalia since she didn’t live there. If you wonder where I’ve gleaned this information from, they made a documentary about her on Dutch televison where she herself made an appearance acknowleding the information they’d acquired:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z82C10myBmM

            The place where she grew up, the people she saw daily, the school she went to. The childhood story she recounted in ‘Infidel’ was miles different and a blatant fabrication. The arranged marriage is also touched upon, in the documentary, which wasn’t forced on her as alleged but willingly consented to. You might think, ‘Oh, it’s just propaganda’, well, maybe it is, but if you’re not willing to trust the makers of the documentary, you may be willing to trust Ayaan Hirsi Ali on what she says about their claims herself — in the interview they conducted with her — and how they divert from her claims in ‘Infidel’.

            Once again, I want to reiterate, the good things she’ve done (for ex-Muslims and women’s rights) are to be applauded, but in my opinion her other actions, in particular her statements about immigrants, Muslims, welfare, does not (to me) paint her as a “hero” (or heroine). You might not agree and if so, fair enough. I’m not gonna force my opinion on you. If you think I’m misinformed, I’d gladly accept any information you can add.

          • ThePrussian

            First of all, I will look at that documentary later on. In the meantime, in order:

            1. Do you remember Darfur? Four hundred thousand dead in jihad violence. The previous jihad genocide in the Sudan killed two million. Before that in East Timor, there was the murder of between one and two hundred thousand. Last week alone there have been 237 people murdered in jihad, and 341 critically injured. How exactly do you propose to solve? And for serious people, there’s no such thing as being neutral. When the “international community” decided to do nothing in the case of Rwanda, in Darfur, in the Sudan, in East Timor, they chose the side of the killers, and very often ended up actively supporting them.

            I really am an internationalist. If you examine the faces I included in my banner, Condorcet is not there by accident. I’m an “immigrant” no matter where I go, and from Tanzania to Singapore I have met comrades who have been at the receiving end of jihad aggression. Now you can hand-wave all that if you want, and just focus on the piffling questions of whether someone’s a “right wing nutter”; I’m not turning my back on my brothers and sisters no matter where they’re found.

            Now that does not always, or even mostly, mean war in the way it was against my Fatherland with entire cities buried under burning phosphorus. I would say that it means mainly support for apostates, helping the non-Muslim minorities fleeing the Islamic world find asylum, a militant protection of women’s rights coupled with groups like RAWA, etc. Yet there are instances where military action is necessary. I would instance the slave trade as an example; it is a goddamn obscenity that in the twenty-first century the traffic in human flesh is still permitted.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDO7hDyFHWE

            2. The idea that she “rationalizes” Breivik is just a distortion. Many people have warned for a long time, myself included, that if the attitude by our commentariat was to grant undue deference to Islam out of fear of violence, and hounded all criticism of Islam out of the public sphere, again out of fear of violence, then sooner or later other chaps would decide to use the same tactics. The Shiv Sena in India did. And now Breivik’s done the same.

            That’s free speech 101: if you rule out discussion, the only alternative is violence. We’ve seen this sort of thing before: in Weimar there were numerous speaking bans on the nascent Nazi party, including a country-wide ban on Hitler speaking, and you may remember how brilliantly that worked. The only effect was to force them to clean up their image until they became electable. Once again, well done. Ali is quite right and quite brave to point this out.

            3. I repeat I will look at that documentary later on – I have a deal to handle at the moment – but I am so far unimpressed by what you’ve written. Her move to Kenya (another nation with which I am familiar), the fact that her father was furious with the grandmother is all recounted in Infidel, so I fail to see how she is lying. She says that she avoided the fighting in Somalia, but did visit a refugee camp (have you read “Infidel” by the by?). I’m going to bang on about this, but I will freely grant that she lied on her asylum form and I could not give a damn. As I said, women fleeing forced marriages should be given asylum anyway. I’ve done some writing on stickin up for the rights of asylum seekers in the UK, and the abuse they are subjected to would cause you to never sleep again.

            As regards the idea that she “consented” to this marriage, come on. One does not run away, lose one’s entire family, start over in a foreign land from scratch, for a marriage that one is okay with. Nor does one decide to spend the rest of one’s life under threat of death for sticking up for women’s rights if one doesn’t have a passionate interest in them. I imagine her “consent” was similar to that of a certain daughter of Capulet:

            Look to’t, think on’t, I do not use to jest.
            Thursday is near, lay hand on heart, advise:
            And you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend;
            And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets,
            For by my soul, I’ll ne’er acknowledge thee,
            Nor what is mine shall ever do thee good.

          • ThePrussian

            Look to phrase it another way, you seem to be slightly unwilling to grant Ali the presumption of honesty. Leaving aside the asylum nonsense, can you not see that someone may have good reasons for taking those positions?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rocky-Morrison/100001552602936 Rocky Morrison

    I love the smell of atheists bashing each other in the morning!
    Because I know what happens when they actually get political control of a society.

    • http://twitter.com/GerhardPrinslo1 Gerhard Prinsloo

      Yes, they fight back against the ideologues in their own ranks and don’t tacitly protect pedophiles and political extremists who would disenfranchise those who haven’t drunk their kool-aid.

      • Vic

        Gerhard Prinsloo, professional troll hunter.

        • Goldstein Squad Member

          And they kill people. A lot of people/

          • eccles11

            You ought to see Julia Gillards death count.

    • ThePrussian

      Accidentally deleted the other comment while I was still zonked this morning. Please feel free to repost it since it makes a general point very well.

      In the interim, what on earth does this mean? “When they actually get political control of a society”? What, exactly, does that mean? Here are two famous, politically active atheists: 1. Karl Marx. 2. Ayn Rand. Now, do you feel a little silly about that comment?

      • Goldstein Squad Member

        And Marx of course inspired Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and their thousands of henchmen.

        Oh, I know, they were “true atheists”. snicker

        • ThePrussian

          I believe my point has been made here. Everyone else see the idiocy of this twerp suggesting that this blog is in any shape or form sympathetic to Communism?

          • Vic

            Come to an atheist’s blog they said. It’ll be easy they said. Bring up totalitarian dictatorships they said.

            …and then he tried to bust in on our resident objectivist’s party. Oh the humanity!

  • http://twitter.com/ool0n oolon

    Wut! This is part II for the other post I commented on… Where I was wondering how a character assassination of Rebecca Watson had anything to do with A+? Apparently all would become clear in this post… Where I am now wondering why a character assassination of PZ has anything to do with A+, at least he finally registered there (3wks ago). He did nothing to bring the idea or the forum into existence – so even ‘guilt by association’ doesn’t apply.

    I’d be the first to agree PZ makes mistakes and leaps to judgement without assessing all the facts. But so what? He is presumably human in your eyes and not part of a reptilian conspiracy to undermine atheism, I do wonder given your zeal in finding things to hate about him. Are you in the Pharyngula dungeon with me? Many sure picked up some epic butthurt at being thrown in there.

    Phew, well I’m looking forward to the final part in this epic exercise in not applying scepticism, critical thinking, relevance or rational thought to the A+ movement :-)

    • ThePrussian

      Sorry, this isn’t character assassination; their characters committed suicide a long time ago. Nor do I have any zeal in finding things to hate about him; zeal is not required. He presents me with plenty of reasons all on his own. I will fully explain my reasons for a scorched-earth approach to this in the final part, which you will have to wait for.

      Now, here’s a question: is anything I’ve written about either of these two false?

  • http://twitter.com/Eshto Ryan Grant Long

    I am happy you changed the title and removed the insult. Thank you. Much easier to focus on the arguments now.

  • Peter Naus

    Looking at a year’s change, and the many character flaws it’s exposed over at FTB, I finally made my own mind up about Paul Myers.

    The two things that struck me as egregious personal character flaws were the almost unbelievable debacle with Tf00t, and Mr Myers’ despicable “outing” of Michael Shermer.

    Sorry to flog a dead horse, but your article was marvellously prescient. I wish I’d found you earlier, then I wouldn’t have wasted time trying to get through to Myers’ Minions.

    What a hive of nasty, projectionist, unthinking, uncaring, self-aggrandising hippocrites. The only word that comes to mind is “uncompassionate”. Not dispassionate. Uncompassionate.

    Thanks for trying to support your arguments. I disagree with some points, but overall, you picked most of the scabs.

    • ThePrussian

      Thank you for the kind words. Hope you will stick around; there’s probably something for everyone in our little community here.

      Would love to hear more about your experience.