• EDIT: Pope Myers’ God

    Following editorial consultation, the post is up again:

    In my piece on the pontiff of FtB, I wrote that his ultimate, irrefutable corruption is his willingness to subordinate science to politics.  I now notice he’s at it again, courtesy of my lovely colleague bluharmony. I will get into the broader subject of expertise and its importance, but for the moment, let me quote the following from his dismissal of peer review:

    when you’ve got some deeply ingrown subfield where all the “peers” buy into the same bullshit, and approve and publish each others’ papers, the garbage can reach toxic levels.

    This is the exact, same stuff that climate denialists peddle about global warming and creationists peddle about evolution.  In point of fact, ED is fiercely debate in the journals, so if Watson – who was, contra to her and Myers’ latest lies, attacking the science of ED – knew anything, she should write a critique and get it published.  Good luck with that.  Of course, Myers and Watson will yell the same thing that the creationists and climate denialists do: that the journals are under the control of a clique with its own agenda.

    However, thanks again to my colleague, I can demonstrate why this man is what he is.  It’s from the following post, where Myers cites, and heaps effusive praise on a column that says the following:

    [Paul Ryan] looks at the country and sees its government as something alien that is holding down the individual entrepreneurial genius of 200 million people, and not as their creation, and the vehicle through which that genius can be channelled for the general welfare.

    Nietzsche in his genius foresaw this, that in the place vacated by the old gods, a New God would raise his throne:

    “’State’ is the name of the coldest of all cold monstrosities. It coldly lies to you, and this lie crawls from its mouth; “I, the State, am the People […] On earth there is nothing greater than I: the ordering finger of God!”

    The bloody history of the next century proved Nietzsche right.

    Myers is what he is because he is in no absolute sense a skeptic or anti-religious; he is simply a votary of the New God, the god called State.  Or, if you will, “the People” an ethereal super-entity embodied in no one in particular, who licenses all the vast cruelties of its self-appointed priesthood.

    Think about it: all the manifold contradictions in Myers’ many positions are not contradictions at all if you make the basic assumption that he is not a skeptic trying to uncover truth but a believer defending orthodoxy.  Why is expertise suddenly unimportant in Watson’s case?  Because she is orthodox.  Why is suddenly relevant in Ryan’s case?  Because he is unorthodox.

    Why have you never heard a single word or peep from this man about the bible-thumpers Bill & Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Al Sharpton…?

    Because they are Orthodox.  The point for Myers is that another god is fine, as long as he is subservient to his god.  He is against the religious right in America not because they are religious but because they are right, i.e. a competing religion.

    This is not a left/right thing, this cannot be stressed enough.  Despite my manifold differences with both Nick Cohen and Francis Wheen, both well to the left of Myers on many issues, neither of them are of this kidney.  I could also list the late great Hitch.  Further, both Ayn Rand and Karl Marx looked forward to a time when there was no State.

    Or consider the following:

    And there are many, many rightist worshippers of the state; in fact, the very idea comes from the hideous Old Right with its idea of divine right.

    Again, in arguing against this position, I deliberately choose people with whom I have considerable differences with, but with whom I agree on the fundamental point: the State is an unfortunate compromise, perhaps necessary, but only grudgingly.  It is not a divine vessel “through which 200 million people can be channelled”, and disagreements about this compromise should not be treated as heresy.  This seems to be understood by US President Obama; shortly after Ryan’s selection, Obama mentioned him in a speech, causing some boos.  Obama waved them down saying that he thought that Ryan was a fine and principled person, they just disagreed fundamentally on several issues.

    I see no value in trying to liberate mankind from one god just to shackle it to another.

    Category: Life and ReasonSkepticismUncategorized

    Article by: The Prussian

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    • I agree with you – Communism is a state-religion. I didn’t know Myers was a closeted commie!

      Steven Pinker, though, took my anarchism away by pointing out violence declined severely when modern States appeared.

      • I’m not sure if Pinker acknowledges, however, that organized violence went up and the average human lifespan went down as a result of the agricultural revolution. It took many millennia for the state to become a more or less civilized entity that didn’t kill more people through state-sponsored violence than it saved through reduction in interpersonal violence. A point that many states have yet to reach.

      • ThePrussian

        Heh. I know the feeling; but the thing is that the state is an unfortunate compromise, but one we can’t seem to do without. I like Alan Moore’s comments.

        PZ isn’t a closeted commie; what I think is that he is simply unwilling to think about what these words means. I expand it in the “in case you were wondering post”

    • ZedZero

      “Myers is what he is because he is in no absolute sense a skeptic or anti-religious; he is simply a votary of the New God, the god called State. Or, if you will, “the People” an ethereal super-entity embodied in no one in particular, who licenses all the vast cruelties of its self-appointed priesthood.”

      Hear, hear, I am glad you can speak to this folly of atheist. Whether your god is supernatural a fiction or just another blow hard on a soap box is really a trivial point. Both are turds.

      Is Pezus really a communist? I had not heard of this before but, I am rather taken aback by this quote from him “communism is a young philosophy, unlike religion, so it can be excused to some degree for being at the start of the learning curve. I find it a little hard to excuse some of the human costs of communism, but then science also has had human costs.”

      I guess cost benefit analysis is not a Pezus’s strong suit, huh?

      • ThePrussian

        No, he’s not a communist, but he is willing to excuse and handwave its crimes, and that is hardly better.

    • Out of curiosity, what is your perspective on modern social democracy?

      I happen to lean libertarian in quite a few of my views, but I fundamentally feel that everyone should have an equal chance to succeed or fail based on their own merits.

      • ThePrussian

        Modern social democracy is the best system of government we have ever managed to get up and running. I have a lot of quarrels and suggestions as to how it could be much improved, but the fact is that the nations that have modern social democracy are paradise on earth compared with the way most of the rest of humanity lives and most of the rest of human history.

        • That seems to disagree in some aspects with what many (for want of a better term) “Randbots” I know have said. Regardless, this is an answer I have no quarrel with. Constructive criticism is very much important to any viewpoint that wants to reflect reality.

          • ThePrussian

            That’s often the case with younger Objectivists; they have plenty of fire but insufficient direction. That sometimes takes a while to get.

            The Objectivist position is that modern social democracy has internal contradictions that need correction or else something very bad will happen (see my point about improvements above). Vide this recent financial crisis; it gave many of us the feeling we were living through Part 1 of Atlas Shrugged; believe me, none of us wants to see it reach Part 3.

            But for all its contradictions, the social democracies at least represent a significant start towards the goal, of subjecting the state to moral law and of banishing the rule of brute force from the relations of men.

    • Astrokid NJ

      Its refreshing to see a non-modern liberal blogger in the atheist-osphere.
      The State is the new God for many atheists. Statheism Defined
      The FTB baboons’ tactics are those of The New Thought Police.
      Tammy Bruce’s The New Thought Police: Inside the Left’s Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds from 2002. The tactics of intimidation, as opposed to argumentation, seem the same.

      • ThePrussian

        It’s very sweet of you to say so, but I am a liberal, a classical liberal who regards the US version as an insult on a great legacy.

        I’m never too happy about easy use of terms like “Thought Police”; my father and late uncle stood up to the Stasi, so it seem only right that I refuse any melodrama on this point. That said, the hive-mind of the post-socialist center left is one of the most boring things in the world, and one that is responsible for a great deal of our woe.

        I should also add that its gross and venomous attempts to threaten those it can, and its doormat stance towards those it can’t, positively invites cataclysm.

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