Friday, July 11, 2008

Bigotry Dept.
I think PZ Myers has gone off the deep end. What exactly is a 51-year-old biology professor doing, openly asking his readers to send him eucharistic wafers so that he can video himself desecrating them?

Doesn't this guy, like, have classes to teach? Or...you know, some research to do?

I have heretofore cut him a lot of slack for his sneering attitude toward Christians--mainly because he's a good science writer. But this rant and it's follow ups (Catholics are 'fuckwits') is beyond the pale. If in fact the student in question had indeed received death threats for taking the wafer, his rant would at least have a point. Death threats are bad. But if you follow the links to the two stories he posts, neither explicitly contains any evidence that Webster Cook was threatened at all. Cook doesn't mention phone calls, or emails or actual confrontations with people who told him to watch out. One threatened to break into his dorm room and steal the wafer back.

That's a death threat??

I'm no fan of Bill Donohue, but if Myers gets disciplined for this irrational incitement by his University, he'll have no one to blame but himself.

6 comments:

Darwin said...

Just in case anyone was sitting around wondering if PZ really was a world class asshole...

My beef is not that the guy's an atheist and thinks he's right. I have a certain sympathy for atheism. But honestly, if there's an equally self-absorbed, rude and closeminded Christian blogger and commentariat, I'd be really, really scared to read it. What's going on over there (I skimmed the first 100 comments and then gave up) is a pretty startling lack of understanding of much of humanity through much of history.

And the even more dispiriting thing is, the close-mindedness is intentional. Everyone's very clear about: "everyone in history was a moron until us".

John Farrell said...

Yes. I mean he's had hundreds from his squad all clapping like seals at the zoo over thist stunt. And it is a stunt.

What's sad is how his hatreds snuff out more and more of his better science posts. Clearly the guy just isn't interested in science that much.

I've scored Mike Behe before about his extra-curricular work, but he at least has a resume of publications that dwarfs Myers.

You really wonder what this guy has been doing over the course of his career....

bergerd said...

"You really wonder what this guy has been doing over the course of his career...."

Teaching, maybe? Remember, UMM is a liberal-arts college, and while publication is encouraged to the point that apparently you can't get full-prof without them, obviously you can get tenure without a long list of pubs.

As a prof at a very small liberal-arts school, I have a great deal of sympathy for that. I, for one, am much better at teaching than at creative research. Presumably the same holds for Myers, though I'd sure keep my head down as a believer in one of his classes.

John Farrell said...

Remember, UMM is a liberal-arts college, and while publication is encouraged to the point that apparently you can't get full-prof without them, obviously you can get tenure without a long list of pubs.

It must have been a life-saver for PZ, then, because in seven years at Temple, with an NIH grant, he produced exactly *one* paper. On the other hand, he produced thousands of posts at usenet and other forums.

So yeah, maybe being a teacher is his calling.

Deuce said...

Looks like one of the people who's email addresses PZ posted has now been fired, and whatdyaknow? She didn't even send the email!

My original opinion on this episode was the same as John's: PZ stepped in it big time, and if he's disciplined for it, he's got nobody to blame but himself. My new position upon hearing that his bullying has cost an innocent person her job: the scumbag deserves to be fired, and I hope that he is. This just burns me.

John Farrell said...

Big time. Make no mistake, he's opened a can of worms here that may take some time to play out.

As the old Anglo-Saxon adage does, oft evil will shall evil mar.

BTW, Deuce, your added points on Derb are well taken, too.