Book Pre-Review

Well, PZ finally has an ISBN, as well as a title and release date to go with it. Unfortunately Amazon, being the anti-business poopyheads that they are, have apparently decided that just because a book won’t come out for another eight months, that’s enough excuse to prevent people who haven’t read it from leaving first-amendment-protected negative reviews. So I have to leave mine here:

A Review of PZ Myers’s The Happy Atheist: Dancing on the Graves of the Gods

For a “New” atheist, PZ Myers comes late to the party, five years after Christopher Hitchens’s god Is Not Great. Obviously it’s taken him that long to come up with some original ideas that haven’t been covered better by earlier writers. Perhaps the fact that he fears the light and can only emerge from his submarine squid-cave in darkest night to feed upon desecrated eucharists has played havoc with his schedule as well.

Clearly, this is the work of a man in deep denial, not to mention torment. The title itself is an oxymoron: how can an atheist be happy, without the Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring down in his heart, down in his heart today? This is confirmed by the subtitle: after all, you can’t dance on the graves of gods if you don’t believe they exist, can you? Checkmate, atheists!

The text is probably dripping with scorn for religion, and full of gratuitous invective, because he’s that kind of asshole. No doubt he brings up all the familiar crypto-scientismist-materialist cliches about wanting “evidence” and “facts”, and denigrating faith, and accusing religious people of things like the Crusades and the 9/11 attacks, and burning witches, and opposing birth control, and so on ad nauseam. Granted, those things were and are done by religious people, but they had the wrong kind of religion, and how would we know that if it weren’t for faith (the true faith, I mean).

If the comments at his filthy, heathen blog are any indication, it’ll be bought by the carload by his legions of cult-like followers, eager to show the world their allegiance to the Cult of PZ, oblivious to the irony that, in their zeal to destroy religion, they’ve erected another one.

Rumor[1] has it that the first thousand buyers will receive a bonus octopus beanie. This will no doubt boost the book’s sales among the aforementioned cephalopod hordes. But I ask you, did an octopus ever temporarily sacrifice himself to himself to make a loophole in a rule he created in order to save you and me from the torture chamber he created, to punish us for failing to meet the impossible standard he set for us for being the way he created us? No, of course not! That’s absurd! If he had, the cross would have eight arms, not four, and it doesn’t, so there. QED.

In short, this is doubtless another pathetic attempt by a god-hater to destroy all that is good and beautiful in life, and rape puppies. Don’t waste your time if you don’t want to lose your faith and the mansion in heaven that God has set aside for you. Zero stars.

1: My ass, personal communication, 2011.

Skeptics Easier to Control than Republicans?

On Thursday, Max Pappas boasted on Hardball how his organization, FreedomWorks, mobilizes right-wingers to go to town hall meetings. These are the loudmouthed WATBs whose only aim is to disrupt these meetings to shut down any discussion of health care reform.

Then on Friday, on C-SPAN, he said that there was nothing he could do about how his members were behaving.

The passions are so deep about this issue that we can’t send out an email that says “calm down.”

In contrast, the Student Secular Alliance recently organized a trip down to Ken Ham’s Hebrew Mythology “Museum”. The group included PZ Myers and over 300 atheists, freethinkers, and skeptics — people notoriously hard to organize.

Before the trip, PZ posted this:

Here’s what I expect: EVERYONE in our group will be firm, rational, and will not shy away from asking hard questions. You will feel free to wear some distinguishing clothing — a scarlet A, a Darwin fish, a t-shirt, something so that we can tell we are members of the same group. You will discuss the material on display with your peers, but with other visitors to the “museum” if and only if they invite it.

There are a number of things you will not do, however.

Do not show up wearing obscenities or particularly abusive articles of clothing. Dress casual, but look good — you are setting an example. Pro-science t-shirts are excellent, t-shirts with naked lesbians masturbating with bibles will give them an excuse to throw you out, so don’t do it. The SSA won’t even give you a ticket if you show up looking like you want to brawl.

You will not be disruptive. This is an information gathering mission that will make you a better informed individual to criticize bad ideas. Do not interfere with other visitors’ ability to examine the place. Ask questions only where appropriate. Collect questions that you can ask of any of the real scientists who will be in our group. Do not get into loud arguments. If a discussion starts getting angry on either side I want you to be the ones to back off.

Remember, if you are calm, civil, and well-behaved, and you tour the “museum”, we win. If you are calm, civil, and well-behaved, and the security guards throw you out because they don’t like the fact that you’re an atheist, we win. If you are angry, rude, and cause trouble that gives them a reasonable excuse to throw you out, we lose, and I will be very pissed off at you.

(bold added.)

The result? The Inside Science News Service published a story with the telling headline “Tour of Creation Museum Quieter Than Expected“.

In the most noticeable moment of noticeable conflict, Derek Rogers, a computer science major at Dalhouise University in Nova Scotia, Canada, was detained by guards for wearing a shirt with a slogan recently plastered on buses by activist groups that read “there’s probably no God, so get over it.” He was escorted to the bathroom and ordered to flip the shirt inside-out.

“One family of religious people told me that I had ruined their trip, and they drove all the way from Virginia,” said Rogers.

As far as I can tell, that was the one and only “disruptive” event. And if it really did go down as described (and it probably did, since it’s mostly confirmed by Answers in Genesis), 300 skeptics and freethinkers can make it through a palace of lies without causing a scene. (Hell, even I managed to sit through one of Kent Hovind’s performances without bursting into laughter.)

But Max Pappas can’t send a message to his mailing list explaining the whole “moral high ground” thing.

Way to go, wingnuts. Way to show the country that you’re a bunch of whiny crybabies with no ideas. The sooner you run off into the woods to await the Rapture, the happier we’ll all be.

CreoZerg Rush!

For those who, like me, didn’t manage to make it to Ken Ham’s
Creation Hebrew Mythology “Museum”
for the
Student Secular Alliance‘s
Zerg rush,
you can read the raw twit log

Some of the highlights are collected at
Attempts at Rational Behavior,
but I’m sure that more will follow.

I’m not sure who first twote that “Adam sinned so I could enjoy bacon”, but now I want that on a tee-shirt.

Local 12, a news station in Cincinnati, has a
brief story
about this, with nothing of real interest.

The MSM is obviously engaged in a coverup, since Google News doesn’t
show any reports of hundreds of baby-eating atheists raping and
looting their way through the Kentucky countryside. And Cephalopod
Überhauptmeister PZ Myers is
in on the conspiracy.

Update: 17:04: PixelFish’s LOLCreashun and Dino Haiku.


It doesn’t happen here very often this early in the season, but it’s currently snowing! See this artist’s rendition:


(Artist’s rendition may not be 100% accurate.)

This isn’t prairie winter, mind you: this is Washington area snow, the kind where even a quarter-inch is enough to close schools and send panicked citizens scurrying to buy up all remaining supplies of milk and toilet paper. There’ll be mile-long backups on the Beltway before this is over.

I’m glad to be sitting quietly in a warm office, and I think I’ll make some hot chocolate. Later, when it dies down, though… comes dealing with traffic, and morons who won’t go above 20 mph even though they’ve lived here all their life and it snows at least once every single year. At least it isn’t sticking to the roads.

(Yes, I’m gently poking fun at PZ. Pompous Minesotan. Who does he think he is, lording it over us with his weather?)

Any Questions?

I just watched PZ Meiarz’s talk about mind and brain, and listened to Ron McLeroy’s talk at his church, about the evils of materialism and evolution. I’ve also listened to Kent Hovind‘s schpiel, and seen his show live.

One thing that struck me—and it’s a small thing, but I think significant—is that PZ took questions during the talk, while McLeroy and Hovind didn’t.

Yes, the last section of Hovind’s seminar is a Q&A session, but that comes at the end of 14 hours of Gish Gallop, while PZ’s audience asked questions while they were fresh in their minds, and while the relevant slides were up on the screen.

And again, to be fair, I’ve attended talks by scientists and researchers who asked that questions be kept until the end, but even there, this was considered unusual enough that it was announced at the beginning. Certainly, throughout school and college, it was the norm that you raise your hand when a question occurs to you, not at the end: if you don’t understand something at the beginning, you should correct that as soon as possible, otherwise you won’t understand the stuff that comes later.

Of course, the other difference is that PZ is trying to teach his audience, and explain why (he thinks that) something is true. McLeroy and Hovind, on the other hand, are telling their audience what to think.