You know, I was about at the point where I thought it was best to drop this. And though I wasn’t going to respond in kind to Myers gratuituous personal insults, I’m also not going to let blatant lies go unresponded to. And after reading through the comments after his post, I am even more appalled at how brazenly he misrepresents my position. For instance:
The way to get people to stop using the rebuke that evolution is godless science, as if that were a strike against it, is to end this idea that godlessness is evil…an idea that Brayton seems determined to perpetuate, keeping that handy canard armed and live in the hands of the creationists.
I’m determined to perpetuate the idea that godlessness is evil? For crying out loud, PZ, how many times do I have to write essays blasting that claim before you stop accusing me of perpetuating it? You’re accusing someone of perpetuating that idea who has written time and time again that such a claim is idiotic and contradicted by the evidence. Over and over again I have written agaisnt the claim that atheism is evil or inherently immoral, which I consider to be absolutely idiotic. Yet still you accuse me of perpetuating that idea. I don’t know what reality you’re living in, but it’s not this one.
I suggest you go to this post and read what I said. And just to make your lie as obvious as possible, let me quote exactly what I said:
But countering that frame should not stop here. We also need to attack the basis as well, the notion that atheism leads to some horrible collapse of morality. There is not a shred of evidence that atheists behave any worse than religious people. Indeed, there is substantial cross-national evidence that the more religious belief a nation has, the more they have a wide range of problems, from teen pregnancy to violent crime…
The same patterns can be found within the United States, where the so-called “red states” – those states where the population tends to hold strongly traditional Christian beliefs – tend to have much higher rates of teen pregnancy, abortion, divorce, violent crime and many other negative social effects than those states with lower rates. So again, the evidence simply does not support this simplistic notion that religion leads to moral behavior and acceptance of evolution leads to immoral behavior. If anything, the evidence points strongly in the other direction.
I’ve made the same argument at least a dozen times over the last year. To accuse me, of all people, of perpetuating the idea that atheism leads to immorality or evil is a baldfaced lie. And if you have to resort to tactics like this to win an argument, it only shows how empty your position is and only reinforces the validity of my criticisms.
Sastra was kind enough to point out that this was a lie and that I’d written numerous things that disproved it, but that didn’t prevent Myers from repeating it again. Others pointed out that even though they disagreed with me on this issue, they objected to Myers’ personal attacks on me in his post; that, too, failed to stop the barrage of insults and distortions.
The insults get much worse, with Myers calling me a “fearful ass”. Pat Hayes is a “tool of the religious establishment” and the Panda’s Thumb is “a hotbed of simpering theistic evilutionists and an arm of the Neville Chamberlain school of appeasement.” And while spewing this stuff, he accuses me of “dividing the movement.” As I’ve said before, I’m only acknowledging a very deep divide that is already there. And this juvenile behavior and need to turn it all into personal insults only reinforces that fact more deeply than ever.