Myers vs. Pigliucci

Which is true:

PZ Myers is a witless wanker who peddles pablum

or

“I shall be no friend to the appeasers” -pz myers

… kind of a false comparison. But the debate is real. This time it’s

Massimo Pigliucci vs. PZ Myers

Two people that i like and admire fighting it out over an important issue. What could be more fun? The popcorn will be ready in a minute.

Comments

  1. #1 Equisetum
    April 16, 2010

    This seems to be about some people not understanding the meaning of the word ‘myth’.

    myth, n. 1. a traditional or legendary story, usually concerned with deities or demigods and the creation of the world and its inhabitants. 2. a story or belief that attempts to express or explain a basic truth; an allegory or parable. 3. a belief or a subject of belief whose truth or reality is accepted uncritically. 4. such stories or beliefs collectively.

    The textbook quote matches definitions 1, 2 and 3 perfectly, and the bible as a whole matches definition 4.

    I’m with P.Z. on this one.

    (The Random House College Dictionary, Revised Edition. © 1988)

  2. #2 Lorax
    April 16, 2010

    Actually, I think they are fighting over a distraction. De Dora wrote an opinion piece for CFI that basically argues against something that isn’t the actual issue. Faux news let Zimmerman go on and get all uppity and define the issue incorrectly. The nice guys want to avoid the word “myth” because Zimmerman told them he was pissy about it. The context of the word is completely lost in the argument. This really ticks me off. The bad guys define something incorrectly to make a stink, and many of us join the battle. Its like debating creationists, it provides some legitimacy to their incorrectness.

  3. #3 Stephanie Z
    April 16, 2010

    Popcorn gives me migraines. If it were remotely nutritious, I might miss it more.

  4. #4 Virgil Samms
    April 16, 2010

    As a humorous sidelight, Pigliucci misuses the term ad hominem in his post, which ought to be embarrassing for a professor of philosophy. This is adequately covered by commenters there.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    April 16, 2010

    Pigliucci is absolutely correct in his use of the word ad hominem, you ignorant twit.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    April 16, 2010

    Let me rephrase that. You are an ignorant twit. Pigliucci was correct in his use of ad hominem.

    Or should I say: You are an ignorant twit; Pigliucci was totally correct in his use of ad hominem.

    Or should that be: You are an ignoratn twit, Pigliucci was totally correct in his use of ad hominem.

    In all three cases it is not perfectly clear that I am saying that you are wrong because you are an ignorant twit. NOt explicitly. I just happen to be saying two things in the same place. The fact that one place is a paragraph is not my problem. The fact that one place is a sentence might lead you to incorrectly believe that I’ve attacked yo ad hom style, but you only think that because you are an ignorant twit.

    OK, that last one was an ad hominem attack, but by your ignorant moronic definition (note I say your definition is igno-moronic, no you!!!) the others were not. Yet clearly they were, if you acceded that we are using … language. Really.

    Having said all that, I have no problem with ad homs. A person may well be a nefarious fool, and thus worthy of being ignored on that basis, without even listening to what they say. I mean, really, why not?

  7. #7 NewEnglandBob
    April 16, 2010

    I have been disappointed in everything I have read so far from De Dora and I think Pigliucci has been irrationally attacking Myers and Coyne, even before this De Dora stuff.

    I am solidly behind aggressive ‘new’ atheism, which I feel has been responsible for tremendous progress in making religious people leave religion, embrace rational thought, secularism and separation of church and state over the last several years. I am against accommodationism (faitheism).

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    April 16, 2010

    NEB: Are you calling Pigliucci irrational? Sounds like an ad hominem attack to me!!!

    I mean, I know you are saying his actions are irrational, but who does irrational things but an irrational person? Especially habitually.

  9. #9 itzac
    April 16, 2010

    I agree with PZ regarding the whole myth issue, but I think Massimo has a point regarding PZ’s use of invective.

    I don’t generally have a problem with invective along side argument, and PZ certainly has a way with words. And I think it’s only ad hom if you use invective in place of argument, which is not something I would accuse PZ of.

    And I agree with you, Greg, that if someone says something sufficiently stupid, it’s perfectly legitimate to dismiss their position.

    But I think PZ and the commenters there rely too heavily on name calling. It’s become a sort of verbal masturbation for them. If you complain about their tone, they accuse you of having no substance. It doesn’t occur to them that you’ve walked away from the discussion because they’re being assholes. They declare victory and carry on in their circle-jerk.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    April 16, 2010

    But I think PZ and the commenters there rely too heavily on name calling. It’s become a sort of verbal masturbation for them. If you complain about their tone, they accuse you of having no substance. It doesn’t occur to them that you’ve walked away from the discussion because they’re being assholes. They declare victory and carry on in their circle-jerk.

    This is a TRANE REK of a comment! You are in so much trouble! I’m telling!

    If only his commenters were one tenth of the man himself. Well, many are. But so, so many are …. not.

  11. #11 Stephanie Z
    April 16, 2010

    I always thought this particular tone argument was, “The people I’m talking to or about have no interest in coming to an agreement with me, so being nice or mean isn’t going to make any difference to them. It matters to me because invective can be eye-opening for third parties.” I get that reasoning. I don’t think I understand the parallel argument for the irrelevance of tone when dealing with people/organizations you might want to work with.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    April 16, 2010

    Good point.

  13. #13 Virgil Samms
    April 16, 2010

    Pigliucci was correct in his use of ad hominem.

    Clearly not. Even if ad hominem was used as a general synonym for insult, Pig-face explicitly and parenthetically, with an exclamation point, labeled it a logical fallacy. An insult is not a logical fallacy, nor even a logical argument, it is an insult. A logical fallacy, you are obviously too dim to understand, is a misuse of logic in which the argument does not support the conclusion.

    I forgive you though, since I understand that your recently acquired addiction to pain-killers is interfering with your ability to think clearly.

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    April 16, 2010

    I KNEW you were going to say this stupid shit, you poopy face.

    Sure, an insult is not a logical fallacy, but saying that the thing taht was insulting is the reason for the …. oh, never mind.

  15. #15 H.H.
    April 17, 2010

    Sure, an insult is not a logical fallacy, but saying that the thing taht was insulting is the reason for the …. oh, never mind.

    Yeah, just read this and all will become clear.
    http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    April 17, 2010

    H.H., no thank you. I’m more than aware of the meaning of the term, you twit.

    … actually, that’s a fairly good write up.