PZ Myers on Minnesota Atheist Talk Radio

Today’s interview with PZ Myers was pretty much Dick Cavett meets David Susskind. OK, maybe more like Jerry Springer meets The View. Well, not really, more like … Oh I don’t know. Let’s just say you don’t want to miss it. And, since you already did miss it you need to listen to the podcast, which is here.


  1. #1 Stephanie Z
    February 20, 2011

    Regarding the brief comments on women’s lack of anger at religion relative to the damage religion does them, it’s worth remembering that there aren’t so many alternatives in the world making religion look bad by comparison. We don’t notice (as much) how bad religion is for women when very few institutions are good for them.

  2. #2 HP
    February 20, 2011

    The point I would’ve made about vaccination is that there’s nothing artificial about it — vaccination wasn’t invented, it was discovered. For which we can thank one man’s creepy obsession with milkmaids. 🙂

    (That’s right — I kept talking back to the Flash player for the whole 40 minutes. I believe that’s the hallmark of good recorded conversation. Cheers!)

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    February 20, 2011

    The comment about women vs. men’s experience was the tip of a 1.5 hour long iceberg from last night’s discussion. It was interesting. A couple of people described their own switch to atheism and their current relation to the ‘movement’ and also characterized this for their female spouses. It was actually some good ethnography and relevant, though I’m not sure if it explains the perception that there are more men involved than women in atheism. If so, it would have to be shown that converts from hard core fundamentalist type religions (which applied in their cases) show this pattern commonly.

  4. #4 NewEnglandBob
    February 20, 2011

    A couple of observations:

    Neither of you challenged the caller’s statement that she is anti-Vax because she looked at the science on the other side. There is no science on the anti-vax side, just lies and smoke.

    The interview was good, but I would have liked to have seen more questions asked and answered but Greg, you did editorialize a bit too much.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    February 20, 2011

    Bob, I think that challenge could have been done, but it was also utterly obvious and I personally didn’t want an anti-vax caller to be setting the agenda of our conversation. But of course you are right that she was totally in the wrong.

    I had no idea there was some ceiling on my editorializing. They should have told me that!

  6. #6 tuibguy
    February 20, 2011

    A big reason that I wanted Greg to do the interview, Bob, was because of his interesting editorializing.

  7. #7 Glendon Mellow
    February 21, 2011

    The first page of the newspaper I turn to is the editorials; time to turn on the podcast and get some painting done.

  8. #8 Glendon Mellow
    February 21, 2011

    Holy monkey, those neural pathway transparencies would be such a cool art installation….put them in like a tangled maze pattern hanging from the ceiling, and you can only see the paths while laying on the floor of the gallery..!

    Thanks for asking and answering my question!

  9. #9 ihedenius
    February 21, 2011

    I have a question for the biologically knowledgeable/educated that hang out here. Am I right or wrong in my following reasoning (essentially that homosexuality is an unavoidable consequence of how our biology ‘works’) ?

    I say this because of the fact that males and females carry almost all the same genetic information: 22 pairs of somatic chromosomes plus at least one X (the male also has a Y). In females one of the two X’s gets shut down during early fetal development. So the genetic difference male versus female is mainly that the male has a Y and the female doesn’t. The Y is smallish and arguably it’s single most important gene is the SRY gene that triggers the male development path. Also of interest is that the Y recombinates only with itself except for the tips that still recombinate with the X. So parts of the Y, the tips, still exchange information with the X reducing the unique information of the Y.

    To get to the point: How the embryo turns out (male or female for instance) depends on how this essentially same set of genetic information gets used: which genes gets activated, in what order, in what combination etc. Normally one of two paths are taken, ending up with a male or female end result. But any number of things can, and does occasionally, go ‘wrong’ during the embryonic development because this is how the universe works (chaos, Gaussian distribution).

    Not unexpectedly then, intersex conditions, attributes that can be seen and measured, are as well documented as anything else in medicine. Examples are for example Castor Semaya (very visible) and hurdler Maria Patino (so ‘hidden’ she didn’t even know it herself).

    I make the not very brave assumption that orientation (standard or GLBT), things that can only be self reported not seen or measured (yet), is as biological in nature as everything else in biology. And therefore as prone to go ‘wrong’ as everything else. And therefore homosexuality is an unavoidable consequence of how our biology ‘works’.

    I am aware of the uterine hormone environment, fraternal birth order effect hypothesis et similar. Those are part of “how the universe works”. I am asking a broader more general question.

    More concisely, given that the female and male embryo differs so little in genetic information content, and given ‘chaos’, are not the odds against intersex and GLBT not existing literally astronomical ?

    Sorry for the long and borish question.

  10. #10 gina rex
    February 23, 2011

    I am a female atheist who writes about the social-biological sources and evolution of religion. We don’t want to admit it, but modern societies-governments are entirely male: the obvious reality that monotheism is MALE religion has been ignored. I urge women, Native Americans, African Americans and other servants of male domination to FLEE Christianity, Judaism, and Islam NOW. They are supporting the very system that continues to persecute all non-males. Regardless of what governments call themselves, they are Top Male pyramids: look at the current revolts in the “Arab” world – these male hierarchies must be replaced by governments in which women have equal contribution and religion is marginalized as a cultural artifact.