Pharyngula

You just knew Matt Nisbet was itching to voice his opinion, and we all knew exactly what he’d say.

As long as Dawkins and PZ continue to be the representative voices from the pro-science side in this debate, it is really bad for those of us who care about promoting public trust in science and science education. Dawkins and PZ need to lay low as Expelled hits theaters. Let others play the role of communicator, most importantly the National Center for Science Education, AAAS, the National Academies or scientists such as Francis Ayala or Ken Miller. When called up by reporters or asked to comment, Dawkins and PZ should refer journalists to these organizations and individuals.

If Dawkins and PZ really care about countering the message of The Expelled camp, they need to play the role of Samantha Power, Geraldine Ferraro and so many other political operatives who through misstatements and polarizing rhetoric have ended up being liabilities to the causes and campaigns that they support. Lay low and let others do the talking.

So Richard and PZ, when it comes to Expelled, it’s time to let other people be the messengers for science. This is not about censoring your ideas and positions, but rather being smart, strategic, tactical, and ultimately effective in promoting science rather than your own personal ideology, books, or blog.

Fuck you very much, Matt. You know where you can stick your advice.

I’m much more impressed by the fact that the Expelled crew is in damage-control mode and is beating a hasty retreat than the pontifications of a mealy-mouthed hack.

Comments

  1. #1 JoshH
    March 23, 2008

    This is gonna get ugly.

  2. #2 MAJeff, OM
    March 23, 2008

    *HEADDESK*
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    Nope, Nisbet’s still not making sense. Maybe some beer will help.

    For someone who focuses on strategic communication, he’s not much of a strategic thinker.

  3. #3 Jason
    March 23, 2008

    “Fuck you very much, Matt” ah, le bon mot :-)

  4. #4 Steve LaBonne
    March 23, 2008

    As long as Dawkins and PZ continue to be the representative voices from the pro-science side in this debate, it is really bad for those of us who care about promoting public trust in science and science education.

    Well then, please holler louder than ever,, because whatever is bad for Nisbet is good in every other respect.

  5. #5 Glen Davidson
    March 23, 2008

    Oh please, Nisbet, you mean that protocol and decency are to be ignored by these yahoos, and no one is supposed to protest?

    I’m glad it’s to the “fuck you” stage with these idiots (Mooney and Nisbet). They’ve gotten some ideas from college, little from the real world, they don’t value the “bad cop” role, and they don’t know what a mendacious web of chicanery the IDiots inherited from the creos, and to which they added.

    The fact is that the movie could conceivably sell better because of these incidents, but the credibility of these morons is tanking (not in the minds of the truly naive, granted, but they’re hopeless) well before the first paid viewing of it.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  6. #6 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 23, 2008

    Ignore Nisbet. I stand foresquare with those who would give the legions of the ignorant a return volley.

    Fire as she bears, Mister Myers!

  7. #7 Andreas Johansson
    March 23, 2008

    I appear to be in need of a clue – who’s Matt Nisbet?

  8. #8 Jennifurret
    March 23, 2008

    Honestly, PZ, every time you resort to name calling and pointless swearing, you just make yourself look like a five year old throwing a tantrum. Disagree with someone, sure, but lame tactics like this really make me lose respect for you. Grow up.

  9. #9 Bee
    March 23, 2008

    Now where have I heard that kind of ‘shut up and let the big boys do the talking for you, you’ll be better off’ kind of rhetoric before?

    Oh, yes, now I remember – it was around the late sixties when women were trying to get their voices heard on a large number of issues.

    Whenever someone suggests you’d be ‘better off’ keeping your mouth shut, count on it being exactly the wrong thing to do, and count on ‘the big boys’ having an agenda all their own that likely isn’t in your best interests.

    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, PZed. I think your head and your heart are in the right places and functional. Speak out as you see fit – and keep your dishonesty sensors in operational condition, there’s BS ahead.

  10. #10 Marcus Ranum
    March 23, 2008

    Someone who’s such a great communicator that I’d never heard of him before I started reading this blog – thinks that the author of “the selfish gene” is not a good messenger for science?

    That’s just WTF city.

  11. #11 Chupacabras
    March 23, 2008

    So, why in the world did Expelled had the idea of interviewing you in the first FUCKING place?

  12. #12 Interrobang
    March 23, 2008

    Damn, what an eedjit. The first rule of rhetoric is never to let your opponent have the first premise, and the second rule is, when they’re yanking on the Overton Window, you don’t compromise, you yank back.

    Of course, I’m one of these nasty rhetoricians and I play to win, where “winning” is defined as completely discrediting your opponent in the discourse, not merely staking out some kind of mushy-middle position. There’s been entirely too much false fairness around lately, especially when one side is fact-backed and the other side is Making Shit Up™. The balance between facts and Making Shit Up™ isn’t some point between the two poles; it’s with whatever the facts are.

    Reality (and communications practice) is often damned inconvenient like that.

  13. #13 James Stein
    March 23, 2008

    Speaking of beating a hasty retreat:

    I decided to attend a screening, and so to find a registration site, googled “Expelled screening.”

    You’ll be happy to know the entire first page of results is about your and Dawkins’ trip to see Expelled.

  14. #14 Duae Quartunciae
    March 23, 2008

    PZ, I thought your “fireside chat” video was very well conceived. You guys were relaxed, unthreatening, and above all amused rather than anything else. Excellent f… f… … I can’t say it.

    The one down side — a bad one, I think — seems to have been going so public with speculations about a link to the Harvard video. It looks, in the video, that you didn’t see it, and Richard didn’t recognize it, and that the two of you are jumping to conclusions. In the meantime, the connection has been explicitly and directly denied by Kevin Miller, the screenwriter for Expelled. See this comment from Kevin:

    Duae: We created the animation in conjunction with an animation studio and several cell biologists. It is a completely original work. The only similarity I can see between it and the Harvard animation is that it may portray one or more of the same cellular processes. But as far as I’m concerned, no one has copyrighted any cellular processes–at least not yet. I’m sure Craig Venter would like to. :) If Dawkins had stuck around to read the full credits for the film, he would have known this. It has nothing to do with the Illustra animation.

    If Kevin’s unambiguous declaration from one in the know stands up — and I expect it will — this will badly undermine what was otherwise an excellent bit of communication on the issue in your video with Dawkins.

    Cheers — Chris Ho-Stuart

  15. #15 Inoculated Mind
    March 23, 2008

    Matt should realize that PZ has several goals. People aren’t monolithic in their positions on issues.

    What I fi,.nd interesting is Matt is asking PZ to lay low, using this crockumentary as a jumping block to bring it up. But Expelled is quickly demonstrating that this will be a huge catastrophe for anti-evolution activists.

    It sounds like PZ and Dawkins were talking about their own personal religious de-conversions, and the Expelled producers were using those quotes to suggest that evolution and atheism and Nazi-ism are one and the same.

    …and the conclusion is for them to shut up now? Yes, and have the Expelled enthusiasts write at length about how Dawkins and Myers are so embarrassed that they can’t even answer interview requests?

    Not a very well thought-out proposal.

  16. #16 Sastra
    March 23, 2008

    I think Nisbit is wrong. No, evolution and science do not equal atheism. They do not inevitably lead to it. He’s right on that.

    But it’s important to the evolution-creationism debate to point out that if you follow it all the way down then yes, science does not support the existence of God entertained seriously, as a science hypothesis. As Sam Harris put it, science is consistent with religion, but it is not indicative of it. You would not conclude “God” if you start out without it as a premise. All you will be doing is spinning and damage control to try to reconcile religion and science as you work along the two paths simultaneously.

    Creationists are taking “God” as a science hypothesis — to the detriment of modern scientific findings such as evolution. One reasonable strategy against this is to try to argue for NOMA and more liberal, humanistic interpretations of religion: “An intelligence which created the universe” is supposed to be classed into the same category as hope, love, and our attempts to become better people. Saying “God exists” is not like saying “the big bang happened.” It is like saying “I love my mom” or “we should respect each other.” Religion is not about its content, it is about how it functions in people’s lives. And then trot out the religious people who also accept science and evolution. You can believe in magic if you keep magic in its place — out of the way of doing anything except working as your personal “narrative.”

    But an equally valid strategy to defeat this is to stop arguing nonsense and run into the problem head on. You want to treat God as a science hypothesis? Excellent. It doesn’t work. Throw it out.

    Creationism is a gift to atheists, because it helps to highlight the divide between a magical world-view and a reasonable one. As long as we have a society where atheism is considered unthinkable, disrespectable, dishonorable, irrational, and fringe you will ALWAYS have people who are going to go “too far” in where and when they divide the magic world of essences from the material world we have discovered.

    The strategies are opposite strategies, but they don’t so much conflict as complement each other, I think. “You can believe in God AND do science” is supplemented by “but only if you keep them strictly separate — and that’s not necessarily the way we should work it, if we wish to be consistent.” Without atheists making a safe place for “science all the way down,” science will constantly be contaminated by confusion over where to draw lines.

  17. #17 Kevin L.
    March 23, 2008

    I can see what he’s trying to say… or at least, I could if he said anything more than “lay low, let others talk” in those three paragraphs. Honestly, he repeated the same thing three times without explaining himself.

    You and Dawkins may at times be a bit more antagonistic than other possible represenatives of science and reason would be, but that’s neither a good thing nor a bad thing in terms of this “debate” – that’s just the way it is. I don’t see any reason why you should be expected to “lay low.”

  18. #18 thadd
    March 23, 2008

    Does this idiot realize you are in the movie? I think that more than anything (well except maybe the first amendment) gives you the right and duty to say something about Stein’s movie.

  19. #19 rmp
    March 23, 2008

    Having been involved with a legal argument now and then, the last thing you do is argue from a position of weakness. Being nice isn’t the point. Winning is the point. Sure, you don’t want to be jerk in casual conversation but when in an argument, win it.

    my $0.02

  20. #20 swb
    March 23, 2008

    It seems to me that people like to talk, endlessly analyze, endlessly pass around reports in incredible wordy detail of what various wingnuts are doing. The problem with all that reporting sans condemnation is that it slowly normalizes everything wingnuts say and do, it suggests that they will always be with us and we should just get used to them being around and assaulting biology, physics and science in general at every turn.

    What Nisbet and company apparently can’t handle is when someone dares stand up and say, no, I’m not going to sit here quietly and avoid pointing out the obvious danger this organized wingnuttery presents. These attacks on almost anything they can figure out a way to object to, everything that merely offends the wingnut in their incestuous bubble of reality avoidance – including centuries of scientific inquiry – ultimately raise the possibility of the triumph of ignorance over pretty much the entire world as we know it.

    There is nothing wrong with saying “no” to that in the strongest possible terms. In other words – go get ‘em, PZ!

  21. #21 Reed Braden
    March 23, 2008

    I think the Worst Advice of 2008 award is now a tie between Ellen Johnson’s Atheists shouldn’t vote comment and Nisbet’s Atheists shouldn’t have opinions comment.

  22. #22 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 23, 2008

    Honestly, PZ, every time you resort to name calling and pointless swearing, you just make yourself look like a five year old throwing a tantrum.

    Sorry, Jennifurret, but it’s hardly pointless. Sometimes, the high-minded need to be reminded why holding to a veneer of civilized discourse is a fucking useless strategy when the barbarians are massing on the hills. It’s one thing to pontificate from the safety of your tower and imagine you can fight without resort to base behaviour, but to preserve your way of life you still need rough men at the walls hurling pointed barbs back.

  23. #23 rmp
    March 23, 2008

    Lee, Why is it I now think of Jack Nickelson (sp?). We need them on the walls.

  24. #24 michael
    March 23, 2008

    Go, PZ! Speak up, and speak up loud!

  25. #25 danley
    March 23, 2008

    I happen to like the “fuck you very much” tactic. It should have been deployed during the screening.

  26. #26 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 23, 2008

    Lee, Why is it I now think of Jack Nicholson?

    Really? I was thinking of Orwell.

  27. #27 tai haku
    March 23, 2008

    lMAO @ comment 10.

  28. #28 inkadu
    March 23, 2008

    New depths of douchebaggey from Nisbett. I’m impressed.

  29. #29 True Bob
    March 23, 2008

    PZ, keep on rocking the boat. Anyone who ignores their detractors does so at their own peril. Witness some golem named Kerry.

  30. #30 Noni Mausa
    March 23, 2008

    Thanks Interrobang, for the Overton Window. I knew the technique, just didn’t know what it was called.

    It’s not necessarily a bad thing, either. Sometimes throwing up the Overton sash and punching out the screen is the easiest or only way to create social change. Moving tobacco and alcohol use to more sane levels, from a previous position of both being defaults nearly everywhere, saw a lot of the technique. When I was a kid it was somewhat naughty to drive drunk, at a wife-eye-rolling level. Now, its criminal and almost unthinkable. Fine with me.

    Noni

  31. #31 Bad
    March 23, 2008

    I think a bunch of the pro-science reviewers had stated that the cell video was similar to, but not identical to, the Harvard video. As I noted, these guys certainly have the budget to contract that sort of work, especially since someone else basically mapped out the general look and events for them, and all they had to do was reproduce the idea.

    I wonder though, if they bothered getting the specific biological details correct in the way the Harvard team did (still noting that the Harvard version is a very stripped down representation that cuts out a lot of the noise and chaos of cellular processes).

  32. #32 Jennifurret
    March 23, 2008

    There is a time and place for insult, mainly when someone has insulted you first. But to respond to someone’s viewpoint like this? It’s just immature and self defeating. I’ll pass on “rough men” with all their chest thumping and dick waiving…I rather solve my issues with some brains.

  33. #33 ChrisGose
    March 23, 2008

    Who the fuck is Matt Nisbet?

  34. #34 Chris Clarke
    March 23, 2008

    Who the fuck is Matt Nisbet?

    <FRAMING>Matt Nisbet is Neville Chamberlain.</FRAMING>

    OT: Hey PZ: here’s a little holiday artwork for you.

  35. #35 Kell
    March 23, 2008

    Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Um. The Lee Brimmicombe-Wood? Author of the Aliens Technical Manual?

    cl_fanboy 1

    About the post: yeah, I’m glad to see the expelled incident seems to be encouraging a kind of rolling-up-sleeves response from people. We shouldn’t tolerate cdesign proponentsists at all. And no one should ‘lay low’.

  36. #36 DiscoveredJoys
    March 23, 2008

    Appeasement may work as a tactic with reasonable people, but as a strategy against extremists it fails.

    The Expelled movie alledgedly accuses scientists – as a class – of engaging in some vast conspiracy, and science – as a methodology – of fostering the Holocaust. I see no compromise position that doesn’t admit those accusations by implication.

    It makes good sense to be gentle with the genuine mainstream believers who do not wish others harm, but we should forthrightly challenge the extremists.

  37. #37 waldteufel
    March 23, 2008

    Laying low and acting like a smarmy hand-wringer might be Nisbet’s way of doing business, but we don’t need to water down science education to placate the shysters in the pulpit.

    The ultimate goal is to push religion and other mindless superstitions back into the shadows from whence they crawled.

    I’ll bet Nisbet has a portrait of Neville Chamberlain waving his umbrella and bleating “Peace in our time . . . .”.

  38. #38 Alexandra
    March 23, 2008

    Lay low and let others do the talking.

    he says to the man who holds the chair for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford.

    Sounds like a “fuck you” moment to me.

  39. #39 Andrew
    March 23, 2008

    I just wanted to point out that if you read the actually blog post, you’ll notice that in the very next sentence after condemning Dawkins and PZ of using the “film” to generate readers to their books and blogs. Nisbit goes on to announce that you can hear more on his view of Expelled at his upcoming talks. The hypocrite, he haunts my dreams!

    Also why is Dawkins refered to by surname and Myers by “PZ”? If anything it should be ” Dawkins and Master of the Universe”

  40. #40 Gregory Earl
    March 23, 2008

    Shut up, Nisbet! You’re giving framing a bad name.

  41. #41 Norman Doering
    March 23, 2008

    Well then, please holler louder than ever,, because whatever is bad for Nisbet is good in every other respect.

    Want to holler louder? Well, tell the screen writer for Expelled what you think of the PZ expulsion. He says he wants to hug PZ — so lets give the guy our special hug. Here’s a link:
    http://kevinwrites.typepad.com/otherwise_known_as_kevin_/2008/03/chris-mooney-ge.html

  42. #42 forsen
    March 23, 2008

    Seems like the shit just hit the fan big time. Nisbet was asking for it, though.

  43. #43 Steindor J. Erlingsson
    March 23, 2008

    Concerning Matthew’s plead to PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins that “when it comes to Expelled, it’s time to let other people be the messengers for science”, it is worth pointing out that in a recent interview Dawkins admitted the following:

    I am not a good politician and I may get things wrong and this is particularly true in the creationism-evolution debate in America … I am not politically good in that battle and I admitted that. [moderator] You are a recruiter for the other side? In a way I am …

  44. #44 BobC
    March 23, 2008

    Dawkins and PZ are too polite in my opinion. Scientists should not just be defending science. They should be attacking religion relentlessly. They should insult the people who believe in the Resurrection and all the other insane garbage of Christianity. Being nice to idiots has never accomplished anything. Scientists and other rational people should promote the idea that being religious is disgraceful and even worse than racism.

  45. #45 bigjohn756
    March 23, 2008

    I seriously doubt that they would allow Eugenie in to see their movie even if they managed to recognize her.

  46. #46 Tim
    March 23, 2008

    I seem to be in a decided minority here, but I have to say that Matt has at least highlighted the problem of the media’s continual recourse to PZ and Richard when they need a quote that can catch fire. I understand the emotional pull of taking a healthy swat at fundamentalists, and our champions are second to none, but I’m old enough to remember how Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her family allowed xtrians and the media to paint atheists as frothing culture terrorists, to the chagrin of most. If the organizations that Matt points to would only take up cudgels too, the cumulative power would be considerably greater than the arguments of two scientists who might seem to have a xtrian-bashing agenda. As Reagan said during a debate “There you go again.” We run a risk of being painted as xtrian-haters, hiding behind two outspoken O’Hair descendants.

    But what Matt doesn’t mention is that if PZ and Richard were to pass off the ball to other mighty forces, those organizations would probably retreat and cower rather than engage. They have to walk a political line that PZ doesn’t. Matt makes a point, however inadvertently, that the fight shouldn’t be PZ’s and Richard’s alone, although it probably will be by default for quite some time.

    I confess I don’t know if the scientific establishment stood up during Dover. Does anyone know how AAS and others reacted? Amicus briefs? Media quotes?

  47. #47 Gregory Earl
    March 23, 2008

    @Steindor J. Erlingsson (#43):

    So what if Dawkins (and Myers) aren’t “good politicians”? They care more about truth than they care about political game-playing, and that is their main asset.

  48. #48 Sam
    March 23, 2008

    Sometimes I wonder if Nisbet is just jealous of Dawkins and Myers, and is trying to get attention by whining about them. I had never heard of Nisbet until he started his whining.

  49. #49 JayH
    March 23, 2008

    @BobC: I agree wholeheartedly, since realizing the truth some two or three years ago Dawkins and PZ have been role models to me, but, times are changing, and I think it’s time we all took a much more rough approach to religion then in the past. Most refuse to learn, though, in my opinion, it isn’t their fault, rather, it’s the fault of those who have abused their intelligence by drilling this drivel into their minds.

  50. #50 Logicel
    March 23, 2008

    Apparently Nisbet’s ‘framing skills’ disappear when he communicates with PZ and Dawkins. And to make his pathetic suggestion via a blog instead of quietly communicating with both of them? What a royal buffoon!

    It is perfectly appropriate for PZ to tell Nisbet to fuck off. Just has more punch to it than get lost (unless it is get lost, fucker).

    As for JennieF, sounds like you never had ‘respect’ for what PZ does without egual in the first place, so no gnashing of teeth regarding lost of your ‘respect.’ With respect like yours, disrespect is much more preferrable.

  51. #51 MAJeff, OM
    March 23, 2008

    What Nisbet doesn’t seem to understand is that PZ and Dawkins are framing all of this quite successfully–and they have opponents who are helping them out.

    Throughout, they have been focusing on the dishonesty of the folks who’ve made the movie–in the contracts, in their attaching of Darwin to Fascism/Nazism/Comunism, in their “reportage” of the situation involving ID in the academy, on their use of “Big Science” conspiricism. Consistent in his response to these folks, PZ has focused on their dishonesty. It’s almost as though he’s strategically selecting one particular aspect of all the things that are happening and using them in a strategic fashion in order to discredit the folks who made the film as dishonest…..

    The wonderful thing is that by focusing on this particular aspect, is that they just keep on reinforcing this particular “the producers are liars” frame…He could focus on the minutiae of the science, as Nisbet would have him, but framing his opponents as liars who are not to be trusted undermines their entire message, which also happens to be mostly lies.

    Let’s take a look at the identity frames offered by our competing sides: Oh, big bad conspiratorial atheist mean scientists versus people who lie about pretty much everything. Do most people really think there’s a big-assed conspiracy of dorky scientists running the world, especially people who’ve been to college and see how powerless people in academia really often are? Scientists may have an image problem, but Machiavellian conspirators attempting to tear down civilization is not a widespread perception–except among the unreachable. The Expelled folks have a much bigger task ahead of them than they think.

    Except for the True Believers, which side is winning? Except for the folks who’ve been EXPELLED *jazz hands* and their already deluded choir, who is going to be convinced? This isn’t going to be Evolution’s Waterloo.

    PZ and Dawkins, by continually highlighting their opponents’ dishonesty are doing good work. We know these folks aren’t acting in good faith. Once the content also comes out as being thorough nonsense, the early discrediting of the producers–along with their own ongoing foolishness and the occasional snippets of WTF? that have been slipping out–will have laid a solid groundwork for discrediting the entire piece. The only folks who will be convinced are those already convinced.

  52. #52 poke
    March 23, 2008

    I saw Nisbet’s post earlier and after a few minutes of trying to get my head around the sheer inanity of it, thought to myself, “damn, if I was PZ I’d just tell him to go fuck himself and be done with it.” I guess this confirms my dittohead status!

  53. #53 Ernst Hot
    March 23, 2008

    Against a group of people who have no problem lying about, misquoting and generally misrepresenting their opponents, the facts and the debate itself, you’re told to not just play nice, but to not play at all?

    ‘Fuck you very much’ is indeed an appropriate answer to such idiocy.

    PZ does not speak just for science, but for a lot of real people as well. People who want and need their message heard. ID proponents are delusional, dishonest not to mention wrong about evolution, and that’s exactly what should be communicated.

  54. #54 Chris
    March 23, 2008

    There is a time and place for insult, mainly when someone has insulted you first. But to respond to someone’s viewpoint like this? It’s just immature and self defeating. I’ll pass on “rough men” with all their chest thumping and dick waiving…I rather solve my issues with some brains.

    I for one am still waiting patiently for your demonstration of brains.
    You may not like PZ’s rude (perhaps) response to Nisbet, but what you neglect to address is that a rude response may still be true and, yes, sometimes perfectly appropriate.

  55. #55 Dusty59
    March 23, 2008

    I think Matt Nitwitt makes a grand spokesperson for something.

  56. #56 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    While I admit to only having heard one side of this in depth, it’s sounding like Matt Nisbet can add “professional concern troll” to his resume. O.o

  57. #57 Brownian, OM
    March 23, 2008

    I agree completely with Nisbet and Mooney, except they don’t go far enough. Scientists need to stop publishing in academic journals and teaching courses in the universities. Let’s face it, no matter how you try to divorce these activities from the socio-political arena, they are unmistakably political in nature. (Doubters may consider the research by the Oppenheimer group in Los Alamos and its relationship to the outcome of WWII via its application in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.) The problem lies in the fact that scientists are not trained in communications and often have very little experience in explaining difficult concepts to large groups. Add the fact that the public’s general perception of scientists is that they are awkward and emotionally distant if not beset with a host other psychosocial disorders (witness the Simpsons’ Professor Frink), and you have a recipe for a communications disaster of unimaginable proportions.
    Still don’t believe Matt, Chris, and me? Consider this: the number of scientists in the world has been growing exponentially for the last half-millennium. Yet, so has the number of religious believers. In fact, if one looks at the raw numbers by sheer population one can safely conclude that we are living in the most religious period in the history of humanity. Can this be what science hath wrought?
    I could go on at length, but, like Matt and Chris, I fear more rational discussion in any form, on any subject, anywhere on Earth, past, present or in the future will only increase publicity for the producers of Expelled and earn Ben Stein more booty (definitely in woman form, possibly also in doubloon form). And as someone who loves science, I cannot in good conscience be part of that.
    So please, PZ, Dr. Dawkins, and all scientists, everywhere, stop publishing your papers and teaching your classes, sit down, and shut up. We heartily thank you for your commitment to progress over the last few centuries (the germ theory of disease has been especially useful), but you’re really just screwing everything up for everyone.
    Let’s let the communications experts take it from here.

  58. #58 Jennifurret
    March 23, 2008

    Logicel, thanks for not even taking a second to know what my name is. And yes, I do respect PZ. I think we need more people to be outspoken defenders of atheism, reason, and science. He’s intelligent, funny, etc…BUT, I think acting like a scorned 15 year old is just stupid!

  59. #59 W. H. Heydt
    March 23, 2008

    I am reminded of a dustup with the board of directors of a volunteer organization I’ve been active in for over 30 years.

    A friend of mine was doing the loud, annoying, and agitating bit outside before the meeting. During the meeting, he was ignored when he wanted to ask questions. By contrast, I was dressed up (it’s a generally casual bunch, but I was wearing suit and tie, as were the directors). I was *not* a “known agitator”. As a result, I was allowed to ask the very same questions that my friend was not.

    Do I think my friend would have been better off not doing what he did? No, I do not. It was *because* he was being the obvious “troublemaker” that I was able to get the critical questions in under the radar–he was the distraction I needed to get done what had to be done.

    So my advice is: Go get ‘em, PZ. If all else fails, others can use the fact that you’re up front and in their faces to tip the statues off the pedestals while they pay attention to you. Our goals are the same and some noise and fireworks helps.

  60. #60 DavidONE
    March 23, 2008

    Matt who?

  61. #61 Articulett
    March 23, 2008

    ‘Another “courtiers reply” tsk-tsking those “shrill” and “militant” atheists.

    Do they ever learn that the “stridency” they imagine is generated by their own bias, and not anything a nonbeliever actually says or does?

    The “atheist = bad guy” bigotry is alive and well in some people who imagine themselves as rational. They do not see that they are protecting faith from scrutiny by demonizing those who lack it.

    I think all methods of fighting ignorance are to be applauded, and I prefer the provocateurs to speak for this atheist. Why does Nisbet imagine himself an expert of “the cause”?

  62. #62 Ted D
    March 23, 2008

    BUT, I think acting like a scorned 15 year old is just stupid!

    Posted by: Jennifurret | March 23, 2008 5:48 PM

    Hmm, strange. My instruments detect large quantities of irony, but I can’t for the life of me figure out where it’s coming from…

  63. #63 James F
    March 23, 2008

    The American public may not have a great understanding of science, but they understand hypocrisy. I wouldn’t recommend beating the issue to death, but it’s important to let people know that the makers of a movie that is supposed to be about suppression of ideas had someone who used proper channels to attend a screening – and is featured in the movie – barred from seeing it.

  64. #64 Andrew
    March 23, 2008

    Jennifurret,

    I find your comment about chest thumping and dick waving far more offensive, rude, and down right sexist then a simple “fuck you” from PZ to a man who rightfully deserved it. Isn’t it it odd that you think of yourself as being the more mature poster while at the same time being very open about your apparent misandry. Curious, it is.

  65. #65 Stanton
    March 23, 2008

    Um, Nisbet wants you and Dawkins to retreat from Expelled‘s onslaught so that we can find a more diplomatic voice with which to oppose the menace that made that dumbcumentary?

    Did Mr Nisbet get his diplomas and his brain in a box of stale CrackerJacks? Really, somebody please remind me why we should bother to pay attention to this numbwit?

  66. #66 Steve Ulven
    March 23, 2008

    Holy shit, they are talking serious business. They don’t want to censor you, so you better shut the fuck up. If I were you, I’d listen to them. They may have Joe Pesci at your door with a baseball bat, or even worse, god!!!

  67. #67 Thickie
    March 23, 2008

    Jennifurret writes:
    Disagree with someone, sure, but lame tactics like this really make me lose respect for you. Grow up.

    Who the fuck are you and why should anyone care whether or not you respect PZ Myers?

  68. #68 Sue Laris
    March 23, 2008

    Matt should be more in the business of taking his own advice and shut up!

  69. #69 SLC
    March 23, 2008

    Prof. Nisbets’ sockpuppet, Chris Mooney has weighed in again on his blog.

    http://scienceblogs.com/intersection/2008/03/expelled_screenwriter_wants_to.php

  70. #70 Karim
    March 23, 2008

    HAHAHA! Epic fail Matt Nisbet! Rock on PZ and Dawkins!

  71. #71 trrll
    March 23, 2008

    I think that evolutionary theory can and does stand alone independently of atheism. Like many scientists, I am pretty much indifferent to religion except when fundamentalist crackpots blow up a skyscraper or try to force schoolteachers to lie to kids about my profession.

    I do think that it is important to get out the message that one doesn’t have to abandon one’s religion (unless it is crackpot fundamentalism) to accept evolution. But that is not PZ’s responsibility, nor Dawkins’.

    We have a good chance of getting a woman or a black president in the next presidential election. Anybody want to guess how long it will be before we see an avowed atheist elected to high office? So if it makes it a harder sell for those of us who consider evolution to be a more important issue than atheism, well that’s just tough. I will not be the one to tell yet another oppressed minority, “Wait, stay in the closet, it’s not your time yet.”

  72. #72 Will K.
    March 23, 2008

    … you just make yourself look like a five year old throwing a tantrum.

    BUT, I think acting like a scorned 15 year old is just stupid!

    Pretty soon you’ll have the audacity to say he sounds like a grumpy fifty-one-year-old.

  73. #73 Sastra
    March 23, 2008

    PZ should have linked to Matt’s original article, since in it Matt makes it clear that he is not so much objecting to PZ objecting to getting expelled from Expelled, as he is objecting to the content of PZ and Dawkins’ interviews in the movie. The same film clip which seemed moderate and reasonable to us really pissed him off.

    Here is what Nisbet writes:

    There’s little work needed on the part of the producers, since the message is spelled out via the interviews provided by PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins.

    Notice the very clear translation for audiences as to what supposedly establishment science believes:

    A) Learning about science makes you an atheist, it “kills off” religious faith.

    B) If we boost science literacy in society, it will lead to erosion of religion, as religion fades away, we will get more and more science, and less and less religion.

    C) Religion is a fairy tale, similar to hobgoblins, a fantasy, and even evil.

    The simplistic and unscientific claim that more knowledge leads to less religion might be the particular delusion of Dawkins, Myers, and many others, but it is by no means the official position of science, though they often implicitly claim to speak for science. Nor does it stand up to mounds of empirical evidence about the complex relationship between science literacy and public perceptions.

    He says “Unfortunately, you couldn’t focus group a better message for the pro-creationist crowd.” By agreeing that science and an understanding of evolution leads to a loss of faith in God, the creationists are gleefully using this to get their message across.

    But PZ and Dawkins make it clear that this is not the official message of science. Evolution is simply the occam’s razor that cuts out God as a viable and reasonable hypothesis, the “best” or only explanation for design in nature.

    The real question then becomes:

    As a workable strategy, should we encourage people to keep their faith in God in order to keep their confidence in science? Should we either say

    1.) science has nothing to say about the existence of God (even if it does)
    or
    2.) The more you study science, the more you will have your faith and appreciation for God strengthened.(even if that’s not, strictly speaking, necessarily true)

    Matt Nisbet obviously fears that, if they go head to head, faith will win out over science. So soft-peddle the reasonable inference, or hide it altogether.

    But I think their approach is important, and needs to be out there. It doesn’t so much feed into Creationist hands, as the creationists are feeding into ours.

    What’s ironic is that PZ and Dawkins have more confidence and respect for the intelligence and reasonableness of human beings than Nisbet does. They also have more appreciation for science and truth. In the LONG RUN, head to head, faith will — and should — lose. Trying to promote both at the same time simply invites the constant chip, chip, chipping of pseudoscience.

  74. #74 Eric Thomson
    March 23, 2008

    I sort of agree with Jennifurret. While Nisbet may be wrong, he isn’t being particularly childish or unreasonable in his original post. Also, while I think he is probably wrong, he isn’t obviously wrong: he offers an interesting strategic point for everyone to ponder. On the other hand, he does take a condescending tone, which is annoying. Such arrogance is one of many things that give armchair science commentators (e.g., the Science Studies departments) a bad name.

    Ironically, if he had cut out the personal tone and focused on a more dispassionate presentation of his argument about strategy, we might be having a more substantive discussion rather than this meta-discussion which is boring blog prattle. That I just contributed to. Crap.

  75. #75 Jennifurret
    March 23, 2008

    Misandry? I was replying to the notion that we “need rough men at the walls hurling pointed barbs back,” which is both ignorant and misogynistic. The kind of thinking that masculine aggression is the best way to solve issues is just completely ignorant. Don’t try to pull any “feminists just hate men” shit on me.

    And I’m well aware no one has to care what I think. But the fact is, a lot of people here are just going to mindlessly suck up to PZ without actually thinking about each side of the issue. If anyone dares to disagree with them, they get thrown to the wolves. Try to think for yourselves for once – I would think a bunch of atheists would be less likely to blindly pledge alegence to someone.

  76. #76 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    I find it interesting that the topic has moved from the fact that Expelled actually acted in a horridly hypocritical fashion, to that we shouldn’t speak about it. You will also remember that Nisbet and Mooney have not said a word as to whether such actions were to be condemned, only that PZ and Dawkins should make less noise.

    Their entire effort has been to quiet PZ and Dawkins, but they’ve made little to no effort at anything proactive in countering efforts like those of the Expelled team.

    So to ask the simple question “What are Nisbet and Mooney doing to solve the problem?”

  77. #77 Janeothejungle
    March 23, 2008

    Awwww. I think it’s kind of sweet. He obviously has a total hard-on for you, PZ………

  78. #78 an
    March 23, 2008

    LOL!!! omg….i bursted out when I read

    “Fuck you very much,…”

    hahahahahah.

  79. #79 Andrew
    March 23, 2008

    Yes Jennifurret,

    Misandry. The idea that you liken PZ’s actions to that of an animal based on the fact that he is a man. If PZ were a woman I doubt you would have accused her of vagina waving. It’s a rude and sexist comment no matter how much you spin it.

    “Don’t try to pull any “feminists just hate men” shit on me.”
    Again, the assumption that because my name “Andrew” implies that I am a man means that if I expose your sexist statement, I must be guilty of the same stereotyping of the sexes as yourself.

    The term “Fuck You” in this case is not about masculine aggression, there is no threat of violence associated with the tone. It was comedic, as indicated by the “thank you very much.” It was meant as a reply to Nesbit’s shitty advice. Everyone here seems to get the joke except you, who somehow turned it into an act of gender specific aggression.

    As much as you would like to believe that you have take the high ground by criticizing PZ on his use of “curse” words, all you have really done spouted bigoted remarks and then defended them in a rather weak and silly way.

  80. #80 Zarquon
    March 23, 2008

    PZ reputation as a spokesman for atheism comes after years of outspokenness on usenet and later on Pharyngula. It’s the reason he was in Expelled!. It’s also the reason he’s so successful as a blogger. If Nisbet and Mooney want him to change his message now after years of success, they’ll have to provide much more evidence that what he’s doing doesn’t work. They’re just too late to the party.

  81. #81 bubuka
    March 23, 2008

    answering like troll is nor polite nor smart. I am pissed off, this kind of reaction is below all expectations. You are a professor, not a 5 years old kid.

  82. #82 Peter Mc
    March 23, 2008

    From this side of the Atlantic it strikes me that PZ was lied to by the producers of this film, artlessy edited, misrepresented when he objected then hoofed from a screening (which he went to see under his own name, the agent of Satan!). I think he is exactly the right person to give Expelled et al beans.

    And as for Richard Dawkins, well I think he did sterling work in waking British atheists up. I like his style and have no problem with the media going to him. That’s what the media do. I don’t know that we’ve tried appeasing (as Mr Mooney seems to think we should) I think we’ve gone beyiond that. Right here, right now in Britain, religion is demanding special privileges over science and representative democracy. You can’t appease that: these people (as history has shown) are bullies with vested interests in power and money and what happens when you appease a bully? They bully more.

    The only way to deal with these people is to go toe to toe with them. And not give an inch. All behind you, PZ.

  83. #83 Dahan
    March 23, 2008

    Personally, I find saying “Fuck you” can save a fair amount of time. What would I say if I could to our current president? Yep, you guessed it. Sure, I could try to explain why he doesn’t deserve respect and how he’s screwed things up royally, but we all know that wouldn’t help any more than the two word rebuttal and wouldn’t feel nearly as good. Brevity can be a virtue.

  84. #84 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 23, 2008

    There is a time and place for insult, mainly when someone has insulted you first. But to respond to someone’s viewpoint like this? It’s just immature and self defeating.

    Really? If I told you to shut up would you not tell me where to go, too?

    I was replying to the notion that we “need rough men at the walls hurling pointed barbs back,” which is both ignorant and misogynistic.

    Hardly, but please don’t let me stop you.

    The kind of thinking that masculine aggression is the best way to solve issues is just completely ignorant.

    No one said it was the best way. Nor is aggression purely masculine. But sometimes a muscular approach serves a useful purpose and you eschew it at your peril.

  85. #85 DiscoveredJoys
    March 23, 2008

    Let’s let the communications experts take it from here.

    Absolutely not, no way, niet. After a lifetime in business I can say that IMHO the last thing you should do is leave matters in the hands of an expert from Ark B (http://www.geoffwilkins.net/fragments/Adams.htm).

    Yes, there is a place for experts to provide advice; accountants, human resources, consultants, communications experts, public relations, lawyers – they all have a role in advising what may or may not be successful or lawful.

    But what usually happens is that these experts gradually take ownership of the enterprise and corrupt its purpose. You end up with a company that knows to the penny how much loss it is making, companies that produce reams of glossy brochures that say nothing, and so on.

    If you want science to communicate well, take advice on communication by all means, learn how to do it yourself, but do not subcontract that work to someone who will destroy the content for the sake of the appearance.

  86. #86 edt
    March 23, 2008

    Fuck you very much, Matt. You know where you can stick your advice.

    I’m afraid that PZ is no longer the voice of reason, if he ever was. Strange that Dawkins got so chummy with such a low life character in the first place, but I guess he had no other choice. That’s america.

  87. #87 woody, tokin librul
    March 23, 2008

    “So to ask the simple question “What are Nisbet and Mooney doing to solve the problem?””

    Trying to get tenure? Asst. prof, right? they GOTTA attack their betters–it’s VERRY Freudian, that system—or risk being thought irrelevant (my mistake, as i no figger it, was in not attacking anybody, but in proposing ‘new’ ideas…)

    I’d take pascal’s wager in a heartbeat…but then I prob’ly already have…

  88. #88 Andrew
    March 23, 2008

    “You are a professor, not a 5 years old kid.”

    No but it sounds like you are.

  89. #89 Tessa
    March 23, 2008

    “Fuck you very much!” had me laughing so hard that I almost spilled my coffee on my computer!

    Thanks for the laugh!

  90. #90 Brownian, OM
    March 23, 2008

    Strange that Dawkins got so chummy with such a low life character in the first place, but I guess he had no other choice. That’s america.

    Hey, it could be worse. Who knows what kind of child-molesting , money-bilking, meth-smoking-with-prostitutes-type activities Dawkins might have gotten involved with if he’d hooked up with one of them religious types.

  91. #91 woody, tokin librul
    March 23, 2008

    Hey PZ? I might just hang out here for a while…I like your friends…

  92. #92 Jennifurret
    March 23, 2008

    I’m not quite entirely sure if vagina waving is even possible, but I will now try to use that term as much as I can. Or maybe I should just use “genital waiving” so I don’t somehow offend someone. The point wasn’t about gender, it was about stupid pride getting in the way of reasonable discussion.

    I just find his continuous and frequent name calling old, really. It was maybe amusing the first couple of times, but after a while it gives the impression that you really have nothing substantial to say. To hear a PZ constantly saying “fuck you” or calling people “fuckwits” does give a bad image of biologists, academics, and atheists.

  93. #93 Brian
    March 23, 2008

    On the one hand, Ben Stein is trying to paint atheists as one step removed from Nazis. On the other hand, Matt Nisbet is doing his best Neville Chamberlain impression. Is the real world about to totally Godwin itself?

  94. #94 Andrew
    March 23, 2008

    “I’m afraid that PZ is no longer the voice of reason, if he ever was. Strange that Dawkins got so chummy with such a low life character in the first place, but I guess he had no other choice. That’s america.”

    Ha ha ha, all it takes to get called a “low life” in this losers world is to say “Fuck you”. Your comment doesn’t even make sense. How is being in “A”merica the reason behind Dawkins choice of friends. Does that mean that there are not enough “high life” characters for him to hang out with or that, because it’s “A”merica, he has the freedom to hang out with PZ and that having that freedom is somehow a bad thing. Honestly dude, I don’t understand your point. I mean other than what makes a “low like” in your world. ha ha ha

  95. #95 Sastra
    March 23, 2008

    Peter Mc #82 wrote:

    From this side of the Atlantic it strikes me that PZ was lied to by the producers of this film, artlessy edited, misrepresented when he objected then hoofed from a screening (which he went to see under his own name, the agent of Satan!).

    Hmm — some of that is true, but does PZ think he was misrepresented and mis-edited on the film itself? My impression is that, although he might have said some things in a slightly different way if he had known in advance that it was a pro-creationism film, he still would have said pretty much the same stuff.

    PZ hasn’t been complaining that his words were taken out of context or that his views were misrepresented. On the contrary, he posted a video excerpt of his movie interview and ironically asked whether we thought he looked bad or scary in it. And we didn’t watch the clip and say “whoa, they really did a hatchet job here.” No. Looked fine to us.

    As I said, the complaint Nisbet makes here is against the content of what PZ says — that as science and evolution are accepted, religious belief will decrease and grow less fundamentalist, more benign — like knitting. YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO SAY THAT!

    Damage control! Better wheel out some religious scientists saying that an understanding of evolution made them appreciate God EVEN MORE!!! And become less fundamentalist and more benign!

  96. #96 Dan
    March 23, 2008

    I’m sorry, but is Matt Nisbet actually in the movie having his words ripped to little bits?

    No?

    So, this is pretty much just a “Let’s ride PZ and Dawkins’ coattails” sort of thing isn’t it?

    What a freakin’ tool.

  97. #97 Geral
    March 23, 2008

    That was a stupid thing for Matt so say. His whole argument was virtually voided by the fact that both PZ and Dawkins appear in the movie, the same movie in which they did not agree to appear in.

    Why should they sit down and shut up while these guys make money off their comments?

  98. #98 steve_h
    March 23, 2008

    What would have happened if PZ and RD declined to give interviews and referred the expelled crew to official framesmen? Would the film commentary go something like this?

    “We contacted several scientists, including PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins, but they were all afraid to speak to us”?

  99. #99 woody, tokin librul
    March 23, 2008

    Hey PZ? I might just hang out here for a while…I like your friends…

  100. #100 kevinj
    March 23, 2008

    rather amusingly still, after several days, at the top of expelled blog is:

    “-Atheist blogger and fabulist PZ Myers, on a film he has not yet seen”

    you bad, bad person.
    i guess that explains why it was you and not Dawkins who got kicked out. only you would have required a website update.

    for the framing malarkey, is it just me who cant help but think it might be taken a bit more seriously if those saying how good proved it, so to speak as opposed to this sort of stuff.

  101. #101 Der Bruno Stroszek
    March 23, 2008

    Every time I read Nisbet and Mooney’s guff about “framing”, I keep thinking they want science advocates to adopt the tactics used against the Germans by the British army at the Battle of the Somme – have total faith in the pre-emptive assault, then put your weapons down and walk very slowly in a straight line towards the enemy.

    It wasn’t much of a success then either.

  102. #102 Andrew
    March 23, 2008

    “To hear a PZ constantly saying “fuck you” or calling people “fuckwits” does give a bad image of biologists, academics, and atheists.”

    Proof?

    I ask for proof because you felt the need italicize “does” as if it were fact based on evidence.

    As someone not in a field of biology I think PZ’s character is refreshing as it takes away from the stuffy academic stereotype. Instead we see an educated man whose passion for science creates strong emotions. If anything PZ has gotten me more interested in science, biology and academic culture then anyone else.

    Sometimes, I think the people who criticize PZ Myers for having an opinion put him up on an even higher pedestal then his many, many fans. He’s a smart guy who says fuck and writes the most amazing posts ever. If you think that means he’s bad for biology, then by all means vote for someone else in the great annual voice of biology elections of 2008.

  103. #103 Brendan S
    March 23, 2008

    Matt N is utterly wrong here. PZ and Richard are, indeed, divisive voices in this debate. We need these, or else it’s not debate, just a bunch of peopel disagreeing with eachother.

    But this is framed _PERFECTLY_. Part of the point PZ and RD try and make on a regular basis is not that Atheists are _better_ then Christians, but that religion is ethically neutral. And, fron the respons of major news outlets, they have succeeded. People don’t want to hear that the party they’re rallying behind commit the same sort of attrocities they usually suspect the other side of. This throws the facts of the matter in their face. That, when push comes to shove, these people are just as bad, if not worse, then they percieve the evil Atheists.

    This is the perfect framing for this movie. The first major press is them trying to keep out an interviewee. Sure they may make some money on it, but the first message of this film is already burned into teh public eye.

  104. #104 A Lurker
    March 23, 2008

    That the anti-religion rhetoric of Dawkins and Myers does cause P.R. problems in the United States for pro-science people is simply a fact.

    But that being said, the incident in question was of great benefit to our side. That producers of this movie have impeached their own credibility via their hypocritical and childish tossing out P.Z. is something that should be exploited. The goal of these people was not to make a few extra bucks — which the incident will probably help them to do — but to win hearts and minds.

    Go for the win. In a fight one does restrain from hitting just because the opponent has fallen. Indeed that is the best time to inflict even more damage.

    The damage that Dawkins can cause because of his rhetoric can be contained by simple honesty: Not everyone agrees about religion. Understanding of science does not change that. That an atheist says that x fact means God does not exist should not surprise anyone. To deny x because of it lunacy. If anything it shows that the “Expelled” people have as little faith as Dawkins does.

  105. #105 Andrew
    March 23, 2008

    “That the anti-religion rhetoric of Dawkins and Myers does cause P.R. problems in the United States for pro-science people is simply a fact.”

    You said fact, sorry friend but you know what’s next…

    Proof?

  106. #106 Blake Stacey
    March 23, 2008

    Brian (#93):

    On the one hand, Ben Stein is trying to paint atheists as one step removed from Nazis. On the other hand, Matt Nisbet is doing his best Neville Chamberlain impression. Is the real world about to totally Godwin itself?

    I’m firmly of the opinion that the world would be a better place if Dawkins had refrained from pulling out the “Neville Chamberlain” insult in The God Delusion — and had, instead, called Godwin’s Law on Michael Ruse — but I still think this is damn funny.

    Oh, and about the animation thing: what about the one on the DVD which PZ picked up?

  107. #107 Dan S.
    March 23, 2008

    Awwww. I think it’s kind of sweet. He obviously has a total hard-on for you, PZ………

    Myers/Nisbet slash!

    _____

    I’m almost tempted to become a science-rejecting gpdbothering creationist just to get away from this endless back and forth.

  108. #108 Dan S.
    March 23, 2008

    Is the real world about to totally Godwin itself?

    Didn’t it do that already?

  109. #109 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 23, 2008

    What we have here is a classic dispute between those high-minded types who want to take the high road and the rude rabble frustrated at what they see as fighting with one hand tied behind their back.

    The rude ones rarely persuade, but they are good at clearly drawing lines in the sand and guarding them ferociously. The high-mindeds’ powers of persuasion will decide the fight one way or the other, but we have seen them retreat on the rhetorical battle and concede much ground. I believe you need scrappers and negotiators in this war, though not all will agree with me.

    As a Briton, I’m all for a bit of rudery. We are a filthy, facecious lot. That said, I notice this approach makes Americans clutch their pearls in horror and it hasn’t always made me friends.

  110. #110 Chris Clarke
    March 23, 2008

    If anyone dares to disagree with them, they get thrown to the wolves.

    Did somebody say wolves? I think this is where I’m supposed to say that I’ve outed myself as a Coyote-worshipper here in the past, and been treated with… well, “nothing but respect” would be lying. But no less respect than any dyed-in-the-wool atheist gets.

    Of course, I don’t call it “bigotry against religion” if people stubbornly fail to genuflect to Coyote, and mocking Coyote is pretty much the only sacrament in my faith. So my creed possesses traits that are adaptive in the Pharyngular environment.

    I can send you some brochures if you want.

  111. #111 BobC
    March 23, 2008

    Sucking up to the religious can only make science education worse. In Florida where I live we finally have excellent public school science standards, thanks to the constant ridicule of religious idiocy, and no thanks to appeasement.

  112. #112 Blake Stacey
    March 23, 2008

    MAJeff, OM (#51):

    What Nisbet doesn’t seem to understand is that PZ and Dawkins are framing all of this quite successfully–and they have opponents who are helping them out.

    Yes. Exactly.

    Throughout, they have been focusing on the dishonesty of the folks who’ve made the movie–in the contracts, in their attaching of Darwin to Fascism/Nazism/Comunism, in their “reportage” of the situation involving ID in the academy, on their use of “Big Science” conspiricism. Consistent in his response to these folks, PZ has focused on their dishonesty. It’s almost as though he’s strategically selecting one particular aspect of all the things that are happening and using them in a strategic fashion in order to discredit the folks who made the film as dishonest…..

    I thought they taught how to do that in Communication School. Maybe it’s a course offered by the Biology Department instead?

    The wonderful thing is that by focusing on this particular aspect, is that they just keep on reinforcing this particular “the producers are liars” frame…He could focus on the minutiae of the science, as Nisbet would have him, but framing his opponents as liars who are not to be trusted undermines their entire message, which also happens to be mostly lies.

    Wasn’t it Matt Nisbet who said, way back when, that scientists shouldn’t focus on the technical details of the science? I’m almost positive he did.

  113. #113 Kent Kauffman
    March 23, 2008

    I think Nisbet just wants more traffic. What better way than to get a link and response from PZ right on the hills of that 1300+ comment post.

    I might just have to try that myself. It certainly seems easier than writing original, entertaining posts.

  114. #114 Marcus Ranum
    March 23, 2008

    Dawkins and PZ are much softer on religion than they need to be. Anyone with a brain ought to simply LOL at the religiotards and not show them the courtesy of trying to educate them or intellectually engage with their dumbassery.

    While the faithful don’t realize it, people like PZ and Dawkins are being much kinder to them than they deserve. What they deserve is pointing and giggling and “here’s your sign!”

  115. #115 themadlolscientist
    March 23, 2008

    Edward Humes gives an excellent account of the Dover trial and its participants in Monkey Girl. It’s been a while since I read it, so I can’t give you any specifics about amicus briefs, etc., but I can tell you that Ken Miller, a cell biologist and avowed Catholic, was an important expert witness for the plaintiffs.

    Not long after the Dover decision, Miller gave a 2-hour presentation at Case Western, in which he throughly dynamited ID and its perps.

    As a person of both faith and science who does her damndest to keep her facts factual and her metaphors metaphorical, I admit that sometimes I get pretty annoyed at the notion that “science=atheism” no matter who’s saying it, and I would like to see folks like Miller gain much wider exposure. I also wish more attention were paid to the various scientific organizations’ statements on the question.

    OTOH, I certainly do NOT think PZ, Dawkins, or any scientist-nontheist should sit down and shut up. And there are times when even the most rational among us can get so frustrated by all the irrationality-misrepresented-as-fact out there that all we can say at the moment is “Fuck you very much”!

  116. #116 Brownian, OM
    March 23, 2008

    As someone not in a field of biology I think PZ’s character is refreshing as it takes away from the stuffy academic stereotype. Instead we see an educated man whose passion for science creates strong emotions. If anything PZ has gotten me more interested in science, biology and academic culture then anyone else.

    Andrew, you’re not the first to say that, but I sure am pleased to hear that sentiment.

    “Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman” stirred a similar passion for the sciences in me. If there’s anyone who didn’t take science lying down, it was him. (And his father, he claimed, did the same for him despite, AFAIK, a lack of formal education). As for me, being raised in a household in which it wasn’t very safe–physically or emotionally–to question authority, it was refreshing to realise there was a community in which disagreement, even angry disagreement, was valued and encouraged.

    That some scientists might actually be emotional sometimes–just like all them regular humans–is a good message to all them regular humans who view us as passionless and boring nerds and say “Eww, if being rational means being like that, then I’m gonna go buy The Secret right now!”

  117. #117 MAJeff, OM
    March 23, 2008

    While the faithful don’t realize it, people like PZ and Dawkins are being much kinder to them than they deserve. What they deserve is pointing and giggling and “here’s your sign!”

    *giggle/snort*

  118. #118 MAJeff, OM
    March 23, 2008

    If anything PZ has gotten me more interested in science, biology and academic culture then anyone else.

    Read Richard Russo’s Straight Man. Sure, it’s about an English department, but it’s a fucking hilarious academic novel (and captures some things pretty well).

  119. #119 CanadianChick
    March 23, 2008

    jennifurret…from one female to another…

    shut up.

    you’re only making yourself look foolish. just stop, please.

    PZ – go get ‘em, tiger!

  120. #120 Duff
    March 23, 2008

    We will all, all of us, wait to see what a powerful and forthright attack Mr. Nisbet brings to bear against the forces of stupidity. We’re watching Matt baby!! Show us your stuff!!!

    Sabot, you are the man!

  121. #121 waldteufel
    March 23, 2008

    People who believe (for example) the universe is 6,000 years old and/or created by their sky-poobah are ignorant.

    People who believe the above and push to mandate that science teachers teach it are despicable, demented fucktards.

    Tell us, Jennifurret, why do those despicable, demented fucktards deserve any respect or quiet conversation?

    Please tell us how to talk to demented fucktards and make them think that we respect their views. And by the way, why should we respect demented fucktards?

    Why, Jennifurret, is lying to children about the methods and findings of modern science something that deserves respectful dialog?

  122. #122 MelM
    March 23, 2008

    Sure, try to chase religion out of the natural sciences and let them have the rest. It’s faith that’s the basic vice; it eliminates reason and the rules of reason guiding the mind toward knowledge and away from absurdities such as creationism and blowing oneself up expecting 72 virgins and on and on and on. In my view, faith belongs in the study of psychopathology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathology

    God and science are NOT compatable anyway; NOMA is a myth. If any god(s) does anything at all to create the universe or tinker with conditions and events in nature, then the god(s) would be the valid (true, correct) explanations for the creation, conditions, or events and attempts at scientific explanations of these would be wrong. Naturalism would, in principle be WRONG and Cosmology would be part of theology and not a science. I think the creationists actually understand this; perhaps some others should but don’t. The “spirit world” populated with the Sky Wizard, angels, ghosts,…is compatable with science? Give me a break. “Spirits” tinkering with the world to provide miracles and answering prayers is compatable with science? Give me another break.

    Look at all the unreason Carl Sagan wrote about. It’s reason that needs supporting and given recognition as a virtue. If reason had the respect it deserves, religion would be history already. It’s faith that needs to be attacked. Next book? “The Delusions Of Faith And The Achievements of Reason” by ????

  123. #123 Sue Laris
    March 23, 2008

    Dan S. says: I’m almost tempted to become a science-rejecting gpdbothering creationist just to get away from this endless back and forth.

    Dear Dan,

    Feel free, and don’t let the screen door slap your ass on the way out.

  124. #124 Duff
    March 23, 2008

    Canadian Chick,
    My sentiments exactly.

    Jennifurret,
    Shut up….please! Thank you!

  125. #125 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 23, 2008

    Comments 2, 3 and 93 have saved my day! ROTFL! :-D

    Honestly, PZ, every time you resort to name calling and pointless swearing, you just make yourself look like a five year old throwing a tantrum. Disagree with someone, sure, but lame tactics like this really make me lose respect for you. Grow up.

    So you really agree that, when asked about his own experience, he should effectively tell reporters “I’m too embarrassed to comment myself, ask the NCSE instead”?!?

    Or are you only, like edt and bubuka, holding your ears and thinking “OMGWTFBBQ — oh noes!!! He said the F word!!!1! AAAAAAAARGH!”? Because in that case I wonder who’s the one who has the growing-up to do.

    What’s ironic is that PZ and Dawkins have more confidence and respect for the intelligence and reasonableness of human beings than Nisbet does. They also have more appreciation for science and truth.

    Nisbet is Malthus; PZ and Dawkins are Condorcet.

  126. #126 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 23, 2008

    Comments 2, 3 and 93 have saved my day! ROTFL! :-D

    Honestly, PZ, every time you resort to name calling and pointless swearing, you just make yourself look like a five year old throwing a tantrum. Disagree with someone, sure, but lame tactics like this really make me lose respect for you. Grow up.

    So you really agree that, when asked about his own experience, he should effectively tell reporters “I’m too embarrassed to comment myself, ask the NCSE instead”?!?

    Or are you only, like edt and bubuka, holding your ears and thinking “OMGWTFBBQ — oh noes!!! He said the F word!!!1! AAAAAAAARGH!”? Because in that case I wonder who’s the one who has the growing-up to do.

    What’s ironic is that PZ and Dawkins have more confidence and respect for the intelligence and reasonableness of human beings than Nisbet does. They also have more appreciation for science and truth.

    Nisbet is Malthus; PZ and Dawkins are Condorcet.

  127. #127 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 23, 2008

    I think you’re a little harsh, CanadianChick. Jennifurret is basically on the same side as the rest of us, just frustrated over tactics. After all, we ARE rude. We go out of our way to be. And we’re short-tempered with the wets who want a softly-softly dialogue when our instincts are to grab the nearest frying pan and wade in, swinging with both hands.

    As I said earlier, I think there are two dynamics here. We guard the front lines and refuse to concede ground, while Jenni and her cohorts gently win the war.

    We’re comrades, not competitors.

  128. #128 Nullifidian
    March 23, 2008

    People like Nisbet and Mooney frustrate the hell out of me. I grew up in rural West Virginia and I know fundamentalists. They are not going to listen to some can’t-we-all-just-get-along sermonizing. The fact that there are theists who even consider such rapprochement with ‘Darwinism’ shows just how wicked and worldly the Christian faith has become in these End Days. They are the only upholders of True Religion, and they KNOW for a fact that their ‘plain reading’ is the only path to truth.

    What Nisbet, Mooney, etc. seem to be worried about are the sensibilities of what they would think of as your average theist. But the average theist doesn’t know who you, PZ, or Richard Dawkins are, and they certainly aren’t going to go to some propagandistic ‘exposé’ to find out. Americans do not, as a whole, tend to read books. They don’t read blogs either. The kind of handwringing that we see here is endemic only to certain white, liberal, middle-class, college-educated people, and they are speaking to other people like them. But the people who are like them already know that there’s no necessary conflict between science and religion. They aren’t going to fall into fundamentlist faith because that’s an even bigger culture shock than reading the words of an atheist like Dawkins or Myers.

    The other group of people who know who Dawkins and Myers are are the fundamentalists themselves, and they’re not likely to come over to the side of reason just because some guy stands up and says “I believe in Christ like you”. Just look at who they’ve got saying that: the highest profile theistic evolutionist in the country is Kenneth Miller, who is Catholic. If Mooney, Nisbit, et al. think that’s going to sway the Protestant fundamentalist community, then they’re deluded. Catholics, in the fundamentalist imagination, are pagans.

    These people need to get over themselves and realize that there is a world elsewhere, outside of their ivory tower of pale, liberal rationalism.

  129. #129 Troy Lacefield
    March 23, 2008

    Using bible code, someone found the scriptural reference to PZ Myers getting kicked out of
    Expelled and Dawkins being let in.

    Post # 19

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102×3238050

    I found the passage in the Bible predicting this:

    You need to sort of ‘bible-code’ it out of Isaiah.

    =====

    “He saw strangers, abomination before the LORD. Refuse one, let one in and they shall go. The
    mighty man will enter. The LORD will take away one man and he will tell you of the oppression.”

    =====

    If you want to discover this for yourself, grab your King James Bible and open it to the book of
    Isaiah.  Each piece of the prophecy can be found, in order, in the following verses:

    First sentence:
    1:1 (He saw)
    1:7 (strangers)
    1:13 (abomination)
    1:16 (before)
    1:18 (The LORD

    Second sentence:
    1:20 (refuse)
    1:23 (one)
    2:3 (let)
    2:12 (one)
    2:17 (in)
    2:19 (and they shall go)

    Third sentence:
    3:2 (the mighty man)
    3:4 (will)
    3:14 (enter)

    Fourth sentence:
    3:17 (the LORD will)
    3:18 (take away)
    4:1 (one man)
    4:2 (and)
    4:3 (he)
    5:1 (will)
    5:5 (tell you)
    5:7 (of), (the), (oppression)

  130. #130 Sue Laris
    March 23, 2008

    I’ve advised one person to “shut up” (on the theory that Nisbet should be willing to take his own advice and test its efficacy).

    I can’t say I believe it is useful advice for the various concern trolls who have popped up like “Whack-a-Mole” on this thread. People like Jennifurret and Dan S. are web-masochist types: they enjoy humiliation as long as there is no pain involved.

    Therefore, I welcome Jenni, and retract my previous advice to Dan, to present something other than their “feelings” when offering up their opinions here, on this or any other subject. Of course able to give us their “feelings” as well, but should be advised that no one cares in the least about such saccharinantity.

  131. #131 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 23, 2008

    This has disappeared from PZ’s quote file, but I found it elsewhere on teh intartoobz:

    “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
    — H. L. Mencken

  132. #132 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 23, 2008

    This has disappeared from PZ’s quote file, but I found it elsewhere on teh intartoobz:

    “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
    — H. L. Mencken

  133. #133 Kevin
    March 23, 2008

    you used a bad word…

    Jennifurret didn’t like it.

    Would you be willing to give up a rat’s ass to make her happy?

    No? Well I didn’t think so..

  134. #134 jdb
    March 23, 2008

    “Sometimes I wonder if Nisbet is just jealous of Dawkins and Myers, and is trying to get attention by whining about them. I had never heard of Nisbet until he started his whining.”

    I don’t wonder about it all; I’m convinced of it. His entire shtick practically screams “Damnit, why won’t the New York Times call ME, glorious ME, for comment?!”

  135. #135 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    There is a time and place for insult, mainly when someone has insulted you first. But to respond to someone’s viewpoint like this? It’s just immature and self defeating. I’ll pass on “rough men” with all their chest thumping and dick waiving…I rather solve my issues with some brains.

    Unfortunately, anyone who’s still insisting that being conciliatory and unthreatening is a viable way of opposing the spread of wingnuttery has already demonstrated that he or she is incapable of being engaged at that level.

  136. #136 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 23, 2008

    Congratulations, PZ! You have reached the German blogosphere. From WeiterGen (top and most German):

    Aus dem Film “Vertrieben” vertrieben zu werden, im Abspann aber noch dankend Erwähnung zu finden, ist in seiner bizarren Komik der Ausstrahlung von “Stirb langsam” an Karfreitag sicher ebenbürtig.

    “To be expelled from the movie ‘Expelled’ but be given a grateful mention in the credits is certainly equal in its bizarre comics to the broadcasting of ‘Die Hard’ on Good Friday.”

  137. #137 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 23, 2008

    Congratulations, PZ! You have reached the German blogosphere. From WeiterGen (top and most German):

    Aus dem Film “Vertrieben” vertrieben zu werden, im Abspann aber noch dankend Erwähnung zu finden, ist in seiner bizarren Komik der Ausstrahlung von “Stirb langsam” an Karfreitag sicher ebenbürtig.

    “To be expelled from the movie ‘Expelled’ but be given a grateful mention in the credits is certainly equal in its bizarre comics to the broadcasting of ‘Die Hard’ on Good Friday.”

  138. #138 John Marley
    March 23, 2008

    Dawkins and PZ need to lay low as Expelled hits theaters

    I apologize in advance, but I have to shout now.

    IT”S FUCKING “LIE LOW” !

    Again, sorry for that.

  139. #139 JDC
    March 23, 2008

    Nisbet is right, you know.

    One of the primary reasons that the Dover trial was such a ringing success – and Dawkins has as much as admitted this – is that “the A word” was avoided. Had Professor Dawkins, or god forbid PZ Myers had taken the stand and said that more science education will inevitably result in less religion, the case would have been harmed rather than helped.

    This is a PR-battle, not an academic dispute. I don’t think that you realize that the very people that PZ “fuck you very much” Myers routinely calls idiotic are the ones that we’re trying to convince.

    In the real world, the average person doesn’t even understand the theory of evolution. Calling these people idiots and claiming as your goal the reduction and elimination of an important part of their lives isn’t going to pique their interest in science, it’s going to make them curl up into a ball.

    PZ has every right to speak out about these hypocritical demagogues, but he does not speak “for science” and lest some people think he does he should temper his language for the greater good.

    Charles Darwin said:

    “though I am a strong advocate for free thought on all subjects, yet it appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity & theism produce hardly any effect on the public; & freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds which follows from the advance of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, & I have confined myself to science. I may, however, have been unduly biased by the pain which it would give some members of my family, if I aided in any way direct attacks on religion.”

  140. #140 oriole
    March 23, 2008

    It really breaks my heart that concern trolls like Jennifurret find that PZ and friends are endangering the science/atheism cause by moving beyond the servile grinning Step-N-Fetch-It pose to make white folks like the Negro, and now have gone on to the angry black man period that so terrifies the silent majority, but if you invite sadistic lowlifes to kick you in the balls long enough, they start getting the idea that you don’t mind, and since the sadistic lowlifes enjoy kicking people in the balls there’s not much else that’s going to stop them other than staring them down and even kicking back when necessary, even if that violates the delicate sensibilites of simpering appeasers like Nisbet and Jennifurret.

    And for God’s sake (joke) stop whining about how you’re not allowed to express your opinion every time someone forcefully disagrees with you; you’re absolutely allowed to express your opinion, and other people are allowed to say you’re wrong. If you can’t deal with that, you’re not grown up enough to compete in the marketplace of ideas.

  141. #141 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    To hear a PZ constantly saying “fuck you” or calling people “fuckwits” does give a bad image of biologists, academics, and atheists.

    Little Paul is a self-confessed liberal. Schoolyard-level insults and profanity are the main weapon in the liberal arsenal, right up there with unjustified assumptions. When you can’t make an intelligent argument, reach for the expletives.

    Look at it this way: profanity is a form of sentence filler. Frequent use of sentence filler reveals a lack of vocabulary. A lack of vocabulary is indicative of a lack of education and/or intelligence.

    On the other hand, perhaps Peasy wants to become the Axl Rose or Howard Stern of the scientific community. Then he’ll become famous.

    Hypothesis: several people will respond to this comment with insults and profanity, thus demonstrating its total correctness.

  142. #142 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    And I’m well aware no one has to care what I think. But the fact is, a lot of people here are just going to mindlessly suck up to PZ without actually thinking about each side of the issue. If anyone dares to disagree with them, they get thrown to the wolves. Try to think for yourselves for once – I would think a bunch of atheists would be less likely to blindly pledge alegence to someone.

    Examine the root of your unfounded belief that Nisbet is arguing in good faith and should be responded to as such and we’ll talk.

  143. #143 Dr Benway
    March 23, 2008

    I use the “average reasonable person” method to figure out social mores. I ask, “what would an average reasonable person do if…

    – interviewed for a movie
    – at a screening in his/her home town
    – was removed by security without explanation and with threats of arrest

    I think any average reasonable person would be livid. I’d expect a confrontation. Playing nice and keeping quiet would be a deviation from my expectations. Too much deviation looks gamey. All fine and good for politics, but not so good if you want people to trust you.

  144. #144 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    I’m afraid that PZ is no longer the voice of reason, if he ever was. Strange that Dawkins got so chummy with such a low life character in the first place, but I guess he had no other choice. That’s america.

    Enough said.

  145. #145 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 23, 2008

    I think Nisbet just wants more traffic.

    That and the satisfaction to sticking it to PZ and Dawkins for trying to opinionate on science and religion and instead ending up in a crockumentary.

    Luckily the crockumentary is an even better example of why Athletic Atheists? should energetically push on religion to step back from claims on science. So Nisbet needs to do some damage control for religion to divert this very fact.

    Notice how most of Nisbet’s “communicators” aren’t interested in science and science education as such but on the interface between science and religion, the very area that PZ and Dawkins wanted to discuss in the first place. Nisbet is erecting a catch-22 strawman.

    As I said earlier, I think there are two dynamics here.

    I think so too, but I happen to believe it is more complicated. In the short time scale the recruitment of theists to support science is helpful. On the long time scale the work to make an Overton window room for atheists will diminish recruitment towards religiosity. Both between theists and fundie theocrats, and between atheists and theists.

    I don’t think there is an ultimate conflict between the correlation between scientists and atheism on the one hand, and the goal of increasing knowledge in society. To make an analogy, always a risky business: it can be viewed as a self consistent state so more stable if achievable.

  146. #146 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 23, 2008

    I think Nisbet just wants more traffic.

    That and the satisfaction to sticking it to PZ and Dawkins for trying to opinionate on science and religion and instead ending up in a crockumentary.

    Luckily the crockumentary is an even better example of why Athletic Atheists? should energetically push on religion to step back from claims on science. So Nisbet needs to do some damage control for religion to divert this very fact.

    Notice how most of Nisbet’s “communicators” aren’t interested in science and science education as such but on the interface between science and religion, the very area that PZ and Dawkins wanted to discuss in the first place. Nisbet is erecting a catch-22 strawman.

    As I said earlier, I think there are two dynamics here.

    I think so too, but I happen to believe it is more complicated. In the short time scale the recruitment of theists to support science is helpful. On the long time scale the work to make an Overton window room for atheists will diminish recruitment towards religiosity. Both between theists and fundie theocrats, and between atheists and theists.

    I don’t think there is an ultimate conflict between the correlation between scientists and atheism on the one hand, and the goal of increasing knowledge in society. To make an analogy, always a risky business: it can be viewed as a self consistent state so more stable if achievable.

  147. #147 Carlie
    March 23, 2008

    I don’t usually comment on framing wars posts, because I’ve never paid attention to Nisbett and I do like Mooney. I like a lot of his stuff, and I agree with him on some of the framing issue. HOWEVER, this has me totally mystified. If anything screams “perfect framing”, it’s “Expelled participant expelled from a showing of Expelled”. This is the best possible outcome from a framing perspective, so WTF are they going on about? No, PZ shouldn’t shut up, he should ride this pony as far as it will take him.

  148. #148 Mark B
    March 23, 2008

    I’ve been following Creationism (and it’s more recent derivative, ID) seriously since I did a research paper on it in Journalism in the early 80s. It’s my opinion that the conciliatory treatment by scientists of the practitioners of that area who were clearly charlatans [Gish, et al] led to the current situation where the proponents are somewhat more polished and better funded, but still don’t know a lick about science.

    Most scientists don’t give a damn about creationism/ID, and why should they? It isn’t science, the practitioners don’t publish so they don’t have to waste their time reviewing their output. Unfortunately, the impact on the public’s understanding of science and the detrimental effect on science education has started to have a pronounced effect of legitimate science. It’s hard to fund a scientific project when the general public is unable to distinguish legitimate science from poorly conceived pseudoscience.

    It’s hard to staff scientific projects when average Americans receive an extremely poor education in public schools. Most universities have good programs to educate students and bring them up to speed, but a lot of many students first years at college are wasted on remedial classes.

    Dawkins’ and Myers’ agressive tones are well justified by the dishonesty and destructiveness of those on the creationist side of the argument. Nisbet is just a concern troll.

  149. #149 Zarquon
    March 23, 2008

    “Schoolyard-level insults and profanity are the main weapon in the liberal arsenal, right up there with unjustified assumptions”

    “…Peasy…”

    Tee hee
    Making fun of people’s names is about as schoolyard as it gets, Joe.

    Why are the right-wingers always writing self-refuting posts?

  150. #150 craig
    March 23, 2008

    So… this guy is criticizing PZ for complaining about having gotten deceived and misrepresented and lied about. Meanwhile over in the comments thread for Richard Dawkins’ post about the incident, people are taking him to task over one of the words he used. ONE of the words he used. One possible interpretation of one of the words he used.

    On the other side, Mark Mathis is being taken to task by ID supporters for his underhanded tactics and slander, right? They’re probably there complaining that ID is poorly represented by someone who used deceit, right?

    There’s a difference between taking the high road and laying down and being the road.

  151. #151 Stuart Dryer
    March 23, 2008

    As a working professional scientist, I recent those who are not — that would be people like Nisbet — telling me or my colleagues how we should respond to attacks directed specifically at us.

    The fact is, the vast majority of basic scientists reject religion, and are best described as “weak atheists”; if this gives a lot of nice people the vapors, well, they better get used to the idea.

  152. #152 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Why are the right-wingers always writing self-refuting posts?

    Data point # 1 in favor of my hypothesis. That took a whole sixteen minutes. I guess it’s a slow night.

  153. #153 areff
    March 23, 2008

    Indeed, obscenity is the crutch of inarticulate motherfuckers.

  154. #154 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Joe,
    Deriding insults, while making them yourself is to cut your argument off at the knees.
    You make our counter arguments for us.

    Thank you.

  155. #155 Lev
    March 23, 2008

    Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

  156. #156 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Deriding insults, while making them yourself is to cut your argument off at the knees.

    Really? Where did I make insults?

    You make our counter arguments for us.

    Only to those who lack basic reading comprehension skills.

  157. #157 Tatarize
    March 23, 2008

    I think Matt fails to understand the number of voices matters greatly. It’s once thing to stand back and allow a moderate voice with a lot of apologies and nuance make the case that they are wrong. It’s another thing to have a thousand people calling you a moron and refuting all of your claims to prove it.

    Here and there you see the cases where some nuance could have been better used. Where the scalpel would have been better than the hammer (in the solitary sense), but there I am at a loss as to think of a time when a thousand hammers isn’t as effective as a scalpel.

    I’m a pretty common face on About’s Atheism/Agnosticism forums and it’s idiot-free even without banning them, really the idiots get laughed out the door and it’s worse if they try.

    I think having the entire science blog world laughing at the producers of expelled is clearly a good thing. A chorus of voices of reason, even allowing for a possible gaff, are more than enough to deal with the most vigilant forms of stupid.

  158. #158 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Claim 1 “insults and profanity are the main weapon in the liberal arsenal”
    Joe: “Peasy/Little Paul” Data point 1 that Joe is acting hypocritically.

    Claim 2 “Why are the right-wingers always writing self-refuting posts?” Counts as an insult
    Joe: “Schoolyard-level insults and profanity are the main weapon in the liberal arsenal” Data point 2 that Joe is acting hypocritically.

    Well done Joe.

  159. #159 decrepitoldfool
    March 23, 2008

    Jennifurret, please allow allow me to give you some unsolicited advice (which you are free to ignore but try it on). I once made an argument here similar to the one you are making now, and was promptly expelled – not banned from the blog system but invited on no uncertain terms to leave. So I gave it several months’ thought before returning. Here is what I came up with:

    PZ appears to believe (this is my working construct; I do not represent it as truth) that any argument, however well-supported by scientific evidence, is strengthened by the word “fuck”. Trust me on this, it’s his schtick and he isn’t looking for alternatives. Maybe someday he’ll have some experience that persuades him to change his approach but I don’t recommend holding your breath.

    (Enter a whole long-arsed acknowledgment here about how absurd it is that some people stop listening to facts and reason when they hear “the F-Bomb”.)

    Taking that attitude allows me to enjoy the content and conversation at Pharyngula, with which (as described by Lee Brimmicombe-Wood in comment 126) I am very much in agreement.

  160. #160 oriole
    March 23, 2008

    I’m of course awestruck by Joe Blow’s erudtion, and his conviction that the racy locutions embraced by liberals afford evidence of vocabulary deficiency should inspire us to persuade him that he is guilty of a faux pas. To achieve this end, we would be well-advised to construct circumlocuitous, sesquipedalian responses, which despite their professorial prose nonetheless avoid the errors of pleonastic usage and recherché references.

    Or of course we could just tell him to go fuck himself.

  161. #161 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Joe, I’m simply following your own classifications of what you yourself are counting as insults.

    And your insult to my comprehension skills is noted. Thank you.

  162. #162 Zarquon
    March 23, 2008

    There were at least 8 insults in your post, Joe. That you don’t recognise this simply adds another: You insult our intelligence.

  163. #163 doctorgoo
    March 23, 2008

    From the Framing Science post that PZ is responding to… the part that summarizes PZ’s video:

    Notice the very clear translation for audiences as to what supposedly establishment science believes:

    A) Learning about science makes you an atheist, it “kills off” religious faith.

    B) If we boost science literacy in society, it will lead to erosion of religion, as religion fades away, we will get more and more science, and less and less religion.

    C) Religion is a fairy tale, similar to hobgoblins, a fantasy, and even evil.

    I’m sorry, but doesn’t this seem totally obvious? We see this all the time… an ID/creationist says that evolution is anti-Christian, and the preacher presents it to his congregation as a dichotomy… either choose a ‘belief’ in evolution or a belief in Christianity.

    The way to fight such a technique is NOT to agree with the fundamentalist that this dichotomy is correct, which is basically what PZ does with way too much frequency. The way to combat that is to point out that many Christians also support evolution.

    But instead, PZ promotes atheism first and foremost (to the detriment of convincing the other side to allow a proper science education), and ends up confirming their worst nightmare of what it means to teach science (that it equals teaching atheism).

    It seems to me that PZ really DOES think teaching evolution is a way of promoting atheism. We know that his primary goal isn’t the promotion of science education by how he continually treats scientists who also happen to be religious with disrespect… even though these religious scientists are in the best position to convince other religious people of the importance of a proper science education.

    Sure, the moderate and liberal Christians will laugh along with us atheists when we point out the absurdities and the hypocrisies of the so-called “PZ affair”, as Matt put it. But PZ almost always goes further… he insults all religious persons in those three ways Matt pointed out in his post, and it just plays into their hands.

    Look, I’ll be the first to admit that PZ is a powerful and popular voice. I just think he has his priorities mixed up. Instead of pushing his lofty goal of making atheism the predominate viewpoint in America, I wish he’d push for the more reasonable goal of improving science education by demonstrating how fun and entertaining it can be. This, in my opinion, has always been his strongest point anyway.

    But the bottom line, for me anyway, is that while I don’t want PZ to be quiet about popularizing science, I just want him to quit giving the other side ammo when it comes to polarizing their side against science!

    Also, I just want to add that I agree with almost everything from this post (especially the part about DramaBlogs… lol):
    http://cosmicvariance.com/2008/03/23/politicians-and-critics/

    I’d like to say something about this paragraph though:

    In his post, Matt is perfectly blatant: PZ and Dawkins are hurting the cause, and should just shut up.

    They only hurt the cause when they agree with the other side that evolution = atheism. But when PZ proactively promotes science as being fun and interesting, then PZ is most definitely one of our very best weapons in the war for proper science education.

  164. #164 Three of Swords
    March 23, 2008

    130+ (so far) post thread based almost entirely on a false dichotomy. As if you have to be rude to be aggressive or you have to be a sniveling milquetoast to agree.

    Yes, we need both butchers and surgeons in this fight but the butchers don’t need to be boors and the surgeons don’t need to be bootlickers.

  165. #165 Dr Benway
    March 23, 2008

    I can’t believe I’m listening to grown-ups talking about appropriate use of the word “fuck.”

  166. #166 Chris C. Mooney
    March 23, 2008

    PZ,
    In dialogues with you I have always treated you with respect and decorum.

    Whether Nisbet is right or wrong, your language here is not defensible. You are setting a very bad example. You ought to take it back and apologize.

  167. #167 ngong
    March 23, 2008

    Nisbet is a true master of framing. He actually concurs with PZ and Dawkin’s approach to societal manipulation, but knows that telling them to shut up will energize them even more. Pure, selfless, genius!

  168. #168 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    Why are the right-wingers always writing self-refuting posts?

    Data point # 1 in favor of my hypothesis. That took a whole sixteen minutes. I guess it’s a slow night.

    That’s neither an insult nor profane.

    But thank you for doing the “you can’t fire me, I quit!” routine with regard to our anticipated insults of your intelligence. Saves us some trouble.

  169. #169 Sastra
    March 23, 2008

    JDC #136 wrote:

    I don’t think that you realize that the very people that PZ “fuck you very much” Myers routinely calls idiotic are the ones that we’re trying to convince. In the real world, the average person doesn’t even understand the theory of evolution. Calling these people idiots and claiming as your goal the reduction and elimination of an important part of their lives isn’t going to pique their interest in science, it’s going to make them curl up into a ball.

    Does PZ call the religious idiots? Remember, the “fuck you” was specifically directed towards Matt, with whom he has a — uh — history of disagreement.

    Since Matt Nisbet’s argument is that PZ says things which should not have been said in his interview, I just made a transcript from the Expelled clip:

    “I never hated religion; I found religion quite comfortable, I liked the people in it. What lead to the atheism was learning more about science, learning more about the natural world, and seeing these horrible conflicts with religion.

    Religion is an idea that gives some people comfort – and we don’t want to take that away from them. It’s like knitting. People like to knit. We’re not going to take their knitting needles away; we’re not going to take their churches. But what we have to do is get it to a place where religion is treated at the level it should be treated: that is, something fun people get together and do on the weekend, and really doesn’t affect their life as much as it has done so far.

    Greater science literacy was going to lead to the erosion of religion, and then you get this nice positive feedback mechanism going whereas religion slowly fades away with more and more science to replace it, and that will displace more and more religion with a lot more science – and we eventually get to that point where religion has taken that appropriate place as a side dish rather than the main course.

    And if you separate out the ethical message from religion – what do you got left? You’ve got a bunch of fairy tales, right?

  170. #170 Dr Benway
    March 23, 2008

    Some scientists feel that a science education leads to atheism. Some scientists disagree, and feel it’s possible to accept evolution and believe in God. *shrugs*

  171. #171 swb
    March 23, 2008

    JDC at #136:

    This is a PR-battle, not an academic dispute. I don’t think that you realize that the very people that PZ “fuck you very much” Myers routinely calls idiotic are the ones that we’re trying to convince.

    Actually, I’m not here to convince that crowd. Ultimately, by tearing down science and creating privilege for those who espouse “faith” they are no different than if they were to cross the street by closing their eyes and saying a prayer rather than look both ways.

    There is very little convincing to be done when confronted with that kind of behavior. Were there no social consequences and were this just the actions of isolated individuals, it would ultimately be self-limiting as physical realities kicked in, as in, some number of them getting flattened by an 18-wheeler.

    The problem with this subculture and its propaganda is that there is more than just their own lives at stake, and the consequences are not instantaneous, they play out over a longer term. But no, “convincing” them through PR is not part of my strategy, it will not work. I expect most of them to go to their graves unchanged. One of the few things that can be done really does start with encouraging dissent, to dissuade those who might go along to get along. And in that context “fuck you very much” provides a clear example.

  172. #172 bubuka
    March 23, 2008

    I must to adapt: #88, #125, #160:
    “Fuck you very much, . You know where you can stick your advice.”

  173. #173 Andrew
    March 23, 2008

    “Hypothesis: several people will respond to this comment with insults and profanity, thus demonstrating its total correctness.”

    Here’s a problem with your hypothesis, I think you’re a fucking cunt and I’m not a liberal. How do you deal with that?

  174. #174 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Whether Nisbet is right or wrong, your language here is not defensible. You are setting a very bad example. You ought to take it back and apologize.

    That’ll be the day.

  175. #175 Russell Blackford
    March 23, 2008

    Nisbet is not our ally. He assumes that religion is here to stay and thinks that he can make science more popular with the masses by trying to reconcile it with religion.

    The trouble is that religion isn’t the enemy just because a bunch of irrational, fundamentalist wingnuts believe in the literal truth of the Bible, infer that the Earth was created 6000-odd years ago by a powerful Skyfather, and conclude they must attack sound biological science. That’s a small part of the problem.

    The bigger part of the problem is that the various popular religions are cults of misery. The Catholic Church, to which those nice “moderate” folks, Ken Miller and Francisco Ayala belong, is the biggest misery cult of the lot, and one of the nastiest.

    Yes, there are some genuinely moderate religious folks around, mainly in the Anglican Church (which I’ve often outed myself as still feeling affection for). But by and large, Abrahamic monotheism is a cancer on human society. I want to get rid of it, or at least see it transform itself into something relatively benign, like the nicer strains of Anglicanism.

    I see no reason at all why any of us who believe something like this should shut up, just because it doesn’t suit Nisbet’s quite different agenda. If you believe what I believe, Nisbet is actually an opponent: he specifically wants to stop our message going out, because it’s at cross-purposes with his Master Plan of sanitising framing science for religious Americans.

    My only objection to PZ swearing at him is that it expresses the exasperation that one can feel towards an ally who doesn’t “get” it. But Nisbet isn’t an ally in the first place; he’s an opponent. It’s as simple as that.

  176. #176 Pierce R. Butler
    March 23, 2008

    The winner of this thread:

    Sastra: Creationism is a gift to atheists, because it helps to highlight the divide between a magical world-view and a reasonable one.

    Molly, schmolly: PZ, please add this to your Random Quote file!

  177. #177 craig
    March 23, 2008

    I just want him to quit giving the other side ammo when it comes to polarizing their side against science!”

    Personally I want to see that polarization. It will be painful in the short term, but its necessary in the long term.

    The sides are already as polarized as it gets.
    Science is the deliberate search for an understanding of reality.
    Religion is the deliberate rejection of reality.

    Teaching evolution, teaching any science IS a way of promoting atheism. The only way a person can hold both scientific understanding and religious faith inside the same skull is through schizophrenic compartmentalization.

    Saying that science and religion are compatible is the problem. It muddies the waters. It tells people that it’s ok to accept the reality you like and reject the reality you don’t like. It makes facts optional.

    It makes ID and creationism possible.

    Science is anti-nonsense. Religion is nonsense. Allowing people to mix the two together hurts science and helps nonsense.

    The ONLY way science can triumph over willful delusion is to make the choice stark and clear. Accept reality, or reject it, your choice.

    It will be a wrenching experience for the religious and for society in general, but let the religious make the emotional choice and reject science and reality. They’ll pummel science and scientists in the short term, cutting of their noses to spite their faces. And reality will continue on for those who open their eyes to it.

    Force the choice and watch religion die a loud messy death.

  178. #178 JDC
    March 23, 2008

    swb,

    I wasn’t referring to the propagandists themselves, I was referring to the general public, 75% of whom are at least somewhat religious in the US. The average person couldn’t give a lick about science. It’s a matter of perception, and if teaching science = teaching atheism, you’ve got a hard sell on your hands.

  179. #179 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Joe, being the guy who insults people for using insults, and then being apparently unaware of that fact, you should be a little more cautious in accusing people of an inability to correct mistakes and apologize.

  180. #180 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Here’s a problem with your hypothesis, I think you’re a fucking cunt and I’m not a liberal. How do you deal with that?

    I think it would be rather difficult (but very impressive!) for a fornicating vagina to use a keyboard and mouse. Therefore, your “thought” (term used loosely) is incorrect. You could also be lying or in denial about being a liberal. Or you might be a teenager trying to impress her friends by posting profanity on-line. Aren’t you just wicked sick, as the kids say these days.

    By the way, that’s data point # 2 for my hypothesis.

    Next.

  181. #181 Aureola Nominee, FCD
    March 23, 2008

    Joe Blow:

    Zarquon did not use insults nor profanity. So no, your hypothesis is not verified. Have you got any other feeble attempt at liberal-baiting to try? Because this was only good for a brief smile, not a hearty belly-laugh.

  182. #182 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Hypothesis: Joe will take anything he can get and twist it to appear as evidence to support his case.

    Example: After Andrew’s denial of being a liberal, “You could also be lying or in denial about being a liberal.” And Joe thus counts the possibility as confirmation.

    Well done, Joe.

  183. #183 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Claim 1 “insults and profanity are the main weapon in the liberal arsenal”
    Joe: “Peasy/Little Paul” Data point 1 that Joe is acting hypocritically.

    Claim 2 “Why are the right-wingers always writing self-refuting posts?” Counts as an insult

    But not one made by me.

    Joe: “Schoolyard-level insults and profanity are the main weapon in the liberal arsenal” Data point 2 that Joe is acting hypocritically.

    How do you reach this conclusion? Oh, that’s right, you just assumed it. Data point # 3 for Joe’s hypothesis.

    Well done Joe.

    Agreed!

  184. #184 decrepitoldfool
    March 23, 2008

    Dr Benway: “I can’t believe I’m listening to grown-ups talking about appropriate use of the word “fuck.”

    I don’t know how valid it is, but Stephen Pinker has done considerable study of the evolutionary and neurological basis of profanity, and “fuck” in particular.

    It is my belief that some people are impacted far more strongly than others by specific profanities. A quirk of their upbringing? Something biological? Who the fuck knows? (Stephen Pinker, perhaps) I say fuck, with the idea of insulting them and slapping them with my glove, but they hear something entirely different that completely obscures the point I am trying to make. Anyway when communicating with such individuals, silly as it sounds, it might actually make sense to avoid profanities or stick to ones to which they have been desensitized by television.

  185. #185 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Joe…

    You do know what “Hypocrite” means, yes?

  186. #186 Andrew
    March 23, 2008

    I use the term “cunt” in technical definition which is “a driver who double parks on busy city streets” and the usual reference to a fornicating vagina.

    Anyway I find it odd that rather than admit that people other than liberals use profanity as their first choice in verbal weaponry you assume I’m a liberal in disguise. This is very telling as it means that rather than follow the evidence you twist it to appeal to your pre-existing political ideology.

    Further more, using terms like “data point” only make you like smug little weasel. You might as well just say “Simpsons did it” because to the average reader of these posts, I afraid that’s who they picture when they read your writings.

  187. #187 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Hypothesis: Joe will take anything he can get and twist it to appear as evidence to support his case.

    For which you provide no evidence. We wouldn’t be projecting, now, would we?

    Example: After Andrew’s denial of being a liberal, “You could also be lying or in denial about being a liberal.” And Joe thus counts the possibility as confirmation.

    It’s a very real possibility. Many, if not most, members of the human species will say, “I’m not a ______,” when they quite obviously are that thing. Just saying it doesn’t make it so.

    Well done, Joe.

  188. #188 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Joe is really beginning to make me giggle. I’m beginning to think this is conservative satire verging on performance art.

  189. #189 Sastra
    March 23, 2008

    doctorgoo #158 wrote:

    We know that (PZ’s) primary goal isn’t the promotion of science education by how he continually treats scientists who also happen to be religious with disrespect… even though these religious scientists are in the best position to convince other religious people of the importance of a proper science education.

    I don’t agree that PZ has “treated scientists who also happen to be religious with disrespect” — he often praises their skills and abilities as scientists, and lauds their work against creationism. What he does do, however, is look directly at the specific arguments they make for why they believe in God, and critique them. They are not good arguments, and he says they are not good arguments, and he says why they are not good arguments. He approaches their apologetics with the same amount of respect — and skepticism — he approaches their science arguments (where sometimes he agrees and sometimes does not.)

    As he sees it, the problem with the religious scientists is that they are still encouraging people to believe things on bad evidence. It’s not creationism — but it’s the mindset which leads to creationism, which still carves out a part of the universe as magic and gives permission to get sloppy. And at least some of the arguments these scientists use to support the existence of God attack, not biology, but neurology or cosmology instead. They draw lines in areas outside their own expertise and say “science can’t answer this” when science is actually getting on to that very question.

    To say that well, this kind of rationalization will make people accept more science than they do right now seems to me like a betrayal of the scientific enterprise itself. One accepts a theory because of the weight of the evidence in its favor: one should not accept a theory because it will provide you with a personal benefit. If more people accept evolution if you give them a toaster, do we hand out toasters? It’s a game where we trade a bit of honesty and openness for a bit more effectiveness. It’s understandable, but it’s not unreasonable to suggest that it may not work — either long term or even in the short run.

    If you want to convince someone to avoid taking toxic doses of some “alternative medicine” herbal concoction by persuading them to take a homeopathic remedy instead — which is totally inert — then you’ve helped them on the practical level. But you’re not really promoting science or scientific thinking. You’ve just swapped habits.

  190. #190 Andrew
    March 23, 2008

    For the record I’m a crazy Libertarian. Of the worst kind too.. the Penn Jillette kind.

  191. #191 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    You do know what “Hypocrite” means, yes?

    Actually, I do. I’m constantly reminded of the definition (with numerous examples) every time I come to this blog. Why do you ask?

  192. #192 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    I evidence and example can be used as synonyms. You answer you question of where o I get evidence for my claim, in the next word you quote.

    This really is too easy. You’re being funny right Joe?

  193. #193 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    I use the term “cunt” in technical definition which is “a driver who double parks on busy city streets” and the usual reference to a fornicating vagina.

    I’ve never double-parked on a city street.

    Further more, using terms like “data point” only make you like smug little weasel. You might as well just say “Simpsons did it” because to the average reader of these posts, I afraid that’s who they picture when they read your writings.

    What does a long-defunct Canadian department store chain have to do with anything?

  194. #194 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    I asked if you knew the difference, because you’re acting like one. Which isn’t an insult mind you, but an observation of your behavior. I’m sure you know the difference, which I why I think you simply must be satirical.

  195. #195 doctorgoo
    March 23, 2008

    #172

    Teaching evolution, teaching any science IS a way of promoting atheism. The only way a person can hold both scientific understanding and religious faith inside the same skull is through schizophrenic compartmentalization.

    To borrow someone else’s thought experiment… let’s say that I provide 5 real scientific papers written by real scientists who are atheists, and 5 written by real scientists who happen to be Christians… Do you think you’d be able to tell which papers were written by Christians?

    Certainly their “schizophrenic compartmentalization” would be noticable, right? …or perhaps their constant need to insert religion into their scientific work, right (eg Warda/Han)?

    No, of course not. Everyone compartmentalizes things all the time in order to do their work. I suppress my own desire to spend time with my wife and family for 40 hours (or more) a week, so that I can focus on my work and earn a paycheck. This works the same for theists/Christians as well.

  196. #196 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    I evidence and example can be used as synonyms. You answer you question of where o I get evidence for my claim, in the next word you quote.

    You evidence? Tell me, what are you “evidencing”? I’m sorry; that was garbled. Could you 10-9 it?

  197. #197 Nullifidian
    March 23, 2008

    I’m sorry, but doesn’t this seem totally obvious? We see this all the time… an ID/creationist says that evolution is anti-Christian, and the preacher presents it to his congregation as a dichotomy… either choose a ‘belief’ in evolution or a belief in Christianity.

    The way to fight such a technique is NOT to agree with the fundamentalist that this dichotomy is correct, which is basically what PZ does with way too much frequency. The way to combat that is to point out that many Christians also support evolution.

    You were so proud of being wrong at Nisbet’s blog that you had to copy and paste this here, doctorgoo?

    You are deluded if you think that pointing out that there are Christians who are scientists is going to be any sort of means of “combatting” creationism. That there are Christians who support evolution is not news. It is not taken as evidence that Christianity and evolution are compatible, but that liberal Christianity has forfeited truth for worldliness and is one of the devil’s biggest snares.

    The icing on the cake for this view is when you trot out a Catholic, Kenneth Miller, to tell them that Christianity is compatible with science. As far as most fundamentalists are concerned, a Catholic wouldn’t know a damn thing about being a Christian because Catholics are not Christians; they are pagans.

    Fundamentalists sincerely believe that this is not a simple argument over who’s right and who’s wrong, but that their and their children’s immortal souls hang in the balance. If they attended to the sugared words of the theistic evolutionist, their salvation would be put in jeopardy. Instead, the theistic evolutionist is to be proselytized at, not listened to, so that the the theistic evolutionist can climb back onto the narrow path to heaven. Again, remember the words “narrow path”. The fundamentalists are in love with that verse (Mt. 7:14), because it suggests to them that they have the only true faith, and the rest of the Christian community, including the part that accepts evolution, is wrong and damned.

    That’s what you’re dealing with here. The sort of warm and fuzzy liberal theist that you and Mooney and Nisbet imagine would recoil in horror from Dawkins and Myers would recoil in horror faster and have an enormous culture shock if they we impelled by a knee-jerk reaction to embrace fundamentalism. This handwringing is misplaced, because most people, let alone most theists, don’t know who Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers are, nor are they going to care to see them “exposed” on “Expelled”. Well-educated liberal theists who are likely to know who Myers and Dawkins are already know that science is compatible with religion. When they read stuff they don’t agree with, they greet it at most with a smirk and move on. They are not shocked to their core at all, let alone enough to embrace creationism. And the creationists who know who Dawkins and Myers are aren’t going to change their minds. The rest of the theists simply don’t care, and that’s an end to it.

  198. #198 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    I asked if you knew the difference, because you’re acting like one. Which isn’t an insult mind you, but an observation of your behavior.

    You mean, like my observation of the behavior of the esteemed Mr. Myers?

  199. #199 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Pardon “I asked if you knew the definition.” Which you claim to, and yet cannot see how your acting like one. Which again leads me to think you’re a new comedian.

  200. #200 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Evidence and example: synonyms. Read for comprehension Joe, even if I can’t be bothered to spell check posts written to you. By the way, you’re still doing a wonderful job undercutting yourself.

  201. #201 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    From Zarquon:
    Why are the right-wingers always writing self-refuting posts?
    From Aureola Nominee, FCD:
    Zarquon did not use insults nor profanity.

    Bzzt Bzzt. Try again.

  202. #202 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Evidence and example: synonyms. Read for comprehension Joe, even if I can’t be bothered to spell check posts written to you.

    Laziness: another liberal hallmark.

    By the way, you’re still doing a wonderful job undercutting yourself.

    In your alleged mind, of course.

  203. #203 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    Joe, which part of that last quote is an “insult?”

  204. #204 rmp
    March 23, 2008

    I’m just curious if Matt Nisbet would have been put off by the actions of Rosa Parks or Dr. King.

  205. #205 Brian W.
    March 23, 2008

    It’s immature to use adult language?

    I’m confused.

  206. #206 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Joe, which part of that last quote is an “insult?”

    The part about right-wingers always writing self-refuting posts, as ironic and lame as it was.

  207. #207 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    As I said earlier, I think there are two dynamics here. We guard the front lines and refuse to concede ground, while Jenni and her cohorts gently win the war.

    They’re not going to win a damn thing if they spend all their time getting the vapors over profanity. Their priorities are as completely scrambled as those of people who think throwing out illegal immigrants is a higher priority than getting someone sane in office to help fix the economy and sort out the Iraq mess. And they’re not brain-damaged or retarded; while they might have been raised with this ridiculously screwed-up value system, it is, at bottom, a choice, and a bad one. Mincing words about that isn’t going to help anything.

  208. #208 Ebonmuse
    March 23, 2008

    It’s downright pathetic watching Nisbet make an ass out of himself like this. He can persist in his appease-the-enemy plan for as long as he likes, but does he really think for even one second that PZ is going to go along with it, given their past exchanges?

    If Nisbet seriously thinks there’s any possibility whatsoever of PZ, Dawkins and other genuine, successful atheists shutting up and ceding the floor to him, he’s more deluded than I thought. His shut-up-because-I-know-best approach reeks of smug condescension, and I for one am glad to see PZ shove it back through his mail slot in the fashion that he did.

  209. #209 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Pardon “I asked if you knew the definition.” Which you claim to, and yet cannot see how your acting like one.

    That’s because I cannot see that which does not exist. You still haven’t shown where I’ve used an insult (as opposed to an observation supported by empirical evidence). Too much to ask, I guess.

  210. #210 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    Joe, what part of that statement are you contending actually falls under the definition of “insult?”

  211. #211 Nullifidian
    March 23, 2008

    I’m just curious if Matt Nisbet would have been put off by the actions of Rosa Parks or Dr. King.

    Probably.

    I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

  212. #212 Dale Husband
    March 23, 2008

    PZ Myers, you forgot to include a link to the idiotic blog you were responding to. I found it anyway. Here it is:

    http://scienceblogs.com/framing-science/2008/03/why_the_pz_myers_affair_is_rea.php

    For a communication expert, he certainly sounds incredibly stupid! Instead of “FRAMING SCIENCE”, Nesbit’s blog should be titled, “INSULTING SCIENCE”.

  213. #213 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Joe, you are a hypocrite. It’s so plain it hurts. While, it was a fun distraction from all this hullaballoo refuting you using nothing but your won words, you got kinda repetitious and boring, so you will now be duly ignored for acting like a troll. Thank you for the fun.

  214. #214 Mark B
    March 23, 2008

    OK, this is going to sound like whining, but why is it that an obvious troll like Joe gets his posts instantly up, where mine are held for hours until reviewed? I’ve only made a few posts, and I’m probably guilty of some me-tooism, but honestly, it’s an interesting conversation and I’d like to participate in real time, if possible. I’m sure my contributions would be more worthwhile than some of the obvious trolling I’ve seen here.

    Sorry to go all meta.

  215. #215 Dr Benway
    March 23, 2008

    Anyway when communicating with such individuals, silly as it sounds, it might actually make sense to avoid profanities or stick to ones to which they have been desensitized by television.

    But the loss of control is the message, no? The speaker feels something painful and unpleasant, like a toe stubbed against a coffee table, and reacts emotionally.

  216. #216 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    I’m of course awestruck by Joe Blow’s erudtion, and his conviction that the racy locutions embraced by liberals afford evidence of vocabulary deficiency should inspire us to persuade him that he is guilty of a faux pas. To achieve this end, we would be well-advised to construct circumlocuitous, sesquipedalian responses, which despite their professorial prose nonetheless avoid the errors of pleonastic usage and recherché references.

    Or of course we could just tell him to go fuck himself.

    How mature! Why don’t you try submitting it to a scientific journal. I’m sure they’ll be lining up to publish it.

  217. #217 rmp
    March 23, 2008

    Nullifidian, Thanks for that info!! I’m embarrassed by what I don’t know. Thank the FSM for the internets.

  218. #218 doctorgoo
    March 23, 2008

    Sastra @184:

    I don’t agree that PZ has “treated scientists who also happen to be religious with disrespect” — he often praises their skills and abilities as scientists, and lauds their work against creationism. What he does do, however, is look directly at the specific arguments they make for why they believe in God, and critique them.

    After watching PZ’s video, I agree with Matt in his three issues (which I listed in comment 158) that were self-destructive for the cause of promoting proper science education. Item (C) in particular “Religion is a fairy tale, similar to hobgoblins, a fantasy, and even evil.” is equally insulting to the Christians who are moderate or liberal (or even scientists) as it is to the fundamentalists.

    I will concede that PZ often does compliment their work in some posts, in others (where he isn’t addressing them directly), he has the nasty tendency of insulting all Christians (including those who practice real science) instead of just the wingnuts.

    By the way, I’ve finally been able to load Dawkins’ Lying for Jesus? post. (lol… thanks to all those who stopped hogging all the bandwidth long enough to let others read it!)

    Dawkins has a great response (which, I agree with most here, IS needed). But after my quick read, I find that he was able to respond to the situation by pointing out the absurdities and the hypocrisy of what happened… without having to give the other side ammo.

    I just really with that both him and PZ would do more of that. Moderate Christians will share a laugh with us (at the expense of the wingnuts) when our side has a response like that one!

  219. #219 William Wallace
    March 23, 2008

    PZ Myers wrote:

    Fuck you very much, Matt. You know where you can stick your advice.

    Hmn. I wonder why they didn’t want you at the private screening.

  220. #220 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Joe, you are a hypocrite.

    Yet another data point.

    It’s so plain it hurts. While, it was a fun distraction from all this hullaballoo refuting you using nothing but your won words,

    “Won” words? When did I win them?

    you got kinda repetitious and boring, so you will now be duly ignored for acting like a troll.

    Three more data points. I love it when I’m right.

    Thank you for the fun.

    Glad to be of service. If you have any more misconceptions I can correct just let me know.

  221. #221 Stanton
    March 23, 2008

    Hmn. I wonder why they didn’t want you at the private screening.

    So can you provide evidence that Professor Myers was disruptive while waiting for entry, or are you bullshitting for Jesus again?

  222. #222 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    William, it wasn’t “private” in the sense you seem to be thinking of, but open to anyone who signed up on line.

  223. #223 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    Joe, what part of that statement are you contending actually falls under the definition of “insult?”

  224. #224 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Joe, what part of that statement are you contending actually falls under the definition of “insult?”

    Asked and answered.

  225. #225 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    No. Nothing in the statement you quoted actually matches any accepted meaning of “insult.” Since you obviously disagree with the above, please explain how it is incorrect.

  226. #226 doctorgoo
    March 23, 2008

    Sastra @184 again:

    If you want to convince someone to avoid taking toxic doses of some “alternative medicine” herbal concoction by persuading them to take a homeopathic remedy instead — which is totally inert — then you’ve helped them on the practical level. But you’re not really promoting science or scientific thinking. You’ve just swapped habits.

    Staying with your analogy… if my primary goal is to save lives, then yes, I’ll do what it takes to do so, even if it means giving them placebo to trick them.

    …Bringing your analogy back on topic… I find that the goal of promoting proper science standards in public high schools is much more important than convincing others to share my personal world-view of atheism. To that end, I’m more than willing to work with Christians who also fight for the same goal.

  227. #227 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    No. Nothing in the statement you quoted actually matches any accepted meaning of “insult.” Since you obviously disagree with the above, please explain how it is incorrect.

    The notion that “right-wingers always write self-refuting posts” incorrectly implies that non-liberals are not capable of making non-contradictory arguments. In the English language, this is known as an insult.

  228. #228 thadd
    March 23, 2008

    Someone left a comment reading in part “PZ, and several other pseudo-progressive bloggers have a nasty nasty habit of censoring or ‘expelling’ the views of people they disagree with in blog posts and then “disemvoweling” them,lying about them and having a general hey day leveling flasehoods/presumptions, etc. amongst their own minions.” over on my blog, I really am unsure what these falsehoods etc are.

  229. #229 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Don’t be too hard on him Azky. Being a conservative satire artist is difficult these days.

  230. #230 Stanton
    March 23, 2008

    William, it wasn’t “private” in the sense you seem to be thinking of, but open to anyone who signed up on line.

    I really doubt that William can comprehend this, Michael, given as how his ability to parse reality, as well as his ability to empathize and sympathize with other humans have suffered immensely ever since he devoted himself to being a petty bullshitter for Jesus full time.

  231. #231 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Don’t be too hard on him Azky. Being a conservative satire artist is difficult these days.

    I thought you were ignoring me. I can see that keeping promises is another one of your weaknesses.

  232. #232 Zarquon
    March 23, 2008

    Guys, Joe Blow’s a troll. He’ll do anything or say anything simply to get the last word and therefore claim “victory”. There’s no way you’ll get an honest response, as he has no intention of being honest.

  233. #233 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    *Continues to read posts written by Azkyroth, and respond to Azkyroth*

    Though for some odd reason, I just had the strongest urge to laugh…

  234. #234 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    The notion that “right-wingers always write self-refuting posts” incorrectly implies that non-liberals are not capable of making non-contradictory arguments. In the English language, this is known as an insult.

    Since you made several similar assertions about liberals in your own post and subsequently denied that your comments contained insults, it is not an insult by your own standards, unless you can explain how it fits the definition in a way that your comments do not. Still waiting…

  235. #235 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Guys, Joe Blow’s a troll. He’ll do anything or say anything simply to get the last word and therefore claim “victory”. There’s no way you’ll get an honest response, as he has no intention of being honest.

    You can’t resist giving me more data points for my hypothesis, can you? That’s another four, for those who are counting.

  236. #236 PZ Myers
    March 23, 2008

    To borrow someone else’s thought experiment… let’s say that I provide 5 real scientific papers written by real scientists who are atheists, and 5 written by real scientists who happen to be Christians… Do you think you’d be able to tell which papers were written by Christians?

    Certainly their “schizophrenic compartmentalization” would be noticable, right? …or perhaps their constant need to insert religion into their scientific work, right (eg Warda/Han)?

    Stupid strawman, doctorgoo. People are very, very good at expressing themselves in different ways in different contexts, and no one has ever claimed that scientific papers written by Christians vs. non-Christians would be recognizably different. Well, except for certain clueless tools.

    Please…go wank on a site like Nisbet’s where that kind of blithering nonsense would be appreciated.

  237. #237 Kevin
    March 23, 2008

    When my son was two, he was all the hit with the cousins for saying “Fuck!” and “Shit!”. He his also the YOUNGEST! child ever to tell his kindergarten teacher “Fuck You!”

    Everyone looked at me and I’m like don’t look at me! and my wife had to admit that while driving him around she would tend to, err, CURSE at the lameo and brain-damaged drivers that were in the way.

    So they both had to go to a re-education camp up in the mountains. Now they don’t fucking curse no more…

  238. #238 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    Zarq is right guys. Besides, Joe is a bit one note.

  239. #239 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    *Continues to read posts written by Azkyroth, and respond to Azkyroth*

    …while referring, and therefore responding, to me. Can’t stay away, can you?

  240. #240 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    I’m amusing myself by handing out rope. Will you stop giving him an excuse to respond to something other than my question while evading it?

  241. #241 Michael X
    March 23, 2008

    All yours.

  242. #242 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Zarq is right guys. Besides, Joe is a bit one note.

    What’s a “bit one” note? A bit has only two possible values? How can one represent the musical scale using a bit?

    Well, except for certain clueless tools.

    Please…go wank on a site like Nisbet’s where that kind of blithering nonsense would be appreciated.

    Why the fascination with male genitalia and masturbation?

    Since you made several similar assertions about liberals in your own post and subsequently denied that your comments contained insults, it is not an insult by your own standards, unless you can explain how it fits the definition in a way that your comments do not.

    Irrelevant. Next.

  243. #243 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    Irrelevant why?

  244. #244 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    I’m amusing myself by handing out rope. Will you stop giving him an excuse to respond to something other than my question while evading it?

    I’ve responded several times. Please read what I wrote.

  245. #245 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Irrelevant why?

    On a deja repondu a cette question.

  246. #246 Sastra
    March 23, 2008

    doctorgoo #212 wrote:

    Item (C) in particular “Religion is a fairy tale, similar to hobgoblins, a fantasy, and even evil.” is equally insulting to the Christians who are moderate or liberal (or even scientists) as it is to the fundamentalists.

    I’m not sure about that. For one thing, many moderate and liberal Christians are quick to concede that yes, indeed — religion can lead to great harm. It can even lead to evils which would be hard if not impossible to justify without the religion. Many Christians would interpret such a statement charitably, I think, and agree. They would simply not apply it to their own more benign brand — and, when it comes to the label “evil,” neither would Atkins.

    As for saying that religion is a “fairy tale,” that’s not really much different than what some of the more liberal theologians and believers say themselves. “Why no, these stories are not meant to be taken literally of course — they’re metaphors which speak to us on a high level of spirituality, and are meant to be symbolic.” Dawkins actually gets criticized for taking the “fairy tale” as fact. Like a fundamentalist would.

    McGrath, Eagleton, Haught, and Hedges are recent examples of this more liberal apologist who has lambasted The God Delusion for being unsophisticated enough to think that being a “fairy tale” is somehow a point against religion, instead of — in some rather nebulous and mysterious way — a point in its favor. We form our lives around narratives, and these are very, very special and meaningful narratives. It doesn’t matter if the events happened or the people existed: they are, as Julia Sweeney discovered, psychologically true. Which is better.

    In fact, it may not even matter if God actually exists. God is NOT “a principle, an entity, or “existent”: in one sense of that word it would be perfectly coherent for religious types to claim that God does not in fact exist. He is, rather, the condition of possibility of any entity whatsoever, including ourselves.” Or “The question is not whether God exists. The question is whether we concern ourselves with, or are utterly indifferent to, the sanctity and ultimate transcendence of human existence.

    I don’t know. It seems to me that only thing that would bother this liberal, moderate type of Christian by being told that they’re believing in fantasies is not the accusation that religion is “fairy tales” — but the accusation that they “believe” them in the sense of “think to be accurate and true.”

  247. #247 doctorgoo
    March 23, 2008

    Nullifidian @192:

    You were so proud of being wrong at Nisbet’s blog that you had to copy and paste this here, doctorgoo?

    Good start! A pointless insult from Nullifidian! I’m pretty fucking sure I deserve more respect than that you swarmy asshole… (…okay, I’m not really pissed, I just felt the urge to dish out some pointless venom as well… lol)

    You are deluded if you think that pointing out that there are Christians who are scientists is going to be any sort of means of “combatting” creationism. That there are Christians who support evolution is not news. It is not taken as evidence that Christianity and evolution are compatible, but that liberal Christianity has forfeited truth for worldliness and is one of the devil’s biggest snares.

    To the fundamentalists, and especially to the moderate Christians who are new to the evolution/creationism debate, another Christian who at least partially shares a common world-view will be listened to much more frequently and with more credibility than an atheist, whose insights and opinions are often disregarded simply because we are atheists. This isn’t a delusion, this is what I’ve seen first hand happen many times.

  248. #248 Thrasyboulos
    March 23, 2008

    The only response Stein, Mathis, the quaking Nisbet and religionists deserve is insolence, best delivered by sharp tongues like Myers and Dawkins. Why waste the talent?

  249. #249 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    I’ve responded several times. Please read what I wrote.

    Yes, I know. You’re giving RiddleOfSteel on Daylight Atheism a run for his money in the world record category on “greatest volume of text produced in the process of avoiding giving a substantive answer to a simple question.”

    Irrelevant why?

    On a deja repondu a cette question.

    Why do you claim that you’ve already answered my request to substantiate your initial claim when you have yet to articulate any answer except to claim that you have already anwered the request?

    Just a reminder:

    No. Nothing in the statement you quoted actually matches any accepted meaning of “insult.” Since you obviously disagree with the above, please explain how it is incorrect.

  250. #250 doctorgoo
    March 23, 2008

    PZ at #230,

    That thought experiment was hardly an off-topic strawman… I mentioned it to directly refute Craig’s comment at #172, who made the claim that Christians can only perform science if they use “schizophrenic compartmentalization”.

    But if you honestly see my comments as “wanking” (or intellectual masturbation, as I like to call it… lol) …then I’ll bid everyone adieu…

  251. #251 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Yes, I know. You’re giving RiddleOfSteel on Daylight Atheism a run for his money in the world record category on “greatest volume of text produced in the process of avoiding giving a substantive answer to a simple question.”

    I do not follow this obscure reference. Therefore, it, too, is irrelevant.

    Why do you claim that you’ve already answered my request to substantiate your initial claim

    Because I have. I know it takes effort to read these things, but please try.

  252. #252 CleveDan
    March 23, 2008

    Maybe Nisbet is right. It would be much better framing for PZ to teach out of a book like say ….”Of Panda’s and People” for his Biology classes. The general public would enjoy that much more. We could teach astronomy students by showing them “The Privileged Planet” too

    The Framing argument reminds me of “pan & scan” in home movies….they are trying to make it ‘one size fits all’ but they just end up cutting out 1/3 of the info and still having a crappy looking product nobody is happy with

  253. #253 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    Here’s the operative part of the reference:

    “greatest volume of text produced in the process of avoiding giving a substantive answer to a simple question.”

    Because I have. I know it takes effort to read these things, but please try.

    No, you haven’t. If you had, it would be a simple matter to quote your purported answer for me here. Even giving me the comment number would suffice. Yet you still refuse to take even this minimal step. If you’re so sure of your position, why are you acting as though you have something to hide?

  254. #254 Sastra
    March 23, 2008

    That’s odd. Out of all the people on this thread, I certainly would not have selected doctorgoo as the one guiltiest of “wanking.”

  255. #255 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008
    No. Nothing in the statement you quoted actually matches any accepted meaning of “insult.” Since you obviously disagree with the above, please explain how it is incorrect.

    …still waiting…

  256. #256 Stanton
    March 23, 2008

    If you’re so sure of your position, why are you acting as though you have something to hide?

    Because he wants to see exactly how many comments it will take for you to either get an aneurysm or develop varicose veins in your forehead.

  257. #257 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    No, you haven’t. If you had, it would be a simple matter to quote your purported answer for me here.

    I have already done so, your delusions to the contrary notwithstanding.

  258. #258 rmp
    March 23, 2008

    OK, maybe it’s just me but I think we should focus on
    1) Matt Nesbit
    2) PZ’s right to drop the F bomb in the context of his own web site

    and NOT Joe.

  259. #259 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    I have already done so, your delusions to the contrary notwithstanding.

    Wow, 14 posts since my initial question and still no substantive answer. Congratulations; I’ll let RiddleOfSteel know that you’ve taken the lead next time I see him.

    Anyone wanna bet on how long it’ll be before Joe Blow either accidentally produces something concrete enough to refute, loses his temper again, or gets himself dungeoned?

    No?

    Ok. I’m done with you, Joe. You can go now. *pats Joe on the head* have a nice day. :)

  260. #260 Joe Blow
    March 23, 2008

    Wow, 14 posts since my initial question and still no substantive answer.

    Whatever it is you’re smoking, give me some.

  261. #261 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    OK, maybe it’s just me but I think we should focus on
    1) Matt Nesbit

    Whose heroic attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory has been pretty well shredded already.

    2) PZ’s right to drop the F bomb in the context of his own web site

    Which is absolutely irrelevant to discussions of whether he ought to do so.

  262. #262 rmp
    March 23, 2008

    Azkyroth, I concur re Matt. As to the F bomb, it was silly of me to phrase it as a ‘right’. Obviously it is. As to whether or not he ought to, my thoughts have ‘evolved’ (ok, I couldn’t help myself). If we were talking about an interview, I think it would be bad form. BUT, here, well I think of this as PZ’s personal gathering room where we each have a beer in our hand and speak candidly. And yes, when speaking candidly I will use ‘fuck you very much’ as a joke/put down.

  263. #263 Leigh
    March 23, 2008

    @trrll (#71):
    “I do think that it is important to get out the message that one doesn’t have to abandon one’s religion (unless it is crackpot fundamentalism) to accept evolution. But that is not PZ’s responsibility, nor Dawkins’.”

    No, the responsibility is ours (non-fundamentalist Christians). We suck at it, but some of us are trying. There are many fundamentalist Christians in my family. I do a lot of one-on-one proselytizing for the rational viewpoint.

    Unfortunately, Nullifidian (#192) is correct about the reaction of fundamentalists to us liberal or Catholic Christians. We can’t influence them; in many ways, the fundies regard us as the real enemy. (PZ and Dawkins, not so much, because they’re too ignorant to know that atheists exist.)

    We could have some influence over the big middle of folks, however — the ones who respond “yes” when asked if God created the world, but who listened in biology and didn’t have a problem with the ToE. These are the ones who need to be educated about why ID is not science. PZ can’t do that . . . his job is to be the voice of hard-core rationality. He’d scare the shit out of the average pewsitter. It logically should be the job of somebody like me, who can “talk churchy” and won’t be so intimidating.

    But where’s the forum? Perhaps we liberal Christians need to get a little outrageous, the way Dawkins sometimes is, since no news outlet in the world in interested in hearing what we think about anything. Methodist churches celebrate Darwin Day — did you hear a word about that? We’re too damn nicey-nice about our bug-nuts coreligionists, and the news folks are only interested in the extremes. I would very much like for our denomination to be more in-your-face in a newsworthy way. Frankly, I’m don’t give a damn about cozying up to the Baptists.

    Do some of the things PZ and Dawkins say about religion piss me off? Sure. But not nearly so much as the fundies do.

    It’s sometimes a case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” But I promise you, I’d be just as horrified to see my kids taught the fundamentalist “worldview” in a science class as PZ could ever be.

  264. #264 Camboy
    March 23, 2008

    Joe:

    The basic issue here is your claim that the sentence:

    Why are the right-wingers always writing self-refuting posts?

    is an insult. No it isn’t. It’s an observation. Why don’t you know the difference between an ovservation and an insult. He is observing that right wingers often demonstrate the very behaviour that they criticize in others. And I concur. I have seen it many times, and your own post is a case in point. Why is it an insult? He didn’t say anything about liberals not doing it, he simply observed that right wingers did it. It does not imply ANYTHING about liberals, as you claim. And even if it does, it’s still just an observation, not an insult. If you disagree with this observation, you can refute it with a sound argument, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s not an insult. I have every right to observe what I see (or think I see). If other people disagree with me, they can argue with me, and try to convince me that I’m wrong, but that doesn’t change the fact that all I did was OBSERVE. That is not the same thing as INSULTING.

    The burden of proof is on you if you want to claim this to be a “data point” validating your hypothesis. So tell us, why is an observation an insult? We’re all ears.

  265. #265 Mondo
    March 23, 2008

    Camboy, he/she is a troll. Please ignore.

  266. #266 Jennifurret
    March 23, 2008

    I’m sorry for pissing so many people off, since that wasn’t my intention. I just think PZ’s trash talk is annoying and usually undeserved. I agree with aggressive tactics againsts creationism just as much as anyone here, I just think “fuckwit” and such words are self defeating to use. Can we leave it at that?

  267. #267 Alan Kellogg
    March 23, 2008

    I like PZed, PZed is fun. PZed is sans peer in the field of identifying wusses and concern trolls, as shown in this thread. In my capacity as Pope of the Church of Former Day Sarcasm I hereby name PZed a Saint of the Church and make him the Patron Saint of Rousing Incoherent Ranting.

    I furthermore declare Matt Nisbit this week’s anti-PZed, and Chris Mooney the official Concern Troll for March 2008.

    Jennifurret is hereby granted permission by the Church to have a cow.

  268. #268 Camboy
    March 23, 2008

    I know. Every one else can, and most definitely should, just ignore any further interaction. I am compulsive, what can I say.

  269. #269 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    I have every right to observe what I see (or think I see).

    As I pointed out three posts ago, having the right to do something is irrelevant to whether choosing to do so is morally defensible.

    Since this particular piece of sloppy thinking/phrasing (as applicable) seems to function as a memetic plague that reduces the population’s resistance to the far deadlier meme of “people who criticize me are violating my rights!” I really wish that Freethinkers could commit to burying it with a stake through its heart.

  270. #270 Camboy
    March 23, 2008

    Azkyroth:

    Yeah, I agree that was sloppy, but quite frankly it’s irrelevant to my post. In the last hour I’ve consumed almost 2/3 of a bottle of wine, so I’m not exactly at my best. Anyways, this is just an experiment, so just ignore it. I agree, this whole thing should be buried.

  271. #271 CalGeorge
    March 23, 2008

    Uh-oh. This is probably as close to temper tantrum as Matt gets. The framer-in-chief is concerned as hell and he’s only going to take it a little while longer.

    PZ and Richard Dawkins are romping elephants stomping on poor Matt’s delicate frames.

    Splat! Whoops, there goes another one! Oh, well!

    If he’s not careful, people will start calling him Matt Rodney Nisbet Dangerfield.

  272. #272 Kevin Miller
    March 23, 2008

    Sounds like Matt hit pretty close to home, huh PZ? Ouch.

  273. #273 Jenny
    March 23, 2008

    Just as an aside: Whenever I see video footage of PZ (e.g., in the discussion with R. Dawkins on You Tube), he always seems like the nicest, calmest, most soft-spoken man…such a stark contrast to the vitriol in the comments section of his blog.

    That said…

    “Look at it this way: profanity is a form of sentence filler. Frequent use of sentence filler reveals a lack of vocabulary. A lack of vocabulary is indicative of a lack of education and/or intelligence.”

    Profanity is much more than that. Cursing can be extremely cathartic. It is also frequently used for emphasis.

    Joe, you are a damn bunghole! And now I, at least, feel much better.

    Get ‘em, PZ!

  274. #274 rmp
    March 23, 2008

    Kevin, is that your best shot?

  275. #275 craig
    March 23, 2008

    “That thought experiment was hardly an off-topic strawman… I mentioned it to directly refute Craig’s comment at #172, who made the claim that Christians can only perform science if they use “schizophrenic compartmentalization”.

    But you didn’t refute me. You simply demonstrated that people can successfully be scientists and religious. You refuted an argument that I never made. I never said people cannot be both without compartmentalization. And you gave examples of how I’m right. You’ve simply shown examples of that compartmentalization.

    Not a startling revelation. Not new knowledge that the same person, the same brain can objectively review scientific evidence and accurately describe a phenomenon existing in reality for the purpose of discovering truth, while simultaneously embracing the “truth” of the easter bunny based on the evidence of “I like the candy.”

    That kind of compartmentalization is common. Perhaps universal. A damned good scientist might also be anorexic and see a distorted body image in the mirror.
    The world’s most accomplished physicist might actually think his young female associates think he looks hot in his bowtie.

    The religion/science compartmentalization is just a much bigger example of the same thing. The fact that its common, or that people seem to be able to function with this compartmentalization is NOT evidence that it doesn’t exist.

  276. #276 craig
    March 23, 2008

    correcting my comment above, this sentence:
    “I never said people cannot be both without compartmentalization.”

    Should be “I said people cannot be both without compartmentalization.”

  277. #277 CanadianChick
    March 23, 2008

    but bowties ARE hot. Totally hot. So are physicists who wear them.

    *goes to take cool shower*

  278. #278 MB
    March 23, 2008

    How often does PZ tell someone to fuck off on this blog? It doesn’t seem very often. This is someone who PZ is clearly familiar with and tired of… But apparently Jennifurrett (#32) gets to tell PZ whether or not he’s been insulted.

    I’m still looking for the flaming quotes from PZ off the blog – that seems to be what Nisbit and his ilk are complaining about. When’s the last time you saw PZ quoted in the NY Times saying something to make you cringe? If he was that stupid would you be reading his blog? He was pretty boring in the expelled clip – they must have left all the colorful language on the cutting room floor. But I’m sure Nesbit could have said everything MUCH better.

    If every reporter in the country would ask PZ or Dawkins for a quote when they write or talk about the “controversy” over evolution we wouldn’t be better off? Now they get away with quotes only from the IDiots.

    Context is everything, and in the context of this blog there are very few people to be offended – and Jennifurrett jumping to a discussion of dick waving in this context is nothing short of bizarre.

    The blog wouldn’t be half as much fun if PZ didn’t have a bit of a mean streak with the fuckwits.

    He’ll probably be insufferable now that’s he’s mighty – but hopefully he won’t listen to the likes of Jennifurrett.

    Yes, now that you’re becoming TOO popular we must tone you down, make you more palatable to the fuckwits you used to make fun of – or hide you!

    Kind of like what the Democrats are still doing to gays and feminists – yes, of course, vote for us, but don’t talk about your “agenda.”

  279. #279 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    “Look at it this way: profanity is a form of sentence filler. Frequent use of sentence filler reveals a lack of vocabulary. A lack of vocabulary is indicative of a lack of education and/or intelligence.”

    You know, I’m tempted to try so of this kind of reasoning. “Profanity is often used to express strong emotions. The capacity to experience emotion is dependent on the functionality of certain structures in the brain. Having those structures and having them function is dependent on having a brain in the first place. The quoted commenter’s apparent inability to understand this kind of expression of strong emotions reveals a lack of a brain.”

    “Profanity is often used as an expression of anger or aggression. Aggressiveness is related to testosterone levels. In males, testosterone is produced by the testes, commonly known as ‘balls.’ The quoted commenter’s apparent inability to understand this kind of expression of aggression, coupled with their masculine male-form nickname, reveals a lack of any balls.”

    “Profanity is often used to express frustration and discomfort accompanying constipation. Constipation is extreme difficulty in expelling feces, leading to an internal buildup of fecal matter. The quoted commenter’s apparent inability to understand this kind of expression of frustration and discomfort reveals that he is full of shit.”

    Who wants to pick up? Anyone?

  280. #280 craig
    March 23, 2008

    “For the record I’m a crazy Libertarian. Of the worst kind too.. the Penn Jillette kind.”

    oh christ no! not a JUGGLER!

  281. #281 Brownian, OM
    March 23, 2008

    Since this is an actively researched post, I’m going to collect data that right-wing creationists fail at science since they count both positive and negative results as supporting their hypotheses. (Kinda like Single Father Survives Car Accident = God Exists (God loves); Man Dies In Car Accident = God Exists (God tests)).

    I’ve only got one subject in the study so far, but he’s a fountain of data.

    I can’t wait to see what he does with this comment!

  282. #282 Tessa
    March 23, 2008

    You crack me up CalGeorge with your comments!

    By the way, I think you were the one who mentioned a long, long time ago about a really good book on science communication – A Scientist’s Guide to Talking with the Media by Hayes and Grossman. It says it is practical advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists. I don’t see any mention of telling scientists to keep their mouths shut.

    I got the book after I saw it mentioned in the last go around with Nesbet and Mooney. I’m getting tired of those dudes. It seems like it’s just a repeat of past tantrums. Are they getting ready to hype their own book on science communication or something? I wonder if there is an ulterior motive to their attacks. It is hard for me to believe it is just altruistic concern.

  283. #283 Azkyroth
    March 23, 2008

    I wonder if there is an ulterior motive to their attacks. It is hard for me to believe it is just altruistic concern.

    My hypothesis is that it’s a combination of projection, echo-chamber effect, and simply being so emotionally invested in their ideas about what works and what doesn’t that they’ve completely closed their minds to contrary evidence; hence the reference to the cold fusion fiasco earlier.

  284. #284 craig
    March 23, 2008

    but bowties ARE hot. Totally hot. So are physicists who wear them.

    I forgot to mention his muttonchops.

  285. #285 Azkyroth
    March 24, 2008

    Oh, and little children who call up the National Guard and demand that we evacuate the town because the dam is leaking when they’ve never seen the dam, know nothing about how the dam is constructed, and have no evidence that it is leaking other than that the crotch of their pants are suddenly wet, are not brave heroes. They’re petty liars seeking attention.

    On the other hand, Tessa, the above quote from PZ’s post a while back might explain it, too.

  286. #286 CalGeorge
    March 24, 2008

    “I think you were the one who mentioned a long,”

    Definitely not me!

  287. #287 doctorgoo
    March 24, 2008

    At the risk of getting banned from Pharyngula and thrown into the dungeon for “wanking”, I’ll respond one last time to craig before I go to bed. (Yes, PZ… your blog, your rules… I just ask for one last indulgence, please.)

    #270:

    But you didn’t refute me. You simply demonstrated that people can successfully be scientists and religious. You refuted an argument that I never made. I never said people cannot be both without compartmentalization. And you gave examples of how I’m right. You’ve simply shown examples of that compartmentalization.

    Yes, compartmentalization is common in everyone. But there is nothing that you indicated that any of it — including religious compartmentalization — could in any legitimate way be considered “schizophrenic compartmentalization”.

    This directly addresses your following paragraph in comment #172, which starts “Saying that science and religion are compatible is the problem.”

    If common (mentally healthy) compartmentalization, which every scientist does, is all that is required to allow a religious person to perform good science… then your premise that science and religion aren’t compatible is false. And by refuting this premise, almost your entire argument fails to be convincing.

  288. #288 Jackie
    March 24, 2008

    I think both sides could do with reading this:
    http://cosmicvariance.com/2008/03/23/politicians-and-critics/

  289. #289 Nullifidian
    March 24, 2008

    Good start! A pointless insult from Nullifidian! I’m pretty fucking sure I deserve more respect than that you swarmy asshole…

    Remarkable, because you forfeited any expectation to respect from me with this response of yours when you skipped over my refutation of your claims in order to reiterate the same crap.

    You are deluded if you think that pointing out that there are Christians who are scientists is going to be any sort of means of “combatting” creationism. That there are Christians who support evolution is not news. It is not taken as evidence that Christianity and evolution are compatible, but that liberal Christianity has forfeited truth for worldliness and is one of the devil’s biggest snares.

    To the fundamentalists, and especially to the moderate Christians who are new to the evolution/creationism debate, another Christian who at least partially shares a common world-view will be listened to much more frequently and with more credibility than an atheist, whose insights and opinions are often disregarded simply because we are atheists. This isn’t a delusion, this is what I’ve seen first hand happen many times.

    Oh really? Didn’t I already address this?

    Yes, it seems I did!

    On fundamentalists accepting a theistic evolutionist just because he or she is a Christian:

    Fundamentalists sincerely believe that this is not a simple argument over who’s right and who’s wrong, but that their and their children’s immortal souls hang in the balance. If they attended to the sugared words of the theistic evolutionist, their salvation would be put in jeopardy. Instead, the theistic evolutionist is to be proselytized at, not listened to, so that the the theistic evolutionist can climb back onto the narrow path to heaven. Again, remember the words “narrow path”. The fundamentalists are in love with that verse (Mt. 7:14), because it suggests to them that they have the only true faith, and the rest of the Christian community, including the part that accepts evolution, is wrong and damned.

    And on moderate to liberal theists not listening on the subject of evolution:

    That’s what you’re dealing with here. The sort of warm and fuzzy liberal theist that you and Mooney and Nisbet imagine would recoil in horror from Dawkins and Myers would recoil in horror faster and have an enormous culture shock if they we impelled by a knee-jerk reaction to embrace fundamentalism.

    This handwringing is misplaced, because most people, let alone most theists, don’t know who Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers are, nor are they going to care to see them “exposed” on “Expelled”. Well-educated liberal theists who are likely to know who Myers and Dawkins are already know that science is compatible with religion. When they read stuff they don’t agree with, they greet it at most with a smirk and move on. They are not shocked to their core at all, let alone enough to embrace creationism.

    Now, perhaps you can actually deal with this the second time around, rather than behaving like a troll.

  290. #290 MB
    March 24, 2008

    Both sides, Jackie (#284)? Does that mean you think Nisbet is a politician we “need” who “actually (gets) things done… with integrity…”

    Most of the readers here would probably disagree – maybe not with the sentiment expressed in the post, but certainly with the idea that Nisbet has anything to do with integrity or getting things done.

    Isn’t it nice when someone is actually saying, hey, that guy is full of shit! That’s an outright lie – especially when it is?

  291. #291 MB
    March 24, 2008

    Are we going to at least get to see Joe Blow disemvoweled?

  292. #292 Azkyroth
    March 24, 2008

    Why bother? I think he’s finally gone looking for a more welcoming atmosphere in which to publicly masturbate.

  293. #293 craig
    March 24, 2008

    “If common (mentally healthy) compartmentalization, which every scientist does, is all that is required to allow a religious person to perform good science… then your premise that science and religion aren’t compatible is false. And by refuting this premise, almost your entire argument fails to be convincing.”

    You aren’t making sense. Ideas that are compatible do NOT need to be compartmentalized. You can be a liberal and be a scientist without compartmentalizing them, except perhaps in very specific details.

    You can be a scientist and an artist. A scientist and a heavy metal enthusiast. A scientist and a lover of silly romance novels. No compartmentalization needed. The ideas in science and in romance novels are not contradictory no matter the content of the novel because it presents itself as fiction. Storytelling.

    Compartmentalization is not compatibility.
    Science is reality. Religion is unreality. The fact that a person can see reality at some times and be delusional at other times does not mean that delusion is compatible with reality. It just means that people are complicated, illogical critters.

    If religion and science were compatible, you could use prayer as part of a chemistry experiment.

    Compartmentalizing hydrogen cyanide in a bottle doesn’t make it compatible with cellular respiration.

    Putting blocks on the browser in the school’s PC doesn’t made porn compatible with kindergarten.

  294. #294 Ken Cope
    March 24, 2008

    who’s Matt Nisbet?

    Nobody.

  295. #295 Scott Hatfield, OM
    March 24, 2008

    Shameless promotion of my own blog, but a topic of interest:

    I’m getting lots of interesting comments from visitors to my site, which suggest that the bad publicity over the PZ’s ‘expulsion’ has led the ‘Expelled’ people to cancel further screenings. You can read about that here.

    Now, as for Mr. Nisbet, I posted the following at his site:

    “Matt, you are just so wrong on this point that I, a theist, have to say so.

    Look: it makes believers like me uncomfortable to see the tenets of our faith challenged by those who would wield unpleasant facts from the natural world. I don’t care for everything PZ or Dr. D says, obviously. We have our differences!

    But that doesn’t make the unpleasant facts any less factual. The most recent contretemps isn’t even about science, Matt. It’s about truth-telling. PZ and Dr. D were LIED to. If they don’t have a right to challenge the mendacity of Stein, Mathis and Company, who does? Essentially, your position tilts the playing field in favor of the lying creationist over the impolitic, but honest critic of creationism. That’s just not going to fly. I have to say that I’m with Randy Olson, who has a lot of ‘on-the-ground’ experience observing the creationists. Randy, addressing you, writes:

    Matt – You’re dreaming. If there was an official Evolution Defense Team with a command headquarters, huge budget, and army of strategists standing around a map table covered with model tanks and airplanes then yes, the rogue actions of PZ and Dawkins would be bad news. But there ain’t.

    The large organizations don’t want to get involved with the real politics of defending evolution, and there is no coordinated effort other than producing lots of brochures and editorials. There is a need for the occasional individual efforts. You talk like there’s a science to all this stuff, and there is to a limited extent, and you’re good when you’re speaking to that. But you need to get out on the streets a little more and realize there are some non-ivory tower dyanmics to this issue that have to be addressed in less academic ways. PZ is to be commended for having brought a human dimension to what is generally perceived by broader audiences as a relatively dull academic issue.

    To which I simply add, right on.”

  296. #296 Brownian, OM
    March 24, 2008
    who’s Matt Nisbet?

    Nobody.

    Shame on you Ken! That’s mean.

    Matt Nisbet, according to the framers, is doing more to make the world a better place than any single human that has ever lived. You see, by standing up and highlighting iniquities, we’re only serving to support those iniquities. Therefore, by not actively doing anything to combat lupus, for example, Matt Nisbet is actually on the verge of discovering a cure for lupus. Further, by framing the issue of war by never referring to it, we can expect him to end to all hostilities any day now. What exactly is Dark Matter? Since Matt’s effectively framing the issue by not searching for it, we can expect him to drop by Stockholm with a mason jar full of the stuff just in time for next year’s Nobel nominations. These are, of course, but a few of the noncomplishments we can expect from such an inactive man over the next few years.

    Gasp! This means my Edmonton Oilers are going to win the Stanley Cup this year: Matt’s not playing for them!

  297. #297 CanadianChick
    March 24, 2008

    but bowties ARE hot. Totally hot. So are physicists who wear them.

    I forgot to mention his muttonchops.

    *swoons, falls over in faint*

  298. #298 dave
    March 24, 2008

    Wowzers, such expressive language. But I like it, hahahaha.

  299. #299 Scott Hatfield, OM
    March 24, 2008

    Gasp! This means my Edmonton Oilers are going to win the Stanley Cup this year: Matt’s not playing for them!

    With my luck, my beloved Padres will ink Matt to a minor-league deal.

  300. #300 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 24, 2008

    Comment from Nisbet’s blog:

    Great piece, Matthew. I see it drove PZ to expletives, but what you’ve said here is very important for people on all sides of the debate.

    Posted by: Kevin Miller | March 24, 2008 12:40 AM

    That worked out real well, didn’t it?

  301. #301 ngong
    March 24, 2008

    What Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers need to do is lay low and stop mentioning weenie-brain Nisbet, giving the notoriety he craves.

  302. #302 Eric Paulsen
    March 24, 2008

    Hmm, strange. My instruments detect large quantities of irony, but I can’t for the life of me figure out where it’s coming from… – Posted by: Ted D

    Thanks for making my sarcasm detector explode!

    Try to think for yourselves for once – I would think a bunch of atheists would be less likely to blindly pledge alegence to someone. – Posted by: Jennifurret

    Whoa there! First off who are you to insuate that everyone here has mindlessly alligned ourselves with PZs position? I have lived for 41 years and 32 of them have been, to varying degrees, non theistic years. I was once an appeaser back when I thought that reciprocity was possible, but I was naive. At which point is it okay for me to say “fuck you, I’m not going to placate you anymore”? Poor little fanatics with their fragile egos and pathological need for kid glove treatment – fuck them!

    I don’t “follow” PZ, I gravitate to this blog because it accurately reflects my own feelings on the subject of religion – especially the fundagelical nutbars. I admire his willingness to say what he does because so few do. Think for myself for once? I tried that when I was 9 and I shed my religious trappings. How about you try.

  303. #303 gmm
    March 24, 2008

    Well crafted messages from these organizations and scientists that focus on the overwhelming consensus view on evolutionary science, its role as a building block for medical and social progress, and the strong support for evolution from many religious traditions, is the right counter-message. In fact its the message that the National Academies researched and tested in focus groups and polling, as they describe in the current issue of CBE Life Sciences Education.

    ____________________________________________

    I found this on Nesbit’s site in a comment written by Nesbit.

    Consensus view….building block for social progress… focus groups….

    WTF??????

    Okay, let’s have a minute. If we had fucking waited for consensus, people would still be told their ulcers were caused by stress and not H Pylori. (My keyboard is very angry right now and it might miss letters as I rant.) Evolutionary science as a building block for social progress could easily be misinterpreted by stupid people as an excuse to blame Nazi Germany on Darwin and not Hitler—-oops, sorry it was in the film.

    And FOCUS GROPUPS FOR SCIENCE>>>>>>>>>
    If people want focus groups for what to call the new Coke, then fine. Coke Zero makes it sound so….light and freaking airy. But science is hard shit, and at the very least we ought to make an effort to educate ourselves, not fluff it up so it looks pretty. I am really sorry, but when a country focuses on the baubles at the expense of knowledge— well it is no wonder your president tells you to shop away the freaking 9/11 blues. (Fat lot of good it did…7 years later all hell is breaking loose).

    ANd maybe Nesbit ought to look at the position of THIS pope vs the last one. Religious whim can be A very fragile place to place ones hopes for understanding evolution. Pope JP was marginally okay with it- Ratzi thinks it is essentially evil and denigrates man. Who will change their mind next and for what reason?

    Nesbit is an idiot. He is kind of pretty, but I suggest that people realize that a book cannot be judged by its cover. Youth and enthusiasm are no match for education and experience, except in America I guess where Paris Hilton is more lauded than scientists- women and men- who do the real work of figuring out the “Real World.”

    Only in America does it pay to be stupid.

    Only in America would we tell someone to sacrifice the truth for mere image.

    Unfuckingbelievable.

  304. #304 oriole
    March 24, 2008

    From Joe Blow: “The notion that “right-wingers always write self-refuting posts” incorrectly implies that non-liberals are not capable of making non-contradictory arguments. In the English language, this is known as an insult.”

    Actually, Joe, the claim that someone always does something does not imply that he is incapable of doing otherwise. For example, I note that you always sign your posts “Joe Blow”, yet I make no inference that you are incapable of using another signature. Also, even if I believed and stated that you were incapable of performing some action, I would not perforce be insulting you; for example; I believe that you are incapable of outrunning a cheetah; this is not an insult. “Insult” is not a synonym for “criticism”. The word “insult” applies when someone is treated with contemptuous rudeness; the determination of whether this has occurred will almost inevitably involve subjective criteria. And contemptible behaviour may well merit an insult; the cry of “you’ve insulted me”, even if correct, succeeds neither in winning the argument nor even necessarily in branding the opponent as unreasonable.

    As for my earlier post, which you responded to with your inimitable jejune sarcasm, I was merely ironically making the point that your inference that people who say “fuck” have therefore proven that they lack a large vocabulary is, um, wrong. To that end, my sentence was packed with big words but devoid of substantial content, so no, I wouldn’t dream of submitting it to a professional journal, but I suppose the Discovery Institute might publish it.

  305. #305 dave
    March 24, 2008

    Anyway, it’s a free country, anyone has the right to say whatever the hell they want. If I had something important to say, I definitely would not shut up and let others speak for me.

  306. #306 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 24, 2008

    They’re not going to win a damn thing if they spend all their time getting the vapors over profanity.

    I hear ya.

    Someone made an analogy to the Somme battles earlier. The problem with being in the trenches of the rhetorical wars is that one lacks perspective on what the Headquarters wallahs think of all this noise and clatter.

    I’ve no doubt that the brass-hatted Nisbets and Mooneys, pouring over maps in some commandeered chateau, think we footsoldiers are making a mess of things by rambling aimlessly across the battlefield, cursing and farting enormous guffs of smelly wind. What fearful oiks we all are! We hurt the cause! We unravel their clever plans!

    However, from where we stand the Framers appear to call retreat too many times, or wish to come to dangerous accommodations with the enemy. I’m sure that I, like many here, often feels that WE–this graceless, uncouth, unmannerly mob, this Band of Brutes–ARE the front line, and if THEY aren’t prepared to hold it then WE should.

    If Nisbet and Co. are, as it so often seems, dissipating their energies in clever-clever triangulation and other fruitless manoeuvreing against a barbarian horde that only understands the head-on assault, then someone has to hold the line. Someone has to spearhead the pushback.

    Things have come to a pretty pass when 30 years of high-minded discourse have led us to a position where the majority of Americans refuse to embrace the truth of evolution. Let the framers frame to their hearts content, but without some scrappers playing rough, they will soon have conceded the field.

    We need more rudery, not less, say I.

    So the order is given: “Fire as she bears, Mister Myers!”

  307. #307 Freddy the Pig
    March 24, 2008

    Nisbet and Mooney would prefer that PZ shut up too avoid giving offense or causing the occaisonal case of the vapours in the moderates while they endlessly frame and continue to cede the field to the enemies of science. (Actually according to comdedian Susan Norfleet, “the vapous” is a “laylike” euphanism for intestinal gas.)

    I say to PZ – give em hell

    Howeve, I do find the gratuitous use of profanity on this blog somewat offensive, but to Nisbet and Mooney I say Fuck you and all who sail in you.

  308. #308 BobC
    March 24, 2008

    I have some experience dealing with anti-science Christians. If you tell them they can accept evolution and still believe in god, they know you are lying. So I tell them the truth. I tell them evolution makes their god worthless, and I tell them if they will never understand evolution unless they throw god in the garbage where it belongs. They haven’t thrown god out yet, and they still are afraid of science, but at least they appreciate my honesty.

  309. #309 MTran
    March 24, 2008

    “As long as Dawkins and PZ continue to be the representative voices from the pro-science side in this debate…”

    Okay, I think this snippet tells me too much about the framer’s ego arguments.

    Seems that Nisbet wants to be the “voice” of science, yet the media keeps turning to Dawkins and PZ for snappy sound bites. Maybe if teh Fraymurz ever said or did anything the least bit memorable, the least bit press worthy, they would actually be sought out by the media for comment.

    Why, oh why, won’t PZ let Nisbet have a chance at science stardom? Or, if he can’t get out of the way, why won’t PZ at least do it like Nisbet tells him to do it? Whaa, whaa, whaa.

    These framing guys really can’t frame an argument very well, can they? If they can’t convince those who are interested in and actively promoting the interests of science, what in the world makes them think they can successfully persuade people who are adamantly opposed to science?

  310. #310 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    March 24, 2008

    Someone made an important point earlier. While not denying the possibility of sycophantism, the reason many (maybe most) folks are here is because PZ reflects their own pugnacious views on science and religion. The like-minded have simply gravitated together.

    Rather as the liberal blogs like the Daily Kos reflect an opposition to a cosy liberal establishment that would happily triangulate away positions to rampant right-wingery in the vain hope of concessions, the ‘militant wing’ represented by Pharyngula is equally frustrated with Nisbet and Mooney’s seeming equivocation.

    Take issue with this if you will. Our perceptions may be wrong. But they are nevertheless real and must be addressed by Nisbet and his comrades. We have seen a lack of ruthlessness in the pushback against the forces of ignorance. We feel that the enemies of science have exploited our good nature.

    I honestly feel that any fight involves a two pronged attack, taking the high ground and the low road–that baser route meaning that we are unafraid to call bullshit on the bad guys, even at the risk of making the pearl-clutchers blanch. Neither way will win on its own, of course. But neither can win without the other.

  311. #311 Der Bruno Stroszek
    March 24, 2008

    Brownian’s post made me realise something:

    Therefore, by not actively doing anything to combat lupus, for example, Matt Nisbet is actually on the verge of discovering a cure for lupus. Further, by framing the issue of war by never referring to it, we can expect him to end to all hostilities any day now. What exactly is Dark Matter? Since Matt’s effectively framing the issue by not searching for it, we can expect him to drop by Stockholm with a mason jar full of the stuff just in time for next year’s Nobel nominations. These are, of course, but a few of the noncomplishments we can expect from such an inactive man over the next few years.

    Realisation: Matt Nisbet’s arguments work on the homeopathic principle. He’s asking us to present an infinitely diluted argument!

  312. #312 decrepitoldfool
    March 24, 2008

    Dr. Benway: “But the loss of control is the message, no? The speaker feels something painful and unpleasant, like a toe stubbed against a coffee table, and reacts emotionally.

    Oh, sure. Mark Twain said he felt “surcease from profanity unexcelled by prayer”. It’s just a question of what you’re trying to accomplish with a given expression.

    Azkyroth: (quoting someone else, I hope)” “Look at it this way: profanity is a form of sentence filler. Frequent use of sentence filler reveals a lack of vocabulary. A lack of vocabulary is indicative of a lack of education and/or intelligence.” … Who wants to pick up? Anyone?

    Sure. I have NOT found the use of profanity to be much of an indicator of anything; I know brilliant people who swear constantly and some genuine idiots who go on at length about protecting children from “bad language”. Sorry, idiot is too mild of a word – I am actually at a loss for one strong enough so perhaps I lack vocabulary.

    There’s a whole profanity spectrum from Eddie Murphy to William F. Buckley – both brilliant men by the way – and I would love it if the fuckwits would try to overlook the language used and dig for the ideas being communicated. But they don’t, so I usually try to keep the profanity to a minimum when expressing myself in print. But after reading some of these fundies, Jeebus, stubbing your toe hurts so much.

  313. #313 Valhar2000
    March 24, 2008

    Nisbet keeps telling us how we need to frame things, and yet, he is unable to frame his advice in a way that we may find congenial. This tells me he knows jack about successful framing.

  314. #314 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 24, 2008

    This thread is teh hawt.

    I like a lot of his stuff, and I agree with him on some of the framing issue. HOWEVER, this has me totally mystified. If anything screams “perfect framing”, it’s “Expelled participant expelled from a showing of Expelled”.

    Good point. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with the concept of framing. But as people noted on this thread, Nisbet comes up empty on the original concept and its implementation. He looks like a concern troll.

    I too like a lot of Mooney. But a minor bitch here: Mooney 2008 supports Nisbet. While Mooney 2006 supported PZ’s type of actions. For some superfluous reason Mooney wants to claim he is consistent.

  315. #315 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 24, 2008

    This thread is teh hawt.

    I like a lot of his stuff, and I agree with him on some of the framing issue. HOWEVER, this has me totally mystified. If anything screams “perfect framing”, it’s “Expelled participant expelled from a showing of Expelled”.

    Good point. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with the concept of framing. But as people noted on this thread, Nisbet comes up empty on the original concept and its implementation. He looks like a concern troll.

    I too like a lot of Mooney. But a minor bitch here: Mooney 2008 supports Nisbet. While Mooney 2006 supported PZ’s type of actions. For some superfluous reason Mooney wants to claim he is consistent.

  316. #316 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 24, 2008

    The winner of this thread

    … and of many other threads. I like the fitness of this selected Quote too:

    To say that well, this kind of rationalization will make people accept more science than they do right now seems to me like a betrayal of the scientific enterprise itself. One accepts a theory because of the weight of the evidence in its favor: one should not accept a theory because it will provide you with a personal benefit.

  317. #317 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 24, 2008

    The winner of this thread

    … and of many other threads. I like the fitness of this selected Quote too:

    To say that well, this kind of rationalization will make people accept more science than they do right now seems to me like a betrayal of the scientific enterprise itself. One accepts a theory because of the weight of the evidence in its favor: one should not accept a theory because it will provide you with a personal benefit.

  318. #318 Observer
    March 24, 2008

    I sometimes agree that PZ comes off as excessively harsh toward religion in general. However, most of the time he’s calling idiocy for what it is, and I’m damn glad he’s doing so.

    For Nisbet to declare that PZ should shut up and let others do the talking is offensive in the extreme. He deserves to be told off. For one thing, I haven’t seen much evidence that others (those of Nisbet’s mindset) are doing much of anything. Nisbet seems to espouse the “ignore it and it will go away” strategy. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that. PZ is taking the battle to the enemy. Plus, he was in the movie. Ignoring it is simply not an option.

    There needs to be a variety of voices heard in the fight against anti-science. If you have a more moderate voice, speak up. But for gods sake learn to focus your attack in the right direction, because the only time I ever hear you is when you’re attacking your own.

  319. #319 Moses
    March 24, 2008

    You know, his thread has over 100 comments. One of his biggest EVER. It’s almost, as if, nobody really gives a damn what he has to say because we know it’s a load of crap.

  320. #320 Moses
    March 24, 2008

    There is a time and place for insult, mainly when someone has insulted you first. But to respond to someone’s viewpoint like this? It’s just immature and self defeating. I’ll pass on “rough men” with all their chest thumping and dick waiving…I rather solve my issues with some brains.

    Posted by: Jennifurret | March 23, 2008 5:05 PM

    Then fucking use them to see what’s going on around you! And realize that those rules are promulgated by the majority, who don’t actually follow them, to suppress the minority. I mean, really, you need a fucking “DUH what was I thinking” moment and watch the way the creationists and right-wingers behave!!!

    They routinely insult those that don’t believe exactly like them, or kowtow to their beliefs, every day and in every way. If you’d have paid any attention to the creationist rhetoric you’d get the impression that PZ Myers was not, in fact, a soft-spoken guy who’s really smart, but some evil, forced-aborted-christian fetus-eating monster who’ll rape your virgin daughters on the way to the death camps.

    Seriously. Get a clue. Pay attention. This isn’t fluffy bunnies and rainbows here.

    These are the actual and ideological descendants of some rather putrid people who, with their flexible, empathy-free morality, are responsible for the enslavement and deaths of tens upon tens of millions of people over the last 500 years. A world-wide genocide so great that we don’t teach in school and pretend it never happened save a few watered down paragraphs that totally belie the history.

  321. #321 Nick Gotts
    March 24, 2008

    I’ll pass on “rough men” with all their chest thumping and dick waiving
    Posted by: Jennifurret | March 23, 2008 5:05 PM

    I think it’s only male-to-female transsexuals who go in for “dick waiving”! I really think that phrase is worth copyrighting, Jennifurret.

  322. #322 Pyre
    March 24, 2008

    Perhaps Matt Nisbet’s point works better in verse:

    Well, yes, the film lied in your face, but who was really rude?
    No, not the ones who told the lies, but those who hissed and booed.
    They should have sat there silently and sadly wrung their hands,
    And let the liars claim their film uncontradicted stands.

    Let’s not show Churchill’s courage, or Tom Jefferson’s insight
    That error’s safe if only truth is also free to fight;
    Let’s let the lies be shouted, but then make the truth be mute,
    For only then can error stand, its rule made absolute.

    We must all keep our heads down, cower, whimper, and obey,
    For that will surely make the bullies stop and run away.
    No more of nasty bwutish men like Dawkins and P.Z.;
    If there’s to be “peace in our time”, let’s vote for Neville C.!

  323. #323 wnelson
    March 24, 2008

    Myers, if I didn’t know any better I’d be tempted to think this is a “don’t throw me in the briar patch — ’cause I might have to crank out some bestselling philosophically challenged boilerplate.”

    You can’t possibly be so blind — to continue to give literally millions of dollars of free publicity to something you “hate” so badly. Satire herself stands mute.

    Face it, you got punked at the screening — held to your own standard. Learn the lesson and move on.

  324. #324 Steve_C
    March 24, 2008

    Are you that dumb?

    A scientist EXPELLED from a movie he’s in… by the producer.

    The movie punks itself. The producer punked himself.

    The producers keep proving that the movie is exactly what the critics have been saying it is… Propagandist Dreck by lousy film makers with a C level actor as it’s voice.

    You tbink PZ is upset? You haven’t been paying attention.

  325. #325 Pyre
    March 24, 2008

    Concern Troll at #317: You can’t possibly be so blind — to continue to give literally millions of dollars of free publicity to something you “hate” so badly.

    Ah, yes, pointing out that a liar has lied, and detailing his lies, is giving him “free publicity” to his advantage — how much cleverer it is to frustrate him by letting his lies stand uncontradicted in public hearing.

    This troll generously adds the accusation that telling the truth in the face of lies is an act of “hate”. Presumably, then, lying is an act of “love”.

  326. #326 Nick Gotts
    March 24, 2008

    As an outsider with an interest in evolutionary biology, I’ve dropped in to Pharyngula now and again, but never posted before today. In Britain as in the USA, there’s been some criticism of Dawkins and Dennett from fellow-atheists as well as liberal theists – “strident atheist” was the favoured term (horizontal sneer-transfer from “strident feminist” I think), but has now been largely replaced by “fundamentalist atheist”. Atheism itself doesn’t have the social stigma I understand it does in much of the US, but being too committed to any belief – religious, irreligious, political, philosophical or scientific – tends to be regarded as bad form. I heard Dawkins interviewed on the radio a few years ago, and his interviewer was obviously quite shocked that he would not concede that religion could be beneficial, even if he didn’t himself believe in it – that he wasn’t what I call an “O-how-I-wish-I-could-share-your-faitheist”, which I think is how I’d describe Matt Nisbett. Of course, there may be people, particularly ex-believers, who really do wish they could believe in God, but I reserve the term for those who play down their own atheist convictions for tactical purposes. I certainly think there are times to ally with theists in defending honesty in education (I even find myself marching alongside Islamic fundamentalists, against the Iraq war), but while hiding or downplaying disagreements can have short-term advantages in presenting a united front, it is itself dishonest, and even tactically gives your opponents a serious weakness to exploit. With regard to the issue of science/religion (specifically evolution/Christianity) compatibility, I’d say, let’s just tell the truth – that some evolutionists (including some atheist evolutionists) think they are compatible, while others do not – and open the discussion to the audience if there is one.

  327. #327 thalarctos
    March 24, 2008

    Presumably, then, lying is an act of “love”.

    When killing your own son* is reframed as an act of “love”, what’s an additional lie or two in that context?

    * I’m not just referring to the Crucifixion, or the idea that a “loving” God sends most of his creations to Hell, although those are good examples of a recurring theme, too. I imagine dinner time at Abraham’s house was fairly strained for some time after that aborted sacrifice “incident”.

    Although she doesn’t comment here that often, when Ron Sullivan does, I’ve always found her observations to be pithy, funny, and on point. I think she nails it over at her place with her post on “Hillary’s big mistake”. In a similar way, atheists are being told to be quiet and wait their turn like good girls.

    The thing is, if you follow that advice, lots of times your turn never comes, as people have pointed out upthread and in other threads.

    I haven’t yet seen a compelling reason advanced why atheists should sit down and shut up, and miss participating in the dialogue–and giving other people the vapors is not a compelling reason.

  328. #328 Kseniya
    March 24, 2008

    …an “O-how-I-wish-I-could-share-your-faitheist”, which I think is how I’d describe Matt Nisbett.

    And, perhaps, Karl Rove.

  329. #329 thalarctos
    March 24, 2008

    Oh, for Dog’s sake, I thought *two* links was ok; just *more than two* would get your post held for moderation.

    ScienceBlogs, your heuristic sucks.

  330. #330 wnelson
    March 24, 2008

    Sorry, guys I didn’t invent the rules of marketing. There’s only one kind of bad publicity — none.

    And no, if Myers is willing to be consistent, then has no right to ask to be treated by any higher standard than he sets. He has moved his bones on cultivating the image of a vicious ideologue (without understanding philosophy, that is.) As least Dick Dawkins has maintained a certain level of salon — which is why he was admitted to the screening.

    keep neither a dull knife, nor an ill disciplined looseness of tongue
    -Marcus Aurelius

    Also, both these guys are freaking out about the movie — but in reality, if the producers go Michael Moore — they are cutting their own throats. Myers and Dick Dawkins will have the entire internet to cream the ID people, and probably be able to publicly smother the movement in it’s bed.

    Relax.

  331. #331 Kseniya
    March 24, 2008

    Hmmm. Two is usually ok. I wonder what triggers the moderation in that case? Strings of three or more “x”s in the URL? *eg*

  332. #332 Rey Fox
    March 24, 2008

    “As least Dick Dawkins has maintained a certain level of salon — which is why he was admitted to the screening.”

    Seriously, wasn’t Dawkins the horrible fire-breathing secular horror just a couple months ago? Why is he all the sudden being treated like the nice guy? You guys aren’t…flip-flopping, are you?

  333. #333 spurge
    March 24, 2008

    If this is the kind of publicity they want lets give them all they can handle.

    IDiots indeed.

  334. #334 Ken Cope
    March 24, 2008

    Sorry, guys I didn’t invent the rules of marketing. There’s only one kind of bad publicity — none.

    You neither invented the rules, nor do you understand squat about them. As was pointed out elsewhere on this or a neighboring thread, Mathis may as well have gone on a shooting spree through the MOA for some equivalent publicity.

    This story hit the science section of the New York Times within hours of the event. The audience Mathis is trying to drum up for his piece of dreck does not read the New York Times, let alone its science section.

    The investors Mathis is trying to drum up have people to read the New York Times for them, and they’ll laugh in his face, because, unlike wnelson, marketing is their business. That’s why a string of sscheduled screenings has already been curtailed. PZ and Dawkins kidney punched the producers in the pocketbook, and all they’ve done so far is point and laugh.

  335. #335 spurge
    March 24, 2008

    I think I need a comma in there somewhere…..

  336. #336 wnelson
    March 24, 2008

    “Seriously, wasn’t Dawkins the horrible fire-breathing secular horror just a couple months ago? Why is he all the sudden being treated like the nice guy? You guys aren’t…flip-flopping, are you?”

    Meh, that should be a reflection more on the levels Myers is willing to go — the WBC? line of argument and the “fundie are feces” subtext — than Dick Dawkins being “nice.” Maybe it’s the accent. ;-)

    I’m reading over at UD that Myers gamed the RSVP system to get tickets — whether that’s true or not — this episode needs to be a lesson to all: he that is the most forthright, wins.

    If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

  337. #337 Matt Penfold
    March 24, 2008

    Nisbett wants Dawkins and PZ to refer journalists to the NCSE whenever they asked for a comment on the creationism/evolution issue as they do not speak for science.

    Well just recently the NCSE published a book on evolution in which it is claimed there is no conflict between science and religion. I am sure the authors of the book believe that but they are not speaking for all scientists when they say it. A good number of scientists think that there is a such a conflict and that pretending there is not does science no good. It seems Nisbett does not want that message getting out.

    I really do think it is about time people started questioning the motives of Nisbett and Mooney. It seems to me that they can no longer just be considered mistaken. I also think it is time that scientists made it clear that neither Mooney or Nisbett are scientists and have even less right to speak for science than do PZ and Dawkins.

    Nisbett also needs to learn there is world beyond the US. It is a mistake he has made before.

  338. #338 wnelson
    March 24, 2008

    “PZ and Dawkins kidney punched the producers in the pocketbook, and all they’ve done so far is point and laugh.”

    No, they managed to put Expelled on the cultural map — the front page of Digg, and in the NYT, for heavens sake — it wasn’t there until Dick and PZ [apparently] gamed the RSVP system.

    They wont need screenings now.

    Way to go guys.

  339. #339 Rey Fox
    March 24, 2008

    “whether that’s true or not ”

    Of course, if it’s not true then it undercuts your entire point.

  340. #340 spurge
    March 24, 2008

    Your any publicity is good publicity shtick is getting boring wnelson.

    You must be quite dizzy by now.

  341. #341 Ken Cope
    March 24, 2008

    Citing UD as an authority for PZ “gaming” the RSVP system marks wnelson as either a complete fuckwit, or just another lying sack of shit.

    What Mathis et al, have dumped on the cultural map is a fat stinking turd Wnelson is merely one of its fumes.

    The only theaters Expelled will play in will be four-walled.

  342. #342 Brownian, OM
    March 24, 2008

    Seriously, wasn’t Dawkins the horrible fire-breathing secular horror just a couple months ago?

    I guess Nisbett and Mooney are both wrong: PZ’s colourful terminology has allowed the mild-mannered Dawkins to sneak in, unmolested, through the side door (hey, he only wrote a book called The God Delusion, it’s not like he swore or anything). Sort of leads one to the obvious conclusion: if someone else takes the role of lowest common denominator, PZ’ll be the creos’ new favourite in no time.

    PZ, I’ll be your lowest common denominator! Let me take the heat! I’ll be the mean, ugly, nasty side of atheism, and as long as I’m more profane and anti-religious than you, you’ll have a free pass!

    Fuck-shit-damn! Tie-dye the nuns’ habits! Religion causes hemorrhoids! Piss-fuck! Force the priests to eat pounds of hot wings without a Tums in sight! Religion causes people to buy James Blunt albums! Asshole-bitch-face! BBQ the Pope!

  343. #343 Matt Penfold
    March 24, 2008

    Has anyone noticed how Nisbett thinks the moderate theists he claims are put off by Dawkins, PZ et al must be really really stupid ?

    He assumes that they are unable to understand that a messenger may well have more than one message to get across. Both PZ and Dawkins are vocal atheists but are also vocal biologists speaking out not just against creationism but seeking to explain evolution and other aspects of biology to the public. Does Nisbett really think that only atheists buy Dawkins’ books on science ? And if Dawkins is such a turn off, why are so many religious people willing to work alongside him to stop creationism gaining a foothold in UK schools ?

  344. #344 Steve_C
    March 24, 2008

    nelson,

    give it a rest.

    PZ’s getting expelled from Expelled will have little or no impact and the success of the movie.

    It’s crap. Everyone knows it’s crap. The only people fooling themselves are craven creationists. And who really gives a rats ass about what they think?

  345. #345 thalarctos
    March 24, 2008

    They wont need screenings now.

    Well, *that’s* a relief, because the *last* thing a film producer wants is to have their movie screened.

    wnelson gives away his moral relativism, though:

    whether that’s true or not

    Clearly, facts, truth, reality, evidence, and such are orthogonal to wnelson. I’d suggest ignoring the troll, unless you’re just absolutely up for a trip to surreality.

  346. #346 Matt Penfold
    March 24, 2008

    If all publicity is good publicity in the film industry then why do film producers so dislike negative reviews ? And why does spending the largest amounts publicising a film always lead to the largest box office takings ?

    I suspect people who make such a claim are talking bollocks.

  347. #347 Azkyroth
    March 24, 2008

    Oriole:

    What you need to understand is that the commenter you’re responding is using the same definition of “insulting” him that most theist-apologists are using when they complain about atheists “insulting” the religious: IE, anything less than total agreement from the opposing party is an “insult”, whereas absolutely any statement, no matter how contumelious, from themselves is perfectly acceptable and reasonable.

  348. #348 TK Kenyon
    March 24, 2008

    Nesbit’s whole philosophy, “Framing Science,” in which mostly non-scientists try to reconcile science with religion, which are several systems of contradictory and unsubstantiated beliefs, is a waste of time.

    Yes, we should try to break it gently to religionists that they’ve been utterly wrong all these years, but eventually, the obvious truth of science will prevail. It’s only a matter of time, another scientific concept.

    Also, at the risk of being arch, Nesbit’s degree is in communications. Isn’t communications what people take when they flunk out of business?

    I admit, when I saw Nesbit’s blog and its title, “Framing Science,” I thought it was a provocative anti-science blog, like when the cops “frame” someone for a crime. Perhaps that wasn’t the best moniker for their movement. You would think that a communications major might have thought of that.

    Myers and Dawkins should not shut up.

    Scientists tell the truth. Politicians and religionists seek create consensus or to silence the opposition. Pandering to their illogical and ignorant views will only endow them with a false sense of superiority, to go along with their false view of the universe and their false beliefs.

    To PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins: Once more into the breach!

    TK Kenyon
    http://science4non-majors.blogspot.com/
    http://rabidatheists.blogspot.com/

  349. #349 Azkyroth
    March 24, 2008

    Anyway, it’s a free country, anyone has the right to say whatever the hell they want.

    Are you baiting me? O.o

    Incidentally, one more thought on Nisbet and Mooney’s complaints about the controversy in “our” ranks:

    When someone proposes the two sides actually meet in the middle and both make concessions, instead of one side being called on to just capitulate in the name of unity, maybe I’ll at least take that proposal seriously.

    -DC Simpson

  350. #350 Don
    March 24, 2008

    If there is no such thing as bad publicity, when can we expect the second season of ‘Help’?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help_%28TV_series%29

  351. #351 Michael Lonergan
    March 24, 2008

    Fuck you very much…. Can I use that PZ? Classic…

  352. #352 Matt Penfold
    March 24, 2008

    I see Sheril Kirshenbaum is all upset at PZ telling Nisbett to get fucked.

    http://scienceblogs.com/intersection/2008/03/pz_myers_mind_your_manners.php

    Clearly she sees nothing wrong with Nisbett’s dishonesty. And given her support for framing one would have thought she would have applauded such an effective frame. Can anyone be left in any doubt as to how PZ feels about Nisbett ?

  353. #353 Azkyroth
    March 24, 2008

    Sorry, guys I didn’t invent the rules of marketing. There’s only one kind of bad publicity — none.

    Funny; I’m pretty sure you invented the ones you’re trying to sell us on.

    And no, if Myers is willing to be consistent, then has no right to ask to be treated by any higher standard than he sets. He has moved his bones on cultivating the image of a vicious ideologue (without understanding philosophy, that is.) As least Dick Dawkins has maintained a certain level of salon — which is why he was admitted to the screening.

    First, I would agree with you that PZ has no right to ask that his opponents not vigorously disagree with him, which is how, you know, he actually treats them. To the best of my knowledge he’s never asked this. He’s also never treated them dishonestly, and you know it, while just makes your comments all the more reprehensible.

    Why don’t you just advise us to “go drink bleach” and be done with it?

  354. #354 Azkyroth
    March 24, 2008

    I’m reading over at UD that Myers gamed the RSVP system to get tickets — whether that’s true or not — this episode needs to be a lesson to all: he that is the most forthright, wins.

    If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

    All I have to say to that is…

    Pot, kettle…

  355. #355 Chris
    March 24, 2008

    Sure. I have NOT found the use of profanity to be much of an indicator of anything; I know brilliant people who swear constantly and some genuine idiots who go on at length about protecting children from “bad language”. Sorry, idiot is too mild of a word – I am actually at a loss for one strong enough so perhaps I lack vocabulary.

    I haven’t found the use of profanity to indicate much of anything, either. However, I have found excessive concern about the use of profanity to be an indicator of something: a petty, vapid mind that is incapable of perceiving, let alone focusing on, substantial issues, and hence obsesses on superficial trivia like whether or not someone said a bad word.

  356. #356 Aquaria
    March 24, 2008

    Lee @ #306 made the exact point I wanted to make about this whole issue.

    Look, there’s a time and place to be polite. But the problem with being polite all the time will get trampled on. Ugly and mean gets things done sometimes, like it or not.

    And, honestly, anyone who claims to be some kind of “expert” on communication and framing really, really can’t be too bright/thoughtful or even politically shrewd to tell anyone to shut up and let “approved” people do the talking. Not in America with Americans, a people known for considering it not just a right but a duty to express their opinions, beliefs, views–whatever. Maybe Nesbit experimented with one too many authoritarian groups in college and never really got over it, sort of like your average middle-aged wingnut and his tenure in the College Republicans.

  357. #357 Tulse
    March 24, 2008

    Sorry, guys I didn’t invent the rules of marketing. There’s only one kind of bad publicity — none.

    Clearly Eliot Spitzer and Larry Craig should give you a call. And perhaps the producers of Gigli could benefit from your sage advice.

  358. #358 Alan Kellogg
    March 24, 2008

    No such thing as bad publicity? When what someone says about a subject is both negative, and true, then you have bad publicity. When creationists attack evolution it is not bad publicity because while what they say is negative, it is not true. But when PZed etc. trash creationism it is bad publicity because what he says is both negative, and true.

    How do you tell when a statement of fact is not true? You check out the claim to see if it can be verified. If the claim has no basis in fact, then it is not true.

    I mean, a Cure Disease would’ve come in handy at times during the past 30+ years.

  359. #359 quasarsphere
    March 24, 2008

    Personally, I rather like it when scientists use profanity. I found it very refreshing to hear Richard Dawkins describe some creationist drivel as “total and utter bullshit”. It serves as a reminder that these people are human beings after all, which in turn makes science just that little bit less intimidating for muppets like me with no formal scientific education, but who want to learn what they can.

  360. #360 decrepitoldfool
    March 24, 2008

    In the workplace I rather prefer the company of people who cuss. But having been around fundamentalists a lot I will say: there are a lot of people in those churches harboring doubts they do not express. They are the quiet ones, or very occasionally the noisiest ones and sometimes they admit to themselves they want out. The problem is that since childhood they’ve been taught that profanity is an external indicator of bad character.

    So what’s the dealio with profanity and churches? It is a powerful manipulation on the part of their “spiritual mentors”, effectively drowning out ideas from outside the church. It becomes a prejudice the victim can only abandon after many other church-cultivated supporting prejudices have fallen ahead of it.

    It’s for that doubting person I choose personally to use profanity a lot less in print and on the web than I do in speech (where I have more choice of audience). I want to make it possible for them to listen to me when I say that their preachers are lying to them, or that there is life after religion.

    And yet, I know some doubters in the pews who are (this may sound strange and I don’t think Matt has looked at it this way) just longing to let out a good “Fuck!” and several thousand more they’ve been holding in for years.

    And with that, I am terminally bored with the subject of profanity.

  361. #361 Paul A
    March 25, 2008

    “This is not about censoring your ideas and positions, but rather being smart, strategic, tactical, and ultimately effective in promoting science rather than your own personal ideology, books, or blog.”

    No Matt, according to you it’s about taking the most craven approach possible and toadying before the people who want to turn your country’s science classrooms into an extension of Sunday School. PZ and Richard are right to get angry, they’re right to take the fight back to the Creationists, they’re right to scream and shout about just how ignorant it is to even mention creationsism and science in the same sentence. Congratulations to both of them, I’m proud to having them representing my opinion in the public arena.

  362. #362 Luna_the_cat
    March 25, 2008

    Yes, I know this will get me stomped on, but…

    Nisbet was wrong. He was wrong on multiple counts. But I really dislike PZ Myers using profanity to respond, rather than showing how it was wrong with the precision and wit that is not only possible but more evident with polite language. Sure, it’s PZ’s blog. And sure, the profanity is an honest expression of emotion; but it isn’t a refutation, and it isn’t big and it isn’t clever. When I started reading this blog over a year ago, the flaming viciousness wasn’t the predominant flavour that it is today — the science was, and the logic, and yes, there was plenty of wit. This isn’t wit, it’s just flaming. The internet is full of flaming, and being vicious is nothing special. I was here for the wit, which is rather more rare — and sadly becoming rarer here, as the site descends into a closed circle of people who pour scorn on the rest of the world, same as every other political blog it seems.

    And having said that, PZ Myers’s response to doctorgoo in #232 is vile. PZ, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you back down or apologise, which I’m sure is part of your appeal to some of the people here — but you know, I think you do actually owe doctorgoo an apology, whether you give him one or not. Doctorgoo was not a troll, he was not telling you to sit down and shut up, he was having a substantive argument in an extremely polite fashion and well-focused on ideas, and you tell him to go wank elsewhere. You are seriously in danger of becoming one of those bloggers you have professed to despise in the past, who tolerates no criticism on their own blog.

  363. #363 Kseniya
    March 25, 2008

    Little Paul is a self-confessed liberal. Schoolyard-level insults and profanity are the main weapon in the liberal arsenal, right up there with unjustified assumptions. When you can’t make an intelligent argument, reach for the expletives.

    Ah, so Joe Blow is our “wtf” sockpuppet from the “Ahistorical garbage from the producers of Expelled” thread. Joe, you know that sockpuppetry is a bannable offense? Oh, wait – you must, seeing as how “wtf” vanished from the thread after I mentioned it there.

    And yet here you are, spewing the same old blanket generalizations! You’re the gift that keeps on giving! Regardless, I applaud the courage you display by resuming the use of your distinctive moniker.

  364. #364 Kseniya
    March 25, 2008

    So tell me, Slo-Blo: How’s that “WMD were found!” argument working for you, dude? Funny how you turned tail and ran when the “proof” you culled from WingNutDaily was cast into serious doubt.

  365. #365 jimboforreason
    March 25, 2008

    This clown Matt Nesbit is a real piece of work. I guess he thinks everyone is as gullible as creationists…he shows his true colors (anti-science and anti-freespeech) and now he is saying anything to control the damage.

    this calls for a top ten lies told by Matt Nesbit:

    10. “Ben Stein made me do the film!”
    9. “Richard Dawkins told me he flew to Minnesota specifically to see my film but as an afterthought, stopped by the atheist convention.”
    8. “Pharyngula is my favorite website…really!”
    7. “I respect PZ Myers very much…except when he has a potty mouth.”
    6. “The free screenings had to be shut down because of the massive demand for free tickets by expelled scientists.”
    5. “Charles Darwin wrote Mein Kampf.”
    4. “Ben Stein got his PhD in evolutionary biology from Cambridge and that is why he doesn’t like Dawkins.”
    3. “I have never seen this Harvard film everyone is talking about…and who is William Dembski?”
    2. “The chalk used by Ben Stein on the blackboard is from
    the Great Flood deposits of 6000 years ago.”
    1. “I intended this movie as a way to reach out to the science community to show them that the creationist/ID movement is one of peace, love and understanding…you darn atheists have spoiled all the fun…”

  366. #366 Steven Schafersman
    March 25, 2008

    This controversy is amazing. First, PZ is expelled from Expelled, now Matt Nisbet wants to expel PZ from public discourse about science and religion, or more precisely, wants PZ to voluntarily expel himself. I think there is little chance of that. After all, we are all scientists or pro-science advocates here, who believe in free inquiry and open expression of opinions and conclusions. Aren’t we, Matt?

    I know that there is a controversy within the Freethought and science education communities about the wisdom of Dawkins, Meyers, et al., expressing themselves freely and candidly on such topics as evolution, religion, atheism, and the connections between them. That is their right and no one should attempt to quiet them in good conscience. As a prominent pro-science advocate and activist, I frequently hear arguments–such as those expressed by Chris Mooney and Matt Nisbet–that Dawkins et al. are doing science education a disservice by their honest attacks on theistic and supernaturalistic religions and their promotion of atheism. I don’t know if this is the case or not, and I am not convinced this is the case by any surveys, polls, or other evidence I have read. What I am sure about is that we have no ethical business telling Dawkins et al. to stop. I think allowing honesty and openness in our affairs and discourse is better in the long run than self-censorship to achieve a limited and probably chimerical goal. We will deserve and earn more respect and adherents to our beliefs if we follow traditional scientific openness and honesty than by engaging in a mendacious marketing and framing campaign like you know who. Yes, we should frame our statements and arguments better, but I reject censorship or self-censorship as an option.

    85% of Americans are theists, and I am happy to tell them that evolution is completely consistent with theism, because I believe that is a true statement. Theistic evolution is a legitimate option for those who want to accept both God and evolution, although I don’t spell out the fact that such a stance has certain severe epistemological difficulties. That’s their problem to deal with, not mine, and I don’t want to bombard them with details. Sometimes it happens that individuals who develop a scientific attitude lose their belief in theism and supernaturalism (“Learning about science makes you an atheist, it ‘kills off’ religious faith”), and sometimes it doesn’t. I always stress that individuals have the right to believe and speak about their religious or philosophical beliefs as long as they don’t try to proselytize or deceive science students in public school classrooms. Shouldn’t we give Dawkins and Myers the same right of expression that Dembski, Behe, Wells, and Mathis enjoy?

    Yes, the statements of Dawkins and Myers in Expelled did imply that, as Matt so aptly phrased it, “If we boost science literacy in society, it will lead to erosion of religion, as religion fades away, we will get more and more science, and less and less religion.” Everyone is entitled to their daydreams and fantasies, Dawkins and PZ included. I stopped believing in this fantasy when I studied the history of science. Religion is much, much more than just belief in the supernatural myths and dogmas. There are deep emotional and psychological reasons that tie humans to a host of religious concerns. Religions are ingrained in society not because its priests are shrewd and calculating, but because there are deep-seated human needs that science will never expunge. Only a minority of individuals learn to satisfy these needs without recourse to the supernatural, and while a good science education helps to accelerate that transition, the process is hardly 100% foolproof.

    I do find it more helpful to work within the dominant social paradigm, and respect theistic and supernaturalistic religion’s cultural dominance no matter how alien and repugnant its belief system is to me, in my efforts to promote science, scientific literacy, a scientific attitude, and evolution, especially where I live (Texas), rather than openly and aggressively confronting it. But I think the world is big enough for a few of us to do the confronting, and I am happy to live within their reflected glory. Why shouldn’t Dawkins, Dennett, and Myers speak forthrightly when the opposition has their Craigs, Geislers, and Dembskis going around the country speaking forth unrightly? Matt Nisbet is an intelligent advocate for science and education, but he is wrong on this issue, and PZ’s vulgar response is appropriate.

  367. #367 Chris Clarke
    March 25, 2008

    You are seriously in danger of becoming one of those bloggers you have professed to despise in the past, who tolerates no criticism on their own blog.

    The cojones required to make a statement like this in a thread like this are pretty admirable.

    Did you try scrolling up?

  368. #368 pedlar
    March 25, 2008

    uh, jimboforreason …

    nice one, but matt nesbitt /= mark mathis

    and kseniya …

    wow, someone has been paying attention in class. Top marks.

  369. #369 Kseniya
    March 26, 2008

    Thanks, Pedlar. Y’see, I’m not all that smart, so if I don’t pay attention I don’t stand a chance!

  370. #370 Luna_the_cat
    March 26, 2008

    Chris Clarke — yes, I’ve read this thread. Have you actually read doctorgoo’s arguments that he had going on (#159, #191, #214, #222), and Myers’s response to him in #232? Seriously, I want to know this, do you think that Myers’s treatment of doctorgoo, his instruction to go wank elsewhere is in any way justified? Is that a good response by the blog owner? Really, what is your opinion on this?

  371. #371 John Morales
    March 26, 2008

    Luna_the_cat, doctorgoo made a specious argument, PZ expressed his opinion. In what sense is this unjustified?

  372. #372 Carlie
    March 26, 2008

    Luna, PZ’s treatmehnt of gooey is to let his statements stand, but to refute them within the thread. If, instead, this were Uncommon Descent or any number of other creationist blogs, the comments not in line with the dogma of the blog owner would be expunged and the commenter banned. See the difference?

  373. #373 decrepitoldfool
    March 26, 2008

    There are deep emotional and psychological reasons that tie humans to a host of religious concerns. Religions are ingrained in society not because its priests are shrewd and calculating, but because there are deep-seated human needs that science will never expunge. Only a minority of individuals learn to satisfy these needs without recourse to the supernatural, and while a good science education helps to accelerate that transition, the process is hardly 100% foolproof.

    I’m not sure this is true, Steven. As a counterexample, there are already societies that are majority atheist, and they seem to be getting along just fine.

    The deep-seated need, I would guess, is for the support and validation of social community, which is something some churches do very well. Many people have told me they go to church for that reason alone and pay not the slightest attention to the sermons.

  374. #374 Luna_the_cat
    March 26, 2008

    doctorgoo made a variety of thoughtful arguments, supported them, and was having a good discussion with people.

    Myers called it “blithering nonsense” and told him to “go wank on Nisbet’s blog.” He called a specific part of one of doctorgoo’s arguments a strawman, but failed to address the point that doctorgoo was trying to make with that argument, that people could be Christians and practice good science indistinguishable from that of atheists.

    An insult, handwave, and directive to go wank. That was justified? That was a good refutation, was it?

    No. No, it wasn’t. And it was shameful treatment of someone who was doing nothing more than disagreeing with majority opinion. I have no objection to trolls being treated that way, but doctorgoo was hardly a troll; I’m disturbed and frankly slightly disgusted that people think this was a good way to handle his arguments.

  375. #375 FO
    March 26, 2008

    “Fuck you very much, Matt. You know where you can stick your advice.”

    LOL

    We’ve tried shutting up. We got burned, hanged, tortured, demonized, misrepresented, and more — all the while flabby-mouthed fuckwits like Nisbet keep telling us to STAY quiet. No Nisbet, YOU should your shut rotten, decaying, smells-of-equine-fecal-matter mouth now and let us talk like we damn well should.

  376. #376 John Morales
    March 26, 2008

    Luna:

    doctorgoo made a variety of thoughtful arguments, supported them, and was having a good discussion with people.

    (bold in original) doctorgoo #159 :

    But the bottom line, for me anyway, is that while I don’t want PZ to be quiet about popularizing science, I just want him to quit giving the other side ammo when it comes to polarizing their side against science!

    #191: Argues science and religion are compatible because

    Everyone compartmentalizes things all the time in order to do their work.

    #214: repeats opinion.

    #222: (good discussion (?) to Sastra)

    …Bringing your analogy back on topic…I find that the goal of promoting proper science standards in public high schools is much more important than convincing others to share my personal world-view of atheism. To that end, I’m more than willing to work with Christians who also fight for the same goal.

    Luna

    Myers called it “blithering nonsense” and told him to “go wank on Nisbet’s blog.” He called a specific part of one of doctorgoo’s arguments a strawman, but failed to address the point that doctorgoo was trying to make with that argument, that people could be Christians and practice good science indistinguishable from that of atheists.

    Failed to address the points? The topic is hardly a new one.

  377. #377 Gretta
    March 27, 2008

    I’m glad to see the framing issue seems to be settling down. I just hope it goes away and doesn’t come back again. The word “framing” has been ruined for me. It will always have negative connotations now.

  378. #378 Anton Mates
    March 28, 2008

    He called a specific part of one of doctorgoo’s arguments a strawman, but failed to address the point that doctorgoo was trying to make with that argument, that people could be Christians and practice good science indistinguishable from that of atheists.

    Luna, I think PZ was applying the “strawman” label to goo’s overall point in that argument–and that label is quite accurate. PZ has never claimed that Christians can’t practice science as well as atheists; in fact, he has explicitly said they can and often do so. They just have to work harder at compartmentalization to pull it off. So goo was, in fact, building a strawman.

    Couple that with his initial claims that PZ disrespects all religious scientists and prioritizes atheist evangelism over science education, and a rude response was quite understandable IMO.

  379. #379 windy
    March 28, 2008

    I don’t care if “incidents” like this do somehow boost the sales of Expelled, it would still be worth it for the irony. I need my fix!

  380. #380 bPer
    March 28, 2008

    The Daylight Atheism blog has weighed into this issue with the post Thoughts on the Expelled Affair. It began with a review of the key events, then turned to Nisbet’s reaction. I thought the most interesting part was this (bolding mine):

    What [Nisbet] hasn’t grasped is that, to whatever extent Myers and Dawkins are viewed as influential scientists whose opinions are worth listening to, they earned that authority by their own effort. They are doing just what they’ve always done – writing, speaking, publishing their opinions. Their following was not bestowed upon them from on high; they created it for themselves by presenting persuasive arguments that won people over. In other words, they’re winning the battle of ideas, and Nisbet is not. His ridiculous call for them to shut up and hand that authority over to him is really just a plea for him to be handed the acclaim that he’s failed to achieve by his own effort. The similarities with creationists are instructive.

    Indeed. I thought that was his intent too. I have a question: Has Nisbet now finally jumped the shark in everyone’s eyes?

  381. #381 Glen
    April 9, 2008

    I’m going to quote a very unpopular author, Ayn Rand,”Your desire to kill me and my desire to live is not a difference of opinion.”

    Hyperbolically analogous to be sure, but to follow the analogy one step more, abeit, prosaically, “Your desire to say the sun rises in the west and my ‘desire’ to say the sun rises in the east is not a difference of opinion.” Neither is the age of the Earth, nor are many other things…

    Short take: y’ain’t got one single fact, here. Shuddup, unless you really like embarassing yourselves.(Did I commit a tautology?)

  382. #382 John Morales
    April 11, 2008

    Glen, Ayn Rand may have said that, but she was wrong.

    A difference of opinion exists (by definition) when two opinions differ, regardless of the correctness of such.

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