Pharyngula

Peevish inquiries in Oklahoma continue

Legislators in the fine state of Oklahoma continue to gnash their grim and yellowed Christian tusks in frustration that Richard Dawkins was ever allowed to speak. He not only spoke openly, but was allowed to leave the state unscathed — not a single rusty thumbscrew was employed, nor was he burned at the stake. The university thinks that is just fine, but these cornpone dullards pretending to be representatives of American freedom just don’t get it.

In a phone interview Thursday, Thomsen said the university has a right to bring any speaker it chooses, but is accountable to taxpayers. On behalf of his constituents, Thomsen wanted to present the opinion that Dawkins doesn’t represent Oklahoma’s ideals.

“They’re not in a plastic bubble that can’t be touched,” he said.

Dawkins’ approach doesn’t present freedom of thought and opinion, Thomsen said.

“His presence at OU was not about science,” he said. “It was to promote an atheistic agenda, and that was very clear.”

Was Mr Thomsen at the talk? I think not, or he’d know that he was giving his “Purpose of Purpose” lecture, which was about the perception of teleology in biology and evolution. Or maybe he just assumes that any talk about science is promoting an atheistic agenda, a presumption that would not surprise me at all.

I’m really getting jealous. The best rejection I ever got was getting kicked out of a mere movie theater…and Dawkins has casually stirred the ire of an entire state. Are there any small nations that would like to outlaw me? I have to keep up.

Comments

  1. #1 Michelle R
    March 30, 2009

    awrrrr…. Don’t be sad, PZ. Did Dawkins ever get a praying piquet line, hmm? You got that too, you know!

    And don’t forget, you were kicked out… But hey, they let HIM in! That means you were kickworthy and not him! Fancy that!

  2. #2 James F
    March 30, 2009

    Reading this makes the accomplishments of the Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education all the more impressive. Thank you Vic, Abbie, and everyone else for defending evolution education against legislators like these.

  3. #3 Alex
    March 30, 2009

    You damn scientists spreading the religion of atheism!

  4. #4 Glen Davidson
    March 30, 2009

    Let’s see, the IDiots say that evolution is “atheistic,” and Dawkins largely agrees.

    So Dawkins’ agreement with the IDiots is a problem?

    Or is it just that Dawkins tells the truth about the evidence? That seems to be the only problem, since the implications of evolution are largely what the IDiots say.

    I guess the only problem these morons have is that someone would promote secience, then.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  5. #5 Holbach
    March 30, 2009

    The legislature retards should announce that next time they will convene a special session to have their imaginary god speak personally to the entire state of Oklahoma and denounce Richard Dawkins for excepting the invitation to making the state the laughing stock of the nation.
    “Will all rise and welcome our lord god. Er, where the hell is it? Is it trying to make us look stupid?” Morons.

  6. #6 uknesvuinng
    March 30, 2009

    Don’t feel too bad. After all, what’s the last thing Phil got kicked out of?

  7. #7 Glen Davidson
    March 30, 2009

    Should have been:

    since the implications of evolution [as depicted by Dawkins] are largely the same as what IDiots say

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  8. #8 arekksu
    March 30, 2009

    Are there any small nations that would like to outlaw me?

    too obvious but: THE VATICAN LOL!!!

  9. #9 Newfie
    March 30, 2009

    If I was a douchebag politician, I’d do the same thing. How much in campaign contributions do these assclowns get from religious groups? And since you can’t get elected as an open atheist, who are you gonna pander to?

  10. #10 Pony
    March 30, 2009

    I think you may be behind the 8-ball on the small nation thing, Dawkins is already “Banned in Turkey”.

  11. #11 JD
    March 30, 2009

    Yeah, freedom of thought. Like the freedom to think that oxygen is made out of evaporated cane juice.

  12. #12 Freelance
    March 30, 2009

    Richard is more of an outspoken public figure that stirs up emotion wherever he goes. You PZ on the other hand is the soft spoken Teddy Bear kinda guy that writes a popular blog and obsesses about squids.
    Work on the public area for a bit and I’m sure the fundies will bombard your university with demands to have you fired and taking steps to revoke your citizenship.

    You can do it! We believe in you! :)

  13. #13 www.10ch.org
    March 30, 2009

    “‘They’re not in a plastic bubble that can’t be touched,’ he said.”
    Then he is very eager to touch them?

  14. #14 JD
    March 30, 2009

    Whereas, Dawkins said the sky is blue. Whereas, we don’t like this. Whereas, back to our plastic bubble.

  15. #15 www.10ch.org
    March 30, 2009

    @#8 Pony
    “I think you may be behind the 8-ball on the small nation thing, Dawkins is already ‘Banned in Turkey.’”
    Of course, there is a reason why people are apprehensive about Turkey joining the EU.

  16. #16 www.10ch.org
    March 30, 2009

    Well, PZ Myers, I have not heard yet that you have published a book yet that voices your opinions on religion.

  17. #17 happyfunball
    March 30, 2009

    Well, Canada’s been banning people lately (most recently, British MP George Galloway.) Not for being atheists, though. Can you give a pro-Hamas lecture or something? That should do it.

  18. #18 HenryFord
    March 30, 2009

    See P.Z., you’re getting the hang of this religious lark after all. Everyone knows that you’ve got to be persecuted to be religious, and here you are begging to be persecuted. What’s the infidel version of fatwah envy?

    Face it, you rub some people up the wrong way, but Richard can pwn anyone when it comes to realy pissing people off. He’s just so damned … strident. Oh and shrill. Don’t forget shrill.

  19. #19 wombat
    March 30, 2009

    We see again how the religious fear even listening to ideas that depart from their dogma. By flooding OU with document requests, they send the message that they will meddle with anyone remotely ‘controversial’. How are the administrators, professors and students supposed to interpret this? The obvious result is to avoid having to defend someone like this and thus only inviting individuals that won’t make the legislators wet their beds at night. They are nothing but thugs in cheap suits with an itchin’ to silence what they don’t like. It won’t stop with Dawkins. They will proceed to political opinion they don’t like. The university setting is a marvelous opportunity for student to broaden their horizons and hear the entire spectrum of opinion. This does nothing but trample over that opportunity

  20. #20 K. Engels
    March 30, 2009

    I’m really getting jealous.

    Don’t forget the fact that Dawkin’s Trophy Wife was on Doctor Who….

  21. #21 Mozglubov
    March 30, 2009

    I think arekksu nailed this one… I think the Vatican is the most likely candidate for banning you. Especially if you decided to somehow combine cracker desecration with condoms. That would really rile the pope.

  22. #22 blf
    March 30, 2009

    [T]here is a reason why people are apprehensive about Turkey joining the EU.

    Yes, it’s called bigotry. Admittedly, Turkey doesn’t help its cause with stunts like banning various sites (or people? if it actually does that), but then again, much of the EU bans (as an example) support for nazis. (Just to be clear: nazi sympathizers are vile disgusting people.)

    Some of the Turkey-not-in-the-EU nonsense is probably driven by Turkey being a predominantly muslim nation, which to my mind is a good reason to ensure Turkey is in the EU. And if it’s not a good reason, then expell the predominately christian nations, since whatever argument you’ve got about admitting a predominately muslim nation also applies to predominately christian nations (with, perhaps, a few changes of name or other incidental details).

  23. #23 BAllanJ
    March 30, 2009

    I think they’re unclear as to the object of bringing in outside speakers when they complain that he doesn’t represent OK ideals.

    The object of bringing in outside speakers is so they can show you their outside ideas and ideals. If you want someone to represent yours, you don’t need to bring in outsiders, do you. Of course, you don’t really get higher education then, either.

  24. #24 green thumb
    March 30, 2009

    Oklahoma where the wind whistles through Thomsen’s ears*

    *apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein.

  25. #25 Mena
    March 30, 2009

    They call atheism a religion, claim that it requires more faith to believe the universe just happened (yada yada yada), and that we should respect their beliefs but they are the first to not respect ours. What a bunch of dumb whiny hypocrites.

  26. #26 MikeM
    March 30, 2009

    Seriously, I think Dawkins ought to keep scheduling trips to Oklahoma. Just keep going back every month, if necessary.

    If the Legislature votes to arrest him… GOOD! We need to test the stupid law that would allow the arrest of Dawkins.

    Richard, we’re on your side.

    Reasonable people in Oklahoma, move away. That’s my suggestion.

  27. #27 raven
    March 30, 2009

    Thomsen is a real piece of work.

    Orwell himself couldn’t come up with a higher content of doublespeak.

    Freedom of speech=Burning scientists at the stake.

    Teaching the controversy=burning scientists at the stake.

    Academic freedom=burning scientists at the stake.

    “The’re not in a platic bubble that can’t be touched”=Cattle prods, gas chambers, and mass graves will take care of OU and their supporters.

    god is love=And if the feds weren’t there to stop us, we’d have massacred half the state’s population by now and be starting on Kansas.

    Really, another disgusting, evil fundie xian who gathered up a lot of hate, lies, and death, calls it god, worships it, and doesn’t even wonder why people think he is nuts.

    Guy was born centuries too late. No doubt he would be a member of the Spanish Inquisition and consider the Pope and cardinals soft on witches, heretics, and nonbelievers.

  28. #28 bsk
    March 30, 2009

    Yes, PZ, it’s high time we had a fifth horseman. Get cracking.

  29. #29 MartyM
    March 30, 2009

    You’re jealous of Oklahoma? Really? Ok-la-homa? If you’ve ever been to Oklahoma, then you know, there’s no reason to go back.

  30. #30 frog
    March 30, 2009

    PZ: How about the Vatican? I’m pretty sure you could get yourself expelled (Hah!)

  31. #31 Dustin
    March 30, 2009

    Are there any small nations that would like to outlaw me?

    Defile a few more crackers. Maybe the Vatican City will ban you.

  32. #32 D. C. Sessions
    March 30, 2009

    Are there any small nations that would like to outlaw me? I have to keep up.

    Maybe it would help if you changed your surname to “Octavius.” That ought to get someone tingling!

  33. #33 raven
    March 30, 2009

    FWIW, it is likely that Mullah Osama bin Thomsen and the Michelle Bachmann wannabe don’t have any legal authority to do more than sable rattle, threaten and pray for an asteroid impact on Norman, OK or Cambridge, UK.

    They aren’t cops or judges, they are citizen legislators. Neither has any legal authority to so much as issue a parking ticket.

    Just guessing without knowing OK law. This must be the state sport among the christofascist segment. Seeing who can out-Spanish Inquisition and out-Cardinal Bellarmo (sentenced G. Bruno to the torch) in the free speech event of the most evil tournament.

    Frankly I would just ignore them. Troll feeding never works.

  34. #34 Richard
    March 30, 2009

    “Dawkins’ approach doesn’t present freedom of thought and opinion, Thomsen said.”

    … and neither does Thomsen’s.

  35. #35 Sastra
    March 30, 2009

    I sure hope OU doesn’t try to get one of those physicists who have won the Templeton Award to give a talk on physics. Since they all see some sort of hint that there might be something divine somewhere behind it all — and have come out and said so — then their only purpose would be to promote a “theistic agenda.”

    I can’t imagine atheists objecting to such a thing, of course, let alone using the legislature. If a physicist brought “the sacred” into a speech on quantum or whatever, I’d think we’d just want to go after them in the Q&A, and ask for specifics.

  36. #36 dreikin
    March 30, 2009

    Well, PZ, perhaps if you published that book you’ve never gotten around to writing. Your sabbatical is the perfect time for that, no? If you do it right, you might get Texas to ban you as well! (at least, in the schools)

    raven:
    How, exactly, does one rattle a sable? Does one attach bells to it? .o

  37. #37 Heraclides
    March 30, 2009

    Hmm, if he wants to address an “atheist agenda”, then he’s going to also have to address every creationist presentation given too…

  38. #38 Johannes (Hans) Adam Ferdinand Alois Josef Maria Marko d'Aviano Pius von und zu Liechtenstein, Princ
    March 30, 2009

    Herr Doctor Paul Zachary “PZ” Myers, Ph.D., is hereby ban from Liechtenstein.

  39. #39 comingstorm
    March 30, 2009

    They sound like a bunch of mobsters. It doesn’t matter what their title is — “plastic bubble” aside, the real message is this:

    “You fellas are untouchable, is that the thing? No one can get to you? Everyone can be gotten to.”

  40. #40 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2009

    If you’ve ever been to Oklahoma, then you know, there’s no reason to go back.

    There’s an excellent reason to go back if you missed the Wichita Mountains the first time. Or the Arbuckles, for that matter.

  41. #41 Ziggy3008
    March 30, 2009

    “Work on the public area for a bit and I’m sure the fundies will bombard your university with demands to have you fired and taking steps to revoke your citizenship.

    You can do it! We believe in you! :)”

    hah!

  42. #42 raven
    March 30, 2009

    Oklahoma is our Iran.

    Produces oil and gas–CHECK

    Lousy, semiarid climate, cold in winter, hot in summer–CHECK

    Run by crazed religious fanatics–CHECK

    Hates the USA and its ideals–CHECK

  43. #43 Tulse
    March 30, 2009

    “You fellas are untouchable, is that the thing? No one can get to you? Everyone can be gotten to.”

    “Nice university ya got here…be a shame if it were defunded…”

  44. #44 MrBaconFace
    March 30, 2009

    ” If you’ve ever been to Oklahoma, then you know, there’s no reason to go back.

    There’s an excellent reason to go back if you missed the Wichita Mountains the first time. Or the Arbuckles, for that matter.”

    I’m partial to the Ouachitas. I also really like the prairies but I study grasses. We have more ecological diversity than most states in the union. I mean 13 biomes, c’mon! On the other hand, we have a higher than average density of nutjobs, and not just the religious type. Oklahoma’s a nice place, it’s the inhabitants that ruin it.

    I don’t know if it has been mentioned but Todd “Rimjob” Thomsen is the chair of the house committee for Higher Education and Career Technology.

  45. #45 Jay H
    March 30, 2009

    “They’re not in a plastic bubble that can’t be touched,” he said.

    ….yet he acts as if his beliefs are protected from touching by a plastic bubble. You can’t have it both ways, Thomsen.

  46. #46 DuckPhup
    March 30, 2009

    “… Thomsen wanted to present the opinion that Dawkins doesn’t represent Oklahoma’s ideals.”

    Ideals, huh? And they would be what, exactly? Gullibility, self-deception, self-delusion, willful ignorance, irrationality, intellectual dishonesty, lies, hypocrisy, and toxic, drooling stupidity?

  47. #47 FastLane
    March 30, 2009

    13 biomes in OK? I think Az has that beat. :D

    I lived in Tulsa for 8 months. It was almost as bad as Wichita……

    gots to get me outta here….

  48. #48 Sperry
    March 30, 2009

    One of the most striking examples of religious belief promoting cognitive dissonance that I’ve seen in a while.

    “Dawkins doesn’t present freedom of opinion! He shouldn’t be free to present his opinion! Off with his head, and set it on York gates!”

  49. #49 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2009

    We have more ecological diversity than most states in the union.

    It’s true: alligators and pronghorns, 2 box turtles, paddlefish, bison, collared lizards, etc. I think there’s some plants too.

  50. #50 hf
    March 30, 2009

    Are there any small nations that would like to outlaw me?

    A friend of mine has long been King-in-exile of Rhode Island. I crowned him and then his government recognized my cult. I’ll see what I can do.

  51. #51 Katie
    March 30, 2009

    “His presence at OU was not about science,” he said. “It was to promote an atheistic agenda, and that was very clear.”

    Speaking as an atheist, my only agenda is science.

  52. #52 dreikin
    March 30, 2009
    We have more ecological diversity than most states in the union.

    It’s true: alligators and [...] box turtles, [...] collared lizards, etc. I think there’s some plants too.

    No wonder ya got problems – it’s like a mini florida mixed in with all the other stuff.

  53. #53 Silver
    March 30, 2009

    I wouldn’t say he has the hatred of an entire state, just the idiots that are supposed to be running it and those even dumber idiots that voted them in the first place. Makes me glad that I don;t live in that state, or even the country!

  54. #54 liz
    March 30, 2009

    You could maybe talk to Austin Dacey about getting banned from Pakistan.

  55. #55 Tony Sidaway
    March 30, 2009

    Do you by any chance have plans to visit the Vatican, PZ?

  56. #56 Michelle
    March 30, 2009

    No worries, PZ! I’m sure you can get yourself banned on YouTube, which is a good start.

  57. #57 eddie
    March 30, 2009

    Hey! What’s with all the wannabe tree killers. Or d’you just want PZ to not blog for a while?
    Frame off, framers.

  58. #58 Scott Hatfield, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Are there any small nations that would like to outlaw me? I have to keep up.

    How about the Republic of Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa? Then you could say that you were ‘banned in Djibouti’. Beats being subject to a hanging in Chad, that’s for sure.

  59. #59 dreikin
    March 30, 2009

    eddie:
    An e-book is still a book. I never said it had to be distributed old-style.

    And where’d the framer thing come from? Did I miss something?

  60. #60 clinteas
    March 30, 2009

    Those “politicians” are pandering to a large christofascist audience in the population in OK,that Dem girl legislator is trying to outcompete her Repub rival by trying to be more of a thought fascist and atheist hater than anyone else.
    In a state with a large number of fundamentalist churches,esp.in her district(63 or so,I think),it makes sense from her perspective.

    Always interesting to notice how christofascists equal evolution with atheism,no shades of grey for them.No realizing that plenty of christians believe in evolution,that nobody sane does actually dispute evolution.

  61. #61 eddie
    March 30, 2009

    Thanks dreikin. I wasn’t aiming at you personally but I’d seen similar calls on a number of threads.
    I been reading about the nisbeteers having books in the making, and also trying to silence legit crit of religion.

    Sometimes I make speculative connections and throw them out to see how they fly.

  62. #62 Mobius
    March 30, 2009

    Yes, PZ, but Dawkins was allowed in to see that movie, so maybe you’re still the king.

  63. #63 anthonzi
    March 30, 2009

    You’re much too mellow to even dream of rivaling Dawk, P.Z.

  64. #64 Insightful Ape
    March 30, 2009

    Wondering where Rookie the troll is. Not so easy to present a line of apologetics in favor of an enemy of free speech?

  65. #65 John B. Sandlin
    March 30, 2009

    I suggest the University have Dr. Dawkins back to speak again, at twice what they paid before…

  66. #66 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Wondering where Rookie the troll is.

    AnthonyK reamed him a new hole yesterday, and his attempts at posting this morning were met with derision. Also, it is late in England at the moment.

  67. #67 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 30, 2009

    Are there any small nations that would like to outlaw me? I have to keep up.

    Watch as PZ Myers works at being banned from entering nations in

    The Chlulu That Roared!

  68. #68 D. C. Sessions
    March 30, 2009

    13 biomes in OK? I think Az has that beat. :D

    Nope, dead tie.

  69. #69 dreikin
    March 30, 2009

    eddie:
    Ah, ok. If PZ does write a book I hardly expect him to consider Nisbet’s framing in any way other than derisory. I think the concept is sound, but Nisbet thus far has only achieved massive fail with it. Actually, it makes me think of counter-intelligence (in more ways than one).

    Nerd of Redhead, OM:
    Sounds fun. Got a link to the thread (or even the post subject)?

  70. #70 tsig
    March 30, 2009

    ” uknesvuinng | March 30, 2009 4:00 PM

    Don’t feel too bad. After all, what’s the last thing Phil got kicked out of?”

    Getting the whole of JREF kicked off youtube?

  71. #71 VampDuc
    March 30, 2009

    In case any one didn’t know: Dawkins waived his fee (originally $10,000).

  72. #72 G. Tingey
    March 31, 2009

    @ # 38

    Das ist: Lichtenstein, dummkopf!

  73. #73 Mab
    March 31, 2009

    @: #33

    “FWIW, it is likely that Mullah Osama bin Thomsen and the Michelle Bachmann wannabe don’t have any legal authority to do more than sable rattle, threaten and pray for an asteroid impact on Norman, OK or Cambridge, UK.”

    Why they’d want to hit cambridge given that he’s at oxford is another matter entirely.

    Anyway, please don’t confuse the two, we’re far superior to those dark blue scum. ;-)

  74. #74 Sven DiMilo
    March 31, 2009

    Shake shake shake
    Shake shake shake
    Shake Djibouti

    that is all

  75. #75 Queequeg
    March 31, 2009

    Oh! Oh! *jumps up and down in a Hermioneish way with her arm in the air* The Faroe Islands will ban you! I’m sure you can manage to piss of a nation of 50,000 people, right?

    Just come and give a talk about how wonderful Danes are, how evil Christianity is and how bad fish tastes.

  76. #76 Jim Ramsey
    March 31, 2009

    PZ,

    Both you and Richard have a ways to go before you catch up to Salman Rushdee.

    So far, there are no anti-evolution death squads, but keep you eyes on Turkey and Oklahoma and Texas and …. oh! The Saudis might get into this business too.

  77. #77 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 31, 2009

    Dreikin, look here.

  78. #78 JBlilie
    March 31, 2009

    I love these ignorant twits!

    Let’s see, we’ll ban a speaker in the name of freedom of speech or just try to intimidate the OU administration from allowing any speaker who does agree with every religulous student’s family’s world view.

    What’s the matter with you science-types? Don’t you realize that in 21st century America that a university education is supposed to be only a review of Sunday school?

  79. #79 JBlilie
    March 31, 2009

    Shiek Yerbouti! (That famous arab chieftan)

  80. #80 JBlilie
    March 31, 2009

    Strike that! Reverse it!

    “any speaker who does agree with every religulous student’s family’s world view.”

    Should be:
    “any speaker who does not agree with every religulous student’s family’s world view.”

  81. #81 Strangebrew
    March 31, 2009

    Got ta feel for the creotards…

    They are a hoppin’ and a boppin’…and no one is even glancing in their direction…they are experiencing attention deficit from the media and ‘normal’ folks!!

    So they get all miffed and petulant with jealousy and dismay…finally go blub blubbing to the legislature crying about their delusion not being respected…

    Prob they have is not the cloned bunnies already in the tar pit of gobbly gook…but the bunnies hopping free over the horizon…they need new blood to congeal…the old blood is just to stale…
    Head honcho atheists like Dawkins are showing the way over that horizon…creotards are sad!
    Behaving like petulant imbeciles and spitting their dummies…just ain’t cutting it like it used to…

    Some folks are using rationalisation…and that obviously scares the bejabbers outta them!

    On second thoughts…Nah ! sod it…don’t feel for the dumb asses at all……let ‘em dangle in the breeze of reality…might make them less smelly…or maybe not!

  82. #82 shpx.ohfu
    March 31, 2009

    Did you see that Oklahoma has released their new state seal?

  83. #83 Sven DiMilo
    March 31, 2009

    #82: That’s really inaccurate and unfair.

    They grow a lot more wheat than corn

  84. #84 Bob Dowling
    March 31, 2009

    > Don’t forget the fact that Dawkin’s Trophy Wife was on Doctor Who….

    Dawkins had a cameo himself on the end of series “let’s blow up reality” episode. PZ’s got a way to go.

    Dr Who and the Tentacles of Doom? Nope, that’s the Ood.
    Dr Who and the Alcoholic Zebra Fish?

  85. #85 shpx.ohfu
    March 31, 2009

    #83: True, but “wheatpone dullards” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  86. #86 raven
    March 31, 2009

    pray for an asteroid impact on Norman, OK or Cambridge, UK.”

    Why they’d want to hit cambridge given that he’s at oxford is another matter entirely.

    Anyway, please don’t confuse the two, we’re far superior to those dark blue scum. ;-)

    You have to remember we are talking about Oklahoma christofascist legislators. They’d be doing well if they didn’t try to take out Cambridge, Massachusetts or Oxford, Mississippi. :>)

  87. #87 Julie Stahlhut
    April 2, 2009

    A friend of mine has long been King-in-exile of Rhode Island.

    Ever read P.J. O’Rourke’s hilarious short story, “The King of Sandusky, Ohio”? Those folks knew how to settle matters like this. Surreptitious poisonings of inconvenient pretenders at the backyard weenie roast, and sword fights to the death at Sunday dinner.

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