Pharyngula

My feelings are crushed

The NCSE has put out a press release congratulating Ayala for his Templeton Prize, and thanking him for his support of NCSE. It also parrots his defense of the compatibility of science and religion.

You know, I’ve been a long-time supporter of the NCSE, a vocal crusader for better science education and against creationism, and last year I was awarded Humanist of the Year…but no, I didn’t get the tiniest bit of press from NCSE. Was it because I’m not as scientifically reputable as Ayala? Because I didn’t get a £1,000,000? Because putting a paragraph acknowledgment on the web was more than I’m worth? Or was it because if they’d cited my position on the science/religion collision it would have been insufficiently appeasing?

Excuse me, I have to retire to my fainting couch and weep hot, bitter tears for a while. There are friends of the NCSE’s goals, and then there are special friends of the NCSE, and we can clearly see who’s in the popular clique…and it overlaps more with Templeton cronies than it does the humanist and atheist community. <sniffle>

(Actually, I did not expect a notice from the NCSE, and that’s OK. I’m just disgusted that they find a prize for pandering to religion to be at all newsworthy.)


I have been corrected: the NCSE published a brief note about the Humanist of the Year award in RNCSE 29:4, p. 10. Yay! I feel positively affirmated!

Comments

  1. #1 https://me.yahoo.com/a/pXpPHUQaxcq9_X2w.46bqL2KgjMi#67c49
    March 27, 2010

    I have been a supporter of NCSE for several years but I find their support of Ayala to be troubling to say the least. Time to write to Dr. Scott…

  2. #2 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 27, 2010

    PZ, I will clutch my pearls extra hard just for you.

  3. #3 Zeno
    March 27, 2010

    You’re going to have to take comfort from the minions in your cult, PZ.

  4. #4 Matt Penfold
    March 27, 2010

    I wonder how Rosenau will spin this. He had a go at Larry Moran when he criticised the NCSE for thinking it worthy of comment.

    I know Rosenau reads this blog, so may be he can offer an official explanation. That or just be honest and admit his employer is biased.

  5. #5 Thorsonofodin
    March 27, 2010

    Eugenie Scott told me when I interviewed her that the NSCE does not claim to “make the world safe for atheists.” The leader of the NSCE appears to me not to promote militant atheism. And you know I don’t disagree with her. Being an arrogant ass hole when approaching a religious person is going to make us all into Zax’. We must all have hope in the power of reason over ignorance. But how does it help anyone to come off as not willing to discuss matters of religion at all. I like Pinker’s approach in discussing the evolution of the brain, including how and why humans believe the crazy things they do. As these things come to light people need to talk about them slowly while enlightenment crescendos into the minds of masses. Otherwise the masses will continue to mistrust scientists and science in general will fall into a new dark age.

    Check out the Eugenie Scott interview.

    http://www.tompainesghost.com/2010/01/blog-post.html

    The rest of the story about militant atheists is in the audio recording below the two videos.

  6. #6 Glen Davidson
    March 27, 2010

    You’re just not cool, PZ.

    Next question.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  7. #7 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 27, 2010

    Thorsonofodin #5

    You’re absolutely right. The NSCE putting out a sentence or two saying “Congratulations to PZ Myers for being named Humanist of the Year” would obviously cause:

    the masses will continue to mistrust scientists and science in general will fall into a new dark age.

  8. #8 Matt Penfold
    March 27, 2010

    Eugenie Scott told me when I interviewed her that the NSCE does not claim to “make the world safe for atheists.”

    I am not aware anyone is asking her to.

    What PZ and others are asking is that she, acting as head of the NCSE, remain neutral in respect of the compatibility of science and religion. As things stand she does not seem to be neutral, being of record as saying science and religion are compatible because people can do science and be religious. Since no one disputes that what was the point of her saying it, unless it is to erect a strawman of the argument against science being compatible with religion ?

    PZ’s award is not an insignificant one, so why did the NCSE ignore that one but congratulate Ayala ?

  9. #9 Sili
    March 27, 2010

    Time to write to Dr. Scott…

    BRAD!

    You’re just not cool, PZ.

    BAD ILK! No calamari for you!

  10. #10 onethird-man
    March 27, 2010

    Militant atheism? Seems like that label is tacked on to mean “makes my poor sainted mother uncomfortable. Now, how is it that the nonreligious are “militant” when they express their views that others are wrong, when every day in this country sermons, television shows, articles, anything else proclaims a discriminating end for anyone who has no “faith” at all. How does “you’re wrong” equate, nay, exceed “you and your family will burn in eternal torment?”

    Militant? This smacks, to me, of people who have no idea of what militancy looks like, and are just shocked that the dog they’ve kicked for so long growled.

  11. #11 Sastra
    March 27, 2010

    ThorsonofOdin #5 wrote:

    The leader of the NSCE appears to me not to promote militant atheism. And you know I don’t disagree with her. Being an arrogant ass hole when approaching a religious person is going to make us all into Zax’.

    No. The implication that this is about “being an arrogant asshole when approaching a religious person” is a red herring. Forget style. They want to focus on style, to avoid substance. You can be a gentleman, and a ‘new atheist’ — and disagree with the NCSE.

    This is about being consistent in how one views the relationship between science, and religion. And that ends up being about being consistent in how one applies science, to claims about the nature of reality.

    Being neutral in the battle over whether or not the methods of science conflict with the methods of religion — or the findings of modern science, conflict with the claims of religion — does not mean saying that it doesn’t and they don’t. It means that one ought to note that some say it does, and some say it doesn’t, and people can decide for themselves.

    Ayala gets a prize for saying they’re compatible, and PZ got a prize for saying they’re not. Here are links, so you can decide. Or, no links, find them yourself.

    Instead, they’re not neutral. Even though they claim to be. They want to push a particular theological view, as being the correct theological view, in the game of Calvinball called Theology. According to the NCSE, that’s not supposed to be their job.

  12. #12 Matt Penfold
    March 27, 2010

    The rest of the story about militant atheists is in the audio recording below the two videos.

    What form of civil disobedience did this militancy take ?

  13. #13 SC OM
    March 27, 2010

    Shorter NCSE:

    Congratulations on your Temple tone, Dr. Ayala!

  14. #14 Becca
    March 27, 2010

    What form of civil disobedience did this militancy take ?

    we don’t go to church?

  15. #15 Jim Lippard
    March 27, 2010

    From _Reports of the National Center for Science Education_, vol. 29, no. 4, Jul-Aug 2009, p. 10:

    “No fewer than four members and friends of NCSE were honored by the American Humanist Association at its 68th annual conference, held in Phoenix, Arizona, June 5-7, 2009: P.Z. Myers, of the University of Minnesota, Morris, and the popular science blog Pharyngula, received the Humanist of the Year award; Barbara Forrest, Professor of Philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University and member of NCSE’s board of directors, received the Humanist Pioneer Award; the Reverend Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, received the Religious Liberty Award; and NCSE Supporter Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, received the Isaac Asimov Science Award.”

    The differential treatment (which is less different than one might have supposed, given that the NCSE *did* make note of the Humanist of the Year award, as above) might be for the same reasons that Ayala is on NCSE’s list of supporters and P.Z. Myers is not (whatever those reasons may be):

    http://ncse.com/about/supporters

  16. #16 Thorsonofodin
    March 27, 2010

    I’m not religious at all. Many of you seem to think I’m promoting religion by what I’ve said. I am not. I am promoting tolerance. Tolerance to ignorance even – as long as no one is in immediate harm. I just got accused of libel for guessing that someone was in it for the money but I need some figures to get this one straight. I know the Templeton winner gets $1,000,000 lbs. so what did PZ get for his AHA? I would make another, perhaps libelous guess, that the NSCE’s press release was strategic to see if they could get Alaya to share some of the wealth. NSCE is a non-profit that relies on donations. I see this a lot as I float around helping a lot of non-profits in my home town of Fort Collins, CO. It amazes me how the leaders of non-profits will bend over backwards to prevent offending the people in town with Money. The woman in this town that controls Colorado Politics with her checkbook is Pat Stryker and I’ve been wanting to write a piece about her for a log time. but my friends in the publishing world keep saying “don’t do it, we’re trying to get some funding form her organization: the bohemian foundation” – It’s all about money!!! that is my hypothesis. So don’t get your panties in a bunch PZ. When you have all the coin then people will put out press releases about your awesomeness. until then you have to just keep those random ejaculations coming!

  17. #17 Thorsonofodin
    March 27, 2010

    Good Point Jim. Way to do some actual investigative blogging, rather than just spouting off angry reactions. I need to work on that.

  18. #18 MosesZD
    March 27, 2010

    You have a fainting couch? Cool…

  19. #19 blf
    March 27, 2010

    You’re going to have to take comfort from the minions in your cult, PZ.

    That doesn’t seem to be working so well. Apparently poopyhead isn’t getting his tithes and virgins.

  20. #20 puseaus
    March 27, 2010

    Real scientists often have the sadness of reality written all over them.

  21. #21 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 27, 2010

    I am promoting tolerance. Tolerance to ignorance even – as long as no one is in immediate harm.

    What does that even mean? Exactly what do you mean when you use the word “tolerance?”

    And who do you believe ought to be tolerant of ignorance, and why do you believe that? Should educators such as PZ Myers, Jerry Coyne, et al, tolerate ignorance? Why? You’re implying that “tolerance” (which has become such a code word for “tone” it’s useless unless you define it) for ignorance is a virtuous act? Why? I question that basic assumption.

    Some people have goals other than fending off “immediate dangers.” Some of us think that it’s a good thing to decrease net ignorance, even if that ignorance doesn’t immediately endanger anyone. We think the longterm consequences of it are quite worrying, and that’s a reasonable, unobjectionable and legitimate worry.

    Do you disagree? If so, why? If I’m misunderstanding you, I genuinely apologize, but this is what I’m getting from what you wrote.

  22. #22 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 27, 2010

    I know the Templeton winner gets $1,000,000 lbs.

    Wow, Ayala gets to weigh his prize money!!1!

    Actually he got £1 million which is about $1.5 million. He was probably paid by an electronic transfer so the weight in negligible.

  23. #23 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 27, 2010

    I’m not religious at all. Many of you seem to think I’m promoting religion by what I’ve said. I am not. I am promoting tolerance. Tolerance to ignorance even – as long as no one is in immediate harm.

    A faitheist then. You don’t want to disturb the goddists because if they even knew atheists existed then they would fall on their fainting couches.

    As for “immediate harm,” I take it you have no problem with the Mormon and Catholic churches working overtime to deny rights to certain Americans. Nor do you object to creationists trying to have myth taught in public schools in place of science. What a nice guy you are, bending over backwards for the goddists so they won’t get upset.

    Now please do me a favor and take your accomodationism and shove it up your rosy red rectum.

  24. #24 Thorsonofodin
    March 27, 2010

    I just spent the last 4 months living with a 21 year old woman from Egypt who escaped an arranged marriage and faces being murdered by her parents if she returns to Cairo. I was shocked and dismayed by her complete lack of comprehension of the natural world. My roommates and I took her up the Poudre canyon on a clear night a few months ago and we gazed at the glow of the milky way. She did not understand that the earth revolved around the sun let alone what the milky way actually is. I could have written her off as ignorant and never spoken to her. But I wanted to welcome her in my home and try to promote a scientific understanding of the world to her without being an evangelist for science (even though I probably could be considered one). When I speak of tolerance of ignorance I mean that letting people into a conversation and even inviting them in a civilized way is much more productive and beneficial than the cultural imperialism the monoism of science and the “I’m absolutely right” approach.
    I agree that Evolution IS in fact absolutely right. but when fist engaging with a full fledged adult who still doesn’t know that the earth revolves around the sun just stating the facts is not enough. civilized and kind-hearted dialogue must precede full understanding and appreciation. It is not enough just to say we are right we must be able to engage in rich dialogue.

  25. #25 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 27, 2010

    When I speak of tolerance of ignorance I mean that letting people into a conversation and even inviting them in a civilized way is much more productive and beneficial than the cultural imperialism the monoism of science and the “I’m absolutely right” approach.

    You really ought not be surprised that I asked you to define what you meant – it was not obvious from what you wrote, so don’t get in a huff.

    And it’s not fair to elide tolerance for ignorance with ordinary human compassion and polite treatment of conversational partners. Stop equating the epistemically reasonable position that a rational science-based view of the world is correct with arrogant or rude behavior. They are not the same thing.

    Please don’t even start with science-as-imperialism. That kind of postmodern nonsense is not going to fly here. Rational inquiry into the natural world is not an act of colonization. Just stop it.

  26. #26 Thorsonofodin
    March 27, 2010

    Hey ‘Tis Himself

    Go fuck yourself.

    I’m a human being I’m not any “ist” I have a brain and I like to understand how the world works in reality. And in reality there are a lot of people who buy into the whole religion swindle. So just because I don’t think its a bad idea to understand some of those religions and why people believe them doesn’t make me bad, or an accomodationist, or a faitheist or anything other than a skeptical scientist.
    Cheers,
    No hard feelings. I just thought since you told me to shove some amorphous philosophy up my butt I had a right to tell you to fuck yourself.

  27. #27 raven
    March 27, 2010

    I agree that Evolution IS in fact absolutely right. but when fist engaging with a full fledged adult who still doesn’t know that the earth revolves around the sun just stating the facts is not enough. civilized and kind-hearted dialogue must precede full understanding and appreciation. It is not enough just to say we are right we must be able to engage in rich dialogue.

    That would work for people who are ignorant and uneducated. Those are curable.

    It doesn’t work with adult xian creationists. They either know they are wrong or suspect so. They don’t care. You cannot change the mind of a rabid religious kook by being nice and providing them with a grade school science textbook. All you can do is watch them closely and if they violate the laws, try them and toss them in prison.

    To carry your example out. The Egyptian woman is savable by ordinary means of education everyone goes through. The US creationists are the equivalent of the rabid religious kooks who made her what she is and will kill her if they can. In fact the difference between a xian fundie and a moslem fundie is….nothing. Zero.

    We just don’t let ours run around loose anymore. They hate that.

  28. #28 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 27, 2010

    but when fist engaging with a full fledged adult who still doesn’t know that the earth revolves around the sun just stating the facts is not enough. civilized and kind-hearted dialogue must precede full understanding and appreciation. It is not enough just to say we are right we must be able to engage in rich dialogue.

    I don’t see anyone contesting that, so who are you arguing with? Just whom here do you believe is saying, “The best way to help an appallingly ignorant woman escaping from an oppressive situation is to get all up in her face”? No one is saying that. But you seem to want to believe they are – why?

  29. #29 Thorsonofodin
    March 27, 2010

    “Stop equating the epistemically reasonable position that a rational science-based view of the world is correct with arrogant or rude behavior. They are not the same thing.”

    I’m not equating these things at all…
    I’m saying they are not a good mix.
    And when you spend all your free time railing against religious people you are fighting a sometimes hopeless fight. And looking like arrogant prat as well.

  30. #30 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 27, 2010

    And when you spend all your free time railing against religious people you are fighting a sometimes hopeless fight. And looking like arrogant prat as well.

    You don’t even know me – who is this character you’re ranting against? Seriously, what is your problem? You appear to have a big chip on your shoulder that’s priming you to see outspoken atheists/commenters/whoever as one-dimensional, egotistical jerks? Dude, why? Did any of us piss in your breakfast cereal?

  31. #31 raven
    March 27, 2010

    I don’t see anyone contesting that, so who are you arguing with?

    Thor seems to be conflating the oppressors and murderers with their victims.

    There is a difference.

    Instead of teaching an uneducated Egyptian woman some basic science (not a bad idea), maybe he should try teaching the Mullahs and other Moslem religious fanatics not to keep their women uneducated, oppressed, as property, and not subject to murder whenever anyone decides they deserve to be killed.

    Remember to be “nice, kind hearted, and civilized” to them about it. And oh yeah, make out a will and say goodbye to your pets and kids. You won’t see them again.

  32. #32 Thorsonofodin
    March 27, 2010

    Josh I’m an outspoken non-believer myself. of course I don’t know you. I don’t know PZ Myers or Richard Dawkins either. I guess the character I’m ranting against is PZ himself. I just find it incredibly arrogant of him to post this post to begin with. Mainly because of the reasons provided by Jim Lippard @ #15

  33. #33 Cerberus
    March 27, 2010

    Aww, P-Zed, I’ll honor you:

    “There once was a PZ from Nantuckett-”

    Hey, stop, it would have been in good taste, I swear.

    Damn you Squid Cultists, damn you!!!

  34. #34 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 27, 2010

    I guess the character I’m ranting against is PZ himself.

    Thank you for specifying that. I don’t agree with you that PZ was “arrognant” to post about this (really, he does have a point about the two-faced way that groups like NCSE recognize accommodationists as compared to the more vocal), but it’s good to know exactly who you’re upset with. Please try to aim your gun more carefully – you’re perilously close to making enemies out of people for no good reason, people who probably wouldn’t entirely disagree with you.

  35. #35 raven
    March 27, 2010

    Lenny Flank:

    The creationists are quite open in their belief that evolutionary theory, even theistic evolution, is, quite literally, the work of the Devil: “Behind both groups of evolutionists one can discern the malignant influence of ‘that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world’.” (Morris, 1963, p. 93) Indeed, one of the founders of the modern creationist movement, Dr. Henry Morris, has declared that evolutionary theory was given to Nimrod by Satan himself, at the Tower of Babel:

    Here is a typical example of creationist thinking. Evolution was invented by satan and handed down to Nimrod at the Tower of Babel.

    Henry Morris was one of the founders of modern creationism and his organization, the ICR, is one of the largest such groups.

    1. This is demonization of scientists by religious kooks.

    2. It’s all lies anyway. Virtually all of what Morris says about the Tower of Babel myth isn’t even in the bible. He just made it all up.

    Good luck trying to reason with lying, evil religious fanatics. It never has worked yet.

  36. #36 Cerberus
    March 27, 2010

    Thor @30

    Serious face on.

    I’m guessing you’re not in many long-term progressive-style battles.

    Fighting for what is right is always, 100% of the time an “often pointless” long-term battle “railing against” various seemingly intransigent forces and generally being accused of being humorless, angry, and leading a pointless life.

    Why do feminists “waste their life” documenting and railing against the patriarchy? Why do blacks “waste their life” documenting and railing against systemic racism? Why do gays “waste their life” documenting and railing against religious bigotry?

    Cause that shit needs to change, reform, get better so that the next generation can live a life less marred and stymied by that crap. And step one of that is education so that a critical mass of people are educated about what needs to change, be reformed, improved upon or done without.

    Always been thus.

    Now, yes, this leads to a lot of semi-repetitive ranting, but it doesn’t mean we lead empty lives. I rant about the patriarchy a lot. Hey, you know, lady brain, whatyougonnado. I do it online, with friends, with my partner, even with my parents. Somehow amidst my endless ranting, I still have time to be silly, stupid, bond, hang, chillax with my homies, be a good partner, further my intellectual career, and fuel a video game addiction and engage in some fierce football fandom (Go Denmark).

    What I’m saying is that I am secretly Voltron. Communist winnebago away! (Sorry, I’m having a major need to be exceptionally silly).

  37. #37 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 27, 2010

    @Cerberus, #37

    Cause that shit needs to change, reform, get better so that the next generation can live a life less marred and stymied by that crap. And step one of that is education so that a critical mass of people are educated about what needs to change, be reformed, improved upon or done without.

    Always been thus.

    That. Thank you. It’s really, really hard for me to keep having to explain this to people who’ve never been through any of these movements. So tiresome, and it takes so much repetition to get most folks to understand the point, that one ends up sounding like a broken record – the exact caricature of the “one track mind activist” one is trying to avoid.

  38. #38 Akira MacKenzie
    March 27, 2010

    Josh I’m an outspoken non-believer myself.

    I guess every repressed minority needs its “Uncle Tom’s.” Atheists are no different it seems.

  39. #39 Cerberus
    March 27, 2010

    Josh @38

    Yup, I’m feeling so anxiously silly here because I’m simultaneously doing that dance with heavily restrained repeated baby-stepping with often hostile commentators on another thread in a queer blog regarding a really really offensive “trans” movie (that is really offensive to trans people like me). The same points made over and over again in new and different ways to help educate, etc…

    It’s like, goddamnitt, play “Freebird”.

    Mind-control squid eating my brain, must praise evolutionary biologist, no secret homo wedding plans must commence, hiding key documents in the sushi, tell my same-sex partner that I love her.

  40. #40 CalGeorge
    March 27, 2010

    Wow. That Templeton Prize seems to have achieved mainstream legitimacy. Attach a lot of money to something and people go brain dead.

    Ayala: “God could have created a world without tsunamis, without parasites and biological dysfunctionalities, and without human miscarriages. But, a universe in which stars are continuously created, the continents move, new species come about, and human beings have free will, is much more arresting…”

    Yeah, I’m sure all the women who have miscarried found that process just fascinating. Kudos to Ayala’s God for making all that misery possible.

  41. #41 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 27, 2010

    No hard feelings. I just thought since you told me to shove some amorphous philosophy up my butt I had a right to tell you to fuck yourself.

    You have the right to tell me to fuck myself. Not a problem, especially considering I was rude to you first.

    Now that we’ve got that out of the way, there’s a couple of points I’d like you to consider.

    ? There really are people who would deny basic rights to gays because “god thinks what they do in bed is icky.”

    ? There really are people who would have a 2500 year old creation myth taught in public school in place of science.

    I know you know these things but, damn boy, you sure seem ignorant of these points. These people should not be tolerated. They are causing real, immediate harm.

    But you reply “oh, those aren’t the people I was saying should be tolerated.” Instead you’d tolerate their enablers, the liberal theists. These are often the “teach both sides of the controversy” and “you atheists should be respectful of the believers if not their beliefs.” You know something? I don’t care for those folks either. Their middle ground position does nothing for the rational position, while providing a gap for anti-intellectual bigots to drive a wedge.

    All too often we get told “you guys are too mean to the goddists, you should be nicer to them.” Fuck that noise. How far has being nice to goddists got us? I’ll tell you, absolutely nowhere! So fuck being tolerant to them. When they start being tolerant to us then I’ll consider it. But centuries of “can’t upset the little darlings” is too fucking long. If you don’t like me not being tolerant then that’s your problem, not mine.

    Any questions?

  42. #42 abb3w
    March 27, 2010

    Larger amounts of money draw more attention.

  43. #43 llewelly
    March 27, 2010

    Thorsonofodin | March 27, 2010 3:52 PM:

    Eugenie Scott told me when I interviewed her that the NSCE does not claim to “make the world safe for atheists.”

    Please read the article and try to understand it. The issue is not that NCSE is expected to “make the world safe for atheists.” That’s fine, and that’s not what is expected of them. It’s not their job, I don’t know of anything PZ has said that has implied otherwise. The point is, it is not their job to make the world safe for theists, either.

    The leader of the NSCE appears to me not to promote militant atheism.

    PZ, Coyne, etc, have never advocated the use of violence or destruction in the name of atheism. Please learn what the word “militant” means and how to use it with strawmaning everyone you apply it to.

  44. #44 Sastra
    March 27, 2010

    PZ Myers wrote:

    last year I was awarded Humanist of the Year?but no, I didn’t get the tiniest bit of press from NCSE.

    Jim Lippard #15 quoted:

    “No fewer than four members and friends of NCSE were honored by the American Humanist Association at its 68th annual conference, held in Phoenix, Arizona, June 5-7, 2009: P.Z. Myers, of the University of Minnesota, Morris, and the popular science blog Pharyngula, received the Humanist of the Year award;…

    Aha!

    Wait. I mean, uh oh. PZ made a mistake.

    Must ….leave….cult…now …must….leave…

  45. #45 llewelly
    March 27, 2010

    Sastra | March 27, 2010 6:38 PM:

    Wait. I mean, uh oh. PZ made a mistake.

    Must ….leave….cult…now …must….leave…

    Don’t worry. Soon PZ will use his occult powers to make us forget that he made the mistake, and we go back to abasing ourselves without guilt. Every thing will be okay .. there, there …

  46. #46 SC OM
    March 27, 2010

    The differential treatment (which is less different than one might have supposed, given that the NCSE *did* make note of the Humanist of the Year award, as above) might be for the same reasons that Ayala is on NCSE’s list of supporters and P.Z. Myers is not (whatever those reasons may be):

    Except that Neil deGrasse Tyson is among the group who won the Humanist award and is also a “Supporter.” And it’s still quite differential treatment.

    I guess the character I’m ranting against is PZ himself. I just find it incredibly arrogant of him to post this post to begin with. Mainly because of the reasons provided by Jim Lippard @ #15

    Jim Lippard’s post led you to think that PZ’s was arrogant? Huh?

  47. #47 llewelly
    March 27, 2010

    Cerberus | March 27, 2010 5:49 PM:

    What I’m saying is that I am secretly Voltron.

    ACTIVATE BLAZING SWORD!

  48. #48 llewelly
    March 27, 2010

    Thorsonofodin | March 27, 2010 4:41 PM:

    I am promoting tolerance.

    Attaching the word “militant” to people who are not advocating violence is not tolerance. It is either ignorance, or dishonesty.

  49. #49 Sastra
    March 27, 2010

    The so-called new atheists also promote tolerance.

    They just don’t confuse it with forbearance.

  50. #50 PZ Myers
    March 27, 2010

    Oh, gosh. I’m really not at all upset with getting one line on page 10 of RNCSE — that’s about right.

    The thing is, winning a Templeton Prize deserves about the same amount of attention. It is not a good thing. It alienates some of us (just as winning an atheist award would alienate others). Yet somehow, the only group it’s OK to annoy always turns out to be the godless supporters of science education.

    So much for diplomacy and politics, you know.

  51. #51 PZ Myers
    March 27, 2010

    All you people planning to leave my cult…NOT UNTIL YOUR TITHES ARE PAID UP.

  52. #52 James F
    March 27, 2010

    Perhaps we as advocates for sound evolution education an take a lesson from the LGBT right movement, which has made incredible progress (see, for example, the increase in support for same-sex marriage). The movie For the Bible Tells Me So, featuring Gene Robinson, Chrissy Gephardt, Desmond Tutu, Peter Gomes, and others, is told from the point of view of Christians supporting gay rights. It’s a powerful film – I dare you to get through it without getting choked up – and I think it’s a good example of effectively appealing to religious fence-sitters. Is it a good strategy? Accomodationism? Both?

  53. #53 Sastra
    March 27, 2010

    All you people planning to leave my cult…NOT UNTIL YOUR TITHES ARE PAID UP.

    Or WHAT?

    We know you’re not going to threaten us with running off to take a Templeton grant. Though, that might do it…

  54. #54 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2010

    Sastra, once the Department of Security (the Pullet Patrol?) approves of your application, it will be in the mail. But with Patricia being a bit distracted at the moment, I can’t swear it will get approved without a lengthy delay…and the longer the delay, the more likely it will be used to decorate the coop. I suggest you keep posting.

  55. #55 Sastra
    March 27, 2010

    James F #53 wrote:

    It’s a powerful film – I dare you to get through it without getting choked up – and I think it’s a good example of effectively appealing to religious fence-sitters. Is it a good strategy? Accomodationism? Both?

    I don’t think this example runs into the same problems that lead to charges of “accomodationism,” because gay rights, though informed by science, is not about trying to reconcile a scientific viewpoint with a non-scientific (or pseudoscientific) one. So it’s a good strategy.

    Accomodationism might also be a good strategy, politically. But it involves a bit of intellectual dishonesty. It is one thing to use the Bible in order to argue in favor of gay rights. It is another thing to argue for the scientific theory of evolution, using the Bible.

  56. #56 Carlie
    March 27, 2010

    All you people planning to leave my cult…NOT UNTIL YOUR TITHES ARE PAID UP.

    Will you take the payment in live chickens?

  57. #57 Ichthyic
    March 27, 2010

    Is it a good strategy? Accomodationism? Both?

    short answer:

    no, but it is effective tactically

    yes.

    that said, the war on all antiscience fronts proceeds in similar fashion.

    HERE our job is to rip-apart the fallacious reasoning used by the likes of Ayala and Miller, as the long-term strategy is to embrace the RATIONAL.

    that said, nobody has EVER decried the tactical value of applying NOMA or accomodationism on any specific given front.

    compare it like this:

    minefields are fucking fantastic tactically.
    strategically? why do you think so many countries have abandoned using them, and even have signed pacts to agree NOT to use them?

    eventually, we hope to get past the point where irrational arguments like Ayala is bringing to the table HAVE no tactical value in the war against anti-science forces.

    regardless of whatever effectiveness they may or may not have, however, they are still flawed arguments and it is our duty, as both scientists and rationalists, to point out these flaws.

    otherwise, we’re no better than the Dishonesty Institute.

  58. #58 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2010

    Will you take the payment in live chickens?The Princess of Poultry (Patricia) might. Probably depends on the breed. If they lay blue or green eggs, you are likely in. Bacon and beer works for the rest of us, I think…

  59. #59 SC OM
    March 27, 2010

    I thought they were going to make some changes to this several months ago:

    http://ncse.com/religion

    It doesn’t appear that they have, and I’m extremely unhappy with that section. This announcement fits right in with their practice of sucking up to religion.

    It isn’t really in keeping with :

    What is NCSE’s religious position?

    None. The National Center for Science Education is not affiliated with any religious organization or belief. We and our members enthusiastically support the right of every individual to hold, practice, and advocate their beliefs, religious or non-religious. Our members range from devout practitioners of several religions to atheists, with many shades of belief in between. What unites them is a conviction that science and the scientific method, and not any particular religious belief, should determine science curriculum.

  60. #60 Ichthyic
    March 27, 2010

    as an aside,

    here’s a nice little review of the history and problems with mine warfare:

    http://www.menstuff.org/issues/byissue/minehistory.html

  61. #61 PZ Myers
    March 27, 2010

    Yep. That science & religion section clearly promotes what they call “moderate religious views”. Moderate religious views are the favored position, unlike immoderate non-religious facts and evidence.

  62. #62 samilobster
    March 27, 2010

    “Perhaps we as advocates for sound evolution education an take a lesson from the LGBT right movement,”

    You mean the LGBT rights movement that’s split between people with a spine willing to actually call out bigotry when they see it and demand equality and the ‘moderates’ constantly making excuses for bigots and claiming that if we just hide in the closet a little longer and don’t make a fuss straight people will accept us?

  63. #63 aratina cage
    March 27, 2010

    uh oh. PZ made a mistake.
    Must ….leave….cult…now …must….leave…

    That does it. How can I be part of a cult that is sometimes wrong? I can’t do it. I’m canceling all my Meyer’s Squid Pr0n™ subscriptions immediately.

  64. #64 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 27, 2010

    You mean the LGBT rights movement that’s split between people with a spine willing to actually call out bigotry when they see it and demand equality and the ‘moderates’ constantly making excuses for bigots and claiming that if we just hide in the closet a little longer and don’t make a fuss straight people will accept us?

    If only you gays weren’t so pushy then the Mormons and Catholics would fall over themselves to help get you basic civil rights. Not being pushy means having the Mormons and Catholics forget you even exist.

    That’s the policy our buddy Thorsonofodin is convinced works so well with getting goddists to accept rationality.

  65. #65 WowbaggerOM
    March 27, 2010

    I think we need to lobby the dictionary publishers to include specific definitions for the word ‘militant’ so that it reflects contemporary usage.

    Really, they need to specify that, when the term is used as to describe a member of a religious group, the person must have used (or at least threatened) an act of violence to achieve goals; however, when the person being described is an atheist, they need only have been outspoken on the topic to qualify.

    For example: ‘the militant Christian group murdered ten abortion doctors‘ for the first usage vs. the militant atheist erected a billboard with the word ‘atheism’ prominently displayed for the second.

  66. #66 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 27, 2010

    All you people planning to leave my cult…NOT UNTIL YOUR TITHES ARE PAID UP.

    The check is in the mail.

  67. #67 Carlie
    March 27, 2010

    The check is in the mail.

    I’m having problems with that, because the mailbox is on the other side of the road and none of my chickens seem to have ever listened to Henny Youngman.

    Probably depends on the breed. If they lay blue or green eggs, you are likely in.

    But wattle I do if they don’t? I’d hate to be so Gallus as to go off half-cocked and send them where they’d be considered a pox on the house. I’d brood over it for days.

  68. #68 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2010

    NOT UNTIL YOUR TITHES ARE PAID UP.

    Does this just include our reportable income, or our checks from Evilution, AGW, Big Pharma, the Vax folks, Big agriculture, and the like? Not that I’m leaving…*those checks keep the Redhead in yarn*…

  69. #69 blf
    March 27, 2010

    those checks keep the Redhead in yarn

    I thought ropes or handcuffs or chains were used?

  70. #70 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 27, 2010

    Yarn doesn’t chafe.

    Or so I’ve heard.

  71. #71 Egaeus
    March 27, 2010

    I actually had the chance to briefly discuss NOMA with Eugenie Scott on Thursday evening when she was in town giving a talk on the evolution of creationism. I find her position reasonable, given her job. The NCSE wants to promote science education. You’re not doing that goal a service by pissing off the religious folks by calling them know-nothing dingbats.

    I disagree with Dr. Scott on the validity of NOMA, and that science doesn’t have anything to say about god’s existence. I believe that if you can refute specific fact claims of religion, a view expressed by Dr. Scott, then you either end up with nothing more the the deist idea of god, which is only a small step from a purely naturalistic view of the universe.

    I can appreciate the fine line that is being toed by the NCSE. I don’t find the carefully worded article of congratulations to be all that offensive or worrisome. The work that they do helps promote science, and hopefully more people will end up with one of those two ideas about god, making the world all that much better.

  72. #72 kast
    March 27, 2010

    Because I didn’t get £1,000,000?

    Nope.

    Or was it because if they’d cited my position on the science/religion collision it would have been insufficiently appeasing?

    No, nobody gives a shit about your position on the “science/religion collision”

    Because putting a paragraph acknowledgment on the web was more than I’m worth?

    Getting warmer…

    Was it because I’m not as scientifically reputable as Ayala?

    DING DING DING…you know, some original contributions to the fund of scientific knowledge wouldn’t hurt…

  73. #73 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    March 28, 2010

    Yet another institution that promotes science shilling and/or pandering for religion.

  74. #74 bensmth82
    March 28, 2010

    Ayala and all other douche bags: “Intelligent Design = Bad = Not science. Religion = Not science = Compatible with science.”

    So full of shit.

    SO FULL OF SHIT.

  75. #75 llewelly
    March 28, 2010

    Nerd of Redhead, OM | March 27, 2010 7:17 PM:

    Probably depends on the breed. If they lay blue or green eggs, you are likely in. Bacon and beer works for the rest of us, I think

    Never fear. Soon biotechnology will deliver unto us chickens who lay not only blue or green eggs, but also bacon and beer!

  76. #76 John Morales
    March 28, 2010

    Egaeus,

    I can appreciate the fine line that is being toed by the NCSE. I don’t find the carefully worded article of congratulations to be all that offensive or worrisome.

    My obfuscative euphemism detector is beeping.

    Do you mean you only find it a little offensive or worrisome, or are you employing litotes?

  77. #77 Matt Penfold
    March 28, 2010

    I actually had the chance to briefly discuss NOMA with Eugenie Scott on Thursday evening when she was in town giving a talk on the evolution of creationism. I find her position reasonable, given her job. The NCSE wants to promote science education. You’re not doing that goal a service by pissing off the religious folks by calling them know-nothing dingbats.

    If Scott and the NCSE want to take the line that science and religion are compatible then it would be more honest of them to stop denying the NCSE takes a position on the compatibility of science and religion.

  78. #78 Matt Penfold
    March 28, 2010

    Thorsonofodin,

    Upthread you made claims about militant atheists. Since militancy at the very least requires somekind of civil disobedience, I asked you to tell us what form this disobedience took.

    I note you have been unable to provide an answer. If you are unable and unwilling to support your claims you should not make them. You castigated PZ for not doing his homework, yet it seems you are quite happy to make unsupported claims yourself. Do you set out to be a hypocrite, or are you just incompetent ?

  79. #79 Matt Penfold
    March 28, 2010

    I will provide an example of how “moderate” theists are a problem.

    Six Anglican Bishops have written to The Sunday Telepgraph claiming that Christians in the UK are being discriminated against. The BBC reports the story here.

    When people scream discrimination when they stopped being accorded unearned and undeserved respect there is not really much moderation going on.

    These Bishops are Anglicans I would remind you. They are not the moderate Bishops who have been covering up child abuse on the instructions of the current Pope.

    Just where are these “moderate” theists to be found ?

  80. #80 Aquaria
    March 28, 2010

    DING DING DING…you know, some original contributions to the fund of scientific knowledge wouldn’t hurt..

    It still doesn’t meant that Ayala has a fucking clue what he’s talking about re:science & religion, much less that he’s right, dipshit.

  81. #81 Carlie
    March 28, 2010

    The NCSE wants to promote science education. You’re not doing that goal a service by pissing off the religious folks by calling them know-nothing dingbats.

    You’re also not doing that goal a service by pissing off science educators who don’t want to see the NCSE mucking about in religious goop like the Templeton Foundation. What about “neutral stance” is so difficult to understand? “Neutral stance” means you don’t comment on either side, not that you promote the religious side.

  82. #82 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmsNiUPtY1wc0MOaZshy5psUc3AxVP--ZA
    March 28, 2010
  83. #83 Midwifetoad
    March 28, 2010

    I suppose population thinking — rather Platonic ideal kinds with regard to religious ideas — is out of the queslion.

  84. #84 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 28, 2010

    #82

    Who is that a photograph of? It’s a photoshop of the famous picture of Neville Chamberlain waving his infamous piece of paper but I don’t recognize who it’s supposed to be.

  85. #85 Sven DiMilo
    March 28, 2010

    ‘Tis–see the filename. It’s Harry Reid.