PZ asks “Am I to be the next enemy of the NCSE?“:
This has been your April 13, 2010 edition of simple answers to stupid questions.
Most of the rest of the piece is not really worth addressing, but I’ll note a rather serious error in PZ’s opening paragraph:
I’m a little worried. Jason Rosenhouse wrote about this new paper by Peter Hess, the Faith Project Director (I’m already rolling my eyes) of the NCSE, and I learn that the first failing of Intelligent Design creationism is that it is blasphemous.
No. Hess asks, “What are the central theological failings of intelligent design?” and answers that the first theological failing is that it is blasphemous. PZ’s ponderings over whether he would be considered blasphemous are rather different than an assessment of ID’s theological status. ID advocates offer their ideas not only as science, but as theology, and as such it is as relevant to ask whether it is good theology as whether it’s good science.
PZ does not present his ideas as theology. Hess describes theology as “reasoned discourse about God and about God‘s relationship with creation,” which PZ would (I suspect) regard as meaningless. Not only does he not think God exists (thus leaving no room for a relationship with creation), but PZ has made it clear that he thinks reasoned discourse about God is impossible – that the idea of God is inherently unreasonable.
Which is fine as far as it goes. If he were a theology professor, the charge of blasphemy might well be relevant, but as it stands, one presumes PZ doesn’t care about the theological merits of his views. IDolators do care about the theological merits of ID, and that’s an important difference.
It is why I find PZ’s post in its entirety so odd. If he doesn’t care about theology, why does he spend so much time on it? For what it’s worth, the Catholic Encyclopedia describes blasphemy as “gross irreverence towards any person or thing worthy of exalted esteem.” By that meaning, someone who doesn’t believe God exists cannot blaspheme, so PZ’s occasional efforts to perform blasphemy (e.g., Crackergate) only serve to undermine his claim to have no regard for theological or theistic beliefs. Sticking a nail through a consecrated host is only blasphemous if you think that the cracker in question is more than a “fracking cracker”: if you think it was meaningfully consecrated and is thus truly “host” to something worthy of worshipping.
As the saying goes, the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.