It Just Isn't Fair!

Via P.Z. Myers, I came across this post, from George Shollenberger. He is the author of a book entitled The First Scientific Proof of God, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about him.

He seems vexed by the number of atheists here at ScienceBlogs. He writes:

I am a retired electrical engineer and the author of “The First Scientific Proof of God.” Last summer, Mark Chu-Carroll, the blogger of the Good Math, Bad Math website, began to attack me and my book. He continued to attack the book this spring and continued to assassinate my character. He never evaluated this proof of God.

Our discussion ended when he banned me saying that he is protecting Google against me.
Since he banned me, I exposed Carroll's unusual behavior on my website. Since Carroll did not listen to my arguments that the field of mathematics has no access to God through numbers, I started to inform 'the people' on my website that our mathematicians are practicing atheism. Then, after I investigated the website, ScienceBlogs, I concluded that all sciences also practice atheism. So, my website is now informing 'the people' that mathematicians and scientists are practicing atheism.

Now that's just cold. I am second to none in my admiration for Mark Chu-Carroll. I regard him as the best math blogger in the business. But the fact remains that he is neither a mathematician (he is a computer scientist), nor an atheist (he is a reconstructionist Jew). Yet he is given credit for persuading Shollenberger that “our mathematicians are practicing atheism.” Outrageous!

I, on the other hand, am both a mathematician and an atheist, and blog about both on a regular basis. But he doesn't even acknolwedge my existence! I'm having a Rodney Dangerfield moment.

I invite you to read the remainder of Shollenberger's post. I will not respond further since his remarks strike me as so ludicrous that he is more the object of pity than of anger. If you're interested, here's Mark's takedown of Shollenberger's book.

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What the hell is a practicing atheist? I've never had to practice my godlessness, it seemed the natural alternative to superstition. :)Posted by: Paul T. | April 24, 2007 08:00 PM

Pagan. you've got to go pagan. "Oh are you religious?" Oh yes very. I worship the sun and the moon. every day when I wake up and see the sun its like going to church. when the moon and the sun are in the sky at the same time its like a new awakening. you know how that is...

and you've got the big solstices, the lesser equinoxes and then the quarters. We had a very nice party the last lunar eclipse.... involved tequilla and poker chips...and one awesome god of a moon.

This Schollenwhatever fellow is definitely a moron. But to be absolutely, 100-percent fair to the guy, if Mark had never, ever said he was religious (and he didn't until recently), I would never have guessed. Maybe I'm just prejudiced, but I don't think I've ever seen a religious person attack psuedoscientific bullshit about the "afterlife", god(s) and a squillion other things with his level of ferocity. I wish all religious people were like Mark.

Gee, first Egnor calls Mark a Darwinist, now he's a baby-eating atheist with the rest of us. Who knew?

Shollenberger and Egnor give us perfect illustrations of how the term "atheist", like the terms "Darwinist", "liberal", "secular", and a slew of others, are just spat out by fundies when they find someone who won't buy their baloney. There is no possiblity Shollenberger is wrong, therefore anyone who opposes him is evil.

And as a staunch Churchillian Atheist, I'm glad we've got some believers on the side of science. Not only do they help expose the fundies for what they are, it's pretty clear that we are far more likely to turn all the believers onto science than we are to turn them off religion.

What the hell is a practicing atheist? I've never had to practice my godlessness, it seemed the natural alternative to superstition. :)

So who are "'the people'" he keeps referring to -- with the quote marks? Is it code for some secret society? Or maybe extra-terrestrials who are monitoring activity here on planet earth? Apparently, whoever they are, they have internet access.

Are 'the people' going to do something about the godless atheists? Spooky.

Tyler:

Actually, I've mentioned the fact that I'm Jewish fairly often right from the time I started the blog. For example, I moved over to SB on June 5th, 2006; and the first post where I mentioned being Jewish was on June 16th. You just didn't notice :-)

By Mark C. Chu-Carroll (not verified) on 24 Apr 2007 #permalink

I don't want to have to re-type that post! why is it held for moderation!

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waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Actually, what really jumped out at me was this:

"He continued to attack the book this spring..."

I'm seeing this a lot lately among religious believers -- the use of the word "attack" to mean "criticize, oppose, and/or passionately disagree with."

"Intolerant" gets used in exactly the same way. Saying things like "I disagree with you," "I think you're mistaken," "I have the following arguments against your ideas"... all of it gets you accused of being "intolerant." (Or "close-minded." Or even a "fundamentalist atheist.") "Tolerant" apparently means "smile and shut up."

but I don't think I've ever seen a religious person attack psuedoscientific bullshit about the "afterlife", god(s) and a squillion other things with his level of ferocity.

Here's another example for you: Martin Gardner, perhaps the most prolific skeptical writer of the 20th century, classified himself as a "philosophical theist.*" I think the difficulty is one of recognition. If a person vigorously defends reason, you would probably assume they were atheistic, and believers who would do so are not the kind who would be wearing their religiosity on their sleeves.

* Discussed in his book The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener

By Mustafa Mond, FCD (not verified) on 25 Apr 2007 #permalink

But the fact remains that he is neither a mathematician (he is a computer scientist)

So what makes a mathematician? Is it someone who does math, or is it someone who owns a piece of paper issued by a university?

By Mustafa Mond, FCD (not verified) on 25 Apr 2007 #permalink

"So what makes a mathematician? Is it someone who does math, or is it someone who owns a piece of paper issued by a university?"

I think a mathematician is generally considered someone who researches in abstract mathematics, rather than someone who works in a professional field that makes heavy use of mathematics (computer science and physics would fall into the latter category).

It doesn't mean that Mark isn't a functional expert on many areas of mathematics, just that, to my knowledge, he doesn't conduct original research in the fields.