Classic Quote from PZ's Blog, vs. Classic Quote from RealClimate

By Chris Mooney | July 9, 2009 10:34 am

From PZ’s blog, complete with the standard profanity, which will not be edited in this instance:

[*****ADDED FOR CLARIFICATION: As the link above shows, these words are from a comment left on Pharyngula, not from its author.]

Mr. Mooney, you seem to have this bizarre notion that anyone here cares what you think, or what you have to offer.

After you spend two chapters essentially telling one of the strongest voices of the pro-science movement that he’s a poopyhead who needs to sit down and shut up, even though he has evidence on your side, do you really think that he or those who think speaking out and up are going to heed what you have to say? To care?

And why–why–don’t you expect the stupid to educate itself, rather than telling people to pat stupid on the head and say, “there, there, I’m sorry if what I said hurt your feelings.” These people are screaming their heads off while smearing feces on the wall. “There there” will not change them. It only enables them, and usually makes them act up even worse.

I don’t think it’s the responsibility of any scientist or pro-science ally to make people feel better. Fuck their feelings! Ridicule can work to make people educate themselves, especially when they are way past the age of being compelled into schools.

Yes, well, this whole mindset is precisely what we wrote a book against. The blame the public mindset. The it’s not our fault, we’re the smart people mindset.

The undeniable reality of the situation is that the gap between scientists and the public is the fault of both, and it won’t do to put the blame only on one side. Bridging the gap requires many things of the public, but also many things from scientists–among them some introspection about what has gone wrong these many years.

That’s why we’re quite confident that people who are ready to stop blaming the public or the religious, and start working with them to try to change things, will like our book. And indeed, we have plenty of evidence of that. For instance, zip over to RealClimate, where somebody really gets it:

1) I finished the book yesterday, concur with mike’s review.
I’d amplify two of the mesasges:

rewards system
receiver-oriented communication

2) Rewards system
Indeed, if you want something to change, you have to change the rewards system. If you run a university, and you want to encourage interdisciplinary research (which can be especially tricky for younger faculty in disciplines that tend to be stovepiped), you hae to take explicit action.

If you want communication skills to be improved, as the book suggest, you have to offer long-term encouragement for some scientists to do that. Most people have observed that university researchers vary widely in their communications skills, from truly wonderful to abysmal. [Imagine a course in theoretical mechanics where the professor starts at one of a blackboard, spends the class scribbling illegible equations from one end to the other, all the while mumbling in not-so-good English.]

On the other hand, when I was at Bell Labs (1973-1983), good communications skills were prized and rewarded, and showed up in merit reviews, because management knew that uncommunicated results weren’t very useful.

Besides lectures & papers, we had frequent internal formal courses … but people weren’t usually *allowed* to teach them unless they’d generally displayed good communications skills atop the relevant expertise. Otherwise, they’d be wasting the time of a bunch of well-paid professionals, few of whom would be shy in complaining about a poor course.

Rewards systems matter.

3) Receiver-oriented communicators (p.61-62 of book), i.e., calibrate the audience and adapt to it.

Anyone successful in sales or outbound marketing does this all the time.

Counterexample: someone asks a really basic question.
Answer: Read the IPCC.
Comment: not particularly productive, unless one points them at one of those tutorial boxes, which are actually pretty good.

Calibrating audiences is one of the reasons for trying to develop a coherent scale for knowledge and expertise on some natural science. That might help people recommending study, to get from one level to the next in their understanding….

PZ says our book is “useless,” doesn’t present any solutions–and yet this reader found some, no? And articulated them in a civil and thoughtful way, and contributed insights to a constructive discussion.

Meanwhile, back on PZ’s blog, average Americans are being called stupid or worse (“These people are screaming their heads off while smearing feces on the wall”), swearing is rampant, and scientists are apparently exonerated of any responsibility for where we are as a society with respect to public understanding or appreciation of science, even though they are inarguably part of the equation.

PZ says in his review of our book that we criticize not only him, but his blog Pharyngula. Is it any wonder why?

Comments (489)

  1. SteveF

    “Mr. Mooney, you seem to have this bizarre notion that anyone here cares what you think, or what you have to offer.”

    Which is presumably why there are 228 comments on that thread!

  2. Oh the irony coming from PZ Myers. If it wasn’t for his blog, no one would give a crap about what he thinks. His sycophantic followers are testament that PZ Myers is no different than Paris Hilton; he is famous for being famous (at least in the sense of the internets famous-ticity), and I don’t mean that as a compliment.

    Chris, is there any reason you guys bothered to send him a copy of your book for review?

  3. NewEnglandBob

    This is what the accommodationists are accommodating:

    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/almost-live-report-daniel-dennett-at-the-cambridge-science-and-faith-bash/

    This is compatible with science? Seriously???

  4. Matt Penfold

    Chris, is there any reason you guys bothered to send him a copy of your book for review?

    Well there is the concept of common courtesy. If you criticise a person in a book it is normally regarded as polite to send them a copy.

    Mooney and Kirshenbaum managed to do that, eventually. Unfortunately not until PZ was informed of the attack from other sources.

    I seem to recall a blog post from Mooney about civility not so long ago.

    Tell me Chris, do you somehow get an exception from your own demand for civility ? Only letting PZ find out from others that you have attacked him in your new book does not strike me as the actions of someone who is intent on being civil.

  5. Oh, and one last thing. In response to PZ Myers claims that the book is “utterly useless”. I imagine that reading Unscientific America will look like preaching to the choir, when the choir reads the book. But the intended audience, judging by the whole discussion on endotes and citations, is much larger than those of us who deal with the issue on a regular basis.

    So, PZ Myers has missed the boat on this one. The only thing “utterly useless” is his review.

  6. Matti K.

    Mr. Mooney, do you think it is fair to (cherry-)pick the responses of say, Mr. Kwak or Mr. McCarthy, and use them to assay the quality of your blog?

  7. TomJoe,
    We sent review copies to most everyone we know on ScienceBlogs. (They haven’t all gotten there yet).

  8. Matt Penfold
  9. JRQ

    Meanwhile, you’ve promised you have “much to say in response to PZ,” and still the bulk of PZ’s review remains unrebutted. I’m especially curious to hear you explain this quote PZ singles out for criticism:

    “Dawkins and some other scientists fail to grasp that in Hollywood, the story is paramount—that narrative, drama, and character development will trump mere factual accuracy every time, and by a very long shot.”

    As a long-time reader of Dawkins, this makes no sense to me. It sounds very much like the comment of someone who is unaware of any of Dawkins’ work outside of The God Delusion. Dawkins is one of the premiere scientific storytellers of the last 30 years. Has PZ taken this out of context or what?

  10. benjdm

    Fun! Take a comment at a blog and say it is a ‘Classic Quote’ from the blogger’s blog!

    Similarly, here is a Classic Quote from Chris Mooney’s Blog:

    And my blog has dozens of posts explaining why I hate Judge Jones — just see the homepage sidebar’s post labels pertaining to Judge Jones and the Kitzmiller v. Dover case

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/06/29/science-religion-and-the-knowledge-of-history/#comment-22138

  11. — Dawkins is one of the premiere scientific storytellers of the last 30 years. JRQ

    It’s the storytelling that is the problem with Dawkins’ career, as his scientific critics have been pointing out for decades.

  12. Onkel Bob

    I sometimes read Pharyngula, Dr. Myers has a pointed view on the world that I find amusing, in the comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, sort of way. The responses of his readers run the gamut, from profane insanity to exceptionally well written. However, at no time have I ever read a post by Dr. Myers that is as guilty of deliberately misleading and unrepresentative of his material as the ones you post here when discussing him. Republican War on Science? Is this the Intersection’s War on ethics and honor? You have gone out of your way to impugn their tactics yet only succeeded in revealing what scoundrels both of you truly are. A pox on your house, may you taste only bitter defeat and misery.

  13. ChrisZ

    Yep, that’s a “classic quote from PZ’s blog.” Of course, PZ did not write that, it’s comment number 90-something in a big long comment thread, and it’s not representative of the comments in that thread. You so clearly want to dislike anything and everything that has any connection to PZ at this point that you will go to the most ridiculous lengths in order to criticize him.

    And to think that I helped you with your kissing experiment.

  14. The whole “anybody who does not accept my line of thinking wholeheartedly is either stupid or ignorant, and must be defeated” mindset is *extremely* common.

    I grew up in Berkeley, but my parents were politically conservative. (Of a sort; their conservatism, and mine as a result, does not resemble the Republican party of today. For example, I’m strongly in favor of homosexual marriage, but that would be anathema to the Republican party of today.) I got VERY used to the assumption that most people made that anybody who was a rational, thinking human being would be politically liberal, that Berkeley was one of the only “enlightened” places where you could “really think”– the irony being that they would write off the opinions of those who diagreed as stupid and ignorant without even hearing them in the first place.

    You see this all over the place. Rush Limbaugh’s crowd does it. And, PZ Meyers does it when it comes to religion. You’re an atheist, or you’re deluded and stupid and have to change.

    It’s his right to hold that position and argue for him. But it also makes him an extremely annoying blowhard who does no more good than Rush Limbaugh when it comes to understanding how to best work together to make the world work and promote what we all really care about. In this case, what we all agree on is that we want good public understanding of science, respect for the abilities of science to help us understand and live well in the world, and the ability to recognize when science is being misused to further other agendas. That’s what we all agree on. However, PZ Myers sacrifices that goal on the altar of evangelical atheism. What he *really* wants is to destroy religion, and he’s so convinced by his position that, just like Rush Limbaugh, those who disagree with that position are subject only to ridicule, not to any kind of engagement.

    Mind you, I’m not guiltless either. I will mock creationists, I have to admit. But the fact is that we *know* that creationism is wrong, but we do *not* know that theism in general is wrong. The former is empirically proven, the latter is a philosophical argument. We need to accept that even if we all can agree on what is empirically proven, we’re not all going to have an identical philosophy, and as such, if we want to make the world a better place, we need to communicate with and work with people whose philosophies do not align perfectly with our own.

  15. JRQ

    Glad to see Anthony McCarthy and I are in agreement — whatever Dawkins’ problems may be, failing to understand the importance of narrative storytelling is not one of them.

  16. Sheril wrote; “We sent review copies to most everyone we know on ScienceBlogs.”

    I just requested a review copy from the publisher. Hopefully I will be able to post my review in about a week. The only other Sb folks I know of who received a copy so far are the ones who posted reviews.

  17. I don’t agree with everything you say Mr. Mooney, but I do agree that the comment quoted is an example of something very, very wrong. I don’t know for sure, but I think PZ would agree with you – at least on the issue of tone. PZ can serve some some linguistic insults with the best of them, but I don’t think he’s ever stooped the to level demonstrated in your quoted comment.

    PZ has must looser commenting policy than you, however. You both have your reasons for that, and you’re both right given your reasons. That’s one reason why this situation is so incredibly frustrating.

  18. Paul

    It’s cute how instead of actually addressing PZ’s review, you choose one comment out of a 200+ page thread to reply to. If you at least pointed out it was a commenter and not PZ’s statement, you could at least come off as marginally honest.

    Disappointing.

  19. Gina Mel

    But the fact is that we *know* that creationism is wrong, but we do *not* know that theism in general is wrong. The former is empirically proven, the latter is a philosophical argument.
    ***********************
    Actually creationism being wrong per se is also a philosophical argument. A creationist can claim that God created the universe to appear that life evolved over billions of years on Earth in order to test the faith of his children. We do not “know” that is wrong. It fits all the scientific evidence. Now someone claiming the scientific evidence shows the world to be 6,000 years old would be incorrect, just as someone claiming right now scientific evidence shows God exists.

  20. Great day in the morning, Chris – you base a post on a comment from someone else’s blog? Are you kidding? Would you like me to do a post based on comments from your blog? Would you like me to post some gems from John Kwok and then draw large conclusions about you and your book and your ideas and the whole atheists-are-the-problem schtick based on the repetitive vituperative sexist ravings in those gems?

  21. Jeff

    Ooh, this is a fun game! Let’s find some reader comments in blog articles we don’t like and then attribute them to the blog’s author! That way I don’t have to address any actual criticism of the blog’s author, I can just point and shriek “they’re rude! meanies!”.

  22. Matt Penfold

    PZ has must looser commenting policy than you, however. You both have your reasons for that, and you’re both right given your reasons. That’s one reason why this situation is so incredibly frustrating.

    PZ does not operate any kind of filter with regards swearing. There is a SB wide filter that puts comments with three or more hyperlinks into the moderation queue. PZ is normally pretty good at freeing those anyway, but he also will respond to email requests to free them.

    With regards his policy on banning commentators, the only rules seems to be no preaching and respond to criticism rather than simply repeat yourself.

    As far as I can tell Mooney has a filter to prevent swearing, but does have a policy with regards preaching or repeating yourself. If he did, I suspect McCarthy and Kwak would be long gone.

  23. Actually creationism being wrong per se is also a philosophical argument. A creationist can claim that God created the universe to appear that life evolved over billions of years on Earth in order to test the faith of his children. We do not “know” that is wrong. It fits all the scientific evidence.

    Well sure; I call that the “brain in a box” argument. I can’t prove that the nature of reality is just my brain sitting in a perfect simulation that makes me think that it is the way that it appears to be. That’s just not *useful* at all.

    You can’t prove that science really works. You can’t prove that empiricism will help you understand the processes of the natural world, and that mathematics is the language that can be used to describe how the natural world works. So why believe it? Track record. We’ve done so much by proceeding from the assumption that science works, that we can understand the natural world through the processes of science, that it’s silly at this point not to accept that science is a good way to understand things.

    In any event, creationism isn’t quite that argument. Creationists argue that God created the world in seven days according to one or the other description in the first few chapters of Genesis. They argue that that is *what happened*, and that scientists who argue for evolution are wrong about their interpretation of the evidence. They’re not arguing the “it’s all an illusion”. Sure, some will say, OK, photons were created already in motion to make it look like that, dinosaur skeletons were artificially buried to test our faith. But, most creationists argue either that dinosaurs died in the Flood, or some time thereafter. That’s stuff that we know is wrong.

  24. Matt Penfold

    Ooh, this is a fun game! Let’s find some reader comments in blog articles we don’t like and then attribute them to the blog’s author! That way I don’t have to address any actual criticism of the blog’s author, I can just point and shriek “they’re rude! meanies!”.

    If you use Kwak as an example, you can do more than just call them meanies. Following their logic you could call them bordering on certifiably insane.

  25. A reasonably familiar quote from Thomas Jefferson:

    “Ridicule is he only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them…”

    Myers is not wholly right, and he is not wholly wrong. Often he opposes efforts to actually reach out to teach people, but, on the other hand, he plays a useful role in goading charlatans and cretins into doing more than spouting their endless prejudice and nonsense. “Ridicule can work to make people educate themselves,” indeed, or actually what is more important, it can make naive fence-sitters jump to the side of reason simply to avoid the damage of ridicule (realistically, most of the ignorant anti-science people who have cast their lot with religious prejudice will remain so regardless of anything).

    On PZ’s blog, I have often defended ridiculing ignorance and stupidity, largely as the “bad cop”. Here I tend more to agree with the importance of the “good cop” role (though it’s been both implicit and explicit on PZ’s blog as well), for I happen to agree that the NCSE needs to be mostly “good cop,” and that attacks on it for not being “neutral” (how could it be wholly neutral in a theological situation) miss the mark.

    The trouble here is that Mooney, et al., seems not to appreciate any of the value that ridicule has for making stupidity cost something for the purveyors of stupidity. In the large sense (never mind what PZ’s intent is or is not), this likely plays a role in making the “accommodationists” look good to those turned off by PZ, so that they may listen to them and their arguments.

    What is more, by no means should the “New Atheists” be solely blamed for any “breakdown in the truce with science.” The DI has been attacking theistic evolutionists for years as “promoting atheistic thinking.” Phillip Johnson clear back in 1994:

    They ["Darwinian scientists"] have defined their task as finding the most plausible — or least implausible — description of how biological creation could occur in the absence of a creator. The specific answers they derive may or may not be reconcilable with theism, but the manner of thinking is profoundly atheistic. To accept the answers as indubitably true is inevitably to accept the thinking that generated those answers. That is why I think the appropriate term for the accommodationist position is not “theistic evolution,” but rather theistic naturalism. Under either name, it is a disastrous error. Shouting `Heresy’ in the Temple of Darwin Christianity Today October 24, 1994 p.26

    Now we know the arguments regarding this, and these needn’t detain us here. The fact is that whether they are right or wrong, the IDists turned this into a battle between virtuous theism and “atheistic materialism” long ago in the public. Perhaps it is unwise for our side to go along with this portrayal, or not, this being something we should hash out on our side (the uncommitted being the important audience we should think of while arguing these issues). What matters is that our opponents already regularly attack us and theistic evolutionists as supporting an atheist agenda, and a large portion of the public already believe it. “New Atheists” are acknowledging what had long been denied by most on our side, the fact that science is indeed contrary to many religious beliefs in our society–the extension to nearly all religion is what is actually in contention, at least for the message we’d like to put out there.

    So there is no way that the “New Atheists” should be faulted alone for issues heavily propagandized by the IDists. Not having read the book, I have no idea how the blame is apportioned in it, so I’m responding to the frequent attacks on them here, not to what the book states.

    What I’m saying is that there is nothing wrong with some blaming of the public, and especially, a great deal of blaming of the charlatans at the DI. You can even blame “New Atheists” if you desire, just don’t forget (this is advice, not a demand, of course) that they and theistic evolutionists were being maligned by the IDists well before most of them bothered to notice the IDists.

    I never liked PZ’s “Crackergate,” nor the responses to it (seriously, no one can demand respect for their religious objects, although decency recommends it). But there’s too much blaming of PZ, when he’s really more of a show-off than anything else (an apparently repressed academic who ended up with an audience he’d never dreamed would be his). As a rabble-rouser, he actually does shed light on any number of unsavory events and characters, and as such he can play a useful role. It would never do for others to follow his example, certainly not the NCSE or NAS.

    Some of his ridicule hits the mark, and we should not forget that. Some, I think, does not. Yet I do not think that his attacks upon “accommodationists” have been any stronger (although with more offensive language) than have been those of the IDists. One would do well to realize that “accommodationists” were maligned to the public by religionists well before the “New Atheists” began to do so with any kind of conviction (Dawkins was opposed before the Johnson quote above, but few paid much heed). Allowing people to forget that absolves the IDists for their attacks upon their fellow theists, a tactically and morally inappropriate response to the many lies told by the DI, its spokespersons, and its followers.

    Glen Davidson
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  26. Bruce Gorton

    Mr Mooney, you are a lying scumbag. I did a search within PZ Myers’ article for the word “Fuck.”

    The first instance of it was in the comments section. It wasn’t actually in the article. You attribute something to PZ myers, which he did not write. The comment you are attributing to PZ Myers is one of his commenters.

    Are you going to claim responsibility now, for the words of John Kwok, noted for calling Ophelia a “bitch” on YOUR blog because he disagreed with her? Oh and you left it because hey, Kwok’s on your side.

    If you had been writing for my newspaper I personally would have kicked your backside out the door. If you are going to attribute a quote the least you could do, even as a dishonest hack, is attribute the quote to the right person.

  27. Lookie here, Chris – here’s a gem from your blog -

    “@ Ophelia Benson -

    I merely asked you if your notion of “tease” is akin to what Katy Perry sings with regards to referring to “PMS” and “bitch” in her recent Top Ten smash hit, “Hot N Cold”. As I pointed out to JoshS, I think I’d be more disturbed by my insinuation that you are indeed the “Alice” which Bernie Taupin wrote of – and Elton John sings – in their song “All the Young Girls Love Alice” from the classic Elton John album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”.

    But, if you wish, I’ll be Dan Ackroyd to your Jane Curtin: “Ophelia, you ignorant…..”.”

    Would you like me to do a post drawing sweeping conclusions about you derived from that?

    Hmmm…what to conclude…Chris Mooney is secretly pleased when a serial ranter calls a ‘New Atheist’ woman a PMS bitch and a slut. Chris Mooney pretends to be too busy to monitor comments on his site but actually he is delighted when his fans run amok. Chris Mooney talks a lot about civility but actually he encourages pissing contests between John Kwok and Anthony McCarthy. Chris Mooney claims to think that ‘New Atheists’ make Americans hate science but actually it’s just that he hates ‘New Atheists’ himself.

    Would you like me to post in that vein? Eh?

  28. Jon

    “This whole mindset is precisely what we wrote a book against. The blame the public mindset. The it’s not our fault, we’re the smart people mindset.”

    He’s smarter than you he’s got a science degree!!!!!

  29. Great day in the morning, Chris – you base a post on a comment from someone else’s blog? Are you kidding? Would you like me to do a post based on comments from your blog? Would you like me to post some gems from John Kwok and then draw large conclusions about you and your book and your ideas and the whole atheists-are-the-problem schtick based on the repetitive vituperative sexist ravings in those gems?

    Yes, this is getting ridiculous. I had no idea when I wrote comment #25 that it was just a comment (not that it would have changed what I wrote substantially), since the normal meaning of “From PZ’s blog” is exactly that it was taken from one of his blogposts. An honest, competent attribution would be far different.

    And if it were clear that it was merely a comment, not something PZ had written, well, who’d care?

    Has Chris jumped the shark?

    Glen Davidson
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  30. Albert Bakker

    #19 That argument is often heard, though theists cannot take it seriously because a God that would deliberately fool humans is not really benevolent even on a human scale. It is also not consistent with the bible where God is busy manifesting himself all over the place and even takes the trouble to incarnate as a human. Therefore somekind of anti-God or “Satan” or whoever must be performing the scam, which of course would mean that God is not omnipotent. But it’s perhaps a bit more acceptable being created imperfect than being created by a scam artist.

  31. Chris Mooney

    I guess I have to go delete another comment. I haven’t seen all of these. We are, as I said, tightening our filters.

  32. Matt Penfold

    Yes, this is getting ridiculous. I had no idea when I wrote comment #25 that it was just a comment (not that it would have changed what I wrote substantially), since the normal meaning of “From PZ’s blog” is exactly that it was taken from one of his blogposts. An honest, competent attribution would be far different.

    It took me several read throughs to realise Mooney was not actually quoting PZ, but rather a commentator.

    It smacks of creationist level dishonesty I am sorry to say.

  33. Matt Penfold

    I guess I have to go delete another comment. I haven’t seen all of these. We are, as I said, tightening our filters.

    Chris,

    You are happy to chastise “new” atheists for a lack of civility.

    Need I remind you Kwak is supportive of your position. Do you not feel the need to chastise him as well ? Or do you only demand those whose positions you disagree with are civil ?

  34. ChrisZ

    Has Chris jumped the shark?

    Yes.

    In his defense though, people rarely do well with criticism, especially from people more influential than themselves.

  35. bob

    My goodness, this is simply pathetic, and I’m not using that term lightly. Lifting an anonymous comment off PZ’s blog and “responding” to it? Extremely disappointing, Chris … I’d hoped for much, much more from you.

    I trust more is coming, perhaps after you grow up and learn to take criticism like an adult (especially after you dished it out so copiously).

  36. Matt Penfold

    That argument is often heard, though theists cannot take it seriously because a God that would deliberately fool humans is not really benevolent even on a human scale. It is also not consistent with the bible where God is busy manifesting himself all over the place and even takes the trouble to incarnate as a human. Therefore somekind of anti-God or “Satan” or whoever must be performing the scam, which of course would mean that God is not omnipotent. But it’s perhaps a bit more acceptable being created imperfect than being created by a scam artist.

    One has to wonder if such theists have actually read their bible. Their god is hardly benevolent, and the bible is not exactly internally consistent either.

  37. Chris Mooney

    I deleted another comment from John Kwok, which I had not seen. And I am making this a warning, as well.

    Clearly, we are going to have to be further tightening up comments here. We are also overwhelmed right now by their volume, though, and trying to figure out what to do. Sheril is on a plane, I am busy with the book, etc.

    Again, I request that everyone read and respect the comments policy. Keep it substantive, keep it above the belt, keep it on point. No foul language. If you simply cannot refrain from personally attacking someone, attack me, not your fellow commenters. Or at least, this way your comment is most likely to survive ;>

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/06/04/laying-out-a-comments-policy/

    Thanks

    chris

  38. SteveF

    “Great day in the morning, Chris – you base a post on a comment from someone else’s blog? Are you kidding?”

    What on earth is wrong with that? Is it only the exalted PZ that people should be addressing, and the remarks of his subjects in the comments thread ignored? The internet is a place of opinions; just because PZ writes the initial post, it does not necessarily make his words substantially more valuable than any others.

    If Chris feels that a comment to a blog post raises a point he wishes to deal with, then he is perfectly within his rights to mention it. In this case, Chris apparently believes that this particular comment is symptomatic of a mentality that prompted the writing of the book. It therefore makes perfect sense for him to pick it out.

  39. Chris Mooney

    I am pleased to say that the word “bitch” (and some other new ones) now triggers a comment to be automatically held. Why this was not the case before, I have no idea. We are at work on further tightening of the filters.

  40. Matti K.

    Steve F:

    “If Chris feels that a comment to a blog post raises a point he wishes to deal with, then he is perfectly within his rights to mention it.”

    In that case I think (according to journalism 101) one should make clear whom he is quoting. Some very intelligent people here thought he was quoting PZ.

  41. Paul

    It would therefore make sense for him to properly attribute the comment he takes issue with. I count multiple “PZs” regarding the quote, but no mention of “comment” or “Aquaria” (the nym of the person who posted the offending quote). I guess fewer eyeballs hit the post if the name PZ isn’t prominently placed and repeated.

  42. “What on earth is wrong with that?”

    Selectivity, that’s what. If he’s going to draw conclusions about mentality based on comments on a blog, he should be reading comments on his own blog very carefully.

    Chris, just deleting one comment doesn’t address the larger issue – Kwok talks smack about people almost every time he posts, and he post incessantly. He makes your blog a slum. This makes it very…odd for you to attack PZ because of a comment on Pharyngula.

  43. Jeff

    SteveF, the problem is not that he singled out a comment, it’s that he didn’t say it was a comment but only from “PZ’s blog”, no attribution of the commenter’s identity, so as to imply it came from PZ. This is basic ‘netiquette here, Chris should know better — unless his goal is not just to comment on the comment, but also smear a vocal critic of his. Sloppy or slimy, take your pick, since Chris hasn’t clarified it yet.

    I can’t for the life of me figure out why Chris doesn’t understand that other blog owners don’t have to play by his comment rules, either. He made the choice to screen and delete much more liberally than PZ. Fine. That means he has to take far more responsibility for what people say here — letting abusive comments stand implies consent. PZ is far more open, reserving bans for the truly egregious repeat offenders, so you cannot view each blog’s comments through the same lens. My recommendation for Chris — stop reading PZ’s comments, just read his articles. You clearly can’t handle “foul language”, blunt criticism, or internet yahoos. Oddly, you have no problem cultivating yahoos here.

  44. Ophelia @42: Chris, just deleting one comment doesn’t address the larger issue – Kwok talks smack about people almost every time he posts, and he post incessantly. He makes your blog a slum.

    So you’d like to censor Kwok? So much for the freedom of ideas. Ignore him if he bothers you. Of course, you don’t raise nary a quibble with Jerry Coyne when he says that Ken Miller should not be used to defend evolution because he is a “religious scientist” because to do so would mean that science implicitly accepts religion then.

    Why the double standard?

  45. Matt Penfold

    SteveF, the problem is not that he singled out a comment, it’s that he didn’t say it was a comment but only from “PZ’s blog”, no attribution of the commenter’s identity, so as to imply it came from PZ. This is basic ‘netiquette here, Chris should know better — unless his goal is not just to comment on the comment, but also smear a vocal critic of his. Sloppy or slimy, take your pick, since Chris hasn’t clarified it yet.

    More than just basic netiquette. Basic journalism as well. Double fail.

  46. Rieux

    That argument is often heard, though theists cannot take it seriously because a God that would deliberately fool humans is not really benevolent even on a human scale. It is also not consistent with the bible….

    Sigh.

    As ever, it falls to nonbelievers to provide apologists with basic education on their own religion.

    Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

    – 1 Kings 22:23

    Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets.

    – 2 Chronicles 18:22

    Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people.

    – Jeremiah 4:10

    O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived.

    – Jeremiah 20:7

    And if a prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet.

    – Ezekiel 14:9

    For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.

    – 2 Thessalonians 2:11

    “Theists cannot take it seriously,” huh? “Not consistent with the bible,” hm?

    Here, as is so often the case, a conservative-theological point is entirely in keeping with the scripture at the center of the religion in question… whereas the liberal-theological criticism of said point (voiced in a know-it-all tone that would get an atheist flamed out of here tout suite) totally disregards reams of scripture.

    Again: sigh.

  47. Jeff @43: SteveF, the problem is not that he singled out a comment, it’s that he didn’t say it was a comment but only from “PZ’s blog”, no attribution of the commenter’s identity, so as to imply it came from PZ.

    Chris provided a link right to the comment, so we all could click on it. Jimminy, it took all of thirty seconds to click the link and read the comment in its entirety. It took even less to realize it was not a quote from PZ, but instead from one of his cronies. IMO, Chris didn’t imply anything, and his opening was accurate “From PZ’s blog …” because it WAS from PZ’s blog, and no one elses.

  48. Yikes – I hadn’t noticed that the post never says the comment is a comment, not part of a post.

    Why did you do that, Chris? Why did you not include the phrase ‘from a comment on a post’ after ‘From PZ’s blog’?

    Dark side, Chris. Dark side.

  49. Paul

    “So you’d like to censor Kwok? So much for the freedom of ideas.”

    Liberally throwing out slurs is hardly sharing ideas. Kwok managed to get himself banned from the much more liberally moderated Pharyngula. The only reason he’s (seemingly) quasi-tolerable here is because the blog hosts treat him with kid gloves, so he doesn’t escalate his tantrums.

  50. SteveF

    “Selectivity, that’s what. If he’s going to draw conclusions about mentality based on comments on a blog, he should be reading comments on his own blog very carefully.”

    If Chris feels that there is a problem with mentality that he wants to address and that a particular comment represents this, then it is perfectly reasonable for him to mention that comment. Particularly as he’s apparently gone so far as to write an entire book as a result of such a mentality! What people write on Chris’s blog is neither here nor there where this specific point is concerned.

    Furthermore, I do not know what evidence Chris has that this apparently problematic mentality exists. It may be solely based on blogs and their comments. Or it may not. It may also be based on a general look at the scientific community. I dunno. However, in this particular instance, it’s clear that he isn’t using this comment to reach any conclusions about mentality – he’s already reached that conclusion (hence the book) and is using it as an example of said mentality. Hence, again, why it was entirely reasonably of him to mention it.

    I agree about Kwok. Personally I’d just ban him.

  51. Matt Penfold

    So you’d like to censor Kwok? So much for the freedom of ideas. Ignore him if he bothers you. Of course, you don’t raise nary a quibble with Jerry Coyne when he says that Ken Miller should not be used to defend evolution because he is a “religious scientist” because to do so would mean that science implicitly accepts religion then.

    Why the double standard?

    I think Ophelia would just like Mooney to apply his standards a bit more constantly, and quickly for that matter.

  52. oku

    So Chris, instead of taking offence at certain words, why don’t you explain why you left the impression that the quote is from PZ, and not from a comment on his blog? How about clarifying that?

  53. bob

    Chris, not all of us care about your comment housekeeping … this minor hypocrisy over swearing detracts from the main issue here. You haven’t addressed PZ’s criticisms (which also appeared in other reviews, which you’d see if you stopped cherry-picking), yet you are attacking an anonymous poster at PZ’s blog as if it were PZ himself. Can we expect something substantial and honest soon?

  54. Paul @49: Kwok managed to get himself banned from the much more liberally moderated Pharyngula.

    From the looks of it, it’s very easy to get banned from Pharyngula. It is indeed liberally moderated … Myers applies any standard he wishes to censor people on his blog, especially if they disagree with him.

  55. SteveF

    @ 43

    “SteveF, the problem is not that he singled out a comment, it’s that he didn’t say it was a comment but only from “PZ’s blog”, no attribution of the commenter’s identity, so as to imply it came from PZ. This is basic ‘netiquette here, Chris should know better — unless his goal is not just to comment on the comment, but also smear a vocal critic of his. Sloppy or slimy, take your pick, since Chris hasn’t clarified it yet.”

    Actually, that’s only part of the “problem”. I agree that Chris probably could have made it clearer who he was quoting (though he does provide a link). However, others are complaining about the very notion of quoting a blog comment. Which is what I am addressing.

  56. Mariana C.

    Is this supposed to be your response to PZ’s review of your book? You pick one comment in a 200+ comment thread and try to – ahem – frame it as PZ’s? You, sir, are disgusting.

    BTW, it seems the point you tried to make by *quoting someone else who is not PZ Myers* is not even a point on which PZ would disagree with you. Here, let me help you with some quotes that are actually from the review in question:

    “We’re told over and over about how scientists suck at the job of science communication (which is largely true), and that we need more media- and politically-savvy scientists (definitely true),”

    “Carl Sagan is their hero, and he’s one of mine, too. He’s the model of the scientist who is also both a skilled communicator and an activist, and I would agree entirely that we need more like him.”

    So my suggestion is: try again, and next time address some of your opponent’s points instead of quoting *someone else* so you can stomp your feet and go “See? He’s so meeeeeeaaaaaaan!!!!”

  57. Matti K.

    Topic of the article:

    “Classic Quote from PZ’s Blog, vs. Classic Quote from RealClimate”

    Are there any other professional journalists who think it makes sense t quote two cherry-picked commenters from two different blogs? And label them “classic”?

    PS. No need to answer, I found the answer myself:

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/

  58. SteveF

    @ 44

    “So you’d like to censor Kwok?”

    Yes please. Or at the very least severly curtail the number of posts he spams (I mean makes). This wouldn’t censor him so much as force him to make his point concisely, without endless name dropping, irrelevancies, repetition and other general irritations.

    But, as I say, I’d just ban him. The internet is a big place, I’m sure he’d cope.

  59. giotto

    Well, I guess we are done here. A commenter on PZ’s blog opposed Mooney using the F-word; a commenter at RealClimate supports Mooney without the F-word. Clearly the accommodationists have carried the day!

    Jesus, Chris… really??

    Really???

    As others have said above, this is pathetic and dishonest.

  60. Matt Penfold

    Are there any other professional journalists who think it makes sense t quote two cherry-picked commenters from two different blogs? And label them “classic”?

    PS. No need to answer, I found the answer myself:

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/

    To be fair the Sun journalists, most will not make any attempt to claim they are doing much beyond gutter journalism. They are certainly much better at it than Mooney as well. I despise much of what is in the Sun (and News of the Screws) but there is no denying it is done with a degree of élan.

  61. Matt Penfold

    Since screws got through I guess the filter is broken still.

  62. I may be wrong here, but my understanding is that the term “theists” refers to people who believe in some type of divine being/creator/great spirit, etc. They are not necessarily Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, and it is reasonable to think many do not view the Bible as the literal word of God. Some might view portions of the Bible as divinely inspired or symbolic while others might dismiss the Bible altogether as simply the collected writings of human beings in the ancient Middle East, just another work of literature.

    Instead of banning any individuals, why not establish a set of rules, then accept comments that follow those rules and reject those that violate them. This way, the focus is not on any individual person but on the nature of the writing.

  63. Mike McCants

    From PZ’s actual blog:

    “The book entirely neglects the anti-scientific forces. Our salvation apparently lies entirely in the hands of scientists who quietly promote the positive values of the scientific outlook, while turning their eyes away from deep-rooted values and institutions that directly threaten science. To challenge those would be to offend people! And if we offend anyone, we lose! It’s an exceptionally defeatist attitude in which they plainly recognize a serious problem in American society — it’s the premise of the whole book! — but at the same time, demands that we avoid addressing the structural roots of those problems.”

    Your reply?:

    “Dawkins and some other scientists fail to grasp that in Hollywood, the story is paramount—that narrative, drama, and character development will trump mere factual accuracy every time, and by a very long shot. ”

    Get away from this “mere factual accuracy” nonsense and try to win people over with a “story” just the way religion wins people over with their multiple contradictory “stories”?

    Accept a “popular vote” to determine science? Keep Pluto a “planet” even though numerous other “dwarf planets” should then qualify?

  64. Paul

    Since Mooney pointed out that Pharyngula has “standard profanity”, I’ll take this chance to point out that a larger percentage of posts in this thread have curse words than the thread he linked to. I don’t understand why cursing is such a point of fixation, but a thread not moderated for profanity on Pharyngula is averaging less curse words than this fully moderated thread.

    OMG accomodationists allow bad words!

  65. Quoting a comment 106 items down in a comment thread (of 236 and counting) as if it were representative of anything beyond the commenter’s own opinion? This must be that New Journalism I’ve heard so much about! Oh, I do so love the taste of freshly picked cherries.

  66. Palo

    Other people said it, and I will again: Chris, it is quite unfortunate the title “Classic Quote from PZ’s Blog” you gave to this post. And to place a quote after the title without mentioning that is was from someone else commenting on PZ blog is very disingenuous. But to add that the profanity is “standard” without making clear that it was from someone commenting on PZ blog is close to despicable. I like you Chris, and I value your work. I think on this topic you are peeing outside the toilet too much. You constantly label your opponents, you constantly whine about minor little things, you constantly complain about uncivil critics by being quite uncivil yourself. I think you need to take some time off from this battle and think a bit more about what all this means. You do have a point in pursuing a strategy that includes understanding the history and tradition of religion on people’s mind, but I think the main argument PZ and others advance –namely, the fact that science is about TRUTH, not about strategies to sell that truth– is a better argument. I respect your opinion, I disagree with it.

  67. Jon

    I’d say the quote from PZ’s blog is fair game from a journalist in that it is typical. If a shout from the crowd at a Sarah Palin rally is noteworthy (because it is typical), then so is a comment at PZ’s blog.

  68. Jon

    If your argument is that the comment isn’t typical, then fine, make that argument.

  69. Craig B

    Interesting that Chris’ comments thus far are all about “filters,” not about his own rather astounding intellectual dishonesty with creating this thread around a reader’s comments and attributing them to PZ. Unbelievable. I rarely read this blog anymore because I learned years ago that Chris did not listen to evidence and reason when he had made up his mind (I tried to engage with him on the issue of the public understanding of science going back two or three years). However good some of his work has been, modeling this sort of intellectually dishonest behavior and closed-mindedness illustrates the problems that those who try to use reason and evidence face with the public at large. That’s ironic and profoundly sad.

  70. Sven DiMilo

    It’s strange, isn’t it, this new world in which authors respond to reviews in near real-time.
    Mr. Mooney is, IMO, revealing himself to be a pearl-clutching (“swearing is rampant,” gasp!) [expletive deleted].
    “Classic quote from PZ’s blog”? *shakes head sadly* Nice framing, dude.

    I realize that your objective, Mr. Mooney (I’d address Ms. Kirshenbaum too, but she doesn;t seem to be as involved) is to sell bookis, as is your right. You are extremely unlikely to sell one to me (for many reasons), but rock on, there is no such thing as bad publicity, etc.

    But please. Do you seriously believe that somebody posting their personal opinions on his or her personal blog, and then declining to moderate comments, is a big part of “the problem”? What percentage of the science-rejecting US public has even heard of Myers, or Dawkins for that matter?

    And your solution is to retool the academic pipeline? That’s almost charmingly naive.

  71. Paul

    “If your argument is that the comment isn’t typical, then fine, make that argument.”

    No need. There has not yet been an argument or evidence that it is typical, it has simply been baldly asserted.

  72. benjdm

    I’d say the quote from PZ’s blog is fair game from a journalist in that it is typical. If a shout from the crowd at a Sarah Palin rally is noteworthy

    To make the comparison accurate, the title of the newspaper article would have to be “Classic Quote from Sarah Palin’s Speech.”

  73. Screechy Monkey

    Chris is much too busy to monitor the comments on his own blog, or to provide the promised response to PZ’s review (incidentally, what happened to the rest of your promised defense of “framing”?), but he’s got plenty of time to whine about cherry-picked comments on PZ’s blog.

  74. Sven DiMilo

    From the looks of it, it’s very easy to get banned from Pharyngula. It is indeed liberally moderated … Myers applies any standard he wishes to censor people on his blog, especially if they disagree with him.

    I’m not crazy about the role of PZ Myers’s cheerleader, but I am quite enamored of accuracy and honesty. The statement quoted above is either ignorant or a deliberate lie.

  75. --bill

    Chris Mooney writes:
    “Yes, well, this whole mindset is precisely what we wrote a book against. The blame the public mindset. The it’s not our fault, we’re the smart people mindset.”
    In my reading of the comments on PZ Myers’ blog, this authoritarian mindset is very common. Many commenters seem to believe that the public should be told what is true, rather than be educated about what is true. And this seems really strange to me. When teaching undergraduates, for example, one doesn’t get very far by telling them, `this is how it is; accept it.’ One provides context and examples and all sorts of things to get students to a point where they can understand it (rather than just accepting it). I’d bet that Myers, in the classroom, is a very effective science educator. But sometimes he comes across as not wanting to educate, but to dictate.

  76. Ben Nelson

    Though I can’t speak of the book, after the dishonesty of this post, the blog seems worse than useless.

  77. Matt Penfold

    Comment #29 from Glen is telling.

    Glen is a regular commenter over at PZ’ blog. However unlike myself and some other commentators here it would be wrong to describe him as one of the usual suspects. He is always thoughtful in his comments, and on those occasions when I do not agree with him I have to take some time to work out just why.

    Glen also gives people the benefit of the doubt. I admit I tend to assume the worst possible motivation behind people’s comments, whereas Glen looks for the most benign interpretation.

    So when Glen thinks a blogger is not being entirely honest the blogger should take note.

  78. Jon

    …it has simply been baldly asserted.

    I am baldly asserting it too. Tell me why it’s not true.

  79. Jennifer B. Phillips

    This is absolutely shameful. I find it hard to believe than anyone with an ounce of journalistic integrity–or, heck, just garden variety integrity–would present cherry-picked comments from other people’s blogs, without *clearly* indicating them as such, to make any kind of point about the bloggers themselves. As has been pointed out repeatedly in earlier comments, this can seriously backfire on you. People who live in glass houses, and all that. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, after the selective way the reviews (from actual bloggers!!11) have been presented, but this is a new low. You have lost my respect, Chris and Sheryl.

    Re: Kwok. I have never advocated banning any commenter from any blog, with the single exception of someone made threatening and abusive comments addressed to me over at Respectful Insolence. If y’all are ok with Kwok taking up 30% of the comment space with his name-dropping, faux-intellectual blathering, and misogynistic insults, it’s your call. But please, PLEASE, give us a killfile option so that those of us who have zero interest in reading or engaging him can filter him out.

  80. bob

    @Jon: Boy, are you one of those New Scientists Mooney is espousing? I have Carl Sagan’s undetectable dragon in my garage. Tell me why it’s not there.

  81. Wow. So when you said “We’ll have much more to say about Myers’ criticisms of the book soon,” what you really meant was that you would ignore Myers’ criticisms and cherry-pick some comment that you would address, not matter whether it reflected my views at all? The attitude of “blame the public…it’s not our fault, we’re the smart people” isn’t my opinion at all, and I’d even say it isn’t what that commenter is saying. There ARE stupid and dangerous anti-intellectuals in positions of power in the US and we cannot ignore that, but that is not the same as arguing that “average Americans are…stupid or worse”.

    You might also find that if you honestly scanned that thread, you’d also find many thoughtful comments, a few commenters who thought you had some good points, and even a few who defend you. To pluck out one strongly worded criticism and pretend it is representative is contemptible and dishonest.

    Your complaint that there is swearing going on is prudish and silly, as well. I do not have filters against obscenity on my commenters, because I assume that they are mostly grown-ups. And for someone who claims to be defending average Americans, you might try visiting your local ball game or auto shop or playground…you will find far more swearing going on there than in my comments. As has been pointed out, you’ll find more swearing going on here than on Pharyngula — ah, but I’m sure you’ll blame that on visitors from my blog.

    But OK, I’ll take it as a fair cop. In general, my blog is ruder and louder than yours, and I even take pride in that. At least I can also take considerable comfort in the fact that mine is also more honest than yours, if this is the way you address criticisms.

  82. Jon

    I’ve been in PZ’s comment threads. I think the comment is self-evidently typical.

  83. Paul

    “I am baldly asserting it too. Tell me why it’s not true.”

    The evidence is in the link in the initial post. Mooney cherry picked one comment that came down on people for not educating themselves. The thread is over 230 posts. You’re asking me to prove that the sky is blue. It’s not worth the effort to convince someone that won’t even stick their head out the window to see if their assumption is true or false, even though it would only take them 10 seconds.

  84. Matt Penfold

    I’ve been in PZ’s comment threads. I think the comment is self-evidently typical.

    Fine.

    Now all you have to do is prove it.

    Go on, you know you can. Evidence is surely not a banned word round these parts is it ?

  85. Re: the classic quote from PZ’s blog — I think Chris’ point, and a completely correct one, is that stuff like that is ALL OVER the comment section of PZs blog. (Or, at least, it was a couple of years ago when I still sometimes actually read PZs blog, before I realized that it was a complete waste of my time.) The tone and bile of that comment is very typical of the community that PZ has eagerly gathered around himself.

  86. G Wood

    Atheists should all stick together! It has been only a few decades since the grip of religion and superstition has been starting to be pried out of the hand at our minds. I remember when a person was shunned for holding different views from the religious. We still are but it is starting to loosen up slightly.
    Religions are trying to reestablish control and we must use everything in our power to prevent this and establish reason. We cannot allow religion to win this war we are in. Accommodation has never worked and we must use every mean at our disposal to eradicate the irrationality of religion.

    Do you want to return to a society that imposes irrational beliefs by murder and torture? Religion has done that since the beginning of civilization and would do so again if given the slightest chance.

  87. Jon

    Evidence is surely not a banned word round these parts is it ?

    As Will Blake once said, “That which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care.”

  88. QuantumMechanic

    I think at this point it is best for Mr. Mooney to stop complaining about one or two comments and address the actual substance and the criticism that Mr. Myers had of his book.

  89. bob

    I’m very happy to read everybody’s anecdotes about how all the people leaving comments at Pharyngula are Big Meanies (and “New Atheists”!!1!). What, exactly, does this have to do with the fact that Mooney has yet to actually respond to the substance of PZ’s criticisms? (Criticisms that are also present in other reviews, I’d like to point out.)

    Done fixing those filters and reading hundreds of comments at Pharyngula yet, Chris? Any thoughts about what PZ actually said? Or is your heart still aflutter over the F-bombs? Please let us know when you’ve calmed down enough to comment on the matter.

  90. Sven @73: I’m not crazy about the role of PZ Myers’s cheerleader, but I am quite enamored of accuracy and honesty. The statement quoted above is either ignorant or a deliberate lie.

    It’s accurate. There are at least 10 listed ways to incur a ban. Some are pretty nebulous. Take for example: Stupidity. It’s an entirely subjective call, since I doubt Myers appends IQ’s to each poster. Same goes for Inspidity, which relies on Myers (and his mob) to determine who they feel is insipid or not. I HIGHLY DOUBT that any Myers fanboy has been banned by being insipid.

  91. Paul

    “Re: the classic quote from PZ’s blog — I think Chris’ point, and a completely correct one, is that stuff like that is ALL OVER the comment section of PZs blog. (Or, at least, it was a couple of years ago when I still sometimes actually read PZs blog, before I realized that it was a complete waste of my time.) The tone and bile of that comment is very typical of the community that PZ has eagerly gathered around himself.”

    So if we see Kwok all over The Intersection, we would be right to say thatcyberstalking, sexism, and harrassment represent “classic Mooney”?

  92. John Kwok

    @ Chris -

    The ongoing online behavior over at Pharyngula in reaction to yours and Sheril’s book is not too far removed from what I have encountered over at Uncommon Descent, Bill Dembski’s “baby” (which I have sarcastically dubbed “Uncommon Descent”), and yet, to the everlasting credit of the IDiots posting there, they have resisted the temptation of using coarse, vulgar, and indeed, often quite obscene, language (I suppose this is a reflection of Pharyngula’s “Messiah”, PZ Myers, who has stated rather recently how proud he is of his Viking heritage, to which I say that truer words were never spoken.). I think this really makes your – and Sheril’s – point that science blogs like Pharyngula are rather useless.

    @ Paul -

    I won’t disguise my ample contempt from Myers who is definitely much more a lunatic than he can imagine me to be in his wildest dreams. I would never conceive of calling a very well-respected advocate on behalf of the teaching of evolution a creationist, which he has done to Ken Miller, as far back as September 2006 at his blog, if not before. Nor would I pull a stunt like RSVPing to an event that he knew he wouldn’t be welcomed at – which was the private Premise Media screening of “Expelled” (Not that I endorse the film – which is of course an absurd example of cinematic mendacious intellectual pornography – but if I knew I was going to pay a vist on the “enemy” then I would have been prepared for the worst and take whatever lumps came my way, instead of whining and moaning what did happen to me.). And of course, last, but not least, pulling the rather outrageous “CrackerGate” stunt that, he, as a tenured college professor should have refrained from doing (even if – and I believe it was – his prior defense of the poor student in question was laudable). It is primarily for these reasons that I regard Myers as the “William A. Dembski of Militant Atheism” (What he has done to me is mere icing on the cake. However, I do wish Stuart Pivar – whom I had the misfortune of meeting after Jerry Coyne’s talk last year at a two-day evolution symposium at Rockefeller University – much success in trying to make Myers’s life as interesting as possible in the future. IMHO both of them deserve each other.).

  93. Matt Penfold

    the classic quote from PZ’s blog — I think Chris’ point, and a completely correct one, is that stuff like that is ALL OVER the comment section of PZs blog. (Or, at least, it was a couple of years ago when I still sometimes actually read PZs blog, before I realized that it was a complete waste of my time.) The tone and bile of that comment is very typical of the community that PZ has eagerly gathered around himself.

    Knopp, what a selective memory you have.

    Even back then you did not bothered to read what PZ said, let alone the commentators. If I recall you were taken to task for that failure at the time, and flounced off to other pastures to blog.

    I think we are still waiting for you to provide evidence to support the more outlandish of your claims at the time. No fear though, we know you neither can not will provide it.

    Tell me, does that inability provide evidence to support your position give you some kind of bond with McCarthy ?

  94. Matt Penfold

    So if we see Kwok all over The Intersection, we would be right to say thatcyberstalking, sexism, and harrassment represent “classic Mooney”?

    I think we must do.

    After Mooney has told us to.

    Chris, how does it feel to be a stalking misogynistic tosser ?

  95. Matt Penfold

    Now I know that filter is broken.

    What kind of self-respecting bad language filter lets through tosser.

    Shall we try wanker and see if recognises that ?

  96. Jon

    If someone did some sort of statistical study of the nature of PZ’s commenters to come to a conclusion that was blatently obvious (even PZ says as much above), then I’d say that person was a poor judge of how to use his or her time.

  97. Matt Penfold

    Oh dear, this is a seriously buggered language filter.

  98. Matt Penfold

    If someone did some sort of statistical study of the nature of PZ’s commenters to come to a conclusion that was blatently obvious (even PZ says as much above), then I’d say that person was a poor judge of how to use his or her time.

    Is that an admission you have no evidence ? Only if so, it would be better to say so directly.

    Still, at least you admitted you lied.

  99. I would like to point out, as this column glosses over it, that PZ’s review actually DOES point in the direction of real solutions and alternatives, beyond merely labeling your work as utterly useless. Specifically, he comments that you fail to amply weight or discuss failures of the education system and the politics involved therein, and that you avoid criticizing or exploring any of the institutional forces that lead to an undereducated public. On that front, I have to whole-heartedly agree – no solution that doesn’t involve a focus on K-12 education will ever change the basic science illiteracy of the American public. We can increase the communication skills and politeness of scientists from now until Doomsday, but if the general public lacks the fundamental background to understand said communication, and lacks the motivation, interest, or incentive to better educate themselves, then the style of scientists won’t matter. A person literate in science knows that scientists offer valuable, though perhaps not definitive, perspectives and facts, and doesn’t require a glossier media blitz to inform her or him of it. Pointing the finger at scientists seems both intellectually weak, as well as unproductive.

  100. “So if we see Kwok all over The Intersection, we would be right to say that cyberstalking, sexism, and harrassment represent “classic Mooney”?”

    Yes that was the gist of my question a couple of hours ago. Of course Chris will be ‘much too busy’ to answer.

    And Chris was going to get back to Jerry Coyne the other day, too, with answers to his questions. Too busy for that too? But plenty of time for this absurd post?

  101. Sven DiMilo

    There are at least 10 listed ways to incur a ban. Some are pretty nebulous.

    Ah, I see. Ignorant, then.
    Yes, Myers lists reasons for bannination. Yes, they are subjective; nebulous, even. That list, however, does not warrant the conclusion that “it’s very easy to get banned from Pharyngula.”
    What you do not realize is that (with a couple of exceptions, like explicit Nazis), those people on the banned list were given incredible amounts of rope before being banned (dozens, often hundreds of comments), and were banned only after continuing in the same vain after explicit warning, usually multiple.
    It is in fact very difficult to get banned from Pharyngula. Those who claim to have been “censored” because they disagreed with PZ are either lying or oblivious to what really went down.

  102. Sven DiMilo

    vein, of course

  103. Matt Penfold

    You would have thought Mooney would have learnt from the PZ Expelled affair, but it seems not.

    Someone who cares for Chris, please take the spade away from him before he digs himself in even deeper.

    Still, at least the hole is not quite as deep as the one he and Kirshenbaum dug themselves for criticizing PZ for being thrown out of a screening of Expelled whilst his guest, Richard Dawkins was allowed in. On second thoufghts maybe they never actually got out of that one, and are still digging in the same hole!

  104. Onkel Bob

    One thing that has not been stated so far is that PZ did not ban Kwok – the readers of the blog banded to together and all but forced him to be banned. Although Pharyngula produces a substantial amount of dross, it also refines some sparkling prose. His “fanboys” of Mrs. Tilton, David Marjanović, Sastra, and Kel (among others) could, in their sleep, out do anything the sycophants on this blog could write on their best day.

  105. Commenting solely on the post: On some level, scientists must agree with the new Pew results showing the public doesn’t think science is as great as it once did. Scientists want respect, the public wants greatness from science, and so you get invective like that. Yikes.

  106. Jon

    I beginning to think Pennfold is some sort of a bot with an inventory of stock science geek responses.

  107. Matt Penfold

    One thing that has not been stated so far is that PZ did not ban Kwok – the readers of the blog banded to together and all but forced him to be banned. Although Pharyngula produces a substantial amount of dross, it also refines some sparkling prose. His “fanboys” of Mrs. Tilton, David Marjanović, Sastra, and Kel (among others) could, in their sleep, out do anything the sycophants on this blog could write on their best day.

    Oh, well remembered. Part of the Pharyngula Survivor challenge.

    Yeah, you can blame me. I voted for Kwak. Not least becuase of his bloody name-dropping.

    Tell me, does anyone here not know 1) where he went to school, 2) who his best buddy at school was and 3) whose wife taught him English ?

  108. Matt Penfold

    I beginning to think Pennfold is some sort of a bot with an inventory of stock science geek responses.

    You did claim evidence for the nature of the commentators on PZ’s blog and then were forced to admit you had none.

    Unless you made such a claim by accident, and I have to say I am not quite sure how you could do that, then you were making crap up.

  109. Jon

    I didn’t say I had none. I’m not going to bring you sand from the beach to prove it exists.

  110. Matt Penfold

    I didn’t say I had none. I’m not going to bring you sand from the beach to prove it exists.

    Then produce it.

    You made the claim. Now you need to support it.

  111. Orson
  112. Dan

    I bought a copy of Unscientific America two days ago, haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet though. But from the posts right here on your own blog, I think I wasted my money. Case in point:

    Yes, well, this whole mindset is precisely what we wrote a book against. The blame the public mindset. The it’s not our fault, we’re the smart people mindset.

    Have you learned nothing from your journalism research, which I assume you pursued? Since when do you think that anything you say, no matter how persuasive, will have any effect whatsoever on the minds of fundamentalists and evangelicals??? The Ken Ham’s and Kent Hovind’s and Casey Luskin’s and William Dembski’s sycophants???

    So, regarding the book that I just bought, can I get my money back?

  113. Jon

    You made the claim. Now you need to support it.

    As they say. Whatever.

    I think I’ve got my Myers Groupie Self Parody Award nominee all picked out.

  114. John Kwok

    @ Matt Penfold -

    You’re the self-proclaimed United Kingdom subject who claims that your country doesn’t have a problem with evolution. Not so, apparently judging from recent polling data cited by both Ken Miller and Carl Zimmer, and also published recently in the Guardian.

    Can you tell me why only 51% of your fellow subjects of her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, accept that there is valid scientific evidence for evolution?

    Anyway, you sound too much like someone I’ve had the misfortune of meeting, one Stuart Pivar, who claimed to have a mutual friend (Not so according to that “mutual friend”.).

  115. Matt Penfold

    As they say. Whatever.

    I think I’ve got my Myers Groupie Self Parody Award nominee all picked out.

    Ok, I will take that as another admission you lied.

    Say, Can I use you as example from Chris’s blog of someone who claims to have evidence and does not ? Only using Chris’s (and your logic) that would mean Chris does the same.

    This is fun. Being able to take the silly things commentators say on a blog, and claim it represents the views of the blogger could catch on. I don’t think moderate religious bloggers will care for it much though. To many crazies going on about the Rapture to make that a good option.

  116. John Kwok

    @ Onkel Bob -

    Yours is a rather interesting “definition” akin to Clinton’s trying to asert the meaning of the word “is”. If Myers wasn’t interested in banning me, he would have never nominated me for his ridiculous “game”. That game, “Survivor: Pharyngula” is but one more example demonstrating how low the once-great Pharyngula has fallen, and why Chris and Sheril have made a very valid point in their book that science bloggers may not be that useful.

    @ Myers -

    Your review is as much a review as anything I have seen from Denyse O’Leary condemning the latest “Darwinist” book over at her blogs and at Uncommon Dissent. It is instead, as I noted yesterday, here at the Intersection, a self serving sanctimonious screed condemning “Unscientific America”.

  117. John Kwok

    DELETED. Another warning.

  118. Matt Penfold

    Chris,

    How civil is it for people to claim they have evidence on the nature of comments on PZ’s blog, only for it to turn out they lied.

    Only I would say not very civil at all.

    Since you are allowing people to judge bloggers by selectively picking comments of those blogs, are you happy if we consider you to be a liar ? Can I extend to same to Sheril, or do I have to restrict myself to comments made in reply to posts she made ?

    Do you want Kwak, McCarthy and Jon to be considered you spokespeople ? I would say not a wise move, but its is your blog and your call. You decide. Just let us know when you have.

  119. Rieux

    I see that Mooney’s dishonesty (implicitly imputing the quoted comment to PZ himself) has already claimed its first blogger victim.

  120. Just have to say one thing. PZ is not unlike 85% of scientists out there it seems.

    Scientists Fault Public, Media. http://www.labspaces.net/98553/Scientific_achievements_less_prominent_than_a_decade_ago

    Yet I chose a different path. I have been lucky enough to educate the public through the media in a way that is open and inviting. And the response as I have found is not only kind, but enlightening as people DO CARE and DO RESEARCH and DO READ!!! The people are not stupid; they are just unaware…much like all of us were before someone showed us what a library looked like and that Pubmed was a resource, not a resort in Jamaica.

    Hopefully, I’ll check out the book when it comes up here although I’d love to be a reviewer. BTW, the website is a link to one of my TV appearances.

    Take care,

    Jason

  121. benjdm

    JR Minkel, you do realize that PZ Myers didn’t write that, don’t you?

  122. Tom

    Wow. Absolutely pathetic. Instead of doing the obvious thing you should be doing and answer the criticism by Myers on your book you pick on some obnoxious kid on too much coffee. And why on earth did you try that little stunt where you attributed the quote to PZ? I hear you are supposed to be a good writer so I can only assume it was intentional.

  123. Rieux

    benjdm–

    Clearly (s)he doesn’t: JR is the “blogger victim” I linked to one comment above yours.

  124. Albert Bakker

    #36 Matt Penfield and #46 Rieux

    I wasn’t trying to say the bible is consistent, it most definitely isn’t and couldn’t be. I should perhaps have inserted a sentence explaining that I meant a God that is deliberately pretending not to exist, isn’t consistent with the bible as read by intelligent theists. (Attacking dumb theists isn’t the fun they make it out to be.)
    Intelligent theists agree among a fairly common list of qualities God has (a person, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient, purely benevolent, omnipresent..) and that God wants humans to believe in him. For if they don’t they realize they are going to have a pretty hard time explaining the reason why it is such a virtue for Christians to try to convert people. He is also all powerful as mentioned, therefore he could give strong evidence for his existence (or could have created things thusly that humans could not escape the conclusion of his existence – think for example the failed attempt at abusing the strong anthropological principle conjectured by some in cosmology.) Humans however have no strong evidence for the existence of a God, therefore either God does not exist or lacks the power to give strong evidence, or does exist but does not want humans to believe in him. Of these options a modified imperfect God seems to me preferable for theist over a God that doesn’t exist at all or one that denies their existence (since he is also omnipresent.)

  125. John Kwok

    @ Matt -

    Why is it that you refuse to acknowledge the fact that your country, the United Kingdom, has a serious problem with accepting the scientific validity of evolution? Why have you questioned that a British Center for Science Education exists, when one can easily find its website via GOOGLE? Why do you think the British Center for Science Education exists, were it not for the fact there is a serious problem with evolution denial in, of all places, the United Kingdom itself?

    If anyone is a consummate liar, Penfold, it is you, and this has been demonstrated clearly not only by me and McCarthy, but by others recently. In stark contrast, both Chris and Sheril are far more capable of telling the truth – and admitting their mistakes – then you’ll ever be, my dear sanctimonious hypocrite.

  126. Matt Penfold

    The longer Mooney fails to explain why he, at best, made such a poor job of correctly attributing that quote from the comments on PZ’s blog the worse it looks.

    Is it simply sloppy journalism, or an attempt to deceive ?

  127. Jon

    you pick on some obnoxious kid on too much coffee

    Again, as if PZ’s blog (and this one, for that matter) isn’t filled with such.

  128. Paul

    Uh, Kwok, admitting their mistakes? Mooney has posted 3 times in this thread without even touching the dishonest attribution that really set it off. Context matters. Maybe you could get away with that in a different thread.

  129. benjdm

    @Rieux:

    Clearly (s)he doesn’t: JR is the “blogger victim” I linked to one comment above yours.

    Yeah, I’m too slow. When I clicked ‘submit’, #98 was the last coment.
    :)

  130. Tom

    Jon #119: Not the point.

  131. Matt Penfold

    Just for the record, I do not respond to Kwak since he attempted to extort a camera from PZ. Doubly now so since I read how he referred to Ophelia.

  132. bob

    @All: Even if the quoted comment’s content/tone was undeniably common at Pharyngula, who cares? Mooney has represented the comment as PZ’s words, and has yet to actually address any of PZ’s points.

  133. benjdm

    Errr, 106, not 98.

  134. Jon

    Jon #119: Not the point.

    I disagree. Sarah Palin and John McCain weren’t at least partly responsible for the whipped up state of their xenophobic crowds that got on the news? Consistently inflammatory, sloppy rhetoric has consequences.

  135. John Kwok

    Just for the record, Myers lied to his readers after I told him that I was joking about my “request” for photographic equipment (In fact, completely unknown to me, two friends spotted Myers’s online “hate” campaign against me at Pharyngula and realized that I was joking about my “request” for photographic equipment. As I noted to someone else, I was simply imitating the sardonic humor used by a former teacher of mine, a certain well known Irish-American memoirist.). Since Myers has refused to admit that I had told him I was joking, should we believe in anything he writes, especially with regards to Sheril and Chris’s book? I think not.

    Penfold is demonstrating his consummate skill in dissembling with respect to the truth.

  136. John Kwok

    PS @ 136 -

    One of my friends who spotted my humor was claimed by none other than Stuart Pivar as a “mutual friend” of ours (I had the misfortune of meeting Pivar in person last year.). When our “mutual friend” heard about this, he shook his head and said that Pivar was just an acquaintance (apparently an affluent acquaintance since Pivar has donated Greek and Roman antiquities to the Metropolitan Museum of Art).

    Thought I mentioned this since I am well aware of Pivar’s relationship with Myers. IMHO they both deserve each other’s company.

  137. Jennifer B. Phillips

    Killfile, oh please, oh please….

  138. Folks,
    I just flew back to Durham from NY and am only seeing these comments now… I haven’t gone through the entire thread, but will address a few:

    @16 Laelaps

    I just requested a review copy from the publisher. Hopefully I will be able to post my review in about a week. The only other Sb folks I know of who received a copy so far are the ones who posted reviews.

    Review copies were sent to a large numbers of Sb bloggers we know personally. Additional copies were offered to anyone who contacted us by invitation through my friends still on Sb. You must have missed that, but check with Sci or Confessions.

    @ Ophelia Benson

    I hope readers understand that the claims made in comments about me are untrue.

    @78 PZ Myers

    ..when you said “We’ll have much more to say about Myers’ criticisms of the book soon,” what you really meant was that you would ignore Myers’ criticisms and cherry-pick some comment that you would address, not matter whether it reflected my views at all?

    No. Be assured there is plenty coming. I’ve been running experiments all week at NYU and Chris and I are on about a dozen deadlines. We’ll have more soon–be assured.

    There ARE stupid and dangerous anti-intellectuals in positions of power in the US and we cannot ignore that, but that is not the same as arguing that “average Americans are…stupid or worse”.

    I agree. But is a religious conservative politician ‘stupid’? We both know politics are far more complicated.

    To pluck out one strongly worded criticism and pretend it is representative is contemptible and dishonest.

    Chris can address this, but I expect he was conveying the tenor of the problem. And to be fair, many new atheists equate religion with being delusional, stupid, or worse.

    And for someone who claims to be defending average Americans, you might try visiting your local ball game or auto shop or playground…you will find far more swearing going on there than in my comments.

    Yes, I was at a Mets game last night when false accusations were made about me in comments that spiraled out of control. As for profanity, for me it’s simple. Just because it’s out there, doesn’t mean the same rules should apply on our site. So many of the readers who email me are in elementary and middle school with questions about marine science or about the desire to pursue STEM. I don’t want them to be intimidated by an onslaught of profanity. It’s not constructive.

    As has been pointed out, you’ll find more swearing going on here than on Pharyngula

    We’re working on that.

  139. FredW

    Yes, killfile please!

  140. Matti K.

    I think Mr. Mooney should change the topic of this post and post an explanation for doing so.

    Otherwise Mr. Minkel might not be the last blogger who puts the wrong words into the mouth of PZ due to Mr. Mooney.

  141. Rieux

    To those following the gripping narrative in ## 106, 120, 122, 124, and 130, it appears that JR Minkel has amended his post to fix the attribution mistake.

    Oddly, not every blogger is as conscientious as JR….

  142. Paul

    “Chris can address this, but I expect he was conveying the tenor of the problem. And to be fair, many new atheists equate religion with being delusional, stupid, or worse.”

    To be fair, many new Christians regard atheists as the enemy and tools of the Devil. What’s your point? It doesn’t change the fact that Mooney attributed statements that actively contradicted what PZ stated in his critique to PZ without making any effort to note that he was quoting a commenter. That’s sloppy, rude, and deceptive.

  143. Sheril; Thanks for the clarification. I guess I must have missed it. Did not mean to imply anything untoward; I just had not heard anyone else talking about it. I guess I was just out of the loop! I apologize if my comment caused any misunderstanding and I look forward to reading the book.

  144. Sheril

    “I hope readers understand that the claims made in comments about me are untrue.”

    What’s that about? I don’t know what readers are claiming, and I don’t know what the truth is, either. I know what you said about what Kwok said, but I don’t really understand it – you gave him a link to an article about me on Facebook…? But I don’t really see how that’s different from what he said. In any case, Chris posted about it yesterday. Are you expecting me to set people straight here? But all I know is what Chris posted, which is identical to what you told me. Are you blaming me for what commenters are saying about you?! But it all originates on your blog! How is that my fault?!

  145. Matt Penfold

    We’re working on that.

    With a conspicuous lack of success it has to be said. May I also suggest that until you have fixed it you should refrain from criticising other blogs for being too profane when they are less profane than your own. I would also point out the worst offender is also your most vocal supporter. As you know, Chris is allowing us to use what commentators say to infer the views of the bloggers. So far from you I am getting you both want swearing (you have not banned Kwak after all) and you do not want swearing (his comments were deleted, although belatedly). Certainly neither you nor Chris have chastised Kwak for being uncivil even though have criticised “new” atheists for their lack of civilty. I presume this is a case of do I as I say, not as I do.

    Chris can address this, but I expect he was conveying the tenor of the problem. And to be fair, many new atheists equate religion with being delusional, stupid, or worse.

    In what way is believing in something for which not only is there no evidence not delusional ? Are you making up your own definitions now ? Either you think such beliefs are not delusional, in which case I suggest you consult both a psychologist1 and dictionary, or you know better but are playing silly dishonest games.

    1 Not because I think you are in need of therapy, but because a psychologist
    will be able to correct your misunderstandings on delusions.

  146. This is tiresome. From what I’ve read in Pharyngula, I can say that swearing isn’t classic. Sure, it happens (heck, I did so yesterday) but it’s not the norm. The norm is usually humorous and/or well thought comments, like Glenn’s tend to be.

    I can’t remember who or where on this blog of yours, but it was also stated that PZ doesn’t actually blog science, he just attacks religion. That’s just plain BS; more often than not, there’s a post that’s marked “Blogging on Peer-reviewed science” (or something to that effect) and, lo and behold, PZ is blogging about science. Sure, it’s not always science, but I’ve seen other blogs ( belonging to ScienceBlogs) that attack religion, libertarianism,sexism (this one in relation to the reaction to Sheril’s admittedly attractive self) etc.

    I haven’t read the book, but it was mentioned that it states that “science bloggers may not be that useful” (Kwok @ 117). If this is the case 1) it’s odd that you should have a blog and 2) I think it couldn’t be farther from the truth; the internet is the less restrictive of mediums, content-wise, compared to TV and Radio, it’s far more interactive and at the same time it’s easy to use (taking into account its great range of applications, it’s remarkably simple to extract it’s maximum benefits). This means that users will have access to immense amounts of information on a variety of topics.

    Obviously, and as anyone who spends more than a minute on the net knows, there’s always a barrage of worthless garbage online. But if this deluge of information is instead filled with science, then this means that many, many lay people will have access to lots and lots of science and science-related content. Is this not a near-perfect setup for furthering the public understanding of science?

  147. Matt Penfold

    Otherwise Mr. Minkel might not be the last blogger who puts the wrong words into the mouth of PZ due to Mr. Mooney.

    One has to respect Mr Minkel though. When advised of the attribution he did not quibble, he admitted the error, said he (Minkel) was an idiot and changed the post. Maybe Mr Minkel should have read Mooney’s post more carefully, but he is not the only the person who was fooled.

    So Chris, and Sheril since you around, what about doing the same ? Admit the mistake, correct it, apologise to both PZ and Aquaria and move on. Only at the moment the silence is deafening in its refusal to do so.

  148. Egaeus

    Chris,

    While I do see value in not being a jerk when trying to correct someone’s mistaken ideas about a subject like evolution, I also understand the frustration when you do something like explain to Ray Comfort why he’s mistaken, and simply having him ignore the facts completely and continue his misrepresentation of evolution.

    There’s an old axiom that says that you can’t reason someone out of a position that they didn’t reason themselves into. There’s a lot of truth to that, and I can understand why people give up being nice to people who aren’t going to listen.

    What I don’t understand is why you have all of a sudden changed your mind about the value of people like PZ Myers? Not two years ago, you apparently thought he was doing good things by criticizing religious stupidity.

    http://scienceblogs.com/intersection/2007/11/cmon_pz_get_on_this.php

    What changed? Crackergate? He was doing the same thing there, criticizing the stupidity of a rather large group of religious believers. Seriously, expelling a student and threatening his life because he “stole” a cracker is worse than the above example, but you think he should have been polite? I’m sorry, but that didn’t deserve politeness.

  149. Jennifer B. Phillips

    Sheril said :”Just because it’s out there, doesn’t mean the same rules should apply on our site. ”
    And just *who* is asking you relax your profanity rules on your own site? Absolutely no one! I respect your policy on this, and the stated reasons thereof, just as I respect it on Bad Astronomy. I’m a mom, and I have to work pretty hard to keep my kids from overhearing the coarse language usage that abounds in some of the more diverse parts of our community. Good on you for trying to keep your part of the internet a little more family friendly in this respect. However, this is completely beside the point. The point, in fact, is that Chris is the one who made the profanity an issue, specifically to point up the craven embarrassment of the New Atheist horde cultivated in Pharyngula’s basement. He’s objecting to the use of profanity on *another person’s blog*, and basically turning this into an ad hominem argument. A disappointing failure of logic and integrity, in one fell swoop.

  150. Sorbet

    What fun! This blog is turning into PZ’s blog. One little post and an avalanche of entertainment and comments follows. Keep em coming!

  151. Tom

    Jon: I still don’t think that pertains to the shoddy tactics and cowardice of Chris Mooney that I was trying to point out.

  152. Chris Mooney

    I really thought it was obvious, given the link I provided, given the language, etc–but I’ve added a clarification at the beginning of the post, noting that the quote is not PZ himself talking.

  153. bob

    Well, Sheril, since you’ve been so busy, let’s get you up to speed. Here are the events that have transpired at The Intersection since PZ posted his review:

    (1) Put an entry up acknowledging PZ’s review, but not responding to its content
    (2) Imply that PZ’s review is not to be trusted because he is a New Atheist
    (3) Promise that a much bigger response to PZ is coming
    (4) Put up another entry about PZ, still not responding to the content of his review
    (5) Represent an anonymous comment on Pharyngula as PZ’s words
    (6) Ridicule the anonymous commenter as a profane meanie

    While these actions were all apparently Chris’ doing, I hope you see how ridiculous, petty, and immature it makes the both of you seem. I hope you’re embarrassed, frankly.

  154. Matti K.

    Mr. Mooney:

    “I really thought it was obvious, given the link I provided, given the language, etc–but I’ve added a clarification at the beginning of the post, noting that the quote is not PZ himself talking.”

    I thought you were a pro.

  155. Amazing. We have Sven telling me I’m either an outright liar or just plain ignorant when I claim it’s rather easy (and arbitrarily enforced) to get banned from PZ’s site and Penfold is relating stories about PZ holding “Pharyngula Survivor Challenges” so the mob can choose (at their own whim) who gets banned, and boasting about who he voted for. You two might want to get together to coordinate your stories.

  156. Paul

    Nice nopology, Mooney. I can sense the dripping condescension for people who took your journalism at face value instead of insisting on checking your sources. Are you trying to imply that we shouldn’t expect to be able to trust you?

  157. Back when Matt and Chris started on their framing, I did write a little about it, but since then I’ve kept pretty much out of this inter-blog fight since the whole discussion seem US-centric (Thorbjörn Larsson and I raised this issue back then, but it was ignored).

    In all honesty, I think Chris/Sheril and PZ talks past each other, and would tend to agree on most issues – there are some questions about strategy, and even goals, but there are also a lot of shared goals and ideas.

    Having said that, I must admit that I find this blogpost completely and utterly dishonest. Cherry-picking comments from Pharyngula and RealClimate, and even calling them “classic”, is something people like Michelle Malkin would do (she did it with Daily Kos).

    I could go and pick any number of comments to RealClimate posts which would indicate that RealClimate is a blog populated with global warming deniers, and it would actually be fairly representative for a lot of the comments there, yet I doubt Chris would find that acceptable.

    Chris, if you want to use a comment as an example, or even to address the comment, then do that, making it clear that it’s just the opinion of one commenter, not of PZ, and don’t try to make it into some kind of poster comment for comments there – you know as well as the rest of us that it’s not really possible to pick any comment which represents all comments there. Pharyngula gets more than 70 thousand visits each day, and each post (except for the science posts) tend to attract hundreds of comments by a large crowd of commenters.

    What I’d really like was if we could stop discussing people and instead discuss ideas. From the sound of it, it sounds like that’s unfortunately not entirely the case in the book, but maybe we could ignore that? PZ does actually have criticism of your ideas, and not only of your chapters on him – care to address those?

  158. Jennifer B. Phillips

    Gee, Chris, it almost sounds like you’re blaming the public mindset for not taking it on themselves to interrupt their reading of your post to research the source of your quote. By stating that you thought it was obvious, aren’t you insinuating that it’s not your fault–you’re the smart person?

    I’m so confused….

  159. Paul

    “Amazing. We have Sven telling me I’m either an outright liar or just plain ignorant when I claim it’s rather easy (and arbitrarily enforced) to get banned from PZ’s site and Penfold is relating stories about PZ holding “Pharyngula Survivor Challenges” so the mob can choose (at their own whim) who gets banned, and boasting about who he voted for. You two might want to get together to coordinate your stories.”

    If you’d actually read the threads in question on Pharyngula to get an impression of what it’s actually like, the Survivor Challenges show the opposite of what you think they do. PZ is so lazy in actually enforcing his ban rules that there were at least a dozen common-ish posters regularly breaking them, and he used to contest as a way to let people pick who was the most in need of getting banned. Far from arbitrarily banning anyone that disagrees with him, all the posters in question were making sustained efforts at crapping all over blog threads and he still gave them plenty of time to straighten out.

  160. … who was the most in need of getting banned.

    Most in need? So essentially PZ let his fanboys decide which ideas they like the least and then implemented the ban. Amazing. Whatever happened to ignoring people? If I don’t like something you say, I’ll pass it over. I won’t seek to have you banned. There are RARE instances I would consider banning (posting porn links, endless self-promotion), but vapid posts isn’t one of them. I guess YMMV, I just think it’s intellectually lazy for a community to clamor for a banning just because they dislike what the individual is saying (repeatedly or not).

  161. @145 Ophelia
    I was certainly not ‘feeding‘ anyone information. I respond to all readers who take the time to write and the commentor sent me a link. I don’t expect you to ‘do’ anything further, but want to be clear.

    @146 Matt Penfold

    With a conspicuous lack of success it has to be said.

    We are working with Discover on this. Chris and I do not run the site and everyone has been very busy outside of the blog this week. We’re doing the best we can.

    @147 Mr. Mann

    I haven’t read the book, but it was mentioned that it states that “science bloggers may not be that useful

    In Chapter 9, Unscientific America discusses the benefits and shortcomings of blogging. Reading this thread, it appears there is a lot of misinformation here from those who have not read the book about its contents.

  162. phantomreader42

    So, you falsely attribute someone else’s post to PZ, and you can’t muster up the shred of honesty necessary to admit your lie? This falls far below the standards of accuracy and ethics I would expect from Discover Magazine. Hell, this falls below the standards of accuracy and ethics I expect from the Marvel Comics! You’re about to the level of the Weekly World News. Keep it up and the Dishonesty Institute will offer you a fellowship!

    And if you’re going to hold the author of a blog responsible for comments, do you really want John Kwok, who was banned from Amazon.com for advocating the assassination of a presidential candidate, hanging around your place? Or do you only want that rule applied to OTHER people?

  163. Amazing. We have Sven telling me I’m either an outright liar or just plain ignorant when I claim it’s rather easy (and arbitrarily enforced) to get banned from PZ’s site and Penfold is relating stories about PZ holding “Pharyngula Survivor Challenges” so the mob can choose (at their own whim) who gets banned, and boasting about who he voted for. You two might want to get together to coordinate your stories.

    Maybe they are both right? I didn’t like the whole concept of Pharyngula survivor, but it was actually made to provide some commenters who risked banning a way to avoid getting banned (and also served as an indirect warning to said group of people).

    It was not like people could just point to random commenters and get them banned – the people in question had received multiple warnings, and were disrupting the Pharyngula comment threads, threatening to make them unbearable for the rest of the readers.

    I’ve followed Pharyngula pretty much from the start, and except for one person gloating about the deaths in a bridge collapse, I can’t recall anyone getting banned without lots of warnings.

    PZ has been a 3 post rule, in which newcomers are allowed 3 posts before the crowd are allowed to abuse them. What this means, is that if someone comes in and start spewing nonsense, people have to ask at least two clarifying questions, before they can tell them that they are fools.

  164. Paul

    “The books discusses the benefits and shortcomings of blogging. Reading this thread, it appears there is a lot of misinformation here from those who have not read the book about its contents.”

    I think Kwok was the only one that really talked about the contents of the book. Fittingly, most of the comments in this thread are actually regarding the post that kicked it off. Your statement seems odd in that light, as there’s hardly any information at all about the content of the books (much less a lot of misinformation).

  165. Unscientific America discusses the benefits and shortcomings of blogging. Reading this thread, it appears there is a lot of misinformation here from those who have not read the book about its contents.

    Sheril, I think that could be fixed, at least partly, by addressing the criticism by Ophelia, PZ etc. in their reviews. It might be that they misunderstood your points. Right now, their criticism have not been addressed, and this must necessarily form (at least part of) the opinion of those of us who haven’t read the book.

    I will eventually get around to reading the book, but I must admit that the reviews (positive and negative) haven’t made me rush out to get the book. It sounds very US-centric, blog-centric, and quite similar to what those of us who have read your blog have read before.

  166. gillt

    Mooney: “Much apologies for the misunderstanding. This post was rather hastily written, and to be frank, a little reflexively, too. Will a simple “My Bad!” calm things down a bit, because civility and intellectualism is what we strive for here at The Intersection. So, about that much anticipated response to PZ’s negative review….”

    Well, one can hope!

  167. Paul @ 163: yup, Kwok it was (I pointed out it was comment # 117)

  168. phantomreader42

    Here are a few “typical” examples of Mooney and Kirshenbaum’s writing:

    “Every word out of my mouth is a lie”

    “I steal candy from children, then I beat them.”

    “Lying is fun, who cares about ethics”

    “My entire career is a fraud”

    “All my grants were obtained through theft”

    “I have seven bodies hidden in my garage”

    Of course, these MUST be accurate quotes from Mooney and Kirshenbaum, because some random commenter put them on their blog! Just make up whatever garbage you want, and it magically becomes a representation of whoever’s blog you’re posting on! Wait until 4chan gets wind of this! They’ll have Mooney confessing to being a syphylitic pedophile within an hour!

    If you don’t like being held to ridiculous standards, maybe you should refrain from holding other people to them.

  169. Jeremy H.

    Hi Chris,

    I found your blog initially from Phil’s original post introducing yourself and Sheril a few months ago when you transferred here. I’m also a big fan of several of the other blogs on SB and Discover, and pass through every once in a while. I was introduced to the concept of framing applied to science from here and Nisbet’s blog, and after getting familiar with the concept, and how it’s being presented and used (“framed”), I gotta say… it now strikes me, when applied to science anyway, as cowardly at best, and a dishonest waste of time at worst.

    Obviously this situation with PZ is the topic at hand, so I’ll apply what I’ve learned to this kerfuffle.

    Missed chance for actual, effective framing

    With regard to the first chapter of the book, it seems to me that to ignore the spectacular teaching moment of “framing” the reclassification of Pluto as an opportunity to illustrate science as a dynamic process, rather than a static list of facts, and even to recommend capitulation to lay opinion on the matter is to do the public understanding of science a great injustice, as without an in-depth analysis of the issue, they would come away with the mistaken notion that “science” is subject to popular vote. That flawed conclusion would do great harm, and seems irresponsible to recommend.

    Framing as intellectual dishonesty

    It’s also rather telling that you’re not addressing the content of any of the criticism in any of your several comments above, and choosing to focus on profanity and delivery, is also illustrative that you cherish style over substance. And while the attribution in the body of this post can be dismissed through plausible deniability, the sum total of the behaviour surrounding this situation makes it seem less and less plausible that it was a simple oversight, and more likely that it was indeed an intentional “framing” of an invective comment as coming from PZ himself.

    That’s ok. It’s easy to be riled up over a negative review and strong criticism. But once the superficial style tempest-in-a-teapot is forgotten (it fades from memory much more rapidly), the substance will still remain, and that is the criticism itself. And that is what it is important to address.

    So, from my periodic survey of this and Nisbet’s blog, I’m forced to conclude that the entire exercise of framing (at least the wide examples of how it’s been “framed”) is simply obscurantism of intellectual dishonesty, for the sake of social lubrication, or more deviously, usually used as an attempt to pass off emotional, fallacious arguments as being reasonable, without arousing suspicion.

    Neither are worth it when applied to science. The various disciplines are already so involved and difficult with their own inherent barriers to understanding, that to not speak as plainly as possible and communicate with the intent of fostering true understanding is simply a waste of time and energy. And to not discard faulty ideas as they are disproven, for the sake of coddling, is diametrically opposed to the essence of objective understanding.

    Therefore, if yourself and Matt Nisbet would like to set yourselves up as examples of framing, applied effectively to science, as your audience, I gotta say: I’m underwhelmed.

  170. Chris (and Sheril, I guess):It might be a good idea to actually respond to PZ’s review.

  171. Jennifer B. Phillips

    Gillt @166–where did he say that?????

  172. gillt

    He didn’t!

    That’s why I said, one can hope.

  173. Matti K.

    I have the intuitive feeling that hell and heaven get accommodated before Mooney apologizes about anything he has said about PZ and his blogs.

  174. phantomreader42

    Congratulations, Chris Mooney! It only took you SIX HOURS to admit you were lying! Such a shining example of honesty. You put in a tiny disclaimer A QUARTER OF A DAY after you were caught posting deliberate falsehood! Surely everyone can learn from your wondrous ethical example!

  175. bob

    @gillt #166: Good thinking! You said, in a comment on his blog, that he was going to respond to PZ’s post. Since (by the thinking of the authors) a comment counts as at least the “tenor” of an author’s writing, I’m sure that review will be here in no time. Indeed, I bet the comments defending the book are sure to start having some substance, as well.

  176. rmp

    phanomreader42, relax. I’m sure he was just to busy to worry about these minor ethical details.

  177. Palo

    @149 Egaeus Says: “What I don’t understand is why you have all of a sudden changed your mind about the value of people like PZ Myers? Not two years ago, you apparently thought he was doing good things by criticizing religious stupidity”

    What changed is that Chris needs to sell books to the masses, and that Chris is now in the DNC payroll through the Center for American Progress. You know most Democrats, they love and fight for good causes only if it doesn’t hurt their “standing” with the public.

  178. phantomreader42
  179. phantomreader42

    Oh, the profanity filters missed a word!

  180. Onkel Bob

    Perhaps a bit more context should be added to this flame war. Here is Mr. Mooney’s comment that initiated Aquaria’s vehement response. and the other one that triggered the horde’s response. While neither of which are at all confrontational on the face, they lack the subtlety one expects from a professional journalist.

    Please note that I did not quote from the posts, but rather provided links to them. If Mr. Mooney had done just that (rather than quoting the offending post) it would have been understood the comments were by a responder not by Dr. Myers.

  181. phantomreader42

    The context is really quite simple. Chris Mooney lied. It took him six hours to admit he was lying, even after the lie was exposed. And even then all he did was give a notpology to try to cover for his dishonesty.

    As a result of this, Chris Mooney has lost any hope of being taken seriously on ethics, as he has made it clear he has none.

    Meanwhile, he got a terminal case of the vapors because people dared to use naughty words. Boo hoo. Belgium!

  182. Matt Penfold

    Given Chris thinks public opinion is important, and needs to be taken into consideration, do you think there is any chance that he will take into considersration the fact the most people commenting here, and thus part of the “public” in this context, seem to be of the opinion the post was not exactly honest.

    And do you think there is any chance he will address why he has failed to take this opinion into account and provide a proper apology ?

    Come Chris, fair is fair. If you think scientists should pay heed to public opinion it is only fair you should as well.

  183. Profanity filters are useless. You can insult people to their core using nothing but nice language.

    Since Mooney is the great communications expert, I really don’t need to explain to him that filters can only help against the crudest of symptoms, but won’t address any of the causes. Obviously, he knows all that, he’s so brilliant. If he hadn’t been so busy with his book, I’m sure he’d realize by now that he needs to look at the overall patterns to understand why his comment threads derail all the time. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that he never responds to any criticism, for instance.

    Since Mooney is also such a nice guy, I’m also sure we won’t have to remind him that he didn’t actually issue an apology, but blamed it all on his readers for missing the totally obvious link. He’ll notice eventually, just you wait and see. After all, he’s the civil one. That also clearly means that this post also couldn’t possibly be a hit piece to strike back at that horrible PZ, just because he gave a totally unfair review.

    For sure, this must be Mooney’s best post ever!

  184. Jon

    It’s interesting how much the word “lied” gets thrown around. I lied. Chris Mooney lied. Whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity to baselessly impugn the motives of people you disagree with. OUTRAGEOUS!!!1!!! After all, it’s all a conspiracy against the poor, aggreived, right-thinking new atheists.

  185. TB

    OK, so we have:

    1) Accusations that Chris allowed an obscene comment to stand while deleting something else.
    Reality: Apparently he has a life and doesn’t live for the blog. But when he did return, he addressed the problem

    2) Accusations that Sheril was feeding information to a commentator
    Reality: She apparently answered a question on Facebook

    3) Accusations of misrepresenting quoted material
    Reality: Apparently links were included to the comments they referred to.

    Seems to be a lot of manufactured controversy – typical internet stuff. And, speaking just for myself: When I see that links are provided as sourcing, I click the links.

  186. Matt Penfold

    It’s interesting how much the word “lied” gets thrown around. I lied. Chris Mooney lied. Whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity to baselessly impugn the motives of people you disagree with. OUTRAGEOUS!!!1!!! After all, it’s all a conspiracy against the poor, aggreived, right-thinking new atheists.

    As the post originally stood it was misleading. We know it was misleading because a good number of people were misled.

    Now it could have been a matter of error. However no apology has been forthcoming, and given Chris’ insistence on civility, had it been a case of simple error I think we would have expected to see one. Again the lack of apology could be a further oversight, but the longer we go without seeing one the less credible it is that not only was there an initial error in the post, but that there was an error in apologising as well.

    I note you still are saying “new” atheist. I have been an atheist for 27 years. Not really that new now. Jerry Coyne says he has been one since 1969, so hardly recent. PZ became an atheist when he was teenager, and he now over 50. Richard Dawkins also became one when he was in his teens, and he is now 60. You seem to have a very odd definition of what is new.

    Still if you want to call me a new atheist, can I call Chris an accomodation atheist ?

  187. Der Bruno Stroszek

    @159 – the framers are happy to use the “i won’t explain it, you’re just stupid” defence when they want to. See, for example, Jon’s comment in post 87, when outrageously asked to back up some bald assertions he’d been making:

    As Will Blake once said, “That which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care.”

    Fortunately, this is totally different to the patronising attitude Chris and Sheril have been accusing people of, since the person being patronised in this instance wasn’t on their side and therefore was fair game.

  188. Peter Beattie

    So, this guy who “really gets it” says, in a nutshell, ‘There should be rewards for good communicators, and good communication takes the audience into consideration.’ Those are the solutions one can find in your book, right? That’s equivalent to advising someone who keeps hitting the tennis ball with the rim of the racket to ‘just hit it dead centre’. That’s really clever advice, why on earth didn’t we think of that?

  189. J. J. Ramsey

    phantomreader42 Says: “The context is really quite simple. Chris Mooney lied.”

    What Mooney did was boneheaded, but someone really intending to misrepresent a comment on Myers’ blog as coming from Myers himself would probably not have made it trivially simple for one to find out that the comment wasn’t from Myers. In other words, to accuse Mooney of lying here implies the claim that he is a complete idiot as well, and the latter claim is hard to sustain based on the evidence.

    Kristjan Wager Says: “I could go and pick any number of comments to RealClimate posts which would indicate that RealClimate is a blog populated with global warming deniers”

    Yes, but those comments would be obviously at odds with the content of the blog posters. By contrast, the comment that Mooney cited looks like it was from someone trying to imitate the tone of the guy who caricatured believers as “pious twits” and “little old ladies who faint at the sight of monkeys.”

  190. Matt Penfold

    Accusations that Chris allowed an obscene comment to stand while deleting something else.
    Reality: Apparently he has a life and doesn’t live for the blog. But when he did return, he addressed the problem

    Eventually, and simply by deleting the post and indicating that the problem was not the tone of the post but the simple fact a profane word was used.

    Accusations that Sheril was feeding information to a commentator
    Reality: She apparently answered a question on Facebook

    To John Kwok, whom she must have known would claim to be her best ever buddy. Something of an error in judgement there I think.

    Accusations of misrepresenting quoted material
    Reality: Apparently links were included to the comments they referred to.

    Rather unclearly it has to be said. Due to the text colours used hyperlinks are not that clear on this blog. More than one person, including people I know do not normally make mistakes like that, were fooled. Chris has done himself no favours by not apologising. It just makes it look as though he set out intentionally to deceive people.

  191. Paul

    @TB

    You forgot accusation: Mooney is using a single comment with a BAAAAD word on Pharyngula to rant about how PZ is bad and just doesn’t get his book, while ignoring the actual post PZ made with specific relevant book commentary that lines up with comments made by other reviewers. He also calls the comment a classic quote from PZ’s blog (yeah, that sure sounds like he’s not putting the quote in PZ’s mouth). He gets called on it, actually posts 3 times in the related thread, then waits several hours to issue a mealy mouthed nopology.

    He’s not exactly a martyr here.

  192. JRQ

    TB, you forgot:

    4) still no substantive response offered to any criticisms raised in reviews of thier book.

    I realize they’re busy. But this post was a pure distraction and a waste.

  193. 191: Maybe attention-whoring? That’s all it’s accomplished,really.

  194. Brian D

    You’ll also note they never refer to Pharyngula by its proper name, always using the term “PZ’s blog”, while consistently referring to RealClimate by its proper name (as opposed to, say, “Mike’s blog” since they link a Michael Mann post; yes, I know it’s mostly Gavin’s work). This fits perfectly with a Nisbetian view of ‘framing’ if you’re trying to alter how something’s credibility sounds – when it comes down to it, RealClimate and Pharyngula are both just blogs by scientists (though I will admit RealClimate holds itself to a standard far above anything I’ve seen on SciBlogs or Discover), and the posts in question were just personal opinion, so why present them as anything different?

    When seen as a framing technique aimed at credibility, it’s pretty clear that this falls perfectly in line with the misrepresentation that this whole brouhaha is based on — and when you notice that nothing in it addresses the concerns raised in the review, it’s clear that this entire post is a dishonest smokebomb-style distraction.

    Don’t take this as defending PZ or attacking Unscientific America (I have my own copy en route and will review it fairly when I see it, ignoring this incident). Take this as what it is – expressing disappointment as to the dishonest tactics used by Chris and Sheril in dealing with their (as yet only?) unfavorable review. I had honestly expected much better.

    (I’d note that they also don’t pull this stunt on James Hrynyshyn, who wrote a mostly-positive review but had his own criticisms. They also, unsurprisingly, didn’t quote those criticisms. This is ironic, because his main complaint was that Chris and Sheril “point too many fingers” when assigning blame — and this entire post, with the flamefest that followed, is essentially an exercise in finger-pointing!)

  195. @176 Bob,

    Exactly. I evoked the awesome power of holding one to their own standards to bring about the proper response. So far, I have failed.

  196. Brain D #193 wins the thread

  197. Jennifer B. Phillips

    So, gillt, are you attempting to demonstrate that ‘Law of Attraction’ thing I’ve heard so much about on ‘Oprah’?

  198. Are you implying that I watch Oprah?!

    Anyway, yes, that is correct. Maybe my failure isn’t such a failure since kwok has been temporarily disposed.

  199. — Given Chris thinks public opinion is important, and needs to be taken into consideration, do you think there is any chance that he will take into considersration the fact the most people commenting here, and thus part of the “public” in this context, seem to be of the opinion the post was not exactly honest. Matt Penfold

    I’d love to be able to poll a genuine cross sample of atheists to find out how many of them have ever heard of PZ Myers. I’ve had two who I know, both of whom work in science say, “Who’s PZ Myers” when I mentioned him to them. And that’s just the general population of atheists, not to mention the far larger general population.

    PZ’s food-fight-Gong Show act isn’t universally popular even among atheists. I’d wonder if even many new atheists would think it’s tedious unvarying content boring after a short time.

  200. I love it when in the middles of a messy thread, someone sums up the problem and calls it a day.

    I’m referring, of course, to Brian D @ 193.

  201. @195 gillt: seconded.

    @199 Mr. Man: Yes, thanks to Brian D, I can now go to sleep :)

  202. bob

    Hear, hear. I know that I, for one, regret the time I’ve spent here reading and posting comments. Straight disappointment from two authors who I expected more out of, and straight aggravation from the small handful of strange sycophants and PZ-haters defending them.

    And, now, to pour salt in the wound, Chris opens a new entry on the blog with: “Everybody today wants to know our take on [this new Pew report].” Jeez, Chris, per the hundreds of comments today, it seems to me that everyone wants to know your take on PZ’s review.

  203. Matt @191: Rather unclearly it has to be said. Due to the text colours used hyperlinks are not that clear on this blog.

    You have got to be kidding me. If you really have a problem with hyperlinks (nevermind that the darn thing is underlined to boot), you can change your browser settings. It’s not that difficult.

    Nevertheless, just as many of us knew darn well that there was a link there and clicked on it to see who Chris was referring to. And due to that, there was no confusion. I suppose one of the things Chris truly is guilty of is not understanding that a lot of people are lazy and can’t be bothered with clicking on links.

  204. Jon

    @188. Der Bruno Stroszek:

    I didn’t mean to imply that Matt Penfold was being an idiot. I just didn’t want to waste time “proving” the obvious and then arguing with a pedant over the obvious.

    I honestly thought Penfold was being either 1) disingenuous–because it’s so obvious that that quote was typical that he can’t have missed it, or 2) pedantic–that he had in mind some meaningless point of difference that he was determined to argue over. Call me a fool for not wanting to take him up.

    Again, as William Blake once said, “That which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care.”

  205. Jennifer B. Phillips

    TomJoe, the main issue isn’t the presence or absence of a link there, but that there is significant ambiguity in the wording “From PZ’s blog, complete with standard profanity…” associated with that link. It seems to be set up for interpretation that the link in question would take you to something that PZ Myers himself had written. You’re right, some people can’t be bothered to click on links. I myself don’t always do it *first off*, especially if a substantial part of the linked-to material is copied and pasted in the post I am in the process of reading. Lazy or not, however, it’s just plain bad journalistic practice to set up one’s material in such a way that the reader is required to go to the source to sort out any such confusion. And that’s leaving aside any intent to deliberately confuse “frame”,on Chris’s part.

  206. TomJoe @ 204: You have got to be kidding me. If you really have a problem with hyperlinks (nevermind that the darn thing is underlined to boot), you can change your browser settings. It’s not that difficult.

    Blaming the public for failing to understand Chris Mooney. Nice.

    …a lot of people are lazy…

    Insulting the public for failing to understand Chris Mooney. Brilliant.

    Once again, by Chris Mooney’s standards, Chris Mooney blames and insults the public when he is misunderstood, given the above “classic” quotes that appear on Chris Mooney’s blog.

  207. Jennifer @205.

    Ok, I amend my comment. Chris is guilty of two things, the second being that he was not precise enough with his wording. In his defense, I will say that I read it and figured it was not a direct quote from PZ because, I assumed that if it was PZ’s words, Chris would have said something along the lines of: PZ has stated on his blog, complete with his standard profanity …

    I’m not a journalist, so I don’t know what is, or is not, good journalistic practice. I’m sure there are times where I may make the same mistake, but IMO people are attributing way too much malice towards Chris over this.

  208. Sheril -

    “I was certainly not ‘feeding‘ anyone information. I respond to all readers who take the time to write and the commentor sent me a link. I don’t expect you to ‘do’ anything further, but want to be clear.”

    I thought he sent you a link and then you sent him one in reply? Is that wrong? That’s what he claimed. If that’s wrong, you should say so on that thread. At any rate – it’s certainly not my fault. Kwok is no doing of mine.

  209. Sven DiMilo

    I’m either an outright liar or just plain ignorant

    No, we straightened that out, man. Ignorant. Nothing wrong with that unless you are opining loudly in public.

    PZ let his fanboys decide which ideas they like the least and then implemented the ban

    And there’s an example. If you knew what you were talking about (i.e., were not ignorant of it), you’d know that the criteria were not ideas.

  210. Sven: If you knew what you were talking about (i.e., were not ignorant of it), you’d know that the criteria were not ideas.

    The criteria were not ideas? Eh? You’ve lost me with this comment. I was referring to the fact that people were allowed, by mob rule, to ban other posters at the site. IOW, the mob decided which people, and the ideas they’ve posted, were worthy of censorship. In case you don’t know what an idea is, I’m using Merriam and Websters definition of “a thought or opinion”, which is what most commenter’s on blogs post.

    You can frame it any way you like Sven, the point is … PZ censors his blog. I’m not a fan of censorship, except in rare circumstances which I’ve mentioned above. Is the problem volume? Seed could take care of that rather easily with their software … but that would mean that quite a few of PZ’s fanboys would be just as restricted, and I doubt he’d want that to happen. So, I believe my comments are spot on accurate.

  211. Here’s the comment where Kwok said you told him about an article of mine in the Observer (UK Sunday paper):

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/07/06/lessons-from-dawkins-vs-degrasse-tyson/#comment-23211

    Here’s the comment in all its fragrant loveliness:

    Just a note for those who really think Ophelia Benson is capable of “enlightened commentary”. This excerpt from a May 31st column of hers really underscores how she, as a philosopher, possesses reasoning skills which rank substantially lower than those of Barbara Forrest, Philip Kitcher, Robert Pennock, or Elliot Sober, who are all well-respected as notable philosophers of science:

    “The God we have in the Big Three monotheisms is a God who originated in a period when male superiority was absolutely taken for granted. That time has passed, but the superior male God remains and that God holds women in contempt. That God is the one who puts “His” imprimatur on all those tyrannical laws. That God is a product of history, but taken to be eternal, which is a bad combination. That is the God who hates women.”

    “So why do so many women put up with it? Partly because God gives with one hand what “He” takes away with the other – God consoles people for the very harshness that God creates. It’s the sad, familiar, heartrending bargain in which the victim embraces the perpetrator, in some complicated, confusing, all-too-human mix of appeasement, need and stubborn loyalty. The fact that the embrace is all on one side is resolutely ignored.”

    You can read the rest of her breathtaking inanity here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/31/women-religion-equality?

    I honestly wonder whether Jerry Coyne and PZ Myers have been sipping the wrong kind of Kool – Aid each time they have saluted Ophelia Benson for her excellent “reasoning”.

    (EDITORIAL NOTE: My thanks to SK – whom I believe is still engaged in her experiment at NYU – for bringing Benson’s essay to my attention.)”

    At the very least you can presumably see that it’s not my fault that people think you were feeding Kwok.

  212. Errm, no, I do not censor my blog — that’s why it’s relatively easy for someone like Mooney to find examples of strong language and the expression of polarizing opinions there. You will find many people who disagree with me very strongly there…why, you could even post there and give me holy hell, and I’d just shrug my shoulders and let it slide.

    I do maintain my blog, though, and filter out people who disrupt the conversations. I have a ‘dungeon’ page that lists every single person who has been banned in the entire six year history of the blog, with brief explanations. Most of the banned are people who were one-note johnnies, who repetitively said the same things over and over again, and were also unresponsive to any kind of dialog. These are not people there to express an opinion, they are there to grind an axe and interfere with other people’s conversation.

    If you knew anything at all about maintaining an online forum, you would know that this is necessary. This is not censorship of ideas, but the expulsion of out-of-control individuals. There will always be people who intrude and shout loudly over every one else, and they have to be throttled. I can think of a couple of examples of poor forum management going on right here at the Intersection that make my point for me.

  213. Comment #14 (Rob Kwok)

    “What he *really* wants is to destroy religion, and he’s so convinced by his position that, just like Rush Limbaugh, those who disagree with that position are subject only to ridicule, not to any kind of engagement.”

    No, that is not what PZ *really* wants. (Just ask him when you finish trolling for hits.)

    “Mind you, I’m not guiltless either. I will mock creationists, I have to admit. But the fact is that we *know* that creationism is wrong, but we do *not* know that theism in general is wrong.”

    Congrats Kwok Knob. You have demonstrated that you understand why Crackergate was indeed appropriate. The “fact” is that the Eucharist is NOT ACTUALLY Jesus Christ in the Flesh.

  214. Jon

    PZ: There will always be people who intrude and shout loudly over every one else…

    Pot, Kettle.

  215. J. J. Ramsey

    PZ Myers: “I have a ‘dungeon’ page that lists every single person who has been banned in the entire six year history of the blog, with brief explanations.”

    And one of those explanations is framed in a somewhat misleading fashion.

  216. JoshS

    PZ: There will always be people who intrude and shout loudly over every one else…

    Pot, Kettle.

    Jon, how does maintaining a widely read blog constitute “intruding” or “shouting over everyone else?” I’m not clear how writing on one’s own blog can be considered “intruding,” or how being outspoken and widely read can be considered “shouting loudly over everyone else.” By that standard, we’d have to just throw up our hands and do nothing when faced with well-known commentators we disagree with. Isn’t the answer, instead, to put forth our own views?

  217. Yes, Jon. I have made a grand total of two (now three!) comments here. I’m sure shouting loudly. I must be the only person anyone can hear in here, I’m so repetitive and persistent.

  218. J. J. Ramsey

    Jon, to be fair to PZ, he tends to “shout loudly” mainly on his own blog. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him dominate a comment section.

  219. Jon

    Yes, we all know the issue of everyone adopting philosophical naturalism is the most pressing issue of our day, and if we settle for mere methodological naturalism, then the New Atheist Utopia won’t come soon enough.

    That issue trumps every other public issue we face today. And it doesn’t matter if it sucks out the oxygen of every other public debate we have.

  220. rmp

    holly jebus, what a cluster. Oh wait, am I allowed to say jebus?

  221. Sven DiMilo

    Thanks for defining “idea,” TomJoe. It’s good to know we’re all on the same page with the whole English language thing.
    When I said “the criteria were not ideas” I did in fact mean that the criteria applied in the voting that went on during the Survivor thing were not the thoughts and opinions espoused by the contestants. Rather, the point was to identify which of the contestants was most persistently annoying, whatever they had to say.
    But PZ just said that.

  222. Jon

    And PZ and Dawkins our Our Brave Atheist Leaders on that score. We should follow them to our grave and ignore everything else.

    Have much of an ego, folks?

  223. JoshS

    Jon, I think I asked a legitimate question, and offered a legitimate point. I don’t think anyone is suggesting Myers or Dawkins are “dear leaders” to anyone. What am I missing?

  224. Badger3k

    Brain D @ 195. Using “PZ’s Blog” also refers directly to the person involved, and gives an implication that it is just a personal blog, rather than the scientific, professional blog “Real Climate” run by Real Scientists. It is Framing – using words to try to direct people’s thoughts and attitudes.

    As for whoever said the Chris is now part of the DNC and the Center for American Progress, if that is true, then Chris has sold whatever honor and integrity he might have once had. Now I really have lost all respect for him – or I will have, once I check out his affiliation. But I guess politics is where Framing is most useful – who needs the truth when one well-placed lie can do the job?

  225. Jon @ 219 loses the thread due to being oblivious to the arguments of the New Atheists.

    With luck, Jon’s flaming strawmen won’t collapse on him before he can vanquish them.

  226. Jon

    There it is again. Lying. Never settle for less than impugning the motives of people who disagree with you…

  227. rmp

    Badger3k @ 223, framing, I love it.

    Jon, remember to breathe.

  228. Jon

    Jon, remember to breathe.

    Breathing? Why do that? Why not just constantly impugn everyone’s motives like everyone does on Pharyngula threads?

  229. Badger3k

    Well, I took a look at his bio, but there’s nothing for the Center or the DNC there. Can anyone back this up? I’d prefer to see the evidence myself, if you don’t mind.

  230. Jon

    Chris writes for Science Progress: http://www.scienceprogress.org/about/ “a project of the Center for American Progress.”

    What does that have to do with the DNC? Not close enough to atheist utopia for you?

  231. Badger3k

    Actually, the DNC is a bunch of spineless worms who will turn over on their backs so anyone with a rude word can do nasty things to them while they pant it up. Their lack of integrity is legendary, as in it reaches meteoric heights, not that it is fake. Is that enough for you kid.

    As for the rest of your twaddle, so much for not impugning the motives of people, eh?

    Since you did reply, I guess that your comment @224 was for my comment on the state of politics in this country, but apparently reading comprehension is a skill you’ve failed to master. I’d definitely give a failing grade for that.

  232. bob

    Any progress on that response to anything PZ has actually said, Chris and/or Sheril? I know you’re both very busy, but can you give us an idea of when it’s coming? Tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, next week?

    Also, I can’t help but notice a few things about the less than half a dozen people actively defending Chris and Sheril here. All of them post with irregular frequency, and somehow seem a bit … off. Is it just me? If so, my bad … it might be the capitalization pains that accompany becoming a *N*ew *A*theist. Considering the disdain with which that pejorative is being thrown around, becoming one must be a horrible process.

  233. Jon

    Actually, the DNC is a bunch of spineless worms who will turn over on their backs so anyone with a rude word can do nasty things to them while they pant it up.

    I pretty much agree. But what does that have to do with the Center for American Progress? Last time I saw they hired Matt Yglasias and were kicking Republican Noise Machine butt.

  234. Jon

    All of them post with irregular frequency, and somehow seem a bit … off

    Anyone willing to wade through these tedious threads would have to be, no?

  235. Michael Neville

    TomJoe,

    You really have to work at it to get banned at Pharyngula. Your buddy Kwok managed to do it by telling everyone about the famous high school* where he was famously taught by a famous writer and from where he famously graduated from with his famous friends in a famously famous fashion. One time he was asked to make a post without mentioning the famous high school and he couldn’t.

    57 people have been banned in seven years. For a blog that gets over a million hits a month, that’s a tiny fraction of the people who post there. Sorry if reality doesn’t meet with your prejudices.

    *A high school so famous that when I asked 20 people if they’d ever heard of it, only one of them had. This group of 20 lives in Connecticut and the famously famous high school (it’s so famous that name escapes me at the moment) is next door in New York City. Incidentally, the guy who had heard of the high school grew up in New York City.

  236. Scholar @212 : in fact, PZ does want to tear down religion. He’s said as much in, er, conversations we’ve had in comment threads on Panda’s Thumb years ago.

    And, indeed, a brief search shows that he’s still saying it. On April 28′th on Panda’s thumb, he posted: “Yes, it is a culture war, and I am cheerfully engaged in it. Religion is the enemy. ”

    He’s not primarily interested in good science education. He’s interested in fighting religion. He says so himself. He may believe that tearing down religion is necessary for good science education; Chris Mooney and myself believe that he is doing *harm* to that cause with his crusade to insult the religious as much as possible. But make no mistake, it’s not good science education that’s motivating him primarily, it’s hatred of religion.

  237. Badger3k

    Jon @231 – I may have to apologize for that on CAP – on further research, I think I’m thinking of the Council on Foreign Relations, which is a useless group. I have to do more looking into it to see what they are really about (at this point, I’m not trusting my memory on the groups actions). Even then, being a “project” does not always mean that there is agreement with the bigger groups actions, although it usually does. As for Matt….I’m not sure on him. He’s had some good things to say, but I seem to remember him jumping the shark on a few occasions, so I take him, as all others, with hefty grains of salt. People do and say things for a lot of reasons, and even if I agree with someone, I prefer to consider the rationale behind it and my own reasons for agreeing.

    Anyway, after growing up with Chicago Politics and Richard Daley, I have always had a healthy skepticism and dislike of politics, and the current president (and congress) have done very little to make me think they are anything but self-serving politicos. The administrations stand on DADT, DOMA, executive privilege, secrecy….it all smacks of dishonesty in the name of faux appeasement and “bipartisanship.”

  238. rmp

    Rob, I’m assuming you feel it’s ok to fight religion, but that you feel it just in a pragmatic approach?

  239. PZ says: If you knew anything at all about maintaining an online forum, you would know that this is necessary.

    Baloney. I know of online forums which are maintained with the barest of restrictions, have operated for years without banning a percentage of the people you have in as long a period of operation. Perhaps you should head on over to Freethought Forum (imagine that!) where they actually let people voice their opinions and don’t ban people. Knowledge about maintaining an online forum indeed, perhaps you can take a trick out of their book.

  240. Jon

    I agree with you on the administration’s excessive caution. And Matt Yglasias isn’t always right, but on the whole, the Juice Box Mafia has done tons of good. Matt, by the way, has had a clash or two with the CAP organization.

    Speaking of Chicago, I’ve become a big fan of Rick Perlstein’s. I found out recently that he started out writing for The Baffler, with Thomas Frank–I wish I knew more about that connection. I can’t wait for his next book on the Reagan era. (Anyone who would know about all this obscure stuff would tend to be a bit “…off,” as someone put it above.)

  241. Jon

    (That was for #236. Badger3k.)

  242. John Kwok

    Since Jerry Coyne is commenting about this over at his blog and has decided not to post in full my e-mail rebuttal to him, I am posting it now:Jerry -

    I just want to clarify this, and I want you to put this on your blog please.

    I alerted independently both Sheril and Chris to a harsh, but apparently, accurate assessment of Ophelia Benson that was written by Guardian columnist Madeleine Bunting:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/jun/16/religion-atheism-feminism-ophelia-benson

    Sheril’s response was to provide me with a link to a column Benson had written which – if I am reading it correctly – somehow blamed the three Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – for causing and reinforcing gender bias against women. While the result may be true, to say that one can blame each religion separately for this problem seems to be a substantial stretching of the truth. If nothing else – and I am speaking only for myself – this essay of Benson’s demonstrates not only her poor reasoning, but also her abysmal standards of historical and religious scholarship. Under no circumstances should anyone regard this as Sheril’s “feeding me” information about Benson’s own abysmal online behavior.

    I would also appreciate a retraction and an apology from you for referring to me as an “internet troll”. It’s a ridiculous charge to be making especially since you yourself appear to enjoy the company of internet trolls, as long as they are your fellow “New Atheists”. I am especially dumbfounded by your allegation since you, yourself, have been victimized by Intelligent Design creationist trolls, most notably William A. Dembski, and his zealous acolytes posting over at Dembski’s Uncommon Descent website. Last, but not least, I am equally puzzled by your newfound friendship with PZ Myers, especially when you admitted to me privately that you thought PZ had crossed the line with his infamous “CrackerGate” episode.

    Instead of attacking me, I would be most interested in reading a well -reasoned rebuttal from you to your colleague David Sloan Wilson’s assertion that atheism is a “stealth religion”. Or perhaps offer some explanation as to why your recent comments critical of “accomodationism” apparently inspired a special technical session at last week’s 9th North American Paleontological Convention, which included eminent marine ecologist Jeremy Jackson’s condemnation of your recent criticism.

    Respectfully yours,

    John Kwok

  243. rmp

    arrrg, I’m hoping everyone knew that I meant isn’t a pragmatic approach.

    Damn, I wish that these filters would flag me for typing while drunk!!

  244. Davo

    You guys really need to take a look at PZ Myers’s latest post. Whether you agree with it or not, I have to say I found it to be unusually thoughtful and eloquent.

  245. Dave2

    Unless I’m misunderstanding something, TomJoe was at first misled by Chris’s post into thinking PZ wrote the comment, but then later (rather sharply) criticized those who said Chris’s post was misleading.

    #2:

    Oh the irony coming from PZ Myers. If it wasn’t for his blog, no one would give a crap about what he thinks. His sycophantic followers are testament that PZ Myers is no different than Paris Hilton; he is famous for being famous (at least in the sense of the internets famous-ticity), and I don’t mean that as a compliment.

    #47:

    Chris provided a link right to the comment, so we all could click on it. Jimminy, it took all of thirty seconds to click the link and read the comment in its entirety. It took even less to realize it was not a quote from PZ, but instead from one of his cronies. IMO, Chris didn’t imply anything, and his opening was accurate “From PZ’s blog …” because it WAS from PZ’s blog, and no one elses.

    #204:

    Nevertheless, just as many of us knew darn well that there was a link there and clicked on it to see who Chris was referring to. And due to that, there was no confusion. I suppose one of the things Chris truly is guilty of is not understanding that a lot of people are lazy and can’t be bothered with clicking on links. (#204)

    #206:

    Ok, I amend my comment. Chris is guilty of two things, the second being that he was not precise enough with his wording. In his defense, I will say that I read it and figured it was not a direct quote from PZ because, I assumed that if it was PZ’s words, Chris would have said something along the lines of: PZ has stated on his blog, complete with his standard profanity …

    I’m not a journalist, so I don’t know what is, or is not, good journalistic practice. I’m sure there are times where I may make the same mistake, but IMO people are attributing way too much malice towards Chris over this.

    Perhaps I’m misreading the first comment?

  246. Davo

    Sorry, here’s the link. I believe this is a worthy post to answer to equally thoughtfully.

  247. Pierce R. Butler

    Here’s another instant classic from Pharyngula addressing Unscientific America, which makes some (further) points that our esteemed hosts might do well to address.

    And The Great Blasphemer even asks commenters not to use any language not approved by the Federal Communications Commission, but – how uncouth! – he doesn’t promise to delete or ban any who fail to meet that noble standard.

  248. Magnetic Lobster

    Davo,

    Don’t hold your breath. The usual Mooney tactic is to promise that a thorough response will be forthcoming. But the thorough response never arrives.

  249. John Kwok

    @ Davo -

    Coming from Myers, it is indeed a thoughtful response. But fundamentally he’s wrong. He ought to ask someone whom I believe is a fellow atheist, noted physicist Lisa Randall. In response to a question posed by Jerry Coyne, she observed:

    “This reinforced for me why we won’t ever answer the question that’s been posed. Empirically-based logic-derived science and faith are entirely different methods for trying to approach truth. You can derive a contradiction only if your rules are logic. If you believe in revelatory truth you’ve abandoned the rules. There is no contradiction to be had. ”

    You can read the rest of her response, and Coyne’s essay framing the question, here:

    http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/coyne09/coyne09_index.html

  250. Dave2

    Lisa Randall wrote:

    This reinforced for me why we won’t ever answer the question that’s been posed. Empirically-based logic-derived science and faith are entirely different methods for trying to approach truth. You can derive a contradiction only if your rules are logic. If you believe in revelatory truth you’ve abandoned the rules. There is no contradiction to be had.

    This is just false. Or at least it’s false about a great deal of religion, which does make empirical claims and does try to conform to logic. Imagine Mormonism without empirical claims, or imagine Thomas Aquinas without logic.

  251. John Kwok

    @ Dave2 -

    It is not false. I heard it stated more succinctly, and more eloquently, by noted Vatican Observatory astronomer and planetary scientist Guy Consolmagno – who is a Jesuit brother – last month during the World Science Festival’s Science, Faith and Religion session. He observed that science is understanding in search of truth, while religion is truth in search of understanding. He also stressed, like fellow session participant Ken Miller, that he puts his science ahead of any religious considerations when he conducts his research. That was an especially honest admission from a Vatican scientist, and one which, I believe, most religiously devout scientists would concur with.

  252. John Kwok

    @ 249 -

    Let me be a bit more precise. Both Consolmagno and Miller acknowledged that they don’t even think of their religious faith when conducting scientific research. This acknowledgement stands in stark contrast with those from creationist scientists like Kurt Wise, Michael Behe and Jonathan Wells, who have admitted repeatedly that they wish to consider their religious views as they conduct their “scientific research”.

  253. @247: Wow, faith as a cop-out? NAH! Couldn’t be.

  254. Dave2

    John Kwok (#249)

    Do you want further examples of religion making empirical claims or trying to conform itself to logic? Or do you have a response to the two examples I just gave?

  255. John Kwok

    @ Dave2 -

    Let me remind you what Chris Mooney mentioned here a few weeks back: The Dalai Lama has said that if Buddhism is wrong and science, right, then Buddhism must conform with science.

    It’s not productive to waste your time or mine pointing out counterexamples. Let’s consider what thoughtful theologians like Guy Consolmagno and the Dalai Lama have said.

  256. Paul

    “Let me remind you what Chris Mooney mentioned here a few weeks back: The Dalai Lama has said that if Buddhism is wrong and science, right, then Buddhism must conform with science. ”

    Let me remind you that plenty of evangelicals have said that if science disproves a religious tenet, they’ll side with religion. It’s not productive to waste your time or mine pointing out counterexamples. Obviously, one anecdote is enough to prove a point.

  257. Dave2

    John Kwok (#253),

    Surely we can’t just choose the religious people we like, ignore the ones we don’t like, and say religion is like that. That would be incredibly dishonest—just as dishonest as the reverse.

    So, again: a great deal of religion involves empirical claims and an attempt to conform to logic. That makes Lisa Randall’s claims just false, or at least false about a great deal of religion.

  258. windy

    Let me remind you what Chris Mooney mentioned here a few weeks back: The Dalai Lama has said that if Buddhism is wrong and science, right, then Buddhism must conform with science.

    Er, that means that according to the Dalai Lama, Buddhism does make potentially falsifiable claims. This completely contradicts Lisa’s statement and your defense of it.

  259. Scott

    “Ridicule can work to make people educate themselves, especially when they are way past the age of being compelled into schools.”

    Really? Not in my experience or observations, which have been that insulting people is a poor way to get them to change their minds and agree with you.

  260. Paul

    “Really? Not in my experience or observations, which have been that insulting people is a poor way to get them to change their minds and agree with you.”

    Allowing them to sink back into unfounded assumptions whenever they are faced with a challenging question without pointing out what they are doing is just as poor a method. Amazingly, if you refuse to confront the Emperor regarding his nakedness it is not likely he will leave his delusional state, especially when he has all sorts of accomodationists^Wcourtiers telling him his clothes are wonderful and perfectly compatible with all the newest clothing trends.

  261. Scott

    “Allowing them to sink back into unfounded assumptions whenever they are faced with a challenging question without pointing out what they are doing is just as poor a method. Amazingly, if you refuse to confront the Emperor regarding his nakedness it is not likely he will leave his delusional state, especially when he has all sorts of accomodationists^Wcourtiers telling him his clothes are wonderful and perfectly compatible with all the newest clothing trends.”

    I have no problem with trying to point out the problems with viewpoints that are not supported by fact and/or reason. It’s the method that some people choose that I question. Trying to verbally bludgeon the religious majority into submission is a strategy I believe is doomed to failure.

  262. Albert Bakker

    Not when you ridicule people just to offend them. That, like all fallacies just sends the message you are frustrated because you can’t come up with a valid argument.

    But when you show your opponent exactly how ridiculous it is what he believes in that is not an insult or ridicule, that’s promoting insight. After that it is better you allow him a graceful exit to peacefully contemplate the error of his ways.

    If in a political debate type setting you want to create the illusion of compromise, you do things differently, then you talk nice, give some and take some. Give some things you value less and trade them against things you value more.

    This however is not a game you can play with knowledge about nature. A theist won’t play it over the question whether God exists, a YEC whether humans lived in the age of dinosaurs. There can be no meeting half way. Conflict is not avoidable and frankly, ridicule is deserved.

    Despite the urge to consistency, the human mind especially one sufficiently educated, is able to separate between certain classes of ideas and is able to form two or more different and non-interchangeable world-views with it. One that corresponds with the world as is and another with magic playing an important role for example. Compartimentalization it is called. The trouble is that you are going to have to have a very rigorous discipline to separate between these sets on a need to basis and that is a talent very politically incorrectly given to a very few people. So the question is whether we should pretend it is and when so whether it is something desirable.

  263. Kseniya

    >> Would you like me to post some gems from John Kwok and then draw large conclusions about you and your book and your ideas and the whole atheists-are-the-problem schtick based on the repetitive vituperative sexist ravings in those gems?

    I bet Kwok knows someone who could turn that into a movie.

  264. I have no problem with trying to point out the problems with viewpoints that are not supported by fact and/or reason. It’s the method that some people choose that I question. Trying to verbally bludgeon the religious majority into submission is a strategy I believe is doomed to failure.

    @ Scott – Do you seriously think that this is what is going on here?

    Don’t you even realize that they take any disagreement, or attempt no matter how civil as an assault? The religions have for thousands of years “owned” the whole idea of explaining how the world goes and in the last two hundred years science has been chipping away at its hegemony. It is trying to hold on to its explanatory power and position of authority regarding “purpose” by demeaning science as not being able to move beyond natuiralistic methodology. It’s proponents grasp at ever thinner straws of “knowing” that there are aspects of the universe for which they can provide better insight than any freakin’ science can?

    PZ is the Loki who is jabbing at the thin skin of religion, egging it on, puncturing its absurdities and traditions and the efforts of its proponents to force non-adherents to conform to its standards and abide by their beliefs. He is irritating a whole passel of people who deserve to be irritated and challenged. Ridiculed, in fact, because they pronounce ridiculous things; especially in regards to bread turning in to a corporal man-god. No one gets a free pass just because he or she wears a Roman Collar (or a greasy pompadour.)

    If you read him carefully, you know that he doesn’t hate religious people so much as he hates the ridiculous things that they do. What you ignore is that they have been bludgeoning atheists and doubters and infidels of every nation for thousands of years and now that they are getting a tiny taste of it back they are screaming “Foul.” And Chris, an atheist, has become an enabler, shooting from the rear.

    It’s time for humanity to escape religion. It only adds to the interpersonal and intersocietal strife. In the thousands of years that it has been the predominant force and institution of authority it has not produced any sort of progress for humanity, and yet it still demands to be in the driver seat, it still demands respect and authority.

    The issues raised here are brought out by people who seem to live in an insulated world, who think that because they care about whether or not someone else mistreats a cracker, that this is an issue that is even known about outside of a small circle of observers and that this sort of tweaking is what is keeping Johnny and Suzie away from understanding evolution is myopic nonsense.

    The anti-science is aided and abetted by apathy, and it is the religious authorities’ demand that they maintain the head chair at the table that is the bludgeon. They needed to be pricked continuously and relentlessly until they concede that they know no more about “purpose” than anyone else does. They need not be bludgeoned, they deserve the death of a thousand cuts.

    From reading the comments of some of the PZ haters here I wonder if they have ever even read his blog except for an extraction of a few posts when a flare-up like this occurs.

  265. Shirakawasuna

    I don’t think anyone needs to wonder whether Mooney’s all about sensationalism, do we? Sell those books, hit the controversy, avoid rational argumentation and direct discourse with your critics. That sounds like a lot of people, doesn’t it? But no one praises them for it, in fact it’s usually soundly damning.

    He shouldn’t be surprised that our opinion of him is very, very low nowadays. As a former happy regular reader (and now happy non-reader), it’s sad to see that someone I once viewed as a rationalist is quick to ignore counterpoints and shill for his book.

    I could go into the many ways he’s wrong even with the one very abrupt comment, but I’m sure it’s already been done in the comments above, to be quickly ignored or rationalized in support of his viewpoints, if even read. Toodles.

  266. Wowbagger

    It’s not unreasonable to say that insulting people is not a productive means of changing minds.

    The problem is that the religious, for the most part, appear to be manipulating this tendency by acting so thin-skinned that any criticism, no matter how substantial it might be, is reacted to by citing the claimant as being ‘militant’, ‘rude’, ‘uncivil’, ‘hateful’, ‘strident’, ‘obnoxious’, ‘inflammatory’ and so forth – and thereby dimissing the criticisms without the inconvenience of having to respond to them.

    When you’re letting them control what they do and don’t have to accept, they’ve got no reason to change anything.

  267. Matti K.

    Everybody seems to get pissed off because Mr. Mooney and Ms. Kirschenbaum do not discuss the critiqued they get in the same manner that f.ex. atheist scientists (new or old) discuss the critique their rhetoric creates.

    But then again, why should they discuss it? Could you imagine Dale Carnegie sitting down and make a deep analysis about the critique delivered towards this book?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Win_Friends_and_Influence_People

    Please understand. Different authors have different motivations.

  268. Shirakawasuna

    I guess I can’t just leave it there, can I?

    “PZ says in his review of our book that we criticize not only him, but his blog Pharyngula. Is it any wonder why?”

    Yes, it is. It seems that you must sift through the comments to find the ones which match your (mis)characterizations, ignoring the points which are damaging to your position and prizing those which make you comfortable in your opinions. It’s called cherry-picking and rationalization.

    I think I will go into why he’s wrong about even that commenter (‘Screechy Monkey’, is he?), so apologies for the repetition. I’ll go through it bit by bit.

    First, the idea that ‘no one cares’ what Chris thinks. Obviously we do care what he thinks because he publishes books and is fairly popular, so what he says matters in terms of publicity. Like I said in my last post, I even valued him as a fellow rationalist, dedicated to reason and good ideas that hold up under pressure. However, what the blunt commenter obviously means is that there’s a very low opinion of Chris’ ideas on this matter, probably others as well. Like I said, I think that’s obvious, but it seems people have been arguing against its non-figurative meaning.

    The second point is where I criticize the commenter: Chris has long given up trying to convince a rational opposition of his ideas. He is courting those who are already sympathetic or unfamiliar with the ideas he’s forwarding.

    Third paragraph: this is an excellent point for us to see how Chris is really and truly failing to *try* and understand his opposition. Rather than address the idea of whether pandering to people (which I consider a very significant condescension), which is absolutely what is implied by having PZ be less forthright, is a solution, he uses the commenter’s uncivil tone (and it is uncivil) and twists the idea: instead, it’s the commenter who is condescending and ‘blaming the public’, oh such a taboo. Besides completely missing the point, it’s sensationalist for the *science writer* to drag up an uncivil post from someone else’s blog and highlight it as “classic” i.e. typical and ignore the reasonable arguments strung in there with the vitriol.

    In other words, take the opposing viewpoint, attach guilt by association, cherry pick, then cherry pick within the cherry pick, and consider yourself successful.

    Fourth paragraph: yet again uncivil, but with a decent point (Chris would probably get hung up on the ‘F— their feelings’) which of course is ignored. The commenter clearly thinks that ‘you catch more flies with honey’ doesn’t work as a solution to the current situation. They even think that challenging actually does something positive. But ignore that, it’s a Screechy Monkey to be cherry picked and tied to PZ so we can all see what the appropriate response to his book is: highlight extremely basic concepts with which all scientists should already be familiar, having gone through school, worked with their colleagues, and often worked with the public. Oh my, so useful. You mean you should change your talks depending on your audience? Wow! We should select good communicators to be communicators? So interesting, I would’ve never thought of it!

    I’m sorry, I must be getting too uncivil, allowing my comments to be conveniently dismissed. I will try and be better ;) . Really, though, the comment he highlights goes over very basic and vague stuff, stuff that *NO ONE* disagrees with in that vague sense. However, when specifics start to arise, that’s where the focus goes and where the usefulness actually resides. Specifics like attacking the New Atheists/PZ (apparently this requires a chapter? I don’t know), or praising very amateurish combinations of science and religion, or highlighting Francis Collins because he’s religious and a scientist, with altogether too much to say about it for his own good (for his own academic reputation). Oh, and the criticisms of all of that, they must be ignored and implicitly ridiculed.

    Final tangent: rationalism. You are going to make rationalist enemies with all this snark, Chris. More than you already made. There are substantive criticisms of your ideas. Speaking with a *condescending* attitude against them while failing to address them even superficially is very poor form.

  269. Matt Penfold

    It has now been a fair while since this post first appeared.

    We still have no apology from Mooney for the poor wording that led people to think he was quoting PZ.

    I think we can now assume either Chris is devoid of a sense of ethics, or he intended the post to be misleading. Either way he is acting in a contemptible manner.

  270. RR

    It looks like Chris got owned by PZ. Or maybe it would be more correct to say Chris owned himself with the immature way he responded to criticisms. When is real rebuttal coming?

  271. Shirakawasuna

    RR said, “When is real rebuttal coming?”

    Using my powers of inference, the answer is … never.

  272. J. J. Ramsey

    Mike Haubrich, FCD Says: “Don’t you even realize that they take any disagreement, or attempt no matter how civil as an assault?”

    Who’s “they”? The religious? In that case, you are overgeneralizing.

    Wowbagger Says: “The problem is that the religious, for the most part, appear to be manipulating this tendency by acting so thin-skinned that any criticism, no matter how substantial it might be, is reacted to by citing the claimant as being ‘militant’, ‘rude’, ‘uncivil’, ‘hateful’, ’strident’, ‘obnoxious’, ‘inflammatory’ and so forth – and thereby dimissing the criticisms without the inconvenience of having to respond to them.”

    Ok, you at least bother with a “for the most part.” Really though, is it all that thin-skinned to react badly when one is called a dyed-in-the-wool faith-head who is immune to argument, or to not only be called “deluded,” but be called that by a guy who, when he had an opportunity to say flat out that he didn’t mean it in the clinical sense, instead got vague and quoted something ambiguous from “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”? Is it all that thin-skinned to not like being called a “pious twit” or likened to Hitler? You write as if the “New Atheists,” or whatever you want to call them, bent over backwards to be civil in their criticisms, and got written off as “strident,” anyway, and that just isn’t true.

  273. —– PZ is the Loki who is jabbing at the thin skin of religion Mike Haubrich, FCD

    Oh, brother. How many of you guys are on Thorazine? I’ve got to save this thread, in a few years, when the new atheist fad has passed it’s going to be hard to remember just how loony it could get. PZ Myers is a thin-skinned, glass jawed, big talking, bullying, huckster with a bunch of adolescent fans. He’s going to have to keep pumping it up like they do in pro-wrestling or he’s going to lose them. He’s a whiny cry-baby when anyone calls him.

    As to the science content of his blog, if he went to an all-science, all the time format he’d immediately lose anywhere from three-quarters to seven-eighths of his fan club who have no interest in real science. As far as his blog goes, he’s about as credible as FOX’s Penn Gillette.

    – No one gets a free pass just because he or she wears a Roman Collar (or a greasy pompadour.) MHF

    Just Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris who have a propensity to publicly revel in the idea of killing very, very large numbers of people in a really awful way. Any movement that can have Ophelia Benson as one of its minor-major figures is going to maintain its minor status for a long, long time.

    – Davo, Don’t hold your breath. The usual Mooney tactic is to promise that a thorough response will be forthcoming. But the thorough response never arrives. Magnetic Lobster

    Unlike PZ, Chris Mooney has an actual career that can’t be put on auto-pilot while he blogs. And is launching a book at the moment.

    “Never” in NewAthe Speak apparently means “not immediately”. Though, like almost all words in that dialect it can mean whatever they want it to on whatever occasion.

    In the three years since they first started trolling me, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the new atheist tactics is to try to distract people who are making headway against their shallow, dishonest bigotry, with time consuming side issues. I would imagine Chris Mooney has learned the same thing.

    I’m kind of glad I came back yesterday, it was like going to PZ’s Playhouse without actually having to go there. Soon the boys and girls of PZ’s Avenger Patrol can all go congratulate themselves on their brilliant logic and erudition. And the adults here can have a good laugh.

  274. I am going to respect Chris and Sheril’s fear of cussing and respond to Andrew’s characterization of PZ in a manner appropriate:

  275. Matt Penfold

    McCarthy, I note you continued use of the term “new” atheist.

    How can someone who has been an atheist for over 40 years be in anyway a “new” atheist ?

  276. 276 must be one of those civil and respectful posts that I keep hearing about.

  277. McCarthy, I note you continued use of the term “new” atheist.

    Penfold, I notice you still haven’t scolded Coyne and Rosenhouse after I pointed out to you that they use it, weeks ago. I’m sure I could find much of the rest of your pan-atheon using it too.

    If you think I’m going to be swayed by that kind of instant, inconsistent and self-interested terminology shift, you’re wrong.

    I’m beginning to think I should come up with another term sort of on the same line as “neo cons”. I kind of like “neo-athes” along with the conditions that someone has to be shallow, dishonest and bigoted to have put themselves within that definition. Clueless might be another attributes.

  278. Sven DiMilo

    Unlike PZ, Chris Mooney has an actual career

    Ha! Good one!
    (wait…you weren’t kidding?)

  279. Matt Penfold

    I see McCarthy refuses to define the term “new” atheist.

    I suspect he cannot, since in fact he just means atheist, only to admit that would cause his entire argument to collapse.

  280. Deen, you think that was playing rough? That’s nothing. If that’s too much for the new atheists they’re really not going to last.

    As anyone could see here’s how the paragraph the Loki fantasy begins continues:

    —- He is irritating a whole passel of people who deserve to be irritated and challenged. Ridiculed, in fact, because they pronounce ridiculous things; especially in regards to bread turning in to a corporal man-god. No one gets a free pass just because he or she wears a Roman Collar (or a greasy pompadour.)

    If you read him carefully, you know that he doesn’t hate religious people so much as he hates the ridiculous things that they do. Mike Haubrich, FCD

    Though the tone of my response should speak for itself, I’ll let anyone who might be objective judge that issue.

    PZ Myers is guy who doesn’t publish anything within science, who teaches at a minor branch of the U. of Minn. who figured out that he could make himself famous in a minor way by becoming an avocational bigot, offending peoples’ innocuous religious beliefs for the entertainment of mid-brow, anti-religious bigots. If he was going after seriously bad stuff that people were doing under the frame of religion, I’d have no problem with it. But that alone wouldn’t get him the attention that his act depends on.

    I believe if he cut the bigotry and in-group self-congratulations, going all-science, all the time he’d lose his audience of wannabee sci-rangers within months if not weeks.

  281. — Unlike PZ, Chris Mooney has an actual career (…)

    I seem to remember something about, that he can’t put on autopilot to do blogging coming after that.

    Is there some rule in the Boy Atheist Handbook that tells you people to distort what people say by cutting off dependent clauses and the such? It’s sort of a stupid tactic when its right there for anyone who’s interested in the truth seeing it. You really do depend on people not caring about accuracy, don’t you.

  282. Matt Penfold

    I seem to remember something about, that he can’t put on autopilot to do blogging coming after that.

    Is there some rule in the Boy Atheist Handbook that tells you people to distort what people say by cutting off dependent clauses and the such? It’s sort of a stupid tactic when its right there for anyone who’s interested in the truth seeing it. You really do depend on people not caring about accuracy, don’t you.

    Well I have never been given a copy of a Boy Atheist Handbook so I would not know.

    However I am aware of the heavy teaching load PZ has whereas you are not, so I guess I still know more than you.

  283. bob

    Chris and Sheril, any progress on that substantial response? I see a post with a video of someone else expressing what you say is your point of view, and I see that Chris has left a comment on Pharyngula whining about ONE line in PZ’s SECOND ‘review’ of the book and appealing to an authority about–direct quote–”all this naturalism stuff.”

    Is the book filled with “arguments” like the ones you’ve been employing these past few days? I hope not. If so, you’re going to need to manufacture some controversy to give it legs …

  284. John Kwok

    @ Anthony -

    Well Mike Haubrich is a friend of PZ’s and has spoken highly to me about him in the recent past. I have to respect Mike’s opinion regarding his friend, but I wish Mike wouldn’t defend him so much, especially when PZ seems to take ample delight in stunts like dubbing Ken Miller a “creationist” or celebrating the fact – which he did back in January – of being named to a prominent American Catholic organization’s “Dirty Dozen” list of anti – Catholic bigots.

    However, I have to concur with your harsh, but accurate, assessment of PZ Myers, who frankly, spends a lot more time blogging than he does on his scientific research (He hasn’t published anything worthy of note since 1999.).

    @ Mike -

    I wish PZ would try to emulate more Thor (or Zeus) instead of Loki.

  285. J. McMahon

    It seems to me that this debate – not just this discussion about this blog post, but the *entire debate* about the possibility (or lack thereof) of scientific thought and faith peacefully co-existing has been mired in interpersonal conflict and political gamesmanship for quite a while. Mooney is not exempt from this and it irritates me when he pretends to be. I think he’d be more effective if he copped to it when appropriate.

    That said, watching people who value rational thought devolve into the kind of overemotional and nonsubstantive remarks I’ve seen here in response to his post appalls me. It would be funny if it weren’t so disheartening.

  286. Dave2 @247: Perhaps I’m misreading the first comment?

    The answer to your question is both “Yes” and “No”. “Yes”, in that you are misreading the first comment; and “No”, in that I did not make myself entirely clear in Post #2. My reasoning? If you read the quote people are claiming Chris attributed to PZ, unless PZ has started talking about himself in the third person, it’s obvious the quote is a defense of PZ. Second, the link was readily provided and it only took a second or two to realize that PZ didn’t make it (never mind the link drops you into the middle of the comments portion of the post). However, my response in post #2 was an attempt to conflate the statements made by the commenter (which Chris quoted) and PZ’s own review, in which he ends with that it is “utterly useless” (and which I address again specifically in post #5). So, post #2 was designed entirely to be a dig at PZ using his words and the words of one of his commenters. Not only did I botch it (you know what you want to talk about in your head, but what you write/say doesn’t translate very well since no one knows exactly what you’re thinking at the time), it was unnecessary, it was made in haste (which also contributed to my poor expression of my thoughts). As a matter of fact, a lot of my participation in this thread was unnecessary and frankly, rude. Having had time to sleep on the entire issue, I’m rather embarrassed about it all now.

    So, I need to issue a Mea culpa! to those who I attacked or acted rudely to in this thread. That includes PZ Myers, who, while I disagree strongly with his ideas about religion and on how he moderates select individuals on his site, I didn’t need to launch an attack on him. I should have calmly debated the relevant issues here and not gone off on tangents which further derailed the thread. For all of this, and that which I’ve forgotten to mention, I apologize.

  287. Sven DiMilo

    Is there some rule in the Boy Atheist Handbook that tells you people to distort what people say by cutting off dependent clauses and the such?

    My apologies. Here’s your sentence unredacted:

    Unlike PZ, Chris Mooney has an actual career that can’t be put on auto-pilot while he blogs.

    With the dependent clause now returned to its proper prominence, I see what threw me off there: the adjective “actual.” If you meant to express the idea that Mooney has the kind of career that “can’t be put on autopilot,” then you should have typed something like that. What you did type cannot be parsed in any way that does not seem to disparage Myers for not having an “actual” career.

    In any case, people who are not professional scientists criticizing the publication records of those who are is simply laughable. No, Myers is not a first-tier Scientist, and he’d be the first to agree. His job is different, and in many ways more important than that of R1-U PIs. It’s a teaching position. He spends most of his time teaching. His research lab is not supposed to be turning out papers in Cell and Science, let alone postdocs and grad students (UMM is an undergraduate institution), it’s supposed to expose undergraduates to real. ongoing scientific research. Does anybody wish to argue that that is not important, especially given the whole theme of the book that started this argument?

    In fact, that’s worth emphasizing. In a book (and blog) that is supposedly diagnosing the reasons for the disconnect between reg’lar people and science, the authors (apparently) devote an entire chapter to denigrating a scientist who chooses to spend most of his time teaching undergraduates, writing and maintaining the most popular “science” blog on the Net, and writing a popular book. There’s irony in there, somewhere…

  288. *eyes #290, then scans the sky for flying pigs* Wow, an actual apology on the internet. It’s appreciated.

  289. John Kwok

    @ Sven -

    If Myers wanted to, he could have had a more productive scientific career. As a case in point, let me note vertebrate paleobiologist Donald Prothero, Professor of Geology, Occidental College, who is a noted mammalian vertebrate paleontologist, writes textbooks on soft rock geology and paleontology and still finds time to write something as noteworthy as “Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters”. Instead, Myers apparently enjoys all the controversial attention he can muster over at his blog Pharyngula and delights in acting as a bizarre agent provocateur of Militant Atheism. Rarely – if ever – have I read anything from Myers that is as well conceived as anything Prothero has said or written.

  290. If you meant to express the idea that Mooney has the kind of career that “can’t be put on autopilot,”

    I meant “actual career” as opposed to “blogging career”. As a blogger myself, it’s sort of the difference between mediated, edited, formal publishing and vanity publishing. Though, from what I’ve read of Ophelia, that’s no guarantee either.

  291. Matt Penfold

    I

    meant “actual career” as opposed to “blogging career”. As a blogger myself, it’s sort of the difference between mediated, edited, formal publishing and vanity publishing. Though, from what I’ve read of Ophelia, that’s no guarantee either.

    Have you still failed to check what kind of teaching duties PZ has ?

  292. Random Canadian

    I think future historians will look back on this post as the point where Chris Mooney officially jumped the shark/nuked the fridge and permanently descended to Matt Nisbet levels of credibility. For myself, I’m done paying any attention to the guy.

  293. Sven DiMilo

    If Myers wanted to, he could have had a more productive scientific career.

    The same could be said of Barack Obama, Carl Sagan, Joe the Plumber, and you. The point (which–surprise!–you missed completely) is that there is no good reason why he should have “wanted to.”
    Is not the entire theme of the Mooney/Kirshenbaum book that scientists should put less effort into scientific productivity and more into communication with other folk?

  294. Matt Penfold

    I seem to recall PZ blogging about why he teaches as much as he does and does not do more research.

    It was because early on in his academic career he found he enjoyed teaching. Enjoyed more than doing research I recall him saying. Teaching seems to me to be a pretty honourable thing to do and should not cause PZ, or anyone else, to think they have “failed” because they do not do cutting edge research.

  295. Nutella

    288 Kwok. “However, I have to concur with your harsh, but accurate, assessment of PZ Myers, who frankly, spends a lot more time blogging than he does on his scientific research (He hasn’t published anything worthy of note since 1999.)”

    Your “friend” Ken Miller doesn’t appear to have published ANY scientific papers since 1999 either, and no first-authored papers since 1979.

    See http://research.brown.edu/research/profile.php?id=1100924768&r=1

  296. Gee, in, you know, the humanities, we figure people who teach should also do. At the university level, at least.

  297. Jeff

    It’s pretty pathetic when Chris Mooney denigrates a person who wants to teach instead of perform research. Teaching, pah! Not an “actual” career. Such elitism on display, pretty pathetic.

    Oh wait — it was a commenter who said that, not Mr. Mooney. Mea culpa. It’s so hard to keep the rules straight around here.

  298. Jeff, I didn’t denegrate PZ for his non-existent research or his pathetic publications record. I just mentioned them. I’ve got no idea what his teaching is like, though if it’s like his blogging, I’d see if there was another section of those classes.

  299. Stu

    Wait, “non-existent research” and “pathetic publications record” is not denigrating? I thought the “New Atheists” were supposed to be the rude ones?

  300. Sven DiMIlo

    McCarthy, you are the most disingenuous, passive-aggressive dick I have encountered in some time.
    Please bolster your assertion by contrasting the publication record of someone–anyone!–in “the humanities” who has a similar teaching schedule (“load”) to that of Myers.
    (Or admit that you don’t know what you’re talking about.)

  301. Seventeen years as an educator is not a career? Wow. One has to wonder how many research papers Mr McCarthy and Mr Kwok have published. Or how many students they have taught, although the latter is apparently a non-starter in discussions of worth.

    And Sven makes a good point. One of the things Mooney/Kirshenbaum are saying in their book is that scientists have to be more than bench-rats, and they point out as deplorable the way Sagan was denied admission to the Academies because he was viewed as a mere popularizer…and look at the way the Defenders of UA choose to protect the Blessed Ones from those mean atheist nobodies!

    I also appreciate the way the exclusion of profanity so elevates the tone here.

  302. Marion Delgado

    Chris:

    I have noted on some forums/blogs etc. where skepticism and criticism are the agenda that they could all learn from Ray Hyman’s classic article on how to criticize.

    I have to say that in your criticism of critics, you’re not doing that good a job.

    http://www.csicop.org/si/2001-07/criticism.html

    We all need to think about the issues Ray Hyman raises. The soundbite level of radio and TV has to be informed by the more thoughtful content of books and articles and communication “amongst ourselves” may need even more care.

  303. Marion Delgado

    Also, with due respect, some people are just beyond the pale. Matt Nisbett, for instance, disgraces people who genuinely do framing well – he can’t even frame framing. And John Kwok has some sort of personal issues with P.Z. Myers and absolutely zero objectivity.

    This is all from someone who is slightly more on Chris Mooney’s “side” than otherwise. But if you’re going to both critique anti-science and ant-science criticism, it’s likely you’ll want to do a good job modeling behavior, if nothing else.

  304. J. J. Ramsey

    Anthony McCarthy: “PZ Myers is guy who doesn’t publish anything within science”

    Ahem: http://zfin.org/cgi-bin/webdriver?MIval=aa-persview.apg&OID=ZDB-PERS-960805-655

    A brief sample of papers mentioned there:

    Myers, P.Z., Sipple, B.A., and Qutub, H. (1997) Automated analysis of spontaneous motor activity in the embryonic zebrafish Danio rerio. J. Comp.-Asst. Micros.. 9:169-181

    Stachel, S.E., Grunwald, D.J., and Myers, P.Z. (1993) Lithium perturbation and goosecoid expression identify a dorsal specification pathway in the pregastrula zebrafish. Development. 117:1261-1274

    I counted fifteen academic publications listed.

  305. Matt Penfold

    Jeff, I didn’t denegrate PZ for his non-existent research or his pathetic publications record. I just mentioned them. I’ve got no idea what his teaching is like, though if it’s like his blogging, I’d see if there was another section of those classes.

    I would not worry too much about it. I gather UMM only takes the more able students.

  306. wildlifer

    Mooney/Kirshenbaum Redux:

    The American scientific community gains nothing from the condescending rhetoric of the New Atheists Warmists —and neither does the stature of science in our culture. We should instead adopt a stance of respect towards those who would hold their faith denialism dear, and a sense of humility based on the knowledge that although science can explain a great deal about the way our world functions, the question of God’s existence climate change lies outside its expertise.

  307. McCarthy, you are the most disingenuous, passive-aggressive dick

    When I get aggressive, there’s nothing passive about it and I always mean what I say.

    J.J. Ramsay, OK, so I exaggerated, maybe I should have included “recently”. Maybe blogging is bad for science. I wonder what the emperical evidence would show. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/09/hilarity_in_the_recent_id_crea.php

    PZ, You didn’t seem to be too impressed with Fred Sigworth’s career on about the only occasion we’ve crossed words in the past. And if I went through your archive I’m sure I could find more.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/09/hilarity_in_the_recent_id_crea.php

  308. Watchman

    Perhaps Mr. Mooney’s profile amongst Pharyngulites would rise if he posted (and responded to) this classic comment instead.

  309. @ Mike -

    I wish PZ would try to emulate more Thor (or Zeus) instead of Loki.

    No, John. Loki’s and Q’s are vital, and until PZ commits any of the crimes you and Mc accuse him of, I will defend him.

  310. Michael Neville

    In his autobiography, Isaac Asimov discussed being fired from Boston University School of Medicine in the 1950s. His faculty boss complained that Asimov wasn’t producing any research. Asimov pointed out that he was a well-known science fiction writer, a successful writer of popular science, and considered by his students to be the best teacher in the school. He then said that Boston University did not need another mediocre researcher. Apparently the school administration decided that they did need a mediocre researcher more than a famous writer, because Asimov was removed from his teaching duties. However, since he had tenure, he kept the title of Assistant Profession of Biochemistry.

    Years later, Boston University recognized their error by giving Asimov an honorary doctorate in letters and promoting him to full Professor. Incidentally, the year after Asimov was fired his income more than doubled because he was able to write full time.

    If PZ Myers was just another mediocre researcher at the University of Minnesota, none of us would ever have heard of him. Since he’s a successful blogger, Mooney and Kirshenbaum can devote an entire chapter of their book to whining about him.

  311. Michael Neville

    Minor correction to my post #313: Isaac Asimov’s title for many years was Associate Professor of Biochemistry.

  312. —- If PZ Myers was just another mediocre researcher at the University of Minnesota, none of us would ever have heard of him. Michael Neveille, ‘

    Yeah, essentially what I said about him upthread. And if his blog wasn’t mildly famous for its anti-religious bigotry he’d be an obscure blogger too.

  313. John Kwok

    @ Sven -

    I don’t need to defend my record to you. The fact remains is that, in comparison to his illustrious colleague, Sean B. Carroll, PZ Myers is a “mediocre” evolutionary developmental biologist (And to my surprise, he did admit to me in private e-mail correspondence).

    @ Marion -

    Ken Miller has done a lot more important scientific work, including important service to the scientific community in the form of service as editor of several journals in his field. Nothing Myers has done comes even remotely close.

  314. John Kwok

    @ Mike Haubrich -

    I’m not going to dissuade you from loosening your ties to PZ Myers. We’ve already had that conversation. However, while I am willing to suspend my ample sense of disbelief and acknowledge your friendship with him, please don’t ask me to suspend my harsh criticism of him until and unless I am proven otherwise. Unfortunately, from my own perspective, he hasn’t done anything to merit such a suspension from me.

    Anyway I do value your friendship and look forward to further dialogue in the future.

  315. John Kwok

    @ Marion & Nutella -

    I actually meant Nutella here:

    Ken Miller has done a lot more important scientific work, including important service to the scientific community in the form of service as editor of several journals in his field. Nothing Myers has done comes even remotely close.

    But it applies to you both.

    Far from being a credible first rate scientist – which PZ Myers himself would admit – he’s more a bizarre agent provocateur of Militant Atheism. IMHO by mistake, the American Humanist Association bestowed upon him its “Humanist of the Year” award at its 2009 convention held last month in Phoenix, AZ.

    @ Sven -

    I think you missed my point. Had Myers chosen to do so, he could have had productive scientific careers while still teaching, which has certainly been the case for vertebrate paleobiologist Donald Prothero, who has taught only at relatively small undergraduate colleges, but has still managed to have a first-rate scientific career as a distinguished mammalian paleontologist.

    Apparently for Myers, insulting Catholics is a lot less work than trying do credible evolutionary developmental biological research.

  316. Marion Delgado

    We have to model the change we want to see in the world. It’s that simple. If, e.g., Coyne and Myers aren’t, we should do two things; one, fill in the deficit with our own efforts.; two, in our dealings with people who aren’t communicating in a way we find sensible, we should always communicate sensibly. Okay, time to move on to the “response to Myers” post ;)

  317. See post #305. Still true.

    The AHA made a “mistake”? I was notified months ahead of time — I think they had time to rectify it. They could have blushingly come up to me in Phoenix and said, “oops, never mind.” They could have failed to give me that laudatory introduction. They could call me up now and ‘fess up to a terrible error and I’d mail the award back to them.

    You know, this is just one more example of the kind of unbelievable lunacy that gets you booted out of blogs all over the place, Kwok.

  318. Scott

    @ Mike Haubrich, FCD

    “Don’t you even realize that they take any disagreement, or attempt no matter how civil as an assault? The religions have for thousands of years “owned” the whole idea of explaining how the world goes and in the last two hundred years science has been chipping away at its hegemony. It is trying to hold on to its explanatory power and position of authority regarding “purpose” by demeaning science as not being able to move beyond natuiralistic methodology. It’s proponents grasp at ever thinner straws of “knowing” that there are aspects of the universe for which they can provide better insight than any freakin’ science can?”

    I agree that certain parts of the religious majority are as you describe them. I don’t think they will ever be won over. However, I do not believe they constitute either a majority of the population or the religious community but their influence is disproportionate to their size because they make a huge effort to push their views and lifestyle on the rest of us.

    You ask me “Do you seriously think that this is what is going on here?” in reference to my comment about trying to verbally bludgeon the religious majority into submission. Yes, I do think that is what some people are doing whether they realize it or not. I listen to the tone and attitude of some people in the scientific community and they sound strikingly similar in that respect to religious fundamentalists in that they come across as intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them. Facts and logic are wonderful but if you can’t present them in a way that gets people to listen to you and think about what you are saying then what good are you doing?

  319. —- See post #305. Still true.PZ

    I didn’t answer that mention of me, did I. I don’t falsely cite my professional credentials to promote bigotry, if I did you’d have some call to fall back on that dodge.

    How about it PZ Myers, drop the anti-religious content and go all-science, all the time for three months. No anti-religious content, no self-congratulations on how you new atheists are all so much smarter and more informed than religious believers. Go put your audience up to the science test without providing their three-times a day, hate fix. Let’s see how many of your adoring fans would come to read about science without that.

  320. John Kwok

    @ PZ Myers -

    Far more credible candidates for “Humanist of the Year” include philosopher and Center for Inquiry United Nations representative Austin Dacey and journalist Susan Jacoby, both of whom have done a lot more positive work in advancing humanist – including atheist – values than you have ever done.

    Your latest comment reminds me of a bit so self-righteous bragging from one Stuart Pivar, whom I had the misfortune of meeting here in New York City, at a two-day evolution symposium last spring, after – if my memory is correct – Jerry Coyne’s talk. Pivar was so full of himself that when I told a mutual acquaintance of ours (Pivar claimed that that acquaintance was an old friend), that acquaintance laughed and said that he knew Pivar only casually.

    I wish you well in cultivating a relationship with Pivar. IMHO you both deserve each other.

  321. John Kwok

    @ 323 -

    Actually meant back in the Spring of 2008. Anyway, Pivar struck me back then as a geriatric version of yourself. No wonder you both admire each other so much!

  322. John Kwok

    @ 305 -

    I’ll make up my mind when I read “Unscientific America”, but I know full well – and I think you too – that it’s going to take a long time for the scientific community not to lessen the premium it has placed on longstanding traditions of scientific scholarship (And yes, I’ve done my own little bit, having had some work published in the past.).

    Again, as I pointed out to Sven, you could have been the evo – devo version of Donald Prothero, teaching at teaching-oriented liberal arts institutions of higher learning, but still making an effort to do credible scientific research in evolutionary developmental biology. Instead, you seem to delight in attacking modern, quite rational, religions like Roman Catholic Christianity (I honestly wonder how you’d be treated if you went after Islam too. And why not? That’s a faith far more irrational at times than Roman Catholicism.), in booting off people you dislike from your blog and for attacking someone, like Ken Miller, who is truly a first-rate defender of teaching valid science in science classrooms, and doing so with far more humility and sincerity than I have ever heard or read from you.

  323. John Kwok

    @ Anthony -

    PZ Myers think I am a nut. If I am a nut, would I have:

    1) Condemned a highly regarded colleague like Ken Miller as a creationist and mock him every opportunity I get, including, apparently, accusing him of some ridiculous recent episode that even I have missed.

    2) Signed up for a private screening knowing full well that I might get booted out of that screening, even if it was for a film I was interviewed for (I am referring to “Expelled”.).

    3) Act out a rather outlandish stunt in defense of a student knowing that I would antagonize potentially tens of millions of devout faithful who regard that stunt as potential sacrilege.

    I submit that these are really the acts of a nut. Nothing I have said or written online even comes remotely to close to these and many other instances demonstrating Myers’s nuttiness.

  324. Paul

    Response not meant for Kwok, I just wanted to point out his BS is BS.

    “Instead, you seem to delight in attacking modern, quite rational, religions like Roman Catholic Christianity (I honestly wonder how you’d be treated if you went after Islam too. And why not? That’s a faith far more irrational at times than Roman Catholicism.)”

    PZ has posted critically of Islam, many times. He mostly criticizes when religious craziness strikes its head, and somehow the Catholics manage to come out ahead with the vocal wingnuttery in America. Go figure. I believe the Catholics send more death threats, too.

    And when he attacks “modern, quite rational, religions like Roman Catholic Christianity” he’s not attacking rational beliefs. He’s attacking people for making death threats over a cracker, or an organization that actively shielded pedophiles in its ranks from law enforcement while shuffling them off to abuse children elsewhere, or someone talking about how a person doesn’t deserve equal rights because they are attracted to their own gender. Its not like he goes around finding Catholics entering/leaving church and records himself spitting on them, although you wouldn’t know reading posts like Kwok’s.

  325. Shorter McCarthy: Please shut up about the things I don’t like for 3 months.

    It’s a pathetic ploy, guy. I write what I want because it is what I want to write, not in order to meet the demands of one random kook who I don’t know and don’t even like very much.

  326. Feynmaniac

    Kwok,

    I honestly wonder how you’d be treated if you went after Islam too. And why not? That’s a faith far more irrational at times than Roman Catholicism.

    During “crackergate” in addition to a wafer he also “desecrated” a copy of the Koran and of “The God Delusion”. I don’t think he received a single death threat from a Muslim as a result. Also, if you search the Pharyngula archives you’ll also find many threads critical of Islam.

    If you really had an argument Kwok you’d be using it instead of this irrelevant attack on Myers’ career choices.

  327. bob

    You know, I was feeling a little bad about the comment I made about the people defending Chris and Sheril seeming strange, but not anymore. McCarthy, who the hell are you, and why on earth should PZ change what he does to prove a point to you? He clearly loves blogging, and, seeing as Pharyngula is the most popular science blog out there, people enjoy what he’s doing. You’re delusional. Kwok, I think you have a personality disorder. Did you seriously just accuse someone else of being self-righteous and bragging ***right before you name-drop authors you’ve met and mention that you yourself are published***?

  328. John Kwok

    @ Paul -

    He hasn’t mocked any Islamic ritual of any kind, period, and certainly nothing that approaches the reverence which Catholics hold the Eucharist. Moreover, I’ve noticed that, too often, Myers seems to have missed something really outrageous being reported at websites like Jihad Watch, in lieu of something done by Roman Catholics that seem rather innocuous in comparison.

    The fact that Myers enjoys bashing Roman Catholic Christianity should have been evident to you after reading his January, 2009 blog entry at Pharyngula in which he gleefully announced – or should I say bragged – that a prominent American Catholic organization had named him as one of its annual “Dirty Dozen” anti-Catholic bigots. Wish he would devote as much attention to Islam, since I’m especially curious in seeing how Muslim faithful would react to his obnoxious behavior.

  329. John Kwok

    @ bob -

    Myers challenged my own scientific credentials and I shot back, saying that yes, I have had some research published. But that’s it. If that’s “bragging” then I think you’re the one who’s delusional, demonstrating that you are merely yet another sanctimonious Coyne/Myers Militant Atheist Borg drone posting here.

  330. —– Shorter McCarthy: Please shut up about the things I don’t like for 3 months. PZ

    What’s this, Brave Sir PZ running away? Let’s see how sciency your fan base really is, PZ. Let’s see if it’s the science and not the bigotry that keeps them coming back. I thought you were all about promoting science. What’s the matter, you not willing to run the experiment?

    It’s not as if your pals won’t be able to provide the anti-religious content, or, are you afraid of them stealing your audience?

  331. John Kwok

    @ bob -

    I don’t do a very good job in name dropping. Myers excels at it, since he wants everyone to know that he’s the best American buddy Richard Dawkins ever had. Trust me.

    I wonder if he thinks he’s as much a buddy of Dawkins as his “pal” Pivar has said he was once a friend of Stephen Jay Gould’s. I wonder. Is that yet another reason why they “like” each other so much?

    (In fairness to Pivar, he’s apparently wealthy enough to have donated some Greek and Roman antiquities – which are on display – to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.)

  332. Stu

    “Did you seriously just accuse someone else of being self-righteous and bragging ***right before you name-drop authors you’ve met and mention that you yourself are published***?”

    Yes, and it’s completely pathological. He just can’t stop himself. Frankly, I can’t believe Mooney and Kirschenbaum still allow McCarthy and Kwok to embarrass them… but then again, that’s their prerogative.

  333. I was just thinking I would not like to continue with John Kwok as a “Facebook Friend.”

  334. So, let’s see.

    PZ writes enough on your book to fill what would probably about 10 pages if I printed in out.

    For your “response” you don’t actually address his claims at all, you just take a single reader quote (which you deliberately picked out from the other hundreds of comments because it reinforces your negative view of him and his blog) and respond to that instead. You spend all of three sentences on PZ himself, and in those three sentences you manage to both quote him out of context /and/ totally misrepresent his main thesis – that what you’re advocating is a dumbing down of science and placing entertainment above factual accuracy in science journalism. Seriously, what the hell kind of scientist do you claim to be, when you consider the facts to be something to be casually discarded whenever they become unfashionable or inconvenient?

  335. Here’s the quote I referenced in my above post. It’s provided out of context, but I cannot imagine any possible context that would make this less of an affront to anyone who considers themselves a scientist:

    “Dawkins and some other scientists fail to grasp that in Hollywood, the story is paramount—that narrative, drama, and character development will trump *mere factual accuracy* every time, and by a very long shot. “

  336. Kseniya

    Kwok: “I don’t do a very good job in name dropping. ”

    You really don’t know yourself very well, do you? You managed to get banned from Pharyngula (and become a running joke) through your relentless self-inflation, your pumping yourself up with references to your famous friends and successful classmates from your prestigious high school. I’m not even going to touch the questionable “relationship” with ERV.

    Sheril, watch your back.

  337. tomh

    @ #338 “what the hell kind of scientist do you claim to be”

    No kind at all, as far as I know. He’s some sort of journalist, who has refined the art of criticizing scientists into a money-making proposition.

  338. Kseniya

    A. McCarthy:

    I always mean what I say.

    J.J. Ramsay, OK, so I exaggerated, maybe I should have included “recently”.

    LOL

    PZ, Mister McCarthy is double-dog-darin’ ya. You mean you’re NOT going to let him persuade you to sew your mouth half-shut for the next three months?

    No?

    Good.

  339. — He’s some sort of journalist, who has refined the art of criticizing scientists tomh

    Oh, the nerve of him, being a journalist who dares to criticize members of the scientist caste.

    You might want to go over PZ’s blog and see what he says about scientists he doesn’t like. I provided a link to what he said about Fred Sigworth above. I’m sure there are many others who could be found at his blog. I wonder if there are more than the ones Chris Mooney has criticized. Maybe someone will make a comparison.

    Where is PZ the brave anyway? Not going to answer the challenge other than to chicken out? You know, it serves the purpose even better the way you’ve left it, PZ.

  340. Paul

    Didn’t you call someone out for snipping a quote of yours short earlier in this very thread, McCarthy? Stay classy.

  341. Kseniya , hey I admitted that I should have said it the way I usually do when making that point. And look at the rest of what I said about the Sage of Morris on this thread, he’s a coward like all bullies are.

    Now how about PZ admitting that without the bigotry he’d be a nobody?

  342. —— McCarthy is double-dog-darin’ ya. You mean you’re NOT going to let him persuade you to sew your mouth half-shut for the next three months? Kesniya

    What makes you think I expected him to take up the challenge? Do you really think I thought he’d risk his only means of getting massive attention in the interest of science?

    —- Didn’t you call someone out for snipping a quote of yours short earlier in this very thread, McCarthy? Stay classy. Paul

    Hey, you should see how I phrase that point about PZ’s CV on other blogs. And if this is the best you can manage in defense of the mighty PZ Myers he’s got feet of clay.

  343. Paul

    “And if this is the best you can manage in defense of the mighty PZ Myers he’s got feet of clay.”

    Amazing how pointing out you’re a hypocrite is seen as a defense of PZ. Maybe I just think you’re a dick.

  344. John Kwok

    @ Mike Haubrich -

    More than a few of my Facebook friends are people I strongly disagree with both politically and religiously, but I still have respect for their views. Look, I told you and Greg that I understand and appreciate how strongly you feel positively about PZ. But that’s your views and not mine, and unfortunately, there is nothing PZ has said or done that will make me change it.

    @ Kseniya -

    Last time I checked, Sheril has a boyfriend and is quite committed to him (Anything more I can say would be a violation of her privacy, so I’ll leave it at that.). As for PZ’s favorite “daughter” I have nothing further to say except that she would be much better off if she chose as a role model, Genie Scott or Lisa Randall or Ken Miller, not a certain mediocre evolutionary developmental biologist – and this I might add is by his own admission to me – who wants everyone to know that he’s the best American pal Richard Dawkins has, and who is clearly the foremost agent provocateur of Militant Atheism.

  345. @john Kwok – it is not a matter of having differing viewpoints as it is that I would rather disassociate myself from rampant hypocrisy. You have been insufferably uncivil towards somebody trying to prove to the rest of the internet that his fault is that he is uncivil. While I am quite able to handle ucivil behavior, you are modeling Javert, and as a warning you should remember to what end Javert’s obsession led him. It’s not healthy. Perhaps I was not as direct in my warnings to you in prior e-mail exchanges, but I was trying to warn you that you were exhibiting behavior deserving of the scorn heaped on you when you were voted off of Pharyngula.

    @Andrew McCarthy – you are clearly not important enough to PZ for him to cower from you. I’t's quite easy to thump your chest on the internet, isn’t it?

  346. Kseniya

    Mr. Kwok:

    (Anything more I can say would be a violation of her privacy, so I’ll leave it at that.)

    See? You’re doing it, and you don’t even realize it. (Or you do, but don’t care.)

    PZ is ERV’s role model? Really? Did she tell you that?

    Still, I retract my “watch your back” remark. That was excessive. Please accept my apology.

    who wants everyone to know that he’s the best American pal Richard Dawkins has

    You’re projecting, John. (Again.) I’ve been reading Pharyngula for a few years now, and I’ve never gotten that impression, nor detected any pattern of gratuitious mentions of Dawkins of of PZ’s relationship to him – in sharp, sharp contrast to your own style of self-promotion by way of reflected glory.

    I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree on this point.

    Anthony:

    What makes you think I expected him to take up the challenge?

    Oh, I dunno… because you mean what you say? :-p

    No, really. What make you think I thought you expected him to take up the challenge? What part of “double-dog darin’ ya” doesn’t suggest that I accurately picked up on your tone?

    But I suggest we not get bogged down on this trivial point.

    Do you really think I thought he’d risk his only means of getting massive attention in the interest of science?

    Nice “framing” there, A-Mac.

    Tell me: why should a man who teaches developmental biology for a living (in the interest of science, dontcha know) stop addressing topics that interest him on his own blog, which is, for him, a recreational (or, at most, an avocational) pursuit?

    (Did I use too many commas? Oops.)

    Now how about PZ admitting that without the bigotry he’d be a nobody?

    How about you putting your money where your mouth is, and back your claim with some evidence? You’re the one making the claim – now support it. You do care about evidence… right?

    Dang, I wish there was a Preview button. It’s like commenting without a net. Here goes…

  347. John Kwok

    @ Mike -

    That’s really ridiculous. No, I’m not channeling “Javert”. I have a lot more to do and to think about than to be so concerned about Myers’s opinion of me (Obviously he does care what I think of him or else he wouldn’t have challenged me here at the Intersection, questioning my credentials.). It’s not my problem that he’s a much better agent provocateur for Militant Atheism than he is as a scientist or even a teacher (FYI, one of Ken Miller’s students won the Nobel Prize in Medicine a couple of years ago; Craig Mello. Through the years I have met quite a few who have told me just how inspirational a teacher Ken was for them. And Ken has earned ample teaching awards for such excellence. I haven’t seen anything remotely similar for Myers.). Your observation about internet “chest thumping” clearly applies, unfortunately, to Myers.

    Anyway, it has been a long day – thankfully most of which I have spent ignoring this and similar discussions here at the Intersection – and I do wish you a good night and do hope that you consider me a friend, if not at Facebook, then hopefully elsewhere.

  348. JRQ

    My goodness, this is hilarious.

    Someone I’ve never heard of named Kwok presuming to rank order the importance and quality of a few science professors with wildly different interests, motivations, institutions, and careers.

    I can’t speak for PZ Myers, but I know I’d certainly be crushed I’d be if some random person on Chris Mooney’s Blog informed me that in his opinion, my career didn’t measure up to that of Ken Miller or Don Prothero. Oh the humility! To have my abject failure laid bare! My illusion of being the Don Prothero of Cognitive Neuroscience, shattered! Why, I’d probably just give it all up and open a lemonade stand down the street.

  349. —– Amazing how pointing out you’re a hypocrite is seen as a defense of PZ. Maybe I just think you’re a dick. Paul

    Oh, that would be opposed to the great and famous promoter of science PZ Myers who would be entirely obscure if he wasn’t famous for actually being a bigot.

    If you think I’m going to cringe because you and another of PZ’s Peanuts happened to catch a comment that JJ R made about a slip in a hastily typed comment you’re wrong.

    PZ Myers is a coward, a loud mouthed bigot and attention seeker pretending that he’s a major figure in science. And his fan club believe it.

  350. Dave2

    John Kwok (#332) wrote:

    He hasn’t mocked any Islamic ritual of any kind, period, and certainly nothing that approaches the reverence which Catholics hold the Eucharist.

    Myers desecrated a Qur’an, as Feynmaniac (#330) pointed out:

    During “crackergate” in addition to a wafer he also “desecrated” a copy of the Koran and of “The God Delusion”.

    The reverence Muslims have for the Qur’an is comparable (to say the least) to the reverence Catholics have for the Eucharist.

  351. Heraclides

    Preamble: I’m replying without having read all the comments. I haven’t read the book either. It’s unlikely to be out my way for weeks if not months & my budget precludes me from ordering copies (I’d have to use library copies).

    and start working with them to try to change things

    People aren’t inclined to “work with” others whose beliefs don’t match their own, especially those who hold those beliefs strongly. I’d be a little surprised if these people would (literally) want to work with others against their own cause. You might get religious people of more modest persuasion to try work with those of more “severe” religious persuasion, but even they’d be limited in how much they’d be willing to take on; they’re not going to work against their own beliefs. (Ditto for those with ill-formed “natural health” ideas, and so on.)

    So, as a practical matter, who are these people you propose to “work with”? Would they really work with you?

    When people’s positions do strongly conflict, I’d like to think there is a place for a (preferably small) number of people clearly pointing out the issues bluntly. It may not be comfortable but provided they address the issue, rather than attack in a personal fashion, it’s not entirely wrong. It would be a problem if everyone were aggressive to those they oppose—as that would little no place for moving forward—but that’s not the case. (BTW, I doubt this is the case for Dawkins and even, for the most part, PZ Myers.)

    Different people are going to respond to different approaches, or any one approach on it’s own. I don’t there is a “one size fits all” solution, thinking along the lines of one approach or line of approaches may not be helpful. There are some approaches I’m not in favour of personally doing, but I think that in itself doesn’t mean that they are wrong, just that they don’t suit my nature or the particular people I’d like to reach. I haven’t read your book, but I get the impression that you criticise Dawkins and Myers in isolation, as it were, but don’t their activities take place within a larger context?

    Another thought might be that some organisations are more-or-less are unable to be too direct, for essentially politically correct reasons. So there may be space for a number of individuals to say what these organisations can’t easily? Your “recommendations” might sit well with formal organisations. In particular topical issues often seem to need a stronger response, that perhaps isn’t easily covered by an “education” approach, with it’s longer-term aims. (One obvious catch is judging which approach best suits each particular issue and group of people.)

    On another topic, using comments on PZ’s blog to “represent” PZ makes no sense to me, they can only represent that particular person in the end.

    Well there is the concept of common courtesy. If you criticise a person in a book it is normally regarded as polite to send them a copy.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the courtesy to those whose words are directly addressed in the work (traditionally) to send them a copy of the draft, or the relevant section, in sufficient time that any factual errors can be corrected prior to print? I thought sending copies of the final work after publication is more usually a way of thanking those who helped or as a present to closer friends or colleagues.

  352. — “desecrated” a copy of the Koran and of “The God Delusion”. Dave2

    It’s too tempting to resist pointing out the extreme irony of the idea that you could DESECRATE
    a copy of TGD. The opposite of to desecrate is to consecrate. Though putting it that way does open up a window on the real nature of the new atheism.

    I’d guess the only thing Dawkins would regard as sacred about it people paying out money for a copy. Buying one and keeping one out of the used market is probably about as close to a Dawkinsite sacrament as you could imagine. I will say, it’s held its price in remainders better than most other shoddily researched screeds do and miles more than well researched scholarship.

  353. Heraclides

    Having now skimmed the remainder of the comments, I’m thinking I shouldn’t have bothered writing. There is too much crud here, especially with a small number of people posting frequently with personal attacks. Still, I suppose it was a “useful” distraction thinking about it for a while.

    BTW, post 354 (mine) is for Chris, regards the original article not any of the comments. Not that he’ll every read this far…!

    PS: ‘would little no place’ should read ‘would leave little place’. Didn’t spot it before I let it fly, sorry.

  354. Matt Penfold

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the courtesy to those whose words are directly addressed in the work (traditionally) to send them a copy of the draft, or the relevant section, in sufficient time that any factual errors can be corrected prior to print? I thought sending copies of the final work after publication is more usually a way of thanking those who helped or as a present to closer friends or colleagues.

    Actually it would be to do both.

    At the very least you would let the person know that you intend to heavily attack the position. Sadly Mooney and Kirshenbaum seem to have slipped up there. Odd given how keen they are for people to be civil.

  355. spurge

    You misunderstand Matt.

    It is only the religious/accommodationists that we are to be civil too.

    It is quite clear from how this blog is moderated that it is perfectly OK to be uncivil too “New Atheists” especially if it is PZ.

  356. John Kwok

    @ spurge -

    On the contrary, there is sadly many valid reasons to be uncivil to Militant Atheists (I think that IMHO is a more useful term than “New Atheists”) like PZ who indulge in ridiculous, often hostile, behavior towards anyone who dares criticize them (Though I don’t wish to paint with a broad brush, since one of the “New Atheists”, Lawrence Krauss, does come across as far more thoughtful and reasonable than many of his peers in this “movement”.).

    @ Kseniya -

    No I haven’t implied anything about Sheril, and frankly, it’s her business as to what she wishes to disclose about her personal life (If either you or someone else hadn’t posted some comment here advising her to “watch out” regarding me, then I wouldn’t have mentioned her.).

    As for ERV (Abbie Smith) she has acknowledged PZ as her “father figure” more than once. Personally I could think of better role models who are atheists (explicitly or implicitly), which is why I mentioned Eugenie Scott and Lisa Randall. Anyway, your apology is noted and appreciated.

    @ Dave2 -
    DELETED WE WILL NOT HAVE THIS KIND OF TALK HERE

  357. Gee, spurge, I’m getting my comments held, I’d imagine because O.B. got in a huff and claimed I was libeling her. I’m not bawling.

    PZ banned me, I suspect because I pointed out a research scientist at Yale was actually engaged in research whereas he wasn’t. And I didn’t bawl over that either.

    You people had better toughen up if you intend to keep this up. You can’t depend on your gang getting your back in ever environment.

  358. spurge

    Mooney is the one who constantly whines about tone instead of content.

    The hypocrisy is thick here.

    The fact that you and Kwok are the major posters here tells me allot about what is really going on.

    A bunch of whiny PZ haters venting.

    Contrary to the lioes told by people here it is quite hard to get banned there.

  359. @ John Kwok: PZ Myers is no friend of mine, and I disagree vehemently with a lot of which he professes and pontificates about on his blog. However, referring to him constantly as a mediocre evolutionary developmental biologist is really a pointless enterprise. I think we all know that Myers has admitted to (I believe I am representing him accurately here) not pursuing a career focusing on basic research and instead has focused his energies towards teaching because that is where his passion lies. If that is the route he has chosen to go, I hope he’s the best teacher he can be, and his career as a research scientist is then beyond the point. I’m not sure what the point is to constantly bring it up. He’s admitted he prefers to teach, I think we should leave it at that and focus on more important matters. When it comes down to it, relying on credentials alone will do nothing more than sprout up arguments from authority, let us focus on the messages.

  360. John Kwok

    @ JRQ -

    The fact remains that Myers hasn’t published any science since 1999. Nor has – and I will gladly admit this – Ken Miller, but unlike Myers, Ken has done ample service on behalf of the scientific community, such as serving on the American Institute of Biological Sciences textbook curriculum committee, serving as a science consultant to the PBS NewsHour, participating in school board hearings and similar venues around the country, and, perhaps most notably, serving as the lead witness for the plaintiffs at the 2005 Kitzmiller vs.. Dover Area School District trial. Earlier in his career Ken served as an editor of two of the leading journals in his field, which is cell biology. PZ Myers hasn’t done anything remotely close to what Ken has accomplished in his scientific career. And mentioning Donald Prothero is a valid comparison since, like PZ Myers, he has been associated primarily with teaching-oriented institutions of higher learning, and yet, has, on his own, amassed a substantial publication history, is regarded as a prominent Cenozoic mammalian vertebrate paleobiologist, has written textbooks on historical geology and paleontology and, of course, may be best known to readers here as the author of “Evolution; What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters”.

    My name could be Donald Duck, Jodie Foster, Pat Benatar, Barack Obama, or John Doe and still my observations about Myers’s scientific career would be valid. Indeed, by his own admission to me – in private e-mail correspondence – Myers said that he is a mediocre evolutionary developmental biologist, by noting that he’s not anywhere nearly as good an evolutionary developmental biologist as his illustrious colleague, Sean B. Carroll.

    In science – and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a well known physicist like Brian Greene or Lisa Randall, or a newly minted Ph. D. in vertebrate paleobiology from the University of Chicago’s Department of Ecology and Evolution (which is incidentally Jerry Coyne’s department) – you are judged, first and foremost, by the quality of your scientific research and your publication history (Incidentally, some years back, Ken Miller and his research team at Brown made an important discovery about cellular membranes. It’s not something I am familiar with so I won’t comment further, except to note that Myers hasn’t done anything even remotely close in his chosen field of evolutionary developmental biology.), and also, to a lesser extent, by the service you provide to your peers within the scientific community.

    In conclusion, your comment is not merely absurd, but it is irrelevant.

  361. Michael Neville

    I see Kwok still hasn’t recovered from being banned at Pharyngula. The shock of people not taking him as seriously as he thinks he should be taken has not worn off.

    The whole thing about “New Atheists” or Kwok’s so-called “militant atheists” is that we’ve come out of the closet. Knowing atheists even exist is upsetting to the goddists and their enablers like Mooney and Kwok. How dare people express views that distress others! Besides, we’ve seen how well being civil to fundamentalists like Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been. These guys have been paying rapt, polite attention to atheists and scientists who are polite to them. No…wait…that’s only in Kwok and Mooney’s bizarro world where real life seldom if ever intrudes.

  362. Matt Penfold

    PZ banned me, I suspect because I pointed out a research scientist at Yale was actually engaged in research whereas he wasn’t. And I didn’t bawl over that either.

    PZ lists all those he has banned, and lists the reasons why.

    Your name is not on that list. Care to explain why you are lying about being banned ?

  363. Matt Penfold

    Just so people can check for themselves, the list of those banned by PZ can be found here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/plonk.php

    As you will see Kwak is on the list. McCarthy is not.

  364. John Kwok

    @ Penfold -

    Maybe Myers hasn’t gotten around to it yet. But if McCarthy can’t post there, then he’s been banned IMHO.

    Still waiting to hear why you don’t think there is an evolution denial problem in your country, the United Kingdom.

  365. John Kwok

    @ Neville -

    I’m taken seriously elsewhere online. Why would I even waste my time with an online cesspool like Pharyngula? I feel sorry for the few really good posters who post there occasionally, lest they’d find themselves mired in its muck.

  366. John Kwok

    @ Penfold -

    Why did the Geological Society of London – one of the world’s preeminent professional geological organizations – issued a statement over a year ago denouncing Young Earth Creationism, Creation Science and Intelligent Design? Maybe in response to the United Kingdom’s growing problem with evolution denial?

    Here’s the link to the statement:

    http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/gsl/views/policy_statements/page3635.html

  367. John Kwok

    @ Penfold -

    Why did the Royal Society – the world’s oldest prominent scientific organization – have a controversional episode with regards to creationism last September? You can look here:

    http://royalsociety.org/news.asp?id=8008

    So the United Kingdom doesn’t have an evolution denial problem?

  368. Matt Penfold

    Still waiting to hear why you don’t think there is an evolution denial problem in your country, the United Kingdom.

    If you actually bothered to read what I write over at PZ’s blog you would be aware I do not deny there is a problem.

    What I have denied is that there is a problem on anything like the scale you have in the US. I have also indicated that the anti-evolution movement is becoming more vocal in the UK, largely as result of funding from the US.

    However in the UK there are strict rules on what can be taught in state funded schools. They are required to follow curricula that are set not by politicians but by those expert in their fields. Were a school to start introducing ID/Creationism into the classroom it would find itself subject to a damming inspectors report, and unless corrective action was taken the school management would in all probability be replaced.

    Further, with the exception of Northern Ireland, there is no political support for creationism or ID. None of the main political parties support the teaching of creationism, and only one of the minor parties does so (and that party is localised to Northern Ireland).

    There is also little media support for teaching creationism. There are only two journalists writing for national papers that have said they support the teaching of creationism (Melanie Phillips and Peter Hitchins). Both are considered to be rather extreme right wing columnists.

    All of this I have said elsewhere, more than once so you have little excuse for being unaware of it.

    END DELETED

  369. — Your name is not on that list. Care to explain why you are lying about being banned ? Matt Penfold

    Apparently my banning either preceeded the list or PZ has neglected to post it, I tried posting a comment and it didn’t register. Just like the last two times I tried when someone told me my name was mentioned in his comments.

    Do I care? No.

    JJ R was banned at PZ’s Playhouse, for “slagging”, I believe it said? What’s that mean, to methodically rational? I can see why that would be unbearable for the PZits.

    So, Matt Penfold, why didn’t you ever give me the list of “lies” you said I’d told when I went to all the bother of starting a blog so you could do so without bothering the owners of this blog or other commentators with your bilge? You can still go look at the very first post on my new blog. I began it so you could list my horrible crimes.

  370. Matt Penfold

    Apparently my banning either preceeded the list or PZ has neglected to post it, I tried posting a comment and it didn’t register. Just like the last two times I tried when someone told me my name was mentioned in his comments.

    That list goes back to when PZ first moved to scienceblogs.

    Further had PZ neglected to add you to the list it would be the only time it has ever happened.

    As for the lies you have told ?

    Well let’s start with the first one I ever called you on, which is that you claimed Dawkins was uncivil. I asked you to support that claim with evidence. Intially you kept refusing. Finally you pointed to towards you blog, where again there no evidence to support your claim. In fact all there was was a post from you asking me ask you again. I did not bother seeing as how you could not produce the evidence any of the previous times I had asked you.

    You still have not produced that evidence. You lied, and you lack the decency to admit it.

    The latest example is your claiming you are banned from commenting at PZ’s blog. Again you have produced no evidence to support that claim. Again you lie.

    It may be you tried posting and it did not register. That does NOT mean you are banned. There is a problem with the software used by scienceblogs.

    To try and claim that buggy software equals your being banned is simply dishonest. It also is libellous, although I suspect PZ is to much of a gentleman to sue your sorry backside.

    You really are showing what a contemptible person you are.

  371. Matt Penfold

    Just to provide a bit more clarity.

    If someone has been banned from commenting at PZ’s blog, or indeed any other blog as ScienceBlogs the message that is displayed is that the message is being held for moderation.

    It seems this is not message McCarthy got.

    I will leave it to the reader to decide if he is telling the truth about being banned.

  372. Gee, Matt, it’s awfully funny that I can seem to post comments at other ScienceBlogs, as you know since we had part of a fight at Jason Rosenhouse’s blog a few weeks back. That’s where I called you a name I wouldn’t here, the one that begins with a “t” and rhymes with your nationality, after you dissed my country. You seemed to notice it when it happened.

    Now, why haven’t you backed up your original charges of lying made here. Or is that exactly like the charge you made here yesterday about me talking about killing people.

    You telling me that I’m lying again now, when you can’t back up stuff you’ve said on those occasions, is pretty funny.

  373. Just to refresh your memory, Matt. Here’s what the first post on my blog says.

    Saturday, June 6, 2009
    OK Matt Do Make Your Best Stab
    Posted by olvlzl at 2:57 PM 0 comments

    0 comments, Matt.

  374. Matt Penfold

    Gee, Matt, it’s awfully funny that I can seem to post comments at other ScienceBlogs, as you know since we had part of a fight at Jason Rosenhouse’s blog a few weeks back. That’s where I called you a name I wouldn’t here, the one that begins with a “t” and rhymes with your nationality, after you dissed my country. You seemed to notice it when it happened.

    Now, why haven’t you backed up your original charges of lying made here. Or is that exactly like the charge you made here yesterday about me talking about killing people.

    You telling me that I’m lying again now, when you can’t back up stuff you’ve said on those occasions, is pretty funny.

    Oh dear. You really do not get it do you.

    There is a problem with the software at scienceblogs. It has problems handling a large volume of posts. Jason’s blog does not get the same traffic as PZ’s does, hence the software does not glitch as often when posting on Jason’s blog as on PZ’s.

    You have lied about being banned, and you still refuse to admit it.

  375. Matt Penfold

    Just to refresh your memory, Matt. Here’s what the first post on my blog says.

    Saturday, June 6, 2009
    OK Matt Do Make Your Best Stab
    Posted by olvlzl at 2:57 PM 0 comments

    0 comments, Matt.

    Yeah, it does say that.

    However since you were supposed to be providing an example of when Dawkins was uncivil it should say rather more than that surely ?

    There seemed at the time, and still does, a total absence of evidence supporting your claim,. I explained this at the time, but it seems you did not comprehend that when you say you are providing evidence you need to do more than just ask someone to restate their position.

  376. Oh, Matt. You are grasping at straws. PZ is a coward who runs and hides from people who stand up to him. Apparently he’s even too cowardly to admit that he bans people and relies to his fan club to do his dirty work for him.

    You’ve lied about me lying, you’ve lied about me threatening to kill people and now you’re accusing me of lying again. Software problems. Uh, huh. I see.

  377. You have lied about being banned, and you still refuse to admit it.

    To be fair, he could be banned under a different name. If so, McArthy is probably not going to tell us what name it was, and admit he’s been morphing.

  378. Matt Penfold

    To be fair, he could be banned under a different name. If so, McArthy is probably not going to tell us what name it was, and admit he’s been morphing.

    That is possible. However I would have thought were that the case McCarthy should have the decency to say so.

    Still I have asked PZ to confirm is McCarthy is banned. If he is, then I will issue an abject apology. Want a bet on what McCarthy will say if it turns out he is not banned ?

  379. There is no entry for Anthony McCarthy or olvlzl or whatever his pseudonym was in my blog filter list.

    If a banned individual tries to make a comment, it’s held up and stored in the “awaiting approval” queue, where I can scan for entries that have been caught as false positives. Currently, there is a lot of Turkish spam, a volley of stuff from M*bus, some comments from John A. Davison (he tries to post a couple of times a week — he doesn’t seem to understand how the filters work), but absolutely nothing from McCarthy.

    The blog has been glitchy for the past several weeks, but that doesn’t explain it. The blog almost always successfully adds comments to the database, but hangs on re-rendering the page. If it were our typical site error that was bugging McCarthy, we’d see double- and triple-posts from him, not an absence.

    I will say in all fairness, though, that given his recent repetitive performance here, if he did try to comment at Pharyngula, he’d probably find himself in the dungeon soon enough. I’d probably put him in a cell with Kwok, since they seem to get along so famously.

  380. Matt Penfold

    Thank you PZ.

    McCarthy, over to you. Going to be a man or a mouse ?

  381. Matt Penfold

    Oh, and and I take on board PZ’s correction about the posts likely not appearing because of a software problem.

    I was wrong to think that might explain it. Sadly though that leaves a less palatable alternative as looking most likely.

  382. There is another possibility: he could be trying to comment in Turkish. My spam filter currently looks like a weird Turkish dictionary, trying to kill the daily flood, and if he were using a Turkish pseudonym, I’d think he were just another Islamic creationist or car dealership.

    Or there could be another obscure bug in the software that is selectively killing any post from certain individuals, or is cueing on something unusual in the formatting of what he writes, but then he’d be the very first and only person to complain about such a phenomenon.

    Oh, one last possibility: I’ve got a few (a very few) IP addresses banned at the top level, in the .htaccess file. These are all from known commercial spammers, though, and they wouldn’t even see the site, let alone be able to comment to it.

  383. Rilke's Granddaughter

    John Kwok claimed, “I’m taken seriously elsewhere online. Why would I even waste my time with an online cesspool like Pharyngula? I feel sorry for the few really good posters who post there occasionally, lest they’d find themselves mired in its muck.”

    Actually, you’re not. On every site I know where you post regularly you are regarded as a nutcase: a liar, a narcissist, and an intellectual lightweight.

    Got any proof that anyone actually regards you as anything other than a nuisance, a liar, and a cyberstalker?

  384. Rilke's Granddaughter

    Myers: John Davison still tries to post on your blog? Sweet! He’s really the most delusional blogger I’ve ever seen. Of course, he’s crazy, which helps….

  385. bob

    McCarthy, a delusional liar? Boy, I didn’t see that coming …

    Chris, any musings on how the regular comments here reflect on your position?

  386. Gee, PZ, I wonder why I wasn’t able to point out that one of your commentators posted a lie about me on your blog a couple of months back if that’s the truth, I tried twice. And there was at least another time before that. I’ve had no trouble with other ScienceBlogs in the mean time. NOT that I spend much time looking over your remarkably unvaried content, it’s just someone had given me a heads up. And, you’ll notice, I didn’t whine and cry about it, just mentioned it in a discussion of your banning policy. I don’t care who you ban and who you don’t.

    Delusional, bob. As opposed to Ophelia or Matt?

    — However since you were supposed to be providing an example of when Dawkins was uncivil it should say rather more than that surely ? Matt

    Was that what you were gassing on about back in the beginning of June? I was commenting on Dawkins’ civility? I don’t recall. You want to give me the quote when I said something about Dawkins’ civility, actual quotes, in my words, and I’ll answer you right now. But you’ve made a charge that I lied and I still want those quotes too. It’s been pending for more than a month now.

    Rilke’s Granddaughter? Your grandfather was the famous poet who had a vision of a blue angel and wrote the Duino Elegies as a result? Not to mention Das MarienLeben. How ironic can it get?

  387. Well, since you don’t care about my content, I guess I won’t take the time to try and track down this mysterious “bug” until a reader whose opinion matters complains to me.

    Yes, Davison regularly leaves comments that are instantly hoovered up and tossed into the junk pile. M*bus, too — I’ve got most of his unique keywords covered in my filter file, you guys are really only seeing the occasional eruptions in which he changes his M.O. enough to escape automatic detection, briefly.

    They all say the same thing, anyway, so you aren’t missing anything interesting.

  388. It’s all the same to me PZ, like I told the guy who I first mentioned it to above, am I bawling about it? If I want to read about science there are places you don’t have to wear waders to get to it.

  389. J. J. Ramsey

    “JJ R was banned at PZ’s Playhouse, for ‘slagging’, I believe it said? What’s that mean, to methodically rational?”

    Um, no, and really, you aren’t helping yourself with the “PZits” nonsense. How is that any less foolish than Dawkins’ “faith-head” bit? Anyway, for a partial answer to the sort of thing that PZ has in mind, see my link in post #217.

  390. JJR, I meant to put an “e” in there PZites.

    I’ve said from the first times I posted comments here that I wasn’t going to accept the new atheists double standard. If they’re going to practice one, they get the one they apply to their opponents. I’m not going to let them rig the rules in their favor. What you do about that is your decision, that’s mine. I might respect your decision but it’s not applicable to me. I’m just here providing a point of view, I don’t care about my reputation with new atheists.

  391. Matt Penfold

    No apology from McCarthy ?

    I had hoped there would be, but I am not surprised.

    The man claims he was banned from PZ’s blog. PZ comes here and makes it clear there was no ban. Instead of apologising, McCarthy carried on complaining.

    The man is not honest.

  392. John Kwok

    @ 388 -

    RG you tried posting something really ridiculous about me, your comment was sent to the Bathroom Wall of another blog (Incidentally the same blog in which someone else told a creationist to pay heed to something I had said as a terse, but accurate, rebuttal to that creationist’s breathtaking inanity.).

  393. John Kwok

    @ Matt Penfold ( @ 373) -

    Obviously there is a serious problem of evolution denial in the United Kingdom when only 51% of your fellow Britons recognize that there is valid scientific evidence for evolution in the IPSOS Mori poll conducted for the British Council and published last week in the Guardian, as noted here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2009/jul/01/evolution

    If the problem wasn’t as serious as you contend otherwise, then explain why the British Center for Science Education was established as the United Kingdom’s counterpart to our National Center for Science Education? Why did the Geological Society of London issue a statement on 4/11/08 condemning creationism, including Intelligent Design?

  394. John Kwok

    @ PZ Myers -

    Should I have the misfortune of meeting Stuart Pivar in person again, I will give him my best wishes in whatever legal attempt(s) he has in mind to make your life more interesting than it is now. Again, it is rather odd how much you are so similar to each other with regards to your verbal bombast. IMHO you both deserve each other, and in each other’s company, I do wish you well.

  395. John Kwok

    @ PZ Myers -

    I haven’t heard anything from you regarding my observation comparing and contrasting your career with Donald Prothero and Ken Miller’s (@ 365). I presume it is accurate.

    BTW, one of Ken’s former students earned a Nobel Prize in Medicine a few years ago (which I noted last night). While I admit that is mere luck on Ken’s part, it is not luck that he has earned consistently for years teaching awards from a variety of sources. I have yet to see anything remotely similar with regards to your own teaching.

  396. The man is not honest.

    This from Matt Penfold, to me. I don’t remember, Matt Manners, did you apologize to me when you accused me of making death threats yesterday?

    And what was I supposed to conclude when I couldn’t post comments to PZ’s blog but I was to any of the other ScienceBlogs I tried to? If he wants to blame it on HIS software I don’t see as I owe him an apology.

    When I feel like I need lessons in manners from a man who has twice accused me of lying and once accused me of threatening to kill people, without producing the quotes when he gets called to produce it, hell will have frozen over.

  397. John Kwok

    @ TomJoe (364) -

    Personally I wish I would stop reminding everyone that Myers is, by his own admission, a mediocre evolutionary biologist. But there are more than a few of his acolytes who contend repeatedly that he’s a better teacher – and better person – than Ken Miller. Better in what sense? Better in being a bizarre agent provocateur of Militant Atheism. Not better in the sense of his teaching abilities, his service to the scientific community, and especially, in opportunities like testifying about evolution to school board hearings, and most notably, the 2005 Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District trial.

  398. John Kowk @402: But there are more than a few of his acolytes who contend repeatedly that he’s a better teacher – and better person – than Ken Miller.

    What do you expect from sycophantic fanboys? I’d just ignore it and move on. You’re certainly not going to be able to convince them (ironic, the sort of fundamentalism they demonstrate … as long as it is their brand of fundamentalism) so you’re just wasting your time. It may indeed be that Myers is a good teacher, as I said above I certainly hope he is for his students sake. My preference is to listen to Ken Miller (obviously, and will no doubt be said, with no short amount of bias as well) but to each his or her own.

  399. John Kwok

    @ TomJoe -

    Point well taken. Indeed I haven’t even tried to answer each and every “sycophantic fanboy”. Not only is it a waste of my time, I’m undoubtedly giving them more “fodder” to throw back at me.

  400. Costanza

    Excuse me John Kwok, but do you speak for Ken Miller? You make it sound like you are best buddies with Miller and are his PR spokesman.

  401. Costanza

    Also, how about asking some of PZ Myers’ students who have actually attended his classes?

  402. John Kwok

    @ Costanza -

    No I don’t speak for Ken, and I have clearly indicated not just that, but even where I do disagree with him. Nor would I claim to be his “best buddy”. But I do know that – and I’m not going to elaborate – he does appreciate my support.

  403. Rilke's granddaughter

    As I’ve said, John – intellectual honesty isn’t your thing. I’ll repeat my question:

    Actually, you’re not. On every site I know where you post regularly you are regarded as a nutcase: a liar, a narcissist, and an intellectual lightweight.

    Got any proof that anyone actually regards you as anything other than a nuisance, a liar, and a cyberstalker?

    As I pointed out earlier, you’re lying when you say that Myers told you he was mediocre.

    Lying, John. That’s a sin, my child. Not to mention pretty darn stupid. No wonder Myers decided that you were ‘expendable’.

  404. Rilke's granddaughter

    John, you said,

    “RG you tried posting something really ridiculous about me, your comment was sent to the Bathroom Wall of another blog (Incidentally the same blog in which someone else told a creationist to pay heed to something I had said as a terse, but accurate, rebuttal to that creationist’s breathtaking inanity.).”

    This is relevant how, exactly? You were lying on that blog, just as you are lying on this one. To not call you on your falsehoods would be to permit you to be what you seem to be:

    John Kwok: a mendacious pornographer.

    You said it, John.

  405. I am just curious if Mr. Anthony McCarthy has actually gone back to test his ability to post at Pharyngula. A screen cap of any sort of message that shows his post will be moderated for the dungeon would be a great way to put the issue to rest.

  406. No. Mr. Anthony McCarthy only goes back there when someone tells him that someone has posted another lie about him. And he’s not all that interested in what new atheists say about him anymore, anyway. If people hadn’t started talking about whether or not PZ’s blog was censored he wouldn’t have pointed out that he hadn’t been able to refute a lie one of PZ’s Avengers put there.

    Mr. Anthony McCarthy has always said that the owners of the blog can restrict its content in whatever way they choose to without having to answer to anyone who doesn’t own their blog.

    He’s also puzzled why new atheists will call him “Mr” something which even his paying students don’t call him.

  407. Matt Penfold

    What McCarthy actually means here is:

    “No, I have not gone back and checked if I can post at Pharyngula. My claim that I am banned is not based on any facts, but merely the fact I want it to be true. I think it is deeply uncivil for people to demand I provide evidence to support the claim I made. Further I demand that people respect the fact I have no evidence to back my claim to be banned. PZ Myers may be the owner of the blog, but I do not consider he is in a position to know who is banned. If I have decided that I am banned Myers should not contradict that claim, even if he believes it to be untrue.

    To summarise, I know I am banned from Pharyngula because I feel that I am, and it suits my purposes to so claim. Facts and evidence are irrelevant. “

  408. Matt Penfold

    Posted by: Anthony McCarthy | May 18, 2009 6:20 PM

    Well, she is practicing group guilt through dishonest stereotyping, but that’s not any different from what’s done here just about every day.

    You and she deserve each other.

    That is the actual post.

    Please, if you can see that I suggest you visit your doctor and soon. McCarthy has told us he cannot post at Pharyngula as he is banned. So that post you see from him at Pharyngula cannot be real. You are suffering a delusion.

    Thanks Sven for having the patience to trawl through months of postings to find that. Are you ok, or are you still a bit delusional having found something that cannot exist ?

  409. Sven DiMilo

    It was a bit traumatic typing that name into the handy search bar (aka auto-trawler).

  410. Matt Penfold

    It was a bit traumatic typing that name into the handy search bar (aka auto-trawler).

    Nevermind. I am sure Patricia will comfort you on the spanking couch.

  411. How very interesting, Sven, Matt. When did you collect this? Since PZ took such obvious notice of it here the other day?

    And did the comments I tried to post about one of PZ’s commentators lying about me by name, which believe I wrote about that same time, come through, somehow, in the past seven weeks too? Because I did check later that day. You might look for my name in the comments because it was there.

    Maybe PZ decided to fiddle with his filters this weekend, though if he had chosen to ban me, as I said, I’d think he was in his rights to do that.

    And, uh, you didn’t happen to notice what it said, did you? How I characterized a piece of anti-atheist bigotry that appeared in the LA Times :

    Well, she is practicing group guilt through dishonest stereotyping, but that’s not any different from what’s done here just about every day.

    You and she deserve each other.

    That would be GROUP GUILT THROUGH DISHONEST STEREOTYPING.

    Now, do me a favor, Sven and find out if my rebuttal to the lie that was told about me by one of PZ’s Avengers has, somehow, appeared too.

    Matt, is it the name?

  412. John Kwok

    @ Rilke’s Granddaughter -

    The correct phrase is “mendacious intellectual pornographer” which I coined years ago as an apt phrase for creationists of all stripes. None of the Militant Atheists – not even PZ Myers – is worthy of that nickname (though he does come close). No, what he and his favorite “daughter” are guilty of is ongoing juvenile delinquent behavior, which should remain only in college and university fraternity and sorority houses, not acted out – as in “CrackerGate” – or posted online on their blogs.

    But, as I like to say, it takes one to know one. So if I’m a “mendacious pornographer”, then you most clearly are too, since you seem to know what one is.

  413. Matt Penfold

    How very interesting, Sven, Matt. When did you collect this? Since PZ took such obvious notice of it here the other day?

    Sven took the time and trouble to use the search facility. A search using your name returned that post from you.

    A post, it should be pointed out, you claimed you could not make as you were banned.

    So what we have is you claiming you are banned from commenting at Pharyngula , yet PZ has confirmed he is not blocking you in any filter, and we have an example of you posting a comment.

    The evidence shows your claim to be banned is not true. Originally you might have got away with saying that you thought you were but were mistaken. I do not think that option is open to you anymore. We have clear proof that you have been lying to us.

  414. I went back to see what I could find about the refutations I tried to post and believe it was an answer to a commentator called “Rugosa”.

    Here’s what I said later in the week to Dan S. who’s been trolling me around the blogs for years, including here.

    I tried to refute a lie one of the people above posted about me at PZ’s blog, I guess the big bad brawler can’t take the last time we had a disagreement because, as last year, I’m still blocked from commenting there. I think someone realized I didn’t swear there too.
    Anthony McCarthy | 05.21.09 – 3:42 pm

    I think I saw the “Charlotte Allen” post when I was there trying to rebut what was said. Can’t say I remember going back to check on the 21st, though I might have. What you found might have been a test comment, which was why it was so short. Reading through the LA screed again today, I’d have had a lot more to say about ironic parallels if I’d taken longer.

    You know this is really pretty funny, since I pointed out I didn’t question PZ’s right to ban people from his blog and I wasn’t bawling about being banned. Though, I’m wondering why he’d have passed up the chance to try to humiliate me like he has the others he’s got listed.

  415. John Kwok

    @ Costanza -

    To the best of my knowledge, PZ Myers hasn’t earned any of these awards:

    2005: President’s Citation Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Biology Sciences. Given by the American Institute for Biological Sciences

    2006: Public Service Award from The American Society for Cell Biology.

    2008: Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (awarded at its February 2009 annual meeting)

    I could also cite various awards he has received over the years for his excellent teaching at Brown University, but you could misconstrue that as obvious bias from yours truly, since I am an alumnus.

    The point I made is still valid. Myers hasn’t done any teaching (or research) that has earned recognition of the kind which has been bestowed upon Ken Miller from three prominent professional scientific organizations, most notably, the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  416. Matt Penfold

    You know this is really pretty funny, since I pointed out I didn’t question PZ’s right to ban people from his blog and I wasn’t bawling about being banned. Though, I’m wondering why he’d have passed up the chance to try to humiliate me like he has the others he’s got listed.

    You are not banned from Pharyngula.

    What part of that can you not understand ?

    If you cannot get that simple fact into your head, then I give up.

  417. And, Gee, Matt. Here’s the context, someone called “spurge” was whining about how mean and unfair the owners of this blog arel

    362. Anthony McCarthy Says: July 11th, 2009 at 10:30 am
    Gee, spurge, I’m getting my comments held, I’d imagine because O.B. got in a huff and claimed I was libeling her. I’m not bawling.
    PZ banned me, I suspect because I pointed out a research scientist at Yale was actually engaged in research whereas he wasn’t. And I didn’t bawl over that either.
    You people had better toughen up if you intend to keep this up. You can’t depend on your gang getting your back in ever(y) environment.

    You can go read “spurge” whining in his previous comments.

  418. I confess. I haven’t won the Albert Einstein World Award of Science , either. Or the Alexander Agassiz Medal.

    I also haven’t won:

    Abd-el-Tif prize
    Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research/Lasker Foundation (US).
    Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research/Lasker Foundation (US).
    Aldridge Medal
    American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal in Painting
    Archibald Prize, Australia’s premier portraiture award
    Archon X Prize (X Prize Foundation)
    Artist Foundation of San Antonio
    Automotive X Prize – Super-efficient vehicle design competition.
    Balzan prize – international prize for humanities, natural sciences and culture, as well as humanitarian endeavours for peace
    Bartolozzi Prize (Italian Mathematical Union)
    Beck’s Futures
    Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis – biennial international award for applied laser technology (Foundation Berthold Leibinger Stiftung)
    British Orthodontic Society Distinguished Orthodontic Technicians Award
    British Orthodontic Society Technicians Award
    Bungeishunj? Manga Award
    CPJ International Press Freedom Award
    CPS Principal’s Championship
    Caccioppoli Prize (Italian Mathematical Union)
    Carnegie Prize
    Cartazini Art Award €0.000 bi-ennial award in the Visual arts
    Cavling prize (Denmark)
    Clarke Medal – awarded by the Royal Society of New South Wales (Australia) for distinguished work in the Natural sciences
    Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service (PNC Bank Delaware)
    Copley Medal – Physical Sciences and the Biological Sciences (Royal Society of London)
    Crafoord Prize – Sweden
    D.L. Serventy Medal – Ornithology (Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union)
    Dan David Prize – US$1 million prize honouring scientists in the field of “Future Dimension.”
    Danone International Prize for Nutrition
    Demidov Prize – prize established in 1831 for humanities and natural sciences and annually awarded to Russian scientists in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
    DuPont-Columbia Award
    E. B. Wilson Medal
    Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award
    Factor Prize in Southern Art
    Franklin Award – for open access in biology (Bioinformatics Organization)
    Gairdner Foundation International Awards (Canada).
    George Foster Peabody Award – Broadcast journalism
    Glenn Rogers — Media Maverick
    Global Environmental Citizen Award – by the Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment
    Green Room Awards
    Hanno and Ilse Hahn Prize for outstanding contributions in Italian Art History
    Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize (Japan).
    Ho-Am Prize – Korean awards for the development of science and culture and enhancement of the welfare of mankind
    Hubbard Medal – National Geographic Society award for distinction in exploration, discovery, and research
    Humboldt Research Award
    Hunting Art Prize
    Japan Prize
    John Aubuchon Freedom of the Press Awards[3]
    John G. Clark Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Cultic Studies
    John Hobbs Medal – Ornithology (Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union)
    KAIROS Prize
    Kavli Prize
    Keio Medical Science Prize (Japan).
    Komen Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction (Susan G. Komen for the Cure)
    Kyoto Prize – Inamori Foundation Japan
    Lenin Prize – formerly awarded to Soviet citizens for achievements in arts and letters, cinema, mathematics, sciences and other disciplines.
    Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage[4] (Germany)
    Lomonosov Gold Medal – Natural Sciences and the Humanities (Russian Academy of Sciences)
    Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize (US).
    Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize – in Biology and Biochemistry (Columbia University)
    Loye and Alden Miller Research Award – Ornithology (Cooper Ornithological Society)
    Marcel Benoist Prize (Switzerland) – for Sciences and the Humanities
    Marcel Linsman Prize (Belgium)
    Marjory Stephenson Prize/Society for General Microbiology
    Murphy and Cadogan Fellowships in the Fine Arts
    NCTE George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language
    National Medal of Science – given by the President of the United States on recommendation of the National Science Foundation to scientists and engineers in behavioral and social sciences, biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics.
    National Medal of Technology – American award for leading innovators.
    Nicholas Appert Award – given by the Institute of Food Technologists for lifetime contributions to food technology.
    Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest, annual, $5,000.
    Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences)
    Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (Karolinska Institute)
    Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine/Karolinska Institute (Sweden).
    Nuclear-Free Future Award awarded annually
    Ortega y Gasset Award
    Osamu Tezuka Culture Award
    Otto Hahn Medal – awarded annual by the Max Planck Society
    Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize (Germany)
    Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science – awarded annually for science books
    Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water – bi-annual international prize for water-related research
    Prince of Asturias Awards – Sciences, Public Affairs, Humanities (Felipe, Prince of Asturias)
    Prix de Rome
    Public Service (Lasker Foundation)
    Pulitzer Prize
    Puvis de Chavannes Prize
    Robert Capa Gold Medal – awarded for “best published photographic reporting from abroad requiring exceptional courage and enterprise”.
    Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Journalism Award
    Robert Koch Prize (Germany)
    Robert L. Noble Prize/National Cancer Institute of Canada (Canada)
    Rome Prize
    Rumelhart Prize – David E. Rumelhart Prize for Contributions to the Theoretical Foundations of Human Cognition
    Rumford Medal – (Royal Society) restricted to scientists working in Europe
    Rumford Prize – (American Academy of Arts and Sciences)
    Rutherford Medal – (Royal Society of New Zealand)
    Safe-In-Sound Award – Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award
    Saint-Affrique Prize
    Schock Prize in Visual Arts
    Shaw Prize
    Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards
    Sriburapha Award (Thailand)
    Stampacchia Medal (Italian Mathematical Union)
    State Science and Technology Prizes – The highest award granted for Science and Technology in China
    Tezuka Award for manga
    Turner Prize
    UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize
    Vannevar Bush Award – welfare of mankind and the nation (National Science Foundation)
    Walkley Award, (Australia)
    Wayne B. Nottingham Prize – awarded annually for outstanding doctoral research in surface science.
    Werner-von-Siemens-Ring – tributes to persons who have promoted the technical sciences
    Wolf Prize in Medicine/Wolf Foundation, (Israel).
    World Association of Newspapers’s Golden Pen of Freedom Award
    Wynn Newhouse Award

    I especially haven’t won the Templeton Prize.

    I guess I need to quit teaching and blogging until I’ve won all of those.

  419. McCarthy has not tried to post anything at the blog recently. He is content to claim that he is banned; there is no need for him to test it, since that would show that he’s making stuff up.

  420. John Kwok

    @ PZ Myers -

    This is off topic, but I am amazed that there are some over at your blog who think Craig Venter would somehow be better than Francis Collins in heading NIH. This is the same Craig Venter, who, with his former company, Celera Genomics, engaged in a race with the lead NIH team – Eric Lander’s at MIT’s Whitehead Institute – in sequencing the human genome, by quite literally “crashing the party” at what looked liked the proverbial “last hour before midnight”.

    I never thought I’d see the day where some at Pharyngula would consider a reckless capitalist like Venter far more acceptable as a potential NIH head than someone, Collins, who was an able administrator of the Human Genome Project for years.

  421. Matt Penfold

    PZ banned me, I suspect because I pointed out a research scientist at Yale was actually engaged in research whereas he wasn’t. And I didn’t bawl over that either.

    Except that he did not ban you.

    He has come here and made it clear you are not banned. For some reason even after you being told you are not banned you continue to insist you are.

    If you think you are banned, provide the evidence. If you cannot not or will not, apologise to both everyone on this blog and PZ. At the moment you just keep insisting you are despite evidence to the contrary. And that my friend, makes you a liar.

    At his point I think either Chris or Sheril need to step in, and insist you either support your claims with evidence or withdraw them. Since Chris has made it clear a blog can be judged by the people who post comments on it, at the the moment The Intersection could be shown to condone wilful dishonesty, not to mention libel.

  422. John Kwok

    @ Matt -

    Coming from you, your latest (@ 425) is laughable since you still deny that there is apparently a serious evolution denial problem in the United Kingdom (And please don’t give me more nonsense about your mea culpa at Pharyngula, since, when you were confronted first by me and several others here and at Rosenhouse’s blog, you denied that the United Kingdom had any problem.).

  423. Matt Penfold

    Coming from you, your latest (@ 425) is laughable since you still deny that there is apparently a serious evolution denial problem in the United Kingdom (And please don’t give me more nonsense about your mea culpa at Pharyngula, since, when you were confronted first by me and several others here and at Rosenhouse’s blog, you denied that the United Kingdom had any problem.).

    #425 is your comment, not mine.

  424. John Kwok

    @ Matt -

    Let’s not parse words, shall we? You’re a sanctimonious hypocrite for asserting that “…. either Chris or Sheril need to step in, and insist you either support your claims with evidence or withdraw them. Since Chris has made it clear a blog can be judged by the people who post comments on it, at the the moment The Intersection could be shown to condone wilful dishonesty, not to mention libel.”
    REST DELETED

  425. John Kwok

    @ Matt (@ 427) -

    No, it’s not mine but your comment (@ 425). I just double-checked. However, for someone so self righteous as yourself, I find it fascinating that you still insist that your country, the United Kingdom, doesn’t have an evolution denial problem that’s almost as serious as my country’s (United States).

  426. Matt Penfold

    425. John Kwok Says:
    July 12th, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    @ PZ Myers -

    This is off topic, but I am amazed that there are some over at your blog who think Craig Venter would somehow be better than Francis Collins in heading NIH. This is the same Craig Venter, who, with his former company, Celera Genomics, engaged in a race with the lead NIH team – Eric Lander’s at MIT’s Whitehead Institute – in sequencing the human genome, by quite literally “crashing the party” at what looked liked the proverbial “last hour before midnight”.

    I never thought I’d see the day where some at Pharyngula would consider a reckless capitalist like Venter far more acceptable as a potential NIH head than someone, Collins, who was an able administrator of the Human Genome Project for years.

    As I said, not mine.

    However, I have already addressed your comments. I am sorry you could not understand my earlier reply. I did try not to use long words that would confuse you. Clearly I failed in that effort.

    Maybe you could ask Ken Miller to explain the hard bits for you.

  427. Matt Penfold

    It would seem there is something wrong with the comment numbering system.

    Comment #425 is now:

    425. PZ Myers Says:
    July 12th, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    McCarthy has not tried to post anything at the blog recently. He is content to claim that he is banned; there is no need for him to test it, since that would show that he’s making stuff up.

  428. Hey, PZ, I told you, it’s all the same to me. I don’t really care. It’s your fan boys who are keeping it up. You want to get shut of it, tell them, not me. Matt can’t stand because a Mic doesn’t show sufficient reverence to his idols. He’ll never let it drop.

    What part of a blog owner has a right to determine the content of their blog don’t you guys understand. I said to spurge I didn’t care as I was saying it. I only mentioned it to Dan S. on May 21 because he was really over the top annoying me over one of his lexicographic obsessions.

    Did those two rebuttals that I’d actually cared about at the time show up?

  429. Matt Penfold

    I see McCarthy still cannot admit he lied about being banned.

    Can we start calling him mentally ill now ?

  430. Matt Penfold

    And what is a “mic” ?

    If you mean “Mick”, as in slang for Irish, then I would point to McCarthy he is American, and not from either the Republic of Ireland nor Northern Ireland. He may have Irish ancestry, but that is not the same thing.

  431. Sven DiMilo

    p.s. is everybody being moderated now, or is it just me who’s been aded to the Dangeral list?

  432. Sven DiMilo

    p.p.s. Except that that one went right through. I’m guessing that the keyword “Myers” is now triggering moderation?
    submitting this to test

  433. Sven DiMilo

    nope.
    “stupid”?

  434. Sven DiMilo
  435. — Can we start calling him mentally ill now ? Matt

    What do you mean “now”? Do you think I care about your opinion of me? I’m just hoping to give the blog it’s first 450 comment thread.

  436. @Anthony McCarthy –

    He’s also puzzled why new atheists will call him “Mr” something which even his paying students don’t call him.

    Okay – I was feigning respect while mocking you.

    @ John Kwok -

    I wish to clarify something with you, and apologize in a sense (but not really) for making this public. Your continued behavior in this thread merits this. Through FaceBook you asked Greg Laden and I to try to influence PZ to get him to stop mocking you in the “Voting Off Pharyngula” threads.

    I really need to point out that I don’t pretend to be a Close Personal Friend of PZ Myers. We are casual acquaintances, and we meet up occasionally at various Minnesota Atheist events. He has always been gracious with me, especially when I brought my kids to see him and his lab at the University of Minnesota Morris. (It had a great positive effect on their interest in biology even though we didn’t see any zebrafish eggs under the stereo-microscope.)

    For you to ask me to do something like that told me that it was embarrassing and bothering you, despite your disclaimers that you could care less. I suggested that you, in fact, needed to back off and re-examine what you were trying to accomplish. If you engage with PZ, you are going to lose. Further, PZ would have ignored such a request from me. He doesn’t look to me for advice on personal matters nor on what he should do at Pharyngula.

    Of course I am a loyal Pharyngulista, because I agree with what he says and does 99% of the time (and especially on those occasions where he links to a post at my blog.)

    I came to the conclusion in this thread that I don’t value your friendship because your complete inability to display any sort of self-reflection in your public persona. You may be competely personable in a real-life situation, and if I am ever in your neck of the woods I am willing to give it a shot. The reason I “unfriended” you was that I would be embarrassed if someone I respect were to see you on my “Friends” list after all this.

    So, if you want me to re-consider:

    Drop this track and grow up.

    I am baffled as to why my friendship is important to you. My brief flirtation with fame as a radio show host is now over, so I am not really a “name” to drop.

  437. John Kwok

    @ PZ Myers -

    Taking a brief moment from celebrating Bastille Day. You’re really a sanctimonious jerk. Who cares which prizes you haven’t won (BTW to everyone else, trust me. PZ demonstrates once again why he’s such a great “name dropper”, which he illustrates @ 424.)?

    Anyway, I think you need to take some overdue lessons in humility from some of my famous friends, starting of course with the one you called a “creationist” at Pharyngula back in September 2006 (Such a good “creationist” that one of his very first students at his current teaching job won the Nobel Prize in Medicine a few years ago. Right?). Or maybe Stuart Pivar will give you your just dessert legally speaking.

  438. John Kwok

    @ PZ Myers -

    Thanks for demonstrating that you’re a juvenile delinquent who reminds me of a bully – another Viking descendant – I knew back in middle school.

    Anyway, here’s one more award you’ve never won (or will):

    The first ever Stephen Jay Gould award presented by the Society for the Study of Evolution at its June 2009 annual meeting to Dr. Eugenie Scott, Executive Director, National Center for Science Education

    P. S. Have you ever thought of taking lessons in manners from the Minnesota Orchestra’s music director, Osmo Vanska? Have enjoyed hearing him conducting his orchestra here in NYC a few times and he seems far more civilized than a certain Minnesotan evolutionary developmental biologist.

  439. John Kwok

    @ Mike -

    I think your pal PZ just demonstrated how stupid he is by reciting every award he’s never won.

    IMHO in light of his antics, he deserves the “admiration” of someone like Stuart Pivar, who, in the short span of a few minutes, came across to me as a geriatric version of PZ. I hate to say it again, but IMHO, they both deserve each other.

    Aside from that, I’m not going to comment further, except to note that Myers is in dire need of some lessons with regard to tact and humility. Someone, maybe Osmo Vanska (And no, I’ve never met him, but I greatly appreciate what he has done musically with the Minnesota Orchestra), should try “educating” him.

  440. Sven DiMilo

    Since I still appear to be a babbling idiot, I’d like to clarify that I submitted a comment–a perfectly mild-mannered one, as I recall, in which I didn’t call anybody any names (that I recall)–that was held for moderation. When released, it will appear between the current # 436 and the current #437 (which is why the current #437 is a p.s.)
    The comment numbering went screwy because the current #424 and # 425 were inserted late, presumably after release from moderation.

    gah, no preview…here goes

  441. — Okay – I was feigning respect while mocking you. Mike Haubrich, FCD

    You’d better watch out the disingenuousness cops are out here. I’d tell you what my friends call me but it wouldn’t go through the filter at all.

    There are people whose respect I can do without. New atheists are some of those people. Other atheists, not so often.

    “Pharyngulista” I’d really find another word, if I was you. Sounds too much like a really awful urinary tract disorder. Not that you guys would take my advice on something like that.

  442. Sven DiMilo

    My comment explaining that I have another comment awaiting moderation is now itself awaiting moderation…

  443. tomh

    Poor Kwok has gone completely off the rails now. If he were ever charged with sanity you couldn’t gather enough evidence to convict him.

  444. Feynmaniac

    Anthony McCarthy,

    I went back to see what I could find about the refutations I tried to post and believe it was an answer to a commentator called “Rugosa”.

    Are you talking about this comment:

    Someone told me you’d said something like this here, Rugosa. I’m surprised you risked leaving a link so anyone who wanted to find out what I actually said might be able to see you were lying. Of course, it’s not anything like what I said.

    Typical of the ScienceBlog standard of evidence, though.

    I find that last sentence ironic.

  445. Sorbet

    Kwok, your quote about Venter being a “reckless capitalist” only demonstrates that you are not aware of the significant contributions to sequencing and genomics which he has made. Sure, he is full of himself, but that does not take away anything from his scientific achievements.

  446. Aquaria

    Wow, Mr. Pearl-Clutcher. Didn’t know I’d gotten your panties in such a knot, just because I used some rough language, and asked why you don’t hold people responsible for educating themselves a little.

    I am a mere postal worker, admittedly not very bright in comparison to the likes of PZ, but I know B.S. (notice how I tone down at your blog, for your ever-so-delicate sensibilities) when I see it, and forgive me for being a working class slob who calls things like I see ‘em, in blunt language. That’s how it is, and I’m not ashamed of it.

    I’m flattered that a famous author could get so upset that he would quote me.

    Thanks for making my day. :)

    Oh, and as I’ve promised to do, although I’ll edit it, you can still you-know-what right off, because you’re still spewing nonsense–and you’ve been doing that for quite a while now.

    One last thing: I am of the Emilio Zapata mentality: Better to die on my feet than live on my knees. You might consider trying it out sometime. You can see a lot better when you’re not down there where people can do all kinds of things to you.

    Although you might like such things. I’d be inclined to believe it, considering how you’re willing to lay down for the nutters.

  447. Well, Matt, isn’t that interesting. And after PZ took notice of what I said on this thread. Something that I didn’t have any expectation of.

    And after I gave you a roadmap to find it, if it had also seemed to suddenly appear. Now, why do you think I’d do that if I had reason to believe it had been there all along? And, knowing Dan S’s obsessive pursuit of just about anything he figures would discredit me (you should see what he digs up on the merest suggestion, which I have gladly given him, tiny quotes in huge, long comment threads from years ago) why would I have said that to him on May 21st?

    I’m glad I’ve been able to take up so much of your time. I wish I could remember what it was last year, but there’s been so much water under the bridge since then.

    I’m sure someone must be reading this and wondering what it was all about. Darned if I know. All I said was that three comments I posted on PZ’s blog hadn’t shown up there that I could see, so I’d concluded he didn’t want me to comment there. Which I’ve said he’s got a right to do.

  448. John Kwok

    @ Sorbet -

    Believe me, I am well aware of what Venter has done. But he has done so by bending long-established rules of science. Even allowing himself to be the subject of a complete genomic sequencing of one individual – which I know was published recently – is really pushing the envelope with regards to what should – and shouldn’t be – permissible in scientific research. I am certain that some bioethicists are having a “field day” with this as I write.

    It is Venter’s activities as both a scientist and as an experimental subject – and in both instances clearly aware of potential financial gain – which, I believe, warrants the description of “reckless capitalist”. If no one is willing to admit how unsavory some of Venter’s activities have been, then I believe we run the risk of creeping further down a slippery slope allowing human experimentation of the kind not seen since the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese Militarists of World War II.

    Regardless of what one thinks of Collins’s religious views – which incidentally, I don’t endorse at all – the fact remains that he was a very capable administrator of the Human Genome Project. It is primarily for that reason – and I presume based in part on molecular biologist Eric Lander’s recommendation (Since Lander is on the presidential advisory council on science and technology) – that Collins was selected as head of NIH by the President.

  449. Oh, and this thread is more than 450 posts. That was my goal.

  450. Feynmaniac

    Anthony McCarthy,

    You claimed that Myers banned you. Your name never appeared in the dungeon page, Myers denied you were and two comments posted by you have been found on Pharyngula (one which you said was never posted). If you have a shred of integrity simply say were mistaken and apologize.

  451. Kseniya

    Anthony McC:

    It’s too tempting to resist pointing out the extreme irony of the idea that you could DESECRATE a copy of TGD.

    It’s also impossible to resist pointing out that you’ve ignored the implications of the scare quotes around the word “desecrated” – intentionally, perhaps, because to recognize those implications would undermine the point you so gleefully attempt make?

    You’re olvlzl? I remember you. There’s no indication that you’ve ever been banned from Pharyngula. When was the last time you tried to post, and what happened when you did try?

    John Kwok: The point here focuses on what you say and how you say it. It seems that you, like Anthony and me, have something you just can’t resist: in your case, it’s wording things in a way that implies you know more about (in this case, Sheril’s) personal life than you’re willing to post here, because, hey, you know, you’re close. Perhaps you’re unaware that you (repeatedly) make such impressions.

  452. John Kwok

    @ Mike Haubrich -

    If my intent was to gather every “famous person” I know of over at FB, then I’d have a list of friends almost as long as PZ. I didn’t pick you because I thought you were – or were potentially – famous. I found you quite interesting as a person on your own terms. Too bad you couldn’t see that in me too.

    Anyway I have spent the weekend listening to great jazz music performed by some really first rate jazz musicians (and yes, one of them happens to be an old friend of mine, but I came to hear him since he’s a friend, not because he also happens to be well known too) and celebrating Bastille Day early. Let me just end this on a high note, saying that I did value your friendship, and maybe one day, may do so again.

  453. John Kwok

    @ Kysenia -

    Only a delusional fool – and I am starting to think you are one – would presume that I know about Sheril’s personal life. I don’t and frankly, even if I did, then it’s not my responsibility, but hers whether or not she would want to reveal it.

    Let me close however, with nearly the same comment I just wrote in reply to Mike Haubrich’s earlier comment. I’ve been busy celebrating Bastille Day and would like to call it a truce until tomorrow….. okay?

  454. Sven DiMilo
  455. Feynmaniac

    Only a delusional fool – and I am starting to think you are one – would presume that I know about Sheril’s personal life.

    Are you aware that there is a record of what you type here?
    Comment 348:

    Last time I checked, Sheril has a boyfriend and is quite committed to him (Anything more I can say would be a violation of her privacy, so I’ll leave it at that.).

    That you know she is “quite committed” to her boyfriend and that you don’t want to violate ” her privacy” certainly sounds like you are implying you know about her personal life.

  456. John Kwok

    @ Feynmaniac -

    I wish I hadn’t said that (@ 461) but you’re really a sanctimonious jerk, because it was in response to an inane comment from someone who thought Sheril would become the target of my affections. So I had to respond. As for you, you’re merely demonstrating that you are quite simply, yet another delusional Coyne/Myers Militant Atheist Borg drone.

  457. John Kwok

    @ Sven -

    Okay I’ll hum the French national anthem in your honor before hitting the sack.

  458. Feynmaniac

    @Kwok,

    Resistance is futile.

  459. Kseniya

    Mr. Kwok:

    Only a delusional fool – and I am starting to think you are one – would presume that I know about Sheril’s personal life. I don’t and frankly, even if I did, then it’s not my responsibility, but hers whether or not she would want to reveal it.

    Tsk, tsk. So uncivil!

    Projecting again, are you, John?

    You really don’t get it, do you? Your blind spots are strangely fascinating.

    It seems that you aren’t putting much effort into understanding what I’m saying. The only other reasonable explanation is that you are intentionally “misunderstanding” me in an effort to avoid processing what it is I’m trying to tell you.

    So. What is is, then? Only a deluded fool would presume….?

    Presume?

    I don’t see where presumption comes into this at all. Here is what you originally wrote:

    Last time I checked, Sheril has a boyfriend and is quite committed to him (Anything more I can say would be a violation of her privacy, so I’ll leave it at that.)

    Does that statement not explicitly state that you do indeed know something about Sheril’s personal life? Does it not then go on to parenthetically imply that you know even more than you’re willing to post here?

    And now you accuse me of “presuming” that you know something, when you’re already come out and stated that you do?

  460. Kseniya

    John Kwok:

    I’ve been busy celebrating Bastille Day and would like to call it a truce until tomorrow….. okay?

    Oh geez. I’m such a deluded fool, I missed this afterthought in my haste to respond to the substantive portion of your comment. My bad. Sure, truce. We can drop the whole thing, if you’d like.

    (My apologies to Sheril for even mentioning her name. This really has nothing to do with her. It has to do with why JK was banned from ERV’s site (and, to a lesser extent, with why he was banned from Pharyngula.)

  461. There are people whose respect I can do without. New atheists are some of those people. Other atheists, not so often.

    We are devastated. No, really.

  462. Kseniya, one of your fellow PZ cultists said @ 330 During “crackergate” in addition to a wafer he also “desecrated” a copy of the Koran and of “The God Delusion”.

    While you can, logically, “desecrate” a copy of the Koran, which is held to be sacred to include TGD as liable to the same act is illogical, since it’s an atheist screed against the idea of the sacred in that same sense. “Scare quotes”, you do know that phrase doesn’t apply in this instance. I doubt anyone was frightened by them, though they were rather clumsily used by Feynmaniac, as I recall it was.

    It’s so funny to see the lengths to which you guys will go to to protect your hero from someone who has said all along that what PZ does on his own blog is his own business and he can ban whoever he wants to, either choosing to do it himself or giving the gong mallet to his quite predictable ditto heads. I WAS TELLING SOMEONE WHINING ABOUT WHAT THE OWNERS OF THIS BLOG MIGHT CHOOSE TO DO ON THEIR BLOG TO GROW UP!

    You thought I was “accusing” PZ the infallible of something horrible and terrible, something which, I’ll point out, he actually does to other people and holds them up to humiliation in the process. BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT I WAS DOING AT ALL!

    I don’t care if PZ banned me officially or unofficially, as Coyne seems to have. They get to do that on their own blogs just as the owners of this one do to make any decision about its content, consistent or inconsistent, fair or unfair. You guys don’t seem to be able to understand the simplest ideas that grown ups get to decide these things, we aren’t the government which has to abide by requirements to be even handed.

    I’ll admit, after I found out how important it was to some of you PZ cultists, I’ve just been yanking your chains and wasting your time.

    Mike Haubrich, FCD, I don’t care enough to care if you’re indifferent to my not wanting your respect or even if you all get together and spread nasty gossip about me. You’re the intellectual equivalent of a delusional Trekkie fan club.

  463. John Kwok

    @ Kseniya -

    Since you obviously have nothing important to say, you are merely interested in launching ad hominem attacks upon me. Be the good delusional internet troll that you most certainly are and infest some other website.

    @ Mike -

    Unfortunately Anthony McCarthy may have a point. Whereas I have noted online, not just here, but elsewhere, how much I disagree with Ken Miller’s apparent acceptance of a weak anthropic principle – and have pointed out Massimo Pigliucci’s excellent refutation of that over at Pigliucci’s Rationally Speaking blog – I have yet to read online from you a single line of criticism condemning Myers for his ridiculous, often infantile (which he demonstrated yesterday by his long list of awards not won here at this very discussion thread), behavior.

    Just because someone is a friend of mine, either in person or over at FB, doesn’t mean that I agree with everything they say or do (In at least 90% of the instances I know of, I definitely disagree with a lot of their views – and I am sure they would think the same of mine – but I still do value their friendships for various reasons.).

  464. Stu

    @John Kwok:

    Why are you celebrating Bastille Day now? You are aware it is on the 14th, right?

    @Anthony McCarthy:

    You were never banned from Pharyngula. The comments have always been there. This objective reality. You are embarrassing yourself.

  465. John Kwok

    @ Stu -

    There were two popular public street fairs held yesterday in New York City in honor of Bastille Day (which I know is July 14th) and I went to both. One was almost around the corner from an APPLE store, and I had a chance there to respond to some comments here at the Intersection briefly before returning to that fair, including PZ’s rather absurd boasting of which awards he has never won (Though a notable omission is of course not being the first recipient of the Society for the Study of Evolution’s Stephen Jay Gould Prize, whose first recipient, Dr. Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education, was awarded at its annual June 2009 scientific meeting. I don’t think PZ will ever qualify for this award IMHO; since far more promising candidates probably include paleobiologists Peter Ward, Mark Norell and Michael Novacek, evolutionary geneticist Francisco J. Ayala, evolutionary developmental biologist Sean B. Carroll, and maybe, cell biologist Ken Miller.).

  466. Stu

    “There were two popular public street fairs held yesterday in New York City in honor of Bastille Day ”

    Ah. Well, that’s still pretty dumb, but at least it isn’t your fault.

    “including PZ’s rather absurd boasting of which awards he has never won”

    Does sarcasm exist in your world? Or, for that matter, self-awareness of any kind? No, actually, don’t answer the latter.

  467. John Kwok

    @ Stu -

    Obviously you’re not from New York City. Both street fairs closed important streets for several blocks, which, for these streets, would have been virtually impossible during the business week.

    PZ’s online stunt here wasn’t mere sarcasm. It was utter stupidity IMHO, but I’m glad he demonstrated it, since it merely proved my point that he is nothing more than a bizarre agent provocateur of Militant Atheism. He’s nowhere nearly as effective a communicator of science as either Scott or Miller or anyone else I have cited. But he does excel in causing trouble and especially, in promoting religious bigotry.

  468. — You were never banned from Pharyngula. The comments have always been there. This objective reality. You are embarrassing yourself. Stu

    Funny, I don’t feel embarrassed. They weren’t there when I looked and I never went back to check because I didn’t care about it.

    I don’t care what new atheists think of me. Keep jumping, if you want to. I’ve said as much as I wanted to on the subject.

  469. Stu

    Oh, Anthony, if you follow this link you can see what it looks like when someone gets banned from Pharyngula:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/07/what_not_to_do_in_the_neighbor.php

  470. Sven DiMilo

    Hmm, well, it loks like my comment that should have been #437 is never going to demoderate. As I recall, it was about Ken Miller’s prominence having resulted from his writing textbooks, rather than doing breakthrough science (though I did acknowledge his scientific career as well, with some specific examples). For the record.

  471. Watchman

    McCarthy, if you weren’t so intentionally obtuse, you’d be able to see and admit what Feynmaniac and Kseniya are talking about with regard to the “scare quotes” (which is itself a sometimes misleading figure of speech). Feynmaniac was arguably careless in not distinguishing between the desecration of the Koran and the “desecration” of TGD, but it’s obvious what he meant, and it’s obvious what PZs hammer-and-a-nail stunt was meant to communicate: “Nothing’s Sacred”. Neither the Bible, nor the Koran, nor a consecrated host are any more sacred than a copy of a Richard Dawkins book, which isn’t sacred at all, despite the persistent claims of the rabid theists and anti-evolutionists who insist on characterizing Dawkins as some kind of prophet of atheism.

    As for you, Kwok, your comments are rich in unintended irony. You’re a laughingstock. Kseniya is not. If you had ANY capacity for self-examination, you’d know why.

  472. John Kwok

    @ Watchman -

    Well your moniker is most apt. You come across like the Comedian did in the film “Watchmen”. IMHO, if anyone is a laughingstock, it is you.

  473. Sven DiMilo

    John puts the “H” in “IMHO.”

  474. Watchman

    John Kwock, you have no talent for barbed comebacks. How refreshing. I salute you.

  475. John Kwok

    @ Watchman -

    Nor do I really have any interest in contending with someone like yourself who is undoubtedly a most curious hybrid of Ferengi, Klingon and Romulan. Enjoy your current membership in the Coyne/Myers
    Militant Atheist Borg Collective. You are most certainly enjoying it.

  476. John Kwok

    @ Sven -

    I understand Ken made an important discovery on cellular membranes years ago. His current success is due more to his ongoing work as a staunch defender of the teaching of evolution in science classrooms than as a science textbook author; a “hobby” of his which started when he debated Institute for Creation Research vice president Henry Morris years ago on the campus of our undergraduate alma mater (I will take credit – and deservedly so – for getting him started in his “hobby”, since I assisted him at that debate.).

  477. Watchman

    Since when are Ferengi, Klingon and Romulan hybrids members of the Borg Collective? Haven’t we had enough retconning for one season?

  478. John Kwok

    @ Watchmen -

    Well if you’ve watched “Star Trek” closely, I think you can spot assimilated Ferengi, Klingons and Romulans as members of tbe Borg.

  479. ndt

    The undeniable reality of the situation is that the gap between scientists and the public is the fault of both

    I’ll deny that, and I also notice that you omitted the party most at fault – the liars. It’s the Ken Hams, Kent Hovinds, Jerry Falwells, Andrew Wakefields, and Jenny McCarthys that bear most of the blame for this. Why do you not even mention them?

  480. Watchman

    John Kwok:

    Well if you’ve watched “Star Trek” closely, I think you can spot assimilated Ferengi, Klingons and Romulans as members of tbe Borg.

    True enough. I see no hybrids, though, which is what we were talking about, yes? In your words, “a most curious hybrid of Ferengi, Klingon and Romulan.” No?

    Now that we’ve descended into the first circle of silliness, can we call it a draw?

    I have no particular quarrel with you, John, other than your insistence on characterizing Kseniya as a “delusional troll” when it’s you who has persisted in misunderstanding her, you who has failed to address criticisms of your own dissonant statements and questionable behaviors. I’m not sure I care enough to continue this, though. It’s all OT anyway. Cheers, have a nice day, live and let live, etc. etc. etc.

  481. Marcel Kincaid

    What will M&K say now that Jerry Coyne has demolished their book in the pages of Science? Will Mooney, who said he was betting that the review would be “balanced and fair”, now claim he lost the bet and attack Dr. Coyne? Or will he, for once, accept the judgment of his betters that he is *wrong*?

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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

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