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[UPDATE - 24-Oct] - audio of interview with PZ] - Pluggin’ - Comments

debaser71's Avatar Comment 1 by debaser71

PZ IMO has gotten way too involved with certain types of feminists for me to take him seriously anymore. His blog has become the cesspool of the internet. I'd rather the more prominent atheists (like RD) avoid him.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 13:47:13 UTC | #882881

BaltimoreOriole's Avatar Comment 2 by BaltimoreOriole

Like debaser, I've also soured on PZ for his insistence on Stalinist purity at his blog with respect to his anti-rational, extreme notions of feminism and the bullying tactics he and his cultish followers employ against those who disagree with him. I used to assume that atheism was a fairly reliable marker of a more general rational mind-set, but I've come to question that casual assumption. I think you'd be more likely to enjoy a rational discussion with Francis Collins over his absurd religious beliefs than with PZ over his absurd political beliefs.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 14:13:54 UTC | #882887

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 3 by Rich Wiltshir

C'mon debaser71, we're all people of reason. Save your stone throwing for the nutjobs who infest young minds with degrading stupidity.

Nothing I've seen of PZM earns derision. This is a man who collects data to form opinions, challenges unfounded opinions with the rigour of reason and steers his own course based on solid intelligent, reasoned, scientific observation and analysis.

He's certainly right about plugging "The Magic Of Reality". It's a title that sumarises the input of all my senses, but that's because our species finally has a culture that dilutes the bigotry of religion. This isn't and shouldn't be about individuals becoming figureheads. It is and must be about equipping ourselves to make and be the best of all we can be.

Please don't trap yourself with comments that are in tune with your chosen name debaser71.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 14:16:19 UTC | #882888

debaser71's Avatar Comment 4 by debaser71

See, part of what irks me about PZ and a large percentage of his internet horde is that they are supposed to be skeptics yet when the topic is feminism (feminist theory) they trade their skepticism for unadulterated mean spirited non-argument dogmatism. I have yet to see RD, CH, SH, or DD go off the deep end on an issue. I speculate that PZ spends too much time around college kids. Feel free to disagree. I promise I won't call you a f**kface, cupcake, or suggest you insert animals in your anus.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 14:34:17 UTC | #882892

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 5 by mirandaceleste

Comment 1 by debaser71 :

PZ IMO has gotten way too involved with certain types of feminists for me to take him seriously anymore. His blog has become the cesspool of the internet. I'd rather the more prominent atheists (like RD) avoid him.

I agree 100%

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 14:46:33 UTC | #882897

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 6 by Rich Wiltshir

Thanks for the laugh debaser71. "I promise I won't..." often prefaces a put down.

Maybe you're better informed than I. My only gripe about PZM is the pronunciation of "zed" and "zee" but that's a bit of Brit bigotry I guess. I'd love to see the US spell "colour" "aluminium" and scores of other words in the English fashion; I hate to see "formulas" instead of "formulae". But only religoons seek homogenous populations.

Differences are important. When we challenge religoon's dogma we fight for difference to thrive.

Stay happy.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 14:51:43 UTC | #882900

JuJu's Avatar Comment 7 by JuJu

When it comes to science PZ is a straight shooter. He calls it like it is. He debunks creationist and ID'ers using wit and real intelligence. He also explains the science of biology in an eloquent and understanding way.

The whole Rebecca Watson "elevator incident" was completely subjective and in my opinion anecdotal. I think the whole thing was overblown and I wish PZ hadn't wasted so much time on it. But like I said it was completely subjective and not science, just personal opinions.

I personally check PZ's blog daily and almost always find interesting stuff that helps me understand what's going on in this world just a little bit better. PZ is one of the good guys.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 14:52:40 UTC | #882901

yanquetino's Avatar Comment 8 by yanquetino

Frankly, I can understand where the first two bloggers are coming from, as I now harbor similar feelings. Nonetheless, I'm very glad to see The Magic of Reality given more airtime, as it is a wonderful book, one that I am truly savoring, page by page. I have already purchased and tucked away several copies that I will give my grandchildren for Christmas, with the hope that their believer parents will also read them. Maybe PZ will likewise consider giving a copy to Watson, since she has sworn to never again purchase Richard's works or recommend them to anyone else...? Otherwise, it will be her very sad loss!

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 14:52:58 UTC | #882902

blitz442's Avatar Comment 9 by blitz442

Comment 5 by mirandaceleste

Comment 1 by debaser71 :

PZ IMO has gotten way too involved with certain types of feminists for me to take him seriously anymore. His blog has become the cesspool of the internet. I'd rather the more prominent atheists (like RD) avoid him.

I agree 100%

I'd probably be one of the last people to be sympathetic to those "certain types of feminists" (who are thankfully the minority), but I don't think that his blog has become a cesspool. The science content is fantastic and his withering attacks on creationism are valid, and funny. Let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 15:00:28 UTC | #882904

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 10 by Steve Zara

Comment 5 by mirandaceleste

I agree 100%

I don't know about the state of PZ's blog, as I rarely read it these days. I think he's a great writer on scientific matters, but too many strange and extreme political views got expressed earlier this year and some quite childish and unnecessary insults thrown at good people by PZ.

I say we don't have or don't want heroes or heroines. Take each person for what they can contribute, and throw away the rest if that is possible. The idea that someone's views on politics should be reasonable because they happen to be an evolution-supporting atheist has no foundation.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 15:17:58 UTC | #882907

Daz365's Avatar Comment 11 by Daz365

I think PZ's support of rebecca watson was absolutely spot on and talk of "Stalinist purity" at on his blog is nonsense, although he does ban the trolls it's no different from the censorship for those veering away from the right wing of this forum. IMHO.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 15:18:09 UTC | #882908

BaltimoreOriole's Avatar Comment 12 by BaltimoreOriole

I agree with Steve that we should not have heroes; we can and should separate the good (Newton invented calculus) from the bad (he had heretics tortured and killed). The intention of my comment was to admit my mistake of casually assuming that atheist = completely rational. So to the extent that PZ's weird behaviour curbed my hero-worshipping tendencies, it was salutary. PZ is a good scientist and a gifted, sometimes inspired writer; I won't pretend those traits don't exist because I'm irritated by his irrational behaviour in other contexts.

But Daz, the point isn't whether it was okay for RW to criticize the elevator guy. I was sympathetic to what she had to say about that incident. What upset me as well as upsetting a lot more famous folk (Russell Blackford, Miranda, Abbie, among others) was the vicious way PZ, RW and their cultish followers attacked anyone who dared to disagree with them. Among other things, PZ did in fact ban people just for disagreeing, played dirty rhetorical tricks, condoned bullying and name-calling on the part of RW and his acolytes, and did some pretty ugly name-calling of his own, for example calling Russell Blackford a bald-face liar.

It was really disappointing to a lot of us. I won't emulate the ridiculous RW and call for a boycott of PZ's works - Hell, I'll buy his book myself, if it ever comes out and promises to be interesting - but I can flatly say he's lost a lot of respect.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 15:45:16 UTC | #882913

Tiende Landeplage's Avatar Comment 13 by Tiende Landeplage

As Hitchens mentions in the opening pages of "god Is No Great", prominent atheists can in fact disagree strongly on various matters without excommunicating each other. Unlike Watson and her stated boycott of all Dawkins' future works, I'd be very surprised if Dawkins should feel any need to "avoid" his old friend and brother-in-arms PZ Myers because of their differing stands on the so-called Elevatorgate.

Myers' Pharyngula blog is still one of my favorite places to visit along with RDN. PZ is funny, hard-hitting and eloquent. Occasionally I disagree with him, occasionally I disagree with Dawkins, but chiefly I consider the both of them to be important speakers for the noble causes of science and reason.

I second Steve Zara (comment 10): "I say we don't have or don't want heroes or heroines." There's no need to give ammunition to the recurring notion from faith-heads that "Atheists are just as fundamentalist as any religious people."

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 15:57:27 UTC | #882916

Phil65's Avatar Comment 14 by Phil65

@ Comment 11: although he does ban the trolls

See, there's the problem. First off, define "trolls". I don't know about your definition, but his definition apparently is "Anyone who strays, even slightly, from orthodoxy". And you know what else is odd? They're all men, even though there are female commenters side-by-side with them saying a lot of the same things. Think about that for a second. And all of this thought-policing on a site that unironically calls itself "freethoughts".

But the funniest part? Dawkins is the biggest "troll" of all. His remarks on elevatorgate would have gotten any other commenter banned instantly (but never a woman).

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 16:13:48 UTC | #882920

Moderator's Avatar Comment 15 by Moderator

Moderators' message

This thread is not about 'Elevatorgate'. Please do not derail it with off-topic diversions. We will remove posts that do.

The Mods

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 16:17:01 UTC | #882922

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 16 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 12 by BaltimoreOriole

.... we can and should separate the good (Newton invented calculus) from the bad (he had heretics tortured and killed).

Did not......did he? I'd read he was a bit of a nasty bastard to get along with, but I'd never heard that about him.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 16:34:19 UTC | #882925

blitz442's Avatar Comment 17 by blitz442

Comment 16 by Ignorant Amos

Did not......did he? I'd read he was a bit of a nasty bastard to get along with, but I'd never heard that about him.

I did a double take on that one as well.

BaltimoreOriole, source please?

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 16:49:58 UTC | #882928

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 18 by Anonymous

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Fri, 21 Oct 2011 16:56:45 UTC | #882930

chanoc's Avatar Comment 19 by chanoc

Comment 17 by blitz442 :

Comment 16 by Ignorant Amos

Did not......did he? I'd read he was a bit of a nasty bastard to get along with, but I'd never heard that about him.

I did a double take on that one as well.

BaltimoreOriole, source please?

He was a warden of the royal mint, and sent people to the gallows for conterfeiting, which was considered hight treason. That is the only occasion I know of that he was directly involved in something of the sort

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 16:58:25 UTC | #882931

blitz442's Avatar Comment 20 by blitz442

Comment 18 by T4

What is it about the content that you find lacking, and which books do it better?

By the way, I am not asking this to be confrontational. I have some nephews who are now old enough to be reading these types of books, and I would love to have a list of good ones.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 17:15:48 UTC | #882937

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 21 by Anonymous

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Fri, 21 Oct 2011 18:08:41 UTC | #882957

blitz442's Avatar Comment 22 by blitz442

Comment 21 by T4

For all we know, a lot what you feel was crucial was originally included and just left out in the final version; this book is rather long for a kid's book despite the illustrations.

His treatment of evolution and genes is probably unmatched in the kid's science genre, and I would love to see any kids books that deal with probability and the proper way to assess the validity of miracle claims, including a discussion of David Hume!

My biggest complaint, one that I truly think should have included more detail, was the chapter on the Big Bang.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 18:18:08 UTC | #882964

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 23 by Neodarwinian

I have no idea what " elevatorgate " is and could care less. I only go to PZ's blog when it is linked to this site. So, as to the recommendations on reading material, I hope to be able to get a copy of Sean Faircloth's book as the topic is most pertinent to 21st century America. Unfortunately, I just started Pinker's new book and it is a long one. I am running significantly behind in my reading lately, so slow down on the plugging PZ.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 18:30:33 UTC | #882971

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 24 by Anonymous

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Fri, 21 Oct 2011 19:14:51 UTC | #882987

blitz442's Avatar Comment 25 by blitz442

And incidentally, I thought his use of a child on a sledge whizzing past a trumpet-playing man was a rather arcane illustration of the Doppler Effect - when the sirens of emergency vehicles as they whizz past is a much, much, much more familiar and immediately recognisable example to use

If you are going to pick on him for that, give him credit for the description of a (very speedy) train changing colors as it comes towards you and redshifts away from you. I thought that this was an excellent visual analogy.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 19:37:22 UTC | #882995

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 26 by Anonymous

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Fri, 21 Oct 2011 19:40:36 UTC | #882997

BaltimoreOriole's Avatar Comment 27 by BaltimoreOriole

A thousand pardons, everyone, for giving bad info about Newton. I was sure I'd read that somewhere, but I haven't been able to verify it. As Chanoc said, he sent people to the gallows for counterfeiting, but not for heresy. Apologies for starting a false rumour.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 19:42:05 UTC | #883000

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 28 by Anonymous

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Fri, 21 Oct 2011 20:13:47 UTC | #883007

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 29 by Anonymous

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Fri, 21 Oct 2011 23:50:14 UTC | #883049

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 30 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 19 by chanoc

He was a warden of the royal mint, and sent people to the gallows for conterfeiting, which was considered hight treason. That is the only occasion I know of that he was directly involved in something of the sort

I think the counterfeiters sent themselves to the gallows for counterfeiting, which was the punishment for said crime...Newton just caught them.

The Coin Act 1696 (8&9 Will.3 c.26) was an Act of the Parliament of England which made it high treason to make or possess equipment useful for counterfeiting coins. Its title was "An Act for the better preventing the counterfeiting the current Coin of this Kingdom."

Coincidentally the year Newton took over as warden of the Mint.

In 1689, Newton was elected member of parliament for Cambridge University (1689 - 1690 and 1701 - 1702). In 1696,Newton was appointed warden of the Royal Mint, settling in London. He took his duties at the Mint very seriously and campaigned against corruption and inefficiency within the organisation. In 1703, he was elected president of the Royal Society, an office he held until his death. He was knighted in 1705.

Sorry for the O/T tangent....just a bit of history and clarification.

Sat, 22 Oct 2011 00:15:53 UTC | #883051