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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The passing scene: Brass knuckles and boots trump bell curves and beakers - proud Darwinist

Terrell Clemmons offers a portrait of a chronically foul-mouthed Darwinian atheist who proclaims his Gospel to an admiring crowd:
Paul Zachary Myers was born March 9th 1957, the oldest of six children in a working class family. PZ (named after his father, Myers opted for PZ over “Little Paul”) says if anyone had asked him about his religious beliefs at age twelve, he would have identified himself as a committed Christian. “We were Lake Wobegon Lutherans,” he remembers. But by his mid-teens he’d decided, “I just don’t believe a word of this.”

A developmental biologist (one who studies embryos), Myers holds a BS in zoology from the University of Washington, a PhD in biology from the University of Oregon, and currently teaches biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Graying, bespectacled, and bearded, PZ is disarmingly affable in person, but the mild mannered professor cuts loose with fiery ferocity on his blog: “Screw the polite words and careful rhetoric. It’s time for scientists to break out the steel-toed boots and brass knuckles, and get out there and hammer on the lunatics and idiots.” Those lunatics and idiots would be scientists who believe in the existence of God.

[ ... ]

Last summer, PZ asked his readers to get him a consecrated communion wafer. “I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare.” When he got one (Who knows if it was actually consecrated or not?) PZ pierced it with a rusty nail, threw it in the trash with a banana peel and coffee grounds, and posted a photo as proof of the deed. He dubbed it, The Great Desecration, and pronounced, “It is finished.”

- "PZ Myers – Atheist Supremacist" (December 23, 2009)

More on the "Myers cracker controversy" here. It tells you something about the state of origins studies today that a guy like Myers would be highly thought of.


Jerry Coyne, certainly a man who speaks his mind ...

Recently, I've been writing about Jerry Coyne's comments on Mike Behe's most recent paper. Coyne is billed by his U as "internationally famous defender of evolution against proponents of intelligent design." Good man on fruit flies, too.

It occurred to me to pull up my Coyne files, re other things he has said. A most interesting picture emerges - in a world where hordes bravely speak the group's latest mind, the prof (Department of Ecology and Evolution) gives the impression of speaking his own. I won't hazard whether that earns him greater trust because I don't know whether Darwin's folk trust people who think for themselves, but here goes:

Coyne on the useful idiots of theistic evolution:

- Theistic evolution is compromise. ("Coyne is particularly annoyed by the folks at the Darwin-defending but religion-appeasing National Center for Science Education, for "compromising the very science they aspire to defend." - quoted in Klinghoffer )

Theistic evolution claims are wearing thin. ("Liberal religious people have been important allies in our struggle against creationism, and it is not pleasant to alienate them by declaring how we feel. This is why, as a tactical matter, groups such as the National Academy of Sciences claim that religion and science do not conflict. But their main evidence — the existence of religious scientists — is wearing thin as scientists grow ever more vociferous about their lack of faith." - quoted in Iannone)

He also enjoys taking the fun out of Fundamentalism, when not engaging in it himself.

(My best guess is that he pays closer attention to the ID guys, as they offer a serious challenge.)

What Jerry Coyne has said about evolutionary biology:

Almost no findings are replicated: ("Almost no findings are replicated, there’s a premium on publishing positive results, and, unlike some other areas, findings in evolutionary biology don't necessarily build on each other: workers usually don’t have to repeat other people's work as a basis for their own.")

Also here : (In science's pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics. ... The latest deadweight dragging us closer to phrenology is "evolutionary psychology," or the science formerly known as sociobiology, which studies the evolutionary roots of human behavior. There is nothing inherently wrong with this enterprise, and it has proposed some intriguing theories, particularly about the evolution of language. The problem is that evolutionary psychology suffers from the scientific equivalent of megalomania. Most of its adherents are convinced that virtually every human action or feeling, including depression, homosexuality, religion, and consciousness, was put directly into our brains by natural selection.)

- Randy "Flock of Dodos" Olson thinks Coyne more persuasive about evolutionary biology than Richard Dawkins

Oh, and Coyne on Ann Coulter:

From the Stop the Coult! files: ("The remarkable thing about all this is that Jerry Coyne thinks he needs to take on Ann Coulter. There was a time when a guy like Jerry Coyne would not know who Ann Coulter is, and possibly would not know what a pundette is, unless he had married his cook and she insisted on subscribing to some vile rag that ... " - O'Leary ) Just shows you how things change ...

Coyne vs. Behe :

But, Jerry, what about all those dogs?

Could Darwinists be running low on insults?

Mike Behe replies to detractor Jerry Coyne ...


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