Friday, December 28, 2012

Give an atheist a holiday hug!

I used to post occasionally on P.Z. Myers' popular site, Pharungula, for some reason, and still receive updates on new posts from the Free Thought Blogs community. 

What a downer, right after Christmas, and just before New Years!  Do these people ever need some good cheer! 

Here are five of the topics posted on this morning:

(1) "Christmas Message -- Hate and the Meaning of Christmas." 

This one is about the Pope and other "bigoted homophobes" in the Catholic church. 

(2) "You are not a character worth associating with."

This post seems to be about the death of a snowman. It rambles, so I'm not sure. Perhaps its author is suffering Global Warming angst, and prematurely celebrating the New Year, at the same time.

(3) "Better kill them before they are born."

Bengali feminist Taslima Nasreen then blogs about how some human pond scum in India (apologies to innocent algae) tortured, then tried to kill his own daughter because he really wanted a boy.  (Yeah, and lots of luck to the sons of such a father, too!)  Her "modest proposal" is that fathers who think like that break whatever laws stand in their way and just abort the child before she is old enough to feel anything, rather than have her carried to term and then kill on her. 

I think she's serious, too:

The rates of female foeticide and female infanticide are incredibly high in India.  Don’t we all know that foeticide is better than infanticide? If you hate females, better kill them before they are born. Why do you let them born into this world and then you beat them, burn them, rape them, threw them and bury them alive?  It doesn’t make sense . . . The human Foetus feels no pain before 24 weeks.  You have enough time to abort female foetuses. Go for it. I know it is illegal. But you guys do it anyway.

"You guys?"  One would think that proposal would have to go through the mother, wouldn't it?  Or are we assuming she has no voice in the matter?  

I guess we wouldn't want to use the "A" word (adoption) for fear of giving aid and comfort to the Enemy (people who actually want to save the lives of unborn children), would we?  Or talk about the socially redemptive effect of the Gospel around the world, including in India, in raising the status of women, and consider how it might help? 

I can't blame Taslima for going a little nutty, if she spends all her time reading horror stories like this.  But she seems to be in need of some Christmas R and R, and a cheerful thought to cling to for the New Year.  

(4) "File this under 'People are Jerks.'"

PZ Myers wrote the fourth post.  I'm quite willing to file any number of PZ posts in the "People are Jerks" category: he has managed to convince a lot of people of that fact.  But I sympathize with his specific concern, here.  He points out that when some guy put a realistic rubber turtle in the road (no "mock turtle soup" jokes, please), some drivers swerved out of their way to run over the little fellow.

Now of course, PZ runs over people on his blog every day, and often swerves far indeed from the path of fair-minded exegesis to do so.  I don't know that the suffering of a human being from being viciously and unfairly rounded on by dozens of strangers, or the death of an unborn baby in the womb, is less than that of a turtle that goes "squish." 

But I am glad to know PZ is kind to turtles, anyway. 

(5) "In defense of the commentariat"

Then PZ goes and ruins it:

There’s a bit of an argument going on at Ed’s blog, and as usual, one of the things coming up is the familiar complaint about the viciousness of the Pharyngula comments section.  I’ve heard this many times before.
I tend to bristle at the idea of judging a blog by its comment section. As Jamie Kilstein said a few months ago, the comment section at PZ’s blog is the 7th circle of hell.
Yes, exactly.  And I approve.  I am quite fond of most of the commentariat here, even when they’re turning their teeth on me — it is exactly what I want, a fierce legion of harsh, sarcastic, opinionated, ferocious critics who can unreservedly shred fools and assholes and who are unrestrained in their expression.  I’m not going to back away from my comments section at all; you are the people I want here, and I affectionately regard you all as my local meatgrinder.
 Please don’t change.  And when necessary, unleash hell.

This is, of course, multiply delusional.  First of all, PZ Myers runs the roost.  People never "turn their teeth" on Myers: at most, they turn their gums on him, far more often, lick his boots whine ingratiatingly, and wag their tails.  It can be like the final episode of the The Twilight Zone movie, in which the occupants of a house are in thrall to a little boy with psychic powers to torture those who fail to play his games, and whine about how wonderful Johnny is, and how much they love to play with him. 

Second, it's interesting that PZ uses the term "meatgrinder," when he has just been professing his kindness to turtles in danger of being needlessly run over.  Yes, PZ does encourage his sadistic followers to attack and grind up the souls of anyone who voices any form of heresy, as defined by him: it's part of the expected entertainment, like bears attacking slaves in the Colliseum.   

But third, of course the ritual shredding of human beings has no tendency whatsoever to limit itself by reason or morality.  It is not "fools" or "assholes" whom his rent-a-mob goes after, it's whomever PZ chooses to focus the "10 Minute Hate" on, good or bad, left-handed or right, blond or brunette.  PZ is the judge of whom to run over, and invective -- not rational argument -- is his armored personel carrier of choice. 

So joy to the world!  The world can certainly use more of it, and especially some corners of the world.

Give a holiday hug to a grumpy atheist.  (Or if you're a man and she dials up her lawyer at the sight of mistletoe, maybe just a nice eggnog.) 

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