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PZ Myers – Atheist Supremacist


PZ Myers

 

Background:

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.

Wanted For:

Where fellow New Atheists advance the cause by writing books, this cyber Napoleon makes war online through his blog, which he started in 2002 and named Pharyngula, after the stage of embryonic development he’s most interested in. Despite its classification as a science blog, though, Pharyngula reads more like an online journal. A typical day’s postings include comments on politics, religion, and occasionally PZ’s appointments or travel plans. “Evolution, development and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal,” reads the heading, capturing Pharyngula’s flavor fairly accurately. PZ estimates he receives a million to a million and a half unique visitors per month.

In addition to shock-blogging, PZ applies the weight of this influence toward advancing “the public understanding of science,” which amounts to imposing his atheistic worldview onto science. Here PZ breaks from the National Academy of Sciences and other scientific organizations who maintain that religious faith is perfectly compatible with belief in evolution. Especially choice spleen gets vented on the Discovery Institute, and in tones reminiscent of the proverbial preacher whose sermon notes advise, “Argument weak here: pound pulpit harder.” Calling the Intelligent Design think tank “a propaganda organization trying to poison the educational system of our country,” PZ is at least frank: “I have nothing but contempt for ID.”

Most Recent Offense:

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.”

But Myers’s most pernicious influence is his crusade to make science education, atheist education. PZ says he doesn’t aim to expunge faith from the country, but he clearly aims to expunge it from the hearts and minds of science students, saying he wants believers to “look at the book of Genesis and ask lots of questions about it.”  Meanwhile he opposes – zealously – any suggestion that one of them look at Darwin and ask any questions. Apparently in his world, this is free inquiry.

This article first appeared in Salvo 8, Spring 2009.

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  1. December 28, 2009 at 6:44 am | #1

    This zealotry is the clearest indication yet that we’re dealing here with a believer rather than with someone who knows. The truth is self evident and needs no proselytizing, but true believers always feel the need to become missionaries. It’s then up to the individual to decide if it goes the fire and brimstone way and otherwise. With PZ it’s obviously the bully pulpit (let’s hope he sticks to the blog).

  2. Michael Neville
    October 1, 2010 at 8:29 pm | #2

    Wow, what a whiner that author is. Is he really complaining about a biologist, believer or atheist, who doesn’t accept Intelligent Design (ID)? Ken Miller, a Catholic and PhD biologist, doesn’t accept ID. Francis Collins, an Evangelical Christian and PhD geneticist, doesn’t accept ID. Myers’ rejection of ID (which is really creationism with the word “God” removed for political reasons) just shows him to be a mainstream biologist.

  3. Marty in Boise
    October 3, 2010 at 12:07 am | #3

    So, if Dr. Myers is in the “crosshairs” and you are labeling him as “wanted” for various “offenses,” are you suggesting that a good Bible-believing Christian has a duty to shoot him?

    Oh, that Christian love, it’s something all right.

  4. October 3, 2010 at 8:30 am | #4

    No. Crosshairs is a regular column in Salvo magazine. Here’s a good explanation of Salvo’s use of military metaphors: Opening Salvo: Why We Fight. And for an excellent example of a Christian encountering Dr. Myers, read Philippians 4:13 by the highly entertaining and always authentic Mike Adams.

    It’s a fair enough question. Thanks for asking rather than calling me names. Any others?

  1. April 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm | #1

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