Friday, August 14, 2009

Michael Ruse of beliefnet builds a giant strawman

This article at BeliefNet is so full of shit I'm not even going to go all the way through it, but I just want to point out that as soon as he starts going after the so-called "New Atheists", he averages at least two lies per paragraph. Lie #1:

In the past few years, we have seen the rise and growth of a group that the public sphere has labeled the "new atheists" - people who are aggressively pro-science, especially pro-Darwinism, and violently anti-religion of all kinds...

Violently anti-religion?!? Name one instance of violence by someone who could rightly be lumped in with the so-called "New Atheists". Just one, you fat lying fuck. Lie #2:

Distinctive of this group, although well known to anyone who studies religion and the way in which sects divide and proliferate, is the fact that...nothing incurs their wrath than those who are pro-science but who refuse to agree that all and every kind of religious belief is wrong, pernicious, and socially and personally dangerous.

Riiiight... because voicing any sort of disagreement is the same thing as "wrath". With the exception of PZ's writings about Mooney & Kirshenbaum (who, I have to say, kindof started it when they mercilessly attacked PZ in their book), I cannot think of a single piece of writing by a so-called "New Atheist" which expresses "wrath" towards someone who is pro-science. An example of this gross distortion of reality will be found in Lie #3:

Recently, it has been the newly appointed director of the NIH, Francis Collins, who has been incurring their hatred.

Hatred? Hatred?!? Really?!?!? What fucking planet is this guy from?!?

PZ on Francis Collins:

The situation is this: the White House has picked for high office a well-known scientist with a good track record in management who wears clown shoes. Worse, this scientist likes to stroll about with his clown shoes going squeak-squeak-squeak, pointing them out to everyone, and bragging about how red and shiny and gosh-darned big his shoes are, and tut-tutting at the apparent lack of fine fashion sense exhibited by his peers who wear rather less flamboyant footwear.

I would rather Obama had appointed someone who wore practical shoes, and didn't make much of a fuss about them, anyway.

Jerry Coyne on Francis Collins:

I guess my first reaction would be to give the guy a break, and take a wait-and-see attitude towards his stewardship of the NIH. After all, he doesn’t seem to have let his superstition get in the way of his other administrative tasks, and he doesn’t seem to be the vindictive type, either...I won’t grouse too much about this, but do want to emphasize again that the guy is deeply, deeply superstitious, to the point where, on his website BioLogos and his book The Language of God, he lets his faith contaminate his scientific views.

Sam Harris on Francis Collins:

While his stewardship of the NIH seems unlikely to impede our mincing progress on embryonic stem cell research, his appointment seems like another one of President Obama’s efforts to split difference between real science and real ethics on the one hand and religious superstition and taboo on the other.

Wow, those mean New Atheists. They said that Collins "wears funny shoes", that while he is "deeply superstitious" we won't "grouse too much about this", and, horror of horrors, that nasty Sam Harris said that Collins' appointment was a case of "split[ting the] difference". Oooooooo...

If that's "hatred", then surely what Ruse says about the "New Atheists" must be akin to genocide!

Asswipe. I couldn't read any more past that point.


  1. "he averages at least two lies per paragraph"
    Lying For Jesus must be one hell of a contagious disease, even self-proclaimed atheists like Ruse are infected.

    "fat lying fuck"
    I believe the official term is now 'faitheist' - see here ;)

    PS - I read about this Ruse article here at NJ,NP yesterday before seeing mention of it at Pharyngula. I guess this makes you officially Faster Than PZ Myers. :D

  2. I scooped PZ? Sweet!

    In fairness, I was pointed to this article by, so I still wasn't the "first". But that's still awesome :)

    Lying For Jesus must be one hell of a contagious disease, even self-proclaimed atheists like Ruse are infected.

    Heh, yeah... It's funny that Ruse accuses the "New Atheists" show the most rancor towards pro-science folks who are friendly towards believers -- perhaps a bit of projection going on here? It seems that the "quiet atheists" or "fatheists" reserve maximum rancor not for those who are anti-science, but for those who are pro-science but don't hold any respect for religious delusions.

    I must assert here that there is a middle ground, exemplified for example my Eugenie Scott, who could perhaps be called a "fatheist" in the sense that she is sympathetic towards the faithful and believes in the compatibility of religion and science -- but unlike Ruse et al doesn't feel this misguided and bizarre need to loudly denounce anyone who is vocal in their atheism. I have a huge amount of respect for Scott, and while I think the reasoning behind her assertions regarding the compatibility of religion and faith are very soft and perhaps even a bit lazy, it doesn't really bother me that much.