Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hate Mail - "So in other words No True Christian"

Note: Yet again, a draft of this was posted by mistake, I'm in the process of doing a better edit of it now.

P. Z. Myers isn't the hot item in blog land that he used to be, but, then, neither is the atheism fad.  I think the atheism fad has pretty well gotten old.

Myers became semi-famous through his venomous hate spewing and his collection of a lot of equally putrid regulars who loved to bask in their own asserted superiority and to claim the stupidity of anyone who wasn't in their in-crowd.  That would seem to be a pattern with blog communities like it is in 7th grade.

In doing that Myers wrote a number of stupid things and pulled at least one stupid stunt, his "Great Desecration" fraud being his greatest claim to fleeting fame.  I debunked that one based on his own absurd claim about how he got sent a consecrated host which was very far fetched.  To get around the charge that he'd encouraged someone to steal one for him, his claim of how it happened was totally unbelievable.  He said that a Catholic boy kept instead of eating the host as required only to send it to the great PZ after he turned atheist some time later.  The unlikelihood of an observant Catholic keeping a consecrated host to start with made that ridiculous.  Then for Myers to claim that he posted a video of the boy receiving communion on that occasion only made it more absurd.   I am quite sure that it would be impossible to honestly calculate the odds of some random Catholic boy who would later send his illicitly kept host to P. Z. Myers just happening to have a video of him at the mass where he did that but anyone with a mind in their head who believed such a tall tale is incredibly credulous.  That his true believers believed his tall tale on his say so put them on the level of the most easily hoaxed of true believers in anything.

The slogan Myers gave his fan boys and gals, "It's just a cracker" and that its status as consecrated didn't mean anything was disproved in one long, long brawl on a blog when I posted my doubts about Myers tall tale and over hundreds of furious, enraged comments his true believers who proved that about the only thing that could definitely be known about it was that it was entirely important to them that it had been consecrated and so it was not "just a cracker" to the idiots who repeated that like emoto-tronic atheists.

I also went after his "Courtier's Reply" which was his argument that atheists, like his then - I'm told not current - friend, Richard Dawkins, the holder of an endowed chair at Oxford, didn't need to know what he was talking about in order to be held to be an authoritative voice in talking about things he knew nothing about. I pointed out that in doing so Myers, an associate professor in science at a small but accredited American University, was essentially making the argument of the experts who refused to look through Galileo's telescope to see the evidence of what he was telling them.  As far as I know, Myers wasn't booted out of the fellowship of modern science for upholding the much ridiculed anti-scientific standards of late medieval scholastic cosmology.  His getting booted out of the pseudo-skeptical movement didn't come with that, it came with him making a serious accusation of crime against a far bigger name in pseudo-skepticism, which I also wrote about, links will be given on request.

But this is about one of the few other claims to fame that Myers has, his introduction of the "No True Scotsman" phrase to most of his atheist fan boys and gals.  I wrote about that too, about how absurd it was for a biologist to mix up a matter of inheritance, being born a Scot to parents who were Scots, which is an inalienable fact, what happens when people choose to make the inheritance of a political-tribal identity a matter of biological inheritance.  Which is not an uninteresting question to think about, especially in that that perhaps entirely artificial categorization infests much of the literature of modern biology, anthropology, sociology, eugenics - neo and not neo and, as it seems to be fading evo-psy.

A "true Scot" is defined by their parentage, it is an inalienable categorization based on that involuntary aspect of identy,  If you're born as "Scotsman" you will stay one.  Religion in't like that. "True scots" can belong to any number of different religions.  They can belong to any number of reform denominations, they can convert to other denominations, Christian or non-Christian, harmless fantasy fun neo-Pagans or neo-Nazi pagan.  They can be atheists, I suppose. Their identity as a Scot isn't dependent on that.  Such a "true Scotsman's" membership in the denomination of their choice depends on their belief in the beliefs of that denomination and, or, their adherence to its requirements.  If a "True Scotsman" who is a Catholic publicly committed one of the relatively few acts that will get you excommunicated from the Catholic Church, that "True Scotsman" will have been deemed to not be a "true Catholic".

I would like to think more about the implications of that in regard to the understanding of things that Myers then friend and fellow biologist, Richard Dawkins who he was shielding from criticism in coming up with such stuff.  I would like to consider what it means for two university science teachers to dismiss the requirement that they know what they're talking about to retain their status as credible members of the academic and scientific communities.  I'd think they were not true and honest members of modern academic communities due to that, but I don't get to determine who is in and who is out.

 Lewontin noted that Dawkins claimed that an extra-terrestrial attempting to gauge the level of human civilization would ask, "Do you understand natural selection?" Lewontin counters that a better question would be, "Do you understand the difference between sets and their members?" (implying that the early Dawkins does not). Many have noted that the immortality that Dawkins attributes to genes applies not the physical DNA but to the whole set through time of the copies or to the form of the sequence as manifested in successive, physically different, individual DNA molecules. Williams new "codical" realm likewise resides in this quasi-Platonic region, separate from the material world.

I threw that in just for the thrill of it.  Or the hell of it.  Perhaps someday Dawkins won't be thought of a "true scientist", I'm pretty sure that Myers won't be thought of much at all.  Just as the work of the, then, fully and properly credentialed "true science" so many scientific racists and eugenicists were producing is now demoted as "science" with quote marks and many of them have fallen into obscurity.

But back to the question of being a "true something or other".  I remember back when Alabama Senator Richard Shelby was a Democrat, he voted against Robert Bork because as a Democrat, he knew his election depended on the votes of Black voters.  But as he saw personal opportunity favored him changing parties, it was reported that he was leaking information from closed Democratic meetings to the Republican Party he was, probably, already planning on switching to.  Though he was registered as a Democrat, Shelby was not a "true Democrat" he was a sleazy Republican mole.

It isn't a shock that the ignorant jerk who trolls me sent me that pat phrase from P. Z. Myers doesn't understand the problem with it, it is rather shocking that even an associate professor of biology at a small but fully accredited American university wouldn't be able to make the distinction between a classification that doesn't depend on adherence to a moral code and beliefs, one which is merely granted as a matter of pseudo-biological inheritance and another which asserts beliefs and moral.  But the matter of whether the inheritance of tribal, national or racial identity is meaningfully definable or even real is a longer and more seriously complex idea than my idiot troll could possibly begin to get.

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