There is no reason we can think of for an atheist to lie about religion. It is such a target-rich environment for myth-busting and fact-checking that you shouldn’t have to go inventing things to get outraged about. But, for some reason – maybe because he’s bored and/or tired after decades of this – PZ Myers decided to make some shit up today about Judeo-Christian morality based on a comic-book misrepresentation of a weird story from the Old Testament.
PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:
True story from 1 Samuel 18:25-27. This, of course, is the foundation of Judeo-Christian morality…My wife is worth a lot more foreskins than that, but I don’t think she’d appreciate it if I went all serial killer and marched through Stevens County chopping off penis tips and bringing them back to her in a bloody sack.https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/24/how-many-foreskins-are-you-worth/
In between the second and third sentences above, PZ reproduces this comic:
Reading the story as summarized above, and seeing look on the King’s face in the accompanying drawing, you could be forgiven for wondering what the hell was going on. The answer would be found by reading the entire 18th Chapter of 1 Samuel, relevant snippets of which are below:
As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. And the women sang to one another as they celebrated,
“Saul has struck down his thousands,
and David his ten thousands.”
And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on…
…Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. So Saul removed him from his presence and made him a commander of a thousand. And he went out and came in before the people. And David had success in all his undertakings, for the Lord was with him. And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him…
…“Thus shall you say to David, ‘The king desires no bride-price except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged of the king’s enemies.’” Now Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines…
… And Saul gave him his daughter Michal for a wife. But when Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, Saul was even more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy continually.https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Samuel+18&version=ESV
The story is a warning about the pernicious and dangerous effects of jealousy and not having the Lord with you, whatever that means. Saul was not happy to have David as a son-in-law, he was fearful. Far from decreeing that his daughter was worth 100 foreskins, Saul chose that arbitrary number because he thought the Philistines would kill David in the attempt. The Philistines were at war with Saul and David, there is no suggestion that the latter plucked innocent people off the street and liberated their foreskins.
Finally, no reasonable person would read this story and conclude it is the “foundation of Judeo-Christian morality,” and PZ Myers makes no effort to support that claim. If anything could be said to be the foundation of Judeo-Christian morality, we think it would be the Ten Commandments – also from the Old Testament – but certainly not a story about 100 foreskins.
Part of our reason for taking PZ seriously – we don’t think he was joking here – is the way the story itself is presented. He doesn’t put it in context. He doesn’t say the comic is lying or winking to its audience. He’s using the story to mock the Judeo-Christian belief system – which is worth mocking, btw! – but he can’t do that unless the thrust of the story as presented is an integral part of that belief system.
It’s the kind of thing that not only turns us off, committed as we are to the truth, but also turns off Jews and Christians who might otherwise be open to atheist arguments. Someone on their side could easily link to this piece from “famous” atheist blogger PZ Myers and demonstrate without breaking a sweat he’s lying about this Bible story. Is this kind of thing going to win any converts? Is it going to advance atheistic principles in society? Or is it just going to turn people off and widen the gaps between us?
Today: 0 science-related posts, 3 posts on other stuff
Since 30 May 19: 88 science-related posts, 279 non-science posts.
24% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science.
Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie
Since 30 May 19: 99 PZ Myers Lies
Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.