24 Aug – Wait…What Is The Foundation of Judeo-Christian Morality?

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 moralityMy 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/

Facts:

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?

Final Tally:

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.

28 July – So What You’re Saying Is…

We first took notice of Jordan Peterson following his extraordinary interview/debate with Cathy Newman. Probably the most astonishing part of that interview/debate was the way Newman tried to re-frame Peterson’s arguments in a dishonest way to make him sound like a nut. She did this by repeatedly using the words “you’re saying,” followed by Peterson generally saying, “no, I’m not saying that.”

PZ Myers’s intellectual dishonesty works in much the same way. He rarely, if ever, treats an opposing argument in good faith. He almost always uses a variant of the “you’re saying” tactic, framing the argument in such a way that it’s easy for him to refute.

This is exactly what happens in today’s lie.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

It’s funny how Big Tent Atheism only wants to share the tent with cis het privileged white people who only want to talk about the Constitution as holy writ.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/28/what-should-atheists-support/

Facts:

PZ is responding to an email he received discussing the priorities of American Atheists. He reproduces only the following snippet:

To use American Atheist (AA) resources to continue pressing issues that are predominantly LGTB is, in my opinion, a dereliction of duty, unwise
and possibly actionable…Please remember that AA members are, primarily and traditionally, interested in separation of church and state issues.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/28/what-should-atheists-support/

The argument here is fairly straightforward: AA resources should be uses primarily to further the stated goals of the organization, primary among them being the separation of church and state. PZ’s interlocutor does not argue for the exclusion of anyone except “cis het privileged white people.” PZ puts those words in their mouth with no evidence, making this yet another PZ Myers lie.

Analysis:

We suspect there is much more context to the story, and the email PZ posted, than he lets on. But what strikes us most is PZ’s display of soft bigotry. He wants to put LGBTQ people into a neat box and say they can only be represented by an organization that focuses exclusively on issues important to them.

Do LGBTQ people care about religion in the public sphere? Do they care about the separation of church and state? Or is their activism only limited to LGBTQ issues? We’re confused. We assume LGBTQ people are, well, people, like everyone else with a diverse range of opinions and interests. PZ appears to want to put them off to one side and say, “you can only be concerned about this and that.”

That’s what we think he’s saying, anyway. It’s the only logical way for him to conclude that the American Atheists want to exclude everyone except “cis het privileged white people,” when in reality they say nothing of the sort.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 4 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 69 science-related posts, 174 non-science posts.

28% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 73 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

5 June 2019 – Atheists Unite! Save us from Theocracy and PZ’s Lies!

We had been thinking to ourselves that PZ sounded a little off lately – his lies were piling up at a much slower pace than we expected when we kicked off the site. But have no fear, PZ just got some bad meds that made him lethargic, and now that he’s figured that out he should be back to his old lying self quick and in a hurry.

In the meantime, we’re left with a single lie today.

PZ Myers Lie:

“Maybe not your usual aggressive atheists, but lots of people are fed up with the efforts of a minority to impose theocracy on us. The United States is a weird outlier with greater religiosity than other ‘first world’ nations, but we’re getting better.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/05/is-there-hope-for-atheism/

 Facts:

PZ makes the claim here that there is a minority of religious people taking steps to impose a theocracy in the United States. We suppose, if challenged, PZ could find a fringe kook or two who would say their goal is to do exactly that, but no mainstream religious organization that we could find seeks to impose its will on anyone, much less impose a theocracy on the entire country.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, representatives of the Catholic Church in the United States, see it as their evangelical mission to do the following:

To invite all people in the United States, whatever their social or cultural background, to hear the message of salvation in Jesus Christ.

http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/evangelization/go-and-make-disciples/goal_ii_go_and_make_disciples.cfm

There doesn’t appear to be any coercion in the Catholic Church’s, or any other major religious organization’s, mission in the US. Therefore, we classify this statement from PZ as a lie.

Analysis:

We’re surprised there weren’t more lies today, but we chalk it up to PZ’s health. We wish him a full and speedy recovery moving forward!

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post (it was close, but we’ll give it to him) and 4 posts on politics, one being a revolutionary primer we’ll have more to say about later..

Since 30 May 19: 4 science-related posts, 25 non-science posts

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 12 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.