Where's the birth certificate

Free and Strong America

Sunday, August 9, 2009

PZ Myers is a wuss

It seems that since PZ Myers declined the first debate with Vox Day on the subject of the existance of God, that Myers will finally prove he is a complete wuss by chickening out on another debate proposed by Day.
" "Well, my dear Dr. Myers, since you were previously afraid of a radio debate with me on the evidence for the existence of gods, perhaps you'll be more willing to engage in a written debate on the scientific evidence for evolution. After all, if the issue is so comprehensively settled in evolution's favor, it should be no trouble whatsoever to make your case to everyone's satisfaction, however initially dubious they may have been. And since you have now asserted that there are no Worthy Opponents, you no longer have any need to hide behind your stated belief in my supposed crackpottery."
Here's the link to the thread on Pharyngula where Day proposes that they debate, this time on the scientific evidence for evolution. I don't care if the Darwin set flocks to the PZ's blog to vent their frustration against a God that supposedly does not exist. What I cannot understand is why they continue too hold him (Myers) in high regard when he is just sniping from the sidelines, refusing to debate a game programmer with a Bachelors in Econ. in the area of his own expertise.

15 comments:

Reynold said...

From what I've seen on his blog, Myers is not afraid of debates, as can be seen here, here, here, or here, as for why they hardly ever debate people like Day, here's one reason why:

See what you're in for, Scott? You've engaged an innumerate incompetent who will blithely make quantitative claims on subjects on which he knows nothing, and you're going to have to make arguments based on a fairly broad knowledge of the scientific literature and considerable background explanation to refute him. All he has to do is confidently assert a lot of patently false statements. It's the typical creationist debate, in other words.

Comment number 7 in that last link is informative if you're interested in a refutation of a creationist argument about "information".

For a real example of cowardice, see what was done here.

Why are creationists more interested in debates than in providing evidence for their stuff in the first place?

Instead of spending time on public debates, why aren't members of your institute publishing their ideas in prominent peer-reviewed journals such as Science, Nature, or the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences? If you want to be taken seriously by scientists and scholars, this is where you need to publish. Academic publishing is an intellectual free market, where ideas that have credible empirical support are carefully and thoroughly explored. Nothing could possibly be more exciting and electrifying to biology than scientific disproof of evolutionary theory or scientific proof of the existence of a god. That would be Nobel Prize winning work, and it would be eagerly published by any of the prominent mainstream journals.

JD Curtis said...

To tell the truth Reynold, I've never heard of Day espousing anything remotely endorsing YEC, OEC or even Intelligent Design which I think would be easier to argue.

Note that Day wished to debate Myers on the "scientific evidence for evolution". To try and paint this as a Creationism vs ND-TENS type of debate wouldnt be accurate.

JD Curtis said...

Odd that Myers would go out of his way to debate Ken Ham on the radio even though Ham openly subscribes to Young Earth Creationism whereas he steadfastly refuses to debate Day on a subject well within his (Myers') area of expertise.

Reynold said...

You seem to have missed part of what I had posted before: The reason that he won't deal with Day

See what you're in for, Scott? You've engaged an innumerate incompetent who will blithely make quantitative claims on subjects on which he knows nothing, and you're going to have to make arguments based on a fairly broad knowledge of the scientific literature and considerable background explanation to refute him. All he has to do is confidently assert a lot of patently false statements. It's the typical creationist debate, in other words.

The thing you've got about YECism is irrelevent: You're trying to portray PZ Myers as a coward for not debating one more wingnut, Day.

I've shown that Myers has debates several wingnuts already. He's no "wuss".

JD Curtis said...

Alright, between Ken Ham and Vox Day, which one is a member of MENSA? Ergo, Myers is afraid to debate the smarter one, and with good reason. Such cherry-picking of opponents on the part of Myers is to be expected.

Perhaps it's not the best example of a debate I could come up with, but look what happened when Ben Stein debated your co-religionist, Richard Dawkins. Stein bested him and Stein's background is in economics and law, not biology.

Reynold said...

Do you really think that being a MENSA member means bugger-all?

Look at all the stupid, insane, things Vox Day has said, sometimes mangling history in the process.

***Here's a good post that's kept track of many inane things Vox has said over time.

Please note that every link up there links to the original Vox Day article that they talk about.

Just because a person is "smart" does not mean that they actually use their brains a lot, especially when it comes to something they want to believe in.

The evidence for or against evolution stands on it's own, not the supposed "intelligence" of its supporters or detractors.


Now, you claim that Stein "bested" Dawkins? Are you bloody joking? WTF? Are you referring to the "Expelled" interview about "aliens"?

Stein asked Dawkins for an example of how ID could have occurred so that it could be tested. Dawkins had said, hypothetically that if aliens had done it, it could be tested.

What did Stein, and the producers of "Expelled" do? They ran around saying that Dawkins believes that aliens did it.

Uh, no.

Dawkins never said that "aliens" actually did anything. He was laying out a hypothetical scenario. Remember, he doesn't even believe in ID in the first place.

Here's what Dawkins, from my previous link, had to say:

(It'd do you well to read the entire section from which I'm quoting here, to make sure the context is right)

Another example. Toward the end of his interview with me, Stein asked whether I could think of any circumstances whatsoever under which intelligent design might have occurred. It's the kind of challenge I relish, and I set myself the task of imagining the most plausible scenario I could. I wanted to give ID its best shot, however poor that best shot might be.

SNIP

So, bending over backwards to accommodate the IDiots ("oh NOOOOO, of course we aren't talking about God, this is SCIENCE") and bending over backwards to make the best case I could for intelligent design, I constructed a science fiction scenario.

SNIP

Well, you will have guessed how Mathis/Stein handled this. I won't get the exact words right (we were forbidden to bring in recording devices on pain of a $250,000 fine, chillingly announced by some unnamed Gauleiter before the film began), but Stein said something like this. "What? Richard Dawkins BELIEVES IN INTELLIGENT DESIGN." "Richard Dawkins BELIEVES IN ALIENS FROM OUTER SPACE."


Now, as to calling him my "co-religionist", what? Is "atheism" a "religion" now? So is "baldness" a "hair colour"?



Now, you your original point of Myers being too scared to "debate" Vox Day...Vox is just another wackjob. Myers has dealt with them before. Why is he a "wuss" for not dealing with your hero? Even if Myers does debate him, what's to stop someone like you from claiming that Myers is a "wuss" for not debating some other wingnut down the road?

Reynold said...

I forgot to add, here's a youtube video of Myers beating some guy named Simmonds in an evolution debate.

This Simmonds guy clearly knows bugger all regarding evolution but writes books about it.

JD Curtis said...

Insofar as your disagreements with Day concerning his opinions on different issues, that's just what they are. Opinions on different issues. I don't agree with him all of the time and have let him know as much via his blog. That being said, he (Day) made me look foolish in the past given that he's much more knowledgeable and well read than I am but I let him know none the less.

Insofar as Myers goes, he got creamed by an incompetent Canadian. No, I don't think that being a member of MENSA is "bugger all" but I'm quite certain that it has Myers quakeing in his boots given that Day has probably FORGOTTEN more about logical argumentation than Myers could learn in his entire life.

I heard that Stein invited Dawkins out for lunch after taping the session and Dawkins declined and then asked if the check made out to him was in US dollars. Nice guy. Hitchins is another atheist who is only in it for a paycheck. William Lane Craig mopped the floor with him at their last debate and even atheist blogs were disappointed with his (Hitchins') performance.

Now, as to calling him my "co-religionist", what? Is "atheism" a "religion" now? So is "baldness" a "hair colour"?

Oh, I forgot for a moment that you are, according to your profile, in Canada. In this country, the US Court of Appeals has already ruled that yes, it is a religion. Quote: "Atheism is [the inmate's] religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being," the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said." Link.

Atheism is not the antithesis of religion, it's the antithesis of theism.

Among the definitions for "religion" is the "functional" definition. "Functional definition: "A cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith" By this definition, non-theistic belief systems such as atheism, humanism, and agnosticism could be considered religions. Indeed, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has acknowledged that "religion" does not need to include a belief in a god or gods, and included Secular Humanism as an example of a non-theistic religion" Link

Reynold said...

Insofar as Myers goes, he got creamed by an incompetent Canadian.

Would you like to know why?

How did he open his part in the debate here in Edmonton? By claiming that atheism was an amoral philosophy that led to the corruption of society, and to prove it, he cited a political scientist named Rummel, who he claimed, had shown that cultures built around a core of atheism had killed the most people in all of history.

If you actually go to Rummel's site, Freedom, Democide, War, you'll discover that he said no such thing. His thesis is that democracy is the critical factor in reducing war and the slaughter of civilians. This, of course, I could not do during the debate.



Later, he points out:
He's a good debater, because he relies on a powerful tactic: he'll willingly make stuff up and mangle his sources to make his arguments. I'm at a disadvantage because I won't do that.

The lesson for me is to pin these guys down much more tightly on the precise subject of the debate. This one was all over the place, especially since Durston consciously avoided any topic on which I might have some expertise.


After all, PZ was there.



No, I don't think that being a member of MENSA is "bugger all"
 
Then why bring it up in the first place??

but I'm quite certain that it has Myers quakeing in his boots given that Day has probably FORGOTTEN more about logical argumentation than Myers could learn in his entire life.
You have got to be joking...with all the stupid stuff that Vox Day has said, what makes you think that he knows anything about logic?

Besides, it'a supposed to be about biology, not logic. As the Simmonds debate showed, Myers does know what he's talking about.


You still never answered the point that I brought up before: Even if Myers debates your hero, Vox Day, what's to stop some other character from proclaiming him a "wuss" because Myers doesn't debate his hero later on, even though Myers has done several debates?

Unlike people like William Craig, Myers has actual lab and research work to do...debating takes away from his real work, it is not part of his work. We're lucky that scienceblogs gives people like him an quick, easy avenue to talk about science, religion, and other stuff.

Reynold said...

I heard that Stein invited Dawkins out for lunch after taping the session and Dawkins declined and then asked if the check made out to him was in US dollars. Nice guy. Hitchins is another atheist who is only in it for a paycheck
 
One: where did you "hear" that story from and how do you know it's true, and Two: It seems to be Stein who is interested in money...

So like, you know how Dawkins is one of the worlds most famous living biologist, and 'charges' $30K for speaking engagements, but waived/waives it for educational institutions?

And like, Ben Stein is like, an actor or comedian or something, who charges $60K for speaking engagements? Well because of the budget crunch hitting colleges and universities in the US, a Stein speaking engagement at Emory (ugh, yes, he was supposed to speak at Emory) had to be canceled because they didnt have the money to pay him anymore.

Stein is such a kind fellow, he is charging them a cancellation fee.

 
In contrast, Dawkins donated 5 grand to the OK people.

So, you were saying about Dawkins being in it only for the paycheck?


Now, about that atheism being a religion thing:

One of the reasons this case is important is some of the dicta which were attached to the final

opinion. The term dicta is a plural and shortening of "obiter dictum," or "said in passing." Such statements are personal opinions of the justice - they are not necessary to the final result and have no legal force.

In a dictum footnote attached to this opinion, Justice Black wrote:


Among the religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others.

This is frequently cited by people on the religious right as that the Supreme Court has declared Secular Humanism to be a religion, but such people are simply unaware of the fact that dicta have no legal force.

You can look up the notes for the actual court case if you don't like that I used an atheist source.

Reynold said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reynold said...

Blasted spelling:

As I was trying to say, that last link was to the Torcaso vs. Watkins case which was dealing with secular humanism as opposed to outright atheism, though it was from an atheist site.

JD Curtis said...

It (atheism) still qualifies as a form of "non-theistic" religion, protected by the courts.

We're getting off topic with the Stein-Dawkins business. I don't remember where I heard it.

Getting back to the subject at hand. Day has already (I think) tipped his hand and would probably concentrate on TENS in a debate with Myers. I think that the snipe-and-dodge BS of myers would only lead to further barbs to be traded between the two when Myers could end it all right now with a written, internet debate and wouldnt have to worry about being buried by too much info ala Dr Duane Gish. I can see no reason for him ducking Day and the entire "peer review" thing doesnt pass muster in that Myers was all too willing to go at it with Ken Ham. What journal has Ham been published in?

I'll probably post something tomorrow and cycle off this thread. If you catch it before I do that, you can have the last word.

JD Curtis said...

Somewhat on topic, I came across this at another blog today....

"A Dutch Protestant cleric who describes himself as an "atheist pastor", saying he does not believe in God's existence, has become a publishing success in the Netherlands...The Rev. Klaas Hendrikse published a book at the beginning of November entitled "Believing in a God who does not exist: Manifesto of an atheist pastor", which by the end of the month had gone into its third printing.

In his book, Hendrikse tells how his conviction that God does not exist has become stronger over time. He suggests, however, that it is still possible to speak of God, but in this case it refers to the quality of a relationship rather than the existence of a divine being." Link

Reynold said...

It (atheism) still qualifies as a form of "non-theistic" religion, protected by the courts.
 
You must not have read about what a "dicta" by the court means.

As for Myers, why should he debate Vox? He's debated several other people. As I keep asking: What's to stop some other character from claiming that Myers is a "wuss" if Myers doesn't debate his/her "hero"?

At what point does one draw the line between being a "wuss" and just saying that they've had enough of this crap?

As I said, Myers has a job. Vox Day beaking off is his job.