Monday, July 14, 2008


Time and Tide

One of the more interesting phenomena to arise out of the Great Frackin' Cracker Flap is the seeming fixation that some Christians (I gather mostly of the conservative bent) have with getting the "New Atheists" to pick on Muslims. Some of them, such as the crude and threatening anonymous correspondents PZ has revealed, apparently think that it is a cheap and safe way to play Henry II and be rid of a troublesome anti-priest. So great is the reflexive fear response of the right, after seven years of Bush playing their nerves like a five year-old sawing on a violin for the first time, that some seem to think that a mere sideways glance at a Muslim is the equivalent of a death sentence.

A step up from there -- in that he uses his real name ... nobody would make up "Rod Dreher" -- is the "Crunchy Con," who delivers, under the title "P.Z. Myers, coward," this alleged, and profane, sarcasm under BeliefNet's banner of "Inspiration. Spirituality. Faith.":

If P.Z. Myers had any guts, he would put out a call for someone to send him a Koran so he could blow his nose and wrap fish in it. After all, it's nothing but frackin' ink on paper, right? So what's stopping you, Big Man? It's easy to shit on what Catholics regard as sacred. But just try doing the same thing to what Muslims regard as sacred. Let's see what you're made of.

Crunchy seems to be operating, however, mostly under a persecution/inferiority complex as revealed by his closing:

Besides which, I think we all know if a professor at a major American university had issued a public call for people to send him a Koran or a Torah for the purpose of desecrating them, it would be front page news. Does anybody doubt that?

Slightly less delusional than the first example, but with an equally ridiculous taste in pseudonyms as the second, is Vox Day, who is also trying to chivvy PZ into what he considers a self-destructive act. Day actually repeats the old canard that "there are no atheists in foxholes." I've always wondered at how people fail to recognized the illogic in that. If someone is a believer in the providence of God -- that not a sparrow falls -- then they should be confident that no bullet can hurt them, if God has not yet decreed that their time on Earth is closed. Conversely, if a provident God calls their name, not the deepest bunker can save them. In short, there are no true believers in foxholes, since foxholes are superfluous to the will of God.

My final exhibit is the truly erudite Francis Beckwith, who should know better, but who at least displays some subtlety. Professor Beckwith dredges up an old post of PZ's which actually defended the outrage that Muslims felt over the Danish cartoons of Mohammed and notes that PZ didn't say "It's Just a Frackin' Cartoon." But Professor Beckwith stopped just short in the quotation of where PZ said:

It also doesn't help that their riots are confirming the caricatures rather than opposing them. Once again, religiosity turns people into mindless frenzied zombies, and once again it interferes with progress.

It's strange -- or not -- that so many religionists would wish the selfsame treatment they themselves complain so bitterly about on other believers.

On the other hand, it can't be helped that there is a certain irony in the fact, given that this all started because of the supposed "over reaction" of Catholics to reports of a college student's actions with a eucharist, that PZ has had to append to his post about his emails a prominent and emboldened plea to his own supporters:

Please STOP SENDING EMAIL TO THESE INDIVIDUALS. There are too many of you, the over-reaction is excessive, and you are not doing our reputation any favor.

Ah Tempora! Ah Mores!

Wee bit obsessed with the "diss the Mooozlimz too!!11!1!!" thing, aren't they?

Excellent post, John. I was going to hit this topic, but you did a much better job than I would've done.
Hi John,

The way I read the comments on PZs blog was more more of the "put yourself in someone else's shoes" when the e-mails referred to either the Torah or the Koran. At least the calm ones. Maybe I'm trying to give people the benefit of the doubt...

on the other hand....

I did read Vox Day's "The Irrational Atheist". I picked it up when I was looking for Ken Miller's "Just a Theory". What a fetid pile of bullshit if there ever was one. I was glad it was a library book, cause I really would've hated myself if I bought it.
I try to give people the benefit of the doubt too -- no really, I do! -- but this comes off, at best, as an attempt to wrap themselves in the cloak of a minority. Christians get "picked on" the most by secularists in this country because they are, as they always like to remind us when it's to their benefit, the majority and have all too many of the levers of power in their hands. And "picked on" invariably turns out to mean "you won't let us do what we want."
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