Wo. Ben Radford decided to get back at that so and so PZ Myers once and for all, by putting on his Jonathan Swift hat and being FUNNeeee. He wrote a satire type piece – not on the CFI blog this time – about PZ using up all the straw in Minnesota. GEDDIT? Super funny, right?
A spokesman for the Minnesota Farmers Union is concerned about a shortage of straw and hay available for agricultural purposes around the state—and he is blaming PZ Myers for the problem.
Myers, a prolific blogger and professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris, has been accused of hoarding hay and straw for use in constructing his straw man arguments and logical fallacies. While some of the larger organizations such as the Minnesota Farm Network have been reluctant to criticize Myers out of fear of being targeted on his often-vitriolic blog, others are speaking out.
Witty? Subtle? Clever?
“Every time he writes something outside of his field [of biology], Myers uses all of the available straw for miles around” to craft his arguments, said Farmer’s Union representative Mike Helms. “I’m not saying he doesn’t have a right to buy straw and hay—it’s a free country and all that. But the fact is our farmers and horses need it. He can’t use that much straw [an estimated 3,000 bales per month last year] and not expect it to affect our local ecology and economy. We use straw for feeding our livestock and horses, bedding, and fuel. He’s just using it to make faulty arguments. Where’s the justice in that?”
Helms added that other quasi-famous pundits have been drawn to the area in search of straw for their own arguments (conservative writer Ann Coulter and creationist William Dembksi are frequent customers), but that Myers is by far the most active.
Radford seriously thinks PZ is comparable to Coulter and Dembski? Damn, my credulity gets strained so much these days it’s all but useless to me.
Myers, once known for his work as a biologist, has in recent years become most prominent for his strident criticism of religion, skepticism, and almost anything else he disagrees with. In a famous incident in 2009, Myers overheard a young woman mention that she was a staunch vegetarian, to which he immediately responded: “You know, Hitler was a vegetarian… What other Nazi policies do you agree with?” Myers’s blatant logical fallacies have been catalogued by dozens of people including scientist-and-best-selling authors Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins—and most recently by a bored fifth-grader in Duluth who happened to be skimming Myers’s “Pharyngula” blog for a school project.
Despite his dismissive tone and having yet to publish a single book, PZ Myers has attracted legions of fans.
Where to begin? The completely random Nazi item? The claim about logical fallacies without ever throughout the piece (or his previous slap at PZ) actually citing any? The ass-kissing of Harris and Dawkins, and the naked attempt to use their fame as a club to cudgel someone he dislikes? The “he hasn’t published a book” snobbery from someone who can’t write a decent sentence? The fact that in fact PZ has published a book? The spiteful jealousy of the legions of fans?
Republican political strategists—themselves well versed in straw man fallacies—have long expressed admiration for Myers’s uncanny ability to fabricate controversy from thin air and grossly mischaracterize his opponents. Wilson Moot, a protégé of Karl Rove and the chief writer of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign ads, is a particular fan. One of Moot’s best-known ads took President Obama’s statement “You didn’t build that” out of context (he was clearly referring to national infrastructure including roads and bridges) and claimed that it was instead an attack on small business owners. “Myers’s ability to twist and spin the facts and misinterpret otherwise clear arguments by others is unparalleled,” Moot said in a recent Washington Weekly interview. “I’m good, but let’s be honest: Myers is in his own class. Up is down, black is white, night is day—if he says it is. If we’d had him on our campaign I really think we could have nailed Obama on that Muslim thing and won the White House.”
God damn. What a stack of bullshit. Radford misrepresented his own blog post, while PZ addressed what Radford had actually written.
Who are these people?