That’s right. That Robert T. Bakker. The dinosaur guy. The one who gave me all sorts of delicious ideas when I was using dinosaurs as the springboard to building a better dragon.
He got so far up my nose tonight he made my brain recoil.
Brian Switek at Laelaps interviewed Dr. Bakker several weeks ago. I didn’t read the interview. I was saving it for later, like an expensive bottle of wine: I was busy with the IDiot schlock at the time, Expelled was getting ready to come out, this blog was just a wee thing that needed constant feeding, and, well, I wanted to read it when I could actually savor it.
And then I dropped by Pharyngula today, and discovered that Robert T. Bakker’s been hating on atheists.
Even Dr. Bob.
We dino-scientists have a great responsibility: our subject matter attracts kids better than any other, except rocket-science. What’s the greatest enemy of science education in the U.S.?
No way. It’s the loud, strident, elitist anti-creationists. The likes of Richard Dawkins and his colleagues.
Dr. Bob, don’t take this the wrong way, because I love and respect you for your palentology and all of those awesome books on dinosaurs without which I couldn’t have built a better dragon, but… fuck you, okay?
Fuck you and your Pentecostal bullshit.
Not only have you jumped on the “atheists are anathema” bandwagon, but you’ve got to throw your lot in with anti-elitism, too? You, a learned man? You want to use “elitist” as an epithet?
You disappoint me, sir.
First off, I’m sick to death of the “atheists are the enemy” schtick. Creationists are the enemy. We atheists are allies, no matter how much you may dislike our views and our expression of said views, and, yes, our “elitism.” After all, no atheist is going to come in and shut your museum down because it doesn’t pander to our dogma. No atheist would kick your science out of schools, put you out of a job, and ridicule you because your knowledge of science doesn’t match a fairy story told by belligerant goatherders three thousand years ago.
You know who’s your enemy, Bob? Militant creationists.
Those fuckers were attacking science long before we loud, strident, anti-creationist atheists jumped into the fray. And you’d better be gods-damned glad we’re drawing their fire, because you know who’d be taking the bullets if we weren’t?
That’s right. You.
It’s bad enough we have to take rancid bullshit from the IDiot set, but then people like you, religious scientists, turn around and fire away. We take shit from every religious bastard in the universe. Forgive us for getting tetchy. Excuse us for biting at the hands raised against us rather than slinking off with our tails between our legs.
What’s wrong, Bob? Because I’m sure at some level, you know it’s absolute bullshit to think that if the atheists went away, the creationists would withdraw from the field, too. Do we gleeful unbelievers threaten your faith? Is that what led to this:
Dawkins performs clip-art scholarship with the History of Science and Religion, a field that over the last several decades has matured into a rigorous discipline with fine PhD programs, endowed professorships, well-funded conferences, edited volumes luxuriously printed by Oxford, Harvard, and The Johns Hopkins Press. With footnotes.
PZ already took you apart on this one, so I won’t do it. I’m just saying that your whole response to the critics from your original wrong-headed comment came across as the rantings of a terrified theist. And it’s pathetic.
You spend nearly the entire response frothing about “The Brights.” Are you fucking kidding me? I’ve been pretty deeply immersed in atheist circles for a while now, and I had no idea what the fuck Brights were until John Pieret put them down in a comment on this blog. Apparently, enough pathetic souls are hanging on to the silly notion to keep you in material, but I have news for you: the vast majority of atheists aren’t “Brights.” So spending nearly a full article ranting about how Darwin wouldn’t have been a Bright is just a joke.
And it’s not like anybody gives two tugs on a dead dog’s dick what Darwin was, aside from the IDiots who have a huge stake in him being an atheist. He could have been a rabid fundie, for all we care. It’s his science that’s important, not his religious beliefs. What, we’re supposed to be ashamed to be atheists because Darwin wasn’t? That kind of shit may be important to Christians, who seem to have a pathological need for arguments from authority, but we atheists don’t care, aside from the chortle it gives us when religious buggers’ arguments from authority go horribly awry (Einstein, anybody?).
Then there’s all of the whining about how we just haven’t read the science wuuuvs religion, and look, it’s got footnotes! literature. You go on and on about Dawkins not having enough footnotes in The God Delusion. You veritably sneer at the fact. You go on and on with the Harvard, the PhDs, the “luxuriously printed volumes….” Who’s being an elitist snob now, Dr. Bob?
I could spend a long time writing up a series of treatises for you, richly footnoted, even, explaining just how and why it is that threatened Christians look like such raving ‘fraidy-cats when confronted with an atheist who’s not silent about their views. I could, and if necessary will, demonstrate that creationists didn’t need strident, loud atheists to try to destroy science. But you already know all of that. You just don’t want to admit it. And I’m not going to take precious time away from my writing right now to whip up a scholarly treatise for a man who should know better.
Although if you come here and bitch to me, I’ll do it. Don’t make me pull out the Super-Deluxe Paddle with Footnotes and march you out to the woodshed, my boy.
Because, you see, in the end, this is just an annoyance and a disappointment. I expected better of you. I expect better of all Christians who have a brain that they employ for tasks other than apologetics. But I’ve learned that my expectations often won’t be met – something about atheists seems to turn you into raving lunatics – and so I can forgive you.
I’ll continue reading your books and articles and even interviews, although now I’ll be wincing in anticipation, wondering when you’re going to get sidetracked by that “atheists are the enemy” bullshit, and that’s just sad, because you’re a brilliant man and your paleontology is first-class. I mean, for fuck’s sake, you were largely responsible for one of the most incredible shifts in understanding ever. I know. I was there. I got raised on the din
osaurs-are-cold-blooded gospel, and then along came a heretic, and what do you know? They weren’t so cold after all.
See, Dr. Bob? See what heretics can do? We apostates and unbelievers, we shake things up, we change things, we can drive things in a whole other, entirely wonderful direction.
And I think you’ll be surprised when the loud, proud atheists force Christianity to a new level. Between the fundies who want to keep the faith static, and the atheists who don’t actually threaten to do away with it entirely but sure as fuck demonstrate that a happy, complete life can be lived God-free, you Christians are going to have to achieve a whole new level of faith. But you’re not going to get there knocking over straw men like Brights and snivelling about how Darwin wouldn’t have been one, oh, no.
You are a brilliant man. I know you are. That interview you did with Brian, aside from the silly comment about atheists being the real enemy, that was stellar stuff. That was a tour-de-force. So turn some of that savage intellect away from the whining and crying and engage us, for fuck’s sake. We’re not going to talk you out of God, and you’re not going to talk us in, so how do we reach both the faithful and the faithless? How do we defend this wonderful science of ours from the shitheads who want to do away with it no matter how many Christians say science and religion are bosom buddies? (And you do realize that’s useless, right, because in the militant creationists’ eyes, you’re no more a Christian than I am.)
The floor is open, Dr. Bob. Let’s get a dialogue going. Let’s stop sniping at each other and turn the fire on the fuckers who want to take science down.
Atheists are standing by to take your call.