Man, the comments on my guest editorial at the Raw Story are nuts. I don’t know if the word “secular” brought out a flock of trolls, or if that place is always infested with these uncomprehending goons. There are a couple of people who seem baffled by the fact that I wrote a positive piece on the virtues of secularism, yet my prior comment on Melinda Barton was a negative work that concentrated on criticizing her sloppy logic and sneaky redefinitions. It’s bad enough that they are surprised that one person can use two different tactics, but they’re also suggesting that the fact that I didn’t beat up Barton some more means I’m backing away from my earlier statements.
I didn’t say more about Barton because I already wrote that argument. I thought I was thorough and didn’t need to rehash it—the fact that I included a link to it should have clued in people that I wasn’t repudiating it. I don’t know why this should be so difficult to grasp. I suspect it’s that people sympathetic to Barton’s view share her bigotry, and think that atheists are all planning to line the Christians up against the wall as soon as we’ve finished subverting society, right before the looting and orgies start. Atheists must be tied to extremism, or poor Ms. Barton’s argument falls apart.
Or maybe it’s the fact that the essay was a thousand words long, and overwhelmed their capacity (people who are bewildered at the idea of simultaneously supporting X while criticizing opponents of X don’t have much capacity to spare!)…so here, let me help by digesting the essay down.
Shorter intolerant rant by PZ Myers:
I’m willing to get along with and even support the religious, as long as they don’t threaten to suborn secular institutions to privilege religious belief.