Have you had enough of my face?

If not, Minnesota Stories has a short interview with PZ Myers, taped last year. It’s too bad the camera didn’t pan to my left a little bit, because my Trophy Wife™ was sitting right next to me the whole time, and she would have been much more restful on the eyes.


  1. Lana says

    You’re being sued for a negative book review? So, let me get this straight. A guy writes a book he says is scientific. He sends it to a well-known scientist for his opinion. WKS gives his opinion, based on science. Guy then sues.

    The libel class I had in law school is in the distant past, but I seem to remember something about truth being the perfect defense.

  2. says

    Different jurisdictions have different allowable tests. In some jurisdictions in Australia, defamation can be defended only by truth and a “public interest” test, which basically makes it impossible to defend against.

    I was personally involved in a lawsuit by an author who felt that the rejection of his academic paper for a university press book was defamatory. Unfortunately, the university caved and gave him a cash settlement.

    But fair use and free speech provisions, not to mention academic freedom, should protect PZ here. If they don’t, it sets a massively bad precedent for free speech.

    But if Paul is forced to take it down, I would be willing to repost it. Let him sue me in Australia.

  3. Greg Peterson says

    That (the lawsuit) is so fricking stupid I had to check three sources to make sure it wasn’t satire. Am I know open to a libel suit for this review I wrote on Amazon.com of “The Panda’s Black Box”?

    “I am not used to reading books from biolgists and other scientists who seem so willing to give quarter to religious thinking. This is not a creationist tome by any stretch, but to pretend that our best scientific theories can in any way be reconciled with revealed religion is to perpetuate dangerously flawed and delusional thinking. Some of the information in “Panda’s Box” is provocative and worthy of wider discussion, but my overall impression was disappointment that it was not made of sturdier stuff. This is not a time for science to compromise with superstitions…there’s too much at stake.”

    If anything, what I wrote is more libelous because it’s pure opinion, unsupported by facts and examples as PZ’s review was. What would be the legal distinction to be made between a review on a blog and a reader review on Amazon.com? This is absurd.

  4. bernarda says

    I wish PZ were more mild-mannered and didn’t have such a strident aggressive tone all the time. Is he trying to out do Hitchens and Dawkins. And! did you notice that these three guys’ names all end in “s”. There is something devilish there.

    As to Minnesota and back to the bridge, the Rethugs don’t seem to see any urgency in fixing things.


    Homeboy Garrison Keillor gave his analysis,


  5. terryf says

    Minnesota Stories has a short interview with PZ Myers

    Small word of advice: speaking of yourself in the third person should be avoided. I mean, seriously, Denyse O’Leary does it all the time. ‘Nuff said. ;-)

  6. Maronan says

    Can I nitpick a little? I won’t be banned or disemvoweled for that, right?

    Yeah, anyway.

    Nitpick #1: Faith isn’t a mythical process. Faith is the ability to believe two contradicting ideas, knowing that the one precludes the other but believing them both fervently and – above all – honestly. (Oldspeak for shameless linkwhoring doublethink) Faith is what allows people to believe that God is all loving and will torture you forever if you think about doing something which isn’t even wrong by any reasonable definition; the ability to believe that God is omnipotent, and that his influence and miracles are inhibited by the presence of a sceptical observer; the ability to believe that God has a divine plan above our station to question and that he will deviate from it and temporarily suspend the laws of physics and/or probability because one person asked him to, etc. Come on, where’s the rant? I can think of two lengthy ranting responses off the top of my head! Is that really the same PZ Myers who writes Pharyngula? :)

    (Sorry, needed to rant. You may now continue your ordinary lives.)

    Nitpick #2: You did say something along the lines of: “not all religious decisions are bad, but the lack of perspective is what screws them up.” Perhaps a better phrasing would be: “Decisions based solely on religion are always bad, though decisions made largely for religious reasons can be good for other reasons.”

    Nitpick #3: For someone who knows better than most everyone else that evolution is not a moral theory, and who frequently points this out to creationists claiming that evolution says we “should” do X, Y, or Z, you can’t seem to avoid referring to evolution as a justification for morality. Evolution, being cold amoral science, can’t justify killing (as the creationists claim it does) but it can’t justify altruism either. It can certainly explain why we value altruism, and why we generally assume respect for others to be a positive, but it can’t provide a justification for acting kindly towards others. Religion provides a (poor) justification for morality, by saying that we should all act in our own self-interest, but a magic sky fairy will punish us for killing and stealing, meaning that those actions are against our own self-interest and should be avoided. Evolution provides nothing similar. Since atheism does not come with a moral system packaged in, there’s no one particular set of justifications either of us must subscribe to (I personally subscribe to a form of modified utilitarianism) but turning to evolution isn’t a good idea. Of course, since I’m sure you don’t really believe evolution is the justification for morality all by itself, I won’t elevate this above nitpick status.

    Anyway, I’d offer a complete rebuttal/deconstruction of your actual opinions, but I can’t figure out how to rebut or deconstruct them. They seem pretty sound. (I’m a relatively rare “I’m an atheist and…” as opposed to the “I’m an atheist but…” people Dawkins seems to dislike.) Unfortunately, I’m too tired out to keep screaming at the faithheads, so I have to raise minor criticisms with the wording of your speech. Go figure.