Public intellectuals labeled and targeted

If you’re looking for more members of my tribe, here’s a a list of The Top 100 Liberal Arts Professor Blogs. There’s no indication of how they determined that these were “top” blogs, or what a “top” blog is (there is some sexual innuendo we could indulge in there), and strangely, Aetiology is classified as a psychology blog…it was probably compiled by a liberal arts professor. Anyway, you can find some interesting blogs here!


  1. llewelly says

    Obviously Tara’s blog was classed as ‘psychology’ on the basis of the crazed HIV-denialists and germ-theory of disease denialists who make thousands of lunatic comments on Aetiology.

  2. Jason Failes says

    Wow, PZ, see you in August when we’ve all gotten through the pile. Thanks.

  3. raven says

    Obviously Tara’s blog was classed as ‘psychology’ on the basis of the crazed HIV-denialists and germ-theory of disease denialists who make thousands of lunatic comments on Aetiology.

    Quite so. Although to be more accurate, it should be labeled abnormal psychology or far lunatic fringe psychology.

    I dealt with the HIV denialists for a short time. They really are crazy.
    About 1/4 are fundie haters who really hope all gays get AIDS and die and don’t really believe in HIV denial.

    Another quarter are HIV+ and trying to convince themselves that they don’t have an incurable disease that, untreated, will kill them. They usually eventually die of AIDS.

    Half of them seem to be neither HIV+ nor Death Cultists, they are just insane wackos filling up their day babbling endlessly about one obsession or another.

    It wasn’t worth spending any more time watching the zoo of the weirds.

  4. bugbear says

    The economics blogs seem to be mostly selected for the really hide-bound sorts of economists that only like data that supports their political beliefs.

  5. jpf says

    Threadjack — In the tradition of the Grand Challenge and the X-Prize, Andy Schlafly has just introduced his own competition to spur scientific development: the Conservapedia Challenge!

    A Conservapedia challenge is an unsolved problem or task that offers the promise of bettering society when lawfully accomplished.

    The first Conservapedia challenge is to find a legal means for obtaining public disclosure of Lenski’s federally funded data.

    No prize money yet announced.

  6. Dan says

    The funniest part about Aetiology being classified in the psychology section is that the description correctly identifies the subject matter as epidemiology!

  7. Dan says

    The funniest part about Aetiology being classified in the psychology section is that the description correctly identifies the subject matter as epidemiology!

  8. Interrobang says

    You know, PZ, there are liberal arts types who read your blog. Some of us even teach (or have, at least in my case)… Jus’ sayin’. :)

  9. Diana Hickman says

    You may not be aware of just how many of us non-scientist types read Pharyngula every day, for years. I’m a high school English teacher in Texas, with more than a passing interest in science, evolution, math, physics, genetics, even giant squid. I am also an athiest (traveling incognito at work). I don’t comment much, because I am here to learn. But I am here, several times a day, and I have plugged Phrayngula to many other liberal arts types, so I would imagine there are many, many of us.

  10. Holbach says

    The list of the top 100 could have easily left off theology. If I were posting the list, I wouldn’t even consider that heading. Put that list on a separate site, perhaps under mythology,ect.

  11. co says

    Re #12: Well, the only comment on that page (the main Conservapedia page, on the right section “In the News”) is a possibly rhetorical question: “Who will be first to figure out a legal means for obtaining public disclosure of Lenski’s underlying federally funded data?”

    People with eagle eyes *may* be right that Schlafy really does intend to sue Lenski for the data, but jumping from that question to the conclusion that the sue-age will actually happen is a bit premature.

  12. raven says

    ACK! SCHLAFLY SUING LENSKI. OMG. Stay tooned for laughs. (click the name for article)

    Good. Schalfly can now demonstrate in court before an audience of dozens (about all who care) that he is indeed a psychotic moron. Hmmm, is this yet again another case of a fundie Death Cultist persecuting an evolutionary biologist? Rudi Boa was stabbed to death by one such in Australia.

    Wait and see. I doubt this is a serious lawsuit and after a few headlines in the blogosphere it will probably be abandoned and forgotten.

    There is a problem with filing frivolous lawsuits. They can themselves be considered legal torts (injuries). The relevant case law is malicious prosecution and abuse of the (judicial) process. If Schlafly pursues it, Lenksi should win and countersue the loon.

  13. says

    Harrumph! Only two math blogs listed and neither one of them is mine. Damn! (Of course, I’m not sure my blog is really a math blog.)

  14. Benjamin Franklin says

    Conservapaedia Challenge #2

    Who will be first to figure out a means for pulling Andy Schlafly’s head out of his ass?

  15. Benjamin Franklin says


    that should be… “Andy Schlafly’s voluminous ego-inflated head out of his similarly voluminous ass from whence inordinate amounts of shit flows”

  16. lylebot says

    Can I just point out to #10 and #14 that science is one of the modern liberal arts? “Liberal arts” does not mean “humanities”. Anyway, PZ is a professor at a liberal arts school; note that he says “more members of my tribe”.

    As someone who has a degree in math from a liberal arts school and is now a professional scientist, this misconception really irritates!

  17. Holbach says

    Benjamin Franklin @ 19 No Ben, I’d rather he keep his head stuck up his ass so we don’t have to see or hear him.

  18. Chris aus says

    Those two music blogs look interesting. It’s a shame they look so ugly! I wonder are they supposed to look like that?

  19. JJR says

    @21 >>”Liberal arts” does not mean “humanities”.<< This would be a great surprise to a good many College and University administrators out there, BTW. Let me clarify that I too am a humanities person (German Studies & Library Science) with a lay interest in the natural Sciences who loves this blog.

  20. Badger3k says

    I misread the thing and thought this was some neo-con fantasy list of liberal professors blogs. I was surprised when I saw one on Medieval history and another on Old English Poetry. I had to stop and reread and caught my mistake. Looks like I may have a few more to add to my feed (assuming they rss, that is). So much to learn, so little time. Thanks PZ. :)

  21. co says

    I note that someone has accepted the Conservapedia Challenge, and was promptly rebuffed by Schlafly for offering to give the data to him (Schlafly) and not to “the public”.

    It seems to me that Schlafly is now using very questionable semantics to *prevent* the Challenge from ever being fulfilled, and blaming the people who are trying to fulfill it. Is anyone surprised?

  22. Tom says

    #24: The music blogs they listed, while interesting, are nowhere near the best available. I’m a musicologist with an amateur but serious interest in the sciences (as well as an atheist), which is why I read Pharyngula daily. IMHO, the single best English-language music blog is Englishman Bob Shingleton’s On an Overgrown Path (, or you can go to Sequenza 21’s website and check out their blogroll.

  23. Patricia says

    Medieval! Oh bliss.
    Ha! Holbach, how delightful. You fooled me before luncheon. When I saw #95 – 100, I said to my dog, well – there goes Holbach never to be seen again. Kudos for not saddling Rocinante. :)

  24. Holbach says

    Patricia @ 29 Patricia, I am awake, but I cannot connect to what you are referring to in that post! “Get Inquiries Tent” on Youtube? Help me, so my brain does not scramble in figuring it out! Quick before Alzheimer’s sets in?

  25. Patricia says

    Holbach, are you talking about the Stephen Fry episode of QI on YouTube I posted the link for last night re:’abumgang’?

    It doesn’t work?

  26. Patricia says

    Holbach – That one I just posted works. It is the correct episode. Watch beginning 8:25 of the 9:45 time line. There Fry explains about the Eaton tribe of Cameroon using the word abumgang as ‘thank you’. You wondered about my source of the word.
    Ha! Have no fear of loosing it. Yesterday I posted that tomarrow is my birthday, pffft! My birthday is the 4th of July. I have somehow lost an entire day…
    Such are the joys of a quinquagenarian.

  27. Carlie says

    In my neck of the woods science is indeed lumped with the liberal arts, in a catch-all group generally defined as “everything that’s not computer science, engineering, or business”, otherwise known as “all of those damned gen ed classes we have to take even though we’ll never use any of that stuff so we don’t know why we have to take them”.

  28. Brian says

    Funny that Silliman’s Blog is listed, since Ron Silliman is not a professor of any type–he’s an IT consultant.

  29. Holbach says

    Patricia @ 34 Yes, I did watch that one and did note that it came through at post # 176 on the “Newsweek” article. But at your # 29 on this post, you mentioned #95-100. What do these numbers refer too? I’m still confused. Was the post to someone else? I wait with bated breath!

  30. says

  31. Patricia says

    Pffft! I am truely a blockhead today. #95-100 on the list PZ wrote about. #95 – 100 is Theology blogs. I was attempting to be humourous and assert that you would have fresh ground for more christian slaying.
    I just got skewered by truth machine on the Hitchens thread, and then inadvertently bashed someone else, so my day is starting out rather badly. Perhaps I should go out and twirl… ;)

  32. sassenach says

    It had me until I saw Mankiw’s name — Mankiw of the “Harvard is one of the most left-wing institutions on the face of the earth” declaration.

    Since when is economics a “liberal art” anyway?

  33. Holbach says

    386sx @ 40 Thanks for the new Pat Condell video. Always good to listen and watch him crap on religion, but I do think he is not an atheist, but just a secularist. Am I right in this evaluation?

  34. 386sx says

    386sx @ 40 Thanks for the new Pat Condell video. Always good to listen and watch him crap on religion, but I do think he is not an atheist, but just a secularist. Am I right in this evaluation?

    I think he’s pretty much an atheist.

  35. Holbach says

    Patricia @ 42 Ah-Ha!, it dawned on me that is what you were referring to when you quoted #95-100, but you had already posted! Whew, I’m usually on the qt on these matters, but reactions tend to slow down with much blogging! Yeah, I saw that crap list on theology and could only muster a limpid reply at # 15. It’s getting to the point where I don’t want to rot my mouth and brain out with any more religious crap. Flashheart would be a better use of one’s brains and vocal chords. Woof, Woof!

  36. Patricia says

    Thanks for that Pat Condell link. He certainly has courage. I’d bet he gets some real doozies as death threats.

  37. Patricia says

    Two of my favorite authors of comedy and religion bashing are Balzac and Cervantes. It’s a shame no one reads them any more. There was a movie started about Don Quixote with Johnny Depp, but it was never finished.
    Of the two I think Balzac hated the clergy worse than Cervantes.

  38. Holbach says

    386sx @ 46 I read Pat Condell’s wikipedia page as being an atheist some time ago, but each time I watch his videos I can pick out a particular comment he states or does not contradict that leads me to conclude he is not an atheist, at least not of my persuasion. To avoid unnecessary and lengthy nitpicking, an observation in the latest video. He said, “Your soul doesn’t need cleansing, because it isn’t dirty”. What I would have said, and so should he have, was,”Your soul doesn’t cleansing, because there is no such thing as a soul, which is a religious fantasy.” See the difference? He has exhibited this trait in almost every video he made, and maybe he just speaks off the cuff and does not ruminate on his remarks, or is just engaged in a quick rebuttal and is not too picky in repartee, but the trait is there and I pick up on it. But this in no way lessens my regard for him as he isan asset to the rational cause. Just my opinion.

  39. clinteas says

    Hm,just had a quick squizz over those blogs,it seems the esteemed professors are all doing a great job,but we have by far the better trolls !!

    @ Holbach,No 44:

    Pat has been talking a lot about the pandering to Islam in the UK recently,and in that sense I guess could be called a secularist,but I always took him to be a dedicated atheist.

  40. 386sx says

    I agree with you Holbach @ #50. I’ve noticed that myself. I don’t know what to make of it.

    Maybe he knows that the non-existence of the supernatural can never be definitively proven, so he sometimes feels a bit tentative about sounding like a “strong” atheist, e.g. by flat out stating that souls definitely don’t exist. I dunno.

  41. Holbach says

    Patricia @ 49 Ah yes, Cervantes and Honore de Balzac.I prefer Balzac as he is more direct in his comments about religion. Another one of my favorites, French of course, as is Holbach, is Anantole France, a writer who has always had an unkind word for religion. Of course we have Mark Twain, H L Mencken and so many greats of the past, and our present day heroes. We can easily seek them out, as they left their thoughts and works behind. Damn, when you think of it, it’s a wonder their stuff is still available, which only proves the power of reason over superstitious nonsense.

  42. says

    That site looks like one big advertisement for iffy online schools, PZ. Might want to dig around there a bit!

  43. negentropyeater says


    Ah well just tells you many people don’t understand exactly the question when they are being interviewed on the phone (between dinner and the football game).

    The pew forum is big load of crap anyway, and they’ve never made any effort to really try to improve their research methodology.

    Here are more details :

    only 1.6% of respondents declared being atheists !
    8% of atheists are absolutely certain that they believe in God
    17% of agnostics are absolutely certain that they believe in God

    I think it’s best to skip how people answer to the religious affiliation question, it’s an extremely poor methodology, look at the way they do it :

    Q.16 What is your present religion, if any? Are you Protestant, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Orthodox
    such as Greek or Russian Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic,
    something else, or nothing in particular?

    On another hand, if you look horizontally, it’s more interesting :

    71% of americans are absolutely certain that they believe in God
    17% fairly certain
    4% not too certain / not at all certain
    5% do not believe in God
    3% don’t know

  44. Holbach says

    @ # 54 First off, your moniker is almost as extraneous as is your obvious glee in the report that 21% of atheists believe in “a” god or universal ghost. Notice the indefinite article, the lower case for that imaginary thing, and the proper word for a wispy thing concocted by irrational minds. To my estimation, they are not really atheists, but unsound pretenders to a sound frame of mind which they believe lends them credence to particular tenets of religion that they loathe. They are phonys playing at sounding rebellious because that is how atheists have been portrayed in the fight against unreason. They are no more an atheist than I am a raving religious retard, and I can assure you my life and mind is completely free of all superstitions of the insane religious kind and the less harmful UFO and assorted silly nonsense kind. There are unsound people in every social and political group, and this applies to make believe atheists as well as to the only slightly deranged religionists. As a poster has noted, author Susan Jacoby has a qualifying answer to this phony phenomena. I am sure Professor Myers can and will explain this condition better than I can. So if you believe in a god, does this make it exist? You can believe in a god but not the Tooth Fairy? Also notice that I placed in higher case the imaginary denture exchanger and relegated your god to the lower and imaginary case, for as a child I could be assured of finding a quarter under my pillow in exchange for a tooth, but with your god there is no exchange but only with the propagation of that insanity from deranged mind to derannged mind, all of it imaginary and intangible.

  45. says

    Funny how few poetry blogs are on that list.

    I’m biased as some of my friends have blogs of that genre.


  46. Patricia says

    We have a gleeful goddist? Delightful how blasphemy gets commited right here before us.
    So #54 if you are a believer perhaps you can answer a question for me? What proof do you have for unicorns? The bible speaks of unicorns being alive during biblical times. Can you point me to a unicorn zoo, or direct me to unicorn fossils?
    Oops! Thats two questions, an answer to either one will do, thankyou. :)

  47. negentropyeater says

    Before one starts making all kinds of ridiculous conclusions about this “21% of atheists believe in God” let’s put things in perspective :

    we’re talking of 104 respondents on a total number of 35,556 phone interviews who, to the question ;

    “Q.16 What is your present religion, if any? Are you protestant, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Orthodox such as Greek or Russian Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic, something else, or nothing in particular?”

    picked “atheist”

    and then later in the interview were asked the question ;

    “Q.30 Do you believe in God or a universal spirit?”

    and said “yes”

    So what to make of this, well nothing much really because 104 out of 35,556 is well within the margin of error of such a phone interview and there can be many reasons why this happened, they didn’t understand the question, they don’t know what atheist mean, they heard a “theist”, their reply got misreported, etc…

  48. Patricia says

    I’m getting bored singing the Jeopary theme song while I wait for my answer, so I’m changing to the Addams Family theme…..

  49. anonymousphilosopher says

    on what bizarro planet does Vallicella qualify as a liberal? no-really.?????

  50. anonymousphilosopher says

    oops! never mind. misread the post title. okay need more caffeine now.

  51. Holbach says

    Patricia @ 62 Better to twirl than to get an answer, much less than a rational one, from the goddist with the long and insignificant moniker. The Pew Foundation dispenses what it’s first name implies.

  52. Patricia says

    Your right Holbach. Then there’s the fact that christians are such cowards that they will only defend their crap in packs.
    The funniest thing happened to me at the bookstore today. I was looking at a book about Cicero and this little old lady leaned over to me and said, What church do you belong to, honey? In that total concern voice. Then she said, you should come to 1st Christian with me, our pastor would never make you wear that adultry pin in public! You should have seen how fast she got away from me when I told her it ment atheist. That was a good laugh!
    I’ll see if my library has any Holbach, I knew who he was but haven’t read any of his works. Do you know which one outraged Voltaire, or is that just an internet rumour?

  53. notoneofthesupposed21percent says

    Umm…guys, you’ve missed the mark. I am absolutely an atheist. That’s a big part of why I enjoy reading this blog, and it’s why that headline jumped out at me. I was actually looking forward to Prof. Myers’ skewering of it.

    Geez. I was “gleeful” because I think it’s obviously such a messed up poll. Anyway, why would a Theist like that headline? It doesn’t support their silly arguments.

  54. notoneofthesupposed21percent says

    Also, I chose the name “notoneofthesupposed21percent” to (attempt to) indicate that I am an atheist who would never tell a poll-taker that I believe in any kind of God, god, “universal spirit”, unicorn, etc…

    I don’t believe in unicorns (actually, I don’t really “believe in” anything–I try to base my understanding of the universe on scientific evidence and argumentation–I am a scientist)–but you all seemed pretty quick to assume/believe that I am something I definitely am not.

    This place isn’t too friendly toward newcomers, is it? Even the ones who are educated long-time atheists. I guess you’ve seen one too many troll.

  55. Janine ID says

    To avoid unnecessary and lengthy nitpicking, an observation in the latest video. He said, “Your soul doesn’t need cleansing, because it isn’t dirty”. What I would have said, and so should he have, was,”Your soul doesn’t cleansing, because there is no such thing as a soul, which is a religious fantasy.” See the difference?

    Posted by: Holbach

    Holbach, I think that statement by Pat Condell is a joke. Think about it. The soul is not dirty because the soul does not not exist. Therefore, no need to cleanse the soul. Frankly, I think Pat’s statement is funnier than yours. That is the difference.

  56. notoneofthesupposed21percent says

    Finally, it took me a while to post a response because, well, I don’t sit at my computer all day.

  57. Holbach says

    Patricia @ 66 We might as well go to bed than wait around for an obvious silly answer from the goddist with the stink of Pew. I had an incident last year that reminded of your recent one, though my response was much more forceful. I was coming out of a mall and there were three young women who appeared to be greeting departing and arriving shoppers. I am always on my guard in case they are opinion takers, or even better, religionists haranguing for their shit god. With a sweet and smiling voice she asked me if I had spoken to jesus today. I said no, but I saw it in a pile of dog shit in the street last week. The woman paled with a horrid look on her face and was speechless. Needless to say, it made my day, and by the way that jesus shit had a strong Pew about it.
    Holbach is difficult to find in English translations, but his THE SYSTEM OF NATURE , his most notable can be found in larger libraries if the creotards haven’t destroyed it.
    I believe it was Jean Jacques Rousseau who had the run in with Holbach. Rousseau was a philosopher, but a religionist to the core. Just type in Google “Baron d’Holbach” and check out the Wikipedia entry on him which I think is excellent. Probably by an atheist! Then check out the two “Quotes” on the bottom. Holbach expresses his views on religion in a simple and straightforward manner. It’s simplicity, yet powerful rationalism, has endured me to this rational man of the Enlightenment. The next entry after Wikipedia, “the Standard Encyclopedia of is also good. On the closet door next to my desk I have the Google painting of Holbach; and in this rational company I have three pictures of Charles Darwin, his Beagle days, at 51 when he published The Origin Of Species, and in old age in full beard and cape, a lifetime of science; two pictures of Albert Einstein, one of Shakespeare, and one of H. L. Mencken. Such great company these guys keep! We will never see their like again!

  58. Janine ID says

    This place isn’t too friendly toward newcomers, is it? Even the ones who are educated long-time atheists. I guess you’ve seen one too many troll.

    Posted by: notoneofthesupposed21percent

    That is just one misunderstanding from one person. Though many of us do jump on people who jump in with unsubstantiated charges. If it does any good, your chosen moniker is very straight forward about where you stand. Please feel welcome here.

  59. notoneofthesupposed21percent says

    Thanks, Janine, but I don’t know that I am going to comment again here because I (and I’m not being sarcastic here) am not sure my ego can handle being called a “goddist”, especially not by total strangers.

    I haven’t actually ever been accused of that one before, given that all the people who know me well are pretty clear about my stance on this. Now that I have been (accused of being a believer), I know that I really don’t like it. Actually, it makes my skin crawl.

    Even the idea that someone somewhere might think that I am a “religious retard”….

    Consider me one atheist who will, henceforth, stick to in-person atheist gatherings.

  60. says

    This just in… a judge in the U.S. has ordered YouTube to send details of every video that anyone has ever watched via their site.

  61. Wowbagger says

    notone (for short),

    It happens – don’t take it personally. The troll-detectors do seem to be set a bit high at the moment. It might be a fallout from the Stan/Kenny efforts in recent times, or the rather nasty standoff between some of the Pharyngulites and Henry Gee over the last week or so.

    I agree with Janine – stick around; once people have realised your tagline means you’re an atheist who isn’t one of the ‘atheists’ who believes in a god (as impossible as that is) then they’ll be okay.

  62. Janine ID says

    Even the idea that someone somewhere might think that I am a “religious retard”….

    Posted by: notoneofthesupposed21percent

    Welcome to the internet. You need to develop a thicker skin. So one person misunderstood your point and called you a name. What is much worse is when a person understands your point and calls you an accurate name.

    Walk it off. You will be fine.

  63. Holbach says

    “21%” @ 68 Your post @ 54 seem to suggest that you were gloating over the Pew report in a manner that warranted our comments. If you had stated that you were an atheist in the comment, then we would have known up front what your intention was, as that of merely seeking comment to a published report. Since you have made known your stance as an atheist, then any comments I made that seemed unkind and unwarranted are sincerely withdrawn. Many of us are atheists at this site and openly express among ourselves and new posters, so please feel free to express your views with sincerity and up front. There is nothing more annoying and time consuming than some particular posters who feign atheism and turn out to be rabid religionists. Be honest and direct and you will find most of us most accomodating with your like opinions. Welcome aboard.

  64. Wowbagger says

    Then there are the opposite: those testing Poe’s law. They tend to get blasted as well. Not sure why they do it, but it happens.

  65. Holbach says

    Janine ID @ 69 (Please don’t tell me that ID stands for intelligent design!) Janine, my comment @ 50 was in no way meant to be funny or should it be interpreted as so. I made a simple observation that Pat Condell does not appear to be a true atheist based on listening to his many videos. As the above served as a good example, it is the way you say something and give credence to what you are not denouncing that leads me to believe that he is a secularist at heart and not a true atheist. This in no way is meant to disparage him as I think he is a needed voice to what we are dealing with, but he has made many little comments that to me, can be construed as an insincere atheist. And being an absolute atheist and sometimes chastised for my extreme outspokeness, I am able to detect what appears to me to be a hedging in fortrightness. He gives many examples of this, and the only way for you to detect this is to listen closely to what and how he excoriates his directives. To reiterate, he is an asset, and this is only my opinion and not necessarily others.

  66. Patricia says

    21% – You’ll find that I am quick to beg pardon when I make a mistake. Therefore, I do beg your pardon for calling you a goddist undeservedly. Sorry it took me so long to fess up – I was outside reading Cervantes and enjoying the sunset.
    Welcome fellow atheist!
    But you will need a thick skin to hang out here. ;)

  67. Wowbagger says


    Maybe Condell is himself an atheist, but would be content to live in a secular society – since that’s a more realistic goal to strive for. Some people aren’t ever going to be freed from religion; convincing them to keep it to themselves (which does not mean making it illegal or driving it underground) is a reasonably practical goal.

    I say this mostly as as atheist who isn’t an ex-religionist; having not been indoctrinated and subsequently deconverted I can’t pretend to understand what the giving up of a faith might mean to be a believer.

  68. Holbach says

    21% Please, if you are to continue at this site it would save a lot of time and frustation if you would change your post name. Something simple like mine and Patricia’s name will do, or “apple” or “Autumn” (my favorite!).So please consider a nice name change so that we can spend more time in conservation and not in code! Thanks

  69. Patricia says

    Ha! That is a funny story Holback, I can well imagine that. You would get that every day here. Our town paper is filled with gawd testimonies to the editor.
    Freedom From Religion Foundation doesn’t post state chapters for membership that I can find so I have no idea if there are other FFRF members in Oregon.
    I don’t have any busts or portraits of passed atheists up in my house, but there is a sign on my front door that says: No bible thumpers wanted. Get off my property or you will find out how much your maker loves you.
    Amazingly they still knock!
    Guess I’ll turn in. Too bad about not getting an answer to my question. *snort*

  70. Patricia says

    Wowbagger – As a 50 year goddist, with enough medals for Scripture Knowledge to humble Bertie Wooster, I can say it was just about hell to consider the fact that there actually was no gawd. It took me three years. All of my former ‘friends’ hate and revile me. I made new friends with some pagans, because of their interest in environment issues. Holbach will probably fall over, but I still enjoy their company & go to their picnics. They do not proselytise & hold events on solstices and equinox’s.
    Some of my own family won’t speak to me at funerals or weddings. So far no one has beat me up, but it has come close once when I stood up for some poor gay boy in a store parking lot. Lovely example of christian love.

  71. Holbach says

    Wowbagger @ 83 I can only speak for myself as an atheist, and one who grew up indoctrinated and ossified by the catholic church. At a certain period in adulthood it dawned on me through reason, observation, and the appropriate reading matter that religion was all just a bunch of made up nonsense instilled in our childhood and had no room or reason to carry it through life. No one prodded or coached me into changing my direction, and it was all possible by my own volition. If a person does not want to give up religion for rational purposes, but continues to wallow in irrationality, then that person is a diminished human being, especially in the light that others have sloughed off that irrational crap with the same brain evolution has endowed us with to think and reason, and yet they are unable. I don’t pity them, but have just contempt for their unwillingness to reason as I have. Simple as that. Go over to the “Newsweek” post and check my comment at # 171, especially the last part.

  72. Wowbagger says


    You, and anyone else who’s been through what you’ve been through, have my deepest respect. I consider myself very lucky to have avoided a strong religious upbringing – I’m not egotistical enough to say that I was smart enough or perceptive enough or strong enough to resist the programming; it was more that it wasn’t ever jammed down my throat or closely interwoven with my culture.

    However, I would like to think that I’m perceptive and introspective enough to have suffered a great deal before my eventual deconversion. But part of a serious religious upbringing seems to be the devaluing of critical thinking skills so I might well have never developed those that I have. But that’s a hypothesis I can’t ever really test.

    It’s one of the reasons I can’t come here and be too harsh to many of the religionists who try to defend themselves and their beliefs since I’ve never been in their shoes. I leave that to those who are better equipped to speak from experience.

  73. Holbach says

    Patricia @ 86 Heck, I still have friends that are religionists and we have an understanding that if they don’t insinuate their irrationality in conversation with me, I won’t intrude rationality with them. Meant just as stated! I don’t run into any personal problems such as you have had in Oregon, and only my closest friends know that I am an atheist as they themselves are. Heck, Patricia, I am an ardent nature lover and feel deeply what is happening to our godless (!) planet because it is in the hands and outcome of us humans. How about over population? Another subject for another day and post! Hey, it’s 1 AM here in New England and only 10 PM there in Oregon! Off to bed. I think there will be some interesting comments from our new poster “21%”; hope so! Nite!

  74. says

    I have to clarify something: I teach at a liberal arts university, and consider myself a liberal arts professor.

  75. Wowbagger says


    Oh, I agree with you on the wanting to divorce one’s self from irrationality; I’m just guessing that, depending on how much it affects their life and family etc. it may not be easy to extract themselves from it And it’s that which keeps them from ‘coming out’ as atheists – the associated, indirect costs of doing so.

    Not that that makes any of it any less wrong or irrational – just more problematic.

    It’s one of the most insidious aspects of religion – its co-opting of the culture at large. Fortunately, it’s not a huge deal in Australia where I live, but the effects are obvious in places like the US.

    I don’t believe for a second that the number of people who identify as religious are any more believing than you or I – they just think it’s the answer they should give if asked. As I’ve said before I suspect there are a lot of Pascal’s Wagerers out there.

    But i’m getting more comfortable with the idea of being firmer in challenging people’s beliefs. And if it helps push a fence-sitter over to ‘our side’ then it’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

  76. says

    What a bullshit list. How could they not include Mark Thoma’s “Economists View”, or Brad DeLong, and have Mankiw on the list?

    I call Shenanigans.

  77. Arnosium Upinarum says

    PZ said, “I have to clarify something: I teach at a liberal arts university, and consider myself a liberal arts professor.”

    I’m a little confused – I’m not sure of the significance of this, but I’m afraid I do find a little dissonance in it, because I don’t immediately think of “liberal arts” when I think of the profession of science instruction. I’m not at all averse to liberal arts, but when I think of liberal arts, I think of many subjects before science comes to mind. Perhaps I’m ill-informed of the way academia categorizes things.

    Is it just because you happen to teach at a liberal arts university that you consider yourself a liberal arts prof? Or are there additional reasons? Just curious.

    Is teaching science a “liberal art”?