I was feeling pretty good about being at the top of the list, until I looked down

Who’s going to the American Humanist meeting in June? I know I am — I’m getting an award, and I felt quite cocky about it. Then I saw all the other people being recognized, and I’m suddenly having one of those “I am not worthy” moments. Yikes. At least it guarantees that we’ll have a really good meeting.

And if that isn’t enough to convince you to show up, I think I’ve talked my wife into going, too. And Skatje is going to be in town.


  1. NewEnglandBob says

    Sure you are worthy, PZ, after all it is only “Humanist of the Year”, so you have to renew what you do every year. Sounds like a lot of work ahead for you :)


  2. says

    Nice pic, PZ. I see they have “musical guests” as well. Maybe you need to bring a guitar and distinguish yourself. I see Tyson has a rock-star-worthy vest. You could up your game to combat those “I’m Not Worthy” blues. Great achievement. Kudos.

  3. Don says

    Hey, top gong. Well done. You are fully entitled to strut your godless stuff, never mind all this not worthy malarkey.

    They know it, we know it and damn sure you know it.

  4. Jadehawk says

    bah. not only is phoenix not on any amtrak route, i’d have to go through chicago (1500 miles east of here) to go to Flagstaff (650 miles west of here; not counting southward direction). why didn’t anyone build a rail line going north-to-south across the country?!

    *grumble grumble*

    well, i guess should i decide to go, i’d have to take train to minneapolis, and fly from there. i hate flying from the local airport :-/

  5. JackC says

    Damn! How you gonna out-dress that sharp guy at the bottom? I suggest copious use of cephalopodian motif. Surely you have a comfy plush or something to adorn your topside?

    Congratulations and darn, I wish I could go. Heck, I could even drop down to see my mom in Tucson. That would be fun – particularly since she is a house-mom at a sorority:-D


  6. says

    It would make a cool entrance at the meeting if you were preceded by a phalanx of altar boys scattering communion wafers like rose petals, but that’s maybe just a teensy bit over the top.

    Forget I said anything.

  7. says

    Wow, this is a great list. Sorta makes me wanna drive to Phoenix.

    I don’t know much about Lynn and Ramos, but between you, Prof. Forrest and Dr. Tyson, it’s going to be an awesome event.

  8. Richard Harris says

    Humanist of the Year

    Jumpin’ Jeezus! And all this time I thought that PZ was a Cephalopodist. Congratulations anyway.

  9. Dutchdoc says

    #12 “I thought that PZ was a Cephalopodist

    I read somewhere that he was a Zebrafishist!

  10. says

    If it would help you feel better, maybe the list is in reverse order, like Letterman’s “Top Ten” lists. Still pretty damned impressive to be in that company!

  11. 'Tis Himself says

    “I am not worthy”

    Far be it from me to argue with the Humanist of the Year.

    Congratulations, PZ.

  12. uppity cracka says

    No, no, no. He’s a Darwin-ist, Commun-ist and Abortion-ist. Oh, that’s the same thing?

  13. Don says

    As I read the post I noticed that the random quote was “Who is more godless than I, that I may enjoy his teaching?”

    Seemed apt.

  14. Janine, Insulting Sinner says

    How long before Kwok claims that he has contacted the AHA about PZ’s nefarious activities.

  15. Ken McKnight says

    20 minutes from my house! Woo-hoo, I’m in! (BTW, any truth to the rumor that Kwok is presenting?)

  16. Rick Schauer says

    Wonderful company for a wonderful award to a wonderful man and scholar…congrats, PZ!

  17. says

    Woo hoo! Phoenix is only about two hours away from here, and I just recently became transportation-enabled again. I’ve been looking for an excuse to go up that way sometime.

    On the other hand, I was also contemplating heading to LA even before PZ mentioned some “mid-May” trip/appearance there, and I’m not sure I could justify both. Might help to know a more solid date for that, Mr. Humanist of the Year! Hint, hint!

  18. says

    I’m graduating High School that weekend. =)

    And I’d never be able to make it out to Arizona anyway. Ah well. Have fun, everyone who is going!

  19. AnthonyK says

    The truth is PZ – you died in that crash and are now in Heaven!
    On behalf of all the angels, may I extend our most heartfelt welcome.
    And wait till you see the Old Man – whoo boy. I’d do anything to be a butterfly on the wall at that meeting!

  20. Sili says

    I, too, am amused that a giant, malevolent (or at least just volent) cephalopod snags the Humanis of the Year award.

    I’m sure you’ll be laughing your arse off when you eat the awarder first.

  21. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    You’ll have to get a cool cephalopod embroidered vest to keep up with NDGT. Congratulations, you are being rewarded for fighting for reason.

  22. Newfie says

    I’ll be making a trip off The Rock this year, but alas, Phoenix in June is a little too warm for this Newf. San Antonio in June turned me off from the heat. Upstate NY in late June, or DC in early September for me, I think.

    And congratulations on the award.

  23. Maezeppa says

    As Golda Meir once said, “Don’t act so humble – you’re not that great”.

    Seriously though, mega-congratulations to you. It’s an honor, but a worthy one.

  24. says

    You more than deserve it. Besides, you have made monotheism humorous beyond what I ever thought humanly possible. Hence “humanist” award.

  25. Paguroidea says

    Congratulations PZ! It’s a well-deserved honor. You certainly have great company there too!

  26. Otto says

    Congratulations, PZ!
    You are in excellent company.

    Anyway this will piss off Kwok, yay!
    No doubt his friend the pope will intervene.

  27. AnthonyK says

    Wasn’t the Pope up for Humanist of the year too? Oh, wait – Humanist. Sorry, it was the Fascist of the year award. Apologies.

  28. moioci says

    Many congrats, PZ!

    I seem to remember your writing that you didn’t identify yourself as a humanist. If I’m correct about that, would you care to elaborate a little bit?

  29. says

    Well, if you think that the pilot should have appealed to his own human abilities rather than to try to call to god to help him as his plane went down, you are a humanist.

  30. ApostatePasta says

    Man, somebody needs to buy PZ a cephalopod-based three piece to contend with that sexy beast at the bottom.

  31. recovering catholic says

    mmmmmmmm……Neil deGrasse Tyson….

    Oops, sorry! You’re awfully cute too, PZ, and heartiest deserved congratulations…

  32. says

    They’re giving awards for Cracker Crucifixion?

    Just kidding, PZ. Stop the humble bullshit. You fit right in with that group.

  33. Matt says

    Why the hell is a “humanist” organization giving an award to a frackin “reverend” (aka Barry Lynn)?

    Are they trying to be ironic or something?

  34. Free Lunch says

    mmmmmmmm……Neil deGrasse Tyson….

    Don’t you think he would have been told that he needs to be holding a cigarette, possibly with a holder, for that picture half a century ago?

  35. AnthonyK says

    Why the hell is a “humanist” organization giving an award to a frackin “reverend” (aka Barry Lynn)?

    Becuase he is human-ist? If not, at least humam-ish?

  36. Nix Noctua says

    Students get in for free?!?! Shit! If only phoenix wasn’t on the other side of the country! oh, I would love to go…

  37. Janine, Insulting Sinner says

    Posted by: Matt | March 28, 2009

    Why the hell is a “humanist” organization giving an award to a frackin “reverend” (aka Barry Lynn)?

    Are they trying to be ironic or something?

    Because he is the executive director ofAmericans United for Separation of Church and State. He has been a long time defender of the ideals of a secular society. Here is a hint, secular does not mean atheist.

  38. Matt says

    AnthonyK –
    For an organization that promotes a non-superstition based moral philosophy to give its highest award to someone (the rev) whose morality would seem to be based on trying to please an imaginary god seems a bit strange.

    He seems like a really nice human being, but at the end of the day his actions are presumably not being carried out because of pure “humanism”, but rather because of religious mandates.

    So why, out of all the worthy candidates out there, choose him?

  39. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    So why, out of all the worthy candidates out there, choose him?

    I know he has been active with the skeptic movement and with Skeptical Inquirer, along with Centers for Scientific Inquiry, and I think he was involved with Free Inquiry magazine. I would call him a humanist in-spite of any religious credentials.

  40. Leigh Williams says

    Barry Lynn is a Christian humanist and distinguished defender of our model of secular government.

    So he gets hated on from both ends of the spectrum. It doesn’t seem to faze him, though.

    PZ, this is a high honor indeed. Your minions bow in awe, once again, to their cephalopod overlord.


  41. eddie says

    Grats P Zed!
    And no amount of waving his, ah… telescope around got Phil (peepee) Plait on the shortlist B-)
    Is it just me or does NdGT look like Barry White with a Tom Sellek ‘tache?

  42. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Oh wow – look at this list of the previous Humanists of the Year!

    I feel humbled just reading that list.

  43. says

    why didn’t anyone build a rail line going north-to-south across the country?!

    There are several! I can get from South France to Paris in c.3 hours by TGV, or to Brussels in not much more (and without having to stop in Paris). I’ve never take the line from Bordeaux along the east coast…

    Oh. Wait. You mean USA. Not Frogland. And a choo-choo made from wooden blocks (ages 3–6). Not TGV.

    Sorry, can’t help. You’re the idiots pumping money into a completely useless car industry while moaning about the near-complete lack of effective transportation…

    (And congratulations to Pee Zed, HotY (Humanist of the Year)!)

  44. Nomen Nescio says

    don’t think of it as being top of the list. try to consider it as being at the start of the line-up — as in, you get to warm up for those guys. go steal the show!

  45. Just Plain Cliff says

    I’m a memebr of AHA, but if they’re going to give out the Humanist of the Year Award to just anybody, I guess I need to reconsider my membership…just kidding, PZ. Wear it well.

  46. 'Tis Himself says

    why didn’t anyone build a rail line going north-to-south across the country?!

    I’ve gone by Amtrak from Connecticut to South Carolina. That particular train started in Boston and went to Miami. You can go north-south by rail.

  47. clinteas says

    Humanist of the Year !!

    Gee,PZ,you’ve come a long way !!
    Well done man,keep up the good work !

  48. kamaka says

    Some mighty distinguished company you keep, professor. Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Kurt Vonnegut, Ted Turner, on stage with that Tyson fellow…

    Wait a minute here! Bad hair Ted Turner?? WTF??

  49. says

    Way to go, PZ!

    You’re indeed in great company.
    Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of my heroes and you couldn’t be in better company.

    People like you (and Dr. Tyson) are reaching far into the mainstream of America and beyond and that’s exactly what science has needed in a long time (Carl Sagan would be proud).

  50. Sunny Ng says

    Congratulations, PZ. A winner is You!

    Don’t feel “unworthy”, I think you deserve it as much the other awardees.

  51. ivo says

    wow! Your on a same list as Isaac Asimov and Kurt Vonnegut! Not to mention Dan Dennett, Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Steven Weinberg, Murray Gell-Man…

    I try very hard, I do, but the word “pantheon” keeps intruding into my mind…

  52. says

    “Because he is the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He has been a long time defender of the ideals of a secular society. Here is a hint, secular does not mean atheist.”

    Yes, but secular Humanist at very least means agnostic. (Someone else pointed out that he is a Christian humanist, but the symbol of the American humanists was a ‘secular humanist’ symbol.)

    I’m not saying that he doesn’t deserve the award, but I fully sympathise with those who think he is a bit out of place. The reason why he deserves the award is because he is strongly contributing to the humanist goal of separation of Church and state allowing for equality for all regardless of religious (or non-religious) stance.

    P.S. I think it would be a really good idea to amass a list of Humanist heroes. Some of the people being given awards this year are amazing people and they could do with even more recognition. There’s a ridiculously limited amount of information about the work of late Indumati Parikh and the “Women of India” network online, so I definitely think she ought to be on the list.

  53. MadScientist says


    Why do you say a ‘secular humanist’ is agnostic if not atheist? It just means religion is not the basis for being humanist.

  54. D'Oh! says

    Congrats, PZ.

    And I agree with some of the other posters: that vest Neil deGrass Tyson is wearing is Way Cool.

    I think you are gonna have to out-vest him. How about a deep sea blue vest, embroidered with iridescent cuttlefish and comb jellies?

  55. says

    Wow! Indeed, you are in great company, and clearly, with all the good work you do, you are certainly worthy. Congratulations!

    Best, and keep on blogging.