On turning 60

Way back when I was a kid, there were a couple of things I looked forward to on Sunday morning: 1) Sunday school, 2) my grandmother’s French toast, and 3) Walter Cronkite’s television series, The 21st Century, which was all about the wonders to come in that magical rolling over of the calendrical chronometer to a grand round number. None of this lasted. Sunday school, obviously, did not stick. Grandma died. And Cronkite was basically wrong about everything — the vision of science in the late 1960s was all about engineering, and the space program, and you may have noticed a dearth of jet packs and moon colonies.

One aspect that was somewhat successful was that at least once a week I was thinking about my future, which, as it turned out was another example of a colossal failure of imagination. I tried to picture what my life would be like in the year 2000. I could do arithmetic, so I calculated that I’d be 43 then — really old. Unimaginably old. Older than my parents then, even. I guessed that I’d be bald, because everyone told me to look at your mother’s father to see what would happen to you…and yeah, he was really bald. I knew that I’d be old enough to qualify to run for president (not that I had the slightest interest in the job). Beyond that, nothing, except for the bit about living on the moon with a jet pack.

Now I’m well into the 21st century, and I’ve just turned 60 — impossibly ancient, an age my 10 year old self would have found inconceivable, incomprehensible, and totally discombobulating. So I tried flipping my perspective. Instead of imagining the future, imagine trying to explain the last half century to myself.

First, the important stuff: not bald yet. Also, not president, and given the string of crooks and incompetents you’re going to witness in the coming decades, You should be happy that your resume is going to be untainted by the title.

Next, the bad news.

People you love are going to die. You’ll never get used to it, you’ll never get over it, and by the time you’re 60 you’re going to be carrying around a lot of scar tissue deep down inside. This is inescapable, sorry.

The space program as Cronkite knew it is a dead end that will sputter out and become tediously mundane. There will be really cool robots, though.

You’ll become a tiny bit famous, which isn’t a good thing, because you’ll get nothing out of it but a hell of a lot of hate mail. You’ll get to wake up every day to a chorus singing about how much they despise you. Don’t worry too much though, because the scar tissue will actually help.

Most people mostly suck. The world is an unjust place. Fight against it, you’ll only regret those moments when you let injustice pass by.

Hey, think about this: you’re going to have a longer life than your father will. Try processing that when you’re 10 years old.

I guess I also suck to say that to a kid.

It’s OK. There is some good news.

Science turns out to be cool. Think about the questions more than the answers, and you’ll be perpetually surprised when the answers do emerge.

You find someone you can trust and rely upon. Stick with her, and be reliable and trustworthy, too. It makes all the difference. You won’t be able to imagine life without her, and she’ll help you get through the rotten bits.

You’ll grow up. That’s bittersweet, as you’ll find out when you have kids of your own — they’ll become the most important people in your life, you’ll like them, and then they’ll just keep changing and growing up and becoming people who don’t need you anymore. It’ll feel strange — both deeply proud and regretful at the same time. It’s uncomfortable and confusing, like most of life, but worth it.

Other stuff will happen. Most of it isn’t important. Not even Walter Cronkite’s imaginary future, and especially not Sunday School.


  1. rietpluim says

    A very happy birthday, PZ. And many more years of that crazy thing called life.

  2. says

    As a 7-year old at the end of World War II, it seemed improbable to me that I would actually see the 21st Century; after all, people in their 60’s were dying all around me. But, amazingly, I made it, and at 78 I still get up every morning, do what I can to diminish the bad things, and find immense joy in the good things in life: nearly 56 years married to a good woman; 25 years pursuing a career in engineering, lucrative enough to permit shedding the corporate bonds before the age of 50, and a second “career” of successful dabbling in fields ranging from architecture to zoology; and, of course, still paying my own way, and free of excess baggage.

    Happy Birthday PZ — and many more to come.

  3. Larry says

    I’ll turn 62 next month, I waited for my Grandma’s sugar cookies, and I absolutely hated Sunday school. The only thing I remember about what the 21st century would be like when I was 10 hasn’t come to pass either: Where is my darned flying car??

  4. congenital cynic says

    I just joined the 60 club a few months ago myself. I agree about finding someone you can trust and rely on. It took me longer to find her than it did you, so I only have 24 years in. And my kids are not gone yet. Sometimes I think they will never go.

    I’m more thin on top than bald. But I don’t care much about hair. Agree that science is fun, and learning is also fun.

    Congrats on your birthday. Hope you have many more.

  5. says

    Happy birthday, my friend. It will probably get worse from here on out, at least in the US.

    But we’ll always have Paris!

    Wait, what?

    Never mind. I obviously got nuthin’.


  6. says

    Think how many miles you travelled in the last year!

    My dad is 85 or so, and the other day he remarked that, when he got into his mid 70s, his friends and foes started dropping in disturbingly large numbers until he realized that at least he was the one keeping count, and not one of the ones that dropped.

    Happy birthday!

  7. whheydt says

    Happy birthday, PZ. Paul has me beat (by a decade…I’ll be 68 later this month), so you are a slip of youth. I’m older than my father was when he died. I’ve outlived one (of two) sisters. Got a long way to go to beat my mother or three of my four grandparents (one died of TB…in 1917). My father knew his grandfather, which meant that he had at most secondhand knowledge of the US Civil War and his own experiences through the Apollo program (he died in 1975).

    On the flip side…I now have two grandchildren.

  8. robro says

    Happy bday, PZ. Maybe you’ll be bald when you’re 70. I am.

    Most people mostly suck. The world is an unjust place.

    It’s my experience that most people suck a little, but not mostly. But yeah, life, the universe, and everything is unjust.

  9. chris61 says

    On the plus side … five more years and you’ll be eligible for all the seniors’ discounts. It was what kept me going on the road from sixty to sixty-five.

  10. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    Happy Birthday! I’ll be 65 in a few months, so…I endorse your conclusions.

    I loved The 21st Century, too. I remember a Union Carbide commercial during that show–they lowered a TV set with the case removed into an aquarium full of what looked like water, and the guy on the screen kept talking to you the whole time! I was agog! PCB, I now realize. Fun times!

  11. cartomancer says

    Well done on not having died yet. This is probably to be estimated as an achievement.

    I’m in my early 30s, and I already feel very disillusioned with the world. I try not to think about the future, because all I can see when I do is things getting thinner and colder and lonelier – and they already feel impossibly thin and cold and lonely compared to when I was ten. Back then I could never have imagined how painful it would be watching my brother and my friends get gradually more distant and enwrapped with strange people and alien concerns until now I see them hardly at all. I could never have imagined how painful falling in love with one of them would be, or how much more anxious and protective I would get over the few remaining people who haven’t abandoned me for the great vistas of the beyond. I dread the losses I will inevitably have to suffer further down the line, and have no guarantee at all that any of what I have lost will be restored.

    I still can’t imagine what it will be like to be 60. I fear it will basically be like now, except having lost the few good things I still have left.

    Mind you, thinking about the future is thinking in the wrong direction when you’re a historian, so I have a good excuse not to.

  12. Sastra says

    I turned 60 about a month and a half ago. It’s particularly unsettling to look at photographs of people I once considered ‘old’ — Captain Kangaroo, Aunt Bee, Grandpa — and realize I’m their age. Or, older.

    That’s rather comforting, too, though. Today’s image of the ’60-year-old’ tends to look like a 30-year-old with a little bit of gray hair, off to teach tennis lessons on a cruise ship. Captain Kangaroo and Aunt Bee — now that, I can aspire to.

  13. says

    Happy birthday!

    On Saturday, I’ll be 41. I’ve got a couple years until I can say I’ve outlived my father. So far, I’ve managed to avoid the lymphoma that too him out. And his mom, too.

  14. starfleetdude says

    At 61 myself, the feeling I have is one of the arc of my life slowly beginning its descent for a final landing. If I’m lucky enough to stay healthy for the next decade or two I’ll be thankful, and if I have enough to live on in retirement to take the occasional trip and enjoy the company of family and friends, that’ll do.

    I wouldn’t be too hard on Walter C. for not getting the future right fifty years ago. The 1960s were the heyday of the future, after all, and for good reason given the success of the space program in landing a man on the moon. As I recall, there was even this TV show premised on boldly going where no man had gone before…

  15. upsidedawn says

    I cried a little bit reading this. I would say, don’t tell your ten year old self the bad stuff. He should have a few years to dream and be just a kid before he comes face to face with the hard truths.

  16. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ah, one of those “significant” birthdays where the age ends in zero or five. My next significant number is 70, in mumblety years.
    Enjoy your birthday, and have many more of them.
    *hey, wheres the cake????*

  17. empty says

    Happy Birthday PZ to you and me and =8)-DX. I have you beat by a year and while I agree with much of what you said – this part

    Most people mostly suck. The world is an unjust place.

    No! And I am bald, lived through multiple wars and an ethnic cleansing (what a polite phrase). There are not an insignificant number of assholes in this world, but nowhere close to most. The scars you carry are there because of the joy you had of knowing those people now gone. Is the joy not greater than the hurt? The world is what it is – neither just nor unjust. There is much that is unjust – which is what you fight against, and much much more that is beautiful and glorious – which you enjoy and luxuriate in. Your “tiny bit” of fame may have gotten you a bunch of hate mail, but it has also gotten you a community of friends, who without having met you care for you, and who look forward to what you are going to say every day, and consider what you say interesting and important. And that’s just this blog! Not shabby. Not shabby at all.

  18. blf says

    I will soon be, or perhaps recently was, 60 orbits. Which means that, despite the best efforts of the mildly deranged penguin, extremely angry mouse, and far too many USAnnihilate!Annihilate!Annihilate! drones-disguised-as-long-pigs, the planet keeps going around a star, albeit not necessary the original Sol (or so says the mildly deranged penguin, without further elaboration (she’s also said Sol wasn’t the original star, but since that was in a rant also claiming she never sunk Atlantis and peas might be edible, I have doubts…)).

  19. magistramarla says

    Happy Birthday, PZ!
    I’m right behind you – I’ll be 60 in six months. And my husband is just ahead of you – he’s been 60 for six months.
    It is rather bittersweet that the world didn’t live up to all of the hope that we had for it all those years ago, isn’t it?
    I am proud to see my children fighting to make the world better for their children. I’m definitely cheering them on and doing what I can.

  20. says

    Happy birthday and congratulations with the hair ;-)

    Most people mostly suck.

    Even if that is true (sometimes it does seem that way): you are an educator of young people. As such I believe you have a duty to be a little more optimistic. Can’t give up on the human species!

    The world is an unjust place. Fight against it, you’ll only regret those moments when you let injustice pass by.

    I know what you mean. I have a few of those regrets, and a few prouder moments also.

  21. unclefrogy says

    happy happy!!
    I have been here for 70 laps now. Some ways I know less than I did long ago and other ways I know more.
    Existence and my little part in it just does not seem to be catering to my desires in the way I want to but it is unfolding in very interesting and unexpected ways and not all bad by any means.
    If some how I was able to overcome all of the things that shorten my life so as to extend it indefinitely I think in the end it would be the shear beauty of it all that would overwhelm me .
    uncle frogy

  22. Friendly says

    I’ll be turning 50 next month. There are a whole mess of things that I wish I could tell my younger self, but my younger self would never have believed me.

  23. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    Happy birthday PZ!

    Geez, I feel like a young buck in this crowd. Just barely the right side of 35. Unfortunately, the balding begin some time ago. There’s not much left on top. At least I look good with a shaved head. Still can’t imagine 60, and it gets dire when I try. Saving for retirement is a wistful dream right now, the system is rigged to keep me in debt forever.

    No chance of explaining any of this to my younger self, he was deep in the grip of the fundies those days.

  24. andrena says

    Turn 74 next month and still have full head of non-gray hair. Sometimes genetics takes away; sometimes genetics gives. Nothing I can claim credit for. I like your reflective posts. You don’t have to wait till the big 70 for another one.

    Both of my parents are gone and their ageing and deaths were not pretty. Obviously not designed by a compassionate deity.

    I still teach because I love it. 250 students in freshman biology plus entomology. Keeps me going in my old age.

    Happy birthday and lots more.

  25. seleukos says

    Happy birthday, PZ! I’ve done that mental exercise myself a few times, considering how I’d explain the future to young me. The first thing that comes to mind is always “surprise! You’re not dead yet.”

  26. flex says

    Next month I’ll turn 50. If I’m going to be any age, I prefer the square of a prime to twice the square of a prime.

    But I’ve asked for violin lessons. I don’t know if I’m going to get them, but my wife knows that I’ve been talking about learning a little on how to play the violin for several year, but the money and time were not really there. I’m also considering learning Arabic, just for the fun of it.

    I learned long ago that people are mainly interested in themselves. I served in the USAF in the late 1980’s (there was rumblings of the draft coming back and I really wasn’t ready for college when I left high school). I spent two years in Turkey and made several trips to the far east. When I mustered out I expected my friends from high school, most of whom had started college and then dropped out, to be at least marginally interested in where I had gone and what I had done. They were not. They were still embroiled in the day-to-day details of their lives and not interested in what someone else had experienced. It wasn’t that people mostly suck, it’s that people are mostly interested only in their own lives and care very little about those around them (and less about those people who they don’t know). Maybe that’s what you mean when you say that people mostly suck, but I’ve come to realize that it’s not usually because people are uncaring, but because they are indifferent.

    Most people are not concerned with things outside of their job and home. Most people trust what other’s tell them, whether it’s the man at the pub, or on the television news. People take the time to think about their lives, and how to make themselves happy, but little else. I think it could be different if surviving was easier; if people didn’t have to worry about health care or retirement. Then people could have the time to look at how the systems of the world are generally designed to favor those who are already at the top of the pyramid. But I doubt it. I suspect that if such a thing did happen, most people would still be insular and parochial.

    That’s the lesson I learned when I was 22, and nothing I’ve learned since has changed my mind. However, I didn’t stop living then. I decided at that point that if no one else was interested in me, I might as well be. So I went to college, I have a couple of degrees. I’ve got a few patents. I spent a decade renovating a house, simply for my own enjoyment. I’ve become an elected official, and while I’ve never needed to remind my fellow board members about things like the separation of church and state, and to avoid religious entanglements in our local unit of government, I’m ready to step in if necessary to squelch any such activity. I’ve studied literature and music. I’ve continued to travel, for my own enjoyment. My life is for me, and I’m going to live it.

    I’ve also learned the flip side of that lesson. I also pay close attention to what other people are saying. I may not learn anything from them, but I often do. I learned how painful it was to have something to say, and have no one interested. So, I make myself interested in what other people are saying. While my life is for me, I don’t need to inflict it on others. So I tend to listen a lot more than I speak. (Not always, I’ve said some really stupid things at times, and even written some really stupid things as comments on your various blogs. Which I apologize for, but I’ll own that I wrote them.)

    I think it’s been close to 20 years that I’ve been reading your blog-posts. We’ve met twice, although I doubt you would recall me. Once at an SF convention, and once when you visited Ann Arbor for a talk, we met with a group for a drink afterwards. So you were 40, and I was 30 at that time. We’ve both passed a lot of water in that time.

    And over that time there has been a long-running theme in your various blogs. It’s been the cry of the Progressive. The war-cry of, “We can do better!” And you are right, we can. But most people will not listen. They don’t listen because they think the government is the enemy, not a reflection of themselves. They don’t listen because they need someone to feel superior to, it matters not who. They don’t listen because they are caught up in their lives and political parties are like sports teams.

    Ed Brayton, among others, calls it a “culture war”. That’s only partially true. It is the culture which needs to change, but the culture which needs to develop will not be one which considers every man a brother (or every human a sibling). It’s a nice ideal, but I don’t think it’s possible in our primate heritage. As a species we will always want a hierarchical system, a pecking order. Any culture we develop while have to acknowledge that inherent primate trait. What we need is a culture which doesn’t use gender, skin color, intelligence (whatever that is), or economic wealth as the basis for that hierarchical structure. And I’m at a loss as to how a culture could develop with that as a criteria.

    But beyond the problem of our current American culture being steeped in racism, misogyny, ageism, and greed; there is the problem that culture is probably the hardest part of a society to change. Even if you have an idea of what changes you want in society, say less misogyny, 20 years is a very small amount of time to make a change. And ideas propagate across generations too. The anti-antisemitism we are seeing now, for example, has been there all the time. I’ve seen pockets of it all my life when an unguarded conversation occurs. I fear that a lot of what we are seeing now is that some of those who have always felt that way are having their ideas re-enforced because they can find other people who agree with them. The same goes for racism or any of the other ideas which help make people think they are superior (higher on the hierarchy).

    For what it’s worth, however, regardless of how you feel after fighting the good fight for 20+ years. I feel you have made a difference. There is a generation of people whom you have influenced, planted the seed as it were. Whether American culture is going to finally grow up after electing Trump, or, as I suspect, the majority of Americans will remain provincial and uninterested in the world around them, you have helped shape my view of the world, and I’m certain the views of thousands of others.

    If the overall culture has not changed since you started so be it. You are old enough now to understand now that the idea that one blogger can change a culture is quixotic.

    But keep tilting at those windmills, and live life on your terms.


    P.s. One reason I don’t comment often, is because I tend to write screeds rather than comments. -F.

  27. smellyoldgit says

    Welcome to the ol’ phart’s club – I’m two+ orbits ahead and still trashing the ski slopes, burning the pedal-bike rubber and taking great volumes of piss out of the youngsters who complain about how tough it is. ….. and hair is greatly overrated.

  28. archangelospumoni says

    Dr. PZ
    Keep up the good work. You make it better for the vast majority of us readers. I look forward to this blog every day when I turn on the computer and it is a “must read.”

    P.S. Yup–many people are simply loser clown Drumpfheteer pieces of shit.

  29. Jessie Harban says

    Welcome to 60.

    Me, I have less than a month to go until I reach the still-youthful but increasingly scary age of mumblety-murmur, my life hasn’t really begun, and I’m worried it’s already over.

    If I could talk to my 10-year-old self, I doubt I’d have much to say since I doubt they’d really be in a position to understand. I’d much rather talk to my parents at that age, and impress upon them the need to get proper autism treatment and follow through so that I wouldn’t end up as a disabled wreck now, but I’m increasingly worried I was never capable of functioning regardless.

  30. sonderval says

    Perhaps the most important piece of good news:
    By teaching and writing, you will have helped a bit to make the world a better place.
    Happy Birthday.

  31. Chancellor says

    As a 20 year old youngin’ I extend a hand in “Geesh! What a numba!” to you.

    Hope you keep pumping at the ole mill for many years to come(or until we start pelting stones your way.)

  32. kevinalexander says

    Happy Birthday! Don’t be blue. You’ve had a wonderful life with many more years to come. It could have been way worse. Think of Paul Ryan at age ten; picking the wings off of flies and dreaming of greater things. Would you trade places with him?

  33. hotspurphd says

    @24 empty “The scars you carry are there because of the joy you had of knowing those people now gone.”
    That’s true for some, certainly not all. For some the scars are there because of trauma, rotten treatment by others, mental illness, whatever.
    I don’t think people mostly suck, I think most people are pretty OK though not at all interesting to me personally. But reading some stuff here lately about conversations some of you have had with some trump voters leads me to think there are a lot more rotten people than I had thought. I just don’t run into them.
    PZ, I have some advice for you. In a recent pic here I noticed a rather large belly on you which is of course a sign that you may not be in such great shape physically and you may regret this later. I am 75 and my 91 year old wife,who will be dying in the next few days from end stage COPD mainly, started walking on a treadmill at age 60 and continued at the same fast rate until a couple of months ago when it broke. She has been in remarkably good,physical shape until very recently primarily because of that 31 years of aerobic exercise. It has made a huge difference in our lives together and the COPD would have killed her much earlier without it and also there would likely have been a slow decline with much incapacity instead of just a few weeks.( 5 weeks ago we were shopping for a new machine.)That according to the writings of Kenneth Cooper MD. So maybe more exercise will help ensure that we can enjoy your blog for several more decades.
    Or maybe I’m wrong, maybe your are great shape and have a big belly.

  34. opposablethumbs says

    Happy birthday, PZed! I’m (irrationally, of course) so glad to share a birthday with you :-)

    I hope you had a really nice day! I got a lovely surprise for mine; was expecting Spawn#1 to come for a visit today but xie was smuggled into town yesterday on the actual birthday day instead and sprung on me :-)))))))

    All the very best to you and yours.

  35. Blattafrax says

    Happy birthday from me as well.

    “Most people mostly suck” is a very glass half empty view. I understand the sentiment, but prefer the reverse. Celebrating that many people have many good things about them gives me the strength to deal with the suckiness.

  36. Blattafrax says

    … and I would like to add that I look forward to continuing to read your writing for many years to come. It has been a pleasure and inspiration for most of my adult life.

    One less sucky thing.

  37. Ichthyic says

    The space program as Cronkite knew it is a dead end that will sputter out and become tediously mundane. There will be really cool robots, though.

    Yet another thing to blame Nixon for. It was HIS choice to pick the space shuttle program over trying to get to Mars.

    Conservatives. Have they EVER been any good?

  38. davidc1 says

    Happy birthday Doc ,the people that love and respect you outweigh the Dickheads that hate you.

  39. says

    Happy birthday! And it should be happy; it actually gets better after the miserable 60s. My experience, anyhoo. Hang in there, PZ!

  40. stevewatson says

    I hit the big Six-Oh in a few months. Aaaaannnnd the diverticulitis attack I got at New Years is taking a ridiculously long time to clear up, resulting in further tests (yay for socialized health care!), and yesterday I was informed I have gallstones, so now I’m slated to see a gastro doc (I’m hoping the gallstones will turn out to be responsible for the bulk of my current list of unpleasant symptoms). And I’m thinking that getting old kinda sucks. OTOH, I have the great good fortune to be retired, with no responsibilities except those I choose for myself.

    To 10yo me, I would probably say:
    1) When the religion thing comes up about five years from now? Give it a miss.
    2) By all means, settle down with a partner you are compatible with. Like this geeky girl with long black hair you’ll meet about the same time as that religion thing I was mentioning….

  41. bodach says

    Buncha olds, here. PZ, with all your writing and teaching, you’ve touched and moved thousands towards coherency and questioning.
    Nice work!

  42. Rob Grigjanis says

    hotspurphd @46:

    In a recent pic here I noticed a rather large belly on you

    If you mean this picture, that’s not PZ. Anyway I gather PZ works out regularly, as us old farts should.

  43. Hairhead, Still Learning at 59 says

    Hola! I turn 60 in June, and I’ve been reading your blog since 1998. I thank you for everything you have done, for me, and for many, many others. Your rationality is a turn-on (though I don’t swing your particular way!)

    Anyway, I have all of my hair, and then some. Belly has turned big, but that’s happened to all of the men in my family (father, uncles, brothers. cousins). B/P is great, cholesterol low, liver & kidneys & bowels & prostate great — just the complications of early-onset-undiagnosed-for-seventeen-years osteoporosis. Plus, my Dad lived to 95, my mother’s 89 and going strong, grandparents 88 and 91, so I’ve got good genes! For which I thank a non-existent God.

    Justice, along with love, is one of the truly great inventions of humankind — and everyone can participate!

    No, most people don’t suck.


    Most people CAN suck, if the society around them encourages, reinforces, and rewards such suckitude. Let’s all change our culture and society together and reduce the suckage.

  44. hotspurphd says

    @62 I see two people in the picture and the person on the left sure looks like PZ. And I’d say his BMI is more than 30, easily, which means he is obese. I’ve read that about 10% of obese p people are apparently immune to the diseases associated with obesity even if they aren’t fit. Don’t know if he works out but it is true I think that you can be fat and fit and that is better than being of normal weight and over at, that is a couch potato with a high body fat percentage. BMI is less important than body at percentage. I weighed 220 at 6 ft and was obese and overfat. Now at 180 I’m just a little overfat. The weight training is lowering the fat percentage without losing weight.

  45. says

    My recollection of “The 21st Century” was that it was a PR program for Union Carbide (“The Discovery Company”). I think nearly everything in it was some sort of Union Carbide product. In the time before Bhopal, the show made them seem like a 1960’s Apple.

    Speaking of Apple, if I were to give myself any advice, it would be “Buy Apple, but only when Steve Jobs is in charge.”

  46. Rob Grigjanis says

    hotspurphd @64: I should have linked to the article. Right before the picture;

    The organizers, Jeannette and Glen, handled it just right, though. Here they are:

    I know, all us grey-bearded bespectacled blokes look the same ;-)

  47. rorschach says

    Happy birthday PZ, may you enjoy good health and many more years! I’m going on 50 myself, which is something I’m not quite getting my head around yet, I always thought at that age I’d have grandchildren and real estate and wouldn’t still have to sit through online skill modules.
    Thanks for the last 10 years!

  48. carlie says

    Happy birthday, PZ!

    hotspurphd, did it ever occur to you at all to stop and think that possibly A) PZ is quite literally, given the topic of this post, old enough to understand health, especially given that he is a biologist, that B) a birthday post is not a great place to start lecturing someone as if they were a child, and/or C) your opinion on his physique is neither desired nor useful? FYI, he has shared quite a bit about his health with us in the past, is a vegetarian, and has a daily workout regimen, but none of that is actually pertinent compared to the fact that it is none of our business to start with, and certainly not something to jump in and start lecturing him about as if you know more about himself than he does. I was going to let it slide after reading your first comment, but then you kept going. Seriously. Stop and repeat “other adults are people who know things and can make their own decisions about their own lives” before offering unsolicited advice.

  49. Alt-X says

    Don’t worry PZ. You still have a good 20 years ahead of you. you’re not old till you hit 80! Don’t try and get out of writing blog posts!

  50. phrogge says

    Belated good wishes on your natal anniversary, and here’s to many more whirls ’round the sun! You’ve now been alive as long as I’ve been an atheist—yay for both of us.

    I recall being startled as a young teen when, reading a SF story set in the 21st century, I did the arithmetic and realized that hey, I’d most probably be around for it at the not-quite-ancient age of 59, and my parents could well be also. My mother and I got here, and in general, the future sure ain’t what it used to be; though for some aspects, it’s just as well.

    In catching up with Wordsmith ( http://wordsmith.org/words/adolesce.html ), I notice you were quoted on your b’day.
    If you’ve got a religious belief that withers in the face of observations of the natural world, you ought to rethink your beliefs — rethinking the world isn’t an option. -PZ Myers, biology professor (b. 9 Mar 1957)

    There weren’t a lot of comments, but alas, they were about evenly divided between those happily applauding your Thought, a couple of idiots insisted that observation has actually bolstered intelligent design and one fellow calling you “one of the most fervently religious atheistic evolutionists around” and touting “The Designed Body.” Keep up the good fight, PZ, there’s a lot of work to be done.