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Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Little Gidding

His comment about smallpox locates his thought very precisely as a subspecies of the radical wing of the Protestant Reformation, along with others of the Freethought contingent, who put forward the independent, autonomous self as the ultimate and, in the end, only source of authentic action and the only guarantor of virtue. They held that institutions of all kinds--the Church, first and foremost--were "empty works," if not indeed active tools of a cosmic regime of oppression. Their assumptions very quickly drove them long ago, not only out of the Catholic Church, but also out of Christianity altogether, and then over to the cause of anti-theism. One can only be amazed that, at this late date, Myers, like some other foot soldiers in the army of the Englightenment--perhaps they are far back from the van of the avant garde that has been fighting in the region of Postmodernism--has not yet heard the news that the independent, autonomous self that was supposed to have been leading their forces has fallen off its horse and been revealed to be a mere empty suit of armor.


So, Myers thinks that it is not religion but PEOPLE that made all those contributions for humanity. Hmmm, wonder if he would say the same about science!

He is a pathetic, little man who rejoices in his supposed "power" to destroy the sacred, I can only imagine the vitriol that he must have toward himself to carry out such acts of hatred.

Ed Peters

"Perhaps this will help do away with one of the greatest myths of our time: that scientists are objective, ideologically-free, and intellectually-balanced people who care only about the facts. Not so. Not even close."



all is not lost! when i was in college (a school which was secular and liberal), i had a chemistry professor who was always at Mass on sunday. and he always stayed after Mass, praying before a statue of the Blessed Virgin.

Mark Brumley

If the man really thinks what he is quoted as thinking, then he is an antireligious ideologue, a sophisticated version of your crazy uncle. Because he is a biologist, he has the aura some people associate with science to enhance his credibility.

It really is good when people such as this show what they really think. Most people would be shocked if they knew what many scientists really think about morality and about them. I have pushed some secularist scientists on the point and found many of them have absolutely no rational grounds for opposing, say, the Holocaust or racial discrimination. Not that they like these things; they don't. But they can't tell you why they're wrong. They reduce opposition to such things to emotional preferences or alleged evolutionary benefits. On the latter point, why, in a universe with no inherent meaning or values, I should be obliged to cooperate with evolution of the human race is never explained. Talk about blind faith.


Given Myers' demonstrated standard of public behavior, I can now see why someone might legitimately want to throw him out of a public event preemptively.

Fr. Bryan Brooks

Ignorance and contempt often walk hand in hand.

Shaun G

What a lot of people are missing is that Myers' guiding principle (to the extent that he has one) is not a scientific one but a philosophical one.

Myers says he's an empiricist -- but that is a philosophical notion, not a scientific one. (After all, there's no way to test the truth of empiricism scientifically.)

Yes, his philosophy is a science-centric one, but it is philosophy nonetheless, so what I'm curious about is whether he has any background in philosophy, or whether he even thinks he needs any.

Ed Peters

great comments....indeed, Prof Hatred really lifted the veil on this one.


"religion … holds back humanity"

I'm curious what wonders he thinks religion is holding humanity back from.


I blogged on this post in Spanish on my blog in Spanish, Vivificat en Español (, with full attributions to Messrs. Olson and Gardner. I provided a translation of this post and added my own short comments in the end explaining that my experience on attempting to talk to atheists in Spanish mirrored that of Mr. Gardner. Perhaps the analogy to smallpox fits better to atheists than to Catholics.

dim bulb

“No, people made those contributions to Western Civilization.”
That the Church was involved in the very foundations of our Western culture is, according to Myers, irrelevant.

Why do these guys walk around calling themselves "Brights?" Is this some sort of empiricist trick? If they tell themselves often enough that they are bright, does this constitute the experience necessary to confirm the thesis?

His reference to "people" making the contributions to Western Civilization is absurd. It ignores the fact that it was people acting upon their beliefs and convictions. I guess for the "Brights" religious beliefs and convictions are imputable to people only when they can be portrayed in a bad way. Of course, the supremely enlightened and tolerant ones would never bother to ask if the imputations are justifiable, or if the evils are an aberration of a religion's principles. I guess if you spend your working hours pondering string theory you don't want to spend your free time thinking too hard. It doesn't take much intellectual effort to "prove" something by committing a sacrilege.

No doubt the bright professor would attribute all religion to the imagination and will of misguided men, but would he attribute smallpox to the same things? How then does this bright fella so casually compare the two?


dim bulb, you're right on. What a great example of the "logic" and "reasoning" these guys like to stand on. Myers says PEOPLE and not RELIGION is responsible for the contributions to Western Civilization, yet RELIGION and not PEOPLE is responsible for holding humanity back. Brilliant.

Ed Peters

I like "it's not hatred, it's contempt." Reminds me of the line in Woody Allen's LOVE & DEATH, "I'm not afraid, I'm frightened."

Sleeping Beastly

"No, people made those contributions to Western Civilization."

Classic. You have a faith that teaches peace and love. When adherents practice it through corporal acts of charity, no credit goes to the faith. Obviously, people did these things in spite of their faith.

However, when Christians behave in a way contrary to the teachings of Christ, the faith is clearly to blame. Nevermind the fact that people did these things as well.

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