From an interview with Professor P.Z.
Myers from the National Catholic Register.
I decided to call his bluff. “Has
Christianity contributed anything to humanity?” I asked him.
“Well,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone, “there is this general
property of religion — it’s great at building community. Religion has
been a good thing for many individuals; it has brought them together
and given them comfort. But over all, religion … holds back humanity.”
What, I asked, about the Church’s role in founding the first Western
hospitals, universities, banks and even many breakthroughs in science?
He interrupted me, irate and incredulous:
“No, people made those contributions to
What a cringe-inducing answer. It really makes me sorry for
him that his hatred of Christianity has destroyed any vestige of
objectivity. Say for example somebody asked me.
“Do you think science has contributed to humanity?
What about science’s role in developing medicine, technology,
and helping us to come to a greater understanding of the universe?”
“No, people made those contributions to
I would deserve a good slap to my head for
such an answer.
Jeff Gardner of NCR sums it up.
As I talked with Myers I was struck by
irony: For a scientist whose
job it is to observe cause and effect, he has a poor understanding of
the cause, Catholicism, and its effects on world culture. He does not
see Christianity as an elevating force in the world, but rather as a
strange superstition — akin to banging a pot to scare away the moon.
Fr. Stanley Jaki showed how it was the
Catholic Church because of her
theology became the midwife for the scientific method in the first
place in his must-read book “Science and Creation: From Eternal Cycles to
an Oscillating Universe” The title is a bit
off-putting, but it gives an in depth overview of cultures and how
their understanding kept them developing science. Carl Olson
comments on the article and
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. They put on their pocket protectors one pocket at a
time, just like the rest of us, and some of them, like Myers, are
intellectually brilliant in this or that scientific discipline, but are
completely clueless about nearly anything else, including basic respect
and common civility. That we are shocked that Myers talks and acts as
he does indicates that the joke is on us–except, of course, it isn’t a
joke. It is, I think, far more common than most people realize. Perhaps
it’s time we stopped buying the bill of goods sold by those like Myers
who claim to be intellectually superior and scientifically objective
while all they really want to do is gleefully slash our tires. Kudos to
Gardner for helping expose this jerk.
I’m struck by how much of this is founded upon differing understandings of history, which would seem to be a bridge far easier to cross than most theological debates.
Objectivity? Civility? You may as well ask for a private audience with the Pope than expect such courtesy from a scientist who suffers from Jesus-Envy.
Myers reminds me of the loutish frat boy who has to act obnoxious in order to be noticed. Who was he, really, before he decided to desecrate the Eucharist? Very few knew him.
What is interesting is his hypocrisy. Not that I should be surprised, but still – he gets all bent out of shape when Catholics were upset with him but yet he has no problem telling his fellow scientists that they should “get meaner, angrier, louder, fiercer.” He would love to see the ID teachers fired and encourages his groupies to verbally abuse those who don’t agree with Myers’ misguided conclusions.
Seriously, I go back and forth between praying for him and asking God to give him what he so richly deserves.
Sigh. I know which way I should lean but boy, is it tough with a dunderhead like Myers.
Anyone here remember Thomas Dolby’s song “Blinded Me With Science”?
A sad little man who needs our prayers more than anything else.
The irony is that praying for his soul might anger him more than anything else.
I think his response shows perfectly that folks like Myers can’t wrap their heads around that all that is good and decent comes from God.
That all those “people” who worked for hospitals, science, and education were not just people who popped up one day and decided to found schools, treat the sick, and explore the world.
They either can’t or willfully won’t acknowledge that these people were motivated by God and a love of God to do these things – and without God, they wouldn’t have.
The people who did things were motivated by their deeply held, sincere beliefs and not just their own selfish needs or desires.
Do let us know when Mr. Myers’ temper tantrum is over. This could be a long wait, but we moms are used to this from our toddlers. Maybe when he gets done acting out he will start to grow up and really see his inconsistency, his lack of grounding, the big hole in his soul. Until then, reasoning with him is a waste of time. I guess we should pray that he eats his veggies and grows up big and strong, a real stand up guy, but most of those prayers I already used up on my son.
Well, let him prattle on and eventually he will alienate everyone and be left all alone, the victim of marooning himself in a godless wasteland. It does make me wonder what sort of reasoning skills he uses as a scientist–I would find his work rather suspect since he reshaped history to suit his current blather. Does he do the same with empirical results of his research? Or does he suddenly get scruples when it comes to that? Jesus told us that if a person cannot be trusted with little things….
Oh, alright, I shall pray for his demented little self. A little enlightenment might go a long way. 😉
Oh that Myers, he’s such a nasty nasty man. But I’m sure if religion is worth anything it can survive some ranting professor.
Anyway scientists are ideally “objective, ideologically-free, and intellectually-balanced people”. That won’t always happen in practise ‘cos we all have our own personal biases. Although the peer-review process should help compensate.
But I’m sure if religion is worth anything it can survive some ranting professor.
And I’m sure if science is worth anything, it can co-exist with religion.
But that doesn’t seem to be the way it works, does it? Myers seems to think the Inquisitorial squad is going to knock on his door and smash his microscopes.
Those supposedly “objective, ideologically-free, and intellectually-balanced people” act as if they’ll catch the plague from the mere existence of religion. And I’ve never known a Christian who sought and desecrated Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”.
Terrific post. I did not know the interview even existed. I have read PZ’z blog for some time before this – he does a weekly series of octopus photographs that is really quite pretty.
Having said that, the phrase some of them, like Myers, are intellectually brilliant in this or that scientific discipline is a bit of an exaggeration. Nothing I’ve seen in PZ’s writings suggests anything other than a very average intelligence and a below-average scientist. His work is rife with illogical conclusions of the nature shown here. His readers are a shrill, reactive lot. They’re the intellectual equivalents of red ants. If you say anything they even mildly disagree with, the flames pour out in the comments unabated for days.
If you want to see someone who has a keen intellect, whose cleverness is positively inspired and who has a contagious sense of wonder check out Tim Eisele’s work.
I don’t suppose it ever occured to Myers that his opponents could make the same facile conclusions about, say, the role of evolutionary theory in the refinement of the scientific method, as it pertains to biology (his area of expertise I assume). Usually, we common folk recognize this as a serious weakness in an argument, but then again, we common folk are usually forced to ground our opinions in empirical evidence, reason and tradition.
And so it is that the likes of Myers are freed from all the natural constraints that restrict the rest of us. He is a scientist ubermensche. His meteoric rise to the Everest of the academic world proves as much.