Back on April 15, 2012, PZ Myers posted a long rant entitled, “Sunday Sacrilege: Sacking the City of God.” It’s one of those red meat speeches politician-types use to get their followers all worked up. For example, Myers is such an extremist that it’s not enough for him to portray religion and science as being at war. On the contrary, the activist who “aims to change the culture” wants to use science as his weapon in the culture wars:
Science is our weapon, our god-killer.
Smell the scientism. Never mind that Myers has not published a single scientific study that comes anywhere near to killing God. It’s good enough that it is a weapon in his culture war.
Myers then proceeds to engage in some standard Gnu self-adoration:
We are instead the People of Reality: we are united by common knowledge, by a sense of universality, by our commitment to evidence.
The real power of science comes beyond that immediate effect, though. It turns out that if you’re disciplined and careful, if you reject ideas based on superstition, revelation, and tradition and actually require confirmable evidence for any suppositions about even mundane things, you find yourself on good stable ground, and are able to ask even deeper questions, and get answers. And before you know it, you find yourself in possession of a strong chain of evidence that leads you to answers about the fundamental nature of the universe. That’s real power.
Disciplined. Careful. Commitment to evidence. Those words don’t exactly invoke mental images of Gnu leaders. Anyone remember when Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot? PZ rushed to blog about that as follows:
I’ll take a wild guess here. The scumbag who committed this crime has been caught; I’ll bet he’ll turn out to be a Teabagger who listens to a lot of AM talk radio. – PZ Myers
Disciplined? Careful? Commitment to evidence? It turned out that the shooter was “an ardent atheist” who did a lot of drinking and pot smoking.
Of course, the best part of his rant was his closing. Myers, who often jokes about punching and kicking religious people, sees himself and his fellow Gnus as wolves-to-be feared:
Yesterday I was listening to our Christian protesters outside, and I thought, “Huh. So that’s what you get when you give a sheep a microphone, amplified bleating.” There they were, calling on everyone to deny the richness of human experience and join the flock in the narrow boring confines of the sheep pen, so mindless they didn’t even realize they were calling to the wolves.
I have a different metaphor for us, my brothers and sisters in atheism. We are not sheep; there are no shepherds here. I look out from this stage and I see 4000 pairs of hunter’s eyes, 4000 hunter’s minds, 4000 pairs of hunter’s hands. I see the primeval primate hunting band grown large and strong. I see us so confident in our strength that we laugh at our enemies. I see a people thinking and planning, fierce and focused, learning and building new tools to conquer new worlds.
You are not sheep. You, my brothers and sisters in atheism, are a fierce, coordinated hunting pack — men and women working together, and those other bastards have cause to fear us. So let’s do it: make them tremble as we demolish the city of god.
For some reason, I am reminded of this:
But it gets better. In the comments section of his blog, there was someone expressing skepticism of PZ’s message. One of PZ’s acolytes, someone with the handle Maureenbrian, rushed to his defense:
Strangely enough, rajkumar, this is not about you. It is not about the difficulties you seem to be having with your brain – or is it with distinguishing different concepts?
It is about how fucking amazing PZ is, about how that was one of his best speeches – there is competition – and how even in pixels and with typos it reads like the rallying cry it clearly was in meatspace.
The sheep don’t like it when their shepherd isn’t worshipped.