There’s and old adage: ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.’ Paul “PZ” Myers would do well to remember it, as he has a fondness for recklessly hurling stones, hand grenades, and assorted rhetorical bricks in random directions with little forethought.
Just this week, Myers lobbed a real doozy. Myers was furious that atheist activist, Michael Nugent, was allowing Slymepit members to comment on Nugent’s blog. For PZ, Nugent’s laissez-faire approach to moderation equated “defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”
That’s right: PZ Myers says Slymepit members are harassers, misogynists, and rapists. It’s a blanket statement.
Wild accusations of criminal activity are, sadly, not uncommon coming from the unbridled gob of PZ Myers. His big, fat mouth has earned him a cease & desist order from Ben Radford’s attorneys, and [correction: the threat of] a defamation law suit from Michael Shermer’s. If I took Myers’ small-man-syndrome bombast seriously, I could have taken issue with him making up stuff about me.
Back in June, when I lampooned him for falling for what I suspected was an hoax piece of fan mail, Myers went ape shit. He accused me of intending to doxx “Indiana Girl”, the 15 year-old fan I don’t even believe exists:
Can you imagine if I’d left [the signature] in, and asshole Matt Cavanaugh thought it would be clever to do some investigative skepticism, tracked down her phone number, and called her up to slime her with innuendo directly? It would be a natural and expected step in the hyperskeptical toolbox to make such a thorough examination of all the data.
Myers knows nothing about the type of person I am, other than I disagree with him … and hang out at the ‘Pit. He certainly didn’t bother to read where I wrote, “on the outside chance that Indiana Girl is real, I won’t doxx the signature.”
I’m not even going to dignify Myers’ latest accusations with a response, other than to note that among Slymepit members are many women, gays, at least one transperson, and not a few victims of domestic abuse, child molestation, and/or sexual assault. Instead, I’d like to take you on a tour of PZ’s lovely glass house.
At first blush, Myer’s prudish sexual mores seem more fitted to some smarmy preacher than an atheist firebrand. Ever ready to lecture men on the proper way to treat a lady — short answer: real men use condoms — Myers, as a radfem ally, is obsessed with the concept of “consent”. He recently shared his story of dutifully waiting for enthusiastic consent to apply his own first kiss, which occurred at age nineteen, and had taken three months of steady dating for his girlfriend to finally grant. No wonder PZ suffers fits of apoplexy whenever he compares his victorian chasteness to the libertine rowdiness of the Slymepit, or worse, the (imagined) rapine depravity of that predator of fine young things, Michael Shermer.
But as so many fallen preachers have shown, scratch the surface of a prude and you usually find a pervert. With PZ Myers, a peek behind the curtain reveals an unsettling trend. Myers’
- Has been accused of sexual assault by one of his female students;
- Obsesses over shaved pubes;
- Defends a confessed serial child rapist;
- Questioned a child pornography arrest by saying, “one man’s indecency is another man’s family photos of kids playing in the bathtub”;
- Posts links to porn depicting young girls being raped by tentacles;
- Spoke to a 20 year-old woman, dependent upon his patronage, about “O”-faces and masturbating with rubber fingers;
- Shared to the world an erotic dream in which his female students turned into mermaids, then performed sex acts on him in his classroom.
That’s not to say that Myers ever acts on these fantasies. It is interesting to note that, following a recent road trip for a conference, he was hospitalized for what just might have been gonorrhea. (h/t Skep tickle.)
Fun With Fido and Flipper
Although hyper-sensitive to “foul-minded speculations” about his fondness for young women, Myers seems oblivious to the gross-out factor of his frequent soliloquies on animal sex … and sex with animals. Myers, for example:
- Suggested turning his Scienceblog “into a kinky porn blog“ by describing an innocuous nature picture as “a titillating photo of a gecko servicing a Trochetia flower”;
- Found nothing wrong with photos of a man having sex with a dead squid, adding, “I’d also recommend looking up the work of Hokusai, Teraoka, or Saeki … Erotic art with cephalopods has a long history”;
- Condones bestiality, so long as the animals are “domesticated and intelligent animals” like dolphins and dogs, “willing to participate in sexual activity with humans.”
As we’ve seen, Myers is quick to tar each and every foe as a woman-hater, while portraying himself as the knight in shining armor who will save the feminist/damsels in distress. Myers repeatedly undermines his mangina rep, however, with crude, sexist gaffes of his own. Such as when he embarrassed a conference attendee with a creepy proposition to join him in his hotel room for sex, or that time he made a stinker of a rape joke — during a webinar against rape jokes, no less.
In 2011, Myers enjoyed some puerile humor by snarking about a photo of “professional ghoul” Michele Bachmann opening wide to insert a corndog into her maw. That elicited a severe rebuke from blogger Melissa McEwan. Myers’ stammering reply, that he was not making a fellatio joke, but merely comparing the prominent female politician to a reptile, did little to appease the femi-rage slacktivist shut-in.
For someone who calls himself “The Happy Atheist”, PZ Myers sure displays a lot of anger. Besides ranting non-stop about “evil slymepitters”, not a day goes by that Myers doesn’t fume over “oblivious fuckwit Republicans” or “oblivious fuckwit Christians” or “narcissistic asshole Libertarians.” Any atheist or skeptic who does not embrace Myers’ social justice agenda is his instant enemy, too. It’s almost as if Myers envisions himself trapped in a bunker, encircled by the combined armies of evil.
Myers foul-mouthed, rabidly offensive insults to dissenting commenters at his blog are legendary. Only recently have saner minds convinced him to cease urging those he lustily bans to “shove a rotting porcupine up your ass.” When confronted with an opponent in person, Myers more often than not just calls them an “idiot.”
Of late, the pent-up, impotent rage inside PZ has been spilling out in alarming intensity. Police have investigated Myers for allegedly instigating a spree of vandalism against a conservative college newspaper. Earlier this year, Myers promised to “throw off a pier” any “slymepitters” who dared try to speak with him in public. On his blog, Myers threatened to stab in the belly any Christian who tried to convert him. This last threat seemed so bloodthirsty and sincere that, in the interest of public safety, I reported it to the FBI.
And what to make of PZ’ incessant vendettas against prominent atheists more successful than him? His Shermer hate is understandable. Myers looks at himself: 57, frumpy, overweight & out-of-shape , but a loyal husband to the only women ever merciful enough to have sex with him. And then he looks at Shermer: 57, dapper, a former professional cyclist, who rapes a different women every night of the year. Yet Myers’ career is in a tailspin, while Shermer has his own .org, gets the back page of Scientific American, plus repeated invites to speak at conferences. Where he rapes. O, the injustice!
Myers’ hate for Sam Harris is also an easy one. Harris, handsome, eloquent, has written several best-selling books, including The End of Faith, and The Moral Landscape. Both are troublesome for Myers; the former chafes Myers’ SJW xenophilia for moslems, while the latter conflicts with his PoMo moral relativism. Plus, Harris is a libertarian, which is almost as evil as a misogynist slymepitter. True, Harris considers himself politically liberal. But in peezuspeak, anyone who doesn’t accept the dictatorship of the social justice proletariat is an asshole libertarian.
Most shocking is Myers’ crusade against Richard Dawkins. True, Dawkins long held a prestigious science chair at Oxford, while Myers teaches cell biology to undergrads at a rural, adjunct campus. But they used to be on friendly terms, and Dawkins made Myers through his patronage, and (until the next edition is released) quotes Myers in his The God Delusion. Ahh, perhaps that’s it — the books. The God Delusion, at 2 million copies sold, is by far the biggest atheist book evah. Heck, it’s #2 all-time in the entire religion & philosophy category! In contrast, The Happy Atheist, that compilation of old blog posts, has sold a mere 4,000 copies (including the 500 still stacked in Myers’ garage.)
There’s also the small matter of The Selfish Gene, that clarion of neo-darwinism which simultaneously made Dawkins famous and transformed evolutionary biology. And The Extended Phenotype. And The Blind Watchmaker and Climbing Mount Improbable. Unweaving the Rainbow. Greatest Show on Earth. An Appetite For Wonder. Quite a drop-off from First Horseman to Fifth.
Myers is a non-darwinian, so he opposes Dawkins. Or is it: Myers opposes Dawkins, so he’s a non-darwinian? In any case, Myers first publicly turned against his erstwhile patron in 2011, when Dawkins told Rebecca Watson to quit her whining about being meekly hit on. Watson was Myers’ special young pet at the time. So Myers, along with his fellow-travelers, falsely distorted Dawkins’ comment into a condoning of sexual assault. Next, Myers & gang falsely distorted Dawkins’ account of his own childhood molestation into a condoning of child molestation.
In case you forgot, PZ Myers’ really enjoys rape fantasies involving young girls. He also protects & supports a confessed, serial child rapist who comments at his blog.
Revenge of the Nerd
What is it about PZ Myers that causes his seething rage against the world, his violent outbursts, his slanderous attacks against anyone who crosses him?
Without straying too far into pop psychology, three answers present themselves. First, PZ Myers is clearly sexually conflicted. As a young man, Myers tells us he was painfully awkward around women, and had resigned himself to remaining life-long virgin. That is, until “The Trophy Wife” unexpectedly fell from Heaven to bless him with carnal bliss. Today, Myers espouses a prudish, monogamy-centric morality while advocating modern feminist dogma, which paradoxically portrays women as helpless, gullible waifs in desperate need of protection by “allies” (a.k.a., “nice guys”, a.k.a., “manlets”) from the rapacious predation of promiscuous alpha males.
But this Stepford Husband dystopia conflicts with PZ’ inner urges. In case you forgot, PZ Myers’ really enjoys rape fantasies involving young girls. He writes and talks about sex all the time. But not in the casual, comfortable manner most adults — Slymepitters, for example — do. With PZ, sex talk is always pregnant with the titillating, look-I’m-being-naughty vibe of a repressed teenager. It’s no surprise the resultant inner torment erupts in such outward rage. We may be looking at the atheist version of Jimmy Swaggart here.
Second, Myers’ inflated sense of his intellectual talents conflicts with harsh reality. From his own anecdotes, Paul Myers Jr. was a misfit as a child, a geek and an outcast. He consoled himself by elevating his geekiness to a badge of honor. With obvious satisfaction, he recounts how, though taunted & ostracized on the play yard, he’d dissect road kill alone in his basement. He brags about being the best reader among his siblings. Nowadays, he’s never slow to boast of his knowledge and expertise, while labeling his interlocutors “idiots” and “fools” – or his favorite invective, “oblivious.”
Myers redeems his self-worth by fancying himself an influential scientist. Sadly, Myers’ career has been a disappointment every step of the way. Oh, sure, he did get his name on a peer-reviewed paper way back in the early ‘nineties, and perhaps saw himself as the next Crick. But then the critically important field of zebra fish research left him in the dust (or, as he tells it, the other zebra fish scientists stole all his great zebra fish ideas.) So now he toils away in obscurity, raising Petsmart fish in tanks in his classroom, watching & waiting for signs of non-darwinian evolution. He’s been at it for the past thirty years, with no results to show for it. Even if his methodological rigor wasn’t shit, he’s unlikely to find anything. For the past thirty years, people who actually have a clue how to do good science have looked and found nothing. The pathos is palpable. Each day, PZ, the wannabe anti-Mendel, waddles his way to the science building at UM Morris, hoping beyond hope that on this morning of all mornings, an evolution revolution will be revealed.
It’s definitely a long-shot, but something for Myers to cling to, now that his big chance to set darwinism on its ear has gone by the boards. For many years, Myers had been banging away at the keyboard to complete his magnum opus, Natural Revolution, a wide-ranging treatise “about evolution and developmental biology, atheism and creationism.” Either Myers never finished it, or it was so horribly bad his publishers considered a compilation of mediocre old blog posts a viable alternative.
Finally, the disconnect between Myers’ aspirations as a prominent atheist leader, and his present pariah status, must fulminate great inner turmoil. Has it really only been five years since Myers brashly declared himself the “Fifth Horseman” of atheism? Dawkins would handle the theory against belief; Hitchens the scathing attack on organized religion. Dennett would explain religion as a cognitive fluke, while Harris covered the moslem-bashing. To Myers would fall the care & feeding of internet atheism. Yet today, Myers is little known and even less respected among online atheists. His personal blog, Pharyngula, and its host site, Thought Free Blogs, have become filled with social justice & radfem lunacy. Posts on atheism or science are few and far between. Readership is steadily dwindling, while a mentally unstable commentariat, bolstered by draconian, censorious moderation, fosters an atmosphere inhospitable to newcomers.
In comparison, Dawkins’ RDF site is massive, with millions of visitors each year. (Notably, Dawkins no longer recommends Pharyngula posts.) Harris maintains a popular, well-written blog. Dennett has largely shunned the limelight. But Hitchens’ apotheosis has made him an eternal god of the internet. Just google “hitchslap”.
It’s gotta be tough, to be approaching 60 and looking back on your life to see nothing but strewn wreckage. It’s not surprising, then, that PZ Myers is lashing out wildly at everyone and everything, accusing others of the sins he himself commits. One might even pity Myers, were it not for the considerable damage he’s done to atheist activism & the promotion of science, and continues to do even in his death spiral. His antics and his abrasiveness have gone on too long for most. So now we are seeing patient, even-keeled people like Michael Nugent finally telling Myers ‘enough is enough.’ It looks like Dawkins, too, has said the equivalent of ‘you’re dead to me, Paulie.’ About the only fans PZ Myers has left are the Discovery Institute, who gleefully spotlight his bad behavior as exemplary of all atheists.
I wish I had some useful advice for you, Paul. You know, like: attend some anger management sessions, read When Things Fall Apart, build bird houses. But I fear you’re too deep in your own personal hell (or is that, ‘pit of slime’?) to change at this late date. Perhaps get involved with charity work. But avoid church groups, in case some old lady mentions God and you have to shank her. And no animal shelters — I don’t think you should be left alone with dogs. Food bank, maybe? I can’t even recommend you focus on your role as associate professor teaching undergrad evolution and biology. Cuz everything I’ve read from you indicates that: 1) you enjoy confusing your students; 2) you know fuck all about evolution and biology. And I surely wouldn’t feel comfortable having my daughter sit in your class while you imagine her a naked mermaid.
All I can suggest then is this, Paul: please just go away.
(c) 2014 by Matt Cavanaugh. All rights reserved.