Intelligent Design

PZ Myers Vies With Eric Pianka for Top Psycho Scientist Award

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Move over Eric. Paul Myers sees your images of ebola killing 90% of humanity and raises you visions of ethical infanticide.

Says Myers on his blog:

I’m in favor of voluntary late term abortions (where premature birth would impose severe economic hardship, for instance), and can even consider situations where infanticide is ethically tenable.

Funny thing is Myers didn’t get a standing ovation. It’s all in the delivery, Paul.

26 Replies to “PZ Myers Vies With Eric Pianka for Top Psycho Scientist Award

  1. 1
    richie says:

    And this helps ID How, DaveScot?

    Know thy enemy. -ds

  2. 2
    GilDodgen says:

    A book recommendation: “Politically Correct Death,” by Francis J. Beckwith

  3. 3
    crandaddy says:

    It always puts a smile on my face whenever I see millitant atheists like Myers speak of “ethics” and “human value”. Why is one course of action ethical and another unethical? Why does a human have any value? Why does any of this even matter? If life really is just a big cosmic accident, why not take measures to end it–all of it? In doing so, would we not eliminate all pain along with it? Oops, I just considered pain to be intrinsically evil. There’s no point in doing that now is there? 😉

  4. 4
    RJN says:

    Bill, could you look in on outsidethebeltway? They have a response to NFL theorems vs evolution, and I, at least, could use a little clarification.

    Chu makes a grave mistake in saying that evolution works on populations not individuals. All mutations occur instantaneously in a single individual. Through luck and/or merit some mutations subsequently diffuse through a population. The former is termed arrival of the fittest while the latter is survival of the fittest. My understanding of NFL in evolution is that it is about arrival of the fittest not survival of the fittest. -ds

  5. 5
    Lurker says:

    “Why is one course of action ethical and another unethical?”

    That’s the question for PZ and people like him. In PZ’s world there’s nothing underneath our subjective attempt to make sense out of it. At the end of the day it’s all an illusion. So here we have a man who KNOWS there is no such thing as morality, yet he can’t stop talking about it nor can he stop believing in it.

    Sounds like an irrational religious belief. A form of psychosis maybe?

  6. 6
    Black Hole Sun says:

    Coincidentally (or perhaps not; maybe Dave read the following and jumped back in the Pharyngula archives for this), PZ has posted a lot recently on abortion. He gave very easy-to-understand explanations of both Plan B and RU486, and he also blogged on a study about whether fetuses can feel pain:

    (I hope the HTML came through)

    According to the chart, the feeling of pain doesn’t develop until two months AFTER BIRTH. If that’s true, how does that affect everyone’s opinions on abortion?

    Actually it makes me feel like doing some pain experiments on PZ Myers. I don’t believe he feels pain. All the blood and screaming from my fists pounding his face to a pulp would be nothing more significant than an automobile engine leaking oil and bearings making noise from lack of lubrication. Of course I could be wrong. -ds

  7. 7
    jasonng says:

    First abortion for all and now infanticide. This is quickly becoming the new eugenics.

  8. 8
    DaveScot says:

    Thanks for the link, BHS. Incredibly, PZ Myers argument is hinged around the fact that because baby brains don’t begin organizing memory in a way accessible to more mature minds (which is why we don’t seem to have memories before a certain age) that the pain isn’t real. I.E. if you can’t remember the pain it’s not really pain.

    PZ should go write a paper for the military justifying torture for dying prisoners because they won’t be able to recall being tortured after they’re dead. In Myer’s tortured 😉 logic that means no real pain and hence no real torture.

    I wonder if that’s what the audience in Rome was thinking back when they tossed Christians to the lions for entertainment? No real pain here folks. See, they’re all dead and can’t remember getting torn up! But we aren’t dead and we didn’t feel any pain either so it’s basically a win-win situation!

    Or the holocaust. In Myers worldview it must be okay so long as it’s only unwanted people that are selected and as long as you kill them so they can’t remember what happened to them well… no harm, no foul.

  9. 9
    DaveScot says:

    I’m running out of naming options for these increasingly sick people. I started out a month ago with Church Burners. Then I had to add Ebola Boys. Church Burning Ebola Boys. Now what – Church Burning Baby Butchering Ebola Boys? That’s too long. Too unwieldy. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  10. 10
    jasonng says:

    It’s hard to come up with a name for a group of people who collectively envision a world much worse than anything we’ve seen yet. Back in the old days people like this got the death penalty. In today’s world they get tenure. 😉 Maybe something like Acolytes of a New World Order or something else that has an apocalyptical touch.

  11. 11
    Jeffery Keown says:

    That entry is over two years old. Why go hunting for such things? PZ Myers is not the Left. Some think like him, others not so much. Me, I’m anti-abortion, but I think current philosophy on encouraging people to think about what they’re doing to be wildly ineffective. Abortion … it’s one of those things that will always be an issue. Kids aren’t going to stop having sex if we don’t educate them properly. So you can say I’m pro-Education. If we’d raise our kids correctly, we wouldn’t need abortion laws at all.

    And, yeah, I’m a parent, and my son is not sexually active, he’s a brilliant kid who is safegaurding his future by staying celibate until he’s ready to support a child. A lesson I drummed into his head when he was a small boy.

    Crazy ideas (both on the left and right) occur because something is being done wrong in society.

    Why do you presume I went hunting for this? I didn’t. It was brought to my attention. Myers wrote this where anyone and everyone can read it so presumably he wanted to let people know how he feels. This helps him do just that. If you’ve got a problem with it, too bad. -ds

  12. 12
    Charlie says:

    I hate to be the milk sop here, but I wish we could have avoided the violent imagery.
    I am sure I understand the points of comparison but I think there is a more appropriate expression of them in a public forum.

  13. 13
    tinabrewer says:

    How horrifying. For anyone who has held a newborn baby in their arms and experienced the exquisite sensitivity and vulnerability of these tiny creatures to talk in such brutalized terms about them just makes the blood run cold. Where are the women in these men’s lives?

  14. 14
    jt636 says:

    This comment edited for brevity. -ds

    Poopy Heads? Fart Breath? There are lots of ways we could go. I just love so many possibilities!

  15. 15
    Scott says:

    Where are the women in these men’s lives?

    I was going to ask the same thing, Tina… but then I realized that the women are likely equaly zealous in their Darwinian Fundamentalism and adherence to Civil-War-era, pseudo-intellectual “enlightenment” thinking. PZ, the Foghorn Leghorn of Atheistic Zealotry, is just being consistent with his position that we are just molecules in motion, the result of no plan or purpose. Oh, and nevermind all those annoying facts regarding the human zygote:

    It fulfills the four criteria needed to establish biological life: (1) metabolism, (2) growth, (3) reaction to stimuli, and (4) reproduction. (There is cell reproduction and twinning, a form of asexual reproduction, which can occur after conception. For more on twinning, see below.) But is this life fully human? I believe that the facts clearly reveal that it is.

    First, the human conceptus — that which results from conception and begins as a zygote — is the sexual product of human parents. Hence, insofar as having human causes, the conceptus is human.

    Second, not only is the conceptus human insofar as being caused by humans, it is a unique human individual, just as each of us is. Resulting from the union of the female ovum (which contains 23 chromosomes) and the male sperm (which contains 23 chromosomes), the conceptus is a new — although tiny — individual. It has its own unique genetic code (with forty-six chromosomes), which is neither the mother’s nor the father’s.

    –Frances Beckwith

    Silly PZ. Remember folks, this joker is teaching at the university level. Be afraid, be very afraid.

    I say I say, now listen to me when I sling the horse puckey, ya hear!?Where are my brizzass nizzuckles, yo.

  16. 16
    jasonng says:

    “Poopy Heads? Fart Breath? There are lots of ways we could go. I just love so many possibilities!”

    That briefly crossed my mind but I think we should stick with something more serious and hard hitting. I can’t wait for one of them to slip and say “They called me a murderer because I think killing babies is okay!”

  17. 17
    John says:

    Professor Maria Fitzgerald, a specialist in developmental neurobiology at the Thomas Lewis Pain Research Centre at UCL has recently confirmed her 1998 hypothesis that premature babies feel pain more intensely than adults by observing blood and oxygen surges in the brain. This shows conclusively that the pain registered in the sensory levels of the brain. Premature babies, ie: “foetuses”, have not yet developed pain dampening systems which is why the blood/oxygen surge exceeds that of full term babies and adults.

    You think Mr. Myers will lose any sleep over his advocacy of inflicting pain on the weakest human beings or does methodological naturalism dampen the conscience in some?

  18. 18
    GilDodgen says:

    It is often asked why Darwinian evolutionary theory is singled out among the sciences for “teaching the controversy” in the public schools. There are controversies in chemistry and physics, so why not teach those?

    The PZ Myers link answers this question. If human beings are the product of a purposeless, materialistic process that did not have them in mind, they have no intrinsic value, and life is ultimately absurd and meaningless. This is the quintessential philosophical message of blind-watchmaker Darwinism.

    The problem is, blind-watchmaker Darwinism is demonstrably in conflict with contemporary science and mathematics, and it is frighteningly poisonous in its ethical implications.

  19. 19
    jasonng says:

    Just as we look at past generations on wonder how they could be so ridiculous, future generations will look upon ours and wonder how in the world did so many people get duped by Darwinian evolution.

  20. 20
    jpadilla says:

    I doubt these comments will see the light of day, but, eh. To begin with: What P.Z. Meyers (Post 1) said was “I’m in favor of voluntary late term abortions (where premature birth would impose severe economic hardship, for instance), and can even consider situations where infanticide is ethically tenable.” Note the words “voluntary” and “consider.”

    This appears to be a rational position to me. I CAN personally consider positions where infanticide is ethically tenable, such as when a newborn IS in excruciating pain due to an incurable, fatal disease. I personally find economic concerns to be less relevant, BUT those economic concerns are a REALITY in this world, say when a woman is raped and the child is stricken by some congenital disorder as described above. In such a hypothetical case, those economic concerns would be of great importance as well. Please do NOT take this to mean I endorse his positions on ANYTHING ELSE. Do not strawman me.

    DaveScot posts it for discussion and it is pounced on as an example of “immorality” and “irrationality”. Black Sun wants to discuss this rationally, so he points out a previous post by Meyers (post 2), where an article in the British Medical Journal discusses fetal pain. Meyers states in that post that he believes the article is not advocating indifference to fetal pain at all, merely attempting to pinpoint when (in gestation) the AUTHOR believes the fetus CAN feel pain.

    And so the stage is set: two posts from Meyers, easily available for anyone to read. But note that in Meyer’s comments in post 1 he states: ” If you want to find someone who is dead set against eugenics, who thinks we do not have the right to dictate who lives and dies, who is opposed to all interference by the state in reproduction, well, you’re reading his weblog right now,” and “I am in favor of legal late term abortions. That does not mean I want to impose them.”

    So, why all the vituperation? Why can’t this be discussed without all the insults and eviscerating of strawmen? I have seen that DaveScot and P.Z. Meyers have exchanged insults in previous comments at each other, and I assume that Dave was (most likely, for legality’s sake ) being facetious in one post here, but this seems hardly to be about “knowing thy enemy.” IF you make claim to a “better” moral or ethical position, wouldn’t it be best to be consistent with it — by not indulging in the kind of behavior you accuse the opposition of?

  21. 21
    Lurker says:

    “IF you make claim to a “better” moral or ethical position, wouldn’t it be best to be consistent with it”

    In PZ’s world, there is no such thing as “better” because morality is an illusion – a human construct/preference with no ultimate authority on the subject. The best he can say is one moral position is different than another, but neither is “better”. In his world, his opinion on the death or life of another person should be viewed the same as his preference for chocolate over vanilla.

    Now this doesn’t mean he can’t make stuff up and pretend that his way is “good” or “better”. He does this all the time. But it’s like seeing a mirage, knowing it’s a mirage and pretending it’s real – because you want it to be real, ohhhh sooo badly. They put people in padded cells for that.

    Thankfully I don’t live in PZ’s world.

  22. 22
    Charlie says:

    Tinabrewer asks where are the women?
    There are plenty in the comments section of PZ’s blog on late and post term “abortion”.

  23. 23
    tinabrewer says:

    charlie: my rhetorical question “where are the women in these men’s lives?” was meant as an admonition of sorts. Women should, and I know I am risking my dang neck here, be a mighty force to be reckoned with when it comes to the protection of that which is vulnerable and weak. The entire female organism is a metaphor for the protection of the most delicate things, whether they be ideals or babies. It is no progress for humanity when the civilizing effect of femininity is eradicated in the name of competing, usually material, values.

    As a general rule men are less willing to compromise to avoid violent conflict. Sometimes that is civilizing and other times it leads to compromises from hell that are far from civil. Do you think women would have gone to war over slavery in the United States? I doubt it. They’d have reached a compromise and slavery in some form would still be allowed. The men set to killing each other until one side was able to dictate the terms of surrender. -ds

  24. 24
    Charlie says:

    Hi Tinabrewer,
    I know it was an admonition.
    Sometimes I try to be a little ironic and it just doesn’t carry well in the blogosphere.
    My response was intended to highlight and expose the comments to which I linked and not your rhetorical question.
    My own question would be not “where are the women?”, but rather “how can they be where they are?”.

    I grew up being told that there is nothing more ferocious than a female fighting for the life of her offspring.
    I didn’t necessarily take this as an unassailable fact but I am nonetheless dismayed by how far wrong that assertion has proven to be with regards to our own species.

  25. 25
    tinabrewer says:

    davescot: I guess there is always the ideal and then there is the reality. I see women as posessing a unique and slightly more intensified quality of nuturance and insight into ideals. This is my view, and I know it is an ideal, and tragically very far from being a reality. If women would wholly embrace this then perhaps things like slavery would not develop in the first place, because the very notion of holding another human being as an object for one’s own benefit would be completely foreign to a morally mature people. Perhaps. It is also true that although men fought the civil war, (and by the way, my comment about women was in NO way an attempt to denigrate men or their particular strengths. I just see them as complementary) many women led the abolitionist cause, which was the war of ideas which necessarily preceded the actual war.

  26. 26
    Gandalf says:

    This is a fascinating topic that borders on the teleological side of design: that is, that male and female are complementary and essential, in a multi-layered manner that goes far beyond the superficial or random.

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