I used to have a lot of respect for P Z Myers, if not for some of his hangers-on at his blog, Pharyngula. Most of that respect has now been flushed away by his disingenuous and self-serving actions of the past week.
It started with a stupid thread at Rationalia entitled “Would it be immoral to rape a Skepchick”. The person who started that thread is not a misogynist, at least not consciously, which most people replying in that thread took into account. Nevertheless there was much condemnation of the “joke”, and the thread starter apologised.
Rationalia, whatever else it is, is relatively small scale, and the whole matter could have been handled “in house”, and Myers could have commented there, as he still is a member of the forum, but he instead, as the thread at Rationalis started to die down, chose to take it to his own blog, a blog which has a far wider reach than a humble forum, and stir up a shitstorm.
Even that wouldn’t have been so bad, if he hadn’t distorted the facts. Here’s Myers’ post:
I think most people reading that will agree that Pappa’s comment was unacceptable, and most people at Rationalia didn’t accept it, but Myers has condemned the whole forum membership, presumably including himself, for what one person wrote. As I’ve already said, even Pappa realised it was unacceptable, and apologised sincerely. To continue to berate him, as Myers and his baying mob do, hints rather strongly of a religious mindset, and a fundamentalist one at that.
T he description of Pappa as a “professional fundraiser” is odd too, coming from someone whose blog carries so many advertisements. Pappa’s invitation to contribute to the running the (non profit) forum is directed at members of that forum.
Myers is also a member of the Rational Skepticism forum, but can’t be bothered to get information first-hand from there either, at least not until after he has already made his mind up:
What many of us at RatSkep were saying was that the Jack Rawlinson that we remember isn’t the kind of person that would say things Myers alleges were said on his blog by someone using that name, and we were expressing surprise. Nobody was defending any comments; we hadn’t even seen them!
It could easily be a different person using that name, and that happened in the same comments thread:
(What the fuck is it with the words “free thought” in the title of a blog? It’s like the kiss of death.)
After a challenge from the “real ” voxrat, here was Myers’ reply:
Note the graceless lack of apology!
Finally, if you claim that some subjects are off-limits to comedy, you really ought to be careful of the jokes you make yourself.