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01 July, 2012

PZ Meyers is an Ass.

I used to like PZ Meyers. I subscribed to Pharyngula for over a year, enjoying the tilting of Fox News polls, the pictures of cuttlefish, the interesting comment threads that would ensure. Lately, he's really become more of a talking head than a scientist. In his rise to internet fame, he's dropped the principles of skepticism for quick and easy controversy. He now works just to garner more attention to himself rather than actually support and help our budding community of skeptics and freethinkers.

The latest is his spat with YouTube user Thunderf00t. By refusing to listen, cherry-picking quotes that make good sound-bites and opening his fat mouth to spew buzzwords once again, PZ Meyers has made himself look like an out-of-touch moron. He's definitely too damn old to be in the fray about the dating scene in atheism.

PZ attempted to take apart Thunderf00t's analysis of the continuing saga of sexism and atheism by cherry-picking from the article and then stating that men must ask women before engaging in flirting. 

I don't agree with everything in Thunderf00t's blog. I don't think just talking about sexism is bad, as Thunderf00t put in his blog (with explanation as to why he thought so). I think the tone the PZ's and Watsons of the world are what is damaging. I think that if our tone were better and less damming, we could talk about harassment policies all we want without looking like "killjoys." Thunderf00t might disagree, but I bet he won't be all over my blog degrading me and spewing hubris for it. PZ, on the other hand, has a very clear and predictable modus operandi when it comes to those who dare object to his opinions. This ability to disagree civilly somehow escapes the PZ's and Watsons of the atheist world. They are incapable of it, it seems.

As it stands, women are afraid to come to conferences because other women are telling them they will not be safe. Men are weary because they are being treated as if they are expected to fuck up. The line between flirting and harassment to women is now so unclear that the only answer is to not engage in flirtatious interactions between men and women at all unless you have prior permission from the femail. PZ supports all this on his crusade against the "sexists" and thinks it's a perfectly fine policy to have.

PZ's answer is that men should ask women before they flirt with them, before they ask them out, before they have even done anything that might imply they are interested in the opposite sex. Perhaps these insanely puritanical views stem from his sentiment for an earlier era in his own life when letter jackets and class rings were exchanged before any hand-holding was acceptable. Who knows? But insisting that the only way for women to feel safe at conferences is to inflict rules on the dating scene that would only seem normal in the 1950's is not an answer. 

This is how ridiculous this has gotten. Men, if a woman looks attractive to you and you talk to her and start flirting, PZ will come after you. In fact, you might as well not even go to conferences. Women, you won't be safe, either. Everybody might as well just stay home. And that's exactly what will happen if asses like him keep this bullshit up.

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