Over the past few years, I have had the occasional run-in with a biology professor who teaches at one of the University of Minnesota’s outstate campuses. This professor, one Paul Zachary Myers, happens to be an outspoken atheist as well as a vehement proselytizer of St. Darwin of the Galapagos. His apparent ambition is to follow Richard Dawkins’s spiritual evolution from science professor to professional propagandist of the one true unfaith. Unlike Dawkins, however, Myers’s ability to construct a rational and coherent case is not merely limited; it is virtually nonexistent. When criticizing, he is seldom able to present anything more sophisticated than the standard ad hominem attack.
Thus, it came as no surprise to those familiar with his “science” blog, Pharyngula, that PZ – as he is commonly known – should take the opportunity to insert himself into a minor controversy in Florida over the “kidnapping” of the Eucharist by encouraging his readers to steal a consecrated host from a Roman Catholic Church so that he might film himself desecrating it. Apparently, the professor felt this threatened act of public sacrilege is necessary to convince everyone of his dedication to rational materialism; after all, what better way to demonstrate that a yarmulke is nothing more than a hat than by stealing one from a Jew and filming the burning of it? If nothing else, what passes for atheist logic is always entertaining.
“Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? If any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the [testicles], which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web.”
Myers is too socially autistic to understand that it is not his opinion about crackers that is the issue, but rather, his total lack of respect for others. He has apparently taken the New Atheist mantra of showing no respect to religion or to religious individuals to an extreme that not even Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens have approached, for as he later declared in his own defense: “I must commit sacrilege, since I oppose the whole nonsensical notion of a “profoundly held religious belief.”
He must? The emphasis, I note, was his own.
This illogical imperative clearly demonstrates the deep and fundamental irrationality of atheism that I highlighted in my book, “The Irrational Atheist.” No rational man’s actions are dictated by the beliefs held by others, however absurd those beliefs might be. It is not the Hindu belief in the sacredness of cows that forces me to eat beef. And clearly, the whole nonsensical notion of Federal Reserve being given control over the money supply to fight inflation has not forced anyone to buy gold or avoid the equity markets, even if they would have been wise to have done so.
Quite a few religious individuals have suggested that PZ is a coward because he is only willing to publicly desecrate a Catholic symbol; while he did once muse about desecrating the Koran, he only suggested the possibility of doing so in the privacy of his own home, well away from any cameras that might expose his actions to Islamic jihadists inclined to take vigorous offense to them. But the ecumenicality of Myers’s willingness to commit sacrilege entirely beside the point, as what actually demonstrates the cowardly nature of this self-aggrandizing atheist is the fact that there is no chance that he will follow through on his anti-cracker threats now that it is clear there may be material consequences, however minor, to his actions.
The saltines are safe, for just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there is no vow that the militant atheist will not violate if he perceives any risk to his material well-being. Barely a month ago, Professor Myers was braying that he had never found any intelligent arguments for gods and only addressed the weak ones because he was unaware of the strong ones. Upon reading this assertion, I sent him an invitation to engage in a debate about the existence of gods on the Northern Alliance Radio Show, which is broadcast from Myers’s home state of Minnesota. Fearless infidel that he is, Myers bravely ran away, saying that he was afraid to appear on a conservative show while ironically labeling me “a pathetic little twerp with delusions of grandeur.”
That invitation is still open, by the way. If Myers fears appearing on a conservative radio show, well, I’m certainly not afraid to debate him about the importance of crackers and the existence of gods on Minnesota Atheists Talk radio. If it turns out that the University of Minnesota has the same reluctance to employ anti-papists that it has for racists and anti-Semites, I imagine it won’t be difficult for him to find the time for it.