Skip to content

Michael Shermer is Concerned

Michael Shermer is concerned.

As if it weren’t bad enough that one of his more famous books is just a paraphrase of Pinker’s The Blank Slate or that his PowerPoint presentations are so awful as to be considered crimes against humanity under the Geneva Convention or that he insists on promoting his libertarianism in every talk, no matter how irrelevant to the topic, he’s apparently taken to concern trolling now.

The facts are these. Shermer wrote a rather bland article about religion and evolution for CNN. Jerry Coyne quoted two paragraphs of Shermer’s conclusion and explained why it represents both an arrogant and unrealistic view of people’s religious beliefs. But he called Shermer an “accomodationist”, which is an apt descriptive term for someone who feels, as Shermer evidently does, that religion and science can coexist — accomodate one another, if you will. In response, Shermer threw a hissy fit about the big, mean Jerry Coyne being a big, mean meany head to him.

At no point in Shermer’s whine does he bother to explain why his position is not, as Coyne claims, profoundly arrogant. He just quotes a couple of commenters and has a good laugh about how superior he is to Jerry Coyne and how enlightened he is, even while he digresses to say that “there is more than one way” and suggests that even the unwashed, unsophisticated, rabid mongrels like Coyne and Dawkins might have a place. There might be some use for that, he says, then quotes someone else who says that Shermer’s approach will “reduce religion’s virulence”. I see that asserted all the time. I’d like some kind of demonstration, at some point, that it actually works.

Because this is the part of Coyne’s post that Shermer ignored to focus on the term “accomodationist”:

Who is Shermer, I suggest, to tell people what beliefs should or should not “matter” to them? Try telling this to a fundamentalist Christian or a devout Muslim. To these folks, scripture is scripture, and it matters that it is true. If, as recent work suggests, prayer doesn’t work, should Shermer tell the faithful that it doesn’t matter whether or not they pray?

That’s a good question. Coyne’s use of fundamentalists for his example was inapt, though. The question applies just as equally to any believer. How is Shermer telling someone, “Oh, you can believe in this kind of god but not that kind of god?” any better than what Shermer sees as Coyne’s “head-on, take-no-prisoners, full-frontal assault”. How is it any less offensive? I’d argue it’s not. It’s just that Coyne and Dawkins and PZ Myers have the honesty to admit what they genuinely believe — that there is not evidence for the existence of a god — rather than pussyfooting around it saying, “Well, I don’t think there is, but you can think there is, and I won’t say anything about that as long as you believe everything else I think you should.”

The bottom line is, Shermer’s mockery is all out of proportion with the fact that Coyne raised a good point. And for that matter, Shermer doesn’t acknowledge the fact that he is, in fact, despite his own protestations to the contrary, attempting to dictate what is and is not an acceptable form of religious belief. Which is fine, if for fuck’s sake you just have the integrity to admit that you’re doing it.

  • http://www.sunclipse.org Blake Stacey

    I think one of your hyperlinks was meant to point to Jerry Coyne’s post.

    I remember Shermer reading this, or something effectively equivalent to it, when he visited Harvard to book-talk his Why Darwin Matters:

    If one is a theist, it should not matter when God made the universe — 10,000 years ago or 10 billion years ago. The difference of six zeros is meaningless to an omniscient and omnipotent being, and the glory of divine creation cries out for praise regardless of when it happened.

    Oddly enough, it was at that exact moment when my brain realized that it shouldn’t expect any profound insights into the human condition from this Shermer fellow.

  • http://tobascodagama.com Joshua

    Yikes, I also used the wrong image entirely. Fixed both errors. Now we have a happy little LOLshermer to lead off the post.

    Anyway, I recall attending the same talk and being similarly unimpressed, though I can’t say quite so precisely what part of the talk unimpressed me the most.

    It was his TAM6 talk (which is to say, “PowerPoint recitation“) that really put me off the guy forever.

  • http://www.sunclipse.org Blake Stacey

    On the subject, had you read this from a few months ago?

  • http://tobascodagama.com Joshua

    I hadn’t, I don’t think, but I definitely will now.

generic xenical online order xenical no visa (orlistat without script|Orlistat online no prescription 120 mg|non prescription Orlistat|ordering Orlistat online without a precription) (buy orlistat pills|buy Orlistat oral) (buy orlistat australia|generic Orlistat|UK medication Orlistat Xenical buy online|Xenical purchase|Xenical rx cheap|where can i buy Orlistat) purchase xenical online without prescription xenical tablets 120 mg no prescription australia orlistat buy no prescription buying xenical online orlistat 120 mg xenical without a dr buy xenical without rx needed buy casodex without a prescription to ship overnight revia with free dr consultation pay cleocin buy vantin online 200 mg no prescription order lamictal online overnight shipping no prescription needed feldene casodex from mexico cycrin over the counter buy lamictal in united states online vantin with out a prescription buy keflex epharmacist cycrin orderd online without prescription revia with free dr consultation i need to order lamictal without a prescription purchase asacol online no membership overnight shipping order asacol revia non prescription for next day delivery cycrin over the counter buy Maxalt shipped cod buy on line Maxalt best buy Maxalt buy Maxalt Online prezzo Maxalt buy cheap Maxalt under without rx buy Maxalt diet pills buy Maxalt shipped cod Maxalt purchased online without prescription buy maxalt online without prescription order xenical no visa purchase orlistat without prescription to ship overnight buy xenical without a prescription overnight shipping orlistat suppliers xenical no prescription needed 120mg where can i buy orlistat without a prescription? xenical on line no prescription buy xenical online without prescription generic asacol 400 mg purchase online rx orlistat without atarax generic cheapest buy in principen uk zovirax without a rx buy benicar online without prescription tenormin online no prescription fedex buy no perscription atarax can i get principen without a prescription? buy tenormin daily use wholesale feldene Buying Atarax without a script order Arcoxia online no prescription buy Atarax legally buy Revia without rx needed Principen online no prescription overnight Revia no doctor prescription Arcoxia cheap on online order revia usa cod problems with buying revia without rx cheapest place to buy revia purchase revia online without prescription uk order revia order no online rx revia revia online next day shipping buy revia without a perscription buy revia no visa without rx purchase feldene without prescription from us pharmacy no prescription needed atarax cheap zovirax usa order revia without a rx overnight shipping ordering benicar over the counter buy cycrin online from canada order cycrin without prescription canadian generic desogen no prescription tenormin overnight order arcoxia overnight cheap purchase cleocin online without prescription buy revia paypal without rx order cycrin 10 mg without prescription order cheapest online principen get cytotec without prescription buy Revia uk principen without prescription medications buy zovirax with a mastercard purchase casodex without prescription pay cod zovirax buy fedex atarax online with next day shipping cheap generic tenormin no prescription buy benicar cost discount cleocin problems with buying cycrin without rx tenormin no script fedex casodex no rx buy lamictal cheap without prescription overnight shipping on generic vantin purchase zovirax over the counter cod overnight buy vantin without rx from us pharmacy revia effects pharmacy keflex no prescrption keflex shipped overnight no prescription no presciption revia lamictal online buy saturday delivery buy online cycrin 10 mg online pharmacy no prescription lamictal no prescription arcoxia on line pharmacy buy revia online uk buy genuine keflex in the u.s. can i get vantin without rx keflex no prescription needed vantin with no rx buy asacol fed ex zovirax without dr order requip overnight cost of requip australia buy requip without prescription buy requip online is requip a prescription drug requip no prescription canada where to buy requip online requip online buy buy requip online for humans buy requip australia prednisolone online uk requip 1 mg purchase Arimidex 1 mg order online Arimidex purchase overnight delivery buy Arimidex canada prescription where can i get Arimidex where can i order Arimidex online cheap requip no prescription requip no prescription needed order requip overnight canadian prescriptions keflex comprar revia generico buy vantin diet pill buy tenormin overnight delivery atarax oral tablet no prescription discount buy tenormin generic zovirax shipped overnight without a prescription keflex in canada tenormin ordering without a dr buy tenormin online no prescription revia online Maxalt buy on line buy Maxalt cheap without prescription order generic Maxalt generic Maxalt usa where to buy Maxalt online purchase Maxalt order Maxalt no rx Maxalt ohne rezept Maxalt buy Maxalt usa order Maxalt usa buy Maxalt with mastercard generic Maxalt online where can i buy herbal Maxalt buy Maxalt no prescription purchase cheap Maxalt online Maxalt effects buy brand Maxalt where to buy Maxalt without a prescription order no prescription Maxalt cheap Maxalt uk buy Maxalt online from canada Maxalt prices buy Maxalt on line without a rx buy Maxalt without prescription online pharmacies Maxalt Maxalt overnight buy Maxalt pills in toronto buy on line Maxalt buy 10 mg Maxalt buy discount Maxalt line Maxalt side effects buy 5 mg Maxalt Maxalt overdose order prescription free cleocin keflex precio cheap lamictal online cytotec 200 mg without a prescription buy Tenormin no prescription Buy Keflex no r x cheap Keflex no prescription to buy Atarax sale clomiphene online pharmacy buy cheap generic Keflex buy requip canada online cheap requip requip online for dogs mail order requip requip canada prices requip 1mg price buy prednisolone online uk cheap requip buy requip for dogs buying requip online order Premarin revia cost tenormin online no prescription revia prescription order buy principen cheap without prescription cleocin overnight delivery non rx cheap casodex buy casodex in england arcoxia tabletten where to buy cheap casodex no prescription keflex online sale without prescription order lamictal overnight cheap no presciption lamictal buy benicar without prescription low price rx online website asacol purchase cycrin pay pal online without prescription purchase feldene money purchase buy desogen online overnight purchase feldene without a prescription overnight shipping where can i purchase tenormin no rx tenormin overnight delivery no r x purchase cheap online principen where to buy cheap zovirax no prescription how to buy cleocin online without a prescription buy lamictal online without prescription buy atarax without a prescription buy vantin without rx from us pharmacy Tenormin online prescriptions with no membership Keflex with no presciption canadian pharmacy Benicar Arcoxia cheapest place to order Vantin 200mg tablets express shipping order Zovirax usa cod cheap cycrin order Desogen mastercard buy in zovirax uk buy cod Benicar Casodex price next day delivery Atarax with no script Vantin no script fedex Tenormin without rx generic Arimidex canada Arimidex purchase overnight delivery Arimidex without prescriptions in usa Arimidex 1 mg for sale usa buy maxalt without doctor buy Maxalt in mo buy maxalt without a perscription canada cytotec order principen for cash on delivery canadian pharmacy zovirax purchase vantin money purchase revia in mexico without prescription purchase cycrin cod next day delivery order asacol without a prescription desogen overnight no script mastercard accepted purchasing benicar buy generic cleocin online feldene without a r x feldene without script buy cheap desogen with dr. prescription benicar order online no membership overnight how to get prescription of lamictal getting orlistat without doctor order xenical without a rx overnight shipping xenical without a prescription or membership xenical in canada orlistat without a perscription no prescripton xenical xenical cod online orders how to buy orlistat online without rx orlistat generic xenical doctor buy orlistat with visa buy xenical australia no prescription buy xenical online consultation us (buy online orlistat 120 mg|buy real Orlistat|buy Orlistat over the counter|Orlistat|generic Orlistat from india|order Orlistat online consultation|Orlistat 60 mg without a prescription|Orlistat no script|Orlistat order online|Orlistat ordering|Orlistat available at health department|Orlistat cost|Orlistat no prescription with mastercard|where to purchase Orlistat oral cheap) xenical overnight no consult buy xenical india (to buy orlistat|Orlistat online cheap|online pharmacy Orlistat no prescription|were to buy Orlistat) (orlistat cheap no rx required canada|Orlistat purchase without perscripotion|buy generic Orlistat online|buy Orlistat pills no prescription|Orlistat precio|Orlistat without a prescription|generic Orlistat online|generic Orlistat without a precsriptions|Orlistat without prescriptions in usa|Xenical generic no prescription) xenical cheapest place to order buy generic xenical online purchase xenical without rx needed purchase orlistat visa without prescription buy discounted orlistat online buy orlistat amex online without rx purchase orlistat no visa online without prescription buy xenical cheap without prescription xenical generic no prescription to buy orlistat buy orlistat in england non prescription orlistat xenical no prescription needed 120mg canadian pharmacy orlistat cheap orlistat no prescription buy genuine orlistat in the u.s. buy xenical without rx orlistat from mexico xenical with no prescription online prescription orlistat orlistat order on line buy cheap generic orlistat online canada pharmacy no prescription purchase orlistat cod delivery i want to buy orlistat without a perscription orlistat prescription online next day delivery 60 mg orlistat buy orlistat no prescriptions buy orlistat without orlistat no prescription how to buy xenical online without a rx buy xenical without a prescription c.o.d xenical buy xenical 120mg purchase xenical amex online without rx non prescription xenical generic 120mg orlistat online buy xenical without prescription to ship overnight buy orlistat line buy xenical without a r x getting xenical without doctor orlistat online no prescription orlistat cheap no rx required canada how to get orlistat online no prescription in 120 days buy orlistat online overseas xenical without rx overnight shipping buy orlistat diet pills buy orlistat offshore no prescription fedex buy xenical no visa online without prescription order online orlistat without prescription buy xenical online without a script buy xenical pay pal without prescription buy xenical next day delivery no prescription needed xenical xenical no script purchase orlistat prescription online cheap prices on xenical cheap xenical without a prescription orlistat cheap online fedex xenical overnight without a prescription buy generic xenical online where can i buy orlistat without a perscription? xenical with no presciption orlistat from mexico cheap xenical no prescription orlistat orderd online without prescription fedex xenical overnight without a rx xenical purchase canada achat orlistat xenical without script no rx cod orlistat purchase xenical amex online without prescription how to order xenical online without a prescription buy no prescription xenical cheap orlistat no prescription orlistat online cheap where to buy generic xenical online without a prescription non prescription Orlistat generic orlistat no prescription xenical online consultant buying xenical without a prescription orlistat no rx no prescription orlistat with fedex buy xenical oral buy orlistat without a rx overnight shipping buy generic orlistat online buy in orlistat uk order xenical for cash on delivery order generic xenical online no prescription xenical fedex without a prescription cheap orlistat without a prescription orlistat online consultant order orlistat pay pal online without rx overnight no prescription xenical orlistat buy online without rx xenical order overnight shipping where can i buy some xenical online only using cash or money orders xenical sale no prescription buy xenical online overnight get orlistat without prescription buy cheap orlistat line how to purchase orlistat online without rx