Christianist Professor Calls for Religious McCarthyism

Although I’ve learned not to expect much from the right-leaning Supreme Court, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of their recent decisions. First was Holy See v. John Doe, in which the court upheld a ruling that the Vatican isn’t immune from lawsuits over its protection of pedophiles. The second was Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, in which a Christian student group sued a California law school to demand – what else? – the legal right to discriminate against gays.

The law school has a policy that all official student groups must accept all comers and may not turn anyone away on grounds of race, gender, or sexual orientation. The Christian group claimed that they should be able to exclude gays and still receive all the benefits granted to officially recognized student groups: university funding, the use of university facilities for meetings, and the right to use the university’s newsletter for their communications. Fortunately, the Supreme Court disagreed:

The court held that the all-comers condition on access to a limited public forum was both reasonable and viewpoint neutral, and therefore did not violate CLS’s right to free speech. Nor, in the court’s view, did Hastings impermissibly impair CLS’s right to expressive association: Hastings did not order CLS to admit any student, nor did the school proscribe any speech; Hastings merely placed conditions on the use of school facilities and funds.

This decision was both simple and reasonable, and is the obvious consequence of state and federal laws forbidding the government to cooperate in discrimination. Since the activity fee that funds student groups is mandatory, Hastings’ policy ensures that no student is “forced to fund a group that would reject her as a member”. As the court points out, other groups such as fraternities and sororities don’t have official school recognition, yet they continue to thrive, and CLS is also still in existence and still holding its own events.

Departing Justice John Paul Stevens summed up the issue at hand in his concurrence, in a praiseworthy reminder that religiously inspired bigotry is no different than any other kind of bigotry:

Other groups may exclude or mistreat Jews, blacks, and women — or those who do not share their contempt for Jews, blacks, and women. A free society must tolerate such groups. It need not subsidize them, give them its official imprimatur, or grant them equal access to law school facilities.

All well and good, and I look forward to this decision being applied across the country. (Yes, I’m perfectly happy to see it apply to atheist groups as well.) But then I got a news alert directing me to this column, by Mike Adams on the ultra-right-wing site Townhall. As you’d expect, he’s furious that the government won’t cooperate in spreading his prejudice, and he’s threatening to do something about it:

…when I get back to the secular university in August, I plan to round up the students I know who are most hostile to atheism. Then I’m going to get them to help me find atheist-haters willing to join atheist student groups across the South. I plan to use my young fundamentalist Christian warriors to undermine the mission of every group that disagrees with me on the existence of God.

That means an invading group can turn a smaller, weaker group into second class citizens on campus. That’s what I intend to do to those groups who do not believe in God.

I do not seek robust debate. I seek power over the godless heathen dissident.

Now obviously, this is just a petulant tantrum. I don’t expect Adams to actually attempt this idiotic plan, but even if he tried, it would be easy to thwart him. The court’s decision pointed out that student groups could still, for example, expel members who didn’t pay dues, or restrict officer positions to those who had been members for a year or more. If his “young Christian warriors” wanted to disrupt an atheist club, they’d have to sit and wait for a year, paying to promote atheism the whole time, before they’d get their chance. I doubt many Christians would be willing to do that. Or an atheist law students’ club could just forgo official recognition, exactly as the court emphasized that they could, and restrict their membership to professing nonbelievers.

What concerns me more is that Mike Adams isn’t just some random wingnut. According to his biography, he’s a criminology professor at UNC-Wilmington.

It’s one thing for professors to express political opinions. Liberal or conservative, they have the same free-speech rights as anyone else. It’s something else altogether for Adams, a college professor, to proclaim that he seeks “power” over students on his own campus who disagree with him, that he “can’t stand” them, that he wants to “undermine” and “destroy” their associations, and that his goal is to reduce them to “second-class citizens”. It’s chilling and inappropriate in the extreme for any person to make such statements about people over whom he has legitimate authority. If I were an atheist student, after reading this, I wouldn’t be confident of fair treatment in Adams’ class. (Just imagine the response from the right wing if an atheist professor wrote a column saying that he can’t stand Christian students, wants to treat them as second-class citizens, and plans to disrupt and destroy their church meetings.)

I plan to write to UNC-Wilmington to bring this column to their attention and to ask if they sanction these kinds of statements from their professors about their own students. Here’s contact info for the dean of Adams’ school. Anyone else want to join me in writing a polite letter?

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • James Thompson

    You should have asked us to guess his area of study. Not all that surprising.

  • http://www.doubtingtimmy.com Doubting Timmy

    “I do not seek robust debate. I seek power over the godless heathen dissident.”

    I’m probably wrong, but I’d guess that this is the attitude of the majority of Christian fundamentalists in this country. I think they yearn for a Christian theocracy here in America reminiscent of when the Church had the power back in the Dark Ages.

    And while I don’t imagine public burnings at the stake, I do imagine heavy censorship and possible imprisonment of dissenters.

  • Alex

    The link to the column leads to a dead end; here’s his column: http://townhall.com/columnists/MikeAdams/2010/07/01/an_immodest_proposal

    I attend school within the UNC school system and, should Adams go through with this devious little scheme, I am sure my campus would be one of the first to notice.

  • http://prinzler@calpoly.edu Paul

    Count me in, I’m a professor. Do we send a common letter? Sign the same letter?

  • Wednesday

    I’d join in writing a polite letter, but I have a feeling that if it comes to anything, Adams will say to his department “oh, I titled it ‘Immodest Proposal’ as a reference to “A Modest Proposal”, so that means it’s satire and that people are complaining just proves that the secularists and atheists hate Christians and are irrational.”

  • L.Long

    Never underestimate what a drug addict will do to keep it going!!!
    But you say WTF!! this is about some xtian disrupting atheists.
    Right look at how drug addicts act when high and when they need their next fix.
    Now observe the religious as they get ‘high’ on ‘jepus juice’ and then need to get a fix (run into atheist opposition, etc). Not much difference. Its all about fanatics trying to enforce their fanaticism.
    I have no doubt they would but the effort out to disrupt the clubs. After all these are the people that put out the effort to go walking house to house to asking idiot questions like ‘have U found Jepus?’
    But they would only try a couple times, because we really wouldn’t care. they would be welcomed to any club… all those child eating atheists sitting, staring, grinning as they entered …. FRESH MEAT!! to be chewed up and spit out!!!!
    Can you imagine them surviving a question period where their BS would not be accepted and they would need facts to back up anything they say???
    They would run away in terror rather then face their worse nightmare—Having to THINK!!!!

  • http://www.anthroslug.blogspot.com Anthroslug

    Uhhh, guys, read the column through to the end. Pay special attention to the last paragraph.

    The guy is obviously a dick and is obviously doesn’t grasp what the ruling actually means, BUT he also rather clearly wrote the article with satirical intentions. He’s not planning on actually doing any of this, and that’s obvious if you just read the article through to the very end.

  • ThatOtherGuy

    “The guy is obviously a dick and is obviously doesn’t grasp what the ruling actually means, BUT he also rather clearly wrote the article with satirical intentions.”

    I dunno, I think I reject that idea. He seems to be one of those people that thinks he can put in a sarcastic sentence at the end of his article and magically make the entire article satire. I’ve seen that before, where people write what they really think with one sarcastic statement at the end to act as cover, so they can claim satire, all while ignoring the fact that -actual- satire is clever, humorous, and insightful.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    TOG has it right. It’s a fig-leaf of humor designed to cover naked ugliness.

    I wrote.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    The guy is obviously a dick and is obviously doesn’t grasp what the ruling actually means, BUT he also rather clearly wrote the article with satirical intentions.

    I don’t agree with that, Anthroslug. If this article was intended as satire, what’s the satirical element? What’s the element that’s comically distorted or exaggerated beyond plausibility to emphasize a point, the way Swift did? In fact, it seems obvious to me that this essay reflects its author’s actual beliefs.

    I agree with Thumpalumpacus and ThatOtherGuy: the facetious sentence at the end was thrown in to give the author a fig leaf of deniability. It’s clearly something he’d actually like to see happen, and he’s hoping his essay inspires someone to try it; but if they do and he gets blamed, he’ll point to that last sentence and claim, “Look, they should have known it was just a joke! You can’t hold me responsible!” Needless to say, you can’t evade responsibility as easily as that.

    Even if this essay was satire, I think it’s still completely unethical and inappropriate. There are some kinds of jokes you just don’t make to people over whom you have authority, precisely because they’re too easy to interpret as actual truths in a flimsy disguise. For the same reason, it would be equally inappropriate for a professor to say on the first day of class, “I’ll give an A for the semester to any attractive female student who sleeps with me! Just kidding!”

  • http://www.anthroslug.blogspot.com Anthroslug

    I would agree that the column was inappropriate. But, again, reading the entire thing, it is so overblown even by Townhall standards that even before reaching the end it seemed blindingly obvious to me that he was attempting to sound alarm bells by describing the alleged unintended consequences of the ruling rather than actually describe a course of action. The end killed any lingering suspicion that I had, but I was pretty damn sure of what it was even before I got there.

    Are his views pro-theist and likely even theocratic? Yep, they obviously are.

    Is he essentially “concern trolling” by way of a rather stilted and delusional attempt at humor? Yep, he is.

    Is it fair for us to call him a mindless bigot with no real concern for the truth? Yeah, probably.

    But if we over-react to what is obviously not intended as a “call to arms”, then we just end up looking like alarmists ourselves. If you want to respond to this guy, excellent, I’m with you, but let’s respond to what he is really doing, and not something that even he regards as a fantasy. Let’s call him on his bullshit and show him for the alarmist fear-mongerer that he is, but let’s not play into his hands by reacting in a knee-jerk way.

  • KC

    Adams’s rhetoric seems to be that style which, if it were on an explicitly liberal site, would be hilarious satire. Frightening, but hilarious. He’s the reason why it’s frightening–the satire isn’t too far from the real thing. If it is indeed satire, then he’s picked entirely the wrong context for it. You can’t satirize conservatism on a conservative website and expect to be taken the way you intended. Then again, he appears to be expecting that: http://townhall.com/columnists/MikeAdams/2010/01/04/oh_lord,_please_don’t_let_me_be_misunderstood

  • Mrnaglfar

    Adams’ article lacked one rather important detail; one piece of evidence on which his entire hypothetical argument rests. Frankly, I’m surprised no one has pointed it out yet, and it’s this: Adams presents no evidence of a student being denied entry into an campus atheist group, or a campus lesbian group, or any other similar example. He writes as if, until now, campus atheist groups at secular universities have been allowed to bar religious people from joining, or campus lesbian groups barring men.

    (From the article)

    The Court acknowledges that such “accept all comers” policies may not in fact be desirable for maintaining robust debate on public college campuses.

    Yet Adams fails to point out how a “not allow people with whom you disagree” policy fosters robust debate any better.

    (Also from the article)

    That means an invading group can turn a smaller, weaker group into second class citizens on campus.

    Adams writes as if he believes to do so is wrong. Yet he seems to miss the glaringly obvious point that this is precisely what the religious group was doing. Not invading, mind you. Just the second class thing

    So what’s his proposed solution? If the campus won’t allow a religious group receiving its funding to discriminate against gays, that religious group should try and join all the other groups to become majorities to harass them for no real end.

    In short, Adams is writing like a homosexual joining a Christian a group equates to that homosexual harassing those Christians. Even if it’s satire, his point is really, really bad.

  • mikespeir

    I’ve suggested elsewhere that atheist clubs ought to welcome believers with open arms. And then they should post their newly augmented membership rosters on the Internet and any other public place they can find.

  • KShep

    I’m with mikespier—the atheist clubs should, and most likely will, welcome believers with open arms into their fold. It can only work in our favor–we get a chance to speak rationally with a believer or two, demonstrating who we really are for the interloper to dutifully report back to his leaders.

    Or, more likely, they’ll just run screaming from the room at the mere thought of their “sting” not turning out the way they thought it would.

    I like both scenarios, myself.

  • http://www.superhappyjen.blogspot.com SuperHappyJen

    Author of: “Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts “Womyn” on Campus”

    Mike Adams is a professional Troll!

  • http://pandasthumb.org RBH

    The Swift echo notwithstanding, that a professor with power over students is dumb enough to publish such a piece is telling in itself. What non-theist student would now be willing to take a class from him knowing his undeniable prejudice against them? Regardless of the (possibly) intended use of hyperbole to emphasize his opinion of the particular ruling, in publishing that piece he has pretty clearly indicated that there are few limits on what he would do with that power if he were unchecked.

    I was once a full professor, chair of my department, and chair of the faculty of my college. Had a member of my faculty published that sort of foolishness, at the very best he would be an object of derision among his colleagues. At worst he would be denied reappointment or tenure, should those decision be coming up.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    For the record, here’s the letter I sent:

    Dear Dean Cordle:

    I’m writing this letter to bring to your attention a recent column by one of your professors, Mike Adams, on the website Townhall.com (http://townhall.com/columnists/MikeAdams/2010/07/01/an_immodest_proposal/page/full). This column concerns the recent Supreme Court decision which found that public universities have a right to require official student organizations to adhere to an “all-comers” policy for membership. Mr. Adams, who strongly disagrees with this decision, has promised to take advantage of it to disrupt and undermine the activities of atheist and non-religious students on his own campus. Some of the more alarming passages read as follows:

    “…when I get back to the secular university in August, I plan to round up the students I know who are most hostile to atheism. Then I’m going to get them to help me find atheist-haters willing to join atheist student groups across the South. I plan to use my young fundamentalist Christian warriors to undermine the mission of every group that disagrees with me on the existence of God.”

    “That means an invading group can turn a smaller, weaker group into second class citizens on campus. That’s what I intend to do to those groups who do not believe in God.”

    “I do not seek robust debate. I seek power over the godless heathen dissident.”

    While no one is objecting to Prof. Adams’ right to express his opinions about this or any other political topic, this column goes well beyond the simple expression of opinion. It says plainly that he “seek[s] power” over students whose religious views he disagrees with in order to bully and oppress them – to turn them into “second class citizens on campus”. Is this, in your opinion, an appropriate attitude for a professor to take toward his own students?

    Whether in jest or not, these are extremely troubling sentiments for a professor to express. If I were an atheist student, I wouldn’t be confident of fair treatment in Prof. Adams’ class after reading this column. Do you agree with me on this, and if so, what are you willing to do about it?

    -Sincerely,
    Adam Lee

  • Katie M

    Be sure to let us know about his response, if he gives one. I’d like to find out if any action is taken against Adams.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    OK, look – we’re not telepaths. We can’t read Adams’ mind. And I doubt that any of us has read enough of his other stuff to really judge whether this is in character for him. But whether this is Poe’s Law in action or not, it doesn’t matter. Remember Wafergate, when PZ put a rusty nail through a communion wafer, a page from the Qur’an, and a page from The God Delusion? He had right-wingers after him, wanting him arrested for hate crime, censured for hate speech, fired for this, strung up by his toenails for that. PZ frequently and fervently denounces believers of all stripes as deluded, muddle-headed morons, calling into question their mental capacities and moral inclinations, and basically bashing theism at every opportunity. How do you think a Christian student would feel about taking a biology class under him, even a 100-level lecture course?

    If UMM wanted to take action against him for potential discrimination, they’d have every reason to do so, save one: he doesn’t bring that discrimination into the classroom. The University’s official position on Wafergate was, “We aren’t allowed to care about what he writes on the internet. His performance in the classroom is all that matters to us.” The same applies to Adams, like it or lump it. If he does his professorial duties, and keeps his private prejudices to himself while class is in session, then he can say whatever he damn well pleases on the internet and we can only sit and stew. And comment, and blog, and basically not affect his professional life.

    I strongly advise against this letter-writing campaign, lest we further blur the distinction between “us and them” in the public eye. Let Adams have his fun, and by all means find ways of having ours too, but let’s please leave his job alone unless it comes to light that he is bringing these attitudes into the classroom. (That would be something to get up in arms about.)

    RE: Blizzard’s RealID bullshit. Tycho of Penny Arcade fame linked to this excellent MetaFilter post cataloguing every way in which it’s a bad idea. Great stuff.

  • Demonhype

    Holee shite.

    Sounds like this guy could be a Poe. Or a reverse Poe. Who can really tell anymore? :D

    My university was founded by a Brethren Church, and there was an article in the paper celebrating the religious diversity of the school as evidenced by the fact that there were atheists and agnostics attending.

    I got an A in my Christian History class despite the teacher knowing I was an atheist and despite my calling him out in one of my papers on the religiosity of the Nazis (he claimed they were atheists, despite the fact that we were reading the Nazi Manifesto–with all it’s Christianity-based justifications–as a first-hand source!).

    I got an A in my Analytical Philosophy class (very religous teacher) despite the fact that I seriously criticized Descartes’ huge jump between “Is the universe real” to “The universe is real because God wouldnt’ deceive us!”

    My Analytical Philosophy teacher was in love with Anselm’s Ontological argument, but my other philosophy teacher (head of the department) told the class that all ontological arguments are cases of bad grammar, with the attritubtion of the quote to Bertrand Russell. And in that class we seriously examined the arguments not only for but against God, in contrast to the other teacher, who was really only interested in apologetics (intelligent as he was in other aspects of analytical philosophy) and only threw in one argument against almost as a sullen attempt to look PC.

    When I included my atheism as a large part of my artistic influence on my artist’s statement, I got some strange floundering from the teacher but it went up with remarkably little unpleasantness. (I got no comments in the senior show sign-in book while the girl with the over-Christianized statement got tons of praise, but at least it was civil–no “Burn in hell, godless heathen!” or “They shouldn’t even admit your kind to this school!” or anything like that. And I didn’t even get any hateful looks or nasty behavior–even the over-Christianized girl was very friendly to me.)

    This was at a private university founded by a church!

    Of course, at one point, the administration tried to enact a policy (I believe it was in 2005) that the university would only hire Christians from then on, and it created an absolute fucking UPROAR!!!! And they started hemhorraging (spelling) all the great teachers that they had worked so hard to accumulate over the years. It didnt’ matter to those teachers that the policy wouldn’t affect the current employees, especially “those with tenure”. They refused to work at a place with such a discriminatory policy, and many professionals who used to do work with the students in different majors (giving them valuable experience) regretfully refused to continue doing so. One guy, a Jew, stated outright that as much as he loved working with the students he couldn’t feel comfortable coming to a university that would discriminate against him. Even after they backpedalled and reversed this position, there were still some teachers keeping an eye out for new jobs.

    So even at a private university there can be some serious reprucussions for discriminatory practices. In the end, they had a choice: You can do the right thing and stop discriminating or you can become a Bible college. Fortunately for the credibility of my degree, they chose the latter!

    Anyway, if that can happen at my religiously founded university, I dont’ see this guy’s nefarious schemes succeeding at a secular university.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    Demonhype @ #21,

    I’m guessing in your penultimate paragraph, you meant that ‘they chose the former’.

    You sure found a way to keep your education interesting. Makes me wonder what other extreme activities you employ to keep the adrenalin flowing.

  • Nate Dawg

    That CLS should be allowed to discriminate because otherwise Muslims and atheists could take over the group was one of the worst arguments posited by CLS. It was roundly criticized and rightly dismissed by the majority. Of course, for the argument to be plausible someone has to go through with it and take over a student group. Makes sense that it’ll be a Christianist as they are the only ones intent on proving this idiotic concern should have changed the outcome of the case.

  • David R

    Adams is making a false comparison. Since he cannot acknowledge that a gay or lesbian person can also be a Christian, he assumes that a gay or lesbian student who joins a Christian club is an infiltrator bent on destroying the organization from within. He’s suggesting that atheists are hypocrites, because they would not allow someone who hates atheists to join their clubs, but they want to force Christian groups to accept homosexuals. It’s a completely paranoid worldview, but it is typical of Christian supremacists.

  • Rosita

    The appropriate counter response might be for atheist groups to actively canvas for “committed Christians” to disrupt their groups in line with this jackass’s suggestion. Offer to pay them a token amount to do so. $1, for example. According to social psychology, this is a good recipe for believe change or loss.

    Candidates should be told that they would have to be a deep cover “sleeper” for a year before they could take office and put the plan into action.
    How many do you think could survive a whole year of challenges which they could not openly dispute, especially if they were also required to argue the case for non-belief on one or more occasions.

    It could be most interesting to watch the results.

  • http://twitter.com/dakami Dan Kaminsky

    Guys! Come on, I thought athiests were supposed to be well read :)

    The piece is called An Immodest Proposal! Like Jonathan Swift! A Modest Proposal!

    You know, that piece from *1729* that “advocated” the Irish eat their babies?

    ”I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled …”

  • Francesc

    Dan, that piece didn’t “advocate” for Irish eating their babies. If I’m remembering it well, it “advocated” for rich irish eating poor irish’s childs. The difference does matter, I assume -I may be wrong- that it was a critic against irish social classism.

  • KSH

    Here’s Adams’ email address: adamsm@uncw.edu

    Be sure to let him know how you feel!

  • Atheist Crim Prof

    A response to Commenter #1…perhaps you don’t realize but social science professors compromise the largest portion of atheist faculty than any other discipline. Judging by the information presented here: http://contexts.org/discoveries/2010/04/01/a-higher-power-and-the-ivory-tower/ (an academic magazine), most professors actually DO believe in a god, so maybe we should be worried about folks in every field and not be quick to condemn criminologists and other social scientists who are trying to teach students to think on their own and not to simply spout off bible quotes as justification for the death penalty. Dr. Adams however, has overstepped the line…

  • Thumpalaumpcus

    Guys! Come on, I thought athiests were supposed to be well read :)

    The piece is called An Immodest Proposal! Like Jonathan Swift! A Modest Proposal!

    You know, that piece from *1729* that “advocated” the Irish eat their babies?

    ”I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled …”

    Yes, I’m well aware of the deliberate echo. Read the rest of his oeuvre. Sarcasm does not satire make; satire has a deeper message, a lack painfully evident in this case.

  • http://twitter.com/dakami Dan Kaminsky

    Francesc–

    Swift’s piece has survived for three hundred *years* as epic satire. I really can’t think of anything else that qualifies on that level, I mean, this is basically the historical great-great-great-great-GREAT grand daddy of making fun of a position by taking it to its logical extreme.

    He’s basically saying the athiest community could potentially be easily “hoisted by its own petard” on this one. It’s a pretty effective argument.

    It’s a sign of the times, I guess, that we’ve heard *such* ridiculous things spoken in earnest that even such obvious satire as an “Immodest Proposal” could be mistaken in this way. But lets not be blind fools here.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    With regard to whether Adams is being sarcastic, please note that we discussed this upthread. My opinion is that he’s throwing in one or two minor bits of sarcasm to provide a fig leaf of deniability in case someone tries to carry out this plan and he gets blamed. It’s pretty obvious that the majority of the essay reflects Adams’ actual beliefs and things that he wouldn’t object to if they actually happened.

  • http://twitter.com/dakami Dan Kaminsky

    Ebonmuse,

    And here I thought athiests were supposed to be rational and skeptical, and not blinded by rage. I mean, really: “I do not seek robust debate. I seek power over the godless heathen dissident”.

    It’s like he’s talking about eating babies. Funny, that.

    Do you have _any_ other evidence, besides this piece, that the guy is even a Dominionist?

  • thinkingperson

    Who knows what this means, but he lists on his webpage at UNC under professional memberships, the NRA. That seems like a starnge thing to put on one’s professional page. Personally, If I were a studnet, that plus this thinly veiled “satire” would make me very nervous.

  • http://brian.carnell.com/ Brian Carnell

    “I plan to write to UNC-Wilmington to bring this column to their attention and to ask if they sanction these kinds of statements from their professors about their own students. Here’s contact info for the dean of Adams’ school. Anyone else want to join me in writing a polite letter?”

    Maybe you could get Bill Donohue to help..this entire post was definitely Donohue-worthy.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Dan, you might wish to read his body of writing before you make your judgment.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    OK, so I went and read the latest half-dozen of Adams’ columns, including the one that sparked this post and the follow-up. The guy’s a troll, plain and simple, and any public show of indignation will play right into his hammy hands. Also, there’s about a teaspoon of my brain cells on the floor which I want back in working order. You see, they leaked from my cranium and I sneezed them out because I am allergic to bullshit.

    In reverse chronological order, Adams has written:
    – That feminists are racists because African Americans abort proportionally more than whites do (nevermind that using the term “genocide” to describe the attempts by black women to control their own uteruses is pretty damned racist to begin with, and there are other social and economic factors at play which… fuck it, he’s an idiot).
    – That people who don’t automatically conflate “sarcasm” with “satire” are dumb and deserve [admittedly clever] acronyms (nevermind that he gets satire backwards by using a genuine good to rail against an imaginary evil and… fuck it, he’s an idiot).
    – That stopping Christians from discriminating against gays in the real world is somehow the same as Christians “infiltrating” and “destroying” groups where they are openly welcomed except in his imagination (nevermind that there would probably be more deconverts than successful infiltrations and… fuck it, he’s an idiot).
    – That people are just plain evil and need to be punished, since treating behavioral disorders as disorders will rob us of our basic human dignity because now we can’t just hit people for misbehaving and be done with it (nevermind that, while the disease model of difference has some problems, treating neurochemical imbalances medically is more effective than criminali… fuck it, he’s an idiot).
    – That “Christians” with the audacity to admit they don’t know all the answers but still believe in a god in a namby-pamby deistic sort of way are going to burn in Hell after he, Mike Adams, rapes and murders some of them them (nevermind that a truly loving god might want us all to get along and… fuck it, he’s an idiot).
    – That the occasional racist comment from the left is somehow comparable to the constant cascade of bigotry from the right, since in a black-and-white worldview, if it’s not all-white then it’s entirely black (nevermind the fact that the real world is in color, and… fuck it, he’s an idiot).

    Whew! Lemme take a breath.

    I’m going to go ahead and fully endorse Ebon’s “Wink and Nod” interpretation of Adams’ intentions, as it’s pretty clear from even this smattering of his writing that the smarter of his readers will just Wink and Nod, while the dumber of his readers must struggle manfully with the temptation to Go and Do, and Adams holds up the Kleenex of Plausible Deniability the whole time, squawking, “Satire! RAAAWRK!” Nevertheless, until or unless he does something in his official capacity as a professor that warrants disciplinary action, investigation, or what have you, he’s fine to continue his work as a professor. Biology professors shouldn’t be fired for desecrating the host in their private lives, and criminology professors shouldn’t be fired for being rotten bigots in theirs. So let’s please follow the Rules of the Internet, and don’t feed the trolls.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Thanks, D! I agree with about 90% of that. :)

    To anyone familiar with his body of work, it’s pretty clear what mold Mike Adams falls into: the smugly arrogant, less-clever-than-he-thinks-he-is right-winger who amuses himself by making racist, sexist and otherwise obnoxious and bigoted statements, and whenever he gets called out on it, he retreats into the wounded dignity of “What are you guys picking on me for? I was just kidding!” Accusations of oversensitivity and “political correctness” usually show up around this point as well, allowing said bigot to make a play for the moral high ground.

    So in that sense, yes, I agree that he is a troll. The only problem is he’s not just some anonymous wingnut spewing trash onto a message board, someone who can be safely ignored. He has real power in the real world, over his students. And if some of his followers read this column and don’t get the joke, they may actually attempt to carry out this plan. As I said, I think that was pretty clearly the intent.

    And while I doubt it would succeed even if someone did try, it’s still highly unethical for someone in a position of authority to make statements like this. It’s precisely because he has that authority that his bigoted attitude toward his own students shouldn’t be allowed to go by.

  • http://www.mazzmuzik.com mazz

    I just want to second everything D just said. You’re my new Hero For The Day. Well said.

    Fuck it. The man’s just an idiot.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    D, most of your post is spot-on.

    I’m not calling for any sort of punishment against him. It’s a free country, he has the right to sound as moronic as he wishes.

  • Zietlos

    Yup, he’s got some pro troll skills, though admittedly religion-trolling (or atheist-trolling) is the easiest kind to do, just see encyclopedia dramatica’s collection of thousands of pictures of the Prophet Mohammad in order to get their website as the most valuable website on the net (based off of the bounty per depiction). Actually, don’t see it, many of the drawings are quite vulgar. Things that atheists need to do is see where and when not to feed the trolls. I forget who said it, but someone said something along the lines of “I don’t debate to convince my opponent, I debate to convince my audience”.

    This troll… I’ve seen better ones. Heck, us atheists have trolls too, better ones than him at concern-trolling. Heck, I’m a better concern-troll when I want to be. Even Ebon’s “Little Known Bible Verses” can be seen as a form of concern trolling, were it posted on an Xian site with only one or two edits.

    We threw him a piece of bread here, by even reacting as much as we have, when really, if we do respond, it shouldn’t be in concern, anger, or fear, it should be in hilarity: The weak point of this type of troll is to be taken for their words. Publish the work headlined as “Amazing satire: A hilarious and witty mockery of what stupid people think”, try to get him nominated for some prize in humour for it. Make it known that it is pure 100% satire, that anyone who could possibly take it seriously (Adams’ real target audience) becomes non-existent, thinking he is some sort of comedian.

    By the by, I’m a reverse troll by hobby. I bait trolls. This would work, but the reaction needs to be sufficient to effect his professor office: Get it known to the students that the prof is a jokester and a kidder, and to take nothing he says seriously; he’s really smart, if you think he’s being serious about ANYTHING, just assume it is some form of extremely erudite humour and laugh at with him.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    And of course, the reason Swift’s piece stands as one of the greatest works of satire is because he was criticizing current British policy by advocating something even more extreme. He satirized English anti-Irish policy by satirically agreeing with it, even though he believed in the opposite. Mike Adams actually does hate this court decision, so he used satire to… what? It doesn’t work. Wink-and-Nod is the most likely explanation.

  • Lynne

    So… what was the outcome? Did a letter get sent? Has anything else been done?
    What was the USC-Wil response?

  • Thumpalumpacus

    In trying to find an answer to Lynne’s timely question (it is August, after all), I came across this gem of commentary:

    It undercuts the satiric tone when your modest proposal has an ad for a Glenn Beck book and an opportunity to support Arizona’s new immigration law on the page. Swift didn’t actually do business with cannibals.

    Will post any new info I find.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    I sent a letter to the dean of Adams’ school several weeks ago, but I haven’t received a reply. Nor have I heard about any disciplinary action being taken against him. It seems the school either didn’t take his column seriously or wasn’t sufficiently troubled to do anything about it.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    I’ve received no response either. But then, we neither pay NC taxes.

  • MarkF

    Will I guess it is true after all. Leftists have no sense of humor.

    It’s called satire. It provokes thought by showing some behavior in an exaggerated way. In this case Prof. Adams is skewering the leftist tendency to praise freedom of expression, except when that freedom contradicts leftist fetishes.

    Of course, the humor loses its punch when you have to explain it.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    “Leftist.”

    Now that’s funny!

    eta: it’s also a category error.


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