“You’re with me or you’re against me”
Recently, I’ve been contemplating speaking my mind on this subject. Actually for a long time. It’s rather upsetting in a community that is supposed to adhere to the values of skeptical inquiry, scientific analysis, and rational questioning that we are required as a matter of principle to abandon the aforementioned principles in favor of mindlessly following the ravings of PZ Myers and Co. It’s something I’ve never quite understood or grasped and could never fully get behind.
I’ve only been in the movement a short time and I really don’t care about the infighting. But there is a divide and it’s so infuriating because it started out as something that could have blossomed into a great movement for social justice and equality but has transformed itself as nothing more than a witch-hunt based upon unverifiable accusations that we are demanded….nay ordered…to take at face value. While I can understand the seriousness of the situation I cannot for a moment stop utilizing my rational skepticism for a moment in order to acquiesce to the demands of a blogger whom I’ve never met. I didn’t give up my religious dogma in order to take on a secular one. That would be accepting one cognitive dissonance in place of another.
PZ Myers has been demanding that we go after these alleged sexual deviants in our community and take them to task. I agree. I do not agree, however, with the manner in which he is and has been doing it. The basis of his most recent claim, which is leading him into a lawsuit, is that we should merely trust him based upon the merit of his character. And yet his character is what I call into question. PZ has never been the ultimate giant in my eyes. Truly, I came into the movement quite late in the game and I had heard PZ referred to as “an asshole, but he’s OUR asshole”. He was supposed to be this guy that went after the creationists debunking their claims, showing them real science, and helping those who were unsure to see that science is a self-correcting, self-checking methodology that inherently finds the truth by never accepting a single claim and continually testing previously proved claims in order to assess whether or not they were actually true. Science did not need a checks-and-balances as do many other systems that man has created because it quite simply checks itself. But that’s not what I saw from him.
Instead what I witnessed, time and again, were his verbal assaults upon the individuals who wished to question the veracity of the unsubstantiated claims of alleged victims. The individuals that I saw questioning that were merely applying their scientific reasoning into all aspects of life. Just as they questioned what happened, like any good investigator does, they were also questioning the veracity of the “I didn’t do it” claims from the alleged perpetrators. It seems entirely rational and just to me. There were, of course, people on the defensive end attempting to uphold the status quo of “victim blaming” and those are not the individuals I’m talking about. I’m speaking about those of us that merely don’t know enough about any given situation between two people who want to inquire as to what actually happened without making a preconceived judgment call.
So PZ and Co. have labeled anyone who does not immediately fall into their trapping as a “rape apologist” or a “chill girl” or a “misogynist”. It’s that ‘with me or against me’ attitude. And quite frankly it’s disheartening. That’s not how a civilized society works. You must give everyone a fair shake or you, yourself, are anathema to the concept of liberty itself. People are being attacked for not making a snap judgment call. I liken it to the American mentality immediately following 9/11. Suddenly all Muslims were looked at with suspicion. The PATRIOT Act was passed with many parts violating the Constitution we hold (or perhaps held) so dear. I remember watching a video of a Congress getting together in front of the steps of the House singing “God Bless America” . Profiling began, near-censorship of art and music, and a hive mentality that it was America vs. The World. Hell….we had that whole “freedom fry” debacle because France didn’t support the invasion of Iraq.
I equate the current situation that PZ Myers is attempting to wrangle people into as the same Bushism’s we were under as a nation from the early 2000’s. Many of us in the movement (including a vast number of women) don’t want to join your “war on anyone that doesn’t agree with you” because of the alleged “Weapons of Ass Destruction” (WAD’s) that you claim every man except you and your ilk have. Well, I want verification of this against each and every individual that you claim is an assailant, a sexual deviant, or an alleged rapist. Until we have sent in the inspection teams to find these WAD’s that you, Commander-in-Chief Myers, claim to have knowledge from your vast secret intelligence community disclosing to you, then I cannot and will not jump on board to assassinate the character of the alleged perpetrators.
PZ Myers, Mr. President, what have the UN Inspection teams found? I will side with France on this. I don’t like your authoritarian approach to the atheist community much like France did not like President Bush’s international approach to war. I fear that you don’t wish to be President much the same way Bush did not. He wanted to be the Emperor…and he did just that as an Imperial President. His word HAD to be trusted without verification…and so must yours be? Were you not critical of his behavior at the beginning of this century? Then how can you not justify my (or anyone) questioning you with that same approach?
Your authoritarian attitude that “I must choose a side” and that I’m either “with you or against you” reminds me of someone else.