Friday, July 30, 2010

PZ Myers is here to defend your rights!

Your right to dress as slutty as you want, I guess.

No doubt PZ Myers is patting himself on the back for making sure to put Christian young men in their placeHow dare we offer any input on what kind of clothes women wear!  It's not like the opposite ever happens.  I'm proud to say my wife has never told me, not even advised me, on what I should wear, not a day in my life.  If she did, I'd whip out my belt faster than you can say "Gaptooth Uncle Buck" anyway.  She knows better.
Come to think of it, my mom never told nor advised me either.  And I turned out OK - I dress equally as well as PZ does on a daily basis.  What can I say?  I'm looking good, and I didn't need no help from no womenfolk.

Along those lines, one has to wonder whether PZ would be so quick to swap genders in incredibly oblivious statements like these:
The boys are asked to judge whether an item of clothing is something that might cause them to think wicked thoughts…so once again, the women are to blame for inciting men's behavior by wearing tight jeans or a strapless dress. (Emphasis original.)
 --BECOMES--
The women are asked to judge whether an item of clothing is something that might cause them to think wicked thoughts…so once again, the men are to blame for inciting women's behavior by wearing tight jeans or a muscle shirt.

I don't know why it surprises me that a liberal like Myers would so easily and thoughtlessly equate thought with action.  After all, I believe he supports hate-crime legislation.  The most confusing thing about it is that the guy loves to talk about thoughtcrime.  Like a typical godless liberal, he doesn't appear ever to stop to ask himself the same questions he's asking everyone else.  At least he's a good source of iron(y).

So, let me set Myers straight on a few more things.
Because, of course, the girls need boys' advice...I get a Taliban tingle just reading it. It's a far more generous document than anything Islam dictates — young Christian men do not want young Christian women to wear burkas — but in principle, it's the same thing.
 1) I challenge Myers to show anywhere in the survey where it is implied that "girls need boys' advice".  Seems to me the message is more like "Here's what guys think of the way you dress, and you could throw them a bone by not showing 75% of your cleavage all the time."

2) Shall we really consider that a man whose blog contains a fair amount of obscenely-worded material and who deals with sexual topics in a less-than-chaste way is a better source for clothing advice than Christian men who are struggling to obey Jesus?
As for Myers, might one think he doth protest too much?
"No really, ladies, I'm a not-particularly-attractive atheist community college professor and biologist in my 50s and I think you have every right to wear whatever you want to my class and in public!  If you got it, flaunt it, yo.  Clingy and see-through lingerie get extra credit in your lab section." 

Now, for the objective lady out there, compare that with the heart expressed by these survey questions and responses, and by this excellent blogpost by DJP.  Why do you think these men want you to not wear a spaghetti-bikini that covers 3 square inches of your body and no more?  Is Myers really looking out for your best interests?

3) Myers apparently can't find any substantive difference between a group of young men putting their heads together and asking women to dress LESS provocatively, so as to help them not to think lustfully about said women all the time, and laws providing for governmental punishment of women who fail to cover every inch of their skin when in public.  So much for his critical thinking skills.

It's men declaring ownership of women's bodies and telling them what to wear
Where? 

Myers continues:
What they have to guard against? They should be plainer. "We're not telling you what to wear - we're just listing the stuff that will justify raping you."...with the the threat of justifiable sexual assault if they do not obey.

1) This is what really got under my skin in the first place this morning.  Where in the world is Myers getting this?  I'd like to challenge anyone to find any hint of this idea in the survey or its surrounding documentation.  Start by going to any given page and pressing Ctrl + F on your keyboard; type in 'rape' and see how many results there are.  Or 'assault'.  Or 'deserve'. 

2) Myers is putting his amazing ignorance of the Christian community on display when he imputes this idea to such people as Nancy Leigh DeMoss, CJ Mahaney, and Al Mohler.  I'd be willing to bet he doesn't even know who the first two are!  But he obviously has no problem implying their motives are one step removed from one of the most heinous crimes known to man. 
Is not unjustified demonisation of the opposition one of the oldest propaganda tricks in the book?  If we had any reason to call Myers "honest" in the past, we don't anymore.

3) The idea that these surveyors and promoters would like to justify rape is apparently a figment of Myers' extremely-biased imagination.
Or, he's nothing more than a rabble-rouser, inciting his drones to action.  Either way, what possible credibility could the man have left?

4) What, precisely, is Myers' moral problem with rape?  To what objective moral foundation can he appeal to say "rape is definitely always bad for all people at all times in all situations"?  Does his atheism allow for a consistent definition like that?
The answer, obviously, is no way, as more honest men than he have admitted to me in the past.

5) In fact, all high-sounding but empty platitudes of "we can rise above our genes" (as expressed by Dick Dawk in the last chapter or two of The Selfish Gene and echoed ad infinitum by many others) aside, given that "rising" and "above" are moral statements and atheism offers no foundation by which we can know objectively good morality from objectively bad morality nor a telos or purpose toward which we should aspire, I don't see why rape (as long as you're strong and clever enough not to get caught) wouldn't in fact confer an evolutionary advantage on the rapist.  Each agent in an evolutionary scheme is motivated to pass his genes on to the next generation, and in this competition, agents vying against each other, the stronger tend to emerge and tend to pass on their genes more successfully.  "Advancing" and "evolving" is the closest an evolutionary atheist will get to a telos, and impregnating dozens of females (as opposed to, say, one) (or none, if Myers' wardrobe, job, and manner of speaking on his blog are any indication) is probably a successful strategy.  Does Myers criticise dogs in heat for their willingness to jump on anything that moves that is approximately dog-sized? 

You know, I think about blogging a fair amount.  I see stuff out there in the world or on teh 1nterw3bz or the news or whatever and digest it, and sometimes an idea for a blogpost pops out.  Half the time or better, there's not enough there and I throw the idea in the trash.  Myers has a large audience, though it could always grow if he were less of a coward and didn't disdain debate challenges from people who know a bit of philosophy.  Plus other bloggers like ERV rely on him for a good amount of their material, so I understand he could be under a bit of pressure.  At the same time, there is something to be said for producing material that isn't consistently half-baked and not well-thought-out.  (Not that I would know from firsthand experience; I'm just saying.)  The self-censoring filter that should be in place between brain and mouth (or keyboard) didn't act quickly enough to stop this spew from issuing forth.  But it is quite telling about his thoughts, and as we all know...

(Please leave any comments at the Triablogue post.)

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