Friday, January 12, 2018

Picking Cherries For God

He's at it again.  Over at Shadow To Light, Mikey has smeared Jerry Coyne with an accusation that has absolutely no basis whatsoever.  He says that Coyne is offended by PZ Myers' use of cherry-picking to distort the message of a "New Atheist" (Steve Pinker), by making the liberal Pinker seem to be part of the alt-right, but would happily agree with same tactics being used against a theist.  Of course, Mikey offers not a single shred of evidence to support this claim.  Because for people like Mikey, the truth has nothing to do with the anti-atheist narrative he is trying to purvey - that is, unless he can find an isolated fact that is useful to him.

The issue that Coyne was complaining about in the first place is the selective use of quotes from Steve Pinker to distort his views and make it sound as if he is a conservative alt-right sympathizer.  Pinker is nothing of the sort, but he is critical of those Social Justice Warriors (SJW) on the left who use anti-liberal tactics to suppress free speech and promote an agenda of authoritarian control.  Coyne generally agrees with Pinker on this, as do I.  And so do the majority of liberal atheists, I dare say.  As I noted in an earlier post, SJW activism is not exclusive to atheists, as Mikey seems to think, nor is it viewed favorably by the majority of high-profile atheists, who tend to prefer traditional liberal ideals.  In his post, Coyne gave three examples where Pinker's views (which include some criticism of SJWs) were deliberately distorted by taking some of his words out of context, and ignoring the rest of what he said that would paint an entirely different picture.  Two of these examples are from the alt-right (or Neo-Nazis), and the other is from PZ Myers, who is perhaps the leading voice of left-wing SJW activism among atheists, and highly critical of liberals like Coyne and Pinker.

The fact that there is disagreement between atheists brings great joy to Mikey, who has for years been making claims that "the atheist movement" is splintering, falling apart, and dying out.  As if there were ever a thing called "the atheist movement".  There are atheists with widely varying views and beliefs, just the same as there are Christians with differing views and beliefs.  Mikey himself is right-wing, but many Christians are liberals, and many are SJWs, too.  And there are many religious factions and differing ideologies within Christianity, as well.  We could note the rise of Mormonism, but would that justify making broad claims about "the Christian movement" similar to what Mikey makes about "the atheist movement"?  I hardly think so.

Like many right-wingers, Mikey despises SJWs, yet you don't often hear him attacking PZ Myers.  Instead, he reserves his venom for higher profile atheists like Coyne, Pinker, and especially Dawkins, all of whom have been critical of SJWs.  These atheists are more in agreement with Mikey than with Myers when it comes to SJWs.  It would seem that Mikey should find some reason to agree with a "New Atheist" like Coyne or Dawkins, even if only on some minor point, once in a while.  But that never happens, it seems.

How can we make sense of this?  I think that Mikey (rightfully) doesn't see Myers and his Atheism+ movement as much of a threat, but he does see the likes of Coyne, Pinker, and Dawkins as a big threat to his religionism.  And he tries his best to conflate all atheists together (along with anyone else whose views he finds disagreeable), to create the impression that there is something called "the atheist movement", and that this movement is uniformly odious.  And he manages this by carefully selecting which facts he chooses to bring forward, while ignoring anything that doesn't fit the narrative.  For example, he wants us to believe that social justice warfare is an atheist phenomenon, so he often refers to "social justice atheism", noting the existence of the SJWs  who are followers of Myers, while ignoring the fact that they are a minority of atheists, and also ignoring the fact that most American SJWs are actually Christians.  In other words, he is an avid cherry picker.

And just to amplify my point, we only need to look at Mikey's previous post, Where social Justice Leads, which makes the ridiculous claim that social justice leads to atrocious crimes against humanity.  What is his basis for this?  It seems that a leader of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia (who were notorious for their atrocities) had stated that he was fighting for "social justice".  What does that have to do with the modern social justice movement in America?  Absolutely nothing.  But that one slim cherry-picked fact is all Mikey needs to condemn the modern SJW movement, and by extension (in his own mind), atheists in general.

And in this latest post, Mikey accuses atheists in general of using cherry-picking tactics to attack religion:
So I find it both amusing and fitting that Coyne is complaining about techniques that atheists have long been using to attack religion. - Mikey
What is Mikey's basis for this claim?  He doesn't go into that, because he doesn't have specific examples he can point to, and I can assure you that if he had such examples other than Myers himself, he would have cited them.  But then he goes beyond that baseless accusation, and claims specifically that Coyne would welcome any such rhetoric from Myers as long as it was directed against religionists:
Look, if Myer’s had relied on cherry picking and ignoring the message to smear some theist, Coyne would not have a problem.  In fact, he’d probably be giving Myers the thumbs up.  It only becomes a sin when his side is targeted. - Mikey
So let me issue a challenge to Mikey, the cherry-picking hypocrite, right now.  Show us an example to support the claims you make.  Just one.  Show us where Jerry Coyne has ever condoned using cherry-picked facts to smear theists, or anyone else, for that matter.  But we need something more than just one of your unfounded accusations.  Follow the example of Coyne's complaint, where he told us what facts were taken out of context, and what additional facts should have been included. I'll be waiting.

1 comment:

  1. To all the minions at Mikey's echo chamber - I see lots of assertions. I don't see one single shred of supporting evidence. Nobody has answered my challenge. Put up or shut up.