It’s Not Just Communion Wafers That Are Sacred: How PZ Myers Puts First Editions of Darwin’s “Origin of Species” and Trilobite Fossils at Risk

University of Minnesota biologist PZ Myers’s iconoclastic stupidity is putting not just Catholics at risk of harrassment, but atheists. He’s attempting to make it socially acceptable to infiltrate the inner sanctum of groups, play their members for fools, and then post their most valued objects on the Internet being desecrated.  

Free-thinkers often love FIRST EDITIONS of old books. Imagine how violated we would feel if somebody entered a property owned by a secular group, and when nobody was looking, snuck and tore a page out of a displayed first edition of the Origin of Species, then brought it home, recorded a narrative of how he had obtained it, shot video of it being pissed on, and posted it on the Internet.

Or how about fossils?

Imagine an atheist group that gives a fossil trilobite necklace to new group members, kind of like a Kurt Vonnegut “granfalloon”—a shared object that enhances group solidarity. It’s something that the group members identify with and wear.

And lets say that a group of religious fundamentalists enters a meeting and pretends that they are new initiates. They receive ten of these necklaces, under pretense of joining the group, then go home and smash them with hammers and post them on the Internet. They scroll this message over the smashed pieces: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Period.”

Isn’t this obviously illiberal behavior, and a threat to an atheist group’s right to form an efficiently functioning association, without interference, infiltration, or harrassment?

Until atheists leave their property and go out into the community to distribute literature, there is an expectation that their group has a reasonable degree of control and privacy surrounding its functioning.

Myers’s momma surely must have taught him to respect people’s boundaries. What’s his problem here? Might it be that he is not a liberal—but instead has an authoritarian personality—but just happens to be on our side (the agnostic/atheist side) of the God question?

Below is Myers’s paragraph, from his blog last week, that generated the initial controversy. We need to keep it in mind that this, and not something else, is what he is defending:

Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There’s no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I’m sure — but if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart. If you can smuggle some out from under the armed guards and grim nuns hovering over your local communion ceremony, just write to me and I’ll send you my home address. 

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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