Quick Hit: The Dumb Rolls On

I am shocked — shocked! — to see that Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum have failed to take my sage advice, and are going ahead with an ill-fated attempt to rebut PZ Myers’s criticisms (which he’s, of course, continuing to make) of them and their book.  They give a list of reasons why they’re responding (and indicate that the series of response posts is already drafted, so I guess it’s too late for a final plea from my tiny little blog to stop them), but none of them are good reasons.  And no one old enough to no longer be getting into fights on the grade school playground should need it explained to them why those aren’t good reasons.

As Mooney and Kirshenbaum have already noted several times, there are lots of positive reviews out there.  If the book itself, plus all the positive reviews, aren’t sufficient to counter one negative review, maybe the book really isn’t all that good — now, I haven’t read it, so I don’t have any opinion on whether it’s actually good or not, but this dogged insistence on countering every point Myers makes makes Mooney and Kirshenbaum (I implicate both here because the latest was posted under both their names, although it has mostly seemed that Mooney has been leading the charge on this dumb-ass blogfight) look thin-skinned, petty, and severely lacking confidence in the quality of their own work.

Seriously, Chris and Sheril.  I like your blog, and I think you mostly do good work.  If PZ’s attacks are wrong, then anyone who reads your book and/or other reviews will know so — and anyone who only reads PZ’s review was never going to accept your arguments anyway.  Let it go!  “New Atheists” are not your enemy.

And PZ, I like your blog too, and I think you mostly do good work too.  “Accomodationists” are not your enemy.

Theocrats are the enemy.  Fight them, not each other.  Disband the circular firing squad.  I don’t know which one of you is the Judean People’s Front and which the People’s Front of Judea, but quit yelling “splitter!” at each other and fight the Romans.  It’s OK if you don’t both fight them the same way.



  1. I honestly don’t know what you’re attempting to do here. The “productive debates” have been had time and time again, and there’s really nothing new to say. How would you intend to fix this, other than being an unfortunately bizarre parody of the standard concern troll?

    Acting like they shouldn’t argue because they should be on the same side is a bit silly, don’t you think? I’ll admit, it’s making Mooney look like more of a fool than normal, and Kirshenbaum is along for the ride, but PZ will probably come out of this looking roughly the same. It’s his schtick, what he’s known for. Virulence got him this far, and it’ll still carry him a way.

    Crying out in an attempt to play Mercutio when other people are hashing out their differences is ludicrous, but at least you performed a service by summarizing the situation at hand, with links to its hilarity. Of course, I also find it funny how much you shout about how stupid this is, yet you feel compelled to chronicle it and kvetch about how they should be getting along. Shouldn’t that sort of sideline sniping be beneath you?

    1. Really? You come over here and call me a concern troll on my own blog, and two paragraphs later you turn around and blatantly concern-troll me?

      What I’m “attempting to do here,” which I should have thought was clear, is express my opinion that this fight between Mooney and Kirshenbaum and Myers is really stupid, and only makes all of them look petty (though you have a point that it does more to look Mooney and Kirshenbaum look foolish than it does Myers, as this kind of combativeness is largely what he does, and is certainly what much of his audience looks forward to from him). Look, perhaps you’re new around here. This is a thing we call “the Internet,” and on the Internet there are these things called “blogs” — and what we use blogs for is writing about our opinions and things that interest us. If you find my writing “ludicrous” or you think I “kvetch” and “snipe” too much, I promise you I won’t be upset if you don’t read my blog.

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