PZ Myers: A new voice for National Geographic

A special welcome to all new visitors arriving from USA Today.
Like you, we’re curious about PZ Myers’ arrangement with National Geographic, but John Fahey, NG’s CEO, won’t answer our questions.
He refuses to give us — and virtually every other journalist — an interview.
But you can help.
If you believe the National Geographic Society — a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization — should encourage civil discourse about religion and be more transparent about its publicly subsidized operations, then please help us crowdsource our interview request by clicking Recommend, below. (Or: Click the Like button in the Dear John: Let’s Talk widget, at right). We’re anxious to bring up the PZ Myers issue (and many other concerns) with John ASAP.
Thank you.

All of the Abrahamic religions
are patriarchal horrors.

Just more bullshit from a muslim doofus.


PZ Myers

PZ Myers is the marquee blogger at ScienceBlogs,
which National Geographic now runs.


Dear John,
Why do you think Dr. Myers
deserves the support of the National Geographic Society?

  • Yiggoto

    PZ Myres is awesome.

  • Yiggoto

    Oops. It’s Myers and not Myres. So sorry. Always assumed it was the English spelling.

  • He deserves their support because he’s a good biologist and a smart person in general. Furthermore, Myers is a humane, fair-minded person – his disdain for religion, and his assessment of the Abrahamic religions as “patriarchal horrors,” is born of his desire for all humans to be treated equally, which is not something many religious institutions have a great track record at.

    I’ve never seen him waver from his advocacy for basic human decency. And that earns him far more points in my book than your kneejerk defense of those aforementioned religious institutions. Individual people are more important than longstanding, privileged institutions. Myers understands that; you evidently don’t.

    • Smart people and talented biologists deserve the support of the Society — and our society. And I agree that many religious institutions have a horrid track record. (I’m not sure exactly why you say I have a “kneejerk defense” of organized, or disorganized, religion.)

      Individual people are important, of course. I do understand that. But what interests me is on what basis we form communities. Why we participate in society. How & why civil society matters. And I don’t think @pzmyers:disqus is civil. That’s my concern. 

      But as I told him on Twitter, his POV is simply a profanity-laced version of what many people already believe — including many @NatGeoSociety:twitter . I’m curious whether or not National Geographic will allow him to use their microphone (they now own @ScienceBlogs:twitter to intentionally antagonize billions of people around the world. 

      Stay tuned….

      (Thanks for stopping by… and for your comment.)

  • Al

    PZ FTW! He should have his own show. Get on it Nat Geo!

  • Al

    PZ FTW! He should have his own show. Get on it Nat Geo!

    • 35mmdop

      Hear hear!

    • I wouldn’t recommend it. Then again, I wouldn’t rule it out from actually happening: News Corp owns the National Geographic Channel, and if Rupert Murdoch knows anything, he knows this: People will gather for a fight — and watch the ads, too. 

      Stoking those fires has made Murdoch a very rich man. 

  • Myers’ abrasive style is a breath of fresh air in a world where constant deference to the sensibilities of the religious is the norm.   Should NatGeo attempt to silence him, they’d be no better than the clerics and priests who seek to keep us all in ideological chains.

    • @pzmyers:twitter is a breath of fresh air. Although, in this context, we probably disagree on the meaning of “fresh.”  

      As for “ideological chains,” here’s a question: What would you say to the leaders of China’s Communist Party if they claimed the reason they persecute Christians is because @pzmyers:twitter says Christians are “insane”? 

      Please see: Persecuted Christians in China: Does our Society care?

      Thanks for your comment. 

      • Gnat K. Coal

        I would say you’re making a false equivalency. Nowhere has Myers advocated persecuting ANYONE for anything, not in the use of the word that you attribute to the Chinese government.

        Rhetoric FAIL. Sorry, no cigar. Get out of my amusement park.

        • Perhaps I wasn’t clear. My point is that Myers says that religious people are insane — a point of view no doubt shared by the leaders of China’s Communist party. 

          If Myers thinks these people are mentally ill, what’s a humane response? What should Myers say to the CCP? Because in the eyes of China’s leaders, these “insane” people are a threat to public order, rational thought, national security, and Harmony. 

          So… how would you recommend the Chinese deal with this clear & present danger?

          (Thanks for stopping by, GKC.)

          • NoxiousNan

            I suspect you’re not getting this repeated question answered because it is a non-sequitor.  Myers is a US citizen who observedly believes in individual rights.  Nothing he has said or done is remotely comparable to the Chinese Communist party’s actions regarding Chinese Christians.

  • scthinks

    No rational person would assume that the voice of an individual represents the ideology of a renowned science publication, especially since that organization clearly has no official stance on such matters. PZ is an accomplished biologist who has years of experience explaining complicated concepts to people who lack the benefit of an advanced degree. His personal opinions are irrelevant within this context. Even if they were somehow important, every scientist has an opinion on the subject. Many are surely far more critical than PZ; the only difference is that you haven’t identified those ones yet.

    • I agree with you that PZ Myers, all by himself, is not the total & complete personification of the National Geographic Society. No single person is, or could be (or should be). But John Fahey clearly looked at ScienceBlogs, and saw what kind of guy PZ Myers is, and said: Yup, let’s bring him aboard. 

      I disagree that Myers’ personal opinions are “irrelevant within this context.” The context is Pharyngula, his blog, where he shares his personal opinions all the time. Which is a huge part of his appeal. Take away the pugilist in PZ Myers, and you’ve sapped the guy of his power. And if NGS insists that he play by the (totally bogus) editorial rules NGM Editor Chris Johns described last year (“no bias“), then I predict PZ Myers will kiss ScienceBlogs goodbye. 

      You call NGM a “renowned science publication” — but I believe the Magazine’s success was not built on science stories. The name National Geographic suggests an editorial lens that refracts something national — something about how people have organized themselves into nations. (Back in the day, country stories were a staple.) NGM was a magazine more about people, and less about the planet. About the diverse ways that people understand themselves, the world, and their place in the universe. NGM was never a PZ Myers-esque “batshit insane” scorched earth worldview. It was a far more nuanced — and interesting – magazine than that. 

      Thanks for your comment, scthinks. And for stopping by.

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