PZ Myers Does Not Speak For Us

Electronic red megaphone on stand.
Electronic red megaphone on stand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Atheists routinely criticize religious moderates for not doing more about their extremist colleagues. What is it that we expect them to do? For starters, we want them to speak out. We want them to repudiate the behavior of the religious extremists. We want them to make it clear that the extremists do not speak for them.

One implication of this is that we must be willing to do the same, especially when individuals with high profiles in the atheist community make serious errors. We do not need to try to destroy such individuals or even to shun them; however, there may be times when it is necessary for us to make it clear that they do not speak for us. Yesterday's post by PZ Myers (Freezepage link) is one such time, and many atheists have been using their platforms to repudiate what PZ said. Here are a few noteworthy examples:

While I suspect that PZ may have us right where he wants us, I did find it encouraging to see these clear statements explaining that PZ does not speak for the rest of us. And so, let me say that I agree completely with the following from JT Eberhard (What Would JT Do?):

But in this case of unmitigated toxicity, I want you to know that I am disgusted and that most atheists would also be if they were to read it. I cannot speak for anybody else (though, if you click around the internet, you can find them speaking for themselves), but this man absolutely does not speak for me. I think what he said was cruel and ill-reasoned.

PZ Myers does not speak for me either. Enough said.