“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” Karol Cardinal Wotyla (Sept. 1976)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Gardner's PZ Myers' NCR Interview

I think Jeff Gardner's National Catholic Register's piece on Myers is worthy of praise and an individual post as well. Gardner skillfully prevented Myers' delusions from defining the situation and/or the interview:

" That Myers has the equivalent of a junior high school education in religion is glaring. He understands little about the history and function of the Catholic Church and even less about the place of the Eucharist in the lives of Catholics. When I told him that many have laid their lives on the line to protect the Blessed Sacrament, he recoiled in disbelief, saying, “Really? People really do that!?”

...I decided to call [Myers'] bluff. “Has Christianity contributed anything to humanity?” I asked him.

“Well,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone, “there is this general property of religion — it’s great at building community. Religion has been a good thing for many individuals; it has brought them together and given them comfort. But over all, religion … holds back humanity.”

What, I asked, about the Church’s role in founding the first Western hospitals, universities, banks and even many breakthroughs in science? He interrupted me, irate and incredulous:
“No, people made those contributions to Western Civilization.”

That the Church was involved in the very foundations of our Western culture is, according to Myers, irrelevant.

...I asked Myers, “You have, throughout your blog, described Catholics as stupid, stupider, scary, dark age fanatics” and words that we can’t print. This language doesn’t strike you as bigoted?”

“Why should it?” he replied. “I am making honest characterizations of individual people.”

“But in desecrating the Eucharist,” I continued, “you have insulted and hurt thousands of Catholics. What do you have to say for that?”

Myers’ answer was true to form: “The whole silly part of this whole episode is that I’ve got so many people writing me and saying that I have seriously hurt them. But what have I done? I have thrown away a cracker.”

I think Myers greatly underestimated Gardner based on the civility Gardner extended to him on the Catholic Radio International interview.

The best thing Gardner did in this piece was to ask the right questions that let Myers define [read incriminate] himself. There was also no wiggle room in the article that would let Myers interpret or exploit the piece for his benefit. Gardner also kept bringing the interview, and Myers, back into reality. This is no small task. Trying to pin Myers in the realm of reality is like trying to nail jello to a wall.


Alycin said...

I read that... it was really good. :)

cg said...

Myers can't claim ignorance anymore can he?

cg said...

Evidently, the professor isn't familiar with the addage that 'better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.'