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Sun Apr 15, 2012, 07:22 AM

The text ofPZ Myers speech to Global Atheist Convention

Read the whole thing, it is very well worth it

Link and excerpts. Note to Mods and alerters, I am quoting more than 3 excerpts but as far as I am aware Prof Myers intends this speech to be widely disseminated. If Admin thinks I have it wrong please delete.

Speech Text "Sacking the City of God" at Pharyngula

I must apologize for some topic drift ó I came up with a title for this talk some months ago, but the as I was working on it, itÖevolved. So what Iím actually going to talk about today is my plan to assault heaven and kill God. You donít mind, do you?

The most brilliant thing Christianity ever did was to take that idea of the Word, that concept of identity wrapped up in an abstract set of ideas and stories, and to open it up to everyone. Aww, Rome fell? You’re all alone? Here, we can help you find yourself, we can give a new meaning to your life, we have a standard that you can hold high and find unity with a greater people. Itís called the Bible.

You were probably dubious and wondering what the heck I was doing saying the Bible was powerful and important, but maybe now that Iíve cited nerd god Alan Moore for the concept youíll accept what Iím saying.

You can kill a man, you can sack a city, but Alan Moore says you cannot kill an idea. And ideas can change the world.

Ideas can change the world.

Say it again: Ideas can change the world.

Live it: Ideas can change the world.

Read the pronouncements of popes and archbishops, read the newspapers and web columns, look to the priests in their pulpits, and youíll see something wonderful: they are reacting to the rise of the New Atheists in the same way the Roman establishment reacted to the Visigoths appearing on the horizon. I cannot blame them for being fearful; we are galloping towards the central ideas of their identity, and we aim to tear down their walls and replace their obsolete myths with change and something more vital.

Deep in their heart of hearts, they fear that a sequel to St Augustineís City of God is in the works, and itís going to be written by an atheistÖand it will speak of a brand new world and new opportunities, it will create a new ecumene of people united under something other than the folly of faith.

Yesterday I was listening to our Christian protesters outside, and I thought, ďHuh. So thatís what you get when you give a sheep a microphone, amplified bleating.Ē There they were, calling on everyone to deny the richness of human experience and join the flock in the narrow boring confines of the sheep pen, so mindless they didnít even realize they were calling to the wolves.

I have a different metaphor for us, my brothers and sisters in atheism. We are not sheep; there are no shepherds here. I look out from this stage and I see 4000 pairs of hunterís eyes, 4000 hunterís minds, 4000 pairs of hunterís hands. I see the primeval primate hunting band grown large and strong. I see us so confident in our strength that we laugh at our enemies. I see a people thinking and planning, fierce and focused, learning and building new tools to conquer new worlds.

You are not sheep. You, my brothers and sisters in atheism, are a fierce, coordinated hunting pack ó men and women working together, and those other bastards have cause to fear us. So letís do it: make them tremble as we demolish the city of god.

Speech Text "Sacking the City of God" at Pharyngula

Read the whole thing

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Reply The text ofPZ Myers speech to Global Atheist Convention (Original post)
intaglio Apr 2012 OP
Rob H. Apr 2012 #1
intaglio Apr 2012 #2
mr blur Apr 2012 #3
dimbear Apr 2012 #4

Response to intaglio (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 11:12 AM

1. I don't envy you figuring out which excerpts to post

I read it earlier this morning and the whole thing is so brilliantly written it must've been really hard to choose!

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Response to Rob H. (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 11:40 AM

2. It was a tad troublesome

like very!

But I just looked for what seemed to combine glitter with meat

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Response to intaglio (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 02:16 PM

3. A favourite chunk:


When theologians argue, they try to resolve differences by turning to murky sources remote from anything fundamental: they open their holy texts, they cite fellow theologians, they try to reinterpret words that have been reinterpreted many times before. Have you ever heard scientists argue, though? They do all the time. But they donít resolve issues by appealing to higher authorities: they donít usually argue that because Richard Dawkins said it, itís settled. They donít argue that we have to parse Charles Darwinís words a little more finely to arrive at the truth.

No, they say, ďIím going into the lab and do an experiment to test that proposition.Ē

They say, ďIím going to build a new instrument to measure that and see whoís right.Ē Our only authority is reality, and thatís what we test all of our inferences against. When youíre studying the world, your source of information is the world.

Iíll have more respect for theologians, whose object of study is god, when they actually start querying their subject directly. OK, they can start small and begin by pinning down ghosts or angels and asking them the tough questions that will eventually lead to collaring the deity, but you know, itís just absurd that people who make so many assertions about the supernatural never seem to actually study supernatural sources of information.

Itís almost as if they donít exist.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 05:29 PM

4. For your experiments I recommend a famous text:

Pseudomonarchia Daemonorum

You can find copies many places on the net. Follow the directions rather carefully, the experiments are dangerous. You trod a weather shore.

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