The emails and comments just keep coming. I’ve expanded a bit on my last blog for the purposes of Saturday’s column, so here we go:
My, but atheists are a sensitive lot.
I hope they don’t take offence at that — in referring to them as sensitive, I certainly don’t mean to call them names.
But, let’s face it, they don’t take criticism well. Again, that’s not name-calling, it’s a statement based on empirical evidence.
I have that evidence here in front of me. I write a column about how atheists (one in particular, a Prof. “PZ” Myers) should consider using a bit of honey rather than vinegar in defending their views, and the comeback from atheists is to call me names.
Surely there’s irony in being called names for saying people shouldn’t call each other names.
Frankly, I’m flattered the atheists care so much about what I write.
“For a journalist,” says one, “you are amazingly naïve. Didn’t you have to pass any kind of test go get your job?” (Fortunately not; they got me from the lost and found.)
I am, according to another, “an uneducated moron.” (I’m tempted to deny that I’m uneducated.)
“Sucking up to science deniers is equal to sucking up to terrorists,” this anonymous writer continued.
Well, it’s interesting to me that proposing civility in public discourse amounts to being in bed with terrorists.
And, by the way, I am “an idiot.”
Another says this newspaper needs a “dumbest opinion piece of the year” award, and that I’d be a cinch to win it. (Well, I take kudos where I can get them.)
Yet another offers this thoughtful assessment: “Mel Rottenburger (notice the clever alteration to my name — I think the last time I heard that one was in grade school) strikes again, in stunning brainless fashion.”
Denis Robert, who at least uses a real name, suggests I be fired.
Here’s another favourite, from Lars Simonsen (thank you to you, too, Lars, for the courage to put your name behind what you say): “I just love how the irony of calling name callers stupid, seems to evade Rothenburger.”
Actually, it didn’t evade me at all. The real irony, Lars, is that you missed the fact the irony was totally intended. I’m confident that even Prof. Meyers got that one.
Thank you to my defenders, though they may be few. Bradley Kerr says I am “reporting the facts . . . that this guy is a tool.”
Another faithful reader says bullying tactics or abusive language are abhorrent “and shows those who are using these tactics to be, well, in their own language stupid.”
Several took me to task for expressing an opinion about Prof. Meyers’ confrontational tactics since I didn’t attend his lecture. Of course, it wasn’t about his lecture, it was about his insistence on belittling those he disagrees with, something he does pretty much on a daily basis on his blog.
Neither was the column a criticism of atheists for their non-beliefs. I didn’t say it’s stupid not to believe in God, I said (er, some people might say) calling people who do believe in God stupid is, well, kind of stupid.
So why do atheists take such exception not only to people who disagree with their view of the world and the universe, but to anyone who suggests they should chill out?
Are they fundamentally insecure? Are they afraid no one will listen to them unless they yell?
I’m not really sure. Because, after all, I’m an agnostic.