Tomorrow night, Tuesday Feb 1st, for our next Knights of Contention, we will debate the following proposition: PZ Myers Should be Fired!
[The debate is over.]
His latest incendiary remarks involve dismissing unborn children (he calls them fetuses) as mere ‘meat’ that practical, scientific minded individuals are indifferent to. He also made news for his over the top, foaming at the mouth mockery of the Catholic faith regarding the elements of the eucharist smuggled out by what appeared to be a budding atheist activist. PZ Myer’s frequently visited blog is permeated with crude, rude, crass and sometimes positively fascistic ravings. Oh, and by the way he is professor at the University of Minnesota.
So, the issues to be debated are: Are there limits to academic freedom? Does a person or institution supported by the public dime have an obligation to show a modicum of respect to the public it allegedly serves? Does the public have the right to speak to the values they want their public institutions to transmit- or not? (PZ and his defenders are likely to manifest great hypocrisy on this point and others since they have no problem actively fighting and denouncing proponents of Intelligent Design and Creationism.) Does it make a difference if a public university professor makes his asinine comments outside of the classroom? Or does he still reflect on the institution he serves? Does the public have the right to decide if it really ought to be the case- as PZ and many of the New Atheists seem to demonstrate every day- that one of the minimum requirements to be a scientist is that one also must be, well, an ass?
You get the idea.
The discussion will take place in our online conferencing software at 9:30 p.m. CST and run until people get tired.
Allowed to speak: atheists, theists, cynics, skeptics, knuckleheads, and the rest. Basic rule: behave as though you were in a public diner with friends and people they brought along but are strangers to you.
It’s a little ambiguous, but if you can’t be courteous in your passionate discourse, we just won’t allow you back. On the other hand, if you have thin skin and are easily offended, this may not be the conversation for you.
The purpose of the event is not just to persuade, but also to cultivate good relations between people with disparate positions.