Monthly Archives: February 2013

Minnesota Farmers: Blogger PZ Myers Puts Livestock at Risk With Straw Use

The following is a guest blog and has been posted with the full permission of the author.

February 22, 2013
Staff reports


Blogger PZ Myers visits a Minnesota farm to select straw for use in his arguments

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — A spokesman for the Minnesota Farmers Union is concerned about a shortage of straw and
hay available for agricultural purposes around the state—and he is blaming PZ
Myers for the problem.

Myers, a prolific blogger and professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris, has been accused of hoarding hay and straw for use in constructing his straw man arguments and logical fallacies. While some of the larger organizations such as the Minnesota Farm Network have been reluctant to criticize Myers out of fear of being targeted on his often-vitriolic blog, others are speaking out.

“Every time he writes something outside of his field [of biology], Myers uses all of the available straw for miles around” to craft his arguments, said Farmer’s Union representative Mike Helms. “I’m not saying he doesn’t have a right to buy straw and hay—it’s a free country and all that. But the fact is our farmers and horses need it. He can’t use that much straw [an estimated 3,000 bales per month last year] and not expect it to affect our local ecology and economy. We use straw for feeding our livestock and horses, bedding, and fuel. He’s just using it to make faulty arguments. Where’s the justice in that?”

Helms added that other quasi-famous pundits have been drawn to the area in search of straw for their own arguments (conservative writer Ann Coulter and creationist William Dembksi are
frequent customers), but that Myers is by far the most active.

Hardest hit are the farming communities southwest of Minneapolis and those north of St. Cloud. The regional shortage has caused the price of hay to triple, and additional straw is being brought in from as far away as Nebraska. One area man said he was making $500 per week hauling hay from Omaha and reselling it. But many farming families can’t afford to pay a premium for straw, and grouse that Myers is unfairly cornering the market for his personal projects while their horses and cows go hungry.

Myers, once known for his work as a biologist, has in recent years become most prominent for his strident criticism of religion, skepticism, and almost anything else he disagrees with. In a famous incident in 2009, Myers overheard a young woman mention that she was a staunch vegetarian, to which he immediately responded: “You know, Hitler was a vegetarian… What other Nazi policies do you agree with?” Myers’s blatant logical fallacies have been cataloged by dozens of people including scientist-and-best-selling authors Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins—and most recently by a bored fifth-grader in Duluth who happened to be skimming Myers’s “Pharyngula” blog for a school project.

Despite his dismissive tone and having yet to publish a single book, PZ Myers has attracted legions of fans. In an article in the September 2008 print issue of Movieline magazine, screenwriter Ed Naha acknowledged Myers as an important inspiration for his film Troll and its later sequels. “The special effects may have been kind of cheesy, but the script was so strong because it came from real life,” Naha said. “I’d read PZ’s stuff, and the script wrote itself, it was pure gold. He was one of the biggest trolls, even back then.” Indeed, Myers earned the distinction of being named the “shepherd of Internet trolls” by Sam Harris earlier this year.

Republican political strategists—themselves well versed in straw man fallacies—have long expressed admiration for Myers’s uncanny ability to fabricate controversy from thin air and grossly mischaracterize his opponents. Wilson Moot, a protégé of Karl Rove and the chief writer of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign ads, is a particular fan. One of Moot’s best-known ads took President Obama’s statement “You didn’t build that” out of context (he was clearly referring to national infrastructure including roads and bridges) and claimed that it was instead
an attack on small business owners. “Myers’s ability to twist and spin the facts and misinterpret otherwise clear arguments by others is unparalleled,” Moot said in a recent Washington Weekly interview. “I’m good, but let’s be honest: Myers is in his own class. Up is down, black is white, night is day—if he says it is. If we’d had him on our campaign I really think we could have nailed Obama on that Muslim thing and won the White House.”

Myers could not be reached for comment; a spokesman said he was in Chicago, negotiating the purchase of industrial cranes to assist with assembling even larger straw man arguments later this year. “His goal,” the spokesman said, “is to make a straw man so big and glorious that it blots out the sun.”

Artists rendering of what would occur if PZ Myers ever makes it to the "big city"

Artists rendering of what would occur if PZ Myers ever makes it to the “big city”

Freethought Censorship


So I was listening to PZ Myers talk about people who disagree with him and allowing comments on his internet posts. PZ made the point that it was in no way censorship, anyone was free to say whatever they wanted on their own blog/website. The obvious flaw in that logic is Joe Normal has no where near the following PZ has. If PZ says something that is untrue maybe(just an example) 5000 people read it. If that untruth is an accusation against your character it’s possible 5000 people have just been convinced you hate feminism and women. Or maybe just half, 2500 read the Pharngula blog post and believe what it says about you being a racist. Does anyone else see the problem with this? Most bloggers would have a tough time reaching the number of people PZ does much less the same people who read the blog. You may never see/meet any of those people but since the people reading are the types of people you associate with online, at conventions, and at local meetup gatherings, there is a stronger likelihood you will. I’m not interested in defending myself from bullshit the inept PZ Myers thinks is true simply because somebody (like rebecca watson) told him so. So we see the same kind of behavior demonstrated by Rush Limbaugh when he called Sandra Fluke a slut. You have a prominent blogger who is attacking a lessor known person who doesn’t have the ability to defend themselves. How many people has PZ or his legion of loons attacked in this manner?
Now, getting back to my original point….PZ tells people to create their own pages, they can then say whatever they want about him cause he doesn’t care.  I posted the video you see below to youtube this week. It was up one day before it was flagged for removal by viewers. I suppose I should mention PZ also blogged to complain about the video and make it sound as if I had some sort of mental illness or obsession. The video is simply my choice of style to disagree with PZ. You may not care for it, that’s fine. You may think it is mean but I don’t agree. It is a parody. The amount of ridicule it projects is appropriate IMO. PZ Myers isn’t interested in correcting his comments about my character, in fact he has continued to pile on more falsehoods. PZ Myers has made it clear he has no interest in discussing anything with slymeballs like me. He should not be surprised when he is mocked then because there is nothing to lose and it’s not as if he has shown an ounce of respect to any of his critics.
While I can’t say it was PZ himself who flagged the video it was surly his supporters. This gives an example of the type of thinking PZ Myers promotes. If you can’t ban ’em, scare ’em, or bully them then censor them whatever way you can.

It really is a dangerous and disturbing trend we used to only see in religious believers. Somehow I doubt PZ will be finding fault with the censorship of the video because it was about him. I can already hear him justifying the removal because it was against the TOS as if it is okay. The problem is if the same tactics were used against him the story would not be the same.  As a reaction to the attempt to shut me up I have resolved to post the video on several other video hosting sites and will be making a follow up.  Let it be known that I am not going to be censored , intimidated, or libeled into being quiet.


Notice of TOS violation due to flagging

To whoever did flag the video- Nice job, great way to promote expression and celebrate the freedom we all hold dear. Hopefully no one ever attempts to do the same to you, if that does happen let me know and I will back you up and support your right to free expression.

Here is the video the damn thing just won’t go away…

PZ Myers wraps it up

PZ Myers wraps it up by reapsowradio

Common Sense in Moderation


   I don’t own a gun. I used to own a gun but due to the fact that I am not an idiot I no longer own a gun.  I’m not saying only idiots own guns, I’m saying if I owned a gun I would be an idiot.  My temper is sometimes bad and besides that I figure if I have survived 44 years without the legitimate need of a gun then my remaining years will probably be possible to live out without a gun.  I have no problem with people who want to own guns……except I do wonder why some people want guns that could kill the lunch crowd at a McDonalds in 10 seconds. Then I think, some people collect stuff. People collect stuff cause it is cool and if we live in a free country people should be allowed to collect stuff, even guns.

  I would like to see it become extremely difficult to collect guns that will kill large groups of people in a small amount of time. I think a limit on the number of those guns a person can own would be smart too.  Make sure the person who is collecting isn’t collecting names on a list to get even with.  There is nothing wrong with a background check unless you have a problem with your background being checked.  Are you getting my point yet? Common sense. The biggest tool for preventing crime, medical emergencies, deaths, just about anything that we want to prevent can happen in lower numbers if we just use good ol’ common sense.

 I also have an alternate plan for gun violence. We can make all guns that shoot bullets illegal. I mean ALL guns…that shoot bullets. Instead we sell paint guns. We give the cops paint guns, we let criminals have paint guns. Then we regulate the paint ball ammo. Red can be police level. White can be made available for the normal citizen. Then we can allocate other colors to fit our needs as they come along. Maybe murder suicide can be purple, workplace violence can be orange. When someone gets shot with a paint ball they can go to the injury reception center where they can be given the injury indicated by the paint ball strike or they can contest the shooting.  Innocent until proven guilty right? So they can go to court and if they are found innocent then they can have the special paint removed and go on with their life. Get found guilty and that’s it, it sucks to be you. The deaths from guns will be greatly lowered and people can defend themselves without worry of taking someones life by mistake. Shoot somebody without proper reason? Well then we send you to live in Utah, that’ll teach you.  What? It makes as much sense as what we are doing now.

   We don’t enforce the gun laws we have in place now yet we all call for new laws.  The call for new laws really only gets loud after we have a group of people shot like animals by an animal.  We don’t require any safety training for people buying guns. Would we ever just hand out a drivers license without making sure the person had learned how to control a motor vehicle? (actually I think a couple states do this) We almost completely ignore the mental heath issues that run rampant in this country.  Even if we did start paying attention now we would still be suffering from our mistakes for decades. No one really has to worry about that because we are too crazy to admit how nuts we are.  The money needed to get our mental health care system up to par is added insurance assuring it will never happen in our lifetime.

  We need to grow up and act like adults. We need to start thinking about the bad stuff before it actually happens.  No, we don’t need to become paranoid. We need to also practice what I think of as the brother (or sister) of common sense…..moderation.  Keep those two words in mind and you will go far, trust me.  Common sense and moderation are your friends. Now go buy yourself a nice paintball gun, and stay out of Utah…just in case.

* Five critical rules of gun safety from the NRA and other sources:

1) Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction (whether loaded or unloaded).

 2) Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

 3) Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to shoot.

4) Be aware of what is behind your target.

5) When handling firearms, never use alcohol or any drug that might impair your awareness or judgment (including prescription drugs).

More information/Source:

Publicly Relevant Reality


Definition of RELEVANT

a : having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand

b : affording evidence tending to prove or disprove the matter at issue or under discussion <relevant testimony>

c : having social relevance

  There are some people who think misleading information is okay as long as it brings attention to a subject or furthers the cause they are championing. That is dangerous thinking IMO. When you give incorrect data you risk putting us into a harmful situation.  The modern anti vaccination movement is a good example.  The claim autism was linked to vaccinations started from incorrect information provided by Andrew Wakefield, and was then promoted by Jenny McCarthy.  This incorrect data and the reaction to it has caused many children to become ill or even die when they could have avoided being sick with vaccination shots.  It is better to always be a honest as possible when presenting data for people to consider.
 Having said that I will provide a link to a survey on Intimate Partner
and Sexual Violence done by the CDC.
  We have a problem with violence on other humans, no matter the gender. That’s a fact. A person only needs to pay attention to the news and the world around them to see this is true. These numbers support those observations.
 Now what? Well to the dismay of those who want to claim women are the only victims of violence due to the patriarchy, or the people who think that men are the only ones who are demonstrating violent tendencies, there is much more to it than that. Yes, women are victims and men are victims too. I think we would be better off acknowledging the fact that many people are too comfortable with violence, or it comes up as a acceptable option far too often.
  I’m not going to blame it all on the media, bad parenting, or music. I am going to make people aware of the problem in a reasonable responsible manner. I am going to present accurate data that come from credible sources. I am not going to present whatever study matches my vision of what should be rather than what is. If your cause isn’t important enough that you can’t be honest in supporting/defending it it isn’t that important to you in the first place.
 Anyone who writes a blog, makes videos, or records podcasts that give an impression of providing facts need to make sure they are doing just that. Disinformation helps no one in the long run. When you are listening to someone provide statistics find out where those statistics came from and who was involved in the survey, study, poll, or census.  Are there any conflicts of interest?  Do the people collecting the data have anything to gain from the results? How big is the sample? A poll of ten people is not going to be as accurate as a thousand people being asked. pay attention to the way the results are presented. If I ask one person if they like the color blue and they say no. Then I can say 100% of the people surveyed don’t like the color blue. Numbers alone are not proof of anything but they can be very helpful.
 I know some of you are going to be thinking “duh” as you read this and there was a time when I assumed a large percentage of those involved in skepticism would already know too. As it turns out, that data was wrong.


re·per·cus·sion(s)  (rpr-kshn, rpr-)

Definition of REPERCUSSION

2a : an action or effect given or exerted in return : a reciprocal action or effect


b : a widespread, indirect, or unforeseen effect of an act, action, or event —usually used in plural

3. A reflection, especially of sound.
 First I need to say thanks to Skeeve for offering to host this blog at AtheistsToday.
It seems like a good idea to introduce myself so any readers will be aware of who it is pecking away at the keys.
 Most people online call me Reap and some people in real life do too. I’m not going to tell you the story behind the name this time but I may do that in a future blog. It’s a long story so I will just say that I am resourceful enough so that few people victimize me and get away without some sort of repercussions.
 I feel strongly that people should be held accountable for their actions and it is difficult for me to sit and watch while others are treated badly, made to feel unhappy, unfairly discriminated against, or taken advantage of by others. I also have no love for liars and hypocrites.
I’ve raised a daughter as a single father ( I have had some help at times) My daughter is an intelligent, self-confident woman with a great sense of humor and I am very proud of her. I also have a son who is disabled with severe cerebral palsy. He has taught me much about myself, and life. I have also learned that the reason many people like to complain about petty things because they have had a life uninterrupted by any type of crisis or real need. They don’t realize how lucky they have it and I’m happy about  that while at the same time being disgusted by  it. I hope those people never learn the hard way how shallow and stupid they are but I also wish they would shut up and quit acting like spoiled punks.I’m talking to you Jason Thibeault. They only thing worse than that type are the types that should know better but still lack empathy.
 You may have noticed by now I’m not exactly an English major but I manage to get my point across most times. I do know the difference between there, their, and they’re as well as your and you’re. As long as the occasional run-on sentence doesn’t make your head explode you will be okay I think.
 I work in a unique business that allows me to be an IT geek as well as a tech in management.
 I started writing purely to speak out against internet bullies. When I say bullies I don’t mean people who follow others on twitter, those who make photoshop images mocking their foes, or trolls in any form. I mean real bullies who will try to ruin your real life because they can’t manage to laugh at themselves or aren’t witty enough to keep up.
 The paranormal community was where I started writing and calling out cons who were out to dupe people. A guy who said he could talk to the dead on a broken radio git pissed cause I called him out about his $200 charges for a ‘session’ with his telephone that talks to the dead. I’ve talked to Tom Biscardy about bigfoot. I co-hosted a podcast with a guy who thought aliens were dropping cows in trees for a while. I produced a show called The Ghost Divas and winced as they annoyed Michael Shermer with so much BS I felt I needed to apologize for not warning him ahead of time. I’ve written articles about skepticism for a website called “Haunted America Tours” and  “Eye on the Paranormal
 I’ve called out psychics who victimize children on TV named Chip Coffey and ones like Robbie Tomas who made threats about my children when he couldn’t get to me.
 Peter Popoff  has been known to send me gifts at least before I started posting videos and blogging about him. I loathe Kevin Trudeau and anyone else who victimizes people for a living.
 Ive worked to get the ten commandments off the land at the local zoo and helped organize local atheists.
 My podcast ReapSowRadio has been heard weekly since 2008 and I’ve talked one on one with 117 atheists for the Angry Atheist podcast.
 People have described me as “the nicest guy” and “the biggest foul mouthed asshole” they have ever met. I probably fit both descriptions.
  I would love to tell  you more and there is plenty more to tell but I think you should have an idea who is pecking away here.
  What you will find here is my opinion on whatever it is that I am inclined to write about, there are no limitations on the topics, moods, or attitude you will find here. If I am wrong please let me know I hate to spread disinformation and if you disagree you are welcome to say so but please do it in a respectful manner you get what you give with me.
 I’m still getting the place unpacked so don’t mind the mess while I get it organized. It’s nice to meet you we will talk more later, trust me.