Many years ago, PZ Myers asked his followers, “What would you call me?” in a blog post oddly reminiscent of Mark 8:29.
What would you call me?: I’ve got this book off at my publisher, and we’re still arguing over the title. Everyth… http://t.co/LtfQbzD
— PZ Myers (@pzmyers) September 6, 2011
Myers essentially asked his fans to fill in the blank in the phrase “The _______ Atheist” in a manner that reflects his character and writing style. A commenter known as ‘madbull’ was the first to suggest “happy” which would eventually become the correct answer when PZ’s book was published around two years later.
I’d have suggested “The Incivil Atheist,” had I been allowed to comment at the time, for retrospectively obvious reasons. Three years after The Happy Atheist hit the bookshelves, those of us with reasonably functional memories were surprised to find PZ railing against “The _______ Atheist” as a personal brand:
Why is it that everyone who calls themselves The <blank> Atheist is a horrible alt-right goon?
— PZ Myers (@pzmyers) August 26, 2016
Everyone, PZ? The Friendly Atheist responds:
@hemantmehta PZ did "The _________ Atheist" before it was cool.https://t.co/sHP9VsEd8J pic.twitter.com/giKy89H8fT
— Gumby the Destroyer (@_gdow) August 26, 2016
And thus was the circle completed.
(For those playing along at home, the relevant logical fallacy on display here is known as hasty generalization.)