Mr. Deity addresses current events

UPDATE: Mr. Deity himself comments below.


Be sure to listen for the cryptic reference to Phil Plait.


  1. Sigmund
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Lucy is a gender traitor!

  2. The Picard
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    How much do I love Mr. Deity? I’m going to make my first and long overdue donation right now. That was terrific.

  3. Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    That was pure brilliance! Subtle and provocative. So, does this mean that we are finally to the point where we can laugh about all of this?

    [hides, just in case it’s not…]

  4. Peter Beattie
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink


    “It’s like the McCarthy hearings.”


  5. matt
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    could this guy try any harder to be woody allen? i couldn’t get through it. non-effective.

  6. Cereal
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Absolutely brilliant. It also has a “blink and you miss it” reference to PZ. Seeing how PZ often links to Mr. Deity, I wonder if he’ll be linking to it this time; now that it doesn’t support his “narrative”.

    • Zeuss
      Posted July 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      I must of blinked. Could you help me out? I thought I picked up most of the subtle (and not so subtle) references but I missed PZ.

      • Posted July 12, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        I can’t remember when it occurs in the video, but, at one point (after Mr. Deity is finished talking to Lucy), the guy on the phone says this to Mr. Deity: “Someone needs to order this chick a big plate of Phil. PZ would never stand for something like that. It’s like you just don’t get it.”

        Even though the actor is American, he uses the British pronunciation of “Z”, so it took me a second to catch it.

  7. Curt Cameron
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    It was also loaded with references to Rebecca Watson’s elevator encounter: “find this interesting,” “come by for coffee,” as well as the “chewing gum” reference to Richard Dawkin’s posting about Rebecca’s encounter.

    • Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Lots of references.
      To paraphrase:
      “Be glad it wasn’t in an elevator”
      “at least he wasn’t chewing gum”

      OMG and at the end “They’re throwing Richard Dawkins under the bus?

      • Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        And Lucy calls herself Muslima at the end. Mr D calls that not funny.

        Watching again.

  8. Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Absolutely brilliant & hilarious! “A big plate of Phil” is my new favorite phrase of all time

    • Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Well, how sad, well count me out of here. It was fun, Jerry, but bye.

      • Graham Martin-Royle
        Posted July 12, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        OTT reaction.

      • steve oberski
        Posted July 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

      • Marella
        Posted July 12, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        If one difference of opinion sees you gone you can’t have many friends left.

      • Pete Cockerell
        Posted July 13, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        Wait, he links to a YouTube video making light-hearted fun of the recent madness, presumably in a way that you consider is contrary to your “team”‘s position, and that’s enough to make you leave this site?

        I don’t think you could have chosen a better way to make Brian Dalton’s point for him. Unless your flounce was an ironic one, of course.

  9. Strider
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Holy crap, that was *awesome*!

  10. Gabby
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    That was so gorgeous, I’m going to take it to my room and have coffee with it.

  11. Posted July 12, 2011 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Random Anon–
    Maybe religion hasn’t been the number one source of misogyny in the world? Maybe the human race as a whole has issues, and religion incubates it?

    You weren’t as nasty or callous as Dawkins, but you’re sure not an ally.

    Mr. Deity–
    I guess I’m not. The women in my life are all really strong women who don’t need to be protected from a polite, seemingly well-intentioned (if awkward and clumsy), conversation in an elevator. Your presumption is that there’s only one way to see this — and anyone who doesn’t see it your way is not an ally. I never respond well to totalitarian thought police. It’s just not me.


    • Aratina Cage
      Posted July 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      The thing is, if he hadn’t been responding in the comments and made his position clear, the position of this video would have remained ambiguous. This is YHWH trying to get Lucifer to play the antagonist role in the story of man’s fall from paradise. He’s clueless, he’s cowardly, he’s craven, he needs the help of a lackey, yet he is the most powerful thing there is.

  12. a different matt
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was nicely done. Satire at it’s best takes a swing at everybody.

    I,too, hope we are in the reflective stage of this and out of the reactive stage. And then we can all agree on who was wrong (kidding!) 😀

  13. Grania
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    It took real guts for the Mr Deity team to say this, and I am glad they did.

    • Egbert
      Posted July 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      This is a kind of catharsis for some of us, but it won’t fix what’s broken.

  14. NewEnglandBob
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I hope this is the end of it, but doubt so.

  15. El Bastardo
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    If this isn’t the Best New Thin in The World on tonight’s Maddow, there is no justice.

    Best new thing EVER!

  16. astrokid.nj
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    When this stuff first broke out, I was reminded a lil bit of the hyper-analysis of AA’s ‘You know its a myth’ amongst our own community. As it got ugly, I was reminded of the narcissism of small differences.
    From Wikipedia:

    The Narcissism of small differences is a term coined by Sigmund Freud in 1917, based on the earlier work of British anthropologist Ernest Crawley. ‘Crawley, in language which differs only slightly from the current terminology of psychoanalysis, declares that each individual is separated from the others by a “taboo of personal isolation”…this “narcissism of minor differences”‘. The term describes ‘the phenomenon that it is precisely communities with adjoining territories, and related to each other in other ways as well, who are engaged in constant feuds and ridiculing each other’ – ‘such sensitiveness…to just these details of differentiation’

    And this article by Hitch.

    • Egbert
      Posted July 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      I would say this is more to do with identity politics, and thus disagreements are perceived as ‘other’ and friendships turn into bitter hatreds.

  17. S.K.Graham
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Can you update this post with some links to blog posts (yours or other), that relate to or summarize whatever controversy is being referred to here? …or should I just go google my ass off ‘cuz I’m the only one out of the loop?

    I get the WEIT and RSS feeds… and I have no idea what this is all about… seems like I’ve missed something big.

    • aspidoscelis
      Posted July 12, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Just head over to and click on the photo of Dawkins. Or google “watson” and “elevator guy”. Note that Jerry has indicated in a previous thread (but not in this one, so far) that he does not intend WEIT to become a forum for more of the various vitriolic discussions that have ensued.

    • Margaret
      Posted July 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know about any summaries. I first read about it at Pharyngula:

      It seems like half (an exaggeration) of the posts from that one till now are also about the subject, and the comment threads all filled up very fast. Rather than my listing them here, just start there and continue looking through the posts from that point on.

    • Cereal
      Posted July 12, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Or better yet, you can choose to remain blissfully ignorant of the whole ordeal. I highly recommend this option.

      • J.J.E.
        Posted July 12, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        I know the general sketches of the TOPICS being addressed, but I don’t the details. It suffices for me to know:

        1) Sexism (even when it stems unconsciously from asymmetric “privilege”) is bad;
        2) Downplaying sexism is bad;
        3) People make mistakes;
        4) Creating enemies lists or defining litmus tests for how to define populum non grata is bad;
        5) I liked all the well-known actors before whatever happenings happened;
        6) This thing has apparently blown up and I’m way behind knowing the particulars.

        Knowing that, given how much time it would take to catch up on my own terms, I’d prefer to give this controversy a pass and revisit if any of the current players are involved in another similar kerfuffle in the future. Does this make me an ostrich?

        • Marta
          Posted July 12, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

          No, sir.

          It does not make you an ostrich. It makes you smart as hell.

          • J.J.E.
            Posted July 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

            Aw shucks…

            And a pedantic note on my own post:

            “populum non grata” -> “personae non gratae”

            I thought it should be “personae non something” but my Latin sucks, so I used Google Translate. Mistake. Wikipedia has the right answer.

            • Marta
              Posted July 12, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

              That’s perfectly alright. I thought you were referring to breakfast cereal, anyway.

    • Thanny
      Posted July 12, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Start here, which is where I first heard about it:

      You’ll notice that almost nobody is paying attention to the poor behavior of Watson in her speech now. Everyone focuses on the elevator incident itself.

      Suffice it to say (since I wouldn’t want to invite a shitstorm on Jerry’s porch), a fair number of people prominent in the atheist and skeptical movement have lost a chunk of respect over this. For me, Dawkins, Mr. Deity and ERV are up, while PZ, Phil Plait, and Rebecca Watson are down. Jerry stays even, because he’s (wisely) staying out of it.

      • ChasCPeterson
        Posted July 12, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        oo, my scorecard reads pretty much the opposite. (Except for Ms. Watson, whose behavior is a wash in my book).

        • windy
          Posted July 13, 2011 at 7:28 am | Permalink

          oh, I think you deserve a special minus score of your own for hypocrisy and a lack of self-awareness.

      • tomh
        Posted July 12, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        a fair number of people prominent in the atheist and skeptical movement have lost a chunk of respect over this. For me, Dawkins, Mr. Deity and ERV are up, while PZ, Phil Plait, and Rebecca Watson are down.

        For me, it’s exactly the opposite. So there you go.

        • Posted July 13, 2011 at 2:21 am | Permalink

          For me, it is the opposite of your opposite.
          Especially after Watson abused her position of power an privilege as invited speaker in order to name & then slander a feminist (female) activist attendee through association. More than ironic, when the complaint was about abuse of power and privilege.

      • Brian
        Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        To me Jerry Coyne is definitely up for mostly staying out of it. Jerry Coyne gets major props for that in my book. Jerry, seriously, thanks for staying out of this whole issue beyond posting that hilarious Mr. Deity video.

        I have a “scorecard” too, but who cares? It’s just so shocking and embarrassing that these flame wars occurred.

        • Posted July 13, 2011 at 3:15 am | Permalink

          As I have posted below, I think that such a righteous stink would not have brewed had it not been for some long-fermenting sociological yeast causing the vaguely toxic noisomeness.

        • Marta
          Posted July 13, 2011 at 4:56 am | Permalink

          Well, but he’s not staying out of it, is he? He’s written twice at least about it, and although he’s asked, repeatedly, that the brouhaha not be brought to his house, he is smart enough to know that the only certain way to keep out of it is not to post about it at all, yes?

          • Brian
            Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

            I’m quite pleased with how Jerry has handled the situation. I enjoyed the Mr. Deity so much that I am actually glad Jerry posted it. If you disagree, that’s fine with me.

            • Marta
              Posted July 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

              Excellent. Get yourself a nice cookie.

    • Sigmund
      Posted July 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      The Friendly Atheist post on this is a good start.

      • Posted July 13, 2011 at 2:49 am | Permalink

        Do you know what?
        Upon sober reflection, I think that this brouhaha *IS* worth way more than enough for which to kick up a stink.
        I think it signifies something truly important.

        For it pries at the obvious cracks between pre-existing schism between “popular skepticism” and “new” atheism.
        “Popular skepticism”, as practised today, concentrates mainly on the relatively inconsequential and short-term:
        * Hauntings
        * Cryptozoology
        * Dowsing
        * Psychic frauds
        BUT! voluntarily quarantines the most vile and non-trivial of offences against humanity: the behaviour of those who fall for the superstition called “Religion”!
        Its “activism”, such as it is, is never life-threatening, in fact: rarely gets to the point where one need never stake more than a moment’s embarrassment.
        In other words: To be a professional skeptic these days is PISS EASY.
        Watson is a professional skeptic. In the full meaning of “professional”, but perhaps not the full meaning of “skeptic”.
        She is also an entirely unconvincing feminist, with her apparent “attidude” that it is OK for her to make sexist remarks because she is female, but not for males to so do, and she sucks up to men who swallow the supposed deepity: “You just don’t get it” line.
        As Mr Deity summarised it: “Don’t be a dick? Don’t HAVE a dick!”

        Whereas “new” atheism concentrates its efforts on the truly consequential, both in the short-term and long-term.
        It can be, and often is, life threatening.
        Ask some real feminist atheists what it is like. Such as Taslima Nasrin, or Aayan Hirsi Ali, etc. All of whom seem to admire Richard for his truly POSITIVE feminist activism.

        I think that I can understand why this strangely enforced and one-sided demarcation has eventuated, (possibly through the exigencies of individual education, mental stamina and ability), and the need for some skeptics to “earn” a living.

        I could go on about this vital issue, but for now:
        Here endeth the lesson.

        • Posted July 16, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          This is a very interesting and insightful post, Michael. I do thing that the New Atheists’ are focused on doing something truly enormous (ending religious superstition and observance altogether), and probably come at these kinds of things with the bigger picture in mind. In essence, a lot of this was a macro vs. micro issue. But certainly no one in this bruhahahaha deserves to be written off — whatever their view. Thanks Jerry, for posting the video! And whatever side you take in this kerfuffle, remember that we agree about so much more than divides us.

          • Posted July 18, 2011 at 1:22 am | Permalink

            Does this constitute the very first proof that prayers are answered? 😉
            Perhaps I should have prayed for “World Peace”.

    • Posted July 13, 2011 at 5:16 am | Permalink

      Greta Christina has a response to the recent events here:

      “Why We Have to Talk About This: Atheism, Sexism, and Blowing Up The Internet”

      Greta links to this article by Lindsay Beyerstein:

      “Attention, Space Cadets: Do Not Proposition Women in the Elevator”

      • Hitch
        Posted July 13, 2011 at 6:35 am | Permalink

        I love Greta, but I’m somewhat disappointed. I was hoping she would break the mold and talk to, for and about all sides. Instead she repeats the “men need to listen to women” thing that actually does not fully resolve this, because the inverse still is unthinkable. Yes we do need to listen to each other and care. Perhaps eventually we’ll get there.

      • Egbert
        Posted July 13, 2011 at 6:39 am | Permalink

        I do find Greta’s comment “We are trying to help you get laid.” very amusing. I agree the subject should be talked about. However, we can’t talk about it unless we understand each other as individuals, rather than talking to our genitals, skin-colour, disabilities, religion or other false identities thrust upon us by society and social movements.

        I am for equality of individuals, not equality of groups or group identities that are frankly and literally self-destructive.

        I realize that feminism, or particular traditions of feminism is stuck in identity politics and can’t escape, and that’s sad. Oh well.

        I also realize that there really is a problem within the atheist movement with its subconscious social sexism where individuals are ignored and stereotypical roles and identities are forced upon them. Guess what? That includes all identities not just misogyny. Identities like parent, mother, father, businessman, soldier, wife, gardener, child, consumer and endless roles.

        If you don’t see me as an individual (in text anyway) but just plonk me into the category as ‘men’ or ‘white’ then dialogue is of course completely futile.

  18. Posted July 13, 2011 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    I thought it was very clever and funny. Guess what — I disagree with them on a couple of points, but I still had a laugh.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, I thought Dawkins was way off in his Pharygula comments, but so what? We’re all wrong sometimes. That’s no reason to toss out all of Dawkins’ excellent work on behalf of science and secularism.

    Will Dawkins be wrong again? Almost certainly. So will the rest of us. That’s just being human. State your disagreement if you like, then move on.

  19. Posted July 13, 2011 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Mr. Deity has some Godsplainin’ to do!

  20. Posted July 13, 2011 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Looks like just a bunch of randomly inserted references to me.

    Failed to see what’s brilliant or subtle about it. One of the flatter and less pointy Mr. Deity episodes. The main vein seemed to run in a Can’t We All Just Get Along? direction.

  21. Pete Cockerell
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    For me, apart from the fun of playing “spot the reference”, the best part of the Mr Deity video was the comparison between this whole debacle, and religious schisms and fatwas. I was really quite disturbed that people were calling for a boycott of Dawkins’ work on the strength of his comments, no matter how ill-conceived one might think they are. Those people probably still agree with 97% of everything Dawkins has ever written and said.

    I mean, really. Fundamentalist much?

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