I see Atheist Ireland have “publicly dissociated” themselves from PZ Myers, the firebrand blogger from Minnesota. It was a long time coming. The spat between Michael Nugent and Myers has been a long running one. It was too much to expect that it would resolve itself amicably.

I used to read Pharyngula quite a bit a few years back but I eventually tired of it. Not because of Myers’ laudable espousal of feminist and minority causes, but simply because he seemed hellbent on finding targets within the atheist movement and pulling the trigger. Sure, there are some real assholes within atheism, but it’s simplistic to divide the world into such extremes of good and evil. Too many people were frozen out who had valid – if sometimes unpopular – contributions to make. Since 2011, the conversation has died away, and for good reason.

Atheist blogging is too much like a civil war these past few years. The useful, engaging, challenging and interesting stuff has been drowned out by emotional rhetoric turned to maximum volume. There is way too much self-righteousness and in-fighting getting in the way of good commentary. The principal take-away is “you should hate this person because of x,y and z”. I can understand why people who espouse humanism over atheism have given up on it entirely. Over time, we have tuned out in droves, finding other places more deserving of our attention.

My feeling is that far too much time has been spent on PZ Myers. He’s not going to apologise in a million years and he’s not going to change. Defamatory and obnoxious he might be, but I’m pretty sure he’s not going to wash off his spots any time soon – whether or not he’s called out on it. He’s taken worse, doled out worse and I’m not sure he cares either way. Ultimately he’s a just a blogger and as such, he’s one voice among many. He’s not the only influence on what is a very large and diverse community of non-religious people in this country. I doubt I’m alone in wishing that we can close the book on this and move on.