Dr. Myers is a Professor with a special interest in developmental biology and evolution at the University of Minnesota. He received his undergraduate degree in Zoology at the University of Washington in 1979 and his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1985. He is the author of the extremely popular blog Pharyngula, which is a soapbox for his often inflammatory--some would say refreshingly direct and honest--views on religion, evolutionary biology and politics. He is a potent critic of religion in all its forms. He is, as he describes it, a "blunt scientist." He very much reminds me of an American version of Richard Dawkins. As Myers states in the video below, "Science and religion are incompatible, simply, completely irreconcilable with reality [...]in the same sense that a serious pursuit of knowledge about reality is incompatible with bullshit." PZ Myers has also been embroiled in the debate about to what extent that the views of the skeptical movement should be (or logically, can be) extended into the political arena. The Atheism Plus movement figures prominently in this debate, which although interesting, is way too complicated to tackle in this short blog post. I recommend this link from the A+ site and this link from the Neurologica Blog for more information.
I agree with PZ on most points, but I have major differences in his apparent belief, that since religion is "bullshit," it is totally devoid of merit. My principal arguments against this view are two-fold. First, I believe that otherwise commendable people are are emotionally and psychologically unable to deal with a reality without religion. For them, religion is a crutch, but, possibly a necessary support. Perhaps some day we will live in a world where there is adequate psychological support for the needy without religion, but I'm not so sure. My second argument is that Dr. Myers tends, in my opinion, to underestimate the valuable contributions that have been inspired by religion. Yes, religion has been the source of inspired hatred--take the Inquisition and the Crusades as prominent examples--but I think we would live in a much-poorer world without religion-inspired painting, sculpture, literature and music. I also admire the many religion-based charities that have built schools, hospitals and orphanages. Religion, like politics, is a two-edged sword. But, I think of the skeptical movement as a "big-tent." There is room for uncompromising stridency and kinder, gentler, persuasion, and PZ Myers tends to fall in the first category.
I recommend, if you live in the Seattle area, that you go and see PZ when he comes to town next week. I'll be there for sure. But for those not lucky enough to live in the Pacific Northwest, below is one of PZ's better speeches. The actual speech is a little over a half an hour with twenty additional minutes of Q+A.