Daniel Davies has the best response to PZ Myers and his whole communion wafer saga. Backstory: a student steals a consecrated communion wafer, and people start threatening him and calling it a hate crime. PZ Myers requests that his readers get him a communion wafer to desecrate. Davies thinks that’s dumb, and proposes that he tweak Myers’ nose by choosing to tell a small and impressionable child that the rainbow is God’s symbol that he would never again flood the Earth.
The brilliance of the response is its neutral character. Aside from a misplaced reference to secular humanists, I don’t think Davies has a dog in the game: he doesn’t care one way or another whether children get told about God’s use of the rainbow, and he likes having some fun at the expense of the religious. Davies isn’t Myers’ enemy, he just sees a blindspot in Myers’ bizarre obsession with issues that don’t matter. I’m pretty sure that Myers isn’t motivated by religious extremists, and that it really does bother him that people tell their children stories about Jesus. Which, even from the perspective of an atheist, doesn’t seem that important, since one of the fun things about children is that you can tell them silly things.
Predictably, people have hijacked the comments to explain that while a crackers are one thing, but the precious mind of a child is not to be tampered with (thereby showing the effectiveness of Davies’ idea). No one would ever find these sentiments plausible if they didn’t already have an obsession with people’s religious practices. My parents told me about Santa, and I am not only the smartest and most rational person I know, but probably the smartest and most rational living person.</hyperbole> Some folks have a distate for the Santa story, but no one thinks it’s wrong. You expect that kids will do what I did: sneak upstairs and overhear their parents talk about buying gifts that they then receive from Santa. It doesn’t screw up the children–it’s more like training wheels for really questioning your parents’ beliefs. Maybe it’s different because children aren’t quite praised for questioning God, but Davies doesn’t plan to spend a lifetime pressuring that child into religion.