Perpetual Indignation Machine

The United States Patent Office gets so many applications for patents on perpetual motion machines that they now reject all such applications outright unless they come with a working prototype.  Which, of course, there aren’t a lot of.  Something about the second law of thermodynamics or some such.

Now a perpetual indignation machine, on the other hand, is something that has been brought to perfection right here in the United States of America.  I present to you exhibit A: this horrifically racist graduation card from Halmark.

The graduation card is based on the old idea that your precious graduating student is so awesome that the world isn’t ready for him or her.  But wait – this card says – not only is the earth not ready, the entire solar system isn’t ready!  The talking-card proclaims:

“And you black hole are so ominous.  And you planets… watch your backs!”

To which the NAACP responds: “That was very demeaning to African American women when it made reference to African American women as ‘black whores’ and at the end says ‘watch your back’”.

It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so infuriating.  What special kind of crazy do you need to take with your coffee every morning to live in a world where you think Halmark – Halmark, of all companies! – is going to insert overtly racist, misogynistic lines into a graduation card?  You have to be deaf not to hear the ‘l’ in “holes”.  And I supposed – judging by the ages of some of the poor women they have holding the card up to their ears, some of them might be just that.  But then you also have to be stupid to not see the context of planets, stars, astronomy, etc.

America’s Right contributor Michelle Zhang is the one that brought this story to my attention, and she’s even angrier than I am.  Here’s what she wrote to me:

As a Chinese-American, I would like to file a formal complaint against Minnie Hatley of the Los Angeles NAACP for remarks clearly made as a racist statements against the way some Chinese people pronounce words in English.

You hear the ‘r’ in there. ‘Whores,’ not, ‘holes.’ The ‘r’ is in there,” said Minnie Hatley of the Los Angeles NAACP.

And even if she didn’t intend it that way, it is still racist, because statements are racist if they can be interpreted that way regardless of intent.

Get it? Because the 'l' is hard to pronounce. Where's the NAACP now?

Coincidentally, I happened across a convenient candidate for exhibit B on Facebook.  It’s an article on a popular free web-game called “Hey Baby“.  Basically you wander around as a female character and guys call out catcalls (ranging from benign to obscene) and then you shoot them with a shotgun.  That’s it.  And – according to the Feminista – it’s wonderful:

See, violence against women in games is so common, so obvious, that some men are actually viscerally bothered by seeing themselves blown away by women. And some of them are actually capable of applying that feeling to how women must feel seeing games where women get killed with impunity. (Men kill each other in videogames all the time, but that’s just par for the world, right?) Let alone how women must feel walking down the street getting catcalled and harassed.

Alright, I’m not really that interested in her point.  What I want to point is that when male characters get killed in video games it’s no big deal, but when female characters get killed it’s sexism.  So – just to be really clear – if you treat females and males exactly the same you’re being sexist.  Then a couple of paragraphs later (lifted from another site) we get this gem:

I realized that one of the reasons why I was so insistent about my gentlemen friend’s insistence at walking on the outside is that I am already subjected to hella patriarchal social relations..

In some ways, I realize that I saw what he was doing as a further extension of what I have to navigate all the time. Because I be in the streets and I believe that women and men have a right to do so autonomously.

Am I saying that his wanting to walk on the outside is the same as street harassment? Of course not. Am I saying that both are patriarchal in that they are rooted in the idea that men, by virtue of being biological males have the right to protect and dominate women? Yes.

So what’s going on here?  A woman is being treated deferentially – protectively – by a man and this is (you guessed it) also sexist.  So, just to recap: if you treat men and women the same you’re sexist.  And if you don’t treat men and women the same?  You’re also sexist.

Presto: the perpetual indignation machine.

One of the things that frustrates me the most – and I think it’s what frustrated Michelle as well – is that there is still real discrimination out there in the world and in the United States.  There’s old-fashioned racism and sexism, and there’s anti-religious bigotry in the scientific establishment, and there’s anti-Semitism, and all sorts of other -isms that I don’t feel like naming or ranking.

But every time someone holds a press conference to condemn a greeting card because they are too deaf, stupid and paranoid to get a hold of reality it’s a victory for real bigotry.  Every time some feminist claims that there is no acceptable way for men to behave towards women it essentially justifies all the worst behavior.  Why bother, right?  You’re already a woman-hating chauvinist no matter what you do.

I don’t know what explains the perpetual indignation machine.  I don’t know if it’s about money, or if it’s about a need to feel self-righteous, or if it’s about real, pitiful, paranoid fear.

But I do know it’s got to stop.

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Comments

  1. T.I.M. says:

    What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy? They don’t know and they don’t care.

    Some so-called “victims” will see racism where it clearly doesn’t exist. To be fair, it’s time to outlaw blackboards, black top, blackberries, Blackberries (doesn’t our black President carry one of those), and the White House.

    On a side note, I recently escorted a young lady thirty years my junior down a
    street, and had to explain to her why I kept walking on the outside. “My
    mother taught me to do that” wasn’t sufficient, so I explained that a gentleman
    walks on the outside as an added layer of protection for the lady he is escorting. When I grew up, that was the norm. Has that changed, too?

  2. Michelle Zhang says:

    I would like to point out, in the interest of fairness, that this was a specific branch of the NAACP (Los Angeles branch) rather than the whole organization.

  3. Michelle Zhang says:

    I also want to add, how many people around the country who doesn’t live in the Philly area have heard of the Asian students being targeted and beat up in some inner city public schools?

    This people, is real and true racism. Students being targeted for being nothing but a different race (Asian) than the standard “races” (black and white)

  4. Gail B. says:

    I used to drive an 18-wheel combination vehicle (a big truck) for a local company owned by two brothers. I was the only female driver, and one of the owners reminded me that I might be offended by a comment from another driver and that he did not want the company involved in a lawsuit for sexual harassment. I told Ed that I could handle the men’s comments; my my definition of sexual harassment was in being ignored! He smiled his relief, and everyone got along just fine.

    Until this regime and its Obots can stop calling names when someone doesn’t agree with the Left’s agenda, until those same people stop blaming everyone else instead of taking responsibility for their own failures, and until the Progressive czars remember that their positions are not provided for in the United States Constitution, there is going to be perpetual indignation across America!

    As far as the Hallmark card referenced above is concerned, I feel it is a bit over the top to cause this much of a stir. If you don’t like the card, don’t buy it. If the recipient doesn’t like it, there’s a circular file for it.

  5. Jack Ott says:

    Their reply would be, “You just don’t get it!” That way, they dodge any rational explanation for their irrational behavior.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “Stupid is”….

    Niggardly is now labeled an “offensive” word on Kindle.
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1725/is-niggardly-a-racist-word

    “Oriental” is only offensive in America.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oriental

    Niger seed has now been relabeled Nyjer seed.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guizotia_abyssinica

    and,
    Ignorant is equated with ‘stupid.’

    …..”as Stupid Does.” – Forrest Gump

  7. Ima SoBelle says:

    My head hurts. Isn’t it bad enough when there is real racism and chauvinism to deal with? And yes, I believe they both still exist. I grew up in the south in the 1950′s. I still live in the south. I still see these things but not nearly as much as in the far distant past (in the days of the dinosaurs, as my husband likes to tease me). Yes, I live in the “raghead” comment state Believe me, 99.9% of people in this state feel nothing but contempt for that remark and the good ole boy who made it. He was censured by his own county delegation and asked to resign, but it ain’t gonna happen. We will have to vote him out in 2012 when he is up for re-elction.

    Why do people have to make up junk, see things that don’t exisit and hear things that aren’t there? Is it because they have to feel persecuted to feel self-worth? I doubt it. I think some people just like to make waves, and if there aren’t any, they’ll stir some up. Shame on Hallmark for folding on this one.

  8. Boston Blackie says:

    This is exactly how Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have made millions for themselves. Threaten companies with protests and the accompanying public relations nightmare if they don’t get what they want which is always $$$!
    It is time for these companies to get a backbone and kick them to the curb when they start making noise. It makes it harder when there is actual discrimination.

  9. John Feeny says:

    ….banging head against wall….

  10. Whiteboy cott says:

    Hey Hallmark, don’t piss off us white people with this.

  11. John Buyon says:

    I watched the video and even I was laughing.
    you guys did notice that it was all old people who might actually be hard of hearing listening to the card….
    man I found that hilarious.

    nice word perpetual indignation machine. I’m going to use that on some of my more left friends.
    a reply to the authors. “anti-religious bigotry in science ”
    to compare Darwinism to this funny story is wrong.
    science doesn’t have contempt for religion it is the opposite.

  12. Nick Cochran says:

    John Buyon,
    I’m curious about your comment about science and religion, but I’m not sure I understand your statement clearly. What do you mean by, “science doesn’t have contempt for religion it is the opposite?” More specifically, can you provide justification for your claim?

    Nick

  13. Robert Wallace says:

    John-

    “science doesn’t have contempt for religion it is the opposite.”

    There are plenty of people who use science as a cudgel against religion, especially Dawkins and his ilk of raving lunatic atheists. Of course it cuts both ways – there are plenty of paranoid religious folks who think of science as some kind of anti-Christian plot – but everyone already knows the stereotype of book-burning ignoramuses. The more interesting questions are what to do if you’re a scientist of faith:

    “According to the scientists I interviewed, the academy seems to have a “strong culture” that suppresses discussion about religion in many areas.”
    http://www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/2010/05/07/what-will-ultimately-remove-the-stigma-of-scientists-talking-about-faith-elaine-howard-ecklund-answers/

    “Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund offers a fresh perspective on this debate in “Science vs. Religion.” Rather than offering another polemic, she builds on a detailed survey of almost 1,700 scientists at elite American research universities — the most comprehensive such study to date. These surveys and 275 lengthy follow-up interviews reveal that scientists often practice a closeted faith. They worry how their peers would react to learning about their religious views.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/28/AR2010052801856.html

  14. John Buyon says:

    science never starts the fight against religion.
    religion always comes bumbling into something that is clearly logic based and messes everything up. ( school science classrooms, sex ed)
    read up on “Religiosity and intelligence”
    intelligence and religiosity are inversely proportional.
    scientist practice closeted faith…
    not really only 6-12% of american scientists express identification with a religion, and about 15 % believe in a “god/higher power” let alone Jesus.

    @ Robert
    I would be highly doubtful of anti-religious bigotry coming from the scientific community. mainly because many of the heroes of science were religious and when they gained greater understanding began to doubt it.

    as Napoleon said
    “religion is only good because it keeps the little people in line”
    think about it you think the Pope really believes in Jesus? or if
    the televangelist give a shit about curing poverty and eroding injustice as the bible teaches?
    or if Osama really believes he get 72 virgins?

  15. Michelle Zhang says:

    @ John

    “I would be highly doubtful of anti-religious bigotry coming from the scientific community. mainly because many of the heroes of science were religious and when they gained greater understanding began to doubt it.”

    We aren’t saying that the whole scientific community. Robert gave very specific examples.

    I also will further and say that it isn’t necessarily mostly from scientists or those working in science, but rather people who use science to justify their anti-religious views.

    As far as religious bigotry against science, that definitely exists, but to use what you said, it isn’t all of the religious given the prominence of religious men and women in the scientific fields.

  16. Robert Wallace says:

    John-

    “science never starts the fight against religion.”

    Stop anthropomorphizing science. It just muddies the water.

    Science doesn’t *do* anything. Scientists – and atheists who identify strongly with the scientific method – *DO* start fights against religion. Or do you think Dawkins had a different goal in mind when he titled his book “The God Delusion”? Just go to Slashdot and lurk on any science/religion thread to see an outpouring of undisguised hatred by the proponents of science v religion to get ample evidence of what I’m talking about.

    “I would be highly doubtful of anti-religious bigotry coming from the scientific community. mainly because many of the heroes of science were religious and when they gained greater understanding began to doubt it.”

    :shrug: Look closer. The Theory of Evolution is lauded far and wide by atheist evangelicals as evidence of the victory of science over religion. Meanwhile the equally controversial and just as important debate over the Big Bang Theory has dropped from the radar. Why? Because back when that was the biggest cosmological debate the Big Bang Theory was the *religious* theory. And it won out. And so religion was dropped from the debate entirely.

    See how that works out? When religion is on the perceived losing side (evolution) everyone remembers that religion lost. When religion is on the perceived winning side (Big Bang) we just conveniently forget that the debate ever had any religious undertones to begin with.

    Anyway, as far as obnoxiously anti-religious sentiments, you dont’ have to look farther than the likes of these:

    “religion always comes bumbling into something that is clearly logic based and messes everything up.”

    or this:

    as Napoleon said
    “religion is only good because it keeps the little people in line”
    think about it you think the Pope really believes in Jesus? or if
    the televangelist give a shit about curing poverty and eroding injustice as the bible teaches?
    or if Osama really believes he get 72 virgins?

  17. John Buyon says:

    @ Robert
    In this country we are allowed to viciously denounce each others, politics, family, sports teams, hairstyle, employment,music tastes etc…
    But as soon as someone says it is my faith we are supposed to back off and give respect.
    Why?
    religion has this air of incredibly undeserved respect that is disgusting.
    Dawkins and hitchens, me, etc… are a reaction against what has been happening in the last 30 years.
    throughout the world the “parties of god” have opened their two legs and let it rip. from India to Afghanistan to Iran Iraq Lebanon Israel, Ireland, Europe and USA, these 13th century mystics and their ideology of intolerance have blockaded any attempts at reform, reconciliation, rebuilding and progress. and they must be defeated for civilization to survive.

  18. Robert Wallace says:

    John-

    “In this country we are allowed to viciously denounce each others, politics, family, sports teams, hairstyle, employment,music tastes etc…
    But as soon as someone says it is my faith we are supposed to back off and give respect.
    Why?”

    That’s a really silly question, John. Do you think that viciously denouncing other people is a good thing to do? No? Well neither is attacking faith. You’re trying to invent an issue out of nothing.

    The day I start advocating gov’t censorship of attacks on religion you will have a valid reason to bring up the first amendment. In the meantime you’re just demonstrating that you don’t understand what freedom of speech is all about.

    You want to be a total jerk and go around denouncing politics, family, music tastes, and religion? Go ahead. But you’re being a total jerk. Where’s the mystery for you here?

    “Dawkins and hitchens, me, etc… are a reaction against what has been happening in the last 30 years.”

    1. The ensuing verbal diarrhea was pretty detached from reality. Want to provide an example from the real-world of a 13th century political party in the United States? That has had any significant clout or impact in the last 30 years? I’d really love to know how – in the last 3 decades – we’ve gone downhill vs. the Salem Witch Trials.

    2. Tu quoque. Look it up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque

  19. Michelle Zhang says:

    Freedom of Speech includes freedom to denounce your speech with my own freedom of speech.

  20. John Buyon says:

    @ Robert
    the right to denounce and condemn others is a very good thing, you “Christians” can’t get enough of it.
    we are allowed to question everything and ridicule everything from science to politics to sports and all the way up to the citizenship of the president yet we are in a sense forbidden to even examine the validity of a silly superstitious belief of the 5 century BC.

    how fitting you use the word diarrhea in a discussion about religion.
    since 1860 we have gone downhill in the case of separation of church and state.

  21. Elisa Mohr says:

    Years ago, I complained to the California State University of Long Beach administration about a professor who was harassing students in the classroom. The guy was a buffoon and literally did such things as unzip and pull down his pants in class, or throw things at students.

    The administration asked me if he targeted female students when he did this. I responded that he was an equal-opportunity harasser. They told me that because he didn’t target female students, there was nothing they could do.

    The world has gone crazy.

  22. Randy Wills says:

    Mr. Buyon, you are a crude and ignorant person who is blinded by hatred for those who have a different view of life than you – especially those of us who have found the life in Christ the most meaningful and fulfilling of all possible options. Based on your own words, you epitomize the natural state of human nature that I spoke of in my most recent article; the total absence of light.

    And you might do well to respect that opinion. It comes from a person who has experienced most of the venues of life, including higher education, the military, and a workman who has held jobs ranging from a garbage truck “runner” (before there were mechanical hoists to lift barrels of garbage up into the dump truck), to president and general manager of an engineering/manufacturing operation. In addition, I spent the better part of 30 years working with some of the most brilliant persons from the best schools (graduate-level products of Stanford and MIT being typical of my peers) in state-of-the-art technology, and I can tell you point blank that you do not know what you are talking about when you categorically associate spirituality with a lack of education or intelligence.

    So shape up, John, and ask yourself why you are so afraid of being wrong. Let a little light shine in your miserable (you are miserable, aren’t you, in this world where religious people have messed things up so badly?) life for a change. You may come to like it.

    Randy

  23. John Buyon says:

    @ Randy
    You hate secularism and I hate religion.
    why does my hatred of religion make me crude and ignorant.
    while your hatred of secularism ( which is the principle this country was founded on) means that you are pious and faithful?
    you just proved my point that religion has undeserved respect while everything else has to fight and defend itself before earning respect.

    I don’t “categorically” associate spirituality with stupidity.
    I *Generally* associate religion with credulity, superstition and intolerance.
    In fact my mom was the most religious person I knew, yet she was also the most intelligent women ever and I never quite understood it.

  24. Randy Wills says:

    No, no, John. It is not your hatred of religion that makes you – in my opinion, which is always open to question – “crude and ignorant”. I say that based on the vocabulary that you use and the confidence that you have in what you “know”. There is no surer sign of ignorance than to claim that one “knows” the unknowable.

    An intelligent and truthful person would not claim to “know” that evolution is fact or that “religion” is myth bourn out of ignorance. The truthful and intelligent person would say something like “Based on my observations and experience, this is what I believe”. In reality, we all “walk by faith” in that there is very, very, little that we, as individuals, actually “know” from an empirical perspective. In most cases, we have either observed something or experienced it in such a way that it leads to a belief in its truthfulness. That is how I came to faith, but it IS faith, and yet it’s one that I would gladly die for.

    Randy

  25. Ancestry.com says:

    John must be adopted.

  26. 0 out of 2 says:

    Tis weird to lack BOTH of ones maternal qualities.

  27. Robert Wallace says:

    John-

    “yet we are in a sense forbidden to even examine the validity of a silly superstitious belief of the 5 century BC.”

    You are in no sense forbidden by me from serious examination of religion. If you knew anything about me you would understand how true that is. My favorite philosophers are Sartre, deBeuvoir, and Camus. In many ways I’m philosophically more in tune with materialism than with traditional Christianity.

    I understand and respect serious atheists.

    What I deplore are stupid atheists (e.g. Dawkins, his sheep, and – so far – you) and stupid theists (try Wesbtoro Baptists).

    The issue is not atheism or theism. It’s stupidity, ignorance and laziness vs. integrity and sincerity. I’ll take a sincere atheist over a lazy theist any day.

  28. John Buyon says:

    OMG randy are you serious?
    I have never claimed that god is false or nonexistent, that would be a suicide move of a leap of faith.
    what I claim is that “based on my observations” all religions, copy from each other, trick the masses to support the elites, unnecessarily divide people, and extort money plus oppress some minority.
    just take Christianity which is by far the best religion in my opinion ( but I still dislike it)
    copies from Jewish myths, and various Mesopotamian creation stories.
    tricked the masses all throughout the middle ages and dark ages of Europe when no one could stand up to the ultimate oligarchy that was the church.
    divided people of Europe through the various schisms of the middle ages not to mention the crusades and counter-revolutions sponsored by the church.
    extort money: I really don’t need to get into this, its pretty self evident that if Jesus lived today he wouldn’t be living in the Vatican palace or in one of the 20 acre homes of the televangelist.
    oppression: self evident ( but to a lesser degree in the west due to the enlightenment)

    it isn’t science and skepticism that pretend to know what happens immediately after you die in such intricate detail, they are forever under review, reconsideration, and rebuttal. but religion is pretentious and phony and an absolutist philosophy.
    and on evolution there is a mountain of evidence for it, that it is as proven as gravity is. yet religious folks look for the most minuscule miscalculation or inconsistencies to discredit it all. you know there also exists inconsistencies in the concept of gravity, but no one is doubting gravity.

    @ Robert: the amazing materialist who knew? :)
    I don’t know your philosophical and teleological views, but I want to point out a few things. no one can actually silence anyone in the USA due to first amendment. But the AT can make certain large minorities ( 16% non-religious)seem non-existent and silence them by outspending, politically organizing, and media cornering. as well as demonizing and making the culture hostile to them.

    think about it it is only in this country that people seriously doubt
    1) evolution
    2) sex ed and contraception
    3) climate change
    not even in the Islamic republic of Iran are #1 and #3 viewed with skepticism.
    all of this financed by the American Taliban who doubt everything logical and factual and embrace all superstitious.
    you might recognize this quote:
    “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”
    P.S. it is evident that I hate the religious right a lot but it goes the same way for the religious left. But since the R.L is much smaller much less insane and much weaker politically I don’t target them as much.

  29. Randy Wills says:

    John, I’m weary and I think that I’ve worn out my welcome here at AR (have you been following the comments on “This Present Darkness”?), so I’ll let our debate rest.

    I’ve enjoyed our “spirited” exchanges (and am I wrong, or are you using fewer four letter words to describe persons such as I? If so, I call that progress).

    Randy

  30. Robert Wallace says:

    John-

    “the amazing materialist who knew?”

    It’s interesting stuff, but not really that groundbreaking. It’s basically a rejection of Cartesian dualism. Maybe we can talk about it sometime.

    “I don’t know your philosophical and teleological views, but I want to point out a few things. no one can actually silence anyone in the USA due to first amendment. But the AT can make certain large minorities ( 16% non-religious)seem non-existent and silence them by outspending, politically organizing, and media cornering. as well as demonizing and making the culture hostile to them.”

    I don’t think there’s any serious concern that atheists are “silenced” in the United States. They may be in the minority but – due to their prevalence in the well-respected scientific establishment – it’s a very powerful minority.

    I don’t believe anyone with any power is trying to suppress atheism. If I did believe that was happening I would oppose it. There are some people who demonize atheists, but I put them in the same category as the atheists who demonize theists. Frankly: they are all idiots and they deserve each other.

    “think about it it is only in this country that people seriously doubt
    1) evolution
    2) sex ed and contraception
    3) climate change
    not even in the Islamic republic of Iran are #1 and #3 viewed with skepticism”

    Evolution is a tricky subject because it’s so highly politicized. In fact, many respected scientists are frustrated that the knee-jerk defense of Darwinism has prevent evolution from making serious strides forwards. Darwin was a genius, but his theories were flatly wrong. Not that evolution was wrong, but his explanation of it was wrong. Defending Darwinism because it’s the anti-religious thing to do prevents serious work on figuring out how evolution really does work.

    Also, FWIW, *I’m* skeptical of some parts of evolution. Yeah, yeah. I’m religious, but that’s irrelevant because nothing in my religion is incompatible with evolution. I have *zero* religious qualms with evolution. Some of the science just doesn’t make sense to me. But, then again, I’m not a biologist so I more or less take it on faith that it’s true and go on with my life.

    As for sex ed: I’m once again skeptical, but again based on empirical studies. It all depends on what kind of sex-ed you do. If you heavily, heavily emphasize abstinence first and self-control then you get much better results (according to studies in Africa) then if abstinence is sort of a “yeah, right” thing that you mention before handing out the free condoms. There are also serious theoretical reasons to be skeptical that it works. Risk compensation is the idea that when people feel safer they overcompensate for the safety by being even riskier than safety measures. It’s why the NFL has more concussions with helmets than rugby players have without them.

    And finally we’ve got global warming: again. I’m a skeptic. On this one I have somewhat more expertise because I’ve’ studied complex systems. I got my masters in systems engineering. And I’m extremely skeptical of the climate models’ ability to handle complexity. Given the fact that measured global warming flatlined in 2000 and hasn’t started since, and that not a single one of the models predicted this 10 year departure, I feel confident that my suspicions are well-placed. There’s also ample evidence of data-tampering in the climatology community.

    In any case, it’s a bit ironic that – despite the fact that I’m religious – it’s nothing to do with my religion that I’m skeptical. My religion doesn’t have any teachings on evolution, sex ed, or global warming. I’m just a *skeptical* person, and aren’t atheists supposed to think that’s a good thing?

  31. John Buyon says:

    @ Randy
    No, I haven’t been following the present darkness article because it got way too theologically specific for my humble non-religious mind to comprehend.

    @ Robert
    Atheists are not silenced anymore since roughly 2005 we have started speaking up. But we are merely a reaction against a faith based executive, a blind, reactionary and incompetent congress, a judicial system promoting the dissolution of science in favor of pseudo-scientific Intelligent design, and a media that caved in to the religious right day and night. As I like to say we didn’t start this fire.

    “powerful minority”
    the percent of Americans identifying themselves as “religious right” hovers between 20-25% compare their unbelievable political power to the 15-18 percent non-religious, and you see that we are underrepresented.

    I resent your previous comment comparing Dawkins and me to westboro church. these two groups are on a different plane of existence regarding respect, integrity and intelligence.

    who politicized evolution? it was the same despicable religious right in Kansas during the past 2 decades. Another example of clumsy religion bumbling into respectable fields such as education, politics and science.

    there is not one single biologist who would publicly state or privately believe evolution is incorrect, that is just the BS I hear from RR/AT in their seminars and church meetings. Darwin explanations were wrong? well he lived before all the amazing scientific gear we have now so yes the details of his book don’t make alot of sense. But what scientists are amazed at is not how much he got wrong but how much he got right! considering it was a completely new field with a completely new idea with no precedent and the theory ran contrary to established scientific and cultural norms.

    abstinence only IS A “yeah right” thing, it is a silly delusion that 16/17/18 year olds are going to remain chaste until marriage. what happened to abstinent only Palin family?

    action on global warming is important because even if I am wrong all we lose is a down-payment of maybe a few Billion $ miss allocated. But if you are wrong we could face a nightmarish scenario in a couple of decades. where are the TEA’ers on this threat to their grandchildren?
    could you direct me to the study that says warming flat lined in 2000? because All scientific evidence I see is that it is developing much faster and going to be much more brutal than predicted in the 90′s

    I’m no biologist/climate specialist either but when the R.R. takes a side on an issue, the best bet is to oppose them. but thankfully in the case of evolution/climate change there is also undeniable evidence working against the R.R.

    “I’m just a *skeptical* person, and aren’t atheists supposed to think that’s a good thing? ”

    skeptical of what tho? my side is skeptical of religion which is nothing more than a glorified creation myth and crudely constructed political and social control method.

    your side is skeptical of whether industry emits toxins that hurt the ecosystem
    or
    whether same-sex marriage means the end times
    or if a gradual progression of species adapted to their environment passed down genetic traits useful to their offspring.
    see the difference?

  32. Robert Wallace says:

    John-

    “I resent your previous comment comparing Dawkins and me to westboro church.”

    Stop proving me right if you resent it so much. Case in point: “religion… is nothing more than a glorified creation myth and crudely constructed political and social control method.” That puts you on the same level as the Westboro lunatics. Well, maybe not quite that low. But it definitely puts you outside the realm of reason and respect. By a wide margin.

    “who politicized evolution?”

    It was politicized from the very beginning. Darwin’s own journal records his desires to prove religion wrong, and evolution was going to be his vehicle to do so. It really went off the rails when people fundamentally misunderstood the principle of natural selection, however. Natural selection doesn’t say that creatures get “better” in any objective sense. They just get “good enough” relative to their environment. Despite this fact, evolution was immediately applied to a host of non-biological contexts (e.g. “social Darwinism” and eugenics) and from there on out got completely politicized. Not by the biologists or the scientific community. If you think I’m trying to blame scientists or atheists you don’t understand me at all. The whole “us vs. them” rhetoric is very much your cup of tea. Not mine. I don’t have the same blind-folded bigotry with regard to atheism that you have with regard to theism.

    “there is not one single biologist who would publicly state or privately believe evolution is incorrect”

    That’s not what I said. What I said is that there are serious problems with the theory that we haven’t figured out yet. And honest biologists will freely admit that. I know many that have.

    “abstinence only IS A “yeah right” thing, it is a silly delusion that 16/17/18 year olds are going to remain chaste until marriage. what happened to abstinent only Palin family?”

    This is another example of your black-and-white extremism. Abstinence doesn’t have to work to work. Basic epidemiology states that the later people engage in sex and the fewer partners they have the safer everyone is. So if you preach abstinence FIRST (which is what I said, not abstinence only) and you succeed in getting kids to delay sexual behavior for a couple of years and reduce their partners then you get a huge social payoff.

    When you denigrate abstinence as “yeah, right” you encourage risky behavior. When you hand out condoms you also encourage risky behavior. I know you have your talking points, John. But it’s not that simple.

    “action on global warming is important because even if I am wrong all we lose is a down-payment of maybe a few Billion $ miss allocated.”

    Actually we’re talking trillions. During a global recession. So… yeah.

    “your side is skeptical of whether industry emits toxins that hurt the ecosystem
    or
    whether same-sex marriage means the end times
    or if a gradual progression of species adapted to their environment passed down genetic traits useful to their offspring.
    see the difference?”

    Yes, I do. You see the world in “us vs. them”, black and white, reactionary extremism. You ignore whatever isn’t simple enough to fit into your pre-existing narratives. You ignore nuances that I bring up and attribute to me beliefs that aren’t mine, but that fit your stereotypes. You’re not interested in learning or in the truth, but in perpetuating your own psychologically comforting world view.

    You are, in short, the mirror image of everything you claim to hate about religion.

    That’s quite a big difference from my stance, yes.

  33. John Buyon says:

    there is no way for Dawkins and westboro church to be related unless you are going to be setting intellectual standards so low that would allow me to associate you with the Al-qaeda.

    nothing is ever politicized from the very beginning. where do you get that?
    ideas start as ideas that are adopted later on by political movements.
    Darwin did not start off wanting to disprove evolution he was a church minister and deeply religious on his voyages before his discovery so what you say is simply untrue and has a tinge of R.R. ideas that science is a conspiracy against Jesus. Obviously natural selection doesn’t say anything gets “better”that is a misinterpretation of the principles of adaption.

    Oh am I forever glad that you bring up social Darwinism.
    if you follow the history of it, you notice it was an idea subscribed to by reactionary conservatism worldwide to give them a pseudo-scientific explanation for ancient traditions.
    it justified laissez-faire, war, imperialism, rigid social structure based upon a class system rather than meritocracy, as well as oppression. ie (republicans/conservatives in USA)
    it was the international socialist movement that opposed social-Darwinism. because they emphasized socialism/welfare, working class solidarity
    ( world war 1 could have been averted if the socialist parties of Europe agreed to call a general strike, instead they caved in to conservatives who appealed to competition and social Darwinism ), anti-imperialism, radical egalitarianism, and social justice.
    ie old socialism and modern liberalism

    depends on who US and THEM are. if we are the enlightened progressive nations of the world and they are a gang of religious terrorists, than yes I subscribe to that.
    but if it is Christian civilization versus Islamic civilization than no, that is a false dichotomy.

    yes biologists would say that “they don’t know but that they are working on it”, contrary to religious leaders who say we know everything already and we need no more progress.
    think about it science/reason has been predominant in the west for about 200ish years look at us and look at the ultra-religious middle east.
    less powerful religion —-> more democracy, more freedom, more material well being.
    simple fact
    first abstinence (because abstinence is really just a delaying tactic) then contraception.

    why do you think the transition to green energy would be an economic drain? upgrading a civilizations energy source has always brought gifts not misery.
    animals/slaves —> coal—> oil/fossilfuels—> renewable/alternatives

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