"Get me different facts."

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While on tour in support of his biography of Ronald Reagan, Dinesh D'Souza once related an amusing anecdote about the former president. An aide had just presented him with a new study whose implications weighed against a policy the president had supported. "Well then," countered Reagan, without batting an eye, "get me different facts."

An article in the most recent Washington Monthly argues that recent Republican administrations—and the current one in particular—exhibit a pervasive and systematic distrust of science and scientists. The piece cites in particular the proudly ignorant formation of stem-cell policy, and quotes the editor in chief of Science as saying: "Not only does the Bush administration scorn science; it is subjecting appointments to scientific advisory committees and even study sections to political tests."

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  1. we need the state to take an active role in science! a scientific state!

    (can anyone think of any examples from the 20th century?)

  2. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Republicans are, though not always, pretty religious. What else is someone like John Ashcroft to do when he can’t reconcile his beliefs with science (evolution)?

  3. It scares the hell out of me that one of the most powerful men in Congress – Tom DeLay – is a creationist.

  4. “… Republican administrations?and the current one in particular?exhibit a pervasive and systematic distrust of science and scientists.”

    Well, no duh! To use just one example, we’ve got so-called scientists doing the chicken-little act about global warming although we know darn well they haven’t proved a thing; I’m sure there are plenty more that I haven’t got the time and space to explore. Until and unless the scientific community gets their collective act together, this distrust is well deserved.

  5. Paul,

    Are you suggesting that politicians reject science because science is a less cohesive group than politics. Seriously, take the day off tomorrow, get some rest.

  6. I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition

  7. Sean,

    What I’m suggesting is that science (at least, the science we get to see in the media) is becoming politicized, and thus is not a good basis for policy making. Politicians (of all stripes, not just Republicans) are right to be wary of this situation.

    Politicians should not reject science, they should reject junk science. [ Guidelines distinguishing the two are left as an excercise for the reader. 🙂 ]

    I’d love to take the day off tomorrow, could you speak to my boss about it? 😉

  8. The thing is, it use to be that if you wanted some “higher power” to support your positions and beliefs, you went to the Catholic Church (in the Middle Ages), or you reinterpretted some religious document to support your position, or you otherwise claimed the mantle and support of God and religion; that way anyone who opposed you wasn’t just opposing you, you see, but all that is right and true in the world (the original “You are either with us, or against us”).

    Well, religion ain’t so influencial anymore, so now those in power have to find something else to confirm, affirm, and support their policies, desires, and beliefs. And so what do they do? What else – they claim the support of SCIENCE! Science says so, you see; so to oppose me isn’t really to oppose me, you see, but to claim that the earth is flat and the sun revolves around the earth.

    Pretty damn tricky, isn’t it? Please note how human behavior didn’t so much as miss a beat – it just accepted a new object and a new ordering of words.

    And now, and absolutely NOT merely with the Bush administration (look to England and Number Watch [www.numberwatch.co.uk] for a plethora of examples), we are seing the same sort of thing done to science that the Roman Emperors did to The Bible (google for The Council of Nicea, for instance), the Papacy did to Christianity, and all the medievil european powers did to/with the Papacy. In short: If you can’t bend it or interpet in a way that it agrees with you, then just change it – force the theologians and Cardinals and Pope’s into your pocket, and that’s yet another obstacle removed in your path to whatever it is you are trying to do.

    I’m afraid the subsidy-becomes-regulation-becomes-control cycle is being played out in science as well, as more and more – it would seem – those who hold the purse strings are no longer satisfied with just any old scientific findings. Just as you would have trouble operating your church or council in the state without the tacit approval of The Emperor, more and more you cannot get a seat on a government scientific committee unless you agree with whoever-it-is-that’s-in-charge.

    Religion cloaks the man – it does not replace him.

  9. materialist fundementalism ruins my day

  10. Skeptical of modern science? I can’t imagine why!
    Then again, it has been scientifically established that conservatives are dogmatic. I guess it’s all buttoned up.

    Regardless of your feelings for this administration, what passes for science, as of late, rarely is, hence just about every Ronald Bailey article debunking “science”.

    I’m not saying politicians should reject science, I’m saying legit scientists should reject politics, or at least reject politicizing their “findings”. When this happens, maybe the word science can regain the meaning it once had.

  11. Paul,

    I see what you mean now. It is the politics that taint the science, and you are right to be wary of that tainted science. Plu is right when he mentions that agreeing with the boss’ politics is the best and sometimes the only way on a govt. science committee.

    The big big big problem is the money. Govt money is a huge part of the research game. But even more than those sucking off the govt (NIH and all the RO1’s at virtually every academic research center around the country), even the private industry doesn’t want to see a change. They want the govt staying out of their business (let us clone), but they also want them to continue funding and doing all of the basic science research that isn’t translatable to dollars. This research has been subsidizing the private biomed/tech industries from the get go, simply by doing the earliest stages of R&D for them. There is no one to stop this train, and anyone who tries is bound to get run over.

    I’m not saying that this is the best way to go about things, but I am at a loss for a practical/feasible change of course.

  12. Sean,

    “… I am at a loss for a practical/feasible change of course.”

    Vote Libertarian?

    Well, you didn’t say “successful” … 🙂

  13. The practical way to go is to tell the private sector to pay for their own research and ask the govt to step away from the chemistry set.

    I don’t get what we’ll be missing if science is left privatized. Silly studies on the patterns of homosexuality among American Indians. I guess we’ll lose those.

  14. Hmm. Well, if you scroll down on this very page to the item about the Berkeley “study” on the psychological dysfunctions inherent in conservatism, you might get an inkling as to why the Bush Administration is somewhat skeptical of science.

  15. Reading religion and more into it is a bit conspiratorial. Listening to some of you guys one would think that there a gangs of Jesuit priests roaming the streets, ready to convert by mugging.

    The bottom line is that the scientific community as a whole as shown themselves to be every bit affected by personal politics and biases as everyone else. Who this administration is saying ?no? to is the same group of people who warned us in the 70?s of the soon-to-be-upon-us second Ice Age and now are warning us of global warming.

    The average non-scientist is well aware that nature has shown herself to be amazingly resilient and as such as turned a deaf ear to the alarmists. Stem cell science brings to mind ?Frankenstein? kind of images and many non-religious people think we should just leave that kind of stuff alone.

  16. Glenn,

    That was taken as tongue in cheek but those Berkeley fellows classify everyone Right of the Dean campaign as “conservative” so we all apparrently share in their religious hatred of enlightened science.

  17. What jumps out at me is the phrase ?recent Republican administrations?and the current one in particular??

    Only Republicans? As opposed to Democrats who ?scientifically? back Kyoto, gun control, minimum wage laws, and a wide variety of other policies?

    And ?recent? as opposed to the aforementioned government that almost burned Galileo for his heresy that the world wasn?t flat?

    Once again, the pot is calling the kettle black.

  18. Warren, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

  19. Paul and Citizen,

    Given the nature of the site, I felt that the obvious did not need stated. Voting Lib and privatizing, Jeez, why didn’t I think of that. For every silly study that comes up in the news that is a complete waste of time, there are dozens if not hundreds of studies in basic molecular bio, genetics, neurology and such that are published daily and are pounced on by the private industry for guides as to the next step. While the Kansas/Pancake study mentioned earlier is the type of science often mentioned in the media, remember this was printed in a journal called, “Journal of Improbable Research.” It’s a friggin joke done by scientists with to much time on their hands. As for worthwhile research that the private biotech companies pounce on, take a look Nature, Cell Bio, Journal of Immunology, Journal of Neuroscience, or the thousands of other technical journals publish every week or month. The news won’t print it because the public wouldn’t understand it. But the private companies do, and this basic reseach, largely govt funded, saves the bio industy BILLIONS in reasearch every year. If they had to do this work themselves, it wouldn’t result in them making a single more marketable product, and yet it would take them longer to get the one’s they had to market.

    Take the Human Genome Project, Celera (a private company) beat out the NIH when they were both trying to decode the human genome. A triumph for private industry? No, it was private industry getting to the endpoint faster than the govt., which is what it does well, but it was done using the resources of nearly 50 years of govt funded, publically available research.

    So if the govt, the public, and the private industry are all loving the current science game, and it is more productive here than anywhere else one earth, then what? Vote Lib and privatize is easy to type, but I’m looking for a practical extraction plan from this current co-dependence, give me a mechanism. I’m not saying there isn’t one, I’m not saying I wouldn’t want one, but as some one who’s seen the inner workings of the system, I can’t conceive of one that doesn’t play out like China’s drug prevention.

  20. Facts are like people, they’ll say anything if they’re tortured enough.

  21. Hmmmm, let’s see. . .
    John “Pastor” Ashcroft – Pentecostal
    Dick Cheney – Fast and loose with facts
    George II – Stupid
    Pat Robertson – Major Donor
    Gee, I wonder how science got muscled out of the way.

  22. Science is politicized and has always been politicized and will always be politicized. Duh, think about it. Science is like every other human-made institution; it does not work inside some Archimedian point after all, and it never will. All I can suggest for you to do is to read some William James.

  23. The inability to distinguish between quality science and politicized junk is not caused by too much respect for science, but too little. When the widespread scientific consensus about the reality and danger of global warming is dismissed as junk, while the superiority of “Faith Based Initiatives” is alleged to be scientifically proven, the problem is not that the policy makers are in awe of the scientific method. It’s that they’re too ignorant or too dishonest to tell the difference.

    And yes, the anti-environment, theocratic orientation of the modern Republican Party leads them to adopt stupid, self-serving positions at odds with genuine scientific findings.

  24. i prefer the anti-technology, technocratic orientation of the modern democratic party myself.

    if only the goverment could use science findings to plan all our actions! science should rule all of our behaviour…think about it, UTOPIA! see the Communist Manifesto for more info.

  25. No, I was very genuine when I asked for examples of research we would’ve missed out on. The Human Genome Project is a good example, but it’s unclear to me why Celera wouldn’t have ultimately funded the project itself – although it would have taken longer. I’m ok, with the wait.

    The path to getting out of the co-dependence is the same path to passing global military responsibility to the other nations: one issue at a time. A new proposal for funding cancer research? No thanks, not this time. National Institute for Health wants more funding? Sorry guys, you’re gonna be cut back until you sufficate and go away.

    I don’t think cutting funding will stop science and technology. The best way to stop spending money frivilously, is to stop spending the money.

  26. joe:
    “When the widespread scientific consensus about the reality and danger of global warming is dismissed as junk”

    Um, maybe you missed it, but the “danger of global warming” is NOT a “widespread scientific consensus” (other than a general acknowlegement that, yeah, *IF* it happened, it would, indeed, be bad). Actually, even hard-core environmentalists, using hard-core environmentalist numbers, when they are being honest, have admitted that it’s not really dangerous.

    Hey Glenn (or anybody else), what was that guys name again? Some Scandenavian nationality, as I recall…

    Anyway, joe, your attitude about what is “proven” or not makes the point you are trying to refute.

  27. Joe,

    I think there’s a consensus that *all other things being equal*, increased CO2 levels lead to a rise in temperature. But there are so many variables that all other things are never equal. And a lot of other details devil us, including function tying the two variables together (i.e., HOW MUCH CO2 leads to HOW MUCH warming), the threshold for it to kick in, and so forth.

    I don’t have any problem in principle with the theory of global warming, but how in practice are you going to control for other things like long-term sun-related cycles (i.e., the warm period during the Middle Ages, or the mini-ice age that lasted through the nineteenth century), or the urban heat-island effect?

    It’s like the “nuclear winter” theory. When atmospheric currents, differences between coasts and continental interior, etc., were factored in, there was still something to it–but it was a lot less dramatic. It boiled down to about a 15 degree-F cooling in the continental interior and 5 degrees or less on the coast for several weeks, following by a slow warm-up. And that held true only for the northern hemisphere. Effects in the southern hemisphere were delayed and muted.

  28. Deoxy

    I know what you’re trying to think of and all I can think of is Bjorn something or other. It’s quite a book and is definitely not for the lightweight reader (hint hint Evilcor).

    The earth’s temperature moves in cycles and this has been proven. A major warming trend in the middle ages is credited with advancing the European civilization through their increase in agricultural output.

  29. bj?rn lomborg’s work “the skeptical environmentalist”.

    amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0521010683/qid=1058999330/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/002-9173492-1003246?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

    he was busted recently by the danish ethical council because he dared challenge the established order of things. and many envrio-freaks discount what he says.

    on to thursday.
    drf

  30. Citizen:
    >>I don’t get what we’ll be missing if science is left privatized.

  31. Why shouldn’t scientists who are being appointed to political positions be subject to questions regarding their political beliefs?

    The vast majority of scientists allow their political, religious, and social beliefs to color their research. What allows science, as a collective enterprise, to work is that these biases are largely neutralized by peer review. A member of a committee, or a department head, or an appointee to a special advisory panel, isn’t subject to peer review — he is in a position of authority, which enables his biases to have a larger impact. He’s not a scientist, he’s a politician with a background in science.

  32. OK, how about some Shakespeare: “The Devil can cite Scripture to suit his own purpose.”

  33. Lomborg’s book isn’t a twisting of statistics or massaging of facts.

    I suggest anyone with an interest in this subject outside of this thread pick it up.

    A young, airhead cousin of mine just to went to college and is turning eco freak. I’m sending her a copy soon.

  34. “It scares the hell out of me that one of the most powerful men in Congress – Tom DeLay – is a creationist. ”

    Boo!

  35. Muslims also believe in creation. I’m unsure if we have any muslims in high office right now, but if you said:

    “It scares the hell out of me that one of the most powerful men in (x branch of government)Congress – (name of politico) – is a Muslim.”

    Or try it with person of Jewish faith. Say Lieberman?

    You’d get your ass handed to you so fast your head would spin. If you said it on the job, you’d lose your job… especially if you hold public office. If you said it (about Muslims only) in college, you’d be sent to reprogramming… er diversity training. If you said it on the bus, you might lose a few teeth.

    Why is it only ok to be a flaming bigot towards christians, I wonder?

  36. What do you expect? Many Republicans aren’t even sure this whole Darwin business is for real. Blagh…

  37. And many Imams aren’t sure weather to bury gays under a wall or throw them over a cliff (both punishments are recommended in the Koran).

    I repeat: Why is it only OK to slam Christians every time the Bible conflicts with science? Christian science is generally junk science, but Christian scientists stand alongside athiests when the discoveries are tallied.

    People act as if the very posession of faith taints a person (unclean!!) and renders them unable to reason. This is not the case.

    Ashcroft is Pentecostal… therefore he must be unable to respect science? That does not necessarily follow, and people who assume this are guilty of fashionable bigotry.

    But it is still bigotry. And must be condemned as such.

  38. BTW, by “Christian scientists”, I mean scientists to believe in a Christian faith. I was trying to distinguiish them from those who study the field called “Christian science”, and I fear I wasn’t clear enough on the distinction.

  39. I was with the author of the WM piece until I got to, “But Democrats will only go so far down the path of ignoring scientific evidence because they don’t want to alienate their scientific supporters.”

    Give me a break.

  40. Ryan Waxx –

    You make an important point. I’m an atheist, but anti-Christian bigotry is indeed socially acceptable in many precincts of the left. I, personally, have great respect for the Christian faith and other faiths, but I cannot tolerate the attempted introduction of religion into public life, as many Republicans suggest they’d prefer.

    I personally know of many, many Democrats who would likely be right at home in the Republican party if it weren’t overrun with creationists.

    And, I’m sorry, while I can respect the Christian faith, history, and institutions, I have NO respect for creationists and the like who ignore overwhelming scientific evidence whenever they perceive that it poses a threat to their beliefs. Why? Because, although they may call themselves literalists, they’re not. They don’t follow all the “rules” the bible lays out for them. They do not stone homosexuals, for example (leave that to Muslims). They have nothing against charging interest, even though the bible prohibits it (leave that to the Muslims).

    They pick and choose what they believe. I’m speaking generally, of course.

    The Republican party makes me deeply uncomfortable because I believe, if given a choice, they’d gladly “christianize” our public institutions and atheists, Jews, Muslims, and goat-worshippers be damned.

  41. Kevin wrote: “I think there’s a consensus that *all other things being equal*, increased CO2 levels lead to a rise in temperature”

    That is not technically true. While it is true in an isolated lab experiment (shine a light on a glass case with air, and another with higher CO2, the high CO2 one will get warmer) CO2 increases temperature, there is real scientific dispute about the net effect of higher CO2 levels. The CO2 itself raises temperatures, but also encourages cloud formations, which lower temperatures, and encourages plant growth, which lowers temperatures through increased evapo-transpiration and less soil absorption of heat. In the end, if I remember correctly, environmental scientists have identified 13 distinct effects of CO2 on temperatures…7 in one direction and 6 in the other (don’t remember which is which), but there are serious disputes about the relative magnitude of different effects. Many serious environmental scientists believe that increasing CO2 will have no net effect on temperatures or may even lower temperatures.

    The bottom line is that there are still so many questions about “greenhouse gasses” and their effects global temperature system that there really is no solid consensus…even on CO2 increasing temperatures.

  42. We have a repulbican president and a republican congress. Aside from religous charties getting some of the paerks of the non-religous ones and assorted other minor (on an overall sense) issues, I don’t see the government becoming a theocracy.

    … do you see Bush stumping for equal time for creation theory, for example?

    I do not like some of their descisions (and I would like to run Kass out of town on a rail), let us make no mistake here, but we aren’t abandoning religous pluralism nor science in general.

    What we have here are a few minor points of policy. And therefore any general conclusion that Christians are incapable of reason, tolerance, or respect for science is unwarranted.

    Oh, and as a general disclaimer I’m just about as athiest as they come.

  43. No, Bush is not a religious extremist and I haven’t seen anything to suggest he is. On the other hand, I imagine a strong majority of Republicans in Congress would vote to allow prayer in public schools (if it hadn’t already been ruled unconstitutional).

    Republicans, on the whole, are NOT committed to separation of church and state. This is a very mainstream position within that party (a party I was a member of until very recently – Rick Santorum’s equation of gay union with “man on dog” sex was what finally convinced me that that isn’t a good fit.)

  44. Ryan:

    Don’t bury the specific subset of “Creationists” in the whole population.

    Creationism has earned the shorthand description popularly ascribed to it, in similar fashion as Luddites and Yippies. Creationists successfully co-opted State power as a billy club against modern humanistic educational methods and then had their authoritarianism and dogmatism exposed and self-destruct spectacularly in the public eye via a widespread news and entertainment medium. Impaled on it’s own petard in the form of the verbal pomposity of William Jennings Bryan, even 75 years has not been enough for this “ism” to recover.

    We’re probably getting there with Political Correctness, but it hasn’t crested yet.

  45. Interesting thread. Most responders seem to be saying that science is a “social construct”. When did conservatives & libertarians become post-modernists ? Apparently its OK to act like Stanley Fish et all if the cause is right.
    I also noticed that the examples adduced to demonstrate politicized science are almost all in the realm of social science. Whereas one of the main points the article made was regarding stem cells. Did anyone even touch that one ?
    A bonus to this thread was seeing that insta-pundit guy defend the administration behaviour by pointing to one really soft study. The guy really lived up to my low expectations.

  46. Indeed, Martin. When a question must never be asked, that is the opposite of scientific inquiry.

    I think that all of us can agree on this vital point.

  47. Stem-cell research:

    This is one area (much like nuclear technologies) where there is amazing potential. Unfortunately, technology is amoral – potential almost always means potential for both useful and destructive things in approcimately equal measure. The more powerful a force for good (nulcear power), the more powerful the counterbalancing for for destruction (nulcear bombs).

    I think many people fear stem-cell research, cloning, et al, because of, as someone above said, “Frankenstein”-type fears – and those fears are not entirely without grounds. Are we going to be there tomorrow? No. But where exactly do you draw the line? And if you draw it too close, it’s easy for someone to cross it in secret…

    I think people fear that the products of this research would eventually be used for some type of mass control (“MIND CONTROL!!!!” too many movies…) or to create a new race of super-people (not “super-hero” people) that would take over or release some kind of terrible plague.

    The potential dangers are easy to see (and have been explored thoroughly in sci-fi writings for years), and even the good stuff raises serious moral dilemmas (cloning for replacement body psrts, for instance – though hopefully, we will soon be able to create just the organ).

    And the good that could come of it is somewhat difficult to quantify, where the bad is all too vivid and scary. In short, I think many people want to be more careful and slow with this stuff, taking our time, getting it right. Also, I think many people have done a “cost-benefit analysis”, of sorts, even if not consciously, and decided it’s not worth the costs and/or the risks.

    I, for one, am undecided. The moral and ethical dilemmas really need to be dealt with – at least talked about. What about cloning yourself? What about clones of family members? Clones of parents?

    Screwy examples:
    A woman’s husband dies, but she is able to have him cloned. The “child” is a genetic replica of her husband… what if she wants to have sexual relations with him?
    What if you clone someone, possibly without their knowledge (not much beyond our current capabilities), and the CLONE commits a crime? Rape, for instance… Whose DNA is that?

    That’s not to say that we should just forget about it, it’s just to point out that this new technology raises ethical and moral dilemmas on a different scale from all previous ones – when does life begin? Whose life is it? – and maybe we should take some time to answer those questions before jumping in too deep. As I said, I’m not entirely decided, but I think some kind of temporary stop or slow-down in the research might be wise.

  48. Ryan Waxx –

    You are a real piece of work, you know that? How dare you compare something I said about MEMBERS OF A POLITICAL PARTY to racism? That is beneath contempt and I demand an apology. What a despicable way to score a point.

    There is ample evidence, including published transcripts of comments by senior Republican leaders, that indicates that they wish to introduce specific christian ideology and practice to government. Tom DeLay is on record as stating that his purpose as majority leader is to make this a “more christian nation”.

    Is a closer linking of church and state a plank in the Republican platform? No, but you should know better than to ask idiotic questions. You don’t see very many Republicans on TV promising to ban abortion, either, even though we all know that’s what they want to do (and, incidentally, I agree with that).

    Republicans in MY STATE of Ohio almost succeeded in making public school textbooks give the same weight to creationism as they do evolution. Almost succeeded, Ryan. This was not a fringe movement, this is in bread-and-butter Ohio, the very definition of mild centrist normalcy. The word “normalcy” was invented here, in fact (along with the step-ladder and air plane – we Ohioans are always looking for creative ways to get as far away from here as possible). I know a few fruitcakes will accuse me of anti-creationist “bigotry”, but inasmuch as creationism doesn’t adhere to the scientific process or peer review, it can’t even conceptually be placed on the same plane. It is NOT a theory, it is merely a belief system.

    Finally, YOU are the one making racist comments here, NOT me. I strongly suggest you refrain from making such ill-considered and facile comparisons of you have any hope of being taken seriously here.

  49. Deoxy –

    I’m puzzled by your flat assertion that legalizing marriage between any two consenting adults who are not related, automatically means that Rick Santorum’s “man on dog” sex is ergo legalized. I mean, you didn’t even bother to make an argument. You just stated it, as if it were obvious or something.

    Tell me, Deoxy, how would a state’s sanction of the marriage between two individuals of the same sex result in man-on-dog sex? As far as I know, “dog” doesn’t count as a consenting adult. At least, not an adult human.

    In fact, all you’re doing is trying to perform a bit of third-rate sleight-of-hand. This is nothing but the tired old slippery-slope argument, invariably trotted out by those too lazy or ill-informed to connect the dots. Well, you haven’t convinced me, so by all means, please connect those dots.

  50. Identical twins present the same challenges with regard to DNA as do clones, and nobody is losing sleep over the implications of this. Hell, once the technology gets a bit better, we can just compare telomere depletion on the ends of the DNA strands in order to tell the difference between a clone and the source if they are significantly different in age. Yet we still won’t be able to tell the difference of the DNA between identical twins. They seem to present more of an ethical dilemma.

  51. Cheez, aren’t you forgetting something? Something rather important? Twins are sociological peers. A “parent” who clones himself will have a “child” over whom he has sociological authority, even though they are genetic twins. I’m surprised you don’t acknowledge any ethical issues here.

  52. Science need not be politicized and the extent that it isn’t is the extent that it more closely serves personal desires, both material and intellectual. An example of very politicized science with tragic consequences is the episode of the Soviet eschewing of Mendeleevian genetics because it was at odds with Marxist ideology. Soviet agriculture and so Soviet nutrition languished as a result. The Democrats embrace of environmental nonsense might curry favor with even a majority of environmental scientists who stand to financially gain from government mandated “fixes,” but it isn’t science. If the government impedes stem cell and genetic research, progress against affliction will surely be impeded as well. What will be the toll in suffering from this folly? Also, imagine how much more engaged the public would be with ongoing scientific research if there were no government funding for basic science. Funds would have to come from voluntary patronage one way or the other so people would have to be educated and persuaded on behalf of various scientific endeavors. There would be an infinite number of different public engaging dynamics that could ensue.

  53. Deoxy,

    The point of the article is not whether stem cell research is desirable or not – that’s a defferent argument. The author claims that the administration used voodoo science to estimate the number of usable stem cell lines extant in the face of opposition from scientists. I dont think that can be explained away be textual decontruction or by pointing to a berkeley study on political conservatives as many here are doing.

  54. Deoxy,

    The point of the article is not whether stem cell research is desirable or not – that’s a defferent argument. The author claims that the administration used voodoo science to estimate the number of usable stem cell lines extant in the face of opposition from scientists. I dont think that can be explained away be textual decontruction or by pointing to a berkeley study on political conservatives as many here are doing.

  55. Deoxy,

    The point of the article is not whether stem cell research is desirable or not – that’s a defferent argument. The author claims that the administration used voodoo science to estimate the number of usable stem cell lines extant in the face of opposition from scientists. I dont think that can be explained away be textual decontruction or by pointing to a berkeley study on political conservatives as many here are doing.

  56. Deoxy,

    The point of the article is not whether stem cell research is desirable or not – that’s a defferent argument. The author claims that the administration used voodoo science to estimate the number of usable stem cell lines extant in the face of opposition from scientists. I dont think that can be explained away be textual decontruction or by pointing to a berkeley study on political conservatives as many here are doing.

  57. Pat,

    You are correct, this is a different type of problem. I had been referring to Deoxy’s comment about “who’s DNA is it” with regard to a rape committed by a clone. I should have specified.

    But even with the problem you suggest, I don’t really see anything entirely new. While twins don’t have that type of relationship, it exists in numerous families where parents view raising their kid as raising a “little me” (he’s not gonna make the same mistakes I made). While these relationships are with a half-clone (50% DNA) instead of a clone, I’m not sure there’s any appreciable difference. Even in cases where person, knowing the child that is being reared is their clone, suffers from psychological desire to have the child’s upbringing mimic their own, I doubt this falls outside of the realm of the extremely overzealous parents we already see quite frequently. Could it be a problem? Yes. Something new? I don’t think so.

    Anyway, these are the type of things that we should discuss now rather than after it begins taking place.

  58. You may be right that those fears are overblown. I think it was here on Reason (maybe even the subject H&R message) where they reported that Leon Kass predicted social catastropohe of test-tube baby-making was allowed to continue. Whoops.

    I do have specific concerns about cloning, however. Should they stop the train? Probably not. Will they? Certainly not. But I have them nonetheless. I’ll just throw them out:

    * Slippery slope. I ridiculed this argument earlier, but in my defense this isn’t an argument, it’s just a gut feeling. I’m anti-abortion even though I’m atheist, so my feelings run deep here. I think anything that devalues or commoditizes human life should be avoided (including, also, the death penalty). The thought of 400,000 frozen embryoes out there makes me queasy.

    Sociological problems. Certain things will hold true for clones that are absolutely unique, such as:

    * Clones will not be the product of sperm and egg. That is to say, they have just one parent. Even adopted kids have two biological parents.

    * Clones may be known as “clones” per se, “mere” copies of other human beings (biologically only, of course). This may present serious psychological challenges that I, personally, would not want to face.

    * Clones may be burdened with baggage – expectations that they’ll be like the person they’re cloned from. What if they’re not? If the world discoveres they have their own ideas about things, will those who created the clone be disappointed? Will they place pressure on the clone to conform?

    * Clones may face crippling identity crises. Take the opposite approach. Say a clone’s personally and ideology do, in fact, very closely match the source of their DNA. Will they feel as if they’re lacking in individuality? Unable to make their own decisions? A mere object of fate or biology? The “magic” of sexual reproduction is that it’s very hard to sort out what characteristics come from where. In fact, it’s a combination, which imparts a genuine individuality that would be lacking in a clone.

    It’s this last concern that’s the most serious for me. I think it puts the notion of individuality in jeopardy, big time.

  59. Pat,

    The concerns you post are valid, but I still don’t think they differ markedly from things we’ve seen before.

    * If the thought makes you queasy, take some pepto. There’s already that and more out there thanks to in vitro fert. Do these pose a problem ethically and legally? Yeas, but that battles already been fought for years. The only thing truly new that clones bring to the table in this case is actually a simplification in the fact that there aren’t two parents who will battle over rights to the embryo-pops.

    * They will only have one biological parent, and that could be a problem, but there are thousands of individuals running around who not only don’t know who their father is, but also their mothers don’t even know. This is a problem often. With cloning (given the cost, like in vitro) there will likely be some one (either one person or a willing couple) accepting responsibility from the get go.

    * This same type of stigma was thought to be a huge problem for in vitro kids, but it went away after a few thousand. As for stigmas in general, bastard used to be a pretty damning stigma to carry, no it registers as a relatively mild generic male insult.

    * This expectation problem is like what I mentioned earlier, it’s been around for ages and will continue, especially with fathers and sons. This is with or without clones. Admittedly, a clone situation could fall to the extreme end of this, but I don’t think it will break new ground in the expectation dept.

    * This is a problem that less of a modern day correlate, but before our heads were filled with genetic mumbo-jumbo (and even now in cultures where such talk is meaningles) simply being your father’s son (especially first) meant following in his footsteps. The battle for individuality will have to be fought, but again on well-trod ground.

  60. Lets see. Did Pat even attempt to show that “taking a few and tarring the whole for smear reasons” did not apply to both his statement and my example racist statement? Well, no. All we get is a big knotty ball of indignation. Therefore, my assertion that they are the same species of error stands. No apology for you!

    Bigotry is bigotry. You have been coddled into thinking that its ‘ok’ to be bigoted towards politically acceptable groups… in much the same way being bigoted towards blacks was acceptable not so long ago.

    I’m sorry if the needle bursting your bigoted bubbles of hot air is excessive sharp. Cursiously, it works better that way.

    Now, let me give you a CLUE, not that you’ll know what to do with it.

    I want you to look up the words ‘seperation of church and state’ in the constitution or any of its amendments. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

    Now, what did you discover? Its not there. That is because that phrase came from a supreme court interpetation of the constitution, not the constitution itself.

    And what can reverse a supreme court ruling? Another supreme court ruling. That means that IF your assertion was other than simple bigoted smear, all the republicans would need to do to do away with the entire concept would be to get justices that would reverse that ruling.

    So, are you saying that the moment the democrats drop below a filibuster-level minority, the elephants are gonna pack the courts and toss the concept? Maybe do a new-deal like SCOTUS expansion threat?

    NO? That’s not what you meant at all? How, um… suprising. Could it be then that I was right all along and all we have here is simple disagreement on how much active exclusion of religion is too much? Just how difficult is it for you to believe in honest disagreement from those looney, anti-constitutional theocratic creationists, sir?

    Repeat a lie often and loudly enough and it becomes a bigoted smear. The Jews learned that at the hands of Goebbels. (I use his example merely because he is well-associated with ‘big lie’ propaganda). Do you really feel that it is warranted to use some of those techniques against christians, or evil creationists plotting to take over america? (Hmm, sounds like the protocols to me).

    No bigotry? Please. FASHIONABLE bigotry, more likely. Except it doesn’t look so good in the light of day, does it?

  61. Oh, and before I forget:

    You don’t see very many Republicans on TV promising to ban abortion, either, even though we all know that’s what they want to do.

    That’s twice in a row now you relied on your storehouse of bigotry instead of going and looking for the truth. The pro-life faction of the republican party is quite up-front about wanting to ban abortion.

    Same source I already cited, too. Go look it up yourself. I *could* just quote the section, but I want you to get used to looking up facts instead of going directly from DNC talking points to keyboard.

  62. First, Ryan Waxx compared a complain I voiced over Republican attitudes toward religion and government were comparable to saying that “all blacks smoke crack and live on welfare.” That may reveal something about his racial attitudes, but it has nothing to do with mine.

    Now he compares me to Nazis – twice! (In case we all missed the first subtle reference, I guess).

    You’re not a fan of subtle, nuanced argument, are you, Mr. Waxx? No, you reach right for the sledghammer each time! Nazi! Racist!

    Your facile comparisons of political preference and judgment with racism says to me that you don’t understand the difference between ideology and biology. The reason I’m not a Republican is because I DON’T AGREE WITH THEIR IDEAS, chief among them that the AMERICAN TRADITION of separation of church and state was at least partially a mistake. I never said or insinuated that it was written into the constitution.

    I personally have a very low tolerance for people who whip out the Nazi references each time their cowering egos feel threatened.

    This really seems to be one of those rare cases where a person’s understanding of the English language is so poor, he works himself up into an incoherent rage based on nothing but his own misinterpretations.

    What you’re accusing me of really is not bigotry in the modern sense of the word, but of generalizing. But because you don’t understand the difference between the two, you trick yourself into believing that my “bigotry”, therefore, equates to racism, and two or three posts later I’m Goebbels gassing Jews.

    You are a psychopath.

  63. DNC talking points? I VOTED FOR GEORGE BUSH, YOU PSYCHOPATH.

    My point about abortion was, again, too subtle for you. You’re a very literal person, so I’ll try to be less expressive and just get to the point. Most Republicans, including the entire Republican leadership, are pro-life. They think Roe v. Wade was poorly reasoned and want it overturned so the states can decide on their own how to handle abortion. But they are not vocal about advocating this position because they think it would be unpopular. So they take small steps instead of one big step.

    As it happens, you lunatic, I am also pro-life, I also think Roe v. Wade was poorly reasoned, and I also think it should be overturned so states can legislate the matter. I was merely using this as an EXAMPLE. I mean, for chrissake dude, I SUPPORT THAT POSITION! And you’re accusing me of being an “anti-Republican” “bigot” because of it. That is how truly clumsy with language you are. You understand neither what you are reading nor what you are writing. Plus, you’re a psychopath.

  64. DNC talking points? I VOTED FOR GEORGE BUSH, YOU PSYCHOPATH.

    OH, don’t you LIKE it when someone lumps different people and groups together and proceeds to paint them with the same brush? Gee, I wouldn’t have guessed.

    Follow the bouncing ball. (bounce) I never called you (bounce) a Nazi (bounce). Got it? Good.

    You were using abortion as an example, yes, but you were using it to explain away the fact that abolishing the seperation of church and state doesn’t appear on the RNC party platform.

    And your example failed miserably, because strong statements against abortion in general do exist, pen on paper, on the RNC platform, while no such equivelant for the abolition of the seperation of church and state is there.

    I repeat: Do you think that if the Democrats were too weak to oppose it, that republicans would attempt to overturn the “seperation of church and state” judicial ruling? It wouldn’t be too hard, if the will was there.

    But it isn’t, and therefore, your statement:

    Republicans, on the whole, are NOT committed to separation of church and state.

    Attributes one attitude to far FAR too many people based on little but popular predjudice. AND it goes way too far in terms of what even the most (electable) fanatic would do if given the chance.

    That kind of overgeneralization, rumormongering, and hyperbole is a known characteristic of the most viscious rascists this earth has known. And I am 100% correct in telling you to watch it with the bigoted statements.

  65. Don’t bury the specific subset of “Creationists” in the whole population.

    And why shouldn’t I? People seem to have no trouble extrapolating ‘creationists’ right back out to ‘any christian’. And nearly no-one ever makes the distinction between ‘people who believe in creation’ and ‘people who want creation taught instead or alongside evolution’.

    So tell me by what ethical standard I am required to observe distinctions that no one else bothers to, and indeed they intentionally ignore. Double standard, after double standard… christians, get in the back of the bus and stop whining about your feet. The Man has spoken.

    I agree they have earned their own flat-earther reputation… except people don’t generally ascribe sinister motives to flat-earthers.

    Republicans, on the whole, are NOT committed to separation of church and state.

    Another unsupported, bigoted attitude presented as fact (or gospel). Witness the magical expansion from people who would IMPOSE creation to people TO people who believe in creation TO christians TO the Republican Party.

    The debate is not, nor ever has been, weather or not we should have separation of church and state. The debate is how much seperation is required. Our founders thought you could have that seperation even while students were required to pray in school. Nowadays, we see that is too far, and indeed no republican is running with a promise to compel prayer.

    So right off the bat we can say that the republican party, as it stands now, is far MORE for the seperation of church and state the people who came up with the concept in the first place!

    More seriously, I took the time to look up the 2000 RNC party platform. Did you know that no where in there… no where… is creation or evolution mentioned, either explicitly or euphamistically,

    You could have checked that just as easily, but you are paying too much attention to what their political opponents SAY they want, and too little attention to what they actually do on a large scale. When you read articles about creation vs. evolution fights, do you ever stop to check the article for clues to how extensive the fight actually is?

    We have a majority republican government. Is Bush pushing states to nix evolution? Forced Prayer? Expanding the use of ‘under God’?

    Do SOME FEW individual republicans want to teach creation alongside evolution? Yes. Can you expand that statement without lying? No, and ESPECIALLY you cannot expand it to the entire party.

    Saying Republicans, on the whole, are NOT committed to separation of church and state. is the same species of error – taking a few and tarring the whole for smear reasons – as saying Blacks, on the whole, lay around, smoke crack and collect welfare. And you sit there and wonder why I used the ‘bigotry’ label? Wonder no more.

  66. 1. I said most Republicans would not support an effective separation of church and state. I did not comment on what YOUR positions are – you chose to take offense. On the other hand, you specifically accused me of taking talking points from the DNC. Because you were referring specifically to me, I refuted your comment. The two situations have nothing whatsoever to do with each other.

    2. You did, in fact, compare me to Nazis. Twice. (See below for #3.)

    3. It is my opinion that in the absence of Democratic opposition, a majority of Republicans would enact legislation that erodes the separation of church and state. Additionally, they would appoint judges would would rule in ways that erode this separation. But this is a hypothetical at this point, an OPINION based on my observations. You can dispute my observations, but you can only disagree with my opinion. Instead of doing that, you’re merely asserting that the opinion is invalid, which is not argument but a temper tantrum. Try argument.

    4. In case anybody missed the reference to Goebbels and Hitler, you think I’m…lemme make sure I get this right…that I’m the same as a genocidal racist because I don’t like Republicans.

    Got that everybody? I’m Hitler and Goebbels, and in case anybody failed to “get it”, Ryan Waxx has added that I share characteristics with “the most vicious racists the earth has known”.

    Ryan, why don’t you just come out with it, pal? Why are you holding back? What do you really think? Personally, I think you’re letting me off lightly. Did you know that Stalin also generalized? Yes, it’s true. He was prone to making generalizing statements about Trotskyites, White Russians, and Kulaks, and we all know where that led.

    I’ve even heard it from a good source that Pol Pot once made generalizing statements about Cambodian nationalists. Next thing you know, he’s shot 3 million of them in the head.

    You are a first class nut.

  67. Pat’s statement: Republicans, on the whole, are NOT committed to separation of church and state.

    The reply he objects to:That kind of overgeneralization, rumormongering, and hyperbole is a known characteristic of the most viscious rascists this earth has known.

    Lets break that down, since Pat is in no mental condition to do so:

    IS overgeneralizing about a group a characteristic of racists? Yes.

    IS overgeneralizing about a group a characteristic of the statement in question? Yes, and we don’t even need to go beyond the simple observation that ‘Republicans as a whole’ are not creationists.

    IS rumormongering about a group a characteristic of racists? Yes.

    IS rumormongering about a group a characteristic of the statement in question? Yes, because there is no evidence that any major group or conspiracy exists… even if the opposition was powerless to prevent it, to overturn the seperation of church and state. It is fair to call unsupported statements rumor.

    IS hyperbolizing a group’s goals a characteristic of racists? Yes, see the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

    IS hyperbolizing a group’s goals a characteristic of the statement in question? Yes. I have already outlined the method which would being about the removal of the seperation of Church and State. No republican politican would suggest this, no republican judge would implement it, and no republican party would survive an effort to bring it about.

    So my statement is quite literally and precisely true. It is you who are going blind with rage, demanding apologies, flinging about ACTUAL namecalling, and purposefully miscontruing arguments. I did explain why I used Goebbels’s name… yet you’ve totally ignored the explanation.

    You aren’t a Nazi. For one thing, you lack their mental balance. *snicker*

  68. Ah, and a part of the argument… one rather vital… that I acidentally left out (sorry):

    IS overgeneralizing about a group, rumormongering about a group, and hyperbolizing a group’s goals sufficient grounds to call the statement in question bigoted?

    Yes. At some point, after you’ve determined that it smells like horse poo, squishes like horse poo, and looks like horse poo, that maybe it is horse poo. I mean, you can taste it just to be extra sure, but I wouldn’t.

  69. Pat:
    “I’m puzzled by your flat assertion that legalizing marriage between any two consenting adults who are not related, automatically means that Rick Santorum’s “man on dog” sex is ergo legalized.”
    “Well, you haven’t convinced me, so by all means, please connect those dots.”

    OK, I’ll connect the dots for you (it’s easy).

    1. It’s not the topic (homosexual sex, not marriage – the SCOTUS case was about a law against homosexual sodomy), it’s the argument.

    2. The argument: I can do whatever I want with my property and other consenting adults in the privacy of my own home.

    3. Animals are property; my sister is an adult.

    4. Therefore, if my sister consented, we could have an incestuous relationship; since I own my dog, I could have sex with it.

    That is what I was talking about; it is a legal argument that, if accepted, affects many things other than homosexual sex. No comparison, analogy, or likening of the different behaviours required – it would also apply to animal cruelty laws, for instance.

    Make sense now?

    And since you brought it up, a similar argument for homosexual marriage would, in a similar fashion, apply equally to bigamy (a man with multiple wives, historically) and polyamory (multiple people in a group marriage).

    So, as I said, it’s about the legal argument being made – the bigotry, etc, was just Santorum being a jerk and an idiot, neither of which have any effect on whether or not his argument was correct (just on people’s perception).

  70. Ryan –

    Just to be clear. Because I think the majorit y of Republicans would erode the separation of church and state, that makes me “like a racist” and similar enough to Hitler and Goebbels to merit a debate over it?

    Cheers,
    Pat

  71. Because I think the majority of Republicans would erode the separation of church and state, that makes me “like a racist” and similar enough to Hitler and Goebbels to merit a debate over it?

    Not precisely. Its mostly because you pull the assertion right out of your arse, as if being republican is enough evidence in and of itself

    You DID attempt to provide evidence later… most of which was easily refuted… but only after the evidence was demanded. You assumed at first that it wouldn’t be… after all, these ARE repulbicans we are talking about, right? *wink wink, nudge nudge*

    And if it was just you saying such things, you’d be a lone idiot. But because you are tapping into wider predjudices, you are helping along a bigoted attitude.

    Tapping into wider prejudices explain why characterizing a Jew as a moneylender and a Black man as a butler (or other servant) are seen as prejudiced, whereas if you swapped the black man with the jewish person, those selfsame comparisons would not be.

    I don’t expect you to see where I’m coming from, but then you aren’t the only person on the thread.

  72. This reminds me a lot of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry was accused of being an anti-dentite because he made a dentist joke.

    In case you didn’t see the episode, Ryan, or in case you’re not a big Seinfeld fan, the episode was funny precisely because it’s patently absurd to compare chosen identities like profession or ideology to unchosen ones like race or ethnicity.

    This is precisely the same thing, and it would be just as funny if I weren’t about 70% sure you’re not just pulling an elaborate prank. As it happens, I also think communists are weirdos. Does that make me a bigot, too? I was never much for anarchism, either. Am I an anti-anarchite?

    You are by far the strangest person I’ve ever interacted with here. Even weirder than the one who went on and on about what a libertarian paradise Somalia is.

    And again, for the record, it is you who is tossing out stereotypes about Jews and blacks, not me.

    Let me be perfectly clear. I know whereof I speak. I am currently a registered Republican. I just got a campaign mailer from Dick Cheney. I voted for George Bush. I decide literally within the past few months that I no longer wanted to be associated with this party. I’ve been a registered Republican, literally, for twelve years. I even GAVE money to George Bush’s campaign. I have George H.W.’s autograph and even had the pleasure of meeting him once.

    I am speaking from extensive personal experience. I know Republicans. Most of my friends are Republicans. Not all of them are creationists, but many are. And in my opinion, based on my experiences in and knowledge of the party, the majority do not respect the separation of church and state. Of course, they are not adamant or insane enough to publicly acknowledge or advocate a christian theocracy, and that’s not what I’m saying. What I AM saying is that they think there should be prayer in school, and I guarantee you those prayers would not be inclusive of the Hindu or Buddhist children in presence, nor the atheist children. This is one example. There are many others.

    Ryan, what you do not understand is that by demonizing those who disagree with you, you make intelligent, open debate impossible. This is the problem with Ann Coulter and Michael Savage, too. They all demonize their opponents as traitors, and you’re demonizing me as being comparable to racists, bigots, and genocidal Nazis because you disagree with my opinion that Republicans don’t sufficiently respect the separation of church and state.

    This is just one of my many genocidal opinions, Ryan. I also don’t think Democrats respect individual autonomy enough. I don’t think they understand how their programs engender a culture of dependancy. I find their refusal to moderate on abortion to be abhorrent.

    In other words, I have opinions. By definition, that means I disagree with opposing opinions.

    The nature of political parties is that they encompass people who have a variety of opinions on a variety of topics. Because of the electoral college system in this country, we have two (electable) parties that are necessarily very broad with a huge variety of constituents with different agendas and interests. People who decide to join a party decide not to join the other party. That is because the other party, generally speaking, represents their beliefs and interests less well. In other words, they generalize. They have to.

    I am generalizing. Not all Republicans think the same way about everything. Of course. But in my experience, most Republicans give short shrift to separation of church and state.

    To you, this makes me a genocidal Nazi. That is your problem to deal with, because you obviously don’t understand the first thing about the political process. It is HUGELY offensive to groups who have suffered from racism to equate anti-Republicanism (or anti-dentism) with racism. It is logically absurd at the first glance. It is so moronic that I can’t believe I’ve spent this much time debating it. It is like debating whether the earth is flat.

    Ryan, how old are you? You strike me as being very young.

  73. 1. I stand corrected. Of course the case wasn’t about gay marriage, but about gay sodomy (that’s not redundant).

    2. No. The case had nothing to do with property law.

    3. The case had nothing to do with property.

    4. The case had nothing to do with property or incest.

    You still need to connect the dots.

  74. [Note: The above is in response to Deoxy]

  75. it’s patently absurd to compare chosen identities like profession or ideology to unchosen ones like race or ethnicity.

    Bzzt. Wrong answer AGAIN. Are you saying that if homosexuality is a choice (the jury’s still out on that question), that its not possible to be bigoted towards homosexuals?

    Religion is a choice, too. Are you claiming Anti-Semitism doesn’t exist?

    You are not a bigot if you don’t like communists. But if you made a statement like:

    Memebers of the American Communist Party, on the whole, would like to commit atrocties like the ones we’ve seen in China and Stalinist Russia.

    Then I’d probably call you a bigot. Silly me.

    In fact, a claim that most KKK members practice satanism would be bigoted, too. Aren’t they a group you ‘choose’ to be in?

    I repeat: Knock off the bigoted statements, or at LEAST qualify them better, and we will cease to have a problem. Bash groups that are easy targets, and maybe someone will take exception to it.

  76. Ryan, this is my last response. You obviously have psychological issues and I don’ t have time for this game.

    I didn’t accuse Republicans of wanting to commit atrocities, to cite your example. I said nothing even close. So your analogy fails, as I’m sure you knew before you pecked it out (slowly).

    Secondly, Semitism (Judaism) is an ethnicity, not just a religion. I see you do not understand this. I suggest before you begin comparing people who criticize Republicans to Nazis, you brush up on the topic because you don’t know what you’re talking about. Calling Judaism merely a religion betrays a profound ignorance on the topic, so it’s a bit rich of you to be lecturing me on ANYTHING having to do with Judaism, my twisted little friend.

    Finally, the jury is NOT out about whether homosexuality is a choice. Like your bizarre comment on Judaism, this betrays a serious ignorance of the subject on your part. The notion that sexual orientation is chosen is well outside the mainstream, a fringe opinion that has been discredited for years.

    This is my last interaction with you. You need to grow up.

  77. Good science cannot negated by a researcher’s religion, political affiliation, or source of funding. If proper scientific methods are honestly employed (falsifiable, reproducible, peer reviewed, etc), then either the data supports the theory in question to a stated level of confidence, or it doesn’t.

    Honest scientists of all persuasions ought to be scandalized by the distortions (not to say outright lies) produced by some of their less scrupulous peers and disseminated with the assistance of ignorant or biased reporters.

    But either they’re not sufficiently concerned, or they are just not speaking out – and so their reputations are going the way of used car salesmen, politicians, and lawyers (Glenn and Eugene excepted, of course).

  78. Um no, you idiot, my analogy doesn’t fail… because it wasn’t an analogy. You don’t understand the CONCEPT of an analogy.

    The point was, and I’ve written this several times now, so you have no damn excuse for playing cute, was that you manufactured assertions and used predjudice for their backing. THAT IS BIGOTRY.

    And the POINT of the analogy, and I stated this quite clearly, was that it is quite possible to be bigoted towards ‘chosen identities’, meaning groups that you choose to be a part of.

    The Communist Party of America is a ‘chosen identity’, to use your words, every much as the republican party is. Is your brain straining yet?

    THEREFORE, since it is possible to make bigoted statements about the American Communist Party, it is also possible to make bigoted statements about the Republican party, your immense, flowing Seinfeld wisdom notwithstanding.

    Do you understand the example NOW? Of course not.

    And I am perfectly aware that Jewsishness is both a religion and a race, depending on context… your nitpick has nothing to do with the central assertion that it is possible to be bigoted towards members of a religion… ANOTHER ‘chosen identity’… and YOU KNOW IT. You nitpick because you don’t have anything else as a reply.

    I took no position on weather gayness was genetic precisely because the question was weather being part of a ‘chosen identity’ rendered bigotry impossible. Clearly, bigotry is bigotry regardless weather gays choose to be gay. What, you think that the Texas dragging case would magically become not a hate crime if Byrd was ‘asking for it’, so to speak? Disgusting.

    You want to pretend I just took a position on the ‘born gay’ issue, go right ahead if it makes you feel better to demonize and marginalize and wrap yourself in a ‘only my views are mainstream’ blanket. I hope the hate keeps you warm at night.

  79. “Oh, and as a general disclaimer I’m just about as athiest as they come.” Funny, Ryan, because I’m a Christian. And I don’t believe in Creationism. Neither does the Pope, BTW.

    I’m quite certain that there are many, many believing Muslims and Jews who believein evolution as well.

  80. Ryan:

    Jewishness is NOT a race. It is an ethnicity. There is a difference. Look it up.

  81. jews are caucasian, waxx, ya dipshit

  82. “Bjorn Lomborg. Not a scientist. I think he’s an economist.

    Note that what he published did not undergo the process of scientific review. He used a general interest publisher, which rather undermines his credibility. He wasn’t trying to make a scientific argument, he was trying to convince the lay reader, and counting on them to be unable to adequately evaluate his claims.

    But, he’s really handy for people who want to wave a fat book with lots of footnotes that supports their opinion.

    Yeah, he has lots of footnotes, but so does Ann Coulter. It doesn’t mean anything if the sources are misused.”

    My point was that he was and IS a commited hard-core eco-freak, and when he honestly looked at the “facts” as distributed by the hard-core eco-freaks, he still found them to be wanting.

    Also, you just committed the “ad hominem” fallacy – he must be wrong because of who he his or his career. You didn’t address his argument.

    It may surprise you, but very few inventions and research in the history of mankind are attributable to “scientists” – up until the last 100 years (or less), they all had a day job and did this stuff in their spare time. That does not make them wrong.

    Pat Cameltoe:
    “Rick Santorum’s equation of gay union with “man on dog” sex was what finally convinced me that that isn’t a good fit”

    Just to let you know, Santorum’s remarks were rude, bigoted, and ill-choseen (and probably a lot of other things… hateful comes to mind), but none of those things means his point was wrong. Legally speaking, the argument being used to legalize gay sex DOES logically conclude with the legalization of all those other things – no equation or likening of the behavior required. That is, you can think that gay saex is a wonderful, beastiful thing, while beastiality is the most disgusting practice ever imagined, and that they have absolutely nothing in common, and it is still true that the argument being used to legalize gay sex is still completely applicable to beastiality (and the other stuff Santorum said). Again, saying he’s wrong because he is bigoted or hateful is “ad hominem”, a fallacy.

    On “separation of church and state”:

    Religious groups being excluded from government programs is not separation of church and state – it is the OPPOSITE of separation of church and state.

    Separation of Church and State means that money is doled out with NO REGARD TO RELIGION. That’s not what is currently happening. “Atheism” is currently the State religion.

  83. Umm, several bad typos in that post above, sorry – “beastiful” in particular, was supposed to “beautiful”. Sorry, I muddled my words.

  84. More nitpicking. Yes, I used the wrong word. Oh frigging well.

    Do either of YOU 2 geniuses want to try and defend the ‘you can’t be bigoted towards members of a religion’ line?

    I thought not. Next time, try and contribute something. Thank you.

  85. “Bjorn Lomborg. Not a scientist. I think he’s an economist.”

    Actually, he’s an associate professor of statistics.

    Which is the perfect credential for his book; he doesn’t *do* any science: he carefully analyzes the same data the enviro nuts use to support their theories, and very nicely proves that when you don’t cherry-pick the data, it shows that for the most part, the planet is doing quite well, thank you very much.

  86. Deoxy writes: “Hey Glenn (or anybody else), what was that guys name again? Some Scandenavian nationality, as I recall…”

    Bjorn Lomborg. Not a scientist. I think he’s an economist.

    Note that what he published did not undergo the process of scientific review. He used a general interest publisher, which rather undermines his credibility. He wasn’t trying to make a scientific argument, he was trying to convince the lay reader, and counting on them to be unable to adequately evaluate his claims.

    But, he’s really handy for people who want to wave a fat book with lots of footnotes that supports their opinion.

    Yeah, he has lots of footnotes, but so does Ann Coulter. It doesn’t mean anything if the sources are misused.

  87. The best example of how politics trumps science, was a study done some years ago by a group I believe at Princeton. Their conclusion was that sex abuse does not necessarily cause as much damage to children is current popular belief. THE hot-button topic to be sure. They never intended to say that kids should have sex, but Congress immediately stepped in and passed a unanimous resolution condemning the study and great pressure was put on the authors, who of course never raised thei voice again. I’m not saying that the study was right, but given the number of child protection measures constantly made into law, it seems prudent to find out what is really necessary. But on that topic, raising any questions is not allowed. Nobody came to the defense of the authors, would amount to suicide for a public official. And yes, social science can be as much science as physics or chemistry.

  88. Pat:

    OK, I will go over it again… s l o w l y.

    1. done.

    2. Yes, the CASE IN QUESTION had nothing to do with incest or property rights; that’s explicitly NOT what I said. The LEGAL ARGUMENT being made applies ALL THE TIME to whatever it applies to. The LEGAL ARGUMENT being made (used IN THIS CASE to throw out a law about gay sodomy), if accepted, will be applicable ALL THE TIME because it’s not about gay sodomy, it’s a LEGAL ARGUMENT. Example: I attack and kill a random person on the street who happens to be carrying a firearm at the time. I make the LEGAL ARGUMENT in court that people carrying firearms are inherently threatening at all times, and it is therefore OK for me to defend myself with lethal force. If the court accepted that LEGAL ARGUMENT (and they wouldn’t, thank goodness), that LEGAL ARGUMENT would be used by every cop-killer in America, because IT WOULD APPLY. Understand yet? I can go on, if you need me to.

    3. It’s not about the case, it’s about the LEGAL ARGUMENT.

    4. (see 3)

    As I said originally, no comprison or similarity or the behaviours or laws is required. If the court accepts the legal argument being made, that will have consequences in the way that legal argument applies to other laws and behaviours.

    By the way, “Jewishness” is an ethnicity AND a religion – people (of all races and ethnicities) can (and do) convert to Judaism.

  89. EMAIL: krokodilgena1@yahoo.com
    IP: 62.213.67.122
    URL: http://www.RAPID-PENIS-ENLARGEMENT.NET

    DATE: 12/11/2003 03:18:41
    When prosperity comes, do not use all of it.

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