Scopes II and Scopes I

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Today an interesting editorial was published: Michelle M. Simmons, “Why opposing evolution resonates with some,” The Patriot-News, March 30, 2005. It is not the full history of antievolution – Herbert Spencer, the Seventh Day Adventists, and World War I are also important – but worth reading if you haven’t thought about the history before (see Ronald Numbers, The Creationists, for much more).

The backlash against the theory of evolution (and the teaching of it) resonated not only with religious fundamentalists, but also with political and economic populists. Faced with the near impossibility of changing economic and political power structures, many turned their attention to the alleged evils of a secular society.

The political career of William Jennings Bryan is a case in point. Bryan’s early days cemented him as a fiery progressive and anti-imperialist in Congress, his famous “Cross of Gold” speech ensured his populist credentials in 1894, and he served as secretary of state under Woodrow Wilson. By the 1920s, however, he was obsessed with Prohibition and creationism. His performance at the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1924 may have won his case, but it left him exhausted and humiliated. He died five days later.

Throughout the world, religious fundamentalism tends to breed among the economically and politically dispossessed, and the United States is no exception. And as with the many eruptions of book bannings in libraries and schools, creationism, or “Intelligent Design” as its proponents prefer to call it today, has found a home among the middle and working classes precisely because of the tensions created by our economic dependence on a 21st-century version of social Darwinism. MOST OF US have little-to-no control over globalization, the outsourcing of jobs, the skyrocketing of health-care costs, and on and on. So instead we scapegoat “atheists” and “secular humanists” (along with all those “others”– feminists, gays and lesbians, and immigrants); only this time around, the movement is being funded by arch-conservative think tanks and organizations with exceptionally deep pockets.

As we follow in the months ahead what is being called the Scopes II trial out of the Dover Area School District, it will be worth our while to consider why we’re at it again, what other parallels we might draw between the Gilded Age and today, and whose interests are really being served here. Michelle M. Simmons, “Why opposing evolution resonates with some,” The Patriot-News, March 30, 2005.

The comparison between antievolutionists then and antievolutionists now would be worth exploring in much more detail. How did a populist antievolutionism tradition motivated by discontent with economic conservatism evolve into a populist antievolutionism tradition in league with economic conservatism? How did we get from William Jennings Bryan to Senator Rick Santorum?

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How did a populist antievolutionism tradition motivated by discontent with economic conservatism evolve into a populist antievolutionism tradition in league with economic conservatism? How did we get from William Jennings Bryan to Senator Rick Santorum?

I think it might have something to do with an evolving media which pretends to look out for the interests of the lower classes but increasingly comprises mostly wealthy self-interested types who exploit the prejudices and relative ignorance of the lower classes to achieve relatively short-term profitability (e.g., “ratings”).

Throughout the world, religious fundamentalism tends to breed among the economically and politically dispossessed, and the United States is no exception.

Has anyone ever offered a compelling argument to the contrary? I don’t think any creationist apologist here has ever admitted to being a fundamentalist. But it’s unclear to me whether our trolls also deny the existence of fundamentalist religious types in the United States or the correlations of fundamentalism with poverty and political dispossesion in the United States and other parts of the world.

Considering that Santorum is Roman Catholic, I’m sure that his anti-Catholic stance on evolution makes him more appealing to many Republicans, especially Christian fundamentalists. Maybe the Pope can set him straight? ;)

Nick Matzke wrote: How did we get from William Jennings Bryan to Senator Rick Santorum?

That is the 64k$ question.

I look at today, and I see that those who tend towards religious (Christian) fanaticism are still the disenfranchised. But they tend to view the government, and any of those in power as tools of the beast, and thus distrust them. That is why (in my view) they shun the social programs offered by the government that would help them; equal the playing field as it were. They distrust business, the wealthy, the powerful, yet they resist any help to them that comes from those sources. They look at it as being from the anti-god. They do, however respond to the evangelist rhetoric that all will be equalized in the “next life” so they should just hang on. A better future in the next life seems to hold more appeal than a better future in this life for them. That type of mentality explains how they would wed themselves to the conservative Republican line.

They have, today, reached the point where they would prefer to suffer without, than to have the government intervene and set things more equal. This inevitably spills over into science and medicine. Today, they have PDAs, microwave ovens, MRI/CAT/PET scans, genetic-drugs, air travel, energy to spare… All those things are resultant from basic science and basic scientific method, and all are intimately related, yet this is not enough to overcome the idea that science is out to destroy their religion, and them.

So, in all, they would like to condemn all that makes their lives better, because they feel as if a better life is due to those powers that come from the antichrist, even though they blindly accept some, when they don’t realize it, yet deny others when they do.

Science, government, money, power, they are all things of the elite and not the “common man.” Thus they come from some place other than god, and that is the one thing (belief) that anyone can hold (again, nudging them towards the republican line of anti-government and anti-science).

The irony is, of course, they tend to be led by the Robertson/Falwell/Dobson/Kennedy types, who are themselves quite rich and powerful, and knowledgeable in the ways of manipulating people.

An additional thought is that academia fairly completely purged evolution-related studies of Spencerism (aka social Darwinism) and eugenics. Important factors in this were the Neo-Darwinian synthesis, which made evolution statistical and quantitative (population genetics also showed that eugenics basically couldn’t work), the work of cultural anthropologists such as Margaret Mead (showing the within-species cultural diversity of humans), and World War II (which showed just what a slippery slope eugenics was, and highlighted the abuses that occurred in the U.S.). Liberals thus more-or-less had all of their concerns about evolution taken care of. None of this helped fundamentalists, however, and I think that the idea that “evolution is false/evil” has almost become its own religious doctrine in a number of denominations.

Uh… “Scopes II” was prominently used by LA Senator Bill Keith to refer to Edwards v. Aguillard.

Before putting too much effort into complex analysis one might consider a simpler possibility. The concerted, well financed and intelligently designed efforts of a few professional creationists are a large factor.

Jeff

A better future in the next life seems to hold more appeal than a better future in this life for them. That type of mentality explains how they would wed themselves to the conservative Republican line.

Fascinating analysis Jeff. And here, all along, I thought it had to do with things like less support among Republicans for the murder of children in the womb, less support among Republicans for worshipping on the altar of multiculturalism (defined as {all cultures} - {western culture}), less support among Republicans for ripping the feeding tube out of a woman whose parents are willing assume all burdens of her care, less support among Republicans for ad absurdum interpretations of the establishment clause, less support among Republicans for awarding federal grants to institutions that deny access to military recruiters, etc.

And now I see it is just because the bumpkins don’t get it that the government is trying to “level the playing field” for their benefit. (Hmm, where have I heard that phrase before?)

Uh … “Scopes II” was prominently used by LA Senator Bill Keith to refer to Edwards v. Aguillard.

Scopes II¾?

murder of children in the womb, …worshipping on the altar of multiculturalism… ripping the feeding tube out of a woman … ad absurdum interpretations of the establishment clause…

For this kind of discourse, I’ve coined the word: beheddled

It’s a hybrid of: befuddled - floundering in a confused fog, and beheaded - where the body is irreversibly disconnected from centers of higher reasoning.

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When did “Liberal” become a bad word? During the Reagan years. Why? Because Reagan was a moderately popular president, and congress was comprised of “liberal” democrats. Thus, the conservatives used that leverage to oust the liberals from congress. The democrats benefited from the Depression that was blamed on the Republicans. The liberals sat on their laurels for 40+ years while the Republicans searched for issues that would have more appeal to the masses. That is what Reagan did. He painted the liberals as “Tax and Spend” and now the liberals have begun their search for issues that appeal to the masses. This is the way politics work. Note Republicans used to be on the side of the environment. (Theodore Roosevelt is a good example) Now, look how they treat the environment…

James Wynne:

Invoking needlessly inflammatory rhetoric

Oh, there be none of that from the PT regulars and contributors! All their inflammatory rhetoric is, I suppose, necessary inflammatory rhetoric.

Based on the shifting sand upon which it is built, this is about the most ridiculous reply you could have made. I can counter it with a simple search followed list of some of GWW’s choice comments, and among byliners, PZ and “Dr” GH, to name just two.

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David Heddle wrote: less support among Republicans for ripping the feeding tube out of a woman whose parents are willing assume all burdens of her care

Why don’t you go read the recent polls that have come out clearly showing that the majority of Democrats, Independents, and REPUBLICANS all support removing Schiavo’s feeding tube. In fact 70% of this country agrees with these so-called “activist” judges (most of which were appointed by Republicans, by the way) who have upheld Michael Shiavo’s right to comply with his wife’s wishes.

You’re in the minority, David. I find your comments disgusting.

To keep this on topic, I don’t think that religious conservatists care about their own personal wealth/lack of wealth. After all, God will take care of you, no matter how much debt you have (not sure how that goes along with Jesus telling his follower’s to “render unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s). As long as the collection plate is full on Sunday, God will provide. Getting ID into schools serves one purpose: witnessing to the masses, or indoctrinating the masses, whichever you prefer. I don’t really see the difference between that and the Catholic church “outlawing” birth control, or Mormom’s having as many children as possible, etc etc. The whole point is to get as many people on your team as possible! They’ll figure the money part out later or God will provide.

GWW Wrote:

Throughout the world, religious fundamentalism tends to breed among the economically and politically dispossessed, and the United States is no exception.

Has anyone ever offered a compelling argument to the contrary?

I think a lot depends upon how you define fundamentalism. On PT, it is frequently equated with conservative Christianity, but the two are not coincident. Also, it gets conflated with “anyone who disputes evolution”. Santorum, for example, is a religious and political conservative, but he’s not a fundamentalist. I would agree that a significant fraction of Protestant fundamentalists in the US are in the lower economic classes, although it’s not clear what is meant by “politically dispossessed” in this context.

However, when you look at Islamic fundamentalism, the trend is sort of reversed: many members of Al Qaeda are from the middle and upper economic classes, but they come from politically repressed societies.

Also, the “economically depressed” argument has too many counter-examples to carry much weight. Why don’t we see more religious fundamentalism in Africa? Southeast Asia? India?

I do think the feelings of loss of control play a big role in fundamentalism, but I don’t think there’s a simple correlation with economic or political power.

jeff-perado’s post is a parodic example of liberal obsession with material equality, and ignorance or dismissal of spiritual, emotional, or moral concerns. He’s basically repeating Thomas Frank’s argument in “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” (Which can be summed up as, “why don’t those stupid rubes vote for Democrats?”) He’s also infantilizing the poor, talking about how they need help from either government or big business, and about how they seem to be ungrateful after receiving all these material goods.

Monty Zoom Wrote:

Thus, the conservatives used that leverage to oust the liberals from congress.

If by “conservatives” you mean “voters”, then OK.

He painted the liberals as “Tax and Spend”

Are you trying to say that liberals don’t like to tax and spend?

Now, look how they treat the environment …

Can you point to any major environmental indicators that are worse now than in 2000 or 1994?

David Heddle wrote:

… less support among Republicans for awarding federal grants to institutions that deny access to military recruiters …

You forgot to finish your sentence, David. Here it is: “… who exhibit the best in us by engaging in blatant prejudice and homophobia and thus are banned by equal protection laws.…”

HTH

Cheers,

Mike S. Wrote:

Are you trying to say that liberals don’t like to tax and spend?

In the interests of fairness, they all (liberal and conservative alike) like to spend. I don’t think anyone likes to tax though. It’s a case of ideology related to whether increasing the deficit is good or not, and the role of liberal vs. conservative almost flip-flops in this case. The liberal will raise taxes so as not to inflate the deficit while the conservative will lower taxes and inflate the deficit thinking it can be paid off later if at all.

For this kind of discourse, I’ve coined the word: beheddled

It’s a hybrid of:…

I believe such a word would be called a “portmanteau word”. C.L. Dodgson (a/k/a Lewis Carroll) was one of the masters of such inmaginative constructions…

Cheers,

I see James, you are going to hang on to this thread for support:

1) Heddle’s inflammatory rhetoric is a perfect example of the intellectual bankruptcy of social conservatives

2) WHEREAS, inflammatory rhetoric of GWW, PZ, “Dr” GH, etc. etc. etc is NOT a perfect example of the intellectual bankruptcy of social liberals–and any reference to that rhetoric only strengthens claim (1).

Well, that’s as level as all other PT level playing fields.

E, the polls you noted are irrelevant; the question Jeff addressed was about why conservative Christians tend to favor the Republican party. Have you seen a poll among those whom (by PTers) would be called “fundamentalists” as to whether or not they perceive the Republicans or Democrats as being more aligned with their views on the Schaivo case? That would be a relevant poll.

You’re in the minority, David. I find your comments disgusting.

Just curious–is that cause and effect?

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Since the Schiavo thing is basically a matter for the courts, not public opinion polls, I guess the relevant question is “how many of the judges involved are Dems vs. Reps?” From what I’ve read, conservative republican judges dominate at all levels. Perhaps this is another example of beheddlement .

murder of children in the womb, … worshipping on the altar of multiculturalism … ripping the feeding tube out of a woman

Unmasked! Heddle will deny being a fundamentalist but he is strangely eager to recite religious extremist slogans.

I wouldn’t describe Heddle’s statements as “needlessly inflammatory”. They are simply lies. And therein lies the difference between habitual dissemblers like David Heddle versus folks like myself, PZ and Dr. GH.

It’s an important difference.

Also, the “economically depressed” argument has too many counter-examples to carry much weight. Why don’t we see more religious fundamentalism in Africa? Southeast Asia? India?

Uh… aren’t Sudan & Somalia, Ethiopia & Eretrea, South Africa, Rwanda, all part of Africa? And aren’t there a few of those mass-murder/genocide things happening in a couple of those places?

As I recall, Bin-Laden started, or at least eagerly fueled the Islamic purges of animist and Christian peoples in Sudan, which continue under the current Sudanese government.

I recall religious overtones to the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict also.

And then there were the race purges during most of the twentieth century in South Africa based on an assumed superiority of one race over another, which itself was based, in part at least on interpretation of the bible. (Similar to biblical arguments justifying white-supremecy in the USA).

Then there is the Hutu/Tutsi conflict in Rwanda. The tribal differences there are “ethnic” but such things are not really much more than deep-rooted superstitious beliefs about the nature of the involved parties (not much different than extreme religious beliefs).

In India, there is the omnipresent conflict between Islamic and Hindu extremests which often erupts into extreme violence.

On Sri Lanka there is a brutally violent conflict between Hindus and Buddhists (so much for non-violence being tenets of those religions).

Then there is Indonesia where Islamic majorities oppress minority religions.

In China there is Falun Gong which the communists argue is a cult of whackos (often labelled as terrorists) and the believers argue is a “standard” religion. While the oppressors are nominally athiest, there is little doubt that Maoists treat their former leader as a deity and behave exactly as religious zealots.

And a little closer to home, there is the Christian oppression of native religions throughout Central and South America. On and on it goes…

I suppose in each case one could argue that the religious participants are “extremists” rather than “fundamentalists”, but that’s just semantics. The consequences are the same if we are defining fundamentalists as those that interpret religious texts literally or as those are dogmatic followers of a particular interpretation of those texts.

As another observation, while I am not so naive as to believe that geographically adjacent but different human cultures always coexisted peacefully until “evil” instigators arrived, (was that a long clause or what?) it seems as though almost all of those conflicts are rooted in foreign idealogues interfering with the governance of diverse peoples. I wonder if that is a “real” causal factor or merely a common thread?

Following up on my first comment, I note that Bob Somerby has made more astute observations about the odd way the media behaves when it comes to discussing weird religious beliefs in this country:

TELLY’S TUBBER: Here at THE HOWLER, we continue to marvel at last Sunday’s performance by New Republic hot tub enthusiast Michelle Cottle. Go ahead—marvel again at what the water-logged culture warrior told Howard Kurtz on Reliable Sources:

KURTZ (3/27/05): Let’s broaden this to other religious-related issues: teaching of evolution in Kansas schools, a lot of coverage there, whether it should be required, whether creationism should be included; the Ten Commandments display in Alabama and elsewhere; even gay marriage in San Francisco. Isn’t there some built-in media bias by the East Coast journalists toward those who have a different view of these matters?

COTTLE: I think there is. I mean, it’s not that they—again, it’s not that they say unpleasant things. But they do behave as though the people who believe these things are on the fringe, when actually the vast majority of the American public describes itself as Christian. You know, a huge percentage, somewhere between a third and a half, actually say that they believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. And another huge chunk would be uncomfortable with evolution being taught in the schools. And this—this is not what you find in the New York media.

Yes, it’s hard to tell what Cottle meant; incoherence is the modern pundit’s hallmark. But Cottle almost seemed to scold the “New York media” because it won’t hire sufficient Flat Earthers! Should the “New York media” be hiring people who “would be uncomfortable with evolution being taught in the schools?” That’s a difficult claim to make. But true to the nature of modern punditry, Cottle made it sound rather simple. We strongly suggest that you read this transcript—and when you read it, keep a few points in mind:

First, Cottle complained about the way the establishment press allegedly disses religion. As she did so, Time and Newsweek both featured reverential cover stories about Christian religion. NBC had just completed a week in which all its broadcast and cable shows focused on “Religion in America.” The Pope’s recurrent illness was all over the news. And in the matter of Terri Schiavo, news orgs were being quite deferential to puzzling statements from religion-based observers who “say that they believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible.” We’ll offer one case study tomorrow when we ask: Who is Barbara Weller? But Cottle’s sweeping assessment of the press corps’ behavior was a bit hard to square with simple facts.

And with that in mind, note one more point: Everyone on Kurtz’s panel was mouthing this same general talking-point! Kurtz had brought three pundits onto his show—Cottle, Steve Roberts, and Joe Watkins. Watkins is a movement conservative; Cottle and Roberts are routinely pimped as mainstream or “liberal” observers. Yet all four people in this discussion expressed this pleasing conservative spin-point. Go ahead! Read through the whole discussion and see if you can find any room between the views of Watkins on one side, and Cottle, Kurtz and Roberts on the other. Strange, isn’t it? Our press corps is driven by liberal bias—but everyone mouths the conservative spin-point! When they sit in those luxury hot tubs together, it almost seems that their world-views do merge.

Tomorrow, we’ll show you something that was occurring as Cottle slammed the dearth of Flat Earthers. As Cottle was mouthing her tired old cant, a new world was fleeing her notice.

http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh033105.shtml

Oh right, if the conservatives say something about social issues, they’re just lying. Do you ever wonder why “the people” that liberals proclaim to care about end up turning on the academics and liberals who “speak for them”, and vote against the academics’ (with some exceptions, of course) constant devaluation of the beliefs and sensibilities of middle America?

The liberals inherit their moral usage of the term “baby murder” from Christianity, so of course it’s fine when academia designates that killing a newborn is murder. Christian morality was inconvenient and costly (welfare payments and all) for the liberals, however, so they found a good aesthetically-pleasing means of disposing of so many unwanted human entities, which was to get rid of them in private and trumpet this “right of privacy” (never mind the fact that so much is illegal in private, from infanticide to drug use). If the conservatives tend not to notice that the legalistic “essential change” occurs during the birth process, and instead call the killing of the fetus or embryo “murder”, it becomes a lie. For, do not liberals produce and dictate all meaningful truth in this society? After all, they side with the rich, from country club Republicans to overpaid New Yord Times editors, so they must be right, they must be allowed to control the discourse, hurl vile names at working class folk (thank god they’re so often fundamentalist or otherwise conservative, since this gives a good cover for the class warfare visited upon the working class), and to delegitimize whatever the lower classes have to say.

If you really want to know why so many people hate evolution, it is to a significant degree due to the despicable attitudes and actions of academics and most other liberals toward other people (with exceptions in both groups, of course). One could argue reasonably about abortion and other matters, but this has almost never been done on the liberal side. There’s a very good reason for this–both sides persist in a largely Christian morality, but the liberals wanted to change it to fit their own lifestyles and pocket books. They cannot grant any legitimacy to those who haven’t adopted their own convenient definitions, because they don’t have any good reason for them, neither for their opposition to infanticide nor their allowance of abortion. The sociological reasons are obvious, but virtually no liberals will own up to the factors that have led them to dictate their morality.

The lower classes are delegitimized unless they agree morally with the upper classes. Unfortunately, the former do not distinguish well between the perfidy committed by the upper classes from what is good legitimate science, but then again, how are they supposed to be psychologically able to, when their own sensibilities are nearly always delegitimized in academia?

On the other side, though, it becomes very hard to grant legitimacy to people who blatantly deny not only good biological science, but also the very methods used to do science. I wish that there were some simple solution to the impasse, but I do fear that this is all so convenient for those in charge that they may as well keep up with the present delegitimization and the consequent resentments of the delegitimized, while they continue to feel superior in their scientific knowledge.

There isn’t really that much evidence that academia at large cares all that much about scientific knowledge, or they’d never have allowed the stupidity of pure constructionism to drive evolutionary considerations out of discussions of gender and so-called “equality”. That’s the “good creationism”, though, and it can exist (if uneasily) within academic policy. Smite the lower classes, though, and allow mindless ideology to dictate “the truth” contrary evolution and reason where people are too powerful to be opposed.

I always have thought that science was really more threatened by socialist and constructionist/deconstructionist nonsense than by creationism per se. Yet it is so much more costly to fight things so stupid that only an intellectual can believe them, than to counter simple fundamentalist nonsense. And I fall into this pattern as well, because it provides to me a venue for the discussion of science and philosophy that doesn’t exist for fighting post-modernist BS. Nevertheless, I’d be altogether too wimpy to let this issue by without pointing out how ill the sensibililities of religious lower-class folk are typically treated by the “knowing liberal” bourgeoisie.

(Offtopic, for which I apologize; perhaps this should be taken to the Wall, when it is unfrozen.)

Glen Davidson Wrote:

The liberals inherit their moral usage of the term “baby murder” from Christianity, so of course it’s fine when academia designates that killing a newborn is murder. Christian morality was inconvenient and costly (welfare payments and all) for the liberals, however, so they found a good aesthetically-pleasing means of disposing of so many unwanted human entities, which was to get rid of them in private and trumpet this “right of privacy” (never mind the fact that so much is illegal in private, from infanticide to drug use).

That is a bizarre interpretation of the legal and political development of both reproductive rights and welfare in the United States. I think it reflects a profound misunderstanding of the subject. It is a stretch to say that liberals pin their “moral usage” of any term on Christianity, and even more of a stretch to say that it would be relevant if they did. Christianity wasn’t the only, the first, or the last ethical structure to condemn murder. Nor was some hypothetically monolithic “Christian morality” costly for “the liberals,” nor are reproductive rights part of some bizarre conspiracy to extirpate “unwanted human entities.” Finally, your concept of the “right of privacy” is extremely inaccurate.

Tinfoil-hat ranting is fun, but it does not persuade or impress anyone other than fellow travelers.

Wow, Glen, what an incoherent rant!

The conservative script regarding the lack of a liberal “moral foundation” is a rather tired one, although it remains popular with a certain breed of self-righteous robots who enjoy trumpeting the alleged virtues of belonging to an organization where answers to all of life’s questions are provided on handy scrolls.

Also, pity you didn’t read Somerby’s remarks in the comment immediately preceding yours. The juxtaposition reflects poorly on you.

Lastly, I recommend trying a new salad dressing.

That is a bizarre interpretation of the legal and political development of both reproductive rights and welfare in the United States. I think it reflects a profound misunderstanding of the subject. It is a stretch to say that liberals pin their “moral usage” of any term on Christianity

Who said that? You re-invent what I wrote to avoid the obvious fact that US morality comes out of Christianity.

and even more of a stretch to say that it would be relevant if they did. Christianity wasn’t the only, the first, or the last ethical structure to condemn murder.

What relevance does that have with what I wrote? Are you too poor at reading to recognize that what is considered murder was what I was discussing? Either way, you totally avoid what I was writing about and instead substitute a strawman to which you feel comfortable responding.

Nor was some hypothetically monolithic “Christian morality” costly for “the liberals,” nor are reproductive rights part of some bizarre conspiracy to extirpate “unwanted human entities.”

Blank assertion, apparently nothing beyond mere herd thought and “received wisdom”. As I suggested, you people have no basis for what you say, and must simply repeat what each other says.

Finally, your concept of the “right of privacy” is extremely inaccurate.

Are you that devoid of substance that you can do nothing other than deny what’s said in an intelligent piece? I see no evidence that you know anything of political theory, law, history, or advanced reading skills.

Tinfoil-hat ranting is fun,

And your name-calling is irrelevant and apparently about as much as you have to say. You’re too ignorant to respond even to one thing accurately.

but it does not persuade or impress anyone other than fellow travelers.

Of course, you delegitimize anyone who disagrees with your beliefs. Nothing intelligent will affect your a priori beliefs. That was my point, and you exemplify it in your banality and obvious strawman fallacies.

Sorry OT…

Are you trying to say that liberals don’t like to tax and spend?

The difference between “liberals” and “conservatives” is a matter of priorities. For instance, the deficit used to be a republican issue. However, when they took control of the house, it no longer was. (Similarly for term limits.) Liberals generally want more benefits from the society in which they live, and conservatives generally want less obligations in the society they live. Thus, they tend to approach things with respect to their point of view. It is hard to characterize the current administration with that frame of reference because they seem to want to decrease the obligations on very few people. Conservative priorities are different than liberal priorities.

Can you point to any major environmental indicators that are worse now than in 2000 or 1994?

Lets say the earth is 6000 years old. What percentage of that would 4 or 8 years? Fairly small. (.13%) Thus, we would expect little change in such a short amount of time. Secondly, the changes that have been made since the clean air act have had greater impact than the slow eroding of those safe guards. Third, this is a large country and some areas will be affected differently than others. Thus, national studies aren’t done. Forth, the republicans have had the presidency and or congress since about 1982 making environmental issue even more difficult to pass.

Of course, you knew all of that when you made your “challenge.” That is why you made it. However, I can definitely tell you that the air quality especially fine particulate matter (soot) has been worse this winter than it has in the last 10 years in many parts of the country. In fact, there were parts of the upper midwest that had their first air quality warnings in 25 years.

Mercury and arsenic which should have been removed as contaminants due to technology 10 years ago are still problems. But who cares about the quality of life in cities?

Wow, Glen, what an incoherent rant!

Wow, GWW, what a stupid comment! You lack anything of intelligence or substance to counter my points, thus you delegitimize whatever disagrees with your uneducated comments. You can ape your bourgeois cohorts, but that’s all.

The conservative script regarding the lack of a liberal “moral foundation” is a rather tired one,

Then why don’t you deal with what I wrote? Oh, that’s right, you can only rant and misrepresent when your sacred beliefs are opposed.

although it remains popular with a certain breed of self-righteous robots who enjoy trumpeting the alleged virtues of belonging to an organization where answers to all of life’s questions are provided on handy scrolls.

Is that right, parrot? Apparently all you do is to name-call when met with some actual critical consideration of your vacuous positions. I’m more Nietzschean than any other labeled position, but I wouldn’t expect a liberal herd animal like yourself to recognize intelligent criticism of bourgeois society. But you can lump and be dishonest in your general use of language and concepts. You just can’t write anything of substance or value.

Also, pity you didn’t read Somerby’s remarks in the comment immediately preceding yours. The juxtaposition reflects poorly on you.

Only to you who are dim enough to rely on authorities for your “knowledge”. Somerby’s piece doesn’t relate to what I was discussing, but again, you’re obviously too ill-educated even to read an intelligent criticism of bourgeois society. Like I care about “reverential covers” compared to the dissing of values. You can’t even differentiate between the two, but lump as dishonestly here as elsewhere.

I liked Dan Savage’s comment in the Village Voice. He wrote that Ashton Kutcher was the subject of gush pieces in teeny-bopper magazines like Teen and The New Republic. I read the latter when I was a teen, but haven’t paid much attention to its shallowness since then. Too bad you haven’t read enough to get beyond such second-rate tripe (apparently second hand too boot).

Lastly, I recommend trying a new salad dressing.

I recommend an education in the areas where you dare to pretend knowledge. Then you might have something intelligent to write, instead of what you’ve written thus far.

Air bear writes:

“The modern Religious Right has lost its way, judging at least from the public campaigns of its most vocal leaders. Traditional religious conerns have given way to secular causes. The loudest proponents are more concerned with sexual morality, the status of fetuses, and releasing the power of private companies than they are about salvation. And Christ’s compassion for the poor? Forget it.”

Last time I’ve checked, sexual morality and the protection of innocent life are traditional religious concerns.

Furthermore, it’s very unfair to say the religious right lacks compassion for the poor. They just don’t believe that government social programs are the best way of helping the poor. They believe private Charities are more effective. Judging by their generous contributions to such charities, they are putting their money where there mouths are.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 15, column 23, byte 1786 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

. But all this contempt, disdain, all these assumptions about a perspective you really don’t know anything about. I just don’t get it.

Sometimes I almost agree with the vicious Ann Coulter, since people like you don’t mind lying about whatever you dislike. Of course I know about it, and if you had a modicum of knowledge about these issues you’d at least know enough to shut up when someone goes well beyond your tiny little world.

Of course you haven’t stated anything of substance yet, just mouthed the appropriate platitudes, stated the lies that will look good to your fellow herd animals. But then you just vindicate every last thing I’ve said about reactionary liberalism through with your parroted lines.

Btw, it’s what every single dissenter encounters, from left to right, this self-righteous disdain for whatever you don’t know. I went through that stage, but that was in my teens, early twenties, then I learned what you don’t even have the capacity to consider. Of course you have to stupidly claim that I don’t know what I’m talking about, but naturally you can’t show that, or even show that you understand anything not mainstream.

DAvidF wrote:

The penalty for inducing a miscarriage wasn’t death and so, according to this, no murder was involved.

This is utter nonsense. The Hebrew word translated as miscarriage in the passage DAvidF quoted means, literally, “her child came out.” For example, the NIV translates:

If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. (Ex. 21:22, NIV)

Neither the KJV, NASB, NIV, NKJV nor the ESV use “miscarriage”.

This describes that fines are the appropriate punishment providing the child lives. If the child dies, then, as the passage continues, the usual Jewish laws of retribution (eye-for-an-eye) apply.

This passage does not support the notion that abortion is not murder.

Glen Davidson: OK. You’re joking, right? This is April 1, after all.

Another faulty Biblical interpretation from the man who says the Bible isn’t literally true:

Prof. Heddle wrote:

This describes that fines are the appropriate punishment providing the child lives. If the child dies, then, as the passage continues, the usual Jewish laws of retribution (eye-for-an-eye) apply.

The scholarly New English Bible translates Exodus 21:22 as:

When, in the course of a brawl, a man knocks against a pregnant woman so that she has a misciarrage but suffers no further hurt, then the offender must pay whatever fine the woman’s husband demands after assessment.

Note the word “miscarrage”.

The less-scholarly Good News Bible has the passage:

If some men are fighting and hurt a pregnant woman so that she loses her child, but she is not injured in any other way, the one who hurt her is to be fined whatever amount the woman’s husband demands, subject to the approval of the judges.

Even the King James Version, which Prof. Heddle falsely cites says:

If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall surely be punished according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

The “fruit” is obviously a fetus, not a full-term child. “Fruit” may be a nice image in a poetic section of the Bible, but not in the legal parts. (Just how good do you think premature-baby care was back in those days?)

An all of these translations, the above passage is followed by punishment for the “hurt” or “mischief” that didn’t happen in the above passage: the usual grim life-for-life, eye-for-eye, tooth-for-tooth, burn-for-burn, bruise-for-bruise passage that obviously applies to the mother, not the fetus.

Prof. Heddle’s contention

This describes that fines are the appropriate punishment providing the child lives. If the child dies, then, as the passage continues, the usual Jewish laws of retribution

is further nonsense, because the eye-for-eye formula always applies whether the victim lives or not.

Note that the above passage does provide for punishment of the miscarrage-causing assailant, up to what the husband (but not wife!) and judges allow. Clearly, this punishment is for the loss of the fetus, but clearly the fetus is not treated the same as a full human being.

In short, Prof. Heddle’s interpretation of this passage of the Bible is dead wrong, because it clearly treats a forced miscarriage as a different class of offense than injuring an actual person. And incidentally, he is wrong about the interpretation of the eye-for-eye punishment as well.

To be fair to Prof. Heddle, this kind of selective and twisted interpretation of the Bible to achieve a desired outcome, is endemic throughout the Christian religion. Often the worst offenders are liberal Christians, who must strive mightly to explain away a lot of unconfortable text.

Prof. Heddle wrote:

Air Bear, You are correct, the outcry against abortion has nothing, or at least should have nothing to do with the eternal salvation of the infant, although raptureready is wrong if it says infants are saved because they are sinless.

In the same manner, revulsion over any murder has nothing to do with a worry for the eternal soul of the victim.

What is your point, exactly?

My points are:

1) In matters of theology, the people at raptureready.com are professionals and you’re an amateur. They also express the mainstream Christian, especially Baptist, viewpoint on infants.

2) The evangelical Christian Right has lost its way theologically. They have turned away from matters eternal and have become obsessed with matters of sex, reproduction, and family relations. The obsessions over abortion and same-sex marriage elevate a set of tiny, and as you agree with abortion, theologically minor issues to major importance.

3) You and others do not express “revulsion over any murder” but only over a particular class of deaths where what’s dying is not a full person. I don’t see evangelical protesters at my local jail protesting drug-related homicides.

Airbear Wrote:

I don’t see evangelical protesters at my local jail protesting drug-related homicides.

I’m still waiting for the evangelical outrage over this little faux pas, two years ago now.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on March 30, 2005 7:49 PM.

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