Saturday, August 15, 2009
BUSTED!: "Obama As Hitler" Poster Was A Democrat/Union Plant At John Dingell Townhall! UPDATED with video interview!
Watering the plants, as Glenn Reynolds would say. Nancy Pelosi, the dimmest bulb in the U.S. House, got things started with this absurd assertion last week:
Once she said this, all of a sudden Obama as Hitler posters started popping up at townhall meetings, particularly this one at John Dingell's townhall last Thursday:Note the black man holding up the poster. This screenshot was used in reports by the MSM who painted the protesters as Nazis. Here's the thing, though - that black man is a Dingell supporter! Last Friday, Frank Beckmann on his show broadcast on WJR 760 AM interviewed an eyewitness that said not only were union thugs let in through a side door before anyone else was let into the venue, but that he clearly saw from his vantage point that very Obama as Hitler poster in that back hallway after the union thugs took their seats. The interview was around 11:00am, but WJR chose not to post that audio (they only tend to select one or two clips a day to post). I thought it would have been bigger news, and needed more than just that to write a post, albeit an audio clip would have partially sufficed. In any case, I've been scouring YouTube and the web for more info, and have finally found some. Here is one account that was posted Monday over atFreeRepublic:
If the link is out there, I haven't found it yet (**see update for footage**). The plant poster was used by the liberal media and the Soros-funded [see update#15] national blog the Daily Kos:
A couple that were at Dingals TH meeting said there was a black man outside with a sign comparing Obama the Adolf Hitler.After the meeting ended and when everyone was leaving this same man was handing out Dingal campaign flyers.
Sorry no link, I'm on my Palm but maybe someone can download it from Fox and post the link.
Before I had even parked the car, I saw a young African American guy carrying a 5-foot tall picture of President Obama with a Hitler mustache.The Huffington Post picked up on the poster as well:
As we neared the venue 30 minutes before it was scheduled to start, it was clear that the turnout was HUGE. Before I had even parked the car, we saw a young African American guy carrying a 5-foot tall picture of President Obama with a Hitler mustache.KG One over at RightMichigan had his suspicions regarding the Obama as Hitler poster. Here's one of the observations that KG listed in that post:
This was just a foreshadowing of what was to come.
Dispatch a small number of your sycophants to intermingle with the crowd in order to provoke a reaction. Giving them conflicting information works to promote the above. This also works best when the local media finally get off of their sorry duff and appear at event.This is nothing short of liberals watering the plants, albeit it is unclear whether they knew he was a plant at all. The media have been digging into the background of the father with a handicapped son that confronted Dingell at the event and was removed, but haven't, to the best of my knowledge, done a darned thing in regards to the plant! Typical. Then, just yesterday came this video from Stephen Gutowski atEyeblast.tv via The Minority Report:
UPDATE: Found the FoxNews segment (just got posted!) that the poster over at FreeRepublic mentioned above: (they talk about the black man with the Obama poster at the very end)
UPDATE #2: From the AP via The Detroit News: Swastika painted at Georgia congressman's office. Hmm. Another plant? This kind of thing has happened before (noose, Columbia). I doubt very much it was a protester. Again, all the Nazi paraphernalia coming out right after Pelosi painted the protesters as Nazis.
The Economic Dictators
This month, The Atlantic carries a fairly chilling account of how former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke bullied Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis into going forward with the Merrill Lynch merger...even though Lewis feared it might be disastrous for his company. To me, it reads like something out of Atlas Shrugged, with Paulson and Bernanke taking turns playing the role of Economic Dictator Wesley Mouch. The account is based on depositions of Paulson and Lewis:Who knew? Chicago politicians are indistinguishable from the villains in Atlas Shrugged.
Paulson—known as “The Hammer” since his days on the offensive line at Dartmouth—did not mince words with Lewis. “I’m going to be very blunt,” he said, according to Lewis’s deposition. “We’re very supportive of Bank of America and we want to be of help, but the government does not feel it’s in your best interest for you to call a MAC.” According to Lewis, Paulson told him the government felt “so strongly” about this that he said, “We would remove the board and management” if Lewis tried to invoke it. At that, a shaken Lewis stood down again.
Hat tip: Jack Frake
Crossposted at The Dougout
Compare and Contrast
Rock legend Bob Dylan was treated like a complete unknown by police in a New Jersey shore community when a resident called to report someone wandering around the neighborhood.
Dylan was in Long Branch, about a two-hour drive south of New York City, on July 23 as part of a tour with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp that was to play at a baseball stadium in nearby Lakewood.
A 24-year-old police officer apparently was unaware of who Dylan is and asked him for identification, Long Branch business administrator Howard Woolley said Friday.
"I don't think she was familiar with his entire body of work," Woolley said.
The incident began at 5 p.m. when a resident said a man was wandering around a low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood several blocks from the oceanfront looking at houses.
The police officer drove up to Dylan, who was wearing a blue jacket, and asked him his name. According to Woolley, the following exchange ensued:
"What is your name, sir?" the officer asked.
"Bob Dylan," Dylan said.
"OK, what are you doing here?" the officer asked.
"I'm on tour," the singer replied.
A second officer, also in his 20s, responded to assist the first officer. He, too, apparently was unfamiliar with Dylan, Woolley said.
The officers asked Dylan for identification. The singer of such classics as "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Blowin' in the Wind" said that he didn't have any ID with him, that he was just walking around looking at houses to pass some time before that night's show.
The officers asked Dylan, 68, to accompany them back to the Ocean Place Resort and Spa, where the performers were staying. Once there, tour staff vouched for Dylan.A novice policewoman picked up an "eccentric old man acting suspiciously", completely unaware that it was Bob Dylan.The officers thanked him for his cooperation.
"He couldn't have been any nicer to them," Woolley added.
Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the nation's pre-eminent African-American scholars, was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in. The incident raised concerns among some Harvard faculty that Gates was a victim of racial profiling.
Police arrived at Gates’s Ware Street home near Harvard Square at 12:44 p.m. to question him. Gates, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, had trouble unlocking his door after it became jammed.
He was booked for disorderly conduct after “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior,” according to a police report. '
Gates accused the investigating officer of being a racist and told him he had "no idea who he was messing with,'' the report said.
Gates told the officer that he was being targeted because "I'm a black man in America.''
Friends of Gates said he was already in his home when police arrived. He showed his driver’s license and Harvard identification card, but was handcuffed and taken into police custody for several hours last Thursday, they said.
The police report said Gates was arrested after he yelled at the investigating officer repeatedly inside the residence then followed the officer outside, where Gates continued to upbraid him. "It was at that time that I informed Professor Gates that he was under arrest,'' the officer wrote in the report.
Chevy Volt... a late, subsidized, loser from Govt Motors ..big shock, huh?
Marketed as the model to turn General Motors' luck around, the Chevrolet Volt is now facing setbacks. A GM report is claiming that the Volt's range-extender hybrid technology will not be able to meet its November 2010 launch date. The report culled from its regulatory filing to the US Treasury also said that the Volt has not yet proven to be commercially viable.
It is likely that GM will initially sell the Volt at a loss, hoping that it would recoup the development costs in future-generation models as Toyota has done with its Prius. Majority-owned by the US Treasury, GM has been seeking loans from the US Department for Energy to help it develop advanced fuel technology vehicles. Unfortunately, it has had all three applications for a $5.7 billion share of the $25 billion fund denied. A fourth application is due this month.
New Hires Rate WORST IN HISTORY
Entrepreneurs and business managers are frozen
It's not enough for most people to know what the unemployment rate is and whether it's going up or down. It's not enough for investors and entrepreneurs living during some of the strangest times in American financial history. And it's not enough for citizens trying to decide whether the policy proposals now in Washington are worthy of their support. If you fall into any of these categories, you need to know more about the labor market than the headline numbers. In particular, you need to know the JOLT.
Last week we learned that non-farm payrolls dropped by "only" 247,000 and that the unemployment rate decreased a tick from 9.5 percent to 9.4 percent -- important statistics both. This week, however, a lesser-known but no-less-vital jobs indicator arrived: the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (or JOLT, to its friends). This survey breaks down the ins and outs, literally, of our dynamic employment system. It tells us how fast we're hiring, firing, quitting, and offering gainful employment. Critically, it tells us the hires rate.
You know how, when Obama says we're turning the corner he just doesn't FEEL RIGHT?
Click below for full size image
Economic minds on the political left might reflexively counter that the blame should fall on the greedy businesspeople who are not hiring. But even if we concede that business owners are greedy (which we do not), was there ever a point, across the hundreds of months during which the hiring rate has been reported, when they weren't greedy? Weren't they greedy when they went on a hiring spree following passage of the Bush-Cheney (or is it the other way around?) tax cuts of 2003? Did Obama make them greedy? No, but Obama has made them scared. Everywhere I go I hear the same story. Business owners know the little details that academics and pundits don't, and they know what not to do. They know, for example, that payroll taxes are not only scheduled to rise, but already have risen. And they know all too well that government-mandated unemployment compensation is funded by employers through an unemployment-compensation payroll tax. As a result, they know not to hire.
This is certainly NOT an argument against unemployment compensation ...in fact one of the valid uses of govt in a situation like this MUST be to extend this, but the question of recovery is not a matter of executive claims and faux optimism to raise the investment feelings.
The basic problem for this nation is that the industrial base which MADE THINGS for a profit has eroded since the 70's beginning with the industry's urge for subsidies for the steel. Wages overseas made production costs a fraction of ours as industries there reached a threshold of capacity to compete.
Very high end software, medical, and other niche production has ameliorated this somewhat, but when you call for tech support and the phone is answered in Hyderabad .....
I don't expect Americans to say, 'okay I'll work for what they make in Bangla Desh'. But I do expect SOMEONE in authority to point out the basic issues. So we can begin to think.
This nation (and the world via us) got away with 2 generations of growth on the equity explosion in real estate values which allowed us to spend money not made on production of things for profit, but in a very large way - on that equity. Nations around the world benefitted as the money spun around.
Now as we look around, one has to wonder how and what americans can produce for a profit ..whether that be software, services, plywood, fusion energy, or WHAT?
Maybe entrepreneurs turned loose like this?
Or will it be the force of nature known as capital which compels us all to a ONEWORLD?
It's time to think UNSPARINGLY
What do you mean, "we", Kimosabe?
"We" could live with a nuclear Iran
Pre-emptive strikes have no part in serious debate. We must deal with the clerics as self-interested statesmen, not fanatics
One consequence of Iran's disputed presidential election is that President Obama's best-case scenario for dealing with the nuclear issue can now be dismissed. This envisaged a reformist victory and a new Iranian government willing to stop short of turning Iran into the world's 10th nuclear weapons state. The scale of opposition protest suggests that change will come, but it may arrive later rather than sooner. In the meantime we are faced with an insecure conservative regime that hopes to shore up its fragile position by exaggerating the external threat and making national security the defining issue of domestic politics. This is not a promising basis for compromise.
These risks are compounded by the apparent urgency of the situation. Although Iran's intentions and capabilities are hotly disputed and difficult to gauge, most analysts agree that it is close to achieving a nuclear "breakout" capability, whether it plans to build an actual weapon or not. That is why Obama has timetabled next month to take stock of the offer he made in March for a new relationship with Iran based on dialogue and "mutual respect". The lack of any positive signal from Tehran in the next few weeks is likely to trigger an American move to tighten international sanctions in an effort to dissuade the Iranian leadership from going any further down the nuclear path.
Waiting impatiently in the wings is a new, hardline Israeli government that regards a nuclear-armed Iran as the only outcome it is unwilling to tolerate. In his campaign statements, the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, adopted an uncompromising stance: "I promise that if I am elected, Iran will not acquire nuclear arms, and this implies everything necessary to carry this out." All options, including a unilateral military strike against Iran's nuclear installations, are therefore considered a price worth paying to avert what Netanyahu characterises as an "existential threat". Israeli officials measure the limit of their patience in months rather than years.
Netanyahu knows that Obama would not support an Israeli military operation, which is why he will not repeat the mistake of his predecessor by asking for permission. It took Bush eight years, but he finally got something right when he told Ehud Olmert to back off. What even he couldn't ignore is the serious instability and damage to western interests that a move of this kind would invite: a renewed upsurge of anti-American feeling across the Middle East sending moderate allies scuttling for cover; a further wave of terrorist violence and a new lease of life for al-Qaida; the targeting of allied forces in Afghanistan and Iraq; and perhaps weighing heaviest of all, the closure of the Strait of Hormuz and an oil price spike that would tip recession into depression
READ IT ALL
WHY IS DELUSION OVER THESE ENEMIES OF ALL FREE MEN DOMINANT?
GUARDIAN:"Some point to President Ahmadinejad's statement that Israel should "disappear from the page of time" as a reason to view Iran differently. But no one seriously imagines that his finger would be on the nuclear button. Military command and control is the prerogative of the clerical elite, which more than anything is concerned with preserving its own power structure. Even anti-Zionist posturing is rationally grounded in Iran's desire to increase its regional clout despite the limitation of being a non-Arab state."
PM:"We should seek by all means in our power to avoid war, by analyzing possible causes, by trying to remove them, by discussion in a spirit of collaboration and good will. I cannot believe that such a program would be rejected...., even if it does mean the establishment of personal contact with the dictators."
Mario Puzo : "Fools die"
More Dick Than You Can Swallow!
But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast. Abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it] in whatever form or whatever kind it may be.“Faith is one of the world's great evils,
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
comparable to the smallpox virus
but harder to eradicate.”
~ Richard DawkinsObammunism is the Hopium of the Asses
Religion is the opium of the masses
~ Karl Marx
~ Outraged Spleen
Divinyls ~ Science Fiction ~ 1982
by Larry Taunton
Issue Number 18, December 2007
DAWKINS: “Of course I have doubts all the time,” he said, “and I think in a way the word ‘atheism’ is misleading because it suggests that there’s just one alternative, which is God. I’m constantly on the alert for changes of mind, but extremely skeptical that those changes will just happen to be in the direction of embracing a god of Bronze Age camel herders from the Middle East,”
"What is the objective of your anti-religious campaign?" I asked.
"I think my ultimate goal would be to convert people away from particular religions toward a rationalist skepticism, tinged with … no, that’s too weak," he said, correcting himself, "… glorying in the universe and in life. Yes, I would like people to be converted away from religion to skepticism."
In September, the Atheist Alliance International (AAI) sponsored a conference in Washington, D.C., featuring Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett, among others. The conference sold out. The purpose was to encourage, inform, and unite the unbelieving. Something like a Promise Keepers for atheists—minus singing, crying, and Tony Evans, of course.
Make no mistake about it: Richard Dawkins is their leader. As the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at arguably the most prestigious university in the world, Dawkins occupies the bully pulpit of science and culture and uses it to maximum effect. That he receives top billing at the AAI conference in D.C. should come as no surprise. Unlike Hitchens, a flamethrower and a mere pundit, or Harris, an upstart graduate student, Dawkins is a fellow of the Royal Society, the author of eight bestsellers, and a highly respected scientist. As one Oxford journalist told me: “Richard Dawkins IS Oxford University.”
But for all of Dawkins’ sophistication, there seems to be little appreciation of the fact that religious faiths and practices are not monolithic. Dawkins disregards all nuances. To him, all religions are the same—irrational and opposed to the rigors of scientific inquiry. And that is the way Dawkins frames the debate: science vs. religion. We may reasonably translate this as “fact vs. fiction” or “rational vs. irrational.”
“What defines your morality?” I asked with genuine curiosity.
There was an extended pause as Dawkins considered the question carefully. “Moral philosophic reasoning and a shifting zeitgeist.” He looked off and then continued.
“We live in a society in which, nowadays, slavery is abominated, women are respected, children can’t be abused—all of which is different from previous centuries.”
He leaned forward as he warmed to his subject.
“I’m actually rather interested in the shifting zeitgeist. If you travel anywhere in the Western world, you find a consensus of opinion which is recognizably different from what it was only a matter of a decade or two ago. You and I are both a part of that same zeitgeist, and [as to where] we get our moral outlook, one can almost use phrases like ‘it’s in the air.’”
At this point, perhaps a word of explanation is necessary. Zeitgeistis a German word meaning “spirit of the age.” Dawkins here refers to the prevailing moral climate or mood of a given place or time. We may observe that what constitutes moral or ethical behavior differs from one culture to another; indeed, it may even differ within a given culture. This is not in dispute. The question, rather, is this: should moral standards be based on the societal zeitgeistor should they look beyond it to something else?
I asked an obvious question: “As we speak of this shifting zeitgeist, how are we to determine who’s right? If we do not acknowledge some sort of external [standard], what is to prevent us from saying that the Muslim [extremists] aren’t right?”
“Yes, absolutely fascinating.” His response was immediate. “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question. But whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.”
READ IT ALL!
RICHARD DAWKINS WEB SITEPeople travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and they pass themselves by without wondering.
DICK HEARTS UNCLE CHOM
DAWKINS: "My personal feeling is that understanding evolution led me to atheism"
Show 208: Intelligent Design/ Evolution Debate
This is an audio version of the Firing Line debate held in 1997.
Audio MP3 Podcast 78 minutes long, 18MB.
Intelligent Design Proponents:
William F. Buckley Jr Columnist and Host
No description is apt enough or even necessary. This man did not descend from an ape!
Phillip Johnson Law Professor, Berkeley , Co-Founder Discovery Institute
Buckley wrote the book based on his undergraduate experiences at Yale University. In the book, he criticized Yale and its faculty for forcing liberal ideology on its students. He criticized individual professors by name for their trying to break down students' religious beliefs through their teaching. Buckley also claimed in the book that Yale was denying its students any sense of individualism by forcing them to embrace the growing creed of liberalism.
God and Man at Yale received mixed reviews when it was first published. Many underestimated the ultimate impact that the book and Buckley would have on American society, thinking that it would quickly fade into the background. Quite the opposite happened, as Buckley used it as a sort of launching pad into the public eye. He went on to be an active force in the conservative movement through the political magazine he started, National Review, and his television show Firing Line. The book and its author played a crucial role in tying together the different factions of the arising conservative movement to form a potent political force.
With the publication of his book "Darwin on Trial" in 1991 he began a second career as one of the foremeost critics of Darwin's Theory of Evolution and its wider sociological and cultural implications. Johnson is one of the leading members of the Intelligent Design movement and has done much to help these ideas gain acceptance and a wider hearing worldwide.Michael Behe Biochemist, Lehigh University
Johnson is best known as one of the founders of the intelligent design movement, principal architect of the Wedge Strategy, author of the Santorum Amendment, and one of the ID movement's most prolific authors. Johnson is co-founder and program advisor of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture (CSC)
Johnson is the author of several books on evolution, philosophical naturalism, and other cultural issues and speaks extensively around the country. His "Leading Edge" column appears regularly in Touchstone Magazine.
American biochemist and intelligent design advocate. Behe is professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. He advocates the idea that some structures are too complex at the biochemical level to be adequately explained as a result of evolutionary mechanisms. He has termed this concept "irreducible complexity"David Berlinski PHD Philosophy, Post Doctorate Fellow of Mathematics and Molecular BiologyAnimation of The Flagellum Motor
The Department of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University has published an official position statement which says "It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific."
Berlinksi is a secular Jew and self-described agnostic, and according to a 2008 Slate magazine profile "a critic, a contrarian, and — by his own admission — a crank."
TWO "HARD SCIENTISTS",Evolution Proponents:
ONE WITH A DEEPLY BIBLICAL BELIEF SYSTEM,
ONE AN AGNOSTIC (Berlinski)
ONE LAW PROFESSOR WITH A DEEPLY BIBLICAL BELIEF SYSTEM,
ONE LEGENDARY WRITER / PUNDIT WITH DEEPLY BIBLICAL BELIEF SYSTEM
Barry Lynn ~ Americans United for Separation of Church and State
The single greatest threat to church-state separation in America is the movement known as the Religious Right. Organizations and leaders representing this religio-political crusade seek to impose a fundamentalist Christian viewpoint on all Americans through government action"Eugenie C. Scott ~ National Center for Science Education
SEARCH: RICHARD DAWKINS / BARRY LYNN
The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) defends the teaching of evolution in public schools. We are a nationally-recognized clearinghouse for information and advice to keep evolution in the science classroom and "scientific creationism" out.Kenneth Miller Biologist, Brown University
NCSE is the only national organization to specialize in this issue.
SEARCH: RICHARD DAWKINS / EUGENIE SCOTT
Michael Ruse Philosopher of Science
Miller has proudly voiced his support for what he calls "pro-science" candidates in politics. He has actively campaigned for school board and education candidates who support the teaching of evolution in Kansas and Ohio. In the science community, he has sought to elevate the understanding of scientists of the roots of the creationist movement, and to encourage the popularization of scientific concepts.
Miller has appeared in court as a witness, and on panels debating the teaching of intelligent design in schools. In 2002, the Ohio State Board of Education held a public debate between two scientists, including Miller, and two proponents of intelligent design. He was a witness in Selman v. Cobb County, testing the legality of stickers calling evolution a "theory, not a fact" that were placed on the biology textbook Miller authored. In 2005, the judge ruled that the stickers violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution . This decision was vacated on appeal on a technicality, and was remanded back to the lower court and was eventually settled out of court Miller was also the plaintiff's lead expert witness in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, challenging the school board's mandate to incorporate intelligent design into the curriculum. The judge in that case also ruled decisively in favor of the plaintiffs.
In 2006 the American Society for Cell Biology gave him a Public Service Award. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) also recognized Miller for his contribution to the public education of evolution in the United States. Miller also appeared at the 2006 Dwight H. Terry Lectureship at Yale, delivering a lecture entitled "Darwin, God, and Dover: What the Collapse of 'Intelligent Design' Means for Science and for Faith in America."
SEARCH: KENNETH MILLER / RICHARD DAWKINS
Philosophy of science is the study of assumptions, foundations, and implications of science. The field is defined by an interest in one of a set of "traditional" problems or an interest in central or foundational concerns in science. In addition to these central problems for science as a whole, many philosophers of science consider these problems as they apply to particular sciences (e.g. philosophy of biology or philosophy of physics). Some philosophers of science also use contemporary results in science to draw philosophical morals. Although most practitioners are philosophers, several prominent scientists have contributed to the field and still do.
TWO SPOKESPEOPLE FROM POLITICALLY MOTIVATED ACTION FOUNDATIONS WITH OPENLY STATED DISDAIN FOR THE JUDEO-CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW WHO ARE CLOSELY ALLIED WITH RICHARD DAWKINS
ONE "HARD" SCIENTIST CLOSELY ALLIED WITH RICHARD DAWKINS
ONE "SOFT" SCIENTIST WHO APPEARS TO BE THE ONLY ONE WITH NO TIES TO DAWKINS IN THE GROUP
"One person who comes in for withering scorn in The God Delusion is me. Even though I am not a Christian, I nevertheless think that one can be a Christian with integrity and that Darwinism does not in itself preclude Christianity. In fighting fundamentalism - from scientific creationism to intelligent design theory - one should be willing to work with liberal Christians.
Suppose it is true - that if you are a Darwinian, then you cannot be a Christian. How then does one answer the creationist who objects to the teaching of Darwinism in schools? If theism cannot be taught in schools (in America) because it violates the separation of church and state, why then should Darwinism be permitted? Perhaps, given the U.S. Constitution, the creationists are right and Darwinism should be excluded. ”
~ Michael Ruse
But the critical question is: compared to what? And here Dawkins is less convincing because he fails to examine the question in a systematic way. Tests of religion's consequences might involve a number of different comparisons: between religion's good and bad effects, or between the behavior of believers and nonbelievers, and so on.
While Dawkins touches on each, his modus operandi generally involves comparing religion as practiced—religion, that is, as it plays out in the rough-and-tumble world of compromise, corruption, and incompetence—with atheism as theory. But fairness requires that we compare both religion and atheism as practiced or both as theory. The latter is an amorphous and perhaps impossible task, and I can see why Dawkins sidesteps it.
But comparing both as practiced is more straightforward. And, at least when considering religious and atheist institutions, the facts of history do not, I believe, demonstrate beyond doubt that atheism comes out on the side of the angels. Dawkins has a difficult time facing up to the dual facts that (1) the twentieth century was an experiment in secularism; and (2) the result was secular evil, an evil that, if anything, was more spectacularly virulent than that which came before.
From the Afterword
By Richard Dawkins
In the 1920s and 1930s, scientists from both the political left and right would not have found the idea of designer babies particularly dangerous - though of course they would not have used that phrase. Today, I suspect that the idea is too dangerous for comfortable discussion, and my conjecture is that Adolf Hitler is responsible for the change. Nobody wants to be caught agreeing with that monster, even in a single particular.
The spectre of Hitler has led some scientists to stray from "ought" to "is" and deny that breeding for human qualities is even possible. But if you can breed cattle for milk yield, horses for running speed, and dogs for herding skill, why on Earth should it be impossible to breed humans for mathematical, musical or athletic ability?
Objections such as "these are not one-dimensional abilities" apply equally to cows, horses and dogs and never stopped anybody in practice. I wonder whether, some 60 years after Hitler's death, we might at least venture to ask what the moral difference is between breeding for musical ability and forcing a child to take music lessons. Or why it is acceptable to train fast runners and high jumpers but not to breed them. I can think of some answers, and they are good ones, which would probably end up persuading me. But hasn't the time come when we should stop being frightened even to put the question?
Richard Dawkins is Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University
I Can Valk!
Dawkins on his "shifting moral zeitgeist"
Hitler wasn't really that evil at all, you see
WTF is World Evolutionary Humanism, & Why Should You Care?
Corpse Bride Piano Solo and Duet4:55:00 a.m. permanent link# 3 Comments
Lullaby for Clarinet, Piano, and Strings
Court And Spark
Free Speech is dead - police interview suspect in Obama 'Joker' posters
Friday, August 14, 2009
Tough, Bad, Hot Girls of the IDF10:35:00 p.m. permanent link# 62 Comments
What I did on my Summer vacation
Well, it wasn't a real vacation. There were no travails to exotic locations or quiet retreats. I just had to step away from blogging for a while is all. About three months of no terrorism, tax hikes, clueless pols or natural disasters. Damned selfish of me doncha think?
When I was online I kept it light. Following just the basic news and spending most of my time in a non-political realm. As a result, I have a lot of catching up to do. It took me about an hour to clear out my mail box and manage the three month backlog of comments.
Yes I'm back, taking a wrecking ball to totaltarianism.
New Israeli Weaponry8:28:00 p.m. permanent link# 0 Comments
When the Death Panels Meet A Vengeful Man
Midnight Rider's really hit the bottle hard this time you say.
Nay, says I. Consider.
The Death Panels (yes yes I know they dropped it in the Senate. We'll see about that) determine someone's mother or grandfather or spouse or son or daughter is not worth the expense it will take to keep that loved one alive. Because they are too old or too sick or disabled or what have you.
How long, how much would it take, until a normally reasonable father is pushed to the edge, facing the loss of a son daughter or wife, and decides to take matters as well as a gun into his own hands and rob the pharmacy of the medicines needed, threaten the physician to write the prescription, perform the care.
And how much would it take for him to pull that trigger on the doctor or Death Panelist if his loved one dies because care was arbitrarily denied, when it was felt that it would be better to talk about how they would prepare to die instead of how they would stay alive.
The anger and vitriol we see at the town halls now is nothing compared to what America may face, what it may turn loose, if Obamacare goes through and our loved ones start dying off needlessly just so Obama can meet the bottom line.
Then whose hands will that blood be on?
Exactly How Are Dissed, Disdained Citizens And Taxpayers Supposed To React?
According to this at Politico:
Palin's comments, posted on her Facebook page, come after weeks of raucous town halls in which conservatives have shouted down members of Congress.Let's think about Palin's statement for a minute. Common folk are going to town halls and have one chance to have a face-to-face with their so-called "elected public servants." And those public servants are lying to and dissing the very people who pay their salaries after voting these "public servants" into office. These common folk, many of them looking to the so-called "experts" for answers, come, for the most part, respectful of the office and perhaps even a bit intimidated by the "experts," many of whom are lawyers or, at the least, have many years in public office. Then the common folk learn that these relied-upon "experts" don't have answers and/or are spouting the BHO party line.
"There are many disturbing details in the current bill that Washington is trying to rush through Congress, but we must stick to a discussion of the issues and not get sidetracked by tactics that can be accused of leading to intimidation or harassment," Palin wrote. "Such tactics diminish our nation’s civil discourse which we need now more than ever because the fine print in this outrageous health care proposal must be understood clearly and not get lost in conscientious voters’ passion to want to make elected officials hear what we are saying. Let’s not give the proponents of nationalized health care any reason to criticize us."
Analogy: I recently bought a new car. The first dealer I visited for over three hours lied to me as to the trade-in amount for my clunker (the manager saying "$3500" when the government web site clearly stated $4500). We cut a tentative deal at $11,000, and when I returned to that car dealer later in the day with my checkbook in hand and the printout from the government web site, I got all sorts of run-around and a new price of $14,000.
So what did I do? Kick the furniture around? Start yelling? No. I went to another car dealer and yet another until I found one willing to strike a deal with me. I wasn't trapped, I had options.
But what if there had been no other car dealer to go to? I think that my reaction would have been much like the common folk at the town halls. I certainly wouldn't have left quietly as I really needed a new car.
In a sense, these common folk at the town halls are trapped. They have only one dealer with which to strike a deal, that dealer being their so-called "public servant" of the moment. And the common folk are seeing so-called "public servant" after so-called "public servant" acting the ass and lying.
These so-called "public servants" deserve to be hooted at, yelled at, and laughed at. They've earned such reactions. They also need to be voted out of office - perhaps even recalled from office before their current term has ended.
In my view, Sarah Palin is coming off like some kind of elitist with her statement about telling the common folk to tone down their anger. Furthermore, the people - the common folk, untrained in public relations and policy debate, which training all these politicians have - are showing anger in the face of disdain and lies, and are responding in the tradition of the Spirit of 1776.
It is the so-called "public servants" who have turned public discourse into a farce. They deserve the reaction they are getting from the people.