Quick Takes

I’ve been on blog vacation for about three weeks now, and a number of things have happened in that time. So let me get a few things off my chest.

  1. Stephen Colbert was brilliant at the White House Correspondent’s dinner. That is a fact, not an opinion. Frankly, the whole idea of the Correspondents’ dinner is a bit grotesque. Journalists should not be hobnobbing and having a good time with the politicians they cover. Colbert said exactly what needed to be said.
  2. David Blaine totally won me over with this last stunt. He held his breath for seven minutes and eight seconds. That’s freakin’ incredible. I tried holding my breath along with him and conked out at a minute twenty. And I wasn’t trying to escape from handcuffs, and I hadn’t just spent a week pickling in a large glass sphere.
  3. Harvard neuroscientist Kevin Shapiro published this pro-evolution op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. He argues that conservatives don’t do themselves any favors by attacking Darwin. It’s a good essay, well worth reading. But it does little to change the fact that in today’s political climate, sympathy for creationism is the dominant view among conservatives. People like Shapiro, George Will, or Charles Krauthammer are lonely voices in the conservative wilderness, accorded about as much respect in the Republican party as pro-lifers are in the Democratic party. Every conservative politican of any prominence is anti-Darwin, and virtually every right-wing media outlet publishes anti-evolution articles on a regular basis. Indeed, as Chris Mooney documented at book length, hostility towards science is an integral part of Republican politics today.

Comments

  1. #1 justawriter
    May 15, 2006

    Welcome, you’ve made a good start. However I would like you to note, given the following comment:

    People like Shapiro, George Will, or Charles Krauthammer are lonely voices in the conservative wilderness, accorded about as much respect in the Republican party as pro-lifers are in the Democratic party. Every conservative politican of any prominence is anti-Darwin, and virtually every right-wing media outlet publishes anti-evolution articles on a regular basis.

    that the Democratic leader in the Senate and the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 2000 (not to mention the leading Democratic candidate for the Senate from Pennsylvania) all consider themselves “pro-life” or anti-abortion. I think they qualify as “politicians of prominence” so your comparison does fall a little flat. I know there are other pro-life congresscritters who happen to be Democrats (Stephanie Herseth, there’s another) but I didn’t take the time to look up a list. These are just the ones off the top of my head.

  2. #2 Scott Belyea
    May 15, 2006

    Stephen Colbert was brilliant at the White House Correspondent’s dinner. That is a fact, not an opinion.

    Ah. Gives a whole new meaning to the word “fact”, the word “opinion” … and perhaps even the word “arrogant.”

    He spoke there … that’s a fact. From the excerpts I’ve seen, he was brilliant … that’s my opinion.

  3. #3 Jason Rosenhouse
    May 15, 2006

    Scott-

    When someone adamantly describes as a fact something that is obviously an opinion, you should consider the possibility that he is speaking with tongue in cheek.

    justawriter-

    It’s news to me that Joe Lieberman is pro-life. According to this website, he is rather unambiguously pro-choice. Often when a politican says that he “considers himself pro-life,” that is code for “I’m pro-choice but I’m afraid of offending my audience if I say so bluntly.

    Meanwhile, Bob Casey has huge name recognition in Pennsylvania and is the son of a former, popular governor. This, among other reasons, gives him a good chance of defeating Rick Santorum in November. The Democratic party generally is willing to tolerate his pro-life views for that reason.

    I don’t know much about Harry Reid’s views on abortion, but I do know he doesn’t talk about it much. He has voted to support certain restrictions on abortion, but I’d be surprised if he takes the official Republican view that all abortions should be illegal.

    At any rate, I never denied that there are pro-life Democrats or pro-science Republicans. At issue in my post was where the driving force within each party lies. Among the Republicans, it is the anti-science forces who currently drive the agenda. In the Democratic party, it is the pro-choice side that holds the sway. That seems uncontroversial to me, and I stand by my comparison.

  4. #4 Anonymous
    May 15, 2006

    When someone adamantly describes as a fact something that is obviously an opinion, you should consider the possibility that he is speaking with tongue in cheek.

    I did. However, when there’s any doubt, I prefer to default to what was actually written, rather than what I might suppose that the author could have intended.

    I mean, this is a fact-based ScienceBlog, right? :-)

    Glad to see your blog here …

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.