Pharyngula

A GOOD Republican

So I was way too depressing in that last post. Here’s one of those little notes of hope that we hear too rarely—an Ohio Republican using her reason to back the best candidate for a job, even if he is a Democrat.

Republican Martha Wise is backing Democrat John Bender in the race to replace her on the state school board.

Wise, who is running against Democrat Sue Morano for the state senate, said Bender is the only one of the four candidates in the school board race who agrees with her on keeping intelligent design out of science classrooms.

“I’ve spent five years of my life keeping intelligent design, or what you might call teaching religion, out of science classes,” she said. “He’s the only one who agrees with me.”

You know, if the Republicans were stocked with Martha Wises and the Democrats were a mob of Deepak Chopras, I’d be proudly calling myself a Republican. Now if only we could get both parties to nominate intelligent people, I’d be overjoyed to have to make a difficult decision at every election.

I have to wonder about this other candidate, though.

Roland Hansen, another candidate in the race, said he wasn’t surprised by Wise’s decision to endorse Bender, but didn’t think Wise should be basing her decision solely on his beliefs about intelligent design.

“It’s a terrible reason to endorse someone on one issue,” he said.

I think it’s an excellent reason. If someone were a paragon of experience and rationality on all the economic and political issues, but was utterly convinced that the Venusian mind-control rays were the paramount crisis of our times, wouldn’t that be reason enough to think that just maybe he’d be a poor choice for political office? It’s the same here: when someone is running for school board, they darn well ought to be competent on educational issues, including science, or they should be rejected.

Comments

  1. #1 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2006

    anybody consider Mr. Hansen’s post a great statement in support of his candidacy for the post?

    let’s see, he had every opportunity to present a clear case as to not only what his position on this topic is, but also to argue the case for the lack of it’s importance in education.

    seems he failed to do either.

    all that potential free advertising shot to hell.

    oh well.

  2. #2 Roland Hansen
    October 31, 2006

    Ichthyic, you have made your case for jumping to conclusions. Selective perception on your part, perhaps. My original commentary was in regards to people who state one thing but practice another. People who preach “do as I say not as I do.” People who believe in facts but speculate on innuendo and unverified conjectures. Perhaps you only embrace the physical science and exclude the social sciences.
    Rather than smearing me with your ego-boosting diatribe, why not ask me directly anything you may have in mind. You can get my e-mail address off my home page which can be found on my blog.
    Oh, I hardly consider commenting on a blog site in Minnesota as a campaign strategy for Northwest and Northcentral Ohio.

  3. #3 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2006

    People who preach “do as I say not as I do.” People who believe in facts but speculate on innuendo and unverified conjectures. Perhaps you only embrace the physical science and exclude the social sciences.

    right, so instead of presenting a clear argument about what your position is and then explaining why you think this specific issue doesn’t garner enough importance, you said:

    That said it is still the ultimate myopic perspective in my opinion to base a decision solely on a single issue rather than an overall holistic gestalt approach.

    which, without further explanation, sure sounds like a lot of meaningless drivel. “hollistic gestalt approach”

    can’t you see how much of a sound-bite that is?

    Sure sounds like you’re the one doing the preaching there, old boy.

    If your goal is to not be misrepresented, you’ve got some work to do.

    The best way to do that is to be absolutely up front and clear about your position. That’s the best defense, not coming here and saying everybody is victimizing you, including the press, then expecting anybody would even care what you have to say afterwards. You could have started off by being explicit on your position wrt to teaching ID, and then gone on to explain why you think it’s not important as a specific issue in teaching overall.

    However, you didn’t do that, did you?

    I’m perfectly happy to listen to what you have to say, once you start to actually say something.

    me, I never misinterpreted your position based on media reports, as I’ve never even heard of you before now.

    go figure.

  4. #4 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2006

    This is my last post here.

    *sigh*

    where you yet again play the victim rather than argue, or even define, your position as to what your “gestalt hollism” is.

    I would suggest you would hate politics, since you apparently dislike being a victim so intensely.

    maybe it’s a good thing you are learning this so early?

  5. #5 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2006

    ….um, I’m from that part of the country. Do you understand how the internet works?

    there appears to be a great deal Mr. Hansen does not understand.

    alas, since he ran away crying “help! help! I’m bein’ repressed!”

    i guess we’ll never know for sure.

  6. #6 Ichthyic
    November 1, 2006

    No doubt Hitler had good presentation skills. Why should we be impressed by presentation skills?

    considering that was the gist of the post, that Miller has good presentation skills, it sounds like you are reading to much into it.

    He does, in fact, have excellent presentation skills. for the time period and audience, Hitler also had good presentation skills.

    I don’t see anything obtuse about stating so.

    the commenter wasn’t intending to present a critique of the evidence presented by Miller, AFAICT (though I’ve seen him speak several times, and he ain’t “full of crap” when he’s talking about evolution and biology).

    the only thing that bugged me about MikeQ’s commentary was the very last line:

    Too bad I didn’t get to ask my questions. They were good ones, too.

    one wonders why, if Mike thought they were such great questions, he wouldn’t deem them fit to ask here.

  7. #7 MikeQ
    November 1, 2006

    I can understand why you’d think I was some sort of creationist in sheep’s clothing, Ichthyic. However, I’m actually a bio student. The questions for Miller weren’t factual–facts I can learn. I was going to ask him about his insight into the ID mindset. Specifically, my questions were:

    “Creative use of language is an important component in the strategy of the Intelligent Design folk. You’ve made the point that this is not a scientific fight, and shouldn’t be fought on scientific grounds. Rather, a cultural attack demands a cultural response. Research and Documentation have thus proven more effective weapons against ID than have any scientific arguments. Rhetoric is at a premuim in any debate with IDers, and evidence is at a minimum.

    First, why do you even deign to debate IDers at all? By debating them as a Ph.D representative of Brown University, are you not giving credence to their views? What are your views on this subject, as you’ve obviously chosen to debate them?

    Second, how do you tailor your presentations to fit the need for clever rhetoric, good documentation and excellent research into ID ideology at the expense of scientific arguments?”

    I had a further question for him about his textbook experience. I wanted to know if, as an author, he’d felt pressure from publishers over his books. Further, were his books not utilized in any states?

    “No doubt Hitler had good presentation skills. Why should we be impressed by presentation skills? Corporate CEOs have good presentation skills, that doesn’t mean they aren’t full of crap.

    Curious. Who do you rank as THE best, so we can get a better idea of what you are taking about?”

    My experience is from Improv and one person shows in Chicago. The only person who I’ve worked with who might ring a bell with a national audience is a performer called Christopher Carter. He was better than Miller. Then again, the nature of his show demanded he be better. Carter describes himself as a “mentalist.” Essentially, he claims to use psychological principle to perform tricks. There’s nothing supernatural about his show, and he makes the claim that nothing he does is at all supernatural, which is rare for a mentalist. If you’ve seen the movie “the Illusionist,” Carter is something like that on stage. A dash of genuine principle, a handful of clever constructions in audience interaction and a showman’s presence all make him better than Miller by leaps and bounds. Miller’s lectures are put together with an earnest desire to educate and convince his audience of the rightness of his cause. Carter’s presentations aren’t meant to convince anyone–as he plainly states in his show. Rather, presentations that make people wonder “how he did that” are antithetical to good science education, which should explain and illuminate rather than entertain and blind the audience.

    The ability to carry an audience as a single performer is a difficult skill. The BEST I ever saw was a performer at Live Bait Theatre. It was a semi-improv speech called “asians annonymous.” Yes, it was comedy. The guy was fantastic, however, in assembling a speech from disparate components that fit perfectly well with his fellow performers and with the audience. He was darn good at what he did.

    The best I see regularly is Sister from Late Nite Catechism. An actress playing a nun in a one woman show who has to control large audiences and who simulataneously has 18 hours of material to pull from and arrange into a 2 hour show. That’s something.

    The fact that Miller’s lecture lacks that sort of professional polish is endearing. It’s simple. He gives a darn good talk.

  8. #8 Ichthyic
    November 1, 2006

    MikeQ wrote:

    First, why do you even deign to debate IDers at all? By debating them as a Ph.D representative of Brown University, are you not giving credence to their views? What are your views on this subject, as you’ve obviously chosen to debate them?

    this question could have been stated as a yes/no question by asking him if he supported the AAAS’s recommendation to boycott the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt.

    However, from reading much about Miller of late, i would say that his approach is to ingratiate himself BY lending a willing ear to creationists arguments, in the hopes that when he tears them down, piece by piece, they too might be willing to listen.

    I disagree that is effective for the creationists who initiate the arguments, but it seems to work for many “fencesitters”.

    other fencesitters are more swayed by simply showing the arguments to be vacuous to begin with, or that the people who make them are often, intentionally or not, essentially misrepesenting facts and evidence (read: lying).

    Miller’s is one approach to swaying fencesitters amongst many. It’s not one I personally ascribe to, but then I’m an atheist, so…

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