Pharyngula

How bad could Huckabee be?

Jason Wiles delivers a lovely smackdown of Huckabee’s position on evolution. First, he hits him hard on his record as governor of Arkansas.

During Huckabee’s tenure as Governor, evolution education in Arkansas languished in an environment of general hostility and insufficiency. Two anti-evolution bills were introduced in the state’s House of Representatives; textbooks in the Beebe, Arkansas public high school carried disclaimer stickers denigrating evolution; the state’s science curriculum earned a grade of “D” overall and an abysmal “zero” for its treatment of evolution; a creationist “museum” enjoyed state-funded advertising; and evolution was systematically and broadly squeezed out of schools and other educational institutions across the state. Huckabee did nothing to deter any of this – in fact, some of his public statements might indicate his tacit support.

Then he pops him one on what Huckabee has said about evolution — the man is a misinformed moron. Here’s part of an interview with a student…a student who is smarter and better educated than the governor.

Student: Many schools in Arkansas are failing to teach students about evolution according to the educational standards of our state. Since it is against these standards to teach creationism, how would you go about helping our state educate students more sufficiently for this?
Huckabee: Are you saying some students are not getting exposure to the various theories of creation?
Student (stunned): No, of evol … well, of evolution specifically. It’s a biological study that should be educated [taught], but is generally not.
Moderator: Schools are dodging Darwinism? Is that what you … ?
Student: Yes.
Huckabee: I’m not familiar that they’re dodging it. Maybe they are. But I think schools also ought to be fair to all views. Because, frankly, Darwinism is not an established scientific fact. It is a theory of evolution, that’s why it’s called the theory of evolution.

I’d like to think this gibbering sphincter is going to crash and burn in the primaries and doesn’t have a chance of getting elected to the presidency, but remember, he won the gubernatorial election in one state…and the electorate of conservative ignoramuses is nationwide.

Comments

  1. #1 Kevin L.
    January 11, 2008

    You know, I find myself at a loss on many days. Huckabee is deserving of any insult that we can lob his way, yet so many insults are based on unfair comparisons. We could call him a rat, call him dirt, or call him a sphincter. But rats are an important part of the ecosystem, dirt is a critical component of our landscape, and sphincters serve an important and useful physical function. It seems terribly unfair to rats, dirt, and sphincters to compare them with someone so despicable as Huckabee.

  2. #2 Yenzo
    January 11, 2008

    He’s the only one who’d be worse than Bush. And that possibility frightens me.

    If he should win and turn the US into a fundamentalist dictatorship (listened to Nine Inch Nails’ Year Zero lately?), all you rational Americans are more than welcome here in Germany. We don’t have cool Baseball events, but there’s gonna be lots of beer and really good chocolate.

    For scientists, it would be like returning a favor.

  3. #3 me
    January 11, 2008

    #5–No, Ron Paul is even worse, believe it or not

  4. #4 Helio
    January 11, 2008

    Who skipped his biology class? Plus, who are the people that are funding this guy? DI?

  5. #5 MorpheusPA
    January 11, 2008

    Kevin @#3–I feel the same and tend to think of them as pollution instead. Offhand, it’s about the only thing where I can’t see a clear use.

    Regrettably, it’s not a very good insult.

    It should be noted that I’m an organic gardener. Even rotting, putrid, maggot-infested masses have their uses–and quite good ones at that.

    In the interest of maintaining a free America, I doubt a pustulant mass would mind donating its name to the cause. Santorum did, after all.

  6. #6 Dexysyn
    January 11, 2008

    #8– Why would you say that?

  7. #7 inkadu
    January 11, 2008

    Yenzo — It’s really hard to tell who would be worse than Bush… it’s kind of become a fun parlor game.

    I think Bush is kind of good in that he is so obviously stupid and callous. I imagine someone who is halfway intelligent and earnestly charismatic, but with Bush’s worldview (or rather the worldview of the cabal backing him) would be disastrous. And, from what I can tell, every single one of the major candidates is competing to be more of an asshole than bush on all the major measures of assholinity.

    And though I haven’t heard much from Huckabee directly, it’s kinda weird, because he’s a populist, and non-religious Republicans absolutely loathe him on their issue. And with most Democrats being triangulating, rolling-over bastards, I’m more than a little dismayed at the prospect of having to pick between a Republican pro-life creo who wants to cut military spending and cut the balls of the oil companies and a Democratic, pro-choice, science friendly candidate who wouldn’t think twice about going to war with Iran and would never do anything to upset big corporations.

    But I try not to think about it too much. I don’t trust Huckabee anyway, and he’s already changing his tune to be more in line with the rest of his party. Plus no part of his appeal is based on his populism, as far as I can tell. He is where he is for strictly social issues, and that’s likely what he’d try to get enacted.

    Sorry for the long post, everybody.

  8. #8 akg41470
    January 11, 2008

    You know, I think it’d actually be a GOOD thing if he got the Republican nomination, for two reasons:

    1. He’d be a PUSHOVER for whoever is the democratic candidate. Instant democratic win.
    2. His ignorance on these subjects would get NATIONAL attention, and may just be what the science community needs to shed light on subjects such as this.

    He is certainly ignorant, and in terms of a chess move, EXACTLY what we need for the country and the science community – we’ll get the chance to expose ON A NATIONAL LEVEL what his and other creationists’ beliefs are.

  9. #9 True Bob
    January 11, 2008

    Love it, Robin. Here’s my entry:

    “Huckabee” is one who tirelessly toils (like a worker bee) at promulgating the lies and propaganda of creationism. “That Behe is one farked up huckabee.”

  10. #10 Mike
    January 11, 2008

    Dear Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and other socially progressive countries. If Huckabee is elected, would you be willing to accept me and my family (wife, daughter, and 2 cats) as immigrants? I have a Ph.D. in mathematics, a handful of good research papers, and I love to teach. I’m a quick study with languages.

  11. #11 Kseniya
    January 11, 2008

    Julenissen, you are mistaken. To equate Huck-Boy-AR-Dee’s words with Gould’s is to:

    1. Misunderstand or misrepresent Gould
    2. Misunderstand or misrepresent The Huckster
    3. Be malevolently dishonest

    (Pick one. I give Jule the benefit of the doubt, and so pick #2.)

  12. #12 CrypticLife
    January 11, 2008

    Romney feels like an oily used-car salesman. The really scary thing about Huckabee is that he doesn’t feel like that, even though looking at his words and actions he IS like that.

  13. #13 Scott Belyea
    January 11, 2008

    When Huckabee characterizes Evolution as a theory, he’s not using the word in its scientific meaning.

    This continues to be an Achilles’ heel for the world of science. Why should the large majority of humanity adjust their understanding of the word to what scientists would prefer? To exacerbate the problem, it’s not rare to read of or hear a scientist using the word in its vernacular sense.

    Trying to change this is like pushing a rope uphill. I hope you enjoy the activity, because it’s sure not going to end any time soon … if ever.

  14. #14 AJ Milne
    January 11, 2008

    It seems terribly unfair to rats, dirt, and sphincters to compare them with someone so despicable as Huckabee.

    I agree. Which is why I’d say we probably shouldn’t so much be employing comparison as metaphor… This way, we do not so much pass unjust judgement on the object/organ/organism with which such candidates as point out instructive parallels.

    As follows… Huckabee: Tapeworm. A frighteningly simple and effective parasite–which if given further opportunity will suck all the life out of the organism to which it has attached itself, and which is in its very presence a general symptom of poor health and sanitation. To kill the metaphor dead: careful therapy ending in its removal from the dangerous place it has lodged itself should be considered a very high priority. You really don’t want these things clogging your digestive tract. Nor your oval office. Get this thing out of the body politic. It’s bad news, there.

    … See? It’s not really a judgement on the tapeworm, so much. Respectful of its actually rather imposing adaptations, rather, I’d argue.

  15. #15 Alex
    January 11, 2008

    Methinks it may already be too late for the education system in the US. I mean, I assume that this guy passed through that system to reach a position where he could even hope to be president yet he hasn’t even enough ability to check the meaning of the words he uses. Or is he so dumb that he is not even able to read a dictionary in order to discover what “fact” and “theory” mean?

  16. #16 Nomen Nescio
    January 11, 2008

    @#14: i don’t want the democrats to win because the repubs ran a piece of deadwood. i want the democrats to win because they ran somebody who can do the job well and has a chance of setting the country back on track.

    that said, Huckabee is no deadwood. he is, as #28 points out, very attractive indeed to a large and influential segment of the republican base. thinking he’d be any pushover is left-wing insularism; a republican pushover would be if they ran a democrat-lite like Giuliani or maybe Romney. if Huckabee, or even McCain, gets the nod, then they stand a fair chance of winning against any of the democratic forerunners.

  17. #17 Nobody
    January 11, 2008

    Hm. I was wondering whom to vote for. With the Myers anti-endorsement, I now know I MUST vote for Huckabee.

  18. #18 Glen Davidson
    January 11, 2008

    One issue is that creatures’ successive generations changed over time, which is found from their remains and dating techniques/arguments. That isn’t an explanatory scheme, it’s an observation, albeit not fully direct. Yet skeptics of even that call it “The theory of evolution,” which makes it sound speculative. (As noted, even theories are often well attested, like the theory of relativity etc. No warrant for intrinsic disdain anyway. Note for example, Lorentz contraction has not been directly measured, but it is hard to entertain it not being true.)

    OTOH, the theory of mutation and random selection is an explanatory scheme directed at the former. It should perhaps be called “The theory of evolution’s cause,” and is highly supported but not a given like the changes themselves.

    I think this confusion helps doubters because it mixes up a clear picture of events with the perceived tentativeness of explanatory schemes about those issues less directly accessible to experiment. Sadly, clunky sounding phrases aren’t used much even if technically better.

    There isn’t a confusion between common descent and its mechanisms, and certainly both mutation and natural selection are givens, even if there are debates about the relative force of natural selection vs. drift and the like.

    It was fair to suppose that common descent was a bare observation before we knew about heredity and its mechanisms. It is no longer a bare observation, rather common descent is closely tied to the mechanisms of heredity and of change. Stephen Gould unfortunately confused these issues overmuch, partly because of his own “punctuated equilibrium” (which he also made too much about, considering that it was neither new, nor particularly contrary to previously accepted views–note how the issue has died down without having been well resolved).

    So the truth of the matter is that Behe makes a complete fool of himself for accepting common descent without accepting the mechanisms of common descent and of change. We no longer “just look” to see if organisms are related, we are able to compare the predictions of hereditary and of evolutionary mechanisms with the results, genetically and paleontologically. Besides which, Behe accepts common descent and the mechanisms of evolution in the area of “microevolution,” which happen to produce essentially the same patterns at the higher levels as we see at the higher levels.

    That is to say, we can discern whether or not a gene has been selected or not over 1000 years, or over 1,000,000 years (on average, of course), and we do. It’s insane to see similar results over shorter and longer time periods, only to suppose that different causes are responsible for these similar results.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  19. #19 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 11, 2008

    ignoramuses (?ignorami?)

    Ignoramus is not a noun, it’s a verb: “we do not know”. I don’t know (ignoro) why English borrowed that form instead of extending “ignorant” to noun usage like other European languages have done.

    Technically they only elected him once.

    Probably not even. I have yet to see evidence that anyone won the 2004 presidential election. The best evidence available are the exit poll results…

    This continues to be an Achilles’ heel for the world of science. Why should the large majority of humanity adjust their understanding of the word to what scientists would prefer?

    Because it isn’t a “large majority of humanity”, it’s just Americans. When a layman says “I have a theory” in German, for example, it’s at least implied that something vaguely sciency-sounding will follow.

    Tapeworm. A frighteningly simple and effective parasite

    …with an incredibly complicated life cycle.

  20. #20 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 11, 2008

    ignoramuses (?ignorami?)

    Ignoramus is not a noun, it’s a verb: “we do not know”. I don’t know (ignoro) why English borrowed that form instead of extending “ignorant” to noun usage like other European languages have done.

    Technically they only elected him once.

    Probably not even. I have yet to see evidence that anyone won the 2004 presidential election. The best evidence available are the exit poll results…

    This continues to be an Achilles’ heel for the world of science. Why should the large majority of humanity adjust their understanding of the word to what scientists would prefer?

    Because it isn’t a “large majority of humanity”, it’s just Americans. When a layman says “I have a theory” in German, for example, it’s at least implied that something vaguely sciency-sounding will follow.

    Tapeworm. A frighteningly simple and effective parasite

    …with an incredibly complicated life cycle.

  21. #21 Rich Stage
    January 11, 2008

    One thing that I’d like to see
    is someone who’s a fan of PZ
    to see just how far
    they’d get, if on their car
    was a sign that says I (club) Huckabee.

    While watching the Iowa caucus,
    it seemed my most overwhelming thought was:
    Are these people insane?
    Were they stabbed in the brain?
    Or are the Republicans just there to mock us?

    It seemed that it was just a phase,
    for in New Hampshire we woke from a daze
    And then I heard
    Huckabee was in third.
    All I could do was just sit there, amazed.

    I hope after Michigan we find
    that our country has not lost it’s mind.
    For the last thing we need,
    after incompetence and greed,
    are evangelicals coming from behind.

  22. #22 Neil B.
    January 11, 2008

    Glen D, sorry if I didn’t make fully clear that I meant “confusion” in the minds of many lay observers and actors in these controversies (sometimes deliberate I’m sure) rather than intrinsic “there is” confusion, or among scientists and philosophers. I am still not sure what IDers (versus “Anthropic Design” about why the universe has X properties, not at issue here) are saying about what happened through geologic history. Do they think new critters were just delivered whole on seashells, or do they think subtle tinkering with microscopic randomness was involved? Clearly those are two dramatically different views of what happens in the world! I suppose that makes a split, and it seems Behe supports the latter. There really isn’t a good way to distinguish such deep “fiddling” from inherent anthropic enabling by natural law, regardless of one’s take on the presumed purposiveness of AD.

    As for “punctuated equilibrium,” to the extent that it is a feature of the fossil record/biological changes, it should be explained, right? What is the best theory for that?

  23. #23 Tulse
    January 11, 2008

    I’m assuming everyone here has heard about Huckabee getting duped into raising money to build a big igloo over the Canadian capitol building (or somesuch), which is, naturally, carved out of ice and melting as a consequence of global warming.

    Thank you Rick Mercer.

  24. #24 Rey Fox
    January 11, 2008

    Raven, please come up with some new material. We’ve heard the whole empire thing and the Mexican emigration thing about five hundred times now.

  25. #25 Teenage Lobotomy
    January 11, 2008

    #62 What pray tell is a “smull”?

  26. #26 Ichthyic
    January 11, 2008

    There were many who thought Gore couldn’t possibly lose eight years ago,

    *raises hand*

    and those who thought that no one would vote for Bush after his first term.

    *raises hand again*

    (now working feverishly on getting the hell outta Dodge before Huckleberry gets elected).

  27. #27 Ichthyic
    January 11, 2008

    Just a question : is it really that bad ? Is Huckabee a YEC ?

    yup.

    btw, just last night on the Colbert show, he reaffirmed his opinion that the ToE is a “farce” (his exact wording).

  28. #28 MAJeff
    January 11, 2008

    We should not hope for a Huckabee nomination for one simple reason: Americans might vote for him in sufficient numbers to make him President. We’re not a smart nation.

  29. #29 Ichthyic
    January 11, 2008

    1. can any “nature” be “nurtured” into becoming a rational, analytical thinker, provided the right means are put in place ?

    depends on what the level of predisposition is, what the extent of indoctrination is, and what you mean by “right means”.

    the simple answer is yes.

    some merely needed to see that the “authority figures” in the IDC tent are basically dishonest.

    some will likely need something closer to a cult-intervention, which will likely never happen.

    some indeed will be entirely intractable, in which case the focus should be on the next generation.

    It seems obvious at this point that when we consider the role of education in raising science literacy in the US, it will only be as effective as the teachers themselves wish it to be, and apparently there are still large swaths of the US where things like the ToE are taught cursorily at best.

  30. #30 Kseniya
    January 11, 2008

    MAJeff:

    We should not hope for a Huckabee nomination for one simple reason: Americans might vote for him in sufficient numbers to make him President. We’re not a smart nation.

    Agreed. I’d rather have four years of (say) McCain than risk one year of Huckabee. No shit. I can’t believe I’m saying this. However, though J-Mac is pretty far right of where I stand, I consider him a sane and reasonable man, which is more than I can say for Huck-Boy-AR-Dee. Mitt may be a halfway decent human being, but thanks to his performance here (in MA) he will never get my vote, not unless the Dems draft Hitler’s Brain.

    Ichthyic, you can put your hand down now. I couldn’t vote in 2000 but did think Gore would win a close race. Let’s not forget that Florida or no Florida, he did win the popular vote. That means something, doesn’t it?

    I was able to vote in 2004, and though Bush did poorly for an incumbent – a hollow moral victory for the Dems – the whole thing sucked.

    I’ve heard W.J. Clinton criticised (perhaps justifiably) for focusing the public eye at all age levels on oral sex. Bad boy, Bill. Bad boy! I can’t condone his sexual peccadillos, and lying under oath was stupid and wrong. Bad Bill!

    So, I say let’s all join hands and thank the GOP for giving us, not oral sex, but the “-gate” suffix, “plausible deniability”, and “swiftboating”.

    On second thought…

    Hitler’s Brain in ’08!

  31. #31 Kseniya
    January 11, 2008

    Ok then. Quarter-way decent? Eighth-way? :-)

    Keyes, interesting choice. Truly unelectable, ya think?

  32. #32 Kseniyabee
    January 11, 2008

    LOL! XD

  33. #33 Teenage Lobotomy
    January 11, 2008

    #70 just givin you eggheads the “Business”

    Signed,Teenage Lobotomys Doctor- Lightin up

    Smiles everyone

  34. #34 Ichthyic
    January 11, 2008

    Yeah! Or send’em all to an island and have them fight it out using implements they can fabricate from palm fronds only. It could get interesting.

    the “Lost” version of Gilligan’s Island?

    my money is on the professor; ever see the things he managed to make with just coconuts?

  35. #35 BaldApe
    January 11, 2008

    “I’d like to think this gibbering sphincter is going to crash and burn in the primaries and doesn’t have a chance of getting elected to the presidency”

    Gee, why? I mean, if he gets the nomination, we could be treated to a presidential debate where one of the questions is “How can you be so fu**ing stupid?”

    The whole country needs to see, for once and for all (I know I’m dreaming) just how stoopid creationism is.

    On Theory vs. fact:
    The problem, again, is equivocation- using the same words in two different senses. For instance,
    Native Americans are disappearing.
    That man is a Native American.
    Therefore, that man is disappearing.

  36. #36 mothra
    January 11, 2008

    What Huckabee is expert at is the bait-and-switch, perhaps better than any politician I’ve ever heard. Mitt lacks broad based support, Rudolf will not stand up to the funde moral magnifier, Fred is DOA and McCain has an unpopular stance on the war. I will be quite surprised if Huckabee is not either the presidential or vice presidential nominee (McCain- Romney would fall before an O’bama- Edwards ticket for the same reason that Dole lost to Bill. Someone above already pointed out a likely scenario for a Huckabee victory. All it requires is a third party candidate to split the democratic vote ant the solid 35% f***ing loons (ahem, fundamentalist christians) will ‘tail-wag-the-dog’ into the white house.

  37. #37 Robert
    January 11, 2008

    Oh wonderful, instead of Big Government, we get Big Godly Government!

    /Sarc

  38. #38 Rick R
    January 12, 2008

    CRE, if I were you, I would be a hell of a lot more concerned with the religious right trashing the image of my faith in public (which they surely are) than what we “foul mouthed liberals” are saying about them on some science blog.

    Christianity’s image IS being trashed, and not by us. Is confronting us all you’re prepared to do about it? Forgive me for not being impressed.

  39. #39 Rick R
    January 12, 2008

    CRE-
    I’m #105, and I didn’t call you a moron, nor am I a fundamentalist atheist. Now who’s stereotyping?

  40. #40 Janus
    January 12, 2008

    I’d like everyone to notice that there is at least one Christian, CRE, who is a creationist and yet doesn’t think of himself as a fundamentalist! Isn’t that interesting?

  41. #41 Janus
    January 12, 2008

    Well, you said:

    “yes, I know that the most fundamentalist amongst us are our worst enemies”

    So you’re saying that fundamentalism is ok, but a greater, um, intensity of fundamentalism is not. That’s not as interesting as what I thought you were saying, but a lot more humorous.

  42. #42 CRE
    January 12, 2008

    Ich, what, precicely, did I say that was moronic? Nothing like broad generalizations. ANyways, I’ve got supper to eat, so have a good night all of you, and I probably won’t bother replying, since this thread looks to be going the same direction most threads of this nature go, and I’m content with my understanding of the natural world. Maybe I’ll read the NAS’ new book and be converted. Like the humanists say, there might still be hope, right?

  43. #43 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2008

    Nothing like broad generalizations.

    you mean like the ones you are projecting?

    I’m just trying to make you happy.

  44. #44 Rick R
    January 12, 2008

    Funny. CRE doesn’t want to be stereotyped as one of “those fundamentalists”. But the people doing this stereotyping are those “humanists”, those “liberals” and those “fundamentalist atheists”.

    I can’t claim I said this first, but is there an absolute value to the blackness of a pot?

  45. #45 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2008

    things that are often “intuitively obvious” to creobots are the ones that belong to ideologies that have been driven into their heads since birth.

    I’m sure the alien spacecraft seemed intuitively obvious to the Heaven’s Gate folks, too.

  46. #46 Logician
    January 12, 2008

    RE#127:

    It’s time for the nipple-rubbing to stop. “I love you, you love me….” Whenever I’ve tried to talk intelligently with IDer’s, New Earthers, Catholics, Muslims, Baptists, Evangelicals, etc, they ALWAYS have NOTHING but their “holy books” to back their yack.

    Whenever I point out that their respective books are false, can be traced to earlier legends, contradict themselves so badly they sound just idiotic, etc, with the EVIDENCE, I ALWAYS get the answer: “Well, God’s ways are mysterious, it’s not up to us to understand everything.”

    Someone else here said it’s like trying to eat warm jello with a fork. The believers just slither and slide around/away from the questions. So, yeah, I’ve dropped the “let’s all just respect each other” crap and cut to the chase.

    Belief in supernatural beings is a MENTAL ILLNESS. These people need to be cured. Pussy footing around the issue gets us nowhere. Like facing the alcoholic, the first step is getting them to realize they are not mentally well.

    As for the other countries – they passed laws making it illegal to force this form of mental illness on others in public, in schools, etc. Try that form of “shock therapy” here and see how far it gets you.

    Remember, their general population is better educated, more worldly, more experienced with real suffering. They are, in so many words, more socially mature. They understand that religion has its place: in the dung heap of history.

  47. #47 Logician
    January 12, 2008

    RE#129:

    Ya got me there!

    When we do confront the alcoholic, we list how their behaviors have hurt others and themselves. We work at demonstrating that the disadvantages outweigh whatever comforts the booze may give them.

    Admittedly it would take a lot more listing for the religiously ill. The problem is breaking through their hideous denial. Whenever I do get a fact nailed down, they reply, “Well, I don’t believe THAT…” even though they have earlier said their testament is the ONLY TRUE word of ‘god.’

    Hence the snarking. All this evolution and no further than believing in the transparently stupid crap from our scientifically illiterate anscetors? (I won’t even go into whether or not it worked for them, we know it doesn’t work now.) It’s just plain frustrating…

  48. #48 raven
    January 12, 2008

    CRE:

    The laws of Moses, for example, are very intuitively obvious.

    Here are some examples of the common sense wisdom of the OT bible. I can’t give a source, this was sent to me in an email and is apparently circulating. They forgot about Deuteronomy, stoning disobedient children and a few dozen other ones.

    Of course, anyone who literally followed the OT today would end up with life in prison. A lot of the weirder stuff is outlawed by our degenerate secular society.

    I seriously doubt that CRE has ever stoned a little disobedient kid to death, burned a witch, or bought a female slave from another Xian. Hmmm, well I hope not.

    On second thought, Hey CRE, what is the going rate for a daughter these days? [An Iraqi kid runs about 10-20,000 dollars, no idea what a Darfur kid goes for but I think they are cheaper. Fact not joke.]

    Bush and the Bible: A Letter to George Bush
    Dear President Bush,

    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. As you said “in the eyes of God marriage is based between a man a woman.” I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination… End of debate.

    I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

    1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

    2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

    4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

    6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

    7. Lev.21:20 states that I may ! not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?

    8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

    9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

    I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

    Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

  49. #49 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2008

    you may be right, but if alcoholism was affecting 90% of the population, it’d be harder for them to realize that they have a problem…

    indeed. one might suggest “impossible” wouldn’t be far off the mark.

  50. #50 truth machine
    January 13, 2008

    Ignoramus is not a noun, it’s a verb: “we do not know”.

    You’ve been corrected on this stupidity before, David. Etymology is not meaning, and English is not Latin. In English, “ignoramus” is a noun; stop acting like one.

  51. #51 truth machine
    January 13, 2008

    We should not hope for a Huckabee nomination for one simple reason: Americans might vote for him in sufficient numbers to make him President. We’re not a smart nation.

    The same goes for Rudy “WWIII” Guiliani and John “a millenium in Iraq” McCain. Huckabee also has the best views on domestic economic policy among these troglodytes — which isn’t saying much.

  52. #52 truth machine
    January 13, 2008

    I couldn’t vote in 2000 but did think Gore would win a close race. Let’s not forget that Florida or no Florida, he did win the popular vote. That means something, doesn’t it?

    He did win the race, even in Florida. The post-mortem commissioned by the major news media unambiguously confirmed that, had there been a statewide recount, Gore would have won. Those news media misreported their own findings by stressing that he would have lost if only the 4 counties he asked to be recounted had been, while burying the broader finding.

  53. #53 truth machine
    January 13, 2008

    Fair enough, but how do you call people who believe that saying “religion is a stupid pile of shit” will change things for the better ?

    What makes you think that it’s the goal of commenters here, in responding to religious people who post here, to cure them of religion? One of the ways that we go about changing things for the better is by identifying foolish ideas, characterizing them as such, and forming social cohesion among those who oppose those ideas. Ridiculing believers and the things they believe is part of that activity.

  54. #54 Lancair
    January 13, 2008

    Why is it so damn hard to find a candidate that supports gun rights and is not batshit insane?

  55. #55 David Rolfe
    January 14, 2008

    To Yenzo at #5:

    If you like Trent’s Year Zero, maybe you’ll also like Heinlein’s **1953** Revolt in 2100. He saw this shit coming, big time. As far as Heinlein is concerned we’re right on schedule (except for the flying cars).

    It’s dirt cheap in paperback, or cheaper still if your local library hasn’t been defunded.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolt_in_2100

  56. #56 Pyre
    January 14, 2008

    PZ @ top: One quibble, in all fairness.

    During Huckabee’s tenure as Governor…. Two anti-evolution bills were introduced in the state’s House of Representatives…. Huckabee did nothing to deter any of this….

    If Governor Huckabee had done anything to “deter” that action by legislators, he would have been violating the separation of powers.

  57. #57 pakicetus
    January 14, 2008

    Pyre, you offered the same “quibble” at the Inside Higher Ed site, so I’m pasting in a repsonse from “Bio Prof” that I read at the other site as it seems to make some good points…

    Interesting argument, Pyre.

    However, in the paragraph to which you refer, the author listed several anti-evolution debacles which fall under the executive end of Arkansas’s government (i.e. the curriculum problems which fall under the DOE and the advertisment of the creationist mueseum by the state’s Department of Parks and Tourism).

    And, if separation of powers prevents a governor from influencing (deterring or supporting actions) education law and policy, then why has no one ever brought this into a debate where a governor, Huckabee for example, extolls their success in improving education in their state?

    Executives can have a great deal of influence on legistlature regardless of separation of powers. G. W. Bush often vows to veto bills proposed in the House and the Senate, and this may very well influence the way the bills are written/ammended and whether they progress. Exectives often push legislative agendas of their own, which, although it must be carried out in the “separate” congress, does suggest that they can deter or support the actions of the houses.

    Why else would the people and the media repeatedly ask presidential candidates about their opinions or potential agendas regarding say, an ammendment to ban same sex marriage? Is drafting and voting upon ammendments not the province of the congress, separate from the office of the president?

    Executives are leaders with influence. Huckabee could have spoken out against pushing religious ideology on the public schools, whether it was by act of the legislative bodies or by executive departments, however, he apparently does not agree with notion of the “separation of powers” between religion and government (nor, it would seem, between science and religion.)