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 True Bob
    January 11, 2008

    …gibbering sphincter…

    Another excellent band name. Thanks, PZ.

  2. #2 Science Goddess
    January 11, 2008

    I like Christopher Hitchens’ characterization of him as a “smirking hick”. Also, don’t forget those conservative ignoramuses (?ignorami?) elected Dubya – twice!

    SG

  3. #3 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.

  4. #4 FutureMD
    January 11, 2008

    at #2:
    Technically they only elected him once. But, let’s not split hairs.

  5. #5 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.

  6. #6 me
    January 11, 2008

    He’s as smug of a passive aggressive christian fundamentalist as you’ll find anywhere. His disarming character is dangerous. He has the juju eye gift.

    Yet, he is so fucking out of his element in Washington DC. He’d be eaten alive.

  7. #7 holbach
    January 11, 2008

    Was it Huckabee (or Edwards?) who announced that as soon
    as he won the Presidency, he was going to close the door
    on the Oval Room and pray ? Our country will be deep
    insane miasma if any of these religious cretins is elected.
    Florida will then be just a backwater religious cesspool
    compared to what may transpire. We all may have to pray
    before we defecate to thank their god for the ability
    to do so. What a quagmire of insane rituals and constant
    implorings to the superstitious crap that will run rampant
    throughout our rapidly degrading society. Even undiminished
    ridicule will not deter the insane rabble from inflicting
    their brand of moronic behavior on all of us. Perhaps
    Huxley’s animals would be the better rulers.

  8. #8 me
    January 11, 2008

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

  9. #9 Helio
    January 11, 2008

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

  10. #10 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.

  11. #11 Dexysyn
    January 11, 2008

    #8– Why would you say that?

  12. #12 Julenissen
    January 11, 2008

    “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 don’t understand your beef. Steven J. Gould said exactly the same thing:
    “Evolutionists have been clear about this distinction between fact and theory from the very beginning, if only because we have always acknowledged how far we are from completely understanding the mechanisms (theory) by which evolution (fact) occurred. Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great and separate accomplishments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing a theory–natural selection–to explain the mechanism of evolution. ”

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_fact-and-theory.html

  13. #13 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.

  14. #14 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.

  15. #15 maxi
    January 11, 2008

    Julenissen @12

    The beef is due to IDiots like Huckabee not understanding that when scientists use the word theory, it has a very different meaning from when a lay person would use the word theory. And he un/purposefully, confuses the two.

  16. #16 Bruce
    January 11, 2008

    Does Canada have a “rationalist amnesty” clause in their immigration policy? I’m not a scientist (although I play one for my woo woo friends) so I wouldn’t qualify as a professional but, boy, good ol’ Huck creeps me out bigtime.

  17. #17 Robin
    January 11, 2008

    A reader in Dan Savage’s “Savage Love” column suggested that people should re-name a sex act in honor of fucktard Sen. Rick Santorum.

    Look it up, using the words “Santorum” and “frothy mix” using Google, or whatever web search engine you want.

    Perhaps we should name some particularly retarded creationist bullshit idea a “Huckabee”.

    Works for me.

  18. #18 Ray S.
    January 11, 2008

    @12:

    I don’t think you’re seeing the distinction between Gould’s view and that of Huckabee or other creationist. Gould knows by multiple lines of evidence that life has changed over the history of the Earth. While fairly certain that the theory that explains why is correct, he like all scientists acknowledge that new discoveries may alter or refine the explanation. Just as Relativity refined Newton’s understanding of motion and gravity. Still, Newton’s work is accurate enough as long as you’re not working with high speeds, large masses or the incredibly small world of quantum mechanics. This has already happened to the work of Darwin. Though insightful, modern discoveries have allowed refinements to the point that scientist never speak (to other scientists at least) of Darwinism. They do refer to the modern synthesis, which after 150 years is unlikely to be shown to be completely wrong. Huckabee holds that it is completely wrong, that the Earth is 6000 years old or so, and that an invisible sky friend poofed everything into existence from nothing.

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

  19. #19 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.”

  20. #20 raindogzilla
    January 11, 2008

    Somewhere, Dustin Hoffman is thinking, “Damn, I wish I’d never made that movie!”

    I <3 Huckabees.

  21. #21 Ray S.
    January 11, 2008

    @14 regarding Huckabee as a pushover in the national election:

    There were many who thought Gore couldn’t possibly lose eight years ago, and those who thought that no one would vote for Bush after his first term. It’s risky to extrapolate your own sensitivities onto the American electorate.

  22. #22 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.

  23. #23 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.)

  24. #24 Kcanadensis
    January 11, 2008

    If he makes it, I’m packing up and moving to Canada. I’m close enough already… I’ll just make a run for the border… and never return.

  25. #25 Kseniya
    January 11, 2008

    Ah! Ray (#18) put it well. Thanks, Ray.

  26. #26 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.

  27. #27 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.

  28. #28 DrBadger
    January 11, 2008

    @14, I’m afraid that only Huckabee could give the repubs a chance to beat a democrat. He’s the only one that will get the idiot evangelicals to get out of their churches and vote.

  29. #29 Kseniya
    January 11, 2008

    Huck is this year’s Nehemiah Scudder.

    No, wait. Scudder doesn’t get in ’til 2012. Never mind. But I agree that anyone who assumes Huck is unelectable really ought to think again. He could whack Obama after Obama is swiftboated into being an al Qaeda sleeper, or Clinton after she is swiftboated into being… well… into being Hillary Clinton.

    Props to Sinclair Lewis for being ahead of the curve. Is Elmer Gantry required reading in 10th grade LA? How about 11th grade American Studies?

  30. #30 Kevin L.
    January 11, 2008

    Raindogzilla @#20, my thoughts exactly. It’s a shame that Mike Huckabee is alive to sully the good name of an excellent movie.

  31. #31 c-serpent
    January 11, 2008

    Went to that “conservative ignoramuses” link you posted and just about lost my breakfast. How does someone that stupid even know how to use a computer let alone have a blog?
    Russel Sietz writes:

    My reply would be that 99 percent of scientists are insane — one percentage point behind mathematicians.

    …which demonstrates that Sietz defines insanity as anyone that disagrees with him.

  32. #32 ChrisC
    January 11, 2008

    HUckabee:

    “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.”

    (Smacks self in forehead).

    Two misunderstandings in that sentance. Scientific theory and scientific fact, making it clear that HUckabee doesn’t know anything about the practice of science, or have the good graces to refer to those who do. Yes, evolution is a theory, just like quantum mechanics, gravity and electromagnetism. As a scientific fact… well, science never _really_ makes statements of fact. It weighs up evidence in support or opposition to certain theories. So far, Darwinian natural selection has passed just about every test asked of it. It is as close to “scientific fact” as you’ll ever get.

  33. #33 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.

  34. #34 AJ Milne
    January 11, 2008

    Edit: ‘…the object/organ/organism with which such candidates *are associated* as…’

  35. #35 SteadyEddy
    January 11, 2008

    Why is Ron Paul worse? Read this excerpt from James Kirchick 1/8/08 at The New Republic. Long but well worth the read.

    http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=e2f15397-a3c7-4720-ac15-4532a7da84ca

    “…the newsletters I saw all had one thing in common: They were published under a banner containing Paul’s name, and the articles (except for one special edition of a newsletter that contained the byline of another writer) seem designed to create the impression that they were written by him–and reflected his views. What they reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays. In short, they suggest that Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing–but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics.”

    Paul’s a friggin idiot, well, so is Huck, Mitt and the rest of the right wing party.

  36. #36 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?

  37. #37 Ray S.
    January 11, 2008

    Scott @27:

    We have lots of words that have more than one meaning. How we detect which of the meanings applies in a given discourse is part of what I call education. And trying to get creationists to subject themselves and their children to education is not easy, like the rope pushing exercise you mention. Yet I do not like the alternative of not doing so, especially when they have the right to vote and to carry arms.

    We must move towards a point where teaching an alternate to evolutionary theory is akin to teaching an alternate arithmetic in which 2 + 2 = 5. My own estimation of why this has not already happened is that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to carry on modern life with such a poor understanding of arithmetic. As is already shown, one can do just fine while knowing absolutely nothing about evolution.

  38. #38 Neil B.
    January 11, 2008

    I think much of the problem is confusion over what “The theory of evolution” is supposed to mean. 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.

    As for candidates, I am attracted for Obama for various reasons. One striking example is HRC opposed to raising the cap on FICA-subject income. She’s no populist.

  39. #39 rp
    January 11, 2008

    Mike @22: Not speaking for the rest of Canada, but if things go really bad down south, I hope enough smart people move up here to help prevent the same thing happening. We have a nasty tendency to import bad ideas from the States, just a few years behind the trend down there. We even have our own creation museum here in Alberta – you got the $27million version, we got the $27 version. There are plenty of wingnuts here, but so far more sane people. I’d really like to keep it that way.

  40. #40 Michael Hogan
    January 11, 2008

    In the 60′s Canada got a great crop of Americans who didn’t want to kill Vietnamese. I’d hate to have Huckabee elected but Canada here would benefit again from the brain transfer. We’d welcome all inteligent Amaericans to your “not quite as cold as it used to be” northern neighbour.

  41. #41 Glen Davidson
    January 11, 2008

    What’s always painfully obvious about these fairness (concern?) trolls like Huckabee, is that they have never ever been open or fair enough to honestly look at the evidence themselves. I do think Huck is at least genuine in his stupidity, but it is pernicious precisely because he thinks that just because he’s too damn stupid to know what “theory” means in science, or what is the only scientific explanation for the diversity and continuity of life, that a bunch of hapless naive children ought to be fed a whole lot of trash along with the good stuff (or more likely, to avoid evolution altogether–but that’s what they all want, yet rarely admit), simply because he’s too fucking lazy and dumb to get an education.

    If he knew anything about the matter, he’d be pushing the actual science, IOW.

    So yes, it’s “physician heal thyself” to Huckabee. You need to have actual knowledge about science, theory, and evolution, prior to expressing an opinion about “fairness” and “openness” about it, Mike. If learning about all of the “theories of origin” is such a great thing, why the hell haven’t you learned a goddamned thing about science and evolution yourself?

    Likewise to Dembski and Behe (granted, Behe knows a bit more about it than Dembwit does, without ever having a true working knowledge of evolution and its mechanisms), who push their “criticisms” of evolution without having gone through the trouble to get a professional knowledge about it.

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

  42. #42 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.

  43. #43 Ken Cope
    January 11, 2008

    Almost as apt as a tapeworm is an earworm. To the tune of The Beach Boys’ Kokomo, repeat the phrase originated at The Poor Man Institute:

    enormous, mendacious, disembodied anus

    Now that’s gibbering.

  44. #44 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.

  45. #45 me
    January 11, 2008

    #11–Because Ron Paul is an ignorant, completely uninformed isolationist who operates on a series of fundamentally flawed intuitive economic assumptions that are flat out wrong.

    Because he doesn’t remotely possess the qualities of leadership needed for the job.

    Because he is either senile or completely inattentive.

    Ron Paul appeals only to the emotions of the selfish and self-absorbed. I’ll grant you that his presence on the stage proves that only in America is one perfectly free to make a complete ass out of yourself.

    If you haven’t figured that out, you haven’t listened to him long enough.

    Seriously, Huckabee would be MUCH better, which only proves just how bad is Ron Paul.

  46. #46 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

  47. #47 Norman Doering
    January 11, 2008

    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.

    It comes as no surprise at all to me that Huckabee would say that. It’s exactly what I expected. He’s a typical Baptist preacher.

    Here’s another tiny glimpse into his fundy psyche:
    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2008/01/fundamentalist-psyche.html

    Quotes from a Huckabee sermon:

    When you give yourself to Christ, some relationships have to go,” he said. “It’s no longer your life; you’ve signed it over.”

    “When we become believers, it’s as if we have signed up to be part of God’s Army, to be soldiers for Christ,” Huckabee told the enthusiastic audience.

    Likening service to God to service in the military, Huckabee said “there is suffering in the conditioning for battle” and “you obey the orders.”

  48. #48 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.

  49. #49 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.

  50. #50 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.

  51. #51 Jesse
    January 11, 2008

    Perhaps we should name some particularly retarded creationist bullshit idea a “Huckabee”.

    Robin, this is a pretty good idea. Since Wes Anderson’s movie ‘I (heart) Huckabees’ put ‘Huckabee’ into the American lexicon, ‘Huckabee’ already works as a noun.

    Maybe a ‘Huckabee’ could be any public statement of perceived scientific fact that is abjectly incorrect.

    In parlance:
    Jenny McCarthy has made many huckabees about vaccines and autism.

    The seminar speaker made quite a huckabee when she said that embryonic stem cells can only be differentiated into somatic cells by ‘injecting DNA into them’ at the crowded talk. (Yes, this actually occurred at my wife’s school.)

    Just a thought.

  52. #52 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?

  53. #53 Azkyroth
    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?

    It’s worse than that. Dictionaries habitually misinform readers about the scientific meaning of “theory.”

  54. #54 Azkyroth
    January 11, 2008

    So Huckabee’s the natural choice for the “Me, mah wahfe, mah sistur, an’ mah cousin uh-gree: we jes don’t trust John Kerry t’keep us safe. That’s whah we’s both votin’ fer Bush!” Republicans. Is it clear yet who the pick of the “Let them eat cake!” Republicans is?

  55. #55 Chris
    January 11, 2008

    The thing that get’s me is that Huckabee’s worst offenses haven’t seen the light of day yet. This evolution business is way down the list. I lived in Arkansas when he was governor, and this was my favorite:

    There was an ophthalmologist running for state senator, a guy by the name of Boozman. At one point he made a statement to the effect that god had endowed women with some sort of defense mechanism triggered by the trauma of rape that would prevent them from getting pregnant. The upshot was that unless a woman enjoyed being raped, she wouldn’t become pregnant because god would protect her. Therefore, it makes no sense to make an exception for rape in anti-abortion laws. I thought hearing that statement from a medical professional, even one with irrelevant qualifications, was testament enough to the rampancy of religious insanity in my home state. Unfortunately, however, it got worse. When this idiot lost his senate race, Huckabee muscled him into a new job as director of the state health department! I figured stuff like that would prevent Huckabee from ever being taken seriously as a presidential candidate.

    And 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. Right? Yeesh.

  56. #56 Tulse
    January 11, 2008

    last thing we need,
    after incompetence and greed,
    are evangelicals coming from behind

    I think you have confused this thread with the one on Christian dating.

  57. #57 raven
    January 11, 2008

    Oh c’mon y’all act like Huckabee getting elected would be the end of American civilization.

    Oh wait. Actually it would be. There has never been a civilization in the history of the planet that lasted. The last two that fell were the British empire and more recently, the USSR. It can happen fast. One day the USSR was riding high and then hit a speed bump in Afghanistan and whamo, collapsed.

    Toynbee pointed out that 19 of 22 civilizations rotted from within. Might be looking at 23 here.

    You do what you can but at the end of the day, vast impersonal historical forces seem to win out. If so, stockpile food and wine and raise a glass occasionally to what used to be the American empire.

    I can see it now. A decade or two later, desperate Americans will sneak across the border into Mexico in search of low paying jobs and a better life. Some Mexicans complain bitterly about gringoes taking all the entry level work. A few defenders point out that there are things that Mexicans just won’t do.

  58. #58 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.

  59. #59 Colugo
    January 11, 2008

    There won’t be a President Huckabee because he is so repellent to many independents and non-fundamentalist Republicans that large numbers of them will vote for Hillary or Obama instead.

    The only marginally plausible scenario I can imagine is if there is a major independent candidacy (Bloomberg) that takes votes from both Democratic and Republican nominees and, enabled by the weirdness of the electoral college system, somehow results in a President Huckabee who didn’t even win the largest share of a three-way split. So I guess it could happen, in theory. But it’s very unlikely.

  60. #60 Sergeant Zim
    January 11, 2008

    OK, folks, enough of the whining about Huck’s (and creationists in general) misuse of the word “Theory”.

    As long as the popular world uses ‘theory’ as little more than a hunch, they will not understand the way Scientists use the same word. What is needed IMHO, is a new word, which is impossible to confuse with anything else, and that we can use to label things in Science that are currently called “theories” (Gravitation, germ, atomic, evolution, etc.).

    “Model”, and “Framework” are out as well, beacuse they afford the nonscientific listener too much leeway in interpretation.
    We invent words all the time, to describe discoveries or advances, (Quasar, Glitch, Nylon, Grunge for example) why can’t we create a word to replace Theory?

    This could take a little of the wind from the sails of the creos.

  61. #61 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.

  62. #62 Teenage Lobotomy
    January 11, 2008

    Huckleberyy Hound is smarter than this tub of Lard.

    And his son tortures animals and his slimey father a man of gawd tries to cover it up and does nothing to punish 2-ton.

    Vote democratic no matter who it is.

  63. #63 negentropyeater
    January 11, 2008

    #37,
    I agree that Arithmetics is key.
    I carried a smull study recently, asking 100 randomely chosen persons comming out of a cinema and being older than 30 yold, the following question : how much is 1/2 + 2/3 ?
    I got 7 correct answers out of 100 !

    But this brings me to two fundamental points :
    1. can any “nature” be “nurtured” into becoming a rational, analytical thinker, provided the right means are put in place ?
    2. A devout Christian will be “exposed” regularly to the writings of one book of approx. 1000 pages, all his life if he wishes so. If one doesn’t pertain to the abovementionned category, how does science assume to compete with religion in terms of life exposure to the relevant information ?
    Where are the churches of science ? Those that expose all people to the beauty of the scientific truth, that inspires people, those where a creative blend of science, humanities, knowledge and music transcends people ?

    In my view, if science does not start thinking of those fundamental points, I’m afraid the future is quite certain :
    hedonism * organised religious mythology

  64. #64 jfatz
    January 11, 2008

    You missed, by the way, the opportunity to make the title: “How bad could Hucka be?”

    …and that makes me sad.

  65. #65 Karey
    January 11, 2008

    @27 and 59
    The popular world DOES use the word theory the way scientists do. As well as to mean a hypothesis. Scientists speak the same language as everybody else, and use the word theory the way they do because its already there and used that way in the language. And most people can understand that its there in their own everyday vocabulary if you point it out. Music theory is a particularly good example. The only reason humanity is confused is because of the extensive pervasive effort of creationists to adjust everyone’s understanding to what they prefer. This is not something the scientists are trying to do, they’ve just been working with the language as is.

  66. #66 Janus
    January 11, 2008

    Here’s an idea.

    Remember that guy who proposed that scientists should stop using the word “theory” because it misleads so many people? Well, I still think that scientists shouldn’t alter their language just to give morons a better chance of accepting evolution, but I also think it wasn’t an entirely crazy thought.

    Just think about it, how many times have you heard people, even people in the public sphere like Huckabee, get away from acknowledging evolution simply by saying that it’s a theory? The fact is that many, many, MANY people, even some people who aren’t creationists, actually think that evolution is just a hypothesis with little to no evidence in its favor. It goes beyond an incomplete understanding of what evolution is and what the evidence is. Most people know nothing about general relativity, but no one doubts it because everyone acknowledges that it’s accepted as “fact” by the scientific community.

    I think what we need is this: A short article or series of articles explaining WHAT a scientific theory is, WHY it’s not just an educated guess, WHY evolution is both a fact and a theory, and that states clearly that (almost) all biologists and paleontologists and biochemists etc accept evolution as fact and have for decades. And now comes the important part: Don’t just publish this article in Scientific American and Nature, use the combined influence of (a big part of) the scientific community to have it published in dozens if not hundreds of newspapers that uneducated people read every day. Have biologists (in groups, if possible) show up on television shows to explain this succinctly on many, many different channels, use every means at our disposal to spread the word. It will take the cooperation of many scientists and scientifically-literate people working in the media, and it will require careful organization, but it can be done.

    This kind of thing certainly won’t convince everyone, or even a majority to give evolution a second look, but it will get rid of one major, if not THE major misunderstanding about evolution, and most importantly it will keep politicians and others from stating that evolution is “just a theory” if they don’t want to look like idiots (whether they actually are idiots or not).

  67. #67 negentropyeater
    January 11, 2008

    #18
    “Huckabee holds that it is completely wrong, that the Earth is 6000 years old or so, and that an invisible sky friend poofed everything into existence from nothing.”

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

  68. #68 Teenage Lobotomy
    January 11, 2008

    #62 What pray tell is a “smull”?

  69. #69 RBH
    January 11, 2008

    Janus wrote

    I think what we need is this: A short article or series of articles explaining WHAT a scientific theory is, WHY it’s not just an educated guess, WHY evolution is both a fact and a theory, and that states clearly that (almost) all biologists and paleontologists and biochemists etc accept evolution as fact and have for decades.

    It’s here, just published the other day, from the National Academies of Science. And it’s received a pretty good amount of ink in the lay press in the last couple of days.

  70. #70 me
    January 11, 2008

    #66

    A. Yes

    B. He’s too slick to get pinned on that one, not that it matters…if you drink Kookaid, does it really matter what flavor you drink? IMHO, he’s got all the pat answers/deflections practiced by a fundamentalist/denialist and he’s very good at deploying them to disarm people who challenge his nonsense.

  71. #71 Kseniya
    January 11, 2008

    Janus #65 – nice idea, if only to try to establish a knowledge baseline and a precedent for promoting widespread public understanding of the concept. Those who will not be swayed will cry “librul media bias” as always, but they’re already lost to us anyway.

    TeenLob – “smull” is a typo of “small”. I read it as “I carried out a small study…”.

  72. #72 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).

  73. #73 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).

  74. #74 Ichthyic
    January 11, 2008

    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.

    Dembski did the exact same thing, btw. Check out his first televised “debate” with Michael Ruse, for a specific instance.

    of course, making fools of themselves only endears them to fools, which is their target audience after all.

  75. #75 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.

  76. #76 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.

  77. #77 Glen Davidson
    January 11, 2008

    of course, making fools of themselves only endears them to fools, which is their target audience after all.

    Sort of fundy triumphalism, or the second coming. After all, their “wisdom” was not given to the wise, and when a “scientist” and a “mathematician” finally acknowledge such “wisdom” (& that’s how it’s often been portrayed, that hapless scientists like Behe were forced by the evidence into admitting design–so unlike how it happened), the new age of Xian perfection has arrived, even before the Messiah brings them their final triumph.

    So yes, they must say what the fools will believe, thus they have to be fools. Nothing new about a few fools getting their doctorates, either, meaning that the myth of scientists “acknowledging” what the unlearned already “know” will be perpetuated for a very long time.

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

  78. #78 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!

  79. #79 Norman Doering
    January 11, 2008

    …we should name some particularly retarded creationist bullshit idea a “Huckabee”.

    I will be doing that soon on my blog.

  80. #80 MAJeff
    January 11, 2008

    Mitt may be a halfway decent human being

    Evidence collected thus far would seem to falsify that hypothesis.

  81. #81 MAJeff
    January 11, 2008

    Then again, I gotta say, I’m rooting for Alan Keyes for the Republican nomination.

  82. #82 Kseniya
    January 11, 2008

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

    Keyes, interesting choice. Truly unelectable, ya think?

  83. #83 MAJeff
    January 11, 2008

    Keyes, interesting choice. Truly unelectable, ya think?

    Entertainment value.

  84. #84 Kseniyabee
    January 11, 2008

    LOL! XD

  85. #85 MAJeff
    January 11, 2008

    You have to admit, he does bring batshittery to Olympian heights. I mean, shit, he can make Huckabee look almost sane.

  86. #86 MAJeff
    January 11, 2008

    Thinking about it, alongside the writers’ strike, maybe next time we should do a Big Brother-type reality show for the Presidency. Shorten the campaign to 10-weeks, and every week someone gets voted off….

  87. #87 Kseniya
    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.

  88. #88 Carlie
    January 11, 2008

    Romney = tying a dog to the top of a car for hours of a highway trip. I don’t want someone that removed from basic decency anywhere near the White House.

  89. #89 Kseniya
    January 11, 2008

    Oh yeah, the dog thing… sheesh. Forgot about that. I guess it got eclipsed by Huck Jr.’s dog story. And I’m still miffed (Mitted?) about the human services, health-care and marriage-equality issues…

  90. #90 MAJeff
    January 11, 2008

    Romney = tying a dog to the top of a car for hours of a highway trip. I don’t want someone that removed from basic decency anywhere near the White House

    And thinking that was an endearing story about himself….

  91. #91 MAJeff
    January 11, 2008

    And I’m still miffed (Mitted?) about the human services, health-care and marriage-equality issues…

    And back pay for UMass workers, and vetoing state funding for every LGBT organization that receives state money….

  92. #92 Teenage Lobotomy
    January 11, 2008

    #70 just givin you eggheads the “Business”

    Signed,Teenage Lobotomys Doctor- Lightin up

    Smiles everyone

  93. #93 Faithful Reader
    January 11, 2008

    The Huckster’s ads here in MI have raised my blood pressure– citing the phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as the Founding Fathers’ support for right to life. Aaaauuugh. He played well in the Dutch fundamentalist country around Grand Rapids, and this area is full of reactionaries such as the voters who shut down the oldest continuously operating library in the state for a variety of inane reasons like “we think the new building is too big and ugly.”

  94. #94 Matthew Graybosch
    January 11, 2008

    Sounds like another good reason for me to call this guy “Schmuckabee”.

  95. #95 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?

  96. #96 mothra
    January 11, 2008

    Twas twilight in the libertane,
    Did Jul and Romple entertain?
    Ole Mittney ware the Kerrygloves
    and the rathe confederland.

    Beware the Huckabee my son!
    Jocularis clothe de sack.
    Beware the buljob baird and shun
    the framenourius Baptertak.

    Wit verpol glossat serpentand
    long time educarine foe he sought
    Yet slumbered he by benjamine tree
    Possessed as though in thought.

    phylletics not he understood,
    The Huckabee with eyes aflame,
    come waffling Arkansan wood
    and beheeing the inane.

    Gesticulating out in view
    the verpol glossat serpentak,
    probosc-ephantine was he ahead,
    churmed Galloping the politic

    Quo vadis M the Huckabee?
    To me, to me, my churlish boy.
    Perfid the fog beswept away.
    Stood he before the Hillary.

    Matinal was the libertine,
    Did Jul, and Ronpol to the Fred.
    Mittney wore the Kerrygloves,
    (Barrok and Edwards nary wed)
    And the Jan wrethe Clintontine.

  97. #97 MAJeff
    January 11, 2008

    He played well in the Dutch fundamentalist country around Grand Rapids, and this area is full of reactionaries such as the voters who shut down the oldest continuously operating library in the state for a variety of inane reasons like “we think the new building is too big and ugly.”

    My relatives in NW Iowa–same sort of thing. Those Midwestern Dutch Calvinists are scary people.

  98. #98 Scott Hatfield, OM
    January 11, 2008

    See, this is a typical example of politico double-speak, aided and abetted by the moderator’s gloss ‘dodging Darwinism.’ The student’s mistake in this exchange was agreeing with that characterization, and since Darwinism as used in this country usually carries the connotation of a belief system, once that was allowed, the politician has a certain amount of cover.

    Imagine if the student had said, “No. Darwinism is not a part of our state standards. Evolution is, and it’s not being taught in many schools, and I want to know what the governor thinks we should do about that.” Remember, kids, you don’t hit anything by letting the target point at the cannon.

  99. #99 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.

  100. #100 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.

  101. #101 Robert
    January 11, 2008

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

    /Sarc

  102. #102 Ian Gould
    January 11, 2008

    I’m amazed that after 100 posts on Huckabee nobody has mentioned his truly freakish ears.

  103. #103 CRE
    January 12, 2008

    Wow, over 100 posts, and no one is coming out in favour of the Christian stance, so I guess I will. First off, you posters are great at proving the stereotype of liberals falling back on foul language to make their points. I love all the names that are being tossed around at Christians and Huckabee. To address a few points in particular-28-I love your terming of Evangelicals as idiots. Just because we hold to a belief that is not in line with yours, that makes us idiots? Nice to see you are so open minded as to respect the views of others. Same goes for 99. As for 40, its obvious that all of the intelligent Americans fled to Canada and stayed there. Thats why Canada is the paragon of intellectual and technological advancement. 47, you are as grossly misunderstanding the sermon. What he was talking about is that by becoming Christian, we have to abandon our sinful, worldly lives, and it is difficult. It can be hard to give up porn, adulterous thoughts, greed, envy, spite, and every other negative element of the human condition. Its not scary at all, it can be great, if it is done right. 62, just because Christians are Christian, does not mean that they are only exposed to the Bible. Many of us study philosophy, history, and science, as they are all intertwined with our religion (not just to argue against these topics, but to further view the beauty of God’s Creation). 59, you are stereotyping as well. Just because someon does not believe in evolution, does not mean that they do not understand the meaning of theory (and I, for one, am getting tired of the evolutionist apologist always citing this, like every Christian is so stupid that we cannot comprehend the few words that we are literate enough to read). I, for one, do not believe evolution simply because it does involve faith. The new NAS book says that creationism involves “belief” while evolution requires “acceptance”. This is the kind of statement that doesn’t sit right. We are to accept that creatures traits change due to their genotypic changes (which is easy to do, since we can observe this in nature without any difficulty). We cannot, however, see this meet the complete definition of speciation (which is, of course, becoming a new species). We are just to “accept” this becuase it’s the only thing that would make sense with the rest of the theory, and because esteemed scientists tell us that it is like that? That is not acceptance, that is faith. Plus, to make the theory complete, scientists tell us that we can’t expect to see this because it takes too long of a time to transpire. Statements such as this remove the argument of falsifiablility from the list of strengths for the theory of evolution. As a last point, I wonder how many of you who claim that the Bible is myth, false, blah blah blah, have actually read it. The laws of Moses, for example, are very intuitively obvious. It doesn’t take a Christian (or Muslim or Jew, for that matter) to understand why staying away from society for a week after handling a corpse, for example, would be beneficial to the society as a whole. So, I leave this challenge, stop stereotyping, learn some about the Bible, and become a little better informed, before you are so fast to judge us (and yes, I know that the most fundamentalist amongst us are our worst enemies, and I don’t fault you for your views about them, but you shouldn’t paint us all with the same brush). I’m sure, based on past experience, that most of the replies to my reply will be juvenilic, and irrational, but I hope to see better from all of you.

  104. #104 holomorph
    January 12, 2008

    CRE–

    A serious contender for the Republican nomination for the Presidency of the United States just showed he doesn’t understand the word “theory” as it applies to evolution. So I don’t think post No. 59 was stereotyping.

    If you think “evolution is just a theory” constitutes a valid argument against the teaching of evolution to the exclusion of ID, as Mr Huckabee does, then you misunderstand the word as it is used by scientists. The word “theory” in “theory of evolution” carries the same strength as it does in “theory of gravity” to a scientist. It’s just not honest to say that they are using the word in a different sense than they are.

    The people who claim that the Bible is myth obviously don’t mean every word is a lie. (Has this even come up in this thread, by the way?) But the fact that some of the laws of Moses are sensible (some of them, that is; Deut. 22:28, concerning how much money a rapist owes his victim’s father if he desires to marry his victim, isn’t “intuitively obvious” to anyone with any common decency or respect for women) does not mean that the nonsense in the Bible must also be true. Just because it is a good thing to love our neighbours as ourselves doesn’t mean that Noah’s ark was real. Just because the Trojan War really happened doesn’t mean that the Greek gods described in the Iliad are real, either. Truth and myth can be, and are, mixed in these sources.

    Others more qualified than I can take care of your “acceptance vs. faith” claim. Basically, it boils down to the oft-cited, but nonexistent, distinction between “microevolution” and “macroevolution”. Microevolution is observable in our lifetimes! So what do you think it will become when extended back millions and millions of years? It seems silly– and is silly– to claim that there is some magical dividing line of “species” or “kind” beyond which no further change can occur.

    I myself am an ex-homeschooler, ex-creationist who has only realized the truth and beauty of evolution within the last couple years. My knowledge is thus sadly incomplete, and I defer to the other commenters for rebuttal of your more evolution-centered claims.

  105. #105 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2008

    Wow, over 100 posts, and no one is coming out in favour of the Christian stance,

    *looks around*

    shocker.

    First off, you posters are great at proving the stereotype of liberals falling back on foul language to make their points.

    *shrug*

    morons like yourself are great at creating the stereotypes to begin with.

  106. #106 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.

  107. #107 CRE
    January 12, 2008

    103-I understand your point about Huckabee. It’s politics, though. It is the same way with politicians who want to glom onto any issue, ignoring obvious evidence (and please do not mistake this statement as meaning evolution is obvously true) in favour of whatever stance will get them the votes that they need to be elected. To attack him as ignorant/not worthy of being president because he ignores evidence of something, unless you are practicing a double standard, would be an indictment of every politician as unelectable. As for your other points, they have merit, but can be explained with rational discourse, although I will not get into a debate on Biblical validity here, whether it is with someone who is obviously informed and intelligent, such as yourself, or because someone baits be into it. 105-thank you for proving my point exactly. I am a compassionate individual, who stands up against racism, volunteers to provide food and clothing to the poor, advocate for animal rights, hold two bachelors degrees from Colorado State University. I present you with a well written, intelligent reply to the Christian bashing that fundamentalist atheists such as yourselves love to do, and your only reply is to call me a moron? That’s impressive. Oh, and what stereotype did I create? Would you say the same to a minority, and accuse all blacks of being thugs, or all hispanics of being illegals? If so, the only thing I can say is you might want to go study that whole do unot others thing and treat others with compassion thing that that Jesus guy was talking about. Soli Deo Gloria.

  108. #108 CRE
    January 12, 2008

    Rick, I agre with you about how Christians are Christianity’s worst problem. I stated that in my original post. I don’t care what kind of language someone wants to use. I was mereley pointing out why some of us do not take rationalists and huanists very serious. It’s hard to buy science from people who talk like junior high schoolers.
    That’s all I was pointing out. And yes, I am actively working to improve CHristianity’s image.

  109. #109 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?

  110. #110 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?

  111. #111 CRE
    January 12, 2008

    Rick, I misstyped, should have been directed to 104. As to Janus, where did I say I’m not a fundamentalist? I absolutely am, but I also don’t read into the Bible, and I try to stay abreast of legitimate scientific discovery (and no, I don’t go to Creationism musuems, nor do I donate to the DI). For example, I do not believe that the earth is 5000 years old, since that is not stated, or even implied, in the Bible. I also do not believe that Muslims are so ignorant as to believe that the sun sets into a small pool of water at the edge of the earth. I also don’t believe that fossils are tests of our faith. As a final example, check out http://www.chick.com. I think that guy should be run off somewhere along with Fred Phelps.

  112. #112 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2008

    Isn’t that interesting?

    not particularly.

    humorous, maybe.

  113. #113 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2008

    thank you for proving my point exactly.

    ahh, nothing like a self-fulfilling prophecy, right mr. xian?

    LOL

    “I’m going to say something completely moronic and then whine about being called a moron!”

    how’s that been working out for you so far?

  114. #114 Rick R
    January 12, 2008

    Janus wrote- “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?”

    I don’t find it especially interesting. Who cares what anyone’s beliefs are?

    Bottom line for me is- if it can’t be proven or disproven using the scientific method, I don’t want it taught in my kid’s science classes. So far, evolution is the only theory passing the test.
    Beyond that, you can believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his divine noodley appendages, or that life ‘poofed’ into existence by the holy word of God.

    But until you can submit a testable hypothesis, it ain’t science.

  115. #115 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.

  116. #116 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?

  117. #117 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2008

    That’s not as interesting as what I thought you were saying, but a lot more humorous.

    Oh yeah, I sense we got a live one.

    more fun than watching Letterman, at least.

    I sense many humorous claims of victimhood to ensue.

  118. #118 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2008

    Nothing like broad generalizations.

    you mean like the ones you are projecting?

    I’m just trying to make you happy.

  119. #119 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2008

    Maybe I’ll read the NAS’ new book and be converted. Like the humanists say, there might still be hope, right?

    LMAO!

    the really funny thing is that you think you’re being clever; as if no other idiot creobot has ever tried this ploy before.

    oh, sorry, *ahem* oh yes, you should go read the NAS booklet and come back with questions.

  120. #120 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?

  121. #121 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2008

    and I’m content with my understanding of the natural world.

    yeah, you just keep telling yourself that.

    thanks for the laughs.

    come back soon!

  122. #122 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2008

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

    yes, yes, nothing new, just more projection.

    I did hope he would share at least a bit more of his *wisdom* with us.

    oh well.

  123. #123 Rick R
    January 12, 2008

    CRE wrote- “I am a compassionate individual, who stands up against racism, volunteers to provide food and clothing to the poor, advocate for animal rights, hold two bachelors degrees from Colorado State University.”

    I wonder where CRE stands on gay rights?

  124. #124 Kseniya
    January 12, 2008

    Someone who said he wasn’t coming back wrote:

    Plus, to make the theory complete, scientists tell us that we can’t expect to see this because it takes too long of a time to transpire. Statements such as this remove the argument of falsifiablility from the list of strengths for the theory of evolution.

    No it doesn’t.

    The laws of Moses, for example, are very intuitively obvious. It doesn’t take a Christian (or Muslim or Jew, for that matter) to understand why staying away from society for a week after handling a corpse, for example, would be beneficial to the society as a whole.

    How does the sensibility of one or more of these laws demontrate that any of the stories in the book are true? I’ve read plenty of novels which included clearheaded words of wisdom coming from the characters in the books. One might as well argue that because Gandalf was very wise, The Lord of the Rings must be true, or at least based on true events.

    Sure, a person should wash his hands and under his fingernails or keep away from his tribe for several days after handling a corpse. That’s one example of something that is intuitively obvious (so obvious, in fact, one wonders why an omnipotent deity had to point it out.) If you argument rests on how “intuitively obvious” these laws are, maybe you can explain the law which requires that a woman stay away from worship twice as long after giving birth to a girl-child than she after giving birth to a boy-child. What’s intuitively obvious about that? More to the point, how does the validity (or invalidity) of such a law prove (or disprove) the veracity of the stories included in the book? If the majority of these laws are absurd – and it seems that they are – then is the book fictional? You logic suggests that the answer is “Yes.”

  125. #125 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.

  126. #126 BobC
    January 12, 2008

    “Just because we hold to a belief that is not in line with yours, that makes us idiots?”

    If a person believes the dead jesus has any value, then yes, you’re an idiot.

  127. #127 Logician
    January 12, 2008

    Re#102 and following by CRE:

    Admittedly, some of the language here has been sophomoric, however, the spirit of the content is correct.

    It may come as a big surprise to you, but some of us have ACTUALLY read the Bible, the Quran, the Torah, and many other basic testaments of faith.
    We have also ACTUALLY read the “Origins of the Species” physics textbooks, geology textbooks, etc.
    We are also ACTUALLY scientists. And, *gasp* to top it off, we ACTUALLY have greatly considered the topics you claim to know.
    Now, just exactly WHAT is “very intuitively obvious” about: 1)Selling my daughter into slavery Ex. 21:7
    2)Being “unclean” for 7 days if my wife is having her period Lev. 15:24
    3)Killing my neighbor who works on the sabbath (he’s a doctor-I know, people shouldn’t get sick on the “Lord’s” day, but dang it all, somehow, it just happens) Ex.35.2

    If you’re as bright as you love to imply, you get the gist. This very poorly plagarized group of fairy tales you have “faith” in is pure shit. Period. It is unworthy of a human to follow such an ignorant piece of crap.

    And no, I don’t think you’re stupid. What you are suffering from (and making us suffer, as well) is cognitive dissonance. (Look it up, bright boy/girl/it) So does Huckabee. So does ANY adult who professes to “believe” this terribly stupid pile of shit called religion. That’s why ole Huck sounds so stupid. In his cognitive confusion, he CANNOT make sense because he is spinning around in his own head trying to outright deny reality.
    When one devotes one’s life to understanding reality, cre, it DOES get frustrating when someone like you who professes to be ‘oh-so-educated’ flat out denies the primacy of evidence and defends others doing the same.
    Unless, of course, you are the FIRST AND ONLY human in the HISTORY of the world who has ANY evidence for your “faith” claims…and no, no quoting the disgusting forgery of Eusbius will not fly here. Nor will the Shroud of Turin forgery. We mean *evidence.* Testable, provable, the kind that can lead to predictions that can be proven, etc.
    You know, all that troublesome scientific stuff. Not the woo-woo X Files stuff.

    PS: I’m not kidding here. If you cannot point out what is “very intuitively obvious” about such stupid, superstitious shit as listed above, then stay the hell off the site of people much more educated than YOU claim to be. If not, then quit whining when we hand your dizzy head back to again and again and again and again……

  128. #128 negentropyeater
    January 12, 2008

    Logician,
    “And no, I don’t think you’re stupid. What you are suffering from (and making us suffer, as well) is cognitive dissonance. (Look it up, bright boy/girl/it) So does Huckabee. So does ANY adult who professes to “believe” this terribly stupid pile of shit called religion.”

    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 ?

    This is the most important question that nobody seems to want to address seriously : how does one diminish the influence of religion in this country ?

    And I can tell you, countries where this has been succesful (eg France, Britain, Germany), have not achieved this with “shock therapy”.

  129. #129 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.

  130. #130 negentropyeater
    January 12, 2008

    “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.”

    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…

  131. #131 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…

  132. #132 AllanW
    January 12, 2008

    Re #128 – 130

    The only approach I know that gets results? When someone comes into your field of vision; point and laugh. Mockery of their lack of understading of the facts. Point out where the facts are, certainly, but in no ways insist that they have to lap it up; that smacks of evangelizing and will merely provoke defensive stances being taken.

    Just point and laugh confident in your ability to out-compete these deluded idiots with your firm grasp of reality and their lack of it. You have all the arguments and the consequences of not having a rational viewpoint; use them confidently. But on no account give any indication that you want them to follow your lead.If they’re too stupid to keep up then it’s their problem.

    This approach is tried and tested; all the great advances of civilization were crafted by a minority demonstrating their better grasp of the fundamentals of reality compared to the mass of the populace. Don’t be afraid to be associated with that idea.

    Point and laugh. And make your own badges/buttons/car-stickers/poster; “He ain’t there; it’s up to us.’

  133. #133 RubyGlare
    January 12, 2008

    This is what happens when science retreats from “popular culture”, you know, what archaeologists study? I’ll say it here, too: where are the kids’ toys showing all the ‘missing links’ found since 1979? Why is it that the brand “Red Rose “tea was including little porcelain Noah’s Ark figurines(they were recently changed to “Pet Shop Friends”), yet I can’t find collectible “newest dinosaurs found” figurines? The Natural History museums are outdated-where are the copies of “Lucy” & the others found in the Rift Valley? A society is only as smart-on average-as its popular culture.

  134. #134 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.

  135. #135 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2008

    This is the most important question that nobody seems to want to address seriously : how does one diminish the influence of religion in this country ?

    it HAS been addressed, many times, even on this very blog.

    and lo and behold, it has been demonstrated, numerous times, that ridicule is an effective strategy, not only for onlookers, but for the targets as well. with the target, you have a percentage chance they will just entrench themselves further, and a percentage chance they will start rethinking their position.

    the ones that entrench further are demonstrably beyond rational lines of discourse anyway, and likely do indeed need some sort of therapy geared towards breaking defenses of dissonance and/or cult indoctrination.

    It’s not like the pattern isn’t obvious if you simply start analyzing the writings and speeches made by creobots all over the world (yes, the patterns are the same, regardless of country of origin, and even the specific religion involved).

    However, you are tangentially right, in that while it has often been discussed, treating the intractable creobot as if they are suffering from exposure to cultism (which is basically exactly what it is), is simply not acceptable to the majority of americans who have been raised religious. There is very little funding for such research, and very little political will to encourage such research.

    If you are interested, there have been a few studies published in the last few years looking at both genetic and cultural contributions to maintaining extreme religious memes.

    have you read this one, for example:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/316/5827/996

  136. #136 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.

  137. #137 Keith Douglas
    January 13, 2008

    Mike: Looks good. Bone up on your French so you can get most of the language points and you’ll be ok.

    SteadyEddy: You mean the theocratic plutocrats, as opposed to just plutocrats.

  138. #138 mothra
    January 13, 2008

    There (unfortunately) can be no real give or take of ideas in a logical framework with theists, due to the ‘goddidit’ retreat and as already alluded to ‘mysterious ways’ and ‘we’re not meant to understand’ dodges. Its like the confrontation with the black knight in Search for the Holy Grail.’ They just stand, sit, fall, sprawl, express blood and keep yammering, oblivious to their dismemberment. I alternate between serious posts and posts injected with (I hope) humor. I try to refrain from personal attacks but expose their position as stupid/ foolish. As depressing as it is, at least 35% of the electorate are fundies and we have to keep trying to either educate or expose them in their foolishness. Direct alienation cannot be beneficial as theists thrive on persecution.

  139. #139 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.

  140. #140 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.

  141. #141 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.

  142. #142 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.

  143. #143 truth machine
    January 13, 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…

    Aside from the fact that doesn’t help your position any, what makes you think so? It actually isn’t true, for reasons that make religion a considerably harder nut to crack.

  144. #144 Lancair
    January 13, 2008

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

  145. #145 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

  146. #146 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.

  147. #147 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.)

  148. #148 Pyre
    January 15, 2008

    Pakicetus: My quibble was specifically about blaming an executive-branch official for bills being introduced by members of the legislative branch. If Huckabee had signed such a bill into law, that would have been good grounds for complaint. But if these bills were only “introduced”, never actually passed, they never reached his desk for action.

    My quibble was *not* about executive-branch actions, and there’s really no point arguing as though it were.

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