Pharyngula

We have a Vermont alumnus among the ScienceBorg: Kevin Beck at Dr Joan Bushwell’s Chimpanzee Refuge. He’d like to coordinate a letter-writing campaign to protest UVM’s poor choice of a commencement speaker, so maybe you should go over there and leave a comment and email address.

I’m still shaking my head over this. The man’s a notorious creationist and apologist for criminal Republican administrations. Why would anyone want to honor this guy? Is it for his work as a shill for eyedrops?

Comments

  1. #1 Zeno
    January 31, 2009

    And perhaps those of us who are alumni of other universities can write to UVM’s president to thank them for raising the relative academic standing of our alma maters by trashing theirs.

  2. #2 talking snake
    January 31, 2009

    Celebrity counts, convictions don’t.

  3. #3 sdrDusty
    January 31, 2009

    It’s a real WTF moment. wtf could they be thinking?

  4. #4 Queequeg
    January 31, 2009

    Isn’t John Davison a Professor Emeritus at UVM?

    Hmmmm….

  5. #5 Porco Dio
    January 31, 2009

    dudes,

    they’er not only giving a fuckwit a podium to spew his incoherent bile they’re also giving him an honorary degree!!!

    the message to the graduates is thus: earn your degree, become famous even though you are a total moron and you too could be back someday for a degree you have not earned.

  6. #6 Dr. J
    January 31, 2009

    Celebrity counts, convictions don’t.

    Mighty loose definition of “celebrity”.

  7. #7 mikeg
    January 31, 2009

    …”and science leads to killing people.” that’s all that needs to be repeated

  8. #8 CalGeorge
    January 31, 2009

    Maybe they didn’t read that he has been rebuked by the Anti-Defamation League (“Using the Holocaust in order to tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution is outrageous and trivializes the complex factors that led to the mass extermination of European Jewry”).

    Or that he replied, “It’s none of their fucking business.”

    http://scienceblogs.com/tfk/2008/06/ben_stein_still_a_ratbastard.php

    Or maybe they – the business types who run UVM – don’t give a shit.

  9. #9 JD
    January 31, 2009

    Might be time for Ferris Bueller to take another day off.

  10. #10 CalGeorge
    January 31, 2009

    “Anyway, I couldn?t give a [profanity] whether a person calls himself a scientist. It doesn?t earn any extra respect from me, because it?s not as if science has covered itself with glory, morally, in my time. Scientists were the people in Germany telling Hitler that it was a good idea to kill all the Jews. Scientists were telling Stalin it was a good idea to wipe out the middle-class peasants. Scientists were telling Mao Tse-Tung it was fine to kill 50 million people in order to further the revolution.” ? Ben Stein interviewed by Christianity Today, April 15, 2008

    Enjoy your idiot commencement speaker, President Fogel. I guess these words from 2004′s commencement weren’t spoken with sincerity:

    “We take pride in Professor Emeritus Raul Hilberg [his The Destruction of the European Jews, is a seminal study of the Nazi Final Solution], whose relentless scholarship established a foundation of knowledge for generations of Holocaust scholars to follow. Over the course of three decades, Professor Hilberg excelled as a teacher in the classroom as well, his words echoing in the minds of former students long past graduation: ?Know what you?re looking at. Study it. Never take anything at face value.?

    http://www.uvm.edu/~cmncmnt/commencement2004/?Page=fogel_commencementaddress04.html

  11. #11 BruceH
    January 31, 2009

    My guess is that they are honoring his true-to-life portrayal of educators in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

    (Just kidding.)

  12. #12 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    I’ve seen Stein on the financial channels, he knows the standard stuff, although I didn’t see him thinking much outside of the box. I doubt he is going to speak of creationism at the commencement. He might well be able to impart some entertaining wisdom and experiences to the students. Perhaps we shouldn’t underestimate this modern human. After all, not everbody can see the Bush administation in historical perspective.

  13. #13 PlaydoPlato
    January 31, 2009

    Ben Stein
    B. Stein
    Ben S.
    BS

    Ah, now I get it.

  14. #14 senecasam
    January 31, 2009

    No matter how much fuss is made, or emails and letters sent, UVM probably won’t back off their selection of Stein.

    OTOH, all the brouhaha will elevate Stein in the still bloodshot eyes of his cult-like followers.

    Do we really want Ben Stein going around saying “Look, ‘they’ got me EXPELLED from speaking at UVM!”

  15. #15 CalGeorge
    January 31, 2009

    President Fogel’s area of scholarship is Henry James.

    “James characteristically looked at all sides of the issue, he called it going behind or looking all around a character or situation; and I think you have to do that in a job like mine. You have to understand everyone’s point of view, you can’t get angry at people, you can’t hold grudges, you have to understand if they disagree with you where they are coming from. And James is like that, in his late novel in particular there are debate among scholars at who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, they’re not wearing white and black hats.”

    http://media.www.vermontcynic.com/media/storage/paper308/news/2004/09/07/News/A.Candid.Conversation.With.President.Fogel-716136-page4.shtml

    Something tells me he’s not going to change the commencement menu.

  16. #16 James F
    January 31, 2009

    #14 I worry about this, too. At the very least the officials at UVM who selected Stein will be educated about their speaker.

  17. #17 Fernando Magyar
    January 31, 2009

    Africangenesis @ 12,

    Perhaps we shouldn’t underestimate this modern human. After all, not everbody can see the Bush administation in historical perspective.

    Do you moonlight for the Onion?

    You’re right this particular modern human is quite capable of being dishonest beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.

  18. #18 JD
    January 31, 2009

    Snotty Stein looks out on an empty audience at UVM: Anyone? Anyone?

  19. #19 Tom
    January 31, 2009

    The protest will please Ben Stein a lot. Even though the protest is justified, Stein will get to say “told ya so. those darwinists are trying to arrange it so i dont get to speak in public.”

    You should know how these guys minds work by now.

  20. #20 Leo Tarvi
    January 31, 2009

    Scientists were the people who developed the plastic lenses that allow me to see clearly.
    Scientists were the people who worked out how to adjust the distortion in my hips so that I walk straight instead of bowl-legged.
    Scientists figured out antihistamines and oxygen tents so that I survived the day when we learned that I was allergic to milk.
    Scientists invented the microprocessor.
    Scientists worked out how to connect machines together to give us that wonderful, bizarre picture of humanity that is the internet.

    Scientists are the reason I’m able to tell you these things. If you don’t like it come tell me to my face, because you have no right to use the internet. Or the telephone, telegraph, modern post office, hell I could make a good case for you not even using writing. Naturally, if medical science has ever saved your life, you are disqualified.

    I’ll let writing slip, and all you have to do is explain how all that, which is a paltry collection of the benefits of science, leads people to a worse place then that alleged divine law. I don’t even care which law you use, as long as it claims to be divine.

    Humanity is better than that, no matter what you pick. We have always been better, we are better now, and our children will be better in the future. And thanks to science there will be more and more of us to keep making things better.

    Let go of your madness and join us, we can be better still. Science may not give absolute truth, but it is constantly improving. Just like humanity.

  21. #21 raven
    January 31, 2009

    Stein is a real insult to the faculty and students of UVM.

    The real question is not, “What is wrong with Ben Stein.” That is trivial and well known. It is, “What is wrong with the U. of Vermont?” Have they been taken over by Xian Dominionists or something?

    I’ll send them an email with Stein’s quote about scientists being responsible for the Holocaust, Nazism, and Communism. And the ADL’s comment on how he hijacked an atrocity to spread a Big Lie. And even use my real name and real title.

    Won’t do any good but if they want to trash UVM’s reputation, they might as well reap what they sow, contempt.

    Ben Stein has spent his whole life allied with the Forces of Darkness trying to destroy our society. He is basically a slightly more literate Rush Limbaugh.

    1. Speechwriter to Nixon, the disgraced and resigned president.

    2. Lying and slandering science and scientists for the Xian Dom. creationists of Expelled whose stated goal is to overthrow the US government and head on back to the Dark Ages.

    3. Giving simple minded and completely wrong financial advice while the USA and the world spirals into the worst recession since WWII.

    We know what is wrong with Stein. What is wrong with the University of Vermont? I would expect Stein to be speaking at Liberty, Oral Roberts, Regents, or Bob Jones U., not some place in Vermont for Cthulhu’s sake.

    Assuming U. of Vermont isn’t some coven of lunatic fringe Xian cultists, this is a real insult to the students and faculty there.

  22. #22 Quidam
    January 31, 2009

    Yes a protest would result in cries of ‘Ben Stein is Expelled’

    GOOD

    The publicity given Expelled undoubtedly gave it a wider audience than it would have otherwise got, but it did not benefit the movement. It meant that it was exposed for the vile intectually bereft propaganda it was.

    Stein is a nasty, small minded, religious bigot, he should be exposed not exalted.

  23. #23 Longinus
    January 31, 2009

    Lol I don’t even live in America and I’m insulted and disappointed.

    Anyway I wrote a letter to the uni, hopefully they would re-consider him as a candidate and pick someone else. I hope you guys in America (I’m from Australia) write in and change what is happening.

    Good luck!

  24. #24 Longinus
    January 31, 2009
  25. #25 Leo Tarvi
    January 31, 2009

    Reading my rant again, I feel I should point out that science is also how our ancestors figured out a way to ferment vegetable juices into booze. It’s not that I’m drunk early, you see, it’s that I’m still up drinking. This of course makes it totally ok.

    I honestly don’t know whether I should be embarrassed or proud of writing that, but either way I really meant it!

  26. #26 DrBadger
    January 31, 2009

    Hey, maybe PZ could give the commencement speech at Liberty University (It makes about just as much sense).

  27. #27 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    Raven,

    The financial comment is unfair. Very few saw the crisis comming and none of the experts in the prior administration or this, really have a clue about how to fix it.

  28. #28 black wolf
    January 31, 2009

    Of course they’d parade that memorable first and only case where one of their own was actually really deliberately expelled. Why should we care, respectively the people who protest his appointment? It’s not like they hadn’t believed and swallowed all the lies already. Is there one doubter who thinks, ‘ok maybe the movie told a whole load of lies to us viewers, but now that they’re actually expelling Stein, I’ll start believing everything he says’?
    Prof. Hilberg, mentioned in post 10, and a few delegates from the ADL maybe could pay the event a visit and make known why they are there.

  29. #29 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    CalGeorge#10,

    Ben Stein was using an ad hominem argument against science. I hope none of us fall for those kind of arguments here.

  30. #30 black wolf
    January 31, 2009

    #29
    Who is this science person you speak of?

  31. #31 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    black wolf,

    I don’t recall speaking of a “science person”.

  32. #32 raven
    January 31, 2009

    AfricaG. getting it wrong again:

    Raven,

    The financial comment is unfair. Very few saw the crisis comming and none of the experts in the prior administration or this, really have a clue about how to fix it.

    That is completely false, just plain wrong. Millions of people saw the financial crisis coming years before. Whole forests were demolished writing about it.

    I’m one. We pulled all our money out of the stock markets in mid 2007, shortly before the peak and parked it in cash and treasuries. So did many, many other people. Soros, Buffett, Rogers, and a lot of just ordinary folks did the same.

    This crash was about as obvious as a train wreck at 1 mile/hour. In point of fact, among the few people who didn’t see it coming were Paulson, Bernanke, Bushco, and the rest of our so called leaders. Along with Ben Stein, the blind squirrel who couldn’t find an acorn if he stepped on it.

  33. #33 Quiet_Desperation
    January 31, 2009

    Scientists invented the microprocessor.
    Scientists worked out how to connect machines together to give us that wonderful, bizarre picture of humanity that is the internet.

    Hey! Some love for the engineers, too, please?

    Besides, everyone knows the microprocessor was reverse engineered from the remains of the Roswell UFO. :-)

  34. #34 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 31, 2009

    Reading my rant again, I feel I should point out that science is also how our ancestors figured out a way to ferment vegetable juices into booze. It’s not that I’m drunk early, you see, it’s that I’m still up drinking. This of course makes it totally ok.

    Remember, you can not drink all day if you don’t start in the morning. Nothing wrong with that.

  35. #35 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    Raven,

    I meant few saw it coming as a percentage. Most people lost their shirts, and even the pundits you mentioned don’t seem to have a solution. Rogers had been a bear for years and I know confessed to some losses betting on the crisis too early, Soros might have helped precipitate the crisis, and Buffet doesn’t claim any macro-economic expertise or strategy, he’s invests strictly on the fundamentals. So that leaves you, what is your perspective?

  36. #36 co
    January 31, 2009

    #31:

    black wolf,

    I don’t recall speaking of a “science person”.

    argumentum ad hominem is “argument against the man”; you used it in a common way, but black wolf makes a good point in his comment.

  37. #37 co
    January 31, 2009

    me, at #36: blockquote fail! Strange tag behavior on this blog.

  38. #38 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    Thanx co#36,

    Well Stein evidently believes that those advising the dictators were scientists. So Stein’s ad hominem generalizes from some “scientists” that whose advice resulted in evil ends, to a general scepticism and dismissal of “science” as an unquestioned authority. This kind of generalization is rather like the racism that demonizes all Europeans for the actions of a few.

    Some of what Stein is referring to as “science”, was what we now recognize as pseudoscience about the inferiority of certain races, and some other of what Stein is referring to are the pretensions that some ideologies have to “scientific planning” of economies. Trusting something because it claims to be “science” isn’t very scientific.

  39. #39 raven
    January 31, 2009

    So that leaves you, what is your perspective?

    Not buying your comments on Soros, Buffett, or Rogers. These are very smart cookies and have the billions of dollars to prove it.

    But leaving them aside, it wasn’t just me. Me and a few million other people.

    We were in a bubble. The subprime mess was just an obvious and crazy bubble guaranteed to burst badly. We’ve seen bubbles before and recently, the savings and loan crisis of the early 1990′s and the dot.com bubble of Y2K.

    All one had to do is realize that large bubbles lead to large bursts. Nothing complicated about that, it has been happening since tulipmania in Holland in the 16th century. And when it showed signs of exploding, run for the hills.

    Anyone who had been around the block a few times had to see it coming. Many did, in fact, see it coming. Stein wasn’t one of them.

  40. #40 Molly, NYC
    January 31, 2009

    I see that he’s also handing out the honorary degrees, including one to a member of the UV board of trustees, Ben R. Forsyth, MD, Professor of Medicine.

    Now this is the one I find curious. You occasionally find the odd physician who’s signed on with the ID crowd, but if they’re teaching in an accredited med school, they’re presumably on the side of the evidence-based. And as a trustee, he’s likely to have some influence on this matter.

    So why is he going along with this? Did he lose a bet?

  41. #41 Vronvron
    January 31, 2009

    In 1997 University of Toronto conferred an honorary doctorate of laws on former U.S. president George Bush despite protests from faculty and students:

    November 19, 1997: George Bush?s honorary degree

    Governing Council stirred up massive controversy by announcing it would confer an honorary doctorate of laws on former U.S. president George Bush.
    Over 1000 protestors picketed behind steel barriers, while RCMP, Toronto police, and U.S. secret service surrounded Hart House in one of the largest security forces campus has ever seen.
    At the ceremony was Barrick Gold Corporation?s CEO Peter Munk, who donated $6.4 million to fi nance Trinity College?s international relations centre. Bush was scheduled to appear at the Munk Centre?s sod-turning, but cancelled.
    Bush was a senior adviser to Barrick?s board of directors, among them several major donors to U of T, including Munk and Joseph Rotman. Earlier in the year, Rotman made one of the largest donation ever to fund U of T?s management school?subject to a secret list of conditions.
    From : http://www.thevarsity.ca/article/646

    I sincerely hope the protest against University of Vermont granting Ben Stein an honorary degree is more successful

  42. #42 The Atheist Missionary
    January 31, 2009

    I applaud the United Church of Canada. They sponsor the website wondercafe: http://www.wondercafe.ca/ where there is currently a poll where you can choose between the probable existence or non-existence of God. The current voting has “probably no god” with a 57% lead which is not bad considering the heavy theist traffic on that site. There was also a full page ad in today’s Globe & Mail (one of Canada’s two national newspapers) with the same stark questionnaire. Kudos to the United Church for tackling this issue head on in a fair and reasoned manner.

  43. #43 Cuttlefish, OM
    January 31, 2009

    The place for Stein
    Is ganz allein.

  44. #44 Sili
    January 31, 2009

    Meh. I think I’ve said before that I don’t ‘get’ these displays of ceremony and tradition.

    To me this is just an indication that commencements and whatnot are a waste of time and you’re better off going out for a beer and leaving the post to take care of your diploma.

    Just stay away and let BS drone at the chancellor (or VC or whatever …). That’ll learn him to invite such a bore.

  45. #45 Sven DiMilo
    January 31, 2009

    The place for Stein
    Is ganz allein.

    Ja, but wouldn’t that make him ein Stein?

  46. #46 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    Raven@39,

    I don’t deny that those people you cited are intelligent, its just that complex systems can be un-predictable, even for the intelligent. You also chose to demonize Bush and Bernanke. Bush made proposals to regulate FANNIE and FREDDIE and to eliminate the double tax on dividends that could have helped. Bernanke had limited tools at his disposal and inherited the bubble. He did make the mistake of raising interest rates too far in an attempt to prove his inflation fighting bona fides.

    But for years the Federal Reserve did not have the tools to fulfill its dual growth and anti-inflation mandates. Since the only way it could “print” money was through lowering interest rates to expand credit and leverage, it was disincentiving saving at the same time. So, combined with the double taxation of dividends and capital gains while interest on debt was only taxed once, we get an economy based on debt and leverage. A house of cards that can’t survive deleveraging and deflation.

    Of course, the market system is getting the blame for an anti-equity tax policy and a fiat money system that doesn’t know how to print money without building up risky leverage. Now the central planners are stepping in, with more debt, mortgaging future generations, and picking winners and losers by earmark.

  47. #47 Rev. BigDumbChimp,
    January 31, 2009

    To me this is just an indication that commencements and whatnot are a waste of time and you’re better off going out for a beer and leaving the post to take care of your diploma.

    I left directly after finishing my last exam and drove straight to Jackson WY skipping the whole commencement. I was much happier skiing than going through that.

  48. #48 charley
    January 31, 2009

    Maybe students could organize an alternate commencement. Rent a space, find a few sympathetic musicians, get a speaker who’s not a putz and find somebody to hand out fake diplomas or letters of congratulations or something. Wear the robes. Leave BS and president dingaling with a half empty hall.

  49. #49 Crudely Wrott
    January 31, 2009

    Alternatively, those in attendance when (if) Stein is introduced and who know his track record of deception and mediocrity could do something like this.

    Pull out the music players and insert ear buds, or start dialing and texting, and turn their backs to the podium. In other words, make a pointed show of non-interest and disrespect.

    Just think of the photo opportunity!

  50. #50 Kai Williams
    January 31, 2009

    If you’re a UV alum who’s sending in a complaint, add that you will be withholding your usual donation to the University in protest of their choice.

    Nothing speaks louder than MONEY, or the lack thereof.

  51. #51 DrBadger
    January 31, 2009

    Maybe students could organize an alternate commencement. Rent a space, find a few sympathetic musicians, get a speaker who’s not a putz and find somebody to hand out fake diplomas or letters of congratulations or something. Wear the robes. Leave BS and president dingaling with a half empty hall.

    Great idea. That would send a strong message and wouldn’t give stein the ammo from being canceled because of “darwinists.”

  52. #52 Vronvron
    January 31, 2009

    #50 says, “If you’re a UV alum who’s sending in a complaint, add that you will be withholding your usual donation to the University in protest of their choice.”

    Great suggestion. However, if enough people send a complaint and say they will be withholding their usual donation to the university, the admin. won’t have time to check whether the person sending the complaint is an alumnus.

  53. #53 Billy
    January 31, 2009

    Could be worse. My institution honored Phyllis Schlafly with an honorary doctorate last year…

  54. #54 JHJEFFERY
    January 31, 2009

    PZ

    I sent the only message I could think of to the UV Pres:

    HOLY CRAP!

  55. #55 Aquaria
    January 31, 2009

    Funny, Paul Krugman was ridiculed in numerous fora because he predicted the economic collapse, long before it happened. He predicted it in the New York Times, a newspaper with considerable readership. He said it over. And over. And over. And he did the same thing with several TV appearances. And he was laughed at in our “mainstream” media for saying it.

    Rational economists were predicting this for years. I’m not even an economist, and I saw the predictions, many, many times over. Many of these people trying to warn us were all but writing/speaking about what was coming as if their hair was on fire.

    I have no sympathy for the people who would not listen. Zero. And I have even less for anyone who says this wasn’t predicted, when it was.

  56. #56 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    Aquaria#55,

    I guess the liberals in Congress didn’t even listen to Krugman. What did he propose could be done about it?

  57. #57 Silver Fox
    January 31, 2009

    I keep reading “this is a poe, that one is a poe”. What in hell is a poe?

  58. #58 Wowbagger
    January 31, 2009

    Silver Fox,

    re: what in hell’s a Poe?

    short answer: someone who pretends to be a theist for the purposes of entertainment or flaming. Because so many theists are a) stupid, b) batshit insane, it’s hard to tell the difference.

    long answer: google it.

  59. #59 Silver Fox
    January 31, 2009

    Need a little help here guys:

    What does this mean and what is TENS?

    “Biologists are still in the “drawing deferents and epicycles” stage in attempting to revise TENS in order to fit the observations.”

  60. #60 Matt Heath
    January 31, 2009

    “Could be worse. My institution honored Phyllis Schlafly with an honorary doctorate last year…”

    That’s ludicrous. Was there booing and kicking of ass?

  61. #61 KnockGoats
    January 31, 2009

    After all, not everbody can see the Bush administation in historical perspective. – africangenesis

    As indeed you prove every time you apologise for it.

  62. #62 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    Wowbagger#58,

    So being called a poe is a complement, because presumbly as a mere pretender isn’t really both of those criteria: “a) stupid, b) batshit insane”?

  63. #63 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    KnockGoats#61,

    So you don’t think Bush used a volunteer army while the others used conscription? You don’t think Bush used more accurate targeting resulting in less collaterol damage and targeting of civilians? You don’t think Bush’s civil liberties record is better, even excluding conscription? Its called historical perspective.

  64. #64 Wowbagger
    January 31, 2009

    Africangenesis wrote:

    So being called a poe is a complement, because presumbly as a mere pretender isn’t really both of those criteria: “a) stupid, b) batshit insane”?

    A complement? It depends. Some people find Poes to be amusing, entertaining or clever. I’m generally not one of them.

    But it’s handy to remember that such things exist; I’ve been ticked off on more than one occasion by what I thought was a fundy idiot being inflammatory, only to be chagrined after finding out they were playing Poe.

    Obviously people playing Poe can be stupid and batshit insane – it’s just far less likely to happen, and more unlikely to happen here, since a non-theist of that kind probably wouldn’t get much value out of bothering people on a blog about biology, evolution and atheism.

    It’s an interesting question, though – you aren’t about to make a confession of some sort are you?

  65. #65 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    SilverFox#59,

    TENS — Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

  66. #66 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    Wowbagger#64,

    I’ve admitted to believing in the existance of the sun, does that count?

  67. #67 Feynmaniac
    January 31, 2009

    Silver fox,

    What does this mean and what is TENS?

    Judging from the context I would guess “Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection”.

  68. #68 Wowbagger, Grumpy Minimalist
    January 31, 2009

    Africangenesis,

    No, we already had that conversation. I was thinking more about your other ideologies. I would imagine that, if you were to reveal that nothing you’ve posted over the weeks that you’ve been here is actually your genuine position on the issues and you were just baiting people for (your own) entertainment, you would qualify as a variation on what Poe’s Law describes.

    Part of me actually hopes that’s true, since it’s better than the alternative.

  69. #69 Billy
    January 31, 2009

    Arguing over who saw the recent financial events coming ahead of time seems a little frivolous. People are constantly making such predictions so at any given point, when anything happens (in economics or any other field with tens of thousands of people analyzing it daily) there will always be countless people who ?predicted it?. What you don?t hear about are those that ?predicted it? happening 5 years ago and were wrong.

    The arguments here are laden with selection bias. Someone correctly predicting these or other events is not very meaningful unless you can go back and find that a) they were right in the timing of their prediction a reasonable amount of time before it was ?obvious?, b) they didn?t make scores of other incorrect predictions along the way, and c) their other positive predictions were usually right.

    Otherwise, they just got lucky and their reputation as a smarty-pants increased as a result.
    I think it?s safe to say that it?s very difficult to judge Stein?s intellect (or any other economists) based on whether or not he foretold the recession.

  70. #70 Michael J
    January 31, 2009

    AG,

    I would go as far as say that almost everybody could see that it was coming, the problem is picking when to exit. Here in Oz, I think that some people were hoping that China and India would become self sustaining before the blow up in the US happened.

    Most of the people that believed that it would go forever are those who weren’t around for the 1987 crash or the tech crash etc. Stein has been around long enough that he should have seen the danger signs.

  71. #71 Michael J
    January 31, 2009

    Billy,

    I partially agree. People who got out a week before the top were just a fluke and people have been getting out the market since 2003.
    There is a difference between people who are saying that the market is at a top at time X and people who can see that the market is far out of balance and is lined up for a crash. I think that most rational people were the latter.

    Of course you are also correct that there a perma-bears and perma-bulls and the perma-bears are now saying see I told you so. For this reason, I think that the downturn wont last as long as everybody thinks.

  72. #72 Fernando Magyar
    January 31, 2009

    Africangenesis @46

    You and your ilk seem to be ignorant of the underlying root causes of our current situation. Either that or you have a specific agenda to disseminate bullshit.
    You are fractally wrong!

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5004

    Advice to Pres. Obama (#6): Beware the Hungry Ghosts

    Posted by Jason Bradford on January 28, 2009 – 9:13am
    Topic: Policy/Politics
    Tags: ecological footprint, obama energy advice [list all tags]

  73. #73 Michael J
    January 31, 2009

    In some ways I feel sorry for Stein. He ruined his already damaged reputation with the Expelled movie. However, his new allies aren’t exactly lauding him as a visionary. The movie wasn’t a blockbuster so I think that the backers wont be using him for a followup movie. Expelled is old news so he wont be invited back on the wingnut media.

  74. #74 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    Wowbagger#68,

    What if it is only partially not my “true” position? You know that there are existentialists that claim to be Christians, but when their beliefs are fully explained, the Christians don’t believe that they are “true” Christians. There are libertarians that would question advocating a fiat money system and arguing that gold is not a good basis for a hard currency, or who question my acceptance of a Medicare prescription plan as a rational reform if we are going to have such as system, or who question my unwillingness to daemonize everybody who seeks leadership who isn’t libertarian, especially GW Bush. Not everybody appreciates historical perspective, you see. They might actually disown me if I persisted in arguing that there are no natural human rights. Perhaps I’m not a “true believer” in libertarianism, I just prefer it to coercive systems, because I value freedom, and find markets to be a remarkable emergent phenomenon, that work really well. I value the surpluses that capitalism creates because of the technology and science that surpluses can finance. I’m not jealous of those who have more, because I know I wasn’t willing to do what it takes to acquire more. I was comfortable having less. I will perhaps use less qualifying phrases, and express more certainty, in order to match the culture, because being less certain is less persuasive to other humans (for some strange reason), one would think it would increase credibility. The certainty others (including the IPCC) express is a joke, a faith, a religion. Why be at a rhetorical disadvantage? Even though others express more certainty and feel more certainty, they probably have less evidence and arguments for certainty, and just don’t know it. How “real” are you?

  75. #75 Kaven
    January 31, 2009

    “So you don’t think Bush used a volunteer army while the others used conscription? You don’t think Bush used more accurate targeting resulting in less collaterol damage and targeting of civilians? You don’t think Bush’s civil liberties record is better, even excluding conscription? Its called historical perspective”

    Bush used and abused the army he had. If it was conscription there would have been riots in the streets.

    Bush killed more civillians than soldiers. If you are saying its ok because he killed only hundreds of thousands of civillians instead of millions as in Vietnam you are sick.

    Bush has been the worst president for Americans’ civil liberties. He has wiped his ass with the constitution.

    Historical perspective is that Bush is the worst US president ever, and a war criminal.

  76. #76 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    Fernando Magyar@72,

    The site you link to just makes assertions, and doesn’t really try to make a rigorous case. The financial system is unstable because it is built on credit not equity. Leverage has always been a risk to stability. This has nothing to do with peak oil or any environmental religion. Economic growth has become much less energy and material intensive, and there is no reason this can’t continue. Look at the value added to the materials that go into DVDs and computer chips, as just two examples. Distribution of content via cable and satellite is even more material efficient. Drinking the economic koolaid of the enviromentalists while population continues to increase may make your malthusian fears a self fulfilling prophesy. We need wealth and surpluses to be able to continue to shrink our environmental footprint, and to enable the poor of the world to skip the most resource intensive steps.

  77. #77 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    Kaven#75,

    If Bush had used conscription that would have been a civil rights violation and I would have been in the streets. But that is a good reason to prefer political parties of individualism rather than collectivism. Remember John Kerry showed is true colors proposing mandatory public service in order to graduate from high school and a public service requirement for college aid. He quickly took it off his website when conscription because an election issue. You see there is a difference between people who believe in freedom and those who believe the state owns its citizens. You can see it in Saddam and his conscription, rape rooms, genocides against the Kurds and the swamp arabs.

    Perhaps Bush killed more civilians than soldiers if you consider the faydaeen and insurgents to be civilians. But the insurgents and sectarian extremists are responsible for the the deaths that they caused. Civilians were not targeted. There aren’t many civil rights violations worse than conscription, so Bush has a leg up on most of history there. He avoided certain war crimes that his father and Clinton commited also. They purposely targeted civilian infrastructure in Iraq and Serbia for terror reasons, to lessen support of the populace for their leaders. GW Bush targeted only dual use infrastructure such as communications that might aid command and control. You demonize without perspective.

  78. #78 Wowbagger, Grumpy Minimalist
    January 31, 2009

    Africangenesis,

    I imagine there’s always a slight discrepancy between one’s ‘real-life’ persona and one’s posting persona, but I would consider that there’s a line between reasonable variation and being disingenuous. I’d like to think I’m close to ‘true’, but that’s what most people are likely to say. Objectivity in such circumstances are difficult.

    What I can say is that I’m much milder in real life than I am here – again, I imagine that’s true of most people.

    Post and think whatever you like; the proportion of which it is rhetorical device matters little to me since I don’t involve myself in many of the same discussions you do. I’m generally not interested in Libertarianism and the associated belief system, whether it be your version or anyone else’s.

    But on this occasion you asked me a direct question so I responded.

  79. #79 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    Kaven#75,

    I add in response to:

    “Bush has been the worst president for Americans’ civil liberties.”

    You might want to learn more about FDR and Wilson.

  80. #80 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    Wowbagger@78,

    Thanx for your thoughtful response. “What I can say is that I’m much milder in real life than I am here – again, I imagine that’s true of most people.” My social persona in real life is probably is in some sense as much an avatar as here. People don’t go around being nihilists. There has to be some accomodation to the beliefs of others just in order to communicate. Is a nihilist milder than a libertarian? Fortunately, my values are more conventional than my philosophy.

  81. #81 Fernando Magyar
    January 31, 2009

    Africangenesis @76

    While the link I gave does not specifically provide the empirical evidence for the assertions you mention, if you bother to dig a bit into that site you will find that data to back up all the assertions. I’m sure you are capable of finding it there.

    Economic growth has become much less energy and material intensive, and there is no reason this can’t continue.

    Actually there is a very good reason why it can’t continue based on the continued exploitation of the current resource base, it’s called thermodynamics.

    Then there are things like Jevons’ Paradox and the exponential function. Not to mention complex interconnectedness of systems such as the economy part of the global ecosystem.

    For a good primer on the exponential function and some basic arithmetic watch this.

    http://globalpublicmedia.com/transcripts/645

    It’s really quite simple.

  82. #82 Africangenesis
    January 31, 2009

    Fernando Magyar#81,

    I am concerned about heat death too, but that is 50 billion years away. If you have some way that thermodynamics is going to limit us sooner, please be more specific. That site is not well organized. A search on thermodynamics mostly picked up peak oil stuff.

  83. #83 Hugh M.
    February 1, 2009

    Do universities now offer degrees in Dickhead?

  84. #84 uncle frogy
    February 1, 2009

    Raven,

    The financial comment is unfair. Very few saw the crisis comming and none of the experts in the prior administration or this, really have a clue about how to fix it.

    As was said that is B.S.
    it is true though that the Bush administration did not see it coming. It was their job to see it coming but like all “true believers” they do not look at reality they failed completely.
    I do not think that the new administration does not know how to fix it or what needs to be done only that it is not politically possible to do it!
    As for what B.S. has to say on investing it is almost worthless, I got better understanding advice High school consumer economics than he ever gave out.
    He just goes with what ever conventional wisdom ( of who he is sucking up to) he hears and quotes it badly without the depth of understanding you would expect just like he does with science. He is a suck up to power. I doubt he believes anything at all but he lies really well and reads his lines like he meant them

  85. #85 Hayata dair
    February 1, 2009

    Mighty loose definition of “celebrity”.
    h?mmm thanks

  86. #86 Eric Saveau
    February 1, 2009

    @africangenesis-
    You are a liar. In a comment to Raven above, you speak of the unpredictability of complex systems in reference to the market. This is, as I’m sure you know, absolutely meaningless with regard to the current financial system. There are mechanisms for regulating markets; they are called… ‘regulations’. The Republicans have pushed ever-greater deregulation while in power, elevating greed over sense, bringing us to where we are now. When the Gramm-Rudman Act, championed by John McCain, was passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in 200, our current situation was rendered all but inevitable. I certainly recognized that at the time, not because I’m particularly brilliant, but because I’m capable of recognizing the obvious. I figured we’d have a financial meltdown within twelve years; as it happens, it took only eight because the Republicans were able to destroy more than even I thought possible.

    There’s nothing at all complex or unpredictable about the results of deregulation; they’re simple and predictable, and they always have been. For you to claim otherwise indicates that you possess no integrity whatsoever.

  87. #87 Africangenesis
    February 1, 2009

    Eric Saveau#86,

    You are right, I didn’t know that regulated systems had never failed before and were completely predictable. It was also not Democrats fault that they were vulnerable to the “entreaties” of FANNIE and FREDDIE and tried to use these Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) to serve a risky social agenda. I was wrong to think that Republicans had recognized the risk of the implicit government guarantee the GSEs enjoyed and tried to regulate them. I was wrong, I was wrong, I was wrong.

    So why do you think the crisis spread to the rest of the ecomomy? Could a system of credit based money creation, that resulted in a pyramid of leverage and that disincentivised savings by pushing interest rates to the floor have had anything to with it? Could the double taxation of dividends and capital games, while debt was subjected to a tax favored single taxation have had something to do with it? Could this penalizing of equity in favor of debt actually be corrupt Democratic protectionism of the banks, despite being pushed by class warefare rhetoric? You know this high leverage the democrats favor turns the stock markets into casinos rather than investment vehicles. It deepens recessions, hurting the very constituency their class warfare rhetoric tries to claim they are helping. But this may just be a superficial reading, I defer to your judgement.

  88. #88 Richard Dawkins
    February 1, 2009

    On 1 Feb 2009, at 17:38, Daniel M. Fogel wrote:

    Dear Professor Dawkins,

    As one who has been deeply instructed by your work and who applauds your scientific leadership, I was honored to find a personal email from you in my inbox, but very sorry indeed that the occasion was the decision to invite Ben Stein to be a Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient. Although we have recently learned that Mr. Stein will be unable to receive the honorary degree here or to serve as Commencement speaker, please know that it was our expectation that his remarks would address the global economic crisis and that he would speak from his widely acknowledged area of expertise on the economy. We regret that he will be unable to do so.

    With thanks again for writing, with admiration, and with every good wish?Daniel Mark Fogel, President, The University of Vermont

    Dear President Fogel

    Thank you very much indeed for your extremely gracious letter.

    I cannot disguise my gladness that Ben Stein will not be going to Vermont. Thank you very much for letting me know. I wish you, and your great university all good fortune. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

    With my very best wishes, and thanks again for your letter

    Yours sincerely

    Richard Dawkins

  89. #89 Eric Saveau
    February 1, 2009

    @africangenesis-
    You are right, I didn’t know that regulated systems had never failed before and were completely predictable. Pardon me while I throw out other strawman mischaracterizations of your comment before admitting that I was wrong, I was wrong, I was wrong.

    AG, you really are a piece of shit. The claim is NOT that regulated systems never fail, it is that systems whose regulatory mechanisms are deliberately undermined ALWAYS fail. There’s no possible way you could misunderstand that distinction, so again you are revealed as being bereft of integrity.

    So why do you think the crisis spread to the rest of the ecomomy?

    Ooh, do we get to play this game now?

    Could a system of credit based money creation, that resulted in a pyramid of leverage and that disincentivised savings by pushing interest rates to the floor have had anything to with it?

    You’re seriously attributing the finiacnial pyramid scheme of Wall Street to liberal, rather than conservative, policies? You seriously haven’t noticed that the conservative/Republican economic policies of the last several decades have been all about spending without regard to the availability of sustainable revenue to cover spending? You didn’t notice that the consistent Republican answer to economic slumps is to “spend our way out of it”, and sneer at anyone who dares to suggest that investing in our nation and it’s tangible needs might be a good idea? Of course you’ve noticed. You’re just betting you won’t get called on it. You lose.

    Could the double taxation of dividends and capital games, while debt was subjected to a tax favored single taxation have had something to do with it?

    No. Next?

    Could this penalizing of equity in favor of debt actually be corrupt Democratic protectionism of the banks, despite being pushed by class warefare rhetoric?

    No, because…

    You know this high leverage the democrats favor turns the stock markets into casinos rather than investment vehicles.

    … this casino-style leverage you speak of was a promotional vehicle of the Reagan Administration that was championed by Stockman and Laffer. Those who pointed out that it was a bad idea were held up as examples of how little liberals understood about economics. Yet now that the scheme has collapsed (again), lying anti-American scumbags like you try to blame the liberals for your own failures.

    It deepens recessions, hurting the very constituency their class warfare rhetoric tries to claim they are helping.

    Actually, allowing your debts to mount and your infrastructure to collapse without facing up to the situation like adults deepens recessions. But you already know that, of course.

    But this may just be a superficial reading, I defer to your judgement.

    A truthful statement, and a wise decision. The first of each ever seen from you here.

  90. #90 Africangenesis
    February 1, 2009

    Eric Saveau,

    You know darn well that the conservatives wanted and tried to regulate FANNIE and FREDDIE, and that they wanted to reduce leverage and the expansion of debt in the economy. It was conservatives that tried to eliminated the double taxes on dividends and capital gains. Conservatives don’t want to spend their way out of recessions, they want to PRODUCE their way out of recessions. That was Reagans plan to deal with the double digit Carter inflation, before Democrat Paul Volcher clamped down on the economy before Reagan even took office. He did it in the name of “breaking the inflation psychology”.

    Your response to every situation is to “regulate it”. Too bad it isn’t informed by a little economic knowledge.

  91. #91 Africangenesis
    February 1, 2009

    Correction, I intended “PRODUCE their way out of INFLATION”

  92. #92 Eric Saveau
    February 1, 2009

    @africangenesis the lying, child-raping, America-hating traitor-
    You know darn well that the conservatives wanted and tried to regulate FANNIE and FREDDIE, and that they wanted to reduce leverage and the expansion of debt in the economy.

    You know darn well that you’re lying.

    It was conservatives that tried to eliminated the double taxes on dividends and capital gains.

    So? Taxes are not evil; they are the financial investment we make in civilization.

    Conservatives don’t want to spend their way out of recessions, they want to PRODUCE their way out of recessions.

    Liar.

    That was Reagans plan to deal with the double digit Carter inflation, before Democrat Paul Volcher clamped down on the economy before Reagan even took office.

    Yawn.

    Your response to every situation is to “regulate it”.

    No; only to the situations that require regulation.

    Too bad it isn’t informed by a little economic knowledge.

    Snort. You praise Reagan and conservatism and you accuse ME of not understanding economics? That’s pretty fucking weak.

  93. #93 Africangenesis
    February 2, 2009

    Eric Saveau,

    You don’t seem to understand that taxes influence behavior. When a business goes to raise money, the fact that dividends are taxed twice and interest on debt is only taxed once, means that it is cheaper to borrow than to issue stock. Debt is given at tax advantage that biases the economy towards a higher debt load and more risky leverage.

    “So? Taxes are not evil; they are the financial investment we make in civilization.”

    So, you didn’t understand some basic economics, and unfortunately also the deceitful politics of the Democrats. The battle against eliminating this tax bias against equity, crying tax breaks for the rich. What they don’t reveal is that penalizing equity, they are providing a tax favored status to the banks and bondholders, they are increasing the number of people that will have to be laid off in a recession, and increasing the amount of deleveraging the destruction of money supply that will occur during crises such as we are currently experiencing. You appear to have an ignorant knee jerk reaction to conservatism. It might help you to know that basic economic principles like this cross ideological divides. Liberal economic understanding of the impact of tax advantaging one form of capital over another is the same. What is different are the liberal politicians cynically use class warfare rhetoric to woo the very people they are hurting. — regards

  94. #94 Eric Saveau
    February 2, 2009

    You don’t seem to understand that taxes influence behavior. When a business goes to raise money, the fact that dividends are taxed twice and interest on debt is only taxed once, means that it is cheaper to borrow than to issue stock. Debt is given at tax advantage that biases the economy towards a higher debt load and more risky leverage.

    You?ve never worked for a living, have you? I?ve worked for both large and small businesses, and what you outlined above is the exact opposite of the way the real world works. The real reason large companies prefer to borrow rather than issue stock is because issuing more stock dilutes the value of the stock and risks devaluing the company. Small companies don?t issue stocks because they?re typically not publicly traded and therefore don?t issue stock at all. You need to learn some basic economics (and basic history, and current events) before you go around making pronouncements on a topic you obviously know nothing about.

    So, you didn’t understand some basic economics, and unfortunately also the deceitful politics of the Democrats.

    After the above, that?s fucking hysterical. Thanks for the laugh.

    The battle against eliminating this tax bias against equity, crying tax breaks for the rich. What they don’t reveal is that penalizing equity, they are providing a tax favored status to the banks and bondholders, they are increasing the number of people that will have to be laid off in a recession, and increasing the amount of deleveraging the destruction of money supply that will occur during crises such as we are currently experiencing.

    ?Tax bias?? That?s worth a chuckle; you?re looking more and more like an ignorant trust-fund baby with every sentence. Let me give you some facts: the cycle of mounting debt and leveraging that conservatives have suddenly decided is bad was something that gained steam under Reagan. I know, since I was paying attention back then. Under the deregulation of the Reagan recession companies ate each other like some sort of grotesque shark-amoeba hybrid – at first buy just buying outright, but after a while they did it through? guess what? That?s right; debt and leverage. And the process accelerated as regulations over that sort of activity were relaxed or even eliminated. Similarly, Charles Keating arranged an absence of oversight for his banking scam with a little help from a few friends that included John McCain (who did the most legwork of the Keating Five and yet suffered the least consequences).

    Clinton, for all his faults, at least managed to staunch the bleeding from Reagan-Bush and start knitting a few things back together again before Gingrich ushered the Republicans right back into the majority they wielded for most of the Reagan years. And then we got Dubya, who pushed hard for something he called ?The Ownership Society. Guess what he and the Republican majority shamelessly advocated to pay it? That?s right; debt and leverage. Meanwhile, because they?re publicly traded, large companies are forced to maximize shareholder value regardless of whether or not it?s actually good for the company; I?ve watched that house of cards sag around me more than once. Meanwhile, small companies are usually much better at managing their finances in a sensible manner? but when the Republicans preside over an economic train wreck, like the one they insisted for years was not coming despite all the people who were pointing it out to them (and were told point-blank to STFU), they suffer more because they don?t have the lobbyists that the big players employ to get their way. That?s not a result of ?liberal tax policies?, that?s due entirely to the big players in the market being allowed to do away with the thing that conservatives hate the most – adult supervision.

    You appear to have an ignorant, knee-jerk reaction to liberalism. This is unsurprising, as basic economic principles have never really been able to get past the keepers of blind, slavish, conservative dogma. I have no doubt that you understand these things as well, but you are clearly committed to cynically dismissing valid economic concerns and sound fiscal policies as ?class warfare rhetoric? in order to misdirect the very people you are hurting.

  95. #95 Africangenesis
    February 2, 2009

    “The real reason large companies prefer to borrow rather than issue stock is because issuing more stock dilutes the value of the stock and risks devaluing the company”

    You forgot another implication of stock dilution, it dilutes the power of the haves. But the double taxation also reduces the return to shareholders, so that the stock is valued more on the power associated with the resources the company controls rather than the returns the stock can earn. Back in the Carter oil crisis, this was one of the reasons oil was cheaper to buy on the stock market than find in the ground.

    But you are wrong, raising equity capital increases the value of the company. It has more assets. The price of the stock may go down, but that doesn’t mean the total market value of all outstanding stock has gone down.

  96. #96 Eric Saveau
    February 3, 2009

    Sigh.

    Back in the Carter oil crisis

    The Oil Crisis began in 1973. Carter became President in 1977. Carter had no part in the oil crisis beyond inheriting it from the preceding Republicans. Which position do you find most defensible; that you’re an ignorant fool who can’t get the basic facts right, or that you’re deliberately lying and hoping you won’t get caught at it? I’d say neither one looks terribly good for you.

    But you are wrong, raising equity capital increases the value of the company. It has more assets. The price of the stock may go down, but that doesn’t mean the total market value of all outstanding stock has gone down.

    Chess is a wonderful abstraction of strategy. But it is only an abstraction. Chess is not Operation Overlord, and only a complete and utter fool would even suggest that a chess puzzle corresponds in any meaningful way to planning such an operation. Similarly, people like yourself and Walton offer abstractions and slogans regarding economic practice and economic policy that simply do not correspond to the real world or the lessons of history. Your failure to acknowledge this, and to then indignantly accuse the rest of us of somehow failing to understand economics, is what rightfully earns you the scorn and disdain that we heap upon you. Whether you are malicious mendacious or merely frightfully ignorant is irrelevant; either way you are contemptible. Fuck off.

  97. #97 Eric Saveau
    February 3, 2009

    Point of clarity after coming back home and heading back into Pharyngula: First line of the final paragraph should read “Chess is a wonderful abstraction of warfare.”

  98. #98 Africangenesis
    February 3, 2009

    Eric Saveau,

    One of us must be an ignorant fool who can’t get basic facts right. Was Carter president in 1979?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1979_energy_crisis

    Somehow you got off on chess and ad hominem attacks. I won’t be surprised if you don’t apologize.

  99. #99 Eric Saveau
    February 3, 2009

    I certainly won’t apologize, as I have nothing to apologize for. The very link you provide references 1973 as the start point for oil supply problems in the US as a result of the political situations in the Middle East and doesn’t insinuate that Carter is somehow to blame as you did by referring to it as the “Carter oil crisis” as though it were somehow his fault. So, again; fuck off.

    Somehow you got off on chess and ad hominem attacks.

    I was using chess as an example of an abstraction that does not relate in a meaningful way to the real world, like your economic fantasies. Sorry it went over your microencephalic head. I would use simpler examples for you, but I don’t have any crayons.

    As for “ad hominem attacks”, that term has been explained over and over and over and over again to other idiots on these pages: Calling you (well-deserved) names is not an ad hominem attack, it’s just an insult. Saying something like “your arguments are intellectually worthless and morally vacuous, therefore you’re a shithead,” (which I’ve certainly done) is not an ad hominem attack. But the reverse, which would be something like “I think you’re a shithead, therefore your arguments suck,” (which I have not done) would be an ad hominem attack. Now that you’re clear on that very elementary point of logic, you can feel free to go back to lying again.

  100. #100 Africangenesis
    February 4, 2009

    Eric Saveau,

    You were caught with your pants down and you spin like a top. I’m going to enjoy your web pages anyway, so there!

  101. #101 Eric Saveau
    February 4, 2009

    You were caught with your pants down and you spin like a top.

    Carter. Did. Not. Cause. The. Oil. Crisis. Of. The. Seventies. That isn’t any kind of spin; it’s simple fact. Attempting to assign guilt to him for it, even indirectly, IS spin. Fuck off.

  102. #102 Africangenesis
    February 4, 2009

    Eric Saveau,

    I wasn’t making a point about who caused the oil crisis, I was making a point about tax policy effecting the value of assets so much that in this case it was cheaper to purchase oil researves on the stock market than to drill for it. It was the uneconomic distortions of the market caused by ill advised tax policy that was at issue. The “Carter” modifier was just identifying which oil crisis I was speaking of.

  103. #103 Eric Saveau
    February 4, 2009

    I was making a point about tax policy effecting the value of assets so much that in this case it was cheaper to purchase oil researves on the stock market than to drill for it. It was the uneconomic distortions of the market caused by ill advised tax policy that was at issue.

    And again, your assertions (not points) reveal your lack of knowledge of the real world. Drilling for oil requires a such a tremendous amount of investment in terms of capital, equipment, and manpower that it is, by definition, always cheaper to buy existing oil (whether speaking of reserves or actively pumped supply) on the market than to start up new drilling sites. It has less than nothing to do with tax policy. This is such a blindingly self-evident fact that I can’t believe you actually said the above out loud. You may as well assert that droughts happen because we no longer propitiate the gods with animal sacrifice; you wouldn’t be engaging in any less magical thinking.

  104. #104 Africangenesis
    February 4, 2009

    You don’t understand basic economics, if it was by definition, always cheaper to buy existing oil, then people would do that instead. You really should share the “definition” you are using.

  105. #105 Eric Saveau
    February 4, 2009

    You don’t understand basic economics, if it was by definition, always cheaper to buy existing oil, then people would do that instead.

    And once a sufficient number of drilling sites to meet or exceed demand are in place that’s exactly what they do, only adding new wells when old ones play out to the point of being unprofitable. That’s basic economics. In 1979 OPEC dropped production by about 3.5 percent but consumption dropped by a bit more, meaning that there was no economic incentive for new drilling at the time. What part of this escapes you?

  106. #106 Africangenesis
    February 4, 2009

    Eric Saveau,

    You have retreated from it is always cheaper to buy existing oil on the stock market, to it was temporarily cheaper at the time of the 1979 crisis.

  107. #107 Eric Saveau
    February 4, 2009

    You have retreated from it is always cheaper to buy existing oil on the stock market, to it was temporarily cheaper at the time of the 1979 crisis.

    I really have to wonder if you are even capable of tying your own shoes. This is not a “retreat”; my comment at #103 is a brief general explanation of the differences in expenditure between sinking new wells and profiting from existing ones. #105 is addressing your fantasies about what was specifically happening in ’79. General. Specific. See the difference? In each case, what I’m doing is showing the principles of supply-and-demand at work in the market, where you can only see “Teh Evul Tax Conspirocee!!11!!!!111!!!!”

  108. #108 Africangenesis
    February 12, 2009

    Eric Saveau#92,

    Hmmm, here is some evidence that the Repubs tried to regulate FANNIE and FREDDIE and were rejected by the Dems.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMnSp4qEXNM&NR=1

    Knowing how easily you call people liars, you must never apologize, there isn’t enough time in the day.

  109. #109 hery
    January 25, 2010

    Humanity is better than that, no matter what you pick. We have always been better, we are better now

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