Pharyngula

Don’t vote on this poll

Just go and gape in awe at the obliviousness of our national media. This is a poll on US News & World Report, and it asks, “If you had a choice of four daycare centers run separately by Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi, which would you choose for your kids?” Incredible.

I believe that next week they’ll have a question about Barack Obama’s, Colin Powell’s, Al Sharpton’s, and Jesse Jackson’s hypothetical fried chicken stands.

Comments

  1. #1 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2009

    Best damn chicken in the State! [/aretha]

  2. #2 King of Ferrets
    February 21, 2009

    That’s… stupid.

  3. #3 PZ Myers
    February 21, 2009

    Which one? Looking at their figures, I would guess that Sharpton is the more appreciative connoisseur.

    On those grounds, of course, I’d be in the running on that poll…

  4. #4 Kaessa
    February 21, 2009

    What’s frightening is that 57% of ANY group of people would prefer a daycare run by Sarah Palin.

  5. #5 Bad Albert
    February 21, 2009

    What’s frightening is that 57% of ANY group of people would prefer a daycare run by Sarah Palin.

    It could be because the field trips in Alaska are more fun.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    February 21, 2009

    Colin Powell in a second on the chicken. I’ve heard things.

    Definately Pelosi on the day care. She’s into regulation, and that is very important for a daycare center.

  7. #7 Ward S. Denker
    February 21, 2009

    That’s an inherently disturbing conclusion to draw, PZ.

    All four are mothers in addition to being women and all have made statements about the state’s role in parenting. I think that makes it a fair question since they’re using a position of public influence to share their views on that topic.

    As far as I’m aware, none of your mentioned list of influential blacks has made public statements about the quality of establishments which serve fried chicken, nor have made (or attempted to make) any public policy promoting one establishment over another. If they did, I think they’d be equally open to criticism. If they made it a public matter as if it were a political plank to run on and talked about it in public debates, speeches, etc. I thin it would also be fair game.

    I think it’s a very strained comparison, to say the least, and probably more than a little biased on your part.

  8. #8 mothwentbad
    February 21, 2009

    What the FUCK?

  9. #9 JD
    February 21, 2009

    How about a mini-putt golf course run by Casey Luskin?

  10. #10 Ben
    February 21, 2009

    Nice one, Sven. Can I get some dry white toast with that?

  11. #11 mikespeir
    February 21, 2009

    Let’s face it, most day care is handled by women. What I’m wondering is why US News thought that was justification enough to name only women as options. (I suppose it’s possible that naming a man would as much as disqualify that choice in many people’s minds, so naming women only sort-of leveled the playing field. I’m just guessing.)

  12. #12 Odonata
    February 21, 2009

    According to the New World Encyclopedia at http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Day_care

    “The majority of workers in day care centers are female. A 1996 census in Canada showed that over 95 percent of childcare workers were female. Most, according to local regulations, had a degree from an early childhood education program, whether it was a one to two year program or a four year degree.”

    “In a 1999 United States census, females also comprised 95 percent of the workforce in the child care industry.”

  13. #13 Dutchgirl
    February 21, 2009

    re#7

    But lots of men have made statements about education too, including some of husbands of the women on the list. It IS weird and sexist that the only choices are women. And while women do represent the majority of childcare workers, how many of those centers are run (owned and headed) by men?

  14. #14 'Tis Himself
    February 21, 2009

    Let’s not discuss fried chicken outlets. It is with great disgust that I have to report the Popeye’s Fried Chicken eateries don’t offer a single spinach dish.

  15. #15 uray
    February 21, 2009

    Well I voted.

    For Michelle! If Palin was the only option I’d let the kids take care of themselves.

  16. #16 The Science Pundit
    February 21, 2009

    @Greg Laden (#6)

    Definately Pelosi on the day care. She’s into regulation, and that is very important for a daycare center.

    I’m surprised that you attached your real name to such a blatantly misogynistic comment.

  17. #17 JRQ
    February 21, 2009

    That you can predict a person’s gender from whether they provide daycare does not mean you can predict a person’s caretaking ability or interest from their gender.

    Most auto mechanics are men, but I’m quite sure you don’t want me messing with your car.

  18. #18 Ward S. Denker
    February 21, 2009

    Re: Dutchgirl(#13)

    Why not put all 305.9 million Americans on the poll, or candidates who have no children but have made statements about child care on the list? The answer should be obvious: almost nobody gives a damn what those people think.

    The same should be rather evident about the bias in the poll listing only females with children. Most people probably don’t give a damn (or a lot less of one) what male candidates or females who have no children think either. Notably, there are no gays on the list either (with or without children).

    Consider this: There are probably no polls in middle eastern media outlets discussing which brand of American beer is the best. They believe it’s morally wrong to drink, so the vast majority of their readership probably don’t give a damn what their admitted beer drinkers think.

    There’s no misogyny here unless that’s what you’re looking for.

  19. #19 SC, OM
    February 21, 2009

    I don’t have time anyway – too busy thinking about who among Joe Lieberman, Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, and Michael Bloomberg would gauge me the most on interest for a loan.

  20. #20 Carlie
    February 21, 2009

    Thank you for pointing this out, PZ. It’s pretty galling that even now women who are in the most powerful elected offices in the country still “have” to be taken down a peg by reducing them to “har har, wimmen are only good for dealing with babeez”.

    And I call bullshit on the “but they have kids!” argument – so do a lot of the men in government. But it’s not them who show up in crap like this.

  21. #21 SC, OM
    February 21, 2009

    Or gouge me, as the sarcasm should go.

  22. #22 Becca Stareyes
    February 21, 2009

    Heck, why not ask which person you’d rather have run a day care: Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Bill Clinton or John McCain? All four men are fathers, after all, and we presumably care what they think about children’s programs, since, you know, all four men are in high political positions (or are currently married to someone with a Cabinet job).

    And, yet, no one would ask that question, outside of a very silly game. Because ultimately our view of male leadership isn’t automatically equated with ‘babysitter’, unlike our view of female leadership. Which does strike me as a problem when.

  23. #23 Lauren
    February 21, 2009

    I voted for Michelle Obama, too, if only to sway the results in a more reasonable direction. I would never leave my kids in the hands of someone like Sarah Palin.
    I think the poll is sexist in that it only includes women. Yes, they are mothers, but Sarah Palin made a point of allowing her motherhood to define her womanhood, when in truth childfree people can make fantastic day care providers and women without children are just as much women as those with. That is what offends me -the insinuation that these women are somehow MORE woman because they are mothers, not because they are bright women with careers. Perhaps they could have included Jill Biden -or even Joe Biden, who made it a point to talk about his children and parenting during the campaign.

  24. #24 Dutchgirl
    February 21, 2009

    re #18

    I read and reread your comment, but I don’t really see your point. What does beer have to with it? Help me out here, you seem to suggest its OK to propagate gender stereotypes because our society has created those stereotypes…?

  25. #25 SC, OM
    February 21, 2009

    I would be really annoyed to see this if I ran a daycare center. Like doing so is something any female parent could just do. It’s an insult. I think their professional association should issue a statement.

  26. #26 Ward S. Denker
    February 21, 2009

    Re: Dutchgirl(#24)

    News outlets publish things people find interesting. Newspapers, as an example, probably aren’t going to make very many sales if the questions they ask aren’t of interest to their readers. They’ll be marginalized and lose sales to the newspapers that are asking the questions their readers do want to know the answers to.

    Would you read Nature or Science if they started publishing creationist drivel in place of science stories? Of course not. Most people who read those journals of science don’t particularly care what creationists think because it’s not what they bought the journal for to find out.

    Is that an inherent proof that those journals hate creationists, or that they simply understand their readership well enough to know what kinds of questions they should be asking in order to sell more copies of their publications?

  27. #27 Frank W. Gurliacci
    February 21, 2009

    palin can breed ‘em but sure can’t raise ‘em.

  28. #28 RM
    February 21, 2009

    So, 45% would rather have the woman whose daughter got pregnant at 17 by the local drug dealer’s son instead of Hillary Clinton whose daughter has an undergrad degree from Stanford and a masters from Oxford.

    Explain that one.

  29. #29 Carlie
    February 21, 2009

    So Ward, are you suggesting that US News doesn’t understand A) daycare workers and B) women? In that case, I’d say they have a pretty big marketing problem. I really don’t understand what you’re saying. Given that newspapers are swirling ’round the economic toilet these days, I would think that doing something likely to alienate at least half of their readers might be a bad idea. But perhaps that’s just me.

  30. #30 Bobber
    February 21, 2009

    What a stupid poll. What an insulting thing to throw out there, for absolutely no reason whatsoever. And the insult goes both ways, speaking as a man who has worked in careers that people consider traditionally “female” (teaching, human services) and who has fulfilled the “caregiver” role for this child more than his wife has. “They’re women, so caring for kids just comes naturally to them.” Stuck a dagger in both women AND men with that one. Jerks.

  31. #31 Meng Bomin
    February 21, 2009

    #16:

    I’m surprised that you attached your real name to such a blatantly misogynistic comment.

    Huh? Explain how Greg’s comment is misogynistic. It appears pretty tongue-in-cheek to me.

    #17:

    That you can predict a person’s gender from whether they provide daycare does not mean you can predict a person’s caretaking ability or interest from their gender.

    Most auto mechanics are men, but I’m quite sure you don’t want me messing with your car.

    And I suspect in a poll of who you would want as your auto mechanic, either all the choices would be men or you would at least find a bias in the responses that clearly correlates with gender.

    Apparently, given the responses, people don’t give Hillary Clinton much credit, even though she is a woman.

    I’m not going to defend the poll (it is inane in my opinion), but most of the criticism of it is either a dive into hyperbole (PZ’s post and #20 for instance) or backwards logic (#17 in particular).

    Now, I suspect that someone with more conservative leanings crafted the poll (hence rigging it by having one Republican and three Democrats such that given an even Democrat-Republican ratio, Palin would look better…also playing one of them is not like the others), and I think that’s also reflected in the thought pattern. However, I think the real issue is why someone would think daycare was relevant to national-level politics.

    A more parallel question would be:
    Who would make a better janitor?
    Barack Obama
    John McCain
    Harry Reid
    Ted Kennedy

    The question is similarly inane, because, even though most janitors are men in this country, it has little to do with national-level politics. Being a good daycare worker wouldn’t have any implications for a female politician’s ability nor would being a good janitor on a male’s.

    So, while I agree that this poll is misguided and does have a twinge of sexism, this comment thread has all the symptoms of an echo chamber.

  32. #32 Ward S. Denker
    February 21, 2009

    Re: Carlie(#29)

    I think that:

    A) US News understands that most of its readership cares less about what males think about day care than females think.
    B) By making public statements about child care, the women on the list have taken a position which makes them fair game for polls like this equal to male public figures whom have made similar statements.
    C) The only reason this particular poll only lists females, given B, is A.
    D) They anticipated the vast majority of their female readership are adults and are reasonable enough not to see anything particularly wrong with the question.
    E) They don’t care about the tiny minority of their readership who are shrill enough to complain about it because they’re probably impossible to keep as customers anyway, since they’re inherently unreasonable people.

  33. #33 Silver Fox
    February 21, 2009

    Sarah Palin has almost a majority of the votes. You can’t fool the American people. Africa is a country and they want their little ones to know that.

  34. #34 Kitty'sBitch
    February 21, 2009

    Meng Bomin
    “Huh? Explain how Greg’s comment is misogynistic. It appears pretty tongue-in-cheek to me.”

    Where have you been? Didn’t you know that misogynist is the new Nazi? Someone has to shout it on every forum thread.

    Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!

  35. #35 george.w
    February 21, 2009

    Very young children pick up social attitudes and views from their caretakers. The question wasn’t which one of them would be a better daycare worker, but who would run a better daycare. That would be any of the three who wouldn’t saturate the place with religious songs and stories all the time, and who would advise their customers to get, you know, vaccinations and stuff.

    Or just base it on how their kids turned out.

  36. #36 Rey Fox
    February 21, 2009

    If Sarah Palin, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi were all trees, which one would you rather sit under?

  37. #37 RamziD
    February 21, 2009

    What’s frightening is that 57% of ANY group of people would prefer a daycare run by Sarah Palin.
    It could be because the field trips in Alaska are more fun

    Exorcisms at the local fundie church?

    Some people need to just lighten up… it’s really not worth getting hypertensive over all this nonsense…

  38. #38 Jonathan Rothwell
    February 21, 2009

    That’s… awful. It sounds like a round of World’s Worst from Whose Line Is It Anyway? (well, except it’s less funny.)

  39. #39 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 21, 2009

    Silver Fox, do yourself a favor and just stop posting here. Based on your past behavior, you will find yourself banned in short order. All you have to do is to remove us from your bookmarks, and never search us out. Do have have the balls to do that? Personally, I think you are ball-less wonder who will have to be banned. Prove me wrong.

  40. #40 Ryogam
    February 21, 2009

    Ha Ha, sexist. [Phil Ken Sebben]

  41. #41 Carlie
    February 21, 2009

    Ward,
    A) Most of its readership isn’t thinking about daycare at all, unless it’s in the public eye. At the moment, it isn’t.
    B) None of the women in that poll are known specifically and primarily for their statements on child care. In particular, this is not an issue now, as it’s not part of the eight hundred billion dollar stimulus package that is the main buzz.
    C) You are absolutely dreaming. The only reason this poll exists regarding daycare at all is so that it can link these women to it as a “joke”. Again, daycare is not at all topical right now – I bet you can’t find three headlines in major papers over the last month about childcare. It is not news, it is not topical. It is irrelevant to the news cycle.
    D) They are wrong.
    E) Denigrating people who point out sexism as “shrill” is as beautifully sexist as it can get. The best way to ignore criticism is to claim that the people in question are being too sensitive about it, in sexist terms if at all possible. Those silly shrill harpies! No one needs to listen to them. Can’t they take a joke?

  42. #42 SC, OM
    February 21, 2009

    A) US News understands that most of its readership cares less about what males think about day care than females think.

    Why would that be? An intelligent readership would care about what people who have an influence in shaping or making daycare policy think, regardless of their gender. And by “think,” I mean think about daycare policy – regulation, certification, subsidies, laws related to business provision, etc. If people have questions about the day-to-day management of daycare facilities, those should be answered by professionals in that field.

    B) By making public statements about child care, the women on the list have taken a position which makes them fair game for polls like this equal to male public figures whom have made similar statements.

    And an article about the ideas and proposals of public figures (primarily those in policy-making positions) about the important issue of daycare would be very useful. This ridiculous poll doesn’t even seem to be connected to an article. It simply encourages people to think of these public women – and only women – in caretaking roles and to think of running a daycare facility as something anyone with a uterus can do.

    Posted by: Kitty’sBitch | February 21, 2009 7:57 PM

    Thank you for that thoughtsul and substantive contribution.

  43. #43 WaltsCS
    February 21, 2009

    Re: RM #21 – That’s an easy one RM, there’s a sh#tload of stupid people out there.

    Re: Nerd #39 – What’s up with that slam on the Fox? Comment seemed reasonable enough to me. WTF, over?

  44. #44 mirshafie
    February 21, 2009

    Hey, SERIOUSLY. This should obviously be Hillary Clinton. If you must choose, the choice is obvious!

    Sarah Palin? Ok, now I know why we don’t ever see news reports about European countries even though this is Europe. Americans are just so much funnier!

    ……
    ……
    …… mhahahahahahhahahaha
    …… vafan i helvete (!) som man säger på svenska.
    …… ya khaak bar on sare madar-ghavashoon, are irani?

  45. #45 nails
    February 21, 2009

    thanks for posting this PZ.

    If any of you really think this has nothing to do with sexism you are blind or delusional. This is the exact same brand of shit hillary clinton was faced with when she made the infamous cookie comment(reporters asking her why she wasnt at home with her daughter instead of accomplishing things outside the home). Its the same brand of shit sarah palin put up with when people said she shouldnt be VP because she might not have time to take care of her children(im not a fan of hers, but it was really unfair and an example of genuine sexism towards her). It is supposed to say “we still see you mostly as nurturing mommy figures regardless of what you accomplish”. “we still see you as a sex object/repugnant for not fufilling your role as a sexual object regardless of what you accomplish” is the more usual type of insult in recent years.

    All these women have also suffered an extreme amount of scrutiny over their appearance, either to make it seem like they are offending you with their appearance or that they are only there to be attractive. I really dont think the correlation between their sex and the oldschool feminine mystique brand of sexism is any coincidence, its just an older template than the appearance slams to make them seem irrelevant or incompetent. What the hell kind of message does this send to young girls who want to do something with their lives outside of looking good or having children? it tells them that you just cannot win no matter what you do, you either do femininity too well or not well enough, and its crap.

  46. #46 SC, OM
    February 21, 2009

    This should obviously be current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

  47. #47 mirshafie
    February 21, 2009

    And HEY, this poll is not sexist! Think about it. Even if you could also choose between Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, George W. H. Bush, Dr. Phil, Dick Cheney and the Coca Cola guy to take care of your kids, you would still, OBVIOUSLY, choose Hillary Clinton.

    All those people are scary, but at least I can trust Hillary not to try anything stupid!

  48. #48 CalGeorge
    February 21, 2009

    Given her track record with Bush, Pelosi would probably refuse to enforce any kind of discipline in the day care center.

    Palin would likely spend all her time online shopping and ignoring the kids.

    Hillary would always want to gauge the political climate in the classroom before answering any questions from the kids.

    I’ll go with Michelle.

  49. #49 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2009

    Not Ms. Clinton. I have a 13-year-old daughter and I cannot risk any proximity to Bill.

    Oh, I’m kidding. I kid because I love.

  50. #50 Joy
    February 21, 2009

    WTH? They manipulated the poll so that three of the four choices are unacceptable to Republicans visiting the site and expect different results? Nice data manipulation.

    Want to bet that there are Freepers all over this one?

  51. #51 Calton Bolick
    February 21, 2009

    I think y’all are missing the most obvious explanation for this stupid “poll”:

    1) Go to that page. Look at the photo illustrating the poll.

    2) Go to the lower-left side of the page. Look at what they’re selling there.

    It’s clear to me that the motive for cobbling together that question was to give an excuse for displaying — and therefore advertising — the stupid bobblehead dolls they’re selling. In other words, this isn’t really a creation of the editorial side but of the advertising side.

  52. #52 Anon
    February 21, 2009

    I used to run a daycare. From what I know about them, I would not have hired any of them; they are more than qualified (well, 3 out of 4 of them) for what they actually do, but at my daycare, they would need a degree in early child education. I don’t believe any of them meet that requirement.

  53. #53 Patricia, OM
    February 21, 2009

    Silver Fox – You need to upgrade your drugs, or alert your care giver that you need help.
    Of course there’s always prayer. Be a good boy and go have a nice long pray.

  54. #54 Ward S. Denker
    February 21, 2009

    Re: Carlie(#41)

    Denigrating people who point out sexism as “shrill” is as beautifully sexist as it can get. The best way to ignore criticism is to claim that the people in question are being too sensitive about it, in sexist terms if at all possible. Those silly shrill harpies! No one needs to listen to them. Can’t they take a joke?

    You fell into a trap I set for you. Hopefully you’ll be reasonable enough to forgive that small fact because of the mitigating circumstance (I did it entirely to prove a point).

    I talked about “readership” and “unreasonable people.” Nowhere did I imply those unreasonable, shrill people were women. In fact, PZ fell into that category just as you did (and several other male commentators on this blog).

    Yes, I am calling you (and PZ) unreasonable on this particular issue. The question is: does the fact that I am male have any more bearing on my position than it would if I were female?

    Who is harboring latent sexism?

  55. #55 Jeanette
    February 21, 2009

    I agree with JRQ @17, and I think Sarah Palin is evidence of that point.

    And childcare providers should be offended at the suggestion that all mothers would be ideal child-care professionals.

    It’s also galling that women in political office are envisioned by this poll as potential child-care professionals, when male politicians also often have children, and also speak out on issues of child care, education, and so forth. But politicians who are women more often make statements on such issues because they’re more likely to be taken seriously on them, due to the same stereotype.

    The fried chicken stand comparison isn’t exactly parallel, but fits in a broad sense. Stereotypes about race limit peoples’ roles in society, but anyone could open a chicken shack (with funding, so actually a white person would have a better chance). The women = childcare providers stereotype limits men and women and their roles in society, and specifically includes issues dealing with children. Would a man opening a child care business have an equal chance of success, if his identity were known?

  56. #56 Patricia, OM
    February 21, 2009

    From the number of comments to your site Ward, one could guess that your blog whoring isn’t working too well.

  57. #57 Ward S. Denker
    February 21, 2009

    Re: Patricia, OM(#56)

    I’ve actually been pretty ill for the last couple of weeks. I’m not sure what with, but I’ve been coughing up some really nasty stuff. I’ll spare you the details.

    As for your comment, there are lots of explanations for that, and I’m not sure yet which to go with. New blogs don’t gain readership pretty well without consistency (something I’ve been unable to provide for a lot of reasons lately, illness notwithstanding). Many of my readers do seem to be sticking around long enough to read several posts, and I have a small core of return visitors now. The fact that they don’t comment may be evidence that they largely agree with me, or that they don’t feel so vehemently opposed to anything I say that they would leave a comment.

    Statistically, it takes a particular kind of oddball on Pharyngula to click my link anyway since I’m not much of a cultural match to the other organisms who generally comment here, and my stats pretty much show that: a few odd people click — probably for ‘kicks’ and don’t stay around very long.

    If that were my motivation for posting here, it’s not particularly effective. I’d be better served finding like-minded individuals to cohabit my blogspace, assuming I wanted my own cheering squad.

    I’m content with just performing an occasional mind dump and not having much of a readership at all. If I wrote the blog for others, the topics would probably not appear to be so obviously random. I’m occasionally inspired to write about something which I’ve discussed here or elsewhere though.

    There wasn’t so much twirl in your last comment and you totally missed with the trebuchet. I hope you aren’t losing your touch. ;)

  58. #58 PZ Myers
    February 21, 2009

    Most daycare workers are women, but that does not in any way imply that most women are at all interested in the job. The four women in this poll are all professional administrators who have aspired to the highest levels of government; they haven’t shown any interest or any of the skills necessary to be good at childcare. That’s what’s sexist here — that anyone would assume that because of their sex they are in the running for any old job we associate mostly with women.

  59. #59 Kseniya
    February 21, 2009

    I thought Silver Fox’s Palin quip was actually pretty funny.

  60. #60 Ward S. Denker
    February 21, 2009

    PZ,

    That’s a lot of denial about a topic which you should be more intimately familiar than many others, as a biologist. There’s a number of clear biological differences between males and females of many species, and the “nurturing” instinct is more hardwired into females than males as a rule. I’m just not sure why it’s nothing special when we discuss such topics as sexual dimorphism among many species, but it’s inherently sexist to recognize the factors which contributed to it in humans.

    All of the women in the poll are mothers — decidedly not a job which was thrust upon them (I hope!). Perhaps it’s a silly appeal to authority to wonder about the parenting skills of a career politician (would they do better than others), but people always think those kinds of things. Many women with careers and children pride themselves on their capacity to care for both, as do men in the same circumstance. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen the media point a camera in the face of a single father (actors, etc.) to ask how they cope. The media seems obsessed with that topic wherever it’s found, but I don’t think that implies they believe men are unfit to be single parents of children. Where are the calls of misandry each and every time this happens?

    On a humorous note, I must mention the fact that my spell checker does not have the word “misandry” in it, but it does not balk at misogyny. I guess it’s sexist technology.

  61. #61 Sniper
    February 21, 2009

    Fucking hell. We get it Ward. You’re sexist and mistake obliviousness for reasoning. Give it a rest already.

  62. #62 Ward S. Denker
    February 21, 2009

    Sniper,

    I suppose you should ask my wife about that. She and I have been talking about this topic off and on all night (and she’s a biologist). She happens to agree with me, so I guess that makes her a sexist as well.

  63. #63 Andyo
    February 21, 2009

    OK, I know this Silver Fox character but what did he do here? I like to follow the drama and it seems I missed an episode.

    Posted by: The Science Pundit | February 21, 2009 6:42 PM

    @Greg Laden (#6)

    Definately Pelosi on the day care. She’s into regulation, and that is very important for a daycare center.

    I’m surprised that you attached your real name to such a blatantly misogynistic comment.

    The Science Pundit needs to recharge his irony meter’s batteries.

    @Greg Laden: So, you were one of those people! That’s OK, nobody’s perfect.

  64. #64 Patricia, OM
    February 21, 2009

    I haven’t lost either my twirl or my touch. The fact that you have followed my ignorant comments says much more about you than my aim with the trebuchet, or my allowing you use of the spanking couch.

    Your excuses for non readership of your blog are laughable. And to suggest that persons from this blog that go have a look at it is in anyway odd is also comic. Why do you offer a link to your blog if you don’t want anyone to look at it?

  65. #65 Caymen Paolo Diceda
    February 21, 2009

    Despite this thread of sexism, etc., my first reaction to the title of PZ’s post was the inanity of mass media and the dumbing-down that passes for national discourse. Coincidently Susan Jacoby’s best seller from last year just came out in paper back this past week ($15 instead of $30)- “The Age of American Unreason” and seems targeted right at stupidity like the above poll.

    I’m part way through the book – a good read so far – and the Christian right takes it’s lumps for weak-thought-creationism. Recommended!

  66. #66 miss leya
    February 21, 2009

    Why in the world is Michelle Obama practically white in that picture of the dolls? And I’d vote for the one who would be the best business manager. Of course that’s not the point of the poll and I didn’t vote on it… I think I’ll go make a blog post about this….

  67. #67 Ward S. Denker
    February 21, 2009

    Re: Patricia, OM(#64)

    The fact that you have followed my ignorant comments says much more about you than my aim with the trebuchet, or my allowing you use of the spanking couch.

    I have no idea what you’re talking about… so here’s a bunny with a pancake on its head.

    Your excuses for non readership of your blog are laughable. And to suggest that persons from this blog that go have a look at it is in anyway odd is also comic. Why do you offer a link to your blog if you don’t want anyone to look at it?

    I actually do have a readership, I use Google analytics to keep track of it. I’ve got quite a few lurkers.

    It’s pretty odd to me too that the occasional Pharyngula reader pops over to my blog, but the referrer tag doesn’t lie. I have had one indicate that he/she was a Libertarian who also reads Pharyngula, and I obviously read Pharyngula (as do a few others) so we do exist.

    I put the link in because there’s a box to put one in. It’s an extension of me which I can change, unlike a lot of the coefficients of Ward which I cannot. Still, I feel that question seems a lot like “Why give anyone your business card?” A lot of people give out their business card when asked (I’ve known a few to give them out compulsively even when not asked), not expecting they’ll ever actually get a call from the requester. I still find business cards given to me from people I don’t remember and I’m sure I never called, but there you have it.

  68. #68 John Morales
    February 21, 2009

    Ward @60,

    There’s a number of clear biological differences between males and females of many species, and the “nurturing” instinct is more hardwired into females than males as a rule.

    Um. So, does this apply to humans? I certainly haven’t noticed fathers being less doting on their children than mothers.
    Do you really think women are more suited (by virtue of their sex) to running a day-care center than men?

    I’m just not sure why it’s nothing special when we discuss such topics as sexual dimorphism among many species, but it’s inherently sexist to recognize the factors which contributed to it in humans.

    WTF? What does running a daycare center have to do with sexual dimorphism (or the sex of the administrator)?

    On a humorous note, I must mention the fact that my spell checker does not have the word “misandry” in it, but it does not balk at misogyny. I guess it’s sexist technology.

    Or it could be that there’s far more misogyny than misandry, and to keep the size of the database down the less commonly-used terms have been left out.

  69. #69 Patricia, OM
    February 21, 2009

    You bet Ward, you have a readership.
    0 comments.
    0 comments.
    0 comments.

    I’m impressed.

    PZ could mention that he takes a piss in the morning and it would get more comments than your blog.

  70. #70 Ward S. Denker
    February 22, 2009

    Um. So, does this apply to humans? I certainly haven’t noticed fathers being less doting on their children than mothers.

    Certainly, it does. What’s important to note here is not a father’s interaction with his own children, but rather his interaction with other parents’ children. Fathers are typically very invested in their own children in many species, including humans.

    If a person brings a baby into a room filled with men and women, many of the women will gravitate to the person holding the baby and many of the men will appear to be unaffected.

    Watch those interactions for yourself, they’re not hard to spot if you’re paying attention.

    Do you really think women are more suited (by virtue of their sex) to running a day-care center than men?

    I’m not sure about my own opinion on the subject, but society seems to think so. Babysitters are predominantly female as are day care workers. There may be no basis in fact for the distinction people seem to apply to it, but that doesn’t imply sexism. A perfectly acceptable (and more likely) explanation for it is that it’s deeply ingrained into us. There’s no surprise that there are numerous physiological differences between both genders. Take oxytocin, as an example. It would be pretty silly to deny that there are hormonal differences between men and women and to claim misogyny.

    WTF? What does running a daycare center have to do with sexual dimorphism (or the sex of the administrator)?

    Sexual dimorphism is possible evidence of a past where one male patriarch keeps multiple female sexual partners or one female matriarch keeps multiple male partners (polyamory). This theory seems to play out pretty well in nature, roughly covering the bases for many species — compare sea lions and primates, for instance.

    If it’s true, mate selection may have conferred certain genes which were “favorable” for each gender, which resulted in the physiological differences we recognize today. Submission, parenting, and nurturing instincts, etc. would be favorable characteristics for females in a harem. Biology suggests humans once lived this way.

    What does being an administrator have to do with ingrained genetic differences between the genders?

  71. #71 Falyne
    February 22, 2009

    1.) The dolls are unrecognizable, with the exception of Palin, and that’s only because of her rather iconic hair and glasses. So, uh, design fail.

    2.) Ward, if you don’t see how the fact that they’d even THINK to tie some of the most powerful women to how they’d run DAY CARE is problematic, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s beyond inane, and there’s no reason for it other than to drag gender roles and stereotypes into the picture. I don’t think PZ’s post was hyperbole, as that really is a relatively equal analogy with racial stereotypes substituted for sexual.

    3.) Just because one woman doesn’t think it’s sexist doesn’t mean it isn’t. This is akin to how the fact that some white guy’s “black best friend” laughs at their racial jokes doesn’t mean everyone else can’t get offended. And, yeah, women can be sexist: Schlafly, Coulter, and many others prove this many times over.

    4.) If you’re calling those calling out misogyny as “shrill”, you’re gonna come across as misogynistic yourself, regardless of whether you’re talking about women or those who the MRAs would call ‘manginas’ (and the rest of us call ‘decent guys’). Men who stand up for women get gender-based slurs and insults thrown at them, too, and it’s still not cool.

    5.) Even IF the readers are genuinely interested in which female politician would run the best day care, and somehow I don’t find that entirely credible, that still shouldn’t be the final determinating factor in publishing. The Grey Lady’s slogan, after all, is “all the news that’s fit to print“. The fact that the editors saw this tripe as fit to print, even IF it boosted sales, is still something to be condemned.

  72. #72 Trillian
    February 22, 2009

    As a woman, I am offended that they seem to think that only women can run daycares. As a member of the demographic of this news source, I am offended that they think this is newsworthy. And as a human being with a brain, I am offended that the majority of the voters would entrust Sarah Palin with the care of their children. Scary.

  73. #73 Ward S. Denker
    February 22, 2009

    Re: Falyne(#71)

    2) It would have come off as rather uncouth (and misleading) to ask which of the women on the list one would rather have as the mother of their own children. Obviously, few females would have been able to answer that question and males would probably take it the wrong way. Day care is a more neutral topic.
    3) Thanks for calling my wife a sexist in a roundabout way. You’re obviously flailing and I’d suggest you stop for your own sake. My wife may give you a piece of her mind for having compared her to the likes of Ann Coulter. That’s crude and insensitive and, whilst I’m not surprised that anyone would go there, it’s more evidence of your own latent sexism than any I may have.
    4) I’m just calling it like I see it. I think it’s shrill to cry wolf, and that’s what this really looks like to me. Shrill calls of misogyny over stupid nonsense like this only detracts from real cases of misogyny. Can’t you admit that there’s a possibility that PZ was wrong, or is it too difficult to believe that he is a fallible mortal like the rest of us? I fully accept the idea that I may be wrong, but even if I am wrong this seems such a mild case of misogyny that it hardly bears mentioning.
    5) All the more evidence that they didn’t see it that way and that the response to it is way overblown.

  74. #74 Tomecat
    February 22, 2009

    I don’t think the question is whether or not it’s sexist (although I think it is, because I believe it’s there to put these accomplished women where the perceived audience believes women should be).

    I think the question is who the hell cares? It’s the equivalent of a poll asking which person I’d prefer mowing my lawn: Barack Obama, Bobby Jindal, John Boehner, or Rush Limbaugh?

    While one might actually be better than another, it has no bearing on their ability to do the job for which they were elected*

    *except for Michelle Obama, which is why I included Rush Limbaugh–there isn’t any connection between these women and why we should care about this, or a solid connection with each other, except that they’re all politically recognizable.

  75. #75 Falyne
    February 22, 2009

    2.) And why the Sam Hill would they want to ask THAT question in the first place, either?

    3.) I’m not saying your wife specifically is sexist, as I have no direct evidence of that, just that the fact that she’s a woman doesn’t eliminate that possibility. I’m also saying a single random woman not seeing sexism in something isn’t actually proof that the rest of us are wrong.

    4.) Ooh, you’re “calling it like you see it”, in that oh-so-edgy and anti-PC-police way! I am *so* impressed! It doesn’t make you sound like a douche at all!

    And the PZ-worship accusation is a complete non-sequitur (you think *I* was flailing?). I saw this earlier and was completely flabbergasted all on my very own, thank you very much.

    5.) …no, it means they should be held to a higher standard, and makes it all the more the case that it does indeed bear mentioning.

  76. #76 uncle frogy
    February 22, 2009

    well so much for the “liberal media”

  77. #77 Tomecat
    February 22, 2009

    *I should qualify that I meant that Michelle Obama wasn’t elected, not whether she is or isn’t qualified to run a daycare

  78. #78 Kate
    February 22, 2009

    Oh my, it’s fun to watch Ward have his little melt-downs.

    It does make me wonder, however, how he manages to brush his teeth without stabbing himself in the eye with his toothbrush.

    Seriously, though, I don’t even get what the point of this poll is. None of the people listed even have a degree in early childhood education, nor do any of them have actual experience in a daycare setting. It’s like asking: Who would you rather have as your mechanic? 1. Bill Clinton 2. Gerald Ford 3. Barack Obama 4. Romeo Dallaire…

    Stupid, senseless poll.

  79. #79 Azdak
    February 22, 2009

    So, 45% would rather have the woman whose daughter got pregnant at 17 by the local drug dealer’s son instead of Hillary Clinton whose daughter has an undergrad degree from Stanford and a masters from Oxford.

    Explain that one.

    Who would want their child to grow up to be an elitist? We want children with whom we’d feel comfortable sitting down and having a beer!

  80. #80 Pikemann Urge
    February 22, 2009

    And in the summer, who would run the best watermelon stand?

  81. #81 DLC
    February 22, 2009

    Can I vote for the one that won’t stuff my toddler’s head full of happy-happy-jesus/allah/budda/vishnu/Cthulhlu/Zuul ?
    :::shrug:: I don’t actually have children.
    Evolutionarily, I’m a dead branch.

  82. #82 bUSHwEEd
    February 22, 2009

    i can see Hillary being a good disciplinarian though.

  83. #83 SC, OM
    February 22, 2009

    I put the link in because there’s a box to put one in. It’s an extension of me which I can change, unlike a lot of the coefficients of Ward which I cannot.

    Like that he’s a sexist whiner who can’t string together a coherent thought or argument; a pompous nitwit who refers to himself in the third person; a proven liar; and a mewling, insufferable ass. For example.

  84. #84 nothing's sacred
    February 22, 2009

    It’s precisely because daycare is primarily associated with women that this is grossly sexist — these four people on the forefront of national politics are being stripped down to their gender. One might as well ask which of them would be better at running a doll store. These are questions that have no relevance to their actual positions and activities.

    And it’s quite droll to see Derd S. Wanker talking about “a lot of denial about a topic” when he’s complaining on his blog that accusing AGW deniers of denial is unscientific. It’s solely his use of “denial” that is bogus — PZ didn’t deny any such thing, he only pointed out why this is sexist.

  85. #85 nothing's sacred
    February 22, 2009

    Can’t you admit that there’s a possibility that PZ was wrong, or is it too difficult to believe that he is a fallible mortal like the rest of us?

    Character-defining strawman.

    I fully accept the idea that I may be wrong, but even if I am wrong this seems such a mild case of misogyny that it hardly bears mentioning.

    “While it’s conceivable that I’m wrong, I’m not wrong.”

    If it so “hardly bears mentioning”, why are you putting so much energy into warddenking about it? It’s PZ’s blog, he can mention what he wants, he appears to sincerely believe that this is an egregious case of sexism, and a lot of people who aren’t sexist dolts agree with him.

  86. #86 Carlie
    February 22, 2009

    Shrill calls of misogyny over stupid nonsense like this only detracts from real cases of misogyny.

    I’ll quote here from Melissa McEwan, since she’s already covered this topic much better than I could:

    “The idea that feminism should be kept under glass, broken only in case of a “real” and “serious” emergency, is predicated on the erroneous assumption that “the little things” happen in a void, as do, presumably, the “real” and “serious” things, when, in reality, they are interwoven strands of the same rope. And as soon as one begins to judge the worthiness of feminists’ attention on a sliding scale, even generally-regarded “serious issues” like equal pay are dwarfed by global concerns like sex trafficking or government-sanctioned use of rape as a tool of war. It doesn’t have to be one or the other?feminists can multi-task.

    And, in a very real way, ignoring “the little things” in favor of “the big stuff” makes the big stuff that much harder to eradicate, because it is the pervasive, ubiquitous, inescapable little things that create the foundation of a sexist culture on which the big stuff is dependent for its survival. It’s the little things, the constant drumbeat of inequality and objectification, that inure us to increasingly horrible acts and attitudes toward women.

    Irrespective of intent, the recommendation to “ignore the little stuff,” so often intertwined with accusations of looking for things about which to get offended, is not just ill-advised, but counter to the ultimate goal of full equality. It’s like a knife in my gut when I see feminists accusing other feminists of “hurting the cause” by focusing on “the little stuff,” because that’s It?that’s the stuff, that’s the fertile soil in which everything else takes root and from whence everything else springs, that’s the way that the fundamental idea that women are not equal to men is conveyed over and over and over again.”

  87. #87 'Tis Himself
    February 22, 2009

    It’s like asking: Who would you rather have as your mechanic? 1. Bill Clinton 2. Gerald Ford 3. Barack Obama 4. Romeo Dallaire…

    When he was young Clinton had a Ford Ranchero which he maintained (he told a story about changing the oil in it), so he’s a possible candidate for mechanic.

    Ford is dead, so there might be a problem with getting the car back if I left it in his care.

    I’ve never heard anything about Obama even owning a car, let alone fixing one, so I’d have to check his references before picking him.

    Roméo Dallaire was an artilleryman so would likely know something about fixing mechanical things.

  88. #88 fatherdaddy
    February 22, 2009

    Getting past the inanity of the poll, it is sexist. It also assumes that the mothers are the only part of the enviroment that matters when child welfare is concerned. Getting past the sexism, as a man who was raised by a single mom, I do see it as normal for females to be the gender primarily responsible for child rearing. Getting past the obvious political bias of the poll takers and responders, all four of the women have demonstrated their skills at child development.

    While Michelle Obama’s kids are still young, they appear functional. Sarah Palin has been the most obvious failure in the child rearing department. Both of her oldest are examples of her skills at parenting. Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi have the best track record. We all have seen (and not seen in the tabloids) how well the Clinton child seems to deal with the world. I don’t know nearly as much about Nancy Pelosi’s child(ren), other than a daughter seems to have a career in the movie industry successful enough for me to have heard about her.

    As horrible as the poll is, the poll results are worse. How could anyone, much less a majority, choose Palin as a better choice? It shows how blind Americans are to anything other than political stance, and how divided we are on those stances. Recent comments on various threads show divided even Pharyngulites are on their politics.

  89. #89 ice9
    February 22, 2009

    So many smart people, and Ward, and nobody has offered the obvious reason for this poll. It’s another chance to dig at Clinton for the way she looks and acts. Republicans will tell you that an effective leader is hard-edged, well educated, loyal, politically effective, ambitious, and smart. Only problem is that Clinton is hard-edged, well educated, politically effective, loyal, ambitious, and smart. He weakness: no Y chromosome. So when she gets to acting like a politician, Republicans demand proof that she’s a woman. And if she, lord forbid, acts like a woman, Republicans complain that she isn’t acting like a leader. (leaving out the obvious question of what a Republican leader acts like. I for one would prefer the operator of my daughter’s day care to Bush, Boehner, Rove, or that moron DeMint.)

    Ward is right that the salient factor in choosing the four in the poll (besides selling bobbleheads, of course)is that they all had children. Putting them in charge of a daycare is a simple proxy for evaluating their capacity for womanliness or nurture in light of their power. Clinton, despite her obvious qualifications as a fine mother, is reviled on the right as a reptilian harpy. Her poor showing in this poll is just an oblique way to saddle her yet again with the title of “manliest cuckolded intellectual used-to-wear-ugly-glasses woman elitist who-got-spanked-trying-to-reform-healthcare” again, even though sensible people respect her for all of those resume items, except maybe the glasses. Left unmolested, of course, the poll would pump up Palin’s qualifications as perfect Republican woman candidate: nice rack, of course, and sassy in a passive kind of way, and aggressively stupid so the men don’t feel bad. Plus of course her kids are fuckups though still loyal to the family message, and that’s all that matters. And she lets her husband do whatever he wants. And qualified to run a daycare because if she can run Alaska, which is as close to a daycare state as we have, she can run a Tiny Town.

    Vote Hillary.

    ice

  90. #90 Knockgoats
    February 22, 2009

    I suppose you should ask my wife about that. She and I have been talking about this topic [gender differences] off and on all night (and she’s a biologist). She happens to agree with me, so I guess that makes her a sexist as well. – Ward S. Denker

    Can’t you just picture the scene? WSD going on and on and on and on and on… until finally his wife says:

    “Yes all right Ward. Hormonal gender differences in humans prove that polygyny is natural, and women are better suited than men to childcare. Now, can we drop it?”

  91. #91 Laurie
    February 22, 2009

    There is another problem with this appalling poll and, unfortunately it is so common in our media that people hardly notice it:

    Why is Michelle Obama lumped in with these other women? I have a lot of respect for Michelle Obama’s intelligence and professional accomplishments, but she is on the national stage only in her role as the President’s wife. Why is she constantly compared and contrasted with women who hold high elected office? Because they all have vaginas? Nooo, that’s not insulting at all.

  92. #92 Laurie
    February 22, 2009

    This upthread comment from Ward made me laugh because of its cluelessness:

    If a person brings a baby into a room filled with men and women, many of the women will gravitate to the person holding the baby and many of the men will appear to be unaffected.

    You wanna know why I gravitate towards and coo over people’s babies? Because everyone will think I’m an asshole if I don’t. I am not “hardwired” (whatever that means) to coo over any random baby, but I am — due to my gender — socially required to do so.

  93. #93 ice9
    February 22, 2009

    Laurie’s a uterusist. She’s unaware that it takes more than a vagina to raise a village. Shrill, shrill.

    I for one am disappointed to learn that Ward is married.

    ice

  94. #94 erasmus31
    February 22, 2009

    This is such BS. I wouldn’t want Sarah Palin to care for my children because of my personal dislike of her politics and religious views, and I actually prefer my children to be in contact with someone even vaguely intelligent, not because she’s not a good mother. Anybody’s 17-year-old daughter can get pregnant and it should not reflect on her/his ability to be a good parent anymore than if a 17-year-old male is about to become a father.
    Blaming teenage sexuality on any kind of parenting is ridiculous. Anybody with children, especially teens, will testify that some will listen, some won’t and most will ignore, at some point in their development, any advise given by an adult.
    I can’t believe that I have sunk so low as to defend Sarah Palin, but honestly, isn’t there enough to criticize about the woman? She may be the world’s worst mother or the best but what her teenage children do is not the litmus test of hers, or anybody else’s, ability to parent.

  95. #95 Eveningsun
    February 22, 2009

    I disagree, erasmus31. If Palin’s parenting included teaching Bristol the wonders of abstinence over birth control, then that’s crappy parenting and it should indeed take some of the blame for teen pregnancy.

  96. #96 don kane
    February 22, 2009

    So it’s obvious. Palin’s in the wrong job.
    Knew it all along.

  97. #97 Kitty'sBitch
    February 22, 2009

    SC #42
    Sorry I didn’t jump back in with any real substance on this last night. The house godess had other plans for me.
    I am curious why you would single out my crack as lacking substance considering that was the norm early in the post.
    If you don’t agree with my smartass crack, that’s fine, but does it lack the substance of post #s 1,2,3,5,6,8,9,10,14,16…etc?

  98. #98 Walton
    February 22, 2009

    ice9 @89: Despite being no fan of Senator Clinton, I actually agree with you.

    It’s symptomatic of the underlying misogyny in politics generally, which, sadly, seems to be a prevailing feature the world over. In my own experience of student politics, attractive women who achieve positions of power are constantly accused of having exploited their looks in order to get where they are; it is consistently assumed, usually unfairly, that they are incompetent and that they were elected solely by flirting with male voters. Conversely, unattractive women – however competent – rarely get anywhere in student politics, simply because they are judged on their physical appearance and not on their political abilities. It’s a sad fact of political life; women are judged in a way that men are not.

    In real-world politics, the misogyny is a little less blatant, but it’s still there. It manifests itself on both the left and the right: the fact that Senator Clinton was, as you point out, constantly attacked during the campaign for lacking femininity and for her physical appearance, and, conversely, that Governor Palin (whatever her intellectual shortcomings) was the constant target of lascivious comments and was judged largely on her attractiveness and conformity to gender roles, not on her actual competence.

    I think sexism is actually far more of an ingrained and persistent problem in modern-day politics than racism is. Racism is merely a creation of culture and history, born out of ancient ignorance and prejudice, and will (inshallah) gradually disappear as society becomes more enlightened. Conversely, sexism, and judging women on different standards from men, is something much more fundamentally ingrained in the human condition. But it’s something that is unfair, and that we should work to overcome.

  99. #99 SC, OM
    February 22, 2009

    I am curious why you would single out my crack as lacking substance considering that was the norm early in the post.

    Because its stupidity annoyed me, obviously.

    You wanna know why I gravitate towards and coo over people’s babies? Because everyone will think I’m an asshole if I don’t. I am not “hardwired” (whatever that means) to coo over any random baby, but I am — due to my gender — socially required to do so.

    It’s true – there’s a tremendous amount of social pressure to behave like this. I still ignore them – let the chips fall where they may. Now dogs are a completely different story. When I meet people with their dogs, I generally pay little attention to the owners (not intentionally – just focused on the dogs), referring to them later as “The people who have Boomer/Jasper/Molly.” :)

  100. #100 Kitty'sBitch
    February 22, 2009

    For the record, I am a male who goes weak in the knees when someone walks in the room with a baby. I would guess that there are plenty like me that are afraid to show it because they are worried how other males will view them.
    I pretty much feel the same way about dogs.

    SC
    Thank you, a reasonable and substantive response.
    Out of curiosity, did you find Greg’s comment misogynistic?

  101. #101 plum grenville
    February 22, 2009

    Ward, if you want to present yourself as nonsexist, I suggest you drop the word “shrill” from your vocabulary in any context other than birdwatching.

    Say, you must have been told before that “shrill” is a sexist putdown. You obviously don’t care. Your anti-PC persona is a lot more important to you than your desire to advance equality for women.

  102. #102 debaser71
    February 22, 2009

    Because full time high profile politicians are great mothers!! Anyway I am a stay at home dad so to me the poll comes across as sexist against men. I voted for Michelle Obama because she is actually a parent more so than the others.

  103. #103 SC, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Out of curiosity, did you find Greg’s comment misogynistic?

    I thought it was probably an attempt at humor that failed in the way other such attempts of his have. From what I’ve seen of him, he’s not at all a misogynist. But, as someone else pointed out to him a while back, his writing can get in the way of interpreting his meaning. I’ve seen this in other contexts, with arguments going off on strange tangents, but it most often seems to be the case in discussions of gender for some reason.

    In any event, I didn’t get it. That someone would take it at face value and interpret it as misogynistic in this context might warrant a response along the lines of “How so? Seemed tongue-in-cheek”; it certainly doesn’t warrant “Didn’t you know that misogynist is the new Nazi? Someone has to shout it on every forum thread. Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!”

  104. #104 plum grenville
    February 22, 2009

    Problems with this poll which demonstrate its sexism (not to mention its idiocy):

    1) Equating Michelle Obama with the other three women. Nothing against Ms, Obama, but she hasn’t been elected or appointed to any government position. What she thinks about any issue is not relevent to public debate. Lumping Clinton, Pelosi, and Palin with Obama minimizes their genuine power and achievements and exaggerates the merit involved in being the wife of somebody famous.

    2) Elevating these women’s positions on day care above their positions on numerous other political issues which are more important and/or more relevant to their responsibilities. Why are we more interested in their views on day care than their views on the stimulus package, on the war in Iraq, on healthcare, on energy policy? Why should anyone care what the Secretary of State thinks about daycare?

    3) Encouraging people to judge women with power on the basis of their personalities and, in this case, their perceived nurturing qualities (or perceived lack thereof), rather than their actual achievements or their stated positions. I would be amazed if more than 1% of the people reading either the newspaper or Phayngula could specify what the positions of these 4 women on day care are, beyond what is predictable from the party affiliation. The claim that this is legitimate exercise in assessing their respective positions is laughable.

    4) The implication that what these women do (with the exception of Obama) in setting state or national policy, even in the area of daycare, bears any resemblance to being a daycare provider belittles them (and as has been noted, is a slap at real daycare workers and managers who have genuine skills that these four women may or may not have). Would anybody ask if the Secretary of Energy (is there such a position in the U.S.?) could run a gas station well?

  105. #105 I am so wise
    February 22, 2009

    Just curious, but did anyone else rail against the misandry of asking people with which presidential candidate they wanted to drink with? Seriously It’s precisely because beer is primarily associated with men that that made that question sexist — those two people on the forefront of national politics are being stripped down to their gender.

    Personally, I think YHBT.

  106. #106 Kitty'sBitch
    February 22, 2009

    I just worry that throwing the term around will cause people to be desensitized to it.From my perspective, it’s thrown out an awful lot when it’s unwaranted.
    I wasn’t sure that the accusation was serious. I thought it could have been a sarcastic response meant to mock recent events on other forums,(the invisibility of internet sarcasm and irony and all) so I posted in a smarmy joke form that still included my main point in an attempt to cover all the bases. Seems I failed.
    I certainly put it more harshly than I needed to. It’s just something that has begun to irritate me in the Greg affair, and others. I feel the accusation is used too freely and without merit, and that could cause issues when an accusation is thrown out that really should draw our attention, but that’s just my opinion.

  107. #107 _octopod
    February 22, 2009

    Oh goodness, Falyne — just for the record, this wasn’t in the NYT! It was USN&WR. Much more disreputable.

    But yeah…this is bullshit, I’ve been following it over at Shakesville. People should write to the USN&WR editors and say something along the lines of “What the FUCK were you smoking?”

    Also #90 is dead on, and #92 is interesting because now I wonder if people think I am an asshole when I don’t coo over babies. I do coo over dogs though; that’s got to count for something.

  108. #108 The Science Pundit
    February 22, 2009

    @ Kitty’sBitch & SC,OM

    For the record, I was spoofing this little rant (hence the “I’m surprised that you attached your real name …” intro).

  109. #109 Laurie
    February 22, 2009

    Just curious, but did anyone else rail against the misandry of asking people with which presidential candidate they wanted to drink with? Seriously It’s precisely because beer is primarily associated with men that that made that question sexist — those two people on the forefront of national politics are being stripped down to their gender.

    Of course, the difference is that there has been no history of people doubting the capacity of men to hold presidential office due to their sex.

  110. #110 Laurie
    February 22, 2009

    @_octopod:

    Heh. Didn’t mean to make you paranoid.

  111. #111 Kitty'sBitch
    February 22, 2009

    The Science Pundit
    Ha!! I knew it!
    Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut and avoided the wrath of SC.
    Thanks Science Pundit.

  112. #112 Rey Fox
    February 22, 2009

    “As horrible as the poll is, the poll results are worse. How could anyone, much less a majority, choose Palin as a better choice?”

    It’s a skewed poll. The very topic it addresses selects for Palin supporters. Anyone with half a brain realizes what complete insulting fluff the poll is and stays away. I almost voted in it just to see the results, but I just couldn’t stand the notion of there being a record that I actually chose one of these prominent women as being better suited to run a bleeding daycare, anonymous though it may have been.

  113. #113 SC, OM
    February 22, 2009

    For the record, I was spoofing this little rant

    Holy fracas! I missed that whole thing. So it really was an attempt at meta-meta-humor. If you think I’m going to try to follow that convoluted mess, think again! :) Clearly, I’m not Aware of All Sb Traditions.

    So my apologies for that – I’m inadvertently living up to my FCTE status. But, more seriously, I’ll note (adding to Carlie’s quotation) that on almost every thread in which issues of misogyny or sexism are raised, people come out of the woodwork to assert that the case doesn’t meet their standards of significance for making a statement or an accusation. But I see no evidence of these people fighting “larger” or clearer examples of misogyny anywhere else. Rather than these people saving their energy for some struggle against Big Misogyny, it seems to be the same people – others – challenging misogyny and sexism in all of its varied forms and degrees. This is why I’m typically skeptical of claims to a desire to protect the seriousness of a word or an accusation.

  114. #114 Kitty'sBitch
    February 22, 2009

    SC
    Point well taken.
    Thanks

  115. #115 Quiet_Desperation
    February 22, 2009

    There’s no “None of the above” selection, alas.

    Where’s the day care run by the mother alien from the movie Aliens? Now that’s what I’m talking about! Discipline!

    Nap time, kiddies!

  116. #116 erasmus31
    February 22, 2009

    # 95 Eveningsun
    I absolutely agree that teaching abstinence over responsible birth control and good sex education is a huge mistake, but it still doesn’t make Palin a bad mother. Maybe not a candidate for a mother-of-the-year award, but not the only responsible adult. The girl has a father and other influences in her life. And many children who have been given good sex education and access to birth control engage in risky sexual behaviour.
    OK, I’m done defending Sarah Palin. It makes my skin crawl just to think of this woman and I would never entrust any child of mine into her care.
    If I had to chose among those four (I didn’t vote) I would chose Hillary and Bill Clinton. I like the way their child turned out, notwithstanding Bill’s lapses in judgment.

  117. #117 clevedan
    February 22, 2009

    What if Palin’s Pastor decided your child was a witch???

  118. #118 Artemis
    February 22, 2009

    You just HAD to go there didn’t you? I love your site, but as a Black Woman I knew it was a matter of time before I saw some racial inappropriateness. Sigh.

    Mr. Meyers, jumping from comparing day care centers run by various women in politics to comparing chicken venues run by various Black men in politics is racially insensitive. Perhaps comparing the ability for Barack Obama, Dubya, Colin Powell, and Bill Clinton to notice when they are taking the country in a negative direction would have been more appropriate.

  119. #119 Sven DiMilo
    February 22, 2009

    see, PZ was using a blatantly racially inappropriate hypothetical on purpose to draw attention to the sexually inappropriate assumptions of the USN&WR poll.

  120. #120 dean
    February 22, 2009

    Ward’s stupity doesn’t come from sexism – it comes from libertarianism, a system in which you never have to think.

  121. #121 Barb
    February 22, 2009

    Frank #27 –Because Palin’s 17 year old daughter managed to have a private date life and got pregnant –and they didn’t abort her or have her on the pill –you think Sarah can’t raise children well. That’s absurd. You have no idea about the offspring of Pelosi and Clinton–just because we don’t know of any pregnancies. Most parents today are unsuccessful at keeping their children virginal until the wedding. And THAT would be the BEST parenting. But nowdays, the best parents in the world can have kids get the cart before the horse –unless their kids don’t date at all. Young people can have good scruples but yield to temptation nevertheless when in love and dating steadily and often.

    The question is “what do they do with the baby?” –kill it? which Pelosi, Clinton, and Obama champion –or give it up for adoption? or get married and raise the child? —or raise it as a single mother with grandparents’ help. I favor choices 2 and 3 for the good of the child.

  122. #122 Sven DiMilo
    February 22, 2009

    The question is “what do they do with the baby?” –kill it? which Pelosi, Clinton, and Obama champion

    oh, brother.
    Barb, you’re a piece of work.

  123. #123 Barb
    February 22, 2009

    Erasmus 31 #116

    Do you really know how the Clinton’s daughter turned out? how many young men she’s been with –using birth control to prevent pregnancy? That’s “responsible” irresponsibility–to expose oneself to multiple relationships and have premarital sex with all while using pill and condom. I’d rather a daughter married the one who impregnated her in a serious love relationship.

    Abstinence education CAN still be abstinence ed – –while mentioning that if people won’t do the best thing and be abstinent until marriage, they should at least use condoms to prevent disease and the pill to prevent extra-marital pregnancy. The problem with the typical sex ed about condoms and pills, is the condoning of extra-marital sex, teaching that it’s “normal” and that you can make it “responsible” with condom and pill. That’s the message our kids get from TV and school; and it’s not doing one thing to discourage promiscuity –which is the REAL cause of STD’s.

  124. #124 Kel
    February 22, 2009

    Yes, telling the hormonally-charged teenagers not to have sex is going to stop the spread of STDs… fuck you are an idiot Barb.

  125. #125 H.H.
    February 22, 2009

    The problem with the typical sex ed about condoms and pills, is the condoning of extra-marital sex, teaching that it’s “normal” and that you can make it “responsible” with condom and pill.

    Sex is normal and it can be done responsibly. It isn’t the school jobs to teach your religion’s morality. Sorry.

  126. #126 Barb
    February 22, 2009

    Sven 122 –you don’t agree that killing the fetus is the way 1.6 million girls and women per year handle a pregnancy? –so that we won’t know whether their parents had a promiscuous daughter or not or a daughter with one boyfriend who got pregnant before the wedding or not?

    YOU may be the piece of work, judging from your response to me.

    Women of lesser character than Palin’s would have a daughter abort –to keep their perfect christian family image for political purposes. Instead, she said she was pro-life and she proved it in how she dealt with her 17 year old pregnant daughter –whose pregnancy WAS embarrassing for a Christian family who tries to teach their children to wait until they are married.

  127. #127 Kel
    February 22, 2009

    Oh yes, abortion. The greatest evil in society bar homosexuality. Because terminating a foetus is somehow more immoral than eating a living breathing conscious animal…

  128. #128 Lindsay
    February 22, 2009

    It’s always wonderful to be reminded, yet again, that there are rational atheist men who are just as sexist as their religious brethren. Only they seem to appeal to nature rather than some invisible sky daddy.

  129. #129 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Barb, you got it wrong as usual. People with more character than Palin would have had her daughter abort the fetus (not baby, which is a damned lie), so the daughters life wouldn’t be ruined by a bad decision. You are the one with the warped morals.

  130. #130 Sven DiMilo
    February 22, 2009

    No, Barb. What I didn’t agree with was your ridiculously hyperbolic rhetorical statement that Obama, Pelosi, and Clinton “champion” the “killing” of “babies.”

    As for Governor Palin,…
    aaaa screw it.

  131. #131 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 22, 2009

    I get damned tired of this “risks of having sex” bullshit. Name one activity that does not have risks involved in it?

  132. #132 b
    February 22, 2009

    H.H. #125 –The school’s job is NOT to teach my kids that pre-marital sex is normal and thus OK –as long as they use protection. You are in trouble with this view with every chastity-revering religion –and the parents who follow these religions. And any other parents who want their kids to be reinforced in their resolve to wait for their weddings –or at least mature age.

    Being non-judgmental to condoning about teen sex is NOT the job of public educators. Public ed needs to tell kids that abstinence until marriage is the safest life choice, emotionally, physically, and even economically –though sex that culminates in marriage is 2nd best -but you can’t guarantee that you WILL marry a fiancee/fiance as the first guy/girl you sleep with.

    The first sex experience is a doorway to what can easily become promiscuity –or serial monogamy –with all the emotional and physical downsides and risks. Kids need to know that they’ll not be an immediate candidate for the hardships of single parenting if both the man and the woman wait for marriage –nor for post-abortion regret and trauma –nor for STD’s –if they marry the one they love and have no other bed partners before or after the wedding.

    They should have the technical knowledge that condoms are the 2nd best prevention of STD’s –and the pill for pregnancy–abstinence being the best prevention for both.

  133. #133 Kseniya
    February 22, 2009

    Janine: NOT having sex? ;-)

  134. #134 erasmus31
    February 22, 2009

    #123 Barb:
    It strikes me as curious that you don’t seem to be concerned with how many partners adult male children have, just female ones. I don’t know Chelsea Clinton any more than you know Bristol Palin, but I do know that Chelsea’s a highly educated, competent woman and her sex life is none of my business. I didn’t say I didn’t like Bristol, I really have no opinion one way or another, I just can’t stand her mother. Which still doesn’t mean she’s a bad mother just a crappy human being.
    For the record, I have no problem with abstinence either, if it’s taught as ONE of the ways of stopping the spread of STDs and unwanted pregnancies. I just have a problem with abstinence-or-nothing mentality.

  135. #135 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 22, 2009

    No where near enough. sigh…

  136. #136 Carlie
    February 22, 2009

    Public ed needs to tell kids that abstinence until marriage is the safest life choice, emotionally, physically, and even economically –though sex that culminates in marriage is 2nd best -but you can’t guarantee that you WILL marry a fiancee/fiance as the first guy/girl you sleep with.

    No, it shouldn’t, because not everyone believes that’s true. Believe it or not, there are people in the world who don’t tie the worth of a person to the number of sexual partners they’ve had. Let’s take your stance point by point:
    emotionally – yes, kids have to wait until they’re ready for sex. However, emotional trauma usually occurs in kids who have been taught that they are permanently unclean and evil sinners if they dare to have sex. Kids who have been taught that sex is a normal human expression of goodness and (often) love don’t have thos eproblems.

    physically – if they know how to have sex safely, the chances of spreading disease fall dramatically. Again, the ones most at risk are those who have been taught sex is dirty and evil (and save it for the one you love!) so don’t take any precautions, because it’s understandable to get “caught up in the moment” but evil to plan it ahead of time enough to buy a pack of condoms.

    economically – Wha? The only connection I could see here is the cost of condoms and pills, which PP help with (if they haven’t been run out of town by fundamentalist morons) and otherwise really don’t cost all that much.

    Marrying the first person you sleep with – highly overrated. And likely to lead to marriages at young ages that have an extraordinarily high divorce rate once the hormones die down and the couple realize they really didn’t have much in common except a desire to screw in a way that was acceptable to their backwards little religious group.

  137. #137 Barb
    February 22, 2009

    Kel # 127 –you said, “terminating a foetus is somehow more immoral than eating a living breathing conscious animal.”

    Fetuses are surely babies –human beings at the earliest stage of their lives, terminated by abortion. And yes, I eat animals for food but not while they are alive.

    People who see no distinction between humans and animals are dangerous–those like you who see a human fetus as qualifying for termination but not animals for food –and those who see human lives as expendable as animal life –seeing no value to either, treating humans like animals, herding them in cattle cars, denying them clothes, killing them en masse.

  138. #138 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 22, 2009

    All of those fertilized eggs that never get carried to full term. The woman’s body is surely the greatest mass murderer in history.

  139. #139 Carlie
    February 22, 2009

    All of those fertilized eggs that never get carried to full term. The woman’s body is surely the greatest mass murderer in history.

    Now, now, Janine, give credit where credit’s due. It’s all to the glory of God that all those little miscarried eggs are murdered.

  140. #140 Carlie
    February 22, 2009

    Barb, do the silent screams of the thousands of frozen embryos in IVF clinics keep you up at night?

  141. #141 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Barb, your god is the biggest abortionist in the world. Fetus =/= baby, except in the minds of the ignorant like yourself. By your strict definition, you have committed abortions several times already. Any woman who has had regular sex has. To bad you are such a hypocrite who cannot see the bigger picture, that your god loves abortion.

  142. #142 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    How about if I as a chicken fancier start howling about all the chicken abortions you’ve done in your life Barb? And after you’ve committed the abortion Barb, you cook the fetus and eat it. What a nice moral lady you are.

  143. #143 Sven DiMilo
    February 22, 2009

    Fetuses are surely babies –human beings at the earliest stage of their lives

    Right, right, and a poppy seed is surely opium.
    It’s The Sacredness of Human Diploidy. See, the soul hitch-hikes in with the sperm nucleus…

  144. #144 Barb
    February 22, 2009

    Carlie –then this is why we need vouchers for school choice.

    AGAIN, public educators do not have a right to tell other people’s children that it’s ok for them to have pre-marital sex –that everyone does it –that condom and pill make it OK and responsible. Most teen suicides have to do with broken relationships that had been intimate. We know parental divorce is hard on kids; broken love relationships that were intimate are like kids going through their own divorces –devastating.

    If you thought you SHOULD marry the first person you had sex with, would you be more careful in your choice? I’m really not saying people should marry the first person they have sex with since so many DO make a bad and incompatible, too young first choice– but they should ideally, nonetheless, have sex only with the person they marry –and delay the choice until they are mature.

    I know from experience that it is possible to raise kids who wait for the wedding. Values ed. in the family, religious belief and commitment, chaperonage, restricting time alone together for young couples –all give a child a sense that it is good to wait –and reinforce will-power and conviction to do so.

    Who said anything about teaching that sex is dirty and evil? I don’t advocate that. Sex is worth protecting and worth waiting for.

    Seems like the fornicating generation is NOT marrying much at all –most people in USA are single at later ages –and divorce rate remains high. I believe pre-marital sex has a lot to do with it. People are disillusioned because they aren’t doing sex the way God prescribed –faithfully within marriage. If it’s easy to get your pants off with a series of dates, why would marriage stop the trend? Marriage does not necessarily end a pattern of promiscuity started when your sex educator told you it was OK.

  145. #145 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Barb, who the fuck cares what you uninformed opinion is. We sure don’t. Now run back to your church and leave us alone.

  146. #146 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    And how long have you been married, chicken abortionist?

  147. #147 H.H.
    February 22, 2009

    b wrote:

    H.H. #125 –The school’s job is NOT to teach my kids that pre-marital sex is normal and thus OK –as long as they use protection.

    Where are you getting “and thus ok?” Teaching that sex is normal (which it is), isn’t the same as telling children to go out and have it the first chance they get. Just like teaching that homosexuality is normal is not the same as telling children to go out and become homosexuals. Schools are just there to provide the facts. If you believe sex before marriage is immoral, then feel free to pass that on personally to your children. But it is NOT the school’s jobs to teach morality, nor to advocate abstinence on purely moral ground.

    You are in trouble with this view with every chastity-revering religion –and the parents who follow these religions. And any other parents who want their kids to be reinforced in their resolve to wait for their weddings –or at least mature age.

    First of all, I love the phrase “chastity-revering religion.” Second, schools are not a place to “reinforce” religious teachings. Their purpose is to educate. Chastity-revering religions can teach children to revere chastity on their own time.

    Being non-judgmental to condoning about teen sex is NOT the job of public educators.

    I’m still trying to parse this sentence…being non-judgmental to condoning? I think you want to say that schools shouldn’t endorse sex before marriage, which I would agree with. But it isn’t the school’s position to condemn it either. They should indeed remain non-judgmental about the entire issue. Their job is to provide facts, not endorse morality.

    Public ed needs to tell kids that abstinence until marriage is the safest life choice, emotionally, physically, and even economically –though sex that culminates in marriage is 2nd best -but you can’t guarantee that you WILL marry a fiancee/fiance as the first guy/girl you sleep with.

    What? None of this is grounded in facts and seems to be entirely your personal opinion. Yes, abstinence is the only way to completely avoid pregnancy and STDs, and I think that’s pretty obvious to anyone who’s ever given the matter a second’s thought. But there’s nothing to suggest that abstinence is the “safest life choice, emotionally, physically, and even economically.” unless you consider lonely, sexually-repressed monks to be the standard against which healthy individuals should be judged.

    The first sex experience is a doorway to what can easily become promiscuity –or serial monogamy –with all the emotional and physical downsides and risks.

    Doorway to promiscuity? That’s nonsense with no basis in fact. You can’t expect schools to teach your religious prejudices.

    Kids need to know that they’ll not be an immediate candidate for the hardships of single parenting if both the man and the woman wait for marriage –nor for post-abortion regret and trauma –nor for STD’s –if they marry the one they love and have no other bed partners before or after the wedding.

    Yes, and kids should know that they won’t catch a disease if they lock themselves inside a climate controlled isolation chamber. After they get done laughing, the teacher can then move on to practical, sensible, concrete methods for minimizing risks.

    They should have the technical knowledge that condoms are the 2nd best prevention of STD’s –and the pill for pregnancy–abstinence being the best prevention for both.

    Ok, fine. But they shouldn’t cloud the issue by making abstinence a moral issue or try scare them with lies about how having sex leads to promiscuity, emotional problems, and economic hardship. Religious propaganda should not be a part of any educational instruction.

  148. #148 'Tis Himself
    February 22, 2009

    Reading Barb’s blather reminded me of the famous quote from Butch Hancock:

    Life in Lubbock, Texas taught me two things. One is that God loves you and you?re going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, dirty thing on the face of the earth and you should save it for someone you love.

  149. #149 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    I think I’ll make popcorn.

  150. #150 Barb
    February 22, 2009

    Nerd redhead #141

    I don’t get your point at all. Sex doesn’t abort. Not normally. It would be a freak occurence. I think you’ll have a hard time proving that it does. Many pregnant women have sex without terminating their pregnancies –so what are you talking about??? Miscarriages after sex? You would know if that happened. You say you’re talking about something that women who have sex aren’t aware of; that would be very hard to prove. Whose study can prove that women who started periods after sex were miscarrying without knowing they were even pregnant? I can’t imagine quite what you mean???

    No, I don’t think that the God who said, “Thou shalt not murder!” approves abortion.

  151. #151 Carlie
    February 22, 2009

    I know from experience that it is possible to raise kids who wait for the wedding.

    And I know from more personal experience than you, because that’s what I did. Your point? I see absolutely no difference in the quality of my relationship with my spouse and the marriages of people who had sex with large numbers of people before getting married. Know why? Because sex isn’t the end-all and be-all of a relationship. The only people who think it is are the kind who have been forcibly repressed about it so that it’s all they think about.

  152. #152 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Barb, it is estimated that 50% of all fertilized eggs aren’t implanted. Abortion by god. It is estimated that only about 30-50% of implanted embryos are carried to term. Abortion by god. Your god loves abortion. He commits it all the time. You have probably committed abortion. So, get off your high horse and shut up.

  153. #153 Kel
    February 22, 2009

    Fetuses are surely babies –human beings at the earliest stage of their lives, terminated by abortion. And yes, I eat animals for food but not while they are alive.

    No, a foetus is not a baby. It would be amazing that you can equate the two. In the early stages of pregnancy, the “baby” is but a couple of hundred cells. It takes over 6 months before a foetus is developed enough for it to live outside the womb.

    To call a foetus a baby is like calling a 12 year old an adult. You are just trying to humanise the issue in order to makt it seem morally reprehensible. The simple fact is that abortions happen all the time – naturally. About 1/3rd of pregnancies end in early termination. So that would make God the greatest abortionist of all time, and your focus on stopping human abortion is a misguided look at the problem.

  154. #154 Carlie
    February 22, 2009

    Don’t forget the frozen embryos, Barb. What do you think of them? Are they thousands of little souls in stasis, in danger of freezer burn? Would you rather save a dish full of a hundred embryos than a 2-year old child? I won’t hold my breath waiting for your answer, because you’ll ignore it.

  155. #155 Kitty'sBitch
    February 22, 2009

    Janine, pass the popcorn.
    “No where near enough. sigh…”
    Sorry to hear that by the way.

  156. #156 Kel
    February 22, 2009

    People who see no distinction between humans and animals are dangerous–those like you who see a human fetus as qualifying for termination but not animals for food –and those who see human lives as expendable as animal life –seeing no value to either, treating humans like animals, herding them in cattle cars, denying them clothes, killing them en masse.

    On a semantic level, humans are animals! so if acknowledging that your body is mammalian is dangerous then guilty as charged.

    But I feel you are talking about something completely different there, that humans and livestock are equal in value, and therefore all moral choices should put humans and animals on the same page. Rather it’s to do with the capacity to feel pain and the idea of consciousness. A foetus is a developing human, yet it’s not yet human. It’s the potential for life, but it’s not able to survive outside the mother’s womb. In the early stages of pregnancy, you are looking at but a few hundred cells. Are you saying that terminating those cells is more abhorred than the mistreatment of animals that can actually feel pain?

  157. #157 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Kel – I worked for 13 years at a veterinary hospital, and I can assure you that when it comes to the pain and suffering of animals, most good true christians do not give a damn about that subject. You would be stunned by the numbers of late term animal abortions those people cause.

  158. #158 Barb
    February 22, 2009

    #148 –again, re: Butch Hancock’s “wisdom” — Christians do not say sex is dirty and evil –they do say to save sex for someone you love –and get married to that person, preferably before the wedding.

    to HH 147 –I didn’t say that sex was abnormal –I said we ought not tell kids that pre-marital sex is normal (meaning to be expected –as in “everybody does it and thus it’s ok if you do”–because that’s not the history of cultural morals about sex. Virginity was protected in many cultures –and prized for the wedding bed. And rightly so. Pre-marital and promiscuous sex can be and ought to be avoided.

    Sex educators think they are helping by telling kids to wait “until you are ready.” We know that is a variable standard –likely to be abused. Most couples feel ready at the first opportunity if they are mutually attracted and have overcome the normal initial shyness and slowness to intimacy –which is so special in the virginal couple. According to some anthropological studies, gradual bonding makes for a more durable bond.

    In saying abstinence is the best life choice –I should have said “before marriage” –since I think marriage is an excellent life choice –the best, actually –though St. Paul preferred celibacy.

    The economy remark: Think of all the economic dependency on gov’t and the poverty and hardship caused by unwed single parenting –the costs of AIDS –a completely preventable disease –the lifelong affliction of herpes, the risks of HPV which can’t be certainly prevented by condoms, the current syphillis epidemic among gays –and the AIDS risk which is high among black women now because of bisexual black men on the downlow —

    Health –abortion risks,the post-abortion trauma, and possible breast cancer and sterility that may come after abortion –risks to taking birth control pills — risk that a partner will not use the condom like you thought he would –or that it will fail.

    Mental health — trauma of break up after sexual involvement, feelings of suicide after break ups, regret that one is no longer a virgin. You can devalue virginity all you want; I believe most girls will wish they still had it after their romance ends. No one wants to feel “used” or be called a “slut” which still happens to the girls who are said to be “easy.” There is also trauma from extra-marital sex IN marriage resulting in high divorce rate and single parenting –and poverty for kids and women. Someone who has many partners before marriage brings a lot of baggage into marriage (including a habit of promiscuity) which may result in divorce.

    ALL or most of the problems of the above 3 paragraphs are preventable by abstinence until marriage –and fidelity in marriage.

  159. #159 Barb
    February 22, 2009

    Kel –that’s not just a few hundred cells in the fetus –at the point when one knows when one is pregnant. It’s a being with DNA code for millions of traits that make up the human being –and those that distinguish THIS human being as unique from all others –a combo resulting from its mother’s and father’s genes.

    You have no authority upon which to stand –to say that the developing human is not a full human. Of course it is. Fetus means “young one.”

    Survival is not the criterion. The newborn can’t survive either without its mother or another care-giver.

  160. #160 Wowbagger
    February 22, 2009

    Barb wrote in #150:

    No, I don’t think that the God who said, “Thou shalt not murder!” approves abortion.

    Are you sure about that? I believe God has no problem with abortion at all, because He tell us that infants less than one month old have no value:

    And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. Leviticus 27:6

    Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them. And Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD. Numbers 3:15-16

    So, Barb, your god told us infants of less than one month have no value. That obviously includes the fetus. So, abortion is fine by him – he told us so. Are you you denying the bible is your god’s word?

  161. #161 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Oh she didn’t just say slut.

    It’s the fainting couch for me…

  162. #162 Carlie
    February 22, 2009

    Oh, look, Barbara ignored my question about the frozen embryos. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you! Hi Barbara! (waves) Still ignoring the question, I see.

    ALL or most of the problems of the above 3 paragraphs are preventable by abstinence until marriage –and fidelity in marriage.

    They can also be prevented by destigmatizing sex and giving kids the information they need to do it safely. Logic FAIL.

  163. #163 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Poor Barb, she knows not what her bible says. Not born, not a human being. Period, end of story. Word of god. All the anti-abortion stuff comes not from god, but from your own imagination, and desire to impose your will upon others.

  164. #164 Barb
    February 22, 2009

    Carly wrote “Don’t forget the frozen embryos, Barb. What do you think of them? Are they thousands of little souls in stasis, in danger of freezer burn? Would you rather save a dish full of a hundred embryos than a 2-year old child? I won’t hold my breath waiting for your answer, because you’ll ignore it.”

    Why should I rather save one or the others, Carly? Yes, the frozen embryos are human life and thus we don’t want to experiment on them. I say adopt them out for implantation in infertile women if their parents will let them go. That’s a difficult issue –I’d feel bad destroying them or experimenting on them. Of course, we relate to the 2 year old child, the “bird in hand” –more than to the multiple “birds in the bush” -er embryos in the lab. But the choice isn’t between the two.

    Maybe we should save them and protect them from global nuclear holocaust –and hope a woman survives to re-start the human race with them.

  165. #165 Kel
    February 22, 2009

    Kel –that’s not just a few hundred cells in the fetus –at the point when one knows when one is pregnant. It’s a being with DNA code for millions of traits that make up the human being –and those that distinguish THIS human being as unique from all others –a combo resulting from its mother’s and father’s genes.

    And I wasted 200 million cells last night carrying my DNA… it was fun.

    Each month a woman loses another copy of her DNA that could have brought new human. I understand how a foetus develops, and for the first 6 or so months it can’t survive. It gestates for 40 weeks for a reason…

    If you just look at the rights for a foetus, you neglect other factors. What about the rights of the mother? Pregnancy could cause her to lose her income, it may be that her family is already struggling to support the children they have, pregnancy can cause complications, and bringing another mouth to feed into this world puts additional stress on our environment. Do you honestly think that “It’s a little human” is the only factor at play here? Do you not think that the implications of having another child could degrade the quality of life for those who already exist?

    And that to me is the bullshit of pro-life, it seems a life at all costs mentality with no consideration for quality of life. No consideration for the dangers of pregnancy, no considerations for the immediate and long term ramifications of having a(nother) child. There’s just too many “what if” factors that mean that “it’s a tiny human” is reason enough to have an absolute morality on the situation.

  166. #166 Wowbagger
    February 22, 2009

    I’ve often wondered that if God was so concerned about potential humans, how come humans create so many sperm and eggs that go unused? Surely God could have created us to make only one sperm and only one egg each time?

    Bill Hicks, genius, said: ‘Did you know that every time a guy comes, he comes 200 million sperm?…Do you know what that means? I have wiped entire civilizations off of my chest, with a grey gym sock. That is special. Entire nations have flaked and crusted in the hair around my navel. That is special. And I want you to think about that, you two-egg-carrying beings out there with that holier-than-thou, we-have-the-gift-of-life attitude. I have tossed universes, in my underpants, while napping. That is special.

  167. #167 H.H.
    February 22, 2009

    I didn’t say that sex was abnormal –I said we ought not tell kids that pre-marital sex is normal (meaning to be expected –as in “everybody does it and thus it’s ok if you do”–because that’s not the history of cultural morals about sex. Virginity was protected in many cultures –and prized for the wedding bed. And rightly so. Pre-marital and promiscuous sex can be and ought to be avoided.

    But why do you think it’s appropriate to bring up the history of sexuality morality in various cultures in a health class? Barb, it simply doesn’t matter if you find extramarital sex icky and immoral. That’s not a public health concern. That has no business being taught to public students. Sex is natural, normal, and can be performed safely. Those are the facts. It isn’t the school’s purview to tell people when to have sex. That’s for them to decide.

  168. #168 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Don’t feel bad Carlie. She doesn’t want to admit to her own chicken abortions either.

  169. #169 Barb
    February 22, 2009

    The Bible does not confirm your abortion theology, Nerd.

    I know the case has been made –as by Bill Clinton–that if the baby had not drawn breath, maybe it didn’t yet have a soul. And you probably can find some other obscure reference to interpret as license for killing your young.

    but, the fact remains, abortion is the death of a unique human life –and the bible does tell us to not kill the innocent. If the pregnancy is not terminated, a life will emerge from the pregnant woman –and it is alive before birth. It has its own finger prints, heart beat, organs, color of hair, eyes, and skin, its own sex –its own DNA code –separate from the mother. No question: abortion takes that life for no good reasons.

  170. #170 rye
    February 22, 2009

    Most people probably don’t give a damn (or a lot less of one) what male candidates … think either.

    Well then that’s sexist.

  171. #171 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Barb, the bible doesn’t confirm your interpretation either. So that make you a liar and bullshitter–but we knew that already. You can’t pick and chose the verses. They are all right or all wrong. Your god loves abortions, and nothing you say will demonstrate otherwise, short of god actually coming down and telling all humans himself what his policy is. The bible is a work of fiction, and your imaginary god exists only between your ears. Prove otherwise.

  172. #172 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Nice bible quoting Wowbagger. ;)

  173. #173 Carlie
    February 22, 2009

    Barb – it was a shortened version of a commonly used thought experiment; I should have been more explicit.

    The thought exercise goes like this: There is an IVF clinic on fire. You are the only one who can run in, but you only have time to grab either a dish full of 100 embryos, or a 2-year old child who was accidentally left in there. Which one do you save? If every embryo is sacred, the choice is easy; you should save the dish, because 100 lives are more valuable than 1. However, any rational human would see that as horrific bordering on outright evil, because when the rubber meets the road, it is obvious to everyone that there is a real difference between a cluster of cells and a living, breathing child.

  174. #174 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    Well, Barb’s convinced me. I’m certainly not having an abortion.
    I suppose the truth is that it’s only fair to abort someone once they’ve had a hideous childhood, got hooked on drink and drugs, and made a terrible mistake while intoxicated. Much better to kill them then.
    That at least shows the caring side of the lord.
    Or perhaps you’re one of those christians who doesn’t believe in the death penalty at any age?

  175. #175 Kel
    February 22, 2009

    Here’s what I don’t get about your position Barb. If we look at places where they have a low teen pregnancy and low abortion rate, we also see a high standard of sex education. If you were against abortion, why wouldn’t you want to be following the example of the Netherlands and make sure teens are aware of not only birth control but how to practice safe sex? If protecting life was your real concern, then surely you’d be all for comprehensive sex education as shown to work in Northern Europe.

    And this is where I see a problem emerging, it’s not at all about abortion, it’s about controlling people’s sexual behaviour. Abortion is used as an excuse to justify suppresing sexual behaviour where if they would even look at societies with low abortion and low teen pregnancy they would see comprehensive sexual education programs.

  176. #176 Wowbagger
    February 22, 2009

    For Barb – here, again, are the bible verses where your god explains how children less than one month old (which obviously includes fetuses) have no value in his eyes:

    Leviticus 27:6 And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver.

    Numbers 3:15-16 Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them. And Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD.

    Where are your bible verses that say otherwise? Your god tells you that less than one month = no value.

    Are you calling your god a liar?

  177. #177 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    OK Nerd, if you’re going to be naughty we’ll need more sangria and popcorn.

  178. #178 Barb
    February 22, 2009

    HH 167 –”But why do you think it’s appropriate to bring up the history of sexuality morality in various cultures in a health class? Barb, it simply doesn’t matter if you find extramarital sex icky and immoral. That’s not a public health concern. That has no business being taught to public students. Sex is natural, normal, and can be performed safely. Those are the facts. It isn’t the school’s purview to tell people when to have sex. That’s for them to decide.”

    I’m not saying to bring that up in class. I’m saying that most cultures historically protected virginity –and for good reason.

    Again, public school has no right to undermine the morals of students with any teaching that implies or suggests that premarital teen sex is to be expected, is normal, and that the definition of responsibility is using a condom and using birth control pills.

    Public school has every obligation to teach the benefits of one partner for life, waiting until monogamous, faithful marriage for sex:

    Benefits: no untimely pregnancy, no abortion risks, no STdiseases, no children without fathers, less poverty, and two parents to raise, supervise, chaperone, protect and support the children. No history or habit of promiscuity to strain the marriage. And the children of the 2-original parent homes do better, on average, on every social indicator. Granted, exceptions.

  179. #179 'Tis Himself
    February 22, 2009

    the bible does tell us to not kill the innocent.

    Is that the same bible that has god killing all the first born in Egypt just because the pharaoh wasn’t paying attention to Moses?

  180. #180 Kitty'sBitch
    February 22, 2009

    I’d give a few shekels for some more Bill Hicks quotes.
    Also, Janine are you gonna pass that popcorn or what?
    I just finished off the shiraz, by the way.

  181. #181 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Patricia, I’ll start squeezing the oranges. Where did I leave the popcorn popper?

  182. #182 Wowbagger
    February 22, 2009

    Barb,

    Why are you hiding from the bible quotes in my posts #160 and #176? Your own holy book, which you consider the word of your god, states that infants under one month of age have no value.

    Please explain how, if God says infants < one month = no value, how abortion can be wrong?

  183. #183 Carlie
    February 22, 2009

    It’s also the same god who thought that kids should be savagely mauled to death for making fun of a bald guy. And that they should be stoned if they talk back to their parents. And who thought it would be lots of fun to kill off a man’s entire family, including all of his children, just to win a bet with Satan. Oh, and tested another guy by trying to make him knife his son to death. That crazy god!

  184. #184 Wowbagger
    February 22, 2009

    Crap. I forgot that < is a html tag. Let’s try that again:

    Barb, if God himself states that infants < one month old = no value, how can abortion be wrong?

  185. #185 Barb
    February 22, 2009

    I won’t try to defend OT scriptures and OT culture that are “beyond my paygrade” to interpret.

    I know YOU don’t respect that idea that a one month old male is worth more than a girl or a younger baby. So why use it to defend your view in favor of abortion?

    There was a struggle in those barbaric days to get a people for God who would live by law. We know they didn’t value women the same as men. Jesus Christ ushered in more value for women in how He related to them, in the fact that Mary was revered as the vessel for God, in HIs golden rule teaching which implies equality of persons. In the scriptures that say, “Whosoever will…” may come to Christ and be saved. In the Book of Acts where the Holy Spirit was poured out on both men and women.

  186. #186 Monado
    February 22, 2009

    How did you guys get onto that one? About 2/3 of fertilized ova are naturally aborted, often before a woman knows she is pregnant. So if you think that God is in charge of those things, that makes God the most prolific abortionist of them all.

    BTW, post-abortion trauma is rare unless you have people “guilting you”. An actual scientific study, as opposed to scare stories, found that the primary feeling after an abortion is relief–who would have thought? And that students who have an abortion are more likely to finish their education than similar students who don’t get pregnant or students who have a baby. Apparently it gave them a feeling that they are in charge of their lives.

    Like “hydro lines give you cancer” and “vaccines lower your immune system or give you autism,” “abortion causes breast cancer” is another scare for which there is no good evidence. Breast-feeding seems to provide some protection, but most women who want abortion already have children.

    It’s true that abstinence prevents pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, inside or outside of marriage. (I would bet that lesbians are the least likely to get STDs.) However, teaching abstinence-only sex education does not reduce rates of STDs or pregnancy, and seems to raise age of starting to have sex by about a month.

    People do not mourn a miscarriage or a late period as they do a child, and we’d think they were nuts if they did. That should tell us something about how to value a very early pregnancy.

  187. #187 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Barb, you still haven’t shown any physical evidence for your imaginary god. Something that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being divine. Also, you haven’t proven your bible is anything other than a work of fiction. Barb, you have a lot of ‘splaining to do.

  188. #188 'Tis Himself
    February 22, 2009

    I won’t try to defend OT scriptures and OT culture that are “beyond my paygrade” to interpret.

    Whose paygrade is it to interpret the plain word of the Bible that contradicts your personal dislike of abortion?

  189. #189 Monado
    February 22, 2009

    Initally, when I popped in, I was going to say that it would be much more interesting to ask which of those four politicians one would prefer as Secretary of Health or designing the national sex-education standards. Or creating a program that makes banks spend every cent of their bailout money on mortgage relief for individuals or local businesses instead of stuffing it into a mattress. Banks could renegotiate mortgages based on ability to pay and reduced value of the property. They would lose some money but they wouldn’t lose all of it.

  190. #190 SC, OM
    February 22, 2009

    I won’t try to defend OT scriptures and OT culture that are “beyond my paygrade” to interpret.

    Except the ones you like.

    And you probably can find some other obscure reference to interpret as pretty much anything you want it to

    Fixed. That’s exactly what you and your fellow Christians do, Barb.

  191. #191 Barb
    February 22, 2009

    Carlie, I’m sorry to hear of your bitterness toward the God of the OT –one would think you actually believed in Him.

    God is not who we want Him to be; He is who He is. I believe He will compensate for the earthly sufferings of His people –because Jesus Christ has intervened for us –atoned us with this God who is not a marshmallow puff god, not a Pollyanna God –but one who allowed us to all receive a death sentence after the Fall. Who does allow suffering. Who does allow evil people to persecute the good. And He allowed it to happen to Jesus Christ –and then raised Him from the dead –for a place Jesus said He would prepare where there would be no more suffering, tears, illness, death. I’m placing my faith and hope in the Resurrected man, Jesus Christ –who said He was the only way to the father –and did many miracles to prove His claim –the greatest being to raise 2 people from the dead –and to rise from the dead Himself by the power of His father God. With that sacrifice on the cross, He has made us His co-heirs of the Kingdom.

  192. #192 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Hosea 13:16 “their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.”

    There’s more of your abortion god where that came from Barb the chicken abortionist.

  193. #193 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Barb, your god doesn’t exist, and your bible is fiction, your theology even worse fiction. Prove otherwise. Yawn. We’ll be waitin’ for your ‘splainin’.

  194. #194 Wowbagger
    February 22, 2009

    Barb, cowering, bleated:

    I won’t try to defend OT scriptures and OT culture that are “beyond my paygrade” to interpret.

    But Barb, upthread in post #150 you responded to Nerd with this:

    No, I don’t think that the God who said, “Thou shalt not murder!” approves abortion.

    How is it you are able to interpret your god’s word on that occasion but now you’ve suddenly lost your ability? Either you are qualified to say what you think about what your god approves or you aren’t. You can’t have it both ways.

    That aside, what’s to ‘interpret’? It says it right there in black and white – babies less than (I’ve learned my lesson; stupid html) one month old have no value in your god’s eyes. He says it at least twice; heck, there may be more occasions on which your god points out when a life (as far as he is concerned) begins – one month after birth.

    If that’s not the case, why would your god say it? If you can conveniently ignore this section of the bible, which other sections do you do without?

  195. #195 Kitty'sBitch
    February 22, 2009

    Monado
    That was some choice(giggle)information. Thank you so much.
    I immediately turned to the house godess and said “Did you know…” and she finished every statement for me.
    She used to work for planned parenthood years ago.
    Why didn’t she give me this info sooner!?!?
    Great stuff!

  196. #196 Kel
    February 22, 2009

    It’s amazing how Godbots think that atheists constantly want to hear about their beliefs. Barb, I couldn’t give a shit if you believed that Jesus died on that cross so you can feel good about me burning in hell for eternity, or if you believe that reality is all one big computer simulation where the goal is to break the programming and become sentient. So please stop preaching Barb, it just makes you seem like a braindead fool.

  197. #197 Barb
    February 22, 2009

    I’m sure abortion is a sin, the taking of innocent life.

    Just because the Lord in the O.T. did not have the Jews assign a monetary value to babies under 1 month old, does not mean they aren’t alive. the Bible doesn’t say they aren’t human beings –and it doesn’t say you can murder them in the womb or until they are one month old either.

    but you will argue any point because you are deaf and blind. Jesus said, let those with ears, HEAR. And He said some soil is hard and will not receive the seed. And He said if you ask, you will receive. you can ask for truth about God and Christ and find it. But you do not want to.
    Because you prefer extinction after the grave, I guess –to accountability on earth followed by judgement. Those who receive and believe Christ will have their sins covered –IF they also fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the prisoners, etc. rather than living for self. Otherwise, he said He wouldn’t know us as we did not know Him. To know HIm is to serve Him.

    I feel sure that is better than extinction.

  198. #198 'Tis Himself
    February 22, 2009

    God is not who we want Him to be; He is who He is.

    The Old Testament god is a really nasty, petulant bully with the emotional maturity of a spoiled six year old. But that’s not unusual. Check out how the Greco-Roman gods behaved. Ol’ Zeus/Jupiter couldn’t keep it in his pants and his wife, instead of doing something about her philandering husband, takes revenge on the women Z/J seduced or even raped. The Hindu gods are similar. The demon Kali (not to be confused with the goddess Kali, same name, different deity) is a negative manifestation of Vishnu with a love of gambling, drunkenness and orgies. It seems that omniscience, omnipotence, and various other omnis do not help in the maturation process.

    …because Jesus Christ has intervened for us –atoned us with this God who is not a marshmallow puff god, not a Pollyanna God –but one who allowed us to all receive a death sentence after the Fall.

    So this non-marshmallow god requires human sacrifice because a couple of other people living a long time before were naughty. That does not sound like a god that’s worthy of anything but the deepest disdain. At least Huitzilopochtli kept the Sun rising if human hearts were offered to him.

  199. #199 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Barb, beginning to tap dance like Heddle justifying his insanity. Barb, If you are wearing a cotton polyester blend, when can we schedule your stoning?

  200. #200 Kitty'sBitch
    February 22, 2009

    Barb
    “I feel sure that is better than extinction.”

    I feel sure that you shutting up is better than you prattling on, but that doesn’t make it so.
    Reality, we’re all dissapointed sometimes.

  201. #201 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Nice try Barb.

    “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

    Sweet baby jezus – Luke 14:26

  202. #202 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Yes, it does say you can murder them in the womb. Try again.

  203. #203 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    IF they also fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the prisoners, etc. rather than living for self

    Hear hear! So why aren’t you out doing that rather than posting tiresome and unheeded apologetics here?
    Christians eh?
    Fucking useless.

  204. #204 Laurie
    February 22, 2009

    I actually appreciate Barb’s willingness to venture into this hostile territory to allow us to dissect her rather fascinating thought processes.

    Here is the part I find really interesting:

    Because you prefer extinction after the grave, I guess –to accountability on earth followed by judgement.

    Now, in a way Barb is correct. I bet a lot of us atheists would prefer extinction to a universe in which a god physically tortures people for eternity just for being incorrect about their beliefs. On the other hand, I can imagine a lot of other scenarios I would prefer rather than extinction. For example, it would be nice if all of us could live in an eternity of rainbows, puppies, and perfect happiness. But that doesn’t make it true.

    I have read that Darwin himself was horrified at the idea of all the suffering endured by countless animals throughout the millenia in the brutal competition of survival of the fittest. Just because you believe something to be true doesn’t mean it is your preference, Barb.

  205. #205 Wowbagger
    February 22, 2009

    Barb, sounding just a little unsure of herself, wrote:

    I’m sure abortion is a sin, the taking of innocent life.

    Based on what, exactly? I cited you words from the bible itself. You’ve come back with nothing except what you ‘feel’. Since when has your religion been about following God’s teachings except where you feel different? That doesn’t sound like any Chrisitianity I’ve ever heard of.

    It’s right there, Barb. The commandment says ‘Thou shalt not kill’, but since your god himself kills (often) and orders others to kill (over and over), there is obviously a line drawn somewhere about when and where killing is okay. So, we look to other part so the bible to confirm how we can decide who it’s okay to kill.

    With children your god made it clear – one month after birth. You want to believe otherwise, check your bible and see what you can come up with. We’ll be waiting.

  206. #206 Carlie
    February 22, 2009

    So, Barb, what about that embryos v. child dilemma? Wanna put your morality where your mouth is?

  207. #207 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    Hey barb, there’s ever such a nice man called Mr Scam, over on the “I wish I were a Republican….” thread, worrying over whether he should get an abortion for his girlfriend, and frankly unsure on which is the right faith for him.
    I’ve tried to help, but I’m just a hopeless nihilist, so…I think this is a place where you can really make a difference.
    Don’t worry, there will still be evil atheist abortionists here when you’ve sorted him out.

  208. #208 echidna
    February 22, 2009

    barb@197 said:

    I feel sure that is better than extinction.

    Now we are getting somewhere. You are afraid of the reality of death, so you accept some garbled theology that has no evidence to support it whatsoever from an ancient book that has been overwritten so many times that only traces of original writings of the New Testament survive.

  209. #209 'Tis Himself
    February 22, 2009

    Laurie #204

    I actually appreciate Barb’s willingness to venture into this hostile territory to allow us to dissect her rather fascinating thought processes.

    You’re right, it’s interesting watching Barb continue to lay her beliefs out, knowing that there are people here who are both smarter and more knowledgeable than she is.

  210. #210 'Tis Himself
    February 22, 2009

    AnthonyK, you’re just plain evil.

  211. #211 Kitty'sBitch
    February 22, 2009

    ‘You’re right, it’s interesting watching Barb continue to lay her beliefs out, knowing that there are people here who are both smarter and more knowledgeable than she is.”

    We’re just more knowledgeable about the bible. That doesn’t mean anything else.
    Being more knowledgable about the bible doesn’t mean we’re smarter or better people than Barb. It just means that we atheists are better Christians than Barb(snicker).

  212. #212 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    AnthonyK, you’re just plain evil.

    I’ve noticed that too. Well done AnthonyK (and ‘Tis, you don’t do too bad yourself).

  213. #213 Laurie
    February 22, 2009

    I think Barb is SO positive there is a god that she is incapable of conceiving that others may not share that belief. Therefore, the only explanation she can imagine for atheism is rebellion against her God.

    In a way, I can kind of relate. Having been brought up in a secular household, I kind of assumed growing up that MOST people believed as we did. It wasn’t until I was well into my 20s that I began to grasp that non-believers may be in the minority. And I am still vaguely shocked when someone I know professes a literal belief in God. (I tend to assume that even my church-attending friends actually view God as a metaphor.)

  214. #214 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    AnthonyK – Stands for Knaughty right?

  215. #215 Carlie
    February 22, 2009

    You know she’s going to go to bed tonight feeling incredibly self-righteous at witnessing so well to us atheists. She might even mention us in Sunday School next week!

  216. #216 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Kitty’sBitch – Actually, they don’t know Pharyngula has a bible quoting team that can make them cry. They always are stunned. So far the team 100 – christian’s – 0.

    You’d think they’d get wise and send out a warning memo.

  217. #217 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    Ah, now, I couldn’t do it without Satan whispering in my ear. The K stands for Knobcheese. You can see why I abbreviate.

  218. #218 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Eeewwww!

    It’s almost supper time here. Knobcheese indeed.
    *making faces*

  219. #219 Ryogam
    February 22, 2009

    Forgive me if someone already said it, but when did Palin marry the father of her lil’ bastard?

    So, even by Barb’s standards of wanting her daughter to marry the man who impregnated her, Palin is a failure.

  220. #220 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    It’s actually pronounced “kaynobe sheezer”, so eat away. But it’s a common mistake. In retrospect I almost wish I’d picked a different surname. Godamn Witness Protection Programme!

  221. #221 Ryogam
    February 22, 2009

    I’m going to report this every time a pro-lifer shows up, or until PZ tells me to knock it off.

    But, to Martha and Barb and any other pro-lifers, here’s the thing. You hate abortion. Got it. You consider it “baby murder.” Really bad stuff. Got it. But it’s not that simple.

    Because here’s the thing, what you are actually advocating here is not only “outlawing murder” but ALSO “forcing pregnancy and birth.” You can’t do the one without doing the other, not when we are discussing abortion.

    Now, at this point you say, “Well, the women CHOOSE to become pregnant, by having sex, protected or not, THEREFORE, it is okay to FORCE them to remain pregnant and give birth. They have, by their actions of having sex, forfeited the use of their body to another for 9 months and their birth canal for a matter of hours.

    So, here’s the thought experiment: A madman kidnaps a child and threatens to kill it in nine months. In order to stop the madman from killing the child, the man says, “In nine months, I will, at random, take a woman off the street, and, if she has had sex at any time in the last nine months, I will force a grapefruit into her vagina, a sort of forced birth in reverse. If she refuses, I will kill the child. Remember, I’m only going to grab a woman who choose to have sex in the last nine months, she was warned what would happen if she had sex, and the life of a child is at stake. So, let me force a grapefruit into the vagina of the women or I’ll kill the child.”

    Now, the questions is, should the STATE, in the interest of saving the life of THE CHILD, FORCE the WOMAN to take the grapefruit in the vagina, because she had sex, sometime in the last nine months?

    Because, that is, basically, what the anti-abortion/forced birth position is. Because a women choose to have sex nine months ago, the state can now force her to push a grapefruit sized head out her vagina, whether she wants to or not. We usually call the unwilling use of a woman’s vagina rape. But, the term “rape” does not do the actual reality of this situation justice. Responses?

  222. #222 Falyne
    February 22, 2009

    Is it now a Pharyngula rule that as soon as one stupid idjit leaves the fight, another stupid idjit taps in, or something?

    First it’s a apparantly-demographically-typical Libertarian who doesn’t see something as sexist, ergo the rest of us are shrill and unreasonable and fall short of his Perfectly Objective and Rational Observations. Now it’s the abortion debate with a godbot?? My brainmeats are melting away…

  223. #223 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Falyne, only 200+ posts so far. Wait until day 20 and the same stupid arguments are being made. Welcome to our world.

    Patricia, I set the freshly squeezed O.J. by the trebuchet. Still hunting for where the Redhead hid the popcorn popper (something about dresses, awards, and don’t bother her unless I want raw liver all next week).

  224. #224 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Falyne – While it isn’t a rule, it’s what happens. There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of religious morons, political morons, and just plain Idjits. Who knew?!

    If you really wanna see some death by scripture dealt out, watch for OwlMirror.

  225. #225 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Oh dear Nerd! That’s serious stuff there. You’d better have all of your chores done, and vacuum everything. Dresses and awards is lipstick wearin’ time, and we ladies can sometimes get a tad peevish. For a redhead, I recommend caution and gardenias.

    Thanks for the OJ!

  226. #226 foxfire
    February 22, 2009

    @Barb #187

    I’m sure abortion is a sin, the taking of innocent life./

    With respect to:
    #141 NerdofRedhead
    #150 Barb
    #152 NerdofRedhead
    #153 Kel

    If abortion is a sin Barb, then you probably are guilty of abortion a number of times. Every time you had sex with your husband, where one of your eggs was fertilized by one of his sperm you two produced a zygote (a fertilized egg with the mixture of DNA that has the potential to produce a unique individual). IF the zygote can successfully attach itself to your uterus, that embryo has the chance of becoming a fetus, which has a chance of becoming a baby.

    NerdofRedhead’s point (particularly in #152) is that YOUR body rejects (as in does not allow to be implanted in your uterus) about 50% of the zygotes (fertilized eggs) that result from sex between you and your husband. YOUR body aborts those zygotes. Of the zygotes that implant, become embryos, and survive to become a fetus and then a baby, YOU abort 30-50% (again,using NoR’s statistics).

    If your body rejects these “babies” it is either due to an intentional act on your part or it is due to “God’s will”. If it is due to “God’s will” and not a deliberate act on your part, then your God disposed of YOUR baby before it was born and has committed an act of abortion.

    On another subject: when I die, I am not extinct. My brain ceases to operate, my consciousness ceases to exist and the atoms that compose my body move on to other things. Those atoms, created by supernova, are as eternal as this universe. I am made of star-stuff and will die when this universe ends (and then maybe not depending upon how matter and energy are related).

    If I was into woo, my god would be a “fetus” right now, sucking in every experience that any living and non-living entity has ever experienced and will experience until our universe dies. Then It will be born. Far cooler than some Bronze-age male hominid Thingie.

  227. #227 Laurie
    February 22, 2009

    Before I go to sleep, I would just like to note how thrilled I am to learn that PZ is apparently a feminist. I just discovered this blog last week and immediately loved it. But this thread has put me into a full blog swoon!

  228. #228 chgo_liz
    February 22, 2009

    Considering how many lengthy biblical passages have been quoted here by atheists, I’m wondering why we haven’t seen a single biblical quote from Barb yet.

    Has she ever actually read the frikkin’ book?

    Meanwhile, I’d love to hear her answer to the following….

    According to her religion (I don’t know if it’s in the actual book), the soul of a fetus goes straight to heaven/God, whereas once a baby is born they are “with sin” and have a much smaller chance of getting to heaven when they die. In fact, one of the common statements made to a woman who has miscarried is the claim that they should be comforted because the fetus is with God in heaven. (Yes, it’s as galling to hear as you’d think.) Often the claimant goes on to state that God WANTED that fetus in heaven, which is why the soul was “called” so soon.

    So, who are you, Barb, to override God’s will? And how dare you insist that souls be born into sin instead of hanging out for eternity with your god up in the clouds? Seems like the most Christian thing you can do for the little babees is require as many miscarriages and abortions as possible.

  229. #229 Ward S. Denker
    February 23, 2009

    Re: Falyne(#222)

    I’m still around. I simply came to the realization that there is absolutely no amount of evidence or any argument, no matter how logical it is, which will shatter the preconceived notions many of you have.

    I came to the realization about the time you started speculating that my wife was a misogynist, with absolutely no evidence of that.

    It’s the exact opposite of the scientific method:

    1) Formulate a hypothesis
    2) Gather evidence to support the hypothesis
    3) When contrary evidence is presented, instead of rejecting the hypothesis or altering it to incorporate the new data, try to make the data fit the hypothesis instead.
    4) Slag on the person who had the gall to refute your ill-formed hypothesis for good measure.

    Realizing what I’m up against, I’ll pass on trying to debate this kind of anti-logic any further. I feel it’s only fair to tell you why. It won’t do any good, of course. I have a higher chance of being able to explain relativity to a toddler than any chance you’ll change your mind about me.

  230. #230 gaypaganunitarianagnostic
    February 23, 2009

    I skipped down from #64 to ask: isn’t this a rather trivial subject to have over TWO HUNDRED comments on?

  231. #231 Bob
    February 23, 2009

    I actually didn’t get it until you mentioned the friend chicken stands.

    but yeah, now I see that that could be a liiiiiitle sexist.

  232. #232 Wowbagger
    February 23, 2009

    I skipped down from #64 to ask: isn’t this a rather trivial subject to have over TWO HUNDRED comments on?

    Have you seen some of the topics which inspire over a thousand (and some close to two thousand) comments? I guess what’s trivial to someone is important to someone else. You know; one person’s meat is another’s poisson distribution – or something like that…

  233. #233 Quiet_Desperation
    February 23, 2009

    (QD peeks back in)

    Holy shit! How did an abortion debate erupt here?

    Run away! RUN! Desperation Central! I need an exit! Emergency teleport NOW!

    (QD sparkles and vanishes in a puff of Higgs bosons)

  234. #234 Azkyroth
    February 23, 2009

    For the record, I am a male who goes weak in the knees when someone walks in the room with a baby. I would guess that there are plenty like me that are afraid to show it because they are worried how other males will view them.

    To say nothing of the epidemic attitude among both sexes that any adult male who takes any interest of any kind in children who aren’t close relatives must be a child molester.

  235. #235 m
    February 23, 2009

    @230

    they decided to make it a theology debate; people always jump to defend their morals

    there is some interesting spelling though

  236. #236 Azkyroth
    February 23, 2009

    Incidentally, Kitty’sBitch, I think if you’re going to mock misuse of the term misogynist, “witch” would be more appropriate than wolf. Unfortunately, in threads here and elsewhere, once the accusation of “misogyny” has been leveled, there is absolutely nothing one can say or do to convince many of the threadgoers of one’s non-misogyny (see this thread from the linked post onward for a textbook example).

    Guilty until proven guilty, as they say.

  237. #237 Azkyroth
    February 23, 2009

    Name one activity that does not have risks involved in it?

    Mouthing off anonymously in a comment thread?

  238. #238 Kel
    February 23, 2009

    Unfortunately, in threads here and elsewhere, once the accusation of “misogyny” has been leveled, there is absolutely nothing one can say or do to convince many of the threadgoers of one’s non-misogyny

    Completely agree. I had one idiot accuse me of misogyny then try to tell me what my own words meant.

  239. #239 Azkyroth
    February 23, 2009

    By the way, for Barb the Zombie, here are a few more Bible verses:

    “If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things, and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, `Better the miscarriage than he, for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity. It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; it is better off than he.’”
    Ecclesiastes 6:3-5

    “Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them. So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.”
    Ecclesiastes 4:1-3

    “Why did I not die at birth, come forth from my womb and expire? Why did the knees receive me, and why the breasts, that I should suck? For now I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept then, I would have been at rest, with kings and with counselors of the earth, who rebuilt ruins for themselves; or with princes who had gold, who were filling their houses with silver,. Or like the miscarriage which is discarded, I would not be, as infants that never saw light. There the wicked cease from raging, and there the weary are at rest. The prisoners are at ease together; they do not hear the voice of the taskmaster. The small and the great are there, and the slave is free from his master.”
    Job 3:2-4,11-19

    “Why then hast Thou brought me out of the womb? Would that I had died and no eye had seen me! I should have been as though I had not been, carried from womb to tomb.”
    Job 10:18-19

    Got that? Dying in utero is preferable to having a life that is not worth living.

    “And if men struggle and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”
    Exodus 21:22-25

    Got that? Killing a fetus is not treated the same way as killing a person.

    “The Word of the Lord.”

  240. #240 Azkyroth
    February 23, 2009

    Completely agree. I had one idiot accuse me of misogyny then try to tell me what my own words meant.

    Heh, did you read the thread I linked?

    For anyone who thinks my comment itself was misogynistic or belittles rational resistance to misogyny, I have observed that some commenters here seem to reason based on the following syllogism:

    If women are oppressed by society, then I am justified in jettisoning all expectations of intellectual honesty and general fairness.

    Women are oppressed by society.

    [CONCLUSION]

    It is the major premise, not the minor one, that I object to.

  241. #241 Laurie
    February 23, 2009

    Gaypaganunitarianagnostic @ 230

    I skipped down from #64 to ask: isn’t this a rather trivial subject to have over TWO HUNDRED comments on?

    The U.S. News and World Report poll in isolation is trivial. But the routine nature of sexism — even minor instances of sexism — in our culture is not trivial.

    I am almost 40. I have witnessed condescension towards women based on sex both in my personal life and in the media on a virtually daily basis since I was a very small girl. This kind of thing is unimportant in isolation, but it doesn’t happen in isolation. A million small things like this over the course of a lifetime has a huge influence on the perceptions of both men and women as to the relative value and competence of women. (I don’t know if you are male, but if you are, you may be less likely to notice these things because it doesn’t affect you as much.)

    One good comparison I have seen is to Chinese Water Torture. One drip of water on your forehead is obviously minor. But continuous dripping on your forehead for a long time is torture.

    It is easy to jump to the conclusion that feminists overreact because people tend to look at each incident individually and to forget the larger picture.

  242. #242 Laurie
    February 23, 2009

    This thread may be dead at this point but I am still gaping at Ward’s “logic” on this thread, which he came back at comment 229 to re-affirm.

    I have to kill sometime before the plow guy shows up to dig me out so here goes:

    First, Ward argues that the poll isn’t sexist because it is just catering to the expectations of its readership. U.S. News & World Report may WELL have been catering to its readers’ preconceived interests and ideas, but I fail to see how that makes the poll any less sexist. (If everyone has sexist ideas, then it’s okay? Is that really what you are saying?)

    Second, Ward argues that his wife agrees with him and therefore what he said can’t be sexist. I have no idea what his wife said specifically or whether it was sexist. But, Ward, don’t you agree that it is sexist to conclude that because you get a woman on board with whatever belief you hold then it must not be sexist? In that case, the idea that women should stay home and submit to their husbands isn’t sexist because hey, Phyllis Schlafly endorsed the idea and SHE’S a woman.

    Third, Ward speculates that tendencies to nurture young or SUBMIT TO MEN (!!!!) are innate in women. Here, he pulls a classic Larry Summers. Ward admits he doesn’t actually KNOW whether such qualities are innate in women, but notes that they COULD be and backs up his speculation with his anecdotal observations of women at parties cooing over babies or the existence of harems in antiquity. This is classic sexism: a presumably educated person willing to jump to conclusions about women’s innate tendencies in ways that portray women as naturally inclined towards second class citizenship without actually applying any rigor to the question at all. Why is this okay? Why is it okay to admit on the one hand you don’t know (and thereby maintain plausible deniability) while on the other hand happily opining that women are innately X or Y? Why is it considered acceptable to abandon all rigor when considering what women are or are not innately suited for? (Not to mention that I don’t see why women’s innate qualities one way or the other are relevant to whether THIS poll is appropriate.)

    Lastly, Ward, I don’t see anywhere on the thread where Falyne speculated that your wife is misogynist. She merely pointed out at #71 that just because your wife is a woman doesn’t mean she isn’t sexist. There was no talk of misogyny in connection with your wife, and there was no conclusion one way or the other about your wife’s views. So, basically, you are just reading an unfounded accusation against your wife where it doesn’t exist because it fits your preconceived notions of how stupid and unreasonable feminists are. But no, no, you aren’t sexist at all.

  243. #243 blueelm
    February 23, 2009

    I’m late to this dead thread, so sorry for adding to it. I’m just happy to see this here though. I do think this is a valid instance of sexism. I’m not shocked at all by Ward’s opinions and logical gaps when dealing with sexism. It’s almost like talking about creation “science”. I just wanted to write because of this post:

    “You wanna know why I gravitate towards and coo over people’s babies? Because everyone will think I’m an asshole if I don’t. I am not “hardwired” (whatever that means) to coo over any random baby, but I am — due to my gender — socially required to do so. ”

    Thank you for posting that. Women experience external pressure to show certain traits regardless of how they actually feel about it. Recently I was leaving the restroom and a gaggle of employees was standing around the wife of one of my collegues blocking the hallway. She had brought her very small baby. I was caught completely off guard. I really just wanted to get back to my work, but now they were all looking at me expectantly. I knew I had to say something sweet about the baby. I found myself saying awkwardly “Oh! That is a really small person.” Then I went back to my desk. Mercifully no one asked if I wanted to hold the baby.

    I’m sick of the “hardwired” bull. In my own mother’s words “I wasn’t sure how much I liked you could talk to me coherently.”

  244. #244 Endor
    February 23, 2009

    “It is easy to jump to the conclusion that feminists overreact because people tend to look at each incident individually and to forget the larger picture.”

    Absolutely. Those who use the tired old canard “feminist look for things to be angry about” are just lazily relying on privilege. They mistakenly believe that because THEY personally don’t see it, it must not exist. Privilege in a nutshell.

  245. #245 catgirl
    February 23, 2009

    I genuinely picked Nancy Pelosi and I was surprised to see she had such a low rating. In fact, my second choice was Clinton, and she also had a very low rating. I figured that these people have experience dealing with cranky politicians, so a couple of kids would be a breeze for them. Also, Clinton’s kid turned out ok, while Palin’s kid ended up pregnant at 17. I am very surprised that 57% would leave their kid with Palin. Do all these people want their kids to be knocked up as teenagers?

  246. #246 Ward S. Denker
    February 23, 2009

    Re: Laurie(#242)

    But, Ward, don’t you agree that it is sexist to conclude that because you get a woman on board with whatever belief you hold then it must not be sexist?

    Not particularly. You don’t know my wife. What I do recognize is, by speculating that my wife may be a Schlafly or Coulter you and Falyne are actually illustrating you have sexist attitudes. You are making the assumption that my wife is timid, submissive, and can’t think for herself. No amount of beating around the bush at this point is going to undo the fact that you both chose to go down that route.

    Third, Ward speculates that tendencies to nurture young or SUBMIT TO MEN (!!!!) are innate in women. Here, he pulls a classic Larry Summers. Ward admits he doesn’t actually KNOW whether such qualities are innate in women, but notes that they COULD be and backs up his speculation with his anecdotal observations of women at parties cooing over babies or the existence of harems in antiquity.

    You’ve made a mistake here. I consider all of science to be provisional. Biology is fuzzier than the rest simply because the way natural selection works makes it unpredictable. We can really only view its effects in retrospect. It’s not like the predictive power of physics where one can just pop some values into an equation and out pops a perfect model representation of the motion of planets. Genetics alone is far too complex a system to predict the outcomes of mutation and speciation over a long period of time, let alone applying the mostly unexplored effects of epigenetics.

    All that said, what I was talking about was a scientific theory of sexual dimorphism, not a cockamamie theory I dreamt up to support some misogynistic position which your are absolutely convinced I hold, with no evidence of that whatsoever. You could have put the terms “harem” and “sexual dimorphism” into Google and read some results for yourself, thereby ridding yourself of ignorance, but you didn’t. You could have put “sexual dimorphism” into Wikipedia to get a somewhat more lay explanation of the mechanisms science has already explained which lead to it.

    Extended Male Growth in a Fossil Hominin Species is a paper, as an example, which covers sexual dimorphism in Australopithecine (one of our ancestors, a particularly famous example of which ? “Lucy” ? has been making the museum circuit lately). The paper covers the topic of male members of this (extinct) ancestor of ours: “A study on page 1443 of this week’s issue of Science finds that the males of an extinct species of hominid in South Africa took longer to grow up than females and got much larger, suggesting that top males of this australopithecine species invested energy in bodybuilding in order to possess a harem of females, much like silverback gorillas do today.”

    PZ can feel free to jump in any time, seeing as this is his field and he is an educator in it. I’m sure he can come up with plenty more examples (plus there’s a limit to how many links the comments field on scienceblogs accepts before it flags a comment as possible spam ? and I’ve never had PZ let a comment of mine out of the spam queue, despite it being rather obvious that it isn’t spam).

  247. #247 Ward S. Denker
    February 23, 2009

    One small clarification: the paper talks specifically about paranthropus robustus, not australopithecus afarensis (the famous example of which I mentioned above).

  248. #248 Knockgoats
    February 23, 2009

    The paper covers the topic of male members of this (extinct) ancestor of ours, – Ward S. Denker

    Good grief, I never realised those could fossilise! You live and learn.

  249. #249 ENdor
    February 23, 2009

    “You are making the assumption that my wife is timid, submissive, and can’t think for herself. ”

    No, Ward, you’re creating that assumption by speaking FOR your wife (assuming one actually exists). Ignoring for a moment that invoking your wife’s (conveniently unverifiable) opinion is a logical fallacy, this “no YOU’RE the sexist” load of baloney is transparent.

    No amount of beating around the bush at this point is going to obscure that fact.

  250. #250 Ward S. Denker
    February 23, 2009

    Endor,

    See #229. I’m not going to argue with your anti-logic. I’m done with this thread.

  251. #251 Rey Fox
    February 23, 2009

    “I’m done with this thread.”

    I’d like to believe that.

  252. #252 teammarty
    February 23, 2009

    My vote is, er, would have been for none of the above.

  253. #253 Laurie
    February 23, 2009

    Look, I am not a scientist but Ward’s rant on sexual dimorphism is bizarre. The article he cites does not put forth any theory regarding behavioral differences between modern men and women. It describes a theory as to why males of a predecessor species grew to a larger size than the females — and yes, it contains the word “harem.” So, color me unimpressed.

    Anyway, none of this seems to justify the poll. I guess the argument is that women are more naturally suited to taking care of young children so therefore we should assess the childcare skills of the most powerful women in the country even though their jobs have approximately nothing to do with rearing small children and even though women have been historically marginalized from powerful positions precisely due to the belief that we are better suited for the nursery.

  254. #254 Watchman
    February 23, 2009

    by speculating that my wife may be a Schlafly or Coulter, you and Falyne are actually illustrating you have sexist attitudes. You are making the assumption that my wife is timid, submissive, and can’t think for herself

    This is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone imply that either Schlafly or Coulter were timid, submissive, and incapable of forming opinions.

  255. #255 Endor
    February 23, 2009

    “I’m not going to argue with your anti-logic”

    So, to Ward, “anti-logic” is anything that he can’t counter with sheer bullshit. And everyone argues the “wrong way” when he can’t counter their arguments with sheet bullshit.

    it must be difficult to be the imaginary Mrs. Ward, having to put up with that childishness.

  256. #256 Endor
    February 23, 2009

    “This is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone imply that either Schlafly or Coulter were timid, submissive, and incapable of forming opinions.”

    *lol* It must be hard for Ward to keep his nonsense straight when he pulls it directly from his rear end.

    ++

    “I guess the argument is that women are more naturally suited to taking care of young children so therefore we should assess the childcare skills of the most powerful women in the country even though their jobs have approximately nothing to do with rearing small children and even though women have been historically marginalized from powerful positions precisely due to the belief that we are better suited for the nursery.”

    That’s about it, yes. As I’ve said, those who can’t compete on a level playing field are terrified of a level playing field. Holding tightly to sexist nonsense, evo-psych and logical fallacies indicates fear of a level playing field.

  257. #257 Azkyroth
    February 23, 2009

    Holding tightly to sexist nonsense, evo-psych and logical fallacies indicates fear of a level playing field.

    I would suggest clarifying this slightly, since as written it potentially feeds into the fantasies of the Evolutionary Phrenology crowd that feminists and other sensible people dogmatically and pre-emptively reject the idea of analyzing behavior in evolutionary terms being useful, but the dishonest little cretins have made it crystal-clear that their throwing that accusation around has nothing to do with actually misunderstanding us, honestly or otherwise.

  258. #258 chgo_liz
    February 23, 2009

    Laurie @ #241:

    Thanks for the water torture analogy. That hit the spot for me (sorry!). Seriously, I think that’s the most succinct analogy I’ve heard on the subject.

    Your post made me think of bullying at school. Bullies are usually really good at hiding what they are doing from authority figures, so when a victim finally lashes back in frustration, s/he is the one who get in trouble for what seems to be an unprovoked outburst. If you haven’t seen the years of abuse that lead to the outburst, it seems as if the “attacker” is the one who is being irrational.

  259. #259 Endor
    February 24, 2009

    “I would suggest clarifying this slightly, since as written it potentially feeds into the fantasies of the Evolutionary Phrenology crowd that feminists and other sensible people dogmatically and pre-emptively reject the idea of analyzing behavior in evolutionary terms being useful”

    noted. For clarification: As Echidne’s blog has demonstrated several times (for two examples), evo psych is used – at least by the new media – to provide ham-fisted justifications and/or excuses for bigotry, etc.

    This is not to say that there is nothing of value in evo psych (I’m in no way qualified to make that determination), but that feminists have gotten very used to badly structured and/or badly reported studies being presented as Inescapable!Biological!Truth!(tm) that just so happens to conveniently support the misogynistic (or racist) status quo, which, upon closer analysis, doesn’t say what it is reported to say, or fails in some other way to prove anything but an already existing bias of the researcher or the reporter.

  260. #260 VeganAurora
    February 24, 2009

    First Lady Michelle Obama would not have a daycare; she’s a stay-at-home parent.

    I vote for stay-at-home parenting, but that wasn’t an option as daycare is sadly normal and expected and accepted.

  261. #261 Azkyroth
    February 24, 2009

    I vote for stay-at-home parenting, but that wasn’t an option as daycare is sadly normal and expected and accepted.

    I would vote against it, frankly, because 1) most families can’t afford it and 2) observations of my own mother strongly suggest that people NEED something to focus on, take pride in, and devote energy to, other than just their families, in order to maintain anything like psychological health.

  262. #262 Britomart
    February 24, 2009

    For Knockgoats at 248.

    You never heard of Ed Conrad?

    Google Man as Old as Coal and go have a good laugh!

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