Presidential candidates: "Screw science! I wanna talk about PIXIES!"

You all remember ScienceDebate2008? You all remember how all the idiots running for President turned it down? They were 'too busy' or 'washing their hair' or something?

Amazingly, both Obama and Johnny found the time to participate in this crap-fest:

The Rev. Rick Warren, author of the best-seller "The Purpose-Driven Life," will spend an hour interviewing each candidate at his 20,000-member Saddleback mega-church in Southern California.

Oh yeah, turn down the request of the most brilliant minds on this planet and every major science organization, but accept the opportunity to be questioned by RICK FUCKING WARREN IN A FUCKING MEGA CHURCH.

WTF???????

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Lets face it. There are a lot more people who care about religion than who give a rat's patoot about science.

That might actually not be too atrocious, except that most of them don't know any more about their religion than they know about the science that affects their lives every day. It's all just a kind of mush that theyd really rather not think about.

(Hey!!!! My apostrophes have been filtered out.)

Dude was on the cover of TIME. TIME readers vote. Science is harrd.

By Sven DIMilo (not verified) on 16 Aug 2008 #permalink

Its not even the first time. Just a couple of months ago there was a 'Faith' issues debate hosted by some Christian group that invited the candidates. McCain declined but Obama and Hillary Clinton turned up and I think CNN was involved in the coverage.

Seriously one of the most disappointing things I've heard in a long time.

This haqs to be expected as long as the majority of Americans feel a candidate must believe in the supernatural.

Perhaps the next forum could be to confirm their belief in astrology or Santa Claus.

I suppose we should just be grateful that Obama & McCain didn't have a surprise debate on the recently 'discovered' bigfoot.

It's unfortunate, but anyone who'd skip this event (and especially Obama) in order to concentrate on real issues would immediately be depicted as the antichrist (aka PZ).

Just from a purely strategic point of view, the Rick Warren event was probably inevitable, and it could've been worse. Rick Warren runs a megachurch, but he's no John Hagee.

I feel ambiguous about the Science Debate - I just don't quite see how it can end up being more than a bunch of promises about future increases in NSF spending (which we really, really need) and platitudes about the ethics of biotech. I'd love to see the candidates quizzed on basic science - can John McCain tell me the difference between mitochondrial and nuclear DNA? - but I understand that the campaigns would be reluctant to take that kind of risk, and I doubt that many voters would watch if they did.

All of which is to say, I think science is very, very important, but I'm not sure I want to see it as the focus of what we call a "debate" these days.

What Yoder said. It's easier to talk about g*d, because their is no fact-check to trip the candidate up. God can be either cruel and punishing or fuzzy like a bunny. So, if either one wants to spell out their faith vision, then we just have to go along with it because he believes in something.

It's a big old fat chance for both of them to talk about how they aren't atheists and God has called them to serve their countries. Same God, entirely different sets of instructions from the same B-Book. And Obama gets to prove he isn't a Muslim.

(I would be curious to see if either would accept an invitation to speak at a Mega-Mosque.)

The science stuff is hard, and McCain gets tripped up on simple things like concern over borders and whether or not big countries should invade smaller countries.

Let me re-post my daily kos comment:
(No! It's NOT just like cheating on you!)

An Atheist Answer (3+ / 0-)

As a "Type A Atheist", I can say I am totally not happy with this pandering to the religious right.

This country was founded upon the ideal of seperation of church and state - and I find tonights planned kowtow to the little man that wasn't there total bullshit.

Looking at the bright side - I won't watch and spoil my Obama Backing. Face it. If there WAS a Big Sky JuJu that actually like, cared, about the human race, he would have blasted Bush a long long time ago.

It would be funny as hell though if I am wrong, and the Big Girl Upstairs, causes McCain to start mumbling, looks shocked and stunned and unable to respond to a question, and confuses Shia and Suni...and Americans amd the MSM actually notice.

Nah. It'l never happen.

SO depressing. "Science" is so fundamental to the proper understanding of our world that I simply don't understand how any responsible candidate could be so dismissive. Also, I could understand a general debate or informational interview on religion since it is so ubiquitous in America (however ultimately unsatisfying and pointless it may be), but to give their time to RICK WARREN, author of that abysmal excuse for a book, rather than a discussion of any scientific topic at all, is just plain unforgivable.

If it makes anyone here feel any better, take consolation in the fact that many hyperchristians are equally upset.

Warren's professed agenda of "pressing issues that are bridging divides in our nation, such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights" doesn't involve nearly enough hysteria about Teh Gayz and Teh Fetusez and Teh Muslimz for any real red-blooded two-fisted American Christian.

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 16 Aug 2008 #permalink

I'd rather see them on Jeopardy.

By natural cynic (not verified) on 16 Aug 2008 #permalink

This whole thing really ticks me off. Not too many decades ago there could've been a science discussion and you would've had the GOP and the Democrats involved. Now? Pft. Not so much. :(

How is Warren on creationism? He's Southern Baptist, so my guess he's at least personally antievolution, but I offhand I don't see anything about him pushing creationism/ID/teach the controversy in the public schools.

Until kings become scientists, and scientists become kings, there will be no escape from evil..

This is depressing news, but depressingly predictable. Debating science wouldn't have won the candidates enough viewers for it to be worth their time. Furthermore, the MSM would have probably misreported or probably not bothered to report, so again, not enough attention to be gained for a presidential candidate. Discussing sky-fairies would, however, obtain the attention of the believing masses.

By The Chimp's Ra… (not verified) on 17 Aug 2008 #permalink

Having watched the event, I found it less offensive than I expected. It managed to have political utility despite being steeped in superstition.

By the way, nicely and succinctly put, dveduu. But wasn't Jimmy Carter a scientist of sorts? And was he also not one of our most overtly religious presidents? Still, since science is what delivered me from religion, I have hope it may yet do the same for everyone.

It would be great to see superstition die out. On the one hand, we've come a long way, having discarded (most of us, anyway) demon possession and rain gods and divine rights of kingly ascension. On the other hand, the pervasiveness of religion points to something stubborn and perverse in our nature.

Science is about reality. The American people have, since the 50s, have been fed on a steady and increasing diet of unreality. A result of our liking out situation in 1948 so much that we pretend we, they, and the rest of the world is still pretty much like it was after WW2 and we 'saved the world' and 'became the world leader in all things' because we are special.

Reality threatens to wake us from our happy dream state. To tell us that neither we, nor anyone else, has the right or culpability to long live the life of carefree wasteful and inefficient abandon and gross profligacy that has become the American way of life.

The danger is that anyone who serves the American people too much reality will automatically face rejection. We see our selves as the world leader and special in all things and without limits. We maintain our unreality by ingesting a steady diet of cheap oil, endless credit and self-deluding and self-congratulatory religious and secular comfort food for the mind. Much like a junkie avoids reality by getting another fix.

But the world isn't going to go along with this plan forever. Reality has teeth and if ignored long enough it will bite and bite hard. No candidate could survive telling the American people that that they are living in a dream state. That eventually we will have to adjust our lifestyles to comply with our means. That the party has to end. That the sooner we accept this the sooner we can get through the shock and the easier it will be.

But no junkie can handle happily face reality. Which is why they are junkies. And you can't become head junkie-in-chief telling people they have to give up their drug of choice. Even if it is true and, by far, the best thing for the nation.

All this Science Debates 2008 thing has show that is that many in the scientific community are not reality based when it comes to matters outside of science.

No serious candidate is going to take part in any forum unless either they think they have the advantage or they think that they have no other choice.

A full science debate is going to appeal to very small fraction of the electorate. So small that it is not worth the effort of preparation especially given that it clear who the majority of science based people are going to vote for. And of course if either side perceived the other had the advantage there is no way they would agree (unless it gives the other side an even greater advantage by being a no show).

And that a full debate solely on science is appropriate is questionable at best especially given just how many things that they could debate which are a bit more relevant to the job which they are seeking. How about an economics debate? Iraq war debate? Education debate? Crime and punishment debate? Constitutional issues debate?

Frankly the vast majority of things I want to know on science issues could be summed up in minutes for each. 1) Do they accept evolution and climate change? 2) Should scientific expertise be independent and the conclusions of boards of experts not be subject to the whims of political appointees? 3) Should membership in such boards be based on political considerations? 4) How much money they wish to appropriate for research? Beyond that, the president is not a science guy and thus needs expert advice on science issues. The questions above are largely based on the need to know if the candidates will actually listen to such advice. And they could easily be asked those question in the course to the other debates.

The larger issues is that the debates should be taken out of the hands of the candidates themselves. So long as the candidates get to negotiate the nature of the debates between them, the debates will less than satisfactory. The only real hope is that the next time both parties don't have a clear nominee (i.e. no incumbent), that a bipartisan group negotiate a complete package for the debates to be held in the fall before either party has any idea who its nominee will be. That way you won't have each party trying to get the debate type that favors its candidate. Political pressure would then have to be applied to make any candidate to agree to an "as is" acceptance to the package in the event that they win their party's nomination. This would be a difficult task, but possibly doable if enough people care.

"But wasn't Jimmy Carter a scientist of sorts? And was he also not one of our most overtly religious presidents?"

He got a Bachelor of Science degree from the Naval Academy though has not done any research to my knowledge. He did work with nuclear reactors of submarines thus qualifying to be called an engineer of sorts.

Actually Carter was one of the most overtly religious presidents. Indeed the current president is about the only one which one could really make a good case for being more overtly religious. And I dare say that religion is more important to Carter than it was ever to Bush in terms of actually doing something. Could anyone imagine Bush 43 ever taking time out of his life for missionary work? Or for that matter building houses? Carter's faith informs everything which he does. That was true when he was president and he made no secret of it. And indeed got a lot of heat for it from the mainstream media at the time.

But (and it is a big but), Carter was never a fundamentalist. And more importantly he accepts the separation of church and state. That means while religion might inform his actions, beliefs, priorities, etc., he would not use his power to force his religious beliefs on others. He was committed to a secular government.

I lost interest in donating money to the DNC and to Obama's campaign the minute I saw that they were pandering to the Jeebus-heads just as shameless as the GOP. Obama has my vote, albeit reluctantly, but absolutely no funding.

What MrMarkAZ said; living in a crimson red state I may not even bother to cast a vote since it's inevitable Grandpa McSame will win my state.

This is a very political move; what could get them more votes; discussing (or completely misunderstanding) topics relating to science, technology, philosophy, and education, or talk to the religinuts? Obviously, the religinuts are far easier to persuade than a highly educated, skeptical, and argumentative audience. Personally, I can't bring myself to vote for any of the idiots running in this election....
If things don't get better in the next decade or so, I'm going to be one of the rats leaving this ship...

Dear a lurker,

A good analysis regarding the necessity of a science debate, and I write this even though I do support one. Unfortunately given the woeful state of public education in science - which I suspect would not change until we have a public school educational system which would produce more science and technology-oriented magnet schools like those here in New York City, Fairfax County, VA and elsewhere - then a science debate wouldn't really be useful. Thankfully at least one of the candidates - McCain - seems to be taking a keen interest in both climatic change and American energy independence.

Appreciatively yours,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 17 Aug 2008 #permalink

Unfortunate but predictable. The American people, like most people, are morons, and thus the content of a pure science debate would be very likely to go over their heads. On the other hand, a religion debate can be content free rooting for invisible sky-faeries, something held dear by a substantial majority of the American electorate. It's easy for candidates to see which has a better cost-benefit ratio, for them anyway.

I agree it would be great to see Obama and McCain do a science debate. But neither of these guys knows enough about science for them to feel comfortable doing that. What's sad is that people are OK with that. In fact, I think voters might actually be turned OFF if they discovered their candidate were scientifically literate.

That being said, the forum was not as miserable as I expected it to be. The questions were a bit silly at times, but some touched on moral issues that stand independently of religious bullshit. I liked the format of having each candidate sit down separately and have the time to give thoughtful answers. I'm dreading the actual debates, where it will be 30 second soundbites and partisan bickering.

Hi Abby,

What you said in triplicate.

I've complained about this to several people (some in my own age group on the downside of 55 and some in their 30's). It's like spitting into the wind. Completely clueless.

It breaks my heart to see how our species is driving itself into an extinction corner.

Oh well, too stupid to live is more than a catchy phrase.

Face it; an atheist currently has zero chance of being elected President. A large fraction of the American population is religious, and thats not likely to change any time soon. Anyone who seriously wants to be President needs to be able to wave the dead chicken and speak the correct magic words (oops -- wrong religion) or a large fraction of the voters are going to automatically vote for the other guy.

I would rather cast my vote for somebody who is sincere in the things he says (even if it might be meaningless noise) than a slick liar who will say anything to get elected. Character matters.

And since a pre-election debate on religion seems inevitable, I would rather it be moderated by someone like Rick Warren who (from what little I have heard about and from him) seems fairly benign and whose message seems to include love and tolerance and not demonizing your enemies, than by a hatemonger along the lines of Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell.

Some things really are worse than other things, and inanity and positive thinking is less bad than hate and intolerance. Its like inoculating people with cowpox so they are less likely to get smallpox. We dont live in the best of all possible worlds, we have to make do with the world as it is.

By Dennis Brown (not verified) on 17 Aug 2008 #permalink

The one thing I despise more than the effusive displays of mock-sincerity our government officials indulge in whenever the subject of faith is on the table are the tedious claims, offered by smug peddlers of conventional wisdom, of the necessity of said godbothering.

Richard Dawkins is wrong -- theology departments aren't the most useless on campus. Communications departments are worse.

It's depressing when the public is more interested in a debate on something of questionable and unclear value, while they aren't interested enough in something that give clear and tangible benefits for the candidates to participate in a debate about it.

Having heard snippets of the "conversations" which Warren had with both McCain and Obama, I know now who is really ready for assuming the post of President of the United States and who isn't. While Obama may be more appealing, I strongly doubt if he's more than a glorified former social worker. In stark contrast, McCain - even though I disagree with some of his positions - is far more credible as Bush's potential successor. For example, McCain's reaction to Russia's invasion of Georgia has been consistently far more credible than either Bush's or Obama's, period.

By John Kwok (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Great John Kwok, another person who confuses certainty for understanding. With such idiocy is a nation destroyed.

Both of them showed their character quite clearly: Mccain is a simplistic man who thinks that there are simple solutions to every problem. Reminds me of a nice quote, attributed variously to Einstein or Churchill, I don't know who really said it first: "To every complex problem there is a simple solution that is neat, plausible, and wrong". The situation with Russia is a perfect example - the fact is that the georgians were at best provoked into starting this crap, and all the bluster and bravado of this fool isn't impressive to a country with the size, oil reserves, and nukes that Russia has.

Obama meanders around seeing both sides and has a nuanced position on most issues - sometimes ones I mostly agree with or mostly disagree with. But clearly he actually, uh, thinks about it, and knows enough to try to present real solutions, even if they can't be fit in a sentence.

Apparently for most people, even after the last 8 years of "The Decider", that's the negative. If that's the case we deserve what we get.

Dear Coriolis,

I have a very good reason to dislike "The Decider". His former defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, approved the detention of one of my cousins of 76 days - in solitary confinement no less - because my cousin was thought to be a "traitor" to the USA (My cousin was the US Army Muslim chaplain stationed at Camp Gitmo whose case was in the news a few years ago.). But Obama's level of critical reasoning is far below of even "The Decider" (I have heard that Obama thought at first that Russia was invading the USA state of Georgia; he'd forgotten about the country - the birthplace of Stalin - which McCain has visited.).

As for John McCain he has shown repeatedly the courage of his convictions (e. g. his early criticism of the Bush-Rumsfeld management of the Iraq War) and his ability to work well with others who are not of the same political party (e. g. senators Russ Feingold and Joe Lieberman, among others). In stark contrast, Barack Obama has yet to demonstrate either the courage of his convictions or his ability to work well with Republican senators.

Respectfully yours,

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

John Kwok:

"McCain's reaction to Russia's invasion of Georgia has been consistently far more credible than either Bush's or Obama's, period."

Yeah, sure. McCain just bought everything Georgian president spoke, without any critical thought. That'd make a good Bush's successor.

Hint: Georgian-Ossetian conflict is much more complex than US media portrays it.

See here for an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8XI2Chc6uQ

By Alex Besogonov (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

"I have heard that Obama thought at first that Russia was invading the USA state of Georgia"

Wow, you "have heard" some completely unsourced anecdote from somewhere (friend of a friend? FreeRepublic post? frog in your pocket?) and that's good enough to convince you that Obama is dumb. Truly you have the very highest standards of proof.

And McCain only criticized Rumsfeld when it was politically convenient to do so, i.e. when public sentiment was turning against the war and it was hideously apparent that we were floundering. He praised Rummy as late as May 12, 2004 on Hannity and Colmes, saying "I believe he's done a fine job. He's an honorable man." He only started speaking out against Rumsfeld in December of that year, safely after the elections were over. And just before the invasion, he said "I have no qualms about our strategic plans ... I thought we were very successful in Afghanistan." Not a peep about needing more troops, though this is exactly what Gen. Shinseki had been saying for months.

And McCain's constant flip-flops, such as on tax cuts and, oh, say, TORTURE, rather speak against his having any convictions of any sort these days.

By minimalist (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

We get the government we deserve. Fuck approx. 1/2 of Americans.

Wow John, why don't you go off in "he's a muslim terrorist!!!"-land while you're at it. You think a man who was a professor in a law school "forgot" that Georgia *exists*? With no proof but hearsay, while we have speeches of Mccain confusing shias and sunnis and where the boarder of pakistan lies (not that I think that in itself disqualifies him - there are much better reasons not to elect Mccain then his senior moments).

Really, that's the most utterly stupid thing I've heard in a really long time.

Dear Coriolis,

I did not say McCain is perfect. However, he has a longer - and much better - record of bipartianship cooperation than Obama has now or ever will. Unlike Obama, McCain has acted like a leader - whether it was in combat during the Vietnam War - or now in the halls of Congress. He has also acted like a decisive leader when his immediate reaction to Russia's invasion of Georgia (Am sorry Besogonov, but if anyone is "guilty" of inciting Russia, it has been Putin and his fellow ex-KGB thugs in the Kremlin. It's the 21st Century now and you do not send in your military to try to topple a freely elected democratic government that you disapprove of.), while Obama merely demonstrates his glorified social worker past by insisting that both sides "talk" (About what, aside from demanding that Russia withdraw immediately from Georgia?).

I'm not fond of muslim terrorists either; in fact I think the war against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism should be the main priority of whomever succeeds Bush (I am not confident that Obama will do that.). But I'm not delighted with an administration that accused falsely a cousin of mine of treason (especially when he graduated from West Point and served our country with honor during the first Gulf War).

Respectfully yours,

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

I'm worried what the "WTF" reaction to something easily predicted means about the ability, or interest, of US scientists to teach/publicize science to the general public. Effective teaching and communication requires framing information in a manner that the audience can most effectively understand, as opposed to poking them in the eye and telling them to eat their science. The vocal minority of scientists determined to link science and the scientific community to evangelical atheism makes it difficult for a politician, or a teacher, to convince a polarized public that the scientific community does not have an intolerant anti-religion agenda. Its an insane stance to take when the religious fundamentalist anti-science campaign is doing the same thing. You and I know that Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers don't represent the scientific community, but how is the general public supposed to know that? No, I'm not in the least bit surprised that even a politician that understands the problem of the far right anti-science campaign will run from a "science debate" that would inevitably be about religion vs science. For the sake of research and science education there needs to be a concerted effort to stop insisting that the orange and the apple fight to the death.

Mike, I think you've been staring at your overton window long enough that you've forgotten how to stay on topic. We're talking about a science policy debate, not the religion vs. not debate.

Dustin, so the question of "Do you support evolution?" would not come up? Please. As long as defense of science and science education is framed as science vs religion by both the most vocal of science defenders *AND* the highly funded propaganda mill of the religious right you WILL NOT get a politician into a science policy debate show.

"As long as defense of science and science education is framed as science vs religion by both the most vocal of science defenders *AND* the highly funded propaganda mill of the religious right you WILL NOT get a politician into a science policy debate show."

This is the same mistake Framing Co. makes around these parts. It's not just "framed" as being the situation, it is the situation. Evolution versus creationism is a place where well established science is clashing with the religious preconceptions of the population at large. To accuse Dawkins, Dennet, PZ, etc. of making it look that way rather than describing an objective state of affairs is woefully erroneous.

John Kwok:

Maybe you should see something other than Faux News for a change? The current Georgia-Ossetia war was started by _GEORGIA_, not Russia. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_2008_South_Ossetia_war

"About what, aside from demanding that Russia withdraw immediately from Georgia?" - Russian forces right now are STOPPING GENOCIDE of Ossetians. You might also read why Russian peacekeeping forces were necessary in the first place (hint: nationalistic Georgian president attempted genocides in 1992).

The whole situation is MUCH more complex than you think.

By Alex Besogonov (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

Tyler, there are at least two clearly distinct aspects to the anti-evolution campaign. One is the distortion of the science, and the other is the supposed inevitability of moral and religious implications. The reality of the situation is that most religious leaders in the US are not interested in removing evolution from biology education, and a good fraction of them can be convinced to help support good biology education. "The religious preconceptions of the population at large" is largely not the problem. Ohio would officially be teaching "evidence against evolution" right now, with no help from the ACLU on the horizon, if not for the active participation of a coalition of Ohio religious leaders. Religion and science are irreconcilable only for extreme fundamentalists and extreme atheists. Right now both camps are doing an excellent job of convincing the general population that scientists and educators are trying to convert their little Johnny in high school biology, with predictable results. Whatever you want to call it, evangelizing atheists are framing the controversy, they're just doing it by saying: "Screw science! I wanna talk about what dumb f___s believers are!" Fine. Free country. But if you could avoid doing that while defending science education, and science policy, then we'd have an easier time convincing the general population that the extreme fundamentalists don't have a case for concern about biology education. Might even be able to get politicians to come to a science policy debate where they can be sure they'd just be debating science and government policy, and not religion and atheism.

Dear Alex Bosogonov:

I respectfully disagree. From my perspective, Putin and his fellow kleptomaniac Kremlin ilk would love nothing but to reconstitute either the Tsarist Russian Empire or the Soviet Russian Empire. He and his cronies have been irritating the Georgians for years now, and unfortunately, Georgia's current president finally had enough of their provocations. So is this what you mean by "STOPPING GENOCIDE of Ossetians"? Only fools who are ignorant of Russian intentions - like, for example, Obama - would "buy" the Kremilin party line.

No, I see events potentially repeating with Putin standing in for Hitler and Georgia for Czechoslovakia circa 1938.

I admire your patriotic fervor for your homeland, but it is misplaced (Incidentally, as for my ancestral homeland, I am ignoring the Olympics since I refuse to watch anything being broadcasted from a thuggish totalitarian dictatorship which engages in systematic 'ethnic cleansing" of its minorities.).

Respectfully yours,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

"The reality of the situation is that most religious leaders in the US are not interested in removing evolution from biology education, and a good fraction of them can be convinced to help support good biology education."

Is there a survey of religious leaders that demonstrates this oft-repeated talking point. I hold it in suspicion, since if you move down to the laity you consistently find majorities who support the teaching of creationism. Like it or not, you can't pin this debacle on Dawkins and his confrères. It's a failure caused by our indigenous religious traditions.

"He and his cronies have been irritating the Georgians for years now, and unfortunately, Georgia's current president finally had enough of their provocations."

John, speaking of provocations, we've been trying to sign Georgia up for NATO, obligating us and the rest of the organization by treaty to Georgia's military defense. Can you imagine how America would react if Russia, during the height of the Soviet Empire, attempted to sign Mexico into the Warsaw Pact?

Tyler,

Hate to disagree with you, but I must, with respect to Georgia. Russia has been meddling in Georgian internal affairs since the late 1990s if not before. As for our interest in having Georgia join NATO, it's really been more Georgian interest than ours. Why? We'd rather not irritate the Russians by having a small country like Georgia under NATO's defense "protective" umbrella.

Regards,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

"We'd rather not irritate the Russians by having a small country like Georgia under NATO's defense "protective" umbrella."

One would think, our behavior in the region (well outside of our legitimate security interests) seems to indicate otherwise.

John Kowak:

"I respectfully disagree. From my perspective, Putin and his fellow kleptomaniac Kremlin ilk would love nothing but to reconstitute either the Tsarist Russian Empire or the Soviet Russian Empire."

Saakashvili started to escalate this conflict back in 2004 when he was first elected. That was before Putin started showing real geopolitic interests. You might also remember that Putin tried to normalize relations with USA and NATO. For example, Russia unilaterally closed radiolocation stations in Cuba and Vietnam.

"So is this what you mean by "STOPPING GENOCIDE of Ossetians"?

I mean exactly what I mean. Georgia commited an act of genocide by shelling a city. Also, they murdered 72 Russian peacekeepers during the first day of conflict.

Back in 1992 (8 years before Putin) Georgia tried to ethnic cleansing of Abkhazi and Ossetians (to be fair, Abkhazia later also tried ethnic cleansing against Georgians). That's why peacekeeping forces were required.

"Only fools who are ignorant of Russian intentions - like, for example, Obama - would "buy" the Kremilin party line."

OF COURSE, Russia has interests in Caucasus. Just like USA (which has armed and trained Georgian army) and a whole lot of other countries. But it's OK if USA supports Georgia, of course. Because that's all in the name of democracy.

By Alex Besogonov (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

Dear Alex,

Ever since Putin has assumed power in the Kremlin, he's been interested in asserting Russian influence in the "Near Abroad", which includes Georgia. There's interest and then there's interest. The USA does not send its military into Jamaica, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago merely to impose its will, nor has it done so ever. The last time the USA had a substantial involvement in the West Indies was back in the mid 1960s when it withdrew its forces from the Dominican Republic. This is in sharp contrast to ongoing Russian meddling with respect to Georgia, the Ukraine, Moldova and elsewhere in the "Near Abroad". It is really absurd to claim that one can regard as equivalent, United States' activities in the Western Hemisphere with those of a neo-colonial post-Soviet Russia.

I haven't forgotten why Russian "peacekeeping" troops entered Abkhazia and South Ossetia. However, I think they have exceeded their welcome. I would prefer seeing Ukrainian troops stationed there, under the auspices of NATO command, once both the Ukraine and Georgia join NATO (which is now more likely due to Russia's blatant act of aggression against Georgia).

Respectfully yours,

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 20 Aug 2008 #permalink

John, your position is rather confused. As Tyler rightly points out, elements within the Bush administration have been pushing hard for Georgia to join NATO. Unsurprisingly, it's the Cheney "democracy for all, by force if necessary" faction, though reports indicate that Rice and Bush had been trying to keep them under control. Cheney's hardline position against Putin and Russia means that irritating Russia was exactly the point of his actions.

Your full-throated support for McCain's position on Georgia is even more confused, given that he has publicly stated he will fully support NATO membership if elected. And Randy Scheunemann, a lobbyist working as McCain's chief foreign policy adviser, received $200,000 in lobbying funds from Georgia (bringing the total to $1M over the past five years) the very same day that McCain issued a statement strongly condemning "Russian aggression" and supporting Georgia's membership in NATO.

By minimalist (not verified) on 20 Aug 2008 #permalink

"Only fools who are ignorant of Russian intentions - like, for example, Obama - would "buy" the Kremilin party line."

Really, what are you smoking John? Obama has pretty much followed the party line of the media and almost everyone else in the USA, more's the pity. The only difference is he's a bit less willing to bluster and whine like Mccain when he knows we have no real way of backing up our bluffs in Georgia.

I don't think he has much choice considering the fact that all the stupid people here sees russia as the "evil empire", and us (and our various allies) as the good guys that can never do anything wrong.

There is no doubt that Putin has pushed Russia into a more authoritarian state - largely with the support of the russian people unfortunately. On the flip side, it's also clear that the Georgian president was an over-eager nationalistic fool that thought he could attack and kill some Russians and get away with it. If it was actually clear that the russians started this aggression he'd have wide support. But it's hard to have any moral authority over Russia when we invaded Iraq without as much provocation as they had from Georgia.

Dear minimalist,

Senator McCain was my senator for nearly eleven years, and it was while a resident of his state that I became aware of his own excellent personal qualities which will suit him well if - as I earnestly hope - he becomes our next president. I don't think his support for Georgia is dependent upon Randy Scheunemann's prior duties as Georgia's Congressional lobbyist.

I think you and Coriolis need to read your recent Eastern European history, which would indicate to any objective student that Eastern European countries like Ukraine and Georgia have been pushing for NATO membership. Both the United States and several Western European NATO members have been reluctant because we signed agreements with Russia that NATO would not expand eastward (This was in exchange for the Soviet Union's dissolution of the Warsaw Pact "alliance"), and because we were hopeful that Russia could be incorporated more fully into Western European economic and military networks (so we didn't want to antagonize Russia by offering NATO membership to the Ukraine and Georgia).

As for Obama's and McCain's immediate reactions to Russia's invasion of Georgia, the differences are exactly what one would expect from a former community organizer/"glorified social worker" like Obama and from a seasoned politician who has considerable expertise in foreign affairs like McCain. To put it more bluntly, not only was McCain's reaction far more credible than Obama's (I am referring of course to McCain's harsh condemnation of the Russian invasion in contrast to Obama's plea for "dialogue".), it is exactly what I would have expected from Democratic presidents Harry S. Truman or John F. Kennedy. In comparison, Obama is a mere lightweight to these two great Democratic politicians, presidents of the United States and Americans; under no circumstances should he be thought of as a credible successor to either man in the Oval Office.

Last, but not least, I saw the Soviet Union as an "evil empire" until its peaceful dissolution. I regard now Putin-dominated Russia as a neo-colonial power seeking to reassert its status as a hegemonic state in Eurasia. In plain English, we should be wary of an increasingly authoritarian state seeking to reincorporate former parts of its empire like Georgia and the Ukraine. An authoritarian state which has shown some belligerent behavior towards the United States too, most notably, in its resumption of military aircraft patrols off Alaska's coast six months ago.

Respectfully yours,

John

P. S. How can you compare our invasion of Iraq with Russia's blatant act of aggression against a peaceful democratic state like Georgia? It's an absurd comparison. We attacked a totalitarian dictatorship and sought to liberate its people; while the Russians waged a war of conquest against a fledgling democracy that was once part of its empire. Ours - while imperfect - were noble aims; while those of Russia's the very ones you'd expect from thugs and thieves.

By John Kwok (not verified) on 20 Aug 2008 #permalink

Here's some news to you John Kwok:

"I regard now Putin-dominated Russia as a neo-colonial power seeking to reassert its status as a hegemonic state in Eurasia"

This is how the rest of the world sees us after the Iraq invasion. Replace Putin with bush, Russia with USA, and Eurasia with "all of the world that has oil or is important for other reasons". I don't claim that's really the case - mostly because the public for the most part rejected the neo-conservative ideology that amounts to that.

To anyone outside the US, there is no question that our invasion was less justified than the Russians's - Russian forces were directly attacked by Georgian forces before they responded. If mexican forces deliberately killed Americans, there would be no question that we would respond just as forcefully.

On the flip side we invaded Iraq basically because we didn't like them, and the subsequent fighting (civil war) has claimed far more lives then what the Russians have done, for now. Your justification for it amounts to "well he was a bad guy and we're the good guys", which doesn't fly for people who have a clue and realize that the world is full of bad guys. Most of which we leave alone because we can't effectively replace them without causing lots of death&destruction, like we did in Iraq.

Lastly, you can drop the "learn your eastern european history" bullshit. I am bulgarian, lived half my life in Sofia (immigrant in the US since), and believe me there is no love lost towards Russia amongst most of us. The sad fact is that the stupid policies of this bush administration likely led to this idiot in Georgia doing the stupid thing he did and in effect handing an easy victory to the Russians. Thankfully the Russians themselves have now overplayed their hand so it may turn out OK in the end. But it's a fact that this is a situation where both sides acted badly, and for the US to now give unconditional support to Georgia would only lead to lowering our moral standing (such as it is after Iraq) in the world even further. Hopefully Obama will manage to reverse this trend, Mccain seems to be set in digging this hole even deeper, and isolating us from all our allies while our adversaries grow bolder.

Dear Coriolis,

I should have guessed that you were either Russian or Bulgarian in origin (IMHO same difference, especially when I had heard what happened to Georgi Markov in London some years back, courtesy of the Bulgarian version of the KGB.).

Anyway, I still think the onus of responsibility for the Russian invasion of Georgia rests squarely on the shoulders of Putin and his fellow ex-KGB kleptomaniacs ruling the Kremlin.

Hope you continue enjoying your hero worship of Putin.

Cheers,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 20 Aug 2008 #permalink

John, I don't mean to pile on to you, but your comparison of John McCain to Harry Truman and Jack Kennedy is more telling than you may realize. Harry Truman got us embroiled in the Korean quagmire and Jack Kennedy is forever associated with the Bay of Pigs fiasco (not to mention almost landing us in a nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis). McCain's Russophobic alarmism could easily have landed us in hot water when we are quite possibly in the worst possible position to handle it. Overzealous militarism is not the best strategy, neocon propaganda notwithstanding.

Tyler,

Truman had no choice with regards to South Korea. We were obligated under US and UN treaty obligations. As for Kennedy, the Bay of Pigs was actually an operation planned under the aegis of his predecessor, Eisenhower.

I think the Democrats have screwed up badly. They should have had a nominee far more worthy like Gore or Bradley; even though I have serious misgivings with regards to Gore, I'd find him much more acceptable as a presidential candidate than Obama (And no, don't even think that I'm racially prejudiced. In fact, of potential presidential candidates, I regard as far more qualified, Powell, Rice, Bloomberg and Giuliani, than any of the current
candidates of either party.). Still, in the end, I think we may luck out with McCain; Obama, on the other hand, is a disaster waiting to happen.

Sincerely yours,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 20 Aug 2008 #permalink

"Truman had no choice with regards to South Korea. We were obligated under US and UN treaty obligations."

Sound familiar? ;) John McCain's ambition to sign Georgia and Ukraine into NATO would cause us to incur similar obligations to the defense of those countries.

And regardless, one can't gloss over the sheer foolishness on the part of Truman in the conflict, especially his seemingly working under the assumption that the Chinese would not intervene.

"As for Kennedy, the Bay of Pigs was actually an operation planned under the aegis of his predecessor, Eisenhower."

Irrelevant for two reasons: 1.) Kennedy was involved in much of the evolution of the plan after Eisenhower left office and was, prior to the utter failure of it, rather enthusiastic. 2.) Regardless of planned it, it still serves as an example of what overzealous militarism can result in.

Personally I'm not huge fan of Obama, but McCain's excessive hawkishness is not a mark in his favor IMO. Its historical record is not as shining as it is portrayed in movies and neocon hagiographies.

As for Obama's and McCain's immediate reactions to Russia's invasion of Georgia, the differences are exactly what one would expect from a former community organizer/"glorified social worker" like Obama and from a seasoned politician who has considerable expertise in foreign affairs like McCain. To put it more bluntly, not only was McCain's reaction far more credible than Obama's

"Nations don't invade other nations" was credible? Are you kidding?

P. S. How can you compare our invasion of Iraq with Russia's blatant act of aggression against a peaceful democratic state like Georgia? It's an absurd comparison. We attacked a totalitarian dictatorship and sought to liberate its people; while the Russians waged a war of conquest against a fledgling democracy that was once part of its empire.

Part of the reason that Russia is so messed up is because their concept of themselves as "liberators" goes unchallenged. The Russians see themselves as having "liberated" Eastern Europe and the Caucasus from fascism, and now the ungrateful bastards are getting uppity again. The dangers of that sort of rhetoric should be obvious by now, but I don't expect the Americans to get it.

Science is not an issue for the public to consume. 85% of the public is way too dumb to be trusted to make decisions on candidates science policy. If it's important enough to us, we can read off the candidates websites to get most of the answers to our questions about sciecne.

By ronathan richardson (not verified) on 20 Aug 2008 #permalink

Prove it.

Ok John I guess after your last comment demonstrated your total stupidity, this will be my last try at making you think.

I come from a *former* communist country. Now think a little bit, what do you think, do people who used to be under the thumb of the Russians like them, or dislike them? If it's too hard for you, look at the reaction of Poland after this episode in approving the missile shield in return for explicit protection from the US. Or maybe ask a South Korean what they think about Japan. Or just get a clue.

That's right, we don't like them. Having your country ordered around by other people tends to do that.

That the georgians essentially started this is not something claimed just by the russians, it's what's reported in all of our own media here in the US. We just tend to gloss over that and focus on the russian overreaction, but nobody's denying it. Reading news helps keep you informed, last I heard.

Anyways, away from the attempts at educating John and back to the actual topic:

It's probably true that neither of these guys can debate science, and that maybe they don't have to, although we had far more scientifically educated political people in the past (franklin comes to mind). The real problem to my eyes however is that there is no real discussion from either of them on what they plan to do or not do about science. It's particularly stupid since there is a clear problem right now, fossil fuels, that even the public recognizes as such. And that's something we could have a serious scientific push towards solving, whether it be through solar/wind/nuclear power, or something else entirely.

Dear Tyler,

Unfortunately you're demonstrating an automatic dislike of Republicans which I am find increasingly distasteful. When I was living in Arizona, I was a registered Republican who voted frequently for Democrats (since I found most of the Republican candidates objectionable for both personal and policy reasons) and was an active participant in a recall movement against a Republican governor who was - believe it or not - far more moronic than "The Decider" (A recall movement started by a gay Republican.).

As for John F. Kennedy's involvement with the Bay of Pigs fiasco, much of the planning did occur PRIOR to the start of his administration, if you care to read your history books. However, Kennedy was enthusiastic about it since he was an ardent anti-Communist Democrat (a political species which, sadly, is virtually extinct at the present).

Coriolis' twisted, tormented analysis of current Russian imperialism is exactly what I expect from someone who admires the "progress" made by Putin and his fellow ex-KGB thugs masquerading as "thoughtful" Kremlin-based politicians.

Windy may forget that - at least in Western Europe - civilized countries have forsaken military invasion as a means of projecting their political and economic power; it is, after all, the 21st Century.

Respectfully yours,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 21 Aug 2008 #permalink

In the real world, religion is much more important than science.

Antibiotics have had, after all, fewer measurable lifesaving effects than, say, beads and rattles.

In the real world, religion is much more important than science.

Ahh yes...the drinking water that you use gets found with a dowsing rod rather than using principles of sedimentology and hydrology, that it?

Windy may forget that - at least in Western Europe - civilized countries have forsaken military invasion as a means of projecting their political and economic power; it is, after all, the 21st Century.

Ah, the fortune cookie defense. How pathetic. Are you posting from Bizarro World where no Western European country participated in the invasion of another nation in 2003?

Of course you can keep adding qualifiers to salvage McCain's statement - "in Western Europe", "as a means of projecting their political and economic power" - but in that case what is it supposed to communicate to Russians? That they aren't in Western Europe?

Dear windy,

Read your history books. The last time a Western European country attacked another was in 1940, when Nazi Germany invaded the Low Countries en route to France, and also invaded Norway and Denmark. Since May 8, 1945 - when World War II in Europe ended - Western Europe has known peace. Bitter centuries-old enemies like France and Germany have become devoted friends.

As for 2003, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland participated in the American invasion of Iraq whose aim was to liberate a Middle Eastern country under the decades-old horrific rule of a Nazi-like totalitarian dictatorship. We can debate as to whether the subsequent occupation of Iraq by the United States, Great Britain and other European powers has been successful, but you shouldn't debate me as to whether or not this invasion did eliminate - once and for all - Iraq's Baathist dictatorship (If the invasion hasn't, then please show me where former Baathist senior officials are still running Iraq's government.).

Your blind reflexive reaction to my accurate facts regarding the state of affairs in Western Europe is as pathetic as the frequent attempts by my "pal" Bill Dembski and his fellow ID creationist ilk in asserting that ID is indeed valid science.

Respectfully yours,

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 21 Aug 2008 #permalink

As for 2003, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland participated in the American invasion of Iraq whose aim was to liberate a Middle Eastern country under the decades-old horrific rule of a Nazi-like totalitarian dictatorsh

Is that, or is that not the assertion of political or economic authority by military means? Or does this one not count because the country invaded wasn't actually part of Western Europe? Also, it seems as though you are in dire need of a refresher course in the reasons given for the war in Iraq. "Yellowcake" "Downing Street" "Mobile Chemical Weapons Production Facilities" "WMDs" "Al-qaeda is in Iraq" "Aluminum Tubes" "Iraq's ties to 9/11" "Anthrax"

Read your history books. The last time a Western European country attacked another was in 1940, when Nazi Germany invaded the Low Countries en route to France, and also invaded Norway and Denmark. Since May 8, 1945 - when World War II in Europe ended - Western Europe has known peace.

Your pompous account leaves out the post-1940 allied attack on Germany, an invasion, and the post-1945 Troubles in Northern Ireland, which wasn't war but was hardly peace. Are those elementary school history books you've been reading?

It's all irrelevant anyway since McCain didn't say "Western european nations don't invade other Western european nations".

As for 2003, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland participated in the American invasion of Iraq

Therefore it's utter bullshit that "nations don't invade other nations in the 21st century", QED.

but you shouldn't debate me as to whether or not this invasion did eliminate - once and for all - Iraq's Baathist dictatorship (If the invasion hasn't, then please show me where former Baathist senior officials are still running Iraq's government.).

I wasn't going to debate that, fool! Can you not see how fucking pathetic you are with your goalpost-moving and red herrings? It's still an INVASION, McCain didn't say "nations only invade Baathist nations in the 21st century" and his statement was false.

Respectfully yours,

Pray you too.

PS. I am Finnish. Can I get a stupid ad hominem argument about my nationality? I loved the one you made for Coriolis.

the post-1940 allied attack on Germany... and the post-1945 Troubles in Northern Ireland

I feel that I should clarify in advance, in order not to confuse you John Kwok, that I don't mean that those counterexamples happened immediately after those dates. So don't bother attacking that.

windy,

I think you need a bit of a correction (and so do I). I am referring to armed conflict that was aimed solely for aggressive purposes to benefit the invader. You shouldn't even dare try to assert that somehow "the post-1940 allied attack on Germany" is equivalent to the 1940 Nazi German invasion of Western Europe. It doesn't even come close IMHO.
As for the post-1967 "Troubles in Northern Ireland", that was a sectarian conflict NOT an invasion by an aggressive military force aimed at seizing terrority (For the record, the British Army had the right to act as a police force there since Northern Ireland was - and still is - a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It was acting under the orders of successive Prime Ministers and the British Parliament. Incidentally, if you ever look at my personal profile at Amazon.com, you'll see why I have some knowledge and interest in Irish history and culture.).

You're not confusing me, but perhaps yourself. I suggest you read a little about 20th Century Western European history. If you do that, then you'll realize that I am correct in asserting that there has been peaceful coexistence between countries since May 8, 1945, when hostilities in the European phase of World War II ceased between the Allies and Nazi Germany.

Respectfully yours,

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 22 Aug 2008 #permalink

Dear Dustin,

You're almost as bad as my "pal" Bill Dembski in spouting nonsense that is cloaked as reason. Your blind hatred towards the Bush administration - which I have many personal reasons to dislike (e. g. what Rumsfeld did to one of my cousins a few years ago as I have noted earlier in this thread) - is seriously obscuring your reasoning ability.

Respectfully yours,

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 22 Aug 2008 #permalink

Re Tyler di Pietro

"And regardless, one can't gloss over the sheer foolishness on the part of Truman in the conflict, especially his seemingly working under the assumption that the Chinese would not intervene."

To be fair to Truman, he was acting under the advice of his commander in the field, Douglas MacArthur who time and again stated that his approach to the Yalu River would not cause the Chinese to intervene. At the time, Truman was somewhat mesmerized by MacArthurs' successful Inchon maneuver which turned what seemed like certain defeat into victory.

Kwok of Shit wrote:

You're almost as bad as my "pal" Bill Dembski in spouting nonsense that is cloaked as reason. Your blind hatred towards the Bush administration - which I have many personal reasons to dislike (e. g. what Rumsfeld did to one of my cousins a few years ago as I have noted earlier in this thread) - is seriously obscuring your reasoning ability.

Since it isn't clear to me, perhaps you'd be so kind to explain it. You have said that Western European powers do not invade other nations as an assertion of political or economic power. You have been provided with a counterexample to that claim, to which you responded that it was a "liberation". The problem with this is that it wasn't justified as a liberation, and that intelligence was fabricated to support this invasion which was carried out certainly for political reasons, and perhaps even with economic justifications in mind. Putting your faulty memory aside, and even granting for the sake of discussion that it was a liberation, "spreading democracy" by military means is the assertion of politics by military means.

You are wrong either way you slice it, and that's a feat worthy of your pal. Now, why don't you go make some fart animations? That seems to be more your speed.

which I have many personal reasons to dislike (e. g. what Rumsfeld did to one of my cousins a few years ago as I have noted earlier in this thread

Irrelevant.

(A recall movement started by a gay Republican.).

Irrelevant.

I have heard that Obama thought at first that Russia was invading the USA state of Georgia; he'd forgotten about the country - the birthplace of Stalin - which McCain has visited.).

Unsubstantiated. Irrelevant.

Incidentally, as for my ancestral homeland, I am ignoring the Olympics since I refuse to watch anything being broadcasted from a thuggish totalitarian dictatorship which engages in systematic 'ethnic cleansing" of its minorities.).

Irrelevant.

anti-Communist Democrat (a political species which, sadly, is virtually extinct at the present).

Irrelevant.

What I'm seeing here, Kwok, is that you are more committed to spouting anecdotes and opinions which are calculated to give you the appearance of even-handedness than actually giving supporting reasons for your idiotic position. When you can be bothered to make at least a half-assed attempt to introduce some consistency into your protean opinion and support it in some way, then maybe we'll have something to discuss. As it is, you have a few one liners and a lot of weird and unwarranted comparisons to William Dembski, and it seems that you also have the expectation that we should all agree that something is unreasonable simply because you have declared it to be so.

What's the phrase you have for that? I think it's "breathtaking inanity".

Dear Dustin (Should I call you the TARD OF REASON?):

No Western European nation has invaded another Western European nation since World War II. I'm sorry if you've flunked reading comprehension, but that's what I have emphasized not just once, but several times, in my recent posts to you, Windy and others in this thread. I DID NOT SAY that Western European nations have not invaded other countries around the globe (In addition to Iraq and Gulf War I, there's the infamous Anglo-French invasion of the Suez back in 1956, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.), but only that they haven't attacked each other (via military means at least).

Clearly you must be the one guilty of breathtaking inanity (Don't you think it is ironic that you are quoting a Republican, Federal Judge John E. Jones III?) if you insist that what I've written is irrelevant. Moreover, your logical reasoning is so familiar to me, having seen it all too often from the likes of delusional IDiots and other creos both here and elsewhere online.

When you are prepared to accept that there are reasonable, rational Republicans like Judge Jones and myself, then I'm prepared to have a serious dialogue with you. Otherwise, please run along now and play with my "pals" DaveScot Springer and Bill Dembski over at Uncommon Descent.

John Kwok (aka "Jekyll and Hyde of Paleobiology" courtesy of Uncommon Dissent IDiot Borg drone DaveScot Springer)

By John Kwok (not verified) on 22 Aug 2008 #permalink

I think it's ironic that it is, as I recall, one of your favored tags. In any case, your ability to make some strange presumptions is equally breathtaking. I have not said nor have I in any way implied that there are no Republicans who are reasonable. It's curious, in fact, that you would bring it up at all, but whatever partisan filter you choose to demarcate the world by is, I suppose, your business. To clear up your mistaken assumption, I am willing to admit and have, for that matter, admitted that there are reasonable Republicans out there. You, of course, are not one of them.

In any case, I would be interested in a coherent explanation of how it is that gay Republicans and anti-communist Democrats and McCain's visit to Georgia and China's human rights record and your cousin have anything to do with the matter at hand. I doubt that this is possible for you, but I have been known to give out points for effort.

I DID NOT SAY that Western European nations have not invaded other countries around the globe (In addition to Iraq and Gulf War I, there's the infamous Anglo-French invasion of the Suez back in 1956, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.), but only that they haven't attacked each other (via military means at least).

Then the criterion for appropriate behavior is not whether one nation attacks another, but whether one nation attacks another in its own geographic region? If Russia had invaded, say, Cuba, then that would have been another story? That's moronic, and I'm being generous in assuming that you think there's some general lesson to be taken away from your statement. If I've been too generous, and you don't think that, then all you're saying is that Russia isn't a Western European nation.

I'm starting to think that your ability to annoy Dembski has less to do with your reasoning abilities and more to do with the fact that you're just a persistent troll.

Dear Dustin:

Maybe you've forgotten what Sadun Kal has said recently in another thread here at Abbie's blog, in which he criticized you for your abysmal conduct, while noting this about mine:

"John's reaction was obviously more mature by the way, and I thank him for that."

I have yet to read one credible, mature rebuttal from you, and yet, you have the nerve to accuse me of not being a "reasonable Republican"? I don't care what political animal you are, except to note that you are as delusional as the fringe leftists and rightists I've encountered, both online and in person.

Where did I say that "the criterion for appropriate behavior is not whether one nation attacks another, but whether one nation attacks another in its own geographic region"? I never said that, and you know it. I only said that no Western European nation has attacked another Western European nation since World War II. I didn't say why, but now, let me venture a guess. Could it be that a main reason for this peace is the fact(s) that - at least since the mid 1970s, when both Spain and Portugal became ones - these countries are politically mature democratic states who are closely intertwined via military and economic alliances like NATO and the European Economic Community?

I suggest you ought to read your recent European history first, before making accusations as wild as any I have encountered from delusional IDiots and other creos. Otherwise you run the risk of accusing reasonable Republicans like myself and Judge John E. Jones III of not being reasonable (BTW, I mentioned my personal history merely to underscore the fact that I am not a right-wing ideologue nor a sycophantic supporter of the Bush administration. Hope this finally gets through your thick skull.).

Unlike you, I will refrain from using coarse language. However, I wish you will in enjoying your personal abyss of reason. As far as I'm concerned, there's intellectually not much difference between you, Springer or Dembski.

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 22 Aug 2008 #permalink

Maybe you've forgotten what Sadun Kal has said recently in another thread here at Abbie's blog, in which he criticized you for your abysmal conduct, while noting this about mine:

"John's reaction was obviously more mature by the way, and I thank him for that."

I've never actually had an argument in these threads result in legitimate laughter until now.

you have the nerve to accuse me of not being a "reasonable Republican"?

That's cause for indignation if ever there was one! I might think a little more highly of you if you'd present a coherent argument.

Where did I say that "the criterion for appropriate behavior is not whether one nation attacks another, but whether one nation attacks another in its own geographic region"?

Then what purpose was served by stating that western European nations don't invade each other?

While you're busy evading that question further, I'm going to go write a Kwok emulator. The Kwok of Shit beta will include such features as: answers every question with a personal anecdote, irrelevant historical date, or reference to William Dembski. Makes insulting and irrelevant comments about the nationality of other commenters. Assumes that attacks on his position are attacks on Republicans in general, and more!

Sadly, I don't think it will be a very popular program.

I mentioned my personal history merely to underscore the fact that I am not a right-wing ideologue nor a sycophantic supporter of the Bush administration. Hope this finally gets through your thick skull.

I believe I accused you of doing just that, dumbass.

Dear Dustin:

Am breaking a ground rule now and call a spade, a spade. You're full of crap and you know it.

Why Western European nations don't attack each other? Hmm, here are the reasons again:
1) Politically mature democratic states
2) NATO Membership
3) European Economic Community Membership which for most has evolved into the European Union
4) Strong historical recollections of bloody conflict fought in Europe from the Crimean War to the Franco-Prussian War and World Wars I and II.

Hey, enjoy your computer program, IDiot. Surely you must have something more worthwhile to do with your time than writing a computer program of the kind you've described. As for me, here's hoping you'll get lucky and get what you deserve soon - and I do not mean a pat on the back or an unexpected present of the kind you've been seeking.

You may not be a supporter of ID creationism or some other flavor of creationism, but you're still an IDiot nonetheless.

When you stop playing with the folks over at Uncommon Descent and learn to be reasonable, even to me, then I might be willing to have a "dialogue" with you.

Live Long and Prosper (as a DI IDiot Borg drone),

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 22 Aug 2008 #permalink

When you stop playing with the folks over at Uncommon Descent and learn to be reasonable, even to me, then I might be willing to have a "dialogue" with you.

Would that include, by any chance, answering my questions?

I didn't ask why it was that Western European nations don't attack each other. I haven't even disputed that in recent history, it's true that Western European nations haven't attacked each other. I asked what your purpose was in saying so. You said:

Windy may forget that - at least in Western Europe - civilized countries have forsaken military invasion as a means of projecting their political and economic power; it is, after all, the 21st Century.

You must have had a reason for saying so. At the time, it seemed to have something to do with Russia's behavior. When it was pointed out that you were wrong, you qualified it to mean that Western European countries don't invade Western European. You must have had some reason for saying so, but now that reason becomes less clear. If it is to be taken as an example of what a nation's conduct should be (again, in reference to Russia's invasion of Georgia), you now mean that "nations do not invade other nations unless those nations are on the other side of the world" (that is what your qualifier did to your statement). If that is what you mean, then your rubric for how and when an invasion is acceptable is based on proximity, and is therefore idiotic and arbitrary.

If it was not meant to be taken as an example of how Russia should behave (and it would be disingenuous to claim this because you were defending McCain's rebuke, by way of the statement that "nations do not invade nations", of Russia), then it is meaningless once you have appended your "Western European" qualifier, since Russia is not a Western European nation.

Words mean things, Kwok.

Why Western European nations don't attack each other? Hmm, here are the reasons again:
1) Politically mature democratic states
2) NATO Membership
3) European Economic Community Membership which for most has evolved into the European Union
4) Strong historical recollections of bloody conflict fought in Europe from the Crimean War to the Franco-Prussian War and World Wars I and II.

Again, this is irrelevant.

Dustin:

All right, you're sounding more reasonable now. I've been beating around the bush, but I think I'll expand my previous comments by noting that democratic states do not attack other democratic states (e. g. When is the last time did you see the USA invade Canada or vice versa? Not in recent memory; that is either the present, or any time during the 20th Century.). Russia claims to be a "democracy", and yet it fails to act like one. Surely its recent saber rattling with respect to both the Ukraine and Poland - as well as its ongoing invasion of Georgia - should alert the public that its intentions are not "peaceful", and its behavior far removed from, shall we say, a border dispute between France and Germany or Germany and Poland that's resolved by diplomacy, not military might.

Again, before you fly off the handle again, I strongly suggest you read about recent Eastern European history to understand Russia's belligerent intentions towards its "Near Abroad" comprising of the Central Asian "republics", the Ukraine, Georgia, Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 22 Aug 2008 #permalink

Dear Dustin:

Your sinking into irrelevance, because what I wrote below is relevant with respect to Russia's abysmal conduct with its neighbors:

Why Western European nations don't attack each other? Hmm, here are the reasons again:
1) Politically mature democratic states
2) NATO Membership
3) European Economic Community Membership which for most has evolved into the European Union
4) Strong historical recollections of bloody conflict fought in Europe from the Crimean War to the Franco-Prussian War and World Wars I and II.

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 22 Aug 2008 #permalink

Dearest John Kwok,

I've been beating around the bush, but I think I'll expand my previous comments by noting that democratic states do not attack other democratic states

Yes, they do. And besides that, this was not what McCain, whose comment you have been defending, said.

Again, before you fly off the handle again, I strongly suggest you read about recent Eastern European history to understand Russia's belligerent intentions towards its "Near Abroad" comprising of the Central Asian "republics", the Ukraine, Georgia, Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

You're being presumptuous again. I have not been here making the case that Russia is not acting belligerent.

Your sinking into irrelevance, because what I wrote below is relevant with respect to Russia's abysmal conduct with its neighbors

I haven't contested that Russia's behavior is bad. I have contested your cheerleading for McCain's asinine statement, your mischaracterization of Obama's position, and your attempts at revising what McCain said. By the way, you don't get to change what you've said (since you now seem to be talking about democracies, as of two posts ago) and then go back to something I wrote before you changed what you've been saying and then say I'm not being relevant.

You have a serious straw man problem, and an ever harder time being honest. You and Billy D deserve each other.

Yours Forever,
Dustin
xOxOxO

Dear moronic Dustin:

I'm not guilty of "mischaracterization of Obama's position" with respect to Georgia and Russia. All he wants them to do is talk; but talk about what? Unlike McCain he hasn't been firm enough to tell the Russians to go to hell and get out of Georgia ASAP (Incidentally, Obama's pick of Biden - whom I do admire somewhat - merely illustrates the glorified social worker's utter ignorance of foreign policy. IMHO either Evan Bayh or Al Gore would have been better VP picks.).

Sorry I haven't been changing my position with regards to Western Europe. Anyone with half a brain tied behind his or her back would realize that I am referring to Western Europe since they've been peaceful democratic states since the mid 1940s (since the mid 1970s in the case of Portugal and Spain). Maybe if you bothered to read and then to comprehend a little contemporary European history you'd understand what I have been saying.

Why don't you run along now and play with Sadun and Billy D? Their company would be well worth keeping for your own intellectually-challenged perspective.

JK

By John Kwok (not verified) on 23 Aug 2008 #permalink

Anyone with half a brain tied behind his or her back would realize that I am referring to Western Europe since they've been peaceful democratic states since the mid 1940s (since the mid 1970s in the case of Portugal and Spain). Maybe if you bothered to read and then to comprehend a little contemporary European history you'd understand what I have been saying.

This little red herring has been caught on repeat for the last hundred posts. You said something stupid, and it was demonstrated a long time ago. You lost this one, Kwok, stop digging.

Hey demented Dustin:

Read my latest post in the other thread. Too bad you're so obsessed about me. Why don't you go get a life? I have. I just spent a couple of hours patiently waiting for a Hewlett Packard technician to print some of my photos from one of their latest fine art photo printers.

With best wishes for you to assume room temperature soon,

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 23 Aug 2008 #permalink

Why don't you go get a life? I have

Your repetitive comments, thousands of amazon reviews, and endless self-congratulation on your UD trolling suggest otherwise.

I just spent a couple of hours patiently waiting for a Hewlett Packard technician to print some of my photos from one of their latest fine art photo printers.

That is probably the worst attempt at convincing me of one's usefulness that I have ever seen.

Aha, now I get it a little... I like you both equally. :)

If I had to choose between Obama or McCain though, I'd definetely choose Obama. McCain is like...the end of the world in my eyes! He's sure to bring more wars and misery to this world, more than Obama can ever dream of achieving. But neither will be able to save America imo, let alone the world. Things will 'change' for sure, just like they always do...

Hey Dustin:

Did anyone tell you you're a REAL Schmuck? If not, then let me be the first. Somehow I knew I'd read your insipid swearing masquerading as enlightened commentary (BTW, the last time I checked, I didn't write "thousands of amazon reviews". It's all in your delusional mind.).

I'm off to look at some art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I seriously doubt I'll encounter anyone like you there - since museum security would have escorted such a nut from the museum ASAP.

Again, good luck in assuming room temperature soon.

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 24 Aug 2008 #permalink

Dear Sadun,

We're more likely to get mired in another, more bloodthirsty, war if the glorified social worker is elected president (I am referring to Obama of course.). McCain is more likely to end wars and eliminate more misery than Obama ever will, simply because of his decades-long experience in bipartisan politics (When asked what he thought of Biden, McCain said immediately that he's an old friend.) and foreign affairs. On a more personal note, I had a lot of respect for his service as my senator back in the late 1980s and 1990s (when I was living in his state, Arizona); I know I will have a lot of respect for his service as our next president.

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 24 Aug 2008 #permalink

Dearest Kwok of Shit:

I'm off to look at some art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I think this is supposed to be an insinuation that you're more sophisticated than I am. Sadly, its sloppy, pretentious and amateurish execution puts the lie to its content. No matter, since it's not a relevant line of argumentation in any case. I am curious, by the way, how did you manage to get through college without taking a course in logic or critical thinking? Is that no longer required?

Anyway, I'll give the museum a ring and let them know you're on the way. They'll probably want to hide most of their collection since it seems that, wherever you go, a torrential rain of dropped names mysteriously follows. I wouldn't want one to fall on a painting or sculpture and damage it.

Yours ever,
Dustin
XoXoXo

We're more likely to get mired in another, more bloodthirsty, war if the glorified social worker is elected president (I am referring to Obama of course.).

This is a... unique... appraisal of the situation, especially considering that, a few posts back, you wrote something to the tune of "Obama just wants to talk!" while casting your lot with the historically hawkish McCain.

Now it seems that things have once again been permuted in that misfiring ball of neurons you keep inside your skull, and Obama is the warmonger, and McCain will take a reasonable bipartisan line with hardliners abroad.

Finally, and I am not surprised that I have to remind you of this once again, your assertion of a thing does not make it so. What plausible chain of events have you conceived of which will result in a bloody war if someone you claim is more interested in talking than shooting is elected? Put up or shut up, Kwokypoo.

My dear schmuck Dustin:

You are obviously in dire need of psychological counseling. If you don't get this help soon, then I'll ask Abbie to have you "flushed" permanently from ERV.

I'm not warning you again.

Die soon and suffer,

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 24 Aug 2008 #permalink

My dear schmuck Dustin:

Hate to disappoint you, but I have several friends who work for the museum's security department. They'd understand immediately that a statement like yours (see below) is one uttered by someone in dire need of psychological help. Why? They deal with a lot of weirdos and other mental nut cases every single day.

This comment of yours would be yet another perfect example of a sick remark from a mentally depraved person:

"Anyway, I'll give the museum a ring and let them know you're on the way. They'll probably want to hide most of their collection since it seems that, wherever you go, a torrential rain of dropped names mysteriously follows. I wouldn't want one to fall on a painting or sculpture and damage it."

Hope you get the psychological counseling which you are in dire need of soon.

Otherwise, then may you....

Die soon and suffer,

John Kwok

By John Kwok (not verified) on 24 Aug 2008 #permalink

Accusing you of chronic name-dropping is a mental illness? Son, you can't get through a single conversation without making reference to Frank McCourt or William Dembski. I have to say, your gift for irrelevance is nearly as impressive as your penchant for obtuse hyperbole. Neither, however, are quite as interesting as the somewhat avant garde quality your posts have taken on today. I'm not sure whether this is because I'm getting on your nerves or, like the talking heads you seem so intent on emulating, you have a really bad coke habit, but it's quality entertainment nonetheless.

I'll ask Abbie to have you "flushed" permanently from ERV.

I'm not warning you again.

Lurk moar.

I have several friends who work for the museum's security department

Jesus Christ, you can't help it, can you? It's like a compulsion. John, I'm very sorry for whatever self-esteem issues you happen to have. The fact is, though, people take you more seriously when you try to stand on your own merits than trying to build a reputation based on your associations.

Others won't love you until you love yourself first.

By Dustin is only… (not verified) on 24 Aug 2008 #permalink

Wow, Dustin, I admire your persistence. Sadly we still haven't found out what that "Western Europe" remark was supposed to prove! ;)

Abbie, I'm not asking to get John "flushed" but if you're still reading, please tell him how huge a fool he's making of himself...

My dear schmuck Dustin:

Tell me when are you going to get the psychological help which are you so obviously in need of? Go get a grip with reality, please. As for name dropping, Abbie loves to take a swipe - when she can - at Mike Behe; I feel obligated too with his Discovery Institute colleague Bill Dembski.

I wasn't going to mention McCourt, but since you brought him up, my reference to him was relevant in a discussion about whether teachers who teach biology ought to be qualified to do so (I recounted an instance in which he was forced to teach it, even though he wasn't qualified.).

Am sorry that you and windy seem to be absolutely clueless with my reference to Western Europe. Once more:

Western Europe is comprised of mature, stable democratic states. Since they are mature, stable democratic states, they have regarded the prospect of military invasion of their neighbors as an unnecessary military option. Instead, they have exerted political power solely via peaceful political and economic means via membership in organizations such as NATO and the EEC.

This is in stark contrast to what Russia is doing now to its neighboring democratic states in its "Near Abroad"; states which were part of its former Tsarist Russian and Soviet Russian empires.

Again I would advise you both to read your 20th Century European history books.

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 25 Aug 2008 #permalink

Again I would advise you both to read your 20th Century European history books.

Oh, screw you. The issue was McCain's statement "nations don't invade other nations". Any 20th century European history book will tell you that's bullshit. YOU are the only one who has been insisting on diverting the discussion to the true, but irrelevant, statement that Western European nations haven't invaded their neighbors for some time.

Dear Dustin and windy,

Am certain McCain was thinking of Western Europe when he uttered that remark, and more to the point, alluding to my observation about mature, stable democratic states. He was discussing this in the context of Europe, and especially, of Europe's relations with Putin's Russia.

Respectfully yours,

John

P. S. Abbie if you're reading this, why don't you ask Dustin and windy to behave themselves. If they can't disagree with someone in a decent manner, then they don't deserve to be posting further here at ERV.

By John Kwok (not verified) on 25 Aug 2008 #permalink

Abbie if you're reading this, why don't you ask Dustin and windy to behave themselves. If they can't disagree with someone in a decent manner, then they don't deserve to be posting further here at ERV.

*SPRONGGGGGG!*

Ssssson of a bitch. That was a brand new irony meter.

Hey favorite schmuck Dustin:

Methinks it's time you become one with the fossil record. Find yourself the nearest tar pit or pool of quicksand and jump in.

Wishing you well on assuming room temperature soon,

JK

By John Kwok (not verified) on 25 Aug 2008 #permalink

P. S. Abbie if you're reading this, why don't you ask Dustin and windy to behave themselves. If they can't disagree with someone in a decent manner, then they don't deserve to be posting further here at ERV.

ABBIE ABBIE JOHN IS LOOKING AT ME FUNNY! AND HIS POST IS TOUCHING MY POST! MAKE HIM STOP!

Dear windy,

Sorry you think it's a riot acting juvenile (Though I suppose that judging from Dustin's standards, that yours is mature behavior.).

Abbie and I have been friends for some time now. I don't think she'd share in your amusement.

Go find a decent textbook on recent European history and start reading.

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 25 Aug 2008 #permalink

Yeah, I'm sure Mccain was talking in reference to western european democracies, because you know, of course georgia is in western europe right? So his comment was relevant to the situation.

Really, I know Mccain doesn't know about the internet, but hasn't somebody told him we have maps these days?

I'm amazed you guys are still trying to argue somewhat seriously with JK, I gave up after he started the silly ad hominem attacks and the lies. Which is amazingly, the same tactic Mccain is using against Obama, he knows who to learn from. And in this case it's alot funnier hehe.

Am certain McCain was thinking of Western Europe when he uttered that remark

Here is the statement in context:

"I want to have a dialogue with the Russians. I want them to get out of Georgian territory as quickly as possible. And I am interested in good relations between the United States and Russia. But in the 21st century, nations don't invade other nations. And we will decide in subsequent days as to whether there's a degree of provocation and who was right and who was wrong."

Right, he's obviously talking about Western Europe, since... it's between Russia and the USA! *snark*

Go find a decent textbook on recent European history and start reading.

Repeating this is more pathetic than annoying. What textbook on European history have you been reading? Have you read Politkovskaja on modern Russia? Have you ever been in Eastern Europe? Russia? Were you ever there during Soviet times? What is the source of your superior expertise? The fact that you're friends with Abbie?

Dear Coriolis, windy and Dustin,

Have a good life. I really don't have time to answer each and every one of your inane remarks. Having tried to be helpful, I find myself getting kicked in the butt for no good reason.

My friendship with Abbie is my own personal, private affair. It doesn't mean that she agrees with my politics - I know she doesn't - but at least she has the decency to disagree respectively. Unfortunately that doesn't count.

Maybe if you all decided to read and to think critically about what has transpired in most of Europe; the establishment of peaceful, democratic states which have renounced the use of military might to settle disputes with their neighbors (with the notable example of the re-emergent Russian Empire under Putin's rule) and the creation of institutions which have fostered peaceful coexistence (e. g. NATO and EEC), then we wouldn't be wasting our time arguing.

Otherwise if you insist on your ridiculous attacks on me, then I'll ask Abbie to have you banned from this blog.

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 25 Aug 2008 #permalink

Maybe if you all decided to read and to think critically about what has transpired in most of Europe

How about thinking critically about a single statement made by McCain. A. single. statement.

Otherwise if you insist on your ridiculous attacks on me, then I'll ask Abbie to have you banned from this blog.

Dear John,

There was nothing ridiculous about my previous comment, except the bits I quoted from you.

As for your silly threats about getting us banned, BRING IT ON.

windy:

I wouldn't joke about it. I've already alerted Abbie. For your sake you'd better grow up immediately.

John

By John Kwok (not verified) on 25 Aug 2008 #permalink

I really don't have time to answer each and every one of your inane remarks.

The statistical evidence does not support that claim.

h sht! v' jst bn dsmvwlld! Scrw y Jhn Kwk! wh knw tht dgplng th ncn chst thmpr ws s bd s HV dnl?

For your sake you'd better grow up immediately.

Are you saying that I better shape up? You need to do the dance first!

h sht! v' jst bn dsmvwlld!

Wll, Dstn, hr's nthr nc mss y'v gttn m nt!