Sarah Palin: Ignorant and anti-science

This is too much. Sarah Palin gave a policy speech today in which she claimed that she wanted more support for children with disabilities, more tools to test for disorders, and while also decrying the expense of scientific research.

Where does a lot of that earmark money end up anyway? […] You've heard about some of these pet projects they really don't make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.

I am appalled.

This idiot woman, this blind, shortsighted ignoramus, this pretentious clod, mocks basic research and the international research community. You damn well better believe that there is research going on in animal models — what does she expect, that scientists should mutagenize human mothers and chop up baby brains for this work? — and countries like France and Germany and England and Canada and China and India and others are all respected participants in these efforts.

Yes, scientists work on fruit flies. Some of the most powerful tools in genetics and molecular biology are available in fruit flies, and these are animals that are particularly amenable to experimentation. Molecular genetics has revealed that humans share key molecules, the basic developmental toolkit, with all other animals, thanks to our shared evolutionary heritage (something else the wackaloon from Wasilla denies), and that we can use these other organisms to probe the fundamental mechanisms that underlie core processes in the formation of the nervous system — precisely the phenomena Palin claims are so important.

This is where the Republican party has ended up: supporting an ignorant buffoon who believes in the End Times and speaking in tongues while deriding some of the best and most successful strategies for scientific research. In this next election, we've got to choose between the 21st century rationalism and Dark Age inanity. It ought to be an easy choice.

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Is anyone really surprised?
Pretty much par for the course.

This sort of thing is no longer shocking to me.

Listening to her makes MY BRAIN HURT!

This is where the Republican party has ended up: supporting an ignorant buffoon who believes in the End Times and speaking in tongues while deriding some of the best and most successful strategies for scientific research.

Umm, I think you're also describing Dubya.

What exactly was the research Palin was complaining about? You suggest it was research in molecular genetics using fruit fly models? But wasn't it actually about how to deal with fruit flies as pests to crops?

By benson bear (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

But, but, if humans are related to fruit flies, then why shouldn't we respect them somehow as our relatives - and stop cutting them up to find out things about ourselves?

Seriously, this is a question asked by PETA, and other organizations far above my head. In short, wow, this is a whole lot above all of our heads, if anyone chooses to really think about this. I mean, everything all of us who watch and read this site believe in - if we're all related -each one of us, then none is more important than the other?

Well, perhaps therein lies the problem.

Yeah, I know this is stupid. But is it? Damn, I need to stop thinking so much.

By Bob Vogel (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Unfortunately, I have in-laws who believe this kind of Palen crap. The word 'Harvard' makes them scream 'socialist!'
This is an easy choice, but only for those of us who have left the dark ages behind.

By rickflick (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

*after throwing up slightly*

what an evil person. i think perhaps a large portion of her evil is unintentional, and stems from her appalling ignorance.

Benson, Does it matter?

one leads to medical and other breakthroughs, the other leads to economic development by helping an important industry (agriculture) avoid collapse.

If it was studies in dealing with fruit fly crop predation, isn't that also valuable? Heck, I would expect the average person to have an easier time seeing the value in that than in genetic studies.

By Jimmy Groove (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Well, of course she thinks that humans were created in God's image on the 22nd October 4004 BCE, so obviously doing research on fruit flies is not going to be of any practical use at all. She probably thinks that the research should have been done in Paris, Texas instead of Paris, France too.

By Luger Otter Robinson (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Did she seriously just say that research on Drosophila has 'little or nothing to do with the public good'? As in, THE Drosophila melanogaster, the prime model organism for a vast chunk of genetics, responsible for elucidating some of the basic mechanisms of inheritance?

I don't know how you put up with living in that country, PZ..

I love my country, but this woman is so thunder struck with the stoopid, that it's embarrassing to be an American. Other people can see this. Citizens of Norway and Holland have probably had to resort to wearing diapers during the world news reports, and wrapping their rib cages due to laughing so hard.
Idiot America - it's here. I don't know if I can last another 11 days. My poor old colander is beat all to hell from the *headdesk*ing.

The real problem here, PZ, is that there is not a single person in he U.S., including myself, (and I believe in what you are doing and saying here, hands down :) would ever understand what the term "mutagenize" means. Or even care.

By Bob Vogel (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Well, the good thing is that it appears that Rational America will be defeating Batshit Stupid America this time around.

Also, there was a bit of a Palin bump right after the convention, but it seems to have quickly transformed into Palin Fatigue.

By notthedroids (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Oh no! You all misunderstand! Fruit flies in research is fine! They were specially created by the lord Jesus Christ to help good Christian scientists cure autism (which was caused by The Fall).

The PROBLEM is that US scientists were collaborating with FRENCH people. PARIS FRANCE people!

Quality scientific research doesnt come from PARIS FRANCE!!

No, I am corrected about the purpose of the grant. It was for olive fruit fly research, some of which went to Paris.

By Luger Otter Robinson (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

This hurts.

This woman is possibly the most worthless, disgusting turd that the Republican Party has ever shat into the limelight (at least this far into it).

Obama touts himself as a Christian also. Is he also back woods? Unfortunately, it appears he is choosing to tell you what he thinks you want to hear, what he thinks is needed in order to get elected... instead of really standing up for what he (supposedly) believes in. I don't think he attends church for 20 years and really believes abortion is the right thing to support. You would be better off if Obama actually walked the walk. If he is elected, the Obama supporters I think will be disappointed in the long run as he relies on polls to guide him, instead of actually leading by principles.
-
Jim S.
Jacksonville, FL
http://tentonweb.com/

Voltaire said, "I never made but one prayer to God, and that was to make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it."

At her age and in her country, if she is that ignorant of the real world, it's only because she isn't interested in knowing better.

Basic scientific research in model organisms is a waste of money? GRAAAAAAWWWWWRRRR!! HULK SMASH!

Without basic research in models like the fruit fly, our understanding of biology would be light years behind where it is now. How can she be so ignorant as to call such branches of science "irrelevant?" If the breakthroughs in clinically "relevant" science are a tower of human achievement, then basic research is the foundation on which that tower is built. Clinically "relevant" research doesn't magically appear out of a void....

And did anybody let her in on the fact that fruit flies are MUCH cheaper to study than more "relevant" species like mice and primates? They're also infinitely more tractable, but I'm guessing that concept is too far beyond her.

This is where the Republican party has ended up: supporting an ignorant buffoon who believes in the End Times and speaking in tongues while deriding some of the best and most successful strategies for scientific research.

Palin is an uneducated god-soaked wacko, but there is no evidence she ever did any speaking in tongues. Some members of a church she belonged to spoke in tongues, which is the most idiotic thing I can imagine, but as far as I know Palin isn't that crazy.

I agree that Palin is a wackaloon, and tomorrow I'm mailing in my Florida ballot for Obama.

@Jacksonville Web Design

He is just the lesser of two evils.

#21,

Giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that's not copypasta, this isn't about Christianity. It's about Palin being an anti-science fucktard.

The word 'Harvard' makes them scream 'socialist!'

Uhhh...isn't Harvard pretty much the *opposite* of a socialist enclave? Seems like the local community college would be more "socialist" in the sense having fewer prerequisites to attend and costing far less money.

"Uhhh...isn't Harvard pretty much the *opposite* of a socialist enclave? Seems like the local community college would be more "socialist" in the sense having fewer prerequisites to attend and costing far less money."

It doesn't have to be logical, wingnuts often use "socialist" to mean "Jew".

One wonders: will Palin prevail in detailin'
The follies of funding the fruit-flies in France?
Or will this disclosure expose her composure
Is stunningly stupid--a stultified stance?

The key thing to understand here is that Dr. Palin (I presume she will be getting one from some fundy degree-mill as an honorary award) is fulfilling one of the key roles in Big Science Itself here - as befits her, she is obviously "The Negative Control".

An the overall McCain/Palin effort is, of course "The Negative of Control".

By marc buhler (P… (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Sarah, Pain and Gall

I don't think he attends church for 20 years and really believes abortion is the right thing to support.

How is that?

During the next Poseidon rally/mermaid orgy, I intend to offer some smoked clams in thanks for the Cuttlefish.

Thomas Hunt Morgan was the shit.

On tonight's Countdown, one of the stories was about this speech. Richard Wolffe was on to talk about it. "Keith, I am going to be as restrained and measured as I possibly can about this. But this is the most mindless, ignorant, uninformed comment that we have seen from Governor Palin so far. And there has been a lot of competition for that phrase."

This is nothing that PZ has already said. But this is a non scientist saying it. If you would like to see the whole interview, go the the five minute point of the first segment.

By Janine ID AKA … (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Haven't watched the video (Do I have to? I really have more enjoyable ways to murder a few neurons), but I'll assume there's a personal angle about her youngest kid to this.

So, you stupid shit-for-brains bitch: do you really have no idea that figuring out trisomy-21, and exactly why it has all those effects, and what we might -- just might -- one day be able to do about that in the way of therapy, probably involved a whole lot of basic research on genetics, and regulation, and development, and a lot of that research was basic, undirected, just figuring-it-out stuff, with no idea whether it would ever lead to something useful -- and a whole lot of that was probably done on FUCKING FRUIT FLIES!!!!

Argh, I despair for my species.

In an ideal world, Palin would have an "It's a Wonderful Life" tour with P.Z. Meyers as her guardian angel, showing her how horrible life would be without scientific advances. He would take her on a wondrous tour of a land filled with diseases we've immunized against, a hospital that serves more as hospice than a curative institution, a starving population without the benefit of the Green Revolution, all the way down to trivial things such as textiles. Without industrial chemistry, her thousand-dollar clothes wouldn't be possible.

She would wake up from this terrible dream, and perhaps drop out of the race.

*sigh* if only..
http://jdfettblog.blogspot.com/

I think that an interesting note here is that I believe that the "pet" project she may be referring to was about 200k "earmarked" for Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) for olive fruit fly research.

Olive fruit flies are an invasive species in California, so it would actually make sense to do research in Europe, the natural habitat of the fly, to help understand how to work to reduce the damage caused by the fly in California. So does this really mean that Sarah hates California?

That's it. If one more fucking comment thread includes the words "stupid/dumb...cunt/bitch," I'm going to stop reading anything having to do with women here. What the fuck? Knock it the fuck off.

Palin doesn't want the government spending $200,000 to research the control of olive fruit flies, but she offered $150 for each dead wolf.

I think that an interesting note here is that I believe that the "pet" project she may be referring to was about 200k "earmarked" for Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) for olive fruit fly research.

Olive fruit flies are an invasive species in California, so it would actually make sense to do research in Europe, the natural habitat of the fly, to help understand how to work to reduce the damage caused by the fly in California. So does this really mean that Sarah hates California?

This has to be the best. You have managed to say everything I have been thinking. I do not claim to belong to Menza, but she is not even smart enough to be embarrassed. Thank you for this Mr.P.Z. Myers!

By Cathy Miller (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

That's it. If one more fucking comment thread includes the words "stupid/dumb...cunt/bitch," I'm going to stop reading anything having to do with women here. What the fuck? Knock it the fuck off.

Fine, we'll start calling her a prick, a dick, a son-of-a-bitch, and a motherfucker. Better?

You think that is crazy? I knew this weird wacko leftist elitist named "Fleming," (probably French too) that used to waste much of his time looking at bread mold! What a kook, huh?

Fruit flies. IOW, gay flies - queer faggosexual flies!

And in France of all ungodly places.

Yet so-called scientists defend this perverted use of Americans'! Taxpayer!! Dollars!!!

Won't somebody please think of the children?

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Is it any wonder that so many scientists are endorsing Obama? Between Palin on French Fruit Flies and McCain on Bear DNA (CSI or Paternity?) and projectors, this Republican ticket is clearly an anti-science pair.

Eamon, we aren't all that bad; it's just a political strategy from a party whose wheels are falling off.

The stooopid, it hurts. This lady is just nuts. Time to send her back to Alaska.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Rachel Maddow *just* pwned Palin... (paraphrase) "let's get rid of those earmarks to study fruitflies, and put that money toward studying autism. Like for instance, knowing about [mentions particular protein, I am ignorant, sorry], a causal aspect of autism, which we found out by studying... fruit flies."

I am beginning to see what people see in this Maddow person...

It french fruit flies. Are they studying the genetics of surrender? Now if they were studying a good old real American insect like the American Roach, that would be science I could get behind.

Yes I know the american cockroach is originally from North Africa, but it does not matter. Consider that their real Americans originally come for Europe.

By Thoracantha (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

@#45--

Call her Sarah Palin. Doesn't get any worse than that.

I think you're all being a bit unfair to Ms. Palin. I'm sure she merely meant to imply that public research dollars would be better spent on studies of Caenorhabditis elegans and Danio rerio. PZ, I'm surprised you'd object, particularly to the latter.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Fine, we'll start calling her a prick, a dick, a son-of-a-bitch, and a motherfucker. Better?

Not really. Colorful, gender-neutral insults exist.

She is Mary Mallon - 'Typhoid Mary' - who spread disease everywhere she worked but never acknowledged her own culpability. Palin spreads contagious stupidity, rather than typhoid, but the former is far more dangerous than the latter.

PZ, why do you do these things to me? I've got to go bash my head against the wall until the stupid is gone.

This might sound harsh and barbaric, but I really believe that anti-science folks should be excluded from all the technological advances from science, a.k.a. modern life. They really don't deserve it.

She was for fruit flys to nowhere before she was against them.

#23

"GRAAAAAAWWWWWRRRR!! HULK SMASH!"

Reading this from someone named Kraid was especially funny.

By OctoberMermaid (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

It's fun watching the Menza Pz suck-up crew spring into action.

Not that I would call anyone names or anything.

Poor Sarah hasn't a clue. She would have voted to condemn Galileo, too.

On top of everything else, she's also an apostate and a heretic. At least Catholics have a reason to think so. I'm sure most of them will overlook it so that they can vote for a fellow exponent of the anti-choice position.

I almost feel sorry for Palin. She puts her perky, best foot forward and tries her best, but she's so shallow and dumb it's just embarrassing to watch.

By RamblinDude (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

This is a general phenomenon. The public does not understand the value of basic research (btw, this value far exceeds the benefits to human health and the economy). I can't imagine how to fix this problem. The public wants science to fix all of their problems, so they support research directed at those problems. Scientists want money to pursue their research, so they spin their basic research to sound applied (everything COULD have a practical application). Funding agencies know they are funding basic research with only peripheral relevance to health and societal ills, but when there is a breakthrough or advance from basic research (which is often), it looks to the public like the strategy of funding directed research works. I'd love to see a tally of medical advances that derive from directed medical research in industry compared to those derived from basic research in academia.

Sarah Palin is not just stupid, she's proud of her stupidity. She thinks its cool to be stupid.

"We don't need no science, we got a buttload of Jesus..."

Amazing.

By Patrick L Mercer (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

"Fruit fly research in Paris France. I kid you not!"

She makes it sound like it's outrageous or something? Without even being more specific? Like it's enough to just say "Fruit fly research in Paris France" and people should immediately be outraged? I don't get it...

Could have been worse, like research at a French planetarium.

By Shaden Freud (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Bob Vogel, #7:

But, but, if humans are related to fruit flies, then why shouldn't we respect them somehow as our relatives - and stop cutting them up to find out things about ourselves?

I can't tell if you were serious, but speaking as someone who supports animal welfare, I can answer: no. Nepotism, racism, speciesism, and segmentationism (?) are just different degrees of the same wrong idea. Our obligations toward another being should be determined by its capacity to experience suffering, not its relation to us. That's why some countries protect cephalopods, which are even more distant from us than flies.

By Epistaxis (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Speaking as someone with a cunt, I thoroughly support referring to cunts as cunts, whether it's the orifice or a woman who's proved herself to be no better than an oozing hole that needs to be bitch-slapped and sent back to - well, no. I suppose I wouldn't want something like that in my kitchen. But there's probably somewhere we can stick her.

#60

"Not that I would call anyone names or anything."

Well, I certainly hope not, considering the lack of creativity or thought you put into your comment. You'd bore us to tears.

By OctoberMermaid (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

What do you get when you cross Sarah Palin with a fruit fly?

By artemisia (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

As seen on Kos: http://localtechwire.com/business/local_tech_wire/biotech/story/1809660/

"Now scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have shown that a protein called neurexin is required for these nerve cell connections to form and function correctly.

The discovery, made in Drosophila fruit flies may lead to advances in understanding autism spectrum disorders, as recently, human neurexins have been identified as a genetic risk factor for autism."

OOOOOPS!

Unfortunately, the majority of 'Murkins are scientifically illiterate, so they'll never suss on to the fact that our Dipteran friends have helped us immeasurably. The appeal to Francophobia was just the cherry on top of the stupid sundae.

Alexis Gambis' "A Fruit Fly in New York" was featured in the Imagine Science Film Festival. It is short, but it does a great job at showing Drosophila researchers in a fun, sympathetic light and should be required viewing for high school students:

http://www.vimeo.com/1577547?pg=embed&sec=1577547

Wow, Cuttlefish... internal rhyme scheme, alliteration... your amp obviously goes OVER eleven. I imagine you'd be able to beat Egil Skallagrimsson in an extemporaneous poetry contest!

By Longtime Lurker (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Palin turns out to be a huge net negative for McBush.

1. She isn't qualified to be VP. And Cthulhu forbid probably president after the sick old 72 year old man falls down a flight of stairs.

McCain put his party and this country of 300 million people at serious risk of catastrophe with his stunt. The GOP leadership has been abandoning his campaign in droves, most citing Palin.

2. This called his judgement into question. The verdict is in, he doesn't have any.

Amazingly enough, some of the GOP can put the good of the country ahead of the gutter level politics of ignorance, stupidity, and death wishes. Good for them.

My poor old colander is beat all to hell from the *headdesk*ing.

That is OK. Tinfoil works better anyway.

"...our understanding of biology would be light years behind where it is now" Well.. Do I really need to spell it out?

@ 47 You emphazised the wrong word (Simpson ref.?) It should be "please"

Yes nerd....

To #15: I'm from Norway, and I'm not laughing. The concept that something like sarah palin can become a VP of the United States is probably the most depressing and troublesome thing I've every encountered. Thinking about them winning this election makes me sick. The prospective journey back to ingnorance that may result from this is something I don't want to live through, literally. So no, this doesn't make me laugh, it makes me consider my end.

Colorful, gender-neutral insults exist.

I'm sure being called a pig-ignorant dipshit is much better for a woman's self-esteem than being called a cunt. We wouldn't want to offend someone we're insulting.

This might sound harsh and barbaric, but I really believe that anti-science folks should be excluded from all the technological advances from science, a.k.a. modern life. They really don't deserve it.

She's from Alaska which is about the same thing.

While every first year bio student should understand the importance of Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism (for instance, shedding light on non-mendellian modes of inheritance like sex-linked diseases), I wouldn't fault the general public for not realising the significance.

However, WTF is the deal with politicians not bothering to the most basic of research before opening their mouths? Seriously, how difficult is it to ring or send an email to someone, ANYONE with a science background to ask questions like, "why would an overhead projector cost 3 million?", "or why are biologists so obsessed with fruit flys?".

Next thing they'll be asking why the government is putting millions into research on mustard seedlings (see Arabidopsis thaliana).

"idiot... blind,shortsighted ignoramus... pretentious clod...
ignorant buffoon.
worthless,disgusting turd
anti-science fucktard.

as Pz might say, "Yep, these are my readers"

S.Scott at 9

Actually, by her own definition, she would class both herself and Bush as terrorists, since their goal certainly appears to be to destroy the government from within.

By Your Mighty Overload (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

We should thank her....due to Palin's ignorance...America is getting smarter. Online dictionaries are getting a serious workout.
She makes dumb look stupid....(not even sure what that means)
I despise her. We just finished 8 years of a scientifically bankrupt brain. VOTE!

By Stephanie (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

I'm sure being called a pig-ignorant dipshit is much better for a woman's self-esteem than being called a cunt. We wouldn't want to offend someone we're insulting.

You might think about not wanting to offend others of that person's gender. "Pig-ignorant dipshit" isn't misogynistic. And I really don't care what your gender is - women can make stupid misogynistic comments, too.

Won't somebody please think of the children?

Well, there's the Catholic clergy...

There's another, equally dangerous, facet about her speech being missed here. And that's the assertion that government shouldn't determine how money is spent for children's education/care of special needs children. Leave it up to the parents.

Which has been, for many years, the codespeak for the evangelical right to wedge into the education system and deny science, as well as allow for wackjob alternatives to science based therapies whether or not they are effective. And of course alternative medicine has yet (and probably never will be) shown to be effective. That's the most disturbing part to me.

Thomas Hunt Morgan was the shit.

"GRAAAAAAWWWWWRRRR!! HULK SMASH!"

Reading this from someone named Kraid was especially funny.

So who gets to be Ridley?

#81: You seem to have a hard time with the (deserved) language.. Christian?

"That's it. If one more fucking comment thread includes the words 'stupid/dumb...cunt/bitch,' I'm going to stop reading anything having to do with women here. What the fuck? Knock it the fuck off." - SC

I sympathize. I really do. But really - and you know I'm a cunt about these things - the lion's share of gendered slurs on this site are directed at males. Worse still, they're generally not so metaphorical. Granted, it isn't a contest.

I propose that we apply the Steven Pinker test (actually, it's my test, but inspired by him). A primer for the uninitiated. The test is this: if a word is used in a sense where it's literal meaning is relinquished in favour of a generalized pejorative, we shouldn't enforce its literal meaning onto the intentions of the speaker.

Maybe someone can articulate this better?

We should thank her....due to Palin's ignorance...America is getting smarter. Online dictionaries are getting a serious workout.

Not really. We have run out of adjectives and synonyms for "stupid", "ignorant", and "crazy".

People have started substituting slang terms for human anatomy but it isn't really the same thing. Pointless debates are raging about whether Palin is a "dumb cunt" or a "stupid dickhead". Neither is very accurate in a literal sense.

Those fruit flies were probably gay too... with their own gay agenda. I can just see them preying on poor salt-of-the-Earth, straight fruit flies from small towns. Disgusting. Makes me SICK!

women can make stupid misogynistic comments, too.

Yes, yes we can. Apparently, we can do a lot of things now. Hurray for bitches' rights! So until a man shoves his cock down my throat to shut me up (and considering that I wouldn't even come near myself if I didn't have to..), I'm going to say whatever the hell I please. Particularly if gender is part of what's offendng me.

People have started substituting slang terms for human anatomy but it isn't really the same thing. Pointless debates are raging about whether Palin is a "dumb cunt" or a "stupid dickhead". Neither is very accurate in a literal sense.

Having never encountered a vulva capable of speech, nor obtained reliable secondhand reports of the same, I had already concluded all cunts were dumb.

Penile glanses also seem to be consistently incapable of thought or judgement, though many of their owners would doubtless prefer the synonym "thick."

Yeah, the problem with using misogynistic slurs isn't the harm they cause the target, but with the harm they cause everyone else.

For example, I'll defend even Ann fucking Coulter against being called a cunt or a bitch, because, frankly, it's not in my interest for women with public lives to be denigrated simply for being women, for if no other reason than that *I* could be in that position.

I will call Coulter a moronic mangy shit-filled douchebag of fascist asshole, and any other insults that might come to mind in more creative times, but, yeah....

Shall we call her Dr.Sarah Hovind?

I've been saying for the last 2 months that Sarah Palin is an inexperienced, uneducated and corrupt right wing dimwit. Finally, others are seeing Ms. Palin for what she really is: an inexperienced and corrupt ignorant buffoon!

RE #15
I'm in Australia. Yep I have been laughing my backside off, just a couple of minor issues. 1) Voting should be compulsory like it is here and 2) someone please disable the big red launch button just in case H*LL does freeze over (Mccain wins & has a heart attack from the shock of winning).. I really don't want to get a suntan from nuke going off.

the lion's share of gendered slurs on this site are directed at males

Bullshit. Evidence for this assertion?

Maybe someone can articulate this better?

Well, I certainly hope so, but I somehow doubt there's anything to articulate. Your link, which I skimmed, seemed to be talking about swearing. As should be obvious from what you quoted, I have no problem with this; I'm objecting to misogynisitc insults.

@ 2 The ghost of the Hunt Morgans:

Thank all that is holy. Blessed be maninara!!!

Kentucky is known for something other than ignorance!

Hallelujah!!!

Shadow - You're a pinheaded (likely male) troll.

Falyne@95 - re: "douchebag" - it's tool used for "douching", which literally means showering but is normally understood to mean vaginal irrigation.
It is a misogynistic slur as much as "cunt" is.

By John Morales (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Fine, we'll start calling her a prick, a dick, a son-of-a-bitch, and a motherfucker. Better?

The first two make no sense when used against a woman (except Ann Coulter), and the last two are insults specifically because they insult women. Grow up please.

Falyne@95 - re: "douchebag" - it's tool used for "douching", which literally means showering but is normally understood to mean vaginal irrigation.
It is a misogynistic slur as much as "cunt" is.

No, it isn't. At least not in the, y'know, vernacular. :)

It takes some real hard tryin' to offend me.
Shadow offends me.

That isn't even remotely naughty. It's vulgar.

I missed the part about it being agricultural research. It's not even speculative -- the blow to US olive production (currently worth about $500 million) could be severe unless ways to deal with this particular fly are found.

Actually, I'm just a dumb cunt. Am one and have one, though squid knows you wouldn't know it to look at me seeing as the genetics fairy couldn't be bothered to give me anything decent up top.

#88

"So who gets to be Ridley?"

It'd have to be one of the more tenacious trolls that continues to come back again and again even after being destroyed.

Flames have no effect on you when you hail from Norfair.

By OctoberMermaid (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Behold the spectacle of a bespectacled dingbat on a national ticket, brought to you by GOP and RNC strategists who thought they could sell America the proposition that any regular Mr. or Mrs. Schmoe they primp up can run the country, just because they think themselves so good at promo.

In principle, it should have worked. Just a few months ago this was a "bold and brilliant" move guaranteed to catch fire. It was sheer genius. They bought her the smartest-looking wardrobe and hired the best stylists and make-up artists. The formula worked magnificently time and again before, and all the sweetest ingredients went into this one. And this one is so perky it could kill a horse. No way this couldn't drive people bonkers with excitement! So what happened?

They just neglected a few little details. One is that most real Americans really don't think of themselves in political terms, as consumer buyers in a marketplace, ready to pig-out on whatever candy the producer fashions for them, or ready to absorb propagandistic slurs and hate-mongering jingos like mindless sponges.

Another one is that the hockey mom opens her mouth. Oops.

Lots other pesky little things like that, you betcha.

By Arnosium Upinarum (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

"Bullshit. Evidence for this assertion?" - SC

I offer as proof the content of all previous Pharyngula posts and the comments on those posts (mostly the comments). As a primer, feel free to take a survey of the "Our Queer Future" comments.

"As should be obvious from what you quoted, I have no problem with this; I'm objecting to misogynisitc insults." - SC

Maybe you could articulate the difference between "swearing" and "misogynisitc insults"? Just so we know what we're talking about.

Anti-intellectualism is rather a McCarthy-esque twist, no? It hearkens back to the era of McCarthyism - now McCainism - that seeks to create absolutes out of arbitrary designations.

I'm convinced science became a whipping boy when it refused to jump on the bandwagon, failing to discover a biological test for communism or confirm that socialism gave you cancer or for that matter confirm that Jesus Christ was Lord. What use is science, then? It pokes at our sacred cattle, and this observation gave us the famous absolutist canard of "tampering in God's domain."

It has yet to recover, despite decades of scientific advancement. Science was our hero when US scientists discovered the bomb first. Since then, the major advancements haven't been acknowledged or hailed; instead, God gets the credit for man's ingenuity.

I suppose physical immortality will have to be achieved before science once again is acknowledged as worthwhile. There is a profound misunderstanding and devaluation of people who think beyond the superficial, and we wonder why the United States is falling behind in science?

Theism isn't the problem, really: it is absolutism. Us or Them. With us or against us. Help or Hurt. The First Church of the False Dichotomy.

Looks like "paul fcd" is a dues-paying parishioner.

Others here have sort of noted this, but the gratuitous "in Paris, France" thrown in there is hilarious. I'm not sure how much of this is her stupidity, and how much her cynical assumption of her target audience's stupidity. "Mention the French, that'll get 'em riled up!"

So, let me get this straight, Sarah Palin demands that medical science cure/treat disabled children, but, also derides scientists for spending money to study model animals like fruit flies in other countries?

And how does this pinhead think medical scientists come up with the information they use to devise treatments in the first place? Prayer groups in the labs?

clue to the wailers: the reseach she was criticizing has absolutely nothing to do with investigating molecular mechanisms involved in autism. to shriek that she dare not criticize federal spending on a USDA project that has zero to do with autism based on the fact that a completely different subset of researchers has used fruit flies in an entirely different endeavor to advance our understanding of autism, is just draw-droppingly stupid.
since chimpanzees have also been used as research models for autism, i guess this means that all research funding for chimp vivisection is now beyond criticism.
seriously, that's how idiotic this train of thinking is.

By uggabugga (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

I offer as proof the content of all previous Pharyngula posts and the comments on those posts (mostly the comments).

You'll have to be a bit (really, a lot) more specific. I have no idea what you're talking about. You certainly haven't made your case about any "lion's share."

As a primer, feel free to take a survey of the "Our Queer Future" comments.

I just skimmed through a number of comments on that thread. What gendered slurs are you referring to?

Maybe you could articulate the difference between "swearing" and "misogynisitc insults"? Just so we know what we're talking about.

I think this is obvious to most from my earlier comments. "Shit," "fuck," "fucking," and the like are swears. "Stupid bitch," "dumb cunt," and "stupid twat" are misogynistic slurs. Clear?

"Like it's enough to just say "Fruit fly research in Paris France" and people should immediately be outraged?"

Dog whistle phrases. "Fly research" = research on annoying insects, an obvious waste of money that could be going to bombing brown people or staying in the pocket of Americans so they can buy that jet ski they've always wanted. "Fruit" = crazy, extra insult on top of being fly research. "Paris, France" = overseas, un-American, badbad. "I kid you not" = I will talk as dumb as you because you feel threatened by smarter people.

Jacksonville guy who seems unconcerned about Palin being a backwards idiot:
"Unfortunately, it appears he (Obama) is choosing to tell you what he thinks you want to hear"

A presidential candidate telling me what I want to hear? Keep 'em coming! It's about time a politician tells me what I want to hear, rather than the redneck next door. As far as I'm concered, Obama is a step in the right direction for that alone.

I'm not a fan of Sarah Palin...I have dead houseplants with more capacity to lead than she does, but I feel that this remark isn't a deliberate insult to genetic research, but a product of general ignorance on the subject of biology on the part of the ordinary American.
The kind of people she's talking to, and obviously herself have no IDEA what drosophila is and how research on it has impacted modern genetics. To them, it is as it was put by #118.
I'm not letting her off the hook. She's wallowing in a self-satisfied way in a stupid and ignorant statement which she has obviously put no thought or research into. Shame on her. But the fact that she's deriding this at all is a product of the american educational system and general ignorance.

By scrabcake (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

The most incredibly stupid woman on the planet. I doubt that she can walk and chew gum at the same time.

I guess that's why the christers love her.

Fuck knowledge! Fuck science! Fuck progress! Praise Jeebus!

By waldteufel (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

[quote]I missed the part about it being agricultural research. It's not even speculative -- the blow to US olive production (currently worth about $500 million) could be severe unless ways to deal with this particular fly are found.[/quote]

try $60 million.
http://aic.ucdavis.edu/profiles/Olives_2006.pdf

i don't doubt that this project has [i]some[/i] merit. that so many here insist that a $748,000 earmark is beyond criticism on the basis of this ludicrous autims argument, and/or because 'sarah palin is STOOPID!!!' is pretty sad, though.

By uggabugga (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Good night sweethearts!
I hope someone hacks Shadow while I'm snoozing.

But surely only latte-sipping libruls eat olives. Olives are elitist food, Real Americans live on velveeta and twinkies!

Re cunt: I seriously doubt that any self-respecting woman would refer to a cunt as an "oozing hole". But if Shadow is actually a woman: get help. You shouldn't have to live with such self-hatred. Drugs and therapy are available.

Re douchebag: douching is generally NOT a healthy practice. It wrecks the vaginal flora. Vaginas are not dirty, and do not need special chemical deodorisation. Douchebag is a perfectly fine term of abuse; indicating as it does a useless piece of misogynist paraphernalia.

(Disclaimer: Douching may be useful in certain limited medical situations.)

I always kind of hope someone'll just kill me while I sleep, but no such luck yet. (Yea, yea, I know. I'd do it myself, but I chicken out every time. I suck.)

Actually, Patricia, I will apologize for offending you, because I think you're one of the commenters I usually enjoy reading. One of my buttons got pushed. Which is admittedly no excuse, but like I said, I am a dumb cunt, and once I get started I don't really have an 'off' button. Particularly when there's no one else around who's willing to remind me of exactly how much of one I am. I'm a lot more mellow when that's happening, but the only guy I ever found who could really pull it off eventually dropped me. Not that I blame him.

i don't doubt that this project has [i]some[/i] merit. that so many here insist that a $748,000 earmark is beyond criticism on the basis of this ludicrous autims argument, and/or because 'sarah palin is STOOPID!!!' is pretty sad, though.

I agree 100%. I don't like the way she phrased it though. "Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not." As if it's something that people should automatically be outraged about, without even going into the details. "Fruit fly research in Paris France" could be freakin cancer research for all anybody knows, because that's all she said about it.

To Jim S. In Jacksonville,
This is an article about Sarah Palin, not about Barack Obama. If you would like to defend her intelligence please do so.

Why on earth would one pick an example of the failures of the education system to be VP? How crazy is it to choose as one's leaders, people that are intellectually average or below?

Democracy, ur dune it rong, Republicans.

By JohnnieCanuck, FCD (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

I'm sure I don't have to, but I choose to. I did my time in medically-induced zombie therapy while I was a minor, and I cut and ran as soon as I was legally able. I'm not a danger to anyone - hell, I'm hardly ever even around anyone else - so I don't really see why I should let someone make me into what they think I should be, or pretend I'm something I'm not.

And not all cunts are oozing holes. But some of them, the kind you'd equate with someone you found incredibly repulsive? Yea.

@15, Yeah, I would be laughing if it wasn't so scary. I reminds me a lot of when Bush got all bent out of shape over a smallish grant to study some cave worm in Kentucky. These kinds of people are so happy to have no clue.

By Dutchgirl (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

She said "study fruit flies in paris" Maybe it was a study on the fruit flies infesting the gaping hole inside paris hilton's crotch. It is possible that there can be research on fruit flies that is, pardon the pun, fruitless. Unless the author knows for sure what study she is referring to, and that it was something that could yield sold results then he should STFU or look just as ignorant as Palin.

By Nameless Ho (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

So I guess that means she wants researchers experimenting on human infants.

Her and her running mate might not agree on much, but they both seem to share a hatred of science and science education.

I better end this before I start swearing...

Turns out she is talking about fruit fly research in france to help an infestation in olive farms. This isn't bio-molecular genetic research to better the human condition ... it's farming research being paid for by your tax dollars to help the private olive farming industry.

HAHAHAHAHA to the "science blogger" who didn't do enough basic research before opening his mouth.... MASSIVE FUCKING FAIL!!!

By You suck PZ (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

#133 nails it.
PZ randomly ejaculated all over himself on this one.

By uggabugga (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

This isn't bio-molecular genetic research to better the human condition ... it's farming research being paid for by your tax dollars to help the private olive farming industry.

Can't the research do both?

Wow, people actually site there and type HAHAHAHAHA? You imbeciles, why don't you bugger off back to Vox Day's site where you can bow before your mighty overlord and his super hairstyle? Of course research into a fruit fly infestation can benefit humanity. Even a total non-scientist should be able to see that research is research, and some of the greatest discoveries in history have been serendipitous. Or at least, an educated person would know that.

And Americans who aspire to lead the Free World can, in 2008, refer to 'Paris, France'? There is the authentic voice of ignorant isolationism. The sort of American who can see a picture of the Eiffel Tower on the movie screen, and still needs a subtitle to explain where they're looking at.

Turns out she is talking about fruit fly research in france to help an infestation in olive farms. This isn't bio-molecular genetic research to better the human condition ... it's farming research being paid for by your tax dollars to help the private olive farming industry.

And since the only bit of that she mentioned is that it's fruit fly research in France, your point is?

Nobody said you can't criticize this particular research project in a reasonable way. Sarah Palin's criticism, however, is stupid.

By Anton Mates (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

So, the governor of *Alaska* is complaining because California got some pork? As the French say, it is to laugh.

When you mendacious trolls -- yes, you, uggabugga, and you 'you suck PZ' -- heard what Palin said, did you run to *look up* just which grant she was referring to? No, you betcha you didn't. Like her the rest of her ignorant yahoo base, you simply heard the words 'fruit fly' and 'France' and let out a whoop of mindless derision...*exactly* the knee-jerk emotional response she was looking for. Otherwise she would have actually, you know, *explained* about the olive farming industry thing...and distinguished it from fruit fly research that's actually pretty fucking important in the scientific scheme of things...but that might have confused her followers ("Wait, you mean we SHOULDN'T automatically point and laugh when you tell use that some of our taxes go to research on fruit flies?" )

You braying creeps should just admit that PZ spooked you, and you scurried to the nearest rightwing talking-points outlet in your ongoing desperation to spin Palin's latest transparent pandering to the booboisie as something *respectable*.

By Steven Sullivan (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Sorry, BobVogel @ 16, but many of us in countries which still have education can cope with the word mutagenize - or mutagenise.

Either, on a science blog for fuck's sake, we already know it or we can work out the probable meaning from the elements of the word and then check it in a dictionary - as I just did. It was quite painless and took but a few seconds.

And if the research involved the generation of a mutation that caused a certain, say the second, letter of the alphabet to appear in the fly's ommatadia......

How would the Empress of the Stoopid feel about that?

Especially if it was capitalized.

The letter I mean.

Huh?

.

As has already been pointed out, research in how to control a pest of what is both a major cash crop and a significant source of nutrition is beneficial both to "the human condition" generally and the economy specifically.

But fine, list some types of research you would consider important.

fruit flies or not, she's pretty darn dumb and dangerous. she's happy to shoot wild animals and stop making sanctuaries to protect wildlife in alaska, she'd rather convert them into happy oil drilling platforms, snowmobile racegrounds for her husband todd, or kill animals for sport and convert the rest of the liberal ladies into hockey moms with a hundred million dollar in makeup expenses - when given a chance.

By ashok pai (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

For those who doubt Palin ever spoke in tongues, please remember she is a member of an Assembly of God church. If she's been touched by the spirit, which is basically the rite of passage for being a full-fledged member, she's spoken in tongues. Adult true believers in pentecostal churches who have NOT spoken in tongues are the exception, not the rule.

I caught part of her speech on CNN. The contradictions are astounding -- she wants more research into disabilities, but less money spent on science. Are her speech writers really that stupid? And how crashingly ignorant is she to parrot those lines?

Here's hoping that 12 days from now she's back in Alaska cursing the RNC for saddling her with a $150K tax liability and a dead political career.

please cross post this, or something similar, over at huffington.

Please note: SC is an obvious troll, and anyone who's responding to her is obvious trollbait. 2/10.

As for the video, it's just amazing, but if I were religious and already voting for Obama, I'd be thanking whatever god I believed in that Palin is the VP. She has single handedly lost the election for the Rethuglicans.

So Thank you. Thank you Sarah Palin, you guaranteed Obama's rise to power.

I'd be very surprised if PETA has questioned fruit fly research, despite Bob Vogel's claim.

Can you back that up with references, Bob?

Why is she trying to gain support among the illiterate and the ignorant? And why does she want early detection tools but not science? How does she imagine witch doctors make early diagnoses of disorders, perhaps with prayers, crystals and clairvoyance?

That there is more than three people who can support this whimsical buffoon is astonishing and not just a little frightening.

By Sleeping at th… (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

What many posters don't seem to realize is that Sarah is not only ignorant herself, but she's so appallingly ignorant that she's appointed a flock of nitwits, incompetents, dropouts and religious fanatics to most government posts in Alaska. It's inconvenient to belive in anthropogenic global warming, so she dismisses the theory as easily as she would dismiss an unbelieving picket outside her church.

Sarah appointed an old high school buddy who worked in a burger and ice cream shop with her as the Commissioner of Corrections. She and he decimated the ranks of correctional officers, rapidly creating an unsafe and unhealthy environment. The fairly conservative guards then held a vote of no-confidence in the Commissioner, him losing 514-19. Her response? "Two hundred didn't vote."

This story is worth a look: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-palinrecords24-200…

Sarah is not fazed by nuclear destruction nor environmental collapse. Like James Watt, Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, she believes the "Rapture" is just around the corner and the faithful will be carried up to heaven while the rest of us fry. No point in saving anything, as it will all be quickly gone.

Don't be fooled by the lady...

She's mom to a retarded child. So in the eyes of her followers she's speaking for all the mom's and pop's who decided to bear a defective child into this world.

And you know what will come next, the question: couldn't she just had an abortion? And therefore she will be linking the evil atheist fly scientists with current conception practices and ABORTION...

The amazing thing is that she heard enough about genetic research to know about the fruit fly, but not enough to realize its importance. Her problem is far worse than mere ignorance. Ignorance in an intelligent and curious person can be readily corrected by *gasp* reading wikipedia at the very least. For example, I haven't got the foggiest idea about horticulture but if I had to talk about it to another human being I could bone up on the principals point of consideration within the hour. Her problem is a complete lack of intellectual curiosity and a complete lack of respect for facts and logic. Like they say, you can't fix stupid (and I'll add - laziness).

But it really isn't so difficult to find an intellectual lightweight like Palin in America. The issue is, what was McCain smoking when he picked her from the applecart? This man, who is now 72, picks a moron for VP, and puts the whole country at high risk of an idiocracy that would make Bush's look like the rule of philosopher kings by comparison. If that's what he terms putting his country first, I have a bridge to nowhere I'd like him to cross.

Here is a song entitled "Gun". Its food for thought for Sarah Palin and her like in the gun lobby group. If you enjoy this please feel free to post to your friends. (PS: its only for open minded adults who can laugh at themselves!)

Click the link below and you can stream or download the selected music.

Thanks in advance,

Kim Imber

http://www.broadjam.com/transmit/index.php?txygnbz=12631&chkldsxv1=1768…

Using sex organs as insults is just lazy.

The best insults are more creative.

Bat-shit Crazy never gets old

Butt-munching Tweed-weasel I made that up to describe Creationists pretending to be scientists.

Witless window-licking clown car from Capitol Dan

back kneed godsucking scuttle puppy for the religulous

Wanking chest puddle code for Jerk-off, or Jag-off, or Jack-off, depending upon where you're from.

Flame Retardant Gas Bag I can come up with these all day.

Transitional Species a pedantic insult that might be taken as a compliment by a knuckle-dragger

Mouth-breathing Knuckle Dragger

Pus Bucket
Ass Clown
Ass Hat
fucktard
phlegm rat
fence post child
hairBag
hammerhead
stop light

etc

Falyne @ 95 : I'll defend even Ann fucking Coulter against being called a cunt or a bitch, because, frankly, it's not in my interest for women with public lives to be denigrated simply for being women

Maher got a good one off on Coulter last week while describing Joe the Plumber, "A confused right wing loud-mouth whose plumbing credentials are in question. He's Ann Coulter !!"

OK. That's it! Adopt a fruit fly. Don't bother trying to adopt those on welfare. They don't want it. Try for the newly born fruit flies. They live longer and make better pets. Oops! Sorry PETA! Export those illegal alien fruit flies to back where they came from. If you raise a smart one, send it to Harvard and points beyond. Geeeezzzz! This could go on forever.

This idiot woman, this blind, shortsighted ignoramus, this pretentious clod

Oh go on, tell us how you really feel.

You damn well better believe that there is research going on in animal models -- what does she expect, that scientists should mutagenize human mothers and chop up baby brains for this work?

I think that's a perfectly valid idea actually. You could start with fucking Wasilla, Alaska nobody's going to miss that shithole, or any of the backwater, inbred, retards who live there, although finding a human analog in that genetic garbage is probably somewhat difficult. In fact you could probably round up all the Jesus freaks (unlike death row prisoners, it's not like they have anything to live for, I mean their greatest desire is to die and go to heaven!) and subject them to horrible experiments that would make Josef Mengele squirm.

By FlameDuck (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Turns out she is talking about fruit fly research in france to help an infestation in olive farms. This isn't bio-molecular genetic research to better the human condition ... it's farming research being paid for by your tax dollars to help the private olive farming industry

Right, thanks - tax cuts for the benefit of private industry GOOD, research on topics that may benefit private industry BAD. I need to write all of this shit down, or come up with some kind of mnemonic, 'cause I'm slightly dumb and find it hard to remember things with very little internal consistency to them.

Don't diss agricultural research too loudly, either. We've grown rather than conjured our food out of thin air by way of spouting bullshit political denunciations for quite a while, now, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

By James Haight (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Re #70 "What do you get when you cross Sarah Palin with a fruitfly?"

Improvement.

Ah well, I'm French, I live in Spain, I get Fox News via satellite, the amount of European bashing (ans especially French) that's being broadcasted on that channel right now is quite impressive !
Every piece of news seems to be an opportunity for a particular brand of Americans to hit on us. I kid you not, I'm listening and I hear it all day long on America's favorite news channel.
Whether it's references to socialist Europe, the welfare state, government control, anti-americanism, whatever, it seems this economic crisis is having the opposite effect on these people you'd expect.
Instead of reversing American exceptionalist ideas in the psyche of these people, it seems this crisis is exacerbating them.
I know this is not representative of the majority of Americans. Maybe 45% only. The same people who are going to vote for McCain, the same who don't believe in Evolution, the same Christian fundamentalists.
But it is a worrying trend that there is so much polarization in the USA between two Americas, a blue one which looks to a future which looks very much in convergence with the way Europeans look to the future, a more balanced role between govt regulation and economic freedom, and that wishes for rapid secularization . A red one which seems to be focussed on ideals of American exceptionalism, libertarianism and wouldn't mind if the USA became a theocracy.

If the trend continues, I think Americans will have no choice in the future than to reconsider the fundamental idea of the Union. I sincerely doubt this will hold the USA together for the next quarter of century.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Thus spake Jake:

SC is an obvious troll

That must be why she's been nominated for a Molly many times over the last several months.
On the particular point, I half agree with SC: I abjure words like "cunt", but I find it useful when another person uses them, since it tells me something about him/her.

LOL, Ignorant is a MAJOR understatement. McBush and Plain are no doubt two peas in a pod.

Jiff
www.anonymity.pro.tc

By Jiff mAson (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

A red one which seems to be focussed on ideals of American exceptionalism, libertarianism and wouldn't mind if the USA became a theocracy.

This is an incredibly confused and self-contradictory statement. Libertarianism is antithetical to theocracy. Those of us who identify as libertarian oppose government regulation both in the economic and in the social sphere.

Of course, it is perfectly possible (though, IMO, philosophically incoherent) to be simultaneously socially theocratic and economically libertarian. But I don't think this describes the American religious right. Rather, they are not "libertarian" in any sense. They support big business solely because big business donates to their campaigns, and because they instinctively want to preserve the status quo. They aren't actually all that interested in the free market (the interests of the biggest corporations are not the same as, and are for the most part antithetical to, the interests of a free market, as anyone familiar with The Wealth of Nations will realise). They might support free trade or lower taxes when politically convenient; but they're happy to maintain wasteful pork-barrel policies (Bridge to Nowhere, anyone?), borrow-and-spend funded by an ever-increasing public debt, and even protectionism when big industry calls for it.

So don't conflate libertarians with the American right. We libertarians believe in a society based on freedom from force and coercion; in which the person and property of individuals is protected, and people are free to enter into voluntary commercial transactions for mutual benefit. We believe in free trade and small, limited government - and we support this consistently, not just when it's politically convenient. Nothing could be more antithetical to libertarianism than theocracy.

"What do you get when you cross Sarah Palin with a fruit fly?"

Same thing anyone else gets for crossing Sarah Palin: harassed, fired and shot from helicopters.

France is the the symbol of all that they hate :

1. secular govt and more than 50% non believers
2. a mixed economy (some chunks dominated by captilatistic free markets, others socialism) and stronger govt regulations
3. opposition to Americans in the Iraq war and de Gaulle's attitude towards Nato in the past

Let's see what comes out of this G20 meeting next month in Washington. Sarkozy and Europe will be pushing for a complete overhaul of global trade and financial regulations, China and Japan have not yet clarified what position they will take, clearly, they don't want to take position before hearng what the new president elect wants to do (Bush already stated he wants to maintain the current basis for free trade and financial regulation, no surprise here).

So the key question is, what will President elect Obama do ? Will he move in the European's direction and actually take the leading role in this process (in the same way as Roosevelt did after the war) ?

This will be the first big test for Obama (if he is elected, which does seem very likely).

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

When I was looking at the news/commentary site 'Crikey.com' just a while ago, on the way to an article I saw the words "Sarah Palin for President, 2012" flash past. I couldn't find it when I went back though. Maybe that's what those Mayan prophecies about the world ending in 2012 are about. ;)

By Katkinkate (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Dear Mr Pharyngula,

Re: "...and countries like France and Germany and England and Canada..."

Can you stop referring to the United Kingdom as "England" when you mean the United Kingdom please?

If you mean England then say England, if you mean the United Kingdom then say United Kingdom, but please stop insulting your Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish readers by ignoring them.

By Edward Longshanks (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Walton,

Nothing could be more antithetical to libertarianism than theocracy.

the ideals of libertarianism are self contradictory. It's completely unstable and yields necessarily to corporatism.

Libertarianism is the philosophical vehicle that will drive America, if it succeeds, towards a corporatist theocratic form of govt.
In Europe, we just call it facism.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

What he was smoking when he picked her ...

... or where he was looking?

Remember he has a thing for ex-beauty-pageant types.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RN5xbWtNSU

I'm not so sure people in Holland will be laughing that hard at her, though, #15.

http://flood.firetree.net/?ll=53.5077,5.1965&z=10&m=2&t=2

Cause for concern, isn't it?

How about "vile, repugnant, disgusting, incompetent, arrogant, egotistical, nepotistic, treacherous, dishonest, manipulative, slimy, theocratic, worthless, psychotic piece of rancid shit pandering to lunatics, fascists, plutocrats, and unmitigated scum, with the constant support of schoolyard bullies, hypocrits, liars and anti-intellectual slime-buckets at faux gnus" as a description? Is that sufficiently gender-neutral?

RE #159

Re #70 "What do you get when you cross Sarah Palin with a fruitfly?"

"Improvement."

For Palin maybe, but what about the poor fruit flies?

What do you get when you cross Sarah Palin with a fruitfly? - artemesia

A cognitively challenged fruitfly.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Walton,

Of course, it is perfectly possible (though, IMO, philosophically incoherent) to be simultaneously socially theocratic and economically libertarian. But I don't think this describes the American religious right. Rather, they are not "libertarian" in any sense. They support big business solely because big business donates to their campaigns, and because they instinctively want to preserve the status quo.

This just shows your complete naïvity. The religious right is pushing for far reduced govt (except for police and defense), even with education. Their ideals are profoundly libertarian. The fact that in practice this yields to a corporatist state is just a necessary consequence of extreme libertarianism, as seen in Chile, Spain, Italy...etc
And religion works perfectly well with libertarianism, it helps to define the absolute parameters of that illusion of freedom the libertarians are striving for and never obtain.

You really are sooooo naïve, it's unbelievable.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Have to agree with SC about misogynistic insults. Although I don't use "prick", "dick" etc. either, it's disingenuous to pretend these have the same role in maintaining gender inequality as "bitch" or "cunt" aimed at women.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Ron White did some research using fruit flies about a year ago, and he concluded "you can't fix stupid."

The religious right is pushing for far reduced govt (except for police and defense), even with education. Their ideals are profoundly libertarian. The fact that in practice this yields to a corporatist state is just a necessary consequence of extreme libertarianism, as seen in Chile, Spain, Italy...etc

I respectfully disagree. Last night I attended a talk by economist David Friedman in which he discussed the causes and consequences of market failure. Any sensible economist must concede that the free market often produces imperfect results, because of the problems of externalities and public goods (the "tragedy of the commons" which we discussed on another thread). Classic examples, of course, are air pollution and fish stocks; it is in the interest of each player in the market to pollute as much as they can get away with, or fish as much as they can get away with, and in the long run this leads to depletion of resources. Friedman does not deny this.

Rather, he points out that exactly the same considerations apply to governmental decision-making in a democratic state. Take farm subsidies and tariffs, for instance; they promote the interests of the few at the expense of the many, driving up prices and impoverishing producers in the Third World. But because Western farmers are a small and well-organised group, and have a great deal to lose economically from any reduction in subsidies, they act in their own rational self-interest in lobbying hard for the retention of subsidies. In contrast, the average taxpayer - to whom farm subsidies cost relatively little, in comparison to other areas of public spending - has no incentive to lobby for their abolition. Hence we get iniquitous policies which benefit a small group of special interests at the expense of the majority of the people - because "market failure", as Friedman defines it, applies to government decision-making as well as that in the free market.

I realise this may seem irrelevant; but it isn't. I'm trying to make the point that while markets often produce bad results, because individual self-interest does not always correspond with the long-term best interests of the group, exactly the same considerations apply to government regulation. Once you give government the power to intervene in the economy, and to work for or against the interests of particular economic groups, then various groups will lobby to get policies which act in their interest - even where this runs contrary to the public interest. And this is the root of the problem; this is what produces the corporatist state. As Adam Smith explained so long ago, all traders would like to be monopolists; and if they have a chance to influence the political process, then it will inevitably be influenced in favour of the few against the interests of the many, simply because the few have more at stake. So the only answer is to limit government so much, and to have so little intervention in the market, that corporations cannot use the power of the state for self-aggrandisement.

Libertarianism is not perfect. It does not purport to be. We don't claim that free markets produce the perfect result, since that is both logically and empirically untrue. Nor do we subscribe to the ludicrous Randian view of capitalists as noble heroes, or pretend that what's good for business is always good for society. Rather, we claim that government intervention produces worse results, and therefore that it should be kept to a minimum.

"Stupid bitch," "dumb cunt," and "stupid twat" are misogynistic slurs. Clear?

I'm going to side with SC here.
Racist slurs towards Obama such as "Stupid nigger" or "dumb black ass" would rightfully provoke some very strong rejection on this blog, and we should treat misogynistic ones towards Palin exactly the same way.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Racist slurs towards Obama such as "Stupid n***r" or "dumb black ass" would rightfully provoke some very strong rejection on this blog, and we should treat misogynistic ones towards Palin exactly the same way.

I concur absolutely.

I want to make a challenge to those fundagelicals who believe so fervently that their jeebus will carry McCain into the presidency:

Don't vote.

Seriously, don't vote. Gawsh will make those eeevil Dems lose, as long as you have faith enough. By voting, you are showing gawd that you do not, in fact, have faith in him, and that will make baby jeebus cry.

So, just stay at church on November 4th, and leave it in the hand of your particular magic sky zombie.

What we're witnessing with Palin and her ilk is similar to a new sect of Amish evolve. Their sparse cognitors fall off an imaginary cliff when asked to parse anything other than indoctrinated rhetoric.

Additionally, when compared to Palin, fruit flys are much more evolved and observably show a higher level of intelligence and altruism. To wit; fruit flys appear willing to sacrifice their lives for science - not superstitions.

By Rick Schauer (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

In the world of internet design and development...if she were to make this comment in a design meeting, the rest of us would just look at each other...shake our heads and then one of us would mutter..."404" ( = page not found)

And the rest would laugh our asses off.

By steverino (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

In Europe, we just call it facism.

I'm not sure I agree with your definition of fascism. Dave Neiwert writes about it here, part of a series in which he compares and contrasts it to the modern American conservative movement.

Walton,

Adam Smith explained so long ago, all traders would like to be monopolists; and if they have a chance to influence the political process, then it will inevitably be influenced in favour of the few against the interests of the many, simply because the few have more at stake. So the only answer is to limit government so much, and to have so little intervention in the market, that corporations cannot use the power of the state for self-aggrandisement.

You're writing this and you don't even seem to see the obvious contradiction.
If all traders want to be monpolists, no regulation and no govt intervention will necessarily drive to corporatism.

Isn't that fucking obvious ?

Actually, most of the lobbying has been done by corporations in order to RESIST stronger regulations, not to ASK FOR favorable regulations. That's how they strive and become more powerful. They don't strive to use the power of the state, but to minimize it for self-agrangisement. This has been valid accross all industries, be it banking and finance, tobacco, heavy metal, energy, pharmaceuticals, distribution, etc...

You really have absolutely no idea of what you are talking.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Did anyone honestly expect more from a woman who holds nothing more than a bachelor's degree in Communications-journalism and everything that she has ever accomplished as governor of Alaska has revolved around her husband's business.
Read her biography.
Outside of hunting, fishing, running, being a wife and a mother, and listening to her husband, this woman knows nothing.
What will her story be when the results of continued fruit fly research one day come up with medical breakthroughs in treatments for children born with Down syndrome. Will she then be able to explain why she was so against this research to Trig?
Her ignorance is dangerous.

Are they dog-whistling to anyone in particular by picking scientific research (bear DNA, fruit-flies) and education (planetarium projectors) when they want to talk about "waste"?

Even most anti-science people don't THINK they are anti-science, right? That's why creationists and homoeopaths always crave "scienciness" with journals and such and footnotes and such. So who is it that heres "Bear DNA? That sounds like SCIENCE! I'm against that!". (Assuming McFailin already have Ben Stein's vote in the bag

What a dumb, dumb, idiot of a woman. Unfortunately, most of my family is voting for McCain and Palin and they just can't seem to understand why my husband and I are voting for Obama and Biden. I finally had to make a video and post it on facebook and YouTube so I could explain it to them, sorta in person (since I can't make the hike back to Louisiana before the election). It makes me sad to think that our families don't seem to care that they could really make life difficult for my husband and I in the next four years. They all have pretty secure jobs, while we are still grad students and will have to look for post-doc positions. If we think NSF funding is bad now, just wait if McCain and Palin are elected into office (which I hope is not the case). Maybe part of the problem is that most Americans don't understand why basic research is done in the first place. I know my family doesn't get why I want to study fish pharyngeal jaws all day. My 83 year old grandfather wants to know why I don't study HIV, and my dad wanted to know if I could find a fish model for autism. I really am scared for my future if those two science hating idiots are elected into office.

Lobbyists need to be shot. Problem solved!

The free market requires government intervention, to prevent monopolies and cartels.

Competition arises from consumer freedom. Allowing consumers to mix and match between supplies increases competition. Thus, there are a number of existing businesses which it would be beneficial to break up. AMD recently separated its fabs and design: forcing Intel to do the same would be a good thing, as then consumers could potentially have the best designed chip fabbed on the best process. Don't get me started on Microsoft ;)

Of course as a creationist she *cannot* possibly understand how fruit fly research is meaningful for biomedical research - if god has made the world, every thing is different, no way he would have re-used his precious ideas in different creatures ;-). Well, evolution,i.e. shared heritage is the reason that molecular controls and pathways are conserved, which is th only reason why Drosophila is a suitable model system for solving biomedical problems affecting vertebrates and humans alike. She is an entirely consistent lunatic. If such ignorance rules the White House America's scientific leadership will be gone for good. Kiddies, let's go back to praying for Santa Claus. Let's go back into the caves (well , they wouldn't be very conducive to the education of special needs children...). Abhorrent lack of judgement. I hope the American public will recognize that this babe is not of a mettle that should guide them into the future.

By G Koentges (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Palin/McSain are both distructive and we are heading down a dark road regardless... What ever happened to self reliance, the idea of Freedom and more importantly the Constitution? The founders and fighters of this country would be disgusted by what we are putting up with. The very reason many of them died was to give us Liberty and a document that told us how to prevent tyranny. Yet, the people the Constitution was designed to protect are choosing to listen to the media propaganda and say "its outdated and irrelavant". We are choosing more government control with big government represented by Both partys. Don't be fooled here, neither party is for the people. They are for big money and big bankers. Read your history... Please!!! Start by going to Youtube and searching for "America: Freedom to Fascism." I think people know in their gut that things aren't right with both parties, but feel they have no choice. We do have a choice and it's up to us to get educated and organized.

I have to support SC here. As PZ shows (and wants us to follow) it's entirely possible to use insults that aren't sexist at the same time.

By student_b (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

What she said is not so crazy. Scarce scientific research funds should be allocated on merit--based on peer review of competing proposals. Apply for grants, make a scientific case, receive your grant. That's how it should work. Was this an earmark that went directly to the researcher or research team, or was it to some state agenecy that then invited grant proposals? If its the former, she has a point.

amk,

there's nothing I disagree with in that article.

The 5 key elements are IMHO the following :

1. "Even the Nazis and the Fascists of Italy used a lot of tactics before assuming power, which is why fascism presents such a protean, serpentine aspect -- that's key to understanding them."

2. "Fascism is a poisonous ideology that grows and adapts to its circumstances -- Eurofascism reflected European vices; American fascism is similarly home-brewed. Therein lies the challenge in identifying it and combating it. Fascism always wraps itself in the flag, always seeks absolute power, always brands opponents as traitors, always relies heavily on propaganda for dissemination of its ideas, always invokes subversive enemies (at home and abroad), always embraces militarism and permanent war, always favors politicizing of police functions (and expanding them and the surveillance state), always scorns intellectuals, artists, and bourgeois democratic values, always is hostile to leftist and labor movements, and is obsessed with idealized images of a mythic "better time" of the past (while at the same time destroying that past, and the nation as a whole)."

3. "In a historical sense, fascism is maybe best understood as an extreme reaction against socialism and communism; in its early years it was essentially defined as "extremist anti-communism."

4. "Each national variant of fascism draws its legitimacy, as we shall see, not from some universal scripture but from what it considers the most authentic elements of its own community identity. Religion, for example, would certainly play a much larger role in an authentic fascism in the United States than in the first European fascisms, which were pagan for contingent historical reasons."

5. "It was explicitly anti-democratic, anti-liberal, and corporatist"

When I say that libertarianism will be the vehicle for a facist theocratic state, that doesn't mean that phase 1 is going to be a facist theocratic state. That will be the way they try to get hold of power, but if they succeed in doing so, as libertarianism automatically gives way to corporatism, the state will transform itself gradually into a facist theocratic one.

Destruction of democratic Govt is first necessary for the corporatist theocratic state to come to the rescue.

The only reason why it didn't happen under Bush, is that he wasn't yet Libertarian enough. If you just wait for the next one, he won't make that mistake.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

If all traders want to be monpolists, no regulation and no govt intervention will necessarily drive to corporatism.

Isn't that fucking obvious ?

No. Because they can't. As long as there is a free market, they can always be undercut by someone offering better value to the consumer.

The biggest monopolies are formed in industries with a great deal of state intervention and regulation. You cite Microsoft, but Microsoft is far from being a monopoly; last time I checked, the Apple Mac was not dead. Microsoft is ubiquitous among most computer users because its products are better; and that is competition at work.

In contrast, if you look at those corporations which have been constantly embroiled in controversy and shady practices - defence contractors like Halliburton or BAE Systems, banks and financial institutions, big pharmaceutical companies, etc. - these are the corporations which work in industries with a great deal of government involvement and regulation. Simply put, it is not easy to set up a competing business in any of these industries. You can't just decide to set up a bank like you can a supermarket. Likewise, with pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers are highly regulated and need FDA/equivalent approval to make and market their products; this makes it harder for competitors to break into the market. (And in most countries, the US excepted, the national government is also the major buyer of pharmaceuticals.) And with defence contractors, government tends to award the contracts to large companies which are part of the "iron triangle" and are experienced at lobbying politicians and bureaucrats.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not asserting that we should abolish all regulation in the pharmaceutical or defence industries. But I'm pointing out that the big, exploitative quasi-monopolists all exist in industries where government intervenes, making it harder and more expensive for the little guy to break into the market.
So the answer to problems in industry cannot be more regulation.

Especially since, as I keep pointing out, banking is one of the most regulated of all industries. Let's compare it with other industries. Strangely enough, industries like, say, the supermarket trade seem to work fine with minimal government regulation. In contrast, it is those industries where we have the most regulation - pharmaceuticals, healthcare, defence, banking, energy - where there are the greatest number of corrupt quasi-monopolists, and the greatest number of corporate scandals.

(My apologies: it was amk and not negentropyeater who mentioned Microsoft.)

The frightning aspect of this is that the last person that ran for national election who was so misinformed and so ill-spoken, actually won. At least it was not by a popular vote, so I hold onto a little hope that most Americans are not totally stupid.

Obligatory Simpsons quote:

"Oh, I'm paralyzed, I just hope medical science can cure me!"
-- Moe, part of a Science-destroying mob, "Lisa the Skeptic" (http://www.snpp.com/episodes/5F05)

David Sedaris on undecided voters:

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. "Can I interest you in the chicken?" she asks. "Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?"

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2008/10/27/081027sh_shouts_sedaris

By CalGeorge (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

@heddle:

You would be right if she had argued all this. But just stating "fruit fly reasearch" as if this in itself is obviously absurd shows that (even if we assume - in dubio pro reo - that she knew all about the case) she tries to appeal to the stupidity of people. So either she's clueless or dishonest. It's on a very similar level to McCains overhead projector - either he really did not know what it was or he, despite his better knowledge, stated it the way to make it sound ridiculous.

Negentropyeater at #193: I hardly know where to begin in criticising your assertions, and those in the article that amk cited.

Fascism is centred around authoritarian nationalism. For a fascist, the most important thing is not the interests of the individual, but the aggrandisement of the nation-state. This was reflected in the economic policies of Hitler and Mussolini, which were largely Keynesian and statist. While they left large corporations (such as Krupps) in place, largely due to political convenience, they did maintain tight control over the economy through quotas and tariffs. One of their major economic goals was autarky - economic self-sufficiency. In other words, like every other aspect of fascism, fascist economics was informed by ultra-nationalism and by worship of the State.

In contrast, we libertarians are implacably opposed to economic nationalism. Subsidies, tariffs and quotas should be torn down. There should be free movement of capital, goods and (as far as practicably possible) labour across national boundaries. Global capitalism is inherently an anti-nationalist force; as the whole world becomes more connected, both economically and culturally, the power of governments will be reduced, and thus so will the probability of war between nations. We look for a free-trading world in which nationalism is broken down, and individuals the world over are free to engage in mutually beneficial economic exchange.

The closest thing to true fascism in the world today is the Juche ideology of North Korea. This combines socialism and nationalism; their economic policies are based on the policy of "Military First", and on national self-sufficiency and economic independence from the rest of the world. It doesn't matter to them that their people are impoverished, both economically and culturally, by their rabid statist isolationism; the aggrandisement of the state is, to them, of greater importance than individual prosperity.

The other modern trend that I would compare to fascism is the Bolivarian ideology of Chavez and Morales in Latin America. This combines Latin American nationalism, socialist economic policies, and irrational hostility to America and the West; and, once again, they are willing to pursue economic isolationism, impoverishing their people in the process, for the aggrandisement of the nation-state.

I am not going to make the simplistic assertion that, because Hitler's ideology termed itself "national socialism", fascism is ipso facto a form of socialism. It has nothing to do with Marxian socialism, because Marxian socialism is internationalist, whereas fascism centres on the nation-state. But, for the reasons I have outlined, to compare libertarianism to fascism is wrong-headed and frankly insane.

Microsoft is ubiquitous among most computer users because its products are better

Lulz. You're not in the IT sector then?

MS is ubiquitous because MS is ubiquitous. You're a user and need to be compatible with everyone else? Then you use what everyone else uses. You're a developer who wants to sell to the most customers? Then you target the largest installed platform. You're a user who wants the broadest choice of applications? Then you buy into the largest installed platform.

MS got where it is using a simple clone of CP/M. It rode the back of IBM's marketing and Lotus 1-2-3. It had nothing to do with technical merit. Since then there have been many platforms with more technical merit than MS at that point in time (OS/2 (Warp), Acorn, MacOS, MacOS X, BeOS, NeXT) that have failed to overthrow MS.

The whole IT market tends towards monopoly because of the lack of interoperability. APIs, protocols and file formats need to be open standards. There is some movement towards this (e.g. MS pursuing ISO standardisation of its OOXML format - although it looks to me like the existing ODF format is superior). A number of governments wanted their files in open standard formats (so they could guarantee being able to read them in fifty years), putting much pressure on MS.

I've replied wrt Tragedy of the Commons here. You made what was your most sensible post here yet. Well done!

I've replied wrt Tragedy of the Commons here.

Up a bit...

What do you get when you cross Sarah Palin with a fruitfly?

How do we know she isn't the result of such a cross? Fecund genetic line, tiny brain, one-month national political life,... And why does she object so strongly to research on fruit flies, huh?

As PZ shows...it's entirely possible to use insults that aren't sexist at the same time.

Exactly. Two of my recent favorites:

raving fruitbat
Rovian slimebeasts

(Liked scooter's list, too.)

And thanks to those who've supported my position. I'm not at all for censorship, and I agree with Emmet that it's useful in showing us the kind of person someone is. After returning home several times this week and hitting upon threads riddled with these remarks, I was fed up, and didn't want to see this one turn into another that seemed hostile to women. I would be just as angry if people were using racial or ethnic slurs against the Taliban. Just don't want to be in that kind of environment, and don't want others to feel unwelcome.

#70

A fruit fly with less intelligence
A fruit fly with lipstick
A fruit fly with $150K makeover
A fruit fly who needs to learn about the US Constitution

By artemisia (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Thus spake "the wackaloon from Wasilla"

Where does a lot of that earmark money end up anyway? [...] You've heard about some of these pet projects they really don't make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good.

As my wife just pointed out, Palin has a point: far better to earmark $150,000.00 or so for candidates clothing, accessories and a makeover. My wife has also just decided she would like to run for VP if that sort of money is one of the perks of the job. She's even prepared to give up her moose-killing license for that.

By Ian H Spedding FCD (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Interesting headline:

Fruit Fly Research Set To Revolutionize Study Of Birth Defects (Science News, Nov. 22, 2005)

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051122093217.htm

Interesting fact:

Alaska infants are twice as likely to be born with major birth defects as infants in the U.S. as a whole, according to a new study by the state Department of Health and Social Services -- and officials are at a loss to explain why.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/108/story/44560.html

You would think that Sarah Palin would care about these things. But, no, she's more interested in spendind 22K for a makeup artist for two weeks and 150K on two months worth of clothing and accessories.

Talk about screwed-up priorities.

By CalGeorge (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

OT, SC, could you give us an update on MAJeff, or ask him to drop by for a couple of posts?

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Give Sarah Palin a map of the world and ask her to point to Paris, France.

Thus spake Walton:

You cite Microsoft, but Microsoft is far from being a monopoly; last time I checked, the Apple Mac was not dead. Microsoft is ubiquitous among most computer users because its products are better; and that is competition at work.

Microsoft isn't a monopoly and succeeds because its products are better? What unmitigated bullshit. How many times must Microsoft lose in court, and be convicted of abusing federal antitrust statutes? Remember the DR-DOS debacle? No, didn't think so. What non-Microsoft competing products have you tried over the last 20 years? Microsoft is way behind the curve in feature innovation, and when they do add stuff, they invariably fail to learn from the mistakes made by the originals, making stupid mistakes over and over and over again. Clean separation between privileged and non-privileged users hasn't been a problem on Unix in 30 years and it's still a pain in the ass on Windows. Or maybe "DLL hell" vs. versioned shared libraries? Take "Remote desktop", which was introduced (as an expensive add-on) by M$ in 1998, a full 14 years after the X-Window System had network transparency designed-in.

Thus spake amk:

There is some movement towards this (e.g. MS pursuing ISO standardisation of its OOXML format - although it looks to me like the existing ODF format is superior).

Yes, but Microsoft has no interest in enabling competition via standardisation, quite the opposite. Microsoft tried to fast-track their patent-encumbered OOXML through ISO specifically to undermine ODF, which they saw as a threat should huge government clients insist on de jure standards. It's just another iteration of the "embrace and extend" philosophy that has guided them for 20 years. They don't want any standard to succeed unless it is entirely controlled by them.

@ Heddle

I hardly ever agree with you and I find some of your opinions baffling but i consider you to be an intelligent person.

It really amazes me that you can defend Palin. Seriously.

Emmet Caulfield #166

That is as it may be, and I agree about the cunt part, I do not like the use of the swear word, but I still think that SC is being overly sensitive in the use of 'bitch' and whatnot. Sure, they're swear words that are against the female race, as there are against males, and as it is that we're insulting her (Sarah Palin that is) I don't see any particular reason why people should have to be so damned politically correct.

SC's reaction at #40 in my opinion is over sensitive, but then again, maybe I'm just entirely desensitised.

Also to the person that mentioned that slurs that decry sexes are in the same vain as slurs that decry race, that couldn't be further from correct. While on stage a comic is well within accepted convention to use bitch/bastard dickhead/slapper or whatnot, but as we know with displays semi-recently with other white comedians it's very much taboo to use racial slurs. I don't know why, it's just different.

I do apologise as political correctness gets my goad up. Back to lurking for me.

Astounding is all I can say. These people live comfortably from the fruits of scientific labor and yet think it all just magically appears. TVs, Jet Planes, Medicine etc. They are buffoons and scared individuals. They don't want change. Remember went he church was last in control of science, morality and politics? They called it the dark ages!. Thomas Paine and Jefferson has this right. We must fight this kind of ignorance before it blocks the light.

Microsoft is ubiquitous among most computer users because its products are better; and that is competition at work. - Walton

Haw! Haw! Haw! Microsoft's bloated, bug-ridden, insecure products have the position they do because Gates has been a very successful monopolist - "bundling" prodcuts together, undermining compatibility between products from different sources, buying up the competition, etc. Microsoft is a plain counterexample to your thesis about where exploitative quasi-monopolies arise. Food supply is moving in the same direction.

Once you give government the power to intervene in the economy, and to work for or against the interests of particular economic groups, then various groups will lobby to get policies which act in their interest - even where this runs contrary to the public interest. And this is the root of the problem; this is what produces the corporatist state. Adam Smith explained so long ago, all traders would like to be monopolists; and if they have a chance to influence the political process, then it will inevitably be influenced in favour of the few against the interests of the many, simply because the few have more at stake. So the only answer is to limit government so much, and to have so little intervention in the market, that corporations cannot use the power of the state for self-aggrandisement.

Libertarianism is not perfect. It does not purport to be. We don't claim that free markets produce the perfect result, since that is both logically and empirically untrue. Nor do we subscribe to the ludicrous Randian view of capitalists as noble heroes, or pretend that what's good for business is always good for society. Rather, we claim that government intervention produces worse results, and therefore that it should be kept to a minimum. - Walton

Walton, I sincerely congratualte you. This is the nearest thing to a rational statement of "libertarianism" as I've seen on this blog. It actually suggests (although it does not itself identify) empirical ways we might examine the claims of "libertarianism". The problem discussed by David Friedman - that self-interested minorities will try to influence government - is real, but that is hardly a novel insight, nor suffiicent grounds for concluding that:
"the only answer is to limit government so much, and to have so little intervention in the market, that corporations cannot use the power of the state for self-aggrandisement."
1) You have not shown that something is "the only answer" until you have made an honest and thorough search for alternatives. There are ways to design democratic institutions that take account of such problems; and new technologies are making a greater range of possibilities available all the time.
2) You have not shown that something is "the only answer" until you have shown that it is an answer at all. You assume that if government is weakened, corporations will not be able to use the power of the state, or call on alternative armed goon squads. Walton, go and learn about United Fruit.

As you say in this thread, the interests of big corporations have little to do with "free markets". But your "free market" utopia has never existed. Capitalism got going in western Europe as common land was privatized, using the force of the state; and imperialist expansion - the external application of state force - made possible the triangular trade in slaves, silver and raw materials, and manufactured goods. Violence and fraud, as well as tariffs, taxes and regulations, are historically as much a part of capitalism as market forces; and all the goods made available by capitalism (as well as all the evils) cannot be attributed to "free markets", because no such things have ever existed. If you want to convince people of "libertarianism", you have to show that it would work, and be better than the alternatives, since no such society has ever existed - that is, you're in the same position as anyone advocating fundamental change in current socio-economic patterns.

Your assertion that government intervention will reliably make things worse can be examined empirically. The honest investigator of such a contention would look both for general trends, and for specific counter-examples. The latter are easy: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands: places with a long history of interventionist government, which are - whether they would be your ideal or not - very good places to live, in comparison to most places now and in the past. Personally, I'd prefer the socio-economic arrangements in any of those countries to those in the UK, and those in the UK to the US; and figures for life expectancy and infant mortality are on my side. Again, as I've noted before, the current very dangerous financial crisis comes after three decades in which the state has retreated in areas to do with controlling economic activity - privatization has occurred on a vast scale. The attempts to blame the crisis on Clinton's changes to the CRA are absurd: it is global in scale and most key participants are remote from actual mortgage decision-lending; the vast and opaque international derivatives markets are responsible for banks not knowing each others' solvency and hence being unwilling to lend. Globalisation - the diminishing of trade barriers, and more particularly, barriers to capital flow, are responsible for the global scope of the crisis. As negentropyeater says, there is every reason to think "libertarian" nostrums, if implemented, would lead to immense instability and subsequent collapse into corporatism - or perhaps, big private corporations becoming military powers in their own right.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Anyone with just a superficial and faint knowledge of science knows how to appreciate the fruit flies!

This kind of ignorance should be forbidden by law. Shame on her!

"You've heard about some of these pet projects they really don't make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not."

I wonder what's more offensive. The blatant ignorance about science this is displaying, or the dismissal of the contribution to research by another developed, industrial country. One the USA claims to be allied with, these days...

Oh, right. I forgot: the Institut Pasteur is famous for its vaccines, and Ms Palin panders to the anti-vaccine crowd! And to compound our sin, our own sorry excuse for a president, Sarkozy, is praising Obama at every opportunity. Putting his foot in his mouth once again, as he's wont to. He still hasn't realized they are on opposite political sides -- and anyway, it's not his place to give advice to American on who they should vote. No wonder the French-bashers are having a field day.

What a twit you are, Jake.

First, even if I were being "over sensitive" or "politically correct," which isn't the case, that wouldn't be the same as being an "obvious troll." If you'd been lurking here for any time at all, you would know that I'm nothing of the sort. Second, "a comic is well within accepted convention to use bitch/bastard dickhead/slapper..."? Calling a woman a dumb cunt or stupid bitch may be within accepted convention in your entirely-desensitized world, but a) it's not in mine, b) visiting this blog is not the same as choosing to see a comedian, and c) (btw) bastard is not the male equivalent of bitch.

I don't know why, it's just different.

No, it isn't. It's within social convention in some places to use racial or ethnic slurs. It's the same thing.

The "female race"? WTF?

Back to lurking for me.

Please. And try to read more attentively this time around.

Walton,
I may have missed something, but I didn't see anyone equating "libertarianism" with fascism - rather, negentropyeater was claiming that those following the ideology of "libertarianism" promote, even if they do not intend, the transformation of the USA into a "theocratic, corporatist state" - which he further equated with (an American form of) fascism.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Bring back Dan Quayle. Palin is the complete expression of an incomplete intelligence.

By S. Andrew (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Wow, Cuttlefish... internal rhyme scheme, alliteration... your amp obviously goes OVER eleven. I imagine you'd be able to beat Egil Skallagrimsson in an extemporaneous poetry contest!

Nope, Cuttlefish is handicapped because he's doing it in English, whereas old Eigil had the terse, intense Old Norse as tool for his often cutting kvad.
Gunnlaug Ormstunge was another even more sarcastic skald.Try this one:

I hirden går én,
som er bare til mén.
Tro ham vârt,
han er ond og svart.

- Could have been about Palin with very few modifications!

Walton, descend upon this thread and defend McPain/Failin'. I dare you.

-------------------------------------------

But, but, if humans are related to fruit flies, then why shouldn't we respect them somehow as our relatives - and stop cutting them up to find out things about ourselves?

Seriously, this is a question asked by PETA, and other organizations far above my head.

Plants, too, are our relatives. And so are bacteria. The evidence for common ancestry of Life As We Know It is overwhelming. You can't escape our family tree.

Yeah, I know this is stupid. But is it? Damn, I need to stop thinking so much.

Nonsense. Keep thinking, and keep reading. Keep learning.

cephalopods, which are even more distant from us than flies.

No, that distance is exactly equal, because cephalo- and arthropods are more closely related to each other (Protostomia) than to us (Deuterostomia).

i don't doubt that this project has [i]some[/i] merit. that so many here insist that a $748,000 earmark is beyond criticism on the basis of this ludicrous autims argument, and/or because 'sarah palin is STOOPID!!!' is pretty sad, though.

An investment of 748 kilobucks for a return of 60 megabucks is still beyond criticism, however. No matter how many people here got the wrong reflex when they saw "fruit fly" (which, see comments 126 and 137, had to be expected from Mooseolini's wording), Embarracuda is still too stupid for office, there's no way around it.

it's farming research being paid for by your tax dollars to help the private olive farming industry.

...and thus the tax revenue. Given the budget deficit created by Fearless Flightsuit, you're going to need that.

I caught part of her speech on CNN. The contradictions are astounding -- she wants more research into disabilities, but less money spent on science. Are her speech writers really that stupid?

Or maybe she's too stupid to understand that she needs a speechwriter?

That said, there are stupid speechwriters out there. Like Ben Stein, who famously wrote speeches for Nixon.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Bring back Dan Quayle. Palin is the complete expression of an incomplete intelligence.

By S. Andrew (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

slapper?

New one for me, too.

OT, SC, could you give us an update on MAJeff, or ask him to drop by for a couple of posts?

He's just fine - working hard. I did send him a link to the "Our Queer Future" thread yesterday, and I've told him how much he's missed here. He sends everyone his regards. I'll let him know you were asking after him.

Several people on this thread are up in arms over the proper names to call this woman. To call her a "stupid bitch" is to be offensive towards women and an obscenity to boot. Well, I think the name "Sarah Palin" is the biggest curse word I have heard yet. Everytime I hear her name, I look around to make sure there are no children in the room, lest they be scandalized by the words. Imagine a world where people weren't constantly saying "Sarah Palin". I know its hard but we're so close to banish this lingualistic abomination for at least another four years. But for now, can we come up with another word for this woman, some innocuous word, so that my gag reflex doesn't need to suppressed ten times a day. "Sarah Palin", disgusting...just remember what your mothers all told you, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all."

You are NYT'ed, PZ!

Awesome!

Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.
Palin's family flies at taxpayer expense!

I can't listen to losers like this. Palin, Bush, McCain and all those other losers are torture to listen to. The only guy I respect is Ron Paul who makes the most sense.

SO, WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS, ANY CHRISTIAN THAT BELIEVES IN THE END TIMES IS IGNORANT. Wow. It is your choice not to be a believer in Christ, but name calling and condesension is quite another thing. Do you ridicule all religions as well?

SO, WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS, ANY CHRISTIAN THAT BELIEVES IN THE END TIMES IS IGNORANT. Wow. It is your choice not to be a believer in Christ, but name calling and condesension is quite another thing. Do you ridicule all religions as well?

No what we are saying is any person who CHOOSES to be christian has to stop thinking rationally to believe.

I wouldn't call it ignorance as much as delusion.

John, this is an atheist blog, so we make fun of god and religions--all religions. Some sects are more insane than others, so they get the loudest treatment.

If you don't want to see religion and gods mocked, go elsewhere.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

It occurs to me that maybe her speech writers got pissed off when they heard her make-up artist gets paid more than them, and just gave her a little nudge.

Walton stated "Microsoft is ubiquitous among most computer users because its products are better"

ROFLMAO

John Cole of the "Balloon Juice" blog- who refers to PZ's post- puts it all in prespective:

This is the type of ignorant Christian Nationalism, where hillbilly gut instincts and religious edicts trump knowledge and reason, that corrupt Republicanism has devolved into. This is what is meant to be "conservative" these days. It has nothing to do with the conservatism of years past, and everything to do with nativism (notice how Paris, France was included in the mocking- those god damned furriners!), reflexive hatred of the other, suspicion and derision towards those who know something, and cronyism. This woman embodies everything that is wrong with the current Republican party; there is a reason the know-nothings embrace her.

The only thing missing from the speech the bumbling and ignorant fool delivered yesterday was an attack on Michael J. Fox and stem cell research. Or maybe she could have attacked Arlen Specter as being a baby killer for embracing stem-cell research. That would have served as a poignant wingnut tribute to her predecessors.

These people must be absolutely destroyed on November 4th. It is a national imperative. This is more important than anything that happens in Iraq and Afghanistan. And why is it that the people who claim to adhere to the culture of life are so filled with hate for... people?

Yup.

By Steve LaBonne (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Can you expect any kind of reason and sympathy towards science from a woman who is this bat-shit crazy and a supporter of crazies?
Consider, for example, "... What is known, however, is that Ms. Palin has had long associations with religious leaders who practice a particularly assertive and urgent brand of Pentecostalism known as "spiritual warfare." Its adherents believe that demonic forces can colonize specific geographic areas and individuals, and that "spiritual warriors" must "battle" them to assert God's control, using prayer and evangelism..."

And "...Bishop Thomas Muthee, the Kenyan preacher shown on the YouTube video anointing her as she ran for governor, is celebrated internationally as an effective spiritual warrior who led a prayer movement that drove a witch out of his town in Kenya. The removal of the witch, Bishop Muthee says, resulted in a drop in crime, alcoholism and traffic accidents."

Holy shit!!

By Kausik Datta (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Walton stated "Microsoft is ubiquitous among most computer users because its products are better"

Hmmm....
Most of power users I know use Mac OSX or Linux. I don't know where some people get their ideas.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Microsoft is ubiquitous among most computer users because its products are better

And every day they're opening up new vistas of technological innovation...

PZ Myers it is you who is an IDIOT, a MORON and ignorant not Sarah Palin. You are a professor at Minnesota University, Morris, you should be washinmg toilets instead of professor of a prestigious school. You cannot even qualify to be a GARBAGE collector, you IDIOT.

PZ Myers it is you who is an IDIOT, a MORON and ignorant not Sarah Palin. You are a professor at Minnesota University, Morris, you should be washinmg toilets instead of professor of a prestigious school. You cannot even qualify to be a GARBAGE collector, you IDIOT.

Stunning argument. Your parents must be proud.

Nick Gotts @#215
One thing that has always struck me about American wingnut comments on Scandinavia is that they always seem to take the wrong message from Scandinavian social democracy. Typically, you see comments like "Socialism is a complete failure, if Sweden were a US state, it'd be as poor as Alabama", where they seem to have taken the metric of success and failure to be measured in income per-capita. The alternative is to see that even somewhere as poor as Alabama could have world-leading healthcare and education if they de-emphasised individual income somewhat.
Another interesting thing (as a foreigner living in Sweden) is that Swedish society is quite "conformist" in a lot of ways. Modesty and moderation are valued, rather than acquisitionism and ostentatiousness. By coincidence, both in Ireland and Sweden, I lived very close to the nobbiest golf club in town. In Ireland, the car-park is full of new top-end Mercedes, BMWs, Porsches, etc., and in Sweden, it's full of ordinary mid-range Volvos and Volkswagens. I often wonder whether the high social value placed on being "an ordinary person" here contributes to a sense of solidarity that enables the social model, rather than highly valuing individual acquisition of wealth, as seems to be the case in the US where the political emphasis is always on lower personal taxes.

RANDOM capitalization MAKES me COOL!

By AnonCoward23 (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

As far as I'm concerned, Sen. McCain threw away the election the moment he chose Palin as his running mate. The more she talks, the most damage she does to his chances to win. I think after this year even most Alaskans will be sick of her and want her out of office.

cb664, I see something with less intelligence than Ms Palin just showed up. If you want we could have Ms Palin and PZ take IQ tests and see comes out better. I have no doubt as to the results.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

You misunderstand. The two ideas are not in conflict. As a deeply retarded religious person she doesn't want prevent disabilities or cure disabilities because they represent god's will. She just wants support for children with disabilities. You know, like crutches.

By FilthyHarry (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Doctor Werner Von Braun, possibly one of the world's most renown scientists stated,"The more I study science, the more I am convinced there is a higher order." Case Closed
To illustrate the mentality of many of your bloggers, it was long ago established by the educational community, that the only reason so many people use four letter words is, because they are not intelligent enough build a coherent sentence without them.

God bless you all and have mercy on me.

Don't be so hard on Sarah Palin. The language some people use to address a woman, any woman, is just revealing their own rotten, unrefined character. With the fruit flies she was obviously, if awkwardly, making comparison to something akin to the "William Proxmire Golden Fleece Awards" for ridiculous sounding expenditures. There have been in the past studies called something like "the Sexual Mores of the Hairy-Nostriled Bat" that lay people will never understand as anything other than a gift to full employment for scientists, from the US taxpayers. That, I am confident, was her intention but many of you only reveal your own boorishness and why I'd never vote for whoever your candidate is. Mine was Ron Paul, now all I know is, it is NOT Barack "Under his Wing" Obama.

Palin pretty much lives up to every stereotypical view that a vast amount of the World has of the U.S. How this person could be running for VP is astonishing. The republican party clearly does not think very much of the intelligence of U.S citizens and when the rest of the world hears the Palinesque campaigning that excretes from potential American Leadership we have to wonder oursleves. Democrates should be responsible for Palins wardrobe bills and campaign costs. I know the casts of Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show will be unanamous in thier voting. For them, could it possibly get any better then this.

By jeff armstrong (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Doctor Werner Von Braun, possibly one of the world's most renown scientists stated,"The more I study science, the more I am convinced there is a higher order." Case Closed

Dumbest comment this morning.

She's just pissed off that Eric Weischaus (who won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on fruit flies) has, like most other US winners of Nobel prizes in science, endorsed Obama.

Oh, wait. She hasn't got a clue who won *any* Nobel Prize in Medicine, ever. Idiot.

By George Smiley (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

While one could critique the merits of this particular project having an understanding of the animal's ecology could be pretty important.

What happens if the animal evolves and changes host? (Oh sorry, evolution doesn't happen in Palin's universe).

The California industry may only be worth $60m in 2006, but there are plans to develop the industry in Texas, and California hopes to be producing 20 million gallons a year by 2020. If you don't do the research on the fly now that may not happen.

Extra Virgin Maggotty Oil

Mitt Romney 35%
Mike Huckabee 26%
Sarah Palin 20%

Maybe not. The GOP is imploding at this very moment. Many of the leaders and intelligensia have publicly announced they are voting for Obama. Most cite Palin as the reason. These members are putting the good of the country and their own self interest (who wants to live in a banana republic?) ahead of the party.

The GOP is a frankenstein monster made up of normal people, old line conservatives in the Buckly/Goldwater tradition and many well educated advisors and leaders.

They were just using the christofascists for votes. Then the cultists took over the party.

The normal people are fighting back. Look for a power struggle after the election. If the death cults win, the Theothuglican party will end up a minor party forever.

"Doctor Werner Von Braun, possibly one of the world's most renown scientists stated,"The more I study science, the more I am convinced there is a higher order." Case Closed.

"Case Closed?" Really? On the single assertion of a Nazi murderer? I love how you guys think.

By the way: Time flie like an arrow; fruit flies like a tomato.

"Tom" @252 -- you are a fool.

By George Smiley (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Doctor Werner Von Braun, possibly one of the world's most renown scientists stated,"The more I study science, the more I am convinced there is a higher order." Case Closed

Every scientist is not 100% rational. We forgive Dr. Von Braun for his lack of rationality.
So the case is not closed.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

That, I am confident, was her intention but many of you only reveal your own boorishness and why I'd never vote for whoever your candidate is. Mine was Ron Paul, now all I know is, it is NOT Barack "Under his Wing" Obama.

yawn

Let's just call them Freedom Flies.

What a stupid woman. Might as well elect Paris Hilton....

The Palins?

Two words: "parvenus" and "grifters."

They're not smart enough to know that their small-time grifts are gonna be spotted right away by their new social class. You have to have a lifetime of training to steal subtly, and 'subtlety' is nowhere in the vocabulary of any of them.

Nick Gotts at #215:

If you want to convince people of "libertarianism", you have to show that it would work, and be better than the alternatives, since no such society has ever existed - that is, you're in the same position as anyone advocating fundamental change in current socio-economic patterns.

Not quite true. There have been two societies in history, and only two, which have unilaterally dismantled their trade tariffs and protectionist arrangements (as opposed to doing so via bilateral agreements) and allowed complete free trade. These are, of course, early nineteenth-century Britain and late twentieth-century Hong Kong. And, not surprisingly, both were huge economic success stories. (I am not claiming that either society was in any way perfect; so please don't go into a list of the social problems which persisted in both societies.) The practice of unilateral free trade, abandoning all tariffs and subsidies immediately, is of massive proven economic benefit; virtually all economists recognise that free trade is superior. So libertarianism has been tried, and it has worked. The problem is, it will never again happen in any major nation because of the influence of special interests - which, contrary to your assertion, occurs regardless of what kind of political institutions a country uses.

I want to explore that latter point further, in fact. You say "There are ways to design democratic institutions that take account of such problems." I profoundly disagree - because the problems are inherent in democracy itself. Like I said, with an issue such as farm subsidies, the few who benefit from the subsidies have a strong incentive to vote and campaign so as to retain the subsidies; it's in their rational self-interest to do so. In contrast, the great mass of taxpaying voters don't have an incentive to vote to get rid of farm subsidies; the subsidies cost them very little in direct terms (I believe farm subsidies cost the average UK taxpayer around £1 a year), and they simply aren't aware of the indirect costs (such as distorted prices and impoverishment of the Third World). So democratic control of economic policy will always suffer from this problem; the popular vote is even worse, when it comes to taking account of externalities, than the free market. It isn't just down to the influence of lobbyists, or of "money being able to buy elections". No political reform can ameliorate the problem. It's inherent in democratic decision-making, simply because the few are better-organised, and have more at stake, than the many. So we can see that, while there is such a thing as market failure, it applies to democratic decision-making equally as much as it applies to free markets.

And, of course, any other form of government - dictatorship or oligarchy - suffers from the same problem, since the ruling class will also have economic interests and will act politically in accordance with those interests. And even if we were to find a perfect benevolent dictator who never acted in his own self-interest, he still couldn't control the economy more efficiently than the market can, since it is simply impossible to replicate the price mechanism and the laws of supply and demand in a controlled command economy.

Like it or not, there are only three options with any given market, industry or area of economic productivity: (1) a free market; (2) governmental control of some sort; or (3) a combination of the two (such as a regulated market). I am asserting that all of these will, in some cases, lead to undesirable results, due to the problems of externalities and public goods, and the fact that people's individual self-interests do not always tally with the collective interest. So I am not denying that market failure exists; but while market failure leads to bad consequences, government failure leads to worse consequences, and therefore free market control is the lesser of two evils.

Nerd #240 wrote "Hmmm.... Most of power users I know use Mac OSX or Linux."

That's my experience too.

Also, I find it interesting that Liberal computer geeks seem to favour Unix-like operating systems, while their Conservative counterparts seem to favour Microsoft products.

Something to do with authoritarianism, perhaps?

To illustrate the mentality of many of your bloggers, it was long ago established by the educational community, that the only reason so many people use four letter words is, because they are not intelligent enough build a coherent sentence without them.

Your grammar fucking sucks, moron.

Her remarks about fruit fly research point back to McCain's crack about the 3 million dollar earmark for bear DNA research. Which to the "base" we hear so much about would at first blush seem very wasteful indeed. But if you're one of the common folk they court so much, you probably don't know what a miracle a hibernating bear is.

When the bear goes to sleep, he doesn't consume any water for the whole time in hibernation. That means he has to recycle his water in a way doesn't have a build up of waste in his blood stream. Knowing how the bear does that has great implications for kidney research.

I won't list the other things the bear has to teach us, insomnia research comes to mind right now.

Anyway those answers are stored in the bear DNA. And studying that is what his base thinks is wasteful, and he thinks is funny.

By Dutton Peabody (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

What Tristero said.

Thank you SC. Greasemonkey's Killfile has gotten a workout for me, lately. And Emmet Caulfield at #161: Word. It really is a useful filter.

"George Smily" @#262.

A fool says in himself that there's no God. That's not me, but I am betting it is you.

"Which to the "base" we hear so much about would at first blush seem very wasteful indeed."

That's because what ails the "base" cannot be fixed retroactively. THe only ways to repair the damages these fools suffer from is in utero--or mebbe 'ex utero,' as in abortion.

I won't list the other things the bear has to teach us, insomnia research comes to mind right now.

One being how yummy the contents of a pick-a-nic basket are

Most of power users I know use Mac OSX or Linux. I don't know where some people get their ideas.

I'm an inveterate geek who owns ~15 computers (some of them now quite old: I hang on to them for curiosity) with 5 different processors (SPARC, Cell, x86, G4, Rxx000) and 6 OSes (Solaris, Linux, FreeBSD, Irix, OS-X, and Windows). Right now, I'm writing high-performance scientific simulation software. I guess that makes me a "power user". There are a few things for which I've no choice but to use Windows, but as a matter of personal preference, I'd rather stick forks in my eyes than use it.

Guess I'd better give my R01 back (it combines fruitflies AND evolution) and CalTech, Princeton and Columbia will have to return their Nobels. The good news is that shutting down Drosophila research will save nearly as much as McCain's government freeze. This girl is priceless.

A fool says in himself that there's no God. That's not me, but I am betting it is you.

Oh goody. Quote us some more scripture to circularly support your claims.

Yay!

SC: 'bullshit' is clearly gender-specific.
I think you meant 'cowshit' or maybe 'cattleshit'.

By chuckbert (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Where are the "scientists" on the gop side of reality? non existent?

A fool says in himself that there's no God. That's not me, but I am betting it is you.

No, I say there is no god until the unrefuted physical evidence for one is shown. At the moment, there is no evidence for your alleged god. So if you have the physical evidence for, please present it so we can refute it.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

I've heard that, actuarially, in the event of a McCain win there is a one in three chance of this person becoming President of the United States. Does anyone know if that is true?

I'm British, so there's nothing I can do about that, but I have a spare room and I'm sure the village hall could fit in a few camp-beds...

"Doctor Werner Von Braun, possibly one of the world's most renown scientists stated,"The more I study science, the more I am convinced there is a higher order." Case Closed.

"Case Closed?" Really? On the single assertion of a Nazi murderer? I love how you guys think.

Von Braun used slave laborers, mostly Jewish to run his rocket program. They worked them until they died and then stacked the bodies up. When the allies overran his facility, they literally found piles of bodies everywhere.

If he wasn't so valuable to the USA, he would have been tried at Nirenberg as a war criminal and hung.

Why don't you quote Martin Luther instead. A rabid antisemite and all around kook who hated women.

I've heard that, actuarially, in the event of a McCain win there is a one in three chance of this person becoming President of the United States. Does anyone know if that is true?

Well that is based on the chance of McCain buying the farm before his 4 years are up.

Pure speculation with a little tip of the hat to his age.

SC: 'bullshit' is clearly gender-specific.
I think you meant 'cowshit' or maybe 'cattleshit'.

Ungulate shit is pretty harmless, and very useful. We needn't malign horses or cows, or deer, or elk or bison for that matter.

"Shit" itself ain't so bad. Because of our diets, "Human shit," however, IS pretty noxious, so I nominate "Human Shit" as the preferred term of obloquy...

The real problem here, PZ, is that there is not a single person in he U.S., including myself, (and I believe in what you are doing and saying here, hands down :) would ever understand what the term "mutagenize" means. Or even care.

Just wanted to disagree with Bob quick and offer a bit of a defense of the US. I'm an programmer who never took a biology class beyond BIO-101 about ten years ago. I know what "mutagenize" means, care deeply, and was appalled when I heard Palin had derided fruit-fly research. We may be a dying breed, but there are still millions of enthusiastic, science-literate non-scientists here.

Heck, I can't see how anyone could not be interested in studies with induced mutations and chopped up fly brains. High-school biology teachers should be telling students about them to spur interest in science.

Rather, we claim that government intervention produces worse results, and therefore that it should be kept to a minimum.

The example you give shows that it can give just as bad results -- but does it really regularly produce worse results, as you claim? You'll have to back that up.

(It goes without saying that I'm not talking about a communist economy here.)

Psssst. Wanna steal an election?

Ah. How reassuring. I was beginning to think that all those reports about Diebold Premier Election Whatever, ES&S, and Triad Systems were unfair. How nice to see that Sequoia is just as dangerous.

What a scary article. It needs way more publicity.

Vote in ink on paper and count the ballots by hand in the polling station. Anything else opens the possibility of Grand Theft Election.

The only reason why it didn't happen under Bush

Well, that's not entirely clear. What would you call a constitutional democracy where elections are regularly stolen...?

As long as there is a free market, they can always be undercut by someone offering better value to the consumer.

Unless that someone understands that joining the cartel is a better guarantee for income than competing with the cartel is. And that happens all the time; it's in the news every few months where I come from.

Microsoft is ubiquitous among most computer users because its products are better; and that is competition at work.

For the sake of the argument, let's simply grant this point (never mind comments 201 and 210).

The argument is that here we see that competition can lead to the extinction of competitors and to a monopoly. Here we see, as I keep saying, that constant competition is an artificial state that must be artificially kept alive by constant state intervention.

How many times must Microsoft lose in court, and be convicted of abusing federal antitrust statutes?

Not just US ones, but also EU ones. Again and again.

And to compound our sin, our own sorry excuse for a president, Sarkozy, is praising Obama at every opportunity. Putting his foot in his mouth once again, as he's wont to. He still hasn't realized they are on opposite political sides --

They aren't.

Obama, like Kerry and both Clintons, would fit fine into any of Europe's conservative parties. Bush and McSame are off the map.

Gunnlaug Ormstunge was another even more sarcastic skald. Try this one:

Translation, please?

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Mitt Romney 35% Mike Huckabee 26% Sarah Palin 20%

The percentage of the US population who thinks Palin is sane and an effective leader is the same as the percentage who thinks the sun orbits the earth.

Not a coincidence for sure. There is almost certainly a significant overlap between the two groups.

Twenty percent of the USA population will believe in anything or anyone, no matter how stupid it or they are. What happens when 50% of the population has an IQ of less than 100. Her support base must be loaded with high school flunkouts with IQs in the 80s.

Heck, I can't see how anyone could not be interested in studies with induced mutations and chopped up fly brains. High-school biology teachers should be telling students about them to spur interest in science.

I think we could stimulate a LOT of interest in "science" if we vivisected Palin and video-taped it...

Elmer: Werner's reference to a "higher order" doesn't necessarily reflect his belief in your god or any god - just that there "is a higher order" - some things in science we do not yet understand.

Miss Sarah obviously missed Biology 101 when she was jumping from college to college. If she knew anything about biology, or any science for that matter, she would know how important fruit flies have been in the development of our understanding of genetics - and provided the very basis of the information that she was provided when she had her fetus tested in utero for Downs Syndrome.

I remember studying genetics in college biology (way back in the 60's), and fruit flies in particular, all about how crossing of the (P)arental generations and (F)ilial generations elicited a lot of information regarding how genes were passed on.

Here's a little biology humor. The time came for the mid-term exam and I was still a little confused (mainly from not studying). One exam question went like this: What term is used to describe the result of crossing the P1 generation with the F1 generation? Not remembering the correct answer was F2, I wrote in INSEST. The prof gave me credit for creativity.....

Autism is, in the vast majority of cases, a fraud and a racket. It is a product of utterly misguided permissive parenting, which turns perfectly normal kids into dysfunctional antisocial brats. The problem is parents have been getting their advice from idiotic child-rearing books like Spock's, instead of the Holy Bible: spare the rod and spoil the child. Scientific research on genetic causes of autism is a colossal waste of time and money, whether or not it involves fruit flies in Paris or elsewhere.

By nabalzbbfr (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Autism is, in the vast majority of cases, a fraud and a racket. It is a product of utterly misguided permissive parenting, which turns perfectly normal kids into dysfunctional antisocial brats. The problem is parents have been getting their advice from idiotic child-rearing books like Spock's, instead of the Holy Bible: spare the rod and spoil the child. Scientific research on genetic causes of autism is a colossal waste of time and money, whether or not it involves fruit flies in Paris or elsewhere.

Dear sir or madam,

You are a gigantic fucking idiot.

#273, #278, #281: Is it necessary to have that same circular debate again?

No, we all know there is no empirical evidence for the existence of a God, nor is there ever likely to be. The only position reachable through empiricism and reason alone is agnosticism. As I understand it (being neither a scientist nor a theologian), science, which by definition deals with the material realm, cannot tell us whether there is a supernatural realm.

The question of theism vs atheism is, therefore, purely speculative. It all depends which side you place the burden of proof; neither theists nor atheists can possibly prove their claims. If, therefore, you start from the standpoint that there is no god, and place the onus of proof on those who claim there is a god to validate their claims via empirical evidence, then clearly they cannot do so - and there is no point in arguing it.

Can we not just live and let live? Empirical evidence and reasoning cannot take anyone beyond the point of agnosticism. Some people are motivated to believe by religious experiences, but these are inevitably far too personal and subjective to be any use as evidence. So why not just accept that some people, faced with a lack of evidence either way, will choose to follow a religious faith, and others will choose not to do so? Is it necessary to keep discussing it?

To my mind, the issue is only ever worth discussing when one person tries to impose the teachings of his faith on another via the agency of the state. In a libertarian society, the state would not have such power, so it would be a total non-issue.

I think we could stimulate a LOT of interest in "science" if we vivisected Palin and video-taped it...

No way. The trend in high school science is nonlethal studies.

Simply run Palin and a few rats and mice through a maze. The rodents would learn the maze faster and better for sure.

The question of theism vs atheism is, therefore, purely speculative. It all depends which side you place the burden of proof; neither theists nor atheists can possibly prove their claims.

Do you require people to prove there is no tooth fairy?

To call that woman ignorant is to insult every three year old child on this planet.

Ignorance is just a state of being of varying duration, to which social judgment should not be attached.

Willful ignorance is the more problematic, but Palin isn't even that, since this is a passive condition.

What she is doing is active reality denial, and of course that means she isn't stupid either, since this is a process that requires considerable mental effort to maintain in the face of continuous contradictory sensory input.

A more pathetic waste of neurons, neurotransmitters and Na/K ATPase I have not been privileged to see.

As for Palin in 2012? That may be our best chance at eight years of Democrats in the White House.

"Pray" for it, my friends, "pray" for it.

No, we all know there is no empirical evidence for the existence of a God, nor is there ever likely to be. The only position reachable through empiricism and reason alone is agnosticism.

You are aware that there are many religions? That the debate is not just atheism v Abrahamic religion? That there is no more reason to believe in Yahweh than in Odin? Do you take belief in Odin seriously?

As I understand it (being neither a scientist nor a theologian), science, which by definition deals with the material realm, cannot tell us whether there is a supernatural realm.

Heddle,

What she said is not so crazy. Scarce scientific research funds should be allocated on merit--based on peer review of competing proposals.

So when Palin said "Fruit flies, France, hur hur hur," she actually meant that we need a merit-based funding system mediated by peer review?

I'm starting to think she gave an entirely different speech at the same time, in sign language, which discusses the virtues of peer review and the drawbacks of subsidizing the olive industry.

By Anton Mates (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink
Doctor Werner Von Braun, possibly one of the world's most renown scientists stated,"The more I study science, the more I am convinced there is a higher order." Case Closed

Dumbest comment this morning

With requisite misspelling.
=========================
"Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down
That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun

Broken formatting in #299. Let me try that again:

As I understand it (being neither a scientist nor a theologian), science, which by definition deals with the material realm, cannot tell us whether there is a supernatural realm.

If a supernatural realm effects the material realm - and all religions say that it does - then it can be investigated using the scientific method.

A supernatural realm that does not effect the material realm is not worth considering.

On "mutagenize":

If you grew up speaking the English language, and you either read the comics/watched to movie/were passingly familiar in a third had sort of way with X-men, then even if you had never heard it before, and had a seizure on the first day of kindergarten science class and never ventured forth into said realm ever again, you can guess was "mutagenize" shoud mean.

And you'd be 80% correct. (So long as you maintain the assumption that the specific details found in comic books are fantasy)

Autism is, in the vast majority of cases, a fraud and a racket. It is a product of utterly misguided permissive parenting, which turns perfectly normal kids into dysfunctional antisocial brats.

I have an autistic child, and there was nothing "misguidedly permissive" about his parenting whatsoever. In fact, if anything, his neurotypical younger sister has had a far more "permissive" upbringing, simply because my wife and I have our hands full trying to deal with her brother's various problems, so she's been left far more to her own devices.

I would say more, but I think post 293 summed it up to perfection.

By Svetogorsk (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

the stupid.... IT BURNS! I seriously thought this was an onion story.

"I offer as proof the content of all previous Pharyngula posts and the comments on those posts" - me
"You'll have to be a bit (really, a lot) more specific." - SC

Rather than go through the entirety of Pharyngula counting sexist comments, how about this: in comments posted between and including Nov.1st and Nov.30th, you will note with a comment whenever someone makes a sexist comment against women, and I'll note with a comment whenever someone makes a sexist comment against men, and we can all count them. The following will be our notation.

#X@ [comment number]:[text]
#Y@ [comment number]:[text]

The former will refer to comments targeting women, and the later for men. Of course, I don't agree that gendered cursing *is* sexist, but we'll include those too. Perhaps we should track them separately.

"I just skimmed through a number of comments on that thread. What gendered slurs are you referring to?" - SC

1) "I'm amazed humans males didn't evolve with giant antlers. The larger, the more dominant the male."
2) "I thought most men believe their penises are giant antlers."
3) etc.

Perhaps if it had read "most women think their vaginas are credit cards" you would have noticed.

'I think this is obvious to most from my earlier comments. "Shit," "fuck," "fucking," and the like are swears. "Stupid bitch," "dumb cunt," and "stupid twat" are misogynistic slurs. Clear?' - SC

Classifying a bunch of curses into one category or another does nothing to "articulate the difference between swearing and misogynistic insults". Maybe an example would help. Explain to me at what point the following sentence becomes a misogynistic slur (clearly, you seem to believe it is):

"Oh man, I am such a stupid bitch." - Jams

The problem SC, is that you don't understand what swearing even is. When someone says "stupid cunt" they aren't denigrating female genitalia, or femininity, or whatever other gendered quality you think it's targeting.

Perhaps this might help. Why is it intolerable for you to hear people say "stupid cunt", but it isn't intolerable to hear people say "dumb fuck"? Do you think sexual intercourse is so much more worthy of disdain and scorn?

nabalzbbfr @292,

I work in the field of special needs, and autism in particular. I'm intrigued by your analysis, could you point me to studies that show beating the crap out of kids to be an effective approach to autism?

They're not french flies, they're FREEDOM FLIES!

the problems are inherent in democracy itself. Like I said, with an issue such as farm subsidies, the few who benefit from the subsidies have a strong incentive to vote and campaign so as to retain the subsidies; it's in their rational self-interest to do so. In contrast, the great mass of taxpaying voters don't have an incentive to vote to get rid of farm subsidies; the subsidies cost them very little in direct terms (I believe farm subsidies cost the average UK taxpayer around £1 a year), and they simply aren't aware of the indirect costs (such as distorted prices and impoverishment of the Third World). So democratic control of economic policy will always suffer from this problem; the popular vote is even worse, when it comes to taking account of externalities, than the free market.

All you have done here is demonstrated that democracy doesn't work if the voters are ignorant. That's neither news, nor is it an eternally inevitable state of affairs -- education has already been invented. :-|

So I am not denying that market failure exists; but while market failure leads to bad consequences, government failure leads to worse consequences, and therefore free market control is the lesser of two evils.

You still haven't demonstrated the "worse" part. You keep just asserting it.

A fool says in himself that there's no God.

Wise people, on the other hand, know that 1) there's no evidence any god exists, and 2) the assumption that any god exists is not necessary to explain any observation made so far.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Vote in ink on paper and count the ballots by hand in the polling station. Anything else opens the possibility of Grand Theft Election.

Paper ballots still leave the possibility of ballot box stuffing. Whether using a computer or ballot boxes, physical security needs to be kept very tight.

The most alarming thing in the linked article is that hacked firmware could self-propagate.

Computer voting can also leave physical paper: a random sample of this can be used as an additional check. I see this system does not do this.

Open Voting Consortium leaves a paper trail and uses open source software.

#301: I'm hoping, perhaps naively, that rational people will use the next four years to work towards diminishing the power of the GOP so that whatever they wish or not wish to allow, they will not have the capacity to do it.

As a political entity that subverted the established political process of a country to illegally seize power, (continuing to attempt to do so to this day) and, once in power, launched an invasion of another sovereign nation under false pretenses, the GOP should be subject to the same sanction as other political entities, such as the Nazi party of Germany and the Baath party of Iraq, culpable of the same crime.

The party should be disbanded and rendered illegal. Their leaders should be put on trial for war crimes, and if found guilty, hanged or shot.

Life imprisonment would also be acceptable, for those of us who are squeamish about capital punishment.

These people need to take their ignorant, self-righteous asses and go back and study their bibles... The right wing of the Republican party doesn't even know Jesus's teachings very well. Mean-spirited people who make sure that everyone knows how Christian they are will have a hard time getting into the kingdom of heaven.

Keep your proselytizing in church... those who seek Him will find Him without you.

Don't like abortion? Don't get one. But don't claim you're a better person than those who do -- because you're not.

But don't take my word for it:

(Matthew 6:1-8) "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. "But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

"And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. "So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

(Luke 18:10-17) And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. "The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 'I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.'

"But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' "I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."

By Matthew Luke (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

I work in the field of special needs, and autism in particular. I'm intrigued by your analysis, could you point me to studies that show beating the crap out of kids to be an effective approach to autism?

Yes, I would have assumed - perhaps naively - that autistic kids would be far less likely to respond to such treatment than normal ones (not least because in many cases they simply wouldn't link the punishment to the offence), and therefore it would be pretty much a waste of time.

But I haven't personally tried it myself, so this is purely hypothetical.

By Svetogorsk (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

I don't know if she was referring to genetic research on fruit flies or agricultural research. Either way, her position is nuts.

And I can tell you, fruit flies in agriculture are a big freakin' deal. I used to be a reporter in Florida covering the citrus industry, and I wrote many a story about the adverse economic effects of fruit fly infestations.

Do be sure to watch the video -- hear the absolutely sneering tone in her voice as she says "fruit fly research."

#168

Dear Edward Longshanks. Get a life. You seem to take offence at the slightest excuse. I'm a reader originally from the IOM, so I'm both Manx and British, but I feel no insult intended by PZ's use of England...

One exam question went like this: What term is used to describe the result of crossing the P1 generation with the F1 generation? Not remembering the correct answer was F2

It isn't. It's backcrossing. F2 is what you get when you cross members of F1 with each other.

Scientific research on genetic causes of autism is a colossal waste of time and money

LOL. Then why are there results? And why do autistic people have a small part of the brain missing?

Stop making arguments from ignorance.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

There have been two societies in history, and only two, which have unilaterally dismantled their trade tariffs and protectionist arrangements (as opposed to doing so via bilateral agreements) and allowed complete free trade. These are, of course, early nineteenth-century Britain and late twentieth-century Hong Kong. And, not surprisingly, both were huge economic success stories. (I am not claiming that either society was in any way perfect; so please don't go into a list of the social problems which persisted in both societies.) The practice of unilateral free trade, abandoning all tariffs and subsidies immediately, is of massive proven economic benefit; virtually all economists recognise that free trade is superior. - Walton

Britain repealed the Corn Laws, the most important import tariff, in 1846. So the "early nineteenth century Britain" was by no means free trading. By 1870 the USA, and somewat later Germany, surpassed Britain as economic powers - both, of course, having protected their nascent industries with tariff walls. As Britain did its textile industry in the late eighteenth century (and before); in 1700, import duties were placed on Indian calico. By 1800 Britain was technically well ahead of the rest of the world, so free trade in manufactured goods were in the interests of important elements of the British elite. Moreover, the East India company ruled India, which served as a literally captive market for British factories. By 1842, the manufacturers, who wanted cheap food, were strong enough to defeat the farmers, who wanted protection - but the use of import tariffs by Germany, the USA and others was already beginning (in interaction with other factors) to erode the British techological lead.

No country has successfully industrialised without imposing import tariffs; while for the elite of a technologically dominant state (within the global capitalist system or some subsystem such as the EU or NAFTA), "free trade" at that level in whatever are the currently most technically demanding goods and services being produced tends to be beneficial. You cannot analyse capitalist formations such as Britain or Hong Kong in isolation; rather capitalism has complex (and incompletely understood) long-term dynamics, in which states, wars and tariffs are as central as markets. When I say your "free market" utopia has never existed, I mean capitalism has relied from its inception on the existence of multiple, competing and potentially warring states, and on the systematic use of violence and fraud, as well as regulation and taxation. You have to argue (not just assert) that the states-system can be eliminated, or made innocuous, by the "libertarian" approach, and that the resulting unrestrained economic competition will not result either in the unlimited concentration of power and wealth, or private armies and private wars between competing interests.

Hong Kong is a strange case on which to try and build a general position: its success was heavily dependent on its poliitcal and strategic role in Sino-British relations and the Cold War, underlining what I'm saying about the indivisibility of economic, social and political structures and processes. It is, incidentally, doing much less well now, losing out to southern coastal cities in the PRC - like just about everyone else. Incidentally, what does a "libertarian" analysis of the PRC look like?

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

David M. at #311:

All you have done here is demonstrated that democracy doesn't work if the voters are ignorant. That's neither news, nor is it an eternally inevitable state of affairs -- education has already been invented.

No, you have completely misunderstood what I was saying.

Let's take the UK as an example. Imagine, hypothetically, that every voter were fully educated and politically aware. Each and every taxpayer would be aware that, out of his taxes, he was contributing about £1 (about US$2) per year to the cost of farm subsidies. Is it in his rational self-interest, with the information available to him, to spend any time and effort campaigning to remove subsidies, or to change his vote in order to abolish subsidies? No. He simply won't bother for the sake of saving £1 a year.

In contrast, the farmers are very keenly aware of how much the subsidies benefit them economically. So it is in their rational self-interest to organise, lobby and vote so as to keep subsidies.

So even if every voter were fully informed as to every aspect of economic policy - an unlikely scenario in itself - the question is what is in his rational self-interest. It simply isn't in the interest of the average taxpayer to campaign to get rid of subsidies, tariffs or other iniquitous policies, because the direct pecuniary gain he would make if they were abolished would be inefficient to compensate him for his effort. The people who lose the most, in direct terms, are Third World producers, who can't compete with protected, subsidised US and EU producers - but, of course, they have no political influence in the US or EU whatsoever.

Paper ballots still leave the possibility of ballot box stuffing.

In theory, and in 1930s Chicago, yeah. But not elsewhere.

Computer voting can also leave physical paper

which need not agree with the results the voting machine sends to Kenneth "Katherine" Blackwell's desk, and which may never be recounted or only by a rigged machine... as happened in New Hampshire in 2004.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Drosophila! I remember them well. Why doesn't a fruitcake know about a fruitfly?

PZ,

This is terrible. To combat Palin's idiocy, can we compile together a list of profound biomedical applications that resulted from molecular genetics work in "lowly" animals like fruit flies and worms? Having this handy list would be an immediate knock down argument against this Republican idiocy. To start off the list, one major example from C. elegans is the following:

(1) the genetic dissection of the programmed cell death pathway (ced/egl/etc. genes) -- highly conserved, and led to tremendous insight into and therapeutic strategies for cancer

I would love to hear more contributions so we can keep track of the list. Again, many (if not most) basic insights into how genetics works at all came from these animals, but the most compelling "quick and to the point" arguments for these people are ones with more direct biomedical applications. Things like "discovered X, led to therapeutic strategy for Y" -- where Y is a terrible disease. Intellectual things like "the discovery of microRNAs" in nematodes, a fundamental way to regulate genes, will not resonate with idiots, which sadly is our target audience here.

By Genetic Neurob… (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

She has made sure it is a VERY easy choice

Rather than go through the entirety of Pharyngula counting sexist comments, how about this: in comments posted between and including Nov.1st and Nov.30th, you will note with a comment whenever someone makes a sexist comment against women, and I'll note with a comment whenever someone makes a sexist comment against men, and we can all count them. The following will be our notation.

#X@ [comment number]:[text]
#Y@ [comment number]:[text]

The former will refer to comments targeting women, and the later for men. Of course, I don't agree that gendered cursing *is* sexist, but we'll include those too. Perhaps we should track them separately.

How about this: I was referring to specific comment threads, and not making a broad comment about the posts or comment threads on this blog, as you were (ridiculously).* I invite anyone to look at the recent "A Real, True American Woman" and "Things are getting desperate" threads and deny the misogyny in numerous comments, or to find a thread with a pattern of similar slurs specific to men.

And unless you can find examples of antimale slurs in the posts, I think you owe PZ an apology.

*In fact, in general I see less misogyny on this blog than I have in probably any other context. The men here rock. It's one of the reasons I enjoy it so much, and why when I do see it I want to call people out on it.

1) "I'm amazed humans males didn't evolve with giant antlers. The larger, the more dominant the male."
2) "I thought most men believe their penises are giant antlers."
3) etc.

Perhaps if it had read "most women think their vaginas are credit cards" you would have noticed.

First, you don't understand the meaning of "slur," do you? Second, I noticed those comments. They're not slurs. Frankly, I didn't think they made any sense, and I thought Emmet's response was perfect. In any case, they - like your hypothetical example - are statements that can be contested. I've engaged in discussion/debate on here in the past about women in science without being offended by even the dumbest or most ignorant generalizations or stereotypes. If you were offended by those comments, though, you could simply have pointed that out. However, you'll note that you can argue with those claims, while you can't argue with "dumb cunt" - it's simply an attack.

Classifying a bunch of curses into one category or another does nothing to "articulate the difference between swearing and misogynistic insults". Maybe an example would help. Explain to me at what point the following sentence becomes a misogynistic slur (clearly, you seem to believe it is):

"Oh man, I am such a stupid bitch." - Jams

If you're a man, it simply doesn't make sense.

The problem SC, is that you don't understand what swearing even is. When someone says "stupid cunt" they aren't denigrating female genitalia, or femininity, or whatever other gendered quality you think it's targeting.

Yes, they are. If you can't see that, you're being willfully obtuse, just as you were about Marie Curie. If a comment thread grew about Hector Avalos, say, with repeated comments calling him a "dumb spic," would you fucking get it then?

Perhaps this might help. Why is it intolerable for you to hear people say "stupid cunt", but it isn't intolerable to hear people say "dumb fuck"? Do you think sexual intercourse is so much more worthy of disdain and scorn?

Because that's not gender-specific, for fuck's sake. You're really exhaustingly dense.

David #288 "What a scary article. It needs way more publicity."

I agree, but what are the chances that the mainstream news corps will report on it?

Walton,
"The people who lose the most, in direct terms, are Third World producers, who can't compete with protected, subsidised US and EU producers - but, of course, they have no political influence in the US or EU whatsoever."

The absence of any third-world influence in the US and EU is, so far as capitalist elites in the latter are concerned, not a bug in capitalism, but a feature. Which is one reason we need one-person, worldwide democracy, on those issues that affect us all; coming, if we survive that long, in the second half of the twenty-first century.

Other things, of course, are better decided at more local scales, but the general principle should be - those seriously affected by a decision should have a say in it.
In your "libertarian" utopia, on the contrary, decision-making power correlates very directly with wealth; and differences in wealth will be large, and tend to grow without limit. When a rich person bargains with a poor one, the rich has in general, fundamental advantages: better information, more alternatives, better contacts... So differences in wealth tend to be self-reinforcing, and in the absence of strong political institutions, so do differences in power.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

one-person, worldwide democracy -> one-person, one vote worldwide democracy@327

[Curses, my Stalinist unconscious betraying me!]

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Dear Sarah,

For you to ask what fruit flies have to do with anything is the equivalent of my asking you why hockey isn't played with a small tactical nuclear device instead of a puck.

The modern science of genetics is literally built on what we've learned from a small bacterium (and its viruses) that inhabits your gut, the fruit fly, and a tiny little worm from your lawn. At least three Nobel Prizes have been awarded to fruit fly researchers; the work of many others depended directly on findings from fruit fly research.

It's clear that your ignorance of science will continue and intensify the anti-knowledge Bush administration policies that are ushering in a new Dark Age if you are elected.

By chris bazinet (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

For years, nutjobs commenting on Small Dead Animals have derided David Suzuki as a "Fruit fly scientist" as if that is 'evidence' of him being unqualified to speak on other matters of science (especially climate problems). The stupid burns.

My post @ #325 brought to you by the word "simply." Thank you, "simply," for your generous support.

and the pendulum swings...Always the pendulum swings...

By Sphere Coupler (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Fruit Fly Research in Paris, France was an example of Democrat 'Pork' on a flier the Michigan GOP sent out months ago.

By K. Engels (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

She was making the point that the government should not have to fund these research projects especially when they were passed as earmarks. Private funding is what she is striving for.

one-person, one vote worldwide democracy@327 - In other words, the tyranny of the majority, only on an even more vast, bloated, inefficient and bureaucratic scale than at present.

I am not asserting that we should scrap government altogether, by any means. David Friedman did suggest that in his talk last night, and seemed to advocate having private law enforcement and competing "rights-enforcement firms"; but I find this idea risible, as, even if such a system were able to evolve a rational and consistent system of law, it would inevitably be skewed drastically towards those with more power, therefore preventing a free and competitive market. (This is what happens when otherwise brilliant economists extend their views to fundamentally non-economic questions.)

And FWIW, I agree with you that in an anarcho-capitalist social framework, with no state control at all, the largest corporations would use private armies and coercive force to become monopolies, and there would be nothing resembling a free market.

So I believe in a rational and impartial system of law; in the protection of persons and property from unwarranted interference; and in formal equality of persons before the law. But I also believe in global free trade without tariffs or subsidies. Fundamentally, why should a British or American or French farmer be artificially protected at the expense of the rest of the nation, and given a special status, compared to his counterpart in the Third World? There is no coherent justification for protectionism, and you haven't given me one. All producers should compete in the same market, therefore creating broader competition and more efficiency.

I take your point about the fact that capitalism has never existed in a pure, unalloyed form, free of the constraints of geopolitics; this is certainly true. But, generally, where it has occurred, free trade between two countries does create greater efficiency, and in the long run greater prosperity, in both countries. Opening one's borders to international trade, as Hong Kong, Singapore and innumerable other countries have done, generates wealth in those countries. Closing one's borders to the outside world, nationalising industries and tightly controlling trade - as happens in North Korea - creates poverty and deprivation.

Markets are not perfect; but for most fields of human endeavour, they work better than the alternative. Where markets simply can't work, we need to find innovative solutions. For instance, the ITQs (Individual Transferable Quotas) used in the Icelandic fishing industry are an efficient, property-rights-based solution to the depletion of fish stocks; they allow a competitive market, but one that takes into account a negative externality (depletion of resources) which would otherwise not affect the market. Likewise, Pigovian taxes, such as taxes on pollution or on the sale of cigarettes, are an elegant and praiseworthy solution to market failure.

She was making the point that the government should not have to fund these research projects especially when they were passed as earmarks. Private funding is what she is striving for.

Then she should bloody well have said that rather than deriding the research. Here's how: "Now, research into mating patterns of crop pests is important to our agricultural economy, and it should be funded, but it should be funded privately, and not through earmarks." See?

SC, Jams isn't even worth your time. It's been weird lately - used to be that one would see nary a group-based slur around this place; all of the insults were sharp and well-deserved and to the point. Now all of a sudden it's regressed into kindergarten-level namecalling of the "you're such a girl" and "you're so fat" genre. Sad, really, to see people flailing about so incompetently.

@Lago #45

You think that is crazy? I knew this weird wacko leftist elitist named "Fleming," (probably French too) that used to waste much of his time looking at bread mold! What a kook, huh?

Fleming was British actually.

By Alex Deam (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Now all of a sudden it's regressed into kindergarten-level namecalling of the "you're such a girl" and "you're so fat" genre.

I blame the influx of pribbling spur-galled malt-worms.

Jeeves @ # 227: ...just remember what your mothers all told you, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all."

I prefer Alice Roosevelt Longworth's variation [non-verbatim]:

If you can't say anything nice about anybody - come sit here by me.

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

I am from the UK, and have been horrified and terrified that any significant US political party could elect Sarah Palin as potential VP and - under certain circumstances - Big P of your country, perhaps worse still is that some significant numbers will vote for her. The woman is not only moronic, thick as twenty planks, but she is power thirsty and vicious. How is it possible she is in the position she is in? It is beyond comprehension and terrifying.

Anyone noticed her Freudian slips? An example: In her debate with Biden she said, then quickly corrected herself 'McCain is the one who should leave..er lead'! Yesterday I saw a clip where she stated that the VP was in charge of the Senate. Moronic? Yes. But also, I fear, unintential but totally accurate statements of intent from this despicable excuse of woman.

Carlie, I've been wading my way through the archives, and you are right in that it appears that the level of discourse has dropped to a degree. The key point is degree. There was always name calling going on, but it didn't seem that person after person was engaged as has been done recently.

I can posit two possible causes. First, the election has everybody on edge. So people are quicker to go on the attack. The second, that the most recent influx of posters is of a younger demographic. I think some of the younger crowd fail to discern that posting should be a bit more formal than texting, and a bit more polite.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

We've also lost quite a number of good regulars, and Molly winners. And there are some people cough * Walton *cough that wit is totally wasted on.

Now you have a taste of the crap we hear in the middleeast from both parties in the united states.

By Ali from morocco (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

negentropyeater, #193
Nice description of fascism! And, we're damn close to it currently.

Walton..."A key problem with Pigovian tax is that of calculating what level of tax will counterbalance the negative externality." (source...wiki)

Additionally, your pigovian statement makes you a hypocrate...libertarians, summarily are "live and let live," therefore, any taxes that are utilized to curb behavior run against true libertarian ideals.

Furthermore, (pigovian or other) taxes to curb behaviors observably don't work (i.e. marijuana stamp tax, many, many others) and are largely ignored or become tyrannical in application.

IMHO, until we pass legislation that begins with recognizing we all are an evolving specie with differing levels of cognitive and behavioral characteristics...we're fucked!

By Rick Schauer (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

And there are some people cough * Walton *cough that wit is totally wasted on.

Maybe wit is wasted on me, but I don't think you can accuse me of being consistently impolite or dragging down the level of discourse. If I have done so at any point, I apologise.

You may not find me an especially entertaining person to talk to; that's your privilege. If you think I'm actually disrupting the community, then say so. But if not, I don't understand what I've done wrong. I've been engaging in productive and interesting economic discussion with a number of people. I haven't been using misogynist insults, to the best of my knowledge. I try to be reasonable and civil.

She was making the point that the government should not have to fund these research projects especially when they were passed as earmarks. Private funding is what she is striving for.

And that point is silly, because research projects like those she described can contribute significantly to the areas she says the government should fund. Which is the point of PZ's post.

By Anton Mates (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Also, I find it interesting that Liberal computer geeks seem to favour Unix-like operating systems, while their Conservative counterparts seem to favour Microsoft products.

Meh. I use Windows because it's ubiquitous. I don't particularly need or want an expensive, superfast rig, and frankly the sheer smugness of the hipster-than-thou "I'm a Mac" advertising has turned me off Mac products forever.

Walton, you are disrupting our community. There, somebody said it. Your concern in our election is remote, and this blog tends toward the liberal end of the US political spectrum, and you are from the conservative end. So, as you have so often put it, you are here for your own amusement. We don't find you so amusing. So if you posted a couple of times a day, there wouldn't be a problem. But you seem to have taken up residence here. If you are willing to take advice, cut your time to 30-60 minutes a day here.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

To illustrate the mentality of many of your bloggers, it was long ago established by the educational community, that the only reason so many people use four letter words is, because they are not intelligent enough build a coherent sentence without them.

I count nine four-letter words in that travesty of a gratuitous-comma-infected, preposition-missing, yet (barely) coherent sentence. What's your fucking point?

Where are all these sub-hominid trolls coming from? Who linked this post?

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Dear Geoff Coupe,

If you feel no offence then goof for you. Although as a manky you should know that the Isle of Menn is not part of the UK so you have nothing to be offended about.

Regards,

Edward Longshanks

By Edward Longshanks (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

I hate to admit that Palin's remarks about research DID surprise me. I thought her best gaffes were behind her.
I want to ask Governor Palin if one of her children needed life-or-death surgery, how would she choose a physician? Would she go with a regular 'Joe' doc who went to a local med school, the kind of guy with pedestrian experience but would "do his best, you betcha"? Or would she consider someone with top flight experience and academic credentials? Maybe someone who finished fifth from the top of his class rather than fifth from the bottom?

Nah! Too elitist!

Sven - Gawd sent them to whip us sinners into shape.

John @ 231: Do you ridicule all religions as well?

Actually, yes. I have no patience or tolerance for supposedly sentient individuals who prostrate themselves to superstition. I mock them, I ridicule them and I despise them. Clear enough?

The neocon republicans know EXACTLY what they're doing as far as pandering to the ignorant, religious right-wing. They already have the votes of the wealthy and middle class repubs, so all they need under their thumb are the lower class, under-educated, funamentalist hillbillies and their ilk, and they know just how to attract them. For example, they promote Sara Palin as wordly, educated, religious, attractive and on their side and against the "liberals". Also, a LOT (but not all, mind you) of these folks are racist. The thing is, even these folks KNOW they were duped and used by bush and rove, so the burning question is, will they fall for it again? Let's hope at least a fair percentage of them won't, even if it means they won't vote.

Certainly not surprised, or (sad to say) stunned. It's the same ol' same ol' from the psycho right. All life is precious before it is born, after that, all bets are off. How can we expect someone who believes in creationism to even understand how science or medical advances work, let alone support them.

PZ:
You've been quoted on Crooks & Liars http://crooksandliars.com/
(sorry, if someone has already mentioned this, it gets hairy slogging through 350+ posts.)

To #38 by Jordan Fett: Actually when you mentioned It's a Wonderful Life I immediately thought of the Beavis and Butthead episode where the angel shows Beavis (or was it Butthead) how wonderful the world would have been if he had never lived.

By 12th Monkey (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

I really cannot believe how turly dum and clueless she is. If being dum was a crime she would be in jail for life!

By Joe Smith (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Aw, gee Bob @ 16, I know what mutagenize means and I'm not even a scientist...

I blame the influx of pribbling spur-galled malt-worms.

Ah, music to my ears.

I think some of the younger crowd fail to discern that posting should be a bit more formal than texting, and a bit more polite.

Oh, I don't think there was ever a surfeit of formality and politeness here. :)
Just, it's hard to define, discourse and insults based more on actual points of disagreement than knee-jerk reaction. More likely to be called out on acting like an ass who doesn't have a cogent argument, and being explained to in excruciating detail why that person has no argument, rather than being made fun of for whatever physical characteristic jumps out most. Take the recent insane woman rant - instead of the whole thread being about how delusional she was, it turned into being about how fat she was. Rudeness that's to the point is more effective than rudeness that's a diversionary tactic.

This is one dangerous woman. If she and her religious fanatic friends had their way we would be back in the stone age worshipping God knows what. She and her kind are the ones who burn books because what's in them doesn't mesh with their distorted perceptions of the way THEY think it ought to be!

By larry walker (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

She said "study fruit flies in paris"

yes, she did. I'm guessing she said that because Paris is the only city in France that she knows of and can remember. Sort of like when she said the worst aspect of Cheney's vice presidency was "the duck hunting incident." (it was quail hunting.) A search of earmarks.omb.gov turns up only one earmark about "fruit fly" and "france" - a study of the olive fruit fly, with a location of Montpellier, France.

By Reginald Selkirk (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

I know that I am jumping in late on this subtopic, but I would like to add to the discussion about tariffs and free trade. The British did indeed dump tariffs in favor of free trade early in the nineteenth century, and then put them back in place at the end when German and American competition began to pinch. Their policy after that was built around protective tariffs with "Imerial Preferences" to molify the dominions. It seems that tree trade is only attractive when it is advantages.

"Now all of a sudden it's regressed into kindergarten-level namecalling of the "you're such a girl" and "you're so fat" genre. "

Well, you know what they say: Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. And I sure haven't seen any angels around here.

'If one more fucking comment thread includes the words "stupid/dumb...cunt/bitch," I'm going to stop reading anything having to do with women here.' - SC

'I was referring to specific comment threads, and not making a broad comment about the posts or comment threads on this blog' - SC

Of course! You were referring to "comment threads", not "comment threads". How could I be so stupid?

'And unless you can find examples of antimale slurs in the posts, I think you owe PZ an apology.' - SC

Sorry PZ, by 'mostly the comments' I meant 'the comments'.

'First, you don't understand the meaning of "slur," do you?' - SC

SC, you really need to back off this line of attack. You're not very good at it. In this case, the most appropriate definition of slur is "to cast aspersions on; calumniate; disparage; depreciate". All the examples I provided do that explicitly. The profanity you're complaining about, while it does qualify as a slur, doesn't qualify as a slur against women as a class. You can imagine that they do only by imposing a literal meaning where none was intended.

'Second, I noticed those comments. They're not slurs.' - SC

According to the definition of slur they are. Maybe you can enlighten me as to how exactly those statements don't cast aspersions?

'If you're a man, it simply doesn't make sense.' - SC

It makes perfect sense as profanity. That's how profanity works. Most profanity doesn't make literal sense because it's not supposed to. In what way does "fucktard" make sense? Again, you don't understand what profanity is, how it works, or what it means. What seems to be bothering you is gender agreement.

We seek gender agreement for linguistic reasons. That's why profanity is often gendered. Not because the speaker is attempting to make a statement about the whole of that gender class (though profanity can be *used* to do that). For an utterance to qualify as misogynistic, it must explicitly target women as a class. Calling someone a "dumb bitch" doesn't do that. Saying to someone "you're stupid like all women" does.

'Yes, they are. If you can't see that [...]' - SC

Is someone denigrating the act of sexual intercourse when they say "dumb fuck"? No. Or perhaps you have an argument that shows that it does?

'Because that's not gender-specific, for fuck's sake. You're really exhaustingly dense.' - SC

"dumb spic" isn't gender-specific either, and you seem to think it should be considered in the same light. Does that make you "exhaustingly dense"?

'If a comment thread grew about Hector Avalos, say, with repeated comments calling him a "dumb spic," would you fucking get it then?' - SC

Considering that "dumb spic" isn't actually used as profanity, I don't see how it's even comparable. Either is "dumb tire", "dumb antelope", or "dumb waiter".

It's telling to see that examples of explicit misandry bother you less than profanity that bares, at best, a distant resemblance to misogyny. And, of course, you still haven't explained why or how you identify specific utterances as misogynistic (profane or otherwise).

Geoff Coupe and I - both Manx not "mankies" - both know perfectly well that the Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom. But as individuals we are British by birth.

I suspect that Geoff is a little younger than I and things may have improved a little but I'd love to have a pound back for every minute I've wasted trying to explain both those ideas to, especially, the English but others too.

I would vote for Obama, if it wasn't for one thing:
....
I just turned 18, and didn't get my voter registration in on time.
While at the same time, I despise the American voting process. The general election should be the ONLY election, which would stop presidents from being elected who did not have the majority vote. Id est, Dubya and a few others which I don't have the time to verify, but I believe to be Andrew Jackson (Trail of Tears) and someone else, that I honestly do not remember. I apologize for not verifying this myself, but I am sure someone else will be happy to tell me if I am right, wrong, or tell me the name of the other president that I have forgotten.
Shadow, no matter what you have been through, things can always be better or worse. I regret what you must have been through to have such an opinion as you do, but there is nothing anyone can do for you.
Cuttlefish, very nice poem. I think I will add it to my MySpace.
As for the whole swearing vs misogynistic insults, I call them as I see them. While I understand that many people believe words such as "cunt," "bitch," "prick," "dickhead," and other such expletives are an insult to the whole gender, I disagree. Men and women both can be just as much of a "bitch" or "prick" (as an insult) as the other sex can. I am male, and many times I am disgusted with my sex for the way we have have treated females throughout the centuries, but it does go both ways.
Why can't we agree to disagree with the subject of science and religion? I am a Pagan Theist. I believe in intelligent design, but I believe that the human race does not have any idea what that intelligence may be or may have been. I believe in magic as a simple force of nature; it is what allows us to think, feel, remember, dream, and move our bodies. It is what makes the sun shine and put forth heat. In scientific terms, I believe in magic as the same as energy. It is never increased or decreased, and it is always there and always will be.
As for economics, government regulation can be good or bad. Regulation can stop monopolies, or it can cause them, depending on the law which is put into place.
Sarah Palin is a complete, unabashed, imbecilic, backwoods hick. I can think of no worse insult to call her than "Christian Fundamentalist." I am not against Christians, as long as they understand that they may be wrong just like everyone else, and don't attempt to bring their "faith" into everyone else's lives. Some of my best friends are Christian, but they are the liberal, open-minded kind that fundamentalists hate.
I believe that if there is a god or goddess, then they have no intention to involve themselves in worldly affairs. If they have, and this is the result, then by all means, let's all try to overcome them.
Thank you.

Yes Palin is ignorant of biology and the role of fruit flies. I find her belief in creationism disturbing.
But it dosen't make her anti-science or all the invectives
used in this thread. What it makes her, like so many of the people in politics, it ignorant of one or more branches of science.
I had two classes of biology in high school and one 100 level class of biology in college when I got my EE 28 years ago. I read and try to keep up with general science as much as I can. And I am willing to bet my weak education in biology is still better that 90% of the people in this country. Does any one think that Obama learned anything about biology in law school? I don't know what he tool as a under grad, but I bet biology got passed over.

All you "holier than thou" libs should be more into correcting errors the politicians make about science, instead of flinging names around.

Correct them, don't curse them.

Dr Myers, The "ignorant" was justified. The "anti science",was not.

By Eric Atkinson (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

"dumb spic" isn't gender-specific either - Jams

It's ethnically specific, lame brain. Like "dumb bitch", it's aimed at a particular, historically disadvantaged section of the population, into which individuals are born.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Dark Ages Barbie makes me want to cry.

A possible worst case scenario (note I said worst case scenario; whether this is likely or not is not something I know) if McCain and Palin are elected -

1) McCain croaks in about two years.

2) Palin, as president, writes executive orders to the effect that abortion is effectively outlawed - if Bush can violate the Constitution and existing laws, so can she - and eventually criminalizes even going to another country for one in the same way America has criminalized overseas child sex tourism, except this instance of criminalizing overseas activity is actually batshit. This not only criminalizes poor women, but also rich women who can afford to go overseas for abortions.

3) Contraception is outlawed, which is her first assault on American medicine. End-of-life care is also compromised. Women are utterly and totally fucked. She may even stop allowing sterilizations and even medically necessary surgical removal of reproductive systems, if she is indeed that batshit (which I wouldn't put past her, even if I don't know about her ideas about elective/therapeutic sterilization), which would kill hundreds.

4) Palin freezes the NIH and NSF's budget for just long enough (she's anti-science and probably would be even more ridiculous about this than McCain is) that academia's ability to survive in Palin's madness-driven country begins to take a nosedive. This, in turn, fucks up the REST of medicine and, as a side effect, virtually kills our economy (since we're already in an economic depression).

5) Only after this does she actually turn to our civil rights. We atheists are put up against the wall first. Gays are put up against the wall next. Women and racial minorities, since Palin has notably taken a far softer position on these things (except for her ridiculous pro-life position) and her dominionist butt-buddies aren't going to get in her way, are generally screwed over (women already have lost their reproductive rights), and racial minorities get shafted even worse than the women do, with women of color getting the worst of the crap. The US is, by now, an uber-Britain in terms of its surveillance actions.

6) Welcome to the Dark Ages. Fortunately, by this point, those of us who are sane will have moved overseas, even if Europe's economy is going to take a hit, and the Islamic fundamentalists will probably have perpetrated enough of a suicide attack that they will have unwittingly given us sane people the upper hand.

Of course, this is just one of many possible ways a McPain/Failin' administration could play out.

Fortunately, I think we in the scientific community can count on an Obama/Biden administration. I mean, seriously, doubled NIH/NSF funding is good.

I just cried a little.

Eric Atkinson,
Your stupidity is evidently boundless. Anyone who knows there is a scientific consensus for the reality of evolution but rejects it is clearly anti-science: this position can only be maintained by claiming evolutionary biologists are, en masse, utterly incompetent or dishonest. Anyone who does not know of the consensus is not just ignorant, but deliberately, perversely ignorant; hence, anti-science. The same is true with respect to anthropogenic global warming. Palin's sneers at fruit fly research again indicate anti-scientific malice: she at best assumes on the basis of total ignorance that this research is worthless. She's anti-science, theocratic scum.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Dragon -

If you think we're going to be any less hard on you because you're a pagan and you're only barely eighteen, think again.

The phrase 'agree to disagree' is a thought-terminating cliche; it makes an attempt to stop discussion in the name of letting everybody have their own opinion. You have your own opinion, but you don't have your own facts.

You have not got proof for 'intelligent design', no matter whether you have a defined imaginary friend or if you have some unnamed imaginary acquaintance, even. The fact of the matter is that all evidence points to evolution, and not only that, it is EXTREMELY disingenuous to fill the gaps with assumptions. The philosophical wanking is not amusing, please stop it.

Also, this magic shit does not exist. Guess what allows us to think and remember? Our brains. Our genetic code. The chemical reactions in our bodies and the organic compounds that are partially obtained from the food we ingest. OMFSM, kid, have you ever had a fucking biology class?

Also, your dualism is, if you have read the last few posts on here, philosophical wankery. Try reading, it's good for you.

It's ethnically specific, lame brain.

Heh. I would have said "It's ethnically specific, numbnuts", and watch Jams' tiny little brain overheat trying to figure that one out.

Like "dumb bitch", it's aimed at a particular, historically disadvantaged section of the population, into which individuals are born.

What Nick said. Additionally, "cunt", "bitch", and that set of pejoratives are aimed at the possessor of normal anatomy for being a normal woman. "Prick" and "dick" are the same type and direction of slur, in terms of content, but you'd have to be oblivious to centuries of history to promote a false equivalence.

"Numbnuts", on the other hand, is a gender-specific slur I'm using for you to indicate that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being male and possessing normal male anatomy, *except yours doesn't work right*, and therein lies the slur.

Unlike PZ and the host of rational, feminist-sympathetic, normal grown-up males who post here, you haven't figured out some basic stuff about history, culture, and how to treat other people, just to name a few of your obvious deficiencies on display in your post.

Hence, "numbnuts".

I think she despises science because it proved that the universe isn't 6,000 years old.

By chascates (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Why can't we agree to disagree with the subject of science and religion? - Dragon

Because science, although not sufficient alone, is a necessary precondition of the good life, while religion is false and harmful.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

So nick,
How many people in the world today fit that definition of
"not just ignorant, but deliberately, perversely ignorant; hence, anti-science?"
If Palen is ignorant of biology, then how does she know there is a consensus about evolution?

AGW is still only opinion.

And I'll keep my estiments of your stupidity to my self.

By Eric Atkinson (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Why can't we agree to disagree with the subject of science and religion?

Because that's like saying we should agree to disagree on the color of the sky, that water freezes at 32° f and that Chlorophyll is necessary for photosynthesis.

So nick,
How many people in the world today fit that definition of "not just ignorant, but deliberately, perversely ignorant; hence, anti-science?"
- Eric Atkinson

All too many, eric, including you:

AGW is still only opinion. - Eric Atkinson

Right, and evolution is "still only a theory".

You unmask your own total irrationality, eric. No-one who looks honestly and without self-deception at the current state of sceintific research into climate change can doubt that there is an overwhelming consensus among relevant scientific experts that AGW is real, and an urgent problem. Climate change denialism, like evolution denialism, rests on the claim that the relevant expert community consists almost entirely of liars or incompetent charlatans. In both caes there is the same absence of a coherent alternative theory, the same refusal to consider the consilience of evidence from multiple disciplines, the endless reappearance of already-refuted canards, the challenges to public debate combined with failure of the denialists to publish in the literature.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

AGW is still only opinion.

EricA, there is a difference between informed scientific opinion, which backs AGW, or non-scientific opinion that tries to spin the data for other reasons. You opinion doesn't count as much in science as mine, a 30-year practitioner in the field, because you don't have a good grasp of what constitutes real data as opposed to political spin, and then be able to make conclusions based on the real data.

If you think your opinion on scientific matters is equal to that of practicing scientists, you are sorely mistaken. This doesn't say you can't have an opinion, but it doesn't negate a more expert opinion.

I've already expressed by opinion of your stupidity, so I don't have to repeat myself.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Trouble in paradise um somewhere?

McCain sources say Palin has gone off-message several times, and they privately wonder whether the incidents were deliberate. They cited an instance in which she labeled robocalls -- recorded messages often used to attack a candidate's opponent -- "irritating" even as the campaign defended their use. Also, they pointed to her telling reporters she disagreed with the campaign's decision to pull out of Michigan.

A second McCain source says she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.

I don't think Eric has a good grasp on anything, except maybe his Vienna Sausage.

Dear Maureen,

I know it's "Manx" and not "Manks".

I was making a point. Correct usage of nationality is basic manners.

In the same way PZ Myers would not call Canada the "USA" then I see no reason why when he means the United Kingdom he should just say "England".

It's not the end of the world, but for an intelligent guy it should be natural.

By Edward Longshanks (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Sixty-six years of experience tells me that the worst culprits when it comes to saying "England" when they mean "the United Kingdom" are the English themselves.

This is boring. Could you get back to invading Scotland or something, please.

This is straight from the Saul Alinsky radical playbook to power - rule 5

"5. Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also, it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage."

I tell you Obama and alphabet networks entire campaign are straight out of there. Soon welcome to the CSA - Communist States of America.

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WOOOOOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

WOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

SET THE CAPTIVES FREEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

FREE FROM PIAPS!!!!!!!!!!! FREE FROM PIAPS!!!!!!!!!!!
FREE FROM PIAPS!!!!!!!!!!!

YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

FUCK YOU, PIAPS!

BWAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [/b]

OK, so this is the gov who not only doesn't "believe in" evolution but also is one of those young earthalons--believing that, despite 100% scientific evidence to the contrary, the earth is, like, only 6000 years old.

So, Sarah, here's an essay exam question:

If the earth is only 6000 years old, and all those trillions of barrels of oil are still down there waiting for "baby drill", since oil is simply fossilized and decayed earth plant life, how did all that carbon get there from just 6000 years of plants.

Cite examples.

Begin.

By irvine eddie (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Ralph, seriously. Don't huff paint and blog, man.

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

'If one more fucking comment thread includes the words "stupid/dumb...cunt/bitch," I'm going to stop reading anything having to do with women here.' - SC

'I was referring to specific comment threads, and not making a broad comment about the posts or comment threads on this blog' - SC

Of course! You were referring to "comment threads", not "comment threads". How could I be so stupid?

I really don't know. That I was expressing my exasperation at a recent phenomenon was implied in my comment, and indicated by the fact that I had been involved in discussions about it on other recent threads. I had also expressed more than once in recent weeks that generally the level of sexism around here is remarkably low.

'If you're a man, it simply doesn't make sense.' - SC

It makes perfect sense as profanity. That's how profanity works. Most profanity doesn't make literal sense because it's not supposed to. In what way does "fucktard" make sense? Again, you don't understand what profanity is, how it works, or what it means. What seems to be bothering you is gender agreement.

Fucking duh. This paragraph is too stupid even to respond to. Carlie was right.

Is someone denigrating the act of sexual intercourse when they say "dumb fuck"? No. Or perhaps you have an argument that shows that it does?

Considering that "dumb spic" isn't actually used as profanity, I don't see how it's even comparable. Either is "dumb tire", "dumb antelope", or "dumb waiter".

Why can't you grasp that I have no objection to fucking profanity? I was just saying the other day that I wished fucking PhysioProf would fucking comment here more, and a more foulmouthed poster you're unlikely to find. I'm fucking friends with truth machine. You're a goddamned peabrain.

It's telling to see that examples of explicit misandry

Where were those? Those two silly comments you offered? Do you think anyone's buying your argument about the majority of gendered slurs around here being male-directed? You're deluded.

The profanity you're complaining about, while it does qualify as a slur, doesn't qualify as a slur against women as a class. You can imagine that they do only by imposing a literal meaning where none was intended.

For an utterance to qualify as misogynistic, it must explicitly target women as a class. Calling someone a "dumb bitch" doesn't do that. Saying to someone "you're stupid like all women" does.

bother you less than profanity that bares, at best, a distant resemblance to misogyny. And, of course, you still haven't explained why or how you identify specific utterances as misogynistic (profane or otherwise).

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cunt&

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cunt

http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-definitions/cunt

Utterances are defined as misogynistic or derogatory more generally through social convention. In our culture, at the moment (though these words may be fully reclaimed in the future), "cunt" and "bitch" are misogynistic slurs. You can't make that not so by saying you don't think it's the case.

Hmmmm.

One more datum to support my hypothesis that the Internet is where you go if you need something to make you think, "I could have a head full of acid and not be that crazy."

I tell you Obama and alphabet networks entire campaign are straight out of there. Soon welcome to the CSA - Communist States of America. - Bulletbob

Alphabet networks? Anyone?

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

People have started substituting slang terms for human anatomy but it isn't really the same thing. Pointless debates are raging about whether Palin is a "dumb cunt" or a "stupid dickhead". Neither is very accurate in a literal sense.

My vote is for asshat. Palin is an asshat.

By stephanie in OZ (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Rev,
Thanks. I'd forgotten that Obama owned all those TV networks. The cunning, cunning fiend!

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

My vote is for asshat. Palin is an asshat.

Alas, if only I didn't now associate asshat with Brenda van Ahsen (the ignorant slut).

Anton Mates:

I'm starting to think she gave an entirely different speech at the same time, in sign language, which discusses the virtues of peer review and the drawbacks of subsidizing the olive industry.

This comment deserves a prize.

The funniest thing I've ever read on this site was said by James Haight at 158.

Well done sir. Well done.

By Marc Abian (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Hmmm. I'm sending an army of freedom flies to investigate. Republican hypocrisy is so yestday.(and the decade before)can we move on to figuring out how to fix this corny mess they got us into?

By pablohusseinlee (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Oh no! Not the big, bad communists! Horror!

PIAPS=PIG IN A PANTS SUIT

The wingnuts are always classy.

I'm going to have to join Fark or Something Awful now so I can make "DEBORAH ANOINTING" into the latest incomprehensible web meme.

Palin love crabs and I'm pretty sure she'll be happier seeing more federal funds into king blue crabs research instead of fruitflies.

By Harrison Tawiah (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

I like Sarah! We need more of her! LOTS more. As W, where can you find a better example of the Lucifer Principle in action?
(Lucifer Principle: To give contrast to ignorance and display it in stark relief. Lucifer translates as light bringer. Interesting that Christianity demonized both word and principle during it's dark ages recruiting drive.)

By The Snark (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

The problem is this; If people think, i.e. believe in the scientific method, it is difficult to get them to keep drinking the "coolaid" and believing the fairytale.

rc

Raven (poster #79), ummm...no, it's not. Believe it or not, we've got indoor plumbing and everything!

And whoever suggested that she should be sent back here, please don't! As the old joke goes...take my governor, please!

By hawkerbabe (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Wow this whole site is full of ignorant politically prejudice hateful retards.

As an Englishman living in America (I love this country like my own) I am distressed that such a great nation like America can seriously put someone so ignorant not only on research matters but other important subjects up for election. The world is facing economic disaster and typical of America (unfortunately) it is hiding it's head in the sand. Hope for the future lies in all people understanding the difficult choices about how to create a future that works. Read "The last hours of ancient sunlight" by author Thom Hartmann.

By peter byers (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Wow this whole site is full of ignorant politically prejudice hateful retards.

I'm sure you are a drive by but please expand on that and tell us why we are ignorant.

Oh and Irony meter go boom.

Rev., your comments today are so...spacious. :)

Palin is a perfect example of a new level of stupidity that has emerged in the Bush
era. A tragic drama is unfolding in the US. Palin is a clever right wing villen unearthed
via an evil Rovin political idealogy that invented Bush Jr. This kind of insane conservitive
machine is nothing less than a traitor to America. I only hope there is a big enough
stake to drive through its heart.

By Tommy Maney (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

politically prejudice [sic]

I'm curious about this concept of "political prejudice." I have certain political opinions, as, I'm sure, do you, Mr. Subhominid. I also think (as, I'm sure, do you) that people who do not share my opinions are wrong, stupid, and/or evil. Are we both therefore "politically prejudice[d]"? What a weird formulation.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

I wonder is Sarah would feel differently if she could see Paris from her house.......

cant wait for my OBAMA check, my wife and i pull 160K a year and hearing no tax increase on us + a check makes us vote Obama. Hope it has at least 3 zeroes left of the decimal

By sporty in CA (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Wow this whole site is full of ignorant politically prejudice hateful retards. - joey

Admittedly we get a lot dropping in, but most of them soon realise this isn't the place for them. Bye joey.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

{OT sad news for Rev BDC: just heard that Merle Saunders died. Cat could groove.}

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Eric Atkinson:

And I'll keep my estiments of your stupidity to my self.

This is an epitome of disingenuousness.

By John Morales (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

retards

Very nice. You defend the mother of a child with Down syndrome by calling us "retards".

You're particularly stupid and mean; just exactly the demographic she's going for.

Stay classy, joey.

By glassartbear (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Uugghhh...I cannot stand her! She's so ignorant, stupid and close minded. Watch how the science and education system in the US gonna be is McCain Palin is elected in 2008. More speaking in tongue thingy in schools (maybe?), less science, music, arts, and more hocus pocus subjects. I'm sooooo over with this woman!

When facts are misrepresented, this rude, mean attack is the liberal norm. The more you attack Palin, the stronger she gets. Biden says that FDR was president and spoke on TV in 1929? Sorry, FDR was not the president and TV was not in use at the time. We all see the bias. Attack an issue yes, when you name call, your a shallow minded sore loser.
If you don't have anything nice to say, keep it to yourself. Your an embarrassment when you spout such hateful personal attacks. it means you lost the issue and have to go personal. Anyone knows this. grow up already.

By Mike Tafoya (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Palin is the only candidate in this race that shows any common sense! America will be largely socialist with most Americans on welfare if Dems win. That is a very scary thought! WAKE UP AMERICA! Do NOT let Dems take our freedom that was won with much sacrifice.

Loraine, what facts are being misrepresented?

Biden's mistake is not the same as Palin taking a stand against science.

THinking they are similar is ridiculous.

If you don't have anything nice to say, keep it to yourself. Your an embarrassment when you spout such hateful personal attacks. it means you lost the issue and have to go personal. Anyone knows this. grow up already.

So attacking the stand she is taking is a personal attack?

What planet are you from and are the drugs really that good there?

I am so disappointed in people that call themselves American. Fifty years ago, no one, NO ONE would have considered speaking so ill of anyone running for the office of President/Vice President in this Country. It really goes to show that a lot of American citizens do NOT APPRECIATE this country nor its leaders.
God help us if Obama wins - we will end up a third world country - don't you realize that his entire family is of the Muslim faith?
We have one God, one flag and that is American. Illegal is illegal anyway you look at it.
It appalls me to read these blogs and see all the FILTHY language in them. But then again, what do you expect when you guys listen to a BIASED media constantly.

By A. SANGLE (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Eeegads. When I mentioned some time back that I did wish for a return to decent and worthwhile trolls, rather than these mere piddling D'orcs, I forgot to specify that a D'orc in Troll's clothing is still just a d'orc.

Now, of course, we have drive-by d'orcs as well. Don't these people have praying to do? Makes one wonder.

SC makes an excellent point. I shall endeavor to remember my Shakespearean Insult Generator should future need arise for casting aspersions hither and yon. For our nattering, web-witted jillanape, thoroughly lambasted at the top of this thread, I can offer nothing of exceeding quality. (Patricia and Bride of Shrek shall remain sluts, for they seem to enjoy the recognition and I admire their wit and flair.)

Walton, while generally too polite to be a proper troll, has not yet come to the recognition that there are more things out in the real world than are found in his textbooks. The more he types, the more he reminds me of myself when I was his age. Have such mercy as you may, gentles--he'll grow out of it should he ever have a real-time real-condition test that grades on the consequences.
(Or he'll turn into the likes of Rookie, Pilty, or E. Atkinson, at which point we ought to pile on with the +2 Backscratchers and Freeze Arrow spells.)

The MadPanda, FCD

I repeat, does anybody know how and why this thread is drawing so many dopes? Seems quite unusual.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Sorry that comment was to mike not loraine.

Palin is the only candidate in this race that shows any common sense!

You call that common sense? Are you actually listening to what she says or has the Republican cloud completely made it impossible for your to actually hear the things she says?

I am so disappointed in people that call themselves American. Fifty years ago, no one, NO ONE would have considered speaking so ill of anyone running for the office of President/Vice President in this Country. It really goes to show that a lot of American citizens do NOT APPRECIATE this country nor its leaders.

You say that then:

God help us if Obama wins - we will end up a third world country - don't you realize that his entire family is of the Muslim faith?

lol, aren't you the hypocritical one?

Wow this whole site is full of ignorant politically prejudice hateful retards.

...And there's the slur against the mentally disabled. We're shooting for the whole thing in this thread, aren't we?

I haven't seen this many drive by idiots (trolls stick around for a second post IMO) since crackergate. I think the rethugs are getting very scared and are trying every sick ploy in the book. Having seen real socialist/communist literature during my college days, I can state that Obama is neither. So our idiots are also liars.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Crooks and Liars? That hardly seems likely...I think they use complete sentences and the occasional three-syllable word over there.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Wow this whole site is full of ignorant politically prejudice hateful retards.

It's not nice to make fun of Scott from Oregon or Eric Atkinson like that...

Fifty years ago, no one, NO ONE would have considered speaking so ill of anyone running for the office of President/Vice President in this Country.

Sorry, but if someone running for office continues to display the type of ignorance and low level thinking that Palin does it is our DUTY as americans to rally against it.

God help us if Obama wins - we will end up a third world country - don't you realize that his entire family is of the Muslim faith?

Wrong.

We have one God, one flag and that is American. Illegal is illegal anyway you look at it.

No, there is no God. Yes we have one flag but i have no idea how that supports your barely coherent ramblings and stupid is stupid anyway you look at it.

It appalls me to read these blogs and see all the FILTHY language in them. But then again, what do you expect when you guys listen to a BIASED media constantly.

Says someone making the above points and who i'd bet 100 to 1 odds is a Fox News watcher.

...And there's the slur against the mentally disabled. We're shooting for the whole thing in this thread, aren't we?

Compounded by the irony that it's the honor of a mother of a baby with Down syndrome that joey is rushing in so chivalrously to defend.

Let the circular firing squad begin!

did you bring enough to share? :)

Well when it got to be about 4 am last night I think I finished what I had.

However, there is a fresh fifth in the Kitchen.

I repeat, does anybody know how and why this thread is drawing so many dopes? Seems quite unusual.

I guess one of them got a thrashing here upthread and went off to his/her regular blog - for homophobes/racists/fascists/dominionists etc. - and put out some sort of backward neanderthal rallying cry.

A. Sangle blathered:

It appalls me to read these blogs and see all the FILTHY language in them. But then again, what do you expect when you guys listen to a BIASED media constantly.

You're a fucking clown shoe, on several levels. There are any number of ways I can insult you without choosing 'filthy' language, but why would I need to when the expression 'clueless shithead' works perfectly?

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

You left wing lunnies will distroy America. Why yahoo is running this link makes me think they will fall with the left in 2010. The republicans wil have to pickup the pieces like in Jimmy Carter era.

Nerd of Redhead:

I haven't seen this many drive by idiots (trolls stick around for a second post IMO) since crackergate.

Ah, those were the days.

And, silly me, I thought the Dilbert fans had been bad!

It's a tragedy that she's so stupid that she doesn't know how stupid she is. And McCain has got to have rocks for brains because he chose her. He chose her over Bobby Jindal, a Rhodes scholar????? I'm insulted. McCain must think that the majority of Americans are stupid and that the majority of females would vote for her just because she's a female. Double insulted!!! But then again we did elect George W not once, but twice!! It must be all the lead in the Chinese products we buy that are getting into our brains.

Apparently scientific community less than pleased over off-hand comment about funding for ridiculous little pet projects like fruit fly research in France. Stand behind comment as is well-known fact that fruit flies do not suffer from autism and therefore cannot be used by IDEA.

After all, God wouldn't have given us monkeys if He'd wanted us to experiment on fruit flies. Mentioned this to John and was told never to mention word 'monkey' again. Heard him mumble something about keeping "those crazy Creationists" on our side. Was insulted. Just because we look more like monkeys than fruit flies is not support for unproven theory of evolution.

Love yah!
The Secret Diary of Sarah Palin

Joe, that is Mr. lunnieloony to you. The rest of your post was as intelligent as your spelling. If you want to impress us, try showing better 8th grade education.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

"We have one God, one flag and that is American. Illegal is illegal anyway you look at it."

And the award for Non Sequitur of the Year goes to...

You left wing lunnies will distroy America. Why yahoo is running this link makes me think they will fall with the left in 2010. The republicans wil have to pickup the pieces like in Jimmy Carter era

another drive by

what is a lunnie anyway.

And speaking of picking up the pieces, have you been in a coma the last 8 years.

Fuckhead.

You left wing lunnies will distroy America.

Sweet, I always wondered how I could do that from as far away as Australia!

I have a hard time compromising Palin's "pro-life" stand and her demonstrated pleasure of killing/hunting animals.

woody said at October 25, 2008 11:21 AM:

By the way: Time flie like an arrow; fruit flies like a tomato.

Maybe so, but I've seldon seen someone fly off a tomato peel.

Definition of irony: An anagram of Sarah Palin is "A Sharp Nail".

By Ebonvoice (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

This posting was also reproduced at Alternet, a usually progressive and well-edited site with a disappointingly low level (in quality, not number) of comments.

Hmmm: a quick googlification on "Sarah Palin, Ignoramus, PZ Myers" turns up 227 "English pages", including Technorati, RepublicansForObama, balloonjuice, The-Reaction, memeorandom, and lots more. The original page here only ranks 11th on the list.

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

As a mom of preemie twins this woman has scared me from the beginning. The one of many things she doesn't know anything about is taking care of special needs kids. That she would put herself as our champion pitting kids and parents against the professionals that we do desperately need and depend on makes me phone swing state mamas for Obama. I do this to make sure I never wake up one morning to turn on the news and find this woman taking the oath of any office that has decision making control over the care and funding of programs for my children. And don't even start me on civil rights...

Going now to make more calls!

By Twin mama (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

I can't believe that she had the nerve to say something like that. Shame on us.

ah, a clue: "yahoo is running this link"
These people are Yahoos!
(Me, I'm a proud Lunnie)

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Unfortunately you are preachin to the choir. The ignorant do not do much more on their computer than forward spam to one another.

By DeanThoreau (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

The Palin/Bush wing of the GOP is remind me the ignorant, uneducated party officials that ran Romania. Ceausescu had an elementary school education. He was merely a cobbler. An ignorant fool somehow became the brutal leader of a nation and ruined it even by communist standards.
http://eeuropeanhistory.suite101.com/article.cfm/nikolai_ceausescu_and_…

"Under Ceausescu, the social infrastructure in Romania severely deteriorated. Widespread persecutions of minorities, like Roma and Hungarians, ensued. (Bideleux and Jeffries, 577) Bans on abortion and contraception were enforced, along with increased taxes for married couples who were childless. As poverty grew, so did the amount of women who died during abortion attempts, the number children who were abandoned, and the populations of poorly-managed and underfunded orphanages. As Romania was paying off its foreign debt, many citizens assumed "hard times" would be short-lived, though the world was shocked at the photographs and reports that came out of Romania after Ceausescu's execution."

By Bluto W Bush (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Sarah is in essence The Wicked Witch of the North. Watch and wait and keep ToTo in tow. Simplistic Ignorance is to be feared like the plague that it is. The more we condemn and operate on the lowest of levels the more divisive and effective the ignorance becomes. I fear that none of us will find the Emerald City!

I have a hard time compromising Palin's "pro-life" stand and her demonstrated pleasure of killing/hunting animals.

That's easy. More life->more animals->more killing.
Or, as the ignorant, nutty policy of withdrawing funds for all but abstinence-only aid programs in Africa follows:
more unwanted and unfed children, more STDs->more dead children and adults

Can't be said often enough, those who spout Pro-Life the most are the same people who are effectively Anti-Health.
Those who mean Pro-Health are actually pro-life and pro-choice.

Sarah is in essence The Wicked Witch of the North. Watch and wait and keep ToTo in tow. Simplistic Ignorance is to be feared like the plague that it is. The more we condemn and operate on the lowest of levels the more divisive and effective the ignorance becomes. I fear that none of us will find the Emerald City!

I have a hard time compromising Palin's "pro-life" stand and her demonstrated pleasure of killing/hunting animals.

That's easy. More life->more animals->more killing.
Or, as the ignorant, nutty policy of withdrawing funds for all but abstinence-only aid programs in Africa follows:
more unwanted and unfed children, more STDs->more dead children and adults

Can't be said often enough, those who spout Pro-Life the most are the same people who are effectively Anti-Health.
Those who mean Pro-Health are actually pro-life and pro-choice.
Sorry if this shows as a double-post, did a typo fix.
P.S. What is the reason so many US citizens appear to have such great difficulties with their own written language?

Was that really you, Gov Palin? If you are reading this, do us all a favor and drop out graciously. You are too one-sided to represent all Americans. Someone in your position needs to represent all of us, not just creationist, evolutionists, pro-life, pro-choice etc. What your motto should be is, "I may not agree with you personally, but I will fight to the end making sure your freedom to believe in what you want to believe under the law is protected". We are too diverse of people to have someone lead that cannot understand all of us and too narrow-minded to see it.

@Charlie

In what way is "Jams isn't worth your time" sharper than "kindergarten-level namecalling"? Hypocrisy, it's not so pretty.

@SC

Social convention doesn't determine what is and what isn't misogyny. It determines what is profane. At least it's an argument though. I'll grant you that.

How about this. Watch this, then come back with something a little more concrete.

"Where were those? Those two silly comments you offered? Do you think anyone's buying your argument about the majority of gendered slurs around here being male-directed? You're deluded." - SC

So, you don't think there's anything sexist about saying "most women believe their vaginas are credit cards"? You think that's just "silly"? I disagree. I think it's VERY sexist. Explicitly so. Or is it just when such things are said about men that you think it's "silly"?

SC, you can be better than typical. Give it a shot.

I think poster 26 sent this one: "Giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that's not copypasta, this isn't about Christianity. It's about Palin being an anti-science fucktard."

To you, sir or madam, thank you for a great laugh and congratulations on the invention of a new and wonderful English word. "Fucktard" should reduce any confrontation to tears of aughter.

My belief is she doesn't support science due to the stance she takes on pro-life issues. If it is discovered that it can be determined a fetus is at risk of developing autism (or any disability) some parents may choose to end the pregnancy. Given she is anti choice for all reasons it would make sense to me that this is the case.

i see comments that only could come from american lips ,about ,she pays more respect to god then fruit flys .now who is right ,her or fruit flies ,i think americans need to examine there beliefs more then what fruit flys can do for them,and maybe god.!

By robert searl (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

i see comments that only could come from american lips ,about ,she pays more respect to god then fruit flys .now who is right ,her or fruit flies ,i think americans need to examine there beliefs more then what fruit flys can do for them,and maybe god.!

Was there a coherent point in that rambling chopped up mess of words somewhere?

Agreed with every bit of this excellent post. Sarah Palin's views become an item of great concern every single time she goes to speak. It's one thing to be ignorant of subjects, but it's another issue when one is ignorant and vehement on coercing everyone into their blatantly incorrect point of view.

If only I could share some of my braincells to the most popular governor of the states..she is pitiful to watch.first her shrill voice that could scare the moose.second, a scripted answer that goes to the bridge of nowhere..unscripted answers that lacks substance that opens a line to Tina Fey for a good night laugh..everytime she opens her mouth with that rolling "r" nuclear, terrorist,ayers..huh...can I add barracuda..it's plain and simple..conclusion..she is incompetent.as VP if ever elected, just imagine how she would run the country if McCain succumb due to old age..travel around the world with her 5 children and hubby charge to the USgovt..wardrobes for the first family charged to the US govt.,appoints donors,friends,for favors and gifts she got, fire everyone who dare breath against her radar,america...the once greatest nation will be on its own once again..isolated coz she will wage war against any nation that go against america,she will call leaders terrorists if they ever were present where the bombers live even when they were only 8 yrs old..I thought Joseph Estrada is the biggest joke that happened in politics internationally, but no she is the super joke.thanks for breaking the record..

Liz fr the Philippines

By liz smith (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

If only I could share some of my braincells to the most popular governor of the states..she is pitiful to watch.first her shrill voice that could scare the moose.second, a scripted answer that goes to the bridge of nowhere..unscripted answers that lacks substance that opens a line to Tina Fey for a good night laugh..everytime she opens her mouth with that rolling "r" nuclear, terrorist,ayers..huh...can I add barracuda..it's plain and simple..conclusion..she is incompetent.as VP if ever elected, just imagine how she would run the country if McCain succumb due to old age..travel around the world with her 5 children and hubby charge to the USgovt..wardrobes for the first family charged to the US govt.,appoints donors,friends,for favors and gifts she got, fire everyone who dare breath against her radar,america...the once greatest nation will be on its own once again..isolated coz she will wage war against any nation that go against america,she will call leaders terrorists if they ever were present where the bombers live even when they were only 8 yrs old..I thought Joseph Estrada is the biggest joke that happened in politics internationally, but no she is the super joke.thanks for breaking the record..

Liz fr the Philippines

By liz smith (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

@Charlie

In what way is "Jams isn't worth your time" sharper than "kindergarten-level namecalling"? Hypocrisy, it's not so pretty.

Her name is Carlie, bozo. And she was correct. You're a waste of time, as you demonstrated so vividly on both the "Hitchens under Torture" and the "An Inspirational Poster" threads.

Social convention doesn't determine what is and what isn't misogyny. It determines what is profane. At least it's an argument though. I'll grant you that.

This discussion has nothing - I repeat, nothing - to do with profanity. It is about abusive language directed at certain groups, particularly minorities.

"Cunt" and "bitch" are slurs against women as they are used in our society/ies. That is the social meaning given to these terms, as recognized in dictionaries.

Dr. Myers (and other esteemed members of this board):

In my humble opinion, Ms. Palin's public statements which deride global warming, evolution and science in general are done deliberately with an ulterior motive.

When the right wing hijacked this country, they did it with talk radio (Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage etc) - who figured out that appealing to basest instincts of people often produce remarkable results in terms of political capital.

This denial of science and embrace of chronic anti-intellectualism is simply a way to appeal to the basest instinct in us all - that of ignorance.

And deliberate ignorance (which produces denial among other things) is a very definitive way to swell republican vote banks.

Allow me to tell you a little bit about my experience. I am an immigrant to this country (and yes, I look more like Mr. Obama than Mr. McCain ;)), an atheist and I have a PhD in engineering from a decent school and work for a software company. I have colleagues, who are otherwise educated - but cling to delusions regarding religion and denial of science. I have engaged several of them in civil debate and at the end of their tether their arguments boil down to "It's my faith - right or wrong - logic be damned". It is exactly this kind of anti-logic, anti-intellectual sentiments which Ms. Palin is targeting for her political ends.Mark my words, she is neither stupid nor is she naive. She is simply another right wing politician out to corner votes en-masse by providing a false sense of validation to some people's ignorance.

Have a nice day.

Social convention doesn't determine what is and what isn't misogyny. It determines what is profane.

Picard's forehead is going to get worn out from all this facepalming.

I was wondering, does anyone know Sara Palan's SAT scores?

By Stephen Tobias (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Our Founding Fathers were GENIUSES, thats why they clearly stated in our constitution for the separation of CHURCH and STATE...what we have now is bunch of wacko religious fanatics that try to run the greatest country in the world like its Vatican City. If our population does not wake up from this hypnosis that the far right has put them in...the worst is yet to come...PURE STUPID (bush)YA LOWER CASE!! people are going to be voted into office because "there just like us" no morons vote for someone that is Above and Beyond something that you would ever be...so that when tough choices have to be made they wont FUBAR it and hope that god will watch over us...PALIN IS NOT QUALIFIED!. but for the republican voters and the stay home moms "they can relate"...your all going to go bankrupt while PALIN is going to get millions..."JUST LIKE YOU" hahahahahah...

Social convention doesn't determine what is and what isn't misogyny.

?
Perhaps Jams' point is that the crucial test for misogyny is intent? That one could, conceivably, call someone a "cunt" and not intend it misogynistically?
I mean, that point would be utter horseshit, completely at odds with cultural reality, IMO, but perhaps that's it.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Yahoos of all stripes tonight...

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

big shock. dipshit liberals at msnbc try to show a bad side to her.

Bob Vogel #16:

The real problem here, PZ, is that there is not a single person in he U.S., including myself, (and I believe in what you are doing and saying here, hands down :) would ever understand what the term "mutagenize" means. Or even care.

It's those last three words that are the problem Bob. You don't have to be a biologist to know that mutagenize just may have to do with "generation of mutations" and thus may have some relevance to, say, cancer research?

But the problem is the people (like Palin) who believe that what they don't understand about science (which they admit, almost as a matter of pride, is considerable) can't be important. "Those scientists, playing with their stupid fruit flies ... in Paris, no less!" You shouldn't have to know, or care what mutagenize means ... to consider that scientist may have a good reason, related to benefitting humans, for this research.

Once again, I am embarrassed by what my country sees as "leaders."

By F Bunting (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Blake Stacey,

While you're around -

I've been wanting to apologize for missing your whole talk at SitP a few weeks ago and for yapping at the end of the bar throughout. I doubt you or anyone else noticed (and I hope we weren't actually disruptive), but it was rude and I really was interested in what you had to say and sorry to miss it. Jeff and I arrived late and were focused on drinks and food, but that's not really an excuse. Anyway, sorry. If you give another talk, I'll take notes :).

I love how #490 followed the ellipsis in #489.

If you don't believe in EVOLUTION, I suppose it's a stretch to believe that fruit fly research could have any applicable meaning for human health.......??

It's just so hard for me to grasp that someone so lacking in intellectual curiosity could possibly be the next leader of the free world.

Anyone else considering moving to France?

Your post might have more legitimacy if you didn't expose some ignorance yourself. I don't know if you are so upset because your next year is dependent on your own fruit fly research but chill out.

Your post might have more legitimacy if you didn't expose some ignorance yourself. I don't know if you are so upset because your next year is dependent on your own fruit fly research but chill out.

Ignorance on what?

Or are you another drive by?

How could people still possibly vote for her party after that ?

I think she said enough stupid things to bury her for a long time.

By the way, I'm French and reading your comments made my day :D.

There isn't a lick of science that demonstrates humans are causing any harm to the atmosphere, so, Governor Palin is correct. Global Warming / Climate Change is a religion, because it has to be taken on faith due to the lack of evidence for it.