Vanity Fair reviews the Creation Museum

A good take-down is a thing of beauty. A.A. Gill visited the "museum" in Kentucky, and gets right to the heart of the matter: it's not a museum, it's a national embarrassment.

The Creation Museum isn't really a museum at all. It's an argument. It's not even an argument. It's the ammunition for an argument. It is the Word made into bullets. An armory of righteous revisionism. This whole building is devoted to the literal veracity of the first 11 chapters of Genesis: God created the world in six days, and the whole thing is no more than 6,000 years old. Everything came at once, so Tyrannosaurus rex and Noah shared a cabin. That's an awful lot of explaining to do. This place doesn't just take on evolution--it squares off with geology, anthropology, paleontology, history, chemistry, astronomy, zoology, biology, and good taste. It directly and boldly contradicts most -onomies and all -ologies, including most theology.

It's also ugly, cheesy, and stupid. People often try to excuse faith by claiming it inspired a lot of great art…but here is the evidence that god is dead. All his rotting corpse seems to inspire any more is cartoon kitsch. And Christian rock.

I spent a lot of time in the Eden picnic area, trying to wrest some sort of spiritual buzz, a sense of the majesty and the mystery, but it's conspicuously absent. Literally beaten to death. This is Ripley's Believe-It. It is irredeemably kitsch. In fact, it may be the biggest collection of kitsch in God's entire world. This is the profound represented by the banal, a divine irony. (The penchant for kitsch is something that gay men and born-again Christians share.) This tacky, risible, and rational tableau defies belief, beggars faith. Compare it to the creation story in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, Masaccio's expulsion from Eden, or any of the thousands of flickering images, icons, and installations based on faith rather than literalist realism. It truly makes you wonder, Is all this righteous ire, all this money, all this Pentecostal flame-throwing the best they can come up with? This cheap county-fair sideshow--this is their best shot? It may be more replete with proof than a Soviet show trial, but this creation is bereft of any soul.

We've criticized Ham a lot for the inanities of his museum, but I wonder if the accusation that he's a cheap, tasteless rube will sting a little more than harping on the fact that he's ignorant and irrational (which he considers virtues). We'll have to see if a response appears on his blog.

By the way, Ken Ham reads Pharyngula, even if he never links to us or mentions us by name. He has a blog post that quotes me and commenters here, to show how evil we are. You should check it out to see if he found you worthy of damnation.

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The latest issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach features a few thoughts from Gordy Slack on AiG's Creation Museum, which just passed the 1-year mark back in May. The controversy surrounding it has largely died down in the last year, particularly given the shenanigans involved with the release…
The New York Times gives us sneak peek at the big Creation Museum opening in Kentucky this weekend: The entrance gates here are topped with metallic Stegosauruses. The grounds include a giant tyrannosaur standing amid the trees, and a stone-lined lobby sports varied sauropods. It could be like any…
Here's a good test of your critical acumen. This site has a quiz comparing the priceless designs of Donald Judd against cheap furniture from Ikea and Wal-Mart. It's often surprisingly hard to tell the two apart, although I take this less as an indictment of Judd (who I've always admired) and more…

"The penchant for kitsch is something that gay men and born-again Christians share"

Well, that and a few of the same lovers.

I think the font on the headings of his blog entries are actually his handwriting...

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I did not find myself on Ham's blog - but I did find this from Ham and it blew my mind:

The difference though is that whereas Christianity is a logical, reasoned, sure faith, atheism is a blind, meaningless, purposeless faith where its adherents often aggressively suppress the truth.

Talk about through the looking glass! A "logical, reasoned" faith! But the entire point of "faith" is that it's what you can hang onto without logic and reason.

Batshit crazy. No doubt about it.

By nancymcclernan (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I can hear the piglets squealing.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I loled at "Ripley's Believe It"

By PaleGreenPants (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Most of the comments he quotes on his post seem perfectly reasonable to me....

By Rob Clack (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Wow, I'm really glad to see Ham's put some of Pharyngula's comments on his site. Even though he meant to portray the posters in a bad light, most of the comments were logical and well-written (I'm suprised that he didn't quote-mine more that he did), and hopefully will get the wheels churning in some of his subscriber's brains.

And props to Vanity Fair and A.A. Gill for that righteous beotch-slap!

"The penchant for kitsch is something that gay men and born-again Christians share"

I suspect this line is probably the one that will get their panties in a bunch the most of all as any mention of teh gay seems to send them up the wall... Ignore the fact the premis of the entire 'museum' is completely exposed as a fraud, you just accused them of being like a homerseksual!

When Ken Ham speaks I am sure that baby jebus cries.

By druidbros (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

There are some wonderful people who have the patience and perseverance to work with the mentally and developmentally disabled. I am not one of those people, therefore, I had to quit reading Ken Ham's blog.

By Ms. Crazy Pants (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

The creation museum. Propaganda and dogma harmoniously blended with the fine overtones of fundamentalism. Completely lacking any sense, it is recommended for those whose pallet finds sense and reason distasteful when it comes to finding belief. One cannot help but notice the museum has become a cultural icon for rednecks, inbreds and the less fortunate victims of human evolution who continue to display atavistic genes in the intelligence department.

Ham quote-mine people without proper citations? Okay hey Ham quote-mine this:
You say that there is much scientific data backing up creationism. However you've failed to put forth anything that is credible in science. Therefor you are a liar. In Revelations 21:8, your religion states that you, as a liar, will end up in the exact same place we will. So have fun knowing that you're hellbound. (Us? Clearly we don't care. ;D)

By Gyeong Hwa Pak… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I love "..Europeans and other sexual deviants" in the AA Gill article! I am, of course, European!

By Rob Clack (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

And I bet thats not in his 'museum'.

By druidbros (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

This is Ripley's Believe-It

Epic, as the young people say.

Only tangentially on-topic, but here's some brainless fun for those of you with Facebook accounts. It's a response to some creationist group trying to assemble the same number of people, only with more stupid. As pointless as pharyngulating an on-line poll, but worth doing for much the same reason: the other lot will feel hurt if they lose, and nothing is sweeter than their tears.

By Mrs Tilton (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I actually like the look of his blog. It's slick and attractive. Noticeably absent (besides links to what he quotes) are comments and contact information.

I wanted to send him a comment/email asking why he doesn't cite his sources (and just to bug him). I couldn't find an email address. The easiest thing to find--After searching several links--was a mailing address.
I finally got a form from AIG (I think) to email. But that required that I enter ALL my personal contact info. I don't want them mailing me any info.

Anybody have Ham's email address?

By Lynn Wilhelm (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Ooo, SNAP. (Can I still say that?)

In Revelations 21:8, your religion states that you, as a liar, will end up in the exact same place we will.

FSM, NOOOOOOOO! Please. If there is a god, please don't put me in the same place as Ken Ham. My primary reason for not going to the Creation Museum is because I'm deathly allergic to halfwits. I am also allergic to Christian fucktards. But, I repeat myself.

By nigelTheBold (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rob Clack @ 13

I love "..Europeans and other sexual deviants" in the AA Gill article! I am, of course, European!

Yeh i lol'ed especially cos i am so glad to be classed as a sexual deviant by Ham and his ilk. Im sure he would be horrified that i am living in sin with my girlfriend! /pearlclutch

Having said that it took my folks (dad is a retired CoE minister) a little while to accept it, but i'll be damned if their opinion was getting in the way!

As for the lunacy of these museums there is even one here in the UK shamefully enough. Europe isn't immune to this imbecillatry.

In Baltimore, one museum had to be bailed out, two have closed, and pretty much every other museum has cut hours and staff. Our big art museums, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Gallery, will probably have to cease free admission soon. The city government might end its free historic walking tours, its aid for free museum admission, for free admission for lower-income city students in school groups, and its dolllyr days program, which allowed even desperate poor families to enjoy the National Aquarium, the Science Center, and other expensive attractions. In short, the situation is fucked.

Yet this black hole of allegedly charitable giving continues to suck down desperately needed money in order to pump out industrial-grade nonsense. Fuck it all.

By history punk (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Pretty good comenting, pharyngulates, even Ken Ham can't distort or quote-mine your comments to make them look bad.

Wow. I guess it shouldn't surprise me, but Ken Ham really does seem to be incapable of absorbing new information.

I clicked through expecting to see a lot of vicious Pharyngulite ad homs, but the posts he cut and pasted all quite reasonably and clearly explained the very things he says he doesn't understand. And still he doesn't understand them.

But if he thinks Jesus rode a dinosaur his remedial education has to start a bit further back than Humanist Ethics 101.

By ambulocetacean (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Ken Ham reads Pharyngula quotemines PZ and Pharyngula readers.

Fixed it for you.

By InfuriatedSciTeacher (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s Ken Ham's judgment seat.

Having said that it took my folks (dad is a retired CoE minister) a little while to accept it, but i'll be damned if their opinion was getting in the way!

Good. Ain't enough love in the world as it is (to paraphrase Don Henley and a bunch of other sappy songwriters).

It's a good thing we have Ken Ham and his demon-spawn ilk protecting us from the spread of love and caring. What a horrendous disease! Can you imagine if everyone had someone to love them, and care for them, and for them to love in return? Oh, the horror!

By nigelTheBold (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I find it interesting that Ken's blog post is basically "Hey look at these screaming atheist monkeys!". He performs absolutely no analysis of the content of those posts, even the ones that make interesting points (for instance, isn't it weird that God agrees with Ken Ham on everything? Beware of finding a Jesus entirely congenial to you and all that).

But then, if he were capable of reasoned analysis of other people's arguments, he wouldn't be Ken Ham.

I am heart broken. I followed the link to Ham's site and read the comments. I was not quoted. But there was a quote about missing out on the orgies that some of us were riffing on.

How odd to think that some of my silly bullshit is read by people ranging from Richard Dawkins to Ken Ham.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

This is possibly the best review I have ever read. I am now tempted to read this magazine on a more regular basis.

By cehegarty (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Those quotes are pretty innocuous. I wonder if he even reads and selects him. Maybe he just bought a bot to harvest some random quotes from various blogs and put them on his site. Bought a bot. Oh dear. That doesn't sound very good.

But then, if he were capable of reasoned analysis of other people's arguments, he wouldn't be Ken Ham.

I can't help but think of L. Ron Hubbard, who told another science fiction author (and I paraphrase liberally), "I'm giving up on science fiction, old boy. Religion is where the money's at."

I always wonder if these folks aren't in it strictly for the money. It's easy to fleece the credulous. In this time of economic trouble, it'd be easy (and completely immoral) to get rich peddling easy fantasy.

I'd be tempted to do it myself if I weren't, you know, not evil.

By nigelTheBold (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Hi, everybody

English is not my first language, so I would be happy if someone would like to explain me the "Ripley".

Saludos,

I think A.A. Gill is my new hero. The entire piece was just brilliant.

And Paul Bettany is not a bad photographer.

By neon-elf.myope… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

One of the worst features of the Creation Theme Park is that it is static. The magic book is a closed canon, nothing will ever change.* Science marches on, everyday new, strange, and wonderful things are discovered.

So, once anyone has seen the plastic statues, why go back?

Ham needs to expand his theme park. They need a rides section with a roller coaster and so on. A band shell for music and rock concerts. A bar and nightclub. A Casino. Got to have a casino.

With some ex-Disney executives, the Creation Theme park could be the Jesusland of the North.

*Only almost true. The xians keep rewriting the book when they think no one is looking. So much for inerrancy.

Having read Ham's post, I must say it's worth reading just for the conclusion he somehow draws from the comments:

These atheists just have the blindfold on and that is that! They talk about faith, but don’t realize (or don’t want to realize) that they rely on their own faith. The difference though is that whereas Christianity is a logical, reasoned, sure faith, atheism is a blind, meaningless, purposeless faith where its adherents often aggressively suppress the truth.

It's amazing how he can buttress his blind claim with a string of quotes that are either contrary or irrelevant to the claim, which is supremely ironic because the claim itself is that we're the blinkered ones!

Interesting... Vanity Fair is blocked by my school system. Someone is far too easily offended, methinks.

By InfuriatedSciTeacher (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

English is not my first language, so I would be happy if someone would like to explain me the "Ripley".

"Ripley's Believe It Or Not" is a series of very tacky "museums" in which wild and outrageous things are shown. They have items from the world's tallest man alongside items from the world's shortest woman, and so on. Things that are hard to believe, but (generally) true.

They are very tacky, and are often just wax museums, places where dummies stand in for the real thing.

By calling the Creation Museum "Ripley's Believe It," the article suggests you are not presented with the option of not believing. They present everything as the truth, and you are supposed to accept it, even though it is far more absurd than the tacky things on display in a typical "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" museum.

Hope that helps.

By nigelTheBold (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I went to University 45 min. from the infamous Glen Rose, TX creationist museum. I never went, I'm allergic to teh stoopid.

What's sad is that Glen Rose has two redeeming qualities that are always ignored thanks to the pervading fundamentalist attitude.

1)They have Dinosaur Vally State Park, as the entire Paluxy riverbed through there is covered in trackways.

2)Fossil Rim, a nature preserve that you can drive through and see everything from common deer and llamas to zebras and giraffes.

As to Ken Ham's blog, congratulations Pharyngulites: He was unable to successfully quote mine or otherwise butcher the intent of your comments. He also suffers from Citation Fail, apparently.

By Rawnaeris (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

explain me the "Ripley".

Alien movie 1986:

Ripley: I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

"Enjoy the wonders of God’s Creation as you uncover what natural selection can and cannot do. In this special exhibit, examine an aquarium that resembles a real cave. This cave aquarium features live blind cavefish, showing how natural selection allows organisms to possess characteristics most favorable for a given environment—but it is not an example of evolution in the molecules-to-man sense. You’ll also uncover the truth about antibiotic resistant bacteria." - From Cteation Museum

Yes, "truth about anti-biotic resistant bacteria".

Bacteria prays really hard, and the Lord doth say "Let there be a resistance plasmid my child."

This is nonsense and above all NEGLIGENT!

Acastia, in the US, there is a long running franchise called Ripley's Believe It Or Not!. It has been on TV, comics and even a museum.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

*Only almost true. The xians keep rewriting the book when they think no one is looking. So much for inerrancy.

The Conservapaedia bible springs to mind!

Give it 100 years and Jebus will have been wandering the southern states with his Winchester rifle, trusty colt 45 "justice", a stetson, his trusty charger "truth" and went roaming the countryside healing the sick and wasting Libruls in those 'missing 20 years'...

@27

I agree, it's my favourite review so far. It's full of gems and delicious turns of phrase ("without allowing for any metaphoric or symbolic wiggle room. There’s no poetic license. This is a no-parable zone."), but it's not infatuated with its own wit. I'm envious.

And of course, this:

Here in Nowheresville, Kentucky, tennis is considered a game for Europeans and other sexual deviants. I can’t imagine what they think of English actors.

LOL. And wonder what Paul Bettany'd have to say about it.

Give it 100 years and Jebus will have been wandering the southern states with his Winchester rifle, trusty colt 45 "justice", a stetson, his trusty charger "truth" and went roaming the countryside healing the sick and wasting Libruls in those 'missing 20 years'...

That's essentially the basis of Mormonism.

By nigelTheBold (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Darn it, beat to it by our lovely Mistress Janine!

By triskelethecat (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Gyeong Hwa Pak #12:

Okay hey Ham quote-mine this:
You say that there is much scientific data backing up creationism. However you've failed to put forth anything that is credible in science. Therefor you are a liar. In Revelations 21:8, your religion states that you, as a liar, will end up in the exact same place we will. So have fun knowing that you're hellbound. (Us? Clearly we don't care. ;D)

That's easy: "There is much scientific data backing up creationism. However, ... failed to put forth anything that is credible in science. ..."

A pronoun or two, a "correction" of the capitalization; what's that? Piffle!

By wanderinweeta (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I always wonder if these folks aren't in it strictly for the money.

Perhaps that's why these folks are always asking for (or demanding) money...

That's essentially the basis of Mormonism.

Ahh i see... Glen Beck makes much more sense now.

Actually let me re-phrase that. Glen Becks... err *issues* make more sense now.

for nigelTheBold

yes it did help, thank you. Now I do really appreciate the whole article.

By the way; I'm hanging around at Pharyngula for quite a while now, never commenting. It's a great thing in a world of madness. To get to my point: I often wonder when I read P.Z posts and your comments, that when the religous " do the Godwin" I rarely see any comments pointing to the "Naciónal Catolizismo" during the Franco dictatorship in Spain, or the more than tight bonds of the catholic church to dictators in Portugal, Greece, parts of South America. Or the sadly famous photo with the german Bishops greeting with the "german greeting" etc. etc.
Just wondering and thankful for any information.

Saludos,

Also, I suppose anyone with enough time invested in their religion will stoop to the lowest depths of intellectual dishonesty to prevent their faith in superstitions being exposed as rubbish. Creationist museum is about the propagation of nonsense to further the power-base of zealots.

There is a bit of a sniffy disclaimer between the Flood and the Tower of Babel about Cain’s having to have sex with his sister ...
Oh? What sister? The only woman in the world at thet time was his mother.

By Abdul Alhazred (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Ken Ham pulled this from Pharyngula: "There again, even after leaving Christianity for Atheism, I’m still an utter failure with women. The endless, heathenish orgies that I was so hoping for when dropping God have yet to materialize."

Ham is tone deaf. He thinks the quote above was written without humor or irony, and is just an example of what he expected: heathens leave the church so they can have orgies, but heathen men are no match for christian men in the sack.

That's right, Ken. Dream on. (And please do develop a sense of humor and an appreciation for irony. You have irony-poor blood.)

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

For those who don't get enough snark, Wolcott's Blog at Vanity Fair is routinely a thing of beauty.

I have no doubt that Ken Ham uses whatever he can to get more money and have no reason to accept his claim that he is a believer. I would not be surprised at all to find out that he used Sinclair Lewis's Elmer Gantry as his instruction book in how to bamboozle the rubes and knows it better than the Bible.

By Free Lunch (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Ken Ham didn't quote me either. Crushed, I tell you, I'm crushed.

I see that Ken Ham always gives himself credit when he posts quotes, but never gives anyone else credit. This makes me think that he would be a selfish fucker [EXPLETIVE DELETED] in bed, and therefore no fit companion for one of the daughters of God.

(The text above has been prepped for appearance on Ham's blog, with the expletive struck and Ken's stylish, all-caps indication for deleted expletives employed. Making it easy for you, Ken, because you need all the help you can get.)

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

@#54

Shouldn't you make him pay, or at least ask for donations to provide that service? :p

Give it 100 years and Jebus will have been wandering the southern states with his Winchester rifle, trusty colt 45 "justice", a stetson, his trusty charger "truth" and went roaming the countryside healing denying coverage to the sick and wasting Libruls in those 'missing 20 years'...

;-)

That, my evil atheist friends, was a truly beautiful bitch-slapping. Hurray for A.A. Gill.

acastcia,

I can't speak for why nobody else brings up these things, but for myself the continuing evil that religion does today is more damning and more relevant. "We've changed since yesterday" seems to ring more hollow than "we've changed since we were coerced decades ago by awful atheists claiming to know Jesus", even to those who lie about history.

@#54
Shouldn't you make him pay, or at least ask for donations to provide that service?

Christians are used to paying for it. I will send him a bill.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I see that Ken Ham always gives himself credit when he posts quotes, but never gives anyone else credit.

That is because our name is Legion, for we are many. All atheists are the same, they all rely on the same denial of undeniable Truth™ and rebellion against God. Every form of bigotry involves reducing divergent viewpoints to crude stereotypes, and Ham's is no exception.

Good. I hope Ham reads us. I hope he reads us and is afraid. I hope we terrify him. I hope he spends his nights quaking in fear of the hordes of atheists, agnostics, Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, liberals, scientists, street corner buskers, people not in comas, and everyone else who doesn't fall into his tight little band of stupid because he knows that despite all his bluster and bravado about being clothed in the light of God and shielded by the love of Christ he still has to pay a shitload of fat rent-a-cops to protect his little vanity project from the truth.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Read and re-read the Hambone link....

And for the life of me he has not understood the context that most of the cut and paste quotes reflect.

Meaning he sees a buzzword like 'orgy' or 'faith' or 'atheist' and hopes the mere mention of it scandalizes his brain dead acolytes...yet strangely thrill them at the same time.
The content or points raised in the quoted segments are ignored...he seems to be going just for the shock value!

What a very sad little ignorant hypocrite of a xian!

He cannot even analyse a blog post.

Retard does not know that the C&P might even raise questions amongst his flock.
And not very innocuous ones at that!
Let him continue...our work is done here ;-)

By Strangest brew (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

He has a blog post that quotes me and commenters here, to show how evil we are. You should check it out to see if he found you worthy of damnation.

You know, if someone who's almost one of "ours" so to speak can wet his pants over my comments here (hey there Mooneytits!), then I don't think I want to know what Ken Ham has done with them.

It'd be way too much like finding out the creepy pimply faced kid at school who saves his fingernail clippings in a jar and keeps a booger collection under his desk has pictures of you on his bedroom wall.

Thumbs up on that review. Fun to read and stinging.

By lose_the_woo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Damn, that was a fine read. I bookmarked the A. A. Gill page of articles.

Ham doesn’t give credit to the Pharyngula commenters, of course, for it’s all just noise from the faithless horde dancing around naked outside of Noah’s ark, but I’m intrigued by his surprisingly cogent selection of quotes. He may be one of the most exasperating of the Creationists, but I don’t think he’s one the stupidest.

By RamblinDude (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

"I wonder if the accusation that he's a cheap, tasteless rube will sting a little more than harping on the fact that he's ignorant and irrational (which he considers virtues)."

Sorry. Cheapness, tastelessness, and rubidity are also virtues to him.

That reminds me of a demotivational poster I made.

It has a picture of a church where the board read "Reason is the greatest threat to faith."

So I gave it the caption "Reason: God is my boss, he doesn't pay me to think."

Sorry. Cheapness, tastelessness, and rubidity are also virtues to him.

I tend to agree with the notion that anytime a faithless detractor criticizes them, xtians take it in a positive way.

By lose_the_woo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

@tacroy:

He performs no analysis of the content of those posts, even the ones that make interesting points (for instance, isn't it weird that God agrees with Ken Ham on everything? ...)

Thanks, that was mine. On his list of "logical, calm, scientifically reasoned, rational responses," Ken quoted me fourth from the top. To be fair, he pasted my comment in its entirety so although it's unattributed, it was technically not quotemined. Still, the least he could do is answer my [EXPLETIVE DELETED] question.

Nice to see Ham getting bitch-slapped, but it still doesn't mean that A A Gill isn't anything other than a despicable, sub-human cunt.

This is the man who shot and killed a baboon 'to see what it would feel like to kill a human', and then wrote about it.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/26/aa-gill-shot-baboon

By Tim_Danaher (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

There's a really mixed bag of quotations there, and I'm surprised he used some of them. I agree with Lynna, that it looks like he's either tone-deaf to sarcasm, or is happy to think that the sarcasm will pass for serious when removed from context. I also expected more explicit 'Christian-bashing' -- what, not even one reference to raven's death cultists?

He seems to be counting on his followers being very, very sensitive to tone and language: "forget what they're saying, just look at how they're saying it and you can know they're wrong." Of course, what we're saying is clearly pressing some buttons. Strangest Brew is probably right about the "buzz words" being enough to make Ken's point all over again.

I feel a bit like I felt when I saw the clip of the interview with PZ which was put into the movie Expelled and thought well, okay, that's not so bad then -- and then found out that it made audiences gasp in horror. Clearly, if Ham thinks these quotations are slam dunk evidence that atheists are thoughtless and practically insane, we're dealing with a different mindset.

'Loose cannon' Gill seems to have hit his mark a bit closer than his usual sloppy manner. He is a religious apologist that wrote this:

Scientists all over the nation must hold their heads and groan whenever Richard Dawkins appears on television, as he did in The Root of All Evil? (Monday, C4). He is such a terrible advertisement, such an awful embarrassment, the Billy Graham of the senior common room. His splenetic, small-minded, viciously vindictive falsetto rant at all belief that isn’t completely rooted in the natural sciences is laughable. Dawkins is a born-again Darwinist, an atheist, so why is he devoting so much blood pressure and time to arguing with something he knows doesn’t exist? If it’s not there, Richard, why do you keep shouting at it? He looks like a scientific bag lady screaming at the traffic, and watching him argue with a fundamentalist Christian, you realise they were cut from identical cloth, separated at birth. Dawkins is, of course, the archetype of a man who protests too much, and I’d say he’s well on his way to, if not a Pauline, then at least a Muggeridgian conversion. Any day now, he’ll be back on telly quoting CS Lewis.

Gill somehow think he is an arbiter of taste. I guess because he dresses with care.

By Michelle B (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

He shot a baboon? Just because he felt like it? That's appalling.

Danaher, to describe an despicable person like Gill (and I agree on that point) you choose to use female gender terms to get your point across? What are you, creatively bankrupct?

By Michelle B (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

People often try to excuse faith by claiming it inspired a lot of great art...

It did. So what? Other mythologies, besides the Christian one, also inspired great art. The artists created works with religious thematic because it sold well.

Leaving aside that some artists virtually didn't even touch Biblical subjects (Botticelli, for instance), non-Christian themes are common even among "Christian artists." Michelangelo, who is arguably the best known of them, had no problem whatsoever painting and sculpting "pagan" gods (Bacchus, the Genius of Victory, Apollo), historical figures (Brutus) or random people (a whole array of slaves, for instance).

And I limited myself to visual arts in Italy -- the country that's supposed to be the most Christian of all. (That's where the head of the "universal" church spends his time, right?) There are countless examples of art that has nothing to do with Christianity, from the old Chinese temples to the Mayan pyramids and Dali's paintings.

Literature is a form of art, right? Yet most of the "great" literature isn't biblical themed. Dante's Divina Comedia and Sienkiewicz's Quo Vadis are in poor company.

I forgot music? No, but the situation is similar with that of painting and sculpture -- and I'm not even talking about Eastern Orthodox church music, which is stagnated in a derivation of Gregorian canticle. And as far as modern Christian music is concerned, I have yet to find some piece that is neither profoundly dull nor a rip-off.

By Armand K. (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Ham also reads my site, too even though he never puts a link to my site on his posts lest he loses his followers to reality. Just comes to show what a coward he really is.

Now Ken Ham is Upset with Me!

By Crazyharp81602 (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

OT: Finally able to comment!!

By Bill Gascoyne (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

what, not even one reference to raven's death cultists?

WHAT!!! These are cults whose people have lives so miserable and empty that their best idea is to sit around in a near coma and hope god shows up and kills them and 6.7 billion other people.
And destroys the earth.

Must have been too truthy for Ham. Or too reasonable sounding. "Sure, we all hate our lives, we hate your lives too, and we hope an invisible sky spook kills everyone soon. What was your point now?"

And I limited myself to visual arts in Italy -- the country that's supposed to be the most Christian of all.

Not Oklahoma?

By Abdul Alhazred (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

To Ken Ham:

You're just jealous. On Sunday mornings while you're in boring church the atheists on this blog are eating bacon off lesbians and engaging in hot OM orgies!!1! And you don't want to know what we do with your bible....

(Pleeeeeease quote-mine this)

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Acastcia--

They don't talk about the entanglement of fascism with Catholicism in Franco's Spain because most Americans don't quite realize that Spain had any history beyond los Reyes Catolicos sponsoring Columbus's voyages and the conquistadors who followed. At most, they have a vague idea of Picasso, the bombing of Guernica, and that Spain is now a democracy, but ask an American of my generation (I'm 46) about Franco and what you'll probably get back is "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead," a tag line from a late-night comedy show.

By v.rosenzweig (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Interesting to see the comments about Gill at #71 and #73... I was starting to formulate my thoughts about the article to comment here when I read those comments, and it just validated what my gut was telling me (especially Michelle B's comment at #73)...

While I found the slap-down entertaining, and I'm sure it will send pig-rapist into an apoplectic fit, I couldn't shake the feeling the whole time that under the surface of it all was some serious "not a True ChristianTM" apologetics going on...

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

As mentioned, no comments allowed at Ken Ham's "blog". I find it funny that Pharyngula commenters end up having more of a say there then Ken Ham's readers.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

And I limited myself to visual arts in Italy -- the country that's supposed to be the most Christian of all.

Not Oklahoma?

By Abdul Alhazred (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

So, now that the author has a bit of context to him (thanks Tim_Danaher & Michelle B), I feel a bit deflated. I simply don't trust the integrity of his intentions for the article. The Dawkins excerpt was just moronic, but not nearly as evil as shooting a baboon to see what it's like kill someone.

By lose_the_woo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

The Dawkins excerpt was just moronic, but not nearly as evil as shooting a baboon to see what it's like to kill someone.

fixed.

By lose_the_woo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm very happy to see that major news outlets are willing to point out the pure stupidity of the Creationist Museum. I'm surprised I haven't seen other mainstream outlets skewering this sad excuse for a museum.

By cehegarty (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

#73

Seems young Master Gill likes to court controversy for the infamy if nothing else!

Seems to have a problem with Wales...or rather the Welsh...and seems not to keen on the Brits... then again who can blame him there!

He likes the spotlight whatever...methinks Prof Dawkins 'media footprint' eclipses him somewhat.

That he is a closet religionist while pretending neutrality must be considered as possible.
Maybe even Hambone's mausoleum of make believe inanity offended his sense of 'sensible xianity' who knows, not even sure Gill does!
How sensible is it to murder a great ape...then describe the kill with pride and some detail.

Methinks someone craves notoriety at any price.

By Strangest brew (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

OT:

It looks like the shit has been stirred regarding the bible-verse gun sights.

From the article:

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) called on US Defense Secretary Robert Gates to immediately withdraw from combat use equipment found to have inscriptions of Biblical references after it emerged that Trijicon has contracts to supply over 800,000 of the sights to the US military.

Stupid, stupid, xtians. Always proselytizing where not only is it not wanted, it's completely inappropriate.

By lose_the_woo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm severely amused at the fact that Ham actually put a quote about atheist orgies on his blog. Sarcasm just does not register, does it.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Stuff like this is what makes the US the laughingstock of the industrialized world. It is an embarrassment to me and the rest of us who know better.
It's a lot like what I say about radical Islam: it would be a good science fiction story if it weren't true.
I sure hope smart, educated Christians are speaking out against so-called Intelligent Design crap like this museum.

Eww, I’m disappointed to learn these things about Gill, too. He’s entitled to his opinion about Richard Dawkins, of course, but I can’t imagine Dawkin’s shooting a baboon just to satisfy an itch to kill.

By RamblinDude (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

It is irredeemably kitsch. In fact, it may be the biggest collection of kitsch in God's entire world. This is the profound represented by the banal, a divine irony. (The penchant for kitsch is something that gay men and born-again Christians share.)

I've noticed this about American Christianity. To compete with the temptations of the secular world, fundies feel the need to produce cheap knock offs mainstream culture: badly conceived "Christian" fantasy RPGs designed to compete with the "Satanic" D&D, poorly animated Christian cartoons, badly animated or acted Christian children's programming, DVD players that automatically edit sex, nudity, and violence from movies. I've even seen a Christianized "rock band" video game called "Praise Hero!" (Yeah kids, ROCK OUT to your favorite Stryper hits!")

There is no originality here. There is nothing inspiring or thought provoking--at least not to someone with some education and taste. However, I have relatives who eat this shit up and try to hold up this borrowed, knock-off subculture up as the ideal. It should come to no surprise that NONE of them ever went to college with the exception of one who attended a Chicago-area Lutheran diploma mill?

By Akira MacKenzie (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

There is no originality here. There is nothing inspiring or thought provoking--at least not to someone with some education and taste.

I think this is a great point. Perhaps it's all a caused by their mind set. They are sheep after all, and good sheep - follow.

Another example is their feeble response to the Darwin Fish. I know people that actually have that on their car and they think it's the cleverest thing, when in fact it's quite pathetic.

By lose_the_woo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Give it 100 years and Jebus will have been wandering the southern states with his Winchester rifle, trusty colt 45 "justice", a stetson, his trusty charger "truth" and went roaming the countryside healing the sick and wasting Libruls in those 'missing 20 years'...

Hmmmmm... The Bible by Louis L'amour!

I have to admit that Jesus as a Old West Gunslinger ("Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they were made by Sam Colt!"), would be far more entertaining that the original version.

Jesus shot a man in Reno, to save him from his sins!

By Akira MacKenzie (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Perhaps it's all a caused by their mind set.

fixed.

My proofing is not so good today.

By lose_the_woo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Ugh... sorry about #94. I'm in class right now and I'm trying to divide my attentention betwixt my instructor and Pharyngula.

By Akira MacKenzie (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

"These atheists just have the blindfold on and that is that!"

Hardly. Who is the one who goes on and on about "Jesus Glasses?" We've removed as meny "glasses" as we can and see the world as it it, not how we want it to be.

"They talk about faith, but don’t realize (or don’t want to realize) that they rely on their own faith."

Ah, this old canard. He, like most theists, just can't comprehend what a lack of faith is. It's so much a part of their slavish mentality that they can't imagine anyone without it.

"The difference though is that whereas Christianity is a logical, reasoned, sure faith..."

Excuse me...I think I need to get a new screen. I just sprayed my morning orange juice at this one.

"...atheism is a blind, meaningless, purposeless faith where its adherents often aggressively suppress the truth."

Projection much? What is it about the Creationists that they see their own flaws in everyone else? I mean...this is just beyond any degree of rationalization I've ever encountered. Every single thing they do, they imagine other people are doing to them. "Suppress the truth?" Let's see...whose blog allows comments and whose doesn't? Which group actively tries to censor and distort the other? Which group prides itself on blindness and ignorance? Which group whines on and on about how purposeless life is without their pet sky fairy?

This is the man who shot and killed a baboon 'to see what it would feel like to kill a human', and then wrote about it.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/26/aa-gill-shot-baboon

WTF. Insane. Clinically insane.

(SIWOTI syndrome compells me, however, to point out that baboons are not apes. Not that it matters, though.)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Although most of the comments KH posted seem quite logical and reasonable, I've noticed that the religious somehow can't focus on that.

I know of one christian who doesn't accept evolution, and was challenged to read TGSOE. He refused, but ignored all of the arguments as to why he should as "blah blah blah" and focused on one minor point which was "Is your faith so weak?". That one comment completely captured his focus and he ignored all else and didn't even answer that question.

By glenister_m (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

The difference though is that whereas Christianity is a logical, reasoned, sure faith...

I'm sorry Hammy, but the phrase "logical, reasoned, sure faith" is an oxymoron.

By Akira MacKenzie (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Michelle B -

My experience reading crude commentary is that the rude word in question seems to be used quite commonly by the British as a dismissive insult to men (as well as women?). It's a much more offensive word in the USA than in the UK.

By Free Lunch (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

v.rosenzweig @82 - I honestly didn't know that Spain had any history after Columbus. IIRC, history started in Egypt, moved north to Greece, then the Roman Empire, west to England, where - after Columbus discovered the Americas - they established some colonies in which the Founding Fathers created the Greatest Country Ever, with freedom for all (except slaves, aborigines, Irish, and women).

Least, that's how I remember it taught in my school.

Kermit

By https://www.go… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

It's a much more offensive word in the USA than in the UK.

Yes.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Kermit -

My high school was religious, so it detoured through the eastern end of the Mediterranean while also discussing Greece and Rome. The rest seems accurate.

By Free Lunch (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

There is no originality here. There is nothing inspiring or thought provoking--at least not to someone with some education and taste. However, I have relatives who eat this shit up and try to hold up this borrowed, knock-off subculture up as the ideal. It should come to no surprise that NONE of them ever went to college with the exception of one who attended a Chicago-area Lutheran diploma mill?

And yet religion is somehow supposed to be responsible for the world's great art.

Sorry Christians, but you don't get to brag about Michelangelo while conveniently forgetting Thomas "Painter of Light Lite" Kinkade. Man, I've got oil stains in my driveway with more depth than that douche's work. I think he's the only artist whose work would be improved by switching to velvet as a medium and Elvis as a subject.

But why were you apologising for that comment, Akira?

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

@100--

Let's not waste any tears on baboons. They are murderous, vicious and vile, and it's not an accident that the sainted Wm. S. Burroughs used "purple-assed baboon" as an insult aimed at the folks he found most truly loathsome.

By DesertHedgehog (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I never quite took the oft-joked idea that Ken Ham is a Poe before. But I read that post with quotes from Pharyngula, trying to put myself in my old Christian mindset, and it still cast negative light on him instead of the commenters he was quoting. It looks like a show of contempt, seriously thinking people would look at that and think of him as the better party from the exchange.

That, or he's just a misguided doofus that hasn't figured out how to pull a decent hatchet job on atheists he doesn't like. He could use some lessons from Chris Mooney.

@ v.rosenzweig

Thank you; But it's quite astonishing, isn't it?
Usually on the comments, when somebody starts the atheist/Hitler/Stalin-BlaBlaBleh, the pharyngulates have no big trouble to smash them down with good arguments, irony and sarcasm or just ridiculzing them. But "never" I've seen any comment about Franco/Mussolini/Salazar/Pinochet the list could go on and on as well as the disgusting details, but thats another story.

Another commenter pointed out that he is much more concerned about nowaday evil caused by religion. But I think we have to consider that all the power, wealth, influence and entanglement with the governing religion has still today was forged over the millenia since the first "smarties" thought it's better to let the ignorants hunt for food while i will explain why they failed or suceeded.

Sorry, I'd like to be more fluent, lack of exercise.

Let's not waste any tears on baboons. They are murderous, vicious and vile, and it's not an accident that the sainted Wm. S. Burroughs used "purple-assed baboon" as an insult aimed at the folks he found most truly loathsome.

Oh, well then. As long as they're assholes...

Anybody know where the entrance to the wormhole that will take us back to 2010 is?

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

But "never" I've seen any comment about Franco/Mussolini/Salazar/Pinochet the list could go on and on as well as the disgusting details, but thats another story.

I've seen several tearing down Franco/Mussolini/Pinochet, from decrying tactics, policies, or connections to organized religion. But you don't see them anywhere near as often as "the atheist/Hitler/Stalin-BlaBlaBleh" since the resident trolls don't refer to them as often.

Not to say that there isn't wide-spread historical illiteracy among Americans. But it seems misguided to try and call it a Pharyngulite weak point. The figures you mention just doesn't come up as often.

It's raining in excess here in waterlogged/hillside sliding LALALand, which, if there were a McDeity, would be an impetus to turn to the dark side. [Dark Siders - the shoe to wear when boating on the River Styx] Hence, I am cranky. Very cranky. I am cranky about the cold & wet. I am cranky about the speeling of "palate". Not "pallet". A pallet is one of those wooden platforms used to haul things about by a forklift. Palate, derived from its meaning of the roof of one's mouth, is a metonym for "taste". [It is not for naught that I am the DominEditrix.]

And [from an earlier thread] it's "vicious", not "viscous". A "viscous dog" would be one that oozed. As would a viscous attack, rather like being engulfed by The Blob. Admittedly, the unctuous behaviour of many Xian televangelists and otherwise fulsome, insincere, oleaginous and smarmy persons of that ilk could be characterised, somewhat tenuously, as "viscous", but I do think that's stretching it.

Speaking of tenuous, poor Ken Ham. His faith is so very tenuous that he can endure no challenge thereto, can not brook comments on his website that would require clarity of argument to defend against. Poor Ken Ham doesn't really want to believe. Given that he's clearly sold his soul to Mammon*, I am not surprised.

I shall now resume my former ladylike demeanour. Tea and crumpets will be served. [Or,and far more likely, G&T and strumpets.]

* If, of course, both souls and Mammon existed. But poor Ken quakes in the night that he has sinned and that hellfires await. Radix omnium malorum est cupiditas

By DominEditrix (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Let's not waste any tears on baboons. They are murderous, vicious and vile, and it's not an accident that the sainted Wm. S. Burroughs used "purple-assed baboon" as an insult aimed at the folks he found most truly loathsome.

Please, provide with a two lists of animals, the first being the assholes that are alright to shoot and the second being the non-assholes that we should leave alone.

Also, I do not think that Burroughs would approve of being sainted. No not insult the junkie.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

DHH @108

Let's not waste any tears on baboons. They are murderous, vicious and vile

Lemme guess...you have a degree in wildlife ecology.

deserthedgehog @ 108:

Let's not waste any tears on baboons. They are murderous, vicious and vile,

Kind of like people, eh? This lameness you've dredged up doesn't excuse killing for the thrill of it, asstard.

Let's not waste any tears on baboons. They are murderous, vicious and vile, and it's not an accident that the sainted Wm. S. Burroughs used "purple-assed baboon" as an insult aimed at the folks he found most truly loathsome.

In context (or not) this is one of the dumbest things I've read today. And I just read a stack of survey responses about IT from our sales force.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Quote mining: it's not just for biology books.

Does Ken Ham think that once people become atheists, they turn into Spock? Outside an actual argument, why should anyone expect rationality especially when it's an emptive issue for some? If you want a formal argument, actually look for one instead of pretending that it all must be rational and stoic simply because someone doesn't believe in an interventionist deity.

The problem with visiting AiG's site to see if they're talking about me is that it's like screwing a disease-ridden whore to see if she brags about me to her fellow prostitutes.

"I decided to excerpt comments from various atheist websites to let you experience for yourselves some typical examples of the logical, calm, scientifically reasoned, rational responses from these atheists (I am kidding)."

Thanks for clarifying, Ken! (I am kidding)

Woo at #95:

I think this is a great point. Perhaps it's all a caused by their mind set. They are sheep after all, and good sheep - follow.

That is a main reason it's generally fruitless to argue with someone like the piglet. In their eyes, someone thinking for themselves is already committing a grave spiritual error. Anyone seriously asking questions is already in the wrong, so all the facts in the universe will not change a piglet's mind.

Ken reads Pharyngula?

In which case I have but 2 comments:

1) Ken you're a dick and and an absolute disgrace to your home state. Ilk like you are one of the reasons I have to feel the need to defend the place I was born and

2) Your teachers' registration fee was due on the 31/12/09 and is now overdue. Pay your fucking bills.(or perhaps, better for the youth of Queensland, don't)

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ CRS #121

Anyone seriously asking questions is already in the wrong, so all the facts in the universe will not change a piglet's mind.

And that's also what makes honest debate in a formal setting typically pointless. To debate honestly means that there may exist at least one reasonable way for one opponent to change the other opponent's position. Since the religionists concede their unwavering certitude about their position, debating them usually does nothing but give them a captive audience.

I think there is a way to have a formal debate with for instance, a Hammish character, but the rules would be structured to disable all of their dishonest debate "tactics" (galloping, post-moving, etc.).

By lose_the_woo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm in class right now and I'm trying to divide my attentention betwixt my instructor and Pharyngula.

we instructors love to read shit like this

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

OT again.

Now the rifle-scope thing has made CNN.

I hope this gets splashed all over mainstream media - with all the appropriate commentary about the establishment clause and xtian America falsehoods.

By lose_the_woo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I've been trying to ignore Ham since, well, I first heard of him. After clicking through and reading his blog entry that PZ linked, I suddenly have the urge to send him some sort of FU. He really is as insane as I've read. Do we have an email addy for him?

By dashoshee (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

#122

"Your teachers' registration fee was due on the 31/12/09 and is now overdue. Pay your fucking bills"

Waiting for ya pal jebus to dig deep is not working quite so well is it Ken?
Fuckin' skinflint seems to have left his wallet at home!
Time to fleece some sheep then 'brainiac'

...OH! YOU ARE ALREADY!

By Strangest brew (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink
I'm in class right now and I'm trying to divide my attentention betwixt my instructor and Pharyngula.

we instructors love to read shit like this

How are you instructing when you're on Pharyngula checking up on students who might be on Pharyngula? :)

By Gyeong Hwa Pak… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

we instructors love to read shit like this

heh-heh; oops.

By lose_the_woo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink
I'm in class right now and I'm trying to divide my attentention betwixt my instructor and Pharyngula.

we instructors love to read shit like this

I taught a number of classes that were held in classrooms with PCs with live internet access for all the students. I didn't even try to compete if they didn't want to listen. The results were all over. Some students surprised me at showing that they had heard things I had said. Others, though appearing intent during class time, would have done just as well surfing the web.

By Free Lunch (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

As has been suspect for a long time, scientists have only recently conclusively proven there is an infinitely deep Stupidity Well surrounding the Kentucky "museum" which has a tendency to suck the intelligence out of those who venture into or too near the event horizon.

It appears that Mr. Gill (as well as P.Z.) has somehow eluded this trap, emerging with his wit and smarts intact. Perhaps there is some sort of invisible force field surrounding certain individuals that protects them from the surrounding environment. If this stupidity cloak could only be developed and a generator created to throw a field around most of the southern United States as well as certain citizens of Alaska and Minnesota, the average IQ of the US population might increase by 50 or 100 points.

Does Ken Ham realize that when he reposts the comments from Pharyngula, he's just offering his readers a Reader's Digest version of most arguments we have? That he's actually weakening his own case - because the more you read, one after the other, it has to start nagging on you...

"Huh, maybe this DOESN'T make a lick of sense. Guess I never thought about it that hard before."

Shorter this thread:

A.A. Gill sings the "Dolt Museum Blues":

When I saw Ken Ham's "museum", my Reason told me, Boy,
Jesus never rode on T. Rex, and the Ark was just a toy.
Still, I shot an ape in Kenya just to watch it die;
If I only had a conscience, I'd hang my head and cry.

OK, OK, sorry; I am all too painfully aware that I am neither Cash nor Cuttlefish. And apologies to the reader who noted upthread, correctly, that baboons are no apes; that's true, they're not; but nor do they fit the metre.

By Mrs Tilton (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

and seems not to keen on the Brits... then again who can blame him there!

Oi! Speak for yourself, Oranjeboom-head. ;)

Gotta love the bible bit:

(Judges 10:9–10) Moreover the children of Ammon passed over Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was sore distressed. And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against you, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim.

Now, as we all know, Ammonites are cephalopods - our brethren, meaning Ham must intend the scripture to refer to us. Ammonites are also the heathen enemies of the people of the lord. Ham's choice of scripture shows that he believes our attacks are a direct result of the people of the "LORD" sinning against "God". Whenever we attack them, they feel guilty - they know they've been caught masturbating again.
Ammonites are also extinct. In the Ham's favorite myth, they were murdered by the genocidal orders of the "LORD". So Ham is also making veiled threat: sure, right now, we serve as the tool of their sadistic "God", punishing them for their sins - but in time, the sinners will repent, and "God" will allow them to destroy his tool.
But in reality, Ammonites went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous, due to events which had nothing whatever to do with the people of the "LORD". And cephalopods live on, in great diversity, a tiny bit of which we enjoy each Friday.

"Let's not waste any tears on baboons. They are murderous, vicious and vile, and it's not an accident that the sainted Wm. S. Burroughs used "purple-assed baboon" as an insult aimed at the folks he found most truly loathsome."

What did baboons ever do to you? Besides I think Burroghs was more interested in the purple ass anyway.

"The penchant for kitsch is something that gay men and born-again Christians share."

As a gay male I found this offensive, but is seems AA Gill has offended many.

Now he as slammed Ham, America, gays, Christians, Cincinnati and kitsch-lovers in one piece, but it was a good read.

He is a critic and they may be expected to offend, but I am sure the Hamster will be writing a diatribe on how Unchristian Mr. Gill is.

Gill has said that bad reviews of restaurants often make the public want to eat there to see if it's truly that awful. I am sure that many will now travel to Cincy spurred by reading Gill's rant.

From AA Gill, Baboon-hunter:

I was in Africa wearing a Robert Redford Out of Africa hat. The sort of hat that just makes you ache to kill stuff. I have a theory about hats: they really do maketh the man.

...

So I’m in Africa, in a hat, with dark intentions and a truck full of guns and other blokes in hats. Josh the hunter said: “Why don’t we shoot a baboon?” All nonchalant, looking out of the window at the amazing Tanzanian acacia scrub that drifts into the Serengeti plain. What about a baboon?

And here’s the thing. If you tool around the beautiful and unruly bits of Africa long enough in the company of gangs of men in purposeful hats, sooner or later you’re going to do baboon. You think you’re not, you think you’re the exception, you’re going to just say no to baboon, but pretty soon it’s the monkey on your back. I should have worn my Stella McCartney hat.

There's something about this I deeply, deeply loathe. It's not just the implication that we all--and men in particular--are slaves to our situation, but also the implication that any Bwana venturing in Africa must succumb to his baser instincts after a time. When he puts on a ball cap is he helpless before the desire to bat out a few fungoes? If Josh had suggested they curb stomp a hobo, would he have resignedly chanted "When in Rome..." before cheerily joining in? Did he fuck a stripper at his bachelor party because one just can't resist the allure of brass poles and red lights? Did he--like so many ex-pats--bang a fourteen-year-old because hey, it's the Heart of Darkness?

I guess when I went to the Serengeti I must have been wearing the wrong kind of hat.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

The penchant for kitsch is something that gay men and born-again Christians share.

I missed that... Dunno about born-again Christians, but for gay men that's a brand new stereotype.

It's the first time I see it anywhere -- be it on 100% gay sites, or extremely homophobic sites (like many of aforementioned born-agains' ones). Isn't casual homophobia just so nice sometimes?

By Armand K. (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

the implication that any Bwana venturing in Africa must succumb to his baser instincts after a time.

Or even has such instincts in the first place.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Mrs. T - I thought about rhyming a post but refrained, but my would have begun with:

In my Eden with Thyranasaurus Rex
I saw Eve with Adam but they weren't having sex.
It's a family place I'm running. No atheists allowed!
That PZ Myers can leave with his unruly crowd.
And even if a journalist disparages our museum,
Like pilgrims, the flock will come to see 'um.

*ghost written for the Hamster*

A.A. Gill quoted in 138:

And here’s the thing. If you tool around the beautiful and unruly bits of Africa long enough in the company of gangs of men in purposeful hats, sooner or later you’re going to do baboon. You think you’re not, you think you’re the exception, you’re going to just say no to baboon, but pretty soon it’s the monkey on your back.

So, he's spineless and immoral. And particularly disgusting as he attempts to blame his actions on 'just going along with the gang.' If everyone jumped off a bridge...I guess Gill's answer would be "yeah, I'd jump too!"

That said, if I ever had the chance to roam the beautiful and unruly bits of Africa, I'd definitely be shooting. With my camera.

Or even has such instincts in the first place.

Indeed.

My father used to drag me out duck hunting with him. As I hadn't yet destroyed my eardrums with teh rock 'n' roll I hated the sound of the rifle and would try to get as far away from it as possible.

On one such day I was stomping about in the rushes when a flock flew overhead. My dad chased after them, shooting as he went. Blam! Blam! He ran past me and I let out a most blood curdling shriek (I was probably only seven or eight at the time and so I could still hit those shrill notes that only children can).

Thinking he'd accidentally shot me, he picked me up and looked me over, worriedly asking me what was wrong. In between sobs, I managed to sputter out this explanation:

"You ran...(sob)...right through...(sob)...the wall...of...(sob)...my house...without even using the door!"

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Let's not waste any tears on baboons. They are murderous, vicious and vile, and it's not an accident that the sainted Wm. S. Burroughs used "purple-assed baboon" as an insult aimed at the folks he found most truly loathsome.

what shit. I find any killing of animals just for the fuck of it extremely disturbing. and even killing animals for a reason is not something that I can handle well. I mean, I even dealt with the mice in my apartment by kicking them out, rather than killing them (boyfriend wouldn't let me buy a hamster cage for them... :-p)

killing in cold blood is disturbing, no matter if the animal you're killing is an asshole.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I can't say I have any particular desire to go and shoot a baboon. Gill is a bit weird - especially that rather sociopathic comment about wanting to know "what it would be like to kill someone".

That said, I'm a strong supporter of recreational hunting in some contexts. It's shameful that fox hunting was banned in Britain, for example. Fox populations have to be culled anyway - they cause serious problems for agriculture - so why not let people have some fun in the process? Plus, the ban on hunting destroyed the livelihoods of many people in rural England; and call me old-fashioned, but I tend to believe that people are more important than foxes. (Sorry for the rant, and I realise this is slightly OT.)

#84 Feynmaniac

no comments allowed at Ken Ham's "blog".

Not quite the same and use has been slow so far. However comments can be tagged to, and are then featured alongside, any posts (or homepage) via sidewiki. I think it may eventually become a handy little app for commenting on sites like AiG, UD and Dishonesty Institute ect....to name but a few of the Liars for Jesus (TM) sites which forbid any objective critisism of their propaganda pieces.

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/biz-tech/sidewiki-causes-a-pr-headache…

By Sauceress (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

It's quite obvious that an individual who doesn't understand something - like, say, atheism, or science, or anything else that they don't wish to understand because it doesn't conform to the "understanding" they have already devoted themselves to - has ample latitude to declare an entire universe of contrary evidence and opinions "meaningless".

That man isn't right in the head.

BTW: ScienceBlogs sites STILL SUCK - it craps out EVERYTHING on my machine. It took a half hour just to succeed in getting a new account. The way I was brought up, it was important to recognize that no matter how much perfume is sprinkled about, crap is still crap.

@ Sauceress

Oooo, I didn't know about that new tech-trick. Hahaha, as you note, the liars for jeebus are going to get their asses handed to them...but it's obvious this application is going to make for all kinds of unforeseen mischief. Let the discord begin!

Hmm. That Sidewiki does look interesting. Possibly a feasible solution for commenting on sites that don't allow/support comments. But two observations:

1. This is another area where Google could earn a few more unwanted Teh Evil™ points. Who minds the minders, if you know what I mean.

2. I've been using Safari for Windoze for the last year, mostly because I like the way they handle fonts. Wonder if this tool would soon be available for other browsers.

By MetzO'Magic (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Why this silliness is taken seriously is beyond me. This country has always had it's share of nincompoops so why even bother giving them publicity?

By https://www.go… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Walton

...and call me old-fashioned, but I tend to believe that people are more important than foxes.

To me, this is like saying apples are more important than tomatoes. But even more disturbing to me is that you use this reasoning to kill them?! For "fun"?

How absolutely nonsensically disturbing.

By lose_the_woo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Gill: ... if God planned on everything living forever, what was the point of heaven?

Give credit where due - that's one worth throwing at a fundy some day, just to see if it will finally provoke the Linda Blair Effect we've all been striving for.

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

(The penchant for kitsch is something that gay men and born-again Christians share.)

For a blog that's read by some of the more rational people on the interblogs, I find it strange that there's barely a mention of this blatant discriminatory sentence. Perhaps gay slurs are still too much a part of our inherent cultural clichés to be registered by even the more critical of minds. They simple get read over and interpreted by default as a (bad) joke, not noteworthy, and certainly not deserving of a lousy comment if it could but help one of the largest groups of categorically and systemically discriminated people.

Sorry, it's past midnight over here and as a fan of this blog I turn extra bitter by just noticing this slight blemish on its otherwise proudly (self)critical, witty and overall kick-ass reputation.

Holy FUCK! 10 minutes after reading about it, I've got the Google toolbar with Sidewiki loaded up, and I'm sitting there on the front page of Ken Ham's blog. Muhahahaha!

There don't appear to be any Sidewiki comments there yet. Would you like me to add one? (this feels like I'm playing Zork for the first time, and I've just opened the mailbox :-)

By MetzO'Magic (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

lose_the_woo: I should add that I've never been fox-hunting, and it doesn't interest me personally. But a lot of people enjoy it and are willing to pay for the privilege; and since some foxes have to be killed anyway in order to keep their populations down and protect agriculture, why not allow them to hunt, therefore stimulating the rural economy and giving people jobs? The fox is just as dead whether it's hunted by a bunch of red-coated people on horseback or culled by a gamekeeper.

but I tend to believe that people are more important than foxes

And world leaders may be more important than beggars, but that doesn't excuse hunting beggars for fun...

"The fox is just as dead whether it's hunted by a bunch of red-coated people on horseback or culled by a gamekeeper."

Gamekeepers aren't just charged with killing foxes, but making sure that not too many are killed, I would think...

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Gamekeepers aren't just charged with killing foxes, but making sure that not too many are killed, I would think...

that's actually not much of an argument. The U.S. has quotas and licenses, and it keeps critter-populations at stable-ish levels (if one season too many were killed, the next season will have fewer licenses).

Illegal introduction of non-native life generally does more to kill off populations of critters than legal hunting does.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I didn't even try to compete if they didn't want to listen.

Sure. The funny thing is, I'm in front of a room with 60 people in it, and they seem to imagine I can't tell when they're using the laptop to take notes and when they're on Facebook or laughing at the latest virality.
*shrug*
I taught a class in one room once, though, that was wired up so that from the computer in front of the room you could check on what was happening on any of the other machines in the room, and even get control of the cursor if desired. I guess you could even project it up on a big screen. Unfortunately, I didn't even use computers for that course, just got stuck in the room. I could have had some fun with that.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Fox populations have to be culled anyway - they cause serious problems for agriculture - so why not let people have some fun in the process?

Walton: I can't figure out why foxes can cause serious problems for agriculture. Don't they eat things that eat crops?
Also there is a name for people who kill (things they don't eat) for fun. It escapes me right now.

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

that's actually not much of an argument. The U.S. has quotas and licenses, and it keeps critter-populations at stable-ish levels (if one season too many were killed, the next season will have fewer licenses).

Illegal introduction of non-native life generally does more to kill off populations of critters than legal hunting does.

I'm not very familiar with this system, but does the license only allow so many kills?

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Walton @ 155:

The fox is just as dead whether it's hunted by a bunch of red-coated people on horseback or culled by a gamekeeper.

There's a difference between a quick bullet and being torn to pieces by dogs while alive. I wouldn't consider that sort of thing to be 'sporting' in any sense of the word.

FoxHuman populations have to be culled anyway - they cause serious problems for agriculture future sustainability - so why not let people have some fun in the process?

Fixed

Rutee @ 161

I'm not very familiar with this system, but does the license only allow so many kills?

It varies from state to state; yes, a license limits the amount of whatever you hunt. Same goes for fishing in ND.

I'm not very familiar with this system, but does the license only allow so many kills?

not most of the licenses I'm familiar with. it's a statistics thingy: the average hunter kills x-many critters in a season, thus we can have y-many hunters this season.

adjusted yearly, IIRC, and of course subject to fucking-with by some truly disturbingly proficient killers.

Does not apply to commercial licenses (for fishing, most notably), which do tend to lead to over-hunting/over-fishing.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Kamaka

but it's obvious this application is going to make for all kinds of unforeseen mischief. Let the discord begin!

Agreed :)

I was just enjoying reading some of the comments here...

http://www.buzzmachine.com/2009/09/23/google-sidewiki-danger/

(just a site that came up when I was Googling for a decent sidewiki link to post here)

~~~
MetzO'Magic

There don't appear to be any Sidewiki comments there yet. Would you like me to add one?

Oh very much yes please!
I've had the app installed practically since it was released (heard about it from that wonderful crew over at Antievolution,)but alas minimal spare time has prevented me so far from going a regularly planned, and then re-planned, massive sidewiki expedition :(

By Sauceress (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Hunting licenses most specifically limit the number of animals allowed to be taken, with the exception of "varmints" We would be up to our asses in starving deer without some form of management. Of course people are eating these animals.

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

bah, that's what I get for opening my mouth: here's how this works in ND: fish and duck have daily maximum quotas; with deer, you actually need to apply every time you want to hunt one, and they'll tell you what kind of deer you can hunt (i.e. whether you can hunt a buck or a doe)

anyway, I'll shut up now :-p

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Lemme guess...you have a degree in wildlife ecology.

I forgot to mention that that was pretty funny.

The specterre of the damage that uncontrolled fox populations could do to British agriculture has haunted thoughtful upper-class twits for centuries. Oh, you can prat and twaddle on and on about your Irish potato famines and such. That is weak sauce compared to the devastation that foxes would wreak if left unculled. Droughts? Foxes! Crop circles? Foxes! According to the RMIS*, over 72.6% of all British agricultural enterprise is vulnerable to the conniving, clever plots of malicious and unrelenting foxes. Truly, it is horrifying to contemplate.

Gentlemen, (and hounds), They Must Be Culled.

By Market-driven forces only, of course; fox-culling is no place for nanny-state government meddling.

*Royal Ministry of Invented Statistics**

**itself imaginary

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Sven DiMilo @ 169:

The specterre of the damage that uncontrolled fox populations could do to British agriculture has haunted thoughtful upper-class twits for centuries.

Not only that, but what about all those youngsters who aren't being properly introduced to a life of twittery by being blooded at their first fox hunt? Oh, the deprivation!

By Market-driven forces only, of course; fox-culling is no place for nanny-state government meddling.

I wonder why The Market hasn't already solved the issue of over- and underpopulation of various species. Is it because we're not sacrificing enough orphans at the Altar of Wealth-Generating Incentive? Perhaps I'm not denying the existence of my White Male Privilege hard enough.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm not very familiar with this system, but does the license only allow so many kills?

Yes. This serves as an attempt to "control" the populations of trapped and hunted species. Here in the USA, we are available to use up any given resource, so limits must be set.

The various state's Department of Natural Resources don't "manage" wildlife in any kind of ecologically sensible way, though. Hunting is managed economically. Guns, bows and camo clothing are big business.

For example, in the Midwest of the United States, there are far too many white-tailed deer due to lack of natural predators (wolves). They are eating themselves out of house and home and are ruining forest succession. But it all gets ignored because the effects are not readily observable, the consequences are far in the future.

For the record, I may be a twit, but I am not upper-class. And I don't go fox-hunting, though I know several people who do.

Being from an urban area, I don't know a damn thing about farming, so don't ask me how foxes are a threat to agriculture: but I'm reliably informed that they are, and I've never heard anyone contradict this claim. Rather, most arguments for banning fox-hunting seem to boil down to variants of "awww, won't somebody think of the poor foxie-woxies?!" But since the foxes are going to be killed anyway, and since fox-hunting is a major rural industry in some parts of England, it seems ludicrous to ban it - and thereby put actual human beings, with families, out of work - just for the sake of giving some foxes a quicker and less painful death.

Sadly, a number of non-British Pharyngulites seem to think that Monty Python's "Upper Class Twit of the Year" was a documentary.

Yay I can sign in at work! (The link to "sign in" was non-existant until just now.)

Good post. A shame the author is such a jerk though.

Oh, thank you so much for that link to Ham's site, which has his mugshot filling up half my computer screen.

I would be more upset about that, except that I just gouged out my eyes so I'm guaranteed to never have to see it again.

He is not pretty. I know it's wrong to judge by appearances and so forth, but really. If you look like a middle-aged Amish dude who got his face trapped in a waffle iron, you should seriously consider consigning personal photos to little tiny thumbnails way off in the corner of your web page.

Yay I can FINALLY in at work! (The link to "sign in" was non-existant until just now.)

Good post. A shame the author is such a jerk though.

Yay I can FINALLY sign in at work! (The link to "sign in" was non-existant until just now.)

Good post. A shame the author is such a jerk though.

*Submitting a comment still seems kinda glitchy. I apologize in advance for multiple posts.

But since the foxes are going to be killed anyway, and since fox-hunting is a major rural industry in some parts of England, it seems ludicrous to ban it

So you're advocating that people on death row be tortured if it pleases people to do so, because you know they'll be killed anyway?

You're not making a very good argument here Walton.

There IS a way to get "comments" over there...sort of...in a potentially most annoying manner.

Click on "praying" at the bottom of Ham's posts gets you into an inner sanctum of ludicrous, where certain "prayers" evidently considered of worthy import are characterized as "Projects"...and DEADLINES (believe it or not) are emplaced on some of them.

If thou is impatient, help thyself to the following link:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/prayer/

Scroll past the garbage and you will find a blue box with a list including one headed "CONTACT US" - including "Map & Directions" apparently offering a means of locating them, a "Report Newsworthy Story" link no doubt specifically designed for outraged Christians (hint hint), and providing relief for those poor souls who suffer any "Technical Problem" (further hint hints).

What Pharyngulites can do for polls, they might do as well for "Reporting Newsworthy Events" or vent frustrations related to "Technical Problems".

----

DAMN...and with all those typos I presumed I had corrected. I will not apologize for them.

I HATE how my machine slows down to a CRAWL under the influence of ScienceBlogs.

I HATE IT.

I don't understand the logic: people can more easily VISIT let alone COMMENT on places like Huffington Post and NewScientist.

There seems to be no reason for the constipation here...except a few bozos who are covering their asses after having started something 15 months ago that none of them has since admitted was a crock of shit.

Every other website everywhere works fine and dandy. Every other blog is easy to access without the threat of a system-wide crash.

ScienceBlogs has managed to fix up something so uselessly complicated that they still can't figure out how to get rid of the bugs. WTF is the POINT???

[There. Fixed. In the intended thread. Dammit.]

Brownian OM #143

My father used to drag me out duck hunting with him. As I hadn't yet destroyed my eardrums with teh rock 'n' roll I hated the sound of the rifle

You hunt ducks and other birds with a shotgun not a rifle.

</pedant>

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I am wondering who would visit the Creation Museum. I am guessing mostly 1) people who are pretty much set in their idiocy, for whom the place merely confirms their beliefs and 2) the curious who go to snicker, celebrate the kitch, or just generally have nothing better to do with themselves.
I have an inkling that the choice between understanding the science of evolution and accepting the faith of creationism is not a choice that many poeple spend a lot of time on. I dont know that many people come to a point in their lives when they have little understanding of either, and so set out to investigate the two and make a reasoned choice between them. I can't speak from experience, as I was raised an atheist, but I am thinking that creation-myth accepting Christians accept creationism as part of a larger set of myths, indoctrinated into them from an early age, and only if they question those myths do they start to question creationism. I doubt there are many people who understand the science of evolution who then, at a later stage, decide that the science is lacking and they need to investigate alternatives. This museum is therefore unlikely to change many minds, but merely reinforce the beliefs of the creationists, and amuse (with it's kitch extravagances) homosexuals, Europeans and tennis players.
Yes it is a testament to human stupidity, but only the stupidity of a small group of humans.

But since the foxes are going to be killed anyway, and since fox-hunting is a major rural industry in some parts of England, it seems ludicrous to ban it - and thereby put actual human beings, with families, out of work - just for the sake of giving some foxes a quicker and less painful death.

It's hard to believe that in a thread about Ken Ham this is actually the stupidest thing written here.

So you're advocating that people on death row be tortured if it pleases people to do so, because you know they'll be killed anyway?

Well, we sure as hell wouldn't want to put actual torturers, with families, out of work just to give a few prisoners a quicker and less painful death.

So, let's recap of the bleeding-heart Libertarian argument: universal healthcare is bad because it reduces efficiency which is more important than people's health, yet efficient fox killing is terrible because it puts people with otherwise useless skills out of work, and now we're all about the people. Whatsa matter? Don't you care about creating an incentive for those fox-hunting families to find applicable skills? Should we start a fund for the the slide rule artisans too since they've been made obsolete by calculators and computers?

Since your dogma always boils down to "I don't wanna be told what to do" why don't you just type that over and over and save us from having to read such idiotic convolutions?

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

You hunt ducks and other birds with a shotgun not a rifle.

Not being a hunter, I hunt them with neither.

But yes, I believe my dad used a shotgun.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Walton #174

Sadly, a number of non-British Pharyngulites seem to think that Monty Python's "Upper Class Twit of the Year" was a documentary.

We've seen the Viscount of Monckton in action.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Does not apply to commercial licenses (for fishing, most notably), which do tend to lead to over-hunting/over-fishing.

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE. We had that debate here a few months ago. Fishermen bitch that the government cares more about fish then fishermen. Because there won't be another generation of fishermen...

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

The various state's Department of Natural Resources don't "manage" wildlife in any kind of ecologically sensible way, though. Hunting is managed economically. Guns, bows and camo clothing are big business.

So, Walton, do you have a response to this system you're sure is better? Do you know whether those gamekeepers don't serve as more precise ecological tools then dudes on horseback?

You guys had the good sense to keep your green space; Don't waste it by slaughtering everything that lives there.

Incidental note:
The skills Walton claims are needed for business are, predominantly/entirely able to be shifted. It's not like the hunters themselves get hired out.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Dammit Tis, you beat me to it.

By Patricia, Quee… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

@149
Who minds the minders, if you know what I mean.

Yep! quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

George

By gmartincv (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Continuing the fox-hunting OT-ness, there is an alternative for those who enjoy hunting.

Not the same thing, I know, but it is a delightful article.

- KristinMH

By https://www.go… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

These atheists just have the blindfold on and that is that! They talk about faith, but don’t realize (or don’t want to realize) that they rely on their own faith. The difference though is that whereas Christianity is a logical, reasoned, sure faith, atheism is a blind, meaningless, purposeless faith where its adherents often aggressively suppress the truth.

Turning reality upside down and libeling what atheists do fools only those who actually lack logic and reason.

...I know it's wrong to judge by appearances and so forth, but really. If you look like a middle-aged Amish dude who got his face trapped in a waffle iron, you should seriously consider consigning personal photos to little tiny thumbnails way off in the corner of your web page...

You are not alone. My initial reaction to that page was... erm...

'Kay. There's just no nice way to say that. Hell, there's not a lot of ways, nice or no, in any human language I've yet encountered to say that. Most of 'em just don't allow you to qualify 'blech' with sufficient emphasis...

And in my defense, it was not merely the features pictured. Nay, I am not quite so shallow (tho' yea, perhaps I have not the strongest of stomachs, either... anyway...) It was the expression. Waffle irons or no, such concentrations of smug are just never pretty...

And in anyone's defense who found the thing a bit offputting even before they got to the text (and it only went downhill further, at that point, absolutely), that's one hell of a lot of screenspace filled with canned Ham, too, innit? I mean, you'd almost get the idea the guy's a bit, I dunno, conceited or somethin'... Or hell, incredibly so, even... And never mind incredibly unjustifiably...

I mean, I shopped around a bit, looking for other folk who feature a photo of 'emselves quite that large and quite that prominently on their homepage. And so far, I've found Paris Hilton's Myspace page...

And so I stopped looking. I mean, enough of that, already. I just ate. But anyway...

Anyway, so, briefly, my fingers were twitching on the keys. I had this strong impulse to send along a nasty comment to PZ--somethin' along the lines of 'Please warn us, in the future, if the link may expose us to toxic levels of self-satisfied smarm'...

But then I got to thinking, fuck, essentially he did warn us, didn't he. I mean, he told us it was Ham's site. I knew what I might be getting into. Or should have.

And speaking of: yes, religion is often tacky, and religion is often ugly. That banal ugliness is an incredibly prominent feature of many, many religions. I've done essays on this previously, I will do more whenever called upon, if only to warn the world (as if it shouldn't already know) of the depth and breadth of this menace. From the Catholics and their ticky-tacky made-in-Korea plaster saints 'n virgins to the Moslems with their ya-can-never-have-too-much-gold-coloured-paint Koranic verses plastered on everything, through to the random psycho urban stripmall freakazoid congregations with their garish yellow moveable letter signs proclaiming brilliant witticisms like 'We have the original soul food' (and that's one of the better ones), the lot of 'em out-tacky the average superhighway topless bar billboard, y'ask me...

I got to thinking: as they have sown, so have they reaped. As in: they spend their lives telling themselves banal, tedious, ugly, mangled little tangles of vapid myths from bygone ages are great literature besting all other comers, so what more would you expect from 'em? It's pretty much cold-blooded murder of whaever aesthetic sense any of them might ever have possessed right there...

Anyway. Whyever it is, I figure it should tell you something. Anything that can do that kind of banal ugly--and fuck, at the same time seems so incredibly proud of it that they'll take up that much space for it--it just can't be good for you.

If I ever find myself in that part of the world - I would love to go to the museum...

I'd wear my "I pierced it with a rusty nail..." t-shirt that I'm getting made to wear to the atheist convention in Melbourne, walk around and laugh and point at all the funny displays.

PZ please sign my "rusty nail" t-shirt in Melbourne!!!!

By lisainthesky (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

AJ Milne @ #193

Are you saying, for the purposes of pure research, you took one for the team and visited websites of BOTH Ham AND Hilton in one day!!

Dude, you must have the constitution of an ox and balls the size of grapefruit. You are legend.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Dammit Tis, you beat me to it.

Yeah, me too. However, in the interests of full disclosure, I did once shoot a duck with a rifle - but it was on the ground rather than in the air.

By WowbaggerOM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

#173

"For the record, I may be a twit"

More like a total doofus!

In the 21st century the proclivity to inflict sadistic and barbaric violence on a wild animal is way past tolerable.

That this murderous bit of 'fun' is committed by the rather financially well off...or those pretending to be.
Is neither here nor there, it is the manner and arrogance that is the abhorrent feature.
From the tips of their riding crops to their gaudy red hunting jackets down to their shiny black booted tippy toes are morally, intellectually, fundamentally bankrupt.

I have had the severe misfortune to meet some of these paragons of local wealth 'givers' to the community.
They are not impressive on any level except the base one.
A veritable pastiche of right wing hatreds and attitudes.
Little minds playing big expensive games, not because they were sportsmen or women...but because it was a social gathering of cronies and opportunities.
It was never about the fox as a pest, it was all about image, privilege and gluttony , it still is.

They do not give a tinkers cuss for the community of the folks from the village, tis rather a resource to exploit not employ, at the lowest wage and the highest predudice.
And as for the hunt followers, the wannabees, they are just beyond simple contempt.
Violent, viscous, foul mouthed and arrogant with a wonderful slice of bone dense ignorance and sadism.

These sad excuses for human beings are more feral then rank disease ridden sewer rats, and twice as crafty.

Fuckin' juvenile hoodlums the lot of 'em...they have no excuse!

By Strangest brew (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rutee,

The various state's Department of Natural Resources don't "manage" wildlife in any kind of ecologically sensible way, though. Hunting is managed economically. Guns, bows and camo clothing are big business.

So, Walton, do you have a response to this system you're sure is better? Do you know whether those gamekeepers don't serve as more precise ecological tools then dudes on horseback?

Erm, I didn't actually make the comment you quoted. It was Kamaka at #172.

Sadly, a number of non-British Pharyngulites seem to think that Monty Python's "Upper Class Twit of the Year" was a documentary.

We've seen the Viscount of Monckton in action.

He is not "the Viscount of Monckton". He is just "Viscount Monckton". His full title is "Christopher Monckton, the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley"; Monckton is his surname, whereas Brenchley is the place to which his peerage title is attached.

(To your credit, at least you didn't make the cringeworthy error that Professor Myers once did, referring to him as "Lord Christopher Monckton". As everyone should know, the formulation "Lord [first name] [surname]" is correct only for the younger son of a Duke or Marquess; it is never applied to suo jure peers.)

Sorry about the pedantry; I would make some snide comment here about Americans' ignorance of the peerage, but, sadly, there are many British people who would also have no idea what I'm talking about. Awareness of our historical traditions is, sadly, not universal.

Argh, blockquote fail at #198. The second paragraph was Rutee, responding to Kamaka (who she evidently thought was me). Sorry for the extreme confusion.

Walton

As someone who actually has as title in real life I'd say you're a little hung up on the technical details. Those of us born with them ( and I do realise how completely twatty and upper poncy-class that sounds) don't get our knickers half as twisted about the stylisation as you seem to be.

..and by the way, as someone who has had generations of ancestors enact their baronial rights and act like knobs in fox hunts, all I can say is, I'm glad my dad, the current Lord, has banned it completely on his estates. I've seen it first hand, indeed once been part of it, and it's brutal, bloody, cruel and generally fucking awful.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

As someone who actually has as title in real life...

Good grief. I don't believe I've ever met anyone titled before; it'll be another novelty of the event that will be the AGC.

You aren't related to Richard Dawkins by marriage are you?

By WowbaggerOM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

As "Strangest brew" is illustrating beautifully with his spittle-flecked rant, the ban on fox-hunting in England was never really motivated by "animal welfare" concerns. Rather, it was a sop to the Labour left, motivated entirely by naked envy and hatred towards the aristocracy. Thankfully, it has also proven to be virtually unenforceable (and the police, who tend to be rather conservative-minded, have not been willing to waste scarce resources on arresting huntsmen), and will almost certainly be repealed when a Conservative government gets in at the next election.

Bride of Shrek,

I'm glad my dad, the current Lord, has banned it completely on his estates. I've seen it first hand, indeed once been part of it, and it's brutal, bloody, cruel and generally fucking awful.

As I said, the idea doesn't appeal to me either. I have friends who hunt regularly, but I've never had the slightest desire to go on a hunt myself. (In my case, it also doesn't help that I have a serious phobia of dogs.) But there is a difference between finding something personally distasteful, and arguing that the State should be entitled to ban it. I also have a problem with the idea of wasting scarce police resources on stopping hunting, when there are plenty of more important things for the police to be dealing with. (Indeed, by all accounts, most of the police share my view, which is why the hunting ban is not really enforced in many areas.)

Get real, Walton, please! This is 2010 and Bride of Shrek is right - they're perfectly normal people who, if they choose to flash the title, can sometimes get a better table in a restaurant. That really is all.

You seem only to have met Monckton, who would be more widely recognised as an idiot if his name was Harold Steptoe.

OK, perhaps 1% cling to the notion that we are still living in the fourteenth century but I am on first name terms with about a dozen titled persons and I am of no significance at all. Every last one of them would be offended if I started to treat them as though they had magical powers.

Not for the first time I wish you had gone to a proper, red-brick university and got a real education. (Rather than having all your hang-ups reinforced!)

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

maureen,

You seem only to have met Monckton

Wrong. I know several people with hereditary titles. Most of them don't use their titles at all, so I'm fully aware that you're right that these things are of little practical importance. But I'm a natural pedant and trivia-geek, and I like titles of any kind to be correctly used. :-)

Monckton is a very, very strange character who is not remotely representative of the British peerage. I wouldn't say he's an idiot - in his own way, he's very clever - but he's also something of a raving conspiracy-theorist.

Wowbagger

No honey, I'm not related to Richard Dawkins. If I was it would be just plain weird that I think he's about the sexiest individual on the planet!! Tragically I'll never compare to the beautiful and talented Lala so I believe, even in my newly single state, I shall have to just adore from afar!

Which gets me on to the topic- my best friend bought me the "Greatest Show on Earth" for Chrissy. I've been a bit remiss on reading lately as I have had some study reading to do but , if anyone hasn't read it- do, it's amazing!

..and just for you Wowbagger, I'll don the tiara for the dinner event. ;-)

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ #181

Oops. Forgot to put rel="nofollow" in the link to the Hamster's blog. Sorry about that. My Sidewiki comment there has been voted up a couple times. Nice :-)

This could be the next battle for teh interwebs though. Wonder how long it will take the creotards to cop on to Sidewiki and start voting the intelligent comments into oblivion?

By MetzO'Magic (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Bur Walton, it's "trivia geeks" such as yourself that are artificially keeping the notion of a privledged aristocracy alive.

My family do not use any of their titles and really never have ( I won't vouch for my mother who I think probably throws it around when she's in Europe to get an upgrade). Personally I have a few friends that know but it's not like I have it on my business card ( which incidentally has my REAL title- you know the one I WORKED for).

In short it's a history thing only. I have a younger brother who shall inherit my father's title. He has only one child, a daughter, so I know one day my son will be a Lord ( a fact which, incidentally, shits me as a mysogynistic relic). My son will be made aware of this but he will also know it's merely a history thing and has no bearing on his worth as a human being and gives him no franchise or entitlement in any manner.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Is it possible, Walton, that - just like me almost 50 years earlier - once you showed up as more than averagely bright at a fairly ordinary school someone, somewhere decided that to "get on" you would need to know the modes of address bit of Burke's Peerage off by heart?

If so, my sympathies - genuinely so.

As a fellow pedant I could probably still do it but I'm glad to say real life turned out to be so much more relaxed.

Time for an almost funny story? I had a boss about 20 years ago who really did not like me and who thought he had set me up to fail in a meeting with a senior member of the royal family. Not so! He had failed to realise that she and I had had several earlier conversations of a business nature so that while he blushed, mumbled and tripped over modes of address she and I got on with the business of the meeting.

mb

(This escalation has gone far enough. - Ed.)

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Walton #197

He is not "the Viscount of Monckton". He is just "Viscount Monckton". His full title is "Christopher Monckton, the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley"; Monckton is his surname, whereas Brenchley is the place to which his peerage title is attached.

I sit corrected. In any case, he's still a twit.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

I sit corrected. In any case, he's still a twit.

The whole extended familty is pretty suspect.

His sister is married to Dominic Lawson, who qualifies as a twit. Lawson's father, Nigel, wrote an excrebable book deny the case for climate change this showing there is something he knows even less about than running an economy.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

On the fox-hunting issue: hunting on horseback was never anything to do with keeping down the fox population- you can tell by the way the ridres contribute absolutely nothing to the actual killing of the fox. It was about keeping up the horseriding skills of the class who were supposed to be cavalry and mounted officers. Since this is not the Crimean War any more, I think we can dispense with foxhunting, along with bearbaiting and slavery.

By Stephen Wells (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Matt Penfold #212

Lawson's father, Nigel, wrote an excrebable book deny the case for climate change this showing there is something he knows even less about than running an economy.

I read this as "he knows even less about than ruining an economy." I was about to strongly disagree with you by claiming that Nigel Lawson* does know how to ruin an economy. Then I reread your comment and saw you know that as well.

*For the edification of Walton, it should be noted that Nigel is now Baron Lawson of Blaby PC.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

#203

"the ban on fox-hunting in England was never really motivated by "animal welfare" concerns. Rather, it was a sop to the Labour left, motivated entirely by naked envy and hatred towards the aristocracy."

And that is the knee jerk whining reaction of the supporters illustrated beautifully in turn...thanx Walton...proper job.

Oh course it had nothing whatsoever to do with those that had the advantages of first class education and breeding and the opportunities in life that are by fact denied to the rest of the society.
That they in their high spirits decide to set a pack of dogs on to an wild animal to rip it limb from limb and have the crassness of so called nobility to smear the blood on any kids that might be attending the party for the first time.
And you say I an displaying what was it?...ranting?
'Barbaric' does not begin to describe.

"Thankfully, it has also proven to be virtually unenforceable (and the police, who tend to be rather conservative-minded, have not been willing to waste scarce resources on arresting huntsmen)"

'Thankfully'...are you for real...?
I thought you studied law...might be wrong there but even so!
It might well be your opinion but the law is the law...it is an illegal act until modified or struck by act of parliament.
If you are indeed training or are an employed in the law system of the United Kingdom you are duty abound to abide by it with no prejudice!

As for the cops fair point...but maybe the problem lies in the fact that some JP's and the odd chief constable in the country quite enjoy the hospitality available for 'friends' at the big house...just saying!

By Strangest brew (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

MolBio wrote:

That reminds me of a demotivational poster I made.

Demotiv....!?

GET IN THE FUCKING SACK!

Maureen:

Is it possible, Walton, that - just like me almost 50 years earlier - once you showed up as more than averagely bright at a fairly ordinary school someone, somewhere decided that to "get on" you would need to know the modes of address bit of Burke's Peerage off by heart?

No, I don't remember anyone in school ever saying a single thing about the peerage. I learnt about the various titles and forms of address in my spare time (mainly on the Internet, and from a couple of obscure books purchased from charity shops) because I found it so interesting. (Yes, I am the world's biggest geek.)

As everyone should know, the formulation "Lord [first name] [surname]" is correct only for the younger son of a Duke or Marquess; it is never applied to suo jure peers.)

Who the fuck cares about this shit anyway ? Some clownshoe inherits a title from daddy, who got it from his daddy who got it from disenfranchising some poor medieval farmer ot somesuch, I'm not surprised Walton would care about this shit, but *clutches pearls* BoSOM !! I'm shocked ! Shocked, I tell you !!
:P

By Rorschach (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Are you saying, for the purposes of pure research, you took one for the team and visited websites of BOTH Ham AND Hilton in one day!! ... Dude, you must have the constitution of an ox and balls the size of grapefruit. You are legend.

While I would love merely to continue to bask in the glow of this kind accolade, I feel I must, from simple honesty, cop to the sort of evening and morning I've apparently had since then...

I mean, I feel I should, except that, in truth, the details are a bit fuzzy. But this much I do know, from the hospital charts: apparently it involved my waking in a cold sweat somewhere around 3 am screaming something not especially intelligible about 'having looked full in the face of the elemental evil that is the Ken Ham sex tape', after which I proceeded to the kitchen in a distracted and agitated state, and attempted to gouge out my own eyes with a potato peeler...

Fortunately for said organs, apparently in said state I got confused, dropped the potato peeler, and thereafter attempted to use the base of a martini shaker for this purpose, which, mercifully, didn't prove especially amenable to said procedure... Also very fortunately, the EMTs were prompt in responding, and were able to subdue me, wrest said shaker from my grasp, and administer an appropriate sedative...

Long story short: I think I'm gonna be okay, with the love and support of my family... And with enough thorazine to calm a rabid horse.

(/So, anyway, wish me luck, all.)

I think I'm gonna be okay, with the love and support of my family... And with enough thorazine to calm a rabid horse.

We'll be praying for you. :-)

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

I too have a title. Officially, I am known as "Mister". I inherited it from my father, and he from his father before him - in fact, we can trace our history right back to "Mister Bacterium". For ordinary use, I abbreviate it to "Mr" (pronounced "Mrrrrrrrrrrr")
As for hunting, well OK (just) if you are going to eat what you shoot; otherwise it's just taking fun out of killing things. And I can never get over the idea that hunters, deep down, would like to shoot people.
And, for Brits, it's the only chance we get to shoot guns, unless, of course, one is a dealer in crack cocaine - in which case that would also be "Mr" Dealer in Crack Cocaine.
Respect due.

Vagely on topic.

I just ran across a wonderful radio series airing on BBC4 "A History of the world in 100 objects."
It's here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00pgxn3
Or if that doesn't work go to the main BBC site then to the radio section then to radio 4 and then to documentaries. Unless of course you are lucky enough to just be able to tume it in directly.

The series is a lovley walk through history based around objects from a real museum.

Off to learn about Clovis points and Hornedjitef
~will

By Poor Wandering One (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rather, it was a sop to the Labour left, motivated entirely by naked envy and hatred towards the aristocracy. Thankfully, it has also proven to be virtually unenforceable (and the police, who tend to be rather conservative-minded, have not been willing to waste scarce resources on arresting huntsmen), and will almost certainly be repealed when a Conservative government gets in at the next election.

Kid, you need to get over your idea that a resentment of class privilege is merely hatred and envy.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Kid, you need to get over your idea that a resentment of class privilege is merely hatred and envy.

What's left in Tory class consciousness if it isn't the "we're better than everyone and they just want to be us but are jealous they can't be" idea. It's Paris Hilton style politics, complaining about the "haters."

By MAJeff, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Kid, you need to get over your idea that a resentment of class privilege is merely hatred and envy.

No no, Janine... ya must understand... By definition, persons opposed to long-standing cultural practices are merely hate-filled, with no leg to stand on*...

Granted, that's 'cos our hounds chewed 'em all off in mad, blood-soaked orgy of carnage. But the point remains.

It's Paris Hilton style politics, complaining about the "haters."

(At mention of 'Paris Hilton', screams, pulls violently against restraints... Nurse soberly readies new syringe...)

(/*Also, every so-called 'atheist' rilly jes' hates the Christan God. QED.)

At mention of 'Paris Hilton', screams, pulls violently against restraints... Nurse soberly readies new syringe...

Redoubles prayers.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Walton wrote:

As everyone should know[emphasis added] , the formulation "Lord {first name} {surname}" is correct only for the younger son of a Duke or Marquess; it is never applied to suo jure peers.

I hope that "as everyone should know" was just a little bit of sarcasm, when you yourself describe that knowledge as exceedingly obscure.

Twice, Gill compared the 'museum' to "Ripley’s Believe-It." I perceive that to be an incomplete reference to "Ripley’s Believe-It-or-Not"... but I think it would have been more apropos if he had spelled it out, as "Ripley’s Believe-It-OR-ELSE."

I hope that "as everyone should know" was just a little bit of sarcasm

No. In the British education system, the correct address of Marquesses and Viscounts is a most important part of our primary education system (KS1 "knowing one's place"). It is the main reason for the continuing prevelance of forelocks amongst working class youths.
This is later required knowledge for young girls intent on bettering themselves.
However, I feel it was insensitive for Walton to point this out on an American blog - we can hardly expect you colonials to be fully conversant with modes of modern class-abasement in England.
On behalf of English society, I would like to apologise on his behalf.

I hope that "as everyone should know" was just a little bit of sarcasm, when you yourself describe that knowledge as exceedingly obscure.

Yes, it was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But hey, if other people can devote thousands of posts to the glories of bacon, snow and cephalopods, I can waffle about obscure British peerage conventions from time to time. :-)

I mean, I even dealt with the mice in my apartment by kicking them out, rather than killing them (boyfriend wouldn't let me buy a hamster cage for them... :-p)

"Even"? I've developed some skill at throwing live mosquitos out the window. Not easy, but feasible (and, frankly, no more difficult than flattening them).

And what's wrong with a hamster cage? Is your apartment the size of my room?

I HATE how my machine slows down to a CRAWL under the influence of ScienceBlogs.

I HATE IT.

Update your browser. ScienceBlogs (or rather the ads!) started making real trouble in IE7 just before IE8 came out, but works just fine in IE8.

Should we start a fund for the the slide rule artisans too since they've been made obsolete by calculators and computers?

In fact, Germany's Greens once were against computers for this sort of reason.

'Kay. There's just no nice way to say that. Hell, there's not a lot of ways, nice or no, in any human language I've yet encountered to say that. Most of 'em just don't allow you to qualify 'blech' with sufficient emphasis...

GOR GOL
GLOUUC
¡GROJFF!

– Mortadelo y Filemón, a comic in Spanish by Francisco Ibáñez the Greatest.

Then there's the good old German exclamation that's pronounced with the tongue sticking out. It ends up getting written Wäääh!, but that doesn't do it justice.

the formulation "Lord [first name] [surname]" is correct only for the younger son of a Duke or Marquess

<headdesk>

:-D

<headshake&gt,

(Of course this is the kind of thing that comes with aristocracies, it's not specifically British. I have been told about a pre-1914 Austro-Hungarian book that answers such nagging questions as "how do I address a count's daughter?" and "but if he's Empire-Independent™, how do I address her then???".)

in my newly single state

:-o

What happened to Shrek?

Bur Walton, it's "trivia geeks" such as yourself that are artificially keeping the notion of a privledged aristocracy alive.

It's interesting in this respect to compare Germany and Austria – Austria radically abolished "nobility with all its privileges", titles included, in 1918 or 1919, while Germany didn't. In Austria, nobility is mostly treated as something only insiders ( = other nobles) know about, and when the son of the last emperor appears on TV, he's Herr Dr. Habsburg, while in Germany, nobility is still used for showing off.

Rather, it was a sop to the Labour left, motivated entirely by naked envy and hatred towards the aristocracy. Thankfully, it has also proven to be virtually unenforceable (and the police, who tend to be rather conservative-minded, have not been willing to waste scarce resources on arresting huntsmen), and will almost certainly be repealed when a Conservative government gets in at the next election.

Dude… that's your moustache speaking, not you.

Have you never noticed that foxes are neither "a problem for agriculture" nor hunted anywhere else in Europe?

Indeed, vaccination bait (meat containing rabies vaccine) is used to prevent the foxes from spreading rabies.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Indeed, vaccination bait (meat containing rabies vaccine) is used to prevent the foxes from spreading rabies.

As you should know, David, we do not need this in England, as rabies is a foreign disease which our noble English foxes do not contract.

They are a superior species here, lithe and wily, needing a full complement of aristocrats, packs of dogs, gamekeepers, servants, and peasants to track them down. It is an experience they enjoy; for the English fox dreams of nothing other than being torn to death by inbred Englishmen.

But then, I doubt you would understand.
Unless you are one of the Gloucestershire Marjanovics?

I have never been able to understand why so much time and energy is expended in the UK on debating hunting. Personally I find the activity distasteful, but there are many more important animal welfare issues - and few more popular pretexts for class warfare.

It's disappointing to find this tedious topic invading Pharyngula.

Vole, that is just the Walton effect. Everybody else is just mocking him. It is only a small mote in the maelstrom that is Pharyngula. After today, I doubt that it will be brought up again. This is unless Walton feels the need to defend something that even he does not want to take part of. Just call it his reflective groveling to his social betters.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

@duckphup

Twice, Gill compared the 'museum' to "Ripley’s Believe-It." I perceive that to be an incomplete reference to "Ripley’s Believe-It-or-Not"... but I think it would have been more apropos if he had spelled it out, as "Ripley’s Believe-It-OR-ELSE."

Duckphup, it seemed clear to me that Gill was in fact implying Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Else when he wrote Ripley's Believe-It, he was just being a little more subtle. In either case, "Or Not" is not an option.

This is unless Walton feels the need to defend something that even he does not want to take part of. Just call it his reflective groveling to his social betters.

It's loike I were sayin' ter Eliza the chuffin' uvver day: "We only 'ave ter pretend ter be socially conscious 'til we make it big. Then we can drop alla pretence about carin' about the proles and 'ealffcare and worry about keepin' the government's 'ands off us brass.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

As usual Oscar (Wilde) nailed it:

"The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable"

I did once shoot a duck with a rifle

Reminds me of the time Groucho Marx shot an elephant in his pajamas.

gah, I peeked at Walton:

Americans' ignorance of the peerage

Dude, such ignorance is kind of the entire point of being an American, isn't it?

I also have a problem with the idea of wasting scarce police resources on stopping hunting, when there are plenty of more important things for the police to be dealing with.

*rolls eyes* Mad-Libs!! Replace "hunting" with your favorite crime and have some fun with it!

even in my newly single state

*perks up and starts checking planefare to...wtf...Brisbane?*

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Walton,

Americans' ignorance of the peerage

This is one time I'm proud that Americans are ignorant about a subject.

but, sadly, there are many British people who would also have no idea what I'm talking about.

How is it sad? If you want to entertain yourself with such trivia then feel free to. However, I think it's sign of progress that they don't know or care about some archaic, aristocratic bullshit.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

..and just for you Wowbagger, I'll don the tiara for the dinner event. ;-)

this, combined with the FCB (*hrrk pftui*) jersey you promised Rohrschach, will make one hell of an outfit ;-)

Yes, it was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But hey, if other people can devote thousands of posts to the glories of bacon, snow and cephalopods, I can waffle about obscure British peerage conventions from time to time. :-)

I shall have to consider putting you in killfile for this affront to the glorious awesomeness that is snow

"Even"? I've developed some skill at throwing live mosquitos out the window. Not easy, but feasible (and, frankly, no more difficult than flattening them).I'm allergic to mosquito bites, therefore all mosquitoes must die.

And what's wrong with a hamster cage? Is your apartment the size of my room?

Here in the Land of the Free, the landlord decides whether you're allowed to have pets or not; ours has decided that we can't have pets, and the boyfriend won't let me break the rule by having a hamster cage with mice in it. I was, for a while, ignoring that rule by simply not bothering to catch the mice at all, but then they got bold and moved in behind the microwave on the kitchen counter, with predictable and unsanitary results.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

oops, minor blockquote fail. that was supposed to be:

"Even"? I've developed some skill at throwing live mosquitos out the window. Not easy, but feasible (and, frankly, no more difficult than flattening them).

I'm allergic to mosquito bites, therefore all mosquitoes must die.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm allergic to mosquito bites, therefore all mosquitoes must die.

So are most people, although not severely. The father of a childhood friend of mine wasn't allergic to mosquito bites at all; they don't swell, redden, or itch at all.

Lucky bastard.

I shouldn't complain, though. Most things that can taste find me unpalatable.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

So are most people, although not severely.

well, in my case it is rather severe. Not as bad as when I was a kid(I once got bitten somewhere on the eyebrow and my eye swell shut for several weeks; hurt like a bitch, too), but still enough to consider mosquito-murder an act of self-defense.

I shouldn't complain, though. Most things that can taste find me unpalatable.

I hate you. The bastards love me dearly, to the point that I even end up covered in bites when no one else even got a single one :-(

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm allergic to mosquito bites, therefore all mosquitoes must die.

Are asthmatics sensitive to cigarette smoke allowed to hunt smokers? Inquiring minds want to know.

(Not trying to give you crap, but I couldn't let that slide after all the snarky comments about killing foxes)

Are asthmatics sensitive to cigarette smoke allowed to hunt smokers? Inquiring minds want to know.

for some reason this gives me mindpics of some movie clip from a movie I don't remember of a dude getting his cigarette shot out of his mouth.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

I hate you. The bastards love me dearly, to the point that I even end up covered in bites when no one else even got a single one :-(

Consider that summer in Edmonton lasts for about six or seven minutes. The rest of the year is cold, dark, mosquito-less winter, spent wishing I could get something to bite me.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Consider that summer in Edmonton lasts for about six or seven minutes. The rest of the year is cold, dark, mosquito-less winter, spent wishing I could get something to bite me.

the beauty of winter is completely lost on the likes of you.

Winter has no heat, has snow, and is blissfully mosquito and spider-free. It's the most awesomest thing in the world.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

As you should know, David, we do not need this in England, as rabies is a foreign disease which our noble English foxes do not contract.

I know, I know. I was just pointing out one area where foxes are capable of being a problem.

I'm allergic to mosquito bites, therefore all mosquitoes must die.

The bites I get do stay swollen for days (especially when I discover them and start scratching, obviously), and the humming always wakes me up. In particularly infested areas (luckily, this is not one), I sometimes close the window overnight and systematically two-dimensionalize all mosquitos... or I can't get enough sleep.

for some reason this gives me mindpics of some movie clip from a movie I don't remember of a dude getting his cigarette shot out of his mouth.

B-) B-) B-)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

I like my climate continental: hot and dry in summer, cold and snowy in winter (...so... perhaps not too continental). Snow is what awesome is made of.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm still boggled by that BBC article linked upthread. Someone read The Most Dangerous Game and thought huh, there's the solution to our fox hunting problem???

the beauty of winter is completely lost on the likes of you.

Indeed. I imagine I'll completely miss the heat-, mosquito-, and spider-free beauty of death, too.

I've recently determined that I'm olfactorily oriented. This was during a brief thaw in which I realised my mood is significantly improved when I am able to smell things.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

"The fox is just as dead whether it's hunted by a bunch of red-coated people on horseback or culled by a gamekeeper."

Well, by that logic, perhaps we should legalize dog fighting and use strays from animal shelters. I mean, they are just going to be euthanized anyway? Why not make some money in the process? /snark

Walton, although at times you've started to display a modicum of sense, this confirms that there is ultimately no hope for you. You are an ass. It's a pity there isn't such a thing as reincarnation, because if there were, I'd wish that you'd come back as a fox.

By adobedragon (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

I do not know whether foxes pose a real problem to agriculture in Britain or not, but I do know they can be quite a pain here in America to people who choose to raise chickens (and other forms of poultry). A single fox can slaughter entire coops in a single nght. I still don't think this justifies English fox hunts, just pointing out that they can indeed be a pest to farmers.

Oh sure, here come the freakin chicken-lovers.
Hey! Chickenboy! You coop up all that fine whitemeat in a, uh, coop and then expect the damn foxes to just respect your vocational goals and go off a-hunting for snipes and voles and, like, sweet grapes? Why don't you try raising something sensible like soy, or endive, or bacon instead?

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

It's loike I were sayin' ter Eliza the chuffin' uvver day: "We only 'ave ter pretend ter be socially conscious 'til we make it big. Then we can drop alla pretence about carin' about the proles and 'ealffcare and worry about keepin' the government's 'ands off us brass.

Sung to the tune of "The Red Flag" aka "Tannenbaum"

The working class can kiss my ass
I got the foreman's job at last.
You can tell old Joe I'm off the dole -
He can stick his Red Flag up his 'ole!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9UxevnYcec (Only sung to the tune of "The White Cockade")

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

It's loike I were sayin' ter Eliza the chuffin' uvver day: "We only 'ave ter pretend ter be socially conscious 'til we make it big. Then we can drop alla pretence about carin' about the proles and 'ealffcare and worry about keepin' the government's 'ands off us brass.

Sung to the tune of "The Red Flag" aka "Tannenbaum"

The working class can kiss my ass
I got the foreman's job at last.
You can tell old Joe I'm off the dole -
He can stick his Red Flag up his 'ole!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9UxevnYcec (Only sung to the tune of "The White Cockade")

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Uh-Oh, I see the Pullet Patrol™ a pecking for Sven. Also, beware of Kninja Knitters...

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

A single fox can slaughter entire coops in a single nght. I still don't think this justifies English fox hunts, just pointing out that they can indeed be a pest to farmers.

Since you're well-meaning and all, I'll point out the sides of that little kerfuffle.

It's not "pro-killing foxes" vs. "anti-killing foxes".

It's "pro-fox hunting for sport using dogs to tear foxes to pieces, and while so doing rub shoulders with other well-to-do folks" vs "pro-fox hunting by gamesmen with the goal and responsibility of culling foxes to reasonable numbers and no further".

Arguing whether foxes should be dealt with as a problem to agriculture is somewhat beside the point. I don't think anyone is arguing that foxes be allowed to breed and take over land indefinitely. Just that the gaming methods used in the hunts are rather cruel, barbaric, and unnecessary.

Sorry for the double post. I lost my internet connection when the first post was loading (why does it take SB so fucking long to load a post?). When I reconnected Firefox asked me if I wanted to resend and like an idiot I clicked on "yes."

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Um, Patricia, someone needs a good pecking!

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

SteveM @ 253:

I do not know whether foxes pose a real problem to agriculture in Britain or not, but I do know they can be quite a pain here in America to people who choose to raise chickens (and other forms of poultry). A single fox can slaughter entire coops in a single nght. I still don't think this justifies English fox hunts, just pointing out that they can indeed be a pest to farmers.

Hmm. Interesting, as I live in rural ND, and people here don't have any problems keeping foxes, badgers, coyotes, mountain lions, etc., away from their livestock (including chickens, ducks and geese). Perhaps that's because they have plenty of territory. Or maybe people here just know how to build a good coop.

In some areas, people are pretty intent on destroying habitats left and right, so it shouldn't be a surprise if wild animals show up looking for food.

SteveV:

@David Marjanović ~232
Greatly dislike hunting with hounds but SIWOTI compulsion demands:-

"Have you never noticed that foxes are neither "a problem for agriculture" nor hunted anywhere else in Europe?"

http://www.freedomfields.net/foxhunting_in_virginia.html

Virginia isn't in Europe. ;)

Caine:

That's just an accident of history - I blame that German prat George.

Anyway, France is in Europe so NNNeNN :-)

Then we can drop alla pretence about carin' about the proles and 'ealffcare and worry about keepin' the government's 'ands off us brass.

hmm, I find myself reminded of the latest SCOTUS decision...

SteveV:

That's just an accident of history - I blame that German prat George.

Hahaha. I can accept that. Those Virginians were pretentious wannabes. ;P

Janine,

This is unless Walton feels the need to defend something that even he does not want to take part of.

I have no particular desire to marry another man either (or, indeed, to marry anyone at all), yet I strongly and actively support the freedom of same-sex couples to marry if they so wish. Similarly, I will defend to the hilt other people's right to go fox-hunting, despite the fact that I have no interest in it myself. That's what individual liberties are about; the acceptance that other people will choose to exercise their freedom in ways you might not personally choose.

Walton, wrong. The figth for LGBT marriage is the fight to have a right that most people take for granted. Your support of fox hunting is the support of a privilege that the nobility had. The only way I could say that it is about rights is if everybody who wanted to can hunt foxes.

So, what other animals do you think people should be about to loose the hounds on? Why should the fox be alone in suffering from such barbaric treatment?

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Janine, apparently killing animals for fun is fine, they're not people (though people are animals). Go figure.

By John Morales (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Want to know what I find funny? I thought I was teasing Walton because of his reverence for aristocracy. I really want to make him watch The Ruling Class. Also, how libertarian is it to support privilege in accordance to class?

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

But, Janine, hunting is not a class privilege!

Walton is being egalitarian, as he sees it.

Anyone can organise a bunch of horses, gear and trained hounds and go traipsing about the countryside to hunt these pesky foxes.

Reminds me of Anatole France's famous quote:
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." (from The Red Lily, 1894)

By John Morales (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

I think Walton's support of fox-hunting hinges on the monetary injection it brings to rural economies. However, that kind of cruelty isn't justified no matter what the economic impact, and surely if the upper class really cared they would find another reason to traipse out into the forest and throw money into rural villages. Walton, that's the kind of deal that puts me in mind of The ones who walk away from Omelas.

So, the fox is a threat to agriculture and generally such a very bad thing that it is necessary to to kill them by any means - including massive displays of pomp and the pretence that the rich have all the power they had 500 years ago. OK.

Then why would someone - almost certainly an Englishman* - introduce them to a land where they have never been, threatening both livestock and the native fauna?

A real scientific paper, folks.

One theory, in the colloquial sense, is that it was done so that they could hunt them!

* Rare display of Manx nationalism there.

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

There's a redundant "to" in there. Sorry!

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Do you really want to Pharyngulate Ken Ham?

By claire-chan (not verified) on 23 Jan 2010 #permalink

I have no particular desire to marry another man either (or, indeed, to marry anyone at all), yet I strongly and actively support the freedom of same-sex couples to marry if they so wish. Similarly, I will defend to the hilt other people's right to go fox-hunting, despite the fact that I have no interest in it myself.

Talk about false equivalence there, beside the superficial similarity of each of them being illegal, the two different cases are very different issues at the core. Why not just bring in other illegal practices like paedophilia? I have no particular desire to molest children, but would I defend the right of others to do it?

Surely you can see that LGBT rights are completely different from fox hunting rights. You don't have the fundie excuse, you're not an idiot and you're prone to exercising rational thought.

Walton says "To your credit, at least you didn't make the cringeworthy error that Professor Myers once did, referring to him as "Lord Christopher Monckton"."

Um, actually the good Viscount himself encourages that mistake--it's one of many little liberties that he takes with his biography. He also claims to be a member of the House of Lords. He isn't. He claims to have a science degree and to have advised Margaret Thatcher on scientific matters. Nope.

Now Monckton, him I could picture myself actually saying, "Release the hounds!" Of course, with my hounds, the only danger he would be in is being licked to death or accidentally being headbutted or whipped to death with a wagging tail.

By a_ray_in_dilbe… (not verified) on 23 Jan 2010 #permalink

"The English country gentleman galloping after a fox - the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable". -Oscar Wilde

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 23 Jan 2010 #permalink

Kel: Yes, it was a bad analogy. I've retracted it (see the endless thread). In my defence, I wrote the post in question at 3am when I was drunk.

Reading Walton's comments above I cannot help but think of Basil Fawlty fawning over "Lord" Melbury in the first episode of Fawlty Towers.

JeffreyD, Esquire (Subscriber); Knight of Ni; Order of the Velvet Tongue; Defender of the Lack of Faith; Hall Monitor, 3rd Grade.

a_ray: You misunderstand me completely.

I did not mean that it was an error to refer to Viscount Monckton as a Lord, since he is, indeed, a member of the British peerage. Since 1997, not all hereditary peers have the right to sit in the House of Lords; but they are still peers, and still have the right to use their traditional titles. So while Monckton is not a member of the House of Lords any more, he is still a hereditary Viscount.

Rather, I was referring to the incorrect style. It is correct to refer to him as "Viscount Monckton" or (if you prefer) "Lord Monckton", but it is incorrect to call him "Lord Christopher Monckton". The style "Lord [first name] [surname]" is not used for people who are peers in their own right (or "suo jure peers, in technical parlance); it is only used for the younger sons of Dukes and Marquesses.

Janine: Fox-hunting is not a "class privilege"; you don't have to be a member of the aristocracy to go hunting. There are many hunts which are open to anyone.

Walton:

Janine: Fox-hunting is not a "class privilege"; you don't have to be a member of the aristocracy to go hunting. There are many hunts which are open to anyone.

Oh, Dear. Yes, Walton, they are open to anyone who has a horse and a pack of hunting dogs and the firearms and the riding gear and costume and the time to kill and the transportation into the country...

Did you even think about this before you posted it. I suggest that you reread the Anatole France quote...

By a_ray_in_dilbe… (not verified) on 23 Jan 2010 #permalink

As a former christian I subscribed to Answers In Genesis. I wanted a scientific understanding of my belief and the seeming contradictions it required. But the AIG magazine turned out to be among the final nails in my coffin of dogma after reading a column on "How to talk with an atheist."

It started with the admonition to not let them take away your foundation: the bible.

Of course I knew that their arguments were based on the bible, but I was deluded into thinking that AIG's was the *BEST* description, scientifically, of earth and life. That it proved, against all the deluded scientists, how they were wrong from a reason and logic persepective.

That article made clear the utter folly of my reliance on them for any amount of science. Now being free of that bunkum, I feel like a new man, loving every minute of exploring without wondering if it jibes with my "worldview."

It's so amazingly enlightening, refreshing, to follow the evidence rather than the nonsense.

By BrainUser (not verified) on 23 Jan 2010 #permalink

BrainUser

It could have been worse. You could have been a libertarian. The recovery rate from that mental disorder is much lower. Welcome to the reality-based community.

By a_ray_in_dilbe… (not verified) on 23 Jan 2010 #permalink

Then why would someone - almost certainly an Englishman* - introduce them to a land where they have never been, threatening both livestock and the native fauna?

Never mind the Isle of Man – there's New Zealand, the Australian mainland, and hopefully not Tasmania.

I'm just not sure that English business qualifies as hunting.

That's basically what I mean, though I didn't know about France. :-)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 23 Jan 2010 #permalink

I've discovered atheists' political views are quite diverse. More and more I'm finding that the more we see the world in black and white, the less accurate is our picture.

Our (u.s.) ridiculous binary division of views is utterly senseless. Having at least two parties is wonderful, but the idea of republican vs democrat is worse than trying to divide colors into two halves.

By BrainUser (not verified) on 23 Jan 2010 #permalink

BrainUser, if more people figured out what what you just said in #288, so much pointless arguments could be avoided.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 23 Jan 2010 #permalink

Unfortunately... there is another creation museum in Texas. It's south west of the DFW area and sits just outside the gates to the Dinosaur Valley State Park. Their scientific evidence supporting creation is ahhh.... interesting.

I'm also liking this "Sidewiki" sidebar from Google. Of course I had to leave a comment on ken hams site also. The only problem I can see, you actually have to have the sidewiki application installed to read the comments. Of course I did vote "useful" for Metz's particular comment.

By CunningLingus (not verified) on 23 Jan 2010 #permalink

Oh, Dear. Yes, Walton, they are open to anyone who has a horse and a pack of hunting dogs and the firearms and the riding gear and costume and the time to kill and the transportation into the country...

True, but I don't see how that's an argument for banning hunting.

Sure, not everyone has the opportunity, money or desire to go fox-hunting. But the same is true of most human activities, whatever their nature. Not everyone has the opportunity or desire to run the New York Marathon, or to get married, or to buy a sailing-boat. Does this mean that marathon-running, marriage and sailing should all be illegal? In a free society, we do not ban activities simply because not everyone is able to take part in them.

And in reply to the other arguments on this thread: I understand that lots of people find hunting distasteful. That's fine. No one's forcing you to go hunting. De gustibus non est disputandum, and so on. (And as I said, I've never been hunting myself, and have no desire to go.) But your personal dislike of hunting is not a pretext for using the power of the state, and scarce police resources and court time, to forcibly prevent other people from hunting. No one has so far bothered to explain why they think it's legitimate to use state coercion and public money to stop people from hunting.

Yes, I know that there are plenty of animal-protection laws which are enforced at state expense. But by and large, these are designed to protect delicate ecologies and endangered species. Foxes are, to put it mildly, not endangered, and pose a danger to agriculture. Of course, there are some people who believe that individual animals should be protected by law from unnecessary human exploitation; but if you take that argument, then the state would also have to ban meat-eating (since it's perfectly possible to live on a vegetarian diet), fishing, the testing of cosmetics on animals, and a range of other practices.

In the end, though, some of the vitriolic comments on this thread have confirmed that, in large part, support for the hunting ban in Britain is motivated by an irrational hatred of the aristocracy.

Walton:

In the end, though, some of the vitriolic comments on this thread have confirmed that, in large part, support for the hunting ban in Britain is motivated by an irrational hatred of the aristocracy.

So, Walton, is it similarly an irrational fear that motivates distaste for a caste system, such as that which India has ostensibly repudiated?

What proportion of aristocrats earn their privilege by other than 'birthright'?

By John Morales (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

Walton:

I understand that lots of people find hunting distasteful.

Yes, but I doubt you understand the basis.

Is hunting for sustenance the same as 'hunting' for fun?

Killing animals purely for the pleasure of it has no moral implications whatsoever for you, but is merely a matter of taste?

By John Morales (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

Killing animals purely for the pleasure of it has no moral implications whatsoever for you, but is merely a matter of taste?

I didn't quite say that. Plenty of things are morally significant, yet are not the business of the state. For instance, I would say it's generally morally wrong to cheat on one's spouse or partner, say, or to walk past a beggar starving in the street and not give him or her any money. But neither of these things are legitimate domains of the criminal law; they're personal moral choices. So too with hunting.

Of course, it's perfectly legitimate for someone to disagree with me, if he or she sincerely believes that animals ought to be protected by law from unnecessary harm. But as I pointed out earlier, this would involve banning not just hunting, but also meat-eating (since it isn't necessary to eat meat; it's perfectly possible to live on a vegetarian diet), the testing of cosmetics on animals, and a range of other practices.

Is hunting for sustenance the same as 'hunting' for fun?

Unless you have no other means of obtaining sustenance, then yes, it is. Both are voluntary choices. In a society where non-meat foods are readily available, we could all choose to be vegetarians if we so wished; we choose to eat meat because we want to, just as people choose to go hunting because they want to. I don't see how it's morally consistent to say that (in a society where vegetarian foods are freely available) choosing to eat meat is legitimate but hunting is not. Either one believes that individual animals should be protected by the state from unnecessary harm, or one doesn't.

Walton,

I didn't quite say that.

I think you did, when you wrote De gustibus non est disputandum.

Is hunting for sustenance the same as 'hunting' for fun?

Unless you have no other means of obtaining sustenance, then yes, it is.

Hm. You're sure you're not invoking an excluded middle, here? Because I think you are.

You're essentially saying that, if it's not utterly necessary, it's being done for fun.

By John Morales (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

Either one believes that individual animals should be protected by the state from unnecessary harm, or one doesn't.

hmm.

What if the state gives you a permit to take animals via hunting because they are overpopulated (or don't even belong) in a given area?

happens all the time in the States.

Big pig hunts on the Channel Islands every other year or so.

So the State is both protecting given animal(s) from unnecessary harm (starvation, competition with introduced species), and saying at the same time it's fine to go ahead and shoot a pig in the head.

Is this a contradiction?

should the State not be involved?

another thing...

I often find people who object to hunting on "moral grounds" have no similar objections to fishing.

heck, they even swat flies in their living rooms.

hypocrisy?

Ichthyic,

hypocrisy?

Depends on one's criteria.

I guess I'm with Peter Singer on this one.

I think there's some non-simple (subjective?) function of the capacity for suffering and the needfulness of inflicting harm that determines the morality of actions against living things. But I'm very vague on what possible metrics there may be for this, or how they might be determined, and admit I go by gut-feel. And my gut doesn't much like people who, say, attach fireworks to the tails of cats for the lulz.

Flies I think are basically just biological machines, fish not-so-much so, and most mammals definitely are sentient and conscious beings.

By John Morales (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

Flies I think are basically just biological machines, fish not-so-much so, and most mammals definitely are sentient and conscious beings.

really?

most mammals sentient and conscious?

I think you might be reaching a bit there, perhaps anthropomorphizing.

"And my gut doesn't much like..."

Is this a reasonable basis for law, you think?

just curious.

We should point out that nobody has made it illegal to go riding, or to own dogs; drag hunting (the dogs follow a scent trail laid down just before the hunt) remains fully legal. People can ride how they like on their own land (passing over the trespassing and damage to fields and hedges that has been the constant companion of fox hunting for centuries). Nobody is being deprived of anything except having a fox torn apart by hounds for their amusement. File under bear-baiting. Hare coursing, incidentally, was made illegal in the UK at the same time as fox hunting.

Pro-hunting activists have tended to use moronic arguments like "If we stop hunting foxes we'll have to put down the hunting dogs". Er- why?

By Stephen Wells (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

Ichthyic, just about to retire for the night, but quick responses:

Literally, I guess, pretty much all prokaryotes and eukaryotes are definitionally sentient, so perhaps that was redundant. But consciousness, as in subjective awareness, yes, I think most mammals have it, to whatever (however small) degree, due to their neural complexity.

Can you think of any mammal that doesn't, in the relevant sense, feel pain?

And yes, I guess I'm anthropomorphising.

"And my gut doesn't much like..."
Is this a reasonable basis for law, you think?

No, I don't think so. But then, I was talking about personal morality, not law.

(I'll check back tomorrow.)

By John Morales (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

Damn, I misused sentient (just checked); by it I meant have senses and respond to stimuli.
(I'm not thinking straight.)

Now I really am retiring!

By John Morales (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

Of course, it's perfectly legitimate for someone to disagree with me, if he or she sincerely believes that animals ought to be protected by law from unnecessary harm. But as I pointed out earlier, this would involve banning not just hunting, but also meat-eating (since it isn't necessary to eat meat; it's perfectly possible to live on a vegetarian diet), the testing of cosmetics on animals, and a range of other practices.

Nice slippery slope. I could just as easily say "it's perfectly legitimate for someone to disagree with me [that making hunting illegal is justifiable], if he or she sincerely believes that animals deserve no protection by law. But this would involve calling for repeal of any animal cruelty legislation".

Do you want to roll back any animal cruelty legislation, Walton? Because surely that's just as important as keeping the right to mutilate foxes by proxy. If not, you can't call for the legalization of tearing apart foxes via dogs.

I also note you're not arguing to legalize hare coursing at the same time. Perhaps it's not as relevant, not being such an upper class past-time?

No class-hate here, I just think your argument and where you place your cognitive blind-spots in instances like this is ridiculous. Not to mention your attempt at excluding any sort of middle when it comes to your reductio ad absurdum against your opponents' position.

Can you think of any mammal that doesn't, in the relevant sense, feel pain?

rather large gap between "feels pain" and "consciousness".

yes, even flies have sufficient neurology to "feel pain".

most certainly fish do, we often anesthetized fish before surgical procedures.

like i said, it seems rather arbitrary to me to decide what is reasonable behavior and what is not.

"refined sensibilities" I suppose...

frankly, I don't really have a problem if most people admit they want to stop hunting because they feel empathy towards the animals being hunted, but stop it there and be honest, instead of trying to justify it with ideas of "consciousness" or "sentience" because it's a never ending slippery slope.

example:

people often are revolted that some kid would pull the wings off a fly, or burn ants with a magnifying glass, but have no problem whatever with the same kid using a flyswatter or a shoe, or spraying poison on them.

aside from any tangential psychological arguments one could make, is there really any direct reason why one behavior should be frowned on and not the other?

"suffering" is the usual answer

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

"suffering" is the usual answer

not good enough though, is it?

logically, one has to define why suffering is bad in one instance, and not the other.

and hunting... often kills instantly (much quicker than fishing typically).

and yet the objections to hunting are much more common than to fishing.

again, it seems we develop our sense of morality from a combination of empathic self experience, and what others tell us is right and wrong.

is any of that really rational?

And in reply to the other arguments on this thread: I understand that lots of people find hunting distasteful. That's fine. No one's forcing you to go hunting. De gustibus non est disputandum, and so on. (And as I said, I've never been hunting myself, and have no desire to go.) But your personal dislike of hunting is not a pretext for using the power of the state, and scarce police resources and court time, to forcibly prevent other people from hunting. No one has so far bothered to explain why they think it's legitimate to use state coercion and public money to stop people from hunting.

Yes, I know that there are plenty of animal-protection laws which are enforced at state expense. But by and large, these are designed to protect delicate ecologies and endangered species. Foxes are, to put it mildly, not endangered, and pose a danger to agriculture.

funny; I don't remember Walton defending the right of people to stuff kittens in the oven. if protection of eco-systems is the only point of animal-protection rights, then the cruel treatment of pets should not be illegal, huh?

you're a fucked up and cruel person, walton.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

funny; I don't remember Walton defending the right of people to stuff kittens in the oven.

I don't either, actually.

I'm not coming down on one side or the other of this specific issue (foxhunting), but how is it reasonable to compare foxhunting to stuffing a cat in an oven?

Could you explain in more detail?

would the same arguments apply to each from a legal standpoint?

if you did it right you could eat the cat

I think legally

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm not coming down on one side or the other of this specific issue (foxhunting), but how is it reasonable to compare foxhunting to stuffing a cat in an oven?

Could you explain in more detail?

because the point here isn't the hunting per-se: it's the incredibly cruel nature of the British fox-hunt. it's a form of animal cruelty on par with cock-fighting, or dog-fighting.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

But your personal dislike of hunting is not a pretext for using the power of the state

I rather think that frankly you might be wrong here, Walton. The reason i jumped in to this discussion is I have often thought just this way myself.

After years contemplating how law is made on issues like this, it's become more my opinion over time that indeed as sensibilities change publicly, these do in fact get translated into law.

Might not be rational, if looked at within a given time-period, but it is certainly a long-held practice, and most often results in pragmatic solutions to social conflict.

There is a long history of laws being changed as sensibilities change, and in hindsight these things might seem rational NOW, but certainly were more based on popularity at the time.

I think sometimes issues like these are simply not resolvable in a purely analytical fashion, and we do indeed tend to side with the majority expression of "gut instinct" on any given issue.

a hundred years ago, the idea of clubbing a baby seal for fur probably would not be much objected to.

20 years ago, however, it was.

entirely tangential was whether seal-clubbing itself adversely affected seal population sizes to the point of being unsustainable.

It was an empathic reaction; and those empathies had indeed shifted over generations.

I think, for once, I might understand and sympathize with the idea that there should always be a logical, rational, testable basis for findings of law.

...but it just ain't the case, nor I think, looking at the history of law, should it necessarily be so.

such is the way society evolves.

for better or worse.

because the point here isn't the hunting per-se: it's the incredibly cruel nature of the British fox-hunt. it's a form of animal cruelty on par with cock-fighting, or dog-fighting.

ah.

so technically, it's the way the hunt is done, not the hunt itself, that is the objection.

e.g., baby seal clubbing.

Ichthyic,

"refined sensibilities" I suppose...

Ya. I find as I get older, I get more squeamish.

I'm not coming down on one side or the other of this specific issue (foxhunting), but how is it reasonable to compare foxhunting to stuffing a cat in an oven?

In this example, I think it's the motive — to have fun by hurting and killing animals.

Is it reasonable to be bothered by this? Hm.
Tough question.

By John Morales (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

In this example, I think it's the motive — to have fun by hurting and killing animals.

well, while that might be a reason to be personally against hunting, it makes no difference to the animal whether it's being hunted for food or fun. the execution of this hunt does matter however: there's a difference between dying quickly and painlessly from a shot by a skilled marksman, and being torn to bits by another animal for no good reason. Add an audience, and you have the Roman games all over again.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

Is it reasonable to be bothered by this? Hm.

for some, like myself, it is indeed a sticky question when thought about in depth.

again, rephrasing what I wrote at 312, sensibilities and empathies culturally evolve.

since this is an obvious fact, when we take any given time period and analyze it, would we find a rational basis for the relative levels of empathy shown at the time?

again, 100 years ago, clubbing a baby seal might mostly have been shrugged off as a non-issue.

a couple generations pass, and sensibilities have changed.

was it wrong/irrational to maintain a neutral empathy towards baby seals 100 years ago?

or is it irrational to extend that empathy to them now?

Living now, most would say the people from 100 years ago were "undereducated and irrational", but likely they would say the same about modern generations who choose to extend that empathy.

*shrug*

It sounds obvious on the face of it, but cultural norms evolve, and thus so do the laws they utilize to resolve conflict.

I think, my ONLY problem with any of it at this point in time, is the lack of recognition that it is not necessarily a rational progression, nor does it really require justification, so long as it IS recognized as being mostly cases of evolving sensibilities.

I think my interest in this stuff came about really as a result of the imposition of "animal research protocols" within the university research programs I worked with when I was a graduate student. These were started at the impetus of community members who grew large enough in numbers to finally make their voice heard within the university policy structure.

However, I saw the rules change dramatically and quickly as time went by.

at first, one only had to file research protocols (and go in to be interviewed by community representatives) to justify lab/field research involving any invasive use of animals. Animals in this case being strictly defined as only mammals (yes, I kid you not).

...the next year, birds, reptiles and amphibians were added as "animals".

...and the year after that, fish.

there was no rational basis for inclusion or exclusion that i could ever ferret from these things.

so, the rules changed as the sensibilities changed.

It irked me to no end that there was never ever any real, rational reason for what was defined as "an animal" or not, but now, a couple decades later, I think I finally have come to terms with the idea that perhaps it doesn't necessarily matter.

In the end, there were pluses and minuses to the idea of the animal use protocol. There is no denying, for example, that it made all participants in the process more aware of good animal husbandry procedures, and typically made most students more aware of the need to justify their own research beyond it being needed for their degree. OTOH, it adds a door for people totally unassociated with scientific endeavor to irrationally judge the value of any specific piece of research.

It does have a tendency to make one think about the implications, should such things become abused.

You think there are issues regarding using animals in research and testing NOW?

Imagine if it was federal law that all animal research had to be approved by PETA?

here's a difference between dying quickly and painlessly from a shot by a skilled marksman, and being torn to bits by another animal for no good reason.

hmm, you know, I suddenly realize I myself only have romantic notions of what a fox-hunt actually entails.

I always thought the idea was to use the dogs as chasers, and the kill was to be given to one of the hunters, not the dogs?

IIRC, any dog that would actually kill the fox was considered to be ill-trained and reflected poorly on it's owner.

?

grrr.

it's>its

I blame lack of coffee drinking due to illness.

oh, and I'm curious if there have been movements in the South to stop raccoon hunting via dogs, where the dogs are indeed trained to kill the raccoons.

and do they still use dogs to hunt mountain lions in California, or am i 30 years behind the times on that one?

I recall a typical mountain lion hunt would use packs of dogs to harass and tree a lion, which could then be shot by the following hunters?

that's how real hunting works: you have one dog that helps you track down the prey/scare it out of its hiding-spot, and then you shoot it and eat it/display it on the wall, whatever.

In British fox-hunting, the chase is all this is about, the death of the fox often being purely incidental and completely besides the point. here's wikipedia on that subject:

Fox hunts are the setting for many social rituals, but the hunting itself begins when hounds are "cast" (put into) rough or brushy areas called coverts, where foxes often lay up during daylight hours or when they hear dogs moving toward them. If the pack manages to pick up the scent of a fox, they will track it for as long as they are able. Scenting can be affected by temperature, humidity, and other factors. The hounds pursue the trail of the fox and the riders follow, by the most direct route possible. Since this may involve very athletic skill on the part of horse and rider alike, fox hunting is the origin of traditional equestrian sports including steeplechase[61] and point to point racing.[62] The hunt continues until either the fox evades the hounds, goes to ground (that is takes refuge in an underground burrow or den) or is overtaken and usually killed by the hounds. In the case of Scottish hill packs or the gun packs of Wales and upland areas of England, the fox is flushed to guns. Hunts in the Cumbrian fells and other upland areas are followed by supporters on foot rather than on horseback. In the UK, where the fox goes to ground , terriers may be entered into the earth to locate the fox so that it can be dug down to and killed.[1]
By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

again, IIRC, traditionally in some of these hunts I'm pretty sure it was considered an ill showing to have the dogs kill the fox instead of the hunter.

just technical clarification though.

maybe I'm confusing it with safari hunting, and the dogs with beaters...

*shrug*

steeplechase...

somehow my mind is reaching for that as an almost systemic metaphor for the very cultural evolution we are talking about here, but I'm falling just short of being able to flesh it out just how.

again, I blame illness and lack of coffee.

funny; I don't remember Walton defending the right of people to stuff kittens in the oven. if protection of eco-systems is the only point of animal-protection rights, then the cruel treatment of pets should not be illegal, huh?

Well, while you'd have to be a sadistic nutcase to actually want to stuff a kitten in the oven, I'm not sure whether I think it should be illegal; I'll have to think about that question some more. But it isn't directly comparable to fox-hunting, in any case; there are no rural English villages which are supported by the kitten-oven-stuffing industry, and no jobs and livelihoods are at risk from banning it.

This isn't just an individual freedom issue; it's also a practical question. Given limited police resources, court time and so on, would I rather the criminal justice system was investigating and penalising offences against human beings, or offences against foxes? I shouldn't think it's a controversial proposition to state that humans are more important than animals; if they were not, we could not justify eating meat, or testing medicines on animals.

you're a fucked up and cruel person, walton.

I don't think that's fair. I personally like animals. At home, we have a robin and a couple of blackbirds living in our garden, and I always put food out for them to help them survive through the winter. I have no personal desire to torture or kill animals, and I don't understand the mindset of people who do so. But when we're talking about public policy, we have to base it on rational calculations and consistent moral principles, not on sentiment.

I'm not sure whether I think it should be illegal

ask yourself why we have laws to begin with.

ALL the reasons.

are all laws a matter of balance of state interests?

no?

why not?

But when we're talking about public policy, we have to base it on rational calculations and consistent moral principles, not on sentiment.

and this is supposed to be an argument against you being a cruel person?

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

we have to base it on rational calculations and consistent moral principles, not on sentiment.

why?

read #312.

short:

consistent moral principles is oxymoronic, and sentiment and evolving cultural sensibilities are indeed often the basis for law.

you're studying law, so you actually ARE aware of this fact, yes?

Walton,

I have no personal desire to torture or kill animals, and I don't understand the mindset of people who do so.

Do you have any stance on its morality?

[...] in any case; there are no rural English villages which are supported by the kitten-oven-stuffing industry, and no jobs and livelihoods are at risk from banning it.

So, if there in fact were such an industry, you'd be similarly opposed to banning it due to the loss of jobs and livelihood?

But when we're talking about public policy, we have to base it on rational calculations and consistent moral principles, not on sentiment.

Hm. So there's, for example, no public policy about going naked in public?

I submit that there are more than a few laws extant based on sentiment.

(I note that "the end justifies the means" is a consistent moral principle, but perhaps not a good basis for law).

By John Morales (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

and this is supposed to be an argument against you being a cruel person?

no, the part just before that was, I think.

no, the part just before that was, I think.

the quote was supposed to include the entire paragraph. and in any case, not considering animal cruelty a "consistent moral principle"(as much as such things exist, anyway) is for me a sign of cruelty; the religionists at least have the excuse that they believe in the soul that makes people special, and animals stuff for people to do with as they please, but even so: needless cruelty and not wanting to end needles cruelty makes one a deeply warped person in my book.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 25 Jan 2010 #permalink

But it isn't directly comparable to fox-hunting, in any case; there are no rural English villages which are supported by the kitten-oven-stuffing industry, and no jobs and livelihoods are at risk from banning it.
This isn't just an individual freedom issue; it's also a practical question. Given limited police resources, court time and so on, would I rather the criminal justice system was investigating and penalising offences against human beings, or offences against foxes? I shouldn't think it's a controversial proposition to state that humans are more important than animals; if they were not, we could not justify eating meat, or testing medicines on animals.

frankly this entire section of your post is entirely irrelevant to the issue of whether there is a moral basis for outlawing this specific type of hunting, and whether that moral basis is sufficient reason to do so in and of itself.

Wow, picking on a little museum in KY. Do you all suffer from little man's disease or what? You are like bullies with a magnifying glass at an ant farm.

By Patrick Norberg (not verified) on 17 Feb 2010 #permalink

Yawn, claiming oppression again. Standard Creatinist lies. They open themselves to ridicule as soon as they claim to be truth and scientific. Repercussion isn't oppression.

By Gyeong Hwa Pak… (not verified) on 17 Feb 2010 #permalink

Wow, picking on a little museum in KY.

What's picking on? There is nothing scientific there, just religious trash like creationism.

Don't happen to have conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity in your back pocket do you?

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 17 Feb 2010 #permalink

Wow, commenting on a dormant thread. Do you suffer from Not-Having-A-Clue or what?

FWIW (That means For What It's Worth for you creationists out there), the Creation "Museum" is a 20 million dollar plus project of a large and well funded anti-science christian organization (Answers In Genesis), so your whining about us picking on the little kids is more than a little misplaced.

BTW (That means By The Way), do you have examples of where the criticism is wrong?

Wow, picking on a little museum in KY. Do you all suffer from little man's disease or what? You are like bullies with a magnifying glass at an ant farm.

Yes, because pointing out Christian lies and exposing the Christian liars who tell those Christian lies is exactly like torturing insects for fun.

Analogy FAIL - you moron.

By WowbaggerOM (not verified) on 17 Feb 2010 #permalink

These drivebys are cowardly. They come old dead threads, whine, and never return to clean up the shit they leave behind.

By Gyeong Hwa Pak… (not verified) on 17 Feb 2010 #permalink