David Thompson
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March 02, 2015

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John D

And remember, these students - the ones who can’t be bothered to listen and who, based on nothing, dismiss those who disagree with them as “rape apologists” - think they’re intellectuals. They think they know better, indeed know everything, at the age of 21.

That. It's like their 'education' has made the worst aspects of being young and stupid something to be proud of.

David

It’s like their ‘education’ has made the worst aspects of being young and stupid something to be proud of.

Pretty much. It does seem designed to encourage a mix of narcissism and obstinate stupidity. And so you have to wonder how these people will fare when set loose in the real world. And the above is a very mild example of the phenomenon, compared to student protests that involved physical intimidation and smashing windows, thereby showering people with broken glass. They’re so righteous, you see.

WTP

. He addresses their points, often at length. They don’t address his

A tactic they learn from many of their professors and most politicians interviewed on TV and such. This works especially well as the wider the footprint of your response, the greater fodder for their finding fault. When they offer little to nothing of substance regarding how their positions would actually work in the real world, they can posture, etc. taking up much of the discussion and thus more time with the focus on themselves. As they offer little to nothing of substance to defend, your potential target is limited to defending your position from their attacks. Basically, defense. The frustrating thing about watching the right in politics is how often they fall for this. What I admired about Thatcher and Reagan is they went on the attack more than most do today. Seems like the right is constantly playing defense. "Socialism is a wonderful idea until you start running ou of other people's money" <-- that.

Lancastrian Oik

@WTP-

Spot on- I can't find the Telegraph blog piece or I would link to it, but Dan Hannan recently challenged those who promulgate socialism to compare like-with-like when denigrating free-market capitalism. "Don't just carp endlessly about the vicissitudes of capitalism- show me why socialism would work better by pointing out a country where the people have prospered and freedom has flourished as consequences of adopting socialism". They can't, of course- so they rely on identity politics and victimhood status, and simplistic fables such as "Billy Elliott". Take this article in the Guardian, for instance. As a number of comments make clear, coal mining in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire became virtually defunct under the Wilson and Callaghan governments, whereas under Thatcher only one pit closed; yet "Thatcherism" became the great shibboleth of the Left, and the lady herself an almost demonic hate-figure, and thirty years on from the miners' strike they wish for "justice" for the harm they firmly believe she inflicted upon their communities.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

I've been thinking about the invisible knapsack of privilege a lot recently.

So, obviously, male privilege, white privilege, and people who can spell good privalege.

But in mapping the contours of our oppressive cispatriarchal society, why is nobody talking about cat privilege?

The microaggressions I navigate every day as a cat's companion (not "owner", that is a racist term bound up with problematic associations with slavery) deserve their own Tumblr page.

I realised this just the other day when my cat, Princess Fluffybottom, stood in front of a door and loudly demanded that I open it for her.

The door already has a cat flap built in, but she refuses to use it. Instead, she issues passive-aggressive commands laced with the implicit threat that if I don't comply swiftly she will claw the furniture.

"Mrrow!", she declared. So I got up to open the door for her.

She walked through the doorway, then immediately came back into the room, with a smug look on her furry-yet-mysterious face.

The entire thing was a rigmarole designed to humiliate me and remind me of my subordinate place in the feline colonialist hierarchy.

How can cats be good allies when they refuse to check their privilege?

Jamie MacMaster

Poos, useless, stupid little buggers. Put through an educational system that doesn't educate and raised by parents who tolerated it.

Ray

Are we talking cats or students?

R. Sherman

Bank of McNasty and Uncle Stupid are not responsible for legal adults who borrow money to buy sub-par educational services.

True, as far is it goes. Certainly the end blame belongs to those who borrowed the money for worthless degrees. However, the U.S. government enabled the whole thing by agreeing to guarantee those loans in the first instance. With those guaranties, banks said, "Sure, we'll loan the money and universities had no incentive to keep costs reasonable. Thus, all of the normal market mechanisms designed to inhibit bad spending and control costs were removed from the equation. The alcoholic may have the ultimate responsibility for drinking, but the person who puts up an open bar outside the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting shouldn't be let off the hook entirely, either.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

WTP - What I admired about Thatcher and Reagan is they went on the attack more than most do today. Seems like the right is constantly playing defense.

They hope that, if they keep their heads down, the left will stop calling them racists and sexists and top-hatted exploiters of the poor.

It hasn't worked.

The Right seems to assume they're debating in the Oxford Union, where elegant dialectic will be rewarded.

But they're not. They're talking to an electorate with high time preferences, a short attention span, a shaky or nonexistent grasp of history, economics, and constitutional issues, and half of whom are below average intelligence.

You can't fight leftist demagoguery with sweet reason. You have to get down and dirty with some emotive rhetoric of your own.

That's why they hated Thatcher and Reagan. That's why - though she's not in the same weight class as those titans of twentieth century statesmanship - they still hate Sarah Palin.

Remember when Mrs Palin burst onto the scene in 2008? She was plainspoken, charismatic, energetic, and she tore rhetorical strips off of Obama.

The left was terrified of her. They invested tremendous time and energy into attacking her, because she was such a threat. They'd much rather deal with a stodgy "moderate" conservative like McCain or Romney, because those guys don't put up much of a fight.

David

It’s worth noting that the behaviour above isn’t just reserved for conservatives and people self-described as on the right. Professor Johnson isn’t a Republican and actually, I think, voted for Obama. Not that this has spared him the wrath of the Clown Shoe Left™. Apparently he’s impure and therefore must be punished. And so the protestors accuse Johnson of “spewing misleading discourses,” while themselves inventing citations that don’t in fact exist and then lying repeatedly about what was actually said. In the name of “social justice.”

And don’t forget this almost Kafkaesque incident.

R. Sherman

@Steve

How can cats be good allies when they refuse to check their privilege?

They can't. Get a dog. Preferably two. Nothing beats my two Malamutes for keeping annoying religious types off the front porch. Within our "den," I am the Alpha.

It's good to be king.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Here is a direct link to the Corinthian/Everest 15 referenced in the Kevin Williamson item, and who stand (individually and collectively) not unlike Horatius his own bad self, against the evil hordes of lenders.

Go and read the epics of these heroes among whom number Tom who spent 6 years and $48,000 to get an associates degree, and Nathan perplexed by why he has to work two minimum wage jobs despite being the proud possessor of a $78,000 on-line bachelor degree. Marvel at the courage of Makenzie who, "can’t - and won’t - pay back", her loans, but to no one's surprise, can afford multiple tattoos and piercings.

Regardless of whether the Corinthian system might be on the shady side, this lot proves P.T. Barnum right.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

But in mapping the contours of our oppressive cispatriarchal society, why is nobody talking about cat privilege?

Steve:

About Cat Privilege

And in the interests of equal time:

This Is Dog Privilege

wtp

It’s worth noting that the behaviour above isn’t just reserved for conservatives and people self-described as on the right. Professor Johnson isn’t a Republican and actually, I think, voted for Obama.

True. Confess I didn't follow the link, just based on what was presented here. And whilst in full confession mode, I've encountered very similar obstinacy coming from people on the right as the subject of evolution keeps popping up. The creationist camp likes to play fast and loose with what they actually believe all the while it's tora, tora, tora on evolutionary theory, which they often (always?) present as something that stands alone. And similar when discussing the dreaded a-word in regard to how the implementation of actual full and complete banning would work in the real world. There was also a third subject that's been putting sand in my shorts lately but seems to have slipped my mind since I started typing this...But basically it all boils down to a form of argumentation that presents no solid foundation for one's own beliefs while taking the piss (did I use that right?) in regard to someone with the cajones to present an actual tangible position.

David

while taking the piss (did I use that right?)

I believe so, yes.

David

Somewhat related to my previous of 13:38… The ladies at Jezebel are, shall we say, unhindered by the truth. And of course unwilling to apologise when caught dissembling. I’m sure you’re all shocked.

Though I do like the term “conservative werewolf.”

wtp

Yeah, I like the Find another thing to be outraged about sweet, sweet Walkerites. - See more at: http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=56301#sthash.LoKNvRLd.dpuf

See, they scream their outrage and when someone calls them on it they accuse those refuting the outrage as being the outraged ones. It's win/win. A tactic common from those I describe above vis-a-vis left and right who slip and slide from any definitive position.

I've been working on a theory lately that the lack of self awareness can be very advantageous in social, political, and corporate climbing. But I repeat myself.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

R. Sherman - Dog "ownership" just reinforces the harmful paradigm of dog-identified persons being the subordinate "property" of human-identified persons.

Note the shaming language used as a habitual form of verbal aggression to control people of canine orientation. If xe pees on the rug, xe is a "bad dog".

But how can a dog be "bad" within a culture of white male human supremacy that simultaneously strips them of agency and brutally indoctrinates them to the petonormative role of "man's best friend"?

#BarkLivesMatter

Ted S. - Cat Privilege is living in the CATskill Mountains, and nobody asking where the Houndtalent Hills are.

#MoggyLobby

Sam Duncan

“They’re too busy applauding each other and looking for the next pile of boilerplate to read out from their phones. He addresses their points, often at length. They don’t address his.”

Oh, I've been there. And that was real politics, not the student variety. I remember there was one particularly obnoxious bloke who only ever seemed to look up from his Boys' Bumper Book of Talking Points to make sure I was still there.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Steve: The Catskill Mountains are actually a matter of dog privilege, pointing out who cats are evil murderers and remaining silent on dogs' doing it.

Cat privilege is taking a picture of my dog enjoying the snow.

David

And this, by Franklin, is worth a squint:

This article is my call for artists, art writers, and the like, to the extent that they feel inclined to comment upon capitalism and related economic phenomena, to either learn how these things work or do the rest of us a mercy and zip it… If you can’t explain how prices are determined then you have no business complaining about neoliberalism.

Heh.

Hal

About Cat Privilege

Of course there is a rather definitive summation of dog's relationship to cats . . .

R. Sherman

@Steve,

True enough. But the fact of the matter is, my dogs are my minions and do my bidding at my command. You'll never say that about a cat.

Plus, I allow my inner tyrant to express itself with the Malamutes, thereby preventing me from running for political office.

You can send me a ham next Christmas as a "Thank you."

David

The house takes 10% of any ham that changes hands.

jabrwok

Though I do like the term “conservative werewolf.”

Which raises the question: have you read Larry Correia's Monster Hunter books? Very fun, and one of the major secondary characters (though given that one book is dedicated entirely to him, the term "secondary" may be misleading) is a werewolf, and implicity rather conservative (though there are no overt political discussions, he doesn't like the Feds and is quite willing to break laws he sees as stupid).

Highly recommended if you enjoy urban fantasy/horror in which monsters can be killed with sufficient application of firepower.

pst314

"This proliferation of in-your-face sexual identities [among students] is all posturing, just part of the dance between students desperate to find one last means of being transgressive..."

Cheaper option: Just pay $10 for a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Sam

Are 10 sets of gender pronouns enough for today's students?

"The new gender identification page in the student portal will allow students to choose from the following pronouns: e/ey, em, eir/eirs, eirself/emse; he, him, his, himself; hu, hum, hus, humself; “just my name please;” none; per, per, per/pers, perself; she, her, hers, herself; they, them, their/theirs, themse; ze, hir, hir/hirs, hirself; and ze, zir, zir/zirs, zirself."

http://www.campusreform.org/?ID=6326

ACTOldFart

“My degrees mean NOTHING ... I don’t even know how to process the reality that is my life now.”

That says it all for mine. Its as though reasonably intelligent high-school kids go into SS&H courses at university, and are in some mysterious way de-educated.

Not only are they taught crap, usually by bald assertion unsupported by logic, evidence and analysis. They are also, it seems, stripped of any of the mental skills they may have possessed, which make for a rational, independent human being. They are taught what to think, not how to think.

And so they end up as unemployable, victim-identifying, incoherent exemplars of learned helplessness. And they (or more likely their dumb, indulgent parents) pay tens of thousands of dollars for this dubious privilege.

For most products of western society, there is a period of use between the factory and the wrecker's yard. In SS&H, it seems that the factory and the wrecker's yard have become united.

Hal

The house takes 10% of any ham that changes hands.

I believe for that you're going to have to track down the respective agents for Ji-Tu Cumbuka, Lindsay Wagner, Lee Majors, Shih Kien, and anyone else for whom such applies . . .

David Gillies

How many genderqueer activists can dance on the head of a pin? What an intellectually cramped life these silly, silly people lead. It's notable that, if their online writings are anything to go by, very few of these people seem to be able to construct cogently-argued, grammatically-correct prose, despite the bulk of them being nominally enrolled in disciplines in which the written word would, one would surmise, be of paramount importance. However they're clueless about mathematics, science and engineering into the bargain. A university is a desperately uncongenial place for those of middling intellect, which is why the expansion of tertiary education, both in the US and the UK, has been such a cruel exercise. Spending three or four years of early adulthood learning toxic, meretricious bullshit is bad enough. Winding up with a huge student loan debt before one's active career has started is a great impediment to future happiness. But to do both is just crazy. A degree in chemical engineering from Princeton might well be worth the $200,000 it cost. Raging against the Patriarchy might be relatively harmless if it didn't cost anything and the rager (or ragette) didn't expect a job at the end of it. Six figure debt and a diploma from Scripps in something puerile? Bad idea.

Franklin

Thanks for the boost. We'll see if anyone learns anything.

WTP

It's notable that, if their online writings are anything to go by, very few of these people seem to be able to construct cogently-argued, grammatically-correct prose, despite the bulk of them being nominally enrolled in disciplines in which the written word would, one would surmise, be of paramount importance.

Have you read the prose of many of their instructors? We're on the second or third generation of this problem. Nothing's real. Everything's a copy of a copy of a copy.

dicentra
How can cats be good allies when they refuse to check their privilege?

They can't. Get a dog.

Dogs don't bury their offal, they smell like wet dogs when wet, and they're blithering sycophants with no self-regard, for which reason I must needs hold them in contempt.

Oh yes, cats are exceptionally good at microaggression: walking immediately in front of a human only slightly slower, lightly touching a human's hand with the whiskers (so light as to provoke rage), and cussing out humans for not following the schedule approved by the cat.

However.

Cats don't bark; dogs don't purr.

That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

dicentra

I've encountered very similar obstinacy coming from people on the right as the subject of evolution keeps popping up.

I'm sure this is no surprise to anyone here, but Christians who insist on Biblical literalism as opposed to evolution do so not on the basis of stupidity or faulty thinking but of loyalty.

When presented with "God or Science" as mutually exclusive options, the God-fearing go with God, not because they can't think clearly about science but because their hearts belong to God and they don't see any reason to replace God with some dead Englishman.

Who is dead, whereas their God is alive and not dead.

(I'm a believer in God who sees evolution/creation as a false dichotomy — I don't think Genesis was written as a grasping attempt at science nor do I think the fossil record makes for very good scripture. I just let all the questions ride.)

In other words, those who reject evolution aren't anti-science so much as they are anti-Smirking Hipster.

YMMV

Jimmy

Are 10 sets of gender pronouns enough for today's students?

Just imagine the potential for new unintentional offences against delicate per-sexual snowflakes who take zirselves too seriously.

David

It’s as though reasonably intelligent high-school kids go into SS&H courses at university, and are in some mysterious way de-educated.

Heh. It does often seem that students of the humanities and social science are not so much educated as processed. By which I mean, taught which attitudes and vanities are to be cultivated and displayed, and which errors of logic are not to be noticed. Which may explain why things like this are so common. And this, and this, and so on and so forth.

[ Added: ]

Note that in the first two of the links above, supposed experts in supposedly scholarly fields make grandiose claims based on little, if any, evidence. There’s Dr Ben Pitcher, who pretends to see racism in furniture choices and discussions of soil acidity, and Dr Peter Matthews, who doesn’t read the reports he links to and thinks litter is unconnected with anyone actually dropping it. Both are comically unrealistic. When challenged on his bizarre errors and mocked accordingly, Dr Pitcher doubled down on his pretensions and then claimed he didn’t say what he immediately went on to repeat, seemingly oblivious to the contradiction, while denouncing his critics as “little Englanders.”

They, unlike he, are unenlightened.

Patrick Brown

Sam:

Are 10 sets of gender pronouns enough for today's students?

Not to mention it doesn't include my preferred pronoun, which is "his glorious and most benificent majesty, peace be upon him".

What? That's how I self-identify. Stop oppressing me.

WTP

When presented with "God or Science" as mutually exclusive options, the God-fearing go with God, not because they can't think clearly about science but because their hearts belong to God and they don't see any reason to replace God with some dead Englishman.

Many, though not all, create the false dichotomy of God or Science themselves. Many, though not all, will drag this ultimatum into the discussion as a means of dismissing the theory entirely. Yes, Darwin is dead. So is Moses, Paul, Newton, Kant, and all those DWM which western civilization reveres to the consternation of those on the far left. Belief in God is not an excuse to stick ones head in the sand in regard to obvious fact and reason. Of course whatever someone wants to believe is obviously their own business. One can deny the facts of evolution just as one can deny the facts of economics. But an attempt to drag the rest of society into one's delusions deserves the resulting blowback. The hypersensitivity that acceptance of evolution is somehow proof that God does not exist is a tell on one's shallow exploration of one's beliefs.

David

Speaking of that high-minded campus life

Social justice warriors… are upset that the University of Texas–Austin is refusing to punish students for wearing politically incorrect clothing to an off-campus party.

No fewer than 400 little warriors were outraged that guests were allowed to wear sombreros and ponchos at their own private costume party.

R. Sherman

Di,

Dogs don't bury their offal, they smell like wet dogs when wet, and they're blithering sycophants with no self-regard, for which reason I must needs hold them in contempt.

They also don't stand around staring into space while burglars cart off the big screen. Plus, I've trained my two to poop in my obnoxious, leftist neighbor's yard in the middle of the night.

So, I've got that going for me, as well.

Watcher In The Dark

Zir as a pronoun reminds me a little too much of Zey, as in "Zey Vill Obey!" (from some nazi movie or other) But I suppose the difference is that Zey was bad and Zir is good. Nicht Wahr?

dw

No fewer than 400 little warriors were outraged

Or pretending to be outraged.

David

Or pretending to be outraged.

Despite their protestations, I doubt the umbrage-taking students are quite as concerned with ‘respect’ and ‘sensitivity’ as they would have us believe. They don’t seem at all respectful of other people’s private space and wardrobe choices therein. It seems more likely they just like scolding people. And power disguised as virtue. Perhaps they don’t get invited to parties very often.

And no, the drama above isn’t a random one-off. Even the rumour of a fancy dress party can trigger the Pretentious Sensitivity Alarm™.

Hal

Zir as a pronoun reminds me a little too much of Zey, as in "Zey Vill Obey!"

Ah, yes, I remember Major Hochstetter . . .

You vill haff a fair trail, und den you vill be shot.

dicentra

One can deny the facts of evolution just as one can deny the facts of economics. But an attempt to drag the rest of society into one's delusions deserves the resulting blowback.

Depends on what that "dragging" entails. If it's just a matter of continued obnoxious Internet arguments, I don't consider that a problem. If it's some kind of public policy predicated on young-earth Creationism that will cause grave consequences when reality eventually asserts itself, that's another thing. However, I've yet to see the public policy whose basis is Creationism at the expense of reality.

Insisting on teaching creationism in the schools alongside (or even in lieu of) evolution is obnoxious but ultimately harmless. Kids who have a penchant for science will pursue it regardless of what they heard in Church or elementary school. Ultimately, the creationists are harming themselves when they present Creationism as a quasi-scientific alternative to evolution, because the DNA evidence clearly shows that all life forms are related. Their college kids will figure they have to choose between God and science, so they'll choose science, much to the distress of their parents.

The hypersensitivity that acceptance of evolution is somehow proof that God does not exist is a tell on one's shallow exploration of one's beliefs.

On both sides of the fight. Calling people ignoramuses for believing in Creationism or heretics for accepting evolution is a problem we really don't need to have.

David

Calling people ignoramuses for believing in Creationism or heretics for accepting evolution is a problem we really don’t need to have.

As someone with no religious subscription and an agnostic leaning, it’s hard to see how a grasp of evolution (or a scepticism of religious texts and prophets) has any decisive logical bearing on whether or not the universe has some benign first cause and ultimate source of meaning.

Isn’t it odd where these threads can go?

wtp

Insisting on teaching creationism in the schools alongside (or even in lieu of) evolution is obnoxious but ultimately harmless.

Having once been taught such, I would argue rather strongly otherwise. Yes, to put too much emphasis on just one little aspect of schooling is folly, but to pretend that there are not other ramifications in regard to trust in education authorities, especially when changing schools, is also folly. Of course one can argue that the student should be responsible to ferret out truth from fantasy, but that burden does not belong on the student. Yes, on the whole I would rather be operated on by a doctor who may be a believer in evolution rather than one who went to a school where grades were of the circle/square/triangle variety, but I'd still rather trust my life to someone who can think outside the box if necessary. And yes, there are such young-earth creationist doctors out there. I've encountered them in real life and on line.

Calling people ignoramuses for believing in Creationism or heretics for accepting evolution is a problem we really don't need to have.

Yet it's one we do have. Avoiding the issue does far more damage to more general conservative causes, and thus society as a whole, than excommunication does to churches and such. And politicians who give wishy-washy answers to matters of, as you argue, such little consequence undermine their more general message. As Stevageddon noted above, politics is not an Oxford Union debate.

Hal

Insisting on teaching creationism in the schools alongside (or even in lieu of) evolution is obnoxious but ultimately harmless.

. . . ultimately harmless until being the one doing the scheduling.

Sooo, on Monday, what will be taught is the Hindu creationist theory, on Tuesday there will be the Raelean theory, on Wednesday the Scientologists come in, Thursday is the Gnostics, on Friday the Apaches---yes, the native American tribe. The next Monday we go with Cthulhu, because faith is faith is faith, and when using the title of god, there has to be an indicator of which god, according to which subsect or cult, because just saying god is just like being in early medieval Europe and referring to the king---Ah, which king?!?!?! So, Tuesday is the Pastafarians. Wednesday is Shinto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Or, just go with the easiest and elegant, teach scientific practice and observation, based on direct observation, logic, and reason, and leave the students starting in on that . . .

Hal

And in other news . . .

'Unsubstantiated' child neglect finding for free-range parents and other headlines . . ??!?!?!!!!!!!!!

The Maryland parents investigated for letting their young children walk home by themselves from a park were found responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect in a decision that has not fully resolved their clash with authorities over questions of parenting and children’s safety.

. . . and other stories . . .

The Lurker on the Threshold

You vill haff a fair trail, und den you vill be shot.

Well, who could be fairer than that - it sounds entirely reasonable.

dicentra

it’s hard to see how a grasp of evolution … has any decisive logical bearing on whether or not the universe has some benign first cause and ultimate source of meaning.

It's not a scientific issue; it's part of the culture war. It's about which Sneeches' bellies have stars and which have none upon thars.

to pretend that there are not other ramifications in regard to trust in education authorities, especially when changing schools, is also folly.

Although I was raised in Utah I was never taught creationism in school, so I'm actually not qualified to say what it's like to be in such a class. I'll defer to your experience.

When I was a freshman at BYU, my teachers showed us human DNA next to chimpanzee DNA and pointed out the tiny differences, then they loaded us into buses and drove us down to Zion NP, with a geologist pointing out the various rock strata and telling the ages. We stopped near the national park and gathered fossils from the roadside gravel. Turns out one of the best places to count the earth's rings is southern Utah/northern Arizona, where the Grand Canyon's top layers are Zion Canyon's lowest, and Zion's top layers are at the bottom of Bryce Canyon.

Some of my earliest memories are family vacations at Dinosaur National Monument with its impressive Wall o' Bones.

That said, my mom and most other adults I know have never been comfortable with evolution, because they see it as contradicting scripture and being hostile to religion. (It actually contradicts a reading of the Genesis account that became prominent during the Protestant Reformation. Augustine and Aquinas thought the creation myth was symbolic. I'd bet my last dime the Hebrews saw it that way, too.)

Wanna hear something interesting?

In the Hebrew method of signification, specifying a number plus a unit of time does NOT indicate that a literal reading is required. Instead, the number a symbol of a spiritual concept (which is consistent with the Hebrew kabbalistic tradition of assigning numbers to letters, then playing with the sums that words create).

Forty years/days does not refer literally to 40 solar days and nights. A unit of time plus 40 indicates a timespan whose beginning and end is determined by God for a sacred purpose. The 40 days of rain for Noah, the 40 years in the wilderness after Egypt, the 40 days that Jesus fasted — the actual duration of those events is irrelevant: the writer indicates 40 [unit] to tell the reader that the timespan is spiritually significant; providing scientific measurements would be wholly outside the purpose of the text.

Likewise, the Hebrews were to be significantly different from their neighbors. The Law of Moses prescribes multiple six-on/one-off rituals, from Sabbath day observance to letting fields go fallow every seventh year. "Why do we labor six days and rest on the seventh?" they would ask. "Because when God created the world, he labored six days and rested on the seventh." Imitating a divinely established rhythm, wherein the sacred and the profane are temporally demarcated (among other things), is the Hebrew definition of TRVTH. I warrant that if you asked a Hebrew of that era exactly how old the earth was, they'd wonder what in Sam Hill you were on about. As a non-scientific culture, they'd regard such measurements as providing no useful information — nothing as valuable as the relationship between this rite and that story.

We're Greeks attempting to decode at text written by a non-scientific people. No wonder the distortions are so drastic sometimes.

Theophrastus

"Isn’t it odd where these threads can go?"

Indeed, David. Rather like conversations between friends.

David

[ Wipes bar with tea towel, listening attentively. Slides over next drink. ]

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Hal:

It's too bad that couple can't exercise their 6th Amendment right to find out who called 911 to rat them out.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

I've mentioned several times before that Finnish doesn't have gendered pronouns, using hän for he/she and se for it. Hasn't stopped the usual suspects from bitching about alleged inequality between the sexes.

And yes, I meant between.

David

[ Fixes runaway italics, muttering under breath. ]

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Sorry about that, David.

David

And put a coaster under that beer.

bilbaoboy

Back to dogs:

If you see two mammals in the park, one of them poops (a bit American for me but...) and the other picks it up and carries it in a little plastic bag, who is the boss?

dicentra

Chinese isn't gendered either, but Swedish has four genders.

No correlation between linguistic gendering and misogyny.

NONE.

Lancastrian Oik

If you see two mammals in the park, one of them poops (a bit American for me but...) and the other picks it up and carries it in a little plastic bag, who is the boss?

Which makes "I'm taking the dog for a walk the most widely-used euphemism in human history.

TomJ

@Lanc Oik: cf http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Bottle_of_Dog

SDN

"I'd bet my last dime the Hebrews saw it that way, too."

I'd bet my last dime that God saw/sees it that way, because He is at least smart enough to foresee the difficulty of explaining the concept of millions of years to a bunch of farmers who didn't understand 0, let alone how they would explain it to their neighbors....

wtp

because He is at least smart enough to foresee the difficulty of explaining the concept of millions of years to a bunch of farmers who didn't understand 0, let alone how they would explain it to their neighbors....

Hmmm...yet no updates to the users' manual for several millennia in spite of significant progress in the technological sophistication of the user community.

Hal

Isn’t it odd where these threads can go?

I and associates have been informed that tomorrow we are to hear of the glories of a local organization that stages farmers' markets or something of the sort. All week, ever since the first announcement, I've had that Youtube clip looping through my attention.

Watcher In The Dark

"yet no updates to the users' manual for several millennia"

I believe a page of the original user manual was lost a long time ago. Rumour has it one of the instructions was: "on no account remove the appendix."

David

I’ve had that Youtube clip looping through my attention.

It is one of their better sketches.

Captain Nemo

And now bird names are racist. Will it never end?

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/03/racists-swedish-bird-names-sweden-birders

wtp

heh...bored and reading through this again, I notice I totally botched my point above @ March 3 21:09, which should read:

Yes, on the whole I would rather be operated on by a doctor who may not be a believer in evolution rather than one who went to a school where grades were of the circle/square/triangle variety, but I'd still rather trust my life to someone who can think outside the box if necessary.

I really should stick to if/then/else writing.

dicentra

yet no updates to the users' manual for several millennia

That's assuming that God communicates to Man for the express purpose of teaching science rather than The Meaning Of Life or How To Be Ethical.

Knowing the age of the earth or how we got all these species isn't necessary for salvation or for moral behavior, so God doesn't reveal it. We can explore the physical world our own damn selves, if we've a mind to; if we don't, it's no harm no foul.

wtp

Which is why, when a politician is asked "Do you believe in evolution" he should give as straight an answer as if he was asked "Do you believe the earth is round". No need to hummina-hummina-hummina out of fear of the obstinacy of one's (supposed) allies. Leadership. It's what the job is all about.

David

And now bird names are racist.

Mealtimes are also racist. What, you didn’t know?

Bigland

The intention behind asking a politician, "Do you believe in evolution?" is the same as asking Carrie Prejean about same-sex marriage - it's to expose people as not belonging to the tribe.

It's rather sad (yet also interesting) to me to see science being used the same way politics and religion are used ("Are you now or were you ever a member of the Communist Party?", "Do you renounce Satan and all his works?").

Were I the subject of such witch-findery, I think I'd give the Cyril Joad response, "It all depends what you mean by..."

WTP

"Are you now or were you ever a member of the Communist Party?"

Seems like a mighty relevant question to be asking a candidate for president of the United States.

Was the intent of the journalist asking the question BS? Possibly. As for "it all depends on what you mean by...", that's simply a cop-out, weak, and a tell on one's lack of leadership skills. Leftists, use it all the time. Was once revisiting my father's alma matre and the Trotsky lookalike student who was running the info booth answered damn near every question beginning with "depends on what you mean by..." Including simple definitive questions like student body size, etc. it was quite annoying. Especially when I suspected he hadnt really bothered to inform himself on some of the simple questions one would expect someone at an info booth to know.

Bigland

As for "it all depends on what you mean by...", that's simply a cop-out, weak, and a tell on one's lack of leadership skills.
It can be, especially if it's used for "simple definitive questions". But, used properly, it can lead to better definition of terms, a more meaningful discussion and, in some cases, the exposure of the questioner as having a simplistic grasp of a complex subject.

wtp

It can be, especially if it's used for "simple definitive questions". But, used properly, it can lead to better definition of terms, a more meaningful discussion and, in some cases, the exposure of the questioner as having a simplistic grasp of a complex subject.

For a more complex subject, one which the inquisitor is possibly less informed than their supposed target, perhaps. I don't think that applies to the specific situation we are discussing. So the question asked was "Are you comfortable with the idea of evolution? Do you believe in it?". The response would be what? "Hmm...what do you mean by comfortable? What is "idea"? "Evolution" as in man evolved from monkeys?" All the words in the question are well understood by your average high school graduate (well, one who actually stayed awake and paid attention) and even your typical journalist. The answer should not require political calculus. Losing a science discussion with a journalist is like losing ... hell, it's just losing.

Bigland

The response would be what?

And that's the problem with the question - there is only one acceptable response: "Of course I'm comfortable with evolution and believe in it wholeheartedly. What do you think I am, some kind of backwards, anti-science idiot?" Whether either person in the conversation understands evolution is irrelevant.

Even if the person being asked has niggling doubts, as long as they repeat the party line, they get a pass. Otherwise, mocking and eye-rolling commence, often from people who've spent no time thinking about the issue for themselves.

I'm not sure if your, "'Evolution' as in man evolved from monkeys?" was deliberate, though I'm sure there are plenty of people out there, journalists or otherwise, with that erroneous view of Darwin's theory - which is what happens when people pretend to talk about science and don't bother with the details.

So I find it hard to see this as "losing a science discussion with a journalist" - if you're not permitted to discuss the science, it's not a scientific discussion. It's checking someone is part of the tribe, or is too scared to stand up to it.

despisereoflibs

College campuses seem like places where extremely fragile ideas are protected from reality.

Where are college kids getting this foolish and poisonous notion that they have opinions relevant to anyone?

Terenc Blakely

I've been thinking for a while that unless you get a degree in hard science or engineering you are throwing your (or other people's) money down a rat hole. Nowadays most people leave college more ignorant than when they entered.

Bernal

"If you see two mammals in the park, one of them poops (a bit American for me but...) and the other picks it up and carries it in a little plastic bag, who is the boss?"

But the human is not picking it up for the dog, wir (I'm trying out some new pronouns) picks it up for wirself, and for the rest of the pack.

It has to have been easier to be Darwin back in the day when "life" was just bags of protoplasm. Throw some stuff in a jar, hit it with electricity et voila - LIFE!

I wonder what Darwin would think of the over-elaborated complexity of the actual mechanisms of life.

I have never met a young earth creationist who cares much what I think about biology when I confess that Jesus is God, that he died and rose from the dead to save me and the rest of ya'll.

Observer

These grievance studies majors are also a built-in constituency for the growth of government - since government is the only entity that will employ them (except for a small elite who can get academic jobs).

I once questioned the worth of a women's studies degree on a different blog, and was angrily informed by a women's studies degree that she had a very nice government job, thankyouverymuch.

David

In other campus psychodrama news...

wtp

@Bigland
What difference does it really make if the journalist himself understands his question if it's a legitimate question? At one time I dismissed such questions as illegitmate as I was under what I now understand was the mistaken impression that a belief in young earth (or something very close to it) creationism was an anomaly on the right. While I don't think it's entirely mainstream there, I've come to understand that it is a fairly wide held position. This makes the question much more legitimate and thus quisiling answers such as Gov. Walker gave much more problematic and distracting. There was an opportunity there to put such a question to bed with a solid answer and move on to more important items, but he flinched. Or at least I presume he flinched. Or perhaps he does not think evolution is a significant component of the scientific understanding of life. Either way, his positions on much more important subjects are lost. Time is lost. The time one has to engage with potential voters is always limited, especially given the warped lens in which the mainstream media presents American conservatives. Opportunity lost and nothing gained.

Tribe thing, you've brought it up twice now. We are all part of many tribes. I could draw innumerable venn diagrams but I presume such is not necessary. One major thing that creeps me out about lefties is the pretension of being above it all, God-like. One tribe is the tribe of rational thought. Or at least the tribe of asperation to rational thought. It is a legitimate concern to ask if the potential leader of the tribe of the USA is the kind of person who believes what he thinks or who thinks what he was taught. If you read my comment at March 2, 14:42, the heat one encounters when merely discussing certain subjects in the domain of many dialog environments on the right is very much geared to casting the heritic from the right tribe.

ANd yes, my "man evolved from monkeys" was not meant to be scientifically literal. Yet such would still be much closer to science than what I was taught in school re 4004 BC, etc.

dw

News critical of Obama canned as "divisive".

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/355402.php

David

News critical of Obama canned as “divisive”.

In the interests of unanimity our views must be realigned with those of our betters.

Hal

Praise for TV host who slapped down sexist UK Islamist and other assorted headlines . . .

Bigland

@wtp
What difference does it really make if the journalist himself understands his question if it's a legitimate question?

Journalists don't have to understand the question they're asking? How are they going to understand the answer? That makes it sound all the more like some kind of initiation rite or friend/foe check, where one person says one programmed remark and listens for the correct response. "Flash"..."Thunder"

If I've understood you correctly, you're saying the question is legitimate because belief in "creationism...is a fairly wide held position [on the right]." Ergo, Walker being on the right should declare he has no such beliefs, or at least demonstrate he is prepared to lie about having such beliefs. You seem to be blaming him for failing the test: "his positions on much more important subjects are lost." But, if there are other, more important subjects, why on earth is anyone discussing evolution? I'd rather blame the zealots who are so fixated on evolution that declaring your belief in it is a pre-requisite to discussing anything else. Your description of Walker's response as "quisling" does little to convince me that this is anything but a "you're either one of us or one of them" test.

Neither does Justin Webb's response to Walker's "punt", when he responds with verbal eye-rolling: "No, really?! But any British politician, right- or left wing, would laugh and say, 'yes of course evolution is true'." How is Webb so confident all British politicians would respond in the manner he predicts? Is he suggesting British politicians are more intelligent than American (or, at least, Republican) politicians? Are they better educated? Or do they value their careers more than expressing what they truly think?

Jonathan Cohn at the Huffington Post has a stab at retroactively explaining why you can bring up evolution in a discussion about trade. Okay, it's nothing to do with trade, and all about Walker running for president, as you suggested yourself. Specifically, Cohn says it's trying to get a handle on how Walker might be swayed by "white evangelical voters" (nothing tribal about that...) on issues such as teaching alternatives to evolution in schools, same-sex marriage and abortion. Those issues could be discussed far more informatively if journalists weren't busy asking questions they didn't understand. What's wrong with asking, "How do you feel about teaching evolution and its alternatives in school?"

(I note with interest that Cohn puts doubt about evolution on a par with doubt about man-made global warming. That's not going to end well.)

It is a legitimate concern to ask if the potential leader of the tribe of the USA is the kind of person who believes what he thinks or who thinks what he was taught.

Agreed.

I'm confident that, in British schools, evolution is taught in Science lessons and "discussions of divine intervention" (as Cohn puts it) are left to Religious Education/Studies lessons (where evolution can also expect to make a cameo). (If ever British Science lessons get invaded by non-evolutionary theories, I don't expect it to be due to "white evangelicals".)

With that in mind, I would respect a potential leader for expressing what he believed (even if it was wrong), as long as he accepted the limitations of his knowledge. And I would respect him far more than the British politicians of which Webb speaks who, in many if not most cases, would be expressing what they have been taught rather than what they think.

wtp

@Bigland
I don't understand why it is hard to grasp that one does not need to understand the answer to a question in order to ask one. Generally, such is how it is done. A journalist may need to understand the answer to give a follow up but the journalist is not the one for whom the question is asked. The journalist is not required to make a judgement. Ideally the question is being asked on behalf of a group of people who wish to know. I guarantee you there are many people who find a candidate's answer to this question very relevant. Otherwise there wouldn't be so much pushback one way or the other. It's not a "have you stopped beating your wife yet" question.
Ergo, Walker being on the right should declare he has no such beliefs, or at least demonstrate he is prepared to lie about having such beliefs.No, he should simply answer the question. It's absurdly simple. So absurd, I'm growing very tired of discussing it, which is rather telling for those who know me. But hey, that's just me.

To put it another way, some may have zero concern about whether or not a politician is banging one of his (or her) interns. To others, it's a very important reflection on a person's character.

You seem to be blaming him for failing the test: "his positions on much more important subjects are lost." No, I blame him for passing up an opportunity to put such a question behind him and move on. AGAIN, time is the only asset you can never get back. Time in the form of voter's attention, especially time you don't have to pay for, is extremely valuable. I blame him for not understanding this, as it will certainly come up again. And that will be even more wasted time.

As for "I'm confident that, in British schools, evolution is taught in Science lessons and "discussions of divine intervention" (as Cohn puts it) are left to Religious Education/Studies lessons", well bully for the UK. Such is not, as I point out above I have come to understand against my prior judgement/observations, the case in notable sections of the US.

And again, you bring up the tribal thing in Your description of Walker's response as "quisling" does little to convince me that this is anything but a "you're either one of us or one of them" test. It seems to me that given the volume of pushback I and others have gotten about this and similar questions (again, see my post at March 2, 14:42) is that criticism of certain conservatives is itself a "you're either one of us or one of them" test. And as for "does little to convince me..." I'm beginning to suspect there is little I could do to convince you, so let's just leave things at that.

Bigland

@wtp
The journalist asking questions for others and not judging the answers is a given (even if the latter point is often ignored in the age of blurring between opinion and news), but you admit he needs to understand the answer (so surely also the question?!) if there is to be a follow-up. It might not be quite in the same vein as, "have you stopped beating your wife?" but it's a yes-no question that carries a lot of assumption. And that assumption won't get unpacked if there's no follow-up because the journalist is too busy eye-rolling (in a non-judgemental way, of course).

[Walker] should simply answer the question.
Yes, he should. But should he have said, "Yes" if that was a lie? And if he had said, "No", what would have been the reaction?

I wasn't boasting about UK schools, but acknowledging the difference from US schools, and that therefore I understand why the question of evolution would be brought up. But there was nothing in Justin Webb's question or response to suggest he was interested in discussing US science lessons. Or perhaps there was, and it just didn't feature in the video snippet or articles discussing the interview that I read, in which case ignore everything I've written. But Webb's response makes me think there was no such context, and it was just Webb wanting to do a Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.

I don't care too much about American conservatives (nor about British Conservatives!), and know nothing about Walker. I'm only curious in the use of certain questions as gateways to public domains. I don't think it's a good thing if people feel they have to lie in order to be heard.

Isa

"They think they know better, indeed know everything, at the age of 21. "

maybe it's just my phenomenal parents, but i got over that feeling by the time i was 15.

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