Posts Tagged ‘PZ Myers’
My twitter timeline shows a divide on whether Rebecca Watson (Skepchick) or Ronald Lindsay (President and CEO Center for Inquiry) are in the right regarding his speech. I was not there, but this may give you background to what people are saying. Of course the published responses may lead to a different view if we had been there.
In Washington DC The Center For Inquiry (CFI) has just hosted Women In Secularism 2 which finishes today. My twitter feed suggests great speakers, and panels on topics worth discussing for the $250 ticket cost of attendance. However, the opening remarks by CFI Ronald Lindsey left a bitter after taste at the event that kept some delegates chatting in PZ Myers room till the early hours. PZ explains:
the head of CFI, Ron Lindsay, chose to use the opening talk of the conference to basically chastise the attendees and instruct them in how to behave, and I’ve had more than one person tell me that they were irate that their introduction to an event that they paid a considerable sum of money was to be greeted by a talk that pandered to people who hated the event, and were volubly complaining on the internet throughout the day about it. The impression they had was that the organization was unhappy to be sponsoring this conference.
Rebecca Watson wrote her thoughts about the “shut up and listen” attitude where sometimes it is important to listen to the experience and expertise someone can give you than sound off your own gut feeling. You can read them here – it is a measured critique that does not go into ad hominem about Lindsey’s opening remark talk.
By contrast Ronald Lindsay response does not deal with those issues in feminism, like how transsexuals are treated in the movement, which Watson makes clear together with how feminist activists have been victimised into silence. He instead writes not on those substantive issues but his feelings:
But in her defense, perhaps Watson was too busy tweeting about how “strange” it was to have a “white man” open the conference to pay attention to what I was actually saying. (I’m just glad Watson didn’t notify security: “white man loose on stage, white man loose on stage!”)
The picture he paints of Rebecca is as a North Korean propagandist against white males talking about feminism, perhaps using twitter to get the feminist police onto him. Her article deserved not just more tact, but a recognition of the problems the feminist movement faces. Lindsay links to it in his article but makes no reference in his rebuke of her.
This is the extract from Lindsay’s talk on privilege and shut up and listen:
This brings me to the concept of privilege, a concept much in use these days. Let me emphasize at the outset that I think it’s a concept that has some validity and utility; it’s also a concept that can be misused, misused as a way to try to silence critics. In what way does it have validity? I think there is sufficient evidence to indicate that there are socially embedded advantages that men have over women, in a very general sense. These advantages manifest in various ways, such as the persistent pay gap between men and women. Also, I’m not a believer in a priori arguments, but I will say that given the thousands of years that women were subordinated to men, it would be absolutely amazing if in the space of several decades all the social advantages that men had were promptly and completely eradicated. Legislation can be very effective for securing rights, but changing deeply engrained patterns of behavior can take some time.
That said, I am concerned the concept of privilege may be misapplied in some instances. First, some people think it has dispositive explanatory power in all situations, so, if for example, in a particular situation there are fewer women than men in a given managerial position, and intentional discrimination is ruled out, well, then privilege must be at work. But that’s not true; there may be other explanations. The concept of privilege can do some explanatory work at a general level, but in particular, individualized situations, other factors may be more significant. To bring this point home let’s consider an example of another broad generalization which is unquestionably true, namely that people with college degrees earn more over their lifetime than those who have only high school diplomas. As I said, as a general matter, this is unquestionably true as statistics have shown this to be the case. Nonetheless in any particular case, when comparing two individuals, one with a high school degree and one with a college degree, the generalization may not hold.
But it’s the second misapplication of the concept of privilege that troubles me most. I’m talking about the situation where the concept of privilege is used to try to silence others, as a justification for saying, “shut up and listen.” Shut up, because you’re a man and you cannot possibly know what it’s like to experience x, y, and z, and anything you say is bound to be mistaken in some way, but, of course, you’re too blinded by your privilege even to realize that.
This approach doesn’t work. It certainly doesn’t work for me. It’s the approach that the dogmatist who wants to silence critics has always taken because it beats having to engage someone in a reasoned argument. It’s the approach that’s been taken by many religions. It’s the approach taken by ideologies such as Marxism. You pull your dogma off the shelf, take out the relevant category or classification, fit it snugly over the person you want to categorize, dismiss, and silence and … poof, you’re done. End of discussion. You’re a heretic spreading the lies of Satan, and anything you say is wrong. You’re a member of the bourgeoisie, defending your ownership of the means of production, and everything you say is just a lie to justify your power. You’re a man; you have nothing to contribute to a discussion of how to achieve equality for women.
Now don’t get me wrong. I think the concept of privilege is useful; in fact it is too useful to have it ossified and turned into a dogma.
By the way, with respect to the “Shut up and listen” meme, I hope it’s clear that it’s the “shut up” part that troubles me, not the “listen” part. Listening is good. People do have different life experiences, and many women have had experiences and perspectives from which men can and should learn. But having had certain experiences does not automatically turn one into an authority to whom others must defer. Listen, listen carefully, but where appropriate, question and engage.
By my reckoning assuming 15 words a line the above is over 600 odd words on the subject of privilege and how it relates to debate within feminism. Rebecca means both those things and not just those 200 words Ronald thinks. To quote Rebecca:
To summarize, Lindsay spends a good deal of time arguing against the idea that feminism as a movement has no significant internal disagreements, an absurd idea I have never actually heard expressed by any feminists, but I suppose Lindsay and I travel in different circles. Lindsay doesn’t mention who exactly has argued this point so I can’t check to see why on Earth they’d think something so obviously contradictory to reality. It seems impossible to me that a person could be involved in modern day feminism in any way without noticing the lively and occasionally contentious debates among feminists about topics like intersectionality, particularly with regards to the fringe radical feminists who hold openly transphobic beliefs.
How should a CEO have responded? An article saying he wants to get to know the problems feminists have experienced with transgender issues and how secular organisations can stop the victimisation of women in the public sphere when debating. Then actually you say this but I meant that.
But no, he responded with scorn and anger publicly.
He is going to need a thicker skin in the job, and I am unimpressed with how he has handled himself in print given the serious points Watson raised. Rather than offer a private talk he wrote an enflaming response and now is trying to douse the flames he caused in the first place because of a critique.
UPDATE: 22/5/2013 I fully support the Secular Woman statement
Related Blog: The Critical Thinker Gives No One A Free Ride
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog
Having seen Sam Harris misrepresented at an atheist conference, though fortunately in a Q and A so he could quickly correct and explain that no he did not believe in a soul nor that we should not be atheists (just do not use in public policy debate) it was about time he responded to current critics. The articles in question should you want more background are:
All quotes from articles come from above sources.
My contention is Sam does well in parts, but does shoot himself in the foot on some key issues as PZ Myers mentioned. It’s an impressive looking tackle in flight till you realise the critics are still going to score. Largely because of how Harris wrote his thoughts on an unsuspecting public his clarifications really do not recover the ground well enough.
Say what you think
In debates with people on twitter I have been called a colonialist by some Muslims for suggesting that a secular state allows people to have their faith without anyone imposing religion or atheism by law on others. I have been told that being critical of an Islamic belief is islamophobia. This is nonsense. Discrimination and hatred based on someone’s faith, and treating people as a group not an individual would be. Criticising a belief or practise is not the same as oppressing a people. Sam observes:
The truth is, we have already lost our First Amendment rights with respect to Islam—and because they brand any observation of this fact a symptom of Islamophobia, Muslim apologists like Greenwald are largely to blame.
Remember we face this sort of view as tweeted by the Muslim Brotherhood:
Suggesting faith is a private belief not enforceable by the state on it’s citizens is enough to have insults thrown at you – at all times in public you must adhere to the faith. As bloggers in Bangladesh are sadly finding out.
Think how you say it
It does however become harder when you say things as Sam does on torture, far right on immigration making more sense, killing people for a belief. When you need paragraphs to put in context, even then Harris’ observations still stick out as uncomfortable reading. Take how he dismisses qualms about water boarding:
Again, which is worse: water-boarding a terrorist or killing/maiming him? Which is worse, water-boarding an innocent person or killing/maiming him? There are journalists who have volunteered to be water-boarded. Where are the journalists who have volunteered to have a 5000-pound bomb dropped on their homes with their families inside?
I suppose it is too much to suggest that those journalists water boarded once like Christopher Hitchens suggest a very different view point on using such torture for example in a ticking time bomb situation (link to Hitchens’ Vanity Fair piece on). Speaking of Hitchens his remark on Sam saying the far right only ones making sense on immigration “not while I’m alive they’re not” sums up a horrible line by Harris. With Hitchens’ passing others are making the positive case for immigration.
The military command hopefully aim to reduce civilian casualties – torturing a person is about applying the level of torture necessary to get information on purpose. That suffering is potentially limitless, deliberately intended and doubtful whether reliable or not once extracted.
Killed for a reason
Did that point a few paragraphs back where I mention Harris saying people can be killed for their belief sink in? It is a bold claim for one so quick to say their own first amendment rights are restricted by the behaviour of others. To quote Sam:
The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably. Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live.
His following response to critics misses that we would still target a terrorist leader for reasons beyond their belief. They intend to organise further terrorist attacks unless hindered, arrested or killed. We would not ask what is their theological motivation when considering such action against them:
This paragraph appears after a long discussion of the role that belief plays in governing human behavior, and it should be read in that context. Some critics have interpreted the second sentence of this passage to mean that I advocate simply killing religious people for their beliefs. Granted, I made the job of misinterpreting me easier than it might have been, but such a reading remains a frank distortion of my views. To someone reading the passage in context, it should be clear that I am discussing the link between belief and behavior. The fact that belief determines behavior is what makes certain beliefs so dangerous.
When one asks why it would be ethical to drop a bomb on Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of al Qaeda, the answer cannot be, “Because he killed so many people in the past.” To my knowledge, the man hasn’t killed anyone personally. However, he is likely to get a lot of innocent people killed because of what he and his followers believe about jihad, martyrdom, the ascendancy of Islam, etc. A willingness to take preventative action against a dangerous enemy is compatible with being against the death penalty (which I am). Whenever we can capture and imprison jihadists, we should. But in many cases this is either impossible or too risky. Would it have been better if we had captured Osama bin Laden? In my view, yes. Do I think the members of Seal Team Six should have assumed any added risk to bring him back him alive? Absolutely not.
He is dangerous because he is a terrorist, and the leading terrorist at that. Otherwise, what Harris is implying is reading and believing the Koran could make you a terrorist – save for cherry picking, being less devout and secular. So belief is enough for suspicion and the use of state power against you (McCarthy suggested that on the left and Sam also uses such thinking for profiling too). In reality, religion is a powerful idea for hegemony and legitimising unthinkable suffering in the name of the old ideas of territorial conquest. Notice Al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq calling for them to become one nation as part of a growing one empire – an Islamist one naturally allied and run by Al Qaeda.
Greenwald is right to be concerned that Harris believes Arab international relations is based mainly on devout Muslim literal understanding of the Koran and Hadith. Glenn mentions a particular quote of Sam’s:
“The outrage that Muslims feel over US and British foreign policy is primarily the product of theological concerns. Devout Muslims consider it a sacrilege for infidels to depose a Muslim tyrant and occupy Muslim lands — no matter how well intentioned the infidels or malevolent the tyrant. Because of what they believe about God and the afterlife and the divine provenance of the Koran, devout Muslims tend to reflexively side with other Muslims, no matter how sociopathic their behavior.”
Polls suggest what we may expect; the majority of people are political animals and the Arab world is no exception, with a long history of the world being involved in it’s affairs. So before we say its down mainly to an ancient manuscript it may be useful to take account of history, sociology, economics, culture, and politics not just religion.
Sam while not saying whether Iraq was a good or bad thing mentions my concern that it was a distraction from other things (dealing with Afghanistan, nuclear non proliferation eg North Korea, Iran).
End of Suffering
Perhaps the real issue is Harris trying to rationalise what are on the face of it horrendous propositions: legitimate use of torture, being targeted for elimination based on your belief let alone extra security measures at an airport, the far right being more spot on about immigrants than everyone else.
PZ Myers makes a good point that new atheism should be empathising traditional humanist principles – key ones being an abhorrence for war and the suffering of others:
No excuse can justify nuking or torturing my people, so no excuse can justify nuking or torturing anyone else…especially considering that the United States has more blood on its hands than any other nation.
This is not the time to invent elaborate philosophical justifications for abhorrent actions — it is time to unhesitatingly reject them, to express our grief and shame and horror at these options. It is not enough to bloodlessly pretend it’s a philospher’s penchant. We need to consider the human cost, and weight that most heavily.
I wish Sam well as he studies further the wisdom of Buddhist philosophy on this point. It sounds like he has further to go for enlightenment.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog
The freedom to speak does imply the ability to listen. By that logic you will hear things that may offend you. That you may benefit from hearing such things is a right no one should deprive you of.
Brought up in the Jehovah’s Witnesses from nine to fourteen, there was no Internet let alone mobile phones around. Had they been, the opportunity to engage by witnessing (preaching) to Darwinists would have been tempting. I am certain that would have been considered trolling, rather than a genuine attempt to save people.
That is one reason evidence and explaining science is not enough. Al Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth” uses the quote:
It is difficult to get someone to understand something when their salary depends upon them not understanding it.
Replace the word salary with salvation, you might appreciate what is at stake for someone. Equally, why they seem so intent trying to talk you out of it.
Civility can be difficult at these times. On PZ Myers’ (pictured above, the one on the left) blog “Pharyngula” a clear line was drawn and he made a ruling where a detractor was being harassed by other commentators:
StevOr has received threats to disclose his identity if he doesn’t leave Pharyngula permanently. You may not like him, you may oppose what he says, but anyone who pulls that kind of stunt will find themselves banned.
SteveOr having thanked PZ Myers made this reply:
For what its worth I’ll certainly admit that in the past I have said some things I now no longer believe and aren’t proud of and suspect this is probably true of just about everybody.
I’m the first person to admit that I’m fallible, sometimes mistaken and have said a few silly things and been carried away when drunk and overtired and will try to do better in future.
Humanism, as mentioned in the previous blog, requires an open exchange of views. Without we cannot develop our thoughts and ideas. Threats and a lack of civility go against that.
The House of Lords will hopefully today remove the word “insult” from section 5 of the Public Order Act.
Related Blogs: Reform Section 5 now
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog
Osama bin Laden disproves Darwin!
Category: Creationism • Genetics
Posted on: May 4, 2011 7:32 AM, by PZ Myers
h, yeah…didn’t you know it was a crack team of Darwinist commandos who took out bin Laden, all to protect our secrets? David Klinghoffer doesn’t go quite that far, but he does demonstrate just how insane the gang at the Discovery Institute have gotten. After all, he does claim that Obama delayed the raid on Osama in order to promote creationism.
“President Obama is said to have known the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden since September but chose to wait until May to authorize action against him. Why the delay? Could it perhaps have been to provide a super-timely news hook for the rollout of Jonathan Wells’ new book, The Myth of Junk DNA? If so, an additional note of congratulation is owed to Mr. Obama.
How do you think OBL’s body was identified? By a comparison with his sister’s DNA, evidently those non-coding regions singled out by Darwin defenders, among the pantheon of other mythological evolutionary icons, as functionless “junk.” Indeed, the myth has featured in news coverage of Osama’s death. Reports the website of business magazine Fast Company:
Because your parents give you some of their DNA, they also give your siblings some of the same genetic code — which is why sibling DNA tests work. They sometimes concentrate on areas of the genome called “junk DNA” which serves no biological function but still gets passed along to offspring. By testing for repeat strands of DNA code in these areas, it’s possible to work out if two individuals are related as siblings.”
Uh, what? Wells is quite possibly the worst and most dishonest “scholars” employed by the Discovery Institute; I’ve been thinking of picking up a copy of his book simply because it will be hilariously bad. He won’t have shown the utility of junk DNA, but I’m pretty sure he will have do a silly dance while trying to justify his claims…rather like Klinghoffer here.
The reason junk DNA is useful for identification purposes is that it varies so much — it is subject to random change at a higher rate than coding DNA, because it is not subject to functional constraints. It’s been called a genetic fingerprint, and that’s a useful comparison. Think about your fingerprints: you can make a general argument that a pattern of ridges creates a texture useful for gripping, but it’s not important that there be a particular whorl or loop at a specific place. Junk DNA also lacks any specific function, but the analogy only breaks down because it also doesn’t seem to have much of a general function, given that some species like Fugu have lost significant quantities of it. The one purpose I find plausible is that, since cell growth is regulated by the ratio of cytoplasm to nuclear volume, adding junk can lead to an overall increase in cell size.
Somehow, the creationist incomprehension of the basic science is used to argue that evolution didn’t happen.
If Darwin is right, there ought to be huge swaths of ancestral garbage cluttering the genome, serving no purpose other than to identify otherwise unidentified forensic remains. So if those huge swaths turn out after all to be vitally important to the functioning organism, what does that say about Darwin’s theory? Ah, that’s exactly the question addressed in Jonathan Wells’ book.
Hang on. Darwin had no molecular biology and no genetics, knew nothing about DNA, and didn’t even know that chromosomes carried genetic information … he postulated the existence of migratory particles called gemmules that were the units of heredity (he was completely wrong, by the way). His claim to fame is discovering and documenting a mechanism that shapes adaptive heritability, and if anything, he thought selection ought to hone the heritable factors, whatever they were, to a high degree of optimality.
And now the creationists want to argue that junk DNA is a Darwinian prediction? They’ve totally lost the plot.
Explain this to me. Darwin, in their confused minds, claims that there ought to be lots of junk having no purpose other than to identify dead bodies. Junk DNA is used to identify a specific dead body, bin Laden’s. Therefore, Darwin is wrong. Even if I grant them their premise (which I won’t, because it is stupid), this doesn’t work.
Let’s see how many Darwin lobbyists have the guts and honesty to acknowledge that another icon has fallen. They have not, on the whole, left themselves a lot of room for deniability on this.
Gibbering lunatics like Klinghoffer and Wells are actually rather easy to deny.
To make life easier all the blogs on Michael Reiss have been put together in a category to see them all click
here (where this one will be on top). There you will find all the letters written by Richard Dawkins and Sir Richard Roberts, and my comments on both the articles that Reiss wrote that started his downfall and analysis of his resignation.
Mind you in hindsight we should have seen Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society and Reiss being in this situation over creationism. Not just because an ordained clergyman given the role of protecting science education in the classroom would be called into doubt, but the anagram of Professor Michael Reiss:
‘ism clash poor Rees fires
PZ Myers made this comment on Reiss:
Dawkins and I are both often slandered as being relatively uninterested in promoting good science education, preferring to fight the culture war against religion (a claim that ignores the fact that we may feel strongly that the only way to achieve a lasting investment in understanding science is by reducing the pernicious influence of religion) — we are told that we think atheism more important than science. Let us ask, though, if these brave paladins of Jesus-compatible science would be willing to set aside their religion to better endorse science…and I think we all know what the answer would be.
That feeling made Reiss’ position untenable because “unfortunately his words got all tangled in the appearance of an unwarranted accommodation to creationism.”
Once again perception of reality rather than the actual empirical observation triumphs in the murky world of society politics – rational minds are not immune to gossip or personality clashes even if they are Nobel Laureates. While the next candidate may well have no conflict between advocating science and holy orders, the issue over which Reiss was brought down was one close to my heart. That in a science classroom science teachers have the right to teach the science that challenges a students declaration of religious belief about the natural world.
Hopefully that challenge will still be taken up, as the Royal Society advocates, and in case you are new to the blog I go into more detail in my blog here on Reiss resigns. Though that can be found as the third blog in the category section of Michael Reiss.
Ever wondered how to sum up evolution as being a valid scientific theory? PZ Myers suggests:
Yes, I believe evolution is true.
I consider it the best explanation of the origin and diversity of life on earth,
and it is backed by an immense body of evidence. Strictly speaking,
it is not a matter of belief, but a recognition of the knowledge
of qualified experts and a familiarity with the research
that has been done in the field; I would also
add that science does not deal in absolute
truth, but strives for approximations,
and is always willing to discard old
ideas if better explanations
with better evidence
Do you have evidence for an alternative theory?
I think that I shall never see
A theory dumber than ID:
It says that God can make a tree,
A beaver or a honeybee-
That God can simply get a whim
To make the small E. coli swim.
He waves His hand through Heaven’s air
And lo! Flagella everywhere!
But sometimes even God falls down
And makes a poor, pathetic clown:
Yes, poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make Behe.
In many ways it seems that trying to have a reasoned and rational discussion, or at least putting things in perspective, can really take the biscuit. Or in this case the taking of a communion wafer, that was held but not swallowed, from a service has been considered a “hate crime” and resulted in the University Central Florida student receiving death threats that he returned the said wafer from captivity – but there are calls for his expulsion.
Even the University is saying Webster Cook the for mentioned student is not in trouble -but this depends on formal complaints by Cook and Catholic students not amounting to anything. In his own words he says it was not a prank but:
“When I received the Eucharist, my intention was to bring it back to my seat to show [a visiting non catholic friend],” Cook said. “I took about three steps from the woman distributing the Eucharist and someone grabbed the inside of my elbow and blocked the path in front of me. At that point I put it in my mouth so they’d leave me alone and I went back to my seat and I removed it from my mouth.” [Full story here]
Now if he had committed a black mass, committed fornication on the alter, jerked off in the font [EDIT: you get the idea but no ideas about me please] then a sanction would seem more than merited. Instead it seems that he has already got more than his just desserts, in a rather unsavoury fashion. Apparently it is a mortal sin not to consume Christ’s flesh. Queen Elizabeth, in a play on words, during the reign of Queen Mary dodged the question of whether it really turned into Christ’s body by saying:
Christ was the word that spake it.
He took the bread and break it;
And what his words did make it
That I believe and take it.
The story would perhaps be a non starter accept that, as you would expect, PZ Myers has blogged about the
incident here. Which has led to Bill Donohue of the Catholic League calling for action to be taken against PZ by the University of Minnesota that employs him as an associate professor and even the State legislator here. There is a counter move to support PZ being led by Richard Dawkins (more on that at the bottom).
The freedom of speech to lampoon people’s overreaction to what Cook did seems under threat by people who seem to think that religious sensitivities allow them to ruin the professional lives of other people. It is clear from PZ’s blog he was criticising the hyperbole overdrive that people were saying about the wafer and Cook, and he is entitled to say that it is just crackers.
Mind you – if the student had asked for a non blessed wafer to show his friend then we may all have been spared. Although we could argue over whether it would be the same wafer pre and post Eurachist – one that Elizabeth had to tread carefully for her life depended on it. Hopefully we shall not return to negative consequences for those that would criticise what people do and say in the name of their beliefs.
richarddawkins.net is supporting PZ Myers and asking for people to write to President Robert H. Bruininks to counter the hate mail that people have sent urging the President to sack PZ. Please consider supporting PZ during this witch hunt.
It seems people will invent things about the showing that PZ Myers was requested to leave but Dawkins gained entry.
I was asked if I wanted my name put down on the web site by a friend but it did not strike me as something I wanted to watch. Catching up with those from RDFRS that did go, I think that PZ and myself had the better part of the deal. They did not gate crash the event. It was not by invitation only but a free showing you could put yourself and some friends down for.
However this story on the Expelled web site suggests it but then has this to say at the end:
Ben Stein’s “Expelled” is one of the more evenhanded, clever, and well-produced documentaries currently on the market. While the Evolution/Intelligent Design debate can spark much emotion, anyone walking away from this film will be convinced that the merits of Intelligent Design should be on the same level playing field as Evolutionary Theory. This film is about the freedom of speech, the freedom of ideas and ability to express those ideas…not about whether God created the heavens and the earth.
Many scenes are centered around the Berlin Wall, and Ben Stein being Jewish actually visits many death camps and death showers. In fact, Nazi Germany is the thread that ties everything in the movie together. Evolution leads to atheism leads to eugenics leads to Holocaust and Nazi Germany.
I may as well say that voting a foreign Austrian into power will cause this all to happen.
California sleep well tonight …..
Speaking of California, Josh Timonen of RDFRS had a rather different take on the documentary:
Expelled seems to mark a shift in the Creationists’ tactics. Everything they’ve tried to do so far has failed, so now they’re trying to claim it’s a conspiracy. ‘Big Science is trying to keep God out of the classroom, and you’d better do something about it fast or we’re going to have another Holocaust!’ Of course, god-did-it is not science, but I don’t think this matters to the film’s target audience. Expelled is simply a rallying call to religious Americans. It will probably be shown in church basements, and will further insulate those who fear the seed of doubt. The film’s message is so appalling (teaching evolution = the Holocaust) and is presented so crudely that any sane person will see it for the propaganda it is. There was virtually no real scientific content, and I felt stupider for having sat through it.
Of course everyone seems to have forgotton the Flying Spaggehtii Monster in all this, but I am sure the presence of his Noodly Appendage will be felt soon.
In case you have not heard the story this may well make you laugh your socks off
I first heard that Expelled was going to be shown at the Mall of America on Thursday night when Healthy Addict (known, to her amusement, in RDFRS circles as Banana Girl for her Richard Dawkins signed fruit that she posed with at the AAI Conference that actually belonged to a guy that played Jesus). The thought of going to see a film that would portray ID as being another different scientifically plausible theory struck me as being as much fun as having a bunch of Jehovah’s Witnesses trying to explain that just because they were wrong to say impending Armageddon they do not lack credibility on telling you these things. Even if free this would not appeal.
So other RDFRS crowd went while I stayed at the hotel to meet up with the other volunteers. Among those going to the film at the Mall of America was PZ Myers. Who was recognised at the showing and told that he was not allowed to view the film. Then later told that he was not allowed to be in the Mall.
What makes this ironic is that his family was allowed in and so was Richard Dawkins.
Met up with PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins and the others in the bar, we had another story to tell. We had gone out to lunch at Brenda’s – an organic, serving vegan desserts kind of place. Going to we passed a ’90s Gay bar that had a Happy Hour but presumably was at least merry the rest of the night.
While discussing life the universe and everything a man at another table asked us all if we were at school then if our parents were paying the bill. This rather bizarre take on us (we are mostly in our late twenties, accept for me always trying to be different at 30) seemed as a way to talk to us as he revealed that he was at a spiritual conference.
My curiosity was heightened because the lady next to me on the plane was also going to a spiritual conference, and thankfully she told me this and that it was about hearing the voice of God while we landed rather than when we took off (nine hours would have been longer). He produced a card that explained everything:
the slow burning love of god by saying Hu (pronounced Hue) with a feeling of love expelled as you hold the sound. Repeat for twenty minutes and feel the one with the divine.
Glad to be here instead. Rushed blog as need to have shower and set up RDFRS stall. Catch you later!