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May 26 2012

Penn Jillette at Michigan State

CFI Michigan is sponsoring a talk by Penn Jillette at Michigan State University on June 6. The event is at the Hannah Community Center and it starts at 7:30 pm. We’ll be having a get together after the event at a local restaurant as well and I’ll give the details on that as soon as I have them. For tickets and more details, click here.

42 comments

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  1. 1
    sheldonbaker

    Speaking of Penn Jillette, did you happen to catch him on Celebrity Apprentice prostrating himself before Trump, saying “well I have too much respect for you….blah blah blah”? I know it is just a TV show and the guy has got to make a living, but it was disgusting to see it because Trump is a total ass.

  2. 2
    slc1

    Re sheldonbaker @ #1

    Just to prove what a buffoon Donald Trump is, while he was proclaiming that Obama wasn’t a natural born citizen because his father wasn’t a citizen, it turns out that Trump’s mother wasn’t a citizen when he was born. Like Obama’s father, she was a British citizen. So by his own logic, he wasn’t a natural born citizen either.

  3. 3
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Trump is a total ass.

    So is Jillette.

  4. 4
    Trebuchet

    I’d probably pay to go to a talk by Teller, but not Penn. He’s a jerk, as far as I can tell.

  5. 5
    criticaldragon1177

    Ed Brayton

    Penn and Teller are Hilarious!

  6. 6
    cafink

    Though I mostly disagreed with them, I did more or less understand the criticisms leveled at Penn’s political beliefs in the comments from yesterday’s post.

    But I am perplexed by the accusations that he’s an “ass” or “jerk.” I’ve listened to every episode of the radio show he used to host, and that is not at all the impression I get of him. I know of few celebrities who are more respectful and deferential to others. He can definitely be opinionated, but he’s also shows a willingness to reevaluate his beliefs when he’s mistaken (as on smoking and climate change, namely). He might be loud, maybe even annoying, but I’ve rarely seen him be outright mean to someone. On what are these charges based?

  7. 7
    Michael Heath

    cafink writes:

    I am perplexed by the accusations that he’s an “ass” or “jerk.” I’ve listened to every episode of the radio show he used to host, and that is not at all the impression I get of him. I know of few celebrities who are more respectful and deferential to others.

    While I didn’t recall Mr. Jillette any derogatory name I did point out his defamation of environmentalists in his TV show Bullshit!, IIRC Season 1, Show # 13. He described the females as bimbos and the males as hot after the bimbos, avoiding or misrepresenting the reality that informed environmentalists exist and that many premise their positions on confidently held scientific understandings.

    Also, here’s a short clip of Mr. Jillette cowardly maligning climate scientists in this short video. ‘Cowardly’ since he uses the effective conservative approach of referring to the relevant scientists and those informed by what science understands as the always nefarious “they”. His rhetorical dependence on “they” reminds me of Sarah Palin.

  8. 8
    Rip Steakface

    Penn and Teller are well known libertarians. They hit the nail on the head for social issues and religion, but their economic views are fucking idiotic.

  9. 9
    R Johnston

    Promoting Penn Jillette is anti-skeptical. Sexist libertarian trash needs to be kicked out of the movement, not because they’re not good members of the movement, but simply because they’re in no way, shape, or form, skeptics, whatever they believe about deities. They’re people who half-assedly speak the language of skepticism as post-hoc rationalization for some beliefs while fully embracing faith based reasoning when that offers better post-hoc rationalization of other beliefs. Skepticism isn’t a pick-and-choose matter; it’s a general approach to reasoning and the world and if you merely mouth the mantras when convenient rather than practice it as a governing philosophy you aren’t even doing it wrong–you’re not doing it at all.

    You can do better.

  10. 10
    Michael Heath

    Regarding what R Jonston said:

    Four or more years ago I would have strongly disagreed with you, and then pointed to an example or three illustrating my point. However since then I’ve come to recognize those examples are in a small minority, and outliers when it comes to influence in the public square derived from libertarians or libertarian arguments.

    Given I had many years of time and energy spent following the movement, e.g., I was a long-time subscriber to Reason magazine, this change of conclusions was disappointing. About a year ago I saw Nick Gillespie on Bill Maher’s show depending entirely on false assertions to make an economic argument, not only where those assertions false, they were no better than your garden variety conservative viral email.

  11. 11
    Michael Heath

    I should have clarified my agreement with R Johnston. I was not commenting on CFI’s association with libertarian celebrities, but instead this:

    [libertarians are] people who half-assedly speak the language of skepticism as post-hoc rationalization for some beliefs while fully embracing faith based reasoning when that offers better post-hoc rationalization of other beliefs. Skepticism isn’t a pick-and-choose matter; it’s a general approach to reasoning and the world and if you merely mouth the mantras when convenient rather than practice it as a governing philosophy you aren’t even doing it wrong–you’re not doing it at all.

  12. 12
    Gretchen

    Uh, the opposite of “skeptical” is not “libertarian,” and suggesting such on Ed Brayton’s blog of all places is pretty hilarious.

    Penn Jillette is an anarcho-capitalist. I think that a lot of his skepticism is in service of that political viewpoint, and he has some pretty huge blinders that he conveniently puts on when it comes to facts that don’t support it. I would note that this is something easy for people of any political persuasion to do, and then notice people with different political views doing it and act as if they are the only ones. They are not.

    I have quite a bit of time for what Jillette has to say…Bullshit is enjoyable if occasionally infuriating, his radio show was awesome and I listen to the new one from time to time as well, and am starting to watch back episodes of the show he and Teller did in the UK, Penn & Teller Fool Us. But I can’t and don’t want to erase from my mind shit like this and this. It was particularly bad in both cases watching his wife Emily pick fights with people on Twitter as if the fact that she’s female and married to him means he couldn’t possibly be sexist. He has put off a lot of women in skepticism entirely.

  13. 13
    R Johnston

    Gretchen, if you don’t think that libertarianism is a subset of anti-skepticism then you don’t know what you’re talking about. Libertarianism is faith based reasoning in its purest form, encompassing the utter refusal to admit empirical evidence into any kind of economic reasoning.

  14. 14
    Gretchen

    Wow, R Johnston, that accusation of ignorance combined with completely unsupported assertions sure persuaded me! Well done.

    There are many varieties of libertarianism. If you think the word means “worshiper of Ayn Rand,” then it is you who are ignorant. I’m a left-leaning libertarian which means that I am an adamant supporter of individual rights and the ability of people to build their own different versions of utopia as best they can, unfettered by government intervention, but also recognize that Rawls’ veil of ignorance applies and it is the legitimate function of government to ensure that people are equipped to build those utopias. There isn’t jack shit that is “faith based” about that, much less ill-reasoned economically.

  15. 15
    cafink

    Gretchen, thanks for that articulate defense of libertarianism. As someone who considers himself both a libertarian and a skeptic, I am puzzled by the frequent accusations that the two are somehow incompatible. As you point out, these accusations always seem to come from someone who has a very narrow idea of what libertarianism is, one which bears little resemblence to my own political views.

    Even if we are being blind to empirical evidence in our political and economic reasoning, I’m reminded of the neverending debate about whether a religious person can be a skeptic. I think it’s possible for someone to embrace skeptical thinking generally even if he happens to suffer from some particular blind spot. I don’t think these people are not skeptics, I think they’re normal people who sometimes act irrationally–just like everyone else on the planet–despite their best efforts to avoid it.

    I don’t know what the best way to reach this people is, but I wouldn’t presume to tell them, “You’re not allowed to be a skeptic. Go away.”

    On a different note, I coincidentally just watched all nine episodes Fool Us over the last few weeks, and liked it a great deal. I hope you’re enjoying the show!

  16. 16
    gopiballava

    There’s a danger of being close to No True Scotsman territory here. I think really strong proponents of anything will tend towards acting ‘faith based’.

    That being said: one characteristic i see in a branch of libertarians is an axiomatic belief in private property rights without a social contract of any kind. That is not automatically faith based. The faith based beliefs I’ve seen are based around the concept that this will inherently yield good results.

    That never sits right with me. It feels like somebody arguing that slavery is morally wrong and then quickly switching to an explanation of why it is economically disadvantageous. It is immoral, and would be wrong even if it was a great thing.

  17. 17
    lancifer

    I find it perplexing and repugnant that some folks in the atheist community are attempting to affix an ideological test to entrance to the “movement” (if such a thing exists).

    As if somehow you aren’t a “true” atheist unless you are a “progressive”. Not only is this idea repulsive and irrational, it is counterproductive, unless your goal is to hijack atheism for the benefit of a particular political ideology.

    I don’t believe in deities or statism.

    Deal with it.

  18. 18
    Pinky

    I was once impressed by Penn Jillette, not so much anymore. Sure he strikes many cords on the atheist piano I agree with, but from some of the videos and writings he has produced I see him as a bit closed minded and a bully.

    Jillette seems to have a good solid intellect displaying flashes of brilliant inspiration at times. At other times I’m put off by how he steamrolls over those who disagree with him while traveling the low road of ad hominem insults.

    The ends do not justify the means. It makes a difference how we conduct ourselves during the journey to our goals.

    In a world desperately needing civility, negotiation and compromise I venerate the adult who can meet their opponents without treating them as enemies, without calling them cunts.

    How many would listen to Jillette if he had not made so much fame and fuck-you money as a superb conjuror?

    Why should we pick our leaders or representative speakers by their fame or riches? Are we so desperate to worship something that we must worship celebrities?

  19. 19
    lostintime

    Sorry to mention him again, but Johann Hari has an excellent deconstruction of the cult of Ayn Rand on his podcast.

    http://www.johannhari.com/

    It’s not that atheists can’t be libertarians, of course they can. But anarcho-capitalism in it’s crudest popular form that Penn advocates is not compatible with humanism.

  20. 20
    marcus

    Gretchen, I stopped referring to my political position as “libertarian socialist”, as described by Noam Chomsky, because people either a.thought it was totally oxy-moronic and silly or b.had no clue as to what it could possibly mean. Seems like “libertarian socialist skeptic’ would be a nuanced and worthy approach to political reasoning.

  21. 21
    Gretchen

    Skeptic ! = atheist ! = humanist. Being one of the three doesn’t require being any of the other two as well, much less both. But I’m quite certain that it’s possible for a libertarian to be all three. See, for example, me.

  22. 22
    Michael Heath

    Gretchen writes:

    Skeptic ! = atheist ! = humanist. Being one of the three doesn’t require being any of the other two as well, much less both. But I’m quite certain that it’s possible for a libertarian to be all three. See, for example, me.

    Can you name three libertarians (small “L” is fine) who possess these qualities and have an impact on the public square? How about three libertarians who aren’t necessarily atheists but consistently employ scientific thinking, even when it’s politically inconvenient for the libertarian movement, and are also humanists?

  23. 23
    cafink

    I think two people mentioned on this very page, Penn Jillette, and Ed Brayton, fit that description. Another that comes immediately to mind for me is John Snider, host of the American Freethought podcast, whom I’ve heard describe himself as a libertarian. But I think the most obvious example is probably Michael Shermer. That’s four, without even giving it much thought.

  24. 24
    Gretchen

    Radley Balko. Gleen Greenwald. Conor Friedersdorf. Probably James Randi.

    Skeptics in general do not have much impact on the public square, nor do atheists– at least, not because they are either of these things. But get a libertarian whose primary concerns are social freedoms, opposing war and torture, and keeping America’s population out of prison and chances are good that he/she is both.

  25. 25
    Gretchen

    Also as a female skeptical atheist I consider it important to be libertarian because I can make it all about individual rights. When individual autonomy is emphasized, it becomes impossible to assert that things like pornography, prostitution and other forms of sex work are exploitative to women in general and therefore should be opposed and even banned. The condescending desire to take care of women as if they’re something other than adults who make their own choices is a form of patriarchy, and liberals display it as well as conservatives.

  26. 26
    Michael Heath

    Me to Gretchen:

    Can you name three libertarians (small “L” is fine) who possess these qualities [skeptic, atheist, and humanist] and have an impact on the public square? How about three libertarians who aren’t necessarily atheists but consistently employ scientific thinking, even when it’s politically inconvenient for the libertarian movement, and are also humanists?

    cafink responds:

    I think two people mentioned on this very page, Penn Jillette, and Ed Brayton, fit that description. Another that comes immediately to mind for me is John Snider, host of the American Freethought podcast, whom I’ve heard describe himself as a libertarian. But I think the most obvious example is probably Michael Shermer. That’s four, without even giving it much thought.

    Nuclear-grade whoosh; I think you need to re-read what I read far more carefully. And I’ll point to the obvious failure on Penn Jillette, he’s a global warming denialist; that’s without even digging into whether he actually self-identifies as a humanist.

    A movement’s defined by its members, it’s formal leaders, and its effective leaders. The fact you can’t name any formal or effective leaders is indictative not that some members don’t exist, like Gretchen, but that the movement or a significant portion of the movement can be defined by these attributes.

    R Johnston’s argument CFI shouldn’t welcome libertarians was dumb, which was why I immediately followed up my first response to his comment post disassociating myself from it. But his point that libertarianism only effectively promotes a skeptical approach to policy when it’s convenient is not only what I observe, but increasingly so over the past couple of years as some conservative-libertarians have emerged with real power. Your list doesn’t even close to touching power, let alone actually wielding it.

    Libertarianism can be defined by the Cato Institute as a whole, its financiers like the Koch Brothers, the Heartland Institute, , Paul Ryan, Ron and Rand Paul, and Nick Gillespie – the last one failing the test of skeptic or even science supporter given how he derives his economic arguments, equivalent to a YEC. Of course like all movements there are exceptions and outliers to the common attributes of this group; Radley Balko, Jason Kuczinski, and Will Wilkinson – but these people, while consistently making fine arguments – are causing nary a ripple in public policy from where I sit – they appear as outliers where the inability to name anybody powerful vividly illustrates R. Johnston’s point about the ideological non-skeptical nature of libertarianism – unless it’s politically convenient.

  27. 27
    Gretchen

    R Johnston’s argument CFI shouldn’t welcome libertarians was dumb, which was why I immediately followed up my first response to his comment post disassociating myself from it. But his point that libertarianism only effectively promotes a skeptical approach to policy when it’s convenient is not only what I observe, but increasingly so over the past couple of years as some conservative-libertarians have emerged with real power.

    This would be a good point if it didn’t apply just as much if not moreso to virtually every other political perspective out there and certainly every other party.

  28. 28
    llewelly

    As someone who considers himself both a libertarian and a skeptic, I am puzzled by the frequent accusations that the two are somehow incompatible

    Many self-identified libertarians are devout followers of fourteenth amendment denialists like Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell.

    Many self-identified libertarians vocally pretend global warming is not happening, not caused by humans, a giant enviro-freak conspiracy, and also good for us – sometimes all at the same time.

    There’s nothing wrong with pointing out that not all libertarians have the horrid beliefs I outlined above – and there’s nothing wrong pointing out that people are quite capable of doing good work for some causes while having ridiculous beliefs about other causes.

    But if you are honestly puzzled to find that Ron Paul followers and libertarian-identifying AWG denialists have severely defamed the term “libertarian”, you suffer from severe ignorance of the social and political climate of last 15 years.

  29. 29
    gullyfoyle

    As a female skeptic and atheist who also considers herself a libertarian, I’m puzzled by all the hostility. Are some libertarians jerks? Sure. Does that in anyway invalidate either their politics or their standing as skeptics? Of course not.

    A mistake often made by those on the left is conflating objectivism with libertarianism. We aren’t all mindless followers of Ayn Rand– I personally find her fiction unreadable and her philosophy in places anti-human. I don’t deny that many libertarians were first inspired towards individualism by reading Atlas Shrugged as adolescents, but there can be a lot of distance between somebody’s rational, well thought out beliefs as an adult on the one hand and the youthful enthusiasm that originally started them towards those beliefs on the other.

    Since no truly free, libertarian nation has ever existed, and neither have any truly free markets, it’s neither useful nor honest to say that as economics, or philosophy, or both, libertarianism has been debunked. Contrast that with the various collectivist ideologies with their top-down command economies– not only have a myriad of socialist nations existed, their existence has given us pretty clear and compelling evidence of socialism’s bankruptcy as either philosophy or economics.

    Beyond those petty quibbles, however, is the simple fact that people of goodwill who agree in one area can, and often do, disagree in others. Particularly where politics is concerned, two honest, intelligent, and skeptical people can look at the same set of facts, the same set of conditions in the world around them, and come to radically different conclusions. Politics, philosophy, and yes, economics, are not objective scientific disciplines but subjective human undertakings, immune to some extent from the reach of skepticism and scientific rationalism. That is how both Michael Shermer and Phil Plait, for example, can both be vital members of the community of skeptics.

  30. 30
    Michael Heath

    I like that Ron Paul has a voice within the Republican party for one reason; he provides a viable avenue for young people indoctrinated to be conservative to move to more liberal positions with a reduced risk of being ostracized in the conservative tribe’s primary venues – particularly its evangelical and fundamentalist churches.

    I don’t think these young people are even aware of Pauls’ racism and bigotry, so its not like they’re embracing him because he makes it cool to be a bigot and covertly promotes so-called states rights which effectively denies individual liberty, but instead are embracing him because he makes it cool to favor the concept of individual liberty in a way that allows these young people to embrace his views when they’re not ready to cut off the communal benefits when one becomes an apostate. I do hope these same young people eventually mature beyond Paul’s ungovernable and repugnant positions.

    me earlier:

    . . . libertarianism only effectively promotes a skeptical approach to policy when it’s convenient is not only what I observe, but increasingly so over the past couple of years as some conservative-libertarians have emerged with real power.

    Gretchen responds:

    This would be a good point if it didn’t apply just as much if not moreso to virtually every other political perspective out there and certainly every other party.

    I perceive this form of hypocrisy increasingly deteriorating within the Democratic party as it becomes more centrist and abandons populist liberalism- where the remaining populist liberals have almost no power anymore, are disparaged even by their own party, and therefore don’t define the party. I don’t perceive a skeptical approach on any topic within the Republican party.

    So I don’t buy your point libertarians are no better. Instead I think your type of libertarianism is effectively extinct equivalent to how my form of moderate republicanism also is, there’s a handful of us still alive where we even have two recognizable leaders – Christine Whitman and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but we’re no longer procreating and certainly don’t have any effective influence in the public square which is exactly why Republicans can now obstruct anything the Dems want to do.

    Re Gretchen’s list of leaders meeting my standards. I don’t know Greenwald or Friedersdorf real well. I know Greenwald based on what Andrew Sullivan and Ed reference from him where I perceive him to be a liberal and not a libertarian. Does he self-identify as a libertarian?

    I also know Friedersdorf the same way but also know him a bit better because he’s the go-to guest blogger for Sullivan when he’s on vacation where I read Sullivan’s blog every day. Friedersdorf claims no association with the conservative movement in spite of many non-conservatives referencing him as one of the handful of remaining respectable conservatives out there, including Sullivan and Ed. He does self-identify as a right-winger. I couldn’t find him identifying himself as a libertarian. I perceive neither has having any effective influence and therefore fail my standard even if they were libertarians.

    The only libertarians I know which meets either of my standards is Chief Judge of the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Alex Kozinski and Richard Posner, who serves the same duties on the 7th Circuit Court. Given I know of only two, I think this helps validate the argument their attributes are not defining ones for libertarianism or any influential wing of libertarianism. Especially given the fact libertarianism has recently begun to influence the public square but only when it comes to conservative and Republican objectives.

  31. 31
    Michael Heath

    gullyfoyle,

    Libertarian arguments regarding economics have been debunked as no better than what YECs argue.

    You’re also arguing strawman here on the rest of your post since no one denies there are some respectable libertarians – I just named two in my prior post plus I have an enormous amount of respect for both Gretchen and Ed. We are instead criticizing libertarianism when it comes to its emergent influence in the public square. That influence is providing an amplifying feedback effect for the plutocratic ends of the modern-day American conservative movement led by people like Grover Norquist and entities funded by the Koch brothers.

    It’d be like me pointing to respected and credible conservative advocates Daniel Larison, Bruce Bartlett, and Andrew Sullivan to argue conservatism isn’t defined by the conservatives in Congress or the think tanks and financiers of the party. I love all those guys and so should anyone who cares about finely crafted arguments – even if they don’t agree, but their form of conservatism is an outlier with no effective influence within conservatism or the GOP.

  32. 32
    gullyfoyle

    Libertarian arguments regarding economics have been debunked as no better than what YECs argue.

    Asserting that is one thing, backing it up is another; I have yet to come across a credible denial that cannot be just as easily refuted. Given the subjective nature of economics and the malleability of statistics, this isn’t an argument that’s likely to be settled in my lifetime.

  33. 33
    Michael Heath

    me writes:

    Libertarian arguments regarding economics have been debunked as no better than what YECs argue.

    gullyfoyle responds:

    Asserting that is one thing, backing it up is another; I have yet to come across a credible denial that cannot be just as easily refuted. Given the subjective nature of economics and the malleability of statistics, this isn’t an argument that’s likely to be settled in my lifetime.

    Anyone whose taken college econ from a legitimate university has been overwhelmed with historical evidence that economics favored by contemporaneous libertarians is no better than YEC talking points. They in fact share the same approach to coming to their conclusions, i.e., defending preconceived desires with talking point while avoiding inconvenient stuff like evidence and in the libertarians’ case, math. In fact this reminds me of creationists who argue no one has ever found a transitional fossil by their avoiding studying evolution.

    In addition your description of economics is simply not true but instead a strawman by defectively conflating economics with public policy. If you actually care about economics I suggest taking at least an 100 level courses in both macro and microeconomics. I’m not sure that’s enough to discount current libertarian arguments but any second or third-year student easily can (I took econ to the 800 level).

  34. 34
    lostintime

    I hope the libertarians in this discussion don’t think that deregulating the banks and financial institutions was a good idea, or that free markets have had good consequences for animals in factory farms. The problem with libertarianism is that it focuses obsessively on negative liberty, which is an impoverished ethic because freedom has to include allowing the state to provide the economic means for people to work their way out of poverty.

    I found this map very interesting. I may be wrong, but my understanding is that left-leaning libertarians are just liberals – drift any further towards the bottom of the graph and your political position is just as fanatical as extreme ‘authoritarianism’. Why not drop the unnecessary label and distance yourself from the nut-jobs.

    http://ikesharpless.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/political_compass-2.jpg

  35. 35
    madfoot713

    Re: Gretchen – “I have quite a bit of time for what Jillette has to say…Bullshit is enjoyable if occasionally infuriating, his radio show was awesome and I listen to the new one from time to time as well, and am starting to watch back episodes of the show he and Teller did in the UK, Penn & Teller Fool Us. But I can’t and don’t want to erase from my mind shit like this and this. It was particularly bad in both cases watching his wife Emily pick fights with people on Twitter as if the fact that she’s female and married to him means he couldn’t possibly be sexist. He has put off a lot of women in skepticism entirely.

    That’s not what happened. Emily’s argument wasn’t that Penn-isn’t-sexist-because-she’s-a-woman. I could just as legitimately paraphrase Jen’s argument as Penn-is-sexist-because-she’s-a-woman. Emily’s argument – well, I think Emily was just defending her husband, since Jen attacked him and humiliated him in a public space. But my argument would be that Penn isn’t sexist because he never made any comments generalizing all women; he insulted one person, who happens to be a woman, because he didn’t like her humor. He was crass, and maybe he was also wrong to say that Lindy West was unfunny. Maybe she’s the best satirical writer on the web; I wouldn’t know. But he wasn’t sexist.

  36. 36
    Michael Heath

    madfoot713 writes:

    . . . my argument would be that Penn isn’t sexist because he never made any comments generalizing all women; he insulted one person, who happens to be a woman, because he didn’t like her humor.

    The Bullshit! episode I reference in another recent blog post thread of Ed’s had Mr. Jillette generalizing female environmentalists as bimbos. That would be season 1, episode 13:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Penn_%26_Teller:_Bullshit!_episodes

  37. 37
    madfoot713

    I think Penn generalized a lot of people as bimbos. Truthers, ufologists, bible thumpers, homeopaths, etc… He had lots of choice words for whoever was the punchline of this week’s show, but I don’t think he was motivated by personal hatred. It was a comedy show. “And then there’s this asshole..”

  38. 38
    Michael Heath

    madfoot713:

    I don’t think he was motivated by personal hatred. It was a comedy show. “And then there’s this asshole..”
    [emphasis added - MH]

    Wow; you defend content you fail to first consider. It wasn’t just “one asshole”, it was a whole group of people, i.e., female environmentalists. And the show isn’t mere comedy, they’re pushing a political agenda, in that particular episode it was that environmentalists base their arguments on premises having nothing to do with what science understands. In Mr. Gillette’s case he also denies the reality of global warming while denying the fact it’s supported by climate scientists, referring to them with the nefarious “they”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWt2Rir8OQk

    From my perspective you want to continue to support the guy without having to actually directly confront and directly deal with content reasonable people find objectionable. Instead you demonstrate a desire to just rationalize it away without having to adapt your postion based on consideration of the evidence. You do realize what other groups demonstrate this exact same behavior?

  39. 39
    Nick Gotts

    Since no truly free, libertarian nation has ever existed, and neither have any truly free markets, it’s neither useful nor honest to say that as economics, or philosophy, or both, libertarianism has been debunked. Contrast that with the various collectivist ideologies with their top-down command economies– not only have a myriad of socialist nations existed, their existence has given us pretty clear and compelling evidence of socialism’s bankruptcy as either philosophy or economics. – gullyfoyle

    Oddly enough, Trotskyists tend to make exactly the same argument in reverse: that none of those “socialist nations” were actually socialist at all, while we get a pretty good idea of what a “libertarian nation” is like from the nearest approaches to it, such as the age of the “Robber Barons”.

  40. 40
    madfoot713

    They push a political agenda in nearly every episode. You’re just mad because in Episode 13 they made fun of environmentalists, instead of an easy target like conspiracy theorists or religious people. And that’s fine. I get mad when people make fun of beliefs I hold dear, too, but you need to be able to laugh at yourself.

  41. 41
    Michael Heath

    madfoot713 to me:

    They push a political agenda in nearly every episode.

    Duh, that was the assertion I made before when you said it was only comedy, so which is it? I continue to argue both. You continue to change your premises in order to avoid dealing with the facts we have to make an assessment.

    madfoot713 to me:

    You’re just mad because in Episode 13 they made fun of environmentalists, instead of an easy target like conspiracy theorists or religious people. And that’s fine. I get mad when people make fun of beliefs I hold dear, too, but you need to be able to laugh at yourself.

    No, I’m critical of Mr. Gillette because he’s lying. I have little problem with people with whom I disagree on policy if they’re making a sufficiently framed high-quality argument. I have a major problem with people who have a bully pulpit who instead make arguments which rely on insufficiently framing their argument and/or lying.

    madfoot713 – you argue exactly like a YEC.

  42. 42
    madfoot713

    Duh, that was the assertion I made before when you said it was only comedy, so which is it? I continue to argue both. You continue to change your premises in order to avoid dealing with the facts we have to make an assessment.

    It’s political comedy; same as The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Politically Incorrect w/ Bill Maher, Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld, etc… all of these people have a political message to sell. But it’s still comedy. I’m not sure when I claimed Bullshit! wasn’t political in nature, or what that has to do with the accusation that Penn is a misogynist.

    No, I’m critical of Mr. Gillette because he’s lying.

    First of all, it’s Jillette, with a J. And I never defended him from any accusations of being a liar. Go look back at my first post – it wasn’t directed at you. You accused me of changing my premises, but I think we’re really just having two separate debates.

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