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Oct 25 2013

Schlafly Freaks Out About Kids Thinking

You can always count on Phyllis Schlafly to have a hysterical overreaction to nearly everything, but especially at the idea of kids in school actually being made to think about something she doesn’t want them to think about (science, sex, etc). Her latest freakout is over a sociology assignment at a school in Arkansas. And of course, it’s all an Obama plot.

St. Joseph-Ogden High School, a public school in St. Joseph, Ill., gave its sophomore class an assignment to choose which of 10 people were “worthy” of getting kidney dialysis when the hospital had only six machines. The assignment instructed the students, “four people are not going to live. You must decide from the information below which six will survive.”

The students were given the list of the 10 who desperately needed kidney dialysis with identification about their occupation, age and ethnicity, and told to give each a score. The instructions stated: “Put the people in order using 1-10, 1 being the person you want to save first and 10 being the person you would save last,” with the assumption that those getting scores 7 through 10 would be marked for death.

Since when are high-school students allowed to judge who may live and who must die? Is this to prepare us to accept death panels from Obamacare?

Of course, I’m sure that’s it. It can’t be a really interesting question, one that doctors and hospitals have to deal with every day, especially when it comes to organ transplants. There simply aren’t enough organs for everyone who needs them, so decisions have to be made. How awful that a school might actually get kids thinking about a situation that they may well face themselves someday, either as medical professionals or as patients (or the loved one of a patient). Thinking? In school? That’s just crazy talk.

And then there’s this one:

Sixth-grade children in a history class in the Bryant School District in Arkansas (whose website brags that the district “has embraced” Common Core standards) were assigned a project to update the U.S. Bill of Rights because it is “outdated.” They were instructed to “prioritize, revise, omit two and add two amendments.”

The written assignment is full of lies, such as that “the government of the United States is currently revisiting The Bill of Rights,” that “They (presumably the government) have determined that it is outdated and may not remain in its current form any longer,” and that our Constitution can be changed by a “National Revised Bill of Rights Task Force (NRBR)” (to which students could be appointed).

She calls those things “lies.” Teachers call them “hypotheticals.” And why, precisely, is it wrong to have students think about the Constitution and whether it could be improved? Oh, right. Because conservatives think about the Constitution the same way they think about the Bible — it’s all perfect, except for the parts they don’t like, and they just pretend those don’t exist. It’s sacred and holy and it’s a terrible thing to actually think about it, as opposed to just blindly accepting it without bothering to, ya know, read it.

What know-nothings like Schlafly object to is the act of thinking at all. I suspect that’s because they’re just so bad at it.

64 comments

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  1. 1
    left0ver1under

    Schlafly is a gadfly.

  2. 2
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Does Schlafly not know what a hypothetical thought experiment is?

    Does she freak out when kids are asked to count the number of apples that Bob has after giving some to his neighbor Christine?

  3. 3
    doublereed

    You can’t change the constitution! The founding fathers never wanted it changed, and neither did the American people (with 27 exceptions).

  4. 4
    petemoulton

    Kevin @ #2: “Does she freak out when kids are asked to count the number of apples that Bob has after giving some to his neighbor Christine?”

    Yes. Yes, she does. Because no true conservative ever shares. It’s obvious that Bob is just paying Christine for sex.

  5. 5
    erichoug

    Yeah, the religious nutbags are opposed to anything that might engender a love or even an enjoyment of education and learning. They know that the more education a person has, the less likely they are to buy what they are selling.

  6. 6
    evodevo

    What about those 3/5′s of a citizen that are discussed therein? Where is that in their obsession with literal interpretation of the Constitution. I have never gotten a straight answer out of a conservative about THAT.

  7. 7
    eric

    whose website brags that the district “has embraced” Common Core standards

    …which were designed using precisely the method conservatives insist is the right method for making social policy: they were developed by a voluntary group of state governments who then adopted them on a voluntary basis.

    You scream for the government to do things a certain way. So it does things that way. Then you scream at government for doing it that way. Nice.

  8. 8
    Trebuchet

    @6: No, no, no. Those are 3/5′s of a person, 60% human. But not any part of them was a citizen.

  9. 9
    Sastra

    The religious right has been complaining about the same thing for many years. About 30 years ago it was high school thought experiments about who to save on a lifeboat, or a bomb shelter, or a crashed spaceship on another planet. I had to do one of them in a psych course in college.

    The goal was not to get the kids used to thinking of themselves as “God,” or to help them attain the rational detachment of a Nazi separating people in a concentration camp. As you point out, it’s to explore ethics and hard situations, to examine goals and learn to temper compassion with practicality. But of course just thinking about the nature of right and wrong in moral choices is going to be a danger to people whose ethical depth can be measured by “Being Good is Doing What You’re Told.”

    I had a Mormon friend who was in a tizzy over this and tried to explain why these high school exercises were wrong. Ironically, in order to do so she had to take herself out of her Religious Box and find arguments that would appeal to an atheist. As I recall she gave only a weak appeal to how gruesome they were, how traumatizing, and how much CONTROL it gave children, who needed to learn obedience. I mean, these scenarios were extreme and not likely to be useful, ever.

    Which I thought was rich coming from someone who believed in stocking barrels of raw wheat in the basement to prepare her family for the coming End Time tribulations, wherein most of the world’s population would die in burning agony (but not them, they had WHEAT!)

  10. 10
    raven

    Because conservatives think about the Constitution the same way they think about the Bible — it’s all perfect, …

    1. A common claim among Oogedy Boogedy xians is that the US constiution was written by jesus working through the meat puppets known as the founders.

    2. If that is true, the constitution is like everything else the fundie god has done or made. Flawed!!!

    3. Thanks to the political arm of the fundies, we have just discovered one of the flaws. There is no way to dissove the legislature and call for new elections. This enables a small minority to paralyze the government and even destroy the country.

    In a parliamentary system, Obama would have just dissolved the House and had new elections. We have to wait until end of 2014.

    Then again, the fundie evidence that jesus wrote the constitution is equal to all their other evidence for anything. About zero.

  11. 11
    raven

    One reason why a lot of Americans are devoted to the US constitution is real simple.

    It’s one of the few things standing between us and some sort of tyrrany. And as Bush said, it’s just a damn piece of paper i.e not much.

    It was a radical document for its time. So radical that we probably couldn’t pass it today. Free speech? Separation of church and state? no warrantless search and seizure? right to trial? democracy ?

    There are always forces trying to limit our freedoms and rights for their own benefit. The current ones are the christofascists of the Tea Party, the xian Dominionists.

    PS Another flaw of the jesus constitution as jesus wrote it, most Americans couldn’t vote. Women got the right to vote in the early 20th century.

  12. 12
    loren

    “They were instructed to “prioritize, revise, omit two and add two amendments.”

    The omitting is the toughest part of this; cutting 1/5 of the Bill of Rights outright doesn’t allow for much subtlety.

    That said, I think cutting the Third Amendment is practically a given, given how obsolete its concerns are. And after that, I’d suggest cutting the Seventh Amendment. It’s not only very singular in purpose (jury trials in federal civil cases), but it’s not incorporated. Plus, it sets a monetary amount ($20) that is insanely out-of-date. Everything the amendment guarantees could be just as easily accomplished through ordinary federal laws, especially given two hundred years of custom and expectation when it comes to juries.

  13. 13
    catbutler

    Does Schlafly not know what a hypothetical thought experiment is?

    I’m not entirely Schlafy even knows what a thought is.

  14. 14
    John Allman

    Ms Schlafly is an intellectual, but she is by now 89 years old. It seems likely that she was suffering from a lapse in concentration at the time of making such obviously-mistaken remarks. Clearly she mistook the hypothetical scenarios of the thought experiments, for assertions of fact that are clearly not true. I am disappointed to find anybody taking advantage of such a lapse in concentration in order to heap humiliation and embarrassment upon somebody of that age. I hope nobody treats you with such disrespect, if you are still ranting online when you reach that age.

    The second question is particularly excellent for class discussion. I wonder how many pro-life students decided to study how the constitution was applied in the judgment in Roe v Wade, in order to suggest constitutional amendments that would prevented a future Supreme Court US from declaring the inequality it did then, between the rights of humans not yet born, their mothers, and their fathers and other family members. That would certainly elevate the pro-life / pro-choice debate in THAT classroom to a higher level than is typical amongst adults who conduct that debate online. Most of the online debate about abortion simply doesn’t engage the deep issues at all.

  15. 15
    Abdul Alhazred

    Issues of Phyllis Schlafly being a stinker aside, what worthwhile lesson is being taught here?

    Training young minds to serve on death panels? Getting them used to the idea?

    Who do you think you’re fooling?

  16. 16
    acroyear

    I agree that Shlafly was being an idiot over “Obama” and “Death Panels”, but that said, I found the initial assignment description absolutely nauseating.

    By all means, if you’re in pre-med or residency, learn to deal out death as necessary, but for high school students with crazy hormones (not sex, bug in general, like growth hormones) and other factors around, a situation where emotions can easily overwhelm reason, having an assignment worded such that it has no choice but to turn the emotional responses up to eleven is just stupid.

    My sophomore year, I spent most of the time in a very heavy depression. It wasn’t suicidal-serious, but it was out of control in the sense of being unable to get work done if i didn’t “like” thinking about it. This assignment probably would have thrown me into a pit of non-function for a week, ’til I could passive-aggressive my way through to the inevitable F. I suppose I got lucky in that I went to school in between the

    I just don’t even understand the context. What possible classroom subject needs to have a question like this? Social studies? Government? English/Lit? How can this question possibly even be necessary in any of those subjects?

    This question isn’t asking people to think, it is asking people to judge, without really thinking, based on surface knowledge only of the 10 “people” involved. The last thing we need to do is encourage students to learn to judge without real knowledge.

  17. 17
    acroyear

    [finishing: in between the bomb-shelter years and the modern death scares presented as 'objective' questions that were nothing of the sort.]

  18. 18
    gshelley

    Ms Schlafly is an intellectual, but she is by now 89 years old. It seems likely that she was suffering from a lapse in concentration at the time of making such obviously-mistaken remarks.I’m assuming this has to be a joke, but I just don’t get it

  19. 19
    magistramarla

    One of the most insidious things about NCLB and all of the standardized testing that it brought about is that the teachers in the “core classes” had to resort to teaching to the test by rote learning.
    There were so many benchmarks tests, then practice tests for the state tests and then an entire week devoted to the actual tests that the teachers never had the time to work with the students on actual critical thinking about the subject matter.
    I was lucky that my subject wasn’t included on the standardized tests, so I did sneak in some critical thinking. Then – surprise, surprise! – the students who took Latin actually performed better on those damned tests.

    When I was in middle and high school myself, I can remember having one standardized test per year. We were given no test-prep, and the only warning that our parents received was a cheery little note the day before asking them to make sure that we got a good night’s rest and a good breakfast before the testing.
    We were taught how to think critically, not how to take tests, and the school district had faith in their teachers that the curriculum that was being taught in the classrooms every day was doing a good job of preparing us to succeed on those tests or in our continuing education, and it did work!

    It seems that the fundi xtians are stuck in the stage of literal thinking, and they want to keep children at that stage, too. I think that this is also why they are so terrified of higher education and the professors who teach at that level. They are terrified that the young people will finally learn critical thinking skills and will no longer be easily fooled.

  20. 20
    lldayo

    What know-nothings like Schlafly object to is the act of thinking at all. I suspect that’s because they’re just so bad at it.

    I disagree completely. Her type loves it when a student “thinks objectively” about anything in the liberal agenda (eg evolution and global warming). As long as the thinking only occurs on topics she disagrees with there’s no problem to her.

  21. 21
    gog

    #14 and #18

    Hivemind, or incoming sockpuppets to defend Schlafly?

  22. 22
    voidhawk

    Good lord! Children being asked to decide who will live and die! The BoR is being re-written!

    My partner insisted that the satelite which crashed into the school was just an imaginative tool around which to frame a module about space science, I think we should feel lucky no children were harmed during the crash!

  23. 23
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    It can’t be a really interesting question, one that doctors and hospitals have to deal with every day, especially when it comes to organ transplants. There simply aren’t enough organs for everyone who needs them, so decisions have to be made. How awful that a school might actually get kids thinking about a situation that they may well face themselves someday, either as medical professionals or as patients (or the loved one of a patient).

    What?! That’s not how organ transplants work.

    [The (creepy) exercise is about dialysis in any event.]

  24. 24
    Modusoperandi

    FIRST THEY LEARN CRITICAL THINKING AND ETHICS AND THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW…UNISEX BATHROOMS!

  25. 25
    raven

    Hivemind, or incoming sockpuppets to defend Schlafly?

    Hard to say.

    You are going to have to run #14 through the Google translator and hope something coherent comes out.

  26. 26
    iknklast

    We did that thought experiment when I was a kid, only it was a nuclear war with only a limited amount of room in the fallout shelter. And at least one of the women was a prostitute, and there were other social stigmas. I think it was a valuable exercise; it helped me begin to question my own prejudices (and to realize what they were) and to think about the intersection of ethics and reason.

  27. 27
    matty1

    The students were given the list of the 10 who desperately needed kidney dialysis with identification about their occupation, age and ethnicity, and told to give each a score

    I can see why a right winger would be upset by this. To make the correct decision they should be given the patients net financial worth.

  28. 28
    gog

    @25:

    Also, the irony of accusing us of ageism in poking fun at Schlafly’s pointless fit of pique, then proceeding to engage in ageism by assuming that her statements are from a lapse in concentration due to an age-addled brain.

  29. 29
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Also, here’s a discussion of the ACA in relation to the “kidney community.”

    I like the Constitution exercise, especially if they study new constitutions in other countries (South Africa, Bolivia, etc.) and learn how the possibility of having a referendum on forming a constituent assembly to reform the Honduran constitution in 2009 led to a rightwing coup (and is again an issue in the upcoming elections there).

  30. 30
    Modusoperandi

    #14′s easy:
    “You shouldn’t pick on old people for saying the same awful, incorrect shit now that they used to say, because they’re old and easily confused and you should feel terrible you terrible people. AND ALSO THE REST OF THE STORY SHE WROTE SHE BRINGS UP MULTIPLE OTHER STORIES MUCH LIKE THE EXCERPTS HERE. She’s confused about all of them. Not confused enough to fail to link them unfavorably to Obama, Obamacare and Common Core, but confused enough that you shouldn’t criticize her. Old people. Amirite? Lastly, abortion.”

  31. 31
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    #14 and #18

    Hivemind, or incoming sockpuppets to defend Schlafly?

    I think #18 was a response to #14 – the lack of a space between the sentences suggests a blockquote fail.

  32. 32
    Chiroptera

    Huh. When I was in grade school, the question was which out of list of ship passengers should get a spot on the life boat. I don’t see much difference here.

    As I recall, one of the passengers was a fetus. Oops, I meant a pregnant woman.

  33. 33
    gog

    @SC #31: I think I agree with you. Disregard #28.

  34. 34
    gog

    I meant #21

  35. 35
    lofgren

    You guys are idiots.

    Here is 18 if their blockquote tag had not failed:

    Ms Schlafly is an intellectual, but she is by now 89 years old. It seems likely that she was suffering from a lapse in concentration at the time of making such obviously-mistaken remarks.

    I’m assuming this has to be a joke, but I just don’t get it.

  36. 36
    eoraptor

    Sastra @9 ‘…how traumatizing they were.’

    I was traumatized, back in the 60′s, by such a question. The problem was having crash-landed on the moon, far from some rescue site. You had a cache of supplies, including a day’s worth of oxygen, couple of days worth of water, a week of food, and some selection of hardware. I chose the oxygen (duh!) and some of the hardware, on the theory that water and food are heavy, and anybody can survive for a day without water or food. The teacher ridiculed me in front of the whole class for not taking the food and water. That you can’t eat or drink when you’re dead from oxygen deprivation didn’t phase her in the least.

    It must of been traumatic, otherwise why would I still remember it a half-century later?

  37. 37
    arakasi

    @26 I had the same scenario in 8th grade in Catholic School (for reference, this was 1984). All I can say is that it was an effective exercise in learning how we value people. I consider it effective since I still remember it (and my answers), 29 years later.

  38. 38
    gog

    @35: I’ve recognized my mistake in reading comprehension already. No need to call me an idiot.

  39. 39
    cptdoom

    We had a similar thought exercise in my Junior year Religion class at a Catholic High School, but it was a question of which soldier to sacrifice in a suicide mission that would save the rest of the unit. These kinds of scenarios are pretty standard in any ethics-focused class and certainly not traumatic, as they are explicitly hypothetical.

    In fact, the dialysis example above is pretty historically accurate. In the 1960s, when dialysis was improved to the point it could offer indefinite life-saving treatment for ESRD (end-stage renal disease) patients, the cost and technical complexity of the process meant there were far fewer dialyzers than there were patients. Hospitals had to make exactly the types of choices included in the first example above, and the use of such rationing was a big driver to getting the federal government involved. Since 1973 nearly all ESRD patients in America qualify for Medicare – making ESRD the only disease-specific method of qualifying for the program. As a result of this socialization of dialysis care an entire industry of dialysis centers, nearly all of which rely on Medicare for their revenue, quickly evolved. It also led, indirectly, to advances in organ transplant, as dialysis kept ESRD patients relatively healthy for long periods of time, allowing them to both wait for an appropriate organ and be able to withstand the transplant surgery itself. Kidneys remain the most commonly transplanted organs, outside of blood donations and skin grafts.

  40. 40
    caseloweraz

    RE: The possibility that Phyllis Schlafly may have, as we say, gone emeritus.

    I took a look at her original column in the WND. The column, dated 14 October 2013, is quite coherent. So, unless someone is ghost-writing her columns for her (unlikely IMO), her mind remains as sharp as it ever was.

    And the ideas she espouses are just as bizarre. The column is a laundry list of lessons she objects to.One is an exercise asking whether Obama would be criticized as much if he were Caucasian.

    The column ends with this:

    None of the above assignments quoted directly from a Common Core curriculum, but some claim to be “aligned with Common Core” or “Common Core compliant.” It’s beginning to look like such assertions are a cover to fill the minds of public school students with all kinds of inappropriate left-wing notions, while erecting a Common Core “wall” to prevent parental oversight.

    Inappropriate left-wing notions like individual freedom of inquiry or an understanding of science. Same as she ever was…

    I hereby award Ms. Schlafly an honorary membership in POANEG (People Outraged About Nearly Everything Good).

  41. 41
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I hereby award Ms. Schlafly an honorary membership in POANEG (People Outraged About Nearly Everything Good).

    I’d say she’s more of a Christians Against Virtually Everything Woman.

  42. 42
    Modusoperandi

    lofgren “You guys are idiots.”
    “You guys is idiots.”

  43. 43
    Gretchen

    Ms Schlafly is an intellectual, but she is by now 89 years old. It seems likely that she was suffering from a lapse in concentration at the time of making such obviously-mistaken remarks.

    An 89 year lapse in concentration?

    She’s been spouting this bullshit her entire life, you know.

  44. 44
    jason the cripple

    I took a sociology class in high school, and we were asked a similar question to the one asked above. The difference was we were given 4 people, and we could only save one. This was in ’91, so I don’t think the teacher was preparing us for death panels.

  45. 45
    Ed Brayton

    John Allman wrote:

    Ms Schlafly is an intellectual, but she is by now 89 years old. It seems likely that she was suffering from a lapse in concentration at the time of making such obviously-mistaken remarks. Clearly she mistook the hypothetical scenarios of the thought experiments, for assertions of fact that are clearly not true. I am disappointed to find anybody taking advantage of such a lapse in concentration in order to heap humiliation and embarrassment upon somebody of that age. I hope nobody treats you with such disrespect, if you are still ranting online when you reach that age.

    I hope I’m just missing the sarcasm here. Do you really think she would not have made — indeed, did not make — this same idiotic argument when she was much younger? This is not some new development brought on by senility, it is entirely in line with the inane vision of the world she has always had.

  46. 46
    chilidog99

    SHe’s just upset because no one ever puts her in a game of MFK.

  47. 47
    felidae

    Phyllis Schlafly is one of those remarkable people whose inner ugliness shines right through to the surface

  48. 48
    abb3w

    The main problem (aside from her upset at it not being made explicit that the scenario was a hypothetical) would be at her presumption that the “they” must be the federal government, rather than the (United) States.

    Under the existing constitutional framework, a “National Revised Bill of Rights Task Force” would be legally possible to have (if politically improbable), as a hypothetical name for the whole or a subcommittee of a Constitutional convention called by three-quarters of the states. To which, yes, a state’s legislature would have the lawful authority to appoint a bunch of sixth graders as part or all of the state’s delegation — though even less politically probable than a convention in itself, I still can picture California doing it, or maybe Rhode Island or Minnesota.

  49. 49
    John Allman

    @ Ed Brayton

    “Do you really think she would not have made — indeed, did not make — this same idiotic argument when she was much younger?”

    I’d never heard of her. When I looked her up on Wikipedia, her CV was not that of a dummy who couldn’t tell the difference between a lie and a hypothetical scenario for the sake of an ethical thought experiment, but that she was 89 years old. I therefore thought she was likely to have been confused, yes.

    I was delighted that the two thought experiments mentioned were being discussed in schools, and couldn’t see why anybody aged 89 who understood what was going on wouldn’t be just as glad as I was that children were being encouraged to think about ethical questions. I haven’t found the standard of debate amongst adults online, about ethical questions, to be very high.

    The second half of my comment was that criticising the US Constitution was a good idea. For some it is reverred like a sort of secular “scripture”, but I for one certainly think it needs amending, not least to rein in the ghastly abortion industry, since it was construed as it was in Roe v Wade.

  50. 50
    Modusoperandi

    John Allman, I too don’t support the ghastly abortion industry. The regular kind is much better.

  51. 51
    exdrone

    If we don’t start now to train people to serve on death panels, we might have to resort to The Lottery.

  52. 52
    colnago80

    Re John Allman @ #49

    Ms. Schlafly has been a far right wing whackjob for most of her life. Once, some 40 years ago when she presumably was not senile, she claimed that a woman who jogs in shorts and a jogging bra was asking to be raped. Her son Andy is an equally big whackjob who runs a web site called Conservapedia, which is supposed to be the right’s answer to wikipedia. Among other things, Schlafly fils denies the Theory of Relativity, a subject about which he doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. She is also a two fisted gay basher, despite having a gay son (not Andy).

  53. 53
    Area Man

    Since this is Phylis Schlafly, you have to factor in about a 90% chance that she’s either lying about these assignments or has managed to exaggerate them to the point of being unrecognizable. And even then she doesn’t have a valid point.

  54. 54
    freehand

    Hi, John Allman. Are you the poster by the same name who thinks that global warming is a lot of nonsense? It must be a common name, but the posting style is similar.

    As far as Ms. Schlafly is concerned, she sounds pretty much as she did 50 years ago.

    On a more general note, religious and political ideologues don’t do hypothetical situations well. They start with the conclusions and work backwards to pseudo arguments. I think the believe that empirical arguments are rhetorical, which is why they almost always muck ‘em up when they try to use them.

  55. 55
    colnago80

    Re freehand @ #54

    Oh no, just what we need another global warming denier to join Sir Lancelot.

  56. 56
    Michael Heath

    John Allman writes:

    I’d never heard of her.

    This is evidence you’re the most uninformed U.S. citizen I’ve ever encountered on the Internet. And yet you still attempt to rebut those who are well-informed? That’s a strong case you’re also the second most arrogant person I’ve encountered on the Internet. I think Newt Gingrich still enjoys a comfortable lead.

  57. 57
    John Allman

    @ freehand

    “Are you the poster by the same name who thinks that global warming is a lot of nonsense?”

    I’m a new poster here.

    To me, “global warming” is a trend that has gone on for the past century and a half, a rising in average temperatures worldwide that is hard to gauge. That isn’t nonsense. However, there is a fair amount of nonsense talked about global warming online. I have corrected at least one person who thought that the melting of sea ice was capable of raising sea level, for example, by mentioning Archimedes Principle.

    You will likely gain some insight if you read:

    http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4309

    My own blog is:

    http://johnallmanuk.wordpress.com

    I think that ethical thought experiments are a useful tool. I therefore do try to do “hypothetical situations” as “well” as I can, myself. I hadn’t noticed that those with ideologies were inferior to those without them, in “doing” them, so I hadn’t embarked upon speculations like you own, as to why this might be, if it was true. To tell you the truth, I suspect nearly everybody of having an ideology or two, even if it remains implicit, unacknowledged.

  58. 58
    billdaniels

    I did the lifeboat experiment in a Sensitivity Training Class 1975 when I was working for Sears. One of the women in the lifeboat was supposed to be Jewish. She also had a couple of kids. We started talking about how much of a loss her death would cause on her family. I mentioned that most of the Jews I knew (including many of my relatives) had relatively strong families and her kids would probably have other relatives to rely on. I was labeled an anti-Semite by all of the non-Jews in the group. Apparently you can’t say anything about a minority in front of bigots. One of the women in the group was a lesbian. One of the older, African American women in the group stated that that was all she needed to know and tossed her out of the boat. I’m gay and I would have challenged her if the company hadn’t been so homophobic at the time.
    I’ve always thought that the only ones who like training like that are the people who already are sensitive to others’ feelings. The target audience never gets it and probably never will.

  59. 59
    John Allman

    @ Michael Heath

    “This is evidence you’re the most uninformed U.S. citizen I’ve ever encountered on the Internet.”

    I’m not a US citizen.

    “And yet you still attempt to rebut those who are well-informed?”

    I haven’t tried to “rebut” anybody.

    “you’re … the second most arrogant person I’ve encountered on the Internet.”

    Whatever.

  60. 60
    Lofty

    Good grief. The proper answer to the question in the OP is:
    .
    Smash all the satanic dialysis machines, gather together fearfully, pray real hard so that the Lard hears you, the number saved will equal the number the Lard deems worthy of saving. No thinking required.

  61. 61
    colnago80

    Re Michael Heath @ #56

    In all fairness, it is quite possible that many folks outside the USA have never heard of Phillis Schlafly. I am sure that there are similar nutcases residing in Great Britain and elsewhere whom I have never heard of. For instance, I would suspect that many folks on this side of the pond have never heard of limey Melanie Phillips, who may be even more screwy then Schlafly.

  62. 62
    Raging Bee

    Sixth-grade children in a history class in the Bryant School District in Arkansas (whose website brags that the district “has embraced” Common Core standards) were assigned a project to update the U.S. Bill of Rights because it is “outdated.”

    When I was in sixth grade, I was starting to think about overthrowing capitalism altogether and replacing it with a single global communist government. This penny-ante crap from Arkansas isn’t even worth sneezing at.

    I’m willing to bet that the Second Amendment was one of the bits those kids classified as outdated (with good reason) — and THAT is what Schafly and her chums are freaking out about.

  63. 63
    Raging Bee

    Ms Schlafly is an intellectual, but she is by now 89 years old. It seems likely that she was suffering from a lapse in concentration at the time of making such obviously-mistaken remarks.

    Wrong. She’s been this batty, this hateful, and this willfully stupid since she first hit the stage in the 1970s. And NO ONE outside her own extreme reich-wing camp ever considered her an “intellectual.”

    Most of the online debate about abortion simply doesn’t engage the deep issues at all.

    Which deep issues, exactly, have gone untouched?

    I have corrected at least one person who thought that the melting of sea ice was capable of raising sea level, for example, by mentioning Archimedes Principle.

    Polar ice is melting, and sea levels are rising. Those are observable and verified facts, and “mentioning” a principle doesn’t change them.

  64. 64
    John Allman

    @ Raging Bee

    I stand corrected, concerning Ms Scafly’s battiness.

    I cannot think of any deep issues that have “gone untouched” in the abortion debate. I didn’t say there were. What I said was that most of the online debate about abortion didn’t engage with the deep issues. What I meant was that the majority of the text typed in the online debate, avoided the deep issues.

    Some of the deep issues are:

    (1) the utilitarian calculus; this involves balancing the rights of certain humans against the rights of other humans

    (2) the equality or inequality of the interested parties

    (3) various non-scientific myths and doctrines of ensoulment, which that are invoked so subtly – even implicitly – that it can take some “debaters” days on end to reach an understanding that it is upon these myths and doctrines that their arguments depend.

    The distractions that dilute the content relevant to deep issues include the usual distractions, of ad hominem attacks instead of meeting arguments square-on, speculation as to the religious beliefs of opponents and attacking those possible beliefs ignoring the opponents’ entirely religion-neutral arguments. Then there is the dwelling upon extreme cases, such as the hypothetical gang-raped minor who might die if “forced” to remain pregnant to term. Then there is emotive criticism of the tactics used by various groups who advocate publicly for one side or other of the debate. Such distractions delay actually getting down to the deep issues, and, in many a thread, prevent this altogether.

    “Polar ice is melting, and sea levels are rising.”

    A reduction of the mass of sea ice cannot increase sea level. Sea level only rises as a result of a reduction in the mass of land ice. One of the poles is out to sea, and the other is in the middle of a continent so cold that it is uninhabitable.

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