“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”

Lenar Whitney, Republican congressional candidate from Louisiana, dared to use that line from Orwell while accusing virtually every climate scientist in the world of lying.

Practically every word in that monolog is a lie, or a product of exceptional ignorance. And the terrifying thing is that she knows it.

… when I pressed Whitney repeatedly for the source of her claim that the earth is getting colder, she froze and was unable to cite a single scientist, journal or news source to back up her beliefs.

To change the subject, I asked whether she believed Obama was born in the United States. When she replied that it was a matter of some controversy, her two campaign consultants quickly whisked her out of the room, accusing me of conducting a “Palin-style interview.”

Unbelievable. But these are the people dominating the Tea Party right now.

By the way, here’s the summary of the recent IPCC report (pdf), if you want to see the data that Whitney pretends doesn’t exist.

Please, taunt me some more

The latest gloating meme clotting up my email is this one; a lot of MRAs seem to think this is an irrefutable argument against feminism by a man who supports feminism, me.

sexualharassment

The incident actually happened, and those are my words. I have no problem with that. However, it’s not making a point in their favor.

  • That the incident occurred does not refute anything I’ve ever said; false rape accusations do occur. But notice the last point; they’re relatively rare.

  • In over 30 years of teaching, this was the only time a woman attempted to extort me. Once. In 30 years. At the same time, every year I have heard of rapes and/or attempted rapes on my campuses. Final point stands confirmed.

  • One thing not mentioned in the story: when I went to immediately report this incident, I was not questioned. No one asked me if I’d led her on; no one thought I was making up a story to hurt a young woman; I was taken seriously and the complaint was addressed seriously. In part it was because I acted promptly and got witnesses, but let’s have no illusions — as a man, my word counts for more.

  • Perhaps the most important lesson, that my smirking taunters ought to learn, is that I did not come away from this unpleasant occasion with the idea that all women are conniving “bitches”. I was able to recognize that this was an unusual circumstance with a desperate young woman who was not plotting against me, but on the spur of the moment tried an unlikely ploy to save her grade.

So yes, please do keep trying to strike against me or my reputation with these kinds of games. Only an MRA would think this anecdote is somehow damning.

I get email

I propose a general rule: the surest way to get someone outraged is to criticize their heroes, whether they’re political, religious, scientific, or atheist. The only solution is to not have any heroes.

It seems that I dared to criticize John C. Wright, and one of his fans wrote to disagree with me.

Mr. Myers,

I was made aware of your blog post by John C. Wright’s mention of it. I suggest you read his opinion of it, it is instructive to say the least.

I have never read anything written by Vox Day. However I have read nearly everything by John C. Wright. I share his opinion that your choice of choice of “damning” passages written by Vox Day could have been better made. Particularly by a biologist.

Because there’s nothing more hilarious than a supposed scientist arguing that fertility in women is a social construct, and the fact that women are the only type of human who can bear children is a political issue.

So really, if that’s the worst thing you could come up with written by Vox Day, you should get yourself another horse to beat. This one’s dead.

I also saw your post, “I’ll be good Mommy…” I’m reminded of a post I wrote a while ago regarding the propaganda tactics being taken up by your fellow travelers in the mainstream press. They seemed distastefully familiar for some reason.

http://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.ca/2012/12/where-have-i-seen-that.html

In case your finger is too tired to click, I’ll sum it up for you. Your behavior in demonizing gun owners is a tactic first used to good effect by Mr. Joseph Goebbels. My father and uncles spent a goodly portion of their late teens and twenties sorting that little issue out. I could go through the whole rest of my life quite happily without seeing that repeated, thanks very much. Sadly, it looks like you aren’t going to let that happen.

The Phantom

“The Phantom”? Really? Was The Shadow too busy to write?

You might be wondering what Wright said about me. Here’s Wright’s comment:

This is an interesting link. It is from a soul who thinks it is immoral to act professionally, that tolerating someone of unpopular, or, rather of rightwing opinions (which are here said both to be poison and to dominate the narrative) is intolerable. You are not supposed to read books and judge them on their merits. Politics is precisely what a professional association of science fiction writers gathered to protect the interest of science fiction should be about.

With utterly unintentional hilariousness, the writer denounces Theodore Beale in words of thunder as a misogynist, and to prove the point quotes a utter bland an uncontroversial statement that women are better off marrying young, when they are at their most fertile and most able, thanks to the energy of youth, to care for their babies. (He has said many more misogynistic things, some of which have indeed offended me; why pick this passage? I can only speculate it is because here Beale puts his finger on what feminists hate most. They hate being women, they hate being wives, they hate being mothers, they hate fertility, and therefore they hate babies with the hatred of Moloch)

For them, everything is politics, and politics is religion, and anyone not on the side of the Leftwing angels is on the side of the Rightwing devils. These are intolerant, zealous, uncivilized fanatics. It is not because of us that there is no middle ground, no quarter, no rules of engagement. This is their life. This is their all.

No sane man would agree to join, pay dues to, or remain a member of a professional organization like that.

Let me break that first letter down into two parts. The first part is this bizarre argument that Vox Day has said many things that are far worse than the one quote I gave — please, Lord, may I never have defenders this incompetent. Then, further, they make the claim that what Day/Beale wrote was “a utter bland an uncontroversial statement” [sic] that I, as a biologist, ought to know was completely true, and that somehow I was “arguing that fertility in women is a social construct”. Say what? It seems the one quote I excerpted was a particularly good one for smoking out people who thought it was innocuous. Here is the post I wrote, and here is that bland and uncontroversial quote from Day/Beale:

Because raising girls with the expectation that their purpose in life is to bear children allows them to pursue marriage at the age of their peak fertility, increase the wage rates of their prospective marital partners, and live in stable, low-crime, homogenous societies that are not demographically dying. It also grants them privileged status, as they alone are able to ensure the continued survival of the society and the species alike. Women are not needed in any profession or occupation except that of child-bearer and child-rearer, and even in the case of the latter, they are only superior, they are not absolutely required.

I guess I need to spell out what is objectionable in that statement to the clueless: it is not that only women are capable of getting pregnant, or that fertility is a social construct. It’s the assertion that the purpose of women’s lives is to bear children. It is the reduction of half of humanity to one biological function, without recognizing that they can have additional abilities and aspirations that give them fulfillment, and that they can contribute to society in a great many ways. It is the assumption that culture is by and for men, and that women’s role is to support them…and that they should be damned grateful for that privilege.

That Wright and “The Phantom” think that statement is uncontroversial shows how deeply the poison has gone.

The second part is the traditional invocation of Godwin’s law. The post he linked to is stupid and vacuous; it was prompted by Rachel Marsden’s response to the Newtown murders, in which she encouraged more background checks to keep guns out of the hands of the “mentally stunted, emotionally disturbed and deeply insecure”. From that beginning, “The Phantom” leapt to the conclusion that Marsden had just called all gun owners “mentally stunted, emotionally disturbed and deeply insecure”, and therefore, she was just like Joseph Goebbels because… insert cartoon of overweight gun owner fondling a gun, followed by unrelated Nazi caricature of overweight Jewish man, therefore liberals equal Nazis.

It’s the flimsiest excuse to compare gun owners to victims of the Holocaust that I’ve yet seen.

It’s a fair fight, but it’s hard fought

Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar seems to be doing all the right things in congress — I’ll definitely be voting for her again, and also for Al Franken. All of you from states with less progressive representation can’t imagine how good it feels to actually have politicians in office who do good, rather than providing embarrassing soundbites. One of her latest efforts is a bill to close loopholes in background checks for gun sales.

For women, domestic violence is the greatest risk factor associated with guns. According to Everytown, “The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be murdered,” and some Center for Disease Control statistics suggest more than 50 percent of female homicides are attributable to intimate partner violence.

Klobuchar’s bill, the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act, would close gaping holes in background check laws that don’t bar gun ownership by abusive dating partners rather than spouses, and don’t incorporate many stalking crimes.

This is a popular bill — polls show that the electorate, even the responsible gun owning electorate, thinks it’s a good idea to keep guns out of the hands of your local angry bully. But as you might guess, the NRA opposes it, and they’ve got a few politicians in their pocket who’ve also been told to kill the bill, or similar bills in their home states.

And that’s where it gets interesting and uncomfortable. Democrats are fighting back. Not Klobuchar directly, but three states are running an ad right now to highlight the use of guns in domestic abuse — three states with three states with Republican shills for the NRA.

The thing is that the ad they’re running portrays a fairly common domestic abuse scenario, and it is terrifying. It was a punch in the gut for me, and I’m a guy who’s never been in this kind of situation, ever, so I’m warning you: if you’ve ever had a stalker or abuser, this is an extremely potent video.

Maybe this is what we need to do more of — slap people in the face with the horror of what our irresponsible gun policies do to people. My one concern is that there may actually be people who sympathize with the man in this ad, rather than the woman.

The most brilliant business plan ever

Take a look at the kind of profit you can make from various businesses. This is pretty good money.

profits

We all know Apple’s business model is to build cool gadgets with high end stuff inside that it then sells at a high markup for premium design and ease of use — they’re at least creating something novel. But what makes Wiley and Elsevier so profitable?

That’s the genius of it all. Their customers create everything, they charge the customers for the privilege of selling it to the publisher, and then they sell it back to their customers. Imagine if Apple did that: all of you homebrew computer people who buy components and assemble them into functioning wholes and trick them out with spiffy bells & whistles are contacted by Apple, who offers to take them off your hands if you pay them a few hundred dollars, and they then take your creation, polish up the case a bit, stick an Apple logo on it, and sell it in their catalog for a few thousand dollars.

Oh, also, when you buy an “Apple”, they require that you get shipped a broken Sinclair and an old Commodore PET. It’s part of the deal.

That’s how the scientific publishing houses operate. It’s a broken system that profits the middlemen.

The fuddy-duddies still thrive

Kate Clancy comments on a ‘satire’ published in a serious journal.

Genome Biology published a satirical piece by Neil Hall today, and since I’m American and he’s British I don’t find it funny. No wait, it’s that I’m female and he’s male. Or maybe that I’m junior and he’s senior. I’ve got it, it’s because he has a ton of publications (many times the number I have), and I have a ton of Twitter followers (many times the number he has). Meaning, my K-index knocks his out of the park.

Let me back up. You see, Hall created a joke metric he calls the Kardashian Index, which is one’s Twitter followers divided by one’s scientific citations. He writes:

“Hence a high K-index is a warning to the community that researcher X may have built their public profile on shaky foundations, while a very low K-index suggests that a scientist is being undervalued.”

Ha ha. Hilarious. You know how you could optimize your k-index? Never talk to the public at all. What this guy has done is published a joke that reflects the attitude of many senior people in the scientific community, that not only is communicating science to the world valueless, it reduces the value of the science. If he really wants to piss on his colleagues, he should have added something about how teaching is a debit on your academic credit, too.

I remember when Sagan was denied tenure at Harvard (which isn’t too surprising, Harvard is extraordinarily full of itself) and also refused admission to the National Academy of Sciences — the perception was that he was just too danged good as a popularizer, so he couldn’t possibly be a serious scientist. At the time, I was reassured that all the tightly puckered sphincters who were offended by popularizing science were old, and would be dying off, and it would be getting better. And now I’m getting old and gray myself, and they’re still hanging in there, immortal, apparently. I think they must live forever by sucking the joy of science out of children’s brains.

Maybe we need a different index, one that penalizes scientists who clutter up the scientific literature with fluffy stupid opinion pieces padded with pseudoscientific and contrived formulas marked as humor. It was the kind of thing that, instead of being elevated by Genome Biology, might have been better presented as a tweet. Except that distilling it down to 140 characters would have made its inanity even more obvious, and it would have hurt his k-index.

More legal fun and games from Kent Hovind!

Kent Hovind wants the property he forfeited in his criminal conviction back! He has filed a lis pendens on the property that was seized. I am not a lawyer, and had to look it up, but apparently it’s an intent to make a legal claim on some real estate. I guess you’re not supposed to do that with properties forfeited to the government in a legal process, and which are under an injunction. But the law won’t step ol’ Kent!

So the court has fired back with a threat to hold him in contempt.

Kent E. Hovind is required to appear before the Court at 8:00 a.m., on September 8, 2014, to show cause why he should not be held in criminal contempt of Court, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 401(3) and Fed. R. Crim. P. 42(a). This will be a jury trial and will be held in Courtroom 5, United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division, located on One North Palafox Street, Pensacola, Florida 32502.

He has an option to get a court-appointed defense lawyer. I hope he doesn’t, and instead relies on the advice of his wacky right-wing conspiracy theorist buddies, because the shenanigans are always so entertaining. Anyone remember subornation of false muster?

Another thumbs up for AtheistTV!

Ken Ham hates it! He’s actually pretty clueless.

The new channel brags of having “superstition-free programming,” which implies that religion is just silly superstition but atheism is rational and logical. However, laws of logic and rationality only makes sense if God, who is logical, created them and made us in His image so that we can understand them! Laws of logic shouldn’t exist in a completely random materialistic universe that the atheists believe in —and yet they do!

But god is illogical. There is no reason to believe in any deity, let alone the bizarre one Ken Ham worships, who is little more than a tribal warlord writ large, promoting archaic ideas like blood sacrifice.

If logic can only arise from a logical intelligence, where did Ken Ham’s putatively logical god come from?

It is incredible that atheists spend so much time, effort, and money arguing against Someone that they don’t even believe exists! Where are all their books, websites, and magazines that argue against the mythical Easter Bunny? This is because they do know God exists but they are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).

No, I don’t believe god exists. I do believe religion exists. When militant EasterBunneyists start running for political office to promote their beliefs, I’ll argue against them more.

And why do atheists care so much about proclaiming their message? Atheism offers no hope and is ultimately a totally purposeless religion. If you die, that’s all there is, so why do atheists push so hard to preach their message of hopelessness? Why does it matter to them what anyone believes? It’s because they have the knowledge of God stamped on their hearts but are living in rebellion against their Creator (Romans 1:18; 3:10, 24–25).

Weird. No. I don’t believe in gods. One trivial, basic fact about atheism…and Ken Ham gets it wrong. Also, our message is that it’s a fool’s game to live for an imaginary life after you’re dead. Life’s beautiful, live for it now.

But here’s the part of Ham’s tirade I find particularly funny.

Sadly, this new TV channel is not just targeting adults with a hopeless message of godlessness, but they are also trying to indoctrinate children into an atheistic worldview. Isn’t it bad enough that humanistic thinking has lead to over 55 million deaths of aborted children in the U.S. alone, and now the atheistic humanists want to continue their attacks to poison and destroy the minds children who have survived the abortion holocaust. You see, we live in a world that is fiercely battling for the hearts and minds of our kids. And yet, it is a world where those who teach their kids the truth of God’s Word are accused of child abuse!

Unforgivable! They’re teaching children!

But here’s his very next paragraph:

But Scripture commands believers to “train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6), so we need to boldly stand on the authority of God’s Word and teach our children that the Bible’s history—and message of salvation—can be trusted. I encourage you to take advantage of our “Kids Free in 2014” program at the Creation Museum—bring as many kids as you can to hear the message that the Bible can be trusted, there is a God, and He died for them.

There is a god, and he’s dead! Oh, wait, he’s not. He was just restin’ for a bit. You have to catch ‘em young to convince people to believe that kind of nonsense.

Note to self: Avoid scheduling layovers in Arizona

What the hell is wrong with that state? No public place is safe.

A brain scientist was arrested on suspicion of pointing a rifle toward a woman and her 17-year-old daughter inside a busy Phoenix airport terminal, police said Monday. Peter Steinmetz, 54, who works for the Barrow Neurological Institute, removed the AR-15 assault rifle from over his shoulder in a Starbucks at Sky Harbor International Airport on Friday and pointed it in the direction of the women, Sgt. Steve Martos of the Phoenix Police Department said in a statement. Arizona law permits the carrying of semi-automatic weapons in public areas, including the non-secure zones of airports.

One of the pointless things about security theater is that we now have these amazing pileups of people at security checkpoints — if someone wants to kill a lot of people all at once, do it at the security line on a busy morning at the airport. And the Phoenix airport allows people to stroll in with assault rifles, no problem? If I were a terrorist, my eyes would light up at the news of such a ripe opportunity.

Although, this is Arizona…I’m sure any brown people who walked in with an assault rifle would be immediately confronted, since white people never commit terrorist acts.

And why does that guy (who is living proof that you don’t need to be a genius to earn a doctorate) need an assault rifle at an airport Starbucks? I know the coffee is overpriced and burnt, but there are better ways to respond.