Smug and stupid

Orac once again takes down Vox Day. Day read a study and misinterpreted it, which isn’t too surprising — Day is not particularly bright. In this case, the study was looking for correlations with Personal Belief Exemptions (PBEs). That is, they were trying to figure out what kind of traits underlie anti-vaccination attitudes. What wasn’t surprising is that they found a lot of well-off white people who oppose vaccination.

That played right into Vox Day’s biases. He opposes vaccination, so smart people oppose vaccination; he’s white and well-off, which to him is synonymous with being intelligent and right, so it turns into a regular orgy of confirmation bias.

The news that anti-vaxxers are whiter, wealthier, and better-educated than those who place blind faith in vaccines won’t surprise anyone who has actually engaged a vaccine enthusiast on the subject. None of them know anything about history, few of them know anything about science, and all of them are prone to simply repeating the usual vaccine scare rhetoric

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Speaking of coddled white guys…

The usual suspects are currently howling and thrashing and having temper tantrums over Steve Shives, another white guy who thinks we ought to welcome diversity, but they’re also taking the opportunity to fling accusations of hypocrisy my way. It’s simply amazing how triumphantly they are spamming my email and twitter account with this irrefutable proof that I lied.


Gosh. They got me now…oh, wait. Read that last comment. It might help.

No, I have never been accused of sexual harassment. If you were to have access to my employment record, you’d find it was completely clean — I simply do not harass women (or men, for that matter), and never have. It’s also not that I have been exonerated of charges — I’ve never been charged with harassment, because I’ve never done it (note that this does not imply that being accused means you are guilty), and I’ve scrupulously avoided circumstances where there is even an opportunity for such an accusation.

They love to make much of that incident in the 1990s — in which a young woman thought she could get a better grade by extortion. I responded by immediately removing myself from the situation and making the situation open to investigation by authorities. She did not accuse me because she couldn’t.

So I have been threatened with extortion, but no extortion took place. Similarly, I get weekly murder threats, but I have not been murdered. I am conscious of the distinction, but these wackaloons apparently are not.

By the way, these loons have also sent wild accusations of harassment to my university employers…who have treated their baseless bullshit with the respect they deserve. Those also are not credible accusations.

Only read Thoughtcatalog when you want to be dumber

So don’t read this link to an article titled 15 Men React To The Idea Of Taking Their Wife’s Last Name After Marriage, in which 15 men who are almost certainly as real as the guys writing in to Penthouse Forum give their reasons. One sample should be enough:

“If hoards of men started taking their wives’ surnames, it would be an unfortunate and perhaps irreversible step towards a matriarchal goddess culture, which blows for guys because those cultures used to routinely kill male infants and treat males like slaves. In a world where there are already very few incentives for men to get legally shackled, this is one slippery slope I wouldn’t want to slide down.”

I want to believe that that is intentional irony. I’m afraid that it isn’t.

It’s not a big deal. It just reveals the default bigotry Erickson was brought up with.

Erick Erickson, flaming wingnut, posted this amazingly revealing tweet this morning.

Growing up, I remember my parents never letting us have Asian food on December 7th. They were children of WWII.

So that’s how Republicans get made, boys and girls — by learning that nonsensical associations are truth. There are more Asians than just the Japanese, you know: the Chinese were our allies in that war. We were also at war with the Germans and the Italians…no word on whether the Erickson family also boycotted sausage and spaghetti. And, of course, the “Asian” food his family would have bought would have been grown and cooked by Americans.

It’s silly. With a name like his, his family should have refused instead to drink Guinness on the anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf (23 April 1014), like all of us good Scandinavian-Americans.

Erickson followed up with an accusation that we’re upset.

Leftists upset my parents wanted us to avoid Asian food on Pearl Harbor Day when we were growing up. Didn’t realize it was that big a deal

We’re not upset. We’re very appreciative of this insight into your poisonous upbringing, Erick! It helps us understand where you came from.

I am so sorry.

What about the Morris Northstar?

In light of Comma’s ongoing obsession, falsely accusing me of stealing or defacing the obnoxious, racist, far right wing alternative campus paper, the Morris Northstar, I thought you might be interested in the status of that rag. Here’s one of their racks:


Yep, empty. They haven’t published a single issue since last spring, when it finally dribbled off into irrelevant dissolution. I think it’s dead.

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What years of sneers and lies can do to you

I think I may have reached peak cynicism. I found this story of a teacher who got an anonymous note from a student sort of amusingly predictable. Here’s the note the student sent:

just wanted to let you know that I don’t have any respect for you as a teacher, not a professor, I refuse to call you that. And the reason I don’t have any respect for you is because you obviously have no self-respect at all. How am I supposed to respect you if you can’t respect yourself at all. And you know what really kills me about it is that you don’t feel bad about how you look or how you .. put yourself out there. You don’t look good. You need to take better care of yourself. And people do care what you look like. You’re a slob. You’re the size of a car, Kar-a. Now fuckin’ fix it. And I just gotta say that you’re not good as a teacher … you’re not confident. You can’t be confident being fat. Fuckin’ A. I hate you and everything you stand for. Your fuckin’ feminism is autistic. Nobody thinks it’s cool. You’re not special with your fuckin’ feministic beliefs. Go do something original and stop being a trendy whore. Bye-bye.

So, so familiar. I get that kind of thing every week, and at this point, I’d just laugh and laugh. Maybe I’d post it and mock it.

But I shouldn’t. This kid has real problems: he’s become a toxic sludge monster, loaded with terrible opinions and contemptible prejudices. That’s a real loss. The teacher it was sent to, Kara Waite, still has some little bit of hope left in her, and can still feel some pain and sympathy.

I cried for a world in which an intelligent, qualified woman can’t do something as simple as assign a little light feminist theory without being called a fat whore.

I cried because I had no idea which of my male students had left the message; it could have been any of them, and that thought made me terribly sad. I cried because female academics are the target of a truly insane amount of sexist behavior and bias. I cried because there are women in my life and past versions of myself who’d be crushed by a message like that. Women whose days would be wrecked by that hateful, cowardly bullshit. Women who’d think of it and start another crash diet, who’d remember it mornings in the shower, pinching their belly rolls and sobbing.

Me, I’d just write the student off as an irredeemable asshole. Some days, I just can’t muster much concern for the bearers of vicious toxicity.

The MFAP Hypothesis of Human Origins rides again!


A couple of years ago, I wrote a rebuttal to a crackpot claim for the origin of humans, which I called the MFAP Hypothesis. “MFAP” is short for “monkey fucked a pig”, which actually pretty much summarizes the whole idea. Eugene McCarthy (no, not that Eugene McCarthy) assembled a list of superficial similarities between humans and pigs — hairlessness, protruding noses, “snuggling”, that sort of thing — and concluded that a miscellany of appearances overwhelmed the actual genetic relationships and the absence of a feasible genetic mechanism to permit human-porcine hybridization to lead to the inevitable conclusion that, in the distant past, our primate ancestors bred with pigs.

It’s got to be a joke, but McCarthy is very, very serious, and claims that, because he has a Ph.D. in genetics, it must be a reasonable hypothesis.

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The Haeckelization of Paul Davies

Davies is up to his same old nonsense again: he’s in Australia, lecturing people about his theory of the causes of cancer.

Seven years ago, the National Cancer Institute in the US asked Professor Davies to use his insight as a physicist to look at cancer. His conclusion is that most cancer biologists are thinking about the problem the wrong way.

Rather than treat cancer as a disease of cell mutation, he and his colleague Dr Charley Lineweaver at the Australian National University have developed what they say is a new theory of cancer that traces its origins to the dawn of multicellular life more than a billion years ago.

Professor Davies believes cancer cells are a “reversion to an ancestral phenotype”, the physical expression of deep genetic information that springs from the very nature of multicellular life.


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But how will you know?

The president of a fake university, Liberty University, wants students to carry guns so they can “end” Muslims before they even walk in the door.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. urged students during Friday’s convocation to carry concealed weapons on campus in the wake of Wednesday’s massacre in San Bernardino, California.

Students erupted in applause; however, the remarks did not come without controversy after some felt Falwell unfairly called out an entire religion rather than just extremists.

It just blows my mind when I see that the president of the United States [says] that the answer to circumstances like that is more gun control, Falwell said. … I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in.

I’m trying to figure out how this works. So before they commit any crime, before they draw their guns and charge in blazing, you’re supposed to just shoot Muslims? But how will you know they’re terrorists? Is it just open season on Muslims?

He did clarify, and explain that not all Muslims are evil. Just the ones who shoot people.

I was referring to ‘those Muslims’ that just carried out attacks in Paris and California, he said in the tweet clarifying his comments.

So…we should be armed, so that we can shoot people who are, perhaps, carrying weapons before entering a college classroom, for instance? I don’t think he’s thought this through. He seems to be suggesting that we summarily execute religious fanatics and fundamentalists who are walking around public places with weapons, while telling an institution full of religious fanatics and fundamentalists that they should be carrying weapons in public places.

I’m trying to keep an open mind. I’m not at all a fan of violence, but if the college president wants to turn Liberty University into an apocalyptic wasteland of paranoid gunslingers, who am I to argue?