The dark side of Hitchens


It’s only fair to balance the light — Hitchens was a glorious writer and rhetorician, an advocate for atheism, and a brave human being — with the dark, and point out that there were subjects on which he was infuriating.

Alex Pareene brings up his peculiar misogyny and his support for war.

And so we had the world’s self-appointed supreme defender of Orwell’s legacy happily joining an extended misinformation campaign designed to sell an incompetent right-wing government’s war of choice. The man who carefully laid out the case for arresting Henry Kissinger for war crimes was now palling around with Paul fucking Wolfowitz.

I remember his talk at a FFRF meeting that dismayed the audience. He promoted jingoistic violence as the solution to everything in the Middle East.

Then it was Hitchens at his most bellicose. He told us what the most serious threat to the West was (and you know this line already): it was Islam. Then he accused the audience of being soft on Islam, of being the kind of vague atheists who refuse to see the threat for what it was, a clash of civilizations, and of being too weak to do what was necessary, which was to spill blood to defeat the enemy. Along the way he told us who his choice for president was right now — Rudy Giuliani — and that Obama was a fool, Clinton was a pandering closet fundamentalist, and that he was less than thrilled about all the support among the FFRF for the Democratic party. We cannot afford to allow the Iranian theocracy to arm itself with nuclear weapons (something I entirely sympathize with), and that the only solution is to go in there with bombs and marines and blow it all up. The way to win the war is to kill so many Moslems that they begin to question whether they can bear the mounting casualties.

Slaughtering civilians does not seem to be a solution that ever brings peace…unless it’s carried to the degree that an entire people is exterminated, and then the only peace is the peace of the grave.

Hitchens was a complicated fellow: talented and intelligent, and on some subjects he was warm and humane and a true child of the Enlightenment. And on others, a bloodthirsty barbarian and a club-carrying primitive. At least in his final months it was the civilized and thoughtful humanist who emerged most.

Comments

  1. says

    Slaughtering civilians does not seem to be a solution that ever brings peace.

    And it’s sad that many people, Hitchens included, believed that. War is not the answer to the problem in the Mid East; it only aggravates the problems there.

  2. Alex says

    This was definitely one of the biggest chinks in Hitch’s armor. His rantings on Islam always gave me pause — there was always this sort of elephant in the margins anytime I read his pieces on the whole “Muslim problem” he envisioned, as if he was leaving its solution ominously unsaid. I always wanted to sit him down and say, “So . . . what? For all the examples and evidence and everything that you provide for why Islam is such a great force for evil in the world (and I agree, it is — same as Christianity, and all other forms of paternalistic theism), what do you propose we do about it? Go to war indefinitely? Round them up into camps until they relinquish Islam? Kill them all? Where do we stop?” Honestly, I don’t think I ever REALLY wanted an answer from him about that.

  3. DLC says

    Nobody is perfect. I once damned someone for forsaking Jesus.
    I probably believed it quite fervently at the time.
    I also think Hitch has been quoted out of context a few too many times. Not to defend him — Hitchens’ words speak for themselves, and they are not always right. But he was right more than wrong.

  4. says

    Slaughtering civilians does not seem to be a solution that ever brings peace…unless it’s carried to the degree that an entire people is exterminated, and then the only peace is the peace of the grave.

    And particularly galling is suggesting this as a response to terrorism. That’s problematic because 1)It is terrorism, and 2)one of the goals of terrorism is to provoke the powers-that-be into some kind of hideous overreaction, winning hearts and minds and bodies to your cause.
    But I suppose we all have our blind spots. And Islam really does suck.

  5. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I have actions in my past that I deeply regret. Fortunately for me, all the ones that come readily to mind were ones that happened before I turned 18 and my post hoc rationalizations (I was only a child; brain development continues til the early 20s!) can help serve me well in permitting me to think of myself as a “good person” despite having done some things early in my life that I would never do now.

    And so I have some sympathy for Hitchens’ fallibility. And yet… “Aggressive war” as was stated in trials of the Nazi command after WW2 was the “linchpin crime” that permitted, justified, and made possible all the subsidiary “crimes against humanity” with which the Nazi’s were charged at Nuremberg.

    I still harbor great sadness that Hitchens’ wasn’t more critical of the thinking around and justifications for the US wars of the Naughties (yes, pun intended… and yet it seems so utterly effing inadequate that one is almost better off imagining no homophone exists).

  6. Xios the Fifth says

    I’m going to use this opportunity (at around midnight where I am, so sorry if this makes little/no sense) to rant.

    It irritates me to the highest possible extreme when I hear people say that because person A has an opinion that they disagree with nothing else they say can be trusted.

    Not only have I seen this done with Christopher Hitchens (may Cthulu enjoy his soul) but also with people as diverse as Thomas Jefferson and Richard Dawkins.

    I disagree with Thomas Jefferson’s keeping of slaves, his hypocritical words given that he kept slaves and his lack of planning with his economic situation.

    I disagree with some of the statements Richard Dawkins has made in the past, though I am unaware on his current stances on many issues (and I certainly agree with Prof. Dawkins on more points than I do Mr. Hitchens).

    When it comes to ideas, picking and choosing is truly the only way to go. I probably agree with Bill O’Reilly on something (Chocolate tastes good?), but given the rest of his biblically belligerent bile, I’m not about to invite him over for lunch anytime soon.

    As far as the points that I do agree with Hitchens on are concerned, however, he is (in his writings and on tape) simultaneously loud and (usually) eloquent, so we ignore his words and thoughts at our peril-some of his ideas, admittedly, I could do without.

    /endrant

  7. says

    His gradeschool critiques of Black lesbian comedian Wanda Sykes (here and here) were some things that I consider his lowest alongside his unbridled hatred for the Clintons and his gullible fall for W’s lies and authoritarian tendencies.

    Perhaps I’m being too lenient, but those were not the things I loved him for. I didn’t expect him to be perfect, but it would be hard to find a more perfect speaker for the atheist cause.

  8. seraphymcrash says

    His stance on the war in Iraq was infuriating, but it was his attitude towards women (Women can’t be funny…) that I found the most offensive.

    But then unfortunately many of my favorite writers seemed to have a misogynistic streak (some more of a river than a streak).

  9. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    The wingnuts always say: “9/11 changed everything.” And it did. Unfortunately, it seems to have driven a lot of people crazy.

    I had read books by Christopher Hitchens before 9/11. To my eternal shame, I had read books (several each) by Victor Davis Hanson and Daniel Pipes (to name two). Their pathology wasn’t as obvious beforehand.

    I am still willing to read more of Hitchens’ books—I’d die before reading any more of Hanson’s or Pipes’. I think that says something—what, I’m not exactly sure.

  10. eigenperson says

    It irritates me to the highest possible extreme when I hear people say that because person A has an opinion that they disagree with nothing else they say can be trusted.

    The thing is, some people have the idea that there exist “Good People”. If a Good Person proposes something, even if they have no explanation for why it is good, then you should trust them on it, because a Good Person is very unlikely to propose something bad.

    Personally, I do not think Good People exist (or, if they do, they are very unusual). But if they do, Hitchens is definitely not one of them. In fact I would actively assume something that came out of his head would be more likely to be bad than good. His track record is terrible.

    But he also has this filter called rationality which he applies most of the time to get rid of all those bad ideas and replace them with good ones. The best example I can think of is waterboarding, where he originally claimed fairly prominently that waterboarding was not torture. (I have no idea why he would make such a stupid claim.) But then he did something completely amazing, which was to test his claim. And it was falsified. And thereafter he never made the stupid claim again.

    I’m convinced that if Hitchens saw the result of some of his proposed policies (e.g. killing all Muslims), he would have similarly changed his mind about them. Fortunately, he never got the chance.

  11. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    Then it was Hitchens at his most bellicose. He told us what the most serious threat to the West was (and you know this line already): it was Islam….

    At least he started off pretty much right at that meeting. I can’t think of a bigger threat to the West, can you? Hell China is going to become part of ‘the West’ at the rate it is going. Who else besides the Islamic Fundamentalist nutjobs can compete for the spot of most serious threat? Although…. that’s just the first sentence in the summary of Hitch’s talk at that meeting. It all goes horribly wrong after that. I give a big W-T-F to the rest of what he said there.

    Anyway, glad PZ made another post abut Hitchen’s less than stellar qualities and positions. When Steve Jobs died I read one too many articles which made him sound like some perfect god-like being. Bleh. Rather have an accurate picture of a person, warts and all. With Hitchens the positives far far outweighed the negatives.

  12. says

    Yes, I never really understood or agreed with his support of the war in Iraq or his seeming obsession with attacking Clinton. I most respect him for what he had to say about religion and his unflinching questioning of authority – any and all authority. He well understood, I think, that respect is earned, not given outright.

  13. Ze Madmax says

    WishfulThinkingRulesAll @ #11:

    I can’t think of a bigger threat to the West, can you?

    .

    In the U.S.? Fundamentalist Christianity, as they are just as regressive as fundamentalist Islam, but are far more likely to attain power and thus be in a position to impose its religious fascism on this country.

    In Europe… I guess it depends. But from what I’ve seen, Christian or right wing extremists seem like a far bigger threat than Islam as well.

    Either way, Islam is NOT the biggest threat to the West, as Muslims represent a relatively powerless group in the vast majority of the Western world (except maybe for Turkey, if you choose to count Eastern Europe as “the West”)

  14. kreativekaos says

    As much as I admired Hitchens for his obvious writing and rhetorical talents, as well as being one of a number of focal intellectuals/writers over the past decade or so involved in strengthening the on-going job of ‘disinfection’ of the religious impulse in our species, I have to admit shaking my head at certain positions taken, such as seemingly blind support for the Iraq war, which he seemed to still have no qualms about even after the thorough discrediting of it’s stated basis by many sources and authoritative voices since it’s implementation. I am certainly glad there are some, at least, who in my opinion are rightfully critiquing him, as in posts above.

    If it was (as I understood his reasoning for supporting the war) to stem the spread of radical/violent Islamic influence after 9/11, I believe his (or any) support for military action should have focused where the most significant seed for it lay at the time–Afghanistan and the Taliban, rather than supporting actions based on trumped-up ‘evidence’, which was even being questioned shortly after the start of the war.

    As had been pointed out early on in the war, even in some organs of the mainstream media, weapons inspectors in Iraq at the time were openly questioning the existence of WMD’s, as well as the notorious aluminum tubes that were widely ‘pumped’ by the ‘CHENEY/Bush’ admin as ‘evidence’ of an active nuclear enrichment program, while lone voices were speaking out that it was unlikely, based on the evidence.

    It’s nice to see some balance here. It can be a fine line, indeed, from appreciating a gifted writer and rhetorician and agreeing with some solidly rational thinking on certain subjects/issues on one hand,… and what seems as almost deification of him on the other. I certainly appreciate and am thankful for the former, and shall not do the latter.

  15. pedranosapato says

    Yeap, Hitchens was not perfect and like any other human being was wrong sometimes (Iraq war, that was a really huge mistake).

    It’s good to let people know about all of his opinions and not just pick and choose. I’ll still miss him and his voice for reason.

    He was right about Islam though.

  16. says

    As I recall, Hitchens’ reasoning for his stance was based on his belief that muslim fundamentalism is simply too great a force in the Middle East, and although there are moderate muslims, they are too small in number to stop the various countries’ aggressive tendencies.

    He envisaged a future where all we were left facing was a wave of armed fundamentalism spilling outwards towards the ‘west’. It does worry me that after travelling so widely in the Middle East, he came to this conclusion about the moderates there.

    So although I would never wish for a war of annihilation, and maybe many people would say we should let our own civilisation fall rather than become party to such, I cannot 100% condemn his viewpoint. He believed there is the potential, under the right set of circumstances, for this planet to come 100% under muslim (sharia) rule. Given what that would mean for my gender, under those circumstances I might argue the same way he did.

  17. McCthulhu awaits the return of the 2000 foot Frank Zappa says

    While I may not agree with his opinions, I respect his decision to come to that outlook based on his experiences as a journalist stuck in the midst of war in those regions where Islam is everything. His perspective on the people and places is certainly one that most of us can’t begin to match and I wonder just how much more sympathetic we would be with his thoughts on the matter if we had been in the same line of work in the same places and times. It is sobering to think that if we were subjected to the same imagery we may feel hypocritical of our current opinions. That is what scares me the most about his words in that area.

  18. McCthulhu awaits the return of the 2000 foot Frank Zappa says

    Sorry, I just plagiarized tielserrath’s concept through space osmosis without intending to. Now I know how Leibniz felt.

  19. ikesolem says

    Hitchen’s drunken rants could be amusing but many were woefully uninformed. As such he was a perfect example of what the world sees as the “American stereotype” – arrogant and self-confident on one hand, ignorant and misinformed on the other.

    Any rational person would note that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with radical Islamic terrorism of the 9/11 variety – that was a product of the Saudi Wahhabi system, the sponsorship of Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan during the 1980s (the Soviet Afghanistan war) via Pakistan’s ISI – these were the people that Ronald Reagan invited to the White House in the 1980s and called “freedom fighters,” while sending them billions in aid. In fact, U.S. sponsorship of radical Islam goes all the way back to the 1950s in Egypt (the Islamic radical was seen by U.S. foreign policy planners as a useful bulwark against the Godless Soviets), with CIA money flowing to the Muslim Brotherhood (which opposed the pro-Soviet Nasser).

    You would think Hitchens, an ‘expert’, would be aware of this history, but no. You’d also think he’d be aware of the massive oil reserves in Iraq, whose capture and control was the real goal of the 2003 invasion and occupation – the deliberate lies about non-existent WMDs being nothing but the PR pony that dragged the war cart.

    For comparison (and proof that WMDs were not the issue), it turned out that Libya had real stashes of chemical and nuclear materials for WMD programs, but Qaddafi was certified as “terrorist-free” by Bush & Cheney at that time, a decision that had more to do with his opening the doors to U.S. and British oil and chemical and arms companies around that time – something that Saddam refused to consider. Our government gets in bed with lots of thugs, as long as they obey orders on those economic issues that Wall Street cares about.

    Indeed, the focus on Iraq left the central perpetrators of 9/11 – Al Qaeda and the Taliban – free to re-establish themselves in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2003-2008 or so, as well as serving as a giant propaganda tool for everyone from Iran to Al Qaeda – American colonial imperialism with the goal of controlling the oil, no matter how many people were killed. The whole episode was a disaster of epic proportions, a classic case of arrogant imperial overreach, and a permanent stain on America’s reputation. (This is probably why Bush & Cheney are persona non gratis on the campaign trail this year – an endorsement from them would be like the kiss of death.)

    The best explanation for Hitchen’s bizarre claims about Iraq and his promotion of religious war against ‘them’ is that 9/11 sent him into a drunken rage from which he never really recovered – and drunks aren’t known for making rational statements, are they? Howling at the moon, Bukowski-style, is more likely – and, oddly enough, Hitchens was proud of being a drunk, even if it killed him in the end (tobacco-assisted, sure).

    “We have wasted History like a bunch of drunks shooting dice back in the men’s crapper of the local bar” – Charles Bukowski

  20. spirokeat says

    I wonder if his corpse has actually cooled down yet.

    I don’t agree/understand with something he said does not equal he was wrong, disastrously wrong or an MRA misogynist. All it means is that you disagree with him.

    Hitchens was an INCREDIBLY complicated personality.

  21. Hammer of dog says

    Lurker here, coming out.

    I’ve always had mixed feelings about Hitchens because of his “dark side”. It seems to me that he harbored a bit of cognitive dissonance. To so strenuously and harshly object to male circumcision (I agree) yet support the mass annihilation of an entire world region is incredibly illogical. As much as I am against the forced mutilation of anyone’s genitalia, the damage to a person and society from that practice is not even in the same parsec as the damage from genocide. I can’t believe I actually felt the need to write that.

    I do share his desire to see an end to Islam, as well as every other religion, but we should not lower ourselves to religion’s level by using violence to snuff out the opposition. Hitchens has often condemned religion’s torture and murder of those unwilling to “convert” or of apostates. Us slaughtering an entire country because of their religious beliefs, even violent religious beliefs, is no different than the slaughter of those who would not accept Christianity, or Judaism or Islam, in the past. That Hitchens did not see this always surprised me from such a usually thoughtful and intelligent man.

  22. says

    Ikesolem:

    You’d also think he’d be aware of the massive oil reserves in Iraq, whose capture and control was the real goal of the 2003 invasion and occupation

    [citation needed]

    What percentage of oil used in America per year, comes from Iraq?

    I recall Skeptoid did a very good podcast looking at this exact issue. The figure was surprising, even to me.

  23. says

    Hitch was pretty consistently anti-tyrant and saw islam as the most active religion (one of tyranny’s tools) and therefore as the biggest threat. If you consider his views as anti-tyranny it explains a bit about Iraq, and the subsequent pain that his stand caused him.

    I once heard someone taking umbrage at the “misogyny” in Hitchens’ saying “Now… Sweetie…” during the blasphemy debate, but they didn’t realize that Hitch was addressing Stephen Fry. His crowd-displeasers in his “women aren’t funny” article certainly fell flat, and (more importantly) he should have left adaptationist fables to the adaptationists. I wish he were still around making such blunders.

  24. laurentweppe says

    In Europe… I guess it depends. But from what I’ve seen, Christian or right wing extremists seem like a far bigger threat than Islam as well.

    Christian and far-right extremism have been one and the same since the 19th century. Today it reaches ridiculous level with things like French far-right politicians proclaiming themsleves to be the epitome of secularist virtue while keeping christian fundies as their close allies while said christian fundies are also seen enthusiastically applauding the new über-secularist speeches of their pals because they know very well how empty is this new brand of far-right rhetoric

  25. says

    Did you really have to write that nonsense on the eve of his death? I find it quite tasteless and shameful.

    Hitchens was a great friend of the Iraqi people and in particular the Kurdish people. The Iraqis no longer have Saddam Hussein to deal with and can determine their future on their own. While you extreme leftists would rather remain complacent in allowing rogue regimes to acquire nuclear weapons, Hitchens clearly saw the threats posed in the region on two fronts: security for the international community and the human rights aspirations of the people in the region.

    And as an Iranian, he has always been a great friend of the Iranian people as well. Instead of spitting at Hitch on the eve of his death, you should look in the mirror and instead ask yourselves why you would rather bow down to the face of fascism.

  26. quoderatdemonstrandum says

    Ikesolem @20

    oddly enough, Hitchens was proud of being a drunk, even if it killed him in the end (tobacco-assisted, sure)

    What’s your point?

  27. nmcc says

    At last, a tiny bit of sanity. Thank you!

    And don’t forget, for most of his political existence, Hitchens was a murderous Trotskyist loon.

    In his final political incarnation, he was a Bush supporting and enabling murderous loon.

    Of his heroes, Rosa Luxembourg would have laughed in his face; George Orwell would have spat in his face; and Leon Trotsky would have been the cause of a weapon being discharged in the general vicinity of his face.

    Of his alleged massive brain power, it was little more than a good memory (except on the numerous times when he was completely wrong) and could be replicated exactly by taking the winner of a show like the UK’s Mastermind and putting little bits of connecting text in between his or her’s answers. That’s not ‘intelligence’, that’s an ability to remember things.

    Oh, and don’t forget his massive hypocrisy. I don’t know how many times I listened to Hitchens decry the ‘family values’ of the British Royals – from a man who left his pregnant wife at home to pursue a jounalistic assignment which involved (not out of journalistic duty, by any means, it has to be said) jumping into bed with his host the same night.

    Reading Dawkins eulogy in The Independent this morning, two thoughts occured to me: come back Mother Teresa, all is forgiven, and, hasn’t Richard Dawkins become an utter fucking arsehole!

  28. consciousness razor says

    Instead of spitting at Hitch on the eve of his death,

    No one is spitting.

    Also, “the eve of his death” would’ve been the evening or the day before he died. Presumably, you wouldn’t have liked it if we had criticized him then either, or at any time. If you could make your case, you could do so without dragging his dead body into it.

    you should look in the mirror and instead ask yourselves why you would rather bow down to the face of fascism.

    I ask myself why anyone would bow down to the U.S. military or to any warmongers, ever.

  29. sundiver says

    Hitchens’ hatred of tyranny drove him to look outrageous on occasion, but it’s a poor ethic that doesn’t make one look outrageous now and then. Reminds me of Whitman’s ” Contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes.”

  30. Teshi says

    Thank you for this. I think, if any group of people should be able to tell the truth (the complete picture) about someone after they die, it should be the skeptics.

    The last thing we want to do is forget that Hitchens, like all of us, could be wrong and how he could have been wrong.

  31. McCthulhu awaits the return of the 2000 foot Frank Zappa says

    I would cut Sassandarian some slack. What he said runs along the lines of what I was trying to get at earlier. Most of us are forming our opinions completely from the armchair. Without a life lead in the Middle East or a portion of a life reporting from there, I would be uncomfortable not keeping in the back of my mind that a person coming from the place has formed opinion from a perspective I couldn’t even begin to fathom. I just wonder how the foundations of our armchair opinions would be shaken if we had to recall Sassandarian’s or Hitchens’ memories for a day or two. Peace and reverence for life are the ideal, but in a chaotic universe the ideal and utopian are hardly ever going to be easy, or even possible in some instances. I wouldn’t condone a warlike action, but in the midst of a life-threatening mess (or recalling one to formulate a current action) my list of options may narrow considerably. I hope I never have to find out.

  32. says

    I seems to me that you folk are thinking that Hitch was Jesus and therefore should have been perfect. For godsake, give the man a break, he’s dead after all, lets ignore his failings, we can not change them, and should not allow them to influence us, and just focus on his positives, I am sure with some serious looking we can come up with one or two.

  33. consciousness razor says

    For godsake, give the man a break, he’s dead after all, lets ignore his failings, we can not change them, and should not allow them to influence us, and just focus on his positives, I am sure with some serious looking we can come up with one or two.

    Let’s ignore the positives as well, because we can likewise not change them, and should not allow them to influence us. I’m sure we could think of things which are neither positive nor negative; but whatever they are, we can’t change them either, and should not allow them to influence us, just focus on the absolute lack of anything of substance.

    /apologetics 101

  34. says

    Here is my note on the passing of the one and only Hitch:

    What Christopher Hitchens meant to me cannot really be described in words. He was such an amazing human being and I cannot believe he is really gone. Over the past few months he had even exchanged emails me with me on a couple of occasions. He was truly a hero.

    Christopher Hitchens was a man of courage and honor. Hitch always spoke his mind and took the fight to religious bigotry and was unapologetic about it. In addition, he was not a cultural relativist or an Islamic apologist like is the case with many atheists. He called Islamic ideology for what it truly was: totalitarianism and oppression. In addition, he was a great friend for freedom and democracy and although he was a leftist all his life, he stood and supported the Iraqi people for their quest for freedom – particularly the great Kurdish people. And as an Iranian, he was a great friend of the Iranian people and it is a shame that he was not able to see a free Iran in his lifetime. Most importantly: he was genuine and one of the most insightful and intelligent human beings I have ever heard whom possessed great insight and a realistic foresight of world problems.

    He was truly a hero of mine and I don’t have any other heroes. He was someone that inspired me in ways that cannot be expressed. For the rest of my life, I will try to live with his ideals and inspiration as much as I can. To be honest, right now has become one of the gloomiest and darkest days, and my heart feels empty.

  35. says

    Here is a short response Christopher Hitchens had emailed me back a few months ago: “Thanks for such warm words on what was a bleak day for me.
    Persian civilization will outlive the hooligans!
    CH”

  36. nmcc says

    I am aware that it should read ‘…Dawkins’s eulogy…’ in my comment above.

    Incidentally, I forgot to mention; on another thread a commenter was worrying her or himself silly about the vexing question ‘who will fill the vacant saddle of the Four Horsemen, now that Hitchens is no more?’

    May I respectfully suggest Hitchens’s bum chum, Smartin’ Anus. He’s already got all of the prerequisites for the role, besides the obvious one his name conjures up that is; an execrable, narcissistic bore being foremost amongst them.

  37. absolute says

    I smile when I think that Hitch would destroy you all, including PZ, in a debate on the war and on Islam. He never said we should slaughter civilians, he said clearly about the nuclear facilities of Iran. And that we should kill terrorists.

    Wow that is a controversial idea, killing people whose sole purpose in life it to end yours.

    And the misogyny? Please, 1 interview where he said that he felt like he should earn so much that his wife doesn’t have to work. She can, but doesn’t have to.

    … please get some real arguments against him, because those even I can dismiss.

  38. madtom1999 says

    Don’t talk ill of the recently dead?
    I doubt Hitch would have supported his becoming a minor deity through us tiptoeing round peoples feelings – I wouldn’t recommend going up to his family and close friends and pointing out his faults and mistakes just now but we don’t have to pretend they didn’t exist and I think he would be the first to savage his doppelganger if he had passed before him.

  39. quoderatdemonstrandum says

    nmmc @ 29

    That’s not ‘intelligence’, that’s an ability to remember things.

    No one who has read Hitchen’s books or heard him speak could sensibly come to that conclusion.

    You sir/madam, are an idiot.

  40. laurentweppe says

    I smile when I think that Hitch would destroy you all, including PZ, in a debate on the war and on Islam. He never said we should slaughter civilians,

    Let me tell you the rule number one of a Good Lie™: a Good Lie is first and foremost a lie not told to an audience who already know that your lie is a lie. If you tell the lie of creationism to an assembly of biologist, you’re not telling a Good Lie, if you tell the lie of holocaust denial to an assembly of historians, you’re not telling a Good Lie, if you’re telling the lie of Carebear Hitch who never advocated the slaughter of civilians on the very blog of a guy who was sitting next to him when Hitchens went into one of his genocidal rants, you’re not telling a Good Lie.

  41. says

    madtom1999,
    Indeed, I do not get this idea of pussyfooting around discussing the good and the bad of a person after they have died. Does anyone really think he would have cared or wanted people to wait a “respectful” amount of time after he died to discuss these things? It seems to be this would go against everything thing he wrote and felt about questioning what is going on in the world, questioning authority and people.

    When I die I hope people can be honest and act like adults and if they want to talk about me they can say whatever they want.

  42. says

    Regime change and supporting the Iranian people in Iran by getting rid of the terrorist Mullahs is not murdering innocent people. IT is getting rid of the terrorists who want to bring an end to humanity through their “hidden imam ideology” in which they themselves have cited Khamenei, Ahmadenijad, and Hassan Nasrallah as key players in the Hadith. And what does the “return of the hidden imam” curtail? Conquering of Jerusalem and the death of 2/3rd of humanity through war, chaos, famine, and destruction and once this is done, conquering of the west.

    You Islamic cultural relativists make me sick. For one to even claim Christianity and Islam are on the same level fundamentalism wise demonstrates clearly to all rational beings how out of touch with reality you truly are.

  43. Azkyroth says

    You Islamic cultural relativists make me sick. For one to even claim Christianity and Islam are on the same level fundamentalism wise demonstrates clearly to all rational beings how out of touch with reality you truly are.

    Has someone made a bingo card for this shit yet?

  44. says

    To add: I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of you so called “humanists” in actuality being supporters of the venom George Galloway. Yes, the man who cozies up with dictators and terrorists (from Saddam Hussein to Assad to Hamas), and who works for Islamic Republic state sponsored terrorist television channel. And believe it or not, he called the Taliban, “resistant fighters” and “heroes” as well as to the terrorists in Iraq who were taking part in suicide bombings of civilians.

  45. Renolds says

    Woah, I have watched a lot of Hitchen’s material over the years and it is true he advocated sending in the army to disarm Iran etc. But I have never seen him advocate the slaughter of civilians. Do you have a source PZ?

  46. consciousness razor says

    You Islamic cultural relativists make me sick.

    Who the fuck is making you sick again? Because I don’t see any Islamic cultural relativists here.

    But I have never seen him advocate the slaughter of civilians. Do you have a source PZ?

    PZ was at the conference and linked to his earlier report of it. I suppose others could corroborate his description of Hitchens’ speech, but if you want a transcript or video, you’ll have to look for it yourself.

  47. azportsider says

    A friend of mine posted this about Hitch on his FB page: “I agreed with him 50% of the time, but respected him 100% of the time.” That covers my opinion nicely.

  48. sambarge says

    Any eulogy of Hitchens has to include his phenomenal blunders and missteps. Let’s not forget we’re talking about a man who, after Falwell’s death said that man was so full of shit that if you gave him an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. Hitchens was not into revering the dead. He would never advocate ignoring what you disagreed with in an attempt to canonize a public intellectual.

    If you support the removal of dictators in Iraq and Iran, that’s fine. I actually don’t have a problem with Hitchen’s stance on that. My problem was the allying of himself with snakes like Bush and Cheney to do it. The man who would crucify Kissisnger in bed with Darth Cheney? Saddam Hussein was a horrible person. Sure. Is Iraq better now that he’s gone? Maybe. Does that make the war justified or legal? No. Does that mean that the American government wasn’t looking to stop Iraq from selling oil to China rather than deliver the Iraqi people from tyranny? No. The American government doesn’t have a problem with tyranny; they have a problem with tyrants that won’t do exactly what the American government tells them to do.

    Also, I’ve defended Hitchens’s sexism with the old “it’s not the worst case of sexism I’ve witnessed in a public intellectual” but the man had archaic ideas about women. He wasn’t a misgynist but he wasn’t a feminist either. He was like most privileged, white men – a bit of jerk but he wasn’t a complete write-off.

    So, people who are offended by criticisms of Hitchens have to get the fuck over themselves – as Hitchens probably would have said.

  49. says

    At least he started off pretty much right at that meeting. I can’t think of a bigger threat to the West, can you?

    of course I can. The only thing that at the moment seriously threatens Western Civilization as a whole is Western Civilization’s unwillingness to stop AGW.

    Did you really have to write that nonsense on the eve of his death? I find it quite tasteless and shameful.

    what a garbled mess of a statement. what’s with the superstition of respecting the dead? they’re dead and don’t have the ability to give a fuck anymore.

  50. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    MR:

    in Hitchens’ saying “Now… Sweetie…” during the blasphemy debate, but they didn’t realize that Hitch was addressing Stephen Fry.

    Who is gay. *eyeroll*

    Renolds:

    Woah, I have watched a lot of Hitchen’s material over the years and it is true he advocated sending in the army to disarm Iran etc. But I have never seen him advocate the slaughter of civilians.

    What the hell do you think armies actually do? Especially in a situation like the ones we’re talking about (Iraq, Afghanistan) where the “opposing forces” aren’t marching around in their country’s uniform.

    As for the OP, I’m conflicted about Hitch. I didn’t love him or hate him, but there’s absolutely no point in lionizing him after his death. He was imperfect and that’s how he should be remembered.

  51. JoeBuddha says

    To me he was just another right-wing talking head with a terminal case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome helping the Bush administration lie its way into invading Iraq. It was only after hanging out on Atheist sites that I came to appreciate the other side of Mr. Hitchens, for which I’m grateful.

  52. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    sambarge #51

    Any eulogy of Hitchens has to include his phenomenal blunders and missteps. Let’s not forget we’re talking about a man who, after Falwell’s death said that man was so full of shit that if you gave him an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox.

    How is this a blunder or misstep? It seems a pretty good, albeit metaphorical, description of Jerry Falwell.

  53. axilet says

    @55 – I think sambarge is referring to the fact that Mr. Hitchens would agree that it’s useless to tiptoe around a person’s mistakes and flaws just because they recently died.

  54. frankniddy says

    I’m pretty sure there are at least 150,000 Iraqis (and possibly 500,000 or 1,000,000, if you believe the higher estimates) that don’t think they’re better off without Hussein. Because they’re dead. With that in mind, it took him 30 years to kill 500,000 of his own people, and we might have accomplished that in less than 10. I am absolutely not defending him, and I shed not one tear when that monster died. But everything the detractors said (that it would be a quagmire, that there weren’t WMDs) turned out to be right. Even if we could just take out Iran’s nuclear sites without killing hundreds of thousands of people, I would want us to be absolutely sure this time that there are WMDs.

  55. gravityisjustatheory says

    Is there a link to a transcript or recording of Hitchin’s “kill them all” speach?

  56. mikebarnes says

    This episode may be of no interest to Americans but I throw it in nonetheless:

    In 1982 Hitch was about the only person on the left who supported Mrs Thatcher’s Falklands War. I, in common with everyone else on the left, utterly repudiated the war for many of the same reasons that are mentioned in connection with Iraq: that it was led by a right-wing leader who only wanted to boost their popularity etc.

    I now know a lot more about the Falklands War than I did, and I’m ashamed to say that Hitch was 100% right. We (on the left) reacted to the fact all our obvious close to home enemies were for the war: the tabloid editors, right wing thugs, right wing politicians, etc. In the process we managed to ignore the reality for those Brits and Argentinians who were under the control of the (anti-semitic, raping, murdering) Argentinian generals of the time. We even invented our own myths to bolster our righteous stand, such as ‘Mrs Thatcher deliberately sank the Belgrano [an Argentinian cruiser with hundreds on board] to kill any peace plan’. This, it turns out, was utter shite, but we believed it and Hitch did not.

    Those now excoriating Hitch for his stand on Iraq (which I too have real problems with) should at least remember that he had many Kurdish friends and in that part of Iraq at least, the war has allowed a democratic secular republic to emerge.

    I don’t know what this proves, except that opinions too hastily arrived at by those who don’t know conditions on the ground can sometimes be regretted later. A bit vague but I’ve no axe to grind – just another viewpoint on Hitch’s own controversial stand.

  57. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Hitch’s life stands on its own, a monument of wit, skepticism, occasional wisdom and, yes, occasional folly. He expounded his ideas with eloquence and passion even if we did not always agree with those ideas.

    I disagreed with him on the Iraq war–perhaps the greatest blunder of a blunder-filled Bush Presidency. However, I take umbrage against the charge of accommodation. As skeptics, we should oppose religious fuckwittery whatever form it takes–Xtian, Muslim, Hindu or Druid. The difference is that in my own nation, fuckwittery is overwhelmingly Christian. I can oppose said fuckwittery by my vote and by my political advocacy–and yes, even by my coming to the defense of persecuted religious minorities, who themselves sometimes display religious fuckwittery.

    On the other hand, if I am to oppose the dominant religious fuckwittery of the Mullahs, my vote does not count. I can oppose it with my words, and I do. I do not see how it diminishes fuckwittery in general to take up arms against Islamic fuckwittery in the name of nationalistic fuckwittery.

    All the Iraq war accomplished was the deaths of over 100000 Iraqis, the replacement of a Sunni dictatorship with a Shia dictatorship, the establishment of Iran as the undisputed power in the Persian Gulf region and the bankrupting of the US treasury. Mission fucking accomplished.

  58. says

    The marvelous thing about atheism is that there is no supreme, perfect person that we must agree with all the time. With Hitchens, as with everyone, I take what I want and leave the rest. I am not his follower; I am a person who can learn from some of his ideas. Simple.

  59. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    All the Iraq war accomplished was the deaths of over 100000 Iraqis, the replacement of a Sunni dictatorship with a Shia dictatorship, the establishment of Iran as the undisputed power in the Persian Gulf region and the bankrupting of the US treasury. Mission fucking accomplished.

    I agree, except for the part about bankrupting the treasury. The US gummint isn’t bankrupt yet, although the Teabaggers are trying hard to make that happen.

  60. absolute says

    You all suck, as Hitchens once said at a book signing meeting to a group of people that prefer to wait for terrorists to attack or are indifferent to others being destroyed in unstable countries because we DON’T act.

  61. nmcc says

    Comment 42.

    ‘No one who has read Hitchen’s books or heard him speak could sensibly come to that conclusion.

    You sir/madam, are an idiot.’

    I very much doubt both statements, but thanks for the heads-up.

    I’ve criticised Hitchens in 3 or 4 relatively lengthy posts on RD.net long before his illness was diagnosed. I’m sure they wouldn’t be hard to find. Though whether they’d be worth your trouble of looking for them, I can’t myself vouch for.

    I’ve no interest in pursuing the matter here.

    Except to say, only a wretched narcissist like Hitchens could declare himself – in an interview with Jeremy Paxman not that long ago – still an advocate of Marx’s theory of historical materialism, whilst simultaneously spending the greater part of his life occupied with the essential twin tasks of indirectly ensuring the right of American capital to rule the world through the murder of countless men, women and children and disabusing people of the notion that they have an invisible friend living in the sky – oh, and keeping us informed about who sucked whose dick, of course. What a genius!

    If you gave Hitchens an enema, admittedly you’d need a slightly bigger box than a matchbox. Decorum prevents me suggesting one, though they wouldn’t be unrelated.

  62. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    nmcc #66

    I’ve no interest in pursuing the matter here.

    nmcc then gives two paragraphs dragging Hitchens through the mud. Sure doesn’t look like he’s got no interest in pursuing the matter.

  63. says

    I seems to me that you folk are thinking that Hitch was Jesus and therefore should have been perfect. For godsake, give the man a break, he’s dead after all, lets ignore his failings, we can not change them, and should not allow them to influence us, and just focus on his positives, I am sure with some serious looking we can come up with one or two.

    I vehemently disagree with this sentiment.

    Humans are complex beings. When we ignore that, and we start editing out personality/attitude/actions we dislike or with which we disagree, we’re doing exactly what religion does when they create saints and false gods. It’s the same concept as selectively editing history books to only show what certain people want others to see.

    It’s not a sign of respect to ignore other people’s faults – or your own, for that matter. It’s a sign that you don’t want to deal with your personal discomfort. It is disrespectful to edit someone else’s life, especially if that person isn’t around to correct the situation.

    Hitch was brilliant, complex, and had some odd blind spots. I think that makes him a more interesting human being, not less. I wish we could argue the subject with him. :/

  64. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    nmcc,
    Isn’t it interesting how the death of a man of great eloquence and wit will bring out Liliputian minds eager to attack the memory of one who can no longer eviscerate them.

    Hitch was human. You are pathetic.

  65. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    The highest tribute we can pay to a dead friend is to keep them alive in our memories. That applies to their foibles and follies as well as their wit and wisdom. We fail if our memory becomes veneration.

  66. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    absolute:

    You all suck, as Hitchens once said at a book signing meeting to a group of people that prefer to wait for terrorists to attack or are indifferent to others being destroyed in unstable countries because we DON’T act.

    And how do we choose? From where I sit, I’m seeing a complete lack of action on the part of the US in places like Syria and North Korea, but, hey, we’re still blowing shit up in Afghanistan and Pakistan! How are some countries more important than others?

    Here’s my question: Do we bloat our military to the point where we can step into every conflict around the globe (at the expense of our programs at home) or is there some metric of picking and choosing who is more “deserving” of US military “aid”*. Or do we try, oh I don’t know, gathering useful intelligence and attempt to end conflicts with diplomacy, as opposed to the hollow end of a rifle?

    *Which, to be honest, will lead to civilian deaths.

  67. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    Every human being has one (or more) chips missing from their ‘personal computer.’ We should recognize, and remember, those missing chips otherwise we become like the modern conservatives who worship Ronald Reagan, conveniently ignoring the damage he did the United States while also ignoring his flexibility which would have gotten him ejected from the modern GOP. Ignoring the missing chips creates a charicature of the human being; focusing only on the missing chips creates something even worse (for which I do not have a word at this time (I’m not at my best on Thursday mornings. I could never get the hang of Thursdays.)).

  68. feurio says

    After Iraq it’s hard to believe that so many buy into the lies. Iran seems to be Iraq redux, but people have learned so little.

    Did he not know that neocons like Bolton do not even truly wish for there to be inspections at all? They want to create a justification for war, for occupation and for regime change.
    http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_jim_harr_070302_bolton_wanted_iran_t.htm
    This even though USA doesn’t have the money, the manpower nor the international support to do this (China and Russia are anything but for a war).

    As for terrorism, a study by Rand Corp makes it quite clear which methods work best against it, police and intelligence work. Military only works 7% of the time:
    http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9351/index1.html

    It’s sad that Hitchens went from criticizing Kissinger to going to bed with the neocons, who are if not at the same level of craziness even crazier.

  69. drbrydon says

    Love the site. Long time reader, first time commenter.

    I haven’t agreed with everything Hitchens has written either, but I do agree about the war in Iraq, as well as his stand on religion. I think they stem from the same position on dictators and totalitarianism. It seems to me, though, that this isn’t Hitchen’s blind spot. Are you really reading what he’s written, or do you just ignore the bits you know you won’t agree with? That sounds a lot like the theists you attack. The fact that this post doesn’t quote Hitchens, but commentaries on him, makes me think that the blind spot is that of people who say, Poor Hitch, so right, but wrong on this. Maybe you’re wrong? I don’t see any analysis of his opinions here that compares with the examination of his writings on theism. If you consider Hitchens to have been a smart, thoughtful, honest commentator, I think you need to question whether you can reflexively dismiss him on this point.

  70. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    drbrydon,
    The problem with opposing “Islamofascism” in the Middle East is that I do not live there and have no way of influencing things there except by moral suasion (which I try to do through
    AI, etc, but is generally ineffective) or by force (which pretty much just gets people killed). OTOH, in the US, where Christofascism is rampant, I can oppose religious fuckwittery by exercise of my free speech and my voting.

    Ballots or bullets–I’ll take the former.

  71. allencdexter says

    It has been pointed out that Hitchens was a complicated man. We all are, and we all suffer from imperfections in attitude and thinking.

    I have to sympathize with his feelings about Islam. I recognized way back in the sixties that the Muslim world was a far greater threat than the Soviet Union was or ever could be. The Soviets were pragmatists who looked at things realistically. They could yield to reason like Khruschev did in the Cuban missile crisis.

    Muslims as a whole have no reasoning power left after their daily brainwashing. Those in power often have no rational brakes that can be applied when the chips are down. It’s like having a Jerry Falwell in charge of a nuclear strike button. That’s a terrifying scene to contemplate.

    Hitch recognized that reality and it terrified him. Iran terrifies me too. The survival of humanity could depend on what “I’m a nut job” decides to do in a fit of rage.

    I supported Bush also, dumb ass that I was at the time. I now see what a deluded and taken in fool I was. That said, I was totally sincere at the time, but like all us humans, I can be totally wrong at times. That fact helps me be charitable toward Hitch.

  72. Sastra says

    I was at the FFRF convention when someone from the audience first got up to challenge Christopher Hitchens on the war. It hadn’t directly been introduced in his speech, but I still remember the look on Hitchens face when he realized where the Q&A was suddenly going to go.

    It was as if a little pilot light had gone on in the back of his head. It was very subtle. He shifted his pose slowly, a small smile twitched the corners of his mouth, his eyes narrowed slightly — and I could swear I saw a flash. He was excited. It was as if he was holding still and repressing quivers of excitement.

    THIS is what he was hoping for. THIS was what he had been expecting. A challenge. Oh, yes. And he was prepared. Oh, yes. I could practically hear the wheels in his head humming “Game on, you sniveling little weasels — be prepared to meet your doom.” And then his voice began in a slow drawl …

    I was so distracted by the charm of it all that I’m afraid I paid no attention to the actual political issue. Yes, I know: shame on me.

    But damn … that was sexy.

  73. feurio says

    76 allencdexter wrote:
    The survival of humanity could depend on what “I’m a nut job” decides to do in a fit of rage.

    No, it does not. The president of Iran doesn’t have that much power.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/07/AR2007120701614.html

    Here McCain, a lousy actor gets asked about it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yr6Va7PEBg8

    The military budget in Iran is quite small too. This is just how they’re selling another war to the masses.

  74. raven says

    The survival of humanity could depend on what “I’m a nut job” decides to do in a fit of rage.

    It’s not quite that bad.

    The Moslem world is hopelessly split. If you look at who they kill, it is almost always each other. 90% of Al Qaeda’s victims have been other Moslems.

    The Sunni’s and Shia hate each other and don’t miss many opportunities to slaughter each other. There are other sects that aren’t too popular either, the Sufi’s, Alewites, Alieves (sp?) and so on.

    They fight wars with each other occasionally., Iraq versus Iran, Iraq invading Kuwait.

    It’s also ethnic. The Iranians are Persians, the rest of the ME is mostly Arab.

  75. blbt5 says

    Contrast PZ’s sober reflections on Hitchens against the relentless censored love-poems on Dawkins site. Hitchens was one of the most eloquent and critical essayists of the extended classical Enlightenment ever to lay pen to paper, but not always a skeptic. RIP, Christopher.

  76. ikesolem says

    Hitchens may have been a rhetorical genius, but when it came to the Middle East he was woefully ignorant, and acted as a swiller and regurgitator of neocon propaganda (as did the U.S. corporate media establishment).

    He hated tyrants? The U.S. was in bed with many tyrants – the Saudi Royals, Qaddafi, Mubarak, the various brutal overlords of the Central Asian steppes – all embraced since they cut economic deals with U.S. and British companies. Who doubts that if Saddam had agreed to the same deal that Qaddafi did – that is, sign oil leases with Exxon, BP, Chevron, Shell, and use the money to buy weapons and engineering projects from Bechtel, Lockheed, Halliburton, etc., while depositing funds with Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, then Saddam too would have been declared “terrorist-free” and “reformed”, just as Qaddafi was?

    Instead of analyzing this theme, Hitchens went right along with the PR line and refused to even look at the economic rationale for war (and fighting a war of aggression for economic gain is a war crime under the Nuremberg principles). There’s nothing heroic about that, it is simply pathetic, a result perhaps of alcohol-induced brain cell death in an aging man.

    On the other hand, he was right about organized religion. As far as Islam, all organized religions are like this, particularly when they get involved in government – but, again, the Islamic state of Saudi Arabia is our good ally, recent recipient of the largest U.S. arms deal in history, some $60 billion worth – a deal engineered and supported by both the Bush and Obama administrations. They just executed a 60-year old ‘witch’ there, too. Practicing sorcery. How medieval can you get? However, this is no different from how a Christian or Jewish state would behave, if their religious institutions had similar power in government. (Spanish Inquisition, Zionist ethnic cleansing, etc.).

    This is where Hitchens was absolutely correct (if perhaps overly Islam-focused), and his take on religion was spot on and delivered with illimitable style.

    Thus, I think this Bukowski quote would be appropriate at a Hitchens memorial:

    “For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.” – Charles Bukowski

  77. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    I can’t think of a bigger threat to the West, can you?

    Ze Madmax says:

    In the U.S.? Fundamentalist Christianity, as they are just as regressive as fundamentalist Islam, but are far more likely to attain power

    Don’t be absurd. One they aren’t as regressive and two, if anything the USA is becoming less religious and less homogenous in its religious beliefs. And more importantly, those Muslim fundies want to literally destroy America – it is absolutely silly to claim that guys wishing to nuke US cities are not as threatening as folks who want to outlaw abortions.

    Regardless of all of the other nonsense Hitchens said at that meeting, he started out right when he said fundamentalist Islam is the greatest threat to the West.

  78. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    Hitch’s acolytes in this thread really ought to take a chill pill. I think Hitchens of all people would not have objected to a non-hagiographic memorial thread.

    And, yes, Spirokeat, one can have some very worthwhile ideas and still be (a) a misogynist and (b) disastrously wrong about other things.

    Sassandarian:

    For one to even claim Christianity and Islam are on the same level fundamentalism wise demonstrates clearly to all rational beings how out of touch with reality you truly are.

    WTRA: “…if anything the USA is becoming less religious and less homogenous in its religious beliefs.”

    Fuck’s sake. The both of you need to not only look up “Dominionism” but also Philip Jenkins’ The Next Christendom. Xtianity remains a potent global threat, and the worst of it likely won’t be coming from the U.S. anymore.

    Marcus, Hitchens calling Fry “sweetie” isn’t that much better than him calling some random woman “sweetie.” It pings my homophobia meter. It’s possible they were friends and that it was OK with Fry when Hitchens called him that, but I haven’t heard that this was the case.

    As I said on the previous memorial thread, his death saddens me, because he did produce a lot of quality work, but my feelings about him are mixed, and, again, I don’t think assessing his legacy with (if you’ll excuse me) a sober eye is a terrible thing to do, even while his death is yet fresh.

    On the other hand, nmcc:

    come back Mother Teresa, all is forgiven

    Always the sign of intellectual honesty, the willingness to embrace a horrible human being because someone you hate also hated them. Take your homophobic carcass out of here and not come back, please. And please take the well-named “absolute” with you.

    BTW, at the very end of Alex Pareene’s thread, someone linked to this blogpost about Hitch encouraging people to fondle his freshly waxed scrotum at (heh) cocktail parties. It’s equal parts hilarious and “do not want!!” Somehow I think it fits into this thread.

  79. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    One they aren’t as regressive and two, if anything the USA is becoming less religious and less homogenous in its religious beliefs.

    Ha! I want to live in your reality.

    So, all of those state laws that have been proposed in the past year that would severely limit abortion were the work of the non-religious? Those states that are facing lawsuits over their abortion restrictions are states that are run by skeptical humanists?

    I think not. The Christers are frightening and powerful. Don’t be a fucking idiot.

  80. gravityisjustatheory says

    “Marcus, Hitchens calling Fry “sweetie” isn’t that much better than him calling some random woman “sweetie.” It pings my homophobia meter. ”

    Is it really any worse than calling people “cupcake” as a put-down, as is common here?

    (Or to put it another way, why is “cupcake” deemed an acceptible insult here? The first time I say someone use it, I thought it would be the sort of border-line sexist/homophobic insult that wouldn’t be tolerated here, but apparently it isn’t).

  81. Ze Madmax says

    WhishfulThinking @ #82:

    Don’t be absurd. One they aren’t as regressive

    Sure they are. The problem is that they are less salient than Islamic fundamentalists because (comparatively speaking) the non-fundamentalists have much more power in the U.S. (much like non-fundamentalists have much more power in countries like Indonesia and Turkey). But if you think that the Westboro Baptist Church or the Quiverfull movements are any less regressive than the extremist Islam, then you’re not paying attention.

    and two, if anything the USA is becoming less religious and less homogenous in its religious beliefs.

    And I would argue a similar process is occurring in the Arab world after the Arab Spring protests. Not to mention that the more developed Islamic-majority nations are not exactly hotbeds of terrorism. The shift away from religion is a global trend as economic development progresses, it’s not a West-only phenomenon.

    And more importantly, those Muslim fundies want to literally destroy America –

    And Christian fundies want to -literally- destroy the entire world, either intentionally (nuclear war) or indirectly (ecological destruction)to bring about Armageddon and the End Times.

    it is absolutely silly to claim that guys wishing to nuke US cities are not as threatening as folks who want to outlaw abortions.

    They are not. The likelihood that a mob of morons filled to the gills with Jesus Juice succeed in outlawing abortion (or limiting to such extent that it would be nearly impossible to get an abortion) is far, far more likely than some yahoos with dreams of glorious jihad get their hands on the materials to build and deliver a nuclear device to the U.S.

    Regardless of all of the other nonsense Hitchens said at that meeting, he started out right when he said fundamentalist Islam is the greatest threat to the West.

    Islam represents as much of a threat to the U.S. as the Soviet Union did. They are useful boogeymen to keep people in line and allow governments to expand their power at the expense of individual freedoms. But a jihadist with a nuclear briefcase is as likely a threat as a paranoid Soviet commander with an itchy trigger finger in the big red button was thirty years ago.

  82. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter says:
    … you need to not only look up “Dominionism” but also Philip Jenkins’ The Next Christendom. Xtianity remains a potent global threat

    So if Islam is a greater threat than Christianity, that means Christianity isn’t a potent threat? No, of course not. It simply means I think fundamentalist Islam is a much greater threat. Which is why I contrasted restrictive anti-abortion laws with nuking a city.

    Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says:

    I think not. The Christers are frightening and powerful.

    Jesus Fucking Christ, don’t be so dense. Beliefs in the USA are shifting, towards non-religion and also to a greater percentage of religious non-Christians. That’s what I said earlier. I didn’t say the current Christians have no power, like you implied I did, like some kind of fucking imbecile. Of course they have power.

  83. jasonmartin99 says

    It’s frustrating that we have to fight an asymmetrical war in Iraq (or anywhere else), and Hitchens surely felt it. His comments often seem impatient with the lack of progress, the lack of results. This politically correct brand of warfare makes it impossible for the western powers to defeat the Taliban in a satisfying way. We won WWII because we did what was necessary, even though it was often times quite horrible. War is hell, and the only way to win one is to play just as dirty as your opponent (carpet bombing Dresden for example). Which is why we should never have started a war that we weren’t prepared to finish.
    If Islam ever really posed an existential threat to the west, then the rules would change immediately. The full, unchained, capacity of the western war machine would be unleashed and that would be it for Islam as a force in the world. But Islam doesn’t pose an existential threat to the west and I don’t think it ever will. Maybe Hitchens thought it did, I don’t know. As horrible as 9/11 was, it does not constitue an existential threat, not even close, and so the US overreacted. Hitchens might have disagreed.
    Total war is a horrible thing to consider. And because this sort of total warfare is unthinkable in the modern world, we should always seek alternatives to armed conflict, if possible.
    But the prize is very tantalizing. One thing I think Hitchens realized, which is why he so vigorously advocated the removing of dictators and tyrants, is that democracy is one of the best ways to reduce armed conflict. Victor Davis Hanson has said that no two democracies have ever gone to war against one another since the Peloponnesian War. Therefore, if you want peace then you should try to spread democracy. That being the case, it’s easy to see why it’s so important to democratize the Islamic countries—by persuasion, if possible; by war, if necessary. Removing Saddam Hussein seemed like a good idea.
    I think I understand where Hitchens was coming from on Iraq; but I disagree, nonetheless. And who can argue with the results?

  84. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    Ze Madmax, your position seems to boil down to, Islamic Fundies would certainly be the bigger threat, if they could pull off what they want to do, but since I think they can’t, they aren’t.

    I really fucking hope you are right, because if they ever get their hands on materials to make a dirty bomb or worse in the next 50 years you they are going to use it on us.

  85. says

    I’ll say this about Hitchens, he was brilliant, acerbic and one of my personal intellectual heroes. He was also far too misogynistic and too willing to overlook the toll of war.

    .
    As far as his misogyny goes, misogyny of his color is far too common in our society for it to be a disqualifying factor in respecting someone. I respect him despite the fact that he claimed that women aren’t funny and referred to Wanda Sykes as “The Black Dyke.” In Hitchens’ defense, I’m sure he didn’t consider it misogyny; he was, after all, very vocal in claiming that the best way to eliminate poverty was to liberate women from the patriarchy of religion. This, of course, does not excuse any of his misogynistic comments, but it does give us some perspective.

    .
    On the Iraq war, I don’t think it is quite justified to say he wanted the wholesale slaughter of civilians. I think he grossly underestimated the human toll of war. Hitchens spent his lifetime fighting to eradicate totalitarianism; he saw firsthand how horrible it was in Bosnia. My view is, Hitchens conflated the danger of Saddam Hussein and simultaneously underestimated the cost of war. He thought, (wrongly in my opinion), that eliminating Saddam would cause a net benefit to the people of Iraq, despite those killed in the war.

    .
    I somewhat resent the black-and-white view of the Iraq war that I hear from some of my fellow liberals. Yes, the right wing evangelical christian government went in for the wrong reasons. Yes, it is easy to see in hindsight now that Iraq was a bad idea. Yes, the American people were obviously misled into believing Saddam had WMDs. At the time though; looking at it purely in the goal of liberating Iraqi’s, it was by no means an easy decision. Saddam had orchestrated genocide against the Kurds. He had developed and used chemical WMD’s before. He was by no means a staple presence in the region. It had to have been tough to decide what would harm more Iraqi’s, deposing Saddam, or letting him remain. I still think they made the wrong decision giving the information they had, but it was not an easy black-and-white decision.

  86. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    Beliefs in the USA are shifting, towards non-religion and also to a greater percentage of religious non-Christians.

    And you think they’re going to go quietly into the good night? No, they are going to fight to keep their hold on power and make the US a much shittier place before it gets better.

  87. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    WTRA: I think your privilege of not being among any demographics (other than atheists) targeted by fundie xtians is occluding your perception of the danger they present, and I strongly suspect you’re also suffering from a huge dose of OMG SKEERY BROWN PEEPL!! Your history on this site makes both explanations quite believable.

    Jason Martin: “Politically correct” is the catch phrase of assholes who don’t want to be called out on their assholery, and anyone who takes Venereal Disease Hanson seriously is a tool of the likes that deserves it own section at Home Depot. Again, I suspect you’re a former fundie who still thinks like one.

  88. Ze Madmax says

    Wishful Thinking @ #89:

    Ze Madmax, your position seems to boil down to, Islamic Fundies would certainly be the bigger threat, if they could pull off what they want to do, but since I think they can’t, they aren’t.

    With the caveat that the probability of this occurring is extremely low. That part is important.

  89. jasonmartin99 says

    Ms. Daisey Cutter: What substantive criticisms! Victor Davis Hanson is a fascist neo-con for the most part, but he is also a very good historian, especially when it comes to ancient Greece. Have you read any of his history books? I cite him here as a reliable source; if you have information which contradicts what he said, then by all means, do share. Also, I’m not a former fundie. I grew up in a family that was almost totally indifferent to religion and never went to church. It’s amazing how many stupid things you managed to say in just a few sentences.

  90. fifilamour says

    Hitchens was a great writer and orator (like many who were privileged to get the kind of education he did that emphasized these skills, which is not to negate his personal talent and earned skill) but he was ultimately an ideologue and contrarian more than he was really a critical thinker in some ways. This is not surprising since he wasn’t a scientist or really coming from that tradition – his style of critical thinking is more closely born from the tradition of debating (and philosophy and/or politics) than scientific rigour or the sort of critical thinking that’s being brought up with scientific methodology tends to support.

    Ultimately I highly suspect (and speculate obviously) Hitchen’s stance on the Iraq war was influence by two things that were highly personal – his friendship with Salman Rushdie and his desire to be influential in America (which is likely to be about his relationship with Gore Vidal). Hey, we all get more defensive when we or those we love are directly threatened so it’s understandable how he fell into the “any enemy of my enemy is my friend” mentality. He’s not really more complicated than other people – that’s the kind of thing people say when people someone is inconsistent. Intelligent people just make up more complex rationalizations for their positions (or emotions). That said, he was an intelligent man and an excellent writer and orator. I do find it interesting that so many people DO seem to need to make him into some kind of idol instead of remembering him as a human being. Thus starts the mystification of atheism by making men into saints to be bowed down before uncritically?

  91. says

    The wingnuts always say: “9/11 changed everything.”

    Yeah, by dragging out fascists out, and more into the open, in a bid to fix all the worlds problems by Jesufying everything, starting more wars, and claiming that every law they pass to empower the rich, disempower everyone else, and limit rights, was, “For our own good.” Welcome to the world where Annakin Skywalker’s theory of government, “They should sit down together and figure out what to do, by being told what to do by someone, when they can’t.”, (check movie #2), is seen as an end goal, and we have a dozen Palpatines running for office, all in a bid to rid the great Republic of all those damn alien influences. (You see it, but don’t think about it in the movies, but.. other than the “scum” bounty hunters, the Empire doesn’t have one single non-human in it, once the Emperor is in charge, while the prior state of the Republic had just about every single known world on it.)

  92. madbull says

    PZ,
    I do disagree with you.I do not think Hitchens supported war because he was a a blood thirsty barbarian in anyway. Hitchens had a better understanding than many others about the nuances of Islam and the conditions in the middle east.
    I disagree with him on his stance, but I don’t think he was blood thirsty, he saw the regime in Iraq as evil, he really hated Saddam for all the violence, massacre of the Kurds etc, he saw the war as a way of deposing a dictator and bringing democracy to oppressed people, while that might be misguided in some ways, his intentions were good and in favor of overall peace, lesser institutionalized violence against the Iraqi people because of a Fascist regime.

    I think Hitchens views were simplistic, he thought more external violence could help an internally violent situation. I do not think he thought killing Muslims would solve all problems.

  93. Russell says

    “We cannot afford to allow the Iranian theocracy to arm itself with nuclear weapons … the only solution is to go in there with bombs and marines and blow it all up. The way to win the war is to kill so many Moslems that they begin to question whether they can bear the mounting casualties.”

    Not even Wolfowitz tired to sell the idea of our going to war in Iraq to finish what Saddam started

  94. madbull says

    Alright, my bad.
    I said what I did, after hearing Hitchens talk about ordinary Iraqi people and their children, creating a safe place for them by taking the dictator away etc.
    If he holds both these views in his head, I see something akin to the cognitive dissonance of religion.

  95. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter says:

    I strongly suspect you’re also suffering from a huge dose of OMG SKEERY BROWN PEEPL!!

    ROTFLOL. You stupid shithead. Throwing around racism and fear just because I think one type of threat from one kind of fundamentalist is greater than another? Shame on you. You are truly a special kind of person to poison the well like that. Hell, I work in Manhattan, and will continue to do so, even though it is priority target number one for muslim nutters so Fuck You again on the racism charge and the being afraid charge.

    It is not controversial to state that they (the small percentage of Muslims who are batshit insane fundamentalists, as opposed to the only moderately insane Muslim fundamentalists) want to physically destroy us. If ‘they’ ever get their hands on nuclear material they would surely attempt to use it on us. Or poison gas in sufficient quantities or whatever else. We both agree on that I imagine, so I don’t know why the fuck you tried to make this about race. You weigh the probabilities differently than I do, that is all.

    I know fundy Christians are a big problem, but that’s a political one. There is enough pushback in enough places, plus societal trends, to keep that mostly at bay (and still even with all the fundies gay marriage is trending in the right direction). A few dozen people working together to make a large chunk of Manhattan uninhabitable – that’s going to be much harder to stop. We can’t vote those guys out, or get a court to declare their actions unconstitutional. Still, I hope you are right, I hope the probabilities you are pulling out of your ass are more in line with reality than the ones I am pulling out of mine. I’d rather have Christians fundies be the greater risk than Muslim ones.

  96. says

    There’s isn’t half a load of old shite written on this blog at the best of times, but PZ really is getting desperate when he accuses Christopher Hitchens – only a day after news of his death – of misogyny. Remember Hitchens was the man who said the main cause of poverty in the world was the subjugation of women.

    His treatment of his first wife is definitely a topic for debate, but to accuse him of hating women is just ridiculous. The man tirelessly supported equality for all people.

  97. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    Ze Madmax, your position seems to boil down to, Islamic Fundies would certainly be the bigger threat, if they could pull off what they want to do, but since I think they can’t, they aren’t.

    Ze Madmax says:

    With the caveat that the probability of this occurring is extremely low. That part is important.

    Hope you are right.

    Still, have you been to NYC? They have random searchers before you enter the subway. How random do you ask? Well at the Grand Central entrance to the 456 subway line, they are only there a few times a month, and they only randomly “search” the bag of every 100th person or so. And I say “search” because the last time it happened to me, they asked me to open the main compartment of my laptop bag, and they allegedly peeked inside but I don’t think he even looked. Not caring either that my second compartment is just as big. Why did I bring this up – well even with the disconcerting exceptions carved out of the Fourth Amendment that allow these searches, and even if they were carried out in a competent manner, it would be trivially easy to kill a great number of people in Manhattan, once poison gas or the right nuclear material was obtained. So maybe the fundie Muslims will never obtain these things, or our Homeland Security is so awesome they will always catch the bad guys, but I am skeptical that they won’t ever get the material and it doesn’t seem like Homeland Security is even remotely close to infallible. All it takes is a couple of attacks like that to cause more damage to the country than anything the fundies could do on their own politically. If half of Manhattan turns radioactive, besides the loss of life and economic damage, I’m guessing whatever powers the government gives itself afterwards will make the Patriot Act look harmless by comparison.

  98. fifilamour says

    Always wonderful (in that it’s so silly) to see a man try to lecture a woman about how one of their heroes isn’t a sexist ( with the “despite how they treated their wife” as a nice touch to highlight the denial/excuse making). It’s quite possible to appreciate Hitchens for what he was – in his full human glory and failings – without having to pretend he was something he wasn’t…unless your admiration of him is really all based on a feeling he agreed with you (confirmation bias) and not on his actual skills and abilities.

  99. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    Jason Martin: I read enough of Hanson when I used to read the right-wing blogosphere regularly, thank you. I question the utility of comparing, say, the Battle of Thermopylae with our current situation, other than that both the Spartans and the U.S. are unjustly glorified as The Good Guys, period.

    Also, it’s Daisy, not “Daisey.” Regardless of what you think of my opinions, I manage to spell them correctly. If it’s too much trouble, copy and paste.

    WTRA: So you work in Manhattan. WTF do you want, a cookie? There are plenty of racist assholes in Manhattan in particular and NYC in general. And, given that a lot of the scaremongering about Muslims is based in racism — presumably you’ve heard of the so-called “Ground Zero” “Mosque”? — and given that you’re denser than an osmium cheesecake in a black hole, racism is a reasonable assumption in your case.

    And, no, there’s isn’t fuck-all enough “pushback,” because every goddamn week there is another bill in another legislature designed to reduce my status to chattel. Again, you have the luxury of not paying attention to it.

    I’d rather have Christian fundies be the greater risk than Muslim ones.

    You think you’re safer if a Reconstructionist Xtian has access to “the red button”?

    Matt125: He was anti-choice. That’s not equality, and I don’t care how he framed it. Women >>>> fetii. And, yeah, that “women aren’t funny” essay. Maybe you have the privilege of brushing it off. I found it to be of a piece with all the other ev-psy bullshit out there using just-so stories to validate my second-class status.

  100. julian says

    Wishfull Thinking

    that right there what you are doing is called paranoid thinking. I would advise you to watch less 24 and leave the brown ragheads alone.

  101. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    Matt125 says:

    There’s isn’t half a load of old shite written on this blog at the best of times, but PZ really is getting desperate when he accuses Christopher Hitchens – only a day after news of his death – of misogyny. Remember Hitchens was the man who said the main cause of poverty in the world was the subjugation of women.

    I don’t know much of anything Hitch said on the subject of women, but the article PZ linked to, doesn’t say much of anything either. Utterly tasteless ‘joke’ about Wanda Sykes, and claiming women couldn’t be funny. Those two alone don’t mean he hates women. From what I have read of Hitchens, he seemed to me to be a highly entertaining asshole much of the time – perhaps he was just a non-PC asshole. Or maybe he was a misogynist. I don’t know. Without misogyny the guy still had a shit on of flaws so it is not like we are deifying him.

  102. says

    I know fundy Christians are a big problem, but that’s a political one.

    And fundies in general are not?

    Seriously though, here, in the US, there probably is enough fighting back that we won’t end up in as much of a damn mess as the M.E. is, due to these idiots. But, in some cases we haven’t fought hard, or soon, enough to stop a few of the more recent idiocies. I could see a time where Wisconsin’s situation, and the host of cases of screwing with voting rights, could spread. Non-elected officials taking over cities, against the wishes of the people, voting systems rigged to make it less likely that we will remove the people that did it, etc. Sure, we are already *there* with respect to recalling the clown that came up with most of the BS in Wisconsin, but we still have to clean up the mess after, by erasing the laws that he put in place. Same goes for fixing all the crap being pulled everywhere else.

    Now, imagine it was some place in the south that started appointing non-elected idiots to run cities. How long before the “true believers” in prosperity through tyranny would make that the norm in those states, and instead of fighting one idiot, in a state that should have known better, its a concerted effort to spread something accepted and which they believe in to the rest of the country, like they already want to do with anti-abortion, anti-public health care, anti-assistance, anti-any sort of action to help the poor, etc.?

    Yeah, its a political problem. But its only a political problem because, for now, most of these nutcases would prefer live “citizens”, over dead opponents. The only clear cut difference is that a) we don’t for the most part have a lot of private armies in the US, b) those that exist are useless, and not run by the politicians trying to rise to power, and c) the biggest army is in the hands of people that, for now, won’t use it to impose any of these idiocies on us.

    Those are the “only” factors making this a purely political issue, and not terrorism, or forced oppression. And we know, quite well, from the mouths of the morons in question, that they would be more than happy to use private armies, or the real one, to impose themselves, if they had any power to do so. The best they can do, at least for now, is use lies, money, and human gullibility.

    I certainly bloody hope we continue to have enough people willing to fight against them, and those people don’t all get used to what damage has already been done, thereby making it that much easier to slide further towards the day when the opposition looks small, and insignificant.

    If Hitchen’s made a serious mistake in looking at what was going on in the Middle East, it was in failing to recognize that solutions have to come from sidelining crazies, not trying to wipe them out. The later produces more crazies, some of whom go crazy because of so called, “collateral damage”. The way you tell a crazy from a sane person, in this context is precisely because they don’t think such, “accidents happen”, philosophy hurts their cause, so are more than willing to use anything they have to win, its just more convenient, right now, for them to use words, and political maleficence. If they could, they would see nothing wrong with, no down side to, and no possible future problems, from just shooting everyone that got in their way (or, at least paying/encouraging someone else to do so). That is, I think, the fundamental difference between those seeking political goals, with the intent to change things, and those that imagine that terror, war, murder, etc. are, “useful tools to gain what I want”. And, both the religious fanatics in the M.E. AND in the US agree on that it is a useful tool, when it can be used.

    So, yeah, I think we are real clear on the, “politics”, of the situation, and just how damn lucky we are that they can’t use some, “solutions”, quite so easily in this country.

  103. trw says

    @Xios the Fifth:

    It irritates me to the highest possible extreme when I hear people say that because person A has an opinion that they disagree with nothing else they say can be trusted.

    On the other hand, I also sometimes hear people say that because person A has an opinion that they really, really, really liked, none of the crazy other stuff that that person said has any significance. Take Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, for example. In death, as in life, he is a recipient of endless and unwavering adulation pretty much across the whole spectrum of political opinion. If you ever bring up the fact that he was an authoritarian, a monarchist, a religious fundamentalist, a misogynist (in practice as well as in writing), a nationalist and an anti-Semite — and he was all of those things — you’ll be inundated with righteous outrage. AS was repressioned, and served time in the GULAG, so his reputation as an advocate for freedom and justice is unassailable.

    There were things that Hitchens wrote that really irritated and sometimes infuriated me. But I enjoyed reading his works, and I always looked forward to a new essay or book. That’s all I can say.

  104. madbull says

    I’m okay with men thinking women can’t be funny, its just an opinion. As a woman I think if I called that misogyny I would only be proving his point.

  105. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    julian says:

    Wishfull Thinking

    that right there what you are doing is called paranoid thinking. I would advise you to watch less 24 and leave the brown ragheads alone.

    You racist motherfucker. Ragheads? Fuck you. Why do people keep bringing up race, when I specifically limited the risk to the small portion of highly insane Muslim fundamentalists?

    Also, it is not paranoid thinking, I am trying to be realist about what can happen. As a hypothetical it was fine. It is unlikely, sure, but it can happen, and if they acquire the means to do it, it will very likely happen (unless we lock this country down tighter than Israel does, which would be another kind of horror). But hey, I’m not moving to Montana, I’m not harping on about this every day, I am bringing it up here, because we were discussing different threats to the country.

  106. fifilamour says

    Hitchens claimed that Orwell was one of his heroes (which is ironic in light of his work in his later years but I suspect this was a hero of his youth), it’s not that he’s generally compared to Orwell by people familiar with Orwell’s writing (as far as I’ve seen but perhaps I’m ill informed).

  107. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter says a lot of stupid shit like:

    WTRA: So you work in Manhattan. WTF do you want, a cookie?

    Background on my point for how easily an attack could occur and then what damage an attack could cause (loss of life, economic power and then civil liberties). Are you mentally handicapped, or just skimming what I write?

    There are plenty of racist assholes in Manhattan in particular and NYC in general. And, given that a lot of the scaremongering about Muslims is based in racism

    So guilt by your perceived association? Where do you live? I am sure there are plenty of sex offenders there, should I claim you are one? No, because that would be fucking dumb.

    presumably you’ve heard of the so-called “Ground Zero” “Mosque”?

    Yes, and many imbeciles were against the “Mosque”, I, along with many others, was not. So am I a non-racist now? I mean how reasonable was it in the first place to assume I am racist just because I rate one type of fundie threat as higher than another? How reasonable is it to assume I am one because I work in Manhattan? Not reasonable at all, you are a fucktard. STFU with your embarrassingly stupid ‘well poisoning’ line of attack. We disagree on the probabilities of what Muslim fundies can accomplish versus what Christian fundies can. That is all.

    And, no, there’s isn’t fuck-all enough “pushback,” because every goddamn week there is another bill in another legislature designed to reduce my status to chattel. Again, you have the luxury of not paying attention to it.

    Again, you CANNOT FUCKING READ TO SAVE YOUR LIFE. There is enough “pushback” in my opinion, to make the political threat of Christian fundies, not rise to the level of what I estimate to be the physical threat from Muslim fundies.

    I OBVIOUSLY did not claim there was enough “pushback” against Christian fundies in general. I was making a comparison of threat levels, on which we obviously disagree. Unfortunately, you are too much of a dumb fuck and you keep pretending I said things I did not, while also insisting I am racist. Don’t poison the well. If you can’t help yourself, no need to respond to you. Although, since we disagree on threat levels, there is really not much to say anyway. Probably should just agree to disagree and move on.

  108. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    Kagehi says:

    Seriously though, here, in the US, there probably is enough fighting back that we won’t end up in as much of a damn mess as the M.E. is, due to these [Christian] idiots.

    Not going to quote your whole post @ #111 because that would be silly, but very well done.

  109. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Isn’t there a statistic about how the likelihood of being hurt by a terrorist attack (any terrorist attack) is less than that of being struck by lightning?

    And as we have just read here on Pharyngula, a woman in the USA has a 1 in 5 chance of being raped, in which case she may need an abortion, so as to avoid having her life ruined completely.

    So yeah. Privilege.

  110. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    Sally, WTF? Why not say that more people die in car accidents than terrorist attacks? Are you suggesting Christian Fundies are the ones responsible for rape? Or just making a complete non-sequitur?

    A discussion started here when I agreed that with Hitchens* that fundamentalist Islam was the greatest threat to the West, another person said Christian Fundamentalism was worse. Explain to me how rape has any bearing on this discussion, because I have no idea what you are getting at.

    * Remembering of course that I disagreed with everything else Hitchens said after that first sentence.

  111. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    fundamentalist Islam was the greatest threat to the West

    The only way that fundamentalist Islam is a threat to the west is that, through some lucky attacks, the west is convinced by power-huyngry authoritarians to throw away what makes the west different — freedom of (and from) religion, civil rights, restrictions on the rights of police and the military, restriction of the federal, state and local government’s power, universal education, equality (racial, sexual and religious), rule of law, and, most important, democracy. The decade since the terrorist attack has seen an amazing rollback of human rights in the United States, almost all of it couched in anti-terrorist over-reacting fear. Our right to travel, our right to form unions, our right to associate, our right to legal representation, our right to bodily integrity, our right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure, have been limited in an attempt to concentrate power withing a conservative oligarchy — though, of course, it is presented as saving us from the evil terrorists.

    Additionally, the authoritarian right has enlisted the extreme religious right. By using the language of the Christian dominionist right, by promising to return America to the mythical golden age of Christian America, by promising to force ‘morality’ down the throat of every person in the United States and, eventually, on earth, those who would curtail our human and political rights have gained an ally that, quite frankly, scares the shit out of me. The goal for dominionists is to create, here in the United States, a Christian equivalent of Iran — the trappings of democracy draped over a cesspool of theocracy and limited rights.

    So I agree with you that radical Islam is a danger to the United States and the west. I disagree that it is the danger of a direct attack. The danger comes from the wholesale abandonment of western freedom and rights in order to ‘protect us’ and ‘protect our freedoms’ and ‘protect western culture’ and ‘protect Christianity.’ That, to me, is a far more likely scenario than the detruction of the liberal democratic west through radical or fundamentalist Islamic violence.

    Terrorism terrorises (that’s why they call it that). Terror can open the door to dictatorship, theocracy, authoritarianism, and curtailment of human and political rights, all of which are far scarier and far more likely than a Muslim takeover of the west. As Kelly said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

  112. says

    Sally, WTF?

    I think Sally is trying to point out that, while we spend hundreds of billions of dollars to supposedly fight terrorism at its source, and a fair amount to provide placebo security at airports, most Americans face more likely threats, ones which we can’t hardly bother to prosecute. The conviction rate for rape is low, and one very possible consequence of that crime is unwilling pregnancy–and meanwhile, a sizable portion of the country wants to criminalize abortion.
    We make budget decisions based on threat assessment, but understanding statistics and probability doesn’t seem to be our strong suit. You have a better chance of dying in a car crash on your way to buy a lottery ticket than you have of winning the lottery. Doesn’t stop us.
    But spending money to prevent and prosecute rape doesn’t give you an excuse to invade oil-rich countries. And the people making the decisions are wealthy men and women who are at less risk of being raped.
    So yeah, privilege. It’s not the whole story, but it’s a factor.

  113. hotshoe says

    Sally, WTF? Why not say that more people die in car accidents than terrorist attacks? Are you suggesting Christian Fundies are the ones responsible for rape? Or just making a complete non-sequitur?

    A discussion started here when I agreed that with Hitchens* that fundamentalist Islam was the greatest threat to the West, another person said Christian Fundamentalism was worse. Explain to me how rape has any bearing on this discussion, because I have no idea what you are getting at.

    Dunno what you’re missing. It’s pretty clear.

    About 1 out of 5 American women are in danger of completed rape. It’s easy to see that at least 1 out of 500 (assuming the woman is already on some form of birth control which is 99% effective, such as the pill, which is a generous assumption) are in danger of a rape-produced pregnancy for which she needs an abortion. But the christofascist terrorists are not only trying to make abortion totally illegal, they are trying to make it impossible for women to get effective birth control. Therefore more than 1 out of 500 American women are in immediate, realistic, danger of having their lives destroyed by christian fundies.

    This is a far worse number than any realistic estimate of the danger of fundamentalist Islam to Americans.

    So the only reason you can feel so passionately about the Islamists being a worse danger (to you) is because you have the privilege of not personally worrying that you’re going to need an abortion if/when you’re raped. Yeah, privilege.

  114. Ze Madmax says

    Wishful Thinking:

    You mention multiple times that Islamic fundamentalism would be a threat to the West if they manage to acquire weapons of mass destruction. That is a big ‘if’ you’re glossing over.

    The world is not a Tom Clancy novel: the resources needed to build and deliver a NBCR (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, Radiological) weapon to a major U.S. city are significant, and it is highly unlikely that any fundamentalist group, whether religious or political, will be able to do so. Furthermore, while you seem exceedingly concerned with a NBCR attack by Islamic fundamentalists, you seem to ignore the fact that a group of Christian fundamentalists could just as well try to do the same thing (and New York would be a prime target for those kind of people as well).

    Thanks to the gigantic blind spot that racial profiling has created, a terrorist group made up of people who think (and look) like Anders Breivik or Timothy McVeight could go relatively far without raising suspicion. (For a tragic example of how racial bias can have disastrous effects, look up the Lod Airport Massacre)

    Finally, while a NBCR attack has significant shock value, the real threat of terrorism (IMO) is not such an attack, but rather organized attacks with conventional weapons (such as the Mumbai attacks in 2008), because an successful large-scale campaign of attacks like those could have disastrous effects for the civil liberties enshrined in the West.

  115. jasonmartin99 says

    Ze Madmax, does Iran not qualify? Does an existential threat to Israel amount to a potential threat to the West?

  116. Ze Madmax says

    jasonmartin99 @ #126:

    Ze Madmax, does Iran not qualify? Does an existential threat to Israel amount to a potential threat to the West?

    Based on what I know (which admittedly, is not a lot):

    I don’t consider a nuclear Iran a serious threat to Israel. As unstable a ruler as Ahmadinejad may be, he is not stupid. There is no good reason for Iran to attack Israel.

    Iran is a majority Shi’a nation. The only one in the region, as almost every other Islam-majority nation in the area is a majority Sunni nation except for Iraq, which is, AFAIK, about 50/50 Shi’a/Sunni. A nuclear Iran represents a power-shift in the region that is disliked not just by Israel, but by the Sunni-majority Muslim countries as well.

    In the event of Iran-Israel hostilities, Iran would be facing the most advanced military of the region (Israel), the most advanced military of the planet (the U.S.), and it is highly likely that both NATO and the Arab League would intervene against Iran. It would be suicide.

    Speaking of suicide, any kind of nuclear attack against the West that could be traced back to Iran would result in Iran becoming the biggest, most radioactive parking lot in the world. So that is also highly unlikely.

  117. mikee says

    Looking at PZ’s post and some of the earlier comments, this reminds me of what I think is one of the strengths of the atheist/humanist community – to never accept the words of prominent members of our community as gospel – but to question and challenge when what they say doesn’t make sense. While, in my opinion, sometimes disagreements escalate to ridiculous levels, at least we do not see people behaving like the gullible sheep, as we see occurring time after time in religious groups.
    With regards to Hitchens, he was, as all of us are, a complex person. He was a wonderful orator and writer and he stood up against formidable people when others would not. But I also found some of his views hard to reconcile or understand, as others have also described.
    There is no such thing as the perfect human being. But there are those who speak out when they see injustice and irrationality. Christopher Hitchens did this with such eloquence and power, he has inspired many to follow in his wake. For that alone, he has left an important legacy.

  118. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    Of course, WTRA thinks “PC” is a thing, rather than just a euphemism used by assholes who want to pretend they’re being daring rather than making extremely stale jokes that support the status quo.

    Sally et al.: Right on the money. WTRA is getting quite testerical, isn’t he?

  119. says

    Slanderous accusations were thrown at the late Christopher Hitchens which were factually false. Christopher Hitchens never advocated wiping out a population. He did advocate taking the fight to Islamicists (Islamic radicals) whom are completely different and separate from the Iranian people. In fact, these Islamicists and Hizbolli terrorists are the very enemy of the Iranian people and Iranian nation and continue to rape, pillage, and murder our innocents. Therefore, Hitchens’ simply stated that we take the fight to the Islamic Republic and ensure they do not acquire nuclear weapons as these are religious fundamentalists who core beliefs and core guiding value is the “return of the hidden imam” and in fact operate with this in mind. It is far time to start supporting the Iranian people; and one addition: the Iraq war did not cost “millions” of lives. That is a false number based on zero empirical support and it is more in the 100k range, in which the vast majority of deaths were from the hands of terrorists, suicide bombers, and sectarian violence; not U.S. missiles or troops.

  120. David Marjanović says

    And that we should kill terrorists.

    Wow that is a controversial idea, killing people whose sole purpose in life it to end yours.

    Absolutely. The death penalty is a controversial idea in those few places that still haven’t abolished it.

    For fuck’s sake, the Hittites had abolished it three thousand years ago. Yes, “even” for murder, “even” for talking back at the great-king.

    What kind of world do you believe you live in?

    To add: I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of you so called “humanists” in actuality being supporters of the venom George Galloway.

    LOL. I’d be surprised to find out that anyone here supports that fuckwit who got one whole thing right in his entire life.

    If you support the removal of dictators in Iraq and Iran, that’s fine.

    Duh. Of course I support that in the abstract. The question is about methods. The question is about dead people.

    Those now excoriating Hitch for his stand on Iraq (which I too have real problems with) should at least remember that he had many Kurdish friends and in that part of Iraq at least, the war has allowed a democratic secular republic to emerge.

    There’s evidence that the invasion of Iraq delayed the Arab Revolution by 10 years by associating all democracy movements with the USA in public opinion and thus discrediting them.

    You all suck, as Hitchens once said at a book signing meeting to a group of people that prefer to wait for terrorists to attack or are indifferent to others being destroyed in unstable countries because we DON’T act.

    *burp*

    Invading Iraq has given anti-American terrorists and their ideologues a great boost.

    Hello? Iraq didn’t even have anything to do with 9/11!

    I was so distracted by the charm of it all that I’m afraid I paid no attention to the actual political issue. Yes, I know: shame on me.

    But damn … that was sexy.

    <chant>This is what demagoguery looks like!</chant>

    The Sunni’s and Shia hate each other and don’t miss many opportunities to slaughter each other. There are other sects that aren’t too popular either, the Sufi’s, Alewites

    Syria is such a case. To some degree, it’s a war of the Assad dynasty (Alawi) vs. pretty much everyone else (Sunni).

    a jihadist with a nuclear briefcase is as likely a threat as a paranoid Soviet commander with an itchy trigger finger in the big red button was thirty years ago

    Seconded.

    It’s frustrating that we have to fight an asymmetrical war in Iraq (or anywhere else), and Hitchens surely felt it. His comments often seem impatient with the lack of progress, the lack of results. This politically correct brand of warfare makes it impossible for the western powers to defeat the Taliban in a satisfying way. We won WWII because we did what was necessary, even though it was often times quite horrible. War is hell, and the only way to win one is to play just as dirty as your opponent (carpet bombing Dresden for example).

    Oh, dude. Learn some history.

    1) Carpet-bombing didn’t help. In fact, it was counterproductive, because it made the survivors hate the Allies and played right into the propaganda which had told people to hate the Allies all along. You have no idea how glad I am that it wasn’t counterproductive enough to change the end result.
    2) Funnily enough, the very intent behind it was the opposite: it was to demoralize the survivors so they’d stop supporting the Nazis. There’s a word for using “fear us – do what we want, or we’ll kill even more of you next time” as a strategy. It starts with T.
    3) It wasn’t just Dresden. It was every remotely large or remotely industrial city that was within reach! Just for illustration, there’s about one medieval city core left in all of Germany, and all the bigger natural-history museums (Berlin, Munich…) got hit.

    The argument from ignorance is a logical fallacy. Be ashamed.

    That being the case, it’s easy to see why it’s so important to democratize the Islamic countries—by persuasion, if possible; by war, if necessary. Removing Saddam Hussein seemed like a good idea.

    How many cases are there where democracy was introduced by a foreign invasion without widespread support among the population of the invaded country? Japan counts, but it’s an odd democracy, isn’t it.

    I think whether Iraq will stay halfway democratic depends on Turkey and Syria.

    Hitchens spent his lifetime fighting to eradicate totalitarianism; he saw firsthand how horrible it was in Bosnia.

    There wasn’t any totalitarianism in Bosnia.

    There was war in Bosnia.

    Yes, it is easy to see in hindsight now that Iraq was a bad idea. Yes, the American people were obviously misled into believing Saddam had WMDs. At the time though; looking at it purely in the goal of liberating Iraqi’s, it was by no means an easy decision. Saddam had orchestrated genocide against the Kurds. He had developed and used chemical WMD’s before. He was by no means a staple presence in the region. It had to have been tough to decide what would harm more Iraqi’s, deposing Saddam, or letting him remain. I still think they made the wrong decision giving the information they had, but it was not an easy black-and-white decision.

    You’re still misled by the lack of information you had in 2002/3. It was a very easy decision: the UN inspections kept finding nothing, not a shred of evidence, till W told them “get out of Iraq or you’ll become collateral damage”; no massacres were going on; both no-fly zones were fully enforced; Saddam wasn’t in a position to change any of that, and he was well known for not gambling his power on irrational actions; and all attempts by the Busheviki to make him look like a threat were lies so obvious they were exposed as quickly as the Busheviki came up with new ones. Yellowcake “documents” copied, spelling mistakes and all, names of officials that hadn’t had those positions in years and all, from a student paper; aluminum tubes of completely wrong sizes; claims of mobile labs with no evidence behind them unless we count the pretty graphics Powell presented… over here, all of that was in the TV evening news, and practically everyone was (and still is) flabbergasted by the chutzpah of George “I want my war at all costs” Bush and the people around him.

    (You see it, but don’t think about it in the movies, but.. other than the “scum” bounty hunters, the Empire doesn’t have one single non-human in it, once the Emperor is in charge, while the prior state of the Republic had just about every single known world on it.)

    I think I noticed it… anyway, it has been remarked upon several times; AFAIK, some of the Star Wars books even spell it out (I haven’t read them, but my brother has).

  121. David Marjanović says

    I don’t consider a nuclear Iran a serious threat to Israel. As unstable a ruler as Ahmadinejad may be, he is not stupid. There is no good reason for Iran to attack Israel.

    I agree, and I add:

    1) I’ve read that when Ahmadinejad says all that stuff about wiping Israel off the map, he does that because he must – he’s quoting Khomeini. Apparently (I can’t tell) it’s actually rather out of context in his speeches.
    2) The current generation of Iranians has lost the burning desire to die as martyrs.
    3) Israel has nukes. To attack it would be MAD.
    4) Iran developing nukes has always stricken me as learning from North Korea how to be invulnerable.

  122. David Marjanović says

    Oh, and, the president of Iran is not commander-in-chief of the armed forces. That’s Khamenei’s job.

  123. says

    What you Islamic Republic apologists fail to do is to take their core ideology seriously – the ideology of martyrdom and the return of the “hidden imam”. We cannot use what we think as rational in comparing the actions of religious madmen whom care nothing for Iran or nothing for humanity.

  124. Ze Madmax says

    sassandrian @ #134:

    For someone who claims to be so concerned about the Iranian people, you seem woefully eager to use military intervention (which will lead to heavy civilian casualties) to remove them.

    I can’t speak for my fellow “Islamic Republic apologists”, but I for one think that effective regime change (i.e., regime change that does not lead to an oppressive puppet government like the Shah’s) is unlikely to be achieved by force, and that the use of force will lead to widespread and needless suffering.

    Crazy, I know.

  125. consciousness razor says

    What you Islamic Republic apologists fail to do is to take their core ideology seriously – the ideology of martyrdom and the return of the “hidden imam”.

    No, I take it seriously that attacking Iran would result in significant civilian casualties.

    A question, because I’m ignorant:

    Does “sassandarian” refer to the Sassanids? Is that the kind of “Persian civilization” you want, or do you want a modern civilization which isn’t completely ravaged by war?

  126. says

    My name is Sassan. You see – what people fail to understand is that the only nation that offers the hopes for a true secular democracy is Iran. We have experienced the evils of Islam under the most brutal of manners the last 30+ years and I was in Iran for over 8-months last year including not just Tehran but Shiraz and Azerbaijan province. Bush’s mistake was that he liberated the wrong nation (although the world is better off without Saddam) as Iranians are a pro-American and pro-west populace and demand complete secular democracy.

    So my name is simply my name. And I am proud to have a name that is pre-Islamic. :) And yes, I was “born” Muslim but the vast majority of Iranians are what I term “fake Muslims” in that religion plays no role in their lives. In addition, Iran surely has more atheists behind the veil of the regime than the United States. Particularly among the middle-aged male whom have lived life under both secularism and Islamicism. The young people don’t follow religion but I wouldn’t call them atheists to a high degree. They are simply like most Americans in that religion plays no role in their lives.

    And one more thing: the cost of inaction is much worse for all parties involved. This regime cares NOTHING for Iranians and will kill every last Iranian to keep power. It is important to note that the majority of violence in Iraq was the post-war invasion in which Arab Islamicists flooded in from other Arab countries. For obvious reasons this won’t happen in Iran. 90-95% of the people are united against this regime but cannot even own handguns. This regime has 5% hardcore loyalists but with proper assistance of the international community, we can remove this threat to both the Iranian people and to the international community. This is a regime that is truly messianic and apocalyptic.

  127. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    Ok, don’t have time to post much now, so I’ll touch on what’s most important:

    Ze Madmax says:

    … successful large-scale campaign of attacks like those could have disastrous effects for the civil liberties enshrined in the West.

    I heavily implied this before and someone else besides you outright said it also. But it bears repeating. Whatever kind of attack or attacks they manage to pull off will cause instant damage, but yes, I think we’re right in saying the real damage is what powers the government decides to give itself afterwards.

  128. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter says:

    Sally et al.: Right on the money. WTRA is getting quite testerical, isn’t he?

    WTF? First I’m called racist for talking about possible terrorist attacks (award to the person who did this while using the term raghead), now I am “testerical” because what, I fucking asked for clarification on a point from Sally? Because that ain’t overreacting in the least, nor is it unreasonable. Oh, maybe it’s because I wrote a few words in caps since some people around here cannot read and comprehend, or are liars who like poisoning the well. Oh noes! I must have testosterone imbalance which makes me insane! But hey, what can I expect. I mean really, I thought gender based insults were no no’s around here? Oh silly me, I am sure “Ms. Daisy Cutter” claims her crazy girlfriends are crazy from too much testosterone and calls them testerical too. So it’s not gender based or something. Shame on you, you dumb fuck.

  129. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Sassan, you’ve made some moving posts here, and I really respect your position. And I am sympathetic, too. And I think I “get” your fondness for Hitchens, who was very much on your side (and on the side of freedom).

    But.

    When you refer to those addressing you here as “Islamic Republic apologists”, I think you’re doing your case no good.

    (Worse than that, even)

  130. Pierce R. Butler says

    Atheists will quote Hitchens so long as literacy survives (as will connoisseurs of verbal dueling per se). He lived for his words, and by that metric has created a landmark.

    Considered as an artist, Hitchens’s flaws resemble, say, the misogyny of Miles Davis and Pablo Picasso, the self-destructiveness of Oscar Wilde or Janis Joplin, the egotism of H.L. Mencken or (your diva of choice). How history will see him is up to brats unborn, but Hitchens has earned a place on the literary landscape.

  131. John Morales says

    [OT]

    WTRA:

    Oh silly me, I am sure “Ms. Daisy Cutter” claims her crazy girlfriends are crazy from too much testosterone and calls them testerical too.

    Were you not so ignorant, you’d know how it’s a mockery of ‘hysterical’, and why she’s using it.

    (The which makes a mockery of your certitude for your claims about Ms Cutter)

  132. says

    @John Morales: Thank you for your kind words. I agree, I was just caught up in the heat of the moment by some of the absolutely vile comments on here. But I agree, and thank you.

  133. absolute says

    Pitty that so many people are indifferent to the obliteration of Iranian and other rogue states populations.
    Yes, if you don’t want to get your hands dirty with the bad guys, you are guilty of neglect and morally void.

    ‘Live with that if you can, ladies and gentelmen’

  134. says

    The United States of America is currently incapable of winning a ground war inside Iran.

    At a minimum, that would require reinstatement of the draft, which is not going to happen.

  135. maureenbrian says

    love moderately,

    I was rather hoping that after the debacle in Iraq the US would somehow discover the good sense to stay home for a couple of generations if only to repair its infrastructure and its education system.

    It would give the rest of us time to decide how we wish to be governed or alternatively by whom and to what extent we wish to be oppressed.

  136. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    Oh silly me, I am sure “Ms. Daisy Cutter” claims her crazy girlfriends are crazy from too much testosterone and calls them testerical too.

    … nah, this is too easy.

    Aside from what Morales said… the shallowness of your self-awareness is an amazing thing, WTRA. I just woke up and am feeling generous, so here’s a tip: When someone tells you you’re behaving in a sexist manner, a spluttering response topped off with a homophobic dig isn’t going to win you any arguments.

    Neither is the feverish denial, topped with some other slur, I imagine you’ll start composing the moment you’ve read this comment.

  137. laurentweppe says

    @ikesolem

    Hitchens may have been a rhetorical genius, but when it came to the Middle East he was woefully ignorant, and acted as a swiller and regurgitator of neocon propaganda (as did the U.S. corporate media establishment).

    The problem with Hitchens when it came to the middle east was not that he was ignorant, but willingly deceitful. He litteraly pretended that over a billion people were suicidally irrational in order to make his own bloodlust appear principled.
    ***
    @Ze Madmax

    The world is not a Tom Clancy novel: the resources needed to build and deliver a NBCR (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, Radiological) weapon to a major U.S. city are significant, and it is highly unlikely that any fundamentalist group, whether religious or political, will be able to do so

    And the fact is, should a fundamentalist group take control of WMD, they would most probably do what communist dictatorships like the USSR, China and North Korea did: use it to make sure that no one try to invade them so they can keep on tyrannizing their existing domain.
    ***
    @David Marjanović

    2) Funnily enough, the very intent behind it was the opposite: it was to demoralize the survivors so they’d stop supporting the Nazis. There’s a word for using “fear us – do what we want, or we’ll kill even more of you next time” as a strategy. It starts with T.
    3) It wasn’t just Dresden. It was every remotely large or remotely industrial city that was within reach! Just for illustration, there’s about one medieval city core left in all of Germany, and all the bigger natural-history museums (Berlin, Munich…) got hit.

    Actually, the reason for carpet bombing virtually every German cities during WWII was not to make Germans stop supporting the Nazis (the regime was already impopular by then): it was to make sure that the german public opinion would not believe another Stab-in-the-back legend like they did after WWI, a legend which was instrumental in the raise of revanchist nationalism between the two wars. It was an extraordinary cold blooded and murderous decision, but it was not motivated by a desire to “slaughter the Germans into submission”

  138. lancelotgobbo says

    I’m afraid that whenever PZ does misogyny it comes across as deliberate and contrived. Now is not the time to be winning points by calling Christopher a misogynist. He had his faults for sure. Feet of clay, too. Called some things wrongly – yep. And admitted it when he had changed his mind. I’m mourning the man and his mind, not the opinions he held. Wrong as he occasionally was, I’d rather we still had him to argue with, to be enlightened and entertained by. But we don’t, so I mourn.

  139. says

    lancelotgobbo, what PZ said was that Hitchens practiced misogyny. This is true. You admit Hitchens had faults; now is not the time to be denying reality by pretending that misogyny was not one of his faults.

    +++++

    Meanwhile Iran and North Korea and other screwed up states continue the genocide.

    Yikes! Who are Iran and North Korea practicing genocide against?

  140. KG says

    sassandarian,

    You’re very ready to spend lives to end what is certainly a repulsive tyranny. Before the invasion of Iraq, there were plenty of people claiming that the Iraqis would welcome invading westerners with flowers; I see no reason to take your parallel assurances about Iranians at face value. The number of excess Iraqi deaths due to the invasion – mostly through the long-term damage to services such as water, electricity, sanitation, health and education – certainly runs into hundreds of thousands. Around four million people have been displaced, about half of those abroad. One result of the invasion, both you and Hitchens might have noticed, has been a considerable increase in the influence of the Iranian theocrats over Iraq. The current Iraqi government is also siding with Bashar Assad against the opposition in Syria. I think we can safely say strengthening the Iranian-Syrian axis was not a result intended by Bush and the neocons; you see, wars tend to have unexpected consequences.

  141. frankb says

    It seems that Hitchens was overwhelmed by the events of 9//11 like so many were, so he used his great intellect to defend the crazy. The crazy he defended was GWB giving Al Qaeda what they wanted by making war rather than bringing criminals to justice. The crazy was saying that Islam was the problem. Would anything be different if the Koran never existed? We would still have isolated cultures being tribal, misogynistic, violent, and angry about change.

    The greatest people can still have their blind spots, or have to choose their battles. For example Mahatma Gandhi ignored the greatest evil in Indian Society which was the caste system in favor of the immediate problem of Indian Independence. Hitchens couldn’t be right about everything, could he?

  142. gravityisjustatheory says

    chigau (違う) says:

    gravityisjustatheory
    http://pharyngula.wikia.com/wiki/Cupcake

    I know what “cupcake” is used for here. What I was questioning was why a word that outside of Pharyngula is in my experience used either as
    a) a term of endearment (or patronising put-down) by men to women, or
    b) a somewhat-jokey put-down by camp gay men to other camp gay men

    is seen as an acceptible insult, especially when other phrases that outside Pharyngula are used in indentical circumstances (like, e.g. “sweetie”) are criticised.

    (Its not that I’m offended by it, rather just puzzled by the apparent inconsistency in Horde Etiquette).

  143. 'Tis Himself. Bah! Humbug even! says

    gravityisjustatheory #159

    Cupcake is considered non-gendered at Pharyngula. It may be a gendered or homophobic insult elsewhere, but that is not its meaning here.

  144. twooffour says

    Okay… just listened to parts 5-7 of that speech.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n132y0xu6-Y

    Wow. Was that all? Did anything come after that?

    Listen, it’s one thing to criticize Hitchens for being misguided in various ways – the effects of military interventions, the results of the Iraq war, the dimensions of the Islamist threat. I honestly don’t know nearly enough about those issues to have an opinion.

    But seriously, doesn’t Myers’ post seem like an awful misrepresentation of what he actually said?

    Yes… bombs create casualties. That’s horrible. Some may say it’s strictly unacceptable and Hitchens is a douchebag for disagreeing. But, that’s not the same as ADVOCATING GENOCIDE.

    He said something about bombing the “nuclear facilities” in Iran. Something about “demolishing” and killing the “Jihadists”, and this being a pleasure as well as duty.

    Please point me to the line where he said anyone should “slaughter civilians”. Or that it’s the “mounting casualties” the Islamic violent extremists should be dealing with, rather than, you know, the reduction of their own numbers?

    I’m really trying to find out what’s happening here. Did Hitchens say something awful that flew right past my ears (or maybe it’s in the context of things he said elsewhere?), or is Myers’ post a paragon of human unreliable memory?
    Wtf is going on here??

  145. unbiasedeye says

    I’m surprised that in all of this discussion, only one person brought up Hitchens’s prodigious drinking. People seem to refuse to believe in the effects of habitual drunkenness, and some even lend it literary value. Hitchens’s life shows if someone is really smart and really verbal, he can get away with his lifestyle, at least until he’s in his early 60s. As for Hitchens, the exalted barroom blather brought us some wonderful things like the well-deserved shot at Mother Teresa and some stupid things like support for Bush.

    When I read his rants about Islamic fundamentalism, I thought he was doing a public service. Liberals often understate the passionate and conservative religiosity of the Islamic world — and I’m not implying any sympathy for what our own Christian fundamentalists see in their lunatic visions of new crusades.

    In any case, all the rending of garments over the death of superstars annoys me, and it’s no exception for Hitchens. It gets weird. But all the same, the weirdest thing I read about Hitchens in these past few days was Ross Douthat’s column in the NYT about the man. It is worth looking at — Douthat at his most bizarre.

  146. ChasCPeterson says

    unbiased (*eyeroll*):
    Here on the internet it’s polite to provide a link.

    Douthat’s bizarre all right:

    atheism — especially a public and famous atheism — can become as self-defended as any religious dogma, impervious to any new fact or unexpected revelation.

  147. twooffour says

    Thanks.

    I’m still getting the impression that Myers accuses Hitchens of the actual intention to kill civilians, for its own sake (that’s what genocide is, after all), because they’re Muslims and because it would intimidate the extremists.

    Having that said, I was clearly ignorant about the casualties this would bring, and this does put things into perspective.

    ___

    Another (even if nitpicky – but I’m not sure) example of PZ Myers probably writing only from his memory at that time:

    Here’s the original clip:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwDk8LOD5Go#t=210

    Here’s Myers’ recollection:

    “He was asked to consider the possibility that bombing and killing was only going to accomplish an increase in the number of people opposing us. Hitchens accused the questioner of being incredibly stupid (the question was not well-phrased, I’ll agree, but it was clear what he meant)”

    He didn’t say anything about “incredibly stupid”, just that the question sounded very “sappy” and the questioner surely must’ve meant something more intelligent.

    Sure, I don’t expect the memory of an attended lecture to reflect the precise words, but the anti-Hitchens bias in the memory is already clearly visible.

    “and said that it was obvious that every Moslem you kill means there is one less Moslem to fight you … which is only true if you assume that every Moslem already wants to kill Americans and is armed and willing to do so.”

    The questioner began by bringing up “fundamentalist Islam”, and then he went on to ask how “killing Muslims would limit their fervour”

    Sorry, was there an obvious transition from “fundamentalists” (I should add myself, I prefer the term “(malevolent) Islamism” – fundamentalists can believe in their religious “fundamentals” as they like, for all I care) to all Muslims?
    Or was the next sentence still about the Nasties, except that he didn’t bother to say “fundamentalist” a second time?

    If anything, the questioner made the assumption that “all Muslims are out to get us” with his phrasing, but, obviously, he didn’t.

    Hitchens just responded to the question. Does anyone here really think he was talking about (intentionally) bombing innocent “Muslims”?

    How does PZ reach the conclusion that he’s generalizing all Muslims as violent enemies, especially as Hitchens goes on to address the question about “more Muslims rising against us if we kill some”? He couldn’t POSSIBLY have “assumed” that all Muslims were enemies, he just said that the danger of alienation and more enemies rising wasn’t a reason to stop resisting the already existing ones.

    ____

    Just to make it clear, I’m not voicing any opinions about Hitchens’ policies, or any of the issues at hand. I’m merely concerned about the unbiased accuracy of reporting what was said.

  148. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    I’m merely concerned about the unbiased accuracy of reporting what was said.

    Your unbiased concern is noted.

  149. twooffour says

    “atheism — especially a public and famous atheism — can become as self-defended as any religious dogma, impervious to any new fact or unexpected revelation.”

    Nothing bizarre about that. It was the writer’s strong implication that Hitchens was actually a closet “Naytheist” (I’m not linking you to the TV Tropes page – just out of spite).

    His belief that “rigorous” atheism actually leads to desparation over death and deprivation of hope, and something about Hitchens not succumbing to that (or whatever the fuck he was trying to say there) has to mean “something”, and “now he finally knows”.

    And as much as I accept the fact that atheism and religious criticism (just as about any other view or position) is subject to fallacies, stubbornness and defense mechanisms, the examples Ross brings up in support of that are just plain horrible.

    The fact that other atheists shouldn’t take it seriously if Hitchens’ somehow managed to do a deathbed conversion? Yea, absolutely valid point.

    The thing about Jesus? Well, phrased like that, it was corny. The way he phrased it elsewhere, that “proving the resurrection of Jesus wouldn’t validate the morals he taught”? Yea, holds up.

    Thank God he didn’t bring up Hitch’s views on the “Transcendent”:
    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/culture/2253/christopher_hitchens,_religious_in_spite_of_himself

  150. Pierce R. Butler says

    How long will it take for the “a celebration of reason” event ads to update their speaker roster (or does the Global Atheist Convention have channeling resources previously unavailable to the gawdless community)?

  151. robertobobrow says

    The failure of Hitchens, the New Atheists and neo-Darwinists in general is they want to share the benefits of Global Capitalism and to keep freedom of thought at the same time. You’re blind to your responsibility in the return of radical religion (be it Christian, Islamic or Jewish) and the clash of civilizations.
    After decades of interventions against secular nationalism in the Third World and exploitation of its Peoples and natural resources to keep on with your easy lives, you get surprised by the hatred you received back. You toppled a moderate Mossadegh and got a radical Khomeini in return.
    My post and caricature on Hitchens and the New Atheism: http://wp.me/psnoA-9A

  152. vaughanjones says

    With respect to Hitch’s position on fundamentalist Islam; I begin to think people do not realise the very real danger that the religion presents to humanity.

    I do not think Hitchens would ever have requested to be given a saintly image upon his demise; the accounts of his life so far are respectful insofar as they remember what was good about a person. It is always crass to immediately jump on the flaws and faults of a person in the immediate wake of their death and there is no reason to do so this quickly.

    History judges people and there is a time to look at a person’s legacy. The majority of opinion that exists about Hitchen’s position comes from his statements prior to the discovery that there were no WMD’s in Iraq yet dissected as if they were made after the failure to pin down Saddam’s machinery of war. Hardly the correct historical approach to take.

    As I said, history can judge Hitchens.

  153. says

    The majority of opinion that exists about Hitchen’s position comes from his statements prior to the discovery that there were no WMD’s in Iraq yet dissected as if they were made after the failure to pin down Saddam’s machinery of war.

    We knew several months before the invasion that it was most probable that Iraq did not have WMD.

    Eleven days before the invasion, it was revealed to the public that the yellowcake allegations were based on a forgery.

    This should have given everyone pause.

    It is always crass to immediately jump on the flaws and faults of a person in the immediate wake of their death

    Why?

    As I said, history can judge Hitchens.

    We are a part of history.

    Your position is that if someone today — like yourself — judges Hitchens as correct, that’s acceptable; but if someone today judges Hitchens as incorrect, that’s a premature judgment.

    You can’t have it both ways.

  154. says

    We had a discussion along similar lines in the Vile Islam thread, comparing the risk of falling victim to an Islamic terror attack v. a Neo-Nazi attack in Germany.

    I agree that the personal risks of falling victim to a large-scale terror attacks are much less than falling victim to an assault from Neo-Nazi groups. But the political and economic repercussions of a large-scale terror attack if successful, are immense. Just see what happened in the United States after 9/11, or even after Oklahoma City. But one type of threat shouldn’t cancel out the other, and you usually have different agencies working on different types of threat.

    I once listened to a radio programme about risk assessment, and an example they like to bring up is comparing auto-related deaths v. plane-related deaths in transportation. Dying in a car crash is much more likely than dying in a plane crash, but an event in which a large number of people die at the same time is often perceived to be as a bigger threat, and accordingly resources are directed to address the issue.

  155. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    so here’s a tip: When someone tells you you’re behaving in a sexist manner, a spluttering response topped off with a homophobic dig isn’t going to win you any arguments.

    Daisy Cutter, you stupid fucking shithead, why do you keep throwing out bullshit? It is not enough I am accused of racism here, based on nothing, but then I am accused of sexism here, again based on nothing, even though it is YOU who used the gender based insult, which as well all know is not kosher around here? You are an imbecile.

  156. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    John Morales says:

    Were you not so ignorant, you’d know how it’s a mockery of ‘hysterical’, and why she’s using it.

    I know what it means you dumb fuck of epic proportions. It is a newish made up word that means too much testosterone causing insane unreasonable reactions. Now I am not a doctor, but that’s a term that can only reasonably be applied to males. It is far FAR worse than using the term “hysterical” since most people don’t know one fucking thing about the origin of that word (and the current definitions I’ve seen are gender neutral). Testerical on the other hand is completely gendered. So what we had here was a shithead person intentionally using a gender based insult. And you defend this why? It appears some friendship, or tribe mentality has clouded what I hope is your normally decent judgment. Again, why THE FUCK would you defend such a backwards action? Would you have applauded her even more if she called me a dick? You fucking dunce.

  157. vaughanjones says

    I go and say “It is always crass to immediately jump on the flaws and faults of a person in the immediate wake of their death” and I based this on the idea that their families and friends would more than likely be grieving.

    I think this is a humanist stance and offers a level of respect for the deceased.

    But then Kim Jong-iI pops his clogs today and it seems that any further actions I take would be hypocritical.

  158. John Morales says

    [OT]

    WTRA, your outburst amuses me no end.

    It is a newish made up word that means too much testosterone causing insane unreasonable reactions.

    <snicker>

    (You really are ignorant)

  159. twooffour says

    Even if it’s a “gendered” insult, it’s none to be really insulted about.
    Some of the “sexist” insults or stereotypes out there are just way too mild and silly to be taken seriously.

  160. StevoR says

    I agree with Christopher Hitchens – and blaming Hitchens for pointing out the true situation in the world isn’t going to solve anything or make it anything other than it is.

    Maybe Hitchens had a dark side. But the reality is dark and Hitch saw and said what is really pretty clearly obvious if one isn’t too soft and ideologically blinkered by the sort of Political Correctness that refuses to recognise who truly deeply evil Islam really is.

    Sometimes you can negotiate and make peace with people.

    Even bad ones.

    Sometimes even the nastiest ideologies can be dealt with as rational actors who can be opposed by means other than military force.

    But NOT always.

    Sometimes an ideology is so nasty and crazy – so destructive to others and even its own followers that the only solution is, sadly, a violent one.

    You can’t reason with Jihadist homicide suicide bombers with mad Mullahs and deranged dictators of the Jihadistans. The West has tried being rational with Islam and tried being soft and tried appeasement – and that has and will continue to fail.

    War between Islam with its Jihadists terrorists and Jihadistani dictators of the various Durka-durka-stans is inevitable – is, in fact, already happening. They are fighting and we are dying and while we may not like the reality it is as Hitchens describes it.

    Either we destroy them or they destory us.
    No alternatives, no other options.
    Which do we choose?

    If you think otherwise then you are just kidding yourself.

    We may hate that reality and rail against it – & we should direct our anger on that situation on the Islamists because they are the ones responsible for it, the ones who want not only to killour children but insist that we kill their own as well – but that’s just how it is.

    Hitchens told it as it is. Full stop.

  161. StevoR says

    Typo correction sorry. Make that :

    But the reality is dark and Hitch saw and said what is really pretty clearly obvious if one isn’t too soft and ideologically blinkered by the sort of Political Correctness that refuses to recognise how truly deeply evil Islam really is.

    Islam is the metaphorical rabid dog or pyschopathic serial killer threatening your family on your doorstop. There is only one correct course of action – and that is its destruction.

    It may not be nice, it may be horrible and sad – but it just has to be done.

  162. StevoR says

    @164. feurio : 18th December 2011 at 3:12 pm

    He [Hitchens presumably -ed.] said something about bombing the “nuclear facilities” in Iran Which would kill about 10k people. ’10,000 would die’ in A-plant attack on Iran

    But millions more would die if Iran gets the bomb.

    No, its not a nice choice – but one that has to be made. Do we sacrifice Israel and allow Iran to committ mass genocide and exterminate entire nations – probably including the collapse of our whole Western civilisation – or do we take Iran out?

    We take Iran out. Of course.

    The sooner we do it, the sooner we act, the better the results for everyone incl. even the Iranians. Simple as that.

  163. twooffour says

    “Islam”
    RADICAL Islam. RADICAL Islam. Islamism. Violent ppl and shit.

    I wish this distinction were stressed more often than that.

  164. vaughanjones says

    Yet it’s both radical Islam, the “doers”, and the moderates, the “panderers”, which causes so much of this debate to be shifted into some very odd perspectives.

    Hitchens was brave making that distinction more real and worthy of discussion than anything else, particularly in an age of liberal influence.

    Whether it is trendy to bash religion or not is no longer the point; it is whether as a race we suffer at the hands of a religion which really wants to take over the world. Look at the birth rates for the Muslim population across the world and you’ll know why such concerns are not trivial.

  165. twooffour says

    Whether I’d call all the moderates “panderers” (you know, including those who decidedly DON’T approve of the nastie-wasties – Harris’ point that the mods “cover” the fundies applies only in part), I’m not sure ;)

    At any rate, a lot of Muslims are really like the Christians we’re familiar with – some immorality in their metaphysical beliefs, but basically just benevolent bullshitters (when it comes to religious questions – most of the time).
    I don’t care if those multiply or whatever – a secular society is what it comes down to.

  166. maureenbrian says

    One of the dafter ideas which crops up repeatedly here and which probably needs to be stamped out is that the US is somehow in charge and thus gets to decide everything, including life and death for the other seven billion of us. It has probably killed more people to date than has Islamism – nasty though the latter is.

    Will you look at yourself, forgawdsake! Three hundred million of you out of over 7 billion, a very weak economy, collapsing infrastructure, an exhausted military and a terrifying ignorance of the rest of the world.*

    Since 1945 – let’s add in the reconstruction and democratisation of Japan – have you had a military victory? No. Has your intervention in however many countries it is been beneficial to the local population and/or have any benefits been lasting? How many regimes have you set up or toppled? (Where you have done both to the same regime you can may score 2.)

    * In the run-up to March 2003 George W Bush did not believe he needed to know that there was some sort of dispute between Sunni and Shia Muslims – a difference going back to the 8th century CE – and resisted the attempts of the State Department to explain it to him, let alone to contemplate what might burst out all over the place if you toppled a Sunni government in a Shia majority country then left the place without a trace of the benefits of government for several years.

    One of the things we as H sapiens are supposed to be able to do is learn from experience. There’s not enough of it going on in certain quarters.

  167. vaughanjones says

    My point was that there is a saturation point.

    Yes, secularism is the ideal but if you look at what is happening in Turkey right now you’ll realise that the secular state pivots only on the public deciding the level at which they wish to remain a secular state.

    Eventually, according to all population reports, the Muslim faith will outnumber those of other faith and none. Sha’ria Courts exist as separate entities in Britain for one example. Faith schools are increasing in number and with all of the tax breaks and financial support they need but, more crucially, supported by the British government.

    These things take time of course and perhaps the concern is misplaced. Time will tell. I’m making an educated guess based on the facts I see. If someone else has some other facts I need to take into account, I’ll consider them.

  168. StevoR says

    @190. maureenbrian : 19 December 2011 at 9:02 am

    Since 1945 – let’s add in the reconstruction and democratisation of Japan – have you had a military victory? No

    Bzzt. Incorrect.

    The correct answer is yes – quite a few.

    Since 1945 the USA has in fact had a number of military victories – depending of course on how you define the term – incl. against the Iraqis in Kuwait 1991 and in the toppling of the Taliban (2002) and the defeat of Saddam Hussein and consequent liberation of Iraq in 2003.

    That the Iraqis then fucked up the aftermath for themselves and everyone else – by looting and indulging themselves in a blody tribal civil war – is hardly the USA’s fault.

    Btw. The most recent war the US was involved in was Libya this year – it won pretty quickly and effectively and saved the lives of thousands of Libyans from the certain genocide that Gaddafi would have afflicted on them.

    One of the dafter ideas which crops up repeatedly here and which probably needs to be stamped out is that the US is somehow in charge and thus gets to decide everything, including life and death for the other seven billion of us.

    The USA is the one remaining global superpower and leads the Free Western world. It is the mostpowerfuland influential nation onthe globe despite its various problems and various perceieved and real flaws.

    That’s not being “daft” its just reality. You might want to aquaint yourself with it.

    It has probably killed more people to date than has Islamism – nasty though the latter is.

    Bullshit. Citations very much fucking needed for that.

    Incidentally, Islamism NOT the America is the reason we’re at war today. Killing people in self-defence and by accident (for collateral damage)is NOT ethically equal to killing people in order to try and impose a Tyrannical Sharia law terrorist Khaliphate over the whole world.

  169. chigau (違う) says

    Eventually, according to all population reports, the Muslim faith will outnumber those of other faith and none.

    citation needed

  170. KG says

    Eventually, according to all population reports, the Muslim faith will outnumber those of other faith and none. – vaughanjones

    Complete and utter paranoid crap. I know of no academically respectable study whatever that claims this.

  171. KG says

    That the Iraqis then fucked up the aftermath for themselves and everyone else – by looting and indulging themselves in a blody tribal civil war – is hardly the USA’s fault. – SteveoR

    You’re an ignorant and immoral fuckwit. If you launch a war, you are thereby responsible for all its reasonably predictable consequences. Smashing much of Iraq’s infrastructure, as inevitably happened in the invasion, was bound to lead to large numbers of deaths. This was predictable, and predicted. Disbanding its army was bound to lead to large numbers of weapons ending up in private hands, and to the use of many such weapons to advance private or sectarian interests. This was predictable, and predicted. Sectarian strife was also both predictable, and predicted.

  172. maureenbrian says

    Perhaps we should redefine “military victory” – when I use the phrase I mean that the matter is settled once and for all, not that someone claims victory and leaves the job half done – seems to be traditional in the Bush family.

    In Afghanistan the Taliban government was toppled, sure, but the was the matter settled, was something effective put in place?

    In Libya the US did, as President Obama said it would, the minimum necessary. It had the capacity to get planes in the air faster than the rest of NATO and it did. Then it took a back seat.

    To be a global superpower you’d need to have materiel, troops, an inexhaustible treasury. Right now for anything other than a modest policing operation the US would have to go cap-in-hand to China for the funds. And if China said no?

    I’m writing this in a very rainy – at the moment – England. We used to be a superpower, we were within my memory. Tell you what, though, it is not a title ordained by any god and it does not last. Eventually you get to the point where more people have an interest in tossing you from that pedestal than have an interest in the crumbs from your table. The trick is to recognise that before your country destroys itself by its own delusions.

    Would you be kind enough to read again what you wrote at 192, StevoR? It’s like listening to a peevish or feverish child – if anything at all goes wrong the other guy is to blame, if anything at all goes right the US gets all the credit, regardless of who else might have been involved.

    Pathetic!

  173. vaughanjones says

    “By 2035, there will be about 1.96 million active Muslims in Britain, compared with 1.63 million church-going Christians, according to calculations by Christian Research, a think- tank.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1936418/Practising-Muslims-will-outnumber-Christians-by-2035.html

    “The number in the U.S. will double to over 6.2 million while Afghanistan’s Muslim population is set to rise by almost 74% as the number rises from 29 million to 50 million, making it the country with the ninth largest Muslim population in the world.”

    Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/01/27/2-2-billion-worlds-muslim-population-doubles/#ixzz1gzniYhS6

    With Turkey poised to join the EU, the inevitable cross border immigration without any population controls in place (as is the current situation) will see further increases in the Muslim population in Britain.

    My sister is married to a Muslim chap and while he does not go to a Mosque or routinely pray he still follows the faith and thinks Sha’ria Law is the what government should be based upon. As I said, he is not even a “moderate” in the Sam Harris sense and still thinks Muslim rule is superior. I only wonder what the more politically minded think.

    However, for balance, this is worth reading:

    http://www.unitedshades.org.uk/muslim-birthrates-mean-they-will-outnumber-us-in-20-years-time.aspx

    However, this is run by a Muslim group and any time you see the word “Allah” you’ll see “and may peace be upon him” afterwards… you’ll also see a number of cherry picked quotes here and there from the Qu’ran which is infuriating.

    Not only that, but the person behind the site also states that the relationship, and subsequent marriage, between the prophet (and adult) Muhammad and Aisha, who was 6/7 years old, was completely acceptable because Allah sanctioned it. So the logic of the site follows some odd lines of enquiry.

    But I post it for balance nonetheless.

  174. maureenbrian says

    Christian Research = part of the Evangelical Alliance, which is heavily influenced by thinking in parts of the US

    Daily Telegraph = a well-run, literate but essentially right wing newspaper

    United Shades of Britain = well now, they say they are multi-faith, you say they are Muslims so whom am I to believe?

    If you want to scare yourself to death I would recommend ghost stories – much more coherent. If you want to promote secularism, as I do, the UK is not short of opportunities and organisations.

    Are you really going to promote global annihilation because there was a child marriage over a millennium ago? A concise history of the British royal family might assist you but I’m going back to wrapping presents.

  175. twooffour says

    Believing in the Sharia (although, to be honest, I’m not sure if the one we’re used to hear about is the only version, or interpretation of it – but I’m not saying anything) is a no-go (not the belief, but what may come out of it).

    As for the last one, sounds like good ol’ Christian nonsense to me. Producing “white noise” catchphrases about the Holy Spirit, cherry-picking the EQUALLY HORRENDOUS Bible, and justifying the squick and atrocities in the old, dusty stories (historical or not).

    As long as this particular group (or some other) doesn’t support actual pedo-marriage, it’s just an annoyance for those reading it.
    I mean, William L. Craig may engage in obnoxious apologetics with regard to massacres in the Bible, but he doesn’t actually support genocide, catch my drift? As far as I’m concerned, he’s not a monster or knight templar, just an irritating apologist.

    The human mind is capable of astounding cognitive dissonance, and that includes engaging in spineless bullshittery about religious immorality, and simultaneously being a fairly decent human being in real life.

    At the very least, it’s not a bit worse than Christianity.
    The Sharia guy is more comparable to Reconstructionists, which are equally scary, but fortunately lesser in numbers. Don’t want those guys to have any say in any Western country, either.

  176. laurentweppe says

    Sha’ria Courts exist as separate entities in Britain for one example

    That’s a lie.
    Religious arbitration exist in Britain, because the anglo-saxon legal system allows such thing to exist, but there is no Sharia court in the United Kingdom.
    “Sha’ria Courts exist as separate entities in Britain” is a lie.
    Whether you believe such a lie or are willingly deceitful is irrelevant: in any case you’re faking erudition while gambling that anyone else reading you will be as ignorant as you and won’t call you out for faking erudition.
    But then again, I know by experience that people like you afraid of seeing “Muslims” outbreeding good white ol’ boys are most often hiding unavowable agendas.
    ***

    Eventually, according to all population reports, the Muslim faith will outnumber those of other faith and none. – vaughanjones

    Complete and utter paranoid crap. I know of no academically respectable study whatever that claims this.

    As a matter of fact, natality in countries with a Muslim majority is diminishing, but one has to take into account the inherent momentum of demographics: the Muslim World has today a lot of young people who are marrying later and are going to make a lot less children than their forefathers, so for a while it will be easy to sell the end of a demographic transition as a “Oh my God they are breeding like locust“.
    But that does not change the fact that the fear of being outbred by someone else is a classical dark fantasy of supremacists. Which is one of the main reasons (the other one being his willingness to utter debunked lies) why I strongly suspect that vaughanjones’ deep motivations may in fact include no that much commitment to secularism and more “uppity brown people should learn their place”

  177. vaughanjones says

    “Are you really going to promote global annihilation because there was a child marriage over a millennium ago? maureenbrian

    Who said anything about global annihilation? You do not need a global catastrophe for things to be pretty dire. We are in a situation where people are willing to allow themselves to explode based on fairy tales.

    No-one needs ghost stories and this does not make me scared in the way you seem to be inferring. Seriously, we can do without the condescending bullshit if that’s ok?

    It’s simply a crappy state of affairs which gets brushed under the carpet in Britain. I’m here, I see it all of the time.

  178. twooffour says

    Could we keep the racism allegations out of this, PLEASE?

    Even if a certain bias towards Christianity is founded on subconscious racism / fear of a “different culture” (or maybe just because they’ve got used to Christianity while living here), that still doesn’t extend to middle-easterners that are non-religious – and if the ones who’re supposed to be “breeding like locusts” are radical fundies, such a belief isn’t based on supremacist thinking of any kind even if it’s wrong, or delusional.

    Muslims may be “breeding” or not (not like the Bible encouraged people to breed and prosletyze, eh?), but they’re also converting white guys (or they convert by themselves), and that kinda makes allegations of racism silly.

    Also, I don’t see people opposed to Islam (even more than they should) bitch about Hinduism or whatever, even if it started growing in the West I doubt there would be such reactions.
    Pretty selective racists when it comes to kinda dark-skinned people, eh?

  179. says

    Even if a certain bias towards Christianity is founded on subconscious racism / fear of a “different culture” (or maybe just because they’ve got used to Christianity while living here), that still doesn’t extend to middle-easterners that are non-religious – and if the ones who’re supposed to be “breeding like locusts” are radical fundies, such a belief isn’t based on supremacist thinking of any kind even if it’s wrong, or delusional.

    What?

    Also, I don’t see people opposed to Islam (even more than they should) bitch about Hinduism or whatever, even if it started growing in the West I doubt there would be such reactions.

    You don’t see (present tense) people bitching about Hinduism if it were to grow in the west (future tense).

    What?

    Muslims may be “breeding” or not (not like the Bible encouraged people to breed and prosletyze, eh?), but they’re also converting white guys (or they convert by themselves), and that kinda makes allegations of racism silly.

    No it doesn’t. The fear that the other will Otherise the good white children is a long standard trope in Supreamicistism.

  180. vaughanjones says

    there is no Sharia court in the United Kingdom… Whether you believe such a lie or are willingly deceitful is irrelevant: in any case you’re faking erudition while gambling that anyone else reading you will be as ignorant as you and won’t call you out for faking erudition.

    So, you are effectively saying that I am gambling on the idea that people have no access to the internet where they can search for information to disprove what I have wrote?

    Despite the fact that I have already said I am willing to change my mind based on any other evidence people put forward. Despite already acknowledging that I could well be wrong on the subject?

    You’re effectively accusing me of intellectual dishonesty which, I think, is pretty disingenuous really. But continue your insults if it makes you feel superior. We were all having, what I like to call, a “discussion”. No dogmatism, no fantasy stats, no bullshit. Just a plain old discussion where I like to think I would learn something and would be willing to change my mind.

    However, you are wrong that Sha’ria Courts do not exist. Why? Because I live down the road from one where my work colleague (my supervisor in fact) is one of a number of mediators there (amongst other staff). It does exist as a separated entity ONCE both parties have accepted the jurisdiction of the court and such decisions are binding.

    http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/north-warwickshire-news/2008/09/09/first-uk-sharia-court-up-and-running-in-warwickshire-92746-21708478/

    And accusing me of somehow being racist or a white supremacist is a disgusting way to conduct your debates and I think you owe me an apology for even thinking of raising it. My objection to the Muslim faith is based solely on theological grounds. I hold the same objections towards Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism etc.

    Not only that, but somehow quantifying the Muslim faith as being solely the religion of “brown people”, as you state, demonstrates that you have lost it completely if you had it at all. You shouldn’t even be taken seriously with crap like that. I suppose Sam Harris is also racist according to the rules you are creating for yourself and others?

  181. says

    I suppose Sam Harris is also racist according to the rules you are creating for yourself and others?

    Maybe. Kinda. Yeah?

    And accusing me of somehow being racist or a white supremacist is a disgusting way to conduct your debates and I think you owe me an apology for even thinking of raising it. My objection to the Muslim faith is based solely on theological grounds. I hold the same objections towards Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism etc.

    Yet you have a leader in Cameron who is diminishing non-believers and pushing his religion and you actually live in a theocratic state…but you think the greater concern is foreign not domestic?

    However, you are wrong that Sha’ria Courts do not exist. Why? Because I live down the road from one where my work colleague (my supervisor in fact) is one of a number of mediators there (amongst other staff). It does exist as a separated entity ONCE both parties have accepted the jurisdiction of the court and such decisions are binding.

    It’s a legal arbitration system. It violate your criminal laws. It’s a way for people to pressure women into signing away the legal objectivity they would get in a British civil court. They can’t enforce any Sha’ria on anyone. They can’t even force it on Muslims who refuse to agree to it.

  182. says

    Could we keep the racism allegations out of this, PLEASE?

    No. It is a valid concern and just asking people to brush it away doesn’t actually address the concern.

    Take the parallel with the US immigration system. Everyone insists that it’s about immigration not race…yet as we saw, people of European appearances are not suspected of being illegals, while Latino(a)s are. Why is someone with a British or Slavic accent not suspected of over staying their visa but someone else is, even though there are far more naturalized or native latino(a)s than there are legal residents with European accents? This is an issue that is claimed not to be and on the surface appears not to be racist, that seems to have some underlying racial issues in it.

    Same thing with Islamphobia. And if it’s not a conscious bias than it’s very important to raise it.

  183. vaughanjones says

    Yet you have a leader in Cameron who is diminishing non-believers and pushing his religion and you actually live in a theocratic state…but you think the greater concern is foreign not domestic?

    Ing: I SPEAK FOR THE HIVEMIND GROUPTHINK

    How have you managed to infer that I believe the internal threat to Britain is not worrying? How have you deduced that I need more information about Britain being a theocratic state?

    I can’t take your comments seriously unless you debate in a seriousness manner.

  184. vaughanjones says

    ^^^ I meant “serious” manner; I was going to say “with any seriousness” but edited the first part without amending the second. This will teach me for putting up xmas decorations (or being ordered by my wife to leave the PC alone) and engaging in a discussion where I’m being accused of racism.

    Such is life.

  185. fifilamour says

    There’s a lot of “Hitchens was great because of my confirmation bias” going on here! Along with “Hitchens was right about everything!!!” sainting going on from people who apparently aren’t able to do more than think in black and white. While I didn’t agree with Hitchens about some things (and did about some others), my respect for him is based upon his talent as a writer and orator and not simply because he’s an ideological object to be used to affirm my own ideology. Those who are trying to use him simply as an ideological object aren’t actually showing any respect to him as a human being by trying to make him into some kind of infallible saint. Ah, the irony of Saint Hitch and the religious crusade of his uncritical followers – kind of sad really.

  186. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    It’s interesting, isn’t it, how when we have to give the guy (whatever overrated white dude we’re talking about) a break, its ALWAYS giving him a pass on his misogyny/racism/homphobia/etc.

    Definitely lets all the rest of us know where we stand in the hierarchy, huh. Beneath books.

    I wonder if these same guys would be so eager to defend a female version of Hitch who made lost of racist and misandrist comments.

    Why can’t we like his work while at the same time admitting he was, in some respects, completely and utterly wrong?

    Is this the “a man is his work” fallacy at work?

  187. twooffour says

    “So, you are effectively saying that I am gambling on the idea that people have no access to the internet where they can search for information to disprove what I have wrote?”

    Well, one would think it’s impossible for someone with access to a rich information source to ignore it, but psychologically, it’s very, very easy, an thus common ;)

    ____________________

    “Take the parallel with the US immigration system.”

    Ok, I’ll give you that.

    “No it doesn’t. The fear that the otherS will Otherise the good white children is a long standard trope in Supreamicistism.”

    Granted, as well, even though it’s not Supremacism but Xenophobia.

    Having that said, opposition to a religion that’s different from another religion is an even more valid concern than immigration could ever be (which is basically just: “less people in our country so we don’t suffer financially”).

    Immigration concerns rooted in the violent or unpleasant tendencies of the given immigrants’ culture, on the other hand, is basically the same issue as religion – as religion doesn’t get any special treatment, and people are evaluated by their mentality, tendencies and actions either way.

    Can a suspicion of racism be raised? Like in a “I’m watching you!” way? Sure, but if the arguments have nothing to do with it and might as well be valid, that’s where it should stop.

    Bringing up suspicions of racism in every second sentence comes off as paranoia, and/or a really douchey form of a cop-out. Radical, oppressive and especially violent (political) Islam is more widespread and more realized than domestic Christianity.

    Not informed about radical Christianity in foreign countries, although I’ve heard that Uganda’s got it way worse with the homophobia than the USA.
    Just as the USA in the past, so I guess I’m racist against black people, as well as the racist American from decades ago ;)

  188. twooffour says

    Bah, *America*.

    “I wonder if these same guys would be so eager to defend a female version of Hitch who made lost of racist and misandrist comments.”

    Just FYI, misandry gets more of a pass in our society than misogyny.
    The Sharon Osbourne may have achieved a “cult classic” status, but I can’t imagine the wide uproar over a reversed situation.

    Was Hitchens misogynistic? Well, I’m not familiar with the vast majority of his work (especially the written work, and the work from past decades), but if the allegations are based on nothing else but:
    -his article about unfunny women, and the subsequent clip
    -calling women “dear” on a few occasions (never without a mischievous / ironic smile)
    -leaving his pregnant wife,

    then they’re a joke.
    A personal misstep / failure in a relationship, or with regard to a female friend, is just that, no matter how bad it is.

    The article is a very mild form of “misogyny” if at all, and contains a portion of (self-deprecating) misandry to balance it out. At worst, it’s really just a deluded analysis of harmless gender clichés. Even saying “women can’t drive” would be infinitely more offensive than that.

    If there are any valid grounds to accuse him of actual misogyny, then very well, but these aren’t those.

  189. sc_b606d96be3a9d79b5f47f915b6533b7e says

    I did not agree with Hitchens’ position on the Iraq War. I think Iraq is one of the great blunders in American history. But this entry and some of the responses are outrageous slander. Particularly the suggestion that Hitchens believed in “slaughtering civilians,” an outlandish statement that is not supported by what he actually wrote or uttered.
    It may surprise some of us on the far-left, but not everyone who supports a war is a “bloodthirsty barbarian and a club-carrying primitive.” Scores of intelligent, civilized people in history have believed that war can be useful and necessary. Hitchens believed this of the Iraq War. He may have been wrong, and I believe he was, but to extrapolate from that pro-war position that he wanted Iraqi civilians dead is absurd. His very motivation for supporting the war was Saddam’s slaughter of civilians, as well as the insurgency’s targeting of civilians.

  190. says

    Particularly the suggestion that Hitchens believed in “slaughtering civilians,” an outlandish statement that is not supported by what he actually wrote or uttered.

    Only if you give him the extreme benefit of the doubt that he didn’t explicitly call it that and thought it was justified and in the right.

    Which means that just about damn near everyone who commits an attrocity wasn’t pro-atrocity.

    Here’s a hint, can anyone remember a single war that wasn’t SOOOOOOOO damn important or posed such a great risk to us that we had to sacrifice our values and ideals in order to prevent the enemy from winning?

    Considering how easily we throw away said ideals, one questions why we even have them at all.

    It’s absurdly easy to be pro-human rights and anti-war crimes in peace time. Hitchen’s sadly shows how hard it is to actually have the moral fortitude to keep your humanity in face of an actual enemy.

  191. twooffour says

    No, I’m not. There are, of course, different forms and areas of sexism, and in some cases, the misogyny is inside the blind spot.

    But in terms of which gender is more easily condemned as violent, or empathized with when violence is inflicted on them, there’s no contest – misandry wins.

    Imagine a reverse situation:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrvDhSB7GHk

    Ignore the poster of the video and his coments, btw, he’s an epic douchebag (=sexist; reacts with misogyny to misandry, and thinks he’s got a point; fuck him).

  192. vaughanjones says

    Ing: I SPEAK FOR THE HIVEMIND GROUPTHINK

    It’s absurdly easy to be pro-human rights and anti-war crimes in peace time. Hitchen’s sadly shows how hard it is to actually have the moral fortitude to keep your humanity in face of an actual enemy.

    Again, the enemy we are dealing with are not acting with a rational cause. We have an enemy which is willing to use children to promote a religious agenda. A religion based on men in power claiming to receive messages from an omnipotent being.

    It’s no longer about morality in the sense that it is a necessary evil to harm certain groups of people whether we like it or not. This is not a modern day witch-hunt where parties are guilty. It’s even more pressing when these theocracies attain nuclear weaponry. And I’m not juts talking about the Middle East; the same problem exists in North Korea.

    Someone is going to win. Which side are you on is the question. I have faced this question (I am ex-military). Hard decisions have to be made. We need to provide rational reasons for our actions in all circumstances but this doesn’t mean that a rational decision is always what the moral right is during peace time. It’s completely naive to think we can behave ourselves entirely when faced with a war run by terrorists.

    I could be wrong. I’m willing to accept that I am because that’s how an open and honest debate should be conducted. I don’t appreciate being called a racist by certain people on here for spelling out an obvious concern in British politics. I take the same line with fundamentalist Islam as I do with evangelical Christianity which, unfortunately, is also gaining some prominence in my home town.

  193. says

    five million displaced as of 2008; five million orphans as of 2008.

    Christopher Hitchens was a war correspondent for many years. He knew the costs of war, and could have predicted this. He agitated for war anyway, and so this blood is partially on his hands.

    (Saddam was rational enough to reach out to the United States and invite US inspectors into Iraq; his offers were rejected because the Bush administration was not interested in any peaceful outcome that would allow Saddam to remain in power.)

  194. says

    We could have done worse than leaving him in power.

    In fact, we have done worse.

    An AP article that was passed around in 2003 to promote the war:

    The U.S.-led occupation authority in Iraq has said that at least 300,000 people are buried in mass graves in Iraq. Human-rights officials put the number closer to 500,000, and some Iraqi political parties estimate more than 1 million.

    That million is the highest estimate available of the total number of people killed by Saddam, and it’s opposition propaganda. We should expect that the human rights orgs’ estimates are closer to the truth. But just for the sake of argument, let’s take the million figure.

    That’s about 1,000,000 Iraqis killed by Saddam between 1979 and 2003.

    And about 1,000,000 Iraqis killed in the US invasion between 2003 and 2007.

    We managed to kill Iraqis about six times more efficiently than Saddam did. And we’ve killed plenty more since 2007.

    +++++
    And you warmongering assholes want us to kill a similar number of Iranians. Why? What good will it do?

  195. vaughanjones says

    We’ll forget the number of treaties broken and undertakings reneged upon then? Saddam took the position of someone who was hiding something. And nuclear weaponry is not something to be sniffed at. Whatever the argument, I would rather we had some level of control over that than the alternative. That’s probably not what people like to hear or consider but I have seen humanitarians scared out of their wits who have talked people like me into taking action when the stakes were raised. Trust me on this; when people are placed into a certain situation, you get to see their fears and their real desires come to the fore. Self-preservation tends to be the first thing which comes through.

    Sure, they are as guilty as hell afterwards but human nature is rarely so transparent. I have seen it from hardened veterans of war to the most virulent anti-war demonstrators.

    The worst that can be levelled at the nations that decided to act was that they should have done so when he was carrying out ethnic cleansing against the Kurds years before (if they wish to argue the case on humanitarian grounds).

  196. says

    He may have been wrong, and I believe he was, but to extrapolate from that pro-war position that he wanted Iraqi civilians dead is absurd. His very motivation for supporting the war was Saddam’s slaughter of civilians, as well as the insurgency’s targeting of civilians.

    You’re a moron. But Hitchens was not a moron. He was a war correspondent and knew what the outcome would likely be.

    It is not rational to impute naive intentions to someone who understands what they’re doing. The best we can say about Hitchens is that he did not care how many Iraqis died; he knew any war would result in Iraqis dying at a higher rate than they were dying under Saddam. He took a deontological stance, that Saddam “deserved” to be deposed no matter what the cost in civilian lives.

    It was stupid of him, and history should remember his indifference to real human suffering; he preferred poetic justice more than human lives.

  197. John Morales says

    [OT]

    ॐ:

    And you warmongering assholes want us to kill a similar number of Iranians.

    I hope you don’t include me in that supposition, on the basis that I linked to Hitchens speaking about the demographic ‘bomb’ Iran’s leadership created and now faces.

  198. says

    We’ll forget the number of treaties broken and undertakings reneged upon then?

    I assume you’re referring to the US and UK breaking international law and violating their commitments to the UN.

    Saddam took the position of someone who was hiding something.

    Again, not true. He attempted to bring US inspectors into the country because he had nothing to hide. Bush wanted war instead.

    And nuclear weaponry is not something to be sniffed at.

    The United States government knew that he did not have nuclear weapons, and the yellowcake forgeries were revealed to the public 11 days before the invasion. This did not give Hitchens pause.

    Whatever the argument, I would rather we had some level of control over that than the alternative.

    We always did have control over that. Airstrikes against potential nuclear sites were always an option. The Bush administration did not want peace.

    The worst that can be levelled at the nations that decided to act was that they should have done so when he was carrying out ethnic cleansing against the Kurds years before (if they wish to argue the case on humanitarian grounds).

    Actually, no. The literal fact is that the worst that can be levelled at these nations is they killed Iraqis at a rate six times higher than Saddam did.

    This is not something you can wave away. The fact is, no matter how bad Saddam ever was, the United States has been six times worse.

  199. says

    I hope you don’t include me in that supposition

    I don’t know, I can’t see the video. But you don’t have to be coy about it. If you endorse war against Iran, then I include you. If you do not, then I don’t.

  200. John Morales says

    [meta]

    ॐ, ah, I wondered whether your #150 was related to my #149.

    (The text of that snippet summarises Christopher’s contention:
    Journalist Christopher Hitchens comments on the consequences of the age demographic in Iran. Hitchens points out that nearly half of the Iranian population is under 25, which has resulted in what he calls a “baby-boomerang.” “The Mullahs have by accident … brought about a generation that doesn’t like them.”)

  201. says

    On sexism:

    «So far, most of the eulogies of Christopher have come from men, and there’s a reason for that. He moved in a masculine world, and for someone who prided himself on his wide-ranging interests, he had virtually no interest in women’s writing or women’s lives or perspectives. I never got the impression from anything he wrote about women that he had bothered to do the most basic kinds of reading and thinking, let alone interviewing or reporting—the sort of workup he would do before writing about, say, G.K. Chesterton, or Scientology or Kurdistan. It all came off the top of his head, or the depths of his id. Women aren’t funny. Women shouldn’t need to/want to/get to have a job. The Dixie Chicks were “fucking fat slags” (not “sluts,” as he misremembered later). And then of course there was his 1989 column in which he attacked legal abortion and his cartoon version of feminism as “possessive individualism.” I don’t suppose I ever really forgave Christopher for that.

    It wasn’t just the position itself, it was his lordly condescending assumption that he could sort this whole thing out for the ladies in 1,000 words that probably took him twenty minutes to write. “Anyone who has ever seen a sonogram or has spent even an hour with a textbook on embryology knows” that pro-life women are on to something when they recoil at the idea of the “disposable fetus.” Hmmmm… that must be why most OB-GYNs are pro-choice and why most women who have abortions are mothers. Those doctors just need to spend an hour with a medical textbook; those mothers must never have seen a sonogram. Interestingly, although he promised to address the counterarguments made by the many women who wrote in to the magazine, including those on the staff, he never did. For a man with a reputation for courage, it certainly failed him then. (Years later, when he took up the question of abortion again in Vanity Fair, he said basically the exact same things, using the same straw-women arguments. Time taught him nothing, because he didn’t want to learn.)»

  202. vaughanjones says

    And all you have is the benefit of hindsight love moderately . I’m not arguing from that; I’m justifying the reasoning at the time and I would still stick to some messages I raised even with the benefit of hindsight.

    Show me a blog or something you wrote at that time or juts prior, with a link, and I’ll take your comments much more seriously on the matter. If not, your comments are only worth looking at in the context of hindsight.

  203. says

    ॐ, ah, I wondered whether your #150 was related to my #149.

    No, I did not click on your link. I was responding to a general sentiment that I detected from sassandrian and absolute.

  204. maureenbrian says

    “I would rather we had some level of control ……” @ 221

    Not worrying for the moment who “we” might be, let us look at the facts in early 2003.

    There were UN inspectors on the ground, Saddam was giving them the run-around but they were on top of that and weeks from a conclusive report. Two no-fly zones were in force and effective, to protect the Kurds in the North and the Shia in the South. Economic sanctions were in place, with unfortunate side-effects for local people but being broken only by the sort people who had cheered Rumsfeld on when he was busy sucking up to Saddam and arming him to crush, as he thought, Iran.
    The sanctions were tough on the poor, the master-plan to obliterate Iran had not worked but, even so, that sounds to me like control.

    That was what you wanted, wasn’t it?

    Now, look a couple of months later. Yes, the Ba’athist regime has been crushed but so has the infrastructure and all the Iraqi soldiers deprived of a living have gone off with as much weaponry as they can carry. So stage one of the mess is straight banditry. It gets worse after than.

    An army of occupation has responsibilities under international law. What do you do if you are in the White House in 2003? You deny you are in occupation, refuse to accept those responsibilities and open up a vast theme park and training ground for any nutter who can lay his hands upon a gun, among whom must be numbered a proportion of the US military contractors.

    That’s definitely not control, is it?

    Look, I’m not a military lawyer but here is a neat list of international law as it applies to hostilities. It doesn’t only apply where your enemy has been proved to have entirely rational motives – some in Iraq did, like getting something to eat. It applies all the time and everywhere: you might care to read it.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/lawwar.asp

  205. consciousness razor says

    And all you have is the benefit of hindsight love moderately .

    You have that benefit as well. Don’t waste it by continuing to be wrong.

    I’m not arguing from that; I’m justifying the reasoning at the time and I would still stick to some messages I raised even with the benefit of hindsight.

    Which ones?

  206. says

    And all you have is the benefit of hindsight love moderately . I’m not arguing from that; I’m justifying the reasoning at the time and I would still stick to some messages I raised even with the benefit of hindsight.

    Dude, no. I was an adult at the time and I remember the whole thing. I remember the yellowcake forgeries. I remember Scott Ritter and Hans Blix telling us there was no evidence of WMD. I remember the UN refusing to go along with an invasion because they were not finished with their inspections. I am linking to contemporary sources before the war began. I am showing you what the public knew at the time, what Hitchens knew at the time.

    Show me a blog or something you wrote at that time or juts prior, with a link, and I’ll take your comments much more seriously on the matter. If not, your comments are only worth looking at in the context of hindsight.

    Dude, it wouldn’t make a difference about Hitchens if I was for the war at the time. What Hitchens knew, and what was available to the public, has fuck all to do with me. You can’t excuse Hitchens on the basis that I was not commenting on blogs in 2003.

  207. vaughanjones says

    Where have I excused Hitchens or even claimed I was right?

    All I see is a lot of posturing and arguments from hindsight. Everyone anti-war acts, in the present climate, as someone who knew this all along. It’s nonsense. Everyone went along with the governments at the time. Hundreds, if not thousands, of highly intellectual people all bought into the Iraq War.

    This does not mean that they were right; but all wars can be looked at, in hindsight, as being extremely bad for a host of reasons. There was a guy at my university who made a compelling case that Britain and her allies should have allowed Germany to roughshod Europe to have saved millions of lives all because some secret documents were released showing that Hitler wanted an accord with Britain.

    Would you agree that WWII was pointless because of the lives lost too?

  208. says

    All I see is a lot of posturing and arguments from hindsight.

    Do you understand when the invasion happened?

    This is not hindsight.

    This is not hindsight.

    Everyone anti-war acts, in the present climate, as someone who knew this all along. It’s nonsense. Everyone went along with the governments at the time.

    No. 1 in 5 US Americans opposed the war from the very beginning. That includes most liberals and most African Americans.

    There was a guy at my university who made a compelling case that Britain and her allies should have allowed Germany to roughshod Europe to have saved millions of lives all because some secret documents were released showing that Hitler wanted an accord with Britain.

    This is not even remotely similar, since as you specify, it would have involved the German invasion of much of Europe. Millions would have died anyway; you’re just talking about saving British lives.

    Saddam Hussein was not threatening anyone. Saddam was not invading anyone. Saddam was reaching out to America not for an alliance in war, but to avoid any war.

    Would you agree that WWII was pointless because of the lives lost too?

    Actually I would say that you are an apologist for fascism by making this comparison.

  209. consciousness razor says

    Where have I excused Hitchens or even claimed I was right?

    If this is you explicitly claiming to be wrong, then I agree with you: you are wrong.

    And if you aren’t trying to excuse Hitchens, you are doing an excellent job of acting like it.

    Everyone anti-war acts, in the present climate, as someone who knew this all along.

    False. Some knew the facts, those who were (and are) for and against the war. You still don’t know them or don’t mind lying about them.

    It’s nonsense.

    Your bullshit? Yes.

    Everyone went along with the governments at the time.

    False.

    Hundreds, if not thousands, of highly intellectual people all bought into the Iraq War.

    True. So the fuck what?

    This does not mean that they were right; but all wars can be looked at, in hindsight, as being extremely bad for a host of reasons.

    You apparently have the impression that “looking at X in hindsight” means getting the facts right about X. Since that’s what you’re not doing, it doesn’t matter which facts you get wrong. After all, you never claimed you were right.

    Bullshitter.

    There was a guy

    Who the fuck cares? I asked you a question above. Which “messages” would you stick to?

  210. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ love moderately ॐ 224

    You seem to have missed out the betrayal of the Kurds in Northern Iraq during the first Gulf War. That was when they had the chance to remove Saddam, but then let him back into power. Bush’s take was something along the lines of finishing what daddy started … by way of the Second Gulf War. There was, throughout, a complete and utter lack of human compassion in their cold calculations.

    …………….
    @ maureenbrian 230

    Two no-fly zones were in force and effective, to protect the Kurds in the North and the Shia in the South.

    Ah yes, that reminds me of something else to add to the list. There was a no-FIXED-wing-fly zone in Kurdish (Northern) Iraq after the first war. Saddam took his helicopter gunships up north and shot seven kinds of shit out of the Kurdish population while the allies looked on.

  211. says

    Of historical interest:

    the website of Veterans Against the Iraq War in December 2002.

    —–
    Dear Veteran:

    With the prospect of a major war looming just over the horizon, and the threats of more suffering from violence growing, the times are a changing — for the worse!

    If you are convinced that a U.S. invasion of Iraq is wrong, then you are confronted with a choice: You can ignore the growing crisis, dismiss it as another political conflict beyond your influence, or you can try to stop a war. You can band together with other veterans and give voice to what all of us know is wrong: a war with Iraq.

    While others pontificate and theorize about war, veterans know about its realities. The present Administration is led by men and women who chose not to go into the military and today have little understanding of war and no comprehension of its consequences. They do not know what you know, or feel what you feel. For all too many of them, war is little more than an abstract exercise in geopolitics.

    Whether you fought in a war, performed your duty in a support capacity or served our nation during a time of peace, it’s all the same: America needs you, again! Whether you are liberal, conservative, libertarian, centrist, green or whatever — our country needs you. Once, you put your body on the line in the service of our nation. You can now serve our nation with your experience and your wisdom.

    This website will be a source for information and analysis, and in the coming weeks, a robust forum for discussion and debate. Please read the Statement of Purpose below, if you agree with it, fill out the form and submit. There is a separate form for family members. When Congress returns in January, this Statement with the list of signatories will be delivered to Congress and disseminated to the media.
    Stewart Nusbaumer
    Igor Bobrowsky
    Jan Barry

    Statement of Purpose

    Veterans Against The Iraq War is a coalition of American veterans who oppose war with Iraq.

    Until and unless the current U.S. Administration provides evidence which clearly demonstrates that Iraq or any other nation poses a clear, immediate danger to our country, we oppose all of the Administration’s pre-emptive and unilateral military and diplomatic activities geared towards provoking or initiating a military conflict with Iraq. Furthermore, we cannot support any war that is initiated without a formal Declaration of War by Congress, as our Constitution requires.

    Although we detest the dictatorial policies of Saddam Hussein and sympathize with the tragic plight of the Iraqi people, we oppose unilateral and pre-emptive U.S. military intervention on the grounds that it would establish a dangerous precedent in the conduct of international affairs, that it could easily lead to an increase of violent regional instability and the spread of a much wider conflict, that it would place needless and unacceptable financial burdens on the American people, that it would further divert us from addressing critical domestic priorities, and that it would distract us from our stated goal of destroying international terrorists and their lairs.

    Furthermore, Veterans Against The Iraq War does not believe the American military can or should be used as the police-force of the world by any Administration, Republican or Democrat. Consequently, we believe that the lives and well-being of our nation’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines should not be squandered or sacrificed for causes other than the direct defense of our people and our nation.

    Finally, we believe that a pre-emptive and unilateral US military attack on Iraq would be illegal, unnecessary, counterproductive and present a truly dire threat to our vital international interests and basic national security. As military veterans, we have a unique understanding of war and know the many hidden truths that lie behind easy theories and promises, as well as behind the tragic consequences that even victory brings. We therefore call on all like-minded American veterans to join and support VAIW in its efforts to avert a national tragedy and an international calamity before it begins.

  212. maureenbrian says

    theopontes,

    If I am mistaken then I apologise but this is what the House of Commons Select Committee on Defence published in August 2000.

    THE NO-FLY ZONES

    Humanitarian basis for the no-fly zones

    27. The no-fly zones were established by the US, the UK and France after the Gulf War for humanitarian reasons in an attempt to stop Saddam’s repression of Kurdish people in the north of Iraq, and the Shia population in the south. The aim is to prevent Iraq being able to attack these people from the air. The Secretary of State commented—

    Previously Saddam has used helicopter gun ships to repress the Kurdish population in the north and both fixed wing aircraft and helicopter gun ships to repress Shia muslims in the south. Coalition patrols prevent him using his air force in this way but there is no reason to suppose he would not resume the tactics if the patrols ceased.[63]
    The northern no-fly zone operates north of the 36th parallel and was established in April 1991 as part of Operation ‘Provide Comfort’ to give humanitarian assistance to the Kurds. It is now known as Operation Northern Watch. The southern no-fly zone was established in August 1992 to protect the Shia population. It originally covered the area south of the 32nd parallel but, following new incursions by Iraqi forces, in September1996 the zone was extended northwards to the 33rd parallel and now covers about a third of the territory of Iraq (see maps at the front of this Report).[64]
    28. Mr Simon Webb, the MoD’s Director General of Operational Policy, provided us with some details of the sort of attacks on minority peoples which had occurred before the no-fly zones were established, including the use of chemical weapons against Kurdish people at Halabjah in March 1988, which caused thousands of casualties.[65] Similarly, in southern Iraq—
    The operation which stimulated the no fly zone in the south was against the Shi’a Arabs in the Delta there, which led to the displacement … of 100,000 to 150,000 people, who were displaced by those operations, which included aircraft and helicopter gun ships.[66]
    There is evidence that Saddam’s intentions towards the minority peoples has not changed and, although he has less ability to attack them from the air, repression on a lesser scale has continued through ground attacks. The Secretary of State told us there was photographic evidence that—
    … from time to time there have been houses that have been bulldozed and villages that have been flattened… We can see from the air … that he continues—particularly in the south—to use his ability to dominate the ground to perpetrate these kinds of attacks on civilian populations.[67]

    The link is here – http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199900/cmselect/cmdfence/453/45306.htm

  213. maureenbrian says

    I have no problem in forgiving Christopher Hitchens for being one of a million or more cheerleaders for an illegal and ineffectually conducted war.

    I might have hoped for better from someone with his experience and his education but, I fear, his class and his alpha male tendencies got the better of him. Besides, he is dead and there are quite enough of the living far more responsible for what happened than Hitchens ever was.

  214. says

    Yes, we should never, ever, ever forgive the Hitch

    What does forgiveness even mean? We stop talking about what he did wrong?

    +++++

    the website of Veterans for Peace in February 2003

    particularly interesting are these links:

    “Vets To Top US Commanders: REMEMBER NUREMBERG”

    “MAINE LEGISLATURE PASSES RESOLUTION ON IRAQ”

    +++++

    here is a similar resolution published in a Maine newspaper in February 2003

  215. says

    2 January 2003:

    “Arab public opinion is passionately opposed to the war, but it is going to be very difficult for Arab governments to be opposed in a significant and meaningful way.

    Therefore, they have two choices – to support the war or appear to be relatively neutral.

    The only way to maintain their course and prevent public discontent is to be more repressive. We can see this already. Most people in the region believe war has become inevitable, and governments are essentially unleashing their security forces to make arrests and to ensure that no one organises any significant opposition.”

  216. says

    What the CIA declassified on October 7 2002, publicized two days later:

    Regarding the 2 October closed hearing, we can declassify the following dialogue:

    Senator Levin [Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan]: … If (Saddam) didn’t feel threatened, did not feel threatened, is it likely that he would initiate an attack using a weapon of mass destruction?

    Senior Intelligence Witness: … My judgment would be that the probability of him initiating an attack — let me put a time frame on it — in the foreseeable future, given the conditions we understand now, the likelihood I think would be low.

  217. frankboyd says

    lm,

    You misunderstand. When I wrote “we” I mean “you”. You’ll never forgive him for going after fascists while you lot were defending and apologising for them.

  218. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    You’ll never forgive him for going after fascists while you lot were defending and apologising for them.

    Right. Everyone in the fucking world except you and George Bush was in love with Saddam Hussein.

  219. What a Maroon says

    Again, the enemy we are dealing with are not acting with a rational cause. We have an enemy which is willing to use children to promote a religious agenda. A religion based on men in power claiming to receive messages from an omnipotent being.

    I don’t think I’m quite ready to declare the Republican Party the enemy.

    Yet.

  220. says

    frankboyd: your misuse of the term makes you an apologist for actual fascism as well.

    One million Iraqi dead, at a rate six times higher than Saddam ever did. And Hitchens helped. Why should he be forgiven for encouraging murder? Why should we stop talking about how he encouraged murder?

    +++++
    I missed this earlier.

    Eventually, according to all population reports, the Muslim faith will outnumber those of other faith and none.

    Well, that sure sounds like racist bullshit. But chigau and KG asked vaughanjones for citations. Let’s see what he found:

    “By 2035, there will be about 1.96 million active Muslims in Britain, compared with 1.63 million church-going Christians, according to calculations by Christian Research, a think- tank.”

    That sure doesn’t say what he wanted it to say. Let’s see, about 21% of people in Britain today have no religious affiliation, that’s about 13 million. And you’re trying to tell us that 2 million active Muslims in the year 2035 will outnumber not just these 13 million, but all non-Muslims combined. The total population then is expected to be about 73 million. How are these numbers even supposed to add up, unless, unless we’re planning for zombie apocalypse?

    Well now I can say this with some confidence. If you make race-baiting statements that you can’t even back up with data, you’re definitely a racist; it’s not a matter of a misunderstanding.

  221. sc_b606d96be3a9d79b5f47f915b6533b7e says

    Love moderately… Ah. I am a “moron” yet I opposed the war and never believed that it would be free of civilian casualties, because I insist that we not slander a man with assertions that he *wanted* civilians dead (I wasn’t disputing that he knew that civilians would die, another issue entirely if you can’t comprehend obvious differences) when his words and positions do not bear that out. It is one thing to say that someone is indifferent to civilian casualties, it is another thing entirely to assert that he publicly advocated the murder of civilians, as this entry does.
    You are moron for engaging in cliches, accusing everyone who was pro-war of being intrinsically bent on indiscriminate murder, which is inaccurate. War and the reasons why people support war are more complicated than that, to not realize that is a failure of comprehension. To say that Hitchens advocated mass murder of non-combatants is a lie, regardless of your myopia.

  222. says

    Again, the enemy we are dealing with are not acting with a rational cause. We have an enemy which is willing to use children to promote a religious agenda. A religion based on men in power claiming to receive messages from an omnipotent being.

    It’s no longer about morality in the sense that it is a necessary evil to harm certain groups of people whether we like it or not. This is not a modern day witch-hunt where parties are guilty. It’s even more pressing when these theocracies attain nuclear weaponry. And I’m not juts talking about the Middle East; the same problem exists in North Korea.

    Someone is going to win. Which side are you on is the question. I have faced this question (I am ex-military). Hard decisions have to be made. We need to provide rational reasons for our actions in all circumstances but this doesn’t mean that a rational decision is always what the moral right is during peace time. It’s completely naive to think we can behave ourselves entirely when faced with a war run by terrorists.

    I could be wrong. I’m willing to accept that I am because that’s how an open and honest debate should be conducted. I don’t appreciate being called a racist by certain people on here for spelling out an obvious concern in British politics. I take the same line with fundamentalist Islam as I do with evangelical Christianity which, unfortunately, is also gaining some prominence in my home town.

    Oh I’m sorry. I missed the point where you showed that this was different from the LAST time we had an enemy that was so bad we needed to sacrifice all of our values and rights to survive.

    So was the USSR better or worse than Al Queda? Than Hitler? Than the Vietcon? What level of evil does our enemy have to be for us to sacrifice our decency now? Can we keep human rights and freedom if we’re at war with the French or Chinese? What’s the cut off?

    It’s bullshit. It’s always the worst threat we ever faced, blah blah blah. It’s always the unacceptable enemy. It is always us versus them. And it’s so often bullshit.

  223. vaughanjones says

    vaughanjones Would you agree that WWII was pointless because of the lives lost too?

    lovemoderately Actually I would say that you are an apologist for fascism by making this comparison.

    And I would say that you are out of order. I was asking you a question about how far your emotional fallacies stretched, not whether you agreed with a position you thought I was taking.

    I’m not even sure you deserve any more responses from me for accusing me of being an apologist for fascism. You have absolutely no clue who I am or about my family history.

    And I haven’t, and would not, stoop to libellous insinuations in this kind of debate. The issue, whether you like it or not, is far from settled.

    Grow up and then other adults will take you seriously.

  224. says

    You’ll never forgive him for going after fascists while you lot were defending and apologising for them.

    I’m sorry wasn’t there a military yahoo just above who was going ona bout making the tough decisions?

    Here’s one: Leave a despot in power who might kill hundreds to thousands, or start a war against them causing a near garuntee of thousands of casualties and destruction of the infrastructure.

    Tough decision.

  225. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Awwww, poor twooffour MRA troll. If only I’d have seen that hilarious stupid and wrong post yesterday, I could have crowned him Dipshit Troll of the Day. No trophies for being uselessly stupid for twooffour. *insert sad face*

    ++

    So was the USSR better or worse than Al Queda? Than Hitler? Than the Vietcon? What level of evil does our enemy have to be for us to sacrifice our decency now? Can we keep human rights and freedom if we’re at war with the French or Chinese? What’s the cut off?

    Decency? What decency? We can’t even get our own troops to stop attacking their fellow troops, forget what they do to the people native to whatever country the troops are in.

    It’s bullshit. It’s always the worst threat we ever faced, blah blah blah. It’s always the unacceptable enemy. It is always us versus them. And it’s so often bullshit.

    Of course its bullshit. Our hands (that is, America’s hands) are hardly clean. We have no moral authority to stand on. But, oh boy, are we good at propaganda. We were always at war with Eurasia!

  226. says

    We need to provide rational reasons for our actions in all circumstances but this doesn’t mean that a rational decision is always what the moral right is during peace time. It’s completely naive to think we can behave ourselves entirely when faced with a war run by terrorists.

    With respect, our actions where bloody schizophrenic. When confronted with someone parking a tank next to a house, we *tried* to take the tank out, without damaging the house. This doesn’t always work, and it hasn’t been reported how many times it missed, but we made the attempt. Yet, we then turned around and allowed groups like Blackwater, with religious agendas, and no kind of code of honor, or military discipline, to be hired, and they shot down civilians. We ignored warnings about what would happen, where it was inconvenient, accepted them when it was convenient, and generally made a complete fucking mess of the whole thing.

    Initially, their was, for anyone paying attention to some bits of coverage, but not completely informed, at least a sense that there was a real intent to fix a mistake that was made when we had the guy on the ropes before, and instead left him alone. Then, things started looking funny, then unlikely, and finally, there was the ah-ha! moment, when you figured out that not only was the whole thing lies to get us in there, but, worse, the people directing actions, funneling money in to try to hold it together, etc., only gave a shit about their own opinions on the subject, some of them where possibly insane, and virtually every damn one of them was an incompetent, who refused to listen to anyone that said the opposite of what they wanted to hear.

    I can forgive the ones that had support for it at the start. I was one of them. But, to dare suggest, given the state of the insane mess that we ended up with, all the double dealing, private armies, and other crap that went in after, etc., and still say that the US, under the administration we had at the time, had *any* clue, right, or rational goals, was a case of, “Its a good thing we did it.”, is bloody insane.

    I am all for kicking some of these crazies out, was then, still am, but it requires local support, it requires listening to what those locals want, it requires a real plan on how to get them to comprehend that replacing the current tyrant won’t do them a damn bit of good, if they simply replace them with another one, or vote on into power. It requires having people doing shit that know what the hell the people we are supposedly helping think, and why, and what support they need, not jumping in and doing it ourselves, then hiring people that are just as bad as the asshole we kicked out, to run protection for contractors, or the like. It requires that we know what the hell we are doing, not guessing, hoping, or ignoring all facts, in favor of some fantasy about what will happen, when its all over.

    In means, if you are going to hammer infrastructure, for example, that you use the sabotage field manual, not a bloody bomb (and certainly not one that levels the whole damn building), since you need the shit to still work after, just not working while the enemy needs it. And many other logistics requirements, that follow your “victory”, instead of only thinking in terms of how to shoot people.

    No one gave a shit about anything that contradicted the idea that it would all magically go right, after we captured the asshole in charge of it.

    So, in retrospect, we shouldn’t have, given the people in charge of it. In terms of the information available at the time… There was no reason to suspect anything near the level of delusion, incompetence, racism, ignorance, and complete idiocy that would arise during, or after.

  227. says

    I insist that we not slander a man with assertions that he *wanted* civilians dead (I wasn’t disputing that he knew that civilians would die, another issue entirely

    That’s where you make your mistake. It’s not another issue.

    If he knew that civilians would die, and he wanted to invade, then he believed they should die for his Cause.

    I agree that the reasons why people support war are fairly complex, but we can also fairly say that people want the consequences they are aware will result from their actions more than they want the consequences they are aware would result from other actions.

    If Hitchens had strongly enough wanted civilians to not die, that would have influenced his choices differently.

    Hitchens knew the cost in human lives of trading peace for war, he wanted to trade peace for war, therefore he wanted to trade in those human lives.

  228. says

    I don’t think I’m quite ready to declare the Republican Party the enemy.

    Yet.

    The so called Tea Party on the other hand… has imho done some things that, where the law still in place to prosecute such things, could be argued to be bordering on treason. Not the least being the continued support of the idea that shipping US money to foreign banks (where a lot of the 1% keep it), governments (bribe money to get jobs shipped there), and manufacturing, isn’t anti-US, while robbing the poor is pro-US.

  229. says

    vaughnjones

    I’m not even sure you deserve any more responses from me for accusing me of being an apologist for fascism.

    It’s pretty simple. Don’t equate not-fascism to fascism, and I won’t accuse you of minimizing fascism and thus making apologetics for fascism.

    I was asking you a question about how far your emotional fallacies stretched

    At least two problems with this quasi-sexist statement:

    You don’t have to evaluate a 6x rate of death emotionally to notice that it is a 6x rate of death. You don’t have to assign any value to Iraqi lives at all, to note that the war was not in the Iraqis’ interests.

    But if you aren’t evaluating a 6x rate of death with any emotion, there’s something wrong with you.

    You have absolutely no clue who I am or about my family history.

    I do know that you are the kind of person who minimizes fascism. I hope your family is disappointed with you.

  230. says

    Initially, their was, for anyone paying attention to some bits of coverage, but not completely informed, at least a sense that there was a real intent to fix a mistake that was made when we had the guy on the ropes before, and instead left him alone.

    So, that’s how you remember it. But you also note that you were a sucker who supported the war in the beginning.

    What accounts for so many who were not fooled?

    I am all for kicking some of these crazies out, was then, still am, but it requires local support, it requires listening to what those locals want, it requires a real plan on how to get them to comprehend that replacing the current tyrant won’t do them a damn bit of good,

    So this is the recipe for making you a sucker again in the future. Good to know.

    In terms of the information available at the time… There was no reason to suspect anything near the level of delusion, incompetence, racism, ignorance, and complete idiocy that would arise during, or after.

    Yes

    there

    was.

  231. says

    Here’s one: Leave a despot in power who might kill hundreds to thousands, or start a war against them causing a near garuntee of thousands of casualties and destruction of the infrastructure.

    Or, third option – Let a lot of people keep dying, while working with those inside the country to eventually remove them, without replacing the dictator with a worse one.

    That one is a whole hell of a lot harder, isn’t as visible, might cause as many deaths as going to war against them, but the outcome has a bit higher chance of being superior to leaving things as they are, or trying to replace the regime.

    But, if all you are looking at is time, how visible the result will be (i.e., if it gets you reelected, when it works), option three is right out. If you look at body counts, they all pretty much suck, and the best you can claim is that you didn’t personally have to wipe blood of your own hands as a result, if you pick the first option of leaving the guy in power.

    Not sure this is exactly the morally better position. Its like dealing with some guy, holding hostages, who is intent on killing all the people he is holding hostage. If you leave him alone, they die, if you move on him, maybe more die, because there is no practical means to breach the building that won’t kill people that are hiding from him, if you simply hope that some security guard, or person in the building, manages to take him down, maybe the same number die, or less, or more. Which solution is superior? The one where you just don’t act, since you won’t then be the one whose bullets slice through an innocent? Seems pretty simple that “none of the above” are any less repugnant, when talking about one nut, in a building. Make it a government, and thousands of people, and suddenly it matters that its someone else’s hands getting bloody, while people die?

    No, you try to talk to the bastard, and get them to let the hostages go, while trying to work out how to get rid of the bastard with “minimal” hazard. Both options you give are wrong, the third option, of letting someone inside do it, isn’t much better, unless you are helping, and your sure the guy you are helping isn’t just as insane. But, if you do have to do it yourself, you make sure you know what the hell you are doing. Doing nothing, isn’t really justifiable, as far as I am concerned, unless, apparently, you are talking about 10,000 people, instead of 10, and a dictator, instead of a lone nut, with no army behind him.

    But, going in without consideration, or in denial, of consequences, *is* the morally inferior position, in all cases. And that was what we did.

  232. sc_b606d96be3a9d79b5f47f915b6533b7e says

    love moderately… Supporting war does indeed entail the assumption that civilians will die, and the acceptance of that fact. That is largely why I oppose war, and this war in particular. But that is a far cry from the hyperbolic claim made in this entry that Hitchens was a public advocate for war crimes against civilians, that he wanted to see civilians “slaughtered,” which is what I denied. There is a difference between supporting a war with the expectation that civilians will die and supporting a war in the hopes that civilians will die. If you consider that a trivial distinction ethically speaking, I will not argue, but it is still not the same thing.

    I am a fan of Myers and this blog, and I understand the need to not whitewash Hitchens or make him into an atheist saint. But crude exaggerations do not help either; Hitchens never got up on a stage and said “Thirty Iraqi children died today. Success.”

  233. David Marjanović says

    What you […] fail to do is to take their core ideology seriously – the ideology of martyrdom and the return of the “hidden imam”. We cannot use what we think as rational in comparing the actions of religious madmen whom [sic] care nothing for Iran or nothing for humanity.

    They do, like Saddam, care for their own survival and their own power, though. They know the people of Iran have lost the burning desire to die as martyrs that the previous generation had in the 1980s.

    This regime cares NOTHING for Iranians and will kill every last Iranian to keep power.

    Are you sure they could kill enough Iranians to stay in power? The way they handled the last few mass protests, I got the impression they did everything to 1) stay in power without changes and 2) avoid a civil war. That’s probably because they’d lose it.

    Actually, the reason for carpet bombing virtually every German cities during WWII was not to make Germans stop supporting the Nazis (the regime was already impopular by then):

    The carpet bombing actually made it more popular for some time. It’s like how Bush’s approval ratings suddenly jumped from “meh” to 90 % or more on 9/12.

    it was to make sure that the german public opinion would not believe another Stab-in-the-back legend

    Huh. Interesting. Ref, please!

    I know what “cupcake” is used for here. What I was questioning was why a word that outside of Pharyngula is in my experience used either as
    a) a term of endearment (or patronising put-down) by men to women

    Over cyber-here, “cupcake” seems to be applied to men who would use it that way. I suppose it’s a method to make them feel their own weapons.

    The failure of Hitchens, the New Atheists and neo-Darwinists in general is they want to share the benefits of Global Capitalism and to keep freedom of thought at the same time. You’re blind to your responsibility in the return of radical religion (be it Christian, Islamic or Jewish) and the clash of civilizations.
    After decades of interventions against secular nationalism in the Third World and exploitation of its Peoples and natural resources to keep on with your easy lives, you get surprised by the hatred you received back. You toppled a moderate Mossadegh and got a radical Khomeini in return.

    You keep using the word we. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Pharyngulites didn’t topple Mossadegh, Gnu Atheists didn’t, neo-Darwinists didn’t…

    Really… did someone shit into your brain?

    Hitchens told it as it is. Full stop.

    Hitchens’ fear clouded his eyes, so he stopped looking at the evidence and listened only to his fear anymore.

    And now you’re repeating that exact same logical fallacy.

    Islam is the metaphorical rabid dog or pyschopathic serial killer threatening your family on your doorstop. There is only one correct course of action – and that is its destruction.

    Argument from ignorance.

    Look at the birth rates for the Muslim population across the world and you’ll know why such concerns are not trivial.

    Look at the birth rates of second- or third-generation Muslim descendants of immigrants to the EU.

    Hint: they’re identical to everyone else’s. Education is stronger than institutionalized misogyny.

    BTW, today there was a huge protest by women on Tahrir Square. The cause was a YouTube video from 3 days ago in which soldiers beat up a protesting woman, rip some of her clothes off, and kick her in chest and belly. The women of Egypt are mad as mythical hell and won’t take it anymore.

    Yes, secularism is the ideal but if you look at what is happening in Turkey right now you’ll realise that the secular state pivots only on the public deciding the level at which they wish to remain a secular state.

    Yes, and? Where’s the difference between Turkey (Sunni/Alevi Islam) and Poland (Catholicism) or Hungary (nationalism)?

    Since 1945 – let’s add in the reconstruction and democratisation of Japan – have you had a military victory?

    Excuse me, who cares?

    Incidentally, Islamism NOT the America is the reason we’re at war today.

    We’re at war? Who, again, is “we”?

    Disbanding its army was bound to lead to large numbers of weapons ending up in private hands, and to the use of many such weapons to advance private or sectarian interests.

    That’s in addition to the weapons that were already private property. Under Saddam, as (no doubt) now, every man who considered himself one owned a Kalashnikov and ammo for it.

    (So much for the myth that dictators automatically ban private gun ownership. Saddam didn’t need to, and he knew it.)

    “By 2035, there will be about 1.96 million active Muslims in Britain, compared with 1.63 million church-going Christians,

    …out of a total population of 73 million? They’re both harmless!

    according to calculations by Christian Research, a think- tank.”

    ROTFLMAO! What a blatant stink tank! Can’t they choose a less obvious name, like “Heritage Foundation” or “Cato Institute”? “Christian Research, a think-tank”! I can’t stop laughing!

    Fitting that the Torygraph published that rot.

    “The number in the U.S. will double to over 6.2 million

    The total population of the US is something like 310 million today. Imagine how it’ll grow till 2035. 6.2 million out of that many – really, who cares?

    With Turkey poised to join the EU

    Not anytime soon, frankly. İstanbul, Ankara and Antalya could join today, but the rest of the country… :-/

    Funny that it’s long been US policy to push the EU to take Turkey in.

    My sister is married to a Muslim chap and while he does not go to a Mosque or routinely pray he still follows the faith and thinks Sha’ria Law is the what government should be based upon. As I said, he is not even a “moderate” in the Sam Harris sense and still thinks Muslim rule is superior. I only wonder what the more politically minded think.

    …so… you know one Muslim and extrapolate to all of them?

    “Sha’ria Courts exist as separate entities in Britain” is a lie.

    Also, the apostrophe belongs between i and a. It’s a desperate attempt to transcribe this letter.

    The one in Qur’ān is another desperate attempt to deal with another letter.

    the fear of being outbred by someone else is a classical dark fantasy of supremacists

    A dark fantasy of white supremacists. :-)

    It’s completely naive to think we can behave ourselves entirely when faced with a war run by terrorists.

    If you see it as a war, the terrorists have won.

    That’s what they want. They want to be seen by the world as a mighty army that fights, with all means necessary, for freedom and the religiously defined good. In reality, they’re just a few mafiosi with a bad business sense. To send the army against them is laughable; they’re a job for the FBI and comparable organizations.

    We’ll forget the number of treaties broken and undertakings reneged upon then?

    Evidence trumps everything.

    Saddam took the position of someone who was hiding something.

    Yeah – from his own generals. He had to keep telling his generals he had WMD and had everything under control so they wouldn’t think he was weak and topple him. At the same time, he had to keep telling the rest of the world that he didn’t have WMD, which happened to be the truth, so they wouldn’t topple him. One of these little games was bound to fail.

    And all you have is the benefit of hindsight love moderately. I’m not arguing from that; I’m justifying the reasoning at the time and I would still stick to some messages I raised even with the benefit of hindsight.

    Show me a blog or something you wrote at that time or juts prior, with a link, and I’ll take your comments much more seriously on the matter. If not, your comments are only worth looking at in the context of hindsight.

    It’s too bad what I wrote back then isn’t available anymore, because smirkingchimp.com has been taken offline, IIRC.

    I remember the time between the alleged election of 2000 and the beginning of the war in 2003. I remember what I thought: that the Busheviki had incredible chutzpah to want a war against all evidence. I remember the yellowcake embarrassment and what Hans Blix said about the UN inspections he led. I remember very well how most of Europe wondered what the fuck was wrong with so many Americans and Britons – outside their countries, support for the war was negligible, before it broke out as well as afterwards.

    Don’t be ridiculous.

    Everyone went along with the governments at the time.

    LOL. Even the governments didn’t go along with each other!

    Most people in the US went along with their government, because they didn’t know any better, bad as their media were and largely still are. Plenty of Britons went along with their government for similar reasons. That’s pretty much it. The government of Spain was voted out at the first opportunity, and that of Italy had to pull out of Iraq to avoid the same fate.

    Right. Everyone in the fucking world except you and George Bush was in love with Saddam Hussein.

    frankboyd is too stupid to grasp the concept of a war of evil against evil. He believes evil people only ever fight good people, so that every war automatically has a big-G Good side.

    Actually, it fairly quickly turned into a war of evil against evil against evil against evil against evil: Bush against Saddam against al-Qaida against as-Sadr against the communist Mujahidin-e-Khalq. frankboyd, I’m sure, is stupid enough to believe every war has only two sides.

    There is a difference between supporting a war with the expectation that civilians will die and supporting a war in the hopes that civilians will die.

    Is intent magic?

  234. Ichthyic says

    I don’t think I’m quite ready to declare the Republican Party the enemy.

    Yet.

    well, good, I guess, because that would be like declaring the Nazi Party an enemy of the actual welfare of Germany AFTER WWII ended.

    my point being, this cultural war in the US was already fought, and lost, by progressives.

    the Republican party is no more an enemy now than Kim Jong Il was an enemy of North Korea.

  235. What a Maroon says

    my point being, this cultural war in the US was already fought, and lost, by progressives.

    Yeah, it’s terrible how women can’t have abortions, birth control is inaccessible, gays can’t marry or serve in the military, atheists are thrown into gulags….

    Point being, if you’re going to surrender prematurely, you’ve already lost.

    Oh, right, you’ve already fled.

  236. Ichthyic says

    Yeah, it’s terrible how women can’t have abortions

    right, so the fact that it’s actually HARDER to get an abortion in many states now than it was 20 years ago tells you what, exactly?

    gays can’t marry or serve in the military

    California. ’nuff said.

    Point being, if you’re going to surrender prematurely, you’ve already lost.

    YOU HAVE ALREADY LOST.

  237. says

    There is a difference between supporting a war with the expectation that civilians will die and supporting a war in the hopes that civilians will die.

    If I trade $5 for a book, I may hope that the cashier will screw up and give my $5 back* plus the book, but it is fair to say that I want to spend that $5.

    *I wouldn’t; I know how retail works and it’ll come out of the cashier’s paycheck.

    +++++

    You should know that that number is far higher than most estimates

    It is consistent with the second Lancet survey, which as of 2006 determined a 95% confidence interval of 392000 to 942000 deaths.

    If you like the Lancet survey better, there’s no problem with using that, but I pick the ORB survey because it is more recent and is consistent with the Lancet.

    and that the methodology used has been severely criticized.

    By one study, Spagat and Dougherty, which, if Google Scholar is correct, no other scientific researchers have ever cited.

    «As is common during times of war, there is the absence of a centralized death registration system in Iraq. Direct methods of counting, whereby official death records of morgues, hospitals, and death certificates are consulted, are therefore unreliable. Given this, indirect methods of interviewing households throughout Iraq are the most reliable method of counting given the circumstances.»

  238. Ichthyic says

    … seriously, think about where your political spectrum is now.

    your current mainstream democratic politician is where a mainstream republican was 20 years ago.

    and you think you’re winning?

    LOL

  239. What a Maroon says

    So when it’s halftime and you’re behind 3-2, it’s time to pick up the ball and flee to Hobbitland?

  240. Ichthyic says

    So when it’s halftime and you’re behind 3-2, it’s time to pick up the ball and flee to Hobbitland?

    nope.

    what you seem to miss is that the game ended yesterday, and those of us who played the entire season recognized we didn’t make the playoffs, and they cut the funding for our team by half, assuring that we would never make the playoffs again.

    …since you seem to like simplistic sports analogies.

  241. Ichthyic says

    actually, let me amend that.

    the game ended 30 years ago.

    you weren’t even there as a fan in the stands.

  242. What a Maroon says

    the game ended 30 years ago.

    you weren’t even there as a fan in the stands.

    I’ve been around a bit longer than 30 years.

    …since you seem to like simplistic sports analogies.

    No more simplistic than the war analogy you seem to prefer.

    Which of course is bullshit. It’s not as simple as us v. them, one side winning and the other losing. Yes, I recognize that the politics of the two major parties here have shifted right, especially on economic issues, but also I’ve seen that on a lot of social issues (racism, acceptance of gays, religiosity) the country’s moved left.

    So your simplistic declarations of defeat are, at best, premature.

  243. says

    The peer-reviewed studies were those by the Lancet, as well as the Iraq Family Health Survey.

    The lowest of these estimates, that by the IFHS, still finds a 2x rate of death during the war.

    So the very best one could say is that the US and UK have only been twice as bad as Saddam Hussein. The morally rational choice was, in any case, to leave Saddam in power.

  244. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Yeah, it’s terrible how women can’t have abortions,

    For an ever growing percentage of American women, this is reality. Forced Birther politicians have made it inaccessible to a huge amount of (poor and mostly rural) women, and that number keeps growing.

    There’s currently a law about to be put in place in PA that will shut down ALL clinics in the state that provide abortions.

    I believe a similar law has already done that in Virginia (? Might have the wrong state).

    Dems have always used women’s rights as a cudgel to browbeat them into voting dem, and then stuff us under the bus after the election. This is the result.

  245. says

    Ooh, I missed this earlier too. From vaughanjones:

    Whether it is trendy to bash religion or not is no longer the point; it is whether as a race we suffer at the hands of a religion which really wants to take over the world. Look at the birth rates for the Muslim population across the world and you’ll know why such concerns are not trivial.</blockquote

    And this here BNP or UKIP voter complained about being called racist!

    Shit, vaughanjones, you were the one who defined it as a race war.

  246. janine says

    I am sure you already know this, love moderately ॐ, but Pat Buchanan has made the same argument for years.

  247. Ichthyic says

    So your simplistic declarations of defeat are, at best, premature.

    you keep tellin’ yourself that.

    come see me again when you feel the need to convince me that Brawndo has what plants crave.

  248. What a Maroon says

    For an ever growing percentage of American women, this is reality. Forced Birther politicians have made it inaccessible to a huge amount of (poor and mostly rural) women, and that number keeps growing.

    So what you gonna do about it? Keep fighting, or declare defeat like our fishy friend?

  249. Ichthyic says

    So what you gonna do about it?

    I weary of your blather.

    what are YOU doing about it.

    well?

    come on now, details. show your work.

  250. says

    So what you gonna do about it? Keep fighting, or declare defeat like our fishy friend?

    Nobody but Ichthyic likes to declare defeat around here. Please don’t mistake others for holding the same views.

    What Illuminata was taking issue with is that you made statements which are not true in practice for many people. She’s got to argue against those statements just for the sake of accuracy, so that readers don’t get the wrong idea about just where we stand.

    I can only speak personally about the situation for gay men, which has improved noticeably over the last decade. So I agree with your sentiment in part. But I don’t want the case to be overstated.

  251. vaughanjones says

    Ooh, I missed this earlier too. From vaughanjones:

    Whether it is trendy to bash religion or not is no longer the point; it is whether as a race we suffer at the hands of a religion which really wants to take over the world. Look at the birth rates for the Muslim population across the world and you’ll know why such concerns are not trivial.</blockquote

    And this here BNP or UKIP voter complained about being called racist!

    Shit, vaughanjones, you were the one who defined it as a race war.

    Race war?

    I would have hoped that anyone would realise I was referring to the “human race”. If they need the clarification that this is what I was referring to, just in case, then they now have it.

    You act like a fascist. In fact, you are or, rather, it’s clear to me that you are acting like one. Continued ad hominem bollocks and the usual shouts of racism; ripe for closing debate about subjects you think you know something about but have to dissolve your own strong arguments with very tiresome and weak ad hominem attacks. Why can’t you leave personal insults or insinuations out of the discussion? Because you are immature. You have not evolved a sense of proportion and you cannot debate with people properly.

    You also act like a bully in trying to intimidate people who commit the very trivial “crime” of disagreeing with you. You need to learn that people do disagree; you should not be so dogmatic in your arguments and try to learn something from others as I always try to do.

    As I said before, you are making assumptions about me as a person which you could not possibly know. You do not know who I am married to for example, or what my background is, or who my children are or indeed what race my children are etc etc.

    You’ve misjudged this by a long shot and only serve to embarrass yourself with your ridiculous accusations.

  252. sc_b606d96be3a9d79b5f47f915b6533b7e says

    “Is intent magic?”
    A few magic words came to mind as a response to this shallow response, but I’ll turn the other cheek, as it were, and simply reiterate my straightforward point; you cannot accuse a man of lust for civilian blood merely because he supported a war that you disagreed with. It doesn’t bring anyone back from the dead if his intentions were good, nor did anything I wrote imply that. But that does not excuse the slanders accusing him of wanting non-combatants to be killed. That wasn’t his position. He supported the war because he opposed Saddam for killing civilians, and in doing so more civilians died. But to say that he called for murder of civilians is a lie, and no amount of flippancy will deter me from asserting that.

    I loathed those who supported the Iraq War, and those who re-elected Bush, but I’m not going to say that the 62 million people who voted for Bush wanted Iraqi civilians to die. I’m sure some/many of them did, but it would be irresponsible to assume that they all did on the basis of their support for the war. Does that make it okay? I never said it did, so spare me the condescension, friend.

  253. What a Maroon says

    What Illuminata was taking issue with is that you made statements which are not true in practice for many people. She’s got to argue against those statements just for the sake of accuracy, so that readers don’t get the wrong idea about just where we stand.

    So I point out above that you overstate your case, and you come right back at me. And here I lie, hoist by my own petard.

    So anyway, fair enough. But I will say this: at least in much of the US a woman can get an abortion without the need to have two consultants certify that the pregnancy is endangering her health. Unlike, say, New Zealand.

    Nobody but Ichthyic likes to declare defeat around here. Please don’t mistake others for holding the same views.

    I wasn’t accusing Illuminata of declaring defeat–just making sure she understood my point.

  254. says

    you cannot accuse a man of lust for civilian blood merely because he supported a war that you disagreed with.

    Did you read the quotations at my link? The deaths of 3000 people on 9-11 left him exhilarated. He told of pleasure at that exhilaration. It was a reason for war.

    As Robin says in his follow-up post,

    Hitchens’s words betrayed—actually, since he made no secret of it, displayed seems the more appropriate word—a cruelty and bloodlust, a thrill for violence and apocalyptic confrontation, an almost sociopathic indifference to the victims of that violence and confrontation, that are disturbing and frightening. What’s more, he included these feelings among his reasons for wanting to fight the war on terror.

    He relished the battle (fought not by him) because it relieved his boredom.

  255. Ichthyic says

    I loathed those who supported the Iraq War, and those who re-elected Bush, but I’m not going to say that the 62 million people who voted for Bush wanted Iraqi civilians to die.

    I’m sure at least some did, but it’s really irrelevant. Fact is, we as a nation let it happen. Whether we wanted to or not, we bear responsibility for it.

    one of the main reasons I left is that I no longer even wanted even INDIRECT responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. When there is a large and sophisticated army, there will ALWAYS be those looking for the justification to use it.

    it doesn’t matter that I didn’t vote for the idiot, or that I didn’t support the war, or even that I protested against it, or wrote my congresscritter at the time to vote against it.

    fact is, just being there, contributing to the economy, paying taxes, being a citizen, meant I bore at least some responsibility for it.

    I’ve met more than a few expats who feel the same way.

    the game is stacked against you, and those that remain only whine and complain, and really do nothing to change it.

    why should I have stayed to help you?

    why?

  256. says

    vaughanjones,

    Race war?

    I would have hoped that anyone would realise I was referring to the “human race”. If they need the clarification that this is what I was referring to, just in case, then they now have it.

    It’s not a good idea to let people get away with making statements that appear to be racist without being called on it. If you meant “human race”, use that full term in the future, or say “our species”, and you will be less likely to be misunderstood.

    I still think you are probably a racist, but I am happy to know that in this particular case you did not mean what you certainly appeared to be saying.

    You act like a fascist. In fact, you are or, rather, it’s clear to me that you are acting like one. Continued ad hominem bollocks and the usual shouts of racism

    Ah yes. So many have died in the ad hominem camps.

    (You’re still minimizing fascism; in fact you’re doubling down on it now.)

    Why can’t you leave personal insults or insinuations out of the discussion?

    Because it is not socially responsible behavior to let probable racists portray themselves as not racists. It would be wrong of me not to point out how you sound like a racist.

  257. Ichthyic says

    you say:

    “ran away.”

    I say:

    escaped.

    …not the same thing.

    you go on and keep trying to reform the prison from within, I’ll take the Midnight Express, thanks.

  258. says

    sc_b606d96be3a9d79b5f47f915b6533b7e:

    See #285.

    And Hitchens did want non-combatants to be killed in Iraq.

    If he knew that civilians would die, and he wanted to invade, then he believed they should die for his Cause.

    I agree that the reasons why people support war are fairly complex, but we can also fairly say that people want the consequences they are aware will result from their actions more than they want the consequences they are aware would result from other actions.

    If Hitchens had strongly enough wanted civilians to not die, that would have influenced his choices differently.

    Hitchens knew the cost in human lives of trading peace for war, he wanted to trade peace for war, therefore he wanted to trade in those human lives.

  259. vaughanjones says

    Because it is not socially responsible behavior to let probable racists portray themselves as not racists. It would be wrong of me not to point out how you sound like a racist. lovemoderately

    At no time have I said anything about “race”; you’re one of those people who see the word “Muslim” and immediately think “brown people”.

    Your ignorance on the subject is astounding, it really is.

    I’m well documented on the net as being against every religion as I believe it poses a direct threat to the existence of the human race (species… errrr whatever).

    (You’re still minimizing fascism; in fact you’re doubling down on it now.)

    Really? In what way have I been “doubling down” (whatever that means) fascism? All I asked you was a question which you have ducked.

    If you meant “human race”, use that full term in the future, or say “our species”, and you will be less likely to be misunderstood.

    I happen to think we exist as a race independent of our ethnic background. I’ll use whatever term I see fit; I thought, in the context I used it, that it was clear I was not referring to ethnicity.

  260. Weed Monkey says

    vaughanjones

    At no time have I said anything about “race”; you’re one of those people who see the word “Muslim” and immediately think “brown people”.

    Of course you did. See:

    Whether it is trendy to bash religion or not is no longer the point; it is whether as a race we suffer at the hands of a religion which really wants to take over the world.

    Now it’s only about you fluttering about what you really meant.

  261. vaughanjones says

    I as not referring to race in terms of “ethnicity”; I was referring to the “human race” (species).

    You struggling with this concept too? If you think I was referring to “ethnicity”, or coming from the position of a “white supremacist”, then you also have to allow yourself to accept that only “brown people” can be the Muslims I referred to.

    Or you can be logical and deduce that as I was referring to the threat the religion poses, as opposed to the “ethnicity” of those subscribing to the religion, based on the context I placed the discussion in.

    You still then have it all to do because you know nothing about my own race, my children’s ethnicity, my wife’s ethnicity or any of my family’s.

  262. Weed Monkey says

    Frankly, I don’t give a flying fuck. It was a reminder you can’t deny your own words when they’re visible on the same fucking page.

  263. says

    At no time have I said anything about “race”; you’re one of those people who see the word “Muslim” and immediately think “brown people”.

    No, but I’ll bet you’re the kind who sees brown people and thinks “Muslims!”

    I’m well documented on the net as being against every religion as I believe it poses a direct threat to the existence of the human race (species… errrr whatever).

    You’re well documented right here making bad arguments from very strange Christian-sourced demographic statistics. I still haven’t figured out why you thought your 1.96 million Muslims! in Britain! would somehow outnumber all other religions and non-.

    You quack like a racist.

    I happen to think we exist as a race independent of our ethnic background.

    You’re wrong. We’re a species.

    I’ll use whatever term I see fit;

    Get used to being taken for a racist, then. Not my problem.

    I thought, in the context I used it, that it was clear I was not referring to ethnicity.

    It was not clear, and I was not the only person to take it as racist.

  264. vaughanjones says

    It was clear. That you happen to find a like mind in Weed Monkey is simply confirmation bias.

    It was not racist. You say we are a “species”; the “human race” is an accepted vernacular or at least interchangeable.

    o, but I’ll bet you’re the kind who sees brown people and thinks “Muslims!”

    Errr, no I don’t actually.

    And, again, be very careful about what you are saying. I keep saying this but you know nothing about the ethnicity of my wife and children. Accusations of racism, towards me, is more than laughable.

  265. Weed Monkey says

    Why don’t you just explain what you meant without using racially loaded words. And please leave your family out of it, it’s like walking right into a “I even let them use my bathroom!” joke.

  266. vaughanjones says

    I do not think I have used racially loaded words but I am open to being corrected. I have used words I use in common every day conversations and have never been questioned on them before. The “human race” for example is more regularly used in Britain than “human species”; certainly where I live.

    If I do use a word or phrase someone takes exception to, why doesn’t that person simply say “that could be construed as a racist comment” rather than simply jump to “you’re a racist”.

    Seriously, is that right? I thought people were a little more reasonable than that. Instead, people want to shout first, think later. It’s wrong and out of order.

    My family is relevant to this particular conversation, particularly when I’m being accused of racism. There’s no point discussing stuff here if that’s the level of conversation people want to go down to.

  267. says

    @Illuminata

    I think you missed my point. I was going for that argument, that the bravado of the military language always seems to drive us to insist that this time is different and we need to sacrifice our rights and ethics…when in reality we always make that argument. It means we’re panicking and we are not going to make good decisions.

    My family is relevant to this particular conversation, particularly when I’m being accused of racism. There’s no point discussing stuff here if that’s the level of conversation people want to go down to.

    Racism isn’t genetic, your heritage has no validity in exonerating you. You might try to step away and come back later when less emotional. Perhaps then you might appreciate people trying to kindly point out what could be subconscious biases you possess.

  268. vaughanjones says

    So you are seriously suggesting that I could be racist towards my own children or wife?

  269. hotshoe says

    It was clear. That you happen to find a like mind in Weed Monkey is simply confirmation bias.

    Fuck off, you worthless idiot.

    It wasn’t clear. It wasn’t clear to me, either.

    You’re a self-important idiot who can’t make himself clear, and when more than one person points that out to you, you stupidly insist that you’re right and that you’re going to continue to use the unclear language. Because it’s your right, innit ? Sure thing, bro, it’s your right. And it’s our right to respond by pointing out that it makes you stupid to attempt to refer to all-of-humanity (if that’s who you intend to speak about) with the dividing word “race”. Which never ever refers to all-of-humanity in anyone else’s usage. But you’re special, bro, and you can define it however you want – and more importantly – when you confuse other people with your unexplained iusage, you can act all offended when you get called on sowing confusion. Yep, you’re special all right. Even if you do say so yourself.

    You know, I don’t give a flying fuck what color your little bimbos and your in-laws are. I don’t care how you’ve suffered in the name of “race” or how many of your ancestors were actually murdered by “fascists”. All I care about is that you’re a worthless asshole, and the sooner you take your leave from here, the better.

  270. says

    Before I could speak another word, Hitchens interrupted. Cigarette fastened in the corner of his mouth, he said, “Did you write this week’s piece on Pat Tillman?” I was taken aback, a little shocked, and frankly flattered. I stammered a “yes” and Hitchens, out of kindness or sensing weakness said, “That was the finest piece of anti-war polemics I’ve seen since combat began.” Now I was practically blushing. Praise from Caesar.

    Then he said four words that soured the discussion dramatically. He said, turning away from me, “You used Tillman brilliantly.” I couldn’t tell if he was still buttering me up or sticking the stiletto between my ribs, but after speaking to people who loved Pat all week, it was more than I could stand.

    Before he could walk away, I called out, “Well, he was a great human being. And if it wasn’t for your war he’d still be alive.” There was now a pause and Hitchens turned back around like he was “Wild Bill” Hickok in the Polemicists Saloon. He responded, “I see you bought the Nation magazine lies about there being no weapons of mass destruction though.”

    I said, “Come on. Not even Dick Cheney argues that there were WMDs in Iraq. You can do better than that.”

    Hitchens then looked me up and down and spit his unlit cigarette against my chest. As my mouth dropped wide, he turned one last time and walked to his table. I stood there stunned, embarrassed and oddly proud. To be spit upon by Christopher Hitchens, for an anti-war activist in 2005, was an honor worth its weight in gold. It also felt real. Most public figures of his ilk are so full of hot air and self-regard, they aren’t even human. For Hitchens, you could see, decades after his days as a student socialist agitator, he was conflicted by what he had become. This is obvious in much of his recent writings: a constant effort to reassure himself that he hadn’t really morphed into what he had once despised. If nothing else, he was consistent in his hatred of Henry Kissinger, and I for one, regret that the aged war criminal outlived his most effective foe.

    Christopher Hitchens was a man of prodigious gifts, but in the end, he used those gifts to promote wars that produced a killing field in the Middle East. That, tragically, is his lasting legacy to the world, and no amount of flowery obituaries can change this stubborn fact.

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/165194/being-spit-upon-literally-christopher-hitchens

    Well that’s a story that if true really torpedo’s the eulogies of Hitchen’s intellectual fairness and debating charm.

  271. twooffour says

    I haven’t read the 50 comments posted since my last one, and who’s allowed themselves whatever Freudian slits with regard to their “subconscious biases”, but here’s two thoughts on my part:

    -The “human race” is not a racist term, it’s everyday language for “humanity” or “human species”. Any white person who thinks otherwise automatically disproves White Supremacy by showing just how dumb a white person can be – so I guess there’s at least some use in you, you fucking idiots.

    -Racism and other prejudices come in different forms and degrees, and sometimes it’s possible to have friends and family the (mild) racist’s mind exempts from their sentiments (applied to the general population, or people they’re not attached to). The mind is fallible just like that. Wagner hat Jewish friends, etc.

    NOT using friends’n’family as an argument is one of the most important rules in defending oneself from racist allegations.

    Having that said, I’m 90% sure that the racism accusations in this case are complete bullcrap. But who am I to judge.

  272. twooffour says

    “Any white person who thinks otherwise automatically disproves White Supremacy by showing just how dumb a white person can be – so I guess there’s at least some use in you, you fucking idiots.”

    On the other hand, nah – white supremacists already do that job perfectly fine. Don’t worry, though – society needs sandwiches.

  273. Weed Monkey says

    So you are seriously suggesting that I could be racist towards my own children or wife?

    No-one’s saying you are. But you do realise that wouldn’t be the first time?

  274. says

    I can’t shake the nagging feeling in all of the talk about Hitch that in some ways he might have been part of the problem. As a master of rhetoric did he, despite often being on ‘our side’, contribute to the underlying problem of style over substance. Is it just that he was another source of soundbits for people to take their opinions form rather than someone promoting rational thinking?

  275. twooffour says

    Hotshoe, GO BAKE SANDWICHES.

    “Well that’s a story that if true really torpedo’s the eulogies of Hitchen’s intellectual fairness and debating charm.”

    Read that, too, and Hitchens comes off as a huge douche in that story.
    Seeing how it’s a “drunken entry in bar history” (as a commenter on that page wisely remarked), though, I’d say put it in the “anecdotes” section and leave it out of the formal discussion.
    Like, Hitch once had a hangover, wrote an article in 2 minutes and it was praised as the best article ever published – who cares?

    Even PZ Myers couldn’t remember the correct version of Hitchens’ speech, so don’t treat that recollection as a piece of condemning history.
    Looking forward to the day our brains are upgraded… constantly, I return to videos I’ve seen some time ago, and see something different than what I had in memory. And that fucking Challenger experiment? Sometimes I feel like I’m in the fucking Matrix…

  276. hotshoe says

    here’s two thoughts on my part:

    -The “human race” is not a racist term, it’s everyday language for “humanity” or “human species”.

    Aaand, another idiot unloads a thought zhe should have kept inside. Too bad for you – and for your idiot friend vaughanjones – that he didn’t use the phrase “human race” if that was what he meant to say. Nope, that idiot was stupid enough to use only the word “race” and then to blame us for not knowing (since he’s famous on the web and all that, ya know) that of course he couldn’t possibly be a racist or even have any unconscious racial biases. Even though sum of the evidence he provided is identical to the evidence provided by the staunchest white supremicists: claims that we “as a race” are going to be outbred by the Muslim population and we need to fight back. Divisive, racist, pig-ignorant propaganda and fear-mongering.

    If he didn’t want to get called out for it, he shouldn’t have indulged himself im making his confused thoughts public.

    And you shouldn’t try to call out the rest of us for our reaction. You’re not smart enough for that. But of course, that’s never stopped you, has it, twooffour ? Stupid and bigoted, you play both kinds!

  277. twooffour says

    “it is whether as a race we suffer at the hands of a religion which really wants to take over the world.”

    Over the world. There aren’t just white people in the world. Human race fits perfectly in that context.
    Fuck off.

  278. says

    Like, Hitch once had a hangover, wrote an article in 2 minutes and it was praised as the best article ever published – who cares?

    It is relevant to how Hitch saw the issue. The narrative is that he’s someone you could politely disagree with, but this pushes to someone who made a decision ideologically and was angry at people who used ‘facts’ to challenge that. It’s awfully…faithful.

  279. hotshoe says

    Hotshoe, GO BAKE SANDWICHES.

    tee hee hee. You’re cute. And I bet you have a good flavor if we hang your ass in the smoker with some hickory chips. Are you for sale ? I need some more pig meat for my sandwiches.

  280. Weed Monkey says

    Over the world. There aren’t just white people in the world. Human race fits perfectly in that context.
    Fuck off.

    If you decide to read it charitably.

    Fuck off.

  281. twooffour says

    “But of course, that’s never stopped you, has it, twooffour?”

    Wow, I’m not a regular poster here, and I’m not your arc nemesis.
    Just a guy who made a few comments about terms and compared some Hitch speech to PZ’s entry – the phrasing of that quote sounds incredibly cheesy.

    You know, there’s a rule when trying to spot bigotry – don’t focus on silly stuff like sloppy phrasings / omg Freudian Slips, because an actual racist will more easily get away with it if you act this stupid.

    Vaughanjones isn’t my friend, I haven’t read 2/3rds of his comments. Just commenting on a really stupid point.

  282. What a Maroon says

    Protip to vaughnjones: if your audience doesn’t understand what you’re saying, you may need to clarify your language. Look, I’m a linguist, I know that language is imprecise and often ambiguous, and more often than not I’m willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. So when you use a loaded term like “race” without a modifier, I’m willing to believe that you meant it in the sense of “human race”. But when it becomes clear that others understood your use of race to refer to “white race”, well, it’s time to clarify. Something along the lines of “sorry, meant to say human race”. Without accusing the others of racism or deliberate misunderstanding.

    All this, of course, is assuming that your purpose here is to communicate and exchange ideas. If all you’re really interested in is “winning”, then by all means fire away.

  283. hotshoe says

    @hotshoe

    Also he was quoting me…huh

    Well, once we get him properly smoked, we call share the sandwiches we’re supposed to make.

  284. twooffour says

    No, “if you decide to read it paranoidly”.
    Anyway, the ambiguity of this “Freudian Slit” is the number one reason why you should drop this already. Focus on the tangible, and that’s the last thing I’m gonna say on this non-issue.

    “The narrative is that he’s someone you could politely disagree with, but this pushes to someone who made a decision ideologically and was angry at people who used ‘facts’ to challenge that.”

    Except it’s not the “narrative”, it’s what you see him doing in all the debates and television appearences where the issue is raised.

    So either his mind was drunk and tired of summonning the soundbytes to defend a fraudulent position, or he was “passionate” about the issue and just felt like doing something nasty because it was a bar and he was drunk, or he felt like pulling out a douche and then making him feel bad in his next television appearence where he doesn’t spit cigarettes on anyone.

    And oh, the unreliable memory thing demonstrated by PZ here.

    So there you axed for it, an “evaluating drunken bar banterings as according to the Harvard method of historical research” 101.

    Don’t ignore it, but it’s a bar anecdote and that’s how it should be treated. Same for the positive stories.

  285. twooffour says

    Oh yea, btw, as far as I understand it, Pat “enlisted” in the war, and was killed by friendly fire.
    Saying that “he wouldn’t be dead without *your* war” wasn’t a “fact”, it was an emotional cheap shot.

    All the nuances in wording and intonation that might relevant to evaluating this Important Bar Moment are forever lost in the past.

    Spitting a cigarette is still something I’d rather expect from Dave Mustaine. At least it wasn’t drivel.

  286. says

    lluminata:

    Why can’t we like his work while at the same time admitting he was, in some respects, completely and utterly wrong?

    Well, I can, but as a woman I’ve had a lot of practice at that sort of thing. All idols have feet of clay. (And even the religious can turn a good metaphor.)

    He was wrong, wrong, wrong on invading Iraq. But right that Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator.
    He was desperately wrong, wrong, wrong on possibly the most crucial feminist issue, reproductive choice. But right that alleviating poverty requires the liberation of women.

    vaughanjones; nonsense. FAR from “everyone went along with the governments at the time”. I was in a few very large anti-war protests here. The items that love moderately cites were in the newspapers everywhere – were they not in the US? The UN weapons inspectors. The clear case against WMD. The fraudulent documents. All clearly there in advance, no hindsight needed.

  287. says

    Oh yea, btw, as far as I understand it, Pat “enlisted” in the war, and was killed by friendly fire.
    Saying that “he wouldn’t be dead without *your* war” wasn’t a “fact”, it was an emotional cheap shot.

    a) missed the relevant part
    b) Hitchen’s upset at a cheap emotional shot? He has no fucking ground to talk.

  288. twooffour says

    No idea what you just said. I’ve already said that his reaction was a douchey one in relation to its “trigger”, but you should call things their names.

    “He was desperately wrong, wrong, wrong on possibly the most crucial feminist issue, reproductive choice.”
    Could I get some 101 on why abortion is a “feminist” issue, let alone “the most crucial”?

    I thought feminism (the good kind of it) was all about gender equality under the same circumstances.
    Fighting for women’s rights to have equal say in a couple’s reproduction plans, which means unless it’s consensual, the hat stays on, as well as out = feminism.
    The right to abort a fetus? Um, I understand it’s unfair that men don’t have to deal with pregnancy, but that’s how it is, and the circumstances are not equal.

    Doesn’t make the issue less important, or the pro-choice position any weaker, but why is it feminism?

  289. twooffour says

    By the way, giving the woman more right, or actually THE right to choose for or against an abortion, in a marriage / relationship, is obviously feminism, as well.

    It’s not equal between the two partners, but it’s not supposed to be: the circumstances aren’t equal, the man doesn’t have to put up with all the psychological and physical stress. What he has to invest in “supporting” her doesn’t live up to that in any way, shape or form.
    Giving the man the “equal” say in whether a fetus should be aborted, would be misogynistic for exactly this reason.

    In a way, after a drunken “accident” the man has less, if (ideally) no control over what happens to the baby (whether the couple stay together or not), while the woman has all the control – but that’s how it’s supposed to be.

    But abortion on its own is a completely different issue. It’s not about the man’s vs. woman’s rights, it’s the human’s vs. future human’s.
    Pro-lifers want neither the woman, nor the man, to have the right to “end” the developing life. Except that the man isn’t supposed to have a say in it, anyway, so we’re left with woman vs. fetus.

    Not feminism, or not what’s supposed to be a part of feminism if it’s supposed to mean “gender equality”. Then again, since only women have to deal with this problem, what the heck. It’s feminism, whatever.

    :)

  290. says

    So this is the recipe for making you a sucker again in the future. Good to know.

    Prior to the first time I voted, I mostly ignored all news, since most of it seemed to center on what idiot won the last football game, or which other idiot was babbling about nonsense, or their religion, but I am being redundant. At some point, I payed a bit more attention, but not enough. After 9/11, everyone in the family spent time watching. But, most of what was watched was not the stuff about what Bush was/wasn’t doing wrong. I did get into looking at blogs *after* the Iraq situation was already in progress, and that was where I got the first hint that things where not quite as certain people where trying to present it, but most of the people in the blogs seemed to fall into one of two categories: 1) People from outside Iraq, who where paranoid, delusional, and believed everything, including the stupid shit that really wasn’t true, and 2)those in Iraq, who where a more mixed bag, but who generally saw Saddam out of power as a positive step, even if they where not terribly certain of everything else.

    It was through those, and other blogs, that I changed my view on bothering to watch what was going on more closely, not just peripherally, on the occasions I stumbled over something particularly stupid.

    So, no, I am not gullible enough anymore to fall for something like that.

    For example, thanks to paying attention, I knew the damn Tea Party was crap before the people here had their own “rally” for it, and recognized why, and I was trying to point out to people at work that, “Yeah, I know what the idea was, but its been hijacked by crazies.” Sadly, given that one of the idiots at work dressed as Palin for Halloween, and is probably still, along with several others, convinced that the Rethuglicans are actually trying to fix things, while Obama is the one screwing it up, there probably wasn’t any damn hope of convincing them in the first place.

    Yes, a lot of people didn’t fall for it, but a lot of those people where, at the time, against claims that Bush was making, not because they *knew* it wasn’t true, but because they thought he had created all/part of the whole thing, from 9/11 onward, just to start two wars. In other words, what you seem to be missing is that there where a lot of insane accusations, claims, and implications, all shuffling around, at the same time, about the wars, and all you are remembering is the ones that people got right. Taken along side the crazy shit, including the 9/11 truthers, etc., if you didn’t know for sure who was telling the truth, who was playing politics, and who was just nuts, it wasn’t as clear cut. This is especially true when you look at some of the insane that is going on now, by people apposing everything Obama is doing. Its not enough for them to attack what he does wrong, they have to attack what he hasn’t done, what he did right, what he did because they wanted him to, etc.

    To someone without a clear idea who was telling the truth, during the first year of Bush, by the time most people (not just some, or even a large, but insufficient number) knew, things where already in motion, and it became a case of, “OK, now how do we minimize the mess.” The problem being, that wasn’t what anyone in charge was thinking. They where ignoring the mess, or pretending that it didn’t exist, while trying to spin things.

    And, if there was one thing the Rethuglicans thought they had learned from Bush, it was that half the damn country would listen to spin, while another chunk would just vote for them by default, and that was all that mattered to hold power. What they didn’t get was that there is a limit to doing it, and crying wolf enough times eventually pisses people off, instead of helping get what you want, hence the occupy movement, and the current Republican election line up, which is so unstable that its like watching balls drop in a lotto machine. The odds that their number is going to come up some how is virtually non-existent, but they keep watching the balls, in the hope that if they don’t quite make the million, they will get 10,000, and if not, then 500, and if not, at least make their money back. They might as well put pictures of random people up, and throw darts.

  291. julian says

    @Salty Current #275

    Thank you for that. It seems we’re much to willing to let someone’s ‘charm’ excuse behavior that we would rightly recognize as a flaw in anyone else.

    @twooffour

    shut the fuck up. Please. You’re a vapid thinker and a dismissive douche. Just shut up.

  292. says

    you say:

    “ran away.”

    I say:

    escaped.

    …not the same thing.

    you go on and keep trying to reform the prison from within, I’ll take the Midnight Express, thanks.

    You retreat from a fight, so that you can continue fighting. You escape from it because you are not willing to take responsibility to trying to fight back, or you fear the consequences to yourself from doing so. One of those is considered respectable by the people left still trying to fight back. The other is indistinguishable, from their perspective, from running, regardless of ones semantics.

  293. julian says

    @Ing

    twooffour’s a ‘pro-choice’ moderate who feels we treat abortion to lightly by dismissing the important arguments around the fetus being a person. Xe also has some rather stupid idea on pregnancy just being some minor inconvenience to the mother because medicine in the West is so awesome. Apparently dangerous pregnancies must be excluded from the discussion because they don’t represent the norm or something.

  294. says

    You retreat from a fight, so that you can continue fighting. You escape from it because you are not willing to take responsibility to trying to fight back, or you fear the consequences to yourself from doing so

    Or you’re cutting your losses and minimizing harm. Frankly amazing how scared people are of being viewed as a coward.

  295. says

    twooffour’s a ‘pro-choice’ moderate who feels we treat abortion to lightly by dismissing the important arguments around the fetus being a person.

    So he’s anti-choice.

    There are no arguments of the fetus being a person. It lacks the definitional markers. Any arguments are only important due to the supposed emotional weight given to people who find medicine and biology icky. It’s basically creationism; people don’t want to face the reality that they started out from simpler forms.

  296. twooffour says

    “Xe also has some rather stupid idea on pregnancy just being some minor inconvenience to the mother because medicine in the West is so awesome.”

    Hi Julian, after probably being the densest person on that thread (spewing “sperms are sacred!!” strawmen whenever you had no point) and then chickening out when you had nothing left to say, you’re still acting like an idiot on here.

    I never said “minor inconvenience”, I said “discomfort”. As in really big, 9+ months long discomfort (and also inconvenience) with problems thrown in, but mostly turns out just fine as opposed to SIGNIFICANT HEALTH RISKS AND DANGER in some of the cases.
    That was the context in which I said it, but keep being disingenuous since that’s the only option you have anyway.

    “‘pro-choice’ moderate”
    It took you about 7 times to get that.

    “Apparently dangerous pregnancies must be excluded from the discussion because they don’t represent the norm or something.”

    No, they’re excluded from the discussion because reasonable pro-lifers already exclude them from their issue with abortion. “If it endangers the mother, go ahead, abort it” is what they say.

    The discussion is restricted to the cases that are NOT dangerous. Got that finally or not?

    Here’s proof that you’re a drooling idiot:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/physioprof/2011/12/16/hitchens/#comment-20966

    Vapid thinker my ass.
    Your brain sucks.

  297. says

    Kagehi, what you seem to be telling me is that because you found it difficult to tell who was worth listening to at the time, therefore I found it difficult as well.

    Yes, a lot of people didn’t fall for it, but a lot of those people where, at the time, against claims that Bush was making, not because they *knew* it wasn’t true, but because they thought he had created all/part of the whole thing, from 9/11 onward, just to start two wars. In other words, what you seem to be missing is that there where a lot of insane accusations, claims, and implications, all shuffling around, at the same time, about the wars, and all you are remembering is the ones that people got right.

    This is an unfounded presumption. I started seriously paying attention to politics in 2000. I do remember the 9/11 truthers. I also remember what David Marjanović remembers:

    I remember the time between the alleged election of 2000 and the beginning of the war in 2003. I remember what I thought: that the Busheviki had incredible chutzpah to want a war against all evidence. I remember the yellowcake embarrassment and what Hans Blix said about the UN inspections he led. I remember very well how most of Europe wondered what the fuck was wrong with so many Americans and Britons – outside their countries, support for the war was negligible, before it broke out as well as afterwards.

    Were most of Europe 9/11 truthers?

    I remember the IAEA reporting to the UN that the yellowcake documents were not authentic, a report made available to the public on March 7.

    I remember Scott Ritter explaining in 2002 the reasons for believing that Saddam did not have WMD.

    I remember Hans Blix explaining in February that the UN inspectors were receiving cooperation from the Iraqis.

    I remember that in spite of this, on March 17, the Bush administration told the UN inspectors that we would not allow them to finish their inspections on their own time; we were going to war anyway.

    These were among the strongest reasons for believing that the war was unnecessary. All these things were known to the public beforehand. It was always clear who to trust: the impartial professionals, the UN weapons inspectors who were doing their jobs without agitating for invasion the sooner the better.

    You don’t remember? Okay, but what you seem to be missing is that many of us do.

  298. twooffour says

    “So he’s anti-choice.”
    If I support a woman’s right (which is not the same as moral justification, but that’s ultimately not my business) to abort her fetus, then I’m pro-choice, no matter how many “but the other side has a point” I toss. End of discussion.

    “There are no arguments of the fetus being a person.”
    Depends on the stage. It becomes more and more of a “person”, even if sedated, as it grows. Several weeks before weeks, it’s pretty much the baby that comes out, unconscious as it may be.

    “It’s basically creationism; people don’t want to face the reality that they started out from simpler forms.”
    In the fetus’ case, the personhood is already programmed into its genes. It just waits to be “realized”.

    Evolution doesn’t work that way, the early as well as present protozoons didn’t have the human form or mind programmed in them as in the case of the zygote.

    Don’t watch too much Star Trek.

  299. says

    twooffour: Judith Thompson’s violinist thought experiment: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/thought-experiment/

    «In her thought experiment we are asked to imagine a famous violinist falling into a coma. The society of music lovers determines from medical records that you and you alone can save the violinist’s life by being hooked up to him for nine months. The music lovers break into your home while you are asleep and hook the unconscious (and unknowing, hence innocent) violinist to you. You may want to unhook him, but you are then faced with this argument put forward by the music lovers: The violinist is an innocent person with a right to life. Unhooking him will result in his death. Therefore, unhooking him is morally wrong.

    However, the argument does not seem convincing in this case. You would be very generous to remain attached and in bed for nine months, but you are not morally obliged to do so. The parallel with the abortion case is evident. The thought experiment is effective in distinguishing two concepts that had previously been run together: “right to life” and “right to what is needed to sustain life.” The fetus and the violinist may each have the former, but it is not evident that either has the latter. The upshot is that even if the fetus has a right to life (which Thompson does not believe but allows for the sake of the argument), it may still be morally permissible to abort.»

  300. twooffour says

    “And frankly I grow more and more disinclined to decipher it as your fanboishness is grating”

    Um, what’s to decipher in “spitting a cigarette in reaction to a cheap shot is a douchey misstep, but said cheap shot shouldn’t be called a fact or valid argument”?

    If you can’t understand simple sentences or points, drop your “fanboy” accusations and respond to someone else.
    Sorry if “Hitchens was a jerk in that bar, but you can watch him actually defend his position, AS FRAUDULENT AS IT MAY BE, in a number of videos” was too fanboyish to you – I can only imagine the biased perspective such an observations must’ve been made from.

  301. twooffour says

    “The parallel with the abortion case is evident.”
    No, it’s fallacious.

    I’m sure you want me to spoonfeed the explanation to you, but since you apparently believe in inoculate conception, I’d think that would be a rather vain effort.

    ((Yea, “inoculate”; you’ve read correctly. Jesus’ parables have more of a point than this.))

  302. julian says

    It took you about 7 times to get that.

    Not to burst your bubble but, no it didn’t. That’s why I never referred to you as anti-choice. The every sperm is sacred, meant to point out how idiotic your it will be a person bullshit was. I had hoped you’d get it eventually. Guess not.

  303. says

    I’m sure you want me to spoonfeed the explanation to you, but since you apparently believe in inoculate conception,

    Oh, I can read between your lines, having had this conversation about a hundred times now. What you mean to say is that the pregnant woman is equivalent to one of those who kidnapped the violinist, and therefore she is morally responsible for the situation arising in the first place.

    But your objection arises too early in the discussion. Regardless of whether you are right or wrong, Thompson has made the case that there is a difference between “right to life” and “right to what is needed to sustain life.”

    You could hold that the woman is morally responsible for both; but you would have to acknowledge that these are two different concepts. I can even show you how you would most readily recognize this: consider the case of rape, in which you would more likely hold a “right to life” while not holding the pregnant woman responsible for a “right to what is needed to sustain life.”

  304. julian says

    Evolution doesn’t work that way, the early as well as present protozoons didn’t have the human form or mind programmed in them as in the case of the zygote.

    Yes, folks, the point did sail right over his head.

  305. twooffour says

    Ok, I’ll grant you that.

    But I bet you still don’t get why I “excluded the dangerous pregnancies from the discussion”, eh?

    Go ahead, burst another of my bubbles. I know you really want to…

  306. says

    But I bet you still don’t get why I “excluded the dangerous pregnancies from the discussion”, eh?

    Who are you talking to? I’m sure everyone here gets why you do that.

    You are not exactly unique.

  307. twooffour says

    Yea, the distinction is well explained, although I’m not sure whether it had to take a confusing example to make it.

    Please, sure, many pro-lifers do add rape to the cases in which an exception should be made – any “but the father being a criminal doesn’t affect the child!!” arguments against that would be ideological, even though not really that crazy.
    And that’s probably where the violinist parallel should come into play – a life is dependent on you, but this dependance has been INFLICTED on you.

    At any rate, yea, what if the pill somehow fails to work, or what if the condom bursts, or what if the condom was really cheap, or what if they thought “fuck the condom – or better yet, not, hahahaha”, or what if you get impregnated all the time but don’t learn anything from it?

    At some point, “responsibility” emerges, and that’s where the point can be made that “well, it was an expected natural consequence, should’ve thought ahead”.

    But that’s the pro-lifers. My position is that the morality of abortion depends on all of the above (they might object that you wouldn’t prefer suicide if you learned that you were an accident), but the law would be batshit crazy to hand out licenses based on any of that.

  308. Ichthyic says

    It becomes more and more of a “person”, even if sedated, as it grows.

    personhood is a legal definition, not a biological one.

    this is both why Roe V Wade came down as it did, AND why idiotic state legislatures feel it warranted to try and promote “personhood at conception” legislation.

    it’s entirely arbitrary as to when we decide to assign “personhood” and the rights pertaining thereto to someone.

    it has fuck all to do with biology.

  309. Ichthyic says

    And that’s probably where the violinist parallel should come into play – a life is dependent on you, but this dependance has been INFLICTED on you.

    unless you plan to go the slut shaming route, and I highly suggest you don’t, then the violinist analogy still works perfectly.

  310. twooffour says

    “Yes, folks, the point did sail right over his head.”
    Except you don’t know what point, and you can’t tell a fallacious comparison from your asshole.

    “Who are you talking to?”
    Julia said something about bursting my bubbles. I told someone to burst my bubble. I was talking to Julia.

  311. Ichthyic says

    At some point, “responsibility” emerges

    actually, indeed it does, but not in the way that you think.

    responsibility is, and always was, a two way street.

    you’d LIKE women (I notice men aren’t included in your diatribes) to be “responsible” for having sex, but in fact, being pregnant changes nothing.

    if you want people to be responsible, you have to give them the choice at all times and in all circumstances.

    that’s what true responsibility is all about. If someone wants to have sex and figure that they can abort as necessary, that is THEIR responsibility. NOT YOURS.

    this is the key issue her. IT’S NOT YOUR CHOICE TO MAKE FOR SOMEONE ELSE.

    that’s what responsibility is all about.

    so, if you truly believed in the concept of responsibility, you wouldn’t even begin to make this argument.

  312. says

    And that’s probably where the violinist parallel should come into play – a life is dependent on you, but this dependance has been INFLICTED on you.

    No, the violinist example is a good one in many cases, such as your case. It has done its intended function, such that we can now talk with you about a “right to what is needed to sustain life”.

    Before I go further, at what point during pregnancy do you believe that a “right to what is needed to sustain life” attaches?

  313. twooffour says

    “personhood is a legal definition, not a biological one.”
    And I’m using it in a biological (or rather psychological and neuroscientific) definition, so suck on that.

    “unless you plan to go the slut shaming route”
    Lolwut?

    Anyway, don’t wanna hijack this thread with abortion debate, how about taking it here?
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/physioprof/2011/12/16/hitchens/

    That page is stupid and there’s nothing to hijack.

    I just asked another user why abortion is a feminist issue, even though it has nothing to do with equal rights at its core.

  314. Ichthyic says

    Evolution doesn’t work that way, the early as well as present protozoons didn’t have the human form or mind programmed in them as in the case of the zygote.

    what the fuck does this even mean?

    hey, I’m a zoologist.

    did I have that “programmed into my zygote”?

    you can’t base current decisions on future probabilities with any reliability. you can’t look at a blastula, and say it is a fully formed human being.

    talk about watching too much sci fi…

  315. Ichthyic says

    Lolwut?

    slut shaming

    you’re just getting started thinking about this stuff, aren’t you?

    If you’re college age, I would highly recommend you take a course in biomedical ethics for starters.

  316. Ichthyic says

    And I’m using it in a biological (or rather psychological and neuroscientific) definition, so suck on that.

    you don’t get to redefine it.

    suck on that.

  317. Ichthyic says

    Before I go further, at what point during pregnancy do you believe that a “right to what is needed to sustain life” attaches?

    since it’s pretty clear the person you’re asking hasn’t really come very far in their thinking on this issue, and I don’t plan to add anything else on it to this thread, I’ll go ahead and volunteer an answer that is entirely defensible, but I won’t:

    never.

    it never applies.

    it is, and always should be, a matter of personal choice to reproduce yourself, and should be terminable at any time up to birth itself, and even that is arbitrary, but it makes the most sense.

    there really is NO other fair way to view this issue.

  318. twooffour says

    “The name is Julian. Are you trolling?”
    I should’ve started teasing him way earlier.

    “Before I go further, at what point during pregnancy do you believe that a “right to what is needed to sustain life” attaches?”

    I don’t, because I’m pro-choice? But if we follow through with your violinst thing, then that right doesn’t attach until the baby’s out, even though it’s basically fully developed weeks before that.
    _____________

    “you’d LIKE women (I notice men aren’t included in your diatribes) to be “responsible” for having sex, but in fact, being pregnant changes nothing.”

    It changes the fact that now there’s a “life” to sustain.
    Men don’t get pregnant.

    “if you want people to be responsible, you have to give them the choice at all times and in all circumstances.”
    I was talking about the responsibility for impregnation, and yea, people choose to have sex or not use contraception, what’s your point?

    “If someone wants to have sex and figure that they can abort as necessary, that is THEIR responsibility. NOT YOURS.”

    Yea, it’s their responsibility to think ahead and then deal with the consequences of having a life to nurture.
    Aborting (rape, health hazards and other situations excluded) is desposing of this responsibility.

    “IT’S NOT YOUR CHOICE TO MAKE FOR SOMEONE ELSE.”
    A parent has the responsibility of keeping their child alive. If they let it starve to death, it’s then the people’s responsibility to intervene / take them to the court.

    The only difference is the one between the child and the fetus.

    “yes, he is.
    But he doesn’t yet understand why that is.”

    Being pro-choice – acknowledging and supporting the RIGHT to abort. It doesn’t mean approving of it morally all the time.

    Does that clear it up? Good.

  319. twooffour says

    “hey, I’m a zoologist.

    did I have that “programmed into my zygote”?

    you can’t base current decisions on future probabilities with any reliability. you can’t look at a blastula, and say it is a fully formed human being.”

    Not everyday you read such an incredibly dumb comment.

    How can I explain the fallacy while wasting as few words on you as possible?
    A 1 year old baby isn’t programmed to become a crappy zoology student. That doesn’t mean it won’t grow up and develop the ability to learn language.

    Does the “nature vs. nurture” argument ring a bell? Reducing the fact of genetically programmed human traits and development to determinism (which has nothing to do with “programming”) is so fucking obscene, you should just stop posting.

    “slut shaming”
    Ah, that. Well yea, I’m opposed to that.
    The fact you even thought of bringing that up is only a further sympton of your stupidity, though.

    “never.
    it never applies.”
    Funny how, despite “not having done much thinking on this”, that was my exact answer in my previous post.

    “I don’t plan to add anything else on it to this thread”

    Good.

    Bye.

  320. says

    “The name is Julian. Are you trolling?”
    I should’ve started teasing him way earlier.

    Teasing people by altering the apparent gender of their names is sexist behavior. Please don’t do that here. Every adult has seen it done several thousand times, so it’s not even funny anymore. It’s best not to be boring in your insults.

    I don’t, because I’m pro-choice?

    Hokay, let me try again. At what time do you believe that “a moral responsibility to provide what is needed to sustain life” attaches?

  321. twooffour says

    “Teasing people by altering the apparent gender of their names is sexist behavior. Please don’t do that here.”

    No it isn’t.

    “Every adult has seen it done several thousand times, so it’s not even funny anymore. It’s best not to be boring in your insults.”

    Was it less boring when I said “your brain sucks”? … nvm

    “Hokay, let me try again. At what time do you believe that “a moral responsibility to provide what is needed to sustain life” attaches?”
    You should ask Julian this question. He thinks that a fetus is the same as a zygote, yet I haven’t seen him state that a baby few weeks before birth is (as that would be stupid).

    If he denies the gradual emergence (you know, the sensible answer), he must think that it “attaches” somewhere at some point, right?

    No idea, man. Some people may feel it’s right after conception, because of the “programming” thing.
    But obviously, all the things that make the fetus human emerge gradually during development, and that’s, as I said, a question for the sciences.

    Whether the fetus is aware or constantly sedated is important, too.

  322. says

    Teasing people by altering the apparent gender of their names is sexist behavior. Your opinion is not relevant to this fact. But what I am asking of you is not to agree or disagree. Only this: Please don’t do that here.

    Was it less boring when I said “your brain sucks”?

    Slightly.

    But obviously, all the things that make the fetus human emerge gradually during development, and that’s, as I said, a question for the sciences.

    It’s always human. My sperm are human too; they aren’t some other animal’s sperm. I expect what you mean there is “a person”.

    No idea, man.

    Well, here’s the problem. You’ve been talking about how the woman has some moral responsibility for some sort of behavior. To whom does she have that responsibility, and when does she begin having it? You can give a rough answer, you can say “whenever X occurs”, but you have to have some answer or else your talk of responsibility is perfectly useless blather.

  323. twooffour says

    “Only this: Please don’t do that here.”
    Manhole Manhole Manhole Manhole Manhole Humanhole Manhole.

    “It’s always human.”
    Um… yea… some people say poetry’s a science, too.

    You’ve never heard this kind of phrasing before? “When a person loses a part of their brain, they lose part of what makes them human?” “Everything that makes me human, my memories, emotions, desires, are emerging from the brain”?

    Or are you just smartarsing?
    But yea, I meant person. Whatever.

    “You can give a rough answer, you can say “whenever X occurs”, but you have to have some answer or else your talk of responsibility is perfectly useless blather.”

    No. The question was at which point it becomes a heap – but as it is with most heaps, at some point it HAS grown into a heap, and the moral responsibility has arrived – and that’s my whole point, as well as a sufficient answer to your question.

    Pro-lifers need to have concrete answers. To a somewhat lesser extent, pro-choicers duking it out with pro-lifers need to have some answers.

    I’m neither – all I’m saying is that this issue shouldn’t be reduced to the usual soundbytes of “a woman can do whatever she wants with her body” or “a growing fetus is like an appendix, where’s the fucking difference??”, followed by “and therefore, pro-lifers are simply misogynists who hate women; anti-abortion means anti-woman” because it ignores the problem rather than addressing it, as well as being aggravatingly stupid and dishonest.
    That’s exactly what happened at the beginning of the other page and why I started arguing, and Juliann simply carried it over into this thread.

    Then I’d say, between comparing a fetus to a talented comatose adult and on the other hand to a twitching limb, both to justify abortion, we’ve covered it pretty much all by now, have we not ;)

  324. says

    You’ve never heard this kind of phrasing before? “When a person loses a part of their brain, they lose part of what makes them human?”

    I have. It’s incorrect.

    Or are you just smartarsing?

    Nope. The use of precise language is important in this case, so that we recognize fallacies of equivocation when they occur.

    all I’m saying is that this issue shouldn’t be reduced to the usual soundbytes of “a woman can do whatever she wants with her body” or “a growing fetus is like an appendix, where’s the fucking difference??”, followed by “and therefore, pro-lifers are simply misogynists who hate women; anti-abortion means anti-woman” because it ignores the problem rather than addressing it,

    No, it addresses a different problem than the one you’re thinking of. The problem it addresses is that anti-choicers are respected whatsoever for having a position which is wrong and hurtful. Pushing the Overton window is a means of addressing this problem.

    Some of your soundbytes are obviously correct: “a woman can do whatever she wants with her body”, “anti-abortion means anti-woman”.

    Some are arguable: “a growing fetus is like an appendix, where’s the fucking difference”, “and therefore, pro-lifers are simply misogynists who hate women”.

    But they all address this problem.

    No. The question was at which point it becomes a heap – but as it is with most heaps, at some point it HAS grown into a heap, and the moral responsibility has arrived – and that’s my whole point, as well as a sufficient answer to your question.

    It is not sufficient. I think I can fairly read you as saying it’s not yet a heap at conception. But does it become a heap before, at, or after birth?

  325. says

    ॐ, different piece, that.

    Nope:

    “(Years later, when he took up the question of abortion again in Vanity Fair, he said basically the exact same things, using the same straw-women arguments. Time taught him nothing, because he didn’t want to learn.)”

  326. John Morales says

    ॐ, what Katha thinks is not in accord with my reading of that piece (I think it’s rather more nuanced than she makes it to be), nor can I access the one she does discuss (well, I could, but it’s behind a paywall and I don’t care either to pay or ferret it out elsewhere).

    Are you taking her word for it, or have you read the article in question and come to your own conclusions?

  327. says

    As she says he makes the same arguments in the Vanity Fair piece, I’m applying her criticisms to it. His 2003 piece,

    «There was a time when the feminist movement replied to this with militant indignation. What “individual”? What “person”? The most famous title of the period—Our Bodies, Ourselves—captures the tone to perfection. If we need to remove an appendix or a tumor from our own personal spaces, then it’s nobody else’s goddamn business. I used to cringe when I heard this, not so much because in the moral sense fetuses aren’t to be compared to appendixes, let alone tumors, but because it is obvious nonsense from the biological and embryological points of view. Babies come from where they come from. The diagram of a vacuum-suction abortion in Our Bodies, Ourselves gave the female anatomy in some detail but showed only a void inside the uterus. This perhaps unintended concession to queasiness has since become more noticeable as a consequence of advances in embryology, and by the simple experience of the enhanced sonogram. Women who have gazed at the early heartbeat inside themselves now have some difficulty, shall we say, in ranking the experience with the planned excision of a polyp.»

    is just as moronic as she says, as well as rather treacly.

  328. twooffour says

    “John: noted.”
    The irony – in this essay, he does NOT claim to “resolve” anything “for the ladies”; he does describe the conflict well, says that “denying a conflict” is immoral and dishonest, and basically ends with “debate goes on” and “science will change the face of this issue”.

    “Pushing the Overton window is a means of addressing this problem.”
    The window can be pushed by fallacy and dishonesty, too.

    “Some of your soundbytes are obviously correct: “a woman can do whatever she wants with her body”, “anti-abortion means anti-woman”.”
    Nah, nothing “correct” about any of that. Stop kidding yourself.

    “But does it become a heap before, at, or after birth?”
    Ah, that. Well, obviously before birth in terms of development and viability. They don’t call it “labor” because the fetus works really hard on growing its brain in the last minute, if you pardon this horrendously forced joke.

    From what I’ve read, the fetus is most probably sedated / unconscious before breathing in the first oxygen during birth, so it’s not an “aware” developed baby, but I’m not sure how proven that is.

    Imagine a scenario (honestly no idea how frequent or realistic) in which a becoming mother becomes scared a few weeks before birth, and they decide to anesthesize the baby and suck it out by pieces.
    How would you feel about something like that, and would it be the same as aborting an early embryo or doing a chemical abortion in the first few weeks?

    The answer is obvious, and requires no further discussion.

  329. twooffour says

    “is just as moronic as she says, as well as rather treacly.”

    I haven’t studied the history of feminism, but the “it’s an appendix” argument has just recently been used in the thread where this discussion started, and it certainly has been around for some time.
    Not a “straw-woman” at all.

    Nothing wrong about pointing out that seeing a sonogram can easily evoke such an emotional reaction (or, at least, convince that it’s not like a polyp).
    Or, you know, maybe some think “omg killitwithfire” when they see it and Hitchens totally distorts the numbers °_°

  330. John Morales says

    ॐ, a nice selective extract, there.

    So you don’t agree that he basically is writing a pro-choice piece, but saying it should be informed?

    The quest to enlarge the span and quality of life is itself a struggle for mastery over nature, which left to itself would have us dying toothless and smelly and malnourished after about three decades. And the impulse to have a say in how many children we have, and how, is an indissoluble part of that ambition. In consequence, we have to shoulder decisions that would once have been made by fate.
    […]
    It doesn’t seem to me that we have become any less human by confronting these decisions and finally accepting our responsibility for them.

  331. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Imagine a scenario (honestly no idea how frequent or realistic) in which a becoming mother becomes scared a few weeks before birth, and they decide to anesthesize the baby and suck it out by pieces.

    ….And then they roasted the pieces and enjoyed a feast. The relived (almost) mother said that the thighs were especially tender.

  332. John Morales says

    [OT]

    twooffour, your scenario represents an abortion, however emotively you couch it. The answer is indeed obvious: an abortion is an abortion.

  333. says

    The irony – in this essay, he does NOT claim to “resolve” anything “for the ladies”; he does describe the conflict well, says that “denying a conflict” is immoral and dishonest, and basically ends with “debate goes on” and “science will change the face of this issue”.

    He does not describe the conflict well at all. It is as though he is still unaware of any likely responses to his shallow treatment of each issue. I would accept this from a freshman undergrad.

    And he does claim to resolve it, exactly as you claim to resolve it: by insisting that denying any conflict of rights is immoral and dishonest.

    You and he are wrong about this. You and he are attempting to resolve it in part by claiming that any resolution must recognize a conflict of rights.

    I recognize no such conflict. And I believe that a 30 week fetus is probably a person. But it has no legitimate claim to any rights which might conflict with the woman’s bodily autonomy.

    The window can be pushed by fallacy and dishonesty, too.

    However, you have not established that any of these arguments are fallacious or dishonest. You merely assert this over and over.

    Nah, nothing “correct” about any of that. Stop kidding yourself.

    It was just a couple hours ago that you were saying the fetus had no rights whatsoever. Therefore it is correct that the woman can do what she wants with her body. You are very confused.

    Ah, that. Well, obviously before birth in terms of development and viability.

    This statement is ambiguous. Do you mean that moral responsibilities to the fetus attach before birth?

    Imagine a scenario (honestly no idea how frequent or realistic) in which a becoming mother becomes scared a few weeks before birth, and they decide to anesthesize the baby and suck it out by pieces.
    How would you feel about something like that, and would it be the same as aborting an early embryo or doing a chemical abortion in the first few weeks?

    I would feel good about it, and I would be glad for her.

    Morally it would be the same: no one has established the claim that there is any moral responsibility to let any organism use another’s body.

    I haven’t studied the history of feminism, but the “it’s an appendix” argument has just recently been used in the thread where this discussion started, and it certainly has been around for some time.

    The moronic part is how he acts like he’s answered this.

    Nothing wrong about pointing out that seeing a sonogram can easily evoke such an emotional reaction (or, at least, convince that it’s not like a polyp).

    He overlooks those for whom it does not, and he insinuates that a woman’s presumed emotional reaction has some moral relevance to how she should judge her decision.

    Or, you know, maybe some think “omg killitwithfire” when they see it

    Some do, although fire is probably not their first choice.

    +++++

    ॐ, a nice selective extract, there.

    It’s the part about the sonogram, John. That’s the part that’s most relevant to what Katha wrote, remember?

    So you don’t agree that he basically is writing a pro-choice piece, but saying it should be informed?

    I do not. It is implicitly anti-choice to insinuate that abortions are not already adequately informed. (And he called his earlier piece “pro-life” in his own words; and does not distinguish this piece either way. I suspect he still thought of it as pro-life).

    Hitchens was playing a game similar to twooffour’s here. But insinuating that abortions are occuring without adequate consideration is sexist of him. As if any woman needed his useless moralizing in her life.

  334. twooffour says

    “twooffour, your scenario represents an abortion, however emotively you couch it. The answer is indeed obvious: an abortion is an abortion.”

    Quit being silly. OBVIOUSLY it’s abortion, it’s also sucking out the baby piece by piece.
    The point was that it’s a fully developed one as opposed to a young fetus, phrasing be damned.

    _____

    “And he does claim to resolve it, exactly as you claim to resolve it: by insisting that denying any conflict of rights is immoral and dishonest.
    You and he are wrong about this. You and he are attempting to resolve it in part by claiming that any resolution must recognize a conflict of rights.”

    Um, saying that there is a conflict is the opposite of “resolving it”.
    It’s just showing those who have settled for a resolution that they might be wrong about it, so they have to engage in mental gymnastics of that special kind you only see at Olympics.

    Explaining how it’s a complicated issue and there are actually no perfect answers = claiming to resolve an issue in 100 words. And that makes him a misogynist, and arrogant, and hence screw him.

    Saying:
    “I recognize no such conflict. … But it has no legitimate claim to any rights which might conflict with the woman’s bodily autonomy.”
    … sounds more like “easy resolution” to me.

    At some point, you have a case in which a woman has unprotected sex, and then decides to abort something you acknowledge “is probably a person” in the name of her “bodily autonomy”, and you claim there can’t be possibly a moral conflict of any kind.

    Your cognitive fallacies begin to show…

    “But it has no legitimate claim to any rights which might conflict with the woman’s bodily autonomy.”
    Doesn’t mean anything you do with your bodily autonomy is morally justified.
    Not getting vaccinated because you kinda heard something of adverse effects and can’t be bothered to research it, is your right, but not necessarily moral.

    “However, you have not established that any of these arguments are fallacious or dishonest. You merely assert this over and over.”

    Lolwut?
    Appendix =/= growing baby.
    “It’s my body, so I can get my jaw augmented” = “It’s my body so I can kill the one growing inside of me”: Bullshit

    “Anti-abortion=anti-woman” – BIGGEST PILE OF STEAMIN’ I’VE READ IN MY LIFE

    If you want to spoonfeed you why, I’m happy to oblige – but I hadn’t thought it’d be necessary.

    “It was just a couple hours ago that you were saying the fetus had no rights whatsoever. Therefore it is correct that the woman can do what she wants with her body.”

    Not sure how that was phrased, but I suppose I was referring to what I thought was supposed to be acceptable legal right, rather than moral right in an individual sitaution.
    If you can’t hold that apart, guess who’s confused here *yawn*

    “Do you mean that moral responsibilities to the fetus attach before birth?”
    Um… yea?
    It’s not a fetus after it’s born. :p

    “I would feel good about it, and I would be glad for her.

    Morally it would be the same: no one has established the claim that there is any moral responsibility to let any organism use another’s body.”

    Oh, I’m sure you would, but if you also don’t feel sour at the same time because a fully developed young human was just denied life in the last moment (not out of medical necessity, either), you’re just pushing aside what is actually the moral price of such a decision.

    Don’t worry – we do that all the time. Eating pork, even though pigs are comparably intelligent mammals who sometimes like to have fun and roll around in the mud, and make for really cute pets?
    PSH ASIDE – delicious meat!

    ((I’m not a vegenazi, btw, although I pretty much only eat fish and birds – but I push it all aside, too.))

    However, the fact that in a moral conflict, one side overweighs, doesn’t mean there is no conflict, or price.
    You’re confusing responsibility with legal duty here.

    We’ve established that FORCING someone to offer their body as a support for someone else is ultimately too sinister to let happen, but that doesn’t mean the person refusing to help the violinist won’t eventually get scruples, and would be justified in doing so.

    No one’s forced to donate blood, or enter the bone marrow database, even though it could save lives.
    Even after you’ve agreed to donate when a specific patient needs it, at least in Germany, you’re allowed to withdraw while the patient has already received the destructive chemo and now needs new bone marrow ASAP.

    You have the “right” to do it, but boy would you be a horrible person if you didn’t start drinking afterwards.

    “The moronic part is how he acts like he’s answered this.”
    Nah, quit dancing around – it was implied that it was a “straw-woman”, but it’s obviously a real stupid argument people use till this day.
    No, a growing fetus isn’t a polyp, and it’s pretty fucking clear. Anyone who requires an “answer”, be it by looking at a sonogram or reading an article with a clever pun on “nature vs. nurture”, is already in error.

    “He overlooks those for whom it does not”
    LOL! Could you get any more Douchey McNitpick than this? You’re really grasping at straws here.
    He didn’t say ALL women. That this statement wasn’t supposed to apply to each last woman on earth, or even the overwhelming majority, should go without saying.

    “and he insinuates that a woman’s presumed emotional reaction has some moral relevance to how she should judge her decision.”
    Um… yea?
    Slowly but surely, you’re becoming a cartoon.

    “Some do”
    Maybe that should’ve deserved some mention, then.
    Women deciding to abort as soon as they seen that little heart beat.

    “But insinuating that abortions are occuring without adequate consideration is sexist of him.”

    And there, it happened.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkQIpYTmvGg

    You’ve just crossed into the country of fruitcake.

    Such a fatuous piece of nonsense, it makes my head spin… I could debunk it in a few sentences, but why bother?

  335. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But obviously, all the things that make the fetus human emerge gradually during development, and that’s, as I said, a question for the sciences.

    Whether the fetus is aware or constantly sedated is important, too.

    Irrelevant. All that is important is where is the fetus. In the woman, not fully human, and her bodily integrity dominates. Outside, full protection of the law. End of story, end of philosophical blithering and sophistry. You have no reason to dither, unless it is you making the decision. Show me where you can make the decision for somebody else. You haven’t and can’t make that case.

  336. twooffour says

    “Irrelevant.”
    Unless you don’t care whether an advanced fetus may feel excruciating pain while being cut in pieces (as far as I know, they most likely don’t, certainly not before the 20th week), then yea, screw it.

    “Outside, full protection of the law.”
    Yes.

    “End of story, end of philosophical blithering and sophistry.”
    No.

    “You have no reason to dither, unless it is you making the decision.”
    If I want to ponder “moral obligations” such as vaccination or bone marrow donation, while supporting them not to be compulsive, or, indeed, discuss different situations under which an abortion may be moral or immoral to different degrees, then I’ll bloody do that and you can suck my thumb.

    Believe it or not, but reading someone voicing a conclusion or opinion on the internet can actually inform your own moral decisions later in life, so it’s not entirely useless, either.

    I understand that what I have to offer isn’t particularly insightful, but then again, considering that some people here honestly don’t understand that an appendix is different from a fetus, I guess I’m just intelligent enough for this board – even if it’s only to tell them how fucking stupid they are.

    No one’s rights are threatened by what I express on this page – maybe some people’s conscience is after they’ve told themselves “bah, just some appendix; I’ve got the right!”, but yea, boo hoo. Don’t read discussions about abortion, then.

    “Show me where you can make the decision for somebody else.”
    I can’t, I don’t, and I don’t pretend to. Now screw off.

  337. says

    Um, saying that there is a conflict is the opposite of “resolving it”.

    You distort his words now. Your earlier characterization was more accurate. Here’s what he actually says: “By rightly expanding our definition of what is alive and what is human, we have also accepted that there may be a conflict of rights between a potential human and an actual one. The only moral losers in this argument are those who say that there is no conflict, and nothing to argue about.”

    He asserts that those who do not recognize any conflict of rights are immoral. That is an attempt to partially resolve the discussion, such that some arguments are no longer morally permissible.

    Explaining how it’s a complicated issue and there are actually no perfect answers = claiming to resolve an issue in 100 words. And that makes him a misogynist, and arrogant, and hence screw him.

    There is an answer which is better than all other answers: the woman’s bodily autonomy is the ultimate consideration.

    What makes his argument sexist is that its very existence presumes that women who are having abortions are not giving the matter sufficient consideration.

    “I recognize no such conflict. … But it has no legitimate claim to any rights which might conflict with the woman’s bodily autonomy.” … sounds more like “easy resolution” to me.

    Indeed, it is an easy resolution; I have made no claim otherwise, and I have no reason to believe that the resolution ought not to be easy.

    At some point, you have a case in which a woman has unprotected sex, and then decides to abort something you acknowledge “is probably a person” in the name of her “bodily autonomy”, and you claim there can’t be possibly a moral conflict of any kind. Your cognitive fallacies begin to show…

    You either meant “fallacies” or “cognitive biases” here. Neither applies. If you think my position is odd, you might bother to ask how I come to that conclusion.

    “But it has no legitimate claim to any rights which might conflict with the woman’s bodily autonomy.”
    Doesn’t mean anything you do with your bodily autonomy is morally justified.
    Not getting vaccinated because you kinda heard something of adverse effects and can’t be bothered to research it, is your right, but not necessarily moral.

    Note that my argument was worded to preempt such objections. I did not claim that just “anything you do with your bodily autonomy is morally justified.” What I did say was different: a fetus has no legitimate claim to any rights which might conflict with the woman’s bodily autonomy.

    Your comparison is flawed on its face. Vaccination is a public health issue which affects the bodily autonomy of other born humans. Abortion is not.

    Lolwut? Appendix =/= growing baby.

    An appendix is in fact not a fetus, but it does not follow that there is any moral difference between them. Of course, no one has ever seriously claimed that a fetus is in fact an appendix. But the null hypothesis is that they are morally equivalent.

    “It’s my body, so I can get my jaw augmented” = “It’s my body so I can kill the one growing inside of me”: Bullshit

    I wonder when you are going to try to back up any of your arguments.

    “Anti-abortion=anti-woman” – BIGGEST PILE OF STEAMIN’ I’VE READ IN MY LIFE

    The argument is usually that opposition to legalized abortion is anti-woman. That is the one that is trivial to demonstrate correct. If you wish to limit your claim to saying that moral scolding of abortion, as you do, is not anti-woman, you should clarify this. You’d still be wrong, but it’s first necessary to know exactly what you’re defending as not anti-woman.

    If you want to spoonfeed you why, I’m happy to oblige – but I hadn’t thought it’d be necessary.

    I’ve heard dozens or hundreds of different arguments about this. To know why yours in particular is wrong, I’ll have to know which argument you prefer to make.

    Not sure how that was phrased, but I suppose I was referring to what I thought was supposed to be acceptable legal right, rather than moral right in an individual sitaution.

    If you’re talking about being morally right, it is irrelevant to the fact that “a woman can do whatever she wants with her body”. The question of what she can or cannot do is infringed by legal constraints. If you recognize no legal objection, then you recognize that a woman can do whatever she wants with her body. You want to scold her, of course, but that’s different.

    Um… yea?

    Okay, thanks for clarifying. You could have said this earlier.

    Oh, I’m sure you would, but if you also don’t feel sour at the same time because a fully developed young human was just denied life in the last moment (not out of medical necessity, either), you’re just pushing aside what is actually the moral price of such a decision.

    No, I would not feel sour about that. It is not something I concern myself with.

    ((I’m not a vegenazi, btw, although I pretty much only eat fish and birds – but I push it all aside, too.))

    You should stop eating fish and birds, btw. You can do it; you’re halfway there.

    However, the fact that in a moral conflict, one side overweighs, doesn’t mean there is no conflict, or price. You’re confusing responsibility with legal duty here.

    Trust me, I am talking about moral responsibility, and have been since it became clear that you define yourself as pro-choice regarding legality.

    There is no conflict, and there is no price. The fetus has no legitimate claims which could conflict with the woman’s bodily autonomy.

    but that doesn’t mean the person refusing to help the violinist won’t eventually get scruples, and would be justified in doing so.

    The person refusing to help the violinist is doing nothing wrong. The person who helps the violinist is only being very generous.

    Whatever that person decides, they are morally justified in their decision.

    No one’s forced to donate blood, or enter the bone marrow database, even though it could save lives.

    Lives of already born people. The comparison is not apt.

    Even after you’ve agreed to donate when a specific patient needs it, at least in Germany, you’re allowed to withdraw while the patient has already received the destructive chemo and now needs new bone marrow ASAP. You have the “right” to do it, but boy would you be a horrible person if you didn’t start drinking afterwards.

    You have not established this, but note: such a claim applies to treatment of born people who can understand that someone told them one thing and then did another.

    Nah, quit dancing around – it was implied that it was a “straw-woman”, but it’s obviously a real stupid argument people use till this day.

    It’s a good argument, and the strawwoman is to mention it without dealing with the arguments that justify it, such as the value of bodily autonomy like we’ve been discussing.

    No, a growing fetus isn’t a polyp, and it’s pretty fucking clear.

    This is a misrepresentation as well. Again, the null hypothesis is not that one thing is in fact the other, but that they are morally equivalent.

    He didn’t say ALL women. That this statement wasn’t supposed to apply to each last woman on earth, or even the overwhelming majority, should go without saying.

    If it is not intended to apply to the overwhelming majority, then it is not worth mentioning so generally. Why say “Women who have gazed at the early heartbeat inside themselves now have some difficulty, shall we say, in ranking the experience with the planned excision of a polyp” if he’s not talking about women generally? There is a well known modifier which he could have added: some.

    But there is no reason to accept your interpretation. He meant all women.

    “and he insinuates that a woman’s presumed emotional reaction has some moral relevance to how she should judge her decision.”
    Um… yea?

    Well, that’s a mistake. Emotional reactions, or their absence for that matter, should not necessarily be interpreted as having any moral implication. They may or may not; this cannot be deciphered without rational analysis.

    “Some do” Maybe that should’ve deserved some mention, then. Women deciding to abort as soon as they seen that little heart beat.

    More typically, they have already decided to abort, but are being forced to view a sonogram due to state law. I wonder how you feel about these sonogram laws, by the way.

    “But insinuating that abortions are occuring without adequate consideration is sexist of him.”

    It is extremely sexist of him. It is another example of how he does not believe that women can think without the help of men like him.

    All women who have abortions have given the matter precisely as much consideration as they ought to.

  338. says

    Believe it or not, but reading someone voicing a conclusion or opinion on the internet can actually inform your own moral decisions later in life, so it’s not entirely useless, either.

    Ah, here we see your motivation.

    You are a sexist who believes that women are not giving abortion adequate consideration, but will be more likely to do so after hearing from you.

    No one’s rights are threatened by what I express on this page – maybe some people’s conscience is

    Clearly you’d like that. You’d like to impose guilt on someone who is just trying to make the best decision for their life. You were perhaps raised Catholic?

  339. julian says

    I can’t, I don’t, and I don’t pretend to.

    No, folks, he just berates those who haven’t given this the proper philosophical thinking. Taking a potential life should be done so lightly by women who obviously are wholly responsible for each and every pregnancy. Except of course the ones that aren’t, we’re not allowed to talk about those.

    I wonder why these maggots never actually stay true to their principles. Someone who is genuinely concerned with the personhood of a fetus would always be against abortion except in the most extreme circumstances. It is, after all, a person with just as much right to life as the mother. And since it can’t speak for itself the state has even more reason to speak for it, doesn’t it?

  340. says

    Believe it or not, but reading someone voicing a conclusion or opinion on the internet can actually inform your own moral decisions later in life, so it’s not entirely useless, either.

    Ah, so reading your 100% uterus-free ramblings about my moral obligations towards a parasite in my system should lead to me making a moral decision.
    Nice to know that you know so much more about this and my situation than I do myself.
    Please, pack your straw-fetuses and leave.

    Oh, and instant thread-win for beatrice

  341. julian says

    You were perhaps raised Catholic?

    Hey! The Pentecostal kids got just as much guilt tripping as we did!

  342. twooffour says

    “You are a sexist who believes that women are not giving abortion adequate consideration, but will be more likely to do so after hearing from you.”

    Nah, I can see through less transparent disingenuous tactics than that. Don’t even try.

    SOME women obviously don’t, and even more people of either gender who post comments on the interwebs.
    I’ve just said that I DON’T CONSIDER MY CONTRIBUTIONS ALL THAT INSIGHTFUL, but obviously they’re GOOD ENOUGH FOR SOME OF THE USERS HERE, including you.

    If you honestly see “no moral conflict” in aborting a fully developed baby for no medical reasons (even though the mother’s interests overweigh, but there is something to overweigh in the first place), you ARE in need of getting explained something very basic about morality, so don’t act butthurt when you do.

    Whether you’re a woman or a guy, your sloppy sexist allegation suggests that you’d like to think that all women are super-geniuses and are incapable of pushing aside moral considerations when making difficult decisions of various sorts, or simply holding dumb / poorly thought-out opinions – unlike we guys, you know, who’re trapped in all these cognitive biases and all – but that’s not the case, and you should be honest enough to admit that.

    Posts like mine, or articles like Hitchens’, are always written for those who don’t already understand all the conclusions. Those who do can feel free to roll their eyes at being condescended to in such a manner, but conveying a useful thought or two to someone who doesn’t is more important than respecting your pride.

    “Clearly you’d like that. You’d like to impose guilt on someone who is just trying to make the best decision for their life.”

    Another dumb cheap shot.

    Yea, because, you know, “making the best decision for your life” doesn’t involve calculating in the factors that might rub conscience the wrong way (which often includes reading about them from others, as not all good conclusions can always be made on one’s own), rather than repressing or denying them.

    Sorry, but killing off a sufficiently advanced fetus is actually SUPPOSED to make you feel morally uneasy. Even if it’s the right decision in the end, it’s not making a chin augmentation, and if you don’t realize that, you’re simply in denial and probably need to hear it like it is from someone else.

    Artificial, external “induction” of guilt has nothing to do with it, and if you can’t tell one from the other, again, your thinking needs some serious improvement, as does your self-honesty.

    “You are a sexist”
    You know, when you first responded to me, you actually seemed like a reasonable person.
    But you’re obviously just another paranoid crank who sees “sexism” in everything.

    Do you realize that I could be a woman, and just as concerned about a fetus’ life? Or even more concerned, and be a pro-life woman?
    Or that my arguments are directed at males as well as females, basically WHOEVER HOLDS THE VIEWS I’M ARGUING AGAINST?

    By making everything about gender, you’re contributing to the problem.

    I really don’t know if I should bother to respond to your other post, but what the heck.

  343. says

    Sorry, but killing off a sufficiently advanced fetus is actually SUPPOSED to make you feel morally uneasy.

    Says who?
    By whom?

    Even if it’s the right decision in the end…

    …I need to make sure that you suffer along the way. Can’t let you get away with having sex and probably even enjoying it and not having a baby and not even feeling bad about it…

    it’s not making a chin augmentation, and if you don’t realize that, you’re simply in denial and probably need to hear it like it is from someone else.

    Translated:
    You’re morally insufficient. You need to be told by me what’s right and what’s wrong. You probably shouldn’t be allowed to make decissions at all, because, since you disagree with me, you’re obviously wrong.

  344. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Unless you don’t care whether an advanced fetus may feel excruciating pain while being cut in pieces

    Right, who give a fuck about your inane dithering about something that isn’t your decision. Besides, fuckwits like you always go to the third trimester to do your inane dithering, when almost all the abortions (>98.5%), even where third trimester abortions are legal, occur in the first two trimesters, before your dithering pain argument is even worth talking about. You are dithering about abortions that occur not due to choice, but rather due to fetal deformity. Learn some biology.

  345. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sorry, but killing off a sufficiently advanced fetus is actually SUPPOSED to make you feel morally uneasy.

    Why? Invariably it is one that is damaged if abortion occurs in the third trimester. Who gives you the right to make that decision for the woman? You don’t have that authority, nor given your idiocy about it, should you have that authority.

  346. twooffour says

    “Ah, so reading your 100% uterus-free ramblings about my moral obligations towards a parasite in my system should lead to me making a moral decision.”

    That’s a nice defense mechanism – “parasite in my system”. Well when you put it like that, yea, kill off the damned bandworm.

    If you don’t like reading that your “parasite” is actually a developing child, because that makes it harder for you to abort it, then bloody don’t.

    Defense mechanisms work best when unchallenged.

    ______

    “Taking a potential life should be done so lightly by women who obviously are wholly responsible for each and every pregnancy.”

    Strawman, didn’t say that.
    In fact: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/16/the-dark-side-of-hitchens/comment-page-1/#comment-225885

    “Except of course the ones that aren’t, we’re not allowed to talk about those.”
    Drooling moron once, drooling moron twice, drooling moron always.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/16/the-dark-side-of-hitchens/comment-page-1/#comment-225867
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/16/the-dark-side-of-hitchens/comment-page-1/#comment-225877

    “Someone who is genuinely concerned with the personhood of a fetus would always be against abortion except in the most extreme circumstances. It is, after all, a person with just as much right to life as the mother. And since it can’t speak for itself the state has even more reason to speak for it, doesn’t it?”

    Yea, people who think that way are called pro-lifers.
    Save your strawmen for the moment one actually arrives on this board.

    Bye, fool – your comments are considered as trolling from now on. No one can be THIS dumb.

  347. julian says

    But you’re obviously just another paranoid crank who sees “sexism” in everything.

    Introspection is not your strong suit, I see.

  348. says

    That’s a nice defense mechanism – “parasite in my system”. Well when you put it like that, yea, kill off the damned bandworm.

    Nope, cupcake. I actually grew two of the damned parasites to adequate size and then pooped them out of the adequate hole. Loved and cared for them ever since. Parasites they were, nevertheless:

    Parasite: An organism that lives in or on and takes its nourishment from another organism. A parasite cannot live independently.

    Taken from here
    Yet to do so was my decission, I let them leech off my resources and made absolutely sure there’d be enough and the right kind of nutritients.
    And if I’d decided that I don’t want to do that it would have been my decision, too. None of your goddamn business.

  349. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Bye, fool – your comments are considered as trolling from now on. No one can be THIS dumb.

    The only dumb troll in this discussion is you. You can’t make decisions for anybody else. So, why bother dithering if it isn’t your decision, nor should it be societies, as it is a private matter. It should be just the woman and her physician. You haven’t shown otherwise, because you can’t…

  350. twooffour says

    “Why? Invariably it is one that is damaged if abortion occurs in the third trimester. Who gives you the right to make that decision for the woman?”

    I don’t claim that right, because I’m not pro-life.
    I can, however, voice my opinion on whether abortion is morally justified (and to what degree) under which circumstances, and you can take it or leave it.

    ____

    “Besides, fuckwits like you always go to the third trimester to do your inane dithering, when almost all the abortions (>98.5%), even where third trimester abortions are legal, occur in the first two trimesters, before your dithering pain argument is even worth talking about. You are dithering about abortions that occur not due to choice, but rather due to fetal deformity.”

    Not blaming you for not reading through the mess of this trainwreck (this forum isn’t the best format for a lot of posts, anyway), but as far as I’m concerned, the immorality of abortion GROWS with the development of the fetus.

    I said that in response to a question when during pregnancy, in my opinion, abortion should “become less moral”.
    Also in response to someone saying “none of that pain stuff matters at all – it’s the woman’s body, and that’s all that matters” – well, you rely on the work of scientists who deemed it a sufficiently important issue to investigate.

    Now that you know, you can talk smack. ;)

    Also, I’m not talking about “deformity” cases, I’m talking about the cases in which the mother, not really endangered, simply doesn’t want to, or finds it hard to put up with everything the NORMAL pregnancy brings with it.

    ___

    “Says who?
    By whom?”

    Same question could be asked if I said “you should feel guilty about letting your child starve to death”. Except the child is an aware, fully developed human being, while an “advanced fetus” is less so.

    But it’s basic morality… you know… ending a life, even when “necessary” (as opposed to when it “deserves” it), is “bad”, and induces guilt in those who have a conscience.

    “…I need to make sure that you suffer along the way. Can’t let you get away with having sex and probably even enjoying it and not having a baby and not even feeling bad about it…”

    Enjoy your sex all you want and I hope you don’t get impregnated and stay healthy – but yea, if you don’t like to be reminded of the simple fact that when you’re “not having the baby”, you’re essentially killing it and it’s not like cutting your fingernail, then DON’T COME HERE AND READ IT.

    Learn to deal with it, or just push it aside. But I’m still going to say what I think.

    … Or, you know, do some early chemical abortion, when it’s still just a few hundreds of cells. Makes it better, too.

    “You’re morally insufficient. You need to be told by me what’s right and what’s wrong.”
    If you need to be told that aborting a fetus is actually someewhat of a moral issue (depending on how “responsible” you were for conceiving it, and other factors), unlike a nose enlargement or whatever, then yea, I’m afraid that’s how it is.

    “You probably shouldn’t be allowed to make decissions at all, because, since you disagree with me, you’re obviously wrong.”

    The same could be said to any moral argument or criticism about anything.
    This is plain silly, and doesn’t warrant further response.

    (The difference being, if your “decision” involves starving a child to death, then you shouldn’t be allowed to make such decisions. In case of abortion, you should because it’s your right.)

  351. says

    but yea, if you don’t like to be reminded of the simple fact that when you’re “not having the baby”, you’re essentially killing it and it’s not like cutting your fingernail, then DON’T COME HERE AND READ IT.

    Lol.
    Apart from the fact that you would apparently give a donkey’s leg if you actually did trigger somebody, I have no problem with your repeated, unsupported claims that by an abortion I’d “kill my baby”.
    But if you don’t want people to tell you that you’re asshole sexist whose only concern it is to guilt-trip women, don’t post here, because the Horde will happily hand you your ass time after time again.

    BTW, there’s a handy tag called “blockquote”. Use it wisely.

  352. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    … Or, you know, do some early chemical abortion, when it’s still just a few hundreds of cells. Makes it better, too.

    Oh yeah, I’ve decided that if I ever get pregnant I’ll keep it for at least 6 months. Keep the little bastard feel secure and loved and all that crap. I’ll take the vomiting and the risks, because I know it’s going to be worth it. Sometime in the end of the seventh month, just when the little worm is lulled in the sense of security… BAM! I’ll ask the doctor to chop it up in pieces and get it out for a barbecue. Because it’s fun.

  353. twooffour says

    “The only dumb troll in this discussion is you. You can’t make decisions for anybody else. So, why bother dithering if it isn’t your decision, nor should it be societies, as it is a private matter. It should be just the woman and her physician. You haven’t shown otherwise, because you can’t…”

    Or maybe because I’m pro-choice and support the individual right to choose between abortion and keepin’ it?

    Julian has been declared a troll because he disingenuously fails to understand a simple point, and keeps using it as a strawman.

    Use this strawman again, and you’re a troll in my book, as well.

    _____

    “Yet to do so was my decission, I let them leech off my resources and made absolutely sure there’d be enough and the right kind of nutritients.
    And if I’d decided that I don’t want to do that it would have been my decision, too. None of your goddamn business.”

    Yea, and it’s none of your business what I think about it, so screw off.
    If I liked to eat pork, I wouldn’t be as pathetic to go to a discussion board about vegetarianism and animal slaughter, and tell everyone how they had no right to speak ill of my support of pig slaughter.

    If I’m not ready to defend my “position” without resorting to cheap defensive tactics, I’d simply not focus on what makes me uncomfortable. Whether I’d be right to do so, is another question, but I wouldn’t have to bother myself with that kind of self-reflection, eh?

    Nice way of using “parasite” in its broad meaning, I guess – you do realize that any other usage of “parasite” doesn’t involve the parasite being any valuable, or worth of preservation, right?

  354. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Julian has been declared a troll because he disingenuously fails to understand a simple point, and keeps using it as a strawman.

    No, that is you. I suspect you aren’t pro-choice. We get a lot of anti-choice folks who lie, bullshit, and talk “concerns” in order to change our minds. If you are pro-choice, step aside and let the regulars handle Julian.

    Nice way of using “parasite” in its broad meaning, I guess – you do realize that any other usage of “parasite” doesn’t involve the parasite being any valuable, or worth of preservation, right?

    This is why I think you are a concern troll.

  355. twooffour says

    “Apart from the fact that you would apparently give a donkey’s leg if you actually did trigger somebody”

    Um, what?

    “I have no problem with your repeated, unsupported claims that by an abortion I’d “kill my baby”.”
    Well… you know… read on Wikipedia what abortion is. This is getting kinda silly.

    “But if you don’t want people to tell you that you’re asshole sexist whose only concern it is to guilt-trip women, don’t post here, because the Horde will happily hand you your ass time after time again.”

    Again, not my fault if you repeatedly fail to understand the difference between artificial guilt induction, and situations where guilt is actually justified.

    Stop trying to make this into sexism, it’s cheap and stupid.
    The same arguments, under equal circumstances, would apply to male pregnancy should it ever be made possible by our crazy scientists in the fuchah.

    ____

    “Sometime in the end of the seventh month, just when the little worm is lulled in the sense of security… BAM! I’ll ask the doctor to chop it up in pieces and get it out for a barbecue. Because it’s fun.”

    Heh… that’s, of course, how you can do it, too :D

    (I’m not discussing early stage chemical abortion here, btw, in case it wasn’t clear. I did make it clear above, but whoever finds it in the mess gets a quarter million from me.)

  356. twooffour says

    “I suspect you aren’t pro-choice. We get a lot of anti-choice folks who lie, bullshit, and talk “concerns” in order to change our minds.”

    Suspicion accepted, and rebuked.
    Now go listen to Green Day’s “Paranoid”.

    I can voice my views on the morality of abortion as a pro-choicer, too – all it means is that I kinda take this issue more seriously than the folks who say “pfft, stupid appendix baby, I regret nothing”.

  357. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Heh… that’s, of course, how you can do it, too :D

    I thought all the cool, immoral women do it like that. I’m just trying to fit in by following your instructions on how to be like all those other immoral women , and now you tell me you were just bullshitting us.

  358. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Again, not my fault if you repeatedly fail to understand the difference between artificial guilt induction, and situations where guilt is actually justified.

    There is no need to be guilty over having an abortion. That is a anti-choice argument. Pro-choice folks understand guilt is irrelevant to the decision

    Again, not my fault if you repeatedly fail to understand the difference between artificial guilt induction, and situations where guilt is actually justified.

    Just like all your inane arguments, but you keep on making them, so we will respond. You can stop any time you desire…

    Stop trying to make this into sexism, it’s cheap and stupid.

    It is sexism if you are male and are telling women what they must think and feel. Any fool can see that.

    Suspicion accepted, and rebuked.

    I don’t take your word for anything other than lies and bullshit until you provide EVIDENCE that you are pro-choice. By shutting the fuck up about guilt.

    I can voice my views on the morality of abortion as a pro-choicer, too – all it means is that I kinda take this issue more seriously than the folks who say “pfft, stupid appendix baby, I regret nothing”.

    Then you aren’t pro-choice. Pro-choice folks understand where the decision making power is, and you don’t. You are a concern troll. Your concern is noted and rejected for abject idiocy and hypocrisy.

  359. KG says

    Also, I’m not talking about “deformity” cases, I’m talking about the cases in which the mother, not really endangered, simply doesn’t want to, or finds it hard to put up with everything the NORMAL pregnancy brings with it. – Sexist Idiot

    Yeah, yeah. The world is just full of women who choose to get pregnant, reach the third trimester, then decide – nah, can’t be bothered.

    Oh, wait. No, it isn’t. That’s just the kind of crap forced birthers come up with to justify their misogyny.

  360. says

    Oh, I’m sure you would, but if you also don’t feel sour at the same time because a fully developed young human was just denied life in the last moment (not out of medical necessity, either), you’re just pushing aside what is actually the moral price of such a decision.

    Don’t worry – we do that all the time. Eating pork, even though pigs are comparably intelligent mammals who sometimes like to have fun and roll around in the mud, and make for really cute pets?
    PSH ASIDE – delicious meat!

    ((I’m not a vegenazi, btw, although I pretty much only eat fish and birds – but I push it all aside, too.))

    So… Let me get this straight. You consider people who make what you view as the moral choice – not to eat meat – to be Nazis. You consider some animals to be persons (you should look into the evidence concerning birds and fish, by the way). But you’re OK with killing them simply to eat, even in the presence of alternatives. You’re not gestating them, they affect you in no way, but for the sheer enjoyment of consuming them. Then you want to lecture women about how they have a moral responsibility to nonpersons (or at the very least, beings far down on any nonspeciesist scale of personhood from these animals) in their own bodies and that strongly affect their lives.

    You call people who think we have a responsibility to nonhuman persons Nazis, but those who don’t think women have a moral responsibility to human nonpersons in their own bodies you call immoral. I wouldn’t be taking any long trips with that moral compass.

    And you’ve never answered lm’s question above about to whom this alleged moral responsibility is owed.

    ***

    Yeah, yeah. The world is just full of women who choose to get pregnant, reach the third trimester, then decide – nah, can’t be bothered.
    Oh, wait. No, it isn’t. That’s just the kind of crap forced birthers come up with to justify their misogyny.

    tof has “honestly no idea how frequent or realistic” is the scenario “in which a becoming mother becomes scared a few weeks before birth, and they decide to anesthesize the baby and suck it out by pieces.” He’s totally an honest participant in this discussion. Honest.

  361. KG says

    “I have no problem with your repeated, unsupported claims that by an abortion I’d “kill my baby”.”
    Well… you know… read on Wikipedia what abortion is. – twooffour

    A fetus isn’t a baby, fuckwit.

  362. says

    Don’t worry – we do that all the time. Eating pork, even though pigs are comparably intelligent mammals who sometimes like to have fun and roll around in the mud, and make for really cute pets?
    PSH ASIDE – delicious meat!

    I don’t eat pork because pigs pass a threshold test for me to be given more right to life than other animals. Dogs too, humans too…probably most great apes.

    A fetus lacks it. There’s significant physiological difference even before birth and after first breath. I still see the fetus almost as if it is a specialized organ with the goal of building a person. Medically and ethically I view it exactly the same as removing an inflamed appendix or wisdom teeth or even lasering off an unsightly mole. No real sense in telling someone that they should feel guilty about stopping a physiological process in their body they don’t want.

    Acid Reflex->Anacid
    Cancer->Chemo
    Excessive hair growth->Laser surgery, waxing, shaving etc
    Cataract->surgery
    unwanted pregnancy->abortion.

    It really is that simple.

    And frankly it is amazing that anyone could argue that someone has no responsibility promoting a law that has a guaranteed 100% chance of ending thousands of lives of extant fully sapient beings, but puts full responsibility on a woman who wants to reduce the potential of a biological process of producing a new person down to 0% when their own health is in question.

  363. says

    tof has “honestly no idea how frequent or realistic” is the scenario “in which a becoming mother becomes scared a few weeks before birth, and they decide to anesthesize the baby and suck it out by pieces.”

    Fetus not baby, by definition.

    Also I fail to see the problem. If someone pays for skydiving lessons, takes the preliminary training, then chickens out while in the air I see no reason to deny them the chance to (no pun intended) pull out. Maybe something came up, health condition, economic change, social change where they can’t take the risk anymore. Many perfectly logical and ethical reasons for eschewing both birth and skydiving even at the very last minute.

  364. says

    on March 17, the Bush administration told the UN inspectors that we would not allow them to finish their inspections on their own time; we were going to war anyway

    After years of them dicking around, insisting that cooperation meant the places Saddam wanted inspected, on the days he wanted, not the ones the inspectors wanted, etc. But, yeah, a certain amount of cooperation was going on.

    In any case, I am just stating what I, in the initial stages of starting to pay attention, was seeing. And, yeah, there where some things popping up that, like the Yellow cake thing, which where a problem, but only if a person had a clear enough idea of what was going on.

    Truth is though, it was also obvious that it was going to happen, because there simply wasn’t anyone the administration was listening to. Its only later that we find out they also had no damn clue how to do it either, and where ignoring the ones that could have given them real advice. And, at a certain point it became a case of, “Try to finish the job, or do the same thing we did with Afghanistan, when we helped create the terrorist threat that came back at us later.” In other words, as long as the biggest stupidities, and abuses, where not clear, it was still possible to look at it as, “Lets not walk away, like we did every other time, until we have things stable.” But, even that one must, at some point, run out of patience with, when the people in charge have no interest in what is going wrong, and only in some fantasy version of what the future will look like.

    We, imho, backed ourselves into a corner, fairly early on, and its hard to say which choice would have been worse at that point. So, again, to the morons that would start one, know what the fuck you are doing before starting one in the first place, and then use the minimum necessary to make it happen! They can stuff their “shock and awe” up their ass, where they have their head most of the time.

  365. says

    Nice way of using “parasite” in its broad meaning, I guess – you do realize that any other usage of “parasite” doesn’t involve the parasite being any valuable, or worth of preservation, right?

    One word: Mistletoe
    Oh, and no, the fetus is of no worth.
    It can become something of tremendous worth if the woman agrees to host it and everything goes alright.

    If I liked to eat pork, I wouldn’t be as pathetic to go to a discussion board about vegetarianism and animal slaughter, and tell everyone how they had no right to speak ill of my support of pig slaughter.

    Oh, but wait, this isn’t your special “I’m pro-choice but I really hope that you suffer a lot for your evil decission to have an abortion board”.
    This is Pharynguly, where our gracious host supports an adamant pro-choice position as do the regulars.
    So, welcome to the lion’s den.
    If you haven’t noticed: You’ve come to the monthly pork club to lecture us on the evils of meat.

    Apart from the fact that you would apparently give a donkey’s leg if you actually did trigger somebody

    Um, what?

    You know what triggering means?
    Or are you so ignorant?
    You know, there are women in this world who had abortions for reasons of rape, incest or because the offspring they’d planned for and wished for was killing them.
    And by your fucking guilt-tripping game you could trigger them and impose unnecessary suffering on women who had more than enough already.
    Shows for whom you really care: Unconscious, unfeeling feti, not fully grown, conscious women.

  366. David Marjanović says

    “Is intent magic?”
    A few magic words came to mind as a response to this shallow response, but I’ll turn the other cheek, as it were, and simply reiterate my straightforward point; you cannot accuse a man of lust for civilian blood merely because he supported a war that you disagreed with. It doesn’t bring anyone back from the dead if his intentions were good, nor did anything I wrote imply that. But that does not excuse the slanders accusing him of wanting non-combatants to be killed. That wasn’t his position. He supported the war because he opposed Saddam for killing civilians, and in doing so more civilians died. But to say that he called for murder of civilians is a lie, and no amount of flippancy will deter me from asserting that.

    Then let me rephrase: you’re of course right that Hitchens didn’t explicitly call for killing civilians. I’m asking whether it matters whether he called explicitly or implicitly for killing civilians.

    In short, I’m with comment 289.

    I haven’t read the 50 comments posted since my last one,

    so you cannot comment. Off to Sweden with you. *waving handkerchief after twooffour*

    The “human race” is not a racist term, it’s everyday language for “humanity” or “human species”.

    1) It was 50 years ago. Not now. Come on, google it.

    2) vaughanjones didn’t say “human race”. He said “we, as a race”, and the simplest interpretation of the context is that he contrasted that with Muslims. I was so stunned that I read that sentence again and managed to find a more charitable interpretation, namely that “we” means “all of humanity, including the Muslims themselves”; that’s why I didn’t say anything (…oh, “sorry”, you didn’t read that…), but I’m not at all surprised that love moderately and Weed Monkey were misled.

    vaughanjones; nonsense. FAR from “everyone went along with the governments at the time”. I was in a few very large anti-war protests here. The items that love moderately cites were in the newspapers everywhere – were they not in the US? The UN weapons inspectors. The clear case against WMD. The fraudulent documents. All clearly there in advance, no hindsight needed.

    They mostly weren’t in the US. The reporters and editors suddenly got an attack of patriotism… and confused “love of country” with “love of Fearless Flightsuit”.

    And that’s the newspapers, which few people read. TV? Two words: Faux Noise.

    I forgot if I participated in one, but, throughout most of Europe, there were very large protests against the war before it started. There even were some in the US; they made it to the TV evening news over here.

    You retreat from a fight, so that you can continue fighting. You escape from it because you are not willing to take responsibility to trying to fight back, or you fear the consequences to yourself from doing so. One of those is considered respectable by the people left still trying to fight back. The other is indistinguishable, from their perspective, from running, regardless of ones semantics.

    …really… fuck you. Ichthyic couldn’t stand the heat, so he got out of the kitchen; that makes him smarter than millions and more privileged than tens of millions.

    Or you’re cutting your losses and minimizing harm. Frankly amazing how scared people are of being viewed as a coward.

    I’ve always been proud of being a confessing coward.

    Were most of Europe 9/11 truthers?

    No. Truthers did and do exist over here, but, as far as I’ve noticed, they’ve never been any more common than in the US, and the public opinion has always considered them crazy.

    I remember that in spite of this, on March 17, the Bush administration told the UN inspectors that we would not allow them to finish their inspections on their own time; we were going to war anyway.

    …Yeah. That was the biggest piece of chutzpah I’ve ever seen.

    …OK, OK. The ruling in Bush v. Gore is a serious contender.

    “The name is Julian. Are you trolling?”
    I should’ve started teasing him way earlier.

    In a way that presupposes that women are less than men?

    “Hi. My name is twooffour, and I’m a misogynist.”

    Oh yeah, I’ve decided that if I ever get pregnant I’ll keep it for at least 6 months. Keep the little bastard feel secure and loved and all that crap. I’ll take the vomiting and the risks, because I know it’s going to be worth it. Sometime in the end of the seventh month, just when the little worm is lulled in the sense of security… BAM! I’ll ask the doctor to chop it up in pieces and get it out for a barbecue. Because it’s fun.

    + 1

    After years of them dicking around, insisting that cooperation meant the places Saddam wanted inspected, on the days he wanted, not the ones the inspectors wanted, etc.

    When Saddam got scared, he changed that and let the inspectors work on their terms.

    That was in early 2002. You didn’t inform yourself at that time, and Faux Noise didn’t tell you, so you still don’t know and happily parrot arguments from ignorance nine years later.

    You have no idea how painfully embarrassing you look.

    And, yeah, there where some things popping up that, like the Yellow cake thing, which where a problem, but only if a person had a clear enough idea of what was going on.

    …what?

    Truth is though, it was also obvious that it was going to happen, because there simply wasn’t anyone the administration was listening to. Its only later that we find out they also had no damn clue how to do it either, and where ignoring the ones that could have given them real advice.

    Even that was obvious beforehand, as I remember well. After all, you go to war with the army Sgt. Rumsfeld wants, not the one Gen. Shinseki wants, and it’ll totally be a cakewalk because everyone loves America, yessir.

    “shock and awe”

    In Latin: terror.

    Third biggest chutzpah I’ve ever seen. Also, among the most stupid actions I’ve ever seen: if you use terror to fight anyone (even terrorists), the terrorists have won. :-|

  367. says

    If I liked to eat pork, I wouldn’t be as pathetic to go to a discussion board about vegetarianism and animal slaughter, and tell everyone how they had no right to speak ill of my support of pig slaughter.

    Oh, but wait, this isn’t your special “I’m pro-choice but I really hope that you suffer a lot for your evil decission to have an abortion board”.

    This is Pharynguly, where our gracious host supports an adamant pro-choice position as do the regulars.

    So, welcome to the lion’s den.

    Unsurprisingly, as he himself has pointed out, this is (at least) the second FTB thread on which he’s been blathering about abortion and how his opposition to it totally isn’t misogynistic at all really. Physioprof could not have expressed more clearly that he was unwelcome there, and asked other commenters to ignore him, but he hasn’t been deterred – still posting there as of today. (And also sounding rather familiar in both threads…)

    Nice attempt to present abortion as morally equivalent to animal slaughter for eating enjoyment, though, tof. Here’s the real situation: You’re going on blogs where the bloggers and the commenters are firmly in favor of human rights for women and telling everyone they shouldn’t speak ill of your misogyny. Looking pretty pathetic. Now get lost.

  368. says

    Unsurprisingly, as he himself has pointed out, this is (at least) the second FTB thread on which he’s been blathering about abortion and how his opposition to it totally isn’t misogynistic at all really.

    Wow, I didn’t think he could get any dumber than here (well, maybe he got a little bit smarter, since that was before).
    Glad to know that my pregnancies with 3 months of vomiting (constantly, it’s not only for the mornings) and pain like somebody stabbed me in the flanks were a mere discomfort. So were the 8 months of being very careful the resulting kid would have the best starting position I can give them. Glad to know that those were just discomforts that I should have taken gladly for having been too stupid to fuck without contraception*.
    Glad to know that from the moment of implantation my body wasn’t my own anymore.

    *I admit to having intentionally fucked without contraception. What a gift to make a child to tell them that they’re in this world because their parents decided to create and have them, to care and to love them.

  369. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    So, not only os Trollbyfour an MRA, he’s an intensely ignorant one at that. I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise. It’s getting kinda boring being right about this all the time.

    He has clearly never thought through his arguments, and certainly doesn’t give even the tiniest shit about women. I wonder if he cares so hard about “babies” once their actually born. (No, I don’t. We already know the answer)

  370. twooffour says

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/16/the-dark-side-of-hitchens/comment-page-1/#comment-226360

    1) It was 50 years ago. Not now. Come on, google it.

    Yea… it’s still today. Look around.

    He said “we, as a race”, and the simplest interpretation of the context is that he contrasted that with Muslims.

    Whatever, I change my position to “ambiguously phrased”, then. I kinda immediately read it as “we as a species”, because, you know, it actually makes the most sense that way.

    In a way that presupposes that women are less than men?

    There’s such a thing as “humor”, and if you don’t understand it, or just don’t have the organ to perceive it, then yes, you can very easily struggle to understand how “teasing” a male by calling them a female name can be ANYTHING else but actually presupposing that… women are less than men.
    Like, seriously.

    If you’re a pragmatist, you may want to seek some councelling, as such a way of seeing things may result in a lot of misunderstandings in life – but then again, you can be the idealist and just keep it as it is, so you can always continue to raise the public consciousness about the serious ways of interpreting common immature jokes and tropes – without being affected by their funneh – and how women laughing at Dr. Cox calling J.D. “Betty” is a symptom of how far the termites have come in convincing these women that supporting such a DEMEANING attitude toward them… by MEN… as something… kinda just funny… is actually the right thing to do. Can’t they SEE???

    Anytime you laugh at it, innocently and unsuspicious, you risk letting an actual misogynist just magically glide through the filters – even though their cowardly attempts at slipping their misogyny into casual conversation essentially fall on deaf ears as everyone just takes it as a joke. But it’s still important!!

    Or how about those offensive “your momma” jokes? Misogynist. The one making it may not consider it misogynistic or insulting, the one receiving it may not take it that way, but it’s still misogynistic. Objectively.
    Your mother is a woman, too, and you don’t even know his mother! Don’t you know how much your mother sacrificed for you, so you could lead a good life and go to school??

    Keep up the good work, while I’ll go make a website about the offensive nature of the bumbling Sitcom Dad trope, and how they are always more stupid and inept than their sitcom wives.

  371. twooffour says

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/16/the-dark-side-of-hitchens/comment-page-1/#comment-225982

    He asserts that those who do not recognize any conflict of rights are immoral. That is an attempt to partially resolve the discussion, such that some arguments are no longer morally permissible.

    Yea… exactly.
    Because there IS an actual conflict, and just dismissing its existence in the first place is wrong (as opposed to, say, resolving it with science or rational thought, which can only happen some time after acknowledging that there is something to resolve, and something to argue about, in the first place).

    He basically condemns the dumb dismissive extremists on both ends, rather than any kind of “valid arguments”.
    Doing something else would be moral relativism – “acknowledging a dilemma is okay, not acknowledging it is okay, why am I even writing the article?”

    Only a very dishonest mind like yours would be able to twist such plain and simple thought into is POLAR OPPOSITE – from “there is an unresolved conflict, and people shouldn’t dismiss that” into “here’s my resolution of the conflict, end of discussion”.

    There is an answer which is better than all other answers: the woman’s bodily autonomy is the ultimate consideration.

    Yea, but it OVERWEIGHS the other side, rather than disposing of it.
    Autonomy is something that is granted to (or rather not taken away from) the individual, but not any use of one’s autonomy is morally justified. A pretty basic thing to understand, applicable to any area of life.

    Also, it only does so after science confirms the relative “lifelessness” of the fetus.
    Had it turned out differently (and some issues are still discussed), probably the woman’s autonomy would still overweigh, but the other side would gain much more significance.

    And relying on such knowledge in any form or shape already proves that yes, the argument is there, and the moral questions are there.
    In contrast, no one questions the morality of a nose operation even if it’s done on a whim. You can debate about weighing the risks against benefits, discussing psychological factors etc., but no one would ever think of defending the nose’s right to live as its former self.

    What makes his argument sexist is that its very existence presumes that women who are having abortions are not giving the matter sufficient consideration.

    1) No, rather this passage doesn’t APPLY to those women who do give all the considerations, and is addressed at those who don’t.

    2) There ARE women who don’t give sufficient, or any considerations. Because women can be just as dumb, amoral and dishonest as men, and claiming anything else would be sexism on your part.

    3) The argument applies to anyone involved in the debate, which includes men (even if they’re not the ones to make the ultimate decision), and it doesn’t go against women as opposed to men, but rather against women who happen to be the only gender to bear children.

    Indeed, it is an easy resolution; I have made no claim otherwise, and I have no reason to believe that the resolution ought not to be easy.

    Well, can you say “oh the ironi”?

    You accuse Hitchens of “attempting to halt a debate / issue with his short article”. Which he doesn’t.

    You feel addressed by this “arrogant” attitude by Hitchens. You insist on an easy solution that puts a halt to all debate.

    Please, please, I implore you – consult your pillow on this one, and wait a few days before replying. This is very important – you’ve got some SERIOUS cognitive dissonance going on in your head right now.
    Because it’s just downright ridiculous.

    You either meant “fallacies” or “cognitive biases” here. Neither applies. If you think my position is odd, you might bother to ask how I come to that conclusion.

    It’s not a term you find on Wikipedia, but it’s pretty easy to understand – fallacies permeating your entire thinking process on this issue.

    It’s already a wrong conclusion, and your arguments so far haven’t been redeeming.

    a fetus has no legitimate claim to any rights which might conflict with the woman’s bodily autonomy.

    Yea, legally. Socially.
    When it comes to the individual mother, she might decide that if she wanted to have it her way, she’d abort it, but because it’s a growing child, she’s morally obliged to pull through.

    Again, individual choice, based on autonomy, but acting in the interests of the unborn.

    Having that said, even the axiom above doesn’t just stand there, you actually have to be able to justify it against a pro-lifer.

    Create a situation in which the woman got impregnated out of sheer lack of responsibility, doesn’t want to put up with the stress and difficulties and rather would go to college despite a very healthy prognosis and development – and give the fetus some more awareness and “personality”, and bam, suddenly you have to try a bit harder to justify your ground rule.

    It’s all based on rational thought, evaluation of reality and moral considerations, and has to be defended against those of contradicting convictions – and that’s all Hitchens said, taking the matter seriously rather than DISMISSING it with a “pfft, appendix, discussion over”.

    Which you claim to be doing, but aren’t really. Or wait for it…

    Vaccination is a public health issue which affects the bodily autonomy of other born humans.

    So’s the violinist.
    You make your hyperboles, I’ll make mine – compulsive vaccination still isn’t in, from what I know.

    An appendix is in fact not a fetus, but it does not follow that there is any moral difference between them. Of course, no one has ever seriously claimed that a fetus is in fact an appendix. But the null hypothesis is that they are morally equivalent.

    Again, consult your pillow on this one… you CAN’T be serious.

    Maybe, when the embryo still hasn’t grown anything resembling a brain, you can make that point, but even in that case, an appendix isn’t programmed to develop into a sentient being.

    Aside from that, I’ll repeat my earlier point: the further the fetus progresses, the farther away he gets from the appendix, until at some point (even before viability is achieved), it becomes absurd and dishonest to compare the two.

    So no – factually different, physically different, morally different.
    You dumb down the issue to make things artificially more convenient, doing the same thing you accuse Hitchens of (while he doesn’t), and all that while completely oblivious.

    I wonder when you are going to try to back up any of your arguments.

    See ‘bove.

    You’d still be wrong, but it’s first necessary to know exactly what you’re defending as not anti-woman.

    Anti-woman – specifically against women, because they’re women as opposed to men.
    In order to qualify as sexism, it needs to make an arbitrary, biased decision against the women in equal circumstances.

    Pro-life isn’t directed against the woman, it’s directed against the adult, and not in favor of the man, but in favor of the unborn child.

    That women are the only gender to bear children, while men are just happy suppliers, is extremely unfair, but it’s something non-sexist men (and not self-hating women) who have some degree of regard for the fetus’ rights to live, can’t do anything about.

    Your argument may be that this natural inequality should be balanced out by giving the woman complete autonomy (which I agree with).
    The pro-lifer may think that making a man invest a lot in supporting the pregnant woman is all that can be done to preserve fairness, without harming the unborn child who’s a priority.

    Wrong as it may be, it’s still not an issue based on sexism in any form.

    DEPRIVING a woman of the choice to get, or not get an abortion, and putting it, even if only partially, into the hands of the man – THAT is anti-woman.
    It’s taking the already naturally caused burden, and making it worse rather than alleviating it.

    If you recognize no legal objection, then you recognize that a woman can do whatever she wants with her body.

    Well, hey, if you can’t tell moral considerations, or moral truths, from the Law, then I wonder why you’re even an atheist.

    At any rate, the complexity of such issues obviously eludes you.

    Whenever a state (or society) has to make a law, be it about age of consent, of drug usage, or age restriction in movies, or criminal law focusing on protecting innocents over punishing the monsters – it will never apply correctly to each individual situation.
    The law just has to ensure that it creates as little harm and injustice as it can.

    The best moral decision from the perspective of society may be to allow all women to choose, because the harm otherwise would be too great – but that doesn’t mean it’s individually justified for each individual woman to choose abortion, even though she has no one to “answer” to.

    As an, as I suppose, adult, you really should have understood this concept long ago, so quit acting as if you have no clue.

    You want to scold her, of course, but that’s different.

    Exactly, that’s different.
    Although I wouldn’t “scold” anyone face to face, or anyone I knew personally. I can put these thoughts out there, though.

    No, I would not feel sour about that. It is not something I concern myself with.

    Well, you’ve just lost your moral ground. It’s not like you consciously decided for the lesser evil, no, you simply don’t give a crap.

    Hey, about you bow out of this discussion right now? After all, your argument simply boils down to “Hey, I don’t care, fetus, whatever, screw it all, I don’t concern myself with stuff like that; off to play the grand piano.”

    After all the countless words, hearing this from you is like a fucking joke. You don’t concern yourself with a part of reality, I’m about pointing to this part of reality. Argument fucking resolved.

    You should stop eating fish and birds, btw

    I might if I learned some more about their personality or intelligence (well, the birds’), but the point is, I don’t go on forums and complain about people “judging” me for doing any of that. And that’s a feat you’re obviously unable to conceive of.

    What’s funny about this, rabidly defending one’s ego against disagreements and criticism, just for its own sake, is a negative character trait stereotypically associated with men :p

    Lives of already born people. The comparison is not apt.

    After just failing to apply this to the violinist, this is fucking rich.
    Anyway, some people may reasonably feel that they have an obligation to donate blood, rather than “ahh, pfft, I’m so generous, I don’t really need to, but there I’m doing a good deed to save some of those lives; off to play the grand piano.”

    And they haven’t caused the maladies in those cases – if they had, they’d come off as fucking douchebags for not helping, despite “not having a legal duty”. While in our case, the stork didn’t come uninvited.

    the arguments that justify it, such as the value of bodily autonomy like we’ve been discussing.

    The bodily autonomy doesn’t “justify” it, it OUTWEIGHS the fact that it’s untrue.
    If it were true, there would be nothing to outweigh.

    There is a well known modifier which he could have added: some.

    Probably should’ve, in knowledge that nitpicking morons like you would eventually read it.

    He meant all women.

    Couldn’t have even thought of it – “all women” is an inexcusably absurd claim; how about the women who are douchebags, and may generally not give a crap about anyone other than themselves? SOME minimum of common sense is expected from the reader, you know…

    Emotional reactions, or their absence for that matter, should not necessarily be interpreted as having any moral implication. They may or may not; this cannot be deciphered without rational analysis.

    Yea, and in this case, they do, because they’re induced by a clear look at something real.
    The way we work, sometimes it takes a photo or video in order to “identify” with a person, and upgrade your mental image of them from “some entity in peril” to “omg I’ve seen his face”.

    There’s your rational analysis.

    More typically, they have already decided to abort, but are being forced to view a sonogram due to state law. I wonder how you feel about these sonogram laws, by the way.

    Maybe it’s annoying, but yea – a fucking red pill ain’t emotional manipulation. Can’t delude, can’t hurt.

    It is extremely sexist of him. It is another example of how he does not believe that women can think without the help of men like him.

    You DUMBASS. All the articles he writes where he argues a point are ultimately directed at an audience that hasn’t already figured it out. Be it male, or female, on whatever topic.

    In this case, you can BET that a lot of women haven’t figured it out, or haven’t managed to think as far (maybe due to lack of challenge, or some other reason), and they “need” the help of whatever men or women who have.
    His “insight”, of whatever quality, doesn’t come from his gender, but his thinking.

    All women who have abortions have given the matter precisely as much consideration as they ought to.

    BULL. SHIT. “All women”… hey, I called you a fruitcake in a previous post, but this is definitely it. You’re nuts.
    ”All women have given the matter precisely as much consideration”… “a Wizard is never too late, he comes precisely when he intends to.”

    Seriously, women are people and just as capable of self-delusion and error.
    That’s some kind of Female Supremacism you’ve got going there – nothing about your reasoning is sensible or rational, you’re just completely out there.

    Just so you understand: any woman who decides to get an abortion while believing she does nothing more than removing an appendix (ESPECIALLY later during pregnancy), has NOT given it the proper amount of thought.
    And seeing as you haven’t… it’s kinda obvious why you should want to defend that willful ignorance ;)

  372. twooffour says

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/16/the-dark-side-of-hitchens/comment-page-1/#comment-226066

    I’m just trying to fit in by following your instructions on how to be like all those other immoral women , and now you tell me you were just bullshitting us.

    Um… yea… whatever.

    There is no need to be guilty over having an abortion. That is a anti-choice argument. Pro-choice folks understand guilt is irrelevant to the decision

    Pro-choice = support for the legalization of abortion.

    Scruples are irrelevant to the legality of the decision, if it’s legalized.
    They’re OBVIOUSLY not irrelevant to the decision, in fact they play a significant role in it, especially whenever the woman actually cares to think it through.

    Some people here prefer to think that they always think it through, so that would mean scruples always play a significant role ;)

    until you provide EVIDENCE that you are pro-choice. By shutting the fuck up about guilt.

    Lol Fail.

    Pro-choice folks understand where the decision making power is, and you don’t.

    With the mother, yea. With the mother, and no one else. Not “women” as opposed to men, but the mother in each given case.

    It is sexism if you are male and are telling women what they must think and feel. Any fool can see that.

    Not “must”, but should unless they’re willing to take the blue pill and dispose of rational thinking. It’s called “making an argument” – whether a given position makes sense to accept, or not, and why.
    They can ignore the scruples, but that doesn’t change the reality that the killing of a developing fetus is a moral issue while removing wisdom teeth ain’t.

    My gender has no bearing on reality, nor on my arguments, which are addressed at radical male pro-choicers as well as the female ones.
    You don’t get to cry sexism every time people of opposite genders are involved in a debate and reach the conclusion that the other party is wrong on a given subject.

    Cheap, cheap, cheap.

    Yeah, yeah. The world is just full of women who choose to get pregnant, reach the third trimester, then decide – nah, can’t be bothered.
    Oh, wait. No, it isn’t. That’s just the kind of crap forced birthers come up with to justify their misogyny.

    Actually, that is often the case. Gotta be mentally ill / detached from reality to claim that it’s always like that, or even most of the time, but yea, it happens, and it takes an equal amount of disconnection to deny that. /FACEPALM
    Fail, next.

    __________________

    You consider people who make what you view as the moral choice – not to eat meat – to be Nazis.

    No, it’s just a humorous term referring to moralizing, judgmental vegetarians / vegans who can’t shut up. Not necessarily anything wrong with that, except if it spreads into real life and becomes obnoxious.

    They also say “grammar Nazis”, and it has nothing to do with 33-45, either.

    But you’re OK with killing them simply to eat, even in the presence of alternatives. You’re not gestating them, they affect you in no way, but for the sheer enjoyment of consuming them.

    Yea, as said above – I push aside the moral considerations, and if I should learn about evidence that would increase my appreciation for these groups of animals, I might become a vegetarian.

    But what I don’t do is go to online discussions about the moral aspects of buying and eating meat, and start yelling at people for trying to “induce guilt” in me for enjoying a burger – and that’s the exact difference to the situation here.
    Either I have a solid position (this animal is a kinda brainless stupid robot, I can eat it… ) / self-honest attitude (yea I know, but I just don’t care about it, so suck it), or I have neither, and hence feel uncomfortable and “attacked” when faced with accusations of immorality – in which case I either avoid the discussion, or REALLY keep it down with the butthurtisms and defense tactics.

    Then you want to lecture women about how they have a moral responsibility to nonpersons (or at the very least, beings far down on any nonspeciesist scale of personhood from these animals) in their own bodies and that strongly affect their lives.

    See above :D

    I may be an unthinking meat consumer, but even I can understand that, yes, animals aren’t, by definition, just walking meatbags – it IS a moral question, those against animal slaughter DO have a point, there IS a difference between different species in terms of “worth”, and there SHOULD be an argument about this, including research into the various’ species mental features.
    And those asserting that there is no argument, it’s all just meatbags (except dogs and cats, of course), are stupid and dishonest.

    Seeing the parallel?

    but those who don’t think women have a moral responsibility to human nonpersons in their own bodies you call immoral.

    Not all-out evil, but yea, if you can’t even comprehend that it’s somewhat of an issue and not to be compared to “an appendix”, then some wheel in your moral or cognitive mechanism is definitely malfunctioning.

    And you’ve never answered lm’s question above about to whom this alleged moral responsibility is owed.

    Um…. °_°_°_°_°_°_°_°_°_° /facepalm

    tof has “honestly no idea how frequent or realistic” is the scenario “in which a becoming mother becomes scared a few weeks before birth, and they decide to anesthesize the baby and suck it out by pieces.” He’s totally an honest participant in this discussion. Honest.

    Yes, guess I haven’t researched that? Most abortions take place way earlier than that, but my point was comparing the two situations in terms of the differences in the fetus, and how those differences directly affect the moral aspect of it all (just like there’s a difference between killing a pig, and killing a blowfish).

    _____

    A fetus lacks it. There’s significant physiological difference even before birth and after first breath. I still see the fetus almost as if it is a specialized organ with the goal of building a person.

    Again, they don’t grow their brain during birth – they may be sedated before the first breath, unaware (although even sedated, they appear to react to music or voices in a way an inflamed appendix [as long as it lacks a brain, of course] doesn’t), which sets them apart from the animals; on the other hand, they already have a fully developed brain that starts working and performing basic functions as soon as the baby’s out.

    A freshly born baby is less evolved than a grown ape, yet we don’t consider it more disposable. Its brain is untying a program that will make it into a talking, walking human – but wouldn’t that be the same fallacy as when applied to the zygote?

    So yea, already there you’ve got an apparent contradiction to resolve. Maybe it can’t be resolved, but denying that there’s a point in this argument at all, by making the FATUOUS claim that a fetus is comparable to a tumor (the difference lies in the brain; in the brain) is asinine.

    Compare it to fish, compare it to duckbills, don’t fucking compare it to a contaminated artery.

    that anyone could argue that someone has no responsibility promoting a law that has a guaranteed 100% chance of ending thousands of lives of extant fully sapient beings

    I argue that?
    There are people who do that kind of thing, you know, they’re called animal rights activists, and yea, nothing inherently “irresponsible” about their cause.

    puts full responsibility on a woman who wants to reduce the potential of a biological process of producing a new person down to 0% when their own health is in question.

    Um, certainly no “full responsibility” when her health is in question, if you’ve ever read anything I’ve written here.
    In fact, aborting the baby in case of a real health risk, is probably the “necessary evil” equivalent of abortion, even though I would sympathize with a woman who feels depressed that it had to come to this, while if she sobs over her lost appendix, she should maybe get professional help. What would the shrink say to such a patient, I wondnder? “Repeat after me: your appendix wasn’t a fetus… your appendix was not a “fetus” … lol.

    Having that said, yes, full, shmull, whatever. There IS a responsibility to be weighed against whatever speaks for an abortion, and any expectant mother who doesn’t see that obviously hasn’t given it the “sufficient” amount of thought.

    If someone pays for skydiving lessons, takes the preliminary training, then chickens out while in the air I see no reason to deny them the chance to (no pun intended) pull out. Maybe something came up, health condition, economic change, social change where they can’t take the risk anymore. Many perfectly logical and ethical reasons for eschewing both birth and skydiving even at the very last minute.

    Um, yea… who said anything about “denying” any chances?

    But yea, skydiving… and abortion… you’re fucking kidding me (or yourself if you think this comparison can be taken seriously by any reasonable standards).

    All I said was that doing it so shortly before birth is different from doing it way earlier, and that may be different from killing that sponge of cells during the first few weeks.

    _________________________

    Oh, but wait, this isn’t your special “I’m pro-choice but I really hope that you suffer a lot for your evil decission to have an abortion board”.
    This is Pharynguly, where our gracious host supports an adamant pro-choice position as do the regulars.
    So, welcome to the lion’s den.
    If you haven’t noticed: You’ve come to the monthly pork club to lecture us on the evils of meat.

    Heh, nice fallacious comparison there. In fact, two of them

    1) Sorry for not clarifying that by “discussion board”, I meant ANY place on the internet, including off-topic discussion on MMORPG forums, where this issue is discussed.
    Any minimal amount of common sense on your part would’ve made this obvious clarification superfluous.

    2) Hi, I don’t care where I’ve “come” – discussions can be started at any place you want, even when the entire board disagrees with you, or thinks that you suck.

    The point is in staying away from people who voice opinions that criticize or judge something you do in your life, or a position you hold on something, if you can’t defend it in a sensible manner.
    You may feel “offended”, and feel the impulse to reassert your choices or tastes by attacking them, but if all you can do is dishing out defensive butthurtisms about how people should stop “judging” and “guilt-tripping” you for what you do, while actually unable to defend your position in a sensible manner – you better stay out of it to prevent embarassment.

    [Something easily relatable for you feminists out there: guys who look at porn during the production of which a woman may have been treated not that well, sometimes like to pick on anti-porn statements that cite problems of this kind; they know they look at something potentially “wrong”, but want to “defend” their pastime anyway, and so they respond and say something about “puritans with sand in their vaginas” trying to “induce guilt” in them.
    Pathetic or not?

    Ok, and now let’s take a guy who “researches” the porn he watches, makes sure he doesn’t click on anything “shady” and, as a bonus, does his part to inform about and oppose to the dark side of porn production. He comes to the same discussion, and reasserts that he doesn’t beat off to porn in which someone may have been coerced to participate, and is equally opposed to people’s rights being violated in that industry.

    WHOLE DIFFERENT STORY. The first example tries to protect his territory, the second one actually has a point, and a solid ground to stand on.
    Now, does that mean everyone should study porn and join activist groups ? How about you’re busy and would just like to keep your favourite pastime on the internets? Well… if you want to avoid coming off as a ludicrous douchehole, you’ll just have to… swallow all the things said on the internet that might “question” your tastes somewhat, make sure not to get defensive, and move on.

    And if you don’t, you’ll be rightfully ridiculed.]

    And as for me, I do have my arguments for my position (that dismissing abortion as the removal of an organ and really, really nothing else, as well as the notion that any arguments against it are sexist or some similar bullshit), so here I am.
    To add insult insult to injury, I neither think that “you should suffer horribly” (merely explaining that there is actually a reason to feel SOME amount of scruples, and take those into account in your decision rather than suppressing or ignoring it altogether – and if you don’t like that, don’t read), nor have I started this debate on PZ Myers’ blog, it’s been carried over from another page by Juliann.

    You know, there are women in this world who had abortions for reasons of rape, incest or because the offspring they’d planned for and wished for was killing them.
    And by your fucking guilt-tripping game you could trigger them and impose unnecessary suffering on women who had more than enough already.
    Shows for whom you really care: Unconscious, unfeeling feti, not fully grown, conscious women.

    I guess if they happen to read this, they might as well bother to read EVERYTHING, and if you read everything I’ve written on this topic, you’ll clearly see that the last group I’m “guilt-tripping” here is those who’ve suffered rape, or whose health is threatened by the pregnancy.

    Incest is another issue, as the baby’s condition is at stake here, and poor health expectations for the baby are a valid reason for abortion, too – it may be sad (for those who find it sad), but the responsibility towards the future human’s problems is a whole new factor.
    Even without incest, as everyone knows, something can go wrong in the fetal development, and considering an abortion in that case is, again, a completely different story.

    And not only that, but MOST PRO-LIFERS (of those you can call “reasonable”) agree that in cases of health risk, a “damaged” fetus or, indeed, rape and abuse, the law should make an exception.

    After having brought it up oh so many times, you really have no excuse to throw this strawman at me, but just to address your issue of “imposing unnecessary suffering” by basically telling the truth (or my understanding of it) on the internet – oh yea, and how about those who’ve just lost a family member and can’t stand hearing that the deceased are NOT in heaven with Jesus?

    How do you dare speaking about your atheism in public, when you can cause suffering in people already going through a tough emotional period??

    So yea, there are tough situations in life where taking the red pill is rather painful and a cause for desperation and stress, but how do you go about speaking your mind on the internet if someone in this situation could potentially stumble on it?
    Well, you do it as well, and the hope is that such people would be smart enough not to go look for philosophical and political discussions related to their situation, but rather keep to themselves, as well as friends and family, and maybe seek the help of psychologists and support groups.

    It may even be necessary to talk the guilt OUT of them, if the abortion is REALLY recommended and they just can’t get over killing their future baby (yea, this happens without any external “guilt induction”, as well). Whatever it takes.
    Could there be any natural feelings of guilt in relation to a tooth removal? The question is rhetorical.

    If it’s any relief, I wouldn’t post any of this in a support group forum, but I am posting it in a “free thinking” forum, just as you post about lack of evidence for an afterlife (but probably less ardently on a support forum for grieving relatives) – so, really, get over it.

  373. twooffour says

    Unsurprisingly, as he himself has pointed out, this is (at least) the second FTB thread on which he’s been blathering about abortion and how his opposition to it totally isn’t misogynistic at all really.

    It’s not, and you can thank Julian here for spreading it to this page.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/16/the-dark-side-of-hitchens/comment-page-1/#comment-225857

    I’ve kinda addressed the topic of abortion and feminism a few posts above, http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/16/the-dark-side-of-hitchens/comment-page-1/#comment-225818
    but that one had a different angle, and wasn’t really addressed anywhere below.

    and asked other commenters to ignore him, but he hasn’t been deterred

    And I should be… why exactly?
    The guy’s just being postinge stupide insultes to everything I wrote there, gave me no reason to respect him whatsoever.
    Especially as the only reason I still kept posting there, was because someone replied to me.

    And a “portion” of the guys who agreed to ignore me there, apparently had no problem with hijacking this thread, eh?

    Nice attempt to present abortion as morally equivalent to animal slaughter for eating enjoyment, though, tof.

    I’ve just compared it because of the parallels, but don’t worry – in contrast to the other people on here, I actually don’t commit sweeping, crude fallacies and simplifications of this kind.

    You’re going on blogs where the bloggers and the commenters are firmly in favor of human rights for women and telling everyone they shouldn’t speak ill of your misogyny.

    1) I’m in favor of those same rights, so piss off.
    2) There’s no “misogyny” to be found, and you discredit yourself, as well as the word itself, but using it so gratuitously, and so fallaciously.

    Glad to know that my pregnancies with 3 months of vomiting (constantly, it’s not only for the mornings) and pain like somebody stabbed me in the flanks were a mere discomfort. So were the 8 months of being very careful the resulting kid would have the best starting position I can give them. Glad to know that those were just discomforts that I should have taken gladly for having been too stupid to fuck without contraception*.

    Yea, every general statement made on the internet about pregnancy, involving something about many pregnancies NOT entailing this kind of pain while they last, or constant nausea – it’s always about you.
    You had those painful experiences, therefore everyone else has them, too.

    And if your health or life had been endangered by a pregnancy, then every other woman’s would’ve been, too, and I would’ve been a dick for even implying that, you know, some pregnancies actually don’t lead to lethal danger.

    Glad to know that from the moment of implantation my body wasn’t my own anymore.

    Another body was growing inside yours, yea.
    That’s not the same as saying that it somehow “belonged” to “someone else”, but denying the fact that, yea, when you’re pregnant, you “share” your body with the fetus in a sense, while before and after the pregnancy… you don’t.

    Doesn’t mean jack shit – the pain and nausea might’ve outweighed this consideration, or they didn’t if you decided to go through with it.
    Doesn’t change the fact that it’s there, whereas with wisdom teeth, not even a shred.

    I guess it’s quite hard to grasp that all I’m about is advising you (ANY pro-choicer of ANY gender, including Buck Angel) to make better arguments for choice and abortion, whenever you’re involved in a debate about it.
    Saying “pfft, its appendix” won’t convince the pro-lifers, and it won’t convince those on the fence – but it’ll sure convey the image that your position is dismissive and irrational.

    It’s also hard to claim to have acted “in full understanding” and “having given it all the thought it needs” when deciding for an abortion, if… you’re dumbstruck by someone suggesting that you might be about to remove something that was already quite a bit more than an appendix. You can take the blue pill and ignore that (and sometimes should, if the pregnancy is associated with hardship of any kind), but that pretty much guarantees that the amount of consideration ends up ends up lacking at best.

    And neither good argumentation nor sufficient consideration are possible unless you CONCEDE THAT IT’S A MORAL ISSUE, denying which can really only be seen as denial.
    And if that doesn’t clear up things, nothing does.

    And please, for fuck’s sake, leave the misogyny out of this. This isn’t about men vs. women. This is about pregnant women vs. everyone who isn’t pregnant.
    When men try to claim an “equal right” in deciding whether their wife/girlfriend should keep or abort the fetus, THEN you can bring up misogyny, in fact you bloody should – but you’ll have to wait for just that.

    Men have no right to make the decision for the pregnant woman, but neither have other women. You may say that men have it easier as they can’t get pregnant by nature, but there are women who can’t get pregnant, too, and them being female doesn’t give them any more right to decide whether another woman should abort, and doesn’t make them “sexist” in some kind of twisted meta way if they claim such a right.
    In a lesbian relationship, the pregnant woman has the right to choose, while the other has to comply (even though they may have agreed to make these kinds of decision together, but that’s another topic). If she doesn’t, that doesn’t make her “sexist”, or any better than a man doing the same thing in a hetero relationship – it just makes her a scumbag.

    All these “unaffected” parties, however, are absolutely justified to consider the option that “abortion is murder” (even if only to dismiss it on valid reasons), conclude that they just might want to do something about it if that’s the case, and present their position to the public to be processed or debunked, or accepted if there were any validity to it (as it appears, there isn’t).
    Men, gay men, women, infertile women, fertile but abstinent women, fertile women who manage to avoid impregnation, or have had very tolerable pregnancies so far, or have had difficult ones and think others can endure it, too – ANYONE.

    By yelling “misogyny” whenever someone disagrees with you, you’re just subscribing to the worst kind of us vs. them mentality, which entails putting your chosen simplistic “enemy label” on anyone making an argument you don’t like to hear, even if they’re on your side of the fence, and ESPECIALLY if they aren’t.
    Way to make them think that the position you represent consists of a bunch of mindless fanatics, right upon your first encounter, eh?

    Chew on that for a little, before I have to read yet another idiotic strawman / bigotry allegation / some other stupid bullshit.

    *I admit to having intentionally fucked without contraception. What a gift to make a child to tell them that they’re in this world because their parents decided to create and have them, to care and to love them.

    Nice, what does intentional impregnation even have to do with any of this… °_°

    In case you’re implying that “accidental” or “unwanted” children somehow deserve less love and care upon birth, this can’t possibly be serious.
    I, for one, wouldn’t give a damn if I learned one day that I, or a sibling of mine, weren’t “purposefully created” and just decided to be kept. Because, you know, here I am, and intent =/= magic.

    and certainly doesn’t give even the tiniest shit about women. I wonder if he cares so hard about “babies” once their actually born.

    Maybe that’s why I support their right to abort, you fucking moron.
    In case you didn’t, there isn’t really any difference between pro-lifers and pro-choicers in how they regard “born” people and their rights, except during pregnancy.

    Jack’s lack of brains, is more like it.

    So anyone wanna take it back to the original thread again?
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/physioprof/2011/12/16/hitchens/#comment-21267

    This one was started as a discussion about politics, and it’s also seen a lot of posts that aren’t complete bullshit.
    And that it should become once more!

  374. says

    So anyone wanna take it back to the original thread again?

    Misogynist says: “now that I’ve said everything I want to say about abortion, no one should respond on the topic of abortion.”

    +++++
    I’m not going to waste much more time on you, but I did want to point out your trivial misunderstanding in one case:

    — All women who have abortions have given the matter precisely as much consideration as they ought to. —

    The reason you misunderstand this is that you presuppose there is objectively an amount of consideration that women ought to give to the topic, such that it is possible for a woman to give less (or more) than is required.

    This is an unfounded supposition. You have not demonstrated it. The null hypothesis is that there is no objective amount of consideration.

    Thus, whatever amount of consideration any woman gives to the topic, whether upon learning of her pregnancy she immediately thinks only “I don’t want to be pregnant anymore”, whether she mulls it over for a couple weeks while reading about the procedure and talking to her friends who’ve had abortions, or whether she already decided years before she got pregnant that “I don’t ever want to be pregnant, and I will always get an abortion as soon as possible”,

    she has given the topic precisely as much consideration as she ought, because there is no objective amount of “ought”.

  375. says

    Yea, every general statement made on the internet about pregnancy, involving something about many pregnancies NOT entailing this kind of pain while they last, or constant nausea – it’s always about you.
    You had those painful experiences, therefore everyone else has them, too.

    And if your health or life had been endangered by a pregnancy, then every other woman’s would’ve been, too, and I would’ve been a dick for even implying that, you know, some pregnancies actually don’t lead to lethal danger.

    A pregnancy is always a risk. Every pregnancy has a chance of lethal danger.

    Back to the skydiving example.

    First time I’ve ever seen someone demand personal responsibility for morning sickness o-O

  376. twooffour says

    Misogynist says

    The price of not bothering to read through the lengthy boring posts, is refraining from responding to it even if you think you have a point. Certainly not in this bold tone.

    All the debunked fallacies, about Hitchens’ statement against mindless extremists on either side, about misogyny being behind the pro-life mindset, and all the rest – still there in your head, and yet here you are, arrogantly boasting about how you “won’t bother to waste your time”.

    :D

    “now that I’ve said everything I want to say about abortion, no one should respond on the topic of abortion.”

    Thanks for the strawman, when it clearly says above that “let’s continue this in the other thread”.

    she has given the topic precisely as much consideration as she ought, because there is no objective amount of “ought”.

    Then I’m afraid it’s your sloppy phrasing that’s at fault here, because if there is no “ought”, you shouldn’t have put it there in the first place.
    Because what you really meant was “it’s a non-issue, no pregnant woman should be expected to be bothered about it”.

    Then why not phrase it like that in the first place?

    At any rate, congratulations, you’re not a sexist female supremacist – you’re a moral relativist. “Anything you choose to consider, anything you decide to go, is completely alright under all circumstances. Even if you don’t know anything about what’s going on, it’s still completely alright.”

    Which position is the sillier one, I’ll let you decide – it’s your brain after all, that ends up looking stupid in either case.

  377. twooffour says

    A pregnancy is always a risk. Every pregnancy has a chance of lethal danger.

    Yea, so is living (you can die from a sudden heart failure at any age).
    Read the statistics about mothers dying from childbirth.

    How low does the probability have to get before you can reasonably say “hey, you know, I think I’m pretty safe as far as this goes”?

    First time I’ve ever seen someone demand personal responsibility for morning sickness o-O

    Um, yea, if you drink too much whiskey, you’ll feel sick when you awake. Not even sure what you’re trying to say.

  378. twooffour says

    Oh, by the way:

    “A Wizard is never too late, or too soon. He arrives precisely when he intends to.”

    Hey, does that pretty much translate into what you just said?
    There isn’t any particular time Gandalf is supposed to, or “ought” to arrive somewhere – whatever he decides it the standard. (Of course, in his case, he didn’t say that after promising to return with an army in the darkest hour, and deciding to stay at a friend’s for a smoke.)

    Heh, looks like my subconscious has seen through your hidden meaning of “ought” even before I’ve realized it myself :D

  379. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Then why not phrase it like that in the first place?

    The correct phrase is who the fuck gave you permission to decide what anybody else thinks on any subject? Typical sophist loser attitude. Essentially, all attitude, no logical argument, because any logical argument says they are wrong. And you are wrong ToF.

    Read the statistics about mothers dying from childbirth.

    We know about them. Childbirth is more dangerous than an abortion. Any idjit knows that.

    Which position is the sillier one, I’ll let you decide – it’s your MY brain after all, that ends up looking stupid in either case.

    Fixed that for you loser. I still need to see your recent signed letter from an imaginary deity for your fuckwitted attitude.

  380. says

    good god, twooffour, you pretentious ass, shut the fuck up. Long-winded noise doesn’t help your case — you simply can’t make a coherent argument.

  381. twooffour says

    The correct phrase is who the fuck gave you permission to decide what anybody else thinks on any subject? Typical sophist loser attitude.

    Wow… what an INCREDIBLY moronic thing to say.
    That’s like the poorest, least imaginative and most embarassing defensive stock phrase one can possibly sqeeze out, after all the other poor, unimaginative and embarassing defensive stock tactics have shown to be too challenging.

    Like, yea, you disagree with me, who allowed you to voice your disagreement? I have a RIGHT to my opinion!!1!1

    Hey, in the future, please refrain from ever posting anything on any forum again – ’cause anytime you do it, you come off as a dictator “deciding” what others should think.
    How DARE you post an opinion that someone else is forced to adopt as soon as they read it??

    Btw, you realize that I can accuse you of the same thing, right? :DDDDD
    °_°

    Besides, this wasn’t about opinion, it’s about phrasing – a thought was phrased in a completely misleading way, it’s obvious to anyone and I’ve shown why.
    If it was some kind of humorous idiom, then I guess I’m not familiar with it.

    We know about them. Childbirth is more dangerous than an abortion. Any idjit knows that.

    Like the danger of abortion (to the mother) had ever been discussed here…
    *rolleyes*

  382. twooffour says

    good god, twooffour, you pretentious ass, shut the fuck up. Long-winded noise doesn’t help your case — you simply can’t make a coherent argument.

    Wow… should I contact Mr. Myers to tell him that his account has been hijacked?

    I think when even the great, famous scientist, who seems to never lose his cool in a live debate, starts acting like a complete retard – it’s a clear sign that the thread is going to the dogs.

    I mean, why even decide to post something if it turns out this stupid and empty?

    I’ve made plenty of “coherent” arguments in my long posts above, and if you wanna claim otherwise, how about you quote something and prove it?
    Because just saying it in a oneliner is fucking stupid, and worse: it lets me get away with whatever bullshit I’ve written, because no matter how stupid I am, such a comment looks a thousand times more retarded by comparison.

  383. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’ve made plenty of “coherent” arguments in my long posts above,

    Nope, the only coherent argument is that you have permission to tell somebody else what they must believe. Otherwise, mental wanking and egotism on your part.

    Wow… what an INCREDIBLY moronic thing to say.

    Compared to anything you say? Talk about moronic. You have expressed your opinion. We reject your ignorant and presupposed position. Now what? I’m telling you what evidence is required for you to have a cogent argument that will change minds. Don’t ignore that.

    I have a RIGHT to my opinion!!1!1

    Yep, and I have a right to mine. At what point does yours change from assertive to aggressive? I say long before your teal deer drivel today. You are being aggressive in that we have to agree with you, or you will hold your breath and turn blue, like a child throwing a temper tantrum. I don’t care if you agree with me or not. Just that you stop being aggressive, which was the case for several days when you weren’t posting.

    Like the danger of abortion (to the mother) had ever been discussed here…

    You think it hasn’t *eyerolls*

    Wow… should I contact Mr. Myers to tell him that his account has been hijacked?

    No, you should obey his injunction, and shut the fuck up. You haven’t said anything cogent, or that we haven’t heard before. You have nothing new to offer to the subject. And PZ knows that.

    I’ve made plenty of “coherent” arguments in my long posts above, and if you wanna claim otherwise, how about you quote something and prove it?

    Nope, all the coherent arguments are based on bodily integrity of the woman, and everybody else shutting the fuck up about her private decision. You said anything other than that, it wasn’t coherent. You only thought it was. End of story.

  384. twooffour says

    “Nope, the only coherent argument is that you have permission to tell somebody else what they must believe.”

    Heh… still going at it. Unbelievable.

    “Yep, and I have a right to mine.”
    That was a parody of what you’ve just said, so I was already referring to *your* opinion.

    Sorry, forgot the quotation marks – I thought the “1!!1” at the end would do the job of showing that the line was supposed to be a spoof, but apparently I was wrong.

    “Nope, all the coherent arguments are based on bodily integrity of the woman, and everybody else shutting the fuck up about her private decision.”

    Wrong. What if we discussed forced vaccinations, and we’d establish that “bodily integrity” comes first and is sacred, what then?
    We could’t go on discussing about “moral duties” such as getting vaccinated and spreading the word when dangerous diseases are the subject, or under which circumstances mandatory vaccination would be the better thing to do, and if not, why still not?
    OH JESUS NO, I DARE TO BRING UP SOMETHING ONLY INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE CAN DECIDE.

    Well, it’s done all the time, it’s sometimes called “moral philosophy”, and I’m not inventing the wheel here.

    The fact that I’m responding to this, is already generous of me – I’ve already explained this same point multiple times above, and had you actually read and understood any of that, you wouldn’t be hear sobbing about the arguments you’ve never read being “incoherent”.

    “Compared to anything you say? Talk about moronic.”
    Actually, yes. Even if what I said was stupid (which is a worthless claim until you demonstrate it), reacting to a disagreement with “you bloody don’t tell me what to think, you nazi” is still fucking retarded.

    So congratulations, I guess you’ve lowered the bar.

    “I’m telling you what evidence is required for you to have a cogent argument that will change minds. Don’t ignore that.”

    Like where? Didn’t see any of that in your last empty post.

  385. twooffour says

    Ah, I first thought I’d let these gems rot, but here we go:

    “You are being aggressive in that we have to agree with you, or you will hold your breath and turn blue, like a child throwing a temper tantrum.”
    Really, because from what I remember, some of the others who’s responded to me have been far more aggressive than me.

    Calling me a misogynist, or yelling at me for “inducing guilt in raped women”, and other disgusting bullshit like that. How about you find a quote from me that is “angry” (as opposed to contemptuous – of which you’ll find plenty)?

    “You have expressed your opinion. We reject your ignorant and presupposed position.”

    I don’t care if you reject it, but if you come back here and try to post a rebuttal, while only displaying your complete lack of reading comprehension, or just making fallacious arguments yourself, you’re gonna get a response – and I don’t care whether you’ll enjoy reading this response, either.

    The way things stand now, I’ve posted 4 long comments above, and so far, instead of addressing any of that in a “cogent” manner, you’ve… thrown temper tantrums about my “permission to control others’ minds”.

    Talk about irony.

  386. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Wow, a pro-forced birther who can write in complete sentences and paragraphs.

    It’s a Christmas miracle.

  387. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    “No no, I’m pro-choice!” He’ll whine.

    Sorry, I don’t believe you. You lack the definitional markers of a pro-choice person. People who are genuinely pro-choice don’t spend 3-4 days arguing that some women who get abortions do so in ways they deem immoral. Actions speak louder than words.

  388. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Or make a decent argument for forced birth.

    Well, there are no decent arguments for forcing women to give birth against their will, so you can’t really hold THAT against him.

    What you can hold against him is his continued insistence on pretending as if such arguments exist and must be addressed. Even if he likes to pretend that he’s only doing it out of concern for the moral state of certain women.

  389. says

    The reason you misunderstand this is that you presuppose there is objectively an amount of consideration that women ought to give to the topic, such that it is possible for a woman to give less (or more) than is required.

    This is an unfounded supposition. You have not demonstrated it. The null hypothesis is that there is no objective amount of consideration.

    you’re a moral relativist.

    I’m not, but if you’d like to pretend that I am for the sake of this issue, that might be fun. If I am a moral relativist on this issue, merely noting this fact would not be a sound counterargument; it’s either an irrelevant red herring or a veiled argument from incredulity.

    Here, let me help you. If you are determined to argue against my null hypothesis, then what you need to do is demonstrate that there objectively is a particular amount of moral consideration that a pregnant woman ought to give the issue.

    I would advise you to be as succinct as you can about it.

  390. twooffour says

    Sorry, I don’t believe you. You lack the definitional markers of a pro-choice person. People who are genuinely pro-choice don’t spend 3-4 days arguing that some women who get abortions do so in ways they deem immoral.

    A pro-choicer isn’t someone who necessarily thinks it’s always morally right under any circumstance for a woman to abort a fetus.

    It’s just supporting their LEGAL right to do so under any circumstances.

    If you can’t wrap your head around the FANTASTIC contradiction in the former (there isn’t one), I’m afraid something’s wrong with you.

    I mean, I’ve already explained this disction in one of those many posts you didn’t read, but here it is, spoonfeed to you once more.

  391. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    A pro-choicer is someone who recognizes that the ultimate choice of whether to terminate a pregnancy or to remain pregnant and give birth can only be made by an individual woman who is pregnant. A pro-choice person is someone who realizes that unless she or he is pregnant, there is absolutely no point in blathering on about the immorality of this abortion or that abortion. The only REAL reason for blathering on about the morality of other people’s abortions is a refusal to accept that no one can, or should, make the decision except the woman who is pregnant.

    You are not pro-choice. If you were, you wouldn’t be bothering with all this nonsense.

  392. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I once read about a woman who had had many abortions over the course of her life. I forget the exact number. Eleven? In the dozen range.

    I thought that was profoundly immoral.

    But, since I am genuinely pro-choice, rather than in denial about being pro-forced birth for some odd reason, I didn’t spend much time talking about it. In fact, this is the first time I’ve brought it up since reading that article.

    Sometimes women decide to get abortions for reasons I think are immoral. So what? Sometimes women decide to give birth for reasons I think are immoral.

    To reiterate: sometimes women get abortions for reasons I think are immoral. Sometimes they get abortions for reasons you think are immoral.

    So the fuck what?

    That’s the question you have shown yourself incapable of answering. Even if you have a decent answer for it, I really don’t care. It’s immaterial, pointless, and ultimately harmful, because such moralizing will inevitably, whether you want it to or not, lend support to the people who are (unlike you) sincere and unconflicted in their desire to impose their decision-making process about pregnancy termination or continuance on other people.

  393. twooffour says

    then what you need to do is demonstrate that there objectively is a particular amount of moral consideration that a pregnant woman ought to give the issue.

    Done that already. You said you don’t want to “waste your time on this”, then quit demanding for answers already given.

    My response to you was like, what, 3 pages?

    What you can hold against him is his continued insistence on pretending as if such arguments exist and must be addressed.

    ***ATTENTION FOR THE RETARDS: TALKING ABOUT THE LEGAL QUESTION, NOT THE MORAL ONE.***

    They might not exist, but the aspiring ones aren’t as vapid as to be brushed aside without making any sort of case.

    That’s all I’m saying – if you argue with a pro-lifer, you don’t just declare that “hey, you don’t worry about an appendix” and sulk, because that’ll make you look retarded (on a positive note, probably accurately so).

    You’ll actually have to make a case: that the fetus most probably isn’t “aware” of anything (which you can’t do without the rigorous efforts scientists invest in resolving such questions), that the less developed fetus is less of a “human” than they might think, why the “but it’s DEVELOPING into one!” argument ultimately doesn’t work (the sperm cell vs. programmed zygote on the one hand; on the other, the question of killing a sleeping 3 months old baby who has yet to “develop” into a full human), etc.

    On the other hand, all the risks and difficulties of pregnancy and birth they might not be aware of:
    http://www.cracked.com/article_16508_6-terrifying-things-they-dont-tell-you-about-childbirth.html

    Could medicine advance to the point where none of that is longer true, and the argument shifts? But that’s in the future.

    And then, you bring up something along the lines of the “violinist argument”, only with the tweak that you’re responsible for the coma, and argue why even in that case, you should have the right to refuse help.

    Bring up something like a story from earlier centuries, in which an accidental mother feels compelled to drown her child in the river due to lack of resources and rejection by society, and one could sympathize with that – and how the conditions in modern society, lacking the social stigma as well as providing opportunity for adoption, would make it easier if the child’s already born, but less so before.

    Only that way, all of their initially not that insane, and passionately held arguments (if you get pregnant out of carelessness, does that give you a right to END A LIFE? the child’s like, swimming there in the placenta, warm and comfy, because you created him, and you wanna kill him because you couldn’t think ahead?) have a chance of being challenged, and hopefully ultimately debunked.
    You acknowledge that they haven’t made up their arguments out of thin air (like they would’ve if they spoke out for the human rights of a wisdoom tooth), but argue why they’re outweighed by others.

    By saying that “hey, you wouldn’t cry over an appendix, right?”, or “it’s the woman’s body, it’s her business”, you’ll only open a can of worms – they’ll correctly point out all the differences between a fetus with a brain, and an appendix without, and conclude that you’re repressing the problem rather than addressing it.
    Making it easier and more convenient for you to keep to your position (with all its obvious advantages), but showing everyone else that you really have no point.

    And that’s really why I started this in another thread: someone said something stupid and dismissive like that, and I objected.

    Sorry, you don’t use shit arguments to justify your enlightened, fortified and secure position on a subject.

    15>19 ^ 4 15>4 —— F+

  394. says

    I once read about a woman who had had many abortions over the course of her life. I forget the exact number. Eleven? In the dozen range.

    I thought that was profoundly immoral.

    But, since I am genuinely pro-choice […] I didn’t spend much time talking about it. In fact, this is the first time I’ve brought it up since reading that article.

    Sometimes women decide to get abortions for reasons I think are immoral. So what?

    This is approximately the stance I used to take. I can dig up old comments I made at scienceblogs which say something like this, followed by something like “but nothing good could come from me preening my feelings in public, so I keep that to myself.”

    (For what it’s worth, arguing abortion at Pharyngula so much has changed my mind, such that I no longer believe that any number of abortions could be immoral.)

    +++++
    What is unfortunate is that twooffour feels entitled to make women who’ve had abortions feel bad about it, yet he thinks it’s “disgusting” to point out how he’s likely to make raped women feel guilty.

    The latter is a predictable consequence. If a person goes on and on about how abortion is supposedly immoral, this is likely to make some women feel guilty about their own abortions, and some of them are likely to have been victims of rape. If twooffour has a problem with this, he can stop. These are just descriptive statements I’m making here, by the way.

    In contrast, twooffour is using normative statements to make women feel guilty. Normative statements are necessarily on less solid footing than descriptive ones, and twooffour’s normative statements are especially ethereal even as these things usually go. He makes no attempt to justify them; he only relies on incredulity; if you can’t see everything as he sees it, there’s something wrong with you.

    If I were more cynical, I’d suspect that this is a deliberate attempt to be as hurtful as possible. If he were honest enough to argue a case for why people ought to agree with him, then at least folks could get a handle on his claims; understanding why he’s saying what he’s saying would allow for the possibility of rejecting his claims on their merits.

    By avoiding making any argument, he probably presents the most guilt-inducing of possible claims. It is implied that a woman should feel guilty, but absolutely no reason is given for why. If you do not agree, then there is supposed to be something wrong with you for not conforming to the expectations of a patriarchal culture. If you feel any guilt at all, this is taken to be evidence that you should feel guilt; if you feel no guilt, this is taken to be evidence that there’s something wrong with you, and you should in turn feel guilty for that.

    It’s all very Kirk Cameronesque. Very tricksy. But it’s bullshit. In reality, the burden of proof rests on the person making a claim. He wants to claim that some particular moral responsibility exists; the burden of proof is on him to demonstrate that it does; the null hypothesis — that whatever is posited does not exist — stands as long as he fails to demonstrate his case. Until such time as the moralizers finally get around to making their case, there is no reason to feel anything in particular about abortion.

  395. twooffour says

    A pro-choicer is someone who recognizes that the ultimate choice of whether to terminate a pregnancy or to remain pregnant and give birth can only be made by an individual woman who is pregnant.

    Correct!

    A pro-choice person is someone who realizes that unless she or he is pregnant, there is absolutely no point in blathering on about the immorality of this abortion or that abortion.

    Wrong.
    Already debunked: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/16/the-dark-side-of-hitchens/comment-page-1/#comment-228666

    I didn’t spend much time talking about it.

    Might as well have.

    Sometimes women decide to get abortions for reasons I think are immoral.

    Yea, and if you, instead of just saying that, decide to expand on it, that won’t magically morph you into a commu-, er, I mean pro-lifer.

    So what? Sometimes women decide to give birth for reasons I think are immoral.

    Um, unless it involves purposefully setting a handicapped or sick child into the world (through incest, chain-smoking, whatever), I don’t really think any of those “immoral” reasons could be compared to the “immoral” reasons behind abortion.

    If they do it to indoctrinate them into their belief system and build themselves an army or whatever, the immorality begins with the indoctrination, not before.
    And I’m pretty sure you have a problem with :p

    That’s the question you have shown yourself incapable of answering.

    I don’t feel the obligation to answer it, because it’s a question for the pro-lifers, is it not?
    If you wanna know why someone might dare to discuss the morality of personal choices, then, you know, you’re just stupid.

    lend support to the people who are (unlike you) sincere and unconflicted in their desire to impose their decision-making process about pregnancy termination or continuance on other people.

    Nah. Using stupid arguments for your position like “appendix” is what lends support to those people.

    As for me, it’s like in Batman Begins, I guess: “I’m not the devil. I’m practice.”

    If, before this trainwreck, you were naive enough to consider using these shit stockphrases in arguments against “genuine” pro-lifers – hopefully, HOPEFULLY, you now know better.

    And don’t fucking whine about me being “condescending”, you’re not in the position to do so. ;)

  396. says

    then what you need to do is demonstrate that there objectively is a particular amount of moral consideration that a pregnant woman ought to give the issue.

    Done that already. You said you don’t want to “waste your time on this”, then quit demanding for answers already given.

    My response to you was like, what, 3 pages?

    I looked, but all I saw was argument from incredulity. Apparently I am supposed to sleep on it and everything will be clear to me in the morning.

    I doubt it, man. I was closer to your position years ago. Further consideration has brought me to where I am today. I am unlikely to “see the light”.

    I suggest you pray for me.

  397. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Twooffour, stop kidding yourself. Whether you are able to admit it consciously or not, there are clearly times when you think a pregnant woman’s decision-making process is wrong. Perhaps you would be happier if you could somehow substitute your own, more correct, more moral decision-making process. But there’s no way to do it using the law, and you have correctly concluded that whatever the morality of abortion is, it’s even more immoral to enlist the power of the state to force women to give birth when they don’t want to. But now you’ve trapped yourself, because you’re really, really uncomfortable with the idea that some women out there might make what you consider to be the wrong decision–so what to do? Ah! Hector a bunch of strangers on the internet about it, under the false belief that they haven’t heard all these arguments before. Yes, that will help to relieve the discomfort of your cognitive dissonance, if you can externalize the positions that make you most uncomfortable.

    It’s just unfortunate for us that you decided to use commenters at Pharyngula as stand-ins for your boring little morality play.

  398. twooffour says

    Hey, how about a fun thought experiment?

    Imagine, some, let’s say a pro-choicer, publishes a satire about a comparable public debate on the morality of appendix removal, and it catches on. Southpark maybe?

    How would the different sides react?
    The pro-choicers would think it proves them right.
    The pro-lifers would think it proves them right.
    I would think the satirist is either fucking stupid, or thinks exactly like me ;)

    And if that doesn’t sum up the issue, I don’t know what does.

  399. says

    Ahem.

    If a person goes on and on about how abortion is supposedly immoral, this is likely to make some women feel guilty about their own abortions, and some of them are likely to have been victims of rape. This is a predictable consequence. If twooffour has a problem with this, he can stop.

  400. twooffour says

    But now you’ve trapped yourself, because you’re really, really uncomfortable with the idea that some women out there might make what you consider to be the wrong decision–so what to do? Ah! Hector a bunch of strangers on the internet about it, under the false belief that they haven’t heard all these arguments before.

    Your psychological analysis of my motivations are wrong.

    I’m participating in this debate just as I might weigh in on some other about vaccinations or whatever, if I thought I had anything to tell those I’m responding to.

    And judging from the utter stupidity of most of the posters here, I had all justification to believe that.

    I’m not “using this board” for my agenda, I came here for entirely different reasons, and then saw a couple of stupid comments on this topic, so I responded.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/16/the-dark-side-of-hitchens/comment-page-1/#comment-228546

    Also:
    “And that’s really why I started this in another thread: someone said something stupid and dismissive like that, and I objected.”

    Would you PLEASE quit being so fucking dishonest and READ what I write before I respond?
    You won’t believe how time-consuming, irritating, annoying… well you get the drift.

    Whether you are able to admit it consciously or not, there are clearly times when you think a pregnant woman’s decision-making process is wrong.

    Um yea… and so do you, if you consider abortion to be “immoral” sometimes.
    Someone else has “cognitive dissonances” to work out there, it seems…

  401. John Morales says

    twooffour responds to SallyStrange:

    Your psychological analysis of my motivations are wrong.

    Strange, then, how uncannily well it explains its highjacking this thread to seemingly propound your beliefs about abortion so repetitively.

    Frankly, it’s boring.

  402. twooffour says

    I was closer to your position years ago. Further consideration has brought me to where I am today.

    Interesting. What made you change your position from acknowledging that a fetus has a developing, until finally developed human brain, and is therefore worth more than an appendix even though ultimately not as much as to justify a forced birth, to… denying this obvious fact and its unambiguous conclusion?

    Yea, get a nap.

    What is unfortunate is that twooffour feels entitled to make women who’ve had abortions feel bad about it, yet he thinks it’s “disgusting” to point out how he’s likely to make raped women feel guilty.

    Well, if some of them should be reading this, I’m sure that seeing how “randomguy says he’s completely okay, if not even encouraging of, an abortion in such a case – and so do most pro-lifers, ignore the loonies” could serve as somewhat of a comfort?

    (Mostly repeating what I’ve already said here (skip to the bottom), by the way:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/16/the-dark-side-of-hitchens/comment-page-1/#comment-228544)

    At any rate, you do realize that even without reading randomguy’s posts on a forum post that might make Hitch’s friends and family feel hurt if they should read it, some women may have reservations or even guilt about aborting a fetus resulting from a rape?
    They wouldn’t react in this way to anything else that could possibly be “growing inside” in such a situation (unless in the case of some weird Stockholm syndrome), and all I’m doing is pointing out this FACT.

    Yea, as I already said here (skip to the bottom, again – it’s the same post):
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/16/the-dark-side-of-hitchens/comment-page-1/#comment-228544

    Posting your opinion, or some fact, can ALWAYS result in someone reading it feeling badly, or worse.

    How about atheism? How about George Carlin’s routines about afterlife?
    How about the fact that Hitchens’ family may not want to read anything about their father and husband having been a “barbarian” (which, fairly enough, can be applied to Falwell’s family, too)?

    It’s somewhat of a wager, isn’t it. The red pill is sometimes bitter, or even harmful, but you don’t mind putting wallpapers with the pill on it around the city for everyone to see, right?

    Do you KNOW how much dread there can be in the realization that your loved ones have most probably ceased to exist in any shape or form, and so will you eventually, if it’s for the first time after a shitload of years believing in that?
    Maybe also guilt about not having had the chance to say or do something, secretly thinking that you might get another one after you die?

    Oh, but now I guess I’m trying to make you guilty for being open about your atheism.
    Oh, and I’m supposed to feel guilty for saying what I think about abortion.

    A discussions is at all times more fruitful and pleasant if the arguments in it are simply treated as arguments, and just that.

    However, if you still insist on it:

    If a person goes on and on about how abortion is supposedly immoral, this is likely to make some women feel guilty about their own abortions

    Which only implies that there is something to feel guilty about, right?
    After all… one wouldn’t stand a CHANCE of starting to feel guilt if some loony tells you that your appendix was a human… right?

    If you want some “standard” for the amount of thought a pregnant woman “ought” to put into her decision, here’s one for you: as much as it’s required to “secure” her decision from the criticism of others.
    If you deal with an issue, you won’t be upset by reading someone on the internet bring them up. If you repress it, it might hit hard.

    The standard, of course, is kinda subjective, because if you’ve got a “fuck you, I don’t care what you say” attitude going, nothing will affect you anyway, right? ;)

  403. John Morales says

    [meta]

    twooffour:

    Someone else has “cognitive dissonances” to work out there, it seems…

    The post is about Christopher’s positions, not about abortion per se. You’ve more than made your position clear. No-one agrees with you.

    But you can’t move on, can you?

    (‘Tis a hard reality to face, for such as you)

    PS Threadjacking is a form of trolling.

  404. twooffour says

    “Strange, then, how uncannily well it explains its highjacking this thread to seemingly propound your beliefs about abortion so repetitively.”

    Not really – the explanation isn’t required.

    I’ve made a few initial posts, in response to someone else, others objected, and the responses from all sides just keep coming. And I reply to all of them… because they’re directed at me.

    So blaming me for “hijacking” this thread, even though I wasn’t the one to hijack it, or an obsession about this topic even though the obvious reason I’m coming back is because people respond to me… is fucking RETARDED.

    Oops, sorry, can I say retard? I mean exceptional individual.

  405. maureenbrian says

    twooffour,

    It boils down to this –

    You have no authority over my body or over my thought processes. I am not about to cede that authority to you.

    You are pissing in the wind.

  406. twooffour says

    By the way, want to ensure that a “threadjacker” comes back, and doesn’t just forget?
    Make sure to call him a “misogynist”, and do it in the most obnoxious, dishonest and idiotic sounding way possible.

    If otherwise he would’ve just shrugged and moved on, concluding that it’s not worth it – you’ve just ensured trainwreck.

    CONGRATULATIONS.

  407. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    A pro-choice person is someone who realizes that unless she or he is pregnant, there is absolutely no point in blathering on about the immorality of this abortion or that abortion.

    Wrong.
    Already debunked: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/16/the-dark-side-of-hitchens/comment-page-1/#comment-228666

    My internet connection is super slow. The link is loading in another tab. I’m skeptical as to whether it will finish loading before I get done writing this. Too bad your arguments are so unwieldy that they defy summarization, eh?

    …Checking back later: it never did load. I don’t really believe that you debunked it, though. If you’re consistent, it’ll turn out that you think you did, when you were really just making another argument from incredulity, or engaging in name-calling.

    Sometimes women decide to get abortions for reasons I think are immoral.

    Yea, and if you, instead of just saying that, decide to expand on it, that won’t magically morph you into a commu-, er, I mean pro-lifer.

    Noticing that the label you apply to yourself doesn’t jive with the content of what you write makes me just like Joe McCarthy.

    A nice attempt at a dodge, but the fact still stands: your actions don’t match your words. If you’re not an anti-choicer, you’re a dead ringer for one.

    So what? Sometimes women decide to give birth for reasons I think are immoral.

    Um, unless it involves purposefully setting a handicapped or sick child into the world (through incest, chain-smoking, whatever), I don’t really think any of those “immoral” reasons could be compared to the “immoral” reasons behind abortion.

    “Purposefully setting a handicapped or sick child into the world” isn’t immoral, you know. Needlessly damaging a fetus’ or child’s health so that the child becomes handicapped or sick is.

    What ARE the immoral reasons for getting an abortion again? The ones I’ve heard from you so far involve sexual morality–you think women should “take responsibility” (those are scare quotes) for having sex without being adequately cautious. Just like the Forced Birth Brigade. I think it’s immoral to assign childbirth and (most likely, since adoption is a rare outcome) child-rearing as a punishment for irresponsibility.

    If they do it to indoctrinate them into their belief system and build themselves an army or whatever, the immorality begins with the indoctrination, not before.
    And I’m pretty sure you have a problem with :p

    No, that was pretty much a total failure to imagine what I might think were immoral reasons for giving birth. Examples of what I actually had in mind:

    “At least now SOMEONE will love me.”

    “Maybe now he will marry me.”

    Much more common than the weird examples you came up with.

    And just like with abortion, it would be a hugely, insultingly presumptuous to spend days and days online trying to convince these women to have an abortion rather than have a child. It’s just not my concern. I prefer education and providing women with options. As in, choices. As in, pro-choice. You continue to demonstrate that while you would like to hide behind the pro-choice label, you really don’t understand what it means to be pro-choice.

    That’s the question you have shown yourself incapable of answering.

    I don’t feel the obligation to answer it, because it’s a question for the pro-lifers, is it not?

    You just spent 4 days obsessing about how some women who get abortions are acting in ways you consider to be immoral. The question is, why are you so obsessed?

    Let’s revisit the question: It’s a given that some women get abortions for reasons you, and probably many other people, consider to be immoral. The question is: so what? What is it to you? The question is for you, because you are the one obsessed with other people’s abortions. Unless you really are a pro-lifer, your response makes zero sense. Well, there is one other alternative: you are a lying, intellectually bankrupt coward.

    If you wanna know why someone might dare to discuss the morality of personal choices, then, you know, y