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Sane Republican hunt

August 2nd, 2009

Looking at this video of GOP members running away (in one case literally) from questions about Birtherism it struck me that rather than looking at the vast majority of GOP types who consistently trade in delusion, it would be more interesting to see if there is even one prominent GOP figure certifiably sane. By “certifiably sane”, I mean someone who has clearly and publicly rejected all the main forms of delusion propounded by the majority of Repugs. These include:

AGW delusionism (an explicit statement of support for mainstream science is required)
Birtherism
Creationism (must reject both creationism /ID and “teach the controversy’)
9/11 Trutherism (not, in most cases, the “Bush knew” version, but the “Saddam organised it, via meetings in Prague” version)
Crank medical theories: on passive smoking, the Terri Schiavo case, abortion-breast cancer link, AIDS reappraisal, claims about stem cells (to make it easy, getting any of these right will suffice)
Rejection of plate tectonics: According to the same poll that found most Republicans to be Birthers/sceptics, the majority also deny or doubt that America and Africa were once part of the same continent (brand new, so I’ll take absence of evidence on this one).

Bonus points if we can find one who’s not from Maine.

Categories: Boneheaded stupidity Tags:
  1. August 2nd, 2009 at 20:27 | #1

    This is much more fun. Does McCain fit the bill?

  2. jquiggin
    August 2nd, 2009 at 20:30 | #2
  3. August 2nd, 2009 at 20:40 | #3

    Ron Paul mostly fits your shopping list. Here he is on global warming in 2007:-

    “Global temperatures have been warming since the Little Ice Age. Studies within the respectable scientific community have shown that human beings are most likely a part of this process. As a Congressman, I’ve done a number of things to support environmentally friendly policies. I have been active in the Green Scissors campaign to cut environmentally harmful spending, I’ve opposed foreign wars for oil, and I’ve spoken out against government programs that encourage development in environmentally sensitive areas, such as flood insurance.”

    The one spot where he might fail your list is not in advocating the teaching of creationism but in advocating free choice in education. However if you take that line most Republicans probably fail and a lot of Democrats also.

  4. August 2nd, 2009 at 20:41 | #4

    Hey if your going to reject contenders how about giving reasons?

  5. August 2nd, 2009 at 20:43 | #5

    Oops missed your link. Here is the one I used.

    http://hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com/archives/2007/05/mccain_and_crea.php

    I suspect that all Republicans are guilty of appealing to their constituents.

  6. philip travers
    August 2nd, 2009 at 20:45 | #6

    Incoherent, vaguely threatening rant deleted. Take a week off, and try and come back with something sensible, Philip

  7. Alice
    August 2nd, 2009 at 20:58 | #7

    I do recall Ron Paul was opposed to the repeal of Glass Steagall. (“I agree with deregulation…….just not this regulation”)

  8. fred
    August 2nd, 2009 at 21:04 | #8

    Do we have an Australian equivalent?

  9. jquiggin
    August 2nd, 2009 at 21:13 | #9

    Given the way he is viewed in the US, it would certainly be amusing if Ron Paul proved to be the only sane Republican.

  10. El Mono
    August 2nd, 2009 at 21:16 | #10

    @jquiggin
    Judging solely from this article i would say that McCain may still be sain but not willing to show said sanity so as to make sure Republicans would turn out and vote for him.

  11. Tony G
    August 2nd, 2009 at 21:19 | #11

    AGW delusionism (an explicit statement of support for mainstream science is required)

    AGW illusionism (an explicit fact that any evidence of AGW in the material world is an illusion)

    Any rational person who investigates any of the Global Warming evidence put forward by the ‘esoteric AGW cult’.(excepting the increase in atmospheric carbon) will find it wanting. By definition AGW proponents are illusionists

  12. August 2nd, 2009 at 21:28 | #12

    I suspect this dalliance with the occult reflects their political irrelevance (and racism) and maybe the lack of a rational class based working class party in the US to attract working people to a materialist reality.

  13. Alice
    August 2nd, 2009 at 21:31 | #13

    Fred – yes – there were some conservatives who railed against JHs mandatory detention policies for asylum seekers – I just cant remember who right now. Certainly Fraser was active in this area although retired. John Vale also retired, railed against the Iraq war. Ron Paul was also against signing any free trade agreements (NAFTA) and against the Iraq war.

  14. Benjamin O’Donnell
    August 2nd, 2009 at 21:43 | #14

    Does Colin Powell count?

  15. BilB
    August 2nd, 2009 at 21:51 | #15

    Is this one of those “fool the apprentice” by sending on a hunt for a “right handed wing nut” type exercises?

  16. Andrew D
    August 2nd, 2009 at 22:07 | #16

    What about Dick Lugar (R-Indiana)? He definitely believes in climate change at any rate http://www.lugar.senate.gov/energy/security/index.cfm and appears to be sound on AIDS — to the extent of supporting a gay man as “AIDS tsar” in the previous administration.

  17. Andrew D
    August 2nd, 2009 at 22:08 | #17

    oops meant to include a link for that last claim http://www.lugar.senate.gov/press/record.cfm?id=259980&&year=2006&

  18. J
    August 2nd, 2009 at 23:04 | #18

    Vermont has a reasonably sane Republican governor (Jim Douglas). He’s too conservative for me but he’s not one of the loonies you think of when you think of the GOP nowadays.  

    He’s OK on climate change (http://www.vtclimatechange.us/). The rest of your issues pretty much never come up here (there’s no significant anti-science sentiment in the state). I seriously doubt he’s a birther but again, nobody has asked him about this (242 of Vermont’s 246 towns voted for Obama). He did try to stop same-sex marriage but was overruled by the legislature. Aside from that, he pretty much just runs on economic issues. 

    Maybe the governor of a very small rural state doesn’t count as a “prominent GOP figure”. Or maybe you should expand your “Maine exception” to include the rest of northern New England.

  19. J
    August 2nd, 2009 at 23:07 | #19

    Going from very small states to very big ones, does Schwarzenegger promote any of the delusions you list? He might be your best bet for a prominent yet sane Republican.

  20. August 2nd, 2009 at 23:29 | #20

    How about George H. W.? I still can’t stand him however.

  21. Roger Albin
    August 2nd, 2009 at 23:31 | #21

    Sadly, there used to be quite a few Republicans who would fit your criteria for sanity. One of the distinctive features of the contemporary Republican Party is the way in which many of these individuals were driven out of the party or marginalized. The now retired Rep. Sherwood Boehlert of New York is a good example. He was the Chair of the relevant House Science Committee during part of the Bush administration and appropriately sane about AGW. But was he the person led House Republican policy formation on AGW? No, it was the insane (by your criteria) Joe Barton. This story repeats itself over and over again.

    I don’t think a majority of Republicans are Birthers. I think its a strong plurality, though it might be a majority in the South.

    Finally, I enjoy your often insightful posts.

  22. Darryl rosin
    August 3rd, 2009 at 00:07 | #22

    Michael Bloomberg?

  23. Martin
    August 3rd, 2009 at 01:33 | #23

    Olympia Snowe?

    For a contrary analysis of the continental drift poll, see this dailykos article.

  24. Donald Oats
    August 3rd, 2009 at 01:45 | #24

    I second J’s vote for Schwarzenegger: the Governator should qualify as sane.

  25. PeakVT
    August 3rd, 2009 at 02:44 | #25

    Schwarzenegger may be sane, but his shock doctrine polices are devastating California’s safety net. He’s probably the governor who is doing the most harm to their state right now.

    I think Jodi Rell of CT might be sane, but like Douglas she has not really been pressured to opine on many of the issues listed above.

  26. August 3rd, 2009 at 06:14 | #26

    Given the way he is viewed in the US

    Given the enormity of the spontaneous grass roots campaign that sprang up around Ron Paul’s presidential campaign and the number of Democrat voters that changed party affiliation so they could vote for him in the primaries I think he is viewed pretty favourably. The old media gave him a bit of a bum wrap but who cares what the old media thinks. In any case even the old media seems to have changed it’s tune towards him of late.

  27. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 3rd, 2009 at 06:59 | #27

    Crikey John, given the above results it seems that there are more looney-tune birther extremists than sane GOP.

  28. John Mashey
    August 3rd, 2009 at 08:00 | #28

    1) To find moderate/sane Republicans, look for ones attacked as RINO*, say:
    *Republican In Name Only

    Google:
    rino schwarzenegger
    rino olympia snowe
    rino colin powell [Benjamin: yes, I think he counts,big time]
    rino arlen specter [well, he switched :-) ]

    People offer top-10 lists of RINOs, so this saves time looking.

    2)Regardless of what Arnold is doing right now, the real issue is a tangled web of structural issues in the politics, laws, and funding in California, exacerbated by the boom-and-bust economic cycles that have been here since 1849. It will likely have to get *really* bad before some of these things get fixed, although there are glimmers. Governors may be better or worse, but the constraints on them are really quite difficult.

    On the political side, the <a href="http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13788607"structural political moderation of Washington state seems a useful example. Otherwise, CA’s state electoral districts are mostly allocated to one party or the other, with few competitive ones, and some of that is inherent, not just gerrymandering. it makes life hard for centrist moderates.

    3) Silicon Valley has some pretty sane Republicans, like Tom Campbell and Steve Poizner, and I liked Ed Zschau when he was in politics.

    4) In a two-party democracy, it is *not* a healthy thing, for anybody, for one party to do what the GOP(the party of Lincoln…) is doing. I’m ecstatic when Republicans actually run someone good locally, which actually happens occasionally. Of course, those tend to be RINOs…

  29. John Mashey
    August 3rd, 2009 at 08:30 | #29

    While not necessarily well-known, one might take a look at Republicans for Environmental Protection, REP, whose logo is a green elephant.

    Now in an astro-turf era of entities whose names and functions might arguably not coincide, like:

    Accuracy in Media
    Citizen Alliance for Responsible Energy
    Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow
    etc,etc

    One might worry that REP is like that, but from my reading, I don’t think so. Take look at their website and see what they say.

  30. Fran Barlow
    August 3rd, 2009 at 09:44 | #30

    I’m not sure if Charlie Crist (Fla. Governor) counts. Although he is pro-gun, pro-capital punishment, anti-gay rights, anti-abortion … the usual suspects he has favoured action on climate change and the environment more generally, favours giving ex-cons civil rights, rejected McCain’s insinuations about ACORN during the presidential campaign as ‘exaggerated’ (and actually funded ACORN), extended voting hours to allow more hispanics and blacks to vote even though this wouldn’t help him, accepted an inviotation to speak publicly to the NAACP, has supported the stimulus package and favoured working with Obama etc …

    So although he is clearly a conservative (with many of the odious positions one expects) he is arguably not a complete nutbag.

  31. August 3rd, 2009 at 10:42 | #31

    Pr Q says:

    it would be more interesting to see if there is even one prominent GOP figure certifiably sane. By “certifiably sane”, I mean someone who has clearly and publicly rejected all the main forms of delusion propounded by the majority of Repugs

    Rudy Guiliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger are “prominent GOP figures” and both pass Pr Q’s test of Republican “sanity” in being publicly opposed to delusionism, creationism and birthers. Obviously I dont regard these issues as adequate tests of “sanity”, although they are tests of intellectual ingenuity. Most Republicans are sane enough, they are just being dishonest because it suits their political interests.

    Rudy has publicly affirmed his belief in global warming, Darwinian theory of evolution and Pres Obama’s US citizenship. I think we can take it as read that he has no time for “truthers”.

    I would put Arnie in Rudy’s boat on these issues.

    Both have been strong supporters of stem cell research.

    The US-based American Conservative magazine has been a haven for honest and decent conservative Republicans and ex-Republicans through out the long national nightmare of the Bush admin. Although Pat Buchanan fails Pr Q’s “sanity” test he has been an oasis of common sense on crucial matters such as the Bush’s admins obsessive compulsive disorder to invade-invite-indebt the world. More to the point he did so at great personal and professional cost.

    AmCon acknowledges Global Warming and opposes Intelligent Design.

    It also John Derbyshire, who is probably the most scientifically literate and mathematically numerate writer on the Right. Very funny and nice fellow, I know from first hand, having met him on my travels.

  32. August 3rd, 2009 at 12:07 | #32

    test

  33. August 3rd, 2009 at 12:25 | #33

    The threat posed by humans to the natural environment is nothing compared to the threat to humans posed by global environmental policy.

  34. Monkey’s Uncle
    August 3rd, 2009 at 12:36 | #34

    Jack, the words “Pat Buchanan” and “sane” should never be used in the same sentence. He has the remarkable ability to take the most stupid ideas from across the political spectrum and try to put them all together.

  35. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 3rd, 2009 at 12:43 | #35

    Jack Strocchi, here is a simple test for you. Obama has been accused of poisoning his grandmother. True or False.

  36. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    August 3rd, 2009 at 13:02 | #36

    Sukrit – this is the sanity test conducted by the local socialist mad house. Stop expecting it all to make sense. It’ll do your head in.

  37. August 3rd, 2009 at 13:19 | #37

    Michael,
    That is true. He has been accused of poisoning his grandmother.

  38. sdfc
    August 3rd, 2009 at 13:25 | #38

    “The threat posed by humans to the natural environment is nothing compared to the threat to humans posed by global environmental policy.”

    Who’s supposed to be alarmist again?

  39. jquiggin
    August 3rd, 2009 at 13:48 | #39

    It’s sad that even comparatively sensible supporters of free market policies, such as Sukrit and Terje, feel the need to defend the GOP or at least to bite back at criticism of this pro-war, pro-torture, anti-freedom, anti-science organization. Don’t you think you would be better off breaking your alliance (and that’s what it is) with these people.

  40. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    August 3rd, 2009 at 14:07 | #40

    John – I’m playing sport here, not casting a vote. If I was being defensive I wouldn’t have joined this game. Yes the republicans are a pack of socialist control freak flat earth religious nutters. However in rhetorical terms they defend several principles I believe in. Political support generally orbits around policies, principles and personalities. The fact that the republicans have better principles than the alternative mob but still suck on policy and personalities makes them the lesser evil. Still evil though and quite notably so.

    p.s. However I do like Ron Paul. He isn’t a socialist control freak.

  41. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    August 3rd, 2009 at 14:13 | #41

    p.s. Ron Paul voted against war. Loads of Democrats vote for war including the current US secretary of state. Historically the republicans are not the pro-war party. The fact that they are a bit lost of late is sad. I hope the insanity is temporary and they make a rapid recovery.

  42. Fran Barlow
    August 3rd, 2009 at 14:30 | #42

    One needs only to peruse the thread at this point to see what lies at the heart of the GOP’s apparent insanity.

    It’s about tribal identity, and for that you need not reason or evidence but shibboleths. Terje postures as sensible much of the time, but press his buttons and suddenly the world is in the grip of ‘socialist control freaks’ and he’s making nice with someone who thinks global environmental policy is a threat to humanity.

    Sometimes you can’t but laugh at the unintentional irony.

  43. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 3rd, 2009 at 15:36 | #43

    TerjeP (say tay-a), here is a simple test for you. Ron Paul introduced the Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001. True or False.

  44. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    August 3rd, 2009 at 16:03 | #44

    Yes he suggester a bounty on the head of Osama which privateers could collect on. A good idea. Better than an open ended taxpayer funded war on a nation unrelated to the incident.

  45. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    August 3rd, 2009 at 16:14 | #45

    Fran – nobody needs to press my buttons in order for me to share the observation that the world is in the grip of socialist control freaks. It was not a light hearted remark. Nearly every way we might measure the size and impact of governments they are getting bigger and bigger.

  46. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 3rd, 2009 at 16:15 | #46

    Tell me TerjeP (say tay-a), are you suggesting bounty hunters can do a better job than the US military in combating terrorism?

  47. Brent
    August 3rd, 2009 at 16:38 | #47

    I would suggest that Kermit the Frog could do a better job than the US military in combating terrorism.

  48. Alice
    August 3rd, 2009 at 16:49 | #48

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    You libertarians of varying shades which are unfathomable to me… do our heads in too. I also thought Halliburton and others were bounty hunters…who got away with US taxes and made a whopping big deficit on Iraq. Terje – I thought you didnt like budget deficits – yet Bush’s private war bounty hunter firms employed to do teh job on Iraq actually helped create that nasty US budget deficit didnt they?.

    It does seem there is a bit of difficulty finding a sane one…needle in a haystack?

  49. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 3rd, 2009 at 17:13 | #49

    Now you have done it Alice, telling the likes of TerjeP (say tay-a) what they didn’t want to hear ‘the truth and nothing but the truth’.

  50. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    August 3rd, 2009 at 17:21 | #50

    Alice – the US should not have invaded Iraq let alone funded it’s reconstruction. And US libertarians that supported the invasion are very, very, very few and far between. Also lets not forget the large number of members from that other major US political party that voted for the Iraq invasion. Idiots on both sides.

    Michael – there is a bounty on the head of Osama. So far neither the US government nor the bounty hunters have caught him. However the bounty hunters have cost the US taxpayers nothings so I think it’s been a good deal. Also lets not forget how privateers were engaged to good effect in fighting both piracy and the slave trade in the 1800s. Would you really suggest the bounty for Osama should be lowered to nothing?

  51. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 3rd, 2009 at 17:29 | #51

    TerjeP (say tay-a), so you are one of the libertarians supporting the American bounty hunter who illegally detained and tortured Afghan prisoners.

  52. Alice
    August 3rd, 2009 at 17:33 | #52

    The libertarians may not have but the republicans overwhelmingly got behind GW and supported Iraq Terje.

  53. Alice
    August 3rd, 2009 at 17:35 | #53

    I would bet private bounty hunters shot JFK Terje.

  54. August 3rd, 2009 at 17:36 | #54

    Monkey’s Uncle August 3rd, 2009 at 12:36 #34

    Jack, the words “Pat Buchanan” and “sane” should never be used in the same sentence. He has the remarkable ability to take the most stupid ideas from across the political spectrum and try to put them all together.

    A nice example of the kind of pig-headed partisanship that, presumably, we should all be trying to get away from.

    Heres a test for Left-liberal equanimity, if not sanity. Which politician, over the past generation or two, did more practical good for African-American people: Martin Luther King or Pat Buchanan?

    Hint: “three strikes and you’re out” tough on crime laws helped African-American victims of crime more than any other ethnic group, “ending welfare as we know it” welfare-to-work laws greatly improved the integrity of African-American households and political resistance to immigration amnesty has, at least for a while, put a floor under the tendency for African American wages to go into free-fall under the impact of the flood of illegal immigrants.

    These are all social scientific facts, realised in no small measure due to the tireless efforts of Pat Buchanan in trying to bring some sanity to US social policy. But studiously avoided by anti-scientific Left-liberals.

  55. Alice
    August 3rd, 2009 at 17:36 | #55

    and his brother…and that isnt democracy

  56. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 3rd, 2009 at 17:54 | #56

    TerjeP (say tay-a), I have a problem with people like Ron Paul etc for all the evidence tend to contradict what they believe. Insane.

  57. Fran Barlow
    August 3rd, 2009 at 17:56 | #57

    @Jack Strocchi

    Simply astonishing. Three strikes and you’re out saw radical increases in the proportion of balcks in prison for minor offences, including kids being locked up for 25 years for stealing pizza. “Workfare” disadvantfaged minorioty children by ensuring that their mothers left them unattended as they went miules for work. In one case in LA a five year old left unattended – Patrick mason by name, was shot dead by a cop who, breaking into the flat, thought the kid with a water pistol was an intruder. And falling African American (and other wages) are the result of poor labor standards not Operation Light up the Border. What that did was intensify the exploitation of Latinos and lead to serious morbidity in the Rio Grande.

    Simply disgusting …

  58. August 3rd, 2009 at 17:57 | #58

    The libertarians may not have but the republicans overwhelmingly got behind GW and supported Iraq Terje.

    So did the Democrats.

  59. August 3rd, 2009 at 17:59 | #59

    I would bet private bounty hunters shot JFK Terje.

    and his brother…and that isnt democracy

    Whoever did it they probably drove to the seen using a public road … and that isn’t democratic. This is largely irrelevant but so is your point.

  60. August 3rd, 2009 at 18:06 | #60

    Just in case people have forgotten:-

    http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/21/iraq.hillary/

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said she is not sorry she voted for a resolution authorizing President Bush to take military action in Iraq despite the recent problems there but she does regret “the way the president used the authority.”

    The current US president, a Democrat, made this woman Secretary of State. He should have given her a job in the mail room instead. I’d happily see the entire war brigade, on both sides, take an early retirement.

  61. August 3rd, 2009 at 18:11 | #61

    TerjeP (say tay-a), I have a problem with people like Ron Paul etc for all the evidence tend to contradict what they believe.

    What do you mean?

  62. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 3rd, 2009 at 18:23 | #62

    TerjeP (say tay-a), Timothy McVeigh is your typical libertarian Richard Cranium.

  63. August 3rd, 2009 at 19:03 | #63

    Fran Barlow says August 3rd, 2009 at 17:56 #7

    @Jack Strocchi Simply astonishing. [FOLLOWED BY POINTLESS SERIES OF TEAR-JERKING ANECDOTES UNREPRESENTATIVE OF EMPIRICAL OBSERVATIONS AND UN-ORGANIZED INTO THEORETICAL FORMULATION]

    Fran Barlow’s archeo-liberalism reminds me of a classic riposte by Jerry Pournelle, on the general incompetence and perversity of Left-liberal attempts to improve the lot of colored people:

    If I were a Klansman determined to keep the Blacks down I would:

    Have a lousy school system that concentrates on intellectual abilities and ignores skills;

    High minimum wages so that entry level jobs are all off the books;

    Open borders to bring in lots of cheap labor to soak up the off the books jobs;

    A campaign to get Blacks to think that academic achievement was Acting White.

    Left-liberals never ever learn from their catastrophic blunders in the Culture War. Which is why they constantly wage war on Science to cover up inconvenient facts.

    Notice how back in mid-2007 there was a storm of political protest about Howards Intervention and how it was another example of whitey oppression. But now the scientific evidence is coming in that the Intervention is working so the Left-liberal critics have gone strangely quiet.

    Not to worry, they are re-grouping and working to politically undermine the good thats been done so that they can get back in control of the rackets. Still blithely assuming that all the scientific obfuscation, not to mention straight out ideological insanity, is lumped over on the Right.

    Gimme a break.

  64. Alice
    August 3rd, 2009 at 19:30 | #64

    I think I like Fran.

  65. Fran Barlow
    August 3rd, 2009 at 19:32 | #65

    @Jack Strocchi

    White man’s burden on one side, stockholm syndrome on the other. Never question the context but merely adapt to the usages of the system.

    This is the kind of bigotry that is fashionable in rightwing circles. Telling it is that it affirms power and privilege and argues for people to accept their place in the greater scheme of things.

    You don’t need a break Jack. You’ve already taken more than your share.

  66. Alice
    August 3rd, 2009 at 19:35 | #66

    Listen Jack – unless youb havent noticed…the tide is turning away from BS right wing fallacies and embracing left wing liberals aka – right now we are damn well winning the culture wars. You had your chance …and it was only a matter of time and time has caught up with the lot of you, Joe Ordinary isnt a bad bloke…it may take a while given the storm of media crap the right wing nachine has heaped on his head…but you made the mistake of thinking that was enough to snow him….and in the end, the truth gets there and you people with your fanatic views, are in your rightful place, in the dustbin of disccredited hirtory and false theories.

    You see Jack, time corrects all ills (even in the market for ideas).

  67. Alice
    August 3rd, 2009 at 19:45 | #67

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    My point was Terje – that the republicans in the US have always been financially well resourced by a filthy lot of plotters and schemers who are so hungry for power they give jack about real democracy or liberty and will lie, dig dirt or kill just to get themselves in the seat of power, and you are a fool, for believing otherwise…just follow the filthy lucre slime trail they leave behind themselves.

    Say it isnt so Terje…. say it isnt so every damn election for the past twenty years..people like you never change their mind or their viting habits.

    You think you beleive in liberty but in reality you have made yourself a slave to the whims of people wealthier than you. Thats all you have done with your libertarianism. Followed false idols nicely modelled for you…

  68. August 3rd, 2009 at 21:30 | #68

    I yield to no one in my contempt for Republican disdain for science. But I have trouble keeping a straight face when listening to the never-ending series of Left-wing denunciations of Right-winger anti-science. There is more than a little of pot-calling-kettle-black disingenuity here.

    A large fraction of Left-liberals are grotesquely anti-science, particularly on their home ground of “cultural studies” (the very phrase leaves a funny taste in my mouth). They cling to an unscientific social constructivist Blank Slate philosophy which makes them averse to the use of evolutionary genetics in the analysis of human nature.

    The more honest kind of critic does acknowledge the Left-liberal Culture War on science. Chris Mooney, in an excerpt from his The Republican War on Science, concedes that Left-liberals are plenty guilty of waging war on science, mainly in areas related to cultural behaviour:

    It must also be acknowledged that much [abuse] of science emerges from the liberal-leaning academic world. In an interview, Harvard’s celebrated cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, explained to me how this political reality tends to wall of certain areas of inquiry that might be seen as supporting conservative viewpoints: “When it’s academics who wield the power, the political bias will be on the Left.

    Left-liberals, in order to dampen the cognitive dissonance caused by the contradiction between their ethical ideals and epistemic reality, employ the tools of political correctness to chill free speech when science gets too close to the bone of their sacred cows. Just the other day we see Steven Rose, the most prominent Left-wing geneticist in the world, publicly calling for the shut-down of research on the genetics of race and intelligence.

    But Left-wing antipathy to the scientific analysis of culture can’t dam this flooding river of knowledge forever. As John Derbyshire remarked:

    There is a huge swelling wave of knowledge building up — knowledge about human variation, human inheritance, human nature. Things have gone much further than I realized. Genes controlling intelligence? “We’ve got a few nailed down, and more are showing up…”

    And all this work has to be done while keeping a sort of radio silence, because it is deeply unpopular…To the guardians of our public morality, though — the media and political elites, the legal and humanities academics — they are very devils, peering into what should be kept hidden, seeking out things better left alone, working to secret agendas, funded by groups of sinister anti-social plotters — “bigots!”

    This wave of knowledge, this great wave, is building up in laboratories and research institutes all around the world. Sooner or later the wave will come roaring in to crash on our beach. When that happens, a lot of stuff will get swept away — a lot of social dogma, a lot of wishful thinking, a lot of ignorant punditry and self-righteous posturing, and probably some law and tradition and religion and social cohesion as well. There is, however, no stopping the wave.

  69. C.L.
    August 3rd, 2009 at 22:20 | #69

    - AGW delusionism
    - Birtherism
    - Creationism (must reject both creationism /ID and “teach the controversy’)
    - 9/11 Trutherism
    - Crank medical theories
    - Rejection of plate tectonics

    Some additions:

    - Inability to say when life begins (above their pay grade);
    - Belief that Americans watched television in 1929 (poster boy for no-nonsense intellectuality, Joe Biden);
    - Belief that anything Australia does vis-a-vis carbon will alter the temperature of the planet (it won’t);
    - Belief that Moqtada al-Sadr is winning the Iraq War (see Quiggin, J, 2008).

  70. jquiggin
    August 3rd, 2009 at 22:23 | #70

    Jack, this stuff isn’t science, it’s the worst kind of pop science. Pinker’s Blank Slate is a poorly argued polemic and Derbyshire is not an authority on anything. On free speech grounds I disagree with Rose, but he’s right to say that “race” is not a biologically meaningful construct, particularly in a country like the US, where social divisions based on assigned race mask centuries of genetic mixing (or, as the racists would call it miscegenation). And, whatever the theoretical possibilities, he’s right that the vast majority of research on gender differences has been rubbish.

  71. C.L.
    August 3rd, 2009 at 22:27 | #71

    My point was Terje – that the republicans in the US have always been financially well resourced by a filthy lot of plotters and schemers who are so hungry for power they give jack about real democracy or liberty…

    Mmmyes. I guess you mean financially well resourced Republicans like John F. Kennedy, Al Gore, John Kerry, John Edwards and, not least, the man who single-handedly trashed campaign finance reform for a generation in order to accumulate the largest war chest in the history of politics – the George Soros-backed Barack H. Obama. And Barry was thereby able to refuse to have his finances audited. We still don’t know where the money came from. So much for real democracy and liberty.

  72. jquiggin
    August 3rd, 2009 at 22:35 | #72

    CL, life began in the pre-Cambrian era, and all current life (including us, and any gametes and children we produce) is an unbroken continuation of that pre-Cambrian beginning (not a hard one).

    As regards my own predictive accuracy, given the number of times you have pointed out this one error, I take it you agree that I got the Iraq war right in almost every other respect, unlike those who believed the Bush Administration’s lies about WMD, claims of “mission accomplished” etc.

    But I’m glad to see you reject all the delusions I listed (unless “additions” means something different in your private language). I had the impression you went along with AGW delusionism at least.

  73. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 3rd, 2009 at 23:16 | #73

    Jack Strocchi, here is a simple test for you. The Grand Canyon was created in the biblical flood. True or False

  74. Ian Gould
    August 3rd, 2009 at 23:40 | #74

    As far as predictive abilities go, hands up anyone who stated in the latter half of 2008 that Australia that there was a significant chance Australia might not experience a recession in 2009.

  75. Ian Gould
    August 3rd, 2009 at 23:42 | #75

    TerjeP (say tay-a) :
    Ron Paul mostly fits your shopping list. Here he is on global warming in 2007:-
    “Global temperatures have been warming since the Little Ice Age. Studies within the respectable scientific community have shown that human beings are most likely a part of this process. As a Congressman, I’ve done a number of things to support environmentally friendly policies. I have been active in the Green Scissors campaign to cut environmentally harmful spending, I’ve opposed foreign wars for oil, and I’ve spoken out against government programs that encourage development in environmentally sensitive areas, such as flood insurance.”
    The one spot where he might fail your list is not in advocating the teaching of creationism but in advocating free choice in education. However if you take that line most Republicans probably fail and a lot of Democrats also.

    fortunately there was no item:

    Never predicted an imminent race war in the United States and did not not urge whites to stockpile arms in preparation.

  76. August 3rd, 2009 at 23:46 | #76

    Jack Strocchi I asked you on an earlier thread on this blog to cite evidence that the so-called intervention in the NT is having beneficial effects. Amongst other things you claimed that ‘children are being removed in great numbers under the Intervention’ and that it has ‘brought under control’ … ‘in-migration to cities, collapse in family structure and a massive substance abuse infliction’. You ignored the request to cite sources of evidence yet continue to make the claim here that it was a success.

    One could be forgiven for believing you are just making stuff up.

  77. C.L.
    August 4th, 2009 at 00:39 | #77

    The question Barack “Beyond My Pay Grade” Obama was asked had to with conception, John, not the pre-Cambrian era. Life begins at conception. Apparently he didn’t know this.

    I take it you agree that I got the Iraq war right in almost every other respect.

    No, you got almost everything wrong.

    On “AGW”, my point was that nothing we do will make any difference whatsoever – contrary to what local warmenist truthers say.

    As far as predictive abilities go, hands up anyone who stated in the latter half of 2008 that Australia that there was a significant chance Australia might not experience a recession in 2009.

    Latter HALF of 2008? My hand is up and I’m hardly on my Pat Malone.

  78. August 4th, 2009 at 01:43 | #78

    Never predicted an imminent race war in the United States and did not not urge whites to stockpile arms in preparation.

    Old story from the 1980s. Ugly racist stuff was said in Ron Pauls name but not by him personally. He has always renounced the text when asked about it but still accepted moral responsibility for allowed others to publish such things under his name. In my book it was a personal failing but not of the sort you imply.

  79. August 4th, 2009 at 01:51 | #79

    Michael of Summer Hill :TerjeP (say tay-a), Timothy McVeigh is your typical libertarian Richard Cranium.

    I don’t see how this answers my question. Are you just trying to be annoying?

  80. August 4th, 2009 at 02:06 | #80

    Alice :@TerjeP (say tay-a) My point was Terje – that the republicans in the US have always been financially well resourced by a filthy lot of plotters and schemers who are so hungry for power they give jack about real democracy or liberty and will lie, dig dirt or kill just to get themselves in the seat of power, and you are a fool, for believing otherwise…just follow the filthy lucre slime trail they leave behind themselves.
    Say it isnt so Terje…. say it isnt so every damn election for the past twenty years..people like you never change their mind or their viting habits.
    You think you beleive in liberty but in reality you have made yourself a slave to the whims of people wealthier than you. Thats all you have done with your libertarianism. Followed false idols nicely modelled for you…

    Alice – politics everywhere is laden with power hungry people that lie, scheme and plot for narrow self interest. It is why I think the range of things in life to which political means should be applicable should be small. Are you so naive as to believe that one side of politics is free of human foibles?

    That you assume I am a fool is noted. Not a particularily constructive comment but I suppose it helps to lower the tone of this place.

  81. jquiggin
    August 4th, 2009 at 06:20 | #81

    “As far as predictive abilities go, hands up anyone who stated in the latter half of 2008 that Australia that there was a significant chance Australia might not experience a recession in 2009.”

    Maybe you’ve got a double negative in there somewhere, IG, or maybe you subscribe to the widespread but baseless belief that there exists a “technical definition” of a recession as constituting two consecutive quarters of negative growth. But to state some facts:

    (a) We are in a recession right now, a fact that is obvious to those experiencing its impact
    (b) Lots of people well into the second half of 2008 denied that the US was in a recession – NBER dated the start at Dec 2007
    (s) Most economists in the Age survey predicted positive growth for 2009. I predicted -1.0, which was second lowest ahead only of Steve Keen
    (d) The RBA gave the same estimate in May, though, it now looks as if things might be marginally better
    (e) Policy makes a difference. The main reason things look a little better in Australia than they did at the end of 2008, rather than a lot worse, is expansionary macro policy.

  82. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 4th, 2009 at 06:23 | #82

    TerjeP (say tay-a), your the one claiming libertarians are sane. I find the likes of Timothy McVeigh a nutter and a mass murderer.

  83. Alice
    August 4th, 2009 at 06:33 | #83

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    No I am not that naive either Terje – but conservative parties for the past twenty years in the US and here have been overweight in plotters, schemers and liars..but Ill make one concession to you – I think NSW Labor is also overweight in plotters, schemers and liars – but none of this is an excuse to shrink governments to the point od total disarray Terje which is what you appear to advocate more often than not. That is also foolish. The solution to corruption or unethical behaviour in governments is not to do away with their presence altogether or to shrink them to the point of a bumbling inadequate committee with insufficient skills or manpower to get the job of our social capital delivered. What systems we do have need proper controls in place against unethical behaviour and the power of vested interests. The public funding of election campaigns would be a very healthy place to start.

  84. jquiggin
    August 4th, 2009 at 06:36 | #84

    CL, I misunderstood “in addition”, as it appears you meant to say you endorse all the delusional beliefs I listed and wanted to add some of your own.

    Of these I’ll take “gametes are not alive” as emblematic.

  85. jquiggin
    August 4th, 2009 at 06:38 | #85

    Michael of SH, please cool down a bit – you’re getting close to Godwin territory. Also, euphemisms for coarse language (like Richard Cranium) are strongly discouraged.

  86. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 4th, 2009 at 06:50 | #86

    OK TerjeP (say tay-a), the reason I raised the above issues were that the Libertarian Party in the USA forbids anyone from advocating the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals. John is wright I apologise if I offended anyone by telling the truth.

  87. rog
    August 4th, 2009 at 07:34 | #87

    “As far as predictive abilities go, hands up anyone who stated in the latter half of 2008 that Australia that there was a significant chance Australia might not experience a recession in 2009.”

    At that time I seem to remember some discussion about the merits of being in or out of the stockmarket – when the consensus was to stay out as it was too risky I started to buy in ASX listed stocks – currently up about 67%.

  88. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    August 4th, 2009 at 09:18 | #88

    Alice – I believe in smaller government and stronger society. Not smaller government to weaken society. I think discouraging personal responsibility weakens society. You appear to believe that collective responsibility is the way to strengthen it. I do understand the raw emotional appeal of collective responsibility however I still think it is the root cause of a myriad number of social and economic ills. As a result we clearly disagree over the impact of specific reforms.

    I think politics is less corrupt where it’s role in economic and social affairs is minimal and it does a well defined set of basic tasks. Not that the same degree of corruption is merely focused on a smaller segment. Having said that I think Australian politics is pretty clean and the major benefits of smaller government lay in the impact on incentives and long term dynamic effects.

    I enjoy sparing with you on these issues. I know you sometimes despair at the gulf between our view points. However please try avoid the personal remarks because they don’t ultimately foster the exchange of ideas.

    MoSH – I’m going to try and ignore you for a few days. You appear to be a bitter person. Try smiling at people as you walk down the street and see if your mood improves.

  89. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 4th, 2009 at 10:03 | #89

    TerjeP (say tay-a), tell me why am I a bitter person. I’m sure sure other bloggers would like to know.

  90. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 4th, 2009 at 10:42 | #90

    John, I don’t believe for today they are still reporting that Godwin Grech may have breached the Public Service code of conduct when in fact Godwin was involved in the commission of a crime.

  91. Fran Barlow
    August 4th, 2009 at 10:57 | #91

    @Michael of Summer Hill

    TerjeP (say tay-a), tell me why am I a bitter person. I’m sure sure other bloggers would like to know.

    Nope … I don’t care. I’m more curious as to why you keep harping on about the NSW ALP, which is a political carcass, and using that inane catchphrase “two thumbs up”.

    Mind you, I don’t speak for everyone.

  92. derrida derider
    August 4th, 2009 at 11:15 | #92

    Michael, it’s just journos being inaccurate. They aren’t aware of the difference between “breaching the public service code of conduct” (a disciplinary offence which his Departmental Secretary can sack him for) and “breaching the Public Service Act” (a crime by definition and a matter for the courts). You’re right that on the facts as claimed his offence falls in the latter category.

  93. August 4th, 2009 at 11:27 | #93

    MoSH,
    Perhaps one way we can tell you are a bitter person is that you forget that, in our system of justice at least, there is a presumption of innocence.

  94. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 4th, 2009 at 11:51 | #94

    Andrew Reynolds, you 100% correct but when you engage in the commission of a crime and admit it. God help you.

  95. sdfc
    August 4th, 2009 at 13:42 | #95

    Yeah Ian an economy on life support, very healthy.

  96. sdfc
    August 4th, 2009 at 13:43 | #96

    Sorry, Ian Gould @24.

  97. Alphonse
    August 4th, 2009 at 14:02 | #97

    Jack, some even-handed disdain free of false equivalence as to importance of subject matter would be welcome.

    I’m not holding my breath.

    Terje, I agree that discouraging personal responsibility weakens society. But do you encourage the personal responsibility of a Murdoch or Pratt by lessening regulation of their proclivities?

  98. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    August 4th, 2009 at 15:24 | #98

    Alphonse – a fair question but one which entails a discussion of the particual regulation in question. And also a discussion of responsibility to whom for what. And no doubt some discussion of things such as utilitarian consequences and principles of natural justice. The devil is in the detail.

  99. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 4th, 2009 at 15:30 | #99

    Thumbs up TerjeP (say tay-a), now your making sense ‘principles of natural justice’.

  100. August 4th, 2009 at 20:11 | #100

    MoSH,
    That presumption survives, whatever confessions may be made, right up to the point where a properly constituted court finds you guilty.

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