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Skepchick Quickies 3.5

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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  1. From the article

    “He said that while the Vatican did not exclude any area of science, it did reject as “absurd” the atheist notion of biologist and author Richard Dawkins and others that evolution proves there is no God.”

    I for one would like him to point out exactly where Dr. Dawkins ever made this claim.

  2. @spurge: I think that Dawkins never made this claim too, but my guess is that he is confused by the claim that science can explain nature without the need for the intervention of a creator.

    I’m quite curious to know if they discussed: 1) Can we be at the same time a product of natural selection and created in god’s image? 2) If a god made any (significant) intervention on nature, shouldn’t this be testable?

  3. “Women are at least as intelligent as men, and they have as vivid and ready a perception of the absurd; but they have not developed the arts of fooling, clowning, badinage, repartee, burlesque and innuendo into a semi-continuous performance as so many men have.”
    Ha! Women must have good timing and the ability to clown…”Gee, honey don’t worry about it….size is just a number…” Now ya’ gotta have a sense of humor in that situation.

  4. The aburd…
    Jenny is a joke..therefore there is a God cuz he made her funny…so God is funny and therefore since he created such an absurd combination of tragedy and comedy in Jenny he must be a she…and then again if she is the result of this (Godly) design can it truly be intelligent? hmmm

  5. Of course the idea that evolution proves God doesn’t exist is absurd. It is, after all, logically impossible to prove that anything doesn’t exist. Then again I suppose I’m asking a lot if I’m asking a Cardinal to be a competent logician.

  6. I’ve always thought that the reason women don’t work as hard at being funny as men is that the historical exigencies of their lives have pushed them toward being more pragmatic. That has changed somewhat in recent years.

  7. Does anyone else think that the being able to choose the physical traits of your children sounds really cool? It’s kinda like that movie Gattaca but hopefully without the class distinction and bigotry.

  8. As everyone has noted, the Vatican is misrepresenting Dawkins words, or at best has misunderstood them.

    I know that Dawkins is on record as saying (and I’m paraphrasing) that evolution makes it intellectually defensible to be an atheist, but I have never heard him say that it PROVES there is no god.

  9. @Expatria: Call me a hopeless romantic, but I sort of like the idea of just shaking the bag and seeing what you get. My sons are all beautiful and I couldn’t have picked any better traits for them…except…my 17 year old..I wish we could have skipped teen years for him…I wonder if you can like birth them and then grow them through certain stages?

  10. This is such a slippery slope and I don’t know how I feel about it. On the one hand screening to avoid congenital diseases or defects makes a certain amount of sense… on the other hand science keeps coming up with cures and aides that make some diseases and defects not that big a deal.

    For example, my mother was 17 when she had me… and had there been the technology to screen, they might have noticed my congenital cataracts. I can only imagine the case that might have been made to an unwed teen mother to NOT have a baby that was 85% likely to be born blind and stay blind for life.

    Thankfully despite them telling her that her newborn was going to go blind by age 3 and after 6 eye operations, I am a relatively normal person who can not only read and write and see but also lead a normal life (sole exception being that I don’t drive.)

    So yeah, conflicted about screening… but WAY against determining physical things like eye color and height. That just seems narcissistic.

  11. I’ve always seen the joking around thing as part of the mating game. Women I kid around with seem to be more attracted to me than women I don’t kid around with.
    Women who respond favorably to my kidding around are more attractive to me than women who don’t.
    I don’t see any Patriarchal Power Trip.

  12. @Expatria: @Kaylia_Marie: Oh don’t get me wrong. I’m not exactly advocating the idea of genetically ‘shopping’ for kids. I just think it sounds really frickin cool is all! But cosmetics aside, I think the idea of being able to screen for and eliminate health risks ahead of time would be well worth it.

  13. Mercy, Spare me,
    I was just jesting
    Didn’t mean to cut all her hair off
    Listen, I will
    Make the sons of Iwald
    Forge her, you won’t regret this,
    New hair, see here
    Dwarves are fine craftsmen
    Simple, maybe they will let me
    Stand by, setting their souls on fire
    My, My, watching the world

    Go through mischieve and malice
    And the woes of war
    Still somethings are worth fighting for
    Let death and destruction
    Stand your foes before
    And Midgard is safer the more
    Out of the fires of freedom
    And out of the forge of dwarves
    To hold in your hand now and forevermore
    I give you the Hammer of Thor

    Hammer of Thor – Tyr

  14. I’m fairly certain Dawkins has stated, on more than one occasion, that evolutionary theory by itself has no real bearing on the question of whether there is a god or gods. On the other hand, the theory is certainly at odds with anything but a metaphorical understanding of most religious creation stories.

    Dawkins himself usually only goes so far as to say things like, “God almost certainly doesn’t exist.” In fact, I think that’s the title of a chapter in one of his books. But that’s significantly different from, “I can prove that God doesn’t exist.”

  15. I’ve heard for a long time that “women aren’t as funny as men.” But I think the article linked here does a really good job of explaining social and environmental factors that probably keep a lot of women from 1, thinking of jokes, and 2, expressing them. Not that they can’t, just that they aren’t encouraged.

    As for me, I like to make people laugh, but it’s not a goal for me. Also, my jokes tend to be dry, and highly contextual, making them difficult for stand-up.

    By the way, did anyone read the Vanity Fair article by Christopher Hitchens, that’s linked to in this article? http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2007/01/hitchens200701
    Pretty misogynistic, I think. I loathe children, so what does that mean for my sense of humor?

  16. Re: Genetic trait selection
    Can’t! Stop! Must! Rant! Arrrgggg!

    Being able to pick out traits for children smacks too much of commoditizing life; consumerism that puts having a child on the level of picking out an iPod.

    If parents produce a child for the benefit of the parents, then I guess the parents can do what they like with their property.

    If parents produce a child for the child’s sake then decisions that affect the child should be made for the benefit of the child, not the parent.

    It appears to be a statement about a societies’ cultural values. My society likes to buy shit. Selecting for height, weight, eye color, hair color, lip shape, eye shape, ear shape? Doctors as car salesmen. “Upgrade to genetic option pack C and we throw in a Blaupunkt!”

    If I ran the circus, I’d limit genetic screening and treatment to health issues only. And only the kid’s health issues. The parents may remain as screwed up as before.

  17. @BlackCat: Yeah, I’m with you on the Hitchens article. But it got me thinking about how people associate humor with intelligence. Maybe that’s why the misogynists I encounter look uncomfortable when I make them laugh? They have to not only realize that I’m witty but that I’m also smart? Or is it just that women aren’t supposed to be likable from a misogynist mindset?

    While I agree that the societal expectation of humor from women is different than what’s expected of men, I don’t agree with Greer. Look at Margaret Cho, Julia Sweeney, Samantha Bee, Sarah Haskins, Sara Silverman. I wouldn’t call any of them droll and most of them are often just as ribald as male comedians. As the Salon article points out, “the level of profound sexism in stand-up is so extreme and so high; not only is [the male to female ratio] not 50/50 in the comedy world … it’s like 90/10.”

  18. Re: women and humor
    I don’t get the original article at all. It talks about differences between men and women when it comes to humor but then uses only professional comics as the yardstick (meter stick for our European friends).
    If the notion is that men outnumber women in comedy then that says nothing about humor. That says something about numbers. More men also fail trying to break into comedy based on numbers. Why doesn’t the article conclude that the majority of men suck at jokes?

  19. @Amanda: Her impersonations in general are pain-in-the-side funny. One of the best is her own mother.

    (This is about the level at which I can participate in this discussion. I have long since tired of topics about innate differences in men and women. There probably are some, but everyone who flogs the idea always seems to be serving an unspoken agenda…)

  20. Gilda Radner, Tina Fey, Sara Silverman, all the ladies of MadTV, and thousands of others tells me that article is hogwash.

    I don’t know if there is a God or not but if there is, I can absolutely prove he has a slapstick sense of humor:
    Male Pattern Badness
    Thick Black Ear and Nose Hair
    Itchy Plums at the Most Inconvenient Moments.
    I rest my case…

  21. Amanda,

    Thanks for the link on SSRI’s. I unfortunately have a lot of first hand experience with this subject. Straight SSRIs had almost no discernable impact on me. By contrast a drug that works on serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine was, in my case, transformative.

    Medical science has a long way to go towards understanding the human mind and its problems.

    /BCT

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