Afternoon InquisitionReligionSkepticism

AI: Let’s Talk About Ducks

Okay, so this post has nothing to do with ducks. I just typed that in as a placeholder until I could think of a better title, and then decided I really liked it as a title for some reason. I dunno.

Anyway . . .

There’s been a lot of talk on this blog and on other skeptical sites recently about the overlap of skepticism and political/social/cultural issues, and I think the discussion is very valuable. But I hope I’m not belaboring the point by offering the video here as the flashpoint for today’s AI.

Granted, the topics of the video are loaded ones. We’ve hammered away at them here many times. And of course, Ann Coulter is one of the most threadbare punching bags for rational progressives to ever walk upright. But perhaps it’s well worth keeping the momentum going while we have it, and this is an easy way to do it.

Thoughts? Which topic from the video do find most important from a skeptical standpoint? Most disturbing? What do you notice about either person’s thinking that gives you pause? How can a person’s views fail to overlap with rational thought so monumentally? Is the the power of emotional bias the biggest determining factor in faulty reasoning? Should we actually just talk about ducks?

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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24 Comments

  1. Wow. There are several points there that make me cringe. I’ll start with the last one and work my way backward.
    Military heterosexual men only. “Don’t want open girls in the military.” As if girls don’t matter at all. At times I really wonder if women who talk about that really understand that viewpoint. I just read a wonderful post on another web site that was talking about the freedoms that we have and George Bush’s speech about how we are hated as a nation for our freedom. The blog point out correctly IMO that it isn’t only our freedom that radical fundamentalists hate, one of the prime things is our acceptance of women as equal members of society (still a work in progress!) among other items. What Ann is saying there is that Women aren’t fit to serve. Which is straight to the idea that women aren’t equal members of society. They aren’t worthy because they aren’t men. They are second class in the nation.
    Want to avoid the subject all together. “Don’t ask don’t tell for society” It would be far simpler in our lives if we weren’t confronted with things that make us uncomfortable. However reality is and always will be a challenge for all of us. We must grow in our beliefs if we want a truly equitable and just society. We can’t close our eyes on what doesn’t make us happy. We must confront reality at all times. We can’t rest just become someone doesn’t like it. I believe our world should be more just and if you are uncomfortable with it or with it being in your face, especially when ground is being gained against you, than the task is going in the right direction.
    Gay vs. not gay, “Pray the gay away.” and “Not really gay to begin with.” I love that line about praying the straight away. Anyway, to the point. It is true that there are people who believed themselves to be gay who later realize they aren’t. That’s a part of life. Just like there are people who think they are straight and realize at a later time they aren’t. You can add your own noun into there as much as you want. Thought they were conservative|liberal|fast|slow|smart|dumb|blah-blah and they aren’t etc. We don’t always have the answer. Through time we find out more, we discover more. Things have a way of making us re-examine our lives. As long as we are willing to re-examine and adjust when it becomes obvious we’re wrong, then that’s great.
    Skepticism to me is being willing to take on all notions and preconceptions and fight to understand the truth in how it relates to us. We must always be eyes open. Always be willing to take on a rigorous challenges and reject pathetic notions. We learn. We grow. We become better. And hopefully, we make the world better one step at a time.

  2. *burning a little*
    .
    We will shut up about gay marriage in the US when I can *ever* consider moving there long term, just in case my love falls ill and I am denied the right to see her in hospital. Grr, too angry to even phrase another sentence.

  3. Wow, this video really doesn’t do a favour to girls with long blonde hair and too much eye makeup…

    It would actually be kind of interesting to talk to someone who is this degree of monumentally stupid, just to see where they’ve gone wrong. Though there will likely be a problem in convincing these people that logic is actually, you know, a “thing”.

  4. I don’t really like either of these women, but I did like the moment when Joy challenged Ann with “why do gay people think they have to be straight?” Ann’s response was basically, “that would be weird, praying the straight away.”

    Of course it would be weird Ann, who doesn’t want to be privileged? Doesn’t everyone want their way of life to be normal and unchallenged, and not feel like they have to defend themselves all the time to ignorant people with agendas like you?

    I’m sick of homophobia, and I think the only reason it stays around is because of religion. I don’t think I’ve really heard a good argument against being homosexual or against gay marriage religious or otherwise.

  5. I think the most disturbing thing about the video is that it exists because so many people care what Ann Coulter says. Every time I see even two minutes of a show like this I feel dumber.

  6. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2009/12/22/kinkiness-beyond-kinky/

    Carl Zimmer posted a bunch of videos of duck penises about a year and a half ago now. I think I have linked to this article more than anything else, ever.

    I think not thinking rationally is pretty common even in the skeptical movement. There are quite a few skeptics who have trouble admitting when they have been wrong about something and use the same techniques these people use to justify it.

  7. I’m only 45 seconds in, but I’m in (disturbing) agreement with Coulter on one matter — the jokes about Bachman’s husband have definitely veered toward the homophobic, and that’s been bothering me.

    I’m fairly sure this is the last time, in this video or ever, that I’ll agree with Ann Coulter on something…

  8. I’m a little puzzled at about 40 sec in she says “there are pleant of gays who are not efeminte at all, oh well. there four [is it four i can’t quite make it out] biological kids” what the hell is she going on about? unless they came out later in life or a Bi, kids are going to be a issue

    P.S Ann if you dont want to hear about the gays, try turning off the TV. None force me to watch something I don’t want to.

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