Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 3.29

It’s Friday–time to look at cute animals! First up, we have this adorable rescued sea otter pup (from nowoo). Next, we have a hummingbird snoring (it’s so cute, it hurts), and last, if you are a cat owner, you’ve probably woken up to this before.

BONUS: Game of Thrones is back this Sunday, you might want to refresh on last season. Also, there are no atheists in foxholes? MYTH BUSTED. (From Zoltan.)

Mary

Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

Related Articles

55 Comments

  1. Mary,

    In addition to Namie, I think there’s also an Island city somewhere in Japan that’s been abandoned for decades. I also remember hearing about how radically a small city in Russia deteriorated after it was abandoned due to Chernobyl. Its stunning how fast modern buildings deteriorate once no one is taking care of them. On the other hand the Egyptian pyramids have stood for thousands of years.

    1. To be fair, the pyramids’ continued existence is largely a matter of their massive size, lack of rainfall, and the fact that the Egyptians have known they were a tourist attraction since antiquity, not necessarily due to quality construction.

          1. …what?

            Ok, since this is clearly so important to you: Why the quotes around the word liberal? What does putting quotes around the word have to do with critical thinking? And do you what scare quoted are?

            Seriously, stop acting like a fucking martyr.

      1. Honestly, it’s because I hate using labels like that. Unfortunately, it is an issue that seems to be able to be drawn out by that kind of distinction. And how is it a false parallel? If you support human rights that should also include the right to self defense. To state otherwise would be hypocritical.

        1. I don’t see how Liberals are anti-self defense. Banning military-grade assault weapons and large magazines is NOT anti-self defense. You can do plenty of damage with a shotgun.

          Also, it is not the same issue as same sex rights. I support many issues, that does not make them equivalent. Owning a 30 round magazine is not a human right. What’s next, personal nuclear weapons? Grenade launchers?

          1. The so-called assault weapons that are available to the public are modified from military-grade, which is automatic, to semi-auto for the general public. So these weapons are not military-grade, they just look scary and accommodate magazines. The whole argument over magazine capacity is kind of bizarre to me, because even Adam Lanza didn’t clean out each magazine before reloading. He reloaded with rounds still in the magazines. It’s also fairly simple to attach two 10-round magazines to each other with duct tape to speed reload time. The assault at Virginia Tech killed more people than Sandy Hook and it was committed with handguns using 10- and 15- round magazines– magazines which will still be legal following any kind of ban currently being discussed. Arguably, carrying around 10- and 15- round clips is a lot easier and more discrete than walking around with 100-round ammo drums or belts– thus perhaps they are more dangerous because they can be brought into many different settings, very unlike a nuclear weapon or grenade launcher.

            If self-defense with certain weapons and certain quantities of ammo is perfectly fine, then why is self-defense with other weapons at larger quantities not okay? It’s as if you are saying that self-defense is only acceptable when you are confronted by a small threat, but when the threat is larger and requires more force, then suddenly self-defense is no longer a right?

            I’m sorry if I’m distorting your argument, but that’s how it comes across to me.

          2. The thing is that once you get past a certain point, self-defense is no longer a viable option. This isn’t the movies or a video game – if you need a 30-round magazine to defend yourself, then you also need backup, otherwise you’ll never have the chance to take advantage of the added offensive ability. This only applies to a two-way confrontation, though. If the targets are unarmed, the offensive capability of a single shooter scales well with ammo capacity. Having a 30 round magazine doesn’t mean that you can defend against 30 assailants, but it does potentially mean 30 dead or wounded victims in a one-sided confrontation. Every time the attacker needs to reload is a chance for people to escape.

            It’s not that self-defense is no longer a right – it’s that past a certain point, self-defense is no longer an option. It doesn’t make sense to increase the potential damage in a shooting if there’s little or no potential increase in defensive ability.

          3. You’re right, it’s also a matter of being anti-property rights. Why should the government be allowed to tell me that I cannot own a 30 round magazine? It certainly does draw a parallel with ‘why should the government be allowed to tell me whom I can marry’ and ‘why should the government be allowed to tell me what I can do with my body’.

            It’s a matter of government intrusion. I bring it up in relation to gay marriage rights because it is an issue that many with left leaning tendencies feel should not be a right, even though at its heart they are both human rights. I’m just trying to point out the hypocrisy of these stances. I do the same thing with right leaning people in regards to women’s rights because they’re hugely hypocritical as well.

            Oh, and nice strawman argument there with the nukes. Actually, that’s another reason why I bring it up here. I would hope that in a community dedicated to critical thinking I would see logical arguments and not these appeals to reason. There are actually no good, logical arguments in favor of gun control.

          4. I don’t think it is all or nothing. There are regulations on nukes, grenade launchers, fully automatic weapons, weaponized vehicles, etc. There are regulations on gun purchases that are pitifully enforced and easily evaded. I think it’s wise to use the laws we have to better regulate weapons purchases. I don’t think cosmetic and other somewhat arbitrary bans are a good idea. That simply criminalizes more people, people who would peacefully own what is currently legal, without actually addressing violent crime. I think it deserves a long discussion, not a short quick fix which is what Washington is trying to do at the moment while people’s emotions are still up.

            ” 30-round magazine to defend yourself, then you also need backup, otherwise you’ll never have the chance to take advantage of the added offensive ability. ”

            A 30-round mag increases the ability of a single firearm, so I’m not sure that argument really works. The AR-15 and other rifles in question also have a longer range than say, a shotgun, which is extremely limited in range and useful only for home defense. I live in a rural area. If I am walking on open land and encounter a group of feral pigs (which are very common here, and very dangerous), 7 shotgun shells isn’t going to get me much. An AR-15 with a 30-round mag would give me range and firepower to at least take some of the pigs down without simply enraging them further. People in different environments have a lot of hypothetical threats, and may actually be able to get backup in a situation even though you seem to think that’s impossible. Just because your view of threats and a person’s ability to handle a threat is limited, doesn’t mean that therefore the government is justified in limiting everyone’s ability to handle threats to only those ways that you find most reasonable.

          1. Just because someone agrees with you does not make them reasonable. But I guess I’m not a critical thinker because I’m pointing that out, right?

          2. You point out that gun ownership is not a human right, but the document you link to refers to the rights of “life, liberty and security of person” as well as the “last resort… rebellion against tyranny and oppression” if rights are not recognized. No, gun ownership isn’t explicitly mentioned. If we should assume that only explicitly defined rights in this document are rights, then I’ll have to point out that “men and women of full age” are allowed to marry “without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion.” A limitation due to sexual orientation is not explicitly protected. Should we assume that gay marriage is also not a human right?

            But let’s not get distracted by UN rights. I live in a country that actually does explicitly recognize the right of gun ownership in its constitution. Until someone has the gall to amend that part of the US Constitution, then the UN’s failure to explicitly mention gun ownership doesn’t mean anything to those of us in the US.

        2. Could you elaborate then, on what kind of self-defense it is, then, that liberals are opposed to?
          I’m pretty liberal and so whole-heartedly in favour of self-defense that I not only think it’s fine for people to take judo classes, I even encourage it. How much more strongly pro self-defense is it possible to get?
          Or are you, perhaps, confusing civilian ownership of military firearms with “self-defense”? (Note the proper use of quotes here, BTW)
          Perhaps, just perhaps, people are attacking your use of quotes because it could, if you step back and squint, very easily look like a sort of pathetic passive-aggressive way of saying “liberals are hypocrites and not really liberal at all because they tend to not support civilian ownership of machine-guns so I put the word ‘liberal’ in scare quotes”?

    1. Plenty do. Also, “self defense”? I doubt people living in communities where people regularly hear gunshots at night get to see the issue that way. It’s not an honest framing of the issue, either. I have to fill out paperwork and have my purchases tracked just to buy pot or even just my allergy medicine. The fact that those substances are monitored does not impede my ability to use them. Does the fact that there are regulations around concealed carry mean that nobody with a concealed carry permit can defend themselves? I assume you’re arguing against the position that we ban all guns, but nobody is talking about banning guns except for the NRA.

      Also I really don’t see what this has to do with gay marriage at all.

      1. There’s no constitutional guarantee to drugs. And don’t forget that marijuana consumption is still against federal law.
        The point is that I can’t stand the hypocrisy of both democrats and republicans. They both pick and choose which rights they want to support. I’m sick of the homosexual fear I see in the gun rights community and I’m sick of the gun fear that I see in communities like this one. The libertarians really do have the right idea: just leave everyone alone.

        1. For someone who doesn’t like labels, you sure do use a lot of them. What about anti-choice Libertarians? Do they qualify as “leaving everyone alone”? Also, that is a WAY over-simplification of Libertarian belief.

        2. I can’t remember seeing guns discussed here. Is there something specific you’re referencing, or are you making an assumption about people’s views?

          I believe the point Victoria was making is that guns are potentially more dangerous than drugs, and yet face significantly lower regulation and oversight.

          And just leaving everyone alone is great, if you happen to be one of those people in power, and significantly less great for the downtrodden.

          1. Yeah, well, your confidence is misplaced. There are a lot of statistics out there, but you’ll have trouble making the case that there are fewer gun deaths than illegal drug deaths. Don’t forget, the number for drugs always includes overdose suicides, so you have to go with the much higher number of gun deaths that includes suicides.

            Also, we don’t have the ability to make all of these things disappear, so it doesn’t really matter how many people die from these things. It matters how policy will change that number. Even from the standpoint of just reducing drug USE the drug war has been a terrible failure. I’m not going to go on a big long rant but consider how these policies affect people addicted to illegal drugs as opposed to people addicted to legal drugs like DXM. It’s a lot easier to tackle addiction when you don’t have to deal with serious financial, legal and employment problems at the same time.

        3. There’s no constitutional guarantee to no regulation of guns, either. The phrase “well regulated” even appears right in the text. I’d also like to point out that the intention of the law that bans marijuana was originally supposed regulate recreational drugs, not ban them. In theory, if the medical community wants to study a drug, they’re supposed to be able to. If they find that it’s relatively safe, it’s supposed to be legal. The medical community says one thing, the DEA says the medical community says the opposite. It’s illegal, but that’s more a matter of the DEA acting in bad faith than it is a problem with the law.

          I think the whole gun issue is horrible and racist to start with and nearly everybody’s opinion on it is terrible.

          1. You need to look at the term ‘well regulated’ in the context of the language of the time. It did not mean that it must have a centralized command, it means that it must be in good order, well equipped, and well trained.

          2. Good order, well equipped, well trained. That’s basically the kind of stuff that gun control advocates have been asking for and not getting.

            Nobody’s actually talking about banning private ownership of guns, but you know what? Deal. Just show up for work on monday, we’ll get you a uniform, a nice fully automatic weapon with a locker to keep it in when you’re not at work. We still have militias. Most of them got folded into the National Guard, but a few states still have them. You could argue that you’re a militia just the way you are, but that argument is silly.

            Or we could just have guns for hunting and stuff because nobody actually wants to ban them.

        4. Guns don’t kill people, queers kill people. Amirite???

          Your false equivalency is absurd. Let me explain to you as simply as possible how a person can be pro-marriage equality and pro-gun control and it not be hypocritical.

          Pro-marriage equality is about extending equal rights to people under the law. Gun control is about regulating the kinds and types of guns that can be purchased and by whom. It is not a civil rights violation to ban the sale of certain kinds of weapons to citizens. It is a civil rights violation to extend marriage rights to individuals and not others. The presence of the 2nd Amendment does not guarantee unfettered access to any type of weapon, just as the 1st Amendment does not guarantee the right to any kind of speech. There are limitations placed on both and they are not considered civil rights violations.

          However, when you extend rights to a certain class of people (straight people) and deny it to others (gay people) based on nothing but bigotry (as is clear from last week’s SCOTUS arguments there is no harm being done to the state by allowing gay people to marry), that is a violation of the 14th Amendment and is therefore a violation of civil rights.

          Hope this helps you see how your comparison is absurd so you can drop it and stop making a fool of yourself.

          1. Thank you for opening with that wonderfully stereotypical comment!

            You only claim the equivalency is absurd because you want to believe it. At the core they are both human rights. Unfortunately for you, only one of those is constitutionally guaranteed.

            As far as your claim of the rights being limited, you’re not entirely correct there. Some may claim that because you can’t yell out “FIRE” in a crowded theater it constitutes a restriction of the 1st amendment right. That’s not really true. You certainly have the freedom to yell out whatever you want in a theater. The thing is, you have to deal with the consequences of doing so. If you cause a panic and someone gets trampled to death, you are certainly responsible for that death. The same thing goes for the 2nd amendment. It allows for any individually-operated weapon, but if you misuse it you are certainly responsible for the consequences of that. Problem is, over the past century gun owners have already accepted so many restrictions of that right that it seems like no big deal to continue it.

            And finally, with your example of gay marriage rights being about separating people into different classes with different rights, the same is true for gun control. It separates Americans into a group who is allowed to have weapons (police, military) and those who are not (everyone else). Certainly sounds like a civil rights violation to me, even by your definition you stated there. Don’t forget that it also completely flies in the face of the intent and purpose of the 2nd amendment as drafted by the founding fathers.

            Have anything else?

          2. You only claim the equivalency is absurd because you want to believe it.

            The only reason you claim there is an equivalency is because you want to believe it. SEE HOW EASY THAT IS???? YAY SKEPTICISM!!! *eyeroll*

            As far as your claim of the rights being limited, you’re not entirely correct there. Some may claim that because you can’t yell out “FIRE” in a crowded theater it constitutes a restriction of the 1st amendment right. That’s not really true. You certainly have the freedom to yell out whatever you want in a theater.

            I’m not incorrect in stating that the 1st Amendment does not protect unfettered speech/expression. There are plenty of SCOTUS rulings laying out what is protected and what is not protected. Also, I never brought up yelling fire in a crowded theater–nice strawman! I was actually thinking of obscenity, specifically owning child porn, which is not protected by the first amendment as freedom of speech/expression: “Offers to provide or requests to obtain child pornography are categorically excluded from the First Amendment.” Guess who said that? That bastion of liberal thought, Justice Scalia.

            The same thing goes for the 2nd amendment. It allows for any individually-operated weapon, but if you misuse it you are certainly responsible for the consequences of that. Problem is, over the past century gun owners have already accepted so many restrictions of that right that it seems like no big deal to continue it.

            Actually, it wasn’t until 2008 that SCOTUS interpreted the 2nd Amendment to include individual ownership of firearms. Regardless, this does not mean that that right is completely unrestricted. As with the First Amendment–and as with most LAWS–you do not have complete and unrestricted freedom in this country.

            And finally, with your example of gay marriage rights being about separating people into different classes with different rights, the same is true for gun control. It separates Americans into a group who is allowed to have weapons (police, military) and those who are not (everyone else). Certainly sounds like a civil rights violation to me, even by your definition you stated there.

            First of all, you’ve cherry-picked my words: I said dividing people and refusing to extend rights based solely on bigotry and lacking any harm to the state is a violation of civil rights. I did not say dividing people into classes and restricting rights is a violation of civil rights–there is a big difference. For example, we divide people into “criminal” and “not criminal” and restrict rights of criminals more so than non-criminals. While certainly not free of problems, this is not a violation of civil rights.

            Second, the police and military are state institutions, not individuals, so that is not separating citizens into different classes. Further, you act as if you are not allowed to own any kind of a gun at all. Gun control does not necessarily mean the removal of all guns from civilians. This would only be true if you had a criminal history or mental illness. But it is not gun control that separates people into those categories–those are categories that are already existing that are used to inform gun access restrictions. Is it your argument that those restrictions are unnecessary?

            Marriage equality, on the other hand, is an argument that the rights of a certain institution–marriage–be extended to people regardless of sexual orientation. If this was to be equivalent to gun control somehow, it would have to be more along the lines that police–an institution of authoritative power–do not extend protection to people who own guns. Or that gun control laws restrict access based on race or gender. This is why you’re presenting a false equivalency–the same kinds of rights/access to rights are not being restricted. There aren’t 1100 federal rights given to gun owners and kept from non-gun owners based simply on the fact that a person owns a gun or not.

            Don’t forget that it also completely flies in the face of the intent and purpose of the 2nd amendment as drafted by the founding fathers.

            That is your interpretation of intent, not a fact. Further, why should their intent matter? It’s 2013, not the late 18th century. Lots of shit has changed. Who the fuck cares what they intended?

            Have anything else?

            Yes. Why are you derailing this thread to be all about gun control? That’s an issue certainly worth discussing, but I’m curious why you feel that this is the appropriate place for this discussion? Why do you think it is okay to detract from a discussion about marriage equality (something I’m assuming you’re supportive of despite your absurd false equivalency here) to make it all about your pet topic? Why do you feel that it’s necessary to draw discussions about marriage equality into debates about gun control? Is it not possible to discuss them both on their own merit?

            I find it really problematic to come into a thread that has fuck all to do with guns or gun control and try to use marriage equality to make some stupid point about your libertarian ideology. Lucky for you, Mary has a lot more patience than I do, or I’d have booted your ass from this thread a long time ago.

          3. //And finally, with your example of gay marriage rights being about separating people into different classes with different rights, the same is true for gun control.//

            Nope. Because gun control applies to EVERYONE. If you’re gay, you have specific rights denied to you (namely, the freedom to marry and reap the benefits). If you don’t see that difference, then you need to think about that for a few days.

            P.S. I’m anti-gun control, but it’s ridiculous to make equivalent gun control and limitation of marriage rights for a specific group of people.

  2. I’m kinda tired of reading about gay marriage rights too, to be honest. And I bet a lot of folks are even more tired of having to fight for the same rights straight folks take for granted. So if we can just extend the rights that presently apply to straight people to apply to PEOPLE, I reckon that’ll be a welcome relief not only for the poor straight dudes who are forced to read about them but not least to the people directly affected who are surely dead tired of not having them.

    1. I agree, but that isn’t going to happen any time soon. We are still arguing over guaranteeing that people of color are not disenfranchised …. in 2013. Plus, marriage equality is not the only right denied to queer people, so even if we get marriage equality nation-wide tomorrow, there will be other queer rights issues that must be addressed.

      So, to people who are tired of hearing about queer rights, try living in a world where you are constantly reminded that you’re a second-class citizen–imagine how tiring that is.

      1. I’m sorry I wasn’t clear enough.
        I was trying to, in a slightly snarky way, say that if you’re tired of hearing about gay rights, you should go out and try to get equal rights made available to everybody – then you won’t have to hear about them anymore.
        Much like you don’t have to hear about polio anymore.
        Tired of hearing about it? Support it, then! I want a world where nobody is a second-class citizen – in such a world, nobody will have to hear about it. So let’s try to make that happen.
        If human rights don’t apply to everybody, then they’re not really human rights but heterosexual rights or white rights or man rights.

        1. Oh, sorry. *I* wasn’t clear! I wasn’t directing my comments at you–I understood your snark. ;) I agreed with what you were saying but was pointing out that even if people support marriage equality and it passes that there are other rights that are being denied as well, and that the presence of protected rights doesn’t mean we will have to stop fighting to keep them. We will likely never stop shouting for social justice because there will always be assholes trying to oppress and marginalize others.

  3. What shits me about the gay marriage debate is that 80% of left wing Australians support it, along with a majority of conservatives, and yet our useless politicians voted it down. I don’t know what else we can do – maybe we should outsource government to somebody a bit more competent?

  4. I think we should have background checks and training and licensing of homosexuals. Gays need to be kept out of the hands of children, and suicide by gay is just a tragedy waiting to happen. Not to mention all the gay accidents and how gays escalate confrontations into life-or-death situations. And just having a gay is dangerous – you’re more likely to be a gay victim if you have a gay around the house.
    Gays are just designed for killing, and nobody wants that in the wrong hands.

  5. I’m fairly confident that you’ll find many more deaths from drug use than you will from firearms.

    These kinds of comparisons crack me up. It’s like the one about swimming pools being more dangerous for kids than guns. I’ve personally never worried about anyone bringing a swimming pool to my kid’s school. I also don’t worry about succumbing to a drug overdose while I’m at the mall or movies.

  6. On the topic at hand, how is it we have four ‘justices’ (if ever scare quotes were warranted it’s here) who can hear such weak arguments that even Bill O’Reilly admits they have no merit, and still vote against gay marriage? They have to know that history is going to be against them. Do they care at all that they sound like a pack of bigoted morons?

    1. Do they care at all that they sound like a pack of bigoted morons?

      I think they lack the capability of looking that far into the future. They wan to appear as saviors or heroes now to the current conservative movement. Despite the fact that–as you point out–there are some fairly outlandish Right-Wingers out there admitting they’ve lost the fight.

      The thing that gets me is when people like the attorney defending Prop 8 says things like we know marriage equality will happen, just let it happen slowly and let there be a debate. That’s equivalent to advocating torture in my view. “The homos can see their rights, they are within grasp. Just keep them away a LITTLE BIT LONGER while we continue to remind them how much certain segments of society loathes them!” It’s sadistic and inhumane.

  7. The whole “liberal/conservative” thing is a false dichotomy. People are often somewhat fluid in their beliefs across the things considered liberal and things considered conservative.

    Characterizing LGBT as immediately hyper-liberal or as immediately for or against something is a stereotype. LGBT people are simply PEOPLE and are as diverse as anyone. I assure you there are plenty of LGBT people who are pro-gun as well.

    1. There are many conservatives and even anti-gay bigots out there that support gay marriage. Some people don’t want the government dictating religious beliefs, particularly when the majority opinion is undeniably changing to one they don’t like.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Enjoy

Close
Close