Skepchick Quickies 2.4

I’m sure you are all recovering from your Puppy Bowl IX hangover, so here is a soothing compilation of Chopin’s Nocturnes to get you through the morning.

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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.

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  1. I’m not sure why the Salon article had to begin with a slam against science. I think those questions are well asked by science–Why are we hear?–being one of the best ones. If that’s not a question about reality, I don’t know what is.

    1. It’s probably connected to the way that Ian Murphy took a nuanced, thoughtful, and moderate article by Sam Harris and portrayed it as some sort of right wing screed.

      I’m not saying Sam Harris was right on every point, but he deserves better treatment than he has been given.

      1. I don’t agree with “nuanced’ or “thoughtful”. A lot of Sam Harris’s assertions read like they were ripped from the NRA’s talking points. The Salon article could have dispensed with the mockery, but it wasn’t off about its conclusions.

        Sam Harris lost me months ago when he debated Bruce Schneier regarding airport security and persistently insisted that profiling Muslims would work for finding terrorists. That I find people who think that Harris had the stronger argument in that exchange baffles me.

        1. I would characterize his position as being significantly to the left of the NRA, which has set itself up in opposition to any form of gun reform. Then again, I hold a much more centrist opinion on the issue than on most others.

          Still, I think it is incredibly dangerous to assume that just because you disagree with someone on one issue [airport security], that their opinion is a.) unfounded or b.) incorrect on all other issues as well.

          1. Did you actually read Harris’s article? He outright says that the NRA is right several times and you characterize that as “significantly to the left of the NRA”.

            Not sure how you define “centrist” on gun-control or how that you’re more-so than “most others.” Personally I think a complete ban on all guns is ridiculously impractical and the NRA’s position that the 2nd Amendment covers any and all weapons is absurdly dangerous. I’d call myself more “centrist” however clearly we don’t agree on the meaning of the word.

            I have to laugh at your “incredibly dangerous” rhetoric, but to be fair perhaps I should clarify my position: my time is precious to me and Sam Harris has shown that he’s not worthy of consideration among the many things I devote my time to. If his ideas are brought up by someone I find worth paying attention to, then I’ll read and consider what Harris has to say, but I don’t find him to be worth seeking out on his own merits, whether it’s airport/national security or gun-control (which still deal in the same basic principals of physical security, both deal in trying to stop preventable deaths). I will not assert that his fallacious ideas on airport/national security and gun-control render any other ideas he has fallacious, these ideas as they come up can be evaluated on his own merits; what I am saying is that Sam Harris isn’t worth following to me.

  2. There may have been two sides to the Florida DMV story. He didn’t get that reaction from the DMV initially, and had been doing business under both names for some time before things hit the fan. Given that there were court cases involving his business dealings, it is possible that he was up to something, and either the name change either further confused the mess or he may even have abused the marital name change for something less than honest.

  3. So I’m NOT the only one that watched Puppy Bowl IX? :)
    Loved the kittens.

    I wonder why anyone take Jenny McCarthy seriously, if they actually do so.
    She makes me sick with her beliefs.

    I think my brain dropped a few percent in output when I watched the “guyet” video.
    What the fuck is wrong with my fellow males when we can’t say “diet”? Fucking media.

    1. The Puppy Bowl is the main attraction at my house! Did you listen to that This American Life episode about that guy that tried to start up “The Puppy Channel”? I would’ve loved that.

      1. Couldn’t watch the puppy bowl in Australia but I did manage to catch the highlights, would have much preferred that to the super bowl, the rules and the commentary make so much more sense to me.

      2. I don’t even know where to find This American Life. Must Google for it.

        I’m actually a dyed in the wool (fur?) cat person, so a Kitten Channel would be my thing. :D

  4. So much fun here:

    1: I’ve read much better take-downs of Harris. It probably would’ve worked best without the level of smarm in that article. That said, Harris needs to pull his head out of his rear portal if he wants to try to claim that the reason we can’t get ANY sane laws on guns passed is because of the abolitionists.

    2: “Guyets”: Blech. The article missed one point of what I think the non-geniuses behind “Guyet” were going for–in a “Guyet”, you work out to counter your eating habits; in a diet (which only girly-girl vagina-owners do, apparently), you regulate your eating habits to begin with. It’s a distinction with a difference, but the dumb-ass gendering of the two approaches to fitness and weight-management is still freakin’ juvenile and just plain stupid.

    3: There’s a lovely little quote in the article about the girls taking an oath not to swear, where the young man they interview says that while he thinks girls swearing is unattractive, he’ll still swear when something goes wrong in a game because he “just can’t help it”. Nice little patriarchy two-fer, there: while girls are expected to conform to behavior designed to appeal to menfolk, guys are given a pass on bad behavior because hey, they’re dudes. Wonder what else he’ll be claiming he “just can’t help doing” in response to an outside stimulus (like, say a girl in a short skirt)?

    4: Okay, if even the stereotypically polite Canadians can dump Jenny McCarthy, can we get Americans to do that, too? On the flip side, why is Jim Carrey still getting a pass for taking a very similar stance to that of his ex? I can’t find any record of him distancing himself from the statements he made back in 2009–shouldn’t he be facing a barrage of boycotts and aggressive interviewers, too?

    1. “…shouldn’t he be facing a barrage of boycotts and aggressive interviewers, too?”

      I’ll glady boycott Jim Carrey. :)

    2. Okay, if even the stereotypically polite Canadians can dump Jenny McCarthy, can we get Americans to do that, too? On the flip side, why is Jim Carrey still getting a pass for taking a very similar stance to that of his ex? I can’t find any record of him distancing himself from the statements he made back in 2009–shouldn’t he be facing a barrage of boycotts and aggressive interviewers, too?

      Was he still married to her at the time? If so, doesn’t he qualify for the “Yes dear, whatever you say dear” defense?

      1. If he’d since refudiated* that position, yes. Like I said, as far as I can tell, he hasn’t once said, “You know, I kind of had my head up my butt back then, listen to the doctors and the scientists on this one.”

        *: I don’t know why, but for some reason, I actually like several right-wing malapropisms. Refudiate, misunderestimate and “known and unknown knowns and unknowns” are all in my vocabulary, now.

  5. That Sam Harris article was one of the best articles I have ever read. Absolutely Magnificent. The apologists have already turned up here, that man can literally say anything and still have his positions defended (a point he seems like he’s trying to prove).

    1. “apologists” are you sure that’s the word you want to use? It certainly defines what you’re doing here, but not what Sam Harris’s detractors are doing.

      1. Yes. Apologist. Someone who argues in defence of a position – in this case Sam Harris’ stupid position on guns. That is the correct word. I also like the religious connotations as followers of Harris like Jack Leonard above remind me strongly of religious people with their tortured logic in defence of indefensible claims.

        1. Which tortured logic is this? The part where I said I didn’t agree with everything Sam Harris said, but that Ian Murphy had treated him shabbily?

          I believe that neither the right nor the left has a reasonable position on guns in America at the moment. To wit, I believe the following things about this issue [this is not an exhaustive list]:
          1.) There needs to be meaningful gun reform.
          2.) Whether I like it or not, recent court opinions clearly state that people in this country have a right to own firearms. Wishing they wouldn’t buy them is not a useful way forward unless the Constitution can be amended.
          3.) Gun purchases can and should be tracked, checked, restricted, and regulated. No private citizen should be able to own artillery, fully automatic weapons, battleships. large amounts of explosives, etc.
          4.) Liberals and news presenters [which are not necessarily the same group, but I have noticed it in both] often DO show a significant lack of basic knowledge about the subject, especially basic things like what the term “semi-automatic” means in contrast to “automatic.” This leads to things like the assault weapons ban, which is frankly silly because it focuses so much attention on the superficial characteristics of given gun models. They’re all deadly and all need to be addressed.
          5.) Handguns cause more fatalities per annum than longarms. This should logically make them more important to focus on in any gun reform effort.
          6.) Conservatives, including groups like the NRA, have a fundamental lack of understanding as to the goals of gun reform. Some believe that the government is going to take away their existing weapons, or that they need their guns in order to scare the government, which is a decidedly antiquated, if scary, notion.
          7.) The mental health system has failed in this country. People should be getting treatment before they come anywhere near the point of shooting up a school or a mall or anywhere else.

          I think these are reasonable positions, but then, I would. They seem pretty similar to what Sam Harris wrote.

          If you disagree with my positions, I’m happy to have a reasoned discussion about them. That was, I thought, the reason for a skeptical website. There are plenty of places I can go to be insulted, this wasn’t supposed to be one of them.

          [Note: This reply is more for Unnullifier’s benefit than for Tortorific’s.

          Unnullifier: I appreciate that I may not have fully, or well, articulated my views in earlier comments, and wanted to clarify.
          Tortorific: The irony is not lost on me when you take up a position of judgement and then use a religious term to insult me. You are not worth any more of my time.]

          1. You click respond on my post, write an argument and then say it’s not for me because I’m not worthy of your time. Unnullifier had a lot of posts here you could have responded to or even wrote a new post. Clearly I was wrong comparing you to a religious person, this is much more childish than religious. Since you clearly are talking to me having clicked respond on my post I’ll keep going.

            Calling Harris’ article “nuanced, thoughtful, and moderate” is tortured logic. It pretends to be moderate but ignores any moderate arguments, dismisses reasonable counter arguments so that it can pretend to be a logical argument.

            1. Harris is arguing against meaningful gun reform, that’s the whole basis of the article. It makes fake pretence to being for some kind of gun control but then dismisses it. Much like you do.
            2. If only there was some way to amend the constitution? and if gun control was supported by a large majority of Americans. Or if this was a long term problem and we could start campaigning for change now and implement it after a change in the supreme court.
            3. Battleships are clearly the problem
            4. Or they are trying to work within current restrictions within imposed by the supreme court to enact at least some change.
            5. Don’t think I didn’t notice the catch 22 you set up. Handguns are the only thing worth fighting for, it’s not worth fighting for anything the supreme court has rules is unconstitutional (your point 2), the supreme court has ruled that bans or strong restrictions on handguns are unconstitutional. What was the point about tortured logic again?
            7. You don’t think mental illness has enough stigma as it is? Lets start associating mentally ill people with mass shootings despite a lack of evidence that these people have a diagnosed mental illness.

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