Like If Jerry Falwell Rolled His Own

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

For entertainment value alone, this might be the best interview I’ve seen yet from either convention.

There’s also some talk now that Sarah Palin may get Thomas Eagleton-ed. NPR reported this evening that she’s been in seclusion for two days, from both media and convention goers. She even canceled a meeting with right wing maven Phyllis Schlafly’s pro-life group today, which got ol’ Phyllis’s knickers in a twist.

I think it would take a hell of a lot to get McCain to dump Palin. He’d have to conclude there’s no possible way he could win with her on the ticket. Because dumping her would almost certainly cause him to lose. And we’re nowhere near that point right now. It’s not even yet clear that she’s a liability. My guess is that McCain’s campaign has merely locked her down for a couple days while they finish the vetting they wish they had done two weeks ago.

I’m still not really sure what to make of Palin. She’s certainly driven the news cycle the last few days. Policy-wise, she’s a mixed bag, but in interesting, unconventional ways. Yes, she took on Alaska’s corrupt GOP fossils, but, we learned today, only after hiring a lobbying outfit well-known to those same fossils to secure a hefty chunk of federal earmark largess as mayor of her home town. And she really only took on Stevens, Young, and Murkowski once all three were already national pariahs, and once there were already investigations of Stevens in the offing. Palin opposed the Bridge to Nowhere, but only after initially supporting it, and even then, she merely shuffled the money earmarked for it off to other pet projects. Not exactly Profiles in Courage stuff, this.

Then there’s this alleged abuse of power known as “Troopergate.” From what I’ve read, if all the allegations are true, it would make me think more of Palin, not less. She asked the state’s public safety commissioner to fire a state trooper who tased his 11-year-old son, made death threats, and drove his squad car drunk? Why is this a problem? Because he was in the process of divorcing Palin’s sister at the time? I’d like to think any governor who was made aware that a state trooper engaged in any of those things would do what she could to get him fired, no matter how it was brought to her attention. And if the commissioner, who reports to her, refused to fire the rogue cop, he’s not doing his job. So I’m okay with firing him too.

Unfortunately, Palin has denied intervening to get the cop fired. So I can’t even give her the credit here that I’d like to.

By far the best thing Palin’s done thus far is get the usual suspects to don the others’ clothes. That is, the left’s screaming “affirmative action!” while the right’s screaming “sexism!” And both are doing it with a straight face. Makes it fun to be a libertarian.

The lefties are probably right in saying Palin’s gender gave her the edge over many other, more qualified candidates. But. Um. Isn’t that what affirmative action is all about? Breaking down barriers and whatnot? Correcting for historical injustices and such? Is the lesson here that only leftist minorities are allowed to benefit from preference-based political promotions? As my colleague Dave Weigel put it, does anyone really think the Democratic nominee would be where he is today if he were Barack O’Bama, the white Irish-American? For that matter, would Hillary Clinton have gotten 18 million votes for president if she had married the law student two doors down from Bill at Yale?

Yes, Palin’s political resume is thin. That’s a plus in my book. “Experience” tends to mean “knows the ways of Washington,” which generally means more of the same old crap. If David Broder has praised you in one of his columns, you’re probably part of the problem. Frankly, I wish Obama had picked someone less “experienced” than Joe Biden, a guy that embodies everything loathesome about Washington. I also like that Palin’s not a career politician, and doesn’t genuflect before powerful interests. On the other hand, it doesn’t bode well that she has a history of also applying that same kick-ass-and-take-names style of governance to, for example, trying to ban books from the public library that she finds offensive.

But the right’s cry that Palin’s critics are guilty of sexism is just as hypocritical. Palin’s family is Palin’s business, and I have no interest in passing judgment on the decisions she has made in her private life. But let’s pretend for a moment a liberal Democratic governor had delivered a baby with Down’s Syndrome last April, then ran for vice president months later–all while still mothering four other kids, and with her high school daughter pregnant with a grandchild. Can’t you hear the howling from the right about how feminist women care more about their careers than they do about their children and families? Can you hear the stern lectures about how, maybe if Palin had spent less time running for office and more time mothering, her daughter might not be pregnant? Hell, it’s only a hypothetical, and I’m pretty sure I can hear them as I type.

And while we’re turning tables, a poster at Reddit today had a doozy: Imagine the giddy glee we’d see from the right if it was Barack Obama who announced this weekend that his unwed teenage daughter was pregnant. Somehow, I doubt we’d be seeing the handwritten “I support unwed mothers” buttons we (weirdly) saw at the RNC tonight.

All of which is my rambling way of stating I don’t really have a pithy take on Palin. It’s all just a little too wacky right now. But it’s sure as hell fun to watch.

MORE: And I’ll defer to my colleague Jesse Walker on the Alaska Independence Party flap. Given McCain’s creepy “country first” fetish and nationalistic fervor, Palin’s sympathies for a secessionist movement are a positive, as far as I’m concerned.

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90 Responses to “Like If Jerry Falwell Rolled His Own”

  1. #1 |  xyz123 | 

    uh huh. think the new york times would have 3 front-page stories on obama’s daughter’s (hypothetical) pregnancy? or would they just disappear it down the john edwards memory hole?

    i’d bet that particular double standard will get mccain a whole lot of women votes. time will tell.

  2. #2 |  j.d. | 

    First, McCain wouldn’t dump her, she would excuse herself. I’ve made a lengthy post about it on an earlier thread about how this might have been the strategy all along.

    Second, I humbly disagree with you on the lack of experience being good in the beltway. I actually think it makes her worse of in that environment. She’ll be exposed to the best and ‘brightest’ of neoconservatives to fill in her foreign policy and economic gaps. Of course, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

    Third, all this talk of sex, females, pregnancies, and babies are all dissociated from the real crux of her economic, philosophical, and political beliefs. Being that she’s articulated so little of this, it’s assumed she’s going to tow whatever line McCain tosses to her.

  3. #3 |  old | 

    I am more curious about the Alaskan separatist party of which, it has been reported, she was a member. It might fly with all the other people who would like to see their state secede from the union, and it might be good politics in Alaska, but not sure how the average person will take that.

    Well, at least nobody is talking about the number of McCain houses right now. Not sure McCain wanted the subject changed to Palin’s number of children, and the un-wed status of Palin’s apparently pregnant daughter. Has Amy Acorn chimed in on that? Does five kids equal a litter?

  4. #4 |  thefncrow | 

    Palin’s involvement in Troopergate is problematic because she wasn’t bringing anything new to light.

    She was pressuring to have Wooten fired in 2007. Those charges you mention were raised in 2005. Internal Affairs conducted an investigation, found him guilty of the charges, but found that it didn’t reach the level of a firing offense.

    Lets imagine that Palin succeeded in having Wooten fired. A state employee is fired over conduct which is 2 years old, despite the conduct being previously investigated and the employee being previously punished for the behavior, and it later comes to light that the Governor was pushing on his boss to get the man fired? And for a bonus, the employee is currently in the middle of a custody battle for his children with said Governor’s sister, a battle he would lose almost instantly were he to lose his means of providing for his children?

    Hello Retirement.

    Monegan understood that, and that’s why he didn’t move to fire the trooper. Further, Monegan warned the Governor that any significant pressure to fire the trooper could actually immunize him when it came to any further actual misconduct he engaged in, because, despite further misconduct which would have certainly warranted his firing, Wooten would then have the ability to threaten or actually press a lawsuit against the state, given Palin’s intervention in the process. Monegan understood what the demands of his job were, and did his job. Palin fired him for doing it.

    Further, Palin denied any contact between her, and her staff, and Monegan over the issue, and had to double back on that when audio recordings of a member of her staff doing precisely what she denied were uncovered. Now her defense is, much like Alberto Gonzales, that her staff was acting on their own, without her knowledge.

    If Palin had evidence about some new wrongdoing, she certainly should have raised this evidence, and it would have been entirely appropriate. Monegan has stated publicly that he told Palin that, if she had any new evidence of wrongdoing, he’d be happy to open an investigation into the new allegations. Instead, she wanted him fired over conduct that had already been adjudicated. Maybe it was wrongly adjudicated, and you probably have a pretty good case arguing that, but Wooten was found guilty, put on suspension, and served it. You can’t fire him based solely on that behavior 2 years after the investigation concluded and meted out their judgment and sentence.

    Now, Palin’s trying to shut down the investigation, trying to get the investigation moved to the state personnel board(whose membership is appointed by the Governor), and has refused to turn over documents citing executive privilege. Hmm… her argument for her staff’s behavior is the same as Alberto Gonzales, she tries to shut down the investigation into her activities, and she’s refusing to hand over evidence citing executive privilege. I can certainly see why people who liked Bush are happy with this pick, she’s already showing that she knows how to handle charges of political corruption with that classic W style.

  5. #5 |  Richard | 

    To add to xyz’s point, let’s say Obama’s daughter was 17. Can you imagine the screaming on the right if Obama’s daughter was knocked up and unmarried, while he was tied to a succession movement, was on tape as recently as a month ago not knowing what his desired job entailed and accused of abusing power…. within *3* days of announcing his candidacy? Do you think his campaign would have lasted past day 5?

    It is fun watching the GOP water carriers twist themselves into knots defending this pick, but I think Radley is being too forgiving. She IS an interesting figure and it’s entertaining to watch, but she’s also wrong and/or stupid on a LOT of issues. And McCain bet his chances on a woman he met twice. That’s a little disturbing to me about his judgment.

  6. #6 |  Alex | 

    I think we all should step back for a second and appreciate what’s going on here.

    After 8 years of this idiot President from a political dynasty who ran against another idiot from a political dynasty and a standard rich Ivy-Leaguer, we have a truly great election going on.

    One of the great American war heroes and a political maverick. A “right-wing libertarian militia fundamendalist Christian gun-toting, pot-growing dope-head.” The son of a African student and young woman from Kansas who rose be the first African-American candidate at age 46. And Biden, who, well, is at least a great speaker of his mind.

    Whatever I think about the candidates (don’t like, except for maybe Palin), it’s a great time to be an American.

  7. #7 |  de libertate » Flalin’ Palin | 

    […] has a great take on the Palin controversy, here’s a taste: By far the best thing Palin’s done thus far is […]

  8. #8 |  Paul | 

    Totally agree. This election is the most enjoyable one I’ve seen yet. No candidate is truly objectionable (except maybe Biden), and each brings some real positives with them. The libertarians have nominated a sane man for president, so there’s another choice there.

    The difference this year is that it gives you a chance to vote FOR someone, rather than against. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity!

  9. #9 |  karl | 

    Some good points and interesting POV, as usual. However, your take on affirmative action is misguided; it’s not about leapfrogging over the better-qualified, it’s about preferrences among the equally-qualified. Due to real-world politics, the practice has occassionally diverged from the principle (an inevitability libertarians well understand).

  10. #10 |  Ombibulous | 

    I’m not concerned with the firing of a man who tasered anyone, let alone his own child. No matter what the time frame is.

    As far as the 17 year old daughter that is an unfortunately timed release but is ultimately boring.

    What is interesting is not the details of her life, which could be the details of the life of any regular American women. What’s interesting is how quickly the dems have come out of the closet as being anti woman, anti mother,and anti citizen. They are falling all over each other to criticize her for being unqualified based on her being a pretty woman, her being a mom, and her not being part of the Washington elite. The D’s will find that John and Joan Q. Public are more forgiving the trappings of real life when in context of a person who actually has to live real life.

  11. #11 |  Tokin42 | 

    All of which is my rambling way of stating I don’t really have a pithy take on Palin. It’s all just a little too wacky right now. But it’s sure as hell fun to watch.

    That was a long way to go to get to that conclusion, worth the read tho.

    I think the way the dems have reacted to her is telling. Obama is running against the VP candidate right now and repubs would love to keep that argument going for the next month. Personally I think she’s been locked down getting ready for tonight.

  12. #12 |  great unknown | 

    Disagree with your last point. Have you seen ANY comments about Obama himself being the child of an unwed mother? These days, that’s over fifty percent of the children born in urban areas, and, unless the “perp” is a Republican, nobody cares.

  13. #13 |  daveadams | 

    The lefties are probably right in saying Palin’s gender gave her the edge over many other, more qualified candidates. But. Um. Isn’t that what affirmative action is all about?

    Uh, not exactly…

  14. #14 |  Thomas Blair | 

    daveadams,

    What is it, then?

  15. #15 |  Mike T | 

    And while we’re turning tables, a poster at Reddit today had a doozy: Imagine the giddy glee we’d see from the right if it was Barack Obama who announced this weekend that his unwed teenage daughter was pregnant. Somehow, I doubt we’d be seeing the handwritten “I support unwed mothers” buttons we (weirdly) saw at the RNC tonight.

    1) The Democrats don’t really make a pretense to family values, which would be cause for social conservatives to say “see, see, their platform really is morally bankrupt.”

    2) Obama would then have to deal with the aftermath of his statement about him not wanting his daughter to be “punished with a baby.”

  16. #16 |  Sydney Carton | 

    The Democrats and their friends in the MSM are practically lusting over the fact that Palin’s daughter didn’t have an abortion. If the girl did, she’d be hailed as courageous and defying her pro-life mother. The left has no use for women who don’t toe the political line. So pro-lifers are harassed and spit upon by the media, and the democrats become misogynists at the drop of a hat all to make sure that no conservative woman gets anywhere in life.

    Democrats are the party of misogynists and people who support infanticide.

  17. #17 |  parse | 

    The lefties are probably right in saying Palin’s gender gave her the edge over many other, more qualified candidates. But. Um. Isn’t that what affirmative action is all about?

    No, I don’t think that’s what affirmative action is all about. Affirmative action may give cover to that practice, but my understanding is that affirmative action requires employers to take the effort to identify qualified candidates from groups that have historically faced discrimination. It’s about favoring minorities when choosing from a group of equally qualified candidates.

    In any case, it’s about selection rather than election, so I’m not sure what the reality that identity politics may have contributed to Obama’s success has to do with affirmative action at all. And how a boost to Hillary that accrues from have married Bill is related to affirmative action is even more difficult to discern. What am I missing?

  18. #18 |  Edmund Dantes | 

    Sure I wouldn’t have a problem with the firing of hte Public Safety guy if Sarah Palin took an interest in every disciplinarian action that wasn’t taken by the guy. Did she personally intervene for every trooper that was let off easy or only the one that she wanted rid of for personal reasons?

  19. #19 |  Red Green | 

    Has anyone else noticed the surprising physical similarity that Palin shares with Peggy “king of the” Hill? Same voice tonality also.

  20. #20 |  Michael | 

    I agree this is turning into a exciting election. And I will get to vote for someone this time, instead of against. I also like the fact the both McCain and Palin are known for crossing party lines. Its about time, we put someone in office who will try to find a way to get things accomplished, instead of screaming they won’t play with my selfish ass.

  21. #21 |  Vlad Drac | 

    Has anyone else noticed the surprising physical similarity that Palin shares with Peggy “king of the” Hill? Same voice tonality also.

    If I played their game, that alone would lose her my vote. Peggy Hill may have more common sense than the average booboisie, but she’s also the original Big Sister. People always suffer from her great ideas before she realizes how horrible they are.

  22. #22 |  jaimito | 

    Hmm… discussing the positives of a candidate who bankrupted their first elected office to the tune of $22 million, tried to use imminent domain to steal land, hired one of Jack Abermoff’s buddies and quite literally stole the money from the ‘bridge to nowhere’ project?

    Meanwhile… the police have begun firing live explosives into crowds in Minneapolis.

    Were you detained and waterboarded into writing this nonsense on your Alaska trip?

  23. #23 |  ktc2 | 

    Alex,

    McSame is a war hero (so is my grandfather and I wouldn’t want him running the country either). But Maverick? No. That’s all B.S. Have you read Matt Welch’s book?

  24. #24 |  ktc2 | 

    jaimito,

    We’ll know Radley’s been detained and subject to extraordinary rendition when he writes a post on how the very few “isolated incidents” of innocent deaths are a sad necessity to fight the horrible scourge of drug use and protect our nation.

  25. #25 |  Thalience | 

    Palin is a fundamentalist who believes that the Iraq war is a “mission from God”.

    Please, no more missions from god. We’ve had enough of that.

  26. #26 |  jaimito | 

    Well… I’m looking at reports of people being held at gunpoint without warrants, mass arrests, breaking and entering by the police, live explosives being shot into crowds and the just good old fashioned brutality that can only be personified by macing a young girl holding a flower in the face…

    Here he is carrying water for four more years of Bush Justice and possibly the greatest ‘fuck your intelligence, electorate’ the Republican party has ever pulled.

  27. #27 |  Radley Balko | 

    Here he is carrying water for four more years of Bush Justice …

    Seriously? Finding a few positives in Palin’s record makes me a water carrier for “four more years of Bush Justice?”

    Have you been reading this site for any length of time at all?

  28. #28 |  jaimito | 

    Does anything in Palin’s record suggest she isn’t a fan of executive power? That as a elected official does she understands where or what those limits should be? The role of the vice presidency has changed into something quite unique in American politics over the last few decades… and the only seeming check upon that power is personal will. That’s a test she’s already failed.

    Has she even left the country more than once… Canada doesn’t count.

    You should be insulted. Where’s a hint of fiscal responsibility? Her time as mayor was all about increasing taxes and the debt load on people to fund some seriously wasteful government spending… alongside using the states power to try and rob a man of land he rightfully owned.

    Sorry, you were weak in the glossing over of her record and it in no way painted a fair picture of her as a candidate for the highest office in the land.

    I’m sick of this “I’d totally have a beer with buddy” or “I’d totally going hunting with Sarah” argument when it comes the office of the president. It’s insulting to voters that anyone pushes this nonsense.

  29. #29 |  Mojotron3000 | 

    thefncrow nailed all the salient points; from what I’ve seen Monegan wasn’t defending for “thin blue lines” reasons but because if they did it the way Palin wanted, there was a good chance the decision would be reversed and the government would be on the hook for damages.

  30. #30 |  Matt | 

    The lefties are probably right in saying Palin’s gender gave her the edge over many other, more qualified candidates. But. Um. Isn’t that what affirmative action is all about? Breaking down barriers and whatnot? Correcting for historical injustices and such? Is the lesson here that only leftist minorities are allowed to benefit from preference-based political promotions? As my colleague Dave Weigel put it, does anyone really think the Democratic nominee would be where he is today if he were Barack O’Bama, the white Irish-American? For that matter, would Hillary Clinton have gotten 18 million votes for president if she had married the law student two doors down from Bill at Yale?

    Good grief.

    Meanwhile, of course, John McCain and George Bush’s race, gender and family choices have absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with their success in the GOP.

  31. #31 |  scott | 

    NONE of these candiates is PERFECT.

    What is it with everybody that they expect that from ANY politician?

    Not even the “libertarian” candidate Ron Paul (or Barr, or anyone else) comes close to that.

    People aren’t perfect, and they are NEVER going to be.

    The question is on balance which of these 2 tickets represents a possibility of doing less harm than the other?

    A former “community organizer” with ties to America hating preachers and sleazy Chicago businessmen combined with the consumate liberal Democrat (well, at least one of them has the “experience” necessary to be President),

    or, a man (with many flaws) but who was tested by 5+ years as a POW combined with a working mom who can shoot her own Moose.

    Don’t forget, ALL the problems we currently face have been ignored and or championed by both Democrats and Republicans under Presidents of both parties and a Congress for the most part dominated by Democrats for the last 30 years.

    Believing that Obama is somehow going to “save” us from that sad fact is silly.

    I’ll take my chances with McCain and Palin.

  32. #32 |  jaimito | 

    “a man (with many flaws) but who was tested by 5+ years as a POW combined with a working mom who can shoot her own Moose.”

    Horrific mental trauma and the ability to shoot a gun are qualifications for presidency?

  33. #33 |  Matt | 

    Also, I think you’re missing a key distinction, which is that while Obama may not have all that much experience, he at least has discernible positions, policies, and goals for his administration, and has spent the last year campaigning in the public eye. Compare that to Palin, who, 2 months before the election, we know almost nothing about.

  34. #34 |  Matt | 

    or, a man (with many flaws) but who was tested by 5+ years as a POW combined with a working mom who can shoot her own Moose.

    Please tell me this is a joke.

    Cus uhm, otherwise, I should probably stop laughing.

  35. #35 |  jaimito | 

    Well, the fact he was a pow does obfuscate the fact he had a hand in bilking thousands of retiree’s out of their life savings. Or supporting torture. Or spending trillions on a pointless war for another ‘hundred years’. Or wanting the government to be able to tap the phones and email of American citizens without a warrant. Or lying on national television trying to connect the anthrax attacks to Saddam. Or the fact he’s hired the man who smeared him with that ‘black baby’ nonsense…

    McShame/Failin ’08
    “Follow my tracers!”

  36. #36 |  Salvo | 

    Look, I don’t care about Troopergate, pregnant teenagers, the fact that the only experience she has besides being governor of the 47th most populous state is as mayor of a town smaller than the one I grew up in(which had one stoplight), the fact that McCain didn’t bother vetting her, her being for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it and whatever new revelation has come out today(I’m sure there will be several).

    All I care about is that she wants *FREAKIN’ CREATIONISM* taught in public schools.

    That right there disqualifies the whole ticket for me, and there is nothing that can be said, besides putting on somebody, who, oh, I don’t know…..understands the scientific method?……that could ever make me consider otherwise.

    Sorry. I have a few litmus test issues. Wanting to repeal that pesky 1st Amendment is one of them.

  37. #37 |  Mojotron3000 | 

    a working mom who can shoot her own Moose

    that’s all well and good, but is a red herring. The real problem is our porous borders to the south- i.e. the llamas.

  38. #38 |  James D | 

    I find it hilarious that we’re talking about this stuff about Palin rather than say Obama’s ties to Tony Rezko (makes Abramoff look like a saint), Bill Ayers (terrorist basically), and Pastor Wright (his pastor for 20 years). Can we say one-sided media?

  39. #39 |  jaimito | 

    “I find it hilarious that we’re talking about this stuff about Palin rather than say Obama’s ties to Tony Rezko (makes Abramoff look like a saint), Bill Ayers (terrorist basically), and Pastor Wright (his pastor for 20 years). Can we say one-sided media?”

    Just to counterpoint with current news, how do you feel about Palin’s first ever briefing on foreign policy… prior to meeting with even the State Department, DoD, Intelligence Agencies… hell, Usaid… came from the AIPAC?

    A vice presidential choice, next in line to be commander in chief and the person responsible in large part for tone and direction of foreign affairs receiving their first briefing from a lobbying group? Not diplomats, not even analysts… people given cash to espouse a singular viewpoint.

    You’re down with that?

  40. #40 |  Nick T | 

    Yeah Radley I think you’re missing the point on the troopergate thing, and focusing too much on the result.

    It’s somewhat similar to how McCain pulled strings to get his wife a sweet deal when she was addicted to painkillers. Sure we can all say people with drug addictions should not have harsh sentences just like crazy, unstable cops shouldn’t have jobs, but we also have to be against politicians or officials abusing their power to get what they want in a targetted and uneven way.

    Yes I know it’s not the same as McCain’s rank hypocrisy on the drug issue b/c he turned around and supported harsh drug laws, but just as we don’t think MCain is a libertarian on drugs let’s not think that Palin is out to make sure police at her command are sensitive and restrained.

    The bottom line: she appears to have used her power to serve her personal interests. That is a serious problem no matter what the results or facts.

  41. #41 |  nwerner | 

    If there were an Irish-American in the race that could organize and orate like Obama, I think he would have likely gone pretty far.

  42. #42 |  Elliot | 

    There’s also some talk now that Sarah Palin may get Thomas Eagleton-ed.

    Who is doing the talking? James Carville, Donna Brizile, Pat Buchanan, Sean Hannity? Anyone worthy of taking seriously? I expect yellow journalism from Matt Drudge, Daily Kos, WorldNetDaily, et al.. I haven’t seen you spreading that sort of rumor before.

    One thing you don’t mention is Palin’s plan to steal money from oil companies to give to Alaskan residents, which is even greedier than Obama’s. I appreciate your efforts to expose a subset of government abuses, but I really wish that you’d give the same attention to these politicians’ economic ideas. The same deadly force which backs up drug prohibition backs up taxes and regulations on new “vices” (e.g., environment). The same oppressive intrusion into our private lives which the government wields in the War on Terror has been used for decades by the IRS to monitor private economic exchanges.

    It’s too bad your focus is too shallow to find the principles which connect all of these. When it comes to collectivist economics, you are accepting the same premises underlying the police state tactics you so loudly decry.

  43. #43 |  Radley Balko | 

    #42 — What the hell are you talking about? When have you ever seen an endorsement of “collectivist economics” from me?

    Sorry I’m not giving economic issues the coverage you think I should. That’s not my area of expertise, and there are only so many hours in the day.

    And spare me the condescension. I’m well aware of how it all fits together.

  44. #44 |  Fay | 

    I’m amazed to see no comments on the main issue with Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy: that she and her family “made a private choice,” yet they want to deny pregnant women in this country the right to any choice at all. Ms. Palin advocates using the power of the state to force ALL pregnant women (and girls) to have babies. She’s a creationist, evangelical, anti-feminist GOVERNOR (advances of feminism for her but not for thee!) with a pregnant 17-year-old daughter who is getting married and having a baby. In other words: A total hypocrite! Just like a “small-government maverick” who supported the largest government budget growth in history! Come on people!

  45. #45 |  Anonymous | 

    Matt,

    Obama may not have all that much experience […]. Compare that to Palin, who, 2 months before the election, we know almost nothing about.

    Why are you comparing McCain’s VP to Obama? Is a direct comparison too difficult to articulate, or what?

  46. #46 |  Anonymous | 

    Fay,

    I’m amazed to see no comments on the main issue with Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy: that she and her family “made a private choice,” yet they want to deny pregnant women in this country the right to any choice at all.

    I take from this that you imply they made the choice to abort the baby, but they didn’t.

    with a pregnant 17-year-old daughter who is getting married and having a baby. In other words: A total hypocrite!

    Back in the real world, parents are not the same beings as their children. I fail to see what this line of reasoning gets you except, by holding everyone to their highest ideals, the destruction of all ideals.

    If the best criticism of the choice of Palin for VP is that she didn’t murder her Downs child and/or her grandchild, then you’re not paying attention.

  47. #47 |  jaimito | 

    No one is being condescending. As Rick Davis said yesterday, ‘this isn’t an election about the issues, it’s about the image of the candidates’… and you got straight up bamboozled. Instead of talking about Palin’s horrendous fiscal record, you spoke on her trigger discipline and ability to put rounds into a moose. Instead of talking about Palin’s seriously questionable record of trying to ban books from local libraries, or even the fact that she fired her entire city staff and made them take a ‘loyalty oath’… you preened in regards to how ‘liberals are supposed to shut up as this is an affirmative action hire*’.

    Your column played right into those identity politics, word for word. I never said you carried water for Bush Justice intentionally, few rightfully would… they just lead you to said water with imagery.

    *an affirmative action hire to put a token female or minority face into the office’s Christmas photo is one thing, dude. Handing said affirmative action control of nuclear weapons and economy is another. You should be ashamed you even made such a comparison.

  48. #48 |  James D | 

    Fay, wouldn’t that only be an issue if her or her daughter got abortions? Seems to me her ‘choices’ HAVE been in line with her idealogy.

    jaimito your point is …. ? How often does this occur with all politicians? How about we counter that with Obama 143 days of experience doing jack squat as being ready to be the leader of the free world? (to say nothing of the ties that I mentioned and you conveniently ignored).

    I love how the liberals have come out of the woodwork around here too … Radley has been basically a ‘Bush basher’ since 2003 yet he says the slightest positive thing about the Republican’s VP pick and he gets jumped all over …. It’s not like he’s posted “Here’s why I’m voting for McCain” or anything. Gees.

  49. #49 |  Radley Balko | 

    Instead of talking about Palin’s horrendous fiscal record, you spoke on her trigger discipline and ability to put rounds into a moose. Instead of talking about Palin’s seriously questionable record of trying to ban books from local libraries, or even the fact that she fired her entire city staff and made them take a ‘loyalty oath’… you preened in regards to how ‘liberals are supposed to shut up as this is an affirmative action hire*’.

    What post are you reading? Where did I talk about Palin’s “ability to put rounds into a moose?” I don’t see the word “moose” anywhere in that post. And did you miss part where I wrote about the library books?

    Are you drunk? Or just illiterate?

  50. #50 |  Matt | 

    Why are you comparing McCain’s VP to Obama? Is a direct comparison too difficult to articulate, or what?

    Uhm, actually, Radley made the initial comparison when he suggested that Palin, Obama, and Hillary are all “affirmative action” picks.

    As for a direct comparison–McCain is basically a war-happy big-government social conservative who has flip-flopped on scads of issues, whereas Obama is a war-averse big-government social liberal who has flip-flopped on a couple. I’ll take Obama, thanks.

  51. #51 |  jaimito | 

    “Are you drunk? Or just illiterate?”

    Agitated.

    Looks like the second column actually talks about what a horrendous fiscal politician Palin is… so score one for the ‘retard with a baseball bat’ method of political discourse :P

    Personally, I think the nutbar fundie church she attends and the fact her only foreign policy experience is speaking AIPAC are way hotter stories…

  52. #52 |  Alex | 

    Two things about these comments are really disturbing to me:

    1) The immediate indictment of Palin for being an “evangelical.” Relgious people are independent thinkers just like the rest of us. The idea that all of them follow Falwell and Dobson is just ignorant. She HAS NOT pushed the teaching of creationism in AK schools, but she did say, “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.” Also the pro-life thing is dead. We have thirty years of case law beyond Roe that means the feds can’t do anything on this short of a constitutional amendment (not going to happen).

    2) The libertarian histrionics about her raising taxes on oil companies. The oil companies drill on leased state land, so there’s nothing wrong with restructuring the tax system to peg it to the price of oil. Property owners change lease agreements when the value of the property changes; why shouldn’t states do the same thing? If Texas did the same thing to land rigs on private land, that would be an altogether different situation.

  53. #53 |  humourador | 

    > … would Hillary Clinton have gotten 18 million
    > votes for president if she had married the
    > law student two doors down from Bill at Yale?

    Yes, because then the guy two doors down from Bill would have been president. Ka Pow!

  54. #54 |  Ryan S | 

    I think you have been generally fair towards Governor Palin. I would agree with you all things being equal. I think, however, the real lesson from the last administration is not that Republicans are evil but rather single party rule creates an un-restrained presidency. McCain/Palin will be under the watchful eyes of Reid and Pelosi in a way that Obama/Biden will not. A divided government means that a greater proportion of american voices are heard in a way that can also help to stifle political extremism from both sides.

  55. #55 |  chance | 

    “A former “community organizer” with ties to America hating preachers”

    Let’s see, versus a Governor with ties to an America hating party…hmm. I was told in another thread that Palin never joined the AIP, but her husband did. Fine, but if Reverand Wright is going to be an issue, then you can’t pretend the AIP isn’t.

  56. #56 |  Sydney Carton | 

    Alex,

    The pro-life movement isn’t dead. Roe was almost overturned in 1992, and it will eventually be overturned because like Lochner, it is a disgustingly bad piece of legal reasoning (aside from its moral corruption). The pro-life movement has garned much success over the years, from ending partial birth abortion, to passing notification laws, etc. Some people view abortion = sex = freedom = power. Thus, we get Obama casting a vote for infanticide. But I think abortion’s murder plain and simple and I’ll do everything in my power to end it, period.

  57. #57 |  Anonymous | 

    Fine, but if Reverand Wright is going to be an issue, then you can’t pretend the AIP isn’t.

    False but true?

  58. #58 |  Alex | 

    Sydney,

    Oh I agree that the pro-life movement still has battles to win. I object to statements like, “Palin wants to end all abortions in all cases including rape and incest.” So what? THAT will never happen at the federal level. You’re right to point out that at the national level the debate is about partial-birth abortions, etc., but liberals don’t want to recognize that because the majority of Americans are pro-choice in the abstract but pro-life in the more extreme scenarios. Also, I’m not a ConLaw expert (or a lawyer at all for that matter), but I’m pretty sure that overturning just Roe would do nothing.

    And Wright, Rezko, and Ayers are irrelevant because now that they’re not politically expedient, Obama proclamed them non-issues. And the press agreed.

  59. #59 |  Matt | 

    I object to statements like, “Palin wants to end all abortions in all cases including rape and incest.” So what?

    Putting aside the issue of how you can object to a statement that’s factually true and acknowledged by all parties, her extreme position on that matter does not bode well for her handling of related that issues that do fall within her purview.

    And Wright, Rezko, and Ayers are irrelevant because now that they’re not politically expedient, Obama proclamed them non-issues. And the press agreed.

    We heard about Wright and, to a lesser extent, Ayers for months. They’re non-issues now because there’s zero evidence that Obama shares any of their contentious views.

  60. #60 |  Elliot | 

    Radley (#43): #42 [my comment] What the hell are you talking about? When have you ever seen an endorsement of “collectivist economics” from me?

    Wednesday, March 5th, 2008, Obama vs. Hillary, you wrote, “I’d probably support Obama against McCain. I couldn’t vote for Hillary.”

    Obama is collectivist economics personified. How do you think he’ll pay for all the free cheese?

    Sorry I’m not giving economic issues the coverage you think I should. That’s not my area of expertise, and there are only so many hours in the day.

    I don’t disagree. It’s your blog.

    That’s not exactly what I was getting at, though. If you indicate a willingness to vote for a candidate and spend quite a bit of time trashing his critics, everything that candidate endorses matters.

    And spare me the condescension. I’m well aware of how it all fits together.

    My understanding of how it all fits together leads me to the conclusion that I respect your rights too much to ever give any politician–not even Ron Paul–my permission (i.e., vote) to trample on your rights.

    Not a single one will end the War on (Some) Drugs, scale back the denial of the individual right to self-defense, cut government, or do anything else for the cause of liberty. Not one.

    If you’re still willing to give one of them permission to keep making things worse, then I don’t think you do understand the principles, when fully taken to their logical conclusion. That’s not condescension, either. It took me a few decades to get that.

  61. #61 |  Salvo | 

    She HAS NOT pushed the teaching of creationism in AK schools, but she did say, “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.”

    Sorry. My litmus test is that if you even think there is something about creationism/ID to debate in a public classroom, and that classroom does not have the course title of “Comparative Religion”, then you are not fit for public office.

    The “teach the debate” loons are just as bad as the “Jesus rode dinosaurs!” crowd, except less honest.

  62. #62 |  Alex | 

    “Sorry. My litmus test is that if you even think there is something about creationism/ID to debate in a public classroom, and that classroom does not have the course title of “Comparative Religion”, then you are not fit for public office.”

    Look, I’m not religious, but I do attend church regularly because my better half drags me there. I’m an engineer, so while (like 99% of people) I have no formal training in evolutionary biology, I’m fairly knowledgable about carbon dating. Personally I think the 6000 years theory is pretty dumb, but a lot of people believe it as a matter of faith. I think society would be well-served to have people talk in a civilized manner about their faith or lack thereof. If nothing else, it might prevent a few people like yourself from being damn bigots.

  63. #63 |  Salvo | 

    I’m perfectly fine with people talking about their faith or lack thereof.

    Just not in science class.

  64. #64 |  Elliot | 

    I’m perfectly fine with people talking about their faith or lack thereof.

    Just not in science class.

    I agree, when it comes to my children. But John Q. Redstate has every right to send his children to a school which teaches religion as truth.

    He just doesn’t have the right to make us pay for it. Or, vice versa. And, none of us has the right to make people who don’t have kids in school pay for our children’s educations.

    Government funding of schools is the problem.

  65. #65 |  James D | 

    Only problem Salvo is that evolution is religion too …. so please don’t give us the same old ‘no religion in my tax-payer funded schools’.

  66. #66 |  James D | 

    And Elliot nails it ….

  67. #67 |  Elliot | 

    James D #65: Only problem Salvo is that evolution is religion too …

    No, it isn’t. The evolution of species over millions of years is well-documented in the fossil record. That is hard evidence you can hold in your hand, and that a thousand other people around the world can verify with their own examination of the evidence they find. It requires no faith to examine facts and come to logical conclusions. And, since biologists are constantly revising theories about the positions of species in the evolutionary tree, they aren’t stuck to what was written centuries ago. They aren’t even stuck on what was written two months ago.

    There is no archaeological evidence for the events of Genesis or Exodus. The flood story is impossible. There is not even any record in Egypt of Hebrew slaves. Religious people are called to believe something without evidence, and not to challenge what was written centuries ago, by people who didn’t even know about cells, molecules, radiation, etc..

    The two are simply not comparable.

  68. #68 |  Salvo | 

    I agree, when it comes to my children. But John Q. Redstate has every right to send his children to a school which teaches religion as truth.

    He just doesn’t have the right to make us pay for it. Or, vice versa. And, none of us has the right to make people who don’t have kids in school pay for our children’s educations.

    Government funding of schools is the problem.

    Ah, and here’s the rub. Right now, regardless of what you think of it, there *is* government funding of schools. And there is a major party VP candidate who has advocated “teaching the debate”, which is code for putting religion into publicly funded schools. “Teaching the Debate” was the strategy creationists developed when SCOTUS told them that teaching creationism in science class was illegal. “Teaching the debate” is a gross violation of the 1st Amendment, as, when you boil it down to fundamentals, amounts to using public dollars to teach a single version of religion. And I hold that 1st Amendment sacred over almost everything. I believe it to be the very bedrock of our democracy.

    I’m not debating the pros and cons of government funding of schools; in fact, for the record, I think you make a very good point against government funding of schools. I am simply stating, that under the system as it stands now, I cannot, nor could ever, vote, for any candidate, Democrat or Republican, who advocated, state sponsored religion.

    And for the record, I agree that a fundie, as misguided as I personally think they are, has every right to teach their kids that the earth was created in 6 days or that evolution is a lie, or that the FSM touches each of us with His Noodly Appendage, or that Marduk is in each and every one of us. That’s what makes this country so great.

    However, that does not mean that I have to vote for them. I believe that any candidate, of any party, who thinks there is a “debate” about evolution, is under scrutiny as to whether they possess the critical thought processes or intellectual curiosity to hold public office–it means they’ve never read the science. If they further believe that this debate should take place in a science classroom….then that says that all that stuff about how the government shall “make no law respecting the establishment of a religion”? Obviously they either don’t know about it, don’t get it, or don’t care. Either way, it means that a politician will never get my vote. Ever. Regardless of any other policy that they may hold. They’ve disrespected the Constitution and that’s about as bad a sin as you can get in my book.

    And also, just to further lower my karma rating, let me say–don’t even start on that “evolution is a religion too!” bull. It’s called “testable hypotheses”. One has them. The other doesn’t.

  69. #69 |  James D | 

    Sorry Elliot you’re wrong. How do you know how ‘old’ the fossils are? Let me guess, by how far down they are in the geologic column? Ok, so how how do you know how old the geologic column is? By what fossils are found in it …. wait a minute folks, that’s circular reasoning.

    And don’t get me started on carbon dating …. which is NOT science: 1) it makes a HUGE assumption about the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere throughout the history of the world being the same (in equilibrium) yet it CURRENTLY isn’t even in equilibrium so how can we know anything about how much carbon 14 was around say 3000 years ago? And 2) carbon dating throws out half of the results because they are inconsistent and LIVING creatures have been carbon dated to tens of thousands of years old? How is that scientific.

    So again, what proof was it that you have for evolution? And where are the magic ‘missing links’ for when say the first fish gave birth to a ‘retard baby’ that had feet and walked onto land?

    Sorry, evolution exists purely as an alternative to ID, it’s not truly science. I’ll keep my religion out of the classroom, can you keep out yours.

    And Salvo (perfect name by the way), ad hominem attacks only prove that your indoctrinate and can’t critically think about the hole in the ‘accepted theory’.

  70. #70 |  James D | 

    (really need a preview button) meant ‘you’re indoctrinated and can’t critically think about the holes’

  71. #71 |  James D | 

    Here’s a link with some questions I’d like answered:
    http://www.vedicsciences.net/articles/darwin-debunked.html

  72. #72 |  Alex | 

    I’m not going to rebut James D because there’s plenty of rebuttal to these creationist propaganda points. I speak well of “evangelicals” (not sure what that means exactly) because I live among them and think they’re generally the salt-of-the-earth, but believing in the 6000 years theory is a matter of faith, not science.

    Salvo,

    You have a problem with the “‘teaching the debate'”, as do I, but Palin said, “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class.” I think there’s an important distinction. The first is a shady way (like ID) to push a political agenda. The second is a reasonable response to people who want to keep all religious discussion out of public schools. Maybe you agree with those peope, and that’s fine, but to me they’re just as objectionable as those who can’t distinguish between banning teacher led prayers during school hours and banning prayer in schools altogher. Like most social issues, 75% of the country is in lockstep and it’s the fringe element that is incapable of associating with those of different ideologies.

    ” that Marduk is in each and every one of us.”

    If you have a connect, quit being a bitch and pill me up.

  73. #73 |  James D | 

    Another good ‘hit list':
    http://emporium.turnpike.net/C/cs/bias.htm

  74. #74 |  Alex | 

    From James link,

    “The law of entropy in science shows that the universe does not have the ability to have sustained itself from all eternity. In other words, the universe cannot be eternal and requires a beginning.”

    There’s no such thing as a “law of entropy.” There is however a 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (which is what this has to refer to) which basically says that it’s impossible to have a perfect conversion of energy to work. This has absolutely nothing to with how long material can exist. Is this anti-big bang, pro-big bang, or just off the wall?

    Everything else in the article has too many logical fallacies to find a starting point.

  75. #75 |  James D | 

    Bring them on Alex, I’ve heard that statement for years but have yet to see some REAL evidence for evolution …. just “Z looks a little like A but we can’t show you B through Y … just believe us that they did exist’.

    And I wasn’t pushing ‘propaganda’ or purporting that the earth is 6000 years old – there just isn’t necessarily any proof of what age it is. If I’m willing to believe in a timeless deity, then ‘time’ isn’t really that important is it? There’s some good arguments for why the first 3 sentences of Genesis might cover billions of years too.

    I’m not trying to ‘convert’ anyone …. just point out that evolution just might not be the theory we all have been brainwashed to think it was.

  76. #76 |  James D | 

    Name a ‘logical fallacy’ then? Is this one?: “Even if evolution takes millions and millions of years, we should still be able to see some stages of its process. But, we simply don’t observe any partially-evolved fish, frogs, lizards, birds, dogs, cats among us. Every species of plant and animal is complete and fully-formed.”

    It’s one I’d like a ‘logical’ answer to.

    The ‘fossil record’ everyone loves to quote has no ‘partial-creatures’.

  77. #77 |  Alex | 

    If you’re not pushing the 6000 years theory then there is no material distinction between creationism and evolution, which is only a theory (the only one that stands up to strict scrutiny) not a law.

    ““Z looks a little like A but we can’t show you B through Y … just believe us that they did exist’.”

    I haven’t the slightest clue what this means.

  78. #78 |  Alex | 

    You have to define what a partially-evolved creature would look like. Evolutionist would say that a gorilla is a partially-evolved human. What’s wrong with that?

  79. #79 |  Elliot | 

    James D: (#70) So again, what proof was it that you have for evolution? … Sorry, evolution exists purely as an alternative to ID, it’s not truly science.

    Millions of fossils. DNA. The congruence of isolation with speciation in contemporary organisms (e.g., Galapagos). Etc.. Like I said, you can hold a fossil in your hand. You can look at a blot of a DNA sample and reproduce it in a lab thousands of miles away. You can independently perform your own phylogenetic matrix analysis, and compare your results to that of others.

    That is using hard evidence. That is testing and retesting. That is rejecting previously held beliefs when new evidence contradicts them. That is the application of reason to draw conclusions. If that isn’t science, then what is science?

    Creationism, on the other hand, offers no hard evidence. It defies reason in deference to faith. As Laplace told Bonaparte, there is no need for the hypothesis of a creator to explain the universe.

    I’ll keep my religion out of the classroom, can you keep out yours

    I have no religion and no regard for faith. But your request is quite reasonable, once you drop the presumption that there should be “the classroom.” Remove government from education and no one gets to force any ideas on the children of other people. Then, it’s “my children’s classroom” and “your children’s classroom,” and there is no conflict.

  80. #80 |  Edintally | 

    #76 Yes that is one since Man domesticated canines and created “dogs” (not up on my cat history).

    You would garner mush more respect and a lot less animosity if you just admitted what you truly feel. Nobody said it better than a female 30-something during a street interview:

    “I don’t know about evolution. It’s really hard to understand. Creationism is easy so I believe in that.”

    More power to her. I envy her simplistic view of the world, but I can no more stop questioning than she can start thinking. And the world turns round and round.

  81. #81 |  Salvo | 

    Alex,

    I have no problem with discussion of religion in schools. I have no problem with people having a discussion on their own time. What I have trouble with is saying that this debate should be discussed during class time.

    Science class is for teaching science, nothing more, nothing less. If a student asks questions regarding evolution, then by all means, answer the questions.

    But if a student keeps insisting that there is a some sort of “debate” about the existence of evolution…..that’s just wrong. That’s like me insisting to a history professor that the American Civil War didn’t end in 1865, it ended in 1923 with the signing of the treaty of Versailles.

    The truth is, outside of the Discovery Institute nuts, there is not a single evolutionary biologist who thinks there is a debate that there is evolution.

    Yes, scientists debate the mechanics of evolution, but scientists are also debating the mechanics of gravity. That doesn’t mean that gravity doesn’t exist.

    If a student tries to hijack a science class discussion over evolution by claiming that there is a debate to its existence, a teacher should rightly shut it down, just like the history student in my above example should be shut down. There’s a time and a place to discuss religion and biology class ain’t it. If a student wants to form an ID club after school, then go for it. If they want to talk about the debate during a religious class, go for it.

    But not. During. Science class. Saying that there shouldn’t be a prohibition if it comes up in class is the same thing as saying that a history teacher should allow discussions of whether or not the Holocaust really happened(GODWIN!), or saying that an English teacher should allow discussions over whether or not Hamlet is about a Danish prince.

    Therefore, when Palin says such a thing, I take it the only way I can: that she wants to have the “debate” in a science classroom, and if the fundie child brings it up, then all class must stop so that we can examine the “flaws” in evolutionary theory.

    As for the poster who wants to have a debate on the existence of evolution….I’m a lawyer, not a biologist. I can’t answer the “questions” about evolution you have. Yes, I’ve read it all, and the facts are there, but I’m not a scientist, and I wouldn’t want to talk about something if I couldn’t get it all absolutely correct.

    So I’ll let the National Center for Science Education do it for me.

    http://www.natcenscied.org/resources/articles/7719_responses_to_jonathan_wells3_11_28_2001.asp

    That being said, I’m not here to debate evolution. I’m debating the office-worthiness of a candidate who thinks there is a debate that should be held in schools.

    Oh, and an ad hominem attack would be to personally call you a name. Saying that the idea that “evolution is a religion” is wrong, because one has testable hypotheses and one does not is not an ad hominem attack. It would behoove you to learn the difference.

    Either way, I’m done in this thread.

  82. #82 |  Salvo | 

    One addendum, Alex. I’m terribly glad that somebody got the Stimutac reference. Marduk is totally awesome. Though I think he totally knows.

  83. #83 |  James D | 

    I keep hearing of these ‘fossils’ but there are NONE of the ‘in between’ stages? You can’t say an ape is just one standard deviation away from man (or even neanderthal) …. so you do believe that all of sudden nature just ‘produces’ a completely different species? Surely on the internet you can find me just 1 fossil of when say the first fish started partially growing legs so that a few thousand years later some of them could start walking on land?

    I said before that I’m not trying to convince anyone of creationism (or ID of some sort) … it IS religion. I’m purely talking about evolution.

    Edintally’s response is a joke … a wolf/dog/coyote is still basically the same creature there … that’s ‘variation’ not evolution …. nothing was ‘gained’ in domesticating dogs?

    We agree about education … it shouldn’t be state-funded but we will probably never get away from that in my lifetime unfortunately.

  84. #84 |  James D | 

    If Elliot or Alex really want to continue this discussion, then we should exchange emails or something … it’s probably not fair to use Radley’s site for something not related to his original topics.

  85. #85 |  James D | 

    And Salvo, your link with ‘answers’ is about as useful as a politician’s spin … it just deflects the questions, it does not really answer them.

  86. #86 |  Bronwyn | 

    James D, Rather than asking someone to give you basic science lessons via e-mail, might I suggest some reading material?

    It always helps to have your vocabulary down before trying to build an argument in a complex field. And I don’t say that with any intention to condescend. It is simply fact that a person without the proper knowledge will remain incapable of understanding, much less arguing, complicated matters. It’s why I stay out of discussions of, say, philosophy – at least not on the level of Heidegger or Nietzsche – not being well-read enough in the basics, I am not prepared for a competent discussion.

    With that in mind, I suggest you start with “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson. It’s a fun read, but serious, and it will introduce you to some of the basic scientific principles which you seem to be missing.

    Then, I suggest some reading from Richard Dawkins who, although not the end-all be-all of evolutionary biology (I have colleagues who disagree with him on certain points), he nevertheless has an excellent handle on communicating the principles behind the theory of evolution by natural selection.

    Start with “The Blind Watchmaker”, which is a wonderfully accessible read, but scientifically sound – although his concept of The Selfish Gene is not quite perfect. I say this as an over-trained, over-educated scientist… when I read it, I didn’t feel as though it was somehow beneath me.

    Then, when you’re ready to take a bigger bite, read “The Ancestor’s Tale”. This one is taking me a while to get through, as it is rather dry, but it is nevertheless fascinating and would surely be enlightening to someone who questions how this could possibly work.

    Hope this helps.

  87. #87 |  Bronwyn | 

    Really? Bad karma for suggesting some excellent reading material?

    Golly.

  88. #88 |  James D | 

    I’ve actually started a couple of those, specifically Dawkins book … but the authors never start out ‘objective’ … Dawkins in particular is about the most arrogant guy I’ve ever seen write something scientific.

    I may try ‘The Ancestor’s Tale’ as I’ve heard it suggested before … but again, I want as ‘objective’ of a scientist as possible … if I dont’ see that once I start to read it, I see no point in continuing. Just like it’s insulting for the news media to believe that any of them are unbiased, the same is also true of scientists …. everyone is a human being with their own biases.

  89. #89 |  James D | 

    Why is the ‘karma’ stuff even a feature of the comments? Are we supposed to only read the positive comments and ignore the negative ones? To me the POINT of being on a site like Radley’s is that opinions SHOULD be diverse, so use clicking ‘yeah, I like that guy’ or ‘no I disagree with that guy’ is kind of pointless isn’t it?

    If I only wanted one sided sites I’d go see the nutballs at Daily Kos or (I guess I don’t know an equivalent one the right that is as loony as Daily Kos).

  90. #90 |  Bronwyn | 

    Dawkins does come across as arrogant, but it’s borne of confidence that isn’t entirely undeserved. Like me, he becomes frustrated with people who insist on arguing without knowing what they’re talking about. It’s not about bias. It’s about knowing what is true and what is real and being utterly frustrated with those who refuse to take off the blinders to see it.

    I’ve learned to put a filter on the attitude and get to the meat. There’s a lot of meat there, and it would be silly to disregard it simply because one doesn’t care for the chef’s personality.

    As far as karma, it’s merely a way for people to express a “hear, hear!” or a “boo”. It’s not censorship by any stretch of the imagination… it’s an extension of free expression of diverse opinions.

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