William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

The importance of Palin’s experience

Update. I’ve been browsing the blogs to find out about Palin. Most fascinating of all is that fact that everybody is comparing here to Obama and not to Biden. Like I said below, people seem confused about who is actually the presidential candidate. It’s either fear, or people are tacitly admitting Obama’s experience.

Put it this way. Palin and Obama are about the same age (two years difference). Palin has served two years as Governor, Obama two years as Senator. They each had smaller, even similar, jobs before coming to their current one. Obama was an activist and organizer and Palin a city council member and mayor.

Of course, Obama spent about three-quarters of his senatorial service running for president, not actually serving as senator, where the majority of his votes were “NV”, or “No Vote.”

Palin served all of her time as governor, governing. And by all accounts accomplished quite a lot.

By any measure, Palin is better qualified for President than is Obama.

Which is why it is strange the only complaint heard so far against Palin is her “lack of experience” when she has more than Obama (especially on energy and oil).

Don’t forget, too, that we are selecting between McCain and Obama, not Palin and Obama. But you wouldn’t guess that by the commentary so far.

We can ask the Obama camp, why so nervous? I smell fear (I have a large, sensitive nose). Their reaction to Palin is an over-reaction.

Palin might turn out to be less than hoped for, but it’s unlikely. We’ll see when she debates plagiarist Biden.

I was charmed by the way she named her youngest son and impressed by the way she courted Hilary supporters.

52 Comments

  1. Matt:
    I agree. Though there is little real data on her ability campaign at this level, first appearances bode well for the campaign. IMHO, her Reaganesque delivery style compares very favorably with Obama’s self-important and condescending preachiness.
    It would be interesting to see how McCain’s brain trust came to the decision to pick Palin.
    Go Sarah!!

  2. Hmm… Has this blog become the anti-Kos blog or something?

  3. Luis:
    Since there are no facts on Daily Kos that I know of, you could say that!

  4. Praise be! “Love is all around”:)

    Excellent choice by McCain. The future looks bright for the US at last. Sarah looks like the catalyst so long awaited. The pair come across as sincere. They will make a dynamic duo.
    Didn’t someone say something like in a world of deceit and lies the truth can look revolutionary.
    She will be an ambassador for domestic oil and “big oil” will benefit. She will be a mascot for oil, women, beauty, disabled people, and polar bears!

    When They try to break her spirit I hope she prevails.

  5. Luis:
    What is KOS?
    She doesn’t look like the man on the dollar bill though! Do you think that will “get her on the job”?

  6. I’m pretty stoked about this too.

    Joy,

    I suspect that when They try and break her spirit she will not only prevail but the next time we see Them it will be as large undigested chunks in her stool.

  7. Joy:
    Assuming that you are unfamiliar with some US political sites, Kos refers to a rather extreme left wing blog site — http://www.dailykos.com
    There are equivalent extreme sites on the right, I suppose. Daily Kos is currently running one thread where they are proposing that Gov. Palin’s 4 month old with Downs Syndrome is not hers but her 17 year old daughters. They provide no facts to back up these rather distasteful claims. This will be a very intriguing but very, very unpleasant election cycle IMHO.

  8. Briggs

    August 31, 2008 at 5:02 am

    Luis,

    Nah. It’s more that even statisticians get sick of numbers from time to time, thus the attempt at semi-quantifying our presidential election. It’s a holiday weekend here and I’m doing my best not to work.

    Plus, as Bernie pointed out, there’s a lot of abject nonsense being passed around as “fact” which is necessary to refute.

    Anyway, I’m still trying to find out who “Hal” is (see the previous posts).

  9. Briggs:

    You forgot to factor in the time McCain has spent pushing potato products on your nation and the rest of the world! A ploy I feel to cover up his less wholesome side. Shame on you. Now the truth is out!
    http://www.planetnewmedia.co.uk/archive/mccain/fof.php

    …and Hal is really Al. Didn’t you know he could play the piano?

  10. Briggs says: “By any measure, Palin is better qualified for President than is Obama.” Verily and forsooth! This is the real effectiveness of Palin, not that she is a woman (which has predictably distracted the focus of the media).

    The point is that a decent, small-town mayor and short-term governor of a remote, grizzly-infested wilderness state really looks pretty good next to Obama. Palin’s short resume thus puts the focus on the experience issue to Obama’s disadvantage.

  11. Hey, I really hate being an ass, and you are all a bunch of nice fellas, and it’s not my election, so I couldn’t care less who wins or who don’t (I don’t think it’ll be much of a difference for me, so…), but this line of hers doesn’t cheer me up a bit.

    “Teach both,” Palin said. “You know, don’t be afraid of information… I am a proponent of teaching both.”

    Source. Yes, it’s a “progressive” source, but I am not expecting right-wing sites to talk cheerfully at these little details now that she’s the VP candidate.

    Is this girl for real? I mean come on! Creationism should be taught along side Evolution? Is this the choice that conservatives are given? It gives me the creeps.

  12. Briggs

    August 31, 2008 at 7:55 am

    Luis,

    No, you’re right to bring this up. It’s unfortunate that she would advocate that, and I am troubled by it. The only good way to think of this is that the President/VP have little say in what is taught in biology/geology classes. Still, it is unfortunate.

  13. Dear Briggs,

    There will be no objection from me if you list SD (spin doctor) as one of your credentials after your name.

    Yes, people mainly vote for president, not for VP. However, how McCain came to the choice of Palin is troubling. Well, Bush/Quale was elected, though I thought the choice of Quale reflected poor judgment on Bush’s part.

    Anyway, we shall find out more about Palin. She could possibly run for President in 2012. Oooh, H. Clinton versus Palin in 2012? Got to love America!

    (Darn. Schwarzenegger and I can never run for President. The constitutional qualification of citizenship is simply soooo un-American. ^_^)

    Yes, one can quantify age and years of experience. Those numbers don’t carry heavy weights when I evaluate a candidate’s qualifications. Spin it any way you want, what’s important to me may not be important to you. It’s fine.

    “UNCLE”? (Thanks to Bernie.) … I would be very proud to have such a lovable nephew like you!!!

    Peace,
    JH

  14. Briggs

    August 31, 2008 at 8:06 am

    JH,

    I am your doctor of spin!

    But…maybe not in this case. Strictly speaking of qualifications, who has more: Obama or Palin? I don’t think I’ve “spun” this by pointing out that it is clearly Palin.

    I would ask anybody who says differently to please point out exactly where Obama beats Palin on experience. Show me exactly where my “spin” is mistaken. (Saying, for example, he’s a better prepared speech maker or has better views on taxation might be true—might—but is irrelevant to this question. Luis’s pertinent observation, while relevant to whether we should support her, is irrelevant to whether she is more experienced.)

    Is it sexism that forces people to say that Palin is not as good as Obama? Again, she’s about the same age, was “unheard of on the national scene” just as Obama was, etc. etc. I can only guess it’s because she’s a woman that she is getting grief in areas that Obama is not.

    (Actually, of course, constitutional qualification of natural birth is wholly and fully American. The very word “constitutional” proves it.)

  15. Re: Creationism

    The Progs will quote you the short, disturbing statement but not the longer and more complete statement.

    From the Anchorage Daily News, 10-27-2006:

    In an interview Thursday, Palin said she meant only to say that discussion of alternative views should be allowed to arise in Alaska classrooms:

    “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.”

    She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum.

    Members of the state school board, which sets minimum requirements, are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature.

    “I won’t have religion as a litmus test, or anybody’s personal opinion on evolution or creationism,” Palin said.

    Palin has occasionally discussed her lifelong Christian faith during the governor’s race but said teaching creationism is nothing she has campaigned about or even given much thought to.

    Hardly an idealogue. She’s been in office for two years, and if creationism had been implemented in Alaska we would have heard about it by now.

  16. Briggs,

    Clearly you are correct that Palin has more experience than Obama (and more achievement). I heard Mike Huckabee talking about the difference between executive experience and legislative experience. He said governors have to make decisions every five minutes and they have to live with those decisions. Legislators get to choose which issues they study and usually focus on the committees they serve on. Governors have to put up with legislators who constantly try and take credit for their decisions.

    I completely agree with Huckabee. Before Huckabee made his comments, I was trying to explain the difference between executives and legislators to my son. I told him the difference is kind of like the difference between being a filmmaker and a film critic. Legislators may feel they have “oversight” over the executive branch but they do not actually make the decisions.

    Bernie,
    I was shocked to read what you related about Kos. I used to read his blog but he lost all credibility long ago. I cannot understand how the man could say anything so ridiculous. Everyone has heard the story of how Palin’s water broke while she was at a Governor’s Association meeting in Texas. She still finished her speech and then flew to Alaska to have the baby so he would not be born in Texas. Now that is the frontier women spirit!

  17. Briggs,

    I found an interesting “Tale of the Tape” comparing Sarah Palin to Barack Obama. It includes several different measures but includes experience.

    http://www.redstate.com/diaries/redstate/2008/aug/30/tale-of-the-tape-sarah-palin-vs-barack-obam/

  18. Yes, we are selecting between McCain and Obama. We must also consider, though, that the VP is just a heartbeat away from becoming president. So, I think it is fair to make a comparison. To those who consider military experience to be important for a commander-in-chief: I’m curious to know what you think of Palin in this regard. It just occurred to me that Jesse Ventura tops all of the candidates in terms of executive and military experience. Jesse ’12 anyone?

  19. MDM,

    Sarah is currently the commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard. She certainly has more experience than Barack in that regard.

  20. Briggs

    August 31, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Darren, thanks very much for the research!

    Ron, Huckabee ought to know. The DailyKOS etc. crowd are also responsible for calling into question Palin’s pre-natal care. To say that this attack is ungentlemanly is too polite.

    MDM, Jesse The Brain for Pres? I could be talked into it!

  21. But the election is not about experience, competence, foreign affairs knowledge, corrupt connections to mobsters, terrorist friends, or race-baiting spiritual mentors of over 20 years. This election is about reaching the promised land with the messiah. It’s a spiritual event and a coming of massive entitlement spending of utopian proportions.

    The messiah will up the ante in the US budget by $1 trillion dollars at the minimum.

    Bow down before “the one.”

  22. Right on, Briggs. Jesse is undoubtedly the only politician capable of beating bin Laden in a knife fight and finishing him off with an elbow drop. Although, Arnold does have an intimidating “hasta la vista…baby!”

  23. Darren,

    I understand your point, and I even think that she only pandered to some of her constituency when she said that (I don’t trust any politician words), but if she really answers to questions about evolution as in “I believe in a creator”, and that her father “told her” about some evolution “theories”, I can hardly trust her judgement in any rational issues. It will hardly change anything in the states if she’s the VP, though. Even Bush was unable to redefine abortion laws, for example.

    Ironically enough, she also doesn’t believe in Global Warming, placing her as the worst messenger of that skepticism! Once again, GW skepticism will be equated to Flat-Earth theory and Creationism…

    To the election topic at hand, it sure seems like I’ll be watching a good tennis game. I’ll buy some biscuits and beer and watch your quarrels in my comfortable sofa.

  24. “if she really answers to questions about evolution as in “I believe in a creator”, and that her father “told her” about some evolution “theories”, I can hardly trust her judgement in any rational issues.”

    Because everyone knows that the Big Bang had no creator???!!!!

    Anyone who believes in a creator can’t be trusted on any rational issues?!

    Wow.

    Sounds like an ideologue whose “religious beliefs” (i.e. an irrational hatred of religion) have swamped his rationality.

  25. Luis:
    Do you believe in the big bang? That requires a leap of faith as large as the one to believe in God. It is Disney. Who lit the match?

    How about “the fallacy of the excluded middle ground”?

    So, no one who believes in either can be trusted in any rational debate. Therefore no one can be trusted to be rational.

    I think what you mean is that no one can be trusted to be impartial but that is a statement of the bleeding obvious and I am sure you simply mean that you do not like Sarah’s religious views.

    What is heartening is that the debate over AGW will no longer be considered over by the mainstream. Sarah will be living proof of this. The reality of nature and environment is a lesson forgotten in recent representations. So if she takes away your reality of evolution in science she puts some back in nature class.

  26. Hmm, so I guess it’s kinda working, I just can’t cut and paste (even with differences). Does this mean that I have to rewrite stuff? Trying again:

    Stan, Joy

    Because everyone knows that the Big Bang had no creator???!!!!

    You guys misinterpreted me. Look, there’s no P nor VP candidate in the USA that doesn’t believe in some daddy-in-the-sky, so that’s an issue with all the candidates, and I’d be completely okay with that if I was american and I had to vote. I don’t care with anybody else’s beliefs as long as they respect my beliefs and my rights. That’s not my issue at all.

    The issue is that she uttered those words “I believe in a creator”, when asked about Evolution, which is a way to cleverly deny evolution and embrace creationism without totally and clearly endorsing it, so she can always deny it, a very common tactic of politicians.

    My problem with it is the sheer ignorance she reveals when claiming Evolution “theories” to be in par to Creationist “theories”, and very poor judgement when choosing the latter. Even here in Portugal there’s no sane person endorsing creationism, and no politician endorsing it, not in the wildest dreams. It’s okay if you vote her, I couldn’t care less. I know I wouldn’t. In my book, she’s crazy.

    Do you believe in the big bang? That requires a leap of faith as large as the one to believe in God

    Well, Joy, no it does not, for there is evidence for it, unlike God. And you don’t need to believe in the big bang, science evolves from being skeptical, not dogmatical. And it gives you useful ideas and theories too, you know the kind of which enable us to speak in the nets and have medical tools and etc. “Goddidit” gives nothing but appeal to ignorance.

    I think what you mean is that no one can be trusted to be impartial but that is a statement of the bleeding obvious and I am sure you simply mean that you do not like Sarah’s religious views.

    No, what I meant is that she willingfully ignores a big pile of evidence and chooses instead a Bronze Age story. That teaches us about how her mind works, and the picture of it ain’t pretty. Think about islamic leaders and you may understand some of what is going through my mind.

  27. Luis:
    Who lit the match?

  28. Luis:
    What no Santa!!
    ;(

  29. Not even in Portugal?

  30. To those that saw multiple posts of mine, I’m sorry I had some troubles with WordPress but mr. Briggs worked it out (thanks!). To anyone interested (can’t imagine, but still) Joy’s comment about Santa is a response to a post that I asked to be deleted. It was almost verbatim to that one above.

    Who lit the match?

    That’s a non sequitur, Joy. You can believe all you want about who or what lit the match in the first place, but there is no arguing that there was fire, for all the evidence is there, if you know what I mean! Evolution is a fact, just like gravity. There are theories which try to explain it, and Darwin’s is the best one by a long shot. Skepticism about it is fine, but choosing a bronze age story as the correct alternative is insane. What’s next? The claim that the Earth is 6000 years old? The Earth is flat? There aren’t galaxies? LOL

  31. Luis:
    “let there be light!”
    “Anyone got a match?”
    Then came the biggest bang in christendom.
    A bang so big that it never ends.
    Who or what lit the match is exactly the point of trying to find out the origin of the universe and thus shedding light on the meaning of life.
    I’ll have a chocolate one if there’s one left.

  32. Very interesting “logic” here. But first, a correction. Obama was elected to the US Senate in ’04, not ’06.

    As for “similar experience” prior to that, being on the city council of Wasilla, AK, then mayor, is hardly similar to serving in the IL legislator. Maybe if Obama’s IL Senate district was made up of only 8,000 constituents and his most challenging issues pertained to caribou and snow mobiles. One other distinction, Obama is not under indictment.

    Palin’s reputation as a reformer is certainly up for a second look now that we know she supported the “Bridge to Nowhere” and has made frequent use of earmarks.

    On a more amusing note, there is daughter Bristol’s pregnancy! So much for abstinence-only sex-ed. It appears Bristol share’s her mom’s trait of getting knocked up outside of marriage. As is often the case with these moralists, it’s do as I say, not as I do.

    I see another Thomas Eagleton in the making and, as an Obama supporter, I couldn’t be happier about McCain’s choice.

  33. Who or what lit the match is exactly the point of trying to find out the origin of the universe and thus shedding light on the meaning of life.

    That’s fine, Joy. Now please answer me this question. Just how are you going to find out “who” lit the match? What are your methodologies?

    If it consists of reading (and believing) bronze age myths, forget it.
    If it consists of suspension of skepticism and just go ahead and believe anything your local priest tells you, forget it.
    If it consist of nothing but vague superstition and spirituality, then it’s fine, but also irrelevant and pointless. It leads nowhere.
    If it consists of “searching inside you”, then please do. Just don’t expect anyone to take your “findings” seriously.

  34. One more thing, I advice a little brilliant read.

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

    You may even discover the true meaning of life! (ahah)

  35. (Seriously,) I was taught that one of the meanings of life is to keep the torch of life burning (a slightly doctored Chinese translation by me… ha). Don’t know how the torch was lit at the beginning, but I do know a bang has to take place to keep it going.

    Sorry, bad joke. Peace.

  36. Luis:

    “Resistance is useless!”
    In the matter of the meaning of life, or origin of the universe depending upon perspective.
    You dodge the question. Who lit the match?
    Yours is a way of saying “it just is…get over it”
    It all comes down to need for reason.

    Ironically, in other areas of logic and science, reason has to come into the discussion at some point. Always though, when you get down to brass tacks, “one and one makes two” Why? “it just does” because it is a law that we all subscribe to because it works for now. So, If I set off counting up to find out the size of infinity starting from now, I’ll never be able to tell you how big infinity is! So, I invoke the word “infinity” I’ll let you know the answer in infinity minutes time. Buzz lightyear’s got a head start though.

    In this one issue of our existence though, reason is conveniently irrelevant. So, like in any prediction, no one knows the outcome. We will have to wait and see. Finding the meaning of life with the scientific method is like trying to engineer a crystal ball or a time machine. It will never happen. It fascinates me that you would rely on the scientific process alone to find you the answer to a philosophical question from my perspective. So, while you wait, others choose to make up their minds and there’s nothing wrong with that. Buzz will be back soon to put us out of our misery!

    Beware of assuming that all who hold beliefs are your intellectual inferior. Should you take one line about evolution and creation to make a case for craziness? Is that the alligator talking?

    Answers all come from the human mind. The human mind has perspective.
    There’s no getting round it over it or under it. Some choose to ignore it, nothing wrong with that, some cannot, they are haunted by this limitation. To this day it haunts me that a table has a sex in France! “but why? That’s silly!” “It just is Joy, if you want to learn French you must get over it”. I failed.

  37. Joy:

    You are making a fallacy. Just because such an answer is unanswerable for the moment, thus creating a hole where you can speculate at will, doesn’t follow that such speculations are true. Imagine a cave man guy. He asks, “who lit the lightning? Answer me!”, the rational answers “Dunno”, and this is where “reason” should be left with, until more “data” comes in. The solution that followed (Thor, Zeus, etc.) is of course, wrong. We now understand it, but reason wasn’t the sole ground for such understanding. Take Aristotle. Reason made him believe that the cosmos was built with 4 elements. It was perfectly reasonable! But utterly false. Until you can really see it, or sense it in measurable sense of some way, you can’t really say anything about it.

    Take GW. People sense it, measure it. Even still, it is debatable! I’m sure Mann et al sense it in their “reason” and “human mind” that GW is not only inevitable, it’s a holocaust in the making! Does that make it true?

    It fascinates me that you would rely on the scientific process alone to find you the answer to a philosophical question from my perspective.

    What more do you really have, if you don’t want to be hold hostage to the “experimenter’s effect”, or mere emotional hogwash? Art? Religion? By all means. Just don’t expect other’s to simply follow suit, for the tools of those things are emotions, not reason nor data.

    Beware of assuming that all who hold beliefs are your intellectual inferior.

    One does not escape of holding beliefs. But there are reasonable ones, there are tolerable ones, and there are crazy stupid idiotic ones. Creationism and the belief that soldiers are in Iraq doing “God’s work” doesn’t even fall on the third category. It belongs to a fourth or a fifth.

  38. Luis, I am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is futile.

    Joy, things are only impossible until they’re not.

  39. Luis:
    Still waiting for buzz?

    Luis’s world. Joy’s world.
    Effect without cause. Effect implies/needs cause.
    Science reveals answers. Science reveals the next question.

    Your argument assumes that one day you will arrive at the answer! Taking your caveman example illustrates my point exactly although you don’t seem to see it. We will, I am sure, continue, through the scientific and creative process, reach Mars and beyond. Infinity, however, different matter. There cannot be an end by our logic. This is where the human mind has not the capacity to understand and as far as I am concerned, never will, and is why we are having this conversation. It has nothing to do with the merits of AGW, it’s proponents psychiatric health nor whether the guy who lit the match sides with George W Bush! Suppose things go well:
    If we assume that the sun does what suns do, in the fullness of time, forcing the imperative of our journey through space armed with ever smaller pieces of atom, has it not occurred to you yet that this question will never go away? The pieces will get smaller and have ever sillier names!
    This is my point of fascination, for this is the difference in attitude. This is all it can be. Until you have observed Beyond, do not ask me to believe your guess either. The caveman should be a lesson for us. One day, we will be considered the caveman. The discussion will be no further on however many entities or galaxies we discover, we are on a journey that is an eternal circle. The caveman was not irrational, he asked a sensible question. Intellect and sanity do not always go together. Just as intellect and ignorance are not, evidently, always mutually exclusive.

  40. (Mr. Briggs, I think this will also count as spam. WordPress gave me an error which it shouldn’t – it advises me to get javascript turned on but it is – and usually when I reenter, it says that it’s a double post, despite the fact that it didn’t post, like d’oh! Don’t you love technology?)

    @Joy,

    I do enjoy these kind of discussions, though it’s not very on-topic to the post.

    Your argument assumes that one day you will arrive at the answer!

    Did Aristotle ever found out the right answer about matter? He would only do so if he lived more than 2000 years. Case in point, he never did. What one can ask is, should we ask ourselves the questions we are still unable to find out? The answer is absolutely yes. Should we though create answers that satisfy our aesthetical needs in absence of concrete evidence of the case in point? We can hypothesize, but that’s all. We can never ever define the existence of God (or any other reality we still don’t know) as truth beyond doubt, as dogma, as not only a plausible answer, but as the answer. That’s way beyond our capabilities and you are only fooling yourself thinking you can “work it out” by yourself (or with help from other mystical philosophers) these answers. I can play endlessly with Deism, Theism, Polytheism, etc., etc., but I will never reach a good answer.

    But please, by all means, choose your personal pick. Keep in mind though, that the hypothesis of God has no evidence whatsoever backing it up, has all the characteristics of a myth or fairy tales, and is constantly abused / perverted for human needs (not godly ones), clearly undermining the basis of it.

    If we assume that the sun does what suns do, in the fullness of time, forcing the imperative of our journey through space armed with ever smaller pieces of atom, has it not occurred to you yet that this question will never go away?

    Of course it has. But one has to remember Socrates lesson: “The more I know, the more I know that I know nothing”. Another excelent read (please do read what I advise, they are excelent reads!) is the short story of Isaac Asimov: The Last Question. Search it on esnips.com, you’ll probably find it out. Keep in mind though that although Isaac wrote such incredible story, he was an atheist. Just because atheists don’t believe in fairy tales, it doesn’t follow that we can’t think on infinites (Probably, it’s because we do so more often that we dismiss the fairy tales that we hear, but that’s another story).

    The caveman should be a lesson for us. One day, we will be considered the caveman.

    And in such times, people will dismay at how in such a civilized world, with so much education and scientific extraordinary findings, VP candidates of the alleged center of the world still believed in Creationism and supported the idea that it should be taught in schools. Another one of those amazing things that we will probably never understand…

  41. Luis:

    Please refrain from revealing the contents of your bookshelf! Your taste in biscuits is second to none. I detect a slip on your part from atheism to agnosticism in your answers. You use strident overtones that the concept of a creator is nonsense to then conceding, as you have to, that His existence is a hypothesis. You can make no claim of superior intellect on the basis of your own prejudice.
    There the discussion should rest in the matter of the meaning of life or the origin of the universe. It is a very different question than AGW evolution or tomato soup. It is not necessary to know the answer to be a scientist or astronaut and Buzz knows this!

    As I have illustrated (avec table) atheism is not rational either. The only rational, by your standard, view can be agnosticism. Well, no, the rational way is to be prepared to change your mind when a better answer shows itself. So you like to hedge your bets! Good on you. Who’s giving the brownie points?

    Who defined The existence? You studiously tiptoe between your perceptions about Palin and myself.
    Again, mankind and it’s delusions of right and wrong themselves can only be hypotheses unless we have all the pieces of the puzzle if you want to be pure about it. You cannot assume as the cliché does, that future man will marvel at our lack of morals “and with all that technology!” you can only hope. So you see, you do not recognise a belief when you see it! So how do you expect to avoid the menace? Future man may lose his humanity to man if he is allowed only to pursue a dispassionate way of thinking. We know where that leads. It is your belief, or hope that mayview the latter possibility as ridiculous for you believe your rational mind is the same as another’s. Just as you believe that Palin, cavemen and myself are of one mind. You do not know, but you express rank prejudice in making those assumptions.

    “There’s no art. To find the mind’s construction in the face”

    The truth is Luis, you are out of touch with reality while protesting that reality has no meaning. Prove me wrong.

  42. Joy, you still don’t understand my intelectual position.

    The only rational, by your standard, view can be agnosticism.

    Yes, if I am a robot. For a robot, the “Santa Claus theory” is also a possibility. And Peter Pan. And Zeus, Thor, Shiva, and even Jesus H Christ. A robot is “agnostic” about almost everything. I’m not a robot though, but a rational animal. By this standard, I am agnostic, as the robot is, about almost everything for which I don’t have enough evidence in a 99% confidence level, but this doesn’t mean that I am unable to see that Santa Claus is beyond any doubt a man-made myth, just as Thor, etc. There’s also the chance that Creationism is in fact right!. According to Quantum Theory, everything is possible, though it can have disproportionate low probabilities. But again, I don’t take it seriously, just as any rational (non-ignorant) thinking person won’t. Likewise, the idea of God shares too many traits of myths, fairy tales, blind sheeplessness, and outright lunacy to be given respect.

    So you like to hedge your bets!

    It’s not a bet. Consider Pascal’s wager. His rational response was to be Christian, for if he was wrong, he wouldn’t lose, but if he was right, then he’d go to paradise. Can’t you smell a trap in there? Even if God didn’t exist, the “rational” response of everybody would be to become “god servants”. This is not rational at all, it’s the worst kind of con.

    It’s also a fallacy. Just because something is “possible” doesn’t mean it’s reasonable. Religion isn’t.

    Who defined The existence? You studiously tiptoe between your perceptions about Palin and myself.

    I don’t “tiptoe”. Regarding Palin, it’s clear she’s a fanatic of the worst kind. You, I can only conclude that you don’t like being “shut off” of the hypothesis of God. Obviously it doesn’t matter what do you believe, it doesn’t change my take on the subject.

    ou cannot assume as the cliché does, that future man will marvel at our lack of morals “and with all that technology!” you can only hope.

    No, I don’t “hope” that. Not in the least. I dream about it, but it’s only a dream. I was merely making a point of rethorics. I don’t hope for something I’ll never see, for I’ll be dead. I hope that my son be happy and that he lives a good inspiring life. I hope things will be better in the future. Nothing more.

    So how do you expect to avoid the menace? Future man may lose his humanity to man if he is allowed only to pursue a dispassionate way of thinking.

    Ah! But you fail to understand the key point about evolution, it means things evolve, and there’s 99% certainty that the far future will have next to zero human beings (perhaps some will be “kept” for some reason?) as we know “them”. Evolution never stops. Also, there’s a reason why man developed passion in the first place. We can easily see that men that have no passion have no desire to live, to build, etc. It’s obvious from the evolutionist point of view that such men weren’t exactly sexy, so such genes aren’t exactly poised to victory.

    Passion does not equate to religion, though. Don’t confuse things.

    Just as you believe that Palin, cavemen and myself are of one mind. You do not know, but you express rank prejudice in making those assumptions.

    Listen. No, wait, read. First, if you are religious it doesn’t follow that you are a creationist. There’s a ton of intelligent non-ignorant people in the first, there’s none in the latter. If you are a creationist, I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings, but 2 and 2 is four. The evidence is all around us. Geological. Biological. Computational. Name it. Evolution is fact. To believe in creationism is akin to believe in Geocentrism, or Flat Earth ( You could also be skeptic on those: “I’ve never seen the earth as round, only “hearsay!!””).

    The truth is Luis, you are out of touch with reality while protesting that reality has no meaning. Prove me wrong.

    I can’t prove you wrong, Joy. You are saying that there is a golden pot circling outside the orbit of Jupiter. How can I ever prove you wrong? And yes, it’s a good analogy, for the religious folks always have this “safe ground” of the “supernatural land” where they state God exists and is so out of reach, that it can be anything your priest wants him to be. Talk about hearsay!

    And I never stated that reality has no meaning. Of course it has meaning, the meaning we give to it. And we do it everyday, every minute. So the universe is full of meaning. Until we die, of course.

  43. Luis:

    “You tiptoe”? No, you stomp like a caveman but I was being polite.
    I don’t “have” a priest! Have you ever had one? I’ve heard they don’t go that fast anyway.
    The pot is silver! The gold is inside the pot.and it’s not Jupiter it’s urAnus.
    Jesus H! Do you speak of the mysterious Hal?
    “Blind sheeplessness” who is that? Bo peep? If she doesn’t have any sheep does it matter if they can’t see?
    If it doesn’t matter what I believe, why refer to it?
    Passion is an emotion, an entity that is banned from your mind. You consider that the mind is capable of pure thinking and yet claim not to be a robot. Even Robots can smile because we told them to!

    Evolution theory, while clearly reasonable, does not give a reason for our existence and nor does it pretend to give a reason for the origin of the universe. Let alone explain why my eyelashes were ever a matter of life and death. What a knife’s edge that must have been!

    Ah, I get you now, it’s just creationism that you call stupid. There are good beliefs and bad ones. True enough! The trick is to know the difference. We all think we know best.

    Michael Chrichton has the right idea when he speaks of religion. That is my perspective and yet he would not claim to have faith. For this is down to taste, a whim for some or a strong feeling. It cannot be a matter of scientific study. Science and religion are like oil and water. You claim they should not be mixed. I claim they cannot. The alchemists discovered this and so will those who build crystal balls or time machines.
    “A fool” doth think himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
    … ‘As You Like It’.

  44. Joy, you sure like to see hurricanes in breezes. All your comments are fallacious and misleading. You are in complete defensive mode. Your last one, albeit my own position should be clear by now, is no different…

    Passion is an emotion, an entity that is banned from your mind.

    Gee, thanks Joy for the compliment. Because I don’t believe in fairy tales, I haven’t feelings. Appeal to emotion, like d’oh?

    Evolution theory, while clearly reasonable, does not give a reason for our existence and nor does it pretend to give a reason for the origin of the universe

    It does give a reason for how we came to be, and it can give you hints and clues for the reason we are here. I never said it gave the reason for the origin of the universe. But what you fail to mention is that neither do any of the fairy tales. If there was a God, then what created him? When? If God didn’t need to be created, then why should the universe need? These aren’t easy questions, but to wave hands and just conclude uncritically that “Goddidit” isn’t attractive. The next sentence of that paragraph included a complete misunderstanding of evolution, but I don’t want to spoil the fun you’ll have exploring and searching why is it so.

    The trick is to know the difference. We all think we know best.

    Yes, but so often those that think they do are a nuisance for us that do ;). Seriously though, are you endorsing relativism? If not, there’s clearly a way to discern the things that are intelligent from the utterly dumb ones. Do you deny it?

    Michael Chrichton has the right idea when he speaks of religion.

    Most intelligent people who happen to live in the USA often pander to the cult that lives all around them. It’s polite and non-confrontational. “Don’t bother me, I won’t bother you”, kind of a truce. It’s generally bollocks. I can’t speak for Chricton, of course, but I’ll quote another great award winning dead novelist:

    I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I’ve been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I’m a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.

  45. Luis:
    I understand, you are not prejudiced, you hate all religions!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcTHBOjnUss&feature=related

    Life is Tom foolery. We laugh at each others foolishness.

    Your last quote shows intellectual honesty. I admire it. It reveals more about the man than just his creed.
    I care not how cold or warm you are. Some of the people I admire most are dispassionate, some are the opposite. Most are wise and humble.
    I mind that you are extravagant in your claim to know what you cannot know and then laugh at others for the same. Does it matter than I mind? Not remotely, it’s trivial. I mind you calling someone crazy based on nothing but your own prejudice. That you claim my argument is fallacious then say that you cannot prove me wrong. It matters not how confident you are or I am in concluding what can only be an elaborate guess. What fascinates me is that another would come to a different conclusion. It’s philosophy, not science. Atheists and those who have faith both think they have the high ground; it’s hilarious; both, in the main, have been exposed to both options. How can it be that one is more clever or less crazy when there is no answer?
    I admire the individual that admits that atheism is, and can only be something like an emotional condition. Spirituality has nothing to do with science and the scientific method. It is crazy to think that it does. It is odd to defend the assertion that Palin’s mind is crazy and clever and ugly. There is paranoia in constructing the image of her as a religious fundamentalist with all it’s connotations. Where is the all-important evidence? It was clearly an emotional response. How much nearer are we to finding out the big answer than the Egyptians were when they were stuffing knoptic jars? Just how much?

    What do you know about my eyelashes?! Another claim of knowledge that you cannot possess. What do you know about my knowledge of evolution? This question does not invite reason for you to churlishly defend why you think I know nothing, but rather to ponder my remark and consider a fresh conclusion.
    With infinity and thus eternity for a playmate, anything is possible and impossible and so It cannot be! Speculation is the imperative not the luxury. Where is emotion, for logic has failed. I know I put it somewhere. We use our emotions in the creative process. Is this of no value? Logic is derivative and requires a premise to start with. If you discount one premise then another will appear to take it’s place.

    The Darkling Thrush

    I leant upon a coppice gate
    When frost was spectre grey
    And Winter’s dregs made desolate
    The weakening eye of day
    The tangled binestems scored the sky
    Like strings of broken lyres.
    And all mankind that haunted nigh
    Had sought their household fires.

    The land’s sharp features seemed to be
    The century’s corpse outleant
    His crypt the cloudy canopy
    The wind his death lament.
    The ancient pulse of germ and Birth
    Had shrunken hard and dry.
    And every spirit upon earth
    Seemed furverless as I

    At once a voice arose among
    The bleak twigs overhead,
    In a full hearted evensong
    Of joy illimmited.
    An aged thrush, frail, gaunt and small
    In blast berruffled plume
    Had chosen thus to fling his soul
    upon the growing gloom.

    So little cause for carolling
    of such ecstatic sound
    Was written on terrestrial things
    Afar or nigh around
    That I should think there trembled through
    his happy goodnight air
    Some blessed hope,
    Whereof he knew
    And I was unaware.

    Thomas Hardy

  46. Joy,

    There are still things that you are unable or unwilling to understand or admit. To say that the difference between a Deist and an Atheist is one of emotional intuition, then yes you are completely right. I’ve no big issues with deists, and even most theists are sensible enough to discern reality from mythology, and with those, no qualms.

    I can not know if God does exist or not. But I do know the probability of Evolution being right and full blown Creationism (you know, the one that says the Earth is really literally 6000 years old and there was a flood and Noah somehow got all the million species on board, and etc., etc.) being wrong. And it’s like 99.999999%. I reserve the remaining 0.000001% for indulgence. It’s out of the confidence interval, by a long shot. So when Palin goes out and defends a theory which has no scientific basis whatsoever, hasn’t brought anything new and predicts nothing, and still has the intelectual position of desiring it being taught in schools, I call BS and name her as “insane”.

    The very fact that you are here circumventing this straight fact and somehow making the straw man claim that I can not call her insane because I can’t tell if God exists is a big red herring. It’s as if there’s a hole in your brain that accepts this insanity just because I am an atheist attacking a believer, and you feel as if I’m attacking you personally.

    There is simply no paranoia at all. She’s insane not because she believes in God, for it is truly hard to prove that all types of Gods don’t exist, but because she believes in a particular mythical timeline that is all too known that it couldn’t possibly happen given all the evidence.

    I’ll try once again, for you prove yourself difficult: If one person comes at you and tells you she (truly) believes that we were all born last thursday and were somehow injected with a virtual memory making us believe the world is so much older, will you trust her sane judgement? If a person comes at you and tells you that the power of Crystals and Gems that pervade our beings by the influence of indigo childs should be taught in schools, would you vote her to be the Vice President of the United States?

    Perhaps you may begin to understand my amazement.

    Last but not least.

    I understand, you are not prejudiced, you hate all religions!

    I don’t “hate” it, anymore than I hate UFO sightings or ghosts or whatever have you. I hate the fact that the humans that we are have so much difficulty in recognizing bollocks, and rather glue to them as if they were meaningful. As you said, it’s very difficult to get “out” of it when one is “in it”. Free thinking and rationalism may be the only way out. Or not.

    Let me tell you another story though. Zenon was just this greek guy, you know? He liked to philosophize like a lot. One day he stood in the Forum and claimed “All that exists doesn’t really exist, is a product of my mind”. A passerby felt offended, picked a rock and threw at him, while shouting “Produce this you moron!” or something to that effect. It happens that Zenon was unable to produce a force shield and contracted an injury. Such is the common destiny of those living in fairy tales, rather than in the real world.

  47. Luis:
    Curiouser and curiouser! Just call me Alice.
    Can this get any sillier? Probably.
    “There are still things that you are unwilling or unable to understand or admit”
    “I’ll try once again, because you prove yourself difficult”
    “You are here making the straw man claim”
    “Circumventing this straight fact”
    “Its as if there’s a hole in your brain that accepts this insanity”
    “She’s crazy”
    “and you feel as if I’m attacking you personally”
    “I hate the fact that the humans that we are have so much difficulty in recognising…”

    Ah now I get it, you hate the humans that we are, not just the religious ones with holes in their brains? Make up your mind Luis, for I am female, of very little brain and what is left has now a howling gale blowing through a gaping hole, so you’ll have to shout even louder Over the racket.
    How do you know how I feel? Is that your psychic power again? or the alligator.
    How do you know what Palin believes?
    Do you know what the Pope believes as well? That would be impressive!
    Why does it impinge on you if others believe in fairies?

    “Straw man”, “red herring”, “hand waving”, I grow tired Luis, but you missed out “ad homonym” or should that be “hominid”, “apples to oranges” and “cherry picking” although you worked in “appeal to emotion” in the last post. I make that Two clichés short of a full yawn.

    Which straw man? Is that the guy with the rock or are we back to the land of Oz? I’m getting dizzy.
    “and tells you that the power of crystals and gems that pervade our beings by the influence of indigo childs should be taught in schools would you vote her to be the Vice president of the united states?” Excellent question! No, of course not, the childs are aqua. Just how far away do you want to wander from what Palin really said? Why don’t you just say you don’t like her? Don’t sit on the fence, tell me what you really think, you know you want to. Would I vote for McCain? Yes. Do I think Palin is crazy? No, not from what little I know. I know people who believe in the old testament who are far from crazy. What do you think crazy is?
    “There are still things that you do not understand”. Yes,
    Who lit the match?
    And more importantly why did you try to answer without one?. For you wasted time, and now doth time waste you.

  48. Joy,

    I’ beggining to think that you’re [*not a nice person]. I didn’t say I hate humans, I said I hate the fact that humans take these bollocks too damned seriously. Are you going to misunderstand me always? If that’s the case, there’s no point to endlessly carry this nonsense.

    You fail to answer my simple question that, again, it was the topic of the post itself.

    Are you going to trust someone who endorses Creationism be taught in schools to be Vice President of the United States of America?

    Yes or no? Are you gonna wave again and ridiculously claim that I didn’t “understand” what Palin said? Are you that mischieving? It’s a simple fact, a simple question. I fail to understand your circumventions, rather than being your defense mode.

    Who lit the match?

    First, why do you take for granted that it was someone? Isn’t that childish? “Who made that thunder, daddy?” “Who turned on the rain, poppa?” “Who lits the sun everyday, mommy?”

    Second, why do you take for granted that such question will give you a satisfying answer to all your own personal troubles? Isn’t that just a little egocentric? “oh, there was this bazillion-sized explosion so that I could exist”, you could even say “Oh there was this creation of a great country, the USA, so that I could exist”. Don’t see a pattern there?

    Third, yes, it’s probably a waste of time. You’re just gonna wave off my arguments, claim how “blind” or whatever I am to your fairy tale and play the victim. You aren’t surely winning my respect, Joy.

    *some words changed by editor

  49. Obama has been Senator for 2 years more than Palin has been governor.

  50. Luis:
    Hands up, I admit to being mischievous. Sorry Luis. I do not, however seek respect, though, where there is none to be found. As for “who lit the match?” it was/is a rhetorical joke all be it clearly a bad one, and I tried to illustrate the circular nature of the argument. It is a metaphor. There are no words to describe such a phenomenon, which is an emotional condition. Atheism and those who have faith no matter how ridiculous, can only be emotional belief systems or spiritual conditions if you like. No point railing against this. Would I vote for Palin by default if I were American? Absolutely. Do I think she is crazy? No. I have met people through my work and out in public who are insane and so far, she doesn’t fit the bill. The number of Christians, Muslims and Jews who must subscribe to at least some of the literal meanings in the Old Testament must run into the millions. Surely they are not all crazy. Some choose another “model” entirely. They cannot all be crazy although they might all be wrong. If we assume that the Pope believes the Bible, all of it, literally, does this make him crazy? If the answer is “yes” then I must rest my case as we differ on the definition of crazy. Should creation be taught in schools? Why not? It has been taught in English schools for years and yet Darwin was English. Steven Hawkins went through the same system, as did the Archbishop of Canterbury. Tony Blair is a Catholic church-goer. Evolution theory has to stand up to scrutiny as with any scientific theory. Same goes for AGW. So let it be done. If questions can be answered to satisfy science then let it be called “science.”
    As for my own spirituality, which is irrelevant, I am not atheist or agnostic and “The Darkling Thrush” gives enough of an idea. Not to be cryptic, but I just let it deeply be.

  51. Joy, you don’t need to print your spirituality, for it is evident what it is. No thinking sane person would endorse creationism, if he wasn’t preconditioned to do so by religion.

    It has been taught in English schools for years and yet Darwin was English.

    Darwin lived in angst for what he discovered was in clear contradiction to the beliefs upon which he was educated. To your point in case, I should also say that the Geocentric theory was taught for centuries, and the flat-earth theory was also the standard in Geography. It was also taught that the celestial dome was only a few millions of kilometers away, that medicine was “evil” (against God’s will), slavery a god given right, and that the world was constituted by four basic elements.

    I’d say that we’ve evolved somewhat from those points on. If you still want to live in the eighteenth century, that’s your pick. I only fear for your country and the world if enough of you have the power to destroy science.

    Yes, the fact that there are millions who think like you is a case for grave concern. We live in a nuclear age. An age where people may press a red button and hell is loose. We live in an age of uncertainties about our future. The fact that the most powerful nation in the world still lives inside a world of superstition and myths concerns me. There are people that take the Bible literally and are waiting for the rapture. Imagine if these people get hold on the red button.

    I hope you get out of that mental incarceration. Being a “skeptic” isn’t a jail-free card. You still have to evaluate the evidence that is put forth to you and decide according to it, and not according to a two-thousand years old book.

    Good luck.

  52. Luis:
    It’s been emotional

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