A Turd By Any Other Name Would Smell As…

Sometimes you feel like responding to something on the internet is a big fat waste of time. This post is definitely one of those kinds of things. It’s major SIWOTI Syndrome. I’m dumb for doing this. But I can’t help myself. I actually interrupted watching Joss Whedon’s DVD commentary of The Avengers to write this shit. I suck. But I’ve got shit to say, and I’m dumb enough to say it. At least I’m drunk. That’s less an excuse than a mea culpa, but it’s all I got.

Anyways, so Jerry Coyne made a light hearted post about a silly t-shirt. It was really just filler posting for his blog. It didn’t really amount to much. I’ll admit that I often forget the periodic table of elements, so it took me a few seconds to get the joke. Again, I’m dumb and I suck. But whatever. The point is, it’s a nothing post taking a light jab at the ID movement.

Enter Lee Bowman, who posted the following in response:

Actually, there is a controversy over the summation of tentative causative factors within evolutionary theory, and in my considered view, there are multiple causative factors.

But is interventionary input by a directed source even a possibility? Of course, but it eclipses orbiting teapots.

I occasionally comment on Yahoo Answers, although a back and forth exchange doesn’t work well there.

My biggest concern was what I view as a misconception over what ID entails, evident by the answers preceding mine.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130124202750AANy5NV

Where to begin with this shit? He completely missed the point of Russell’s teapot; he’s ignorant of the fact that evolutionary theory already involves multiple causal factors; he’s using fancy-talk and $10 words to disguise the fact that he provides NO actual evidence; he confounds possibility with plausibility (the existence of unicorns is possible, but that doesn’t make unicorns scientific); he swipes at previous commenters without bothering to actually point out any flaws they made; and he is, in general, bloviating like a big gas bag and then giving us a link to his “concern”, which is just another comment on another thread at Yahoo where he bloviates some more:

First, I am a rationalist, or free thinker, which eclipses both liberal and conservative philosophies. And by that, I mean that I view the evidence in assessing the data, NOT an indoctrinated conclusion assessed by others, and in this case BOTH religion and materialist oriented science regarding evolutionary theory.

That said, I’ll now give you my interpretation of ID within biology. It is simply an adjunct hypothesis regarding causative factors in producing functional complexity, and sits with equal status along with natural causation. Both are valid hypotheses, and IMO, both were operatives in the evolutionary processes.

So in answer to the question, first, we need definitions.

Evolution = an overall set of processes which have culminated in living organisms.

Intelligent Design = not a separate theory from ToE, but a causative hypothesis entailing directed input at key points, by a single or multiple intelligences, and NOT based on scriptural accounts.

Natural Selection of genetic variation = a causative hypothesis entailing non-directed input to phenotypic advancements, which result in fecundity advantages based on sexual and environmental selective pressures.

Horizontal Gene Transfer and other natural processes are hypothesized to produce upward complexity and novelty as well. All of the above are hypothetical and equally viable at this time.

Now that ID is properly understood and defined, it sits within evolutionary theory in addition to natural causative factors, and cannot be ruled out summarily. It is thus a legitimate concept for discussion and further research, classrooms included.

More word salad, and even less actual substance. What I’m finding really annoying at this point is his penchant for inventing new terms without bothering to define them.  What, for example, is an “adjunct hypothesis”? I’ve been studying philosophy of science for almost 15 years and never come across such a term. I’ve seen the term “auxiliary hypothesis”, but an example of an auxiliary hypothesis is something like “The sample in this particular Petri dish is not contaminated”. Clearly not what Lee Bowman has in mind. But it doesn’t stop there. What’s a “Causative hypothesis”? What’s a “phenotypic advancement”? What’s a “fecundity advantage”? None of these terms occur in the scientific or philosophical literature, and exactly where they fit into it is never made clear by Mr. Bowman. We can speak of causal hypotheses in philosophy of science, but the question will revolve more around how properly to structure the experimental and control groups in designing an experiment which can prove more than mere correlation in a statistical study. And while you’ll hear a lot about phenotypes in a biology class, you won’t hear much about their “advancement” because that’s just nonsensical. Evolution doesn’t have a direction and no phenotype is more “advanced” than any other except in a highly relativized sense. And “fecundity advantage” just seems like Lee Bowman’s attempt to make the term “natural selection” sound smarter by using bigger words to say it. Blah. Not impressed.

Bowman’s definitions are utterly worthless and unoperationalizable. Defining evolution as “an overall set of processes which have culminated in living organisms” is like defining general relativity as “a set of physical interactions that, like, make galaxies and shit.” Worthless. General relativity is testable and well supported if you define it like an adult human being would, but if you insist on doing nothing but stringing words together that don’t actually mean anything, then that’s exactly what you’ll get. There IS, in fact, a very testable and very mathematically definable definition of general relativity, just like there are testable and definable formulations of the theory of evolution, but you have to do this horrible thing called STUDY SOME FUCKING SCIENCE to understand them. If you did this horrible thing called STUDY SOME FUCKING SCIENCE, you would understand why “a causative hypothesis entailing directed input at key points, by a single or multiple intelligences,” is meaningless gibberish. The ID proponents have, only on rare occasions, tried to define what these “key points” where intelligent intervention are. Every time, someone has pointed them to experimental findings which show that no such ID is required at this so-called “key point” (examples include bacterial flagella and the Krebs cycle). ID proponents respond by changing their definition of what’s a “key point”. It’s just an old-fashioned Moving the Goalposts fallacy, dressed up in fancy language. There’s no way to operationalize the idea of “key points” where ID is needed, because every time someone does operationalize it ID fails, and its proponents just move their “key point” to some other aspect of biology.

The theory of evolution (which includes natural selection, genetics, genetic drift, common descent, evo devo, etc.) is testable, and has been tested, and has passed those tests. Intelligent Design is not testable. A fortiori, no test has ever supported it. And Lee Bowman hasn’t changed any of this. He’s just dressed up creationism in fancy terms like “interventionary input by a directed source” and magically declared himself to be “a rationalist, or free thinker, which eclipses both liberal and conservative philosophies” (I don’t believe in god, but even I avoid calling myself rationalist and freethinker. It just sounds pretentious most of the time).  At first, I responded to him briefly (which was wise–what I am doing now is definitely not wise):

LeeBowman,

You seem to be under the impression that taking the exact same things a zillion people have said before and gussying them up in stilted, needlessly prolix language makes your comments sound more rational or more relevant.

It doesn’t. Whether you say, “God done it” or “interventionary input by a directed source”, it’s still discredited gibberish. I actually have more respect for the rednecks who yell “God done it!” and wave their Bibles around. At least they’re just simply stating what they believe. Your brand of pseudo-intellectual sophistry is much worse.

I should have just left it at that. I really should. Lee Bowman responded on Jan 27, and I should just ignore it, because he doesn’t say anything that hasn’t been said by a bajillion creationists before him. He doesn’t present any new experimental evidence. He doesn’t formulate any new hypothesis that hadn’t already been spewed out by creationists pretending not to be creationists. He in fact does not do anything new at all in any way. So I should just ignore him.

But god damn it. I’m drunk. I’m surly. Fuck this guy. Give me your counterarguments, you magnificent Lee Bowman bastard you…

Ah, but what may “seem” to be the case (in your case)

Let’s not overuse the word “case”. It’s especially ill-advised to include two very different senses of the word “case” in the same sentence at the same time, like you just did. You wouldn’t want to equivocate between what “seems” to be the “case” and what’s my “case”. This is especially true since the “quotes” you put around words kinda undermine whatever “case” you’re trying to make in that regard.  When you put the word “seem” in quotes, are you trying to allege that it doesn’t actually seem that way to me? That I’m misusing the word “seem”? If not, why put the quotes around the word? I put the word “case” in quotes because that’s what one does when one wants to discuss a word as a word. I’m still a bit confused as to why you put the word “seem” in quotes. You are not discussing the word “seem” itself, which makes me think that you put those quotes there without really thinking about what putting quotes around an English word means.

Oh, wait, I see. You’re just scare-quoting me when you put quotes around “seem”. Sorry. I was too distracted by your clumsy use of the word “case”. If you don’t want me to take you to task for how you use “case” in the future, then don’t needlessly put “seem” in quotes, and it won’t happen. But if you want to use bullshit scare-quotes on me, I’m happy to reciprocate. Also, my use of the word “seem” does not merit scare-quotes in your response, unless you disagree with me about what the word “seem” means. Scare-quotes are only warranted when you allege that the quoted author is using the word inappropriately. Since you never made any such “case”, you can take your scare quotes and “shove” them up your “ass”.

Ah, but what may “seem” to be the case (in your case) is a blatantly false assumption based upon several false presumptions.

And how much time have you put into examining your presumptions? Or, even worse, your assumptions based on presumptions?

One, that ID is a religious view, two, that anyone espousing it has an a priori religious position, and three, that couching that view in loquacious verbiage to sneak it in under the wire is merely a tactic.

First off, “loquacious” is a description of the person who spews the words, not a description of the words themselves. There’s no such thing as “loquacious verbiage”. If you must use big words, please use them properly. At least look them up in a dictionary or thesaurus first. That’s not too much to ask. Seriously. I’m not kidding about this. People using big words without bothering to learn what they mean is a big pet peeve of mine. Use the words the way they should be used. Don’t just make up your own imaginary meaning for words which have nothing to do with what they really mean. If you keep improperly using big words, I’m going to call you a Sparkling Yak Sesquipedalian. By my imaginary definition,  Sparkling means “Numb nuts”, “yak” means “internet faker”, and “sesquipedalian” means “sesquipedalian”. Look it up, bitch. (“Bitch” means you.)  If you don’t want me to make up imaginary meanings of words, then stop doing it yourself. Use “loquacious” according to its actual definition, or STFU.

Firstly, ID is an evidence based hypothesis.

That’s laughable. Every time an ID proponent has proposed a hypothesis that can be tested by evidence (such as bacterial flagella or blood clotting), tests have shown that Intelligent Design fails. How do they respond? By changing the standards of the test. ID is not evidence based by any standard.

There are not any experimental programs currently using any ID model. No ID proponent had produced any new experimental data. If you go to any biology laboratory anywhere in the world, you will find scientists using the theory of evolution to construct their experiments. And these experiments work. But you won’t find people using ID to construct experiments. That’s because “Invisible undefined magic man did it” is not a testable hypothesis. ID is promulgated by lots of people, but  ID is not promulgated because some scientific evidence supports it. None does. It’s promulgated because there are a large number of Americans who believe that Jesus rode a dinosaur to the gun range, and they feel all poopy inside about the fact that all of modern science contradicts what they believe, so they pay good money for people who pose as scientific rationalists to pretend to treat Jesus riding a dino to the gun range like it’s not a stupid, crazy idea.

But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s stupid and crazy.

While to some it may imply a monotheistic god, this is a faith based position that may proceed from design inferences, but does not predicate a design inference. ID is based primarily upon the improbability of natural causation where probability bounds are exceeded.

“Probability bounds”? What do you mean by that? Do you mean Markov conditions? Or is this some kind of Bayesian epistemology? Or is it just big words that mean nothing? Probabilities are defined in terms of a defined number of events picked out of some probability space. Both the probability space and the function that picks out an event need to be defined, but Bowman attempts neither. The work I’ve done involving probabilities, such as  Decision Theory, Markov Decision Processes, and Bayesian Networks, don’t involve any kind of “probability bounds” being “exceeded”. This is just Lee Bowman inventing terms without defining them again. Big surprise there.

Of course, he’s not really doing any new work or research. Actually, he’s just appealing to the old false dichotomy of creationism: “Either it’s designed, or it just happened randomly.” This is illogical, as the algorithmic process of natural selection is neither designed nor random, so once again Lee Bowman is just using fancy sounding language to express dumb, already disproven ideas. What Bowman calls “the improbability of natural causation” is just the old Watchmaker argument, which goes all the way back to William Paley in 1802. Natural selection is not random–it’s determined by the environment. So any theory that bases its explanatory power on whether it’s more explanatory than randomness is already a straw man.

Secondly, there is no basis for this assumption, simply because there have been examples cited where this was evident. Example: Judge Jones’ assumption that actions by the school board in the Dover PA district, along with a few other examples, proved that ID was religion based. The scientific basis for ID went completely over his head.

How law works and how science works are two different things. People with functioning brains get this. Lee Bowman is not one of these people.

Judge John Jones was charged with multiple tasks in the Dover trial. One was to evaluate the scientific merit of ID. Another was to adjudicate the claims about whether ID should be taught in schools. Another was to adjudicate the actions of the people on the Dover school board. Another was to decide whether their particular ID policy was consistent with judicial precedent on constitutional law. In other words, he needed to be a Judge. ‘Cause that’s what judges do. They interpret the law.

Lee Bowman has not actually read Judge Jones’ decision. But you can read it here. Merely reading words in a document will already put you way, way, way, way ahead of anything Bowman has to say. Judge Jones was not merely interpreting the science. He was interpreting the law, insofar as it relates to science. The pro-ID evidence presented to him consisted of some religious nuts who knew nothing about the very topics they expounded upon (i.e. the Dover school board), and scientists such as Michael Behe who openly admitted that ID requires that supernatural claims be allowed into science. Basically he had people saying “Jesus Jesus Jesus!” and people saying “We aren’t screaming ‘Jesus!’, but we don’t have any other reason to be here…” The reason for including ID in Dover was religious.

No scientific basis for ID was assessed, because none was presented. No experiments supporting ID were presented at the trial, because no such experiments have ever been performed. This is in stark contrast to evolution by natural selection, where numerous experiments were presented, none of which were challenged by the defendants. They just simply didn’t have anything to respond with.

And three, what I stated was what design inferences are based upon, i.e. the postulated addition of intervention to natural processes at key points, to facilitate subsequent altered phyla.

What the fuck are “altered phyla”? That’s not a scientific term, and you also have not made any attempt to define what the hell it means. It’s yet again another term you throw out there without bothering to define what the fuck it means.

And what are “key points”? How does one decide what “point” is a “key” point? What scientific standard is used to distinguish regular old points from “key” points? And what makes any phylum “subsequent”, regardless of whether it’s “altered” or not? “Altered” phyla is already nonsense, but calling some phylum “subsequent” on top of being “altered” and adding in that this phylum had some kind of completely undefined “key point” is just piling undefined nonsense on top of undefined nonsense. If you’re going to use terms that have no presence in the scientific or philosophical literature, at least do us the favor of providing a definition. And “a causative hypothesis entailing non-directed input to phenotypic advancements” is NOT a good definition, seeing as you never bothered to define what the fuck a “phenotypic advancement” is.

While not offered as hard fact due to its non-empirically replicable forensic nature

Forensic science is perfectly empirical and replicable. Nothing that you have said has even addressed that point at all. Basically, you’re saying, “I don’t have jack shit to support ID, but I can PRETEND that’s also true for natural selection!” Well, sorry, you’re wrong. Natural selection has tons of empirical evidence to support it. Galapagos finches are just the beginning. There’s also the massive mounds of evidence from comparative morphology, biogeography, genomics, domestic breeding, population genetics, deep homologies, ecology, and tons of other areas. You have not addressed any of these. The reason you haven’t addressed any of them is because you don’t know anything about them.

neither are totally natural causative processes, which have not been empirically confirmed as well.

Remember, Bowman is claiming that my problem is that I think ID proponents are advocating for the existence of some kind of deity. Lee Bowman claims that’s a bogus “presumption” on my part. And yet he couches the argument in terms of “natural” versus “designed”. What’s the alternative to “natural”, Lee? If it’s not “supernatural”, then what is it?

At least at this juncture, neither are proven as absolutes.

True, in that science doesn’t deal in absolutes. Rather than absolute truths, the Evolution/Intelligent Design issues could be better summarized thus:

Amount of evidence:

Evolution: A Fucking Shit Ton (Pretty much the entire science of biology provides evidence for it)

Intelligent Design: Almost Nothing (and pretty much the entire science of biology contradicts it)

But none of this stops Lee Bowman from being very, very proud of himself.

Omigosh, I just noticed that my response to the evolution/ ID question posed by ABA was just awarded ‘Best Answer’ by him. Since there were (24) other answers 180 deg. to mine, I guess we must both be creotards

Hmmmm, let’s look at the original question….

Do you believe that both theories of evolution and intelligent design should be taught in school science?

If not tell me if either/or/none should be taught.

Please tell me if your liberal or conservative..
(Studies show liberals are typically more intolerant of other viewpoints so I’d like to test this theory)

Yup. Both creotards. Here, let me pose a similar question:

Do you think people who disagree with me about unicorns being real should have equal time in schools?

Tell me whether either/or/none unicorn science should be taught to other people’s children.

(Please indicate whether or not you’re a different political orientation from me, because I’ve heard people who have different politics from me think differently from me and the people who told me this called it science without actually providing experimental evidence, so I want to know whether you think differently from me so I can ignore your opinion from the get-go also my grammar sucks i hate the english language suck it education dumb people rule!!!!!111)

Oh my god, you got voted up on a Yahoo thread by a barely literate creationist. Maybe both of you are just narcissistic…

Or perhaps just rational thinkers …

No. You’ll be classified as rotifers based on morphology before either of you is ever mistaken for a rational thinker.

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Maybe the problem is you…

I saw over at Ed Brayton’s blog this story about a restaurant owner named Ed McGovern in North Carolina who handed a proselytizing letter to a gay couple who ate at his restaurant (after they paid for their meal, of course). Apparently he objected to their brazen act of simultaneously 1) being gay and 2) breathing the same air as himself, so he felt the need to let them know that he hates them Jeebus loves them. In the body of the news article they reproduce the letter, but in an obviously cleaned up, grammatical version.  They also have a photo of the actual handwritten letter, and here is my word-for-word, letter-for-letter transcription of it. Everything below is [sic]:

LESBIAN-NOTE-1-jpg

God said in the Last days that man and women, would be Lover of self, morethen the Lover of God.

That man and women would have unnataurl effection for one another. Then the comnig of the son of man who is Jesus. So please Look at your life see how it hurt every one around your. and aske the Lord to open your eye. before it to late.

The Love of Christ

P.S. my dauaghte also was gay

it destroy her life

and my grandson.

I object to the fact that the original news report didn’t reproduce the letter exactly as written. Show these illiterate dumbfucks for who they really are.

But the real point I want to make is why I object to correcting the letter. It’s more than just “make the other side look stupid.” Of course this guy is stupid. There are 4th graders out there who can write more grammatically, more clearly and more eloquently than this. This is a very disordered, confused mind responding to an unfamiliar stimulus with something akin to “hurble burble nobble gobble Jesus says fags will ruin Christmas!” But this goes beyond just portraying him as stupid. This matters. No, fucking seriously, it does.

I’ve long thought that disorganized speech and writing reflect disorganized thinking. Someone who cannot string together a sentence or paragraph with proper grammar and spelling is someone who does not have the cognitive power to process complex or unfamiliar sensory input. Thinking about something that’s complicated or different from what one is used to requires one have the ability to organize one’s thoughts, contextualize incoming information, and follow premises to their logical conclusion. It also requires a bit of metacognitive awareness–at the very least, the ability to critique one’s own written or spoken words.

If someone’s thinking is disorganized, then they likely won’t be able to go much beyond familiar and comfortable cognitive shortcuts when confronting a situation. It’s not so much that they’re unwilling to think about how gays feel or how homosexuality fits into the grand scheme of things. It’s more that they simply lack the tools to do this. Try explaining why social mores opposed to homosexuality are arbitrary and antiquated in language that the author of the above letter would be able to comprehend. I’m not sure if it could be done, and this is why I disagree with Ed Brayton’s proposed response:

Here’s what I think should be done here. Every gay couple in the area should go there at the same time, sit down and order something really small, like an order of french fries. Then when they leave they should each give him a letter telling him that he should go to college and get an education, which might free him from the bigoted views of his false religion.

I don’t think this would have any effect. Even if he read these letters, what makes you think he’d understand them? This is a guy who thinks merely saying “Jesus says” to someone should be enough to change their sexual orientation. Clearly he has little comprehension of how humans other than himself think. And his inability to grasp how others think probably stems from his inattention to his own thinking. If gay couples did take Ed’s advice, my guess is that each couple that did it would receive in response another letter from him much like the one reproduced above. It would be like trying to have a conversation with the machine at the entrance to the parking garage. No matter what you say, it’s just gonna spit out another parking voucher, because that’s all it knows how to do.

This is just not a situation where a conversation can take place. This guy’s lost. The best bet would be to boycott his restaurant and hope he goes out of business, or publicly shame him to the point where he stops handing out such letters out of self-preservation. But patronizing his business to give him pro-gay letters will only give him more money and more opportunities to write anti-gay letters. And the fact that giving him pro-gay letters won’t work is pretty obvious when you see what he wrote. He simply wouldn’t understand them.

This is illustrated most poignantly in the postscript to McGovern’s dumbass letter. When you see just how badly written the letter is, and thereby just how minimal his understanding of the nature of the problem is, it becomes pretty obvious that it wasn’t homosexuality that destroyed his daughter’s life. More likely it was his reaction to her homosexuality that destroyed her life, as the letter shows that this is clearly not a guy who reacts to homosexuality in anything like a mature or rational manner. If this is a guy who can’t distinguish between the results of homosexuality and the results of his own reaction to homosexuality, then there is little hope of convincing him to behave otherwise with letters extolling the virtues of education. He needed that education years ago.  That ship set sail long ago. By this point, he’s a lost cause. Fuck ‘im.

I say all this because I object to correcting the letter not just because I want the restaurant owner to look like the stupid bigot that he surely is. I also want people to see the juxtaposition between ignorant views and the lack of cognitive ability that is often (but not necessarily always) associated with them. Let people see what the real problem is here: A man who cannot even write 4th grade level English is harassing gays for existing in his vicinity. Ed McGovern doesn’t realize it, but his real complaint is that the existence of lesbians makes the world too complicated for him to process. Unable to blame his own stupidity for this dilemma, he decides it must be the fault of other people who don’t fit into his tiny, comfortable worldview. His inability to comprehend becomes the lesbians’ problem, and the only way his tiny reptile brain can express this is by babbling about Jesus for a little bit.

What I hope people would see is not just that bigots are stupid. It’s also important to be able to recognize the importance of linguistic proficiency, and how failing to educate someone in how to express themselves clearly and coherently increases the likelihood that they will hold bigoted opinions. I’m not saying that there has never been an eloquent bigot, but they certainly aren’t common. It’s this causal connection that’s important–it’s why some kinds of ignorance are associated with some kinds of attitudes towards others. Organizing one’s thought is important, and a news story like this could be a good object lesson. This is what disorganized thought looks like. And the result of a mind untrained to organize itself is often bigotry: people thinking that their own inability to comprehend others is actually harm being done to them by others.

You can’t really get through to these people, because they can’t comprehend language well enough to understand what you’re saying. It’s this whole attitude of “I’m too dumb to understand it, so it’s evil,” that we need to be combating. If they’re too old for there to be any hope of actually teaching them how to communicate clearly, then often the only way to counteract their actions is to mock them. I’m more than willing to have a civil conversation with someone who at least shows that they can communicate in grammatical English. But if someone shows they can’t even do that, attempts at communication are pointless. Just point at them and laugh til they shut the fuck up.

Gun Glurge

CNN has been making a big deal about an open letter from a former Marine to Sen. Dianne Feinstein about the evils of gun control. So I bet this letter has some kind of groundbreaking new argument, some refreshing insight into the subtleties of gun violence in America that makes it worthy of getting a headline on the front page.

Oh, wait, no, it’s just a bunch of glurgy crap regurgitating the same tired pro-gun claptrap we all grew sick of hearing 20 years ago. I hope no one reads this and is surprised that CNN is spreading around crap so trite and thoughtlessness-provoking that it could be a chain letter forwarded around by Granny’s women’s group at the local Baptist church. It’s pretty sadly typical of the quality of “journalism” one often finds at CNN.

Senator Dianne Feinstein,

I will not register my weapons should this bill be passed, as I do not believe it is the government’s right to know what I own.

Doesn’t matter what you believe, Gomer. It matters what’s the law and what ain’t. And the government already requires you to register things you own. For instance, just the other day I renewed the tags on my car. So the government knows the make, model, year, and color of my car. And if I didn’t register it and get a tag, I could get pulled over and have my license revoked.

The thing is, you currently aren’t required to register your guns. But maybe someday in the future you will be. That’s really all there is to it, and you’ll comply just like every other law abiding citizen, no matter what kind of empty bravado you sputter in your iReport letter.

Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me by a group of people who enjoy armed protection yet decry me having the same a crime.

They’s gonna take our guns, y’all!

No, dumbshit. Nobody in Congress is trying to take away your precious penis substitutes. Pull your paranoid head out of your ass and look at the facts. If you register your gun, it’s still your gun. The purpose of registration is that guns, like cars, are dangerous, and it’s helpful to law enforcement if they have a database to work with when a crime happens. So long as you don’t murder anybody, you should be alright.

You ma’am have overstepped a line that is not your domain.

She’s a fucking Senator. This is exactly her domain. She gets elected. She makes laws. That’s how it works. The Senate’s constitutional power to legislate doesn’t magically disappear the moment they consider legislating something that might affect you.

I am a Marine Corps Veteran of 8 years, and I will not have some woman who proclaims the evil of an inanimate object, yet carries one, tell me I may not have one.

You ever think that all the crazy gun nuts writing whacked out shit to her on a daily basis might be part of why Sen. Feinstein feels the need to own a gun?

And, again, when did Sen. Feinstein say you couldn’t have a gun? Unless presented with evidence to the contrary, I’m going to assume that we aren’t talking about real-world Feinstein right now. Instead, we’re speaking of Right Wing La La Land Feinstein, who wants to steal the precious, precious guns from noble Troops and melt them in the fires of Mordor.

I am not your subject. I am the man who keeps you free.

“I am also apparently rather lacking in humility.”

I am not your servant. I am the person whom you serve.

Well, she’s the bitch who pays your salary, so you might wanna be a little more respectful, or those proposed military cuts might go just a little deeper.

I am not your peasant. I am the flesh and blood of America.

This is what happens when Gomer buys his own hype. I presume he wrote this with a straight face (I could never do that). I presume he has that special right wing lack of self-awareness that prevents him from seeing how arrogant, stupid, and childish he sounds. You know, that part of the conservative’s brain that allows him/her to think that he/she speaks for all “true” Americans, and that everyone else in the universe is just as deeply concerned with his/her petty, imaginary “issues” as he/she is? Yeah, that part. The dumb part.

The dumb part of the conservative brain also filters out the meaning of words. Take “peasant”, for instance. A peasant is an impoverished laborer whose hard work enriches the wealthy aristocrats who own the property on which he/she labors. We do have peasants in our society. We call them “poor people”. We don’t call them “paranoid, white, middle class gun owners”. The word for that is “privileged”.

I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned.

Learned what? How to write stilted prose and create imaginary problems to solve through self-aggrandizement? You don’t need 8 years in the military to learn how to do that. Just watch FOX News for a few minutes.

I am an American.

So is Sen. Feinstein. You ever think of that?

You will not tell me that I must register my semi-automatic AR-15 because of the actions of some evil man.

But killing thousands in Afghanistan because of the actions of some evil man, that’s fine. Hoo – rah! Semper fi!

I will not be disarmed to suit the fear that has been established by the media and your misinformation campaign against the American public.

No one’s disarming you, you ignorant, simpering little fuck. Banning high capacity magazines or requiring registration will not disarm you. You’ll still have your stupid fucking guns and your stupid fucking smug attitude.

We, the people, deserve better than you.

Respectfully Submitted,
Joshua Boston

Joshua Boston, you are a whiny, ignorant, self-absorbed nincompoop.

Respectfully submitted,

Riffing Religion.

Here’s the thing. Not only is this guy going to be able to keep his guns (regardless of whether Sen. Feinstein passes a bill or not), but I wouldn’t want to take them from him anyway. I don’t oppose responsible personal gun ownership. This is actually an area where I find myself in disagreement both with those on the left and on the right (but more with those on the right).  Here’s the text of the Second Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Now, many on the left frequently home in on the “militia” clause and say something stupid like, “The amendment just says the state can have a government-run militia. That doesn’t mean private citizens get guns too! Durrr, I’m a constitutional scholar!”

What they’re ignoring is the later clause, which uses the phrase, “right of the people.” Here’s another amendment that uses the phrase “right of the people”:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I’m pretty sure no one in their right mind would want to argue that this amendment doesn’t apply to private citizens, but only to those who work for some government-run outfit. But that’s why we need to respect the places where the constitution says “right of the people.” The phrase should not be taken lightly, and definitely should not be taken to refer only to people working for the government. If the constitution says “right of the people”, it means private citizens. So we should interpret the second amendment as guaranteeing the right to bear arms to private citizens, and the Supreme Court has said as such in the past. Simply put, as long as the Second Amendment is in place (and I don’t see it being repealed any time soon), Joshua Boston and the other frothing-at-the-mouth gun nuts have nothing to worry about. The government can’t take their guns.

That’s where the liberals tend to be stupid. But the conservatives can be quite dumb also, and this is no exception. Conservatives like Joshua Boston above insist that the government has no right to regulate their firearms. But this is obvious bullshit, as the Second Amendment explicitly states that the purpose of its existence is the necessity of a “well regulated Militia.” I mean, the word “regulated” occurs right there in the text of the amendment, so any claim that regulating guns is unconstitutional contradicts the very text of the amendment itself.

Congress (and the states) have the power to regulate guns all they want. They just can’t ban private citizens from owning them. So long as it’s still possible for a private citizen to purchase and own a gun, the constitution has not been violated. I have a few ideas for regulation that might actually be effective, which means, of course, that none of these ideas will ever actually be put in place. But I’ll share them anyways, because what’s the point of blogging if not to come up with futile, pointless ideas that few will read and no one will ever implement? Here goes:

  • Keep guns legal, but ban high-capacity magazines. Both the Arizona shooting and the Connecticut shooting involved a gunman using clips that held 30 rounds. I can’t conceive of a legitimate usage for a high capacity magazine. They seem to be specifically designed for murdering large numbers of people in a short period of time. There is absolutely no reason a law abiding, private citizen should ever need such a thing.
  • If anyone is convicted of a felony, any guns found on his/her property are seized and destroyed, and the person convicted is barred from owning a firearm for life unless he/she specifically appeals to a judge to have the prohibition overturned. This would do a lot to reduce the number of guns in circulation. The important part is that the guns be melted down, not merely seized and then put back into circulation at a later point in time.
  • Start a gun buy-back program, similar to Obama’s “Cash for Clunkers” program. Offer to buy people’s guns at above market value if and only if they sign a pledge not to purchase another gun for at least five years. All guns acquired by the program are destroyed.
  • Limit the amount of ammunition a person can buy in a short period of time. The killer in Arizona bought thousands of rounds in the months leading up to his shooting spree. This shouldn’t be that hard to prevent. If we can restrict the amount of pseudephedrin people buy, it shouldn’t be that hard to do the same with bullets.
  • Tax guns and bullets more heavily. This will force up the prices and make people think twice about buying them. It worked for cigarettes, as smoking rates have declined as prices have gone up. People said this would inevitably lead to a “black market”, but that never happened with cigarettes. As long as prices don’t go up too high, that shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Require a background check for any gun purchase. The goal here should be obvious.
  • Require a license to own a gun, and require a psychiatric test for anyone applying for a license. Again, the purpose should be obvious.
  • Require a multi-day gun-safety training course for a license. Again, obvious.
  • Make it a felony to provide a gun to anyone who fails the above requirements. If you provide a gun to an unqualified individual and they commit a felony with that gun, you are complicit.
  • Make it a felony to store guns unsafely. A person caught storing guns unsafely loses his/her license to own them at the very least, and must file an appeal to get it back.
  • Institute frequent and thorough surprise inspections of gun stores, gun shows, and anywhere else guns might be sold, to ensure that they are following the rules.
  • Reward private businesses that ban all guns on their property.
  • Increase the number of public outreach programs to educate people about the dangers of gun violence and how to avoid it.
  • Require insurance companies to cover psychiatric care and to share information about at-risk individuals (in cases where it would not violate their privacy).
  • If someone is involved in any kind of gun-related accident, their license is suspended and they must go through the above rigamarole to get it back
  • Make courses about the dangers of gun violence available in public schools and universities.

Now, a gun nut would interrupt to inform me that even if all these ideas were in place, it wouldn’t completely end gun violence. Well, of course not! I have no delusions about making violence go away forever, but we can at least reduce the amount of violence in our country, and I think these regulations would be a good step towards achieving that.

Or maybe I’m just trying to take your precious guns away. I’m sure that’s what at least a few tiny brains out there might take away from all this. We should just require our under-paid and unappreciated public school teachers to carry guns so they can shoot crazy people and turn schools into the showdown at the OK corral. That oughta solve the problem! And I’m sure the teachers would love having even more responsibilities foisted on their shoulders while the kooky right wing cuts their pay and benefits again.

Just don’t call him the first BLACK president…

Exactly what constitutes a “story” differs from person to person. What counts as a significant development depends on what you consider to be significant in the first place. I thought the events of Amazing Spider-Man #700 were significant (and supremely stupid),* but people who aren’t like me and haven’t been reading comic books since 1990 probably don’t give a shit about it. This past week I borrowed my dad’s car while mine was in the shop, and couldn’t figure out how to change the satellite radio station off the Golf Channel. So I had to listen to big stories about whether Tiger or Rory would win a major in 2013, or which major course is getting a re-design. Couldn’t care less. Call me when the NBA playoffs start.

This means that what a news outlet considers to be a “story” reflects quite a bit on what they think their readership finds important, which brings us to this headline from WingNutDaily:

WHISTLEBLOWER MAGAZINE

THE FIRST MUSLIM PRESIDENT

The 1 honorary title Barack Obama doesn’t want – but definitely deserves

It’s not so much an article as it is an advertisement disguised as an article, hoping to entice their readership to buy shit from them. WND does this a lot, and apparently they know their readership quite well. Kinda like how a good hog farmer knows just the right kind of shit that his pigs like to roll around in.

It’s a bit presumptuous to call it “the 1 honorary title” Obama wouldn’t want. It would be pretty easy to come up with other even less palatable soubriquets. I seriously doubt anyone would want to be The First Child Molester President, or the President of the Anal Fissures, or CEO of CNN. Hell, Speaker of the House doesn’t sound too appetizing right about now either. But what matters is not whether it makes any sense to single out this one particular imaginary title as the WORST EVER. What matters is whether the reptilian brain stems of the target audience think it’s the WORST EVER and will shell out money proportionately to the stimulation it creates in them. The point is to provoke a Pavlovian response and get them drooling cash into your coffers as soon as possible.

It started when Bill Clinton was famously called “the first black president” – not because of his skin color, of course, but because he supposedly exemplified so many “black” qualities and attitudes.

This article is off to a great start!

Since Barack Obama has been president, he’s been showered with many such accolades – most recently when Newsweek crowned him “The First Gay President” for his election-year abandonment of his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Newsweek also called M. Night Shyamalan “The Next Spielberg”, so let’s not start stroking our balls over this title just yet. In fact, given their history, if Newsweek is calling him The First Gay President, then it follows with almost certainty that Obama has a literal dick allergy and breaks out into hives whenever dick shares the same air space with him, but needs pussy every two hours in order to keep his heart from collapsing.

But the elite media, to commemorate other Obama affinities and policy positions, have also dubbed him “The First Hispanic President,” “The First Asian-American President,” “The First Jewish President” – and even “The First Female President.”

Dear Loyal Readers,

Just wanted to remind you that Obama is the First [Something] President. Not quite sure what that “something” is, but how do you feel about Jews and Mexicans and women? Or Bill Clinton for that matter?

Sincerely,

The Totally Serious Journalists at WND.

But there’s one “first” label conspicuously absent from all the media homage paid to the 44th president – perhaps, ironically, because there’s more truth to it than the press is comfortable admitting – and that’s the title Whistleblower confers on Barack Obama in its blockbuster January 2013 issue: “THE FIRST MUSLIM PRESIDENT.

This sentence is a perfect maelstrom of amusing futility and pathetic braggadocio. “Yes, we, the intrepid news team at WingNutDaily, we alone had the courage–courage so lacking in all those fact-based news outlets–to call Obama something really stupid and wholly unoriginal and completely ineffective IN ALL CAPS!!! Buy our shit! We are so fucking groundbreaking rah rah rah!!!” At least some part of their brains must recognize that yet again resurrecting the tired “Obama’s a Muzzie” trope won’t be any more effective than their birther babblings or conspiracy theories about ACORN or any of the other shit they peddle. The conservatives lost the last election and they can’t change it. But they’ll keep retreading the same ground, because it still sells no matter how futile the endeavor might be.

Barack Obama’s relationship with Islam has long been one of the most radioactive questions surrounding his presidency.

Only if we’re talking about a certain type of radioactive.

Before the 2008 election, it was considered impolite in the extreme even to mention publicly Obama’s middle name, “Hussein,” a name given only to Muslim babies.

Can you imagine the embarrassment when Obama’s Catholic mother and atheist father realized they’d accidentally given birth to a Muslim baby? “Well, fuck, honey. Guess my old atheist self better give him my own middle name, seeing as that’s what the law says you do with Muslim babies. By the way, how exactly does a girl baby come to be named ‘Stanley’?”

And despite repeated polls showing a significant percentage of voters – one in three conservative Republicans and almost one in five of all voters – believe the president is currently a Muslim…

Just refer back to what I said earlier about what counts as “significant”.

…those who dare bring up the issue are mercilessly scorned as ignoramuses and bigots.

Can’t imagine why that might be. Obviously a Catholic girl named Stanley would follow non-existent Muslim rules (in Hawaii) about naming your baby Hussein if and only if he’s Muslim. People must be calling me a bigoted ignoramus because there’s something wrong with them. I’m doing just fine.

Yet, there’s a side to Obama’s life, from his Muslim childhood, schooling, Quran studies, mosque attendance and prayer in Indonesia, to his bewilderingly pro-Muslim policies today as president, that has been carefully concealed from the public by the “mainstream media.”

And by “carefully concealed” we mean “vociferously harped on by every right wing political figure on Fox News until it became ineffective because everyone knew it was bullshit, at which point it began its zombie life among the real wingnuts alongside creationism and fluoride conspiracies.”

If you’ve wondered why the current U.S. president seems so supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood – both in the Arab-Muslim Middle East and, in the form of its various front organizations, within America itself – “THE FIRST MUSLIM PRESIDENT” will open your eyes.

Hint: it’s ’cause he’s Muslim.

Highlights of “THE FIRST MUSLIM PRESIDENT” include:

What follows is just a long list of what kinds of articles one will find in the next issue of WhistleBlower. It certainly does involve quite a bit of blowing, but the only whistle involved is dog whistle, since none of it is new in any way, shape or form. It’s just the same warmed over boilerplate they’ve been spewing out for dumbshits to lap up for almost 5 years now, but repackaged to make it look like something you should spend your hard earned money on (if you’re the kind of person who has no idea what to spend your hard earned money on). If you’ve been following the right wing narrative on Obama the Other even casually, you’ve heard it all before. And if you’ve been following it enthusiastically and believing it, it’s exactly what you want–nothing new, nothing challenging, nothing that’s actually different from what you heard before. Just comforting, mind-numbing repetition and reassurance that it’s reality that’s stupid, not you.

Any time one reads a WND article, it’s always nice to take a look at the comments section to see just how stupid their target audience is. So let’s take a moment to browse through a few comments.

Lamar Carnes • 

The man is NOT an American at all by American standards for a citizen. He certainly doesn’t measure up to any criteria which would suggest he knows anything about Ameircan USA issues of purpose and being. He is more of a foreign person similar to people like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, any and all Islamic Muslim dictators and certainly looks like a worn out Socialist!! Still trying to make Socialism the failed policy of the past history of world nations – work for American people! It won’t, it never will and he will eventually leave the office of President with egg all over his face and an emptier suit than he already wears! The man is a total flat failure! A disgrace to our nation and the entyire system of politics and government! A man who has divided us more than any other man ever in our history! Yet, people seem to love it all especially the Press and welfare type people! But, they will eventually cry spilt milk and say they just didn’t really understand it all. yeah, dumb heads keep your heads in the sand!! You stink!!

Well, I was gonna go through a few comments. But then Lamar Carnes had to come along and say everything that any WND commenter will ever say in that thread, all in one comment, and with representative grammar and spelling to boot. Stop hogging all the regurgitated cliches and babble-points, Lamar! Your fellow wingnuts also want to feel reassured by repeating ineffectual nonsense on the internet!

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* For those who are interested in my opinion, I skipped ASM #700 (and plan to do the same with Superior Spider-Man), and re-read Kraven’s Last Hunt instead. I already know DeMatteis did it better. Call it a hunch.