Cloning the Language

There’s a widely cited term in the skeptical community about a commonly observed phenomenon in the gullible dingleberry community. Crank Magnetism, as it’s called, is the tendency of those who accept one ludicrous pseudoscientific or otherwise demonstrably false belief to accept others as well. So a creationist like Phillip Johnson also turns out to be an HIV/AIDS denialist.  Or a global warming denialist might also be a stem cell denialist. Essentially fucktardation in one realm of thought correlates positively with other realms of thought also being fucktarded. Stupidity spreads through one’s brain like the virus you deny exists, and makes your thoughts on a whole range of topics utterly fucktarded.

This is certainly true of the Discovery Institute, the primary driver behind the ball-crunchingly fucktarded pseudo-theory of Intelligent Design. They also are fucktarded in several other scientific domains, including the one I’m looking at today: Human Cloning. It also provides a perfect example of another odious practice that the superstitious and bigoted like to do: Appropriating Language. Observe:

Some worry most about the eventual birth of a cloned baby—an event that is still a long way off. But therapeutic cloning already poses an acute threat to human dignity.

It’s starting to reach the point where I cringe whenever I hear the word “dignity”, because it is more and more being used to attack things that have nothing to do with dignity. The damn Catholic Church claims that IVF techniques are an affront to human dignity, for fuck’s sake. Generally, “dignity” is more and more starting to mean “some airy idea or arbitrary rule that we will treat as more important than actual physical human beings.”

As Charles Krauthammer, who served on George W. Bush’s President’s Council on Bioethics, warned in the New Republic in 2002, creating cloned embryos for research—now accomplished—is “dangerous” because it reduces the cloned embryo to “mere thingness,” justifying “the most ruthless exploitation.”

Quoting Krauthammer, eh? That’s fucking hilarious, seeing as he once called you guys’ pet theory “tarted-up creationism” and thinks you Intelligent Design nuts are scientific phonies. But let’s see what this Iraq War supporter has to say about “dignity”.

He went on to say:

It is the ultimate in desensitization . . . The problem, one could almost say, is not what cloning does to the embryo, but what it does to us . . . Creating a human embryo just so it can be used and then destroyed undermines the very foundation of the moral prudence that informs the entire enterprise of genetic research: the idea that, while a human embryo may not be a person, it is not nothing. Because if it is nothing, then everything is permitted. And if everything is permitted, then there are no fences, no safeguards, no bottom.

Hey, Charles. Hyperbole just called. He said he wants you to tone it down, since even he’s embarrassed by this. Also, notice how he’s picked up the terms “exploitation” and “desensitization” from other issues and stuck them onto an issue to which they simply don’t apply. Remember, this is a single cell that we are talking about. One human zygote–that’s what therapeutic cloning produces. That’s it. It has no feeling, no thoughts, no experiences, no nerves, no brain. There is nothing there to be harmed in any way. A single cell has no dignity. It can’t be exploited. It has no senses. It is not a person. But in the name of “exploitation” and “desensitization” and “human dignity” we need to outlaw experimenting on it at the cost of valuable medical knowledge which could save thousands of real human beings.

Here’s a thought experiment. Imagine a trolley track with a fork in it. You’re at the switch. You can decide which track to send an out of control trolley down by pulling the switch.  On one track, there is a man tied to it. On the other track, a rack of petri dishes containing one thousand human zygotes. If you don’t pull the switch, the trolley will hit the man and kill him. If you pull the switch, it will hit the petri dishes and destroy all 1,000 embryos. What do you do?

If you answer “Pull the switch”, then you don’t believe zygotes are really people, since you’d be willing to destroy 1,000 of them to save one life.

If you say, “Don’t pull the switch and let the man die,” then you’re a fucking asshole.

The only effective preventative is to enact a comprehensive legal ban on human SCNT, not just the uses to which a cloned embryo may be put. Contrary to what the science intelligentsia, the biotechnology industry, and the mainstream media might claim, banning human SCNT is a step that is widely supported internationally. Indeed, in 2005, the General Assembly of the United Nationsvoted overwhelmingly in support of a non-binding resolution calling upon member states “to prohibit all forms of human cloning.”

Is there anything that the UN HASN’T issued a non-binding resolution on? I mean, Jesus, just about anybody can suck the right diplomatic cock and get a non-binding resolution through in the UN. And you gotta love how the right wing fuckberries rail against the evils of the UN and kowtowing to the international community…right up until they agree with them on something.

The devil will be found in how the term “cloning” is defined. In particular, we should be on the lookout for phony bans that actually legalize the SCNT process using human DNA. For example, many proposals would only outlaw “reproductive cloning.” But as we have seen, such a “ban” would not outlaw cloning at all, merelyone potential use that could be made of embryo made through cloning.

Yeah, kinda sucks when people use that tactic of  making a law vaguely worded so that it doesn’t actually do what you claim it does. Now, about those “academic freedom” laws that the Discovery Institute keeps pushing in state after state….

Outlawing human cloning would provide salutatory benefits

No, it wouldn’t. All it would do is deprive us of life-saving research in order to protect single cells. There is no plus side to this.

First, it would deprive cloning researchers of the funds to further perfect human cloning techniques.

Hear that? That’s every sane person on earth asking, “How the fuck is that a salutatory benefit?”

Outlawing human cloning would also be a clarion call to our scientists demanding that they stay within proper moral parameters as they serve society through the pursuit of knowledge.

I send this message out to all god-humpers, all sanctimonious twats, all conservative evangelicals and every moral crusader in the country:

YOU DO NOT GET TO DEFINE THE “PROPER MORAL PARAMETERS” FOR THE REST OF US. FUCK OFF.

And it would protect women.

You have got to be shitting me.

Recall that human eggs are the essential ingredients in the cloning recipe. As I wrote here last month, the need for human eggs in cloning threatens a great “human egg rush.”

But retrieving human eggs can be very dangerous to women’s health and fecundity. Banning cloning can thus prevent the further objectification of the female biological function.

There’s more appropriation for you. “Objectification”. Except for the fact that this issue has nothing to do with objectification or feminist critiques thereof.

This shit really pisses me of.  This asshole is leaving out the part where women volunteer their eggs in order to further scientific knowledge. It’s not like scientists are running through the streets probing every woman they find in order to get at her precious, precious ova. Women–grown up, adult women–donate the eggs of their own free will.

And yet, this guy is trying to sound like a feminist while leaving out a woman’s ability to make her own choices about her own body. I’m gonna call this bullshit Patriarchal Pseudo-Feminism. Basically, it means infantilizing women, treating them like they are unable to determine their own lives and choices, just like patriarchy always does to women, but disguising it in the language of feminism. I see it a lot. I’ve seen it used to attack pornography, abortion, IVF, contraception and a host of other issues relating to women. It frustrates me even more than overt sexism or misogyny, since at least if someone is being blatantly sexist they aren’t trying to lie to me about what a piece of shit they are.

But this fucknugget is treating women like they’re helpless children who need the law to protect them from evil scientists, and trying to make it look like he’s pro-woman for this. Fuck that. I’m not standing for it. Women can make their own fucking choices about their own fucking eggs. And (assuming they’re properly informed) if they want to give them to a scientist for a cloning experiment, the rest of us should respect their decision and not make condescending, patriarchal comments about how we need to protect them from themselves. Fuck you, Discovery Institute.

And any time you hear someone demanding that we need to ban something in the name of feminism, but they conveniently leave out the notions of informed consent and a woman determining her own life, tell hem to fuck off with their patriarchal wolf in feminist clothing.

Finally, on a positive note, once human cloning becomes beyond the pale, we could begin to row in the direction of areas of biotechnology that are morally licit, freeing human and financial resources for the pursuit of the abundant avenues of moral andefficacious biotechnological research—such as adult stem cell research, genetically tailored chemotherapy, and other medical treatments.

Except for the fact that there are things you can do with cloning that can’t be done with those other types of research. You’d be preventing us from making certain discoveries, not encouraging discoveries in other areas.

We can achieve remarkable biotechnology breakthroughs in this century without surrendering our ethics.

“Our” ethics? I certainly don’t share ethics with you, shitwad.

Outlawing human cloning is the essential progressive act.

And we end with one more act of cloning the left’s language in order to attack it. “Progressive” my boney white ass.

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More Oklahomans make fools of themselves

I already looked at one idiotic argument against gay marriage from my home state of Oklahoma. That particular bit of stupidity was from just some random schmuck in Edmond. Today’s bit of drooling inanity, however, comes from people with actual power. Three state legislators, to be precise.

Young Oklahoma Republican lawmakers: Sanctity of marriage must endure

BY STATE REPS. ELISE HALL, JUSTIN WOOD AND JOSH COCKROFT

Note to bigots: If you want people to represent your position on gay marriage, you should not get guys called “Wood” and “Cockroft” to do it. You’re basically just inviting assholes like me to make fun of you.

As the three youngest members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives Republican caucus, we continue to believe that the push for a new definition of marriage is an attempt to carve out a special right that has no basis in the traditions of our country.

Since when do rights need to have a basis in tradition? Did women’s right to vote have any basis in tradition? Did equal rights for blacks have any basis in tradition?

We believe that all Americans deserve to be treated with dignity…

Okay. I’m not playing bullshit bigot boilerplate any more. Just move on to the obvious contradiction of this statement that you will inevitably make…

but that equal treatment has no bearing on the question of how marriage is defined.

So we can just throw out Loving v. Virginia and start banning interracial marriage again. Because the definition of marriage has nothing to do with equality. Nothing at all.

You see this thing I’m doing here? It’s a rare (on the right wing) form of thinking called “following a sentence through to its logical implications.” You might want to try it some time. Because I don’t think equality having nothing to do with marriage is anything you would ever actually want to stand by.

Marriage is defined as the union of a man and a woman. It’s not defined as a union between a man and another man nor a woman and another woman.

Don’t you just love how right wingers suddenly turn into strident lexicographers whenever the prospect of people they don’t even know having a relationship they don’t approve of comes up? We can’t redefine marriage! Think of the damage it will do to our dictionaries!

Doing so would represent creating a new right, not adhering to any previously understood right.

Bullshit. Giving women the right to vote didn’t “create a new right”. It took an existing right and extended it to a new group of people. That’s how this whole “equal rights” thing works.

Is gay marriage gaining traction with young people? Yes. But that is because of the moralistic relativity that is constantly being promoted by Hollywood and in many areas of pop culture today. The idea that is too frequently becoming the norm is that everything is allowed and nothing is off limits.

It’s pop culture’s fault! If we censored movies and made it harder to have this conversation, then we could be bigots all we want without ever having to worry about public exposure!

Whenever there’s some kind of moral panic, people often target some aspect of pop culture as the supposed cause of all our problems.  In the 20s it was jazz music and dancing. In the 30s it was movies.  In the 50s it was comic books. In the 60s it was rock music. In the 70s, heavy metal. Pornography, video games, horror films, gangster rap music, reality TV–all have found themselves in the cross hairs of sanctimonious culture warriors who want an easy target to solve all their problems. The reason is simple: pop culture is an easy target. It’s highly visible, and there’s always someone out there who finds some aspect of it offensive (usually because it depicts something unfamiliar to them). And, as any rational person might suspect, there is little evidence that pop culture actually has the power over people’s minds that the culture warriors say it does. Pop culture reflects us much more than we reflect it.

But culture warriors rarely care about facts. They care about airy principles and vaguely defined “values”. The myth of American “moral relativism” is a perfect example of this. Whenever right wing douche-nozzles like these guys talk of “moral relativism”, replace the term with “moral system different from my own” and you get their real point. I doubt there are very many Americans who believe “everything is allowed and nothing is off limits.” If there were, the murder and rape rates would be MUCH higher than they actually are because of all the people who just kill and take whatever they want. But the vast majority of Americans do in fact realize that these things are wrong, and don’t do them. They’re not moral relativists–they just have a moral system that differs from the Evangelical system, which is good, since the Evangelical system is based on bigotry, ignorance, superstition, venality, hatred, and pervasive stupidity.

God intended one man and one woman to be tied in holy matrimony for their entire lives.

No. God intended for Evangelicals to shut the fuck up and leave gay people alone.

I have just as much evidence to support my hypothesis as you do yours.

Proponents of gay marriage will point fingers at straight couples getting divorces, but that’s not the fault of traditional marriage — that’s an issue for each individual couple to deal with and answer to God. Humans are flawed individuals and fall short of the grace and glory of God. That, unfortunately, includes marriages that end. It is a straw-man argument.

It’s still better than “God says so.” Unless you’ve got a good solution to the Euthyphro Dilemma, your divine command ethics is up shit creek without a god-paddle.

And, no, it’s not a straw man. Bigoted douchenuggets repeatedly argue that gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed because children need both a mother and a father. Pointed out that divorce results in children being raised without one or the other–but we still don’t outlaw straight marriage–is entirely relevant.

Gay marriage proponents argue that long-term gay couples deserve the right to marry so they can maneuver certain legal matters dealing with things ranging from wills to being put on life insurance policies. There are alternate ways to address legal issues. A widespread acceptance of nontraditional marriage is not the way to go.

Not there aren’t other ways. Oklahoma has a frickin’ constitutional amendment which specifies that there not be any. Not only is gay marriage outlawed, but so are domestic partnerships and civil unions. There is no legal recourse, and assholes like your are precisely the reason why.

This is like putting someone in a cage, locking the only door, then saying, “It’s your fault for not finding another way out.” And it confirms one of the most important lessons we can draw from this whole gay marriage debate: The Religious Right is made up of a bunch of assholes.

We feel young Republicans and conservatives are open-minded and, in some ways, are very different from their parents’ generation. That doesn’t mean we are ready to stand for allowing the legal definition of marriage to be stretched into areas it does not belong for the pursuit of convenience or social pressure.

Go fuck yourself.

Is the ability to visit your spouse in the hospital a matter of “convenience”? If you think it is, then you really are a completely inhuman piece of shit. And the state legislature of Oklahoma is starting to fill up with these. I keep hoping that the next election will give it a good flush, but find myself disappointed year after year.

Sigh. Why do you do this to me, Sooner State? Why?