We need more snobs like PZ

Thank you, micadelic, for one of the most inane analyses I’ve seen of the Expelled issue:

i just wonder why, if mr. pz is so smart, he’s doesn’t realize he was used as part of a pretty clever publicity stunt. expelling him from expelled! and then he rushes to the nearest computer to breathlessly report how he was kicked out. priceless.

pretty funny if you ask me (and i believe in evolution). i just think pz is an insufferable intellectual snob and it’s great to see him get punk’d.

I suppose I should stop being surprised at the things you think…

PZ attempted to see a movie that he was in. The makers of the movie knew he was coming and waited until the last moment to kick him out. (They could have just emailed him and told him he wasn’t welcome.) The “clever publicity stunt” made those tools look like extra special tools when they kicked out PZ and let Dawkins in! Oops, sorry, didn’t recognize the most recognizable atheist in the world (who is also in the film!). PZ’s reporting of the incident was hilarious and the press associated with the incident was 100% critical and negative towards the movie. Oh, yes, very clever.

I’ve met PZ and he is a very humble and very nice person. He is not a “snob” in the slightest. What he is is extremely knowledgeable about this issue — evolution — and he is constantly defending generally accepted science against people who don’t know a single fucking thing about it. Yes, I suppose one can seem like a snob when you are an expert on a subject and you are debating self-righteous idiots without a clue WTF they are talking about.

The core issue here is very interesting — how the Right pretends to be anti-intellectual. Anti-intellectualism is an agenda of elevating mediocrity and small-minded thinking while denigrating education and intelligence. It’s completely nuts and it gets us incompetent leadership like George W. Bush — a “regular guy” completely devoid of the skills necessary to do his job.

We need a hell of a lot more “intellectual snobs” and a lot less influence by ignorant people too lazy to be intellectually engaged with the world.

We need more snobs like PZ

PZ slices/dices

PZ has another great post slicing and dicing ignorant creationists.

You should read the whole thing but here is a humorous little quote:

Even if physicist discovered that the Big Bang was a result of a cataclysmic battle between Odin and a gang of frost giants, it would not perturb our understanding of life’s history here. It would make the cosmologists freak out, which would be fun, and it would shape our philosophical understanding of our presence here, but evolution is built on evidence on this planet, evidence that will not go away whatever the physicists discover about events 14 billion years ago.

It is amazing that none of the IDiots take on the very specific points that PZ makes in this post. Their arguments are really weak and easily refuted and yet the believers just ignore ideas that undermine their weird little superstitions.

PZ slices/dices

Pawlenty is a partisan hack

MinnPost discusses the sad state of politics in Minnesota:

What many people overlook — silly us — is that politics in Minnesota has degenerated into a cynical game. The object of the game is no longer to achieve the public good through rational compromise by mature adults. How quaint. No, the object of the game now is to wage tribal warfare and punish enemies.

Now forgive me, but I expect chief executives to rise above the partisan fray a bit. Pawlenty has acted like a spoiled child though his entire terms. We have this concept called a balance of power. This means that compromises are necessary and expected. Pawlenty has proven over and over that he has no class whatsoever. He is a petty,small-minded partisan who puts the Republican party and his vice-presidential ambitions over the will of the people of Minnesota. Every. Time.

I know politics is politics. I’m not crying because Pawlenty wields his power. I’m crying because he constantly wields his power like he is governor of only those Minnesotans who are Republicans. Damn it, Timmy, you are my governor, too, and you owe me a lot more than this partisan bullshit that you have become known for. Grown up.

Pawlenty is a partisan hack

Democracy's Flaw

I heard a saying once, I believe attributed to Frank Herbert of Dune fame:

Two plus two does not equal five no matter how many people vote for it.

This is democracy’s principle flaw. Majorities have made all sorts of atrociously wrong decisions that trampled the rights of minorities. Legal slavery under the constitution of the US comes to mind. Religious persecution, racism, sexism — all the creation of majorities.

So the idea of a republic is rather a good one, where the people elect representatives who make decisions rather than the people making decisions directly. It allows a bit of a buffer zone between “mob rule” and government. The problem with this is what America is facing today — your government goes up for sale to special interests when it is in the hands of greedy, petty people.

I’ve always wondered why lobbying is effective. Most of the people in the US congress are not hard up for money. In fact, most of them are independently wealthy. So why does money sway them? If I were a politician I would say, donate to my campaign if you want me to use my best judgement. I promise nothing in return for your campaign contribution except to be as wise as possible in rending my judgement and as idealistic as possible, while as pragmatic as necessary, to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Government walks a very fine balance between providing the foundation which makes law and justice possible while treading as carefully as possible on the individual liberties that we take to be self-evident.

Government is necessary and therefore it must be effective and therefore we need our best and brightest at the helm and therefore we are compelled to get the money-grubbing, ideological crooks out of our government. To do that we must render the notion that [s]he who spends more get more votes impotent.

The power is with the people. The only people who serve in public office are the people we put there. We are failing.

Democracy's Flaw