Questions for conservatives

I’ve been trying to read some reasonable conservative blogs this year. I’ve gotten to like Outside the Beltway (James Joyner at least, not so sure about the others) and I’m so-so on League of Ordinary Gentlemen (no matter what ED says, it’s a reasonable-conservative-tending-towards-wingnut crowd there).

I’m not sure how to go about doing this, but I’m trying to get as many people who write or comment there and on other conservative blogs to answer the following two questions:

1) Do you believe in evolution?

2) Do you believe that the average temperature on earth has increased over the past 30 years?






197 replies
  1. 1
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    Wait. I gotta go make some popcorn…

  2. 2
    Spiffy McBang says:

    I’d like to see Larison answer these questions, actually. His general reasonableness makes me pretty sure he’d accept the second, but given his strong faith in the Jesus, I wonder about the first.

  3. 3
    Brachiator says:

    This is gonna be good…

  4. 4
    wenchacha says:

    Good luck.

  5. 5
    BGinCHI says:

    What percentage of people on the right get their news and ideas (or, “news and ideas”) from Fox News/Talk Radio?

    With the small percentage that remains, how many make an honest effort to gather news from various sources, especially those most qualified to weigh in on complex matters?

  6. 6
    Dexter says:

    Talking about evolution…here is an interesting experiment: E. coli long-term evolution experiment

  7. 7
    Superluminar says:

    I think wingnut is a wrong characterisation – on OTB the commenters are mostly to the left of the posters, with a scattering of loonies. LoOG is about half/half left/glibertarian with only a couple of resident wingnuts. My prediction 1) unanimous yes, 2) “wait whilst we phone the Kochs…”

  8. 8
    wheaton pat says:

    Here are a couple more
    1. Do you believe that lowering marginal tax rates increases government tax revenue?
    2. Do you believe that lowering government support for the poor will help the poor?
    3. Do you think that government purchases (defense etc) should have a strong “Buy American” component?

  9. 9
    cleek says:

    also:

    1. did Reagan raise taxes?

    2. what is the Y intercept of the Laffer curve?

    3. can our military ever be too big?

  10. 10
    Michael says:

    Quit getting sucked into the trap.

    Evolution isn’t about “belief”.

    The question one asks is “do you accept the postulates of evolutionary theory as they relate to the development of life on this spinning rock?”

  11. 11
    dmsilev says:

    @Dexter: While very interesting and significant strictly on its own merits, it should also be pointed out that that experiment lead to one of the most epic smackdowns of a conservative by a scientist (warning: Link goes directly to Conservapedia):

    I offer this lengthy reply because I am an educator as well as a scientist. It is my sincere hope that some readers might learn something from this exchange, even if you do not.

    Read the whole thing.

    dms

  12. 12
    MattR says:

    @cleek: I think you are gonna have to dumb down that second question if you expect anyone to answer it.

  13. 13
    MikeJ says:

    There are quite a few Democrats who don’t believe in evolution either. I’ve been to a hundred campaign events in churches. They’re a traditional cornerstone of liberal organizing.

    It may be sad that some dems don’t believe in evolution, but at least they aren’t driving policy.

  14. 14
    Loneoak says:

    How useful are those questions, really? They measure a certain baseline of reasonableness, but tell us nothing about whether their conservative politics are reasonable. They only distinguish between reasonable people and unreasonable people, not between conservatives and liberals.

    This is one of the consequences of having so many world-denying paranoid ideologues: it becomes impossible to actually talk about conservatism without mixing it up with measurements of baseline reasonableness. The flip side of this is when Sullivan claims something like “caution with public policy decisions” is an inherently conservative idea. It’s not conservative, because any reasonable liberal would believe the same thing.

  15. 15
    BGinCHI says:

    How about, “Is your new TV sitting on top of your old TV?”

  16. 16
    geg6 says:

    @Spiffy McBang:

    I thought Larison is Catholic. Catholics believe in evolution, crazy wingnut Mel Gibson/Opus Dei Catholics only excluded.

    Watched Bill Maher’s show last week. It was interesting. He had a panel of 2 Republicans (one of whom was Jack Kingston of GA) and 1 furriner Cantadian and special guest, DL Hughly. When Maher asked who on the panel believed in evolution, only the furriner Cantadian and one GOPer (not-Jack Kingston) said they did. Hughly claims to be very religious, I would guess of the Baptist persuasion, at least. Otherwise, I’m sure it’s some sort of protestantism. I’m quite sure Kingston is some sort of protestant evangelical. The only people I know who don’t believe in evolution are always some sort of protestant. As a person who grew up Catholic and is now, thankfully, an atheist, I just have to say that any religion more fucked up than Catholicism has to be really, really, really fucked up. And not believing in evolution qualifies in my mind.

  17. 17
    cleek says:

    @MattR:
    nah. consider it a trap. if a person can’t handle 8th grade algebra, he/she has no business pretending to understand economics.

  18. 18
    scarshapedstar says:

    Here’s some nice ‘reasonable’ conservative responses:

    1) I believe in ‘adaptation’, but I think Darwin got some stuff wrong; couldn’t tell you what it was, but I heard somebody say that.

    2) The jury is still out… and it always will be.

  19. 19
    Mary G says:

    I read the League (some of them anyway) but I don’t comment. I believe in both Jesus and evolution and I know the planet is hotter than it was 30 years ago because a) I can feel it and b) there are these things called thermometers).

    I really don’t get why Christianists can’t believe that God created evolution – it doesn’t have to be either creationism or Darwin – God could have made Darwin for the purpose of explaining his scheme of things in the biological world because the Bible got it wrong and he wanted us to know.

    Charles Johnson and David Frum come to mind, possibly Larison as conservatives that probably believe, but of course they aren’t “Real” Americans as defined by the right.

  20. 20
    pookapooka says:

    #2 Warming up ?? Sure — itʻs just a natural phenomenon — nothing to do with uku-billion people using the planet as a cesspool ….

  21. 21
    WyldPirate says:

    I’m not sure how to go about doing this, but I’m trying to get as many people who write or comment there and on other conservative blogs to answer the following two questions:

    1) Do you believe in evolution?

    2) Do you believe that the average temperature on earth has increased over the past 30 years?

    The historical tendency to phrase the first question as a “belief” (and the same with the second, though it is less pronounced) has always bothered me. I know your phrasing of the question is simply a shorthand way of asking the question, but I’ve always thought that it better to ask if one “…accept(s) the evidence supporting the theory of biological evolution”.

    Nitpicky, I know, but it really seems to be a better way to phrase the question as it takes the “belief” outside of the realm of “faith”. Also, most folks can’t tell you anything about what a scientific theory is or how it differs from a layperson’s idea of what a “theory” is. But in asking this way, you get the puzzlement of the person asking as well because many cannot even begin to describe any of the evidence supporting the theory of biological evolution.

    ETA: to fix blockquote fail. FYWP!

  22. 22
    Turbulence says:

    I’d also add:

    3. Do you reject the League of the South?

    But that would eliminate Larison and we can’t have that.

  23. 23
    scarshapedstar says:

    @WyldPirate:

    Testing, testing
    __
    1,2,3?

    Trick is to add a double underscore __ at the start of the blank line in between.

  24. 24
    MattF says:

    I think ‘Do you believe in evolution?’ sort of misses the point. Better would be a pointed and progressive series of questions like ‘What is the age of the Earth?’, ‘Do you think living organisms have changed over geological time?’, ‘Do you think the mechanism of these long-term changes is natural selection?’

  25. 25

    1) Real Americans call it The Invisible Hand of Jesus.

    2) Is Al Gore still eating Bacon Double Cheeseburgers and flying on private jets?

  26. 26
    cleek says:

    @WyldPirate:

    I’ve always thought that it better to ask if one “…accept(s) the evidence supporting the theory of biological evolution”.

    ‘accept’ seems troubling, to me. with Christians, ‘accept’ often precedes “…Jesus into your heart”. which is an act of faith.

    not sure what a better alternative is…

  27. 27
    Mary G says:

    @geg6: I saw that, too, and the look on Bill Maher’s face when D.L. Hughley said he didn’t believe in evolution was priceless.

    Also, too, a prior show where John Fund, I think it was, some Wall Street wingnut anyway, was giving the usual “let them eat cake” answer about cutting welfare or rich people’s taxes or whatever and Bill Maher said something like “Jeez, dude, at some point the poors are going to be coming for you if we keep squeezing them” and the guy just blew it off. I wonder if events in Egypt have sunk in to these jerks at all? It could happen here.

  28. 28
    WyldPirate says:

    @Dexter: That’s a kick ass example of evolution, Dexter. One of my favorites.

    Too often, the ridiculous “deniers” will pooh-pooh it as simply “microevolution”, though. Most are too stupid to realize that the same sort of steps happened in a way as to cause the development of structural features rather than a metabolic pathway.

  29. 29
    Shoemaker-Levy 9 says:

    You’re not really asking me but I’ll answer anyway:

    1) Do you believe in evolution?

    No. Belief is a religious activity and evolution is not a religion.

    2) Do you believe that the average temperature on earth has increased over the past 30 years?

    See answer to #1.

  30. 30
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @geg6:

    I thought Larison is Catholic.

    IIRC Larison’s faith is Eastern Orthodox, not Roman Catholic.

  31. 31
    Allan says:

    @dmsilev: That was very satisfying. And the PSes were maraschino cherries on top of a hot-fudge sundae of smackdown. Thanks for sharing.

  32. 32
    MattR says:

    @cleek: Eh. I am pretty sure I did not know what a derivative was in the 8th grade.

  33. 33
    Poopyman says:

    @scarshapedstar: On blockquotes:

    Trick is to add a double underscore at the start of the blank line in between.

    Also, if you copy and paste formatted text it is useful to delete “spaces” between lines as it often contains control characters that break the blockquote.

  34. 34
    Mary G says:

    LGF has a post on this today: Only 28 percent of US biology teachers teach evolution. THIRTEEN percent teach creationism. Dog help us all.

    ETA: He subtitles it “America’s Disgrace.” Of developed nations, the US is next to last just ahead of Turkey.

  35. 35
    GregB says:

    I have had an ongoing online debate with a conservative friend. He simply insists that the vast majority of scientists have concluded that human caused global climate change is a hoax. He cites a letter by 600 scientists stating as much as well as his repeated claims that “e-mail gate” finished off any credibility of the global warming hoaxers.

    That and his comments about how much snow he’s shoveling in Maryland.

    Then again he cited a CNN/AP poll that put President Obama at 38% approval. Of course when I checked the most recdent CNN(released that Friday of our dispute) it indicated a 53% approval for President Obama.

    He then became enraged after I repeatedly asked him for a link to his bogus stats and stated that “we won in November and that’s all that matters, the people have spoken”…Then he stated that the only thing I wanted was for him to say I was right…I asked him for a link again but have never had a reply.

    There is no reasoning with the unreasonable.

  36. 36
    WyldPirate says:

    @cleek:

    ‘accept’ seems troubling, to me. with Christians, ‘accept’ often precedes “…Jesus into your heart”. which is an act of faith.

    Good point, cleek. I hadn’t thought of it that way. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been straddling the agnosticism/atheism fence for so long.

    @scarshapedstar: Thanks for the tip!

  37. 37
    geg6 says:

    @Turbulence:

    Heh. Yeah, the whole “Larison is a reasonable conservative” bullshit gets tossed out the window with the League of the South. Fucking racist mother fucker, is all Larison is. In other words, no different from most other GOPers, fundies, or Teatards.

  38. 38
    cleek says:

    @MattR:
    hah. i actually did dumb down that second question, almost immediately after posting it. didn’t know you were talking about the first version. it’s about “Y intercept” now, not derivatives. :)

  39. 39
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    I just checked “League of Ordinary Gentlemen” and the first post was titled “Do Democracies Fight?”. Sorry, they either are very stupid people or they don’t think the U.S. is a democracy.

  40. 40
    Cydney says:

    How do you interpret the idea o the separation of church and state?

  41. 41
  42. 42
    RosiesDad says:

    @Mary G:

    I saw that, too, and the look on Bill Maher’s face when D.L. Hughley said he didn’t believe in evolution was priceless.

    I thought the teeth were going to drop out of Maher’s face. I was astonished. DL has always seemed like a thoughtful guy when he was on Real Time and science is, well, science.

    I also thought it was kind of hysterical when Kingston said that he thought that the problem is that the debate interjects too much politics and that both sides ought to just concentrate on the science. I think Kim Campbell came close to falling out of her chair when he said this.

    As Neil DeGrasse Tyson has brilliantly stated, “The great thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe it.”

  43. 43
    Redshift says:

    @WyldPirate: I agree, “do you believe in evolution” always bugs me. I usually go with “do you accept that there is overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution?”

    Similarly, for the climate change question, I’d ask “do you accept that the average temperature of the Earth has increased over the past thirty years, and that human activity is a major cause of that increase?”

    That gets you through the first two stages of denialism, “it isn’t happening” and “it’s happening but it might be natural variation,” though you still may hit the later stage of “no one really knows how bad it will be, and it will be economically disastrous to deal with it.” (I’m always amused at denial that treats climate science as “uncertain” but the predictions of their favorite economist as absolutely certain.)

  44. 44
    gwangung says:

    I have had an ongoing online debate with a conservative friend. He simply insists that the vast majority of scientists have concluded that human caused global climate change is a hoax. He cites a letter by 600 scientists stating as much as well as his repeated claims that “e-mail gate” finished off any credibility of the global warming hoaxers.

    If this is anything like the 600 scientists who doubt evolution, I bet you’ll find engineers, science teachers and anybody EXCEPT climate scientists on that list. (As well as one or two who’ll say “Why the hell are you saying I;m denying climate change??? I don’t and GET ME OFF THE LIST.”

  45. 45
    Loneoak says:

    @Shoemaker-Levy 9:

    Meh. You believe all sorts of things about evolution and global warming that you have no specific empirical evidence for. Or at least I do. I have a strong commitment to the methods and institutions of science, but I certainly don’t pretend that I have hunted down every single study to support what I believe about evolution and global warming.

    We are humans after all, and our tiny brain pans limit our knowledge mightily. That’s why we are social, have the Intertubes, build institutions of mutual trust, etc. Conservatives these days tend not to trust those things and so rely on only their very tiny brain pans.

  46. 46
    pragmatism says:

    what i have found in asking questions like that is that wingnuts have internalized the GOPAC tactics. they’ll pivot, project their indadequacies on you personally or libruls and walk away feeling like they showed you. responses to your 2 questions: 1. god fills in the gaps. 2. 30 year time frame is not proper.

  47. 47
    geg6 says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Well, not much difference between the two, really. I know lots of Eastern Orthodox and don’t know any of them that don’t believe in evolution. But they are all gigantically racist assholes, so that makes sense.

  48. 48
    Rick Taylor says:

    Do you believe in evolution?

    __
    I’m a liberal and a scientific sort, but this phrasing makes me feel uncomfortable. Scientific theories offer frameworks for interpreting our experience and they can be more or less successful, but I don’t think in terms of believing in General Relativity, for example.

    Also, evolution is such a broad word that could refer to so much, I’d prefer something more specific: do you believe that human beings have a common ancestor with the other primates, for example.

  49. 49
    New Yorker says:

    1) Do you believe in evolution?

    2) Do you believe that the average temperature on earth has increased over the past 30 years?

    Interesting that you bring these two questions up, since Paul Krugman had a blog post today suggesting that if scientists trend liberal, it’s because they want nothing to do with a political movement that rejects these established scientific facts.

    I feel like that too sometimes. I’m a liberal for many reasons, but not the least of which is the rejection of reason and evidence in the decision-making processes on the right.

  50. 50
    Napoleon says:

    Maybe someone covered this upthread but I thought average temp has been rising since around the American Civil War.

  51. 51
    Elizabelle says:

    @Mary G:

    Novel approach to defending Darwin, and it might work with a conservative who listens.

    (Small class, but they are out there.)

  52. 52
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @cleek: I remember when I took a macroeconomics course in college, my professor mixed up the axes of the Laffer curve graph. I hope, both for the sake of the answer to your question and the respect of algebra in general, that this isn’t common practice among economists.

  53. 53
    gex says:

    The conservative population has people who believe in the conservative platform not because they’ve examined the ideas but because they belong to the tribe. Being wishy-washy on evolution is exactly what’s expected. And on climate change. Basically we can’t know anything except for what our preachers (be they religious of economic) tell us.

  54. 54
    cleek says:

    @Napoleon:
    it has. but the rate of increase has increased recently.

  55. 55
    eric says:

    @dmsilev: *golf clap* bravo

  56. 56
    NickM says:

    @dmsilev: Thanks for that link – that was a wonderful smackdown.

  57. 57

    Try HumanEvents.com where their lead article is by Robert Spencer reporting on Obama’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    That seems like a totally rational web site to read from.

  58. 58
    trollhattan says:

    @Mary G:

    Gawd yeah, that Fund guy is a piece of…work. Maher brought up Clarance Thomas’ not reporting wifezilla’s political activities and income for several years running, and Fund reached into the talking points file, launching into a tortured false equivalancy about a 9th Circuit judge with a husband who…shock and horrorz…works for/with the ACLU.

    Yeah, it’s just like that.

    Maher, who disappoints/infuriates me at least 50% of the time didn’t raise even a feeble objection, beginning with, “What’s wrong with the ACLU?” Would have been a good time to mention the ACLU has often defended wingers’ rights to protest in public.

    Another moment lost.

  59. 59
    MagicPanda says:

    @Mary G said

    I really don’t get why Christianists can’t believe that God created evolution

    I have to say that I’m sympathetic to those people who don’t want to believe in evolution. I don’t agree with them, but I’m sympathetic to them.

    For starters, let’s just state that the world is an amazing place. Agreed?

    Before evolution, if someone were to ask you, “is there a god?” it would be quite reasonable to say, “well, looking at the world around me, there are so many marvelous things that I HAVE to believe that someone created it all. It couldn’t have just popped up out of nowhere, right?”

    But the theory of natural selection changes all that. It explains how something as complicated as the ecosystem in which we live could have been created without a creator. And for some people, that’s just something they don’t like thinking about.

    To my way of thinking, that’s just as amazing and beautiful. But to others, there is a nihilistic quality to this explanation. It’s like saying that there is no meaning to the way that things are, and that everything is “just an accident”. Why are we here? Because God has a plan, or because of random genetic mutations plus a lot of animals killing each other?

    It’s like watching someone explain a magic trick. Yes, it’s intellectually interesting, but there is a sense in which you kind of don’t want to know how it works.

  60. 60
    trollhattan says:

    @BGinCHI:

    “Is your new TV sitting on top of your old TV?”

    I’m so stealing this.

  61. 61
    Redshift says:

    @cleek: I think “accept the evidence” separates it sufficiently from the “accept Jesus” language, but that did occur to me as well. Trying to avoid that and keep it from getting ridiculously wordy is tricky.

    Maybe “do you agree that there is overwhelming evidence that evolution explains the development of biological species?”

    You may still get arguments of the type “it doesn’t explain every detail,” but that’s much better ground to be arguing on. (The proper answer is that a valid scientific theory must be testable and not be contradicted by evidence, not that it has to explain everything.)

  62. 62
    Loneoak says:

    @New Yorker:

    suggesting that if scientists trend liberal, it’s because they want nothing to do with a political movement that rejects these established scientific facts.

    I know a very high ranking scientist at the NIH who was a moderate Republican for most of his life, and so was chosen by W et al. to be an admin in charge of stem cell research. He actually advised/educated the President and Rove personally on a few occasions, and said that Rove is a repellent monster who only wanted to know about the politics of stem cells and not the science.

    He voted for Obama and changed his voter registration.

  63. 63
    Another Commenter at Balloon Juice (fka Bella Q) says:

    The “belief” and “accept” stuff gives me some pause as well. Perhaps “acknowledge” or “recognize” could avoid the connotations of faith or religious terms of art.

  64. 64
    Svensker says:

    @geg6:

    Excuse me? All Eastern Orthodox are huge racist assholes? Wow.

  65. 65
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Larison is the kind of Orthodox convert (I was one too at one time) who…delves deeply into Byzantine (literally, as in Byzantine Orthodox Christianity) metaphysical mumbo jumbo to find answers to serious questions. More likely, if you asked him, he’d answer “St. Maximus the Confessor blah blah de fucking dah…” and we’d be like “WTF?”

  66. 66
    Mark S. says:

    I don’t read either of those places enough to know where they come down on climate change, but I would be shocked if they don’t believe in evolution.

  67. 67
    GeneJockey says:

    @cleek:

    2. what is the Y intercept of the Laffer curve?

    Based on what I know of Conservatives, most believe that it’s infinity.

  68. 68

    Thanks

    And, semantic bullshit aside,

    1) Yes
    2) Yes

    Expanding

    1) I’m an atheist, so this isn’t really an issue for me.

    2) I don’t think there’s any doubt about this among educated people. Anticipating the follow-up, it seems reasonable that at least some of the warming is attributable to humankind and our altering of our habitat through technology.

    Where we may or may not differ is on what to do about 2).

  69. 69
    fasteddie9318® says:

    @Mary G:

    I really don’t get why Christianists can’t believe that God created evolution

    How is that different from Intelligent Design?

  70. 70
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Svensker:

    Ask Serbs what they think of Croats or Bosnian Muslims.

  71. 71
    Redshift says:

    @trollhattan: Well, the problem with using the moment for that purpose is that IIRC Fund wasn’t specifically saying the ACLU was bad, he was just using it as a liberal buzzword in a “both sides do it” argument.

    What I would have preferred is for Maher (or someone) to come back with “Really? What’s his name?” Fund is a professional liar; I’d be willing to bet that the whole story of “a California judge whose wife is the head of the state ACLU but who has heard fifty cases involving the ACLU without recusing himself” is just one of those wingnut urban legends (if it wasn’t made up by Fund on the spot), and is completely false.

  72. 72
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @fasteddie9318®: Intelligent Design is creationism for people with PhDs in engineering.

    Creationism is creationism for people with BS’s in engineering :)

  73. 73
    MikeJ says:

    @MagicPanda:

    But the theory of natural selection changes all that. It explains how something as complicated as the ecosystem in which we live could have been created without a creator. And for some people, that’s just something they don’t like thinking about.

    And I always find it hilarious that the phrase “big bang” was created by a fundamentalist atheist who looked at it and thought it proved the existence of God, therefore must be false.

  74. 74
    Raenelle says:

    These have been my baseline questions for talking to anyone for over two decades. A yes to either means I don’t waste my time.

    (1) Is homosexuality a moral issue?

    (2) Did Gandhi go to hell because he didn’t accept Jesus as his personal savior?

  75. 75
    WyldPirate says:

    @dmsilev: Thanks for posting that smackdown, dmsilev. It had to have left some marks and I’m really surprised that the buffoons at Conservepedia posted it.

  76. 76
    Elvis Elvisberg says:

    Apologies if this has already been linked here, but I don’t see it at a glance. About 20 conservative intellectuals, asked about evolution in 2005.

  77. 77
    Svensker says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    Not saying there aren’t racist assholes in any religion, particularly in a country that has recently fought a religious war. But as someone who is very involved in the Orthodox community, I’m a bit taken aback by that blanket statement.

    What would happen if you asked Bosnian Muslims about Serbs?

  78. 78
    Irish Rose says:

    Try Rick Moran over at Right Wing Nut House. Little Green Footballs is also a good source.

  79. 79
    kt says:

    A better question would be to ask them if they believe in DNA. If they do, ask them how we share 99 percent of our DNA with chimps without evolion

  80. 80
    El Cid says:

    Maybe the world has changed too much due to the largest mobilization of humans in all of recorded human history, the Tea Parties.

    But in the May 2007 Republican debate for the GOP’s nominee for President, McCain was asked a question from Politico’s top-voted online question, “Do you believe in evolution?” He said yes. Quickly. To a yes or no question. Yes. That was it.

    “How many of you do not believe in evolution?” the rest were asked. Only 3 rejected evolution. 3 out of 10 Republicans. 7 out of 10 Republicans went on record as accepting (‘believing in’) evolution.

    This was a public show of hands. You can’t much hide that. Right after the hand raising, McCain added a bit about God and the Grand Canyon and sunsets.

    Those present who rejected evolution (i.e., raised their hands) were Huckabee, Tancredo, and Brownback.

    Those who didn’t raise their hands (i.e., accepting the science of evolution) after McCain’s direct question and answer were Giuliani, Romney, Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, Jim Gilmore, and Tommy Thompson.

    Would it be the same today? I honestly don’t know. I’m thinking less that such people as Romney would change their minds (possible, yes) as it would be that there were a lot more candidates in the mold [sic] of Huckabee and Tancredo, though it’s possible that these days a Huckabee is just too moderate and reasonable.

  81. 81
    flounder says:

    In order to appeal to free market principles, I like the temperature question framed the following way:
    If you had to put money on the temperature of the Earth like it was a stock, would you be short or long?

  82. 82
    gwangung says:

    Where we may or may not differ is on what to do about 2).

    And I have very few problems with debates about that with conservatives. It’s an area where there are multiple solutions with unknown degrees of correctness. My stand could very well be wrong.

    But evolution? Please. What don’t you get about laboratory demonstrated experiments?

  83. 83
    hilts says:

    OT

    Rep. John Kline sponsors legislation to reaffirm ‘In God We Trust’
    “Whereas in times of national challenge or tragedy, the people of the United States have turned to God as their source for sustenance, protection, wisdom, strength, and direction”
    Yadda, Yadda, Yadda
    “Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress reaffirms `In God We Trust’ as the official motto of the United States and supports and encourages the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions.”

    h/t http://www.americanindependent.....t%e2%80%99

  84. 84
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Svensker:
    I’m used to American Orthodox converts (and I was *really* involved for a time as well) for some strange reason…always taking the side of Serbia (and Russia!) when it comes to Eastern European squabbling. I always found it hard to believe. God is impartial when it comes to nationalistic squabbling, except when its a traditionally Orthodox country.

    Besides, I think its pretty obvious by any metric that the Serbs fucked over the Bosnian Muslims a lot more than vice versa.

  85. 85
    trollhattan says:

    @Raenelle:

    (2) Did Gandhi go to hell because he didn’t accept Jesus as his personal savior?

    A: Ghandi went to hell because he fought colonialism, which had India operating as God intended. Also, too, he was the original DFH.

  86. 86
    trollhattan says:

    @Redshift:

    You’re probably right. I was just burning while watching and Fund has one of those faces that simply begs for the Edward G. Robinson half-grapefruit treatment.

  87. 87
    Annelid Gustator says:

    I hate the “Do you believe in evolution?” question because it uses the same rhetoric as “…in Jesus Christ our Lord and savior,” and opens the door to crap like “Dawinist” or “Darwinism,” which is a slimy load of bullspit. I believe that there is sufficent evidence supporting the operation of natural selection through random variation. I believe the quantity and quality of that evidence is such that only accepting *that* hypothesis is rational.

  88. 88
    MikeJ says:

    @flounder:

    If you had to put money on the temperature of the Earth like it was a stock, would you be short or long?

    What if the person you’re asking invested in pets.com?

  89. 89
    Violet says:

    I’m trying to get as many people who write or comment there and on other conservative blogs to answer the following two questions:

    Are you going to have a follow up post where you link their responses? I’d love to see the results.

  90. 90
    kdaug says:

    @Raenelle:

    Did Gandhi go to hell because he didn’t accept Jesus as his personal savior?

    Did all the people who lived before Jesus go to hell? There’s at least, what, 4000 years of people before then, right?

    Abraham? Moses? Joshua? Job?

    Frickin’ Adam and Eve?

    All burning in hell?

  91. 91
    JD_PhD says:

    Not a fan of the belief language, but it serves the purpose. Nevertheless:

    1. Is evolution a credible theory?
    2. Is the age of the earth to be measured in thousands, millions or billions of years?
    3. Has the average temperature of the earth increased over the past few decades because of human activity?

  92. 92
    Shoemaker-Levy 9 says:

    @Loneoak:

    You believe all sorts of things about evolution and global warming that you have no specific empirical evidence for.

    No, actually, I don’t.

    The most important thing to remember about this debate is that when most Christians use “believe” or “belief” they are using the terms in a technical sense. When those same terms are transferred to the evolution debate without noting the change in sense you are not only ceding ground in the debate you are obfuscating some core issues to the detriment of both sides.

  93. 93
    kdaug says:

    @trollhattan:

    Also, too, he was the original DFH.

    I thought that was Jesus…

  94. 94
    cleek says:

    @kdaug:
    curious, i googled for the answers… and now i’m even more convinced that not believing in the bible is the right thing to do.

    wow. there’s enough crazy thinking around those questions to make a thousands PUMA blog seem sane.

  95. 95
    Simon K says:

    Doug, do you realize how ridiculous this sounds? Its analogous to my making a big deal about asking you if you believe that Stalin was a bad man, or that North Korea is not in fact a socialist paradise. Its a completely tone deaf presumption that your reasonable opponents must agree with your most unreasonable opponents just because they disagree with you.

  96. 96
    Ron says:

    @MattR: You don’t need to know what a derivative is to know what a Y-intercept is.

  97. 97
    Triassic Sands says:

    Instead of asking if people “believe” in evolution, ask them if they believe or accept that human beings and chimpanzees had a common ancestor. My guess is the most common answer you’ll get is something along the lines of “We didn’t come from no monkeys.”

    I’m afraid it is too late for the US. We have a critical mass of stupid people now — so many that there is no obvious way to turn the tide. Today’s new teachers are the products of yesterday’s failed schools. Is it reasonable to expect them to have high (or any) standards?

    I taught in southern New Mexico for a while and the situation was horrendous. The principal of the Junior HS grew up and graduated from high school in the same town, went to a nearby fourth or fifth tier state school, and returned home to fill one of the town’s best paid and most respected positions — school principal. His standards were appalling, but he figured that since he was obviously a huge success, his education must have been excellent. So, he applied the same standards that had made him a poorly educated dolt to his school, which was an abysmal failure. But it was New Mexico and that same principal received state principal of the year honors — not long before his school was recognized as failing.

    In that school, more than 2/3 of the students were eligible for free or reduced price meals and a whopping 3/4 were on the honor roll. Now, how meaningful can an honor roll be if 3/4 of the school’s students are on it? When I first started teaching there, I took over four 9th grade honors history classes in which students had been able to bake cookies for extra credit for the previous teacher. The standards were so low it made me weep, but there was also no interest in raising those standards…no matter how gradually. Needless to say, parents who didn’t want their kids exposed to evolution instruction in the classroom could simply sign a release form and their kids were protected from being exposed to the most important idea in the history of biology.

  98. 98

    […] DougJ has been “trying to read some conservative blogs this year,” including this one, and is, “trying to get as many people who write or comment there and on other conservative blogs to answer the following two questions: 1) Do you believe in evolution? […]

  99. 99
    Teri says:

    As a Catholic, I believe that God created the world. As Catholic educated by Jesuits, I believe that we are discovering more about the workings of God through understanding science. My belief is that we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27
    So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them) and that by examining His creations we can expand our understanding of Him. So I believe that the Theory of Evolution is a way of explaining the process in which we were created.
    2. I do strongly believe that the Earth has gotten warmer over the past thirty years. I believe in that the results of our industrial revolution has changed our atmosphere and is changing our world.
    We were given care over the world and it up to our responsible stewardship to care for it and not to destroy the gift we were given.

    So a view from a conservative who gets to go and shovel snow off her roof before it destroys the gutters.

  100. 100
    DougJ® says:

    @James Joyner:

    Thanks. What do the other OTB people think?

  101. 101
    MikeJ says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    My guess is the most common answer you’ll get is something along the lines of “We didn’t come from no monkeys.”

    And not just among republicans, sadly. Religious belief has already been tied to the argument about evolution in this country. It would be nice if they weren’t tied, but they are. That being the case, you shouldn’t ask people to choose between their god and their political party, at least if you want the political party to survive. Yes, it will be full of smarter people, but we’ll be in a definite minority.

    None of this means that we shouldn’t fight to keep real science in schools, but it shouldn’t be the defining thing about our party.

  102. 102
    David Fud says:

    @dmsilev: Wow, I read it all. AMAZING! That is all.

  103. 103
    kdaug says:

    @Triassic Sands: That is some depressing shit.

    How did it come to this?

    Perhaps the more pertinent question is “Do you accept devolution?”

  104. 104
    joes527 says:

    @JD_PhD:

    3. Has the average temperature of the earth increased over the past few decades because of human activity?

    Too little data to answer.

    There is data that shows that the average temperature of the earth increased over the past few decades, and there are hypotheses that say human activity is the cause But the dataset is way way way too small to go beyond terms like: “is consistent with” or “suggests” when talking about cause and effect.

    You could ask whether we should act now based on the currently available information. And if so, what should we do? But these are political questions, not scientific questions.

  105. 105
    CB says:

    larison, obviously, is a great writer who is deeply consistent and respectable. on the whole, american conservative magazine is pretty decent too. once you come to terms with the fact that they offer pat buchanan column space.

  106. 106
    Tonal Crow says:

    1) Do you believe in evolution? 2) Do you believe that the average temperature on earth has increased over the past 30 years?

    The question should not be whether a person believes these facts, but whether she accepts them. To ask the question in terms of belief is to implicitly transmute questions of fact into questions of purely subjective personal opinion (such as whether one believes that Domino’s pizza is inferior to Round Table’s pizza). As such, it cedes important ground to the reality-redefiners that run the American right.

    Shorter: it can’t be said enough that terminology is important. Don’t forget the lesson of “Death Panels”.

    P.S. “average temperature on earth” should read “average temperature of earth”.

  107. 107
    Efroh says:

    Greek Orthodox Atheist here (baptised as an infant, I’ve grown up culturally in the Orthodox church, but I’ve been an atheist since my teen years). Unfortunately, in my experience, non-ethnic Orthodox converts (particularly from Catholicism and Evangelical Protestantism) whom I’ve met personally have been, bar none, insufferable. Think Rod Dreher and you’ll know the personality type I’m talking about. They exude “holier-than-thou” from every pore and seek out the most hidebound and conservative approaches to every topic, regardless of whether these approaches actually make sense in the modern age, because these are the Traditional way the Orthodox church has done things. (And if it’s Traditional it must be right!)

    They are obsessed with ritual and form over substance and are also curiously insecure (because they think ethnic Orthodox are looking down on them as converts, perhaps? Not quite sure, really.). I’ve basically stopped going to my local Greek Orthodox church (even though I love language of the the Byzantine liturgy) because the converts have made it such an unpleasant experience.

  108. 108
    MikeJ says:

    @joes527: Even if humans haven’t caused climate change, should we do what we can to minimize negative impacts?

  109. 109
    dr. luba says:

    @GregB:

    There is no reasoning with the unreasonable.

    That.

    Lord knows I’ve tried, but it’s not worth the effort. Why is it that people who would never argue with an architect about load-bearing walls or with an engineer about how an engine works seem to feel they are fully qualified to argue about evolutionary biology or climate change, subject which they also know absolutely nothing about?

    Seriously. I mean it. Why?

  110. 110
    TheColourfield says:

    Joyner can be just as wingnutty as the rest of the wingers. Mataconis is kind of the same. Knapp and Taylor are both pretty good and Dodd is a drooling moron.

    They’re kind of my go to site for “reasonable conservatives” and quite a few of the commentators are good.

  111. 111
    kdaug says:

    @MikeJ:

    Religious belief has already been tied to the argument about evolution in this country.

    No, mate, remember our origins. This country was founded by religious nutjobs, too crazy for their home countries and exiled, and who promptly set about burning people at the stake and slaughtering heathens.

    Religious belief has been tied to every argument about every issue in this country since it was formed. It is the original strain.

    Waxes, wanes, but ever present. The best you can hope for is to keep it in check.

  112. 112
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Efroh:

    Well, I’m not gonna defend ethnic bullshittery in Europe, but converts like Dreher (and Larison, really-he belongs to ROCOR, and typically ROCOR converts tend to be all holier than thou and adopt Russian culture as their own) really do give Orthodoxy a bad name.

  113. 113
    Tonal Crow says:

    @joes527:

    There is data that shows that the average temperature of the earth increased over the past few decades, and there are hypotheses that say human activity is the cause[.] But the dataset is way way way too small to go beyond terms like: “is consistent with” or “suggests” when talking about cause and effect.

    Sentence 2 is just wrong. IPCC AR4, summarizing the state of the science as of 2007, says:

    Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations.[7]….During the past 50 years, the sum of solar and volcanic forcings would likely have produced cooling. Observed patterns of warming and their changes are simulated only by models that include anthropogenic forcings.

    Please point to the peer-reviewed science that supports your sentence 2.

  114. 114
    dr. luba says:

    @kdaug: I had this discussion with an Aussie friend of mine recently. He’s a fellow atheist, and can’t believe the level of religious nuttery in America. We decided it’s because, sadly, the US got the religious crazies, while Australia lucked out and got the criminals

  115. 115
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937: Well, the latter assumption would indicate they actually understand the US pretty well.

    How many people have been disenfranchised by your justice system again?

  116. 116
    dr. luba says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    converts like Dreher (and Larison, really-he belongs to ROCOR, and typically ROCOR converts tend to be all holier than thou and adopt Russian culture as their own) really do give Orthodoxy a bad name.

    I grew up in the orthodox tradition, and we never had a problem with religious crazies wrt abortion, evolution or the like. But then, most of the orthodox I know are neither Russian nor horribly religious.

  117. 117
    geg6 says:

    @Svensker:

    No, just the ones I know. Serbs, for the most part. And they are viciously racist.

  118. 118
    rickstersherpa says:

    I have problem with how you phrase the question by asking “do you believe in evolution.” I think you are trying to say “do you accept the fact of evolution.” When we start talking about “believing,” we are talking about either an educated opinion or a matter of faith, not something that is so overwhelmingly established by evidence and reason that one has to be willfully obtuse to reject it as a fact.

    By the way, another very common place example of why Natural Selection explains the natural world so much better than “Intelligent Design” is the success of invasive species. If a designer had designed all species to be best fitted for a particular environment, than invasive species would not be successful; they would die out for not being able to fit in with the already perfected creation. But of course invasive species often thrive (Kudzu, lamprey eel, and my particular bane, the Japanese Beetle to name a few of the miscreants) in the new enviroment where chance and human accident have flung them. http://e360.yale.edu/feature/c.....cies/2212/

  119. 119
    dr. luba says:

    I suggest a simpler question: “Do you believe the earth circles the sun?” According to studies I’ve read (but can never locate when I need them), only some 80-90% of Americans have accepted heliocentrism.

  120. 120
    North says:

    Hello Balloon Juicers. One of the League notables has answered DougJ’s inquiries. Just thought you’d like to know, maybe get an update in the original post.

    http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/.....servative/

  121. 121
    joes527 says:

    @MikeJ:

    Even if humans haven’t caused climate change, should we do what we can to minimize negative impacts?

    Is that a question to me or an improved question for conservobloggers?

    My (politically, not scientifically based) opinion is that the current state of knowledge about
    a) the potential impact of continued change and
    b) the possibility that human actions play a role in the changes
    while not perfect, justify taking on some cost to try to reduce human impact.

    I’m enthused about conservation because it is my (non scientific) belief that conservation is a win-win (creates jobs, makes the world a nicer place to do things like breathe and eat, etc.)

    I’m cautiously interested in alternative energy (but we need to be careful that we aren’t kidding ourselves and just moving costs around (I’m looking at you ethanol)) We need to be honest about the costs of alternative energy production. (windmills are really cool, but really shitty to live near.) But again, alternative energy, like conservation has the potential to create jobs, so it can be a win win. We just need to watch the account books carefully and not kid ourselves when something that we thought would be a big win turns out to be not so much.

    I’m outright frightened by discussion of seeding the atmosphere with chemicals and other more active schemes. The unknown unknowns seem too great and unintended consequences could be even works than the potential for continued warming.

    But all of these are opinions with room for reasonable people to disagree.

  122. 122

    I’ve been shunned as a liberal traitor by conservoblogs since 2003, so take this for what you will:

    1. Would depend on what you mean. Adaptation? Sure. Absolutely.

    The inter-species evolution, I’m a bit more dodgy on. I think it’s more than likely that the universe is an old one. But I frankly have no idea regarding the methods by which life came to be.

    Ultimately, I would probably fall into a theistic evolution camp.

    2. Yes. And even if human activity had no ultimate affect on climate (which is dubious), improving our overall energy conservation, switching to more green energy, and moving away from fossil fuels will benefit us in the long run anyway leaving a better world behind for our kids.

    The devil is in the details of the policies we adopt to get there, and making sure the poor still have heat in the winter.

  123. 123
    kdaug says:

    @dr. luba:

    the US got the religious crazies, while Australia lucked out and got the criminals

    Yurp. There’s a reason that for a long period of time in our history, it was considered taboo to speak of religion or politics in polite company.

    That’s ’cause most people were armed.

  124. 124
    joes527 says:

    @Tonal Crow: OK. You got me. Change my list of weasel words to: “is consistent with” or “suggests” or “very likely”

    The quote you quoted is a hypothesis, not a conclusion.

  125. 125
    Redshift says:

    @James Joyner: Hey, as long as you don’t believe climate change is all a plot by liberals to justify increased regulation or government ‘control’ of business, we have a basis for discussion.

  126. 126
    toujoursdan says:

    Heck, we have right wingers who now say that Native Americans were too morally bankrupt to own North America.

    American Family Association: Bryan Fischer: Native Americans morally disqualified themselves from the land – RIGHTLYCONCERNED.COM

    Every time I think the right wing has reached a new low, they limbo lower.

  127. 127
    Efroh says:

    Well, I only really have interacted with Greek Orthodox from Greece, not other ethnicities/countries. Those I’ve known personally are not particularly fond of Albanians, Roma, Macedonians (sorry, FYROM), or other economic migrants from Eastern Europe/Turkey/North Africa, because of the pressure these migrants put on jobs/services. But I haven’t seen (personally at least) anything on the level of “let’s kick them out/they should go home!” from the people I know (although I know the attitude exists in Greece). The racism, such as I’ve seen, is not based on religion or ethnicity per se, but economic competition (e.g., “they’re taking our jobs”).

  128. 128
    Nerull says:

    @Simon K: Because there is no pattern of climate change denial among conservatives. Nope. None at all.

    It’s a hell of a lot worse than the “most unreasonable”.

  129. 129
    Nerull says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    And what would you say about ring species?

    ‘Adaptation’ is a weasel word. It’s a way of talking about evolution without saying evolution. The mechanism is exactly the same – the only difference is time.

  130. 130
    Bulworth says:

    “2) Do you believe that the average temperature on earth has increased over the past 30 years?”

    2) Do you believe that the average temperature on earth has increased over the past 30 years (Show your work–snow anecdotes not acceptable).

    Fixed.

  131. 131
    Tonal Crow says:

    @joes527:

    @Tonal Crow: OK. You got me. Change my list of weasel words to: “is consistent with” or “suggests” or “very likely” [.]The quote you quoted is a hypothesis, not a conclusion.

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at by attempting to distinguish between “hypothesis” and “conclusion”. Certainly anthropogenic climate change is a hypothesis in the scientific sense, but it is also one that is very well founded. Further, alternative hypotheses (solar changes, etc.) have consistently failed to account for (among other things) (1) increases in earth’s average temperature since ~1960; (2) increases in nighttime lows; and (3) increases in sea level since ~1960.

    And the data since AR4 (which I quoted) has become even more supportive of the AGW hypothesis.

    Once again, if you have peer-reviewed science to support

    But the dataset is way way way too small to go beyond terms like: “is consistent with” or “suggests” when talking about cause and effect [between human carbon emissions and rising average global temperatures].

    produce it.

    Meanwhile, you might try reading On Attribution for a readable discussion of how we determine what’s changing our climate.

  132. 132
    Chris says:

    Playing catch-up. I’m with the person way upthread who also didn’t like “do you accept” because it rings bells of “do you accept Jesus” and all that religiousness.

    Personally, I go for “are you aware that…?” Simple enough.

  133. 133

    @Nerull: I would say the concept of species is a lot more flexible than we’ve been traditionally taught and the boundaries of ‘species’ can be blurry.

    And I would say that definitively defining the mechanics of how humanity came to be isn’t going to impact my life all that much.

    It would simply turn me from someone who is agnostic on the question but leaning towards theistic evolution, into a confirmed stance on theistic evolution.

  134. 134
    Mac G says:

    Scrolling through the comments, has anyone mentioned any new conservative blogs to read? I actually enjoy reading people with different views on things than myself. I have found it harder to have conversations with conservatives during the Obama presidency because their criticism is usually vague or lacks any nuance. Their points have complete amnesia to the record of GOP policies. I find it very frustrating so I just avoid them. Taxes are at record lows, Wall St is booming and Corporations are raking in cash but the talking point is that Obama is anti-business? It makes no sense.

    I will pass on evolution. I always ask climate doubters if they think man is putting unsustainable levels of carbon into the atmosphere because getting them to admit there problem is the first hurdle to overcome to move on to a solution conversation. Trying to get them to believe in long term doom scenarios or finding causation in global warming never works. They either do not care because they will be dead or it is too complex to understand so easier to say it is all made up.

  135. 135
    LanceThruster says:

    @toujoursdan: I couldn’t find the exact quote from the movie “The New World” but this reminds me of the crew member who argued for disregarding the native inhabitants as “God wants those who will exploit the land to have it.”

    This has basically always been the Reich Wing mantra with the addition of making any substitute for “land” the deem fit.

  136. 136
    Bob says:

    Do you believe in evolution?

    You don’t “believe” in evolution.

    One either:
    1) Accepts reality and scientific evidence.
    Or
    2) Suspends reality and denies the overwhelming biological and archeological evidence that evolution is how life became what it is today.

    I think we are asking the wrong questions. Asking about “belief” lets them off the hook. I hear a lot of conservatives say things like the following:

    -I don’t believe in evolution
    -I believe that people are gay by choice, not birth.
    -I believe in trickle down economics
    -I don’t believe in global warming.

    It does not matter what one believes, none of the above four “beliefs” are supported by facts and evidence. Tell me what is FACT and we can talk.

    UPDATE/EDIT – I see that many people beat me to the above post, like hours ago. Oh well.

  137. 137
    frostys says:

    @Michael: Thank you for that. I’ve had a nagging uneasiness about using the word “belief” for evolution. It’s Science, Bitchez.

    Show me a better hypothesis that matches the evidence, otherwise this one is an accepted theory.

  138. 138
    gwangung says:

    I would say the concept of species is a lot more flexible than we’ve been traditionally taught and the boundaries of ‘species’ can be blurry.

    Heh. And “species” is the least blurry, least arbitrary, most objective, and most natural division out there in mother nature…

  139. 139
    Mary G says:

    @dmsilev: I just finished reading it, laughing out loud. One of my favorite bits:

    In other words, it’s not that we claim to have glimpsed “a unicorn in the garden” – we have a whole population of them living in my lab! [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T....._Garden%5D And lest you accuse me further of fraud, I do not literally mean that we have unicorns in the lab. Rather, I am making a literary allusion. [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allusion%5D

    Delightfully courteous disdain indeed.

  140. 140
    RTod says:

    I comment often on the League, so here are my answers:

    1. Of course I believe in evolution. It’s a verifiable hypothesis, and universally accepted by almost anyone that has even a halfway decent science education.

    2. I do believe the average temperature has increased, that it is almost certainly a man-created phenomena. Further, it seems prudent to consider short- and long-term negative impacts of this.

    Also, before you ask, I think that marriage equality is not only a good thing, but should be treated as a human rights issue. Also, I’m in the know, and am well aware that the War on Christmas doesn’t actually exist. And I also know that FOX is an arm of the GOP, and that if Glenn Beck isn’t just a laugh-all-the-way-to-the-bank shill he really, really needs to talk to a professional.

    There! Now, shall we get down to a heated argument about these things? Or do I not sufficiently fall into your Lib v. Con/R v. D/Good v. Evil narrative to be interesting?

  141. 141
    RTod says:

    I comment often on the League, so here are my answers:

    1. Of course I believe in evolution. It’s a verifiable hypothesis, and universally accepted by almost anyone that has even a halfway decent science education.

    2. I do believe the average temperature has increased, that it is almost certainly a man-created phenomena. Further, it seems prudent to consider short- and long-term negative impacts of this.

    Also, before you ask, I think that marriage equality is not only a good thing, but should be treated as a human rights issue. Also, I’m in the know, and am well aware that the War on Christmas doesn’t actually exist. And I also know that FOX is an arm of the GOP, and that if Glenn Beck isn’t just a laugh-all-the-way-to-the-bank shill he really, really needs to talk to a professional.

    There! Now, shall we get down to a heated argument about these things? Or do I not sufficiently fall into your Lib v. Con/R v. D/Good v. Evil narrative to be interesting?

  142. 142
    Another Commenter at Balloon Juice (fka Bella Q) says:

    @dmsilev: I’ll also add my thanks as well.

  143. 143
    liberty60 says:

    @Tonal Crow: To ask the question in terms of belief is to implicitly transmute questions of fact into questions of purely subjective personal opinion

    Quoted for truth-

    What is being presented in Creationism is the game played by Holocaust deniers, 911 truthers, and conspiracy nuts of every stripe:

    1. Appeal to logic- “I have a report by Dr. So&So who says the world is 6,000 years old.”

    2. When presented with overwhelming numbers of reports and scientists refuting Dr. So&So, appeal to uncertainty- “The scientists disagree, so we are free to believe whatever we want.”

    This works with literally any issue. Of course it doesn’t work with scientists, but it can sway a group of laypeople who are only paying half attention, which is the real goal here.

    On a larger point- I do recall the first time I dealt with this, and it was coming from the extreme left in the 1970’s, with the notion of history being nothing more than “social constructs” and such.

    At that time it served their purpose to be able to write history and science as they wanted, but of course once you unleash a weapon, everyone is free to use it, and the Right has now adopted the tactics, strategies and weaknesses of the old Left.

    p.s.- By “extreme Left”, I mean the real thing, those who proudly claimed membership in the ommunist-cay arty-pay, not the mushy centrist Democrats that Fox thinks of.

  144. 144
    Chris says:

    @dr. luba:

    Why is it that people who would never argue with an architect about load-bearing walls or with an engineer about how an engine works seem to feel they are fully qualified to argue about evolutionary biology or climate change, subject which they also know absolutely nothing about? Seriously. I mean it. Why?

    This.

    Human beings personally are all ignorant (even the smartest ones of us – that’s just the way things work, there’s too much to know for anyone to ever come close to knowing it all).

    That’s why we created these things called jobs. That’s why we have a society in which each individual specializes in one thing, whether it’s collecting trash or designing airplanes or healing people. When you want to know about something, you ask one of the people who’s dedicated their lives to that thing. In a way, that’s the whole point of civilization in the first place.

    You don’t tell doctors that you don’t believe in medecine. You don’t even do the smartass “oh doctor I think you’re right, but you’re wrong about some things.” Because if you do, he’ll say “Really? Then please point them out to me,” at which point you’ll realize you don’t know shit and would be better off shutting up.

  145. 145
    gwangung says:

    You don’t tell doctors that you don’t believe in medecine. You don’t even do the smartass “oh doctor I think you’re right, but you’re wrong about some things.” Because if you do, he’ll say “Really? Then please point them out to me,” at which point you’ll realize you don’t know shit and would be better off shutting up.

    Well, actually, you have anti-vaxers and other pitchers of woo, so….

  146. 146
    RTod says:

    @dr. luba:

    “According to studies I’ve read (but can never locate when I need them), only some 80-90% of Americans have accepted heliocentrism”

    Great. I’ll put this statistic with the across-the-aisle “studies show all the founding fathers wanted a Christian only nation.”

    That is, in the “made up stuff” file.

    Seriously, dude, we all like to pile on the other side, but have you ever met ANYONE that believes we don;t revolve around the sun? Or that the Earth is flat?

    Good rule of thumb: statistics that aren’t verifiable that ask you to believe a patently ridiculous thing should probably be discarded.

  147. 147
    morzer says:

    @Mary G:

    You run into an awful lot of problems with free will and causation here.

    Just sayin’.

    Also, just because something isn’t the extreme Jeebus and dinosaurs creationism, doesn’t mean that it isn’t another strand of the intellectual sticking-plaster known as creationism.

  148. 148
    Chris says:

    @MikeJ:

    And not just among republicans, sadly. Religious belief has already been tied to the argument about evolution in this country. It would be nice if they weren’t tied, but they are. That being the case, you shouldn’t ask people to choose between their god and their political party, at least if you want the political party to survive. Yes, it will be full of smarter people, but we’ll be in a definite minority.

    That’s true, but at this point, my primary concern’s with the country more than the party. The craziness extends beyond science; something like this fantasy (that you get to vote on what reality is and you should always vote Republican) exists in economics, in foreign policy, in virtually everything that touches politics.

    You’re right about not alienating people. But at the same time, it’s fair to wonder exactly how long America can remain the world’s leading nation when so much of our population is so devoutly and proudly living in an alternate reality – and demand more and more adamantly that their leaders also live in that reality and govern accordingly.

  149. 149
    Turbulence says:

    @RTod:That is, in the “made up stuff” file.

    Actually, I found a cite within 10 seconds just by looking at the wikipedia entry for Heliocentrism. My cite says the actual number is more like 18%.

  150. 150
    joes527 says:

    @Tonal Crow: I’m drawing exactly the distinction that you think I’m drawing, that anthropogenic climate change is a hypothesis in the scientific sense. As such, the scientific answer to JD_PhD’s question:

    Has the average temperature of the earth increased over the past few decades because of human activity?

    would have to be something like: “Ask again later”, or at most: “Signs point to yes” (though that seems a bit strong to me) The answer “Without a doubt” can not backed up by anything other than faith at this point.

    I am not a climate change denier. Answering someone else I made it clear that even though the correct answer to many questions is “Cannot predict now” things look grim enough that we should make a political decision to bear some cost to reduce the likelihood of bad outcomes.

    It just bugs me when folks try to take a scientific hypothesis (even one that looks pretty good right now) and use belief in it as a litmus test.

  151. 151
    RTod says:

    @Turbulence:

    Oy, no one likes to be caught wrong, but that is particularly depressing.

    My apologies go to Dr. Luba, my cringing goes to that 18%, and a stiff martini goes to me later on to try and swallow that shit down.

  152. 152
    Teejay says:

    @cleek:

    “What is the Y axis on the Laffer curve?” Priceless!

  153. 153
    gwangung says:

    My apologies go to Dr. Luba, my cringing goes to that 18%, and a stiff martini goes to me later on to try and swallow that shit down.

    You have plenty of company with that stiff martini.

    Sigh.

  154. 154
    liberty60 says:

    @RTod:

    Seriously, dude, we all like to pile on the other side, but have you ever met ANYONE that believes we don;t revolve around the sun? Or that the Earth is flat?

    Oh, my friend, how I wish I could concur with you….but the forces of ignorance and superstition arise like vampires, time and again….

    Here is a conference of scientists, only months ago, stating that the sun does in fact revolve around the earth.

    ETA- Pile on, Garth!

  155. 155
    Kirbster says:

    How about:

    Do you see George Orwell’s 1984 as a prescient dystopian novel or a practical political handbook?

  156. 156
    Turbulence says:

    @RTod: My apologies go to Dr. Luba, my cringing goes to that 18%, and a stiff martini goes to me later on to try and swallow that shit down.

    Hey, if it leads to drinking, can it really be that bad?

    I’m sorry to have, um, introduced you to a portion of the US that had hitherto remained hidden from you.

  157. 157
    JD_PhD says:

    @joes527: Science has only observations and hypotheses. There is no way that any attempt to explain rising global temperatures (which are observations) that is not an hypothesis.

  158. 158
    Cris says:

    @Michael: I understand the frustration with conflating two meanings of the word “belief.” I support calls to reframe the terms of the debate, such as suggesting we say “I accept ($scientificModel)” or “I am convinced (of the evidence)* that ($scientificModel) is true.”

    But I’m not crazy about the fervor with which people jump on the use of the word “believe.” If somebody says “Is the fair in town this weekend?” and I say “I believe so,” I’m not making a statement of religious creed. That use of the word implies certainty with room to be corrected in the face of evidence — you know, a scientific attitude.

  159. 159
    Cris says:

    @CB: american conservative magazine is pretty decent too. once you come to terms with the fact that they offer pat buchanan column space. were founded by Pat Buchanan

    Just for clarity, you know.

  160. 160
    Spiffy McBang says:

    @geg6: I know I’m late coming back to the party, but I wanted to say I never realized Catholics were ok with evolution. So I guess that answers that. Thanks.

  161. 161
    liberty60 says:

    As such, the scientific answer to JD_PhD’s question:
    Has the average temperature of the earth increased over the past few decades because of human activity?
    would have to be something like: “Ask again later”, or at most: “Signs point to yes” (though that seems a bit strong to me) The answer “Without a doubt” can not backed up by anything other than faith at this point.

    Public policy, brought to you by the Magic 8 Ball

  162. 162
    Tonal Crow says:

    @joes527:

    I’m drawing exactly the distinction that you think I’m drawing, that anthropogenic climate change is a hypothesis in the scientific sense. As such, the scientific answer to JD_PhD’s question:

    Has the average temperature of the earth increased over the past few decades because of human activity?

    would have to be something like: “Ask again later”, or at most: “Signs point to yes” (though that seems a bit strong to me) The answer “Without a doubt” can not backed up by anything other than faith at this point.

    I tend to disagree. “Without a doubt” might yet be too strong an assertion (though it has become more, not less, plausible since AR4), but it is certainly better-supported by the science than “ask again later” (which AR4 directly contradicts) and is arguably better-supported than “signs point to yes”.

    Can you cite peer-reviewed science supporting “ask again later”? I’m curious. Remember, an alternate hypothesis has to account for all the observations. So, for example, “it’s the sun” doesn’t work because average solar activity has been on a slight downtrend since ~1960. Also, alternates have to be able to account for past climate changes (e.g., glacial/interglacial cycles).

  163. 163
    ed says:

    1. Is Rush Limbaugh a race baiter?

    2. How many U.S. soldiers and marines died in Iraq?

    3. What are the key differences between the black sites used by the U.S. and the Soviet Union’s Gulag?

    4. Compare and contrast the elements of the Alien and Sedition Act with the George Bush, Jr. administration’s statements about France and “Old Europe” during the run up to the Iraq Invasion.

  164. 164
    ed says:

    5. Is it OK to be gay?

  165. 165
    DecidedFenceSitter says:

    @RTod: Stick around, we like reasonable people who can argue from good faith.

    Plus, if you turn to drinking THAT quickly, you’ll fit in well.

    DFS +2 (and that’s just from the amount of cough syrup in me.)

  166. 166
    ed says:

    6. Are there any circumstances where it would be acceptable for an athiest to hold elected office in the U.S.? A Muslim? A Buddhist?

    7. Is there anything wrong with the “Coexist” bumper stickers?

  167. 167
    Observer says:

    @Cris:
    I believe that “belief” is more accurate here anyways.

    To ask if many people “accept the evidence” is to ask if people have viewed the evidence. Which is to ask these three questions:

    1) have you ever read Darwin’s On The Origin Of Species
    2) at what age can you truthfully say you agreed with evolution
    3) if your answer to #2 above placed you in high school, could you do differential calculus at that age and if you could did you get an A or better in class?

    My guess is that most people in general and most people here would answer: 1) no 2) 16 years 3) less than an A

    and it’s hard to see how you can “accept evidence” of evolution if you haven’t read the original theory OR you don’t know how to do differentials. So for most people I think, reasonably, they actually really do “believe” what seems to be a logical theory based on what now looks like commonsense evidence and anecdotes and the fact that everybody else in science seems to believe it.

  168. 168

    @ed:

    7. Is there anything wrong with the “Coexist” bumper stickers?

    Yes. It’s annoying.

    I mean, here I was all set to go out, raise an army and start a new Crusade to retake the Holy Land and kill some infidels, and then some hippie pulls in front of me with that bumper sticker and I decided to let it go and give peace a chance. That bumper sticker truly saved the world.

    If we can only get it printed into Arabic, Hebrew, and Hindi, we’d have world peace, man.

  169. 169
    DougJ® says:

    @RTod:

    Thanks.

  170. 170
    gex says:

    @Comrade Dread: Do you know if the coexist sticker represents non-believers too? Or is it a coexist with everyone who counts kind of deal?

  171. 171
    eyelessgame says:

    @fasteddie9318®: Intelligent Design is bait-and-switch. The term is appealing to many who consider themselves “theistic evolutionists” – but the leaders of the movement are hard-core Creationists who want to get the theistic evolutionists to switch sides and play for their team.

    “Intelligent Design” is a marketing term, in other words. Just from the title it seems to be an idea that’s compatible with evolution (one where God started the process, for example), but that’s not how it’s actually used in any of the ID literature or by the movement that pushes it.

    Kind of like “Healthy Forests” or “Clear Skies” or “Compassionate Conservatism” or other orwelliana from the right.

  172. 172
    RSA says:

    I’m okay with “belief” in a neutral sense, probably because it’s used that way in my field. But here’s a different way to pose the question:

    Do you agree that the vast majority of evidence supports the theory of evolution?

  173. 173
    Brachiator says:

    @Kirbster:

    Do you see George Orwell’s 1984 as a prescient dystopian novel or a practical political handbook?

    Speaking of which, here is another totally fictional work transformed into a Galtian manifesto (Montana Senate Votes to Adopt Cowboy Code)

    The Senate gave preliminary approval Monday to adopt the “Code of the West” as Montana’s code.
    __
    Senate Bill 216 sponsored by Senate President Jim Peterson deals with the 10-point cowboy code from the book Cowboy Ethics by James P. Owen.
    __
    The code includes items such as “Live each day with courage,” “Be tough, but fair,” “Ride for the brand,” and “Know where to draw the line.”
    __
    Wyoming adopted Owen’s code of the West as its state code last year.

    For my part, I prefer the Pirate’s Code from Pirates of the Caribbean, because that code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.

  174. 174
    N W Barcus says:

    Is anyone who uses the words “sunrise” or “sunset” a crypto-geocentric?

    Does DNA code for proteins or behavior?

    Are fairy tales inherently anti-scientific?

    Should creationists be prohibited from holding academic positions? (Richard Dawkins says so: http://www.boingboing.net/2011.....rs-be.html )

  175. 175
    ed says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Yes. It’s annoying…
    If we can only get it printed into Arabic, Hebrew, and Hindi, we’d have world peace, man.

    Thanks Jonah [Goldberg].

  176. 176
    FFrank says:

    You might want to ask an astronomy question as per comment 234 by Svensker on another section of this blog.

    @Svensker

    My favorite Young Earth moment came when an evangelical student was learning basic astronomy and they were talking about a star that was so many million light-years away. She got this look on her face and said, “wait, if it’s a million light years away, that means the universe has been around longer than 10K years…” It was lovely to see the light shining in.

  177. 177
    Mark says:

    @dr. luba: Oh no, don’t you worry. People are happy to argue with engineers about how things work. I just had a wonderful conversation with some friends who were worried about various wireless devices causing cancer. They were worried about their handheld phones that transmit a little burst when they send a text message, but not worried about cordless phones or microwave ovens…And there’s no way in the world they “believed” what I told them.

  178. 178
    Comrade Dread says:

    @ed: If I were Goldberg, I would’ve made a allusion to how much Hitler loved bumper stickers too.

    @gex: Come on, gex, it’s a well known fact that atheists don’t have souls. Also, I’m pretty sure they can shapeshift, must drink the blood of the living to survive, and are allergic to garlic.

  179. 179
    E.D. Kain says:

    Evolution is the most likely scientific explanation though I join the ranks of commenters questioning the use of ‘believe’. Global warming is certainly happening and is almost certainly man made. The hard questions are what to do about it and how to do so in a politically feasible manner.

  180. 180
    ed says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    If I were Goldberg, I would’ve made a allusion to how much Hitler loved bumper stickers too.

    Fail:

    Also, I think you make a fine point when you say that one of the problems with the Darwin Fish is that it assumes all Jesus Fishers are Creationists. And I agree that this is one of the problems. But it is not the only one. The “evolve” fish, I think has a double-meaning in that it suggests Christians should evolve from Christianity. I also think mucking about with the symbol of the fish is itself offensive because the symbol is sacred and has no secular counterpart. If someone sported a bumper sticker which said “Fight †errorism” with the “T” in terrorism a Christian cross, I think that would be offensive too. You are right when you focus on one of the reasons why the Darwin fish are offensive but I think you’re off base when you suggest that it’s the only reason it’s offensive.
    I also agree, to a point, with your contention that this is an inter-tribal versus intra-tribal issue. There’s real merit there. But that also adds to a certain kind of hypocrisy for at least some of the secularist bumper-sticker types since they’re the sort of people who seem to champion a one-world parliaments of man vision (“Visualize Word Peace,” “Coexist“). For this crowd (and again, I’m not saying this of all Darwin-Fishers), such tribalistic thinking is supposed to be atavistic. So, why the double-standard toward Christians and Muslims?

    Where’s the Hitler reference? Pantload is annoyed by Darwin fish and Coexist bumper stickers because he’s annoyed by them (because they’re liberals). QED.

    I can’t speak for anyone with a Coexist sticker (I don’t have one), but to me the message is merely: Be excellent to each other. Ironically, that’s just what Jebus said (allegedly).

  181. 181
    Comrade Dread says:

    @ed: Yeah, ed, I’m not diving into the existential symbolism or political philosophies. I was making a hyperbolic joke about how silly it is to expect that slapping a bumper sticker on your car is going to change the world.

    Also, you know, a little hippie punching, because it still annoys me that I’m on the same side with them now politically.

  182. 182
    elle says:

    @MikeJ:

    Why should it be sad that some democrats don’t believe in evolution? I certainly have doubts of about evolution because it conflicts with my faith. That right there, as you pointed out, should be the driving factor: democrats/liberals don’t believe that public policy should be based on their personal or religious beliefs, whereas republicans think their personal and religious beliefs should be the basis of public policy.

  183. 183
    ed says:

    Also, you know, a little hippie punching, because it still annoys me that I’m on the same side with them now politically.

    And yet, when pressed ever so lightly, your actual politics are revealed and align, eerily so, with El Pantloado. Nobody could have predicted…?

  184. 184
    Comrade Dread says:

    @ed: Oh, yes. I’m all about bombing Iran, tax cuts for the rich, making grandma eat cat food, kicking the gheys out of the military, and ensuring that big business can privatize profits and socialize losses. Also, go drug warriors. Woo!

    The above was sarcasm, if you didn’t get that.

  185. 185
    Nerull says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Species is a blurry concept? Oh, I wonder why that could possibly be? Maybe because that’s how evolution works – you would expect to see a very blurry line between species.

    On the other hand, if ‘god did it’, there is no reason for a blurry line, and it really doesn’t make much sense.

  186. 186
    Nerull says:

    Also, if you don’t think evolutionary science could impact your life, you simply aren’t paying attention. Much of modern medical research depends on it.

  187. 187
    Comrade Dread says:

    @Nerull: I would expect a degree of adaptability in biology to external stimuli regardless of whether God exists.

    As far as it’s impact, if you’re speaking of previously agreed upon adaptability, then I’m already with you.

    But I fail to see exactly how knowing for certain that life arose in a pond somewhere when a group of amino acids rolled a natural 20 after billions of previous attempts (as opposed to some sort of God putting them together), has any sort of impact on me billions of years later, beyond the whole “Well, isn’t that interesting” factor.

  188. 188

    I comment at the League all the time, and generally get on with all the other commenters. I’ve had regular disagreements in the past specifically with a certain evangelical and a certain Keynesian progressive. I would consider myself to be about 60% libertarian, 25% socialist, and 15% eclectic mix of a variety of other ideologies, including progressive and conservative. Does that make me a conservative, sort of the one-drop rule? So, let me answer your questions:

    1) No, because real scientists don’t “believe” theories. They just have them as place-holders until more refined theories inevitably come. I recommend reading some Popper, Kuhn, and Lakatos. That being said, I find the explanation for the phenomenon of speciation offered by Darwinian Evolution by Natural Selection to be several orders of magnitude more likely than bearded man in the desert blows into clay five-thousand years ago. (I still think that’s a lovely story, though.)

    2) Sorry, I can’t see question two because your fast food and hentai site advertisements are blocking it.

  189. 189
    Hugh G. Rection says:

    I’ll have to wait and see what Rush ans Sean Hannity tell me I should believe.

  190. 190
    HeartlandLiberal says:

    Out of idle curiosity, would you sanction us running a pool on just how long it takes for your User ID and login rights to be terminated after you start posting these questions?

    At RedState, it seems to be measured in milliseconds.

    It would be interesting to see how long it takes on these more ‘rational’ Conservative blogs.

    I only bring this up because it seems to be such a predictable modus operandi for Conservative blogs to be totally unwilling to tolerate any opinions, no matter how well documented or accurate, if they are not congruent with the reigning Gestalt of the site, that is to say, the current Wingnut positions.

  191. 191
    Michael says:

    @Michael: When the competing “theory” is creationism it’s about belief.

  192. 192

    […] seem to think so. Take this post by DougJ at Balloon Juice, which suggests that one way to separate “reasonable conservative blogs” from the chaff […]

  193. 193
    RTod says:

    @HeartlandLiberal:

    Better than that – because a poll is, after all, just a series of opinions – why don’t you go to the League, post your view on something (my advice for a good discussion: focus on why you have your position, not why other people who disagree with you have theirs – but either way) and see how long your post, and any conversation it starts, last before disappearing.

  194. 194

    #1. Which evolution?

    a. Evolution + Naturalism?

    b. The evolutionary model in general?
    Which one?
    b.1. Adaptationism
    b.2. Mayr’s synthesis
    b.3. Gould/Eldrige P.E.
    b.4. Classic neo-darwinism (genetics driven)
    b.5. Modern neo-darwinism (genetics + adaptation)

    c. That there are genetic changes taking place all the time.

    IOW — the question is malformed because it is too broad to be answered with any precision.

    2. Why 30 years? Lots of things happen in a period so short. This amounts to a classic too-small-sample logical fallacy.
    Some GW advocated go back to the industrial revolution as the source for today’s change. Others might even go back 10K to human expansion after the last ice age to show constant warming. In the mean time the anti-science GW/climate change has recently argued away the well-document Little Ice Age from 1200-1850. Bad models lead to silly and ahistorical results.

    Hope this helps.

  195. 195

    I have a suggested for anybody who might want to comment on scientific controversies:

    There is evidence for the existence of a natural nuclear fission reactor on Earth two billion years ago based on the nuclear waste found in rocks of that age. Do you accept such evidence and what do you of the implications of the fact that the waste did not move with respect to the surrounding rock (in particular, the implications for nuclear waste disposal)?

  196. 196

    As a reasonable, conservative blogger whom you do not frequent (yet):

    1) Yes I believe in evolution. But I’m not your usual religious conservative (as my name implies), so maybe I get a pass on that one.

    2) I don’t know if the temperature has increased across the globe in the last 30 years. You don’t either because we don’t yet have a fool-proof method of measuring “global” temperatures. At least I can admit that I don’t know.

    If the temperature HAS increased in the last 30 years, I don’t see enough evidence to claim that man is responsible. I’m pretty sure we’re still coming out of the last mini-ice age.

    Finally, if the temperature HAS increased and if it IS man’s fault, I’m not so sure that’s a catastrophe. More people die from cold than heat. There are large land masses that could use the agriculture.

  197. 197

    […] at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen, Mark Thompson weighs in on the debate sparked by DougJ’s two questions over at Balloon Juice. (Namely, “Do you believe in Evolution?” and ” Do you […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen, Mark Thompson weighs in on the debate sparked by DougJ’s two questions over at Balloon Juice. (Namely, “Do you believe in Evolution?” and ” Do you […]

  2. […] seem to think so. Take this post by DougJ at Balloon Juice, which suggests that one way to separate “reasonable conservative blogs” from the chaff […]

  3. […] DougJ has been “trying to read some conservative blogs this year,” including this one, and is, “trying to get as many people who write or comment there and on other conservative blogs to answer the following two questions: 1) Do you believe in evolution? […]

Comments are closed.