Thursday, May 7, 2015

Segregation Now! Segregation Forever!

Warning! Lengthy quotes regarding race and diversity! Sensitive readers may not wish to continue! Nonracist members of superior races and cultures are especially warned not to continue!

Once again, I am amazed at the foolishness of my fellow human beings. Listening to C-SPAN today my attention was caught by a rather remarkable statement  made by an individual. In about 2 1/2 minutes I had checked his statement and found it to be totally invalid. Let's start with his own words:
HOST:  We are getting your take on crime and policing in your community. What is it like and do you think there's any changes that are needed.  Jay is in a suburb of Pennsylvania, Souderton, go ahead, Jay...

JAY:  The first gentleman, he mentioned the word homogeneity, And of course the most homogenous areas or countries are always the most peaceful. And always have the most trust.
Even though we continue to say this  incredibly Orwellian mantra, diversity is our strength. Which is insane...(he refers to his tiny homogeneous community when he was a child and emphasizes that his superior Pennsylvania German culture kept everyone well behaved.)
The culture and the race of a neighborhood matters. And I do want to say also that that is actually the words and the studies of people not just like me but you look at Robert Putnam, The Harvard professor. I wish you would have him on.  He did that in-depth study 2005 The effects of ethnic diversity on populations. And he's a liberal!  He's the author of a book called Bowling Alone and he didn't like what he found and he was forced to reveal it. And he found, of course he studied tens of thousands of people and communities. And he found that racial diversity… One of the major reason diversity casualties of it is a loss of trust...(He specifies various types of trust which are lost to the detriment of the community)… and at least we should recognize that and stop promoting this insane idea of diversity as strength when it's torn apart civilizations throughout human history. 

Why that's shocking! A liberal Harvard professor discovers that racial diversity is evil destroyer of society and tries to conceal the facts but is forced to reveal them!  Racial prejudice isn't prejudice! A liberal has proven it!  Only gullible fools believe diversity has any value whatsoever!  All it does is destroy civilizations!

That doesn't sound very believable, does it? So of course, I checked it out.

What did the professor actually say? Well here we have, in his own words from an NPR radio interview, the real meaning of his report:
Prof. PUTNAM: I do need to step back a minute and say I think that the - it's not merely a fact that America's becoming more diverse. It's a benefit. America will - all of us will, over the long run, benefit from being a more diverse, more heterogeneous place. Places that are more diverse have higher rates of growth on average and they have better cuisine. And it's just a more interesting place to live. 
So in the long run, waves of immigration like we're going through now and that we've gone through in the past and increasing diversity is good for a society. But what we discovered in this research, somewhat to our surprise, was that in the short run the more ethnically diverse the neighborhood you live in, the more you - every - all of us tend to hunker down, to pull in. The more diverse - and when I say all of us, I mean all of us. I mean blacks and whites and Asians and Latinos, all of us. The more diverse the group around us, ethnically, in our neighborhood, the less we trust anybody, including people who look like us. Whites trust whites less. Blacks trust blacks less, in more diverse settings.
So what he actually said was diversity, in the very short term does tend to create mistrust. But he also stated, unequivocally stated, that diversity is of great benefit in the long run. The bad effects are temporary while the good effects are permanent. I did not see any evidence that he tried to suppress his findings. Or that he even wanted to suppress his findings. Or that anyone forced him to publish them. In fact, except for the short-term effects,  his study solidly confirmed his liberal beliefs. He didn't find evidence that diversity was harmful, causes civilizations  to be destroyed, that some cultures and races were superior and others inferior, or any of the rest of the mental manure  Jay somehow managed to project into the study. I repeat, a study which actually shows how totally wrong Jay is about the entire subject. 

In fact, the professor went on later in the interview to state:
Prof. PUTNAM: Well, I don't know that I'm disappointed in the findings. I'm disappointed that it turns out it takes some time for us to get adjusted to people who look differently from us. And I'm a little disappointed that, as our findings become public, some people - some conservatives, some people who are racist, frankly, have taken comfort from my research. And they've made the inference that if we hunker down in the presence of diversity, it would be just great if we had a little ethnic cleansing and we all just live around people who look like us. That's absolutely not my view.

Pardon me, Jay, but your racist bigotry is showing. Please zip it up. I can't stop you from having such an ugly thing, but you really shouldn't wave it around in public.

Oh no! I have played the race card! When a man says, falsely, that races and cultures are different with some being superior and others inferior and that mixing them is a wicked thing which destroys civilizations, I unfairly suggest he might be a racist! After all he only talked about race while I, with malice aforethought, talked about race.

Sorry, Conservatives. Holding up a mirror that reflects your racism back in your face is not playing the race card. Your whole deck is racist.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Blessed Are The Liars, For They Shall.....Something Or Other

What amazing obsfucation and disinformation in this article!  It opens with:
Q: Yes or no – RFRAs have only been used to deny service to LGBT people, and just like Jim Crow laws, they could allow people to deny service because of their “sincerely held religious belief.”

First, note that the subject has been changed. The topic is the state RFRAs, especially the Indiana version,  but instantly we are debating all RFRAs.  This is nothing but a straw man and a lie.  I have heard no one, I emphasize, NO ONE saying such a thing.  On the contrary, I have heard opponent after opponent of the state laws defend the federal law.  

There is little point in going further. The supporters of this law will not listen to anything but their own disinformation propaganda and distortions like this article and the rest of us already know the Liars for Christ will not hesitate to continue to lie.  After all, Jesus loves liars.

If you can control your temper, you might want to read the rest of this disinformation.  This will prepare you to counter the deceptions supporters will throw up in a conversation (pun intended), just remember the rules of elemental logic and look for the changes of subject, the outright lies, the emotionally loaded terms, the forced choice/false dichotomies...well, you know the tools used by propagandists.

PS,  I conform with reality and only use value loaded terms when I can make them stick.

PPS,  In my sincere religious belief, deceiving in the Name of God is taking the Lord's Name in vain.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Whose Burning What?

Susan posted: They are burning books and false idols in Pahrump this weekend. Maybe next weekend they could bring some witches.
(News report) Pastor Tony Falcone of the Mountain View chapel is preparing to cast aside the sins of the world.
"We are not going to make it that big," Falcone says as he points out the pit for the fire."I asked God to give me a vision of something I could do to help the citizens of Pahrump." Pastor Tony says.
He came up with the idea of a public bonfire. "I'm taking this yucky sin stuff I've been carrying around and I'm going to burn it," Falcone says. "It becomes like a sin offering."
The pastor invites people to bring books, statues, anything they think is not giving glory to God. "I still have an (sic) Ouija board in my house," He says. "I'm still reading my horoscope or I have tarot cards. I have statues of this. God says have no images before me."

Lois responsed: Susan, that's quite a LEAP.  Actually, they r following a practice of the early church, Acts 19:19.  We r NOT a Theocracy!  I don't know if ANY Christian who wud condon the murder of witches or people of a different life-style persuasion.  I don't know this particular group. But I DO know a LOT of Christ Followers in Phrump and they r good and compassionate people.   L.

Susan:  Supposedly we have evolved since the days of the early Christians. They thought the earth was flat. We know better. They burned books. We know better. More recently, there were some Christian good old boys who thought raping and killing black people was very acceptable in the eyes of the church. They still do. Christians used to burn women up in my neck of the woods. Now they kill doctors. Not such a big leap Lois. Many Christ Followers are good and compassionate people. Sadly, many are not.

Lois:  Many atrocities are committed in the name of Christianity. Too many believe because they are 'Christians' they can say or do what they feel without thought to how their actions affect others. Way too many 'Christians' are not very Christ-like...nor do they try.

Interesting! Just what I needed on an Easter day.  As a devout, but not church attending, Christian, I find this very provocative conversation.
I am pleased to note that the two of you came to a similar conclusion at the end, one which I also share.   That is, many self-styled Christians aren't very Christian, but I still would like to make a few comments. 
Those who know me are well aware that I consider any extremism to be a problem. I can be very tolerant toward many different attitudes as long as they don't go to extremes. I can understand Pastor Falcone's desire to draw a clear line and to assist people in cleansing their lives of what he regards as temptations and sins.
Think of a person who is addicted to drugs. They might wish to begin cleansing themselves by burning or otherwise symbolically destroying their paraphernalia. The problem is that book burning is historically associated with the most extreme of extremists. Obviously, it immediately brings up images of the Nazis burning up "Jewish" literature and scientific texts.  And who can forget the Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola, whose bonfire of the vanities destroyed much great art which sadly no longer exists in this world? (
When such actions have happened in the past, and when some Christians do currently believe in murder in the name of Christ, and when groups like Rushdoony's  Christian Reconstructionists want to bring back stoning, many of us feel there is cause for serious alarm.  (
I'm sure  Pastor Falcone does not want to go around stoning or otherwise killing people, but his choice of symbolic action was unwise.
Also, I can't help note that some of the interpretations of acts 19:19 do include witchcraft.
Let me conclude by noting that as a child I wanted everyone to be saved. It just felt right. It felt so wrong for people to be punished or rejected. But now I find myself more in agreement with Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

The Many Hypotheses Hypothesis

I have never liked Everett's many worlds hypothesis for both emotional and rational reasons, but the extra dimensions necessary for string theory?  We can hope!  Mini black holes, however, remain disturbing in spite of the assurances that they are too hot and unstable to last long enough to feed and become a threat.  
I wonder if we could look for them in cosmic ray collisions with our upper atmosphere.  The universe is a bigger and more powerful accelerator than any we will ever build, and it's already operating at no cost to us.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

War? What War? I Ain't Seen No War!

I posted the following on response to the right wing's hysteria over the imagined war on Christians.

A new poll indicates this kind of extremism is causing a backlash.  It reports that Evangelicals are losing popularity as LGBTs gain it.  In fact, the results indicate LGBTs are more popular in America than are Evangelicals.

I don't know if Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research is reliable, but these results are reported on an ultrareligious Christian website which opposes  marriage equality:

I must add that, as a Christian, I haven't detected anyone waging war on me.  You'd think I would have noticed that sort of thing.  I wonder what's wrong with me.


Agitprop is agitation propaganda, designed to enrage and frighten people into illogical and even self destructive behaviors.  Disinformation is false data intended to delude and mislead people.  These are the only items available on Fox News and other "conservative" sites.  I am reminded of the "news" once produced by the Soviet party organ called Pravda.  Pravda, by the way, means "truth".

Thursday, April 2, 2015

My Right To Take Away Your Rights

During a discussion with friends on the issue of the religious right to discriminate, I posted:

The Religious Right has a point in that early American colonies, especially those of the Pilgrims, were solidly based upon the right to jail, whip, imprison and otherwise suppress all who did not believe exactly as they did.  Even minor doctrinal differences could result in brutal punishment.  The  Religious Right wants that "freedom" back.

Today, they are desperately  employing every tool they have and are burning up all their resources to try to turn the tide.  They have lost the cultural wars and know it.  These seeming victories are their swan song which makes them ever more unpopular as they try to regain their former position.  Gay rights were once unthinkable, but are now the norm.  They are in exactly the same position as the segregationists were in the 1960's.  They seemed to to be winning, but only on the surface.
Think about the 80's.  The ultra religious were crowing about how they had taken over government.  Today all they do is howl about how America has betrayed them.