Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Enemies List Addendum #2

Putting these posts together is sort of fun. Thinking about entries that you would put on your own personal and ever expanding enemies list... it has a certain charm to it.

But this one... yeah, this one is a little more controversial than I have been in the past. On my earlier lists, I picked some fairly easy targets, people who were pretty self-explanatory, but this time, I have to expose a little more of myself to explain why some of these groups and individuals are on my list.

But enough gilding the lily... let's get on with the show.

Intelligent Design proponents: I should preface this one with the admission that when I was in university, my specialty during my history degree was the intellectual development of Darwin's Theory of Evolution, so I am very familiar with the competing arguments in this. I would also like to say that I don't care what people believe, as long as it doesn't have a wider, deleterious effect on things in general. Intelligent Design is one of those belief systems which indeed has a negative effect, because let's be frank, it isn't science. No matter how hard these people try to spin it as a scientific theory, it doesn't hold up. They know this for a fact. When held up to scrutiny in the case of Kitzmiller v Dover, even the legal system acknowledged that Intelligent Design is just creationism in new clothing. And I for one certainly don't want someone working in virology, oncology or various other disciplines where understanding the mechanisms of natural selection and the current theories in evolution to be ignorant of this necessary knowledge because someone with a religious ax to grind was so challenged by scientific fact that they denied children this education, thus radically altering my life and the lives of millions of other people. I don't want kids to learn things in science classes which won't help them be the best they can be in the subject, because that is truly dangerous. But the ID proponents try to cloud the issue and say that the scientific community is afraid to debate them, but it isn't like that. It is more like Verne Troyer drunkenly challenging Mike Tyson in his prime to a fight, and when Tyson says no, Minime calls him chicken and tries to punch him in the junk. If it held water at all, it would feature prominently in peer reviewed articles, but that isn't happening. And that isn't happening because there is a conspiracy amongst scientists to suppress it... it is happening because it isn't science. And one particular ID proponent is such a tool he earned himself a place all by himself on this list.

Ben Stein: I know what some of you are thinking... that boring economics teacher from Ferris Bueller's Day Off who made a career in Hollywood by playing a particular kind of low key character? How can he be your enemy? Well, it boils down to the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, and the media blitz he did when it was released. I had to make this a separate entry from other ID proponents because Ben Stein went above and beyond to me in making himself an ass. With his movie, he proved himself to inflammatory and lacking even the most rudimentary sense of intellectual honesty (because he set up a lot of people in this movie by telling them they were going to be in a more balanced film... he Verne Troyer'd the entire 1986-9 Heavyweight division). I also don't believe for a second that Ben Stein doesn't fully understand the basics of evolutionary science... he would just rather sell the controversy. Do you know how I know he is full of shit? He is an economist by training, and guess what one of the major influences on Darwin was? Classical Economics... Adam Smith, Thomas Robert Malthus and David Ricardo, the very same people who were instrumental in the development of Stein's own discipline. Basically, he knows what that particular audience wants to hear, so he tailored his film to rile up those people. It doesn't add anything to the public discourse, but rather it is a blatant attempt to advance the Teach the Controversy movement. And when he said the following on the Trinity Broadcast Network, well, it really was over for me with him: "Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people." He is also the living example of Godwin's law, as he seems to compare everything he doesn't like to Hitler or the Nazis. Let's go down the list, shall we? Obama, Moslem Extremists and Environmentalists are like Hitler, evolutionists, scientists, critics of the response to Hurricane Katrina are Nazis, and the Minneapolis police were like the Gestapo regarding the Larry Craig arrest. And according to Stein, gay males are all pedophiles. So yeah, even beyond my own misgivings about his evolutionary stance, there is a lot more vile crap in Ben Stein than meets the eye. He spins himself as this affably hip guy, but he is just a petty hatemonger.

Keith Olbermann:
I admit that I used to watch Countdown a lot. I mean, almost daily for a long period of time, mainly because many of the people he would relentlessly go after were people who appear on my enemies list, in particular Bill O'Reilly. However, I started to have a falling out with him after his attacks on the show 24, which showed a remarkable lack of knowledge about the series, instead relying on a single idea that the show was propaganda for Fox and the Republican party, when the larger plotlines ended up being very critical of his administration, and was one of the few shows, news or otherwise during the run up to the Iraq War which had the United States entering a war in the Middle East because of bad intelligence and due to some ulterior motives. And as the months went by, Olbermann began acting like the very people he attacked, and he continued to do so as I continued to watch, while not having guests who had opposing viewpoints. And in that echo chamber, his dickish qualities were amplified and I lost a lot of respect for him, despite some of his good Special Comments. Basically, I grew tired of his shtick and I can't watch him anymore without feeling dirty.

Birthers: I have to say this. If you believe in your heart of hearts that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, and somehow he made it through his entire public life with all the scrutiny that comes along with it while maintaining that illusion, or worse still, you use what was once a conspiracy theory from the fringes the the right wing to advance either a personal agenda or your career, then I am sorry to say but you are a complete and total amoral asshole. I mean, think about what a scoop it would have been for someone, anyone to have proven that story true during the last presidential election... and yet, no one did. In fact, evidence to the contrary was presented and accepted by everyone but you. And those of you reading know that if it was John McCain and the fringes of the left were doing something like this to him about being born in Panama, well, they would be ridiculed and mocked without mercy by these very same people.


SamuraiFrog said...

Another excellent grouping. While I'm not quite on Enemies List terms with Olbermann, I haven't been able to watch his show in months for the exact reasons you describe. It's the same reason I don't read political blogs anymore or watch Bill Maher--eventually, they seem to get to a point where they prefer the attention, and just start acting exactly like the people they're fighting against. It's like there's a shelf life to commentators before they slip into noise and self-parody.

I love these posts.

MC said...

I tried to watch Countdown last night and I couldn't stand it, even my previously favorite part... the worst person in the world. He is just insufferable now. He is someone who just crossed over into that zone. At some point, if I had to rank people and groups on my enemies list, he would end up being lower than a lot of people on it, but he would still make an appearance.

I also suspect that you have some idea of some of the other people who may make future appearances on this very list.

Anonymous said...

Ben Stein is also now the face of the Comcast Corporation along with Shaquille O'Neal. I agree with everything you wrote about him, but for me, this is the straw that breaks the camel's back.