September 18, 2011

Maureen Dowd: "Perry told the students, 'God uses broken people to reach a broken world.' What does that even mean?"

That's in a column that's all about portraying Perry as the epitome of a special American-style of idiocy:
The Republicans are now the “How great is it to be stupid?” party. In perpetrating the idea that there’s no intellectual requirement for the office of the presidency, the right wing of the party offers a Farrelly Brothers “Dumb and Dumber” primary in which evolution is avant-garde.

Having grown up with a crush on William F. Buckley Jr. for his sesquipedalian facility, it’s hard for me to watch the right wing of the G.O.P. revel in anti-intellectualism and anti-science cant.
But if you're so smart, why can't you understand the poetically rich "God uses broken people to reach a broken world"? You think intelligence is demonstrated by the pompous overachiever's use of big words and long sentences?

Crisp aphorism marks the genius.

110 comments:

cubanbob said...

With Obama the 'intellectuals' have jumped the shark.
As for Dowd I paraphrase Orwell who said to the effect 'only an intellectual can believe such things. No ordinary man could be such a fool'.

We have had enough of 'the best and brightest'. Its time to give the second tier a chance. Besides its impossible for them to do worse than the current lot.

BigFire said...

Or as someone else once said. Such stupidity can only be achieve by someone with post graduated degree.

Anonymous said...

Today it is MoDo. The Dana Milbank has another GOP hit-essay in WashPost. The GOP is going to be screwed, drip by drip. There is no way - no way in hell - that GOP is going to win anything in 2012. I predict a massive defeat everywhere. Starting Jan. 2012, expect the NPR to air commentary that show GOP has a party of dinosaurs. You are finished, GOP. Kaput.

Every one at the K-street jamboree is hung-ho on the re-election of the greatest POTUS ever. The GOP cannot do anything. The voters have already re-elected the POTUS Obama.

jimbino said...

Perry will be in good company when he gets to Washington, since you have to be ignorant in STEM to serve in Congress and ignorant in economics as well to get appointed to the Supreme Court.

rcocean said...

My IQ always drops after I read Dowd.

michaele said...

Interesting that Dowd now describes Obama as "a skinny Eastern egghead lawyer who’s inept in Washington gunfights".

Nothing like seeing a person in action for a couple of years to get a better handle on them.
If the choice ends up being between Perry and Obama, I'll take the macho man of action who is a doer and not just a thinker.

Shanna said...

I don't get it thus all Republican's are stupid. That makes sense, MoDo.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

The line where Modo claimed that Rs think evolution is avant-garde was funny.

If evolution is avant-garde, what would the Rs (other than Huntsman) think about Captain Beefheart?

Simon said...

I suppose Dowd would also snear at St. Paul's observation that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame those the world considers wise, 1 Cor. 1:27, which is no surprise since Dowd doubtless thinks of herself as being among the world's wise.

Anyways, her premise is wrong. Very few Republicans have a problem with intelligence or erudition. What they object to are those who are educated beyond their intelligence, or who have somehow managed to remain a liberal despite innate intellect and academic achievement.
If Perry's such an idiot and Dowd is so smart, why is he the conservative governor of Texas and she's a dilettante liberal columnist?

Still, I do think she's right that "[o]ur education system is going to hell. Average SAT scores are falling, and America is slipping down the list of nations for college completion." Why is that? Well, it coincided with a radical change in how we educate (a change of which Dowd approves) and one might think that the sensible thing is to go back to what last worked (a change which Dowd resists with all her meagre might)

Old Dad said...

Ms. Dowd responds viscerally to what she fears and desires--the list is long: authentic faith, authenticity, masculinity, the great unwashed, America west of the Hudson and east of Wilshire Blvd. She's still a school girl in patent leather shoes. She want the guy on the Harley, but she's afraid, and he talks funny.

chickenlittle said...

Though others clamor, Maureen Dowd is still the Red Queen.

Coketown said...

It doesn't take too thorough an understanding of Christian apologetics to know what "God uses broken people to reach a broken world" means. Most theologians and apologetics I've read have elaborated on some variation of that theme. Think of the arrogance involved here! "I don't understand this; you must be am idiot."

James said...

I'll keep it short since the Packers are playing.

Maureen Dowd is clearly not as smart as she thinks she is. But reading the comments to her article is even more revealing; the people who read and comment on NYTimes articles are in for a big surprise next year.

michaele said...

Also interesting is that Dowd as well as the rest of us know so much about what college courses Perry took and what his grades were. Meanwhile, Obama's college record remains a mystery even now. Shame on our mainstream media for not doing their due diligence 3-4 years ago.

jeff said...

"The Republicans are now the “How great is it to be stupid?” party." Well, that philosophy kept her employed for years. I assume she is on board now.

Chip S. said...

Republicans who speak in homely terms are stupid.

Republicans who use big, unfamiliar words are out-of-touch elitists.

Republicans who speak prosaically are evil.

These axioms provide a sufficient basis for a solid career as a political columnist.

jamboree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ah Pooh said...

sesquipedalian, oh please!

cubanbob said...

The Republicans are now the “How great is it to be stupid?” party. In perpetrating the idea that there’s no intellectual requirement for the office of the presidency, the right wing of the party offers a Farrelly Brothers “Dumb and Dumber” primary in which evolution is avant-garde.


Naturally she has demonstrated her brilliance by voting for Obama. Lets see, a hack employed by a house organ of the democratic party is dumping on conservatives and republicans. How original.

fleetusa said...

Althouse: Crisp aphorism marks the genius.

Amen!

caplight said...

Apparently MoDo did not know a priest or pastor to call who could have answered her question. Perhaps I should offer my services. Tell her I'm available.

Or maybe she just wasn't inquisitive enough to care.

BTW-Rick Perry's friendship with the the young lady with cervical cancer is a picture of that statement. But then that would humanize him.

Synova said...

Sometimes I think, what a racket, I could get paid to do that, I could!

And then I think about how un-thoughtful I'd have to be to toss off a new column on a regular basis that was sufficiently edgy to be entertaining and get people engaged and talking about it.

...And how I'd never be able to take the stupid back again.

And I think I'd rather get a job at a call center... simply for my own dignity.

Coketown said...

I'd also like to apply the Dowd Model of Universal Skepticism to the phrase "anti-science." What does that even mean? Do anti-Scientists comb the scientific literature to find out what they're against on any given day? That would make them almost as reactionary as the New Atheists. Almost. Does anti-science mean maintaining healthy skepticism toward those fields of inquiry that are still in their infancy? That would make the entire science establishment anti-science. Surely anyone supporting the theory of plate tectonics before the 1960's would be anti-science. They should have been banished from the scientific realm FOREVER! Or is it merely anyone whose morals aren't informed exclusively be science--whatever the hell that means. For example, I hear Sam Harris believes that evolutionary theory makes social democracy the only moral system of governance. Who knew?

To conclude, in the most sophisticated terms I can muster: Down is a crusty old twat.

Zach said...

It's a very eloquent line, and I was interested to find that a Google search returns only links to Governor Perry's remarks. You get several sermons if you truncate the search to "God uses broken people."

Interestingly, it does not appear to be a direct quote from the bible even in the sermons. The closest quote is 1 Timothy, 1:15-16: (c/o riverviewcommunitychurch.com)

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

The other readings provide an interesting commentary on the grade issue: (1 Corinthians, 1:26-31)

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Gabriel Hanna said...

Strunk and White: Omit unnecessary words.

Which deserves to be in letters of gold, inscribed in jade...

I see where MoDo is coming from. If every Christian was like C. S. Lewis people like me would be much more respectful toward and accepting of Christianity.

But that's the whole point--as C. S. Lewis would say, and did through Screwtape. God loves everyone. Christianity is for everyone. The stupid and the stammering as well as the smart and the articulate, and if you will only associate with who you think are your equals or betters, then Christianity is not for you. It's a fallen world and none of us is up to God's standard, on our merits. But He loves us all, right?

"One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do riot mean the Church as we see her spread but through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes I our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans. All your patient sees is the half-finished, sham Gothic erection on the new building estate. When he goes inside, he sees the local grocer with rather in oily expression on his face bustling up to offer him one shiny little book containing a liturgy which neither of them understands, and one shabby little book containing corrupt texts of a number of religious lyrics, mostly bad, and in very small print. When he gets to his pew and looks round him he sees just that selection of his neighbours whom he has hitherto avoided. You want to lean pretty heavily on those neighbours. Make his mind flit to and fro between an expression like "the body of Christ" and the actual faces in the next pew. It matters very little, of course, what kind of people that next pew really contains. You may know one of them to be a great warrior on the Enemy's side. No matter. Your patient, thanks to Our Father below, is a fool. Provided that any of those neighbours sing out of tune, or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous. At his present stage, you see, he has an idea of "Christians" in his mind which he supposes to be spiritual but which, in fact, is largely pictorial. His mind is full of togas and sandals and armour and bare legs and the mere fact that the other people in church wear modern clothes is a real—though of course an unconscious—difficulty to him. Never let it come to the surface; never let him ask what he expected them to look like. Keep everything hazy in his mind now, and you will have all eternity wherein to amuse yourself by producing in him the peculiar kind of clarity which Hell affords."

MoDo whould read Screwtape if she hasn't. She's described in there pretty accurately; most of us are.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Coketown:Surely anyone supporting the theory of plate tectonics before the 1960's would be anti-science.

Before the 1960's there wasn't evidence. It was an intriguing idea but with little to support it.

When the mid-ocean ridges were discovered, not only was plate tectonics consistent with that evidence but in addition was the ONLY explanation for which they made any sense. The geology textbooks were revised forthwith.

This is very different from the anti-science known as creationism, which for most creationists requires denying plate tectonics as well as evidence from many, many other branches of science not directly related to the age of the earth.

Furthermore, believers in plate-tectonics previous to the discovery of the mid-ocean ridges did not deny that other geological processes took place. Very different from creationism and other forms of science denial. Plate tectonics was consistent with what was already known, but provided extra. It did not require pretending that other evidence of other processes did not exist or was faked or whatever.

Coketown said...

Before the 1960's there wasn't evidence. It was an intriguing idea but with little to support it.

There was too evidence. We saw the "jigsaw" pattern of various landforms on maps and similar fossils found on different continents, etc. Just no compelling evidence that couldn't be explained another way. Which is my point: science was inadequate to illustrate the truth. Which is why we shouldn't use today's understanding of Science to draw moral or even policy conclusions when the stakes are so high and the field so much in its infancy.

But I like how you immediately venture into the creationism debate, entirely unprovoked. My point about atheists being reactionary boobs is well preserved.

edutcher said...

If MoDo thinks The Republicans are now the "How great is it to be stupid?" party, how does she explain Halo Joe, Dingy Harry, the Weiner, and Pelosi Galore, not to mention the Sort of God who thinks the Americans liberated Auschwitz and people in Vienna speak Austrian?

Dubya, Darth, Rummy, and Condi put in policies that have kept the cutthroats (aside from the union slugs, of course) at bay for more than a decade. Seems like smart to me.

GodZero and the Hildabeast are still looking for a success in their foreign policy reset.

As for the Perry quote, I think he's just pointing out that to understand suffering, you have to have been there.

pst314 said...

At least Maureen Dowd isn't Bill Maher. (Which takes damning with faint praise to the level of cruelty.)

EDH said...

Dowd, about as incoherent as Greenday's "anti-media" screed

American Idiot

Don't wanna be an American idiot.
Don't want a nation that doesn't know media.
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind fuck America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where Everything isn't meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We're not the ones who're meant to follow.
Well that's enough to argue.

Well maybe I'm the faggot America.
I'm not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along in the age of paranoia.

Don't wanna be an American idiot.
One nation controlled by the media.
Information nation of hysteria.
It's going out to idiot America.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Coketown:There was too evidence. We saw the "jigsaw" pattern of various landforms on maps and similar fossils found on different continents, etc.

No mechanism for it. Why would solid rock move horizontally? The mid-ocean ridges gave the answer. It's not enough to see a pattern like that. You have to have a mechanism that makes sense.

Know what else fits with the jigsaw shape of continents? A continuously expanding earth. That IS nutty, partly because there is no physical mechanism that could do that and partly because they have to ignore a whole lot of other evidence that contradicts this theory. There's some geologists in Tanzania keeping the flame alive, but it's an anti-scientific belief. Very different from where plate tectonics was in the 1950s.

Which is my point: science was inadequate to illustrate the truth.

How do you know plate tectonics is "the truth"? You don't. It's the best explanation given our current understanding. That's all science ever is, and there is nothing else that has a better track record.

Which is why we shouldn't use today's understanding of Science to draw moral or even policy conclusions when the stakes are so high and the field so much in its infancy.

You don't live your life by that rule. You don't opppose vaccinations or water treatment. Science is "inadequate to illustrate the truth", right?

But I like how you immediately venture into the creationism debate, entirely unprovoked.

Creationism is the number one reason for Republicans being considered the anti-science party. It's quite relevant.

Teri said...

"In perpetrating the idea . . . "

D'ya think she means "perpetuating"? Or does she think that ideas are crimes and people who express them are perps?

traditionalguy said...

They are accusing Perry of using the leadership style of FDR that did exactly what Perry said for 13 years through a Depression and a World War.

So yes, Perry is appealing to common folks and not to super-rationalists that cannot conceive of what human brokenness and courage to prevail over it means.


They never experienced it, so its not real to them.

But it was real in spades for a polio survivor named Franklin who learned his prevailing style from common folks at Warm Springs, Ga.

ricpic said...

Well, the execrable Mo is right, the Republicans are the stupid party. But not for the reasons she posits. They're stupid in the same way nice folks can't believe a knave is in fact a knave, that it's in its Dem nature to sting you tarantula style no matter how much you try to reason with it.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Coketown:

You know what policy prescription I oppose? Smoking bans. I think smoking bans are stupid and an unwarranted infringment on our liberties.

But I don't say that smoking is harmless or healthy. THAT would be anti-science.

Likewise I don't say that industrial carbon emissions are not heating the earth. When I argue against the policies, I don't deny the actual science. What I dispute is that Policy X will actually do what it does with less cost and less harm than Policy not-X. And that argument has to be based in reality.

I wish carbon dioxide didn't absorb IR. I wish that we had other forms of energy as cheap and as useful as fossil fuels. Neither of those things is true. I have to work with the reality I inhabit.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@tradguy:But it was real in spades for a polio survivor named Franklin who learned his prevailing style from common folks at Warm Springs, Ga.

Did you know FDR tried to convert Molotov to Christianity? One of the strangest (to me) true stories from WWII. He liked Molotov and wanted to save his soul. I personally wouldn't mind seeing every Communist in Hell, but not being a Christian I recognize no obligation to prevent it. If Hell's good enough for me it's good enough for them.

ic said...

The intellectuals gave us the TOTUS reader.

ricpic said...

Will someone on this thread fer krisesake come up with a crisp aphorism. I can't think of one and the tension is killing me!

Kit said...

You wouldn't have AA (not the blogger), without the broken helping each other

Fred4Pres said...

What is means Maureen that God loves broken people like you and has a plan for you. Even if you do not pay attention to it.

traditionalguy said...

Gabriel...I love you man.

But you need to double check out the facts of CO2 absorbtion of IR.

The science has "evolved."

Paddy O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paddy O said...

'God uses broken people to reach a broken world.'

That's pretty much what my book is about.

Well, that's pretty much what the whole Bible is about too. So if you don't get that, you don't get Christianity at all.

Lauderdale Vet said...

Crisp aphorism...

...Soundbite, anyone?

SMGalbraith said...

This is the same William F. Buckley who said:

I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.

Or the op-ed page writers on the NY Times.

That Buckley, right?

Toshtu said...

She doesn't get it because the first word in the sentence caused her brain to protectively shut down.

If Michelle O had said his of Barack on the campaign trail, it would have been a bolded pull quote in Dowd's column the following day.

PETER V. BELLA said...

Maureen Dowd: Anything she writes.

What does that even mean?

Smilin' Jack said...

Crisp aphorism marks the genius.

I wouldn't hold my breath until I heard Perry use the word "aphorism."

Roger Sweeny said...

Gabriel Hanna,

Maybe this is being picky but there had been lots of evidence for continental movement for a long time, e.g. the distribution of the Glossopteris flora. Way back in 1915, Alfred Wegener published a substantial book filled with evidence. The fact that there was a range of undersea mountains down the center of the Atlantic first came to people's attention after the HMS Challenger expedition of 1872-76.

Now it is certainly true that no one had a good theory for why the continents were moving until Harry Hess's 1962 paper on seafloor spreading. But that is a very different thing.

rashomon said...

The stunning thing here is that Dowd hasn't been exposed to some of the basic teachings and philosophy of the majority religion of this country, the one whose underlying tenets have shaped everything from our constitution to the secular humanism that has become its chief competitor. Come on, I know, she has an Irish-Catholic background, but she'd probably look it up if a Buddhist or a Hindu said something like "If you meet the Buddha in the road, kill him." or "There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man; true nobility is in being superior to your previous self," and not suggest the person was a terrorist or an idiot for saying it.

Carol_Herman said...

It could mean the Catholic Pope couldn't save the Irish from watching their bankers walk off with all the loot. And, nobody goes to jail.

That's actually the amazing thing.

Trillions get stollen from economies ... and nobody goes to jail. But unemployment is up.

Religion recruits.

Elle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred4Pres said...

Has anyone ever seen Maureen Dowd and Carol Herman togehter?

Just asking.

Palladian said...

I love a tart, juicy, crisp aphorism in the autumn.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@tradguy:But you need to double check out the facts of CO2 absorbtion of IR.

The science has "evolved."


What, has the mass of the atoms changed, or have the laws of electricity and magentism?

A quick Google search says no.

Redoing the normal mode calculuation.....

I do the normal mode calculation I get the same three frequencies. I have to conclue that you don't know what youa re talking about.

Palladian said...

"Has anyone ever seen Maureen Dowd and Carol Herman together?

Just asking."


Thanks, now I'm seeing a mental picture of them... you know, together...

Talk about your juicy, crispy tarts!

*shudder*

Palladian said...

Apparently Gabriel Hanna hasn't heard of quantum physics.

Palladian said...

"Creationism is the number one reason for Republicans being considered the anti-science party."

Is Creationism an official plank of the Republican party platform?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Roger Sweeney:Maybe this is being picky but there had been lots of evidence for continental movement for a long time, e.g. the distribution of the Glossopteris flora. Way back in 1915, Alfred Wegener published a substantial book filled with evidence.

Yes, and I acknowledged this. But without a physical mechanism for moving continents it was much more reasonable to think that this was a coincidence or had happened some other way.

As I pointed out, the whole EArth expanding was ALSO consistent with Wegener's evidence. There was no machanism for that either. So there was no way to choose between those and the "standard" geological picture.

phx said...

"Poetically rich" doesn't mean "impcomprehensible" - unless perhaps you are a postmodernist.

The problem as I see it is with the word "reach."

From a Christian's POV I would have thought God reached the world with Jesus Christ, not with "broken people."

Maybe you could say "God used Mary Magdalene and other sinners, broken people, to reach the world," but it doesn't seem to make sense to me.

I'm open if someone had a very good explanation (I didn't read through all the comments).

Peace.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Palladian:Apparently Gabriel Hanna hasn't heard of quantum physics.

I took about five graduate courses in it and it figured heavily in my dissertation, but I have no idea how THIS refers to ANYTHING discussed so far. If you'd like to make a QM based argument I will be happy to knock it down for you.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Palladium:Is Creationism an official plank of the Republican party platform?

Republican dominated state legislatures and Republican governors seem to think so, yes. Rick Perry seems to think teaching creationism is mandated by Texas law. He's wrong about that, but he said it did.

Laika's Last Woof said...

I think he meant it in the sense that someone who has faced and overcome the same challenges as another who has not yet overcome offers a unique and powerful inspiration.
Belief seems fairly widespread, for instance, that the person most likely to reach an alcoholic is a recovering alcoholic.
In context that doesn't make much sense, though. Perry was trying to save lives and fight cancer by passing that law, and I don't think it was "a mistake" because of any sort of handicap or character flaw.
Maybe his perception of himself as "broken" in context means he strayed from the path of limited government, perhaps out of pride, and he learned an important lesson about the proper role of government which should ideally serve as an example to others with the same instinct for social engineering.

Which would be unfortunate as mandatory vaccinations are one of the very few things we actually need government to be heavy-handed about. It's a legitimate public safety issue that affects everyone, and the diseases in question thrive to the exact degree that people are allowed to opt out.
If we would quarantine a town that had an outbreak of some fatal new disease, why is it such an affront to liberty to quarantine the diseases themselves by vaccinating the people?

Erik said...

Hell, any Evangelical over the age of ten knows what that means, and has heard half a dozen sermons on it. It's right up there in Evangelical cliches with "servant leadership" and "new wineskins." They are all profound notions: but they're all two millennia old notions. That Dowd doesn't understand them means she's completely unversed in theology, philosophy, history, and American culture. Which means she fits in just fine at the New York Times.

Erik said...

"I'm open if someone had a very good explanation (I didn't read through all the comments)."

God reached the world through Jesus, yes, but Jesus's continued ministry is through his followers as well as through his continued intercession in spirit. Not complicated.

Mike said...

You know the short two word history of the world is "Jesus wept."

But then Jesus took a look at the current lineup of the NYT's columnist----and fill in the blank.
He's laughing through his tears.

Stephen said...

Even an Episcopalian like me who rarely opens the Bible immediately picked up on the reference.

The concept of broken-ness dates back to the Old Testament. Psalm 51, King James Version: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."

Ms. Dowd needn't be devout or even a Christian, but as a Pulitzer Prize winning NY Times columnist she should have a passing acquaintance with the faith of her fathers and mothers, the faith to which millions of her countrymen still subscribe. But she doesn't. It's sad, and her cultural insularity brings to mind the apocryphal Pauline Kael quote about not knowing anyone who voted for Nixon.

BTW, I happen to think Governor Perry's sentence was elegant. The parallel construction (broken-people, broken-world), the implied humility (I am a broken person like you), the Biblical reference, and its pithiness are surprising to those of us who only know him through the Eastern news filter.

jimbino said...

Well before Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, God used an ass to spread his word. Numbers 22:28

Darcy said...

Broken people rule.

Darcy said...

Coincidentally, I was just telling someone yesterday that I trust someone way more when I sense brokenness in them than when they declare to me that they are a Christian. Because I feel that I am a believer because I am broken. I am no better than anyone else. I'd never suggest that anyone look to me as an example of my faith, but I would be humbled if they ever did see Christ in me.

It's not me.

Reliapundit said...

HI MS. ALTHOUSE;

YOU AND YOUR READERS MIGHT ACTUALLY LIKE THIS POST:

http://astuteblogger.blogspot.com/2011/09/do-you-think-your-life-would-run-better.html

traditionalguy said...

Phx...Don't worry if you cannot fully understand this concept of broken people when you are young.

Your lesson will come someday, and then you will learn that your strength arises in how you react to a severe loss.


Note: tonight's game in the NFL features a QB that learned the lesson of being broken. He is coming back to Atlanta to show us the new man that he has become.

Saint Croix said...

Crisp aphorism marks the genius.

Depends on the crisp aphorism.

Death panels, genius.

Ponzi scheme, not.

Roger Sweeny said...

Gabriel Hanna,

You bring up an interesting question. When there was a lot of evidence that the continents had once been joined, but no one had been able to think up an explanation for how they could have moved, was it more reasonable to say, "They never moved" or "They moved, but we don't know how"?

I'd say it was very reasonable to reject the idea that the earth was expanding. But there is a big difference between rejecting a bad theory and rejecting the possibility of a good theory.

Kit said...

In context that doesn't make much sense, though.

A man falls into a hole so deep he can't get out. A doctor walks by, and the man calls for help. The doctor writes a prescription, tosses it into the hole, and walks on. A priest walks by, and the man tries again. The priest writes a prayer, tosses it into the hole, and walks on. Finally a friend walks by, and again the man asks for help. To his surprise, the friend jumps in with him. "Why did you do that?" the man asks. "Now we're both in the hole." "Yes," the friend responds. "But I've been in this hole before, and I know the way out."

Oligonicella said...

coketown --

Actually, you beat her to the reactionary stuff.

"That would make them almost as reactionary as the New Atheists."

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Roger Sweeney:I'd say it was very reasonable to reject the idea that the earth was expanding.

Based on what? In 1950, there was no mechanism for either. By 1970 the mechanisms for plate tectonics were discovered and well understood whilst the expanding Earth mechanisms remains deeply mysterious, but in 1950 both were equally unknown.

However, geology books from the 1950s did not reject continental drift out of hand and declare it impossible; they noted the evidence for, and the absence of a plausible mechanism, and said it was an interesting idea but lacking enough evidence. Nobody to my knowledge said it was impossible. But the bar for science is much higher than "it could happen if only someone could think of a way".

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Roger Sweeney: It's not like they had nothing and then plate tectonics. There were lots of well-understood geological mechanisms.

What if data from the sea floor had shown all rocks being the same age regardless of distance? Then it wouldn't matter HOW plausible the other evidence for continental drift was, the evidence would show it was impossible.

INSTEAD they found that the rocks get younger the closer they got to the mid ocean ridge. Plate tectonics predicted that, and the other geological mechanisms did not. This is why geologists switched over so quickly. Because the people who did think there was likely to be continental drift had worked out in advance what we should see if that happened. And what we would see if it WASN'T true.

Oligonicella said...

Reliapundit --

"YOU AND YOUR READERS MIGHT ACTUALLY LIKE THIS POST:"

Did you drop by from 4chan? Take your finger off the shift key.

But, no, didn't find it appealing.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Roger Sweeney: You're forgetting too that Wegener's description of continental drift was actually wrong, and was known to be so before plate tectonics was discovered. Yes, the continents move, but not in the way Wegener said they did. He seems to have thought continents moved over the solid seafloor. Which they can't do. It's the seafoor that moves.

Roger Sweeny said...

In 1950, there was lots of evidence that the continents had moved. There was no evidence that the earth had expanded--and lots of reasons to believe that it had not.

As you say, "geology books from the 1950s ... noted the evidence for[continental drift], and the absence of a plausible mechanism, and said it was an interesting idea but lacking enough evidence."

That was reasonable. It was also reasonable to say "I think the continents have moved and I think someday we'll come up with an explanation how."

Kind of like saying, "We have no good naturalistic explanation of how life began but eventually I think we'll come up with one."

Roger Sweeny said...

GH,

Please do not put words in my mouth. I am well aware that Wegener's proposed mechanism of continental drift was wrong. I said several times that no one had come up with a good explanation of how it happened until Hess.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Roger Sweeney:Kind of like saying, "We have no good naturalistic explanation of how life began but eventually I think we'll come up with one."

Which would be a lie, as there are many good and plausible explanations. But none of which can be easily tested, so there is no reason to favor one over the others.

Which is exactly my point about plate tectonics. The evidence did not conclusively point to one vs the others. New evidence was needed.

Paul said...

So they say the Republican party is the “How great is it to be stupid?” party?

Hahahaha... Jeez that statement really just shows how stupid the ones who say it are.

And after producing LBJ, Jimmy Carter, and Obama, how can Democrats say this?

Keep it up smart liberals and you will just outsmart yourselves one more time. Kind of like Willie E. Coyote (and you know what Rick did to HIM!)

SunnyJ said...

Knowledge is a diamond.

You decide if your diamond is of the industrial type, put to work, creating and producing.

Or, put it in a crown and where it on your head every where you go, to be admired by all but helping nothing and no one. You decide.

The Progs are heavy into the big certificates and fancy diamond crowns of knowledge and brain power. Ms Dowd, where her crown even in the shower I hear. Useful? Not so much.

phx said...

Eric thanks for the uncomplicated explanation.

Kirby Olson said...

The elite colleges are for the also-rans now who muscled their way in on guilt and Red Guardsmanship. Look at Obama's pal Henry Gates, or Edward Said. The Ward Churchills rule the better colleges now from sea to shining sea.

Outside that milieu, in places deep in theheart if Texas, people still have hearts. And can think in aphorisms that reach back to Proverbs. There's probably more sense now in a place like Dime Box, Texas, than there is in all of New York City.

Steven said...

Likewise I don't say that industrial carbon emissions are not heating the earth.

The error bars on even Dr. Mann's reconstructions of pre-industrial climate (published in Science, 2009) are such that there is, in fact, no statistically significant evidence to the 95% confidence level that current temperatures are warmer than temperatures in the first millennium. So, why, exactly, do you believe current temperatures are driven by the result of industrial processes? Were there actually massive industrial carbon emissions during the Roman Empire and Early Middle Ages?

Joe Schmoe said...

Starting Jan. 2012, expect the NPR to air commentary that show GOP has a party of dinosaurs.

Um, you're a little late to the party, America Politico. NPR has been doing this since I've been alive. To little effect outside their small, effete audience, thankfully.

Joan said...

I have nothing to say regarding MoDo, but I do want to say how much I'm enjoying the plate tectonics discussion, because I'm currently teaching all of this stuff to my seventh graders. They have a lot of sympathy for Wegener when his theory is not accepted, but they understand why it couldn't have been. Since Wegener could never propose any mechanism explaining how the continents moved, it didn't really matter how lovely (and abundant) his evidence was that they had moved.

wv: retro lol!

Joe Schmoe said...

For a case of Dowd, take two Krauthammers and call me in the morning.

Joe Schmoe said...

Please don't fall into Dowd's (and Progressivism's) trap of painting sides as intellectual versus anti-intellectual. There are plenty of conservative intellectuals just as there are plenty of dunce liberals. Conservatism (and libertarianism) has far greater philosophical, intellectual underpinnings than progressivism. We've got Kirk, Locke, Smith, Burke, Buckley, Hayek, Friedman, de Tocqueville, Disraeli, all the Founding Fathers, and the list goes on. They've got Marx and Engels. And Keynes, who's been uninvited to the lib Christ..er, I mean Winter Holiday party.

What Dowd talks about is actually a positive trait of the conservative party. We actually value diversity of thought among our members. Rick Perry is free to voice his beliefs and opinions without fear of being ostracized by his party. Try to take a pro-life or pro-genetically-enhanced-food stance in the donkey party, and you'll find yourself on the outside looking in.

Joe Schmoe said...

My last thought (sorry for monopolizing the last few comments) is that the thing I like about Rick Perry is the same thing I like about Sarah Palin. They are unabashedly proud of their conservative views and you can tell they genuinely believe in them.

Anonymous said...

Dowd's problem is Perry said, "God."

In this article she conjures the well-worn image of Beavis and Butthead chortling, "Dude, you said 'ass'. Heh. Heh. Heh."

The progressive-communist-socialist left are boring now...

Roger Sweeny said...

Joan,

Thanks for the kind words. I wouldn't say that Wegener's (and Alexander Du Toit's and many other's) evidence "didn't really matter." It mattered a lot because it said there was a mystery that needed to be solved: why did it look like the continents had moved thousands of miles?

Wegener's idea that continents move could have been tentatively accepted, and was indeed accepted by a number of generally younger scientists. They looked for more evidence of movement and tried to come up with an explanation of how the continents could move. Hess's theory of seafloor spreading provided an explanation and the new data on magnetic reversals in the Atlantic seafloor wonderfully supported it.

Within a decade, the idea that continents move was accepted by a large proportion of geologists--though some never accepted it, and were only removed from the profession by retirement.

sorepaw said...
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Tim said...

Crisp aphorism marks the genius.

No, it doesn't.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

America's Politico ... our homegrown Baghdad Bob.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Steven:The error bars on even Dr. Mann's reconstructions of pre-industrial climate...

are something I linked to here before. To my knowledge I am the only one ever to link to orginal papers here.

why, exactly, do you believe current temperatures are driven by the result of industrial processes? Were there actually massive industrial carbon emissions during the Roman Empire and Early Middle Ages?

If smoking causes lung cancer, how do people get lung cancer if they don't smoke? It happens sometimes, ergo smoking cannot cause lung cancer. That's your argument. The fallacy is in thinking that "if A then B" implies "B, then A".

OF COURSE the earth can warm for other reasons. That is not why it is warming now.

If the climate "skeptic" movement ever produced and ran models, which they never do for some reason just like they never collect and analyze temperature records, they would find that you cannot increase the carbon dioxide concentration without causing warming.

We know this because REAL climate scientists, unlike the climate "skeptics", actually ran models with other assumptions over the last 40 years.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@sorepaw:Really, Hanna?

Incidentally, are you ever going to post under your real name as I do? Then I can address you as disrespectfully as you do me and we can be even.

In none of our little exchanges have you ever cited actual evidence; merely hid behind your anonymity and insulted me.

When the doctrines of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming are accorded the same status as phrenology and Lysenkoism,

I hear this a lot from creationists about evolution. If this will ever happen, it will be no thanks to climate "skeptics", who design no climate models and collect no temperature data. Rather, it would be disproved by actual scientists doing actual research.

Maguro said...

it will be no thanks to climate "skeptics", who design no climate models and collect no temperature data. Rather, it would be disproved by actual scientists doing actual research.

The fact that no one else can design a realistic climate model doesn't mean that the climate models AGW theory is based on aren't bullshit. In fact they are bullshit, demonstrably so.

I think it is quite likely that no one can design an accurately predictive climate model, there are simply too many interrelated variables. The fact that AGW alarmists want to revamp our entire economy and way of life on the basis of these pathetically inadequate models is just underscores the absurdity of the whole AGW movement.


and

sorepaw said...
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Saint Croix said...

Having grown up with a crush on William F. Buckley Jr. for his sesquipedalian facility

That speaks volumes to me.

She looks up to smart. She worships smart. She wants to be dominated by smart. She bows down before smart. She glorifies smart. She's got a daddy thing for smart.

After 3 years of Obama, she is starting to suspect that he's not actually smart. Bamboozled!

"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.."

sorepaw said...
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sorepaw said...
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John Lynch said...

Intentional ignorance is a journalistic epidemic.

Mark Allen said...

The Republicans are now the “How great is it to be stupid?” Who elected Obama?

Kirk Parker said...

"Crisp aphorism marks the genius."

Ahh, quoting yourself (from your 2004 post, "How John F'n Kerry Lost Me.")

Tari said...

The only thing worse than reading a Maureen Dowd column is reading the comments, where her readers call her "dear Maureen" and tell her that she gets everything right, every time. I feel like I licked the side of a Hoover vacuum just reading them. Ack.

J said...

My turds have more erudition than Dowd.