July 10, 2015

90 years ago today, the Scopes trial begins in Tennessee.

The Nation reprints a contemporaneous article by H.L. Mencken:
Behind every school ever heard of there is a definite concept of its purpose—of the sort of equipment it is to give to its pupils. It cannot conceivably teach everything; it must confine itself by sheer necessity to teaching what will be of the greatest utility, cultural or practical; to the youth actually in hand. Well, what could be of greater utility to the son of a Tennessee mountaineer than an education making him a good Tennesseean, content with his father, at peace with his neighbors, dutiful to the local religion, and docile under the local mores? That is all the Tennessee anti-evolution law seeks to accomplish. It differs from other regulations of the same sort only to the extent that Tennessee differs from the rest of the world. The State, to a degree that should be gratifying, has escaped the national standardization. Its people show a character that is immensely different from the character of, say, New Yorkers or Californians. They retain, among other things, the anthropomorphic religion of an elder day. They do not profess it; they actually believe in it. The Old Testament, to them, is not a mere sacerdotal whizz-bang, to be read for its pornography; it is an authoritative history.... So crediting the sacred narrative, they desire that it be taught to their children, and any doctrine that makes game of it is immensely offensive to them. When such a doctrine, despite their protests, is actually taught, they proceed to put it down by force.
They do not profess it; they actually believe in it. Great stuff! Read the whole thing:


97 comments:

Michael K said...

Scopes, of course, was a recruited volunteer to challenge the local law. Sort of like the lesbians going to the Christian bakery.

Chuck said...

The stodgy old middle American Christians at the turn of the last century probably held to some quaint notions. Like, that the national turn away from organized religion could lead to things like a divorce rate approaching 40% and an out-of-wedlock birthrate of 41%. And less than 46% of all children being raised by a married mother and father.

traditionalguy said...

H. L. had a great style. His analysis is still the case. The fundamentalist Churches still believe it, while the rest of the Churches profess it no matter how silly it sounds to them.

No wonder the Bible when preached has always been so much of a threat to Governmental control. It feeds a certainty that is called faith which builds an immunity to mind controller's tricks.

Resolving any hang ups with belief and science was such old news that it even made old H. L. laugh a hundred years ago.

Patrick said...

"So crediting the sacred narrative, they desire that it be taught to their children, and any doctrine that makes game of it is immensely offensive to them. When such a doctrine, despite their protests, is actually taught, they proceed to put it down by force."

That applies to so much these days.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

The first sentence (of the full article) is a dead-accurate description of the 2000s.

Gahrie said...

Scopes, of course, was a recruited volunteer to challenge the local law. Sort of like the lesbians going to the Christian bakery.

So were Rosa Parks and and Plessy.

cassandra lite said...

As regards the movie, I can never get past the thought that Darrin Stevens is on trial, and I wait for Samantha to twitch her nose and get him out of it.

mccullough said...

Mencken, like those he satirized, is a simpleton.

tim maguire said...

Gahrie said..."Scopes, of course, was a recruited volunteer to challenge the local law. Sort of like the lesbians going to the Christian bakery."

So were Rosa Parks and and Plessy.


Exactly. It's no small thing to challenge a law by breaking it. It hardly undermines the act that the person doing the breaking thought about it ahead of time, was maybe recruited, and planned for or had planned the defense after arrest.

Hagar said...

I have also read that the city fathers of Dayton,TN saw this trial as a chance to "put Dayton on the map" and draw a large crowd for a profitable carnival show in the dog days of summer. They were not the rubes Mencken and other intelligentsia snots like to portray them as.

rhhardin said...

He's putting in "actually" what he removes from "profess."

Profess actually handles actually on its own.

Henry said...

The Old Testament, to them, is not a mere sacerdotal whizz-bang, to be read for its pornography;

Now that is a zinger.

The opening passage about prohibition is brilliant and applies directly to the war on drugs:

What began as a campaign for a Babbitt's utopia becomes transformed into a mystical cam- paign for Law Enforcement. Prohibition is a grotesque failure, but the fight must go on.

dmoelling said...

The always forgotten thing was that Scopes was teaching from a progressive/eugenics textbook called "Social Biology" that emphasized "racial improvement". The fundamentalists did oppose an evolutionary origin of man, but the eugenics crew was far worse for all involved.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

Mencken, like most Christian bashers, was very ignorant about the practice of religion. While I do enjoy his witty writing style, he attacks what is essentially a child's view of Christianity. Furthermore, he pretty much ignores the fact that those who do believe in a more literal reading of the Bible, generally lead much more fulfilling and decent lives that those sophisticates who amuse themselves by mocking their betters.

Whatevs. I can stand it if they can.

Michael K said...

" the eugenics crew was far worse for all involved."

Yes but we can't say that. Especially Maragret Sanger's comment about "We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,"

Yes, that would be unfortunate

J. Farmer said...

@Mid-Life Lawyer:

"While I do enjoy his witty writing style, he attacks what is essentially a child's view of Christianity."

I hear this a lot from believers -- that atheists or unbelievers have a simplistic, or childish view of Christianity or religion writ large. So, I guess my question is what is the sober, mature, adult view of Christianity versus the childish view? What's the difference?

Birkel said...

John Washington Butler was a Tennessee farmer. I know because every biography says so. But no party affiliation is mentioned. Therefore, QED, he was a southern Democrat?

Those Democrats and all their anti-science legislation!!

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

I am guessing you never read the letter from which that quote was drawn.

Birkel said...

William Jennings Bryan was also a Democrat.

Covered in glory, they are.

Birkel said...

J Farmer,
Do you deny Sanger was a eugenicist, a racist who wanted blacks to abort themselves.into oblivion?

Michael K said...

"I am guessing you never read the letter from which that quote was drawn."

Of course I have. Unlike you, I read. It was a letter explaining why she had named a black minister to head the movement at that point.

Poor dope.

Bill said...

Mencken had aphasia in his last years, which must have been perfect hell for a wordsmith.

Freder Frederson said...

Do you deny Sanger was a eugenicist, a racist who wanted blacks to abort themselves.into oblivion?

Yes, I am denying it because it is simply a lie made up by people trying to smear Sanger.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

A mature view and practice of Christianity operates with this core principle:

"Do not cast thy pearls before trolls."

Michael K said...

"it is simply a lie made up by people trying to smear Sanger."

My goodness. The lefties are outraged. !

Alan Guttmacher, then president of Planned Parenthood, was desperate to show policy-makers that birth control would produce a situation whereby "minority groups who constantly outbreed the majority will no longer persist in doing so. . . "

Despite claims that racial or ethnic groups were not being "targeted," American blacks, among whose ranks a greater proportion of the poor were numbered, received a high priority in Planned Parenthood's nationwide efforts. Donald B. Strauss, chairman of Planned ParenthoodÑWorld Population, urged the 1964 Democratic national Convention to liberalize the party's stated policies on birth control, and to adopt domestic and foreign policy platform resolutions to conform with long-sought San gerite goals: [While almost one-fourth of nonwhite parents have four or more children under 18 living with them, only 8% of the white couples have that many children living at home. For the Negro parent in particular, the denial of access to family planning professional guidance forecloses one more avenue to family advancement and well-being..


Hey, if you want to call quotes lies, I can't stop you.

Fernandinande said...

Blogger Mid-Life Lawyer said...
A mature view and practice of Christianity operates with this core principle:
"Do not cast thy pearls before trolls."


Therefore you don't have a mature view and practice of Christianity.

..that atheists or unbelievers have a simplistic, or childish view of Christianity or religion writ large.

Atheists have more knowledge of religion than superstitious people have.

Birkel said...

Freder Frederson has entered the sweepstakes. Perhaps others will attempt to win the prize of most purposefully ignorant Useful Idiot. Time is running short.

Democrats officially believe they can have their own opinions and facts thes days.

stan said...

The Scopes trial was a tourism PR stunt. I drove by the courthouse a few weeks ago when my son played in a basketball tournament nearby. The locals were hoping that a strawberry festival the next weekend would bring out a big turnout of tourists.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

"Unlike you, I read."

Oh, Michael. From your picture you look like a senior citizen, yet you are perennially incapable of rising above the level of the schoolyard.

If you read the letter, than why are you quoting her words to insinuate that she had a secret plan that she was fearful of being revealed. The entire premise of the section you quoted from was the need to combat the false notion that "birth control" was sterilization or an attempted negro genocide. There were, in fact, racist sterilizations of blacks against their consent, and the recipient of the letter, Clarence Gamble (of Proctor & Gamble), was a proponent of such tactics. If you had, indeed, read that letter, then you either quoted Sanger selectively to give a false impression of her actual stated intentions or you possess phenomenally poor reading comprehension skills. Or you're a liar.

Anonymous said...

Blogger J. Farmer said...
@Mid-Life Lawyer:

"While I do enjoy his witty writing style, he attacks what is essentially a child's view of Christianity."

I hear this a lot from believers -- that atheists or unbelievers have a simplistic, or childish view of Christianity or religion writ large. So, I guess my question is what is the sober, mature, adult view of Christianity versus the childish view? What's the difference?


Which is why their view is so simplistic and childish. They've reasoned themselves into a circular argument. There is no other view of Christianity and religion in general other than a simplistic, childish one.

Do you seriously expect anything other than simplistic and childish responses from the likes of J. Farmer and his crew? He believes his ideological opponents to be simpletons and evil, therefore, why should he waste his time becoming educated on the topics on which he opines?

J. Farmer said...

@Eric:

I presume your rejection of Hindu precepts is because of your childish, simplistic understanding of that religion?

Anonymous said...

I previously wrote;

Do you seriously expect anything other than simplistic and childish responses from the likes of J. Farmer and his crew?

Exhibit A: I presume your rejection of Hindu precepts is because of your childish, simplistic understanding of that religion?

tim in vermont said...

Mocking our inferiors has always been good fun for us humans. It probably confers an evolutionary advantage.

tim in vermont said...

Atheists have more knowledge of religion than superstitious people have

And skeptics have more knowledge of climate science than believers in global warming have.

Michael K said...

"the need to combat the false notion that "birth control" was sterilization or an attempted negro genocide."

You choose to interpret her writing in a way that ignores the whole purpose of Planned Parenthood.

I din't make this out of whole cloth. A lot of blacks think this what she had in mind.

You don't but you have an obvious conflict of interest. You are a hard leftist and don't want to admit the history that disagrees with your fantasies. I'm sure that you believe Rachel Carson was correct about DDT and that Margaret Mead was not sold a bill of goods by the wily Samoans.

Anthropogenic global warming is very resistant as a theology to 18 years of cooling and snow in Yosemite in July.

The whole purpose of Planned Parenthood was to reduce pregnancies among the poor and less competent. Forced sterilization was supported by, for example, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr's quote, "Three generations of imbeciles is enough."

The black population was obviously intended as a target, and Catholics were an early target. And it wasn't "a secret plan." It was well know and you might read that bit about Buck vs Bell.

Michael K said...

Farmer is pretty good at polemics but not much else.

J. Farmer said...

@Eric:

There are about a billion Hindus in the world. If one of them told you that you rejected Hinduism because you possessed a childish, simplistic understanding of it, how would you respond? You know the amount of veracity you put in Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Shinto? Well, that's the same amount of veracity I place on Christianity. It does not really require any more armchair psychoanalysis than that.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

"You choose to interpret her writing in a way that ignores the whole purpose of Planned Parenthood. "

No, I have read the letter from which you quoted, and I interpreted it based on the plain meaning of the English language in which it was written.

"A lot of blacks think this what she had in mind. "

A lot of blacks also think the levees were dynamited in order to flood New Orleans and murder blacks en masse. I don't believe that, and I don't care that "a lot of blacks" do. That is completely irrelevant to whether or not it is true.

"You don't but you have an obvious conflict of interest. You are a hard leftist and don't want to admit the history that disagrees with your fantasies."

I am not a leftist. Hard, soft, or otherwise. You're incessant need to call me that is just evidence of the limitations of your simplistic, ideological tribalism. Of course, even if I was a hardcore Maoist, that would be irrelevant to whether or not any empirical statement I made on any subject was true or not.

When you look around at the black community today, do you think they could use more responsible family planning? Would you like to see the out-of-wedlock birth rate for blacks decrease? I assume you and I would have the same answer to both questions. Would it therefore be accurate to describe us as proponents of a "black genocide?"

Ralph Hyatt said...

Can anyone tell me why TENS doesn't justify eugenics? Absent an objective morality?

Smilin' Jack said...

"While I do enjoy his witty writing style, he attacks what is essentially a child's view of Christianity."

"Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."--Matthew 18:3

Jim in St Louis said...

I'm sorry that WJ Bryan comes off seeming like such a buffoon in the Scopes trial. I think he was a genuine populist who respected the right of the people of TN to make their own laws and to decide what would be taught in the schools that they were paying for after all. He had a lot of love for the common people of the country - the same ones that slick and snarky HL Mencken loved to degrade.

Lonetown said...

Bryan paid the Scopes fine. It was staged.

Mike said...

tim in vermont said...
Atheists have more knowledge of religion than superstitious people have

And skeptics have more knowledge of climate science than believers in global warming have.

Awesome wit, Tim. So true.

J. Farmer said...

Here is the text of the law John Scopes was charged with violating:

CHAPTER NO. 27

House Bill No. 185

(By Mr. Butler)

AN ACT prohibiting the teaching of the Evolution Theory in all the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of Tennessee, which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, and to provide penalties for the violations thereof.

Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, That it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of the State which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.

Section 2. Be it further enacted, That any teacher found guilty of the violation of this Act, Shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction, shall be fined not less than One Hundred $ (100.00) Dollars nor more than Five Hundred ($ 500.00) Dollars for each offense.

Section 3. Be it further enacted, That this Act take effect from and after its passage, the public welfare requiring it.

Passed March 13, 1925

W. F. Barry,

Speaker of the House of Representatives

L. D. Hill,

Speaker of the Senate

Approved March 21, 1925.

Austin Peay,

Governor."

Quaestor said...

Mid-Life Lawyer wrote: "Do not cast thy pearls before trolls."

I think we can take this to mean MLL can't defend Christianity without sounding childish or loony.

Mike said...

Let me take a whack at the childish and simplistic question that might answer the why in J's question in a way he can process. Immature people and children in particular are known for making pronouncements and denouncements, comparisons and analogies that wiser and better informed minds find laughable and simplistic. At it's heart, Christianity is composed of very simple concepts. Yet it is presented in a large complex work with many interlocking themes, and that book itself reflects the oral history of a people that is reflective of those same themes, both of which reveal God to Man through a story that literally begins with the creation of this universe, space and time, and ends with the grand finally of the death and rebirth of this Earth.

Within that story is the theme that we can't know what God is or how He reasons or why He made the World the way He did. So the whole Bible is based on Him using people to tell the story, divinely inspired, and thus it is simplified for us, the created. And at times we further simplify it into bite-sized pieces for teaching purposes too, and do so with a respect for the overall context. For children's stories we take a small piece of that large written work, say the David & Goliath story, and present it as a stand alone tale.

So simplification in itself is not harmful or disrespectful. Taking a Biblical or Christian concept and twisting it in order to mock believers and God is simplistic. Having a premise that God is some white-bearded entity with human attributes to be mocked is childish. Unless you can write like PJ O'Rourke and make larger point about human nature through that kind of anthropomorphic deitizing I'd recommend avoiding that kind of mockery. A lot of Atheists, though, are just too arrogant to avoid using child-like analogies and simplistic concepts to skewer people of faith. Maybe it's done in ignorance -- as it would be if I were to draw up a reasons for why I "reject" Hinduism -- or maybe those people just want to put down Christians. Either fork in that road would be labeled childish.

Mike said...

Ugh. "Grand finally" should be "grand finale" of course.

J. Farmer said...

@Mike:

So what would be an example of an adult/non-childish atheist view of Christianity?

Michael K said...

"just evidence of the limitations of your simplistic, ideological tribalism."

Hilarious and you say are not a hard leftist ? An Anarchist maybe ?

Just hilarious. Why not be proud of your stupidity ?

traditionalguy said...

It helps if one defines terms. Religions are quasi-governmental entities run as businesses for profit from collection of gifts made to the supernatural being whom the donors expect notices the sacrifices and responds with blessings in place of curses.

Naturally the crucial life transitions are monopolies of the Religion: Birth, puberty, marriage, care for the abandoned in old age and the death transition to Heaven.

Transmission of faith in scripture is the good part of what religion does. But that is what the Scopes trial is attacking.

God laughs! The scripture cannot be broken because it is God speaking. Understanding it is our problem.

Mike said...

One that does not mock beliefs or apply anthropomorphism to God is a good start. I think a lot of simplistic "beliefs" are perhaps derived from the way popular culture has portrayed Christian themes and stories and characters. For example, the red devil with hooves, horns and tail is not a Biblical one, but a traditional one from hundreds of years of various depictions. There's an awful lot of these themes that go unmentioned in the Bible but that Western Culture has developed over the years through art and commerce. So, let me clarify that I don't think childish views of Christianity are necessarily borne of malicious thought, but too many commenters on the interwebs take a cartoon or Grand Guignol view of Christianity and the millions of Americans who claim to be part of it.

Anonymous said...

Blogger J. Farmer said...
@Mike:

So what would be an example of an adult/non-childish atheist view of Christianity?


Mike, he needs you to write in one sentence the answer to the above. Because he clearly wasn't able to comprehend what you wrote in several paragraphs.

Or

He's just trolling you.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

"Just hilarious. Why not be proud of your stupidity ?"

As I said, "perennially incapable of rising above the level of the schoolyard."

Try a little experiment, Mikey. Quote something I have said in this thread that is factually inaccurate, and tell me why it is inaccurate. We were discussing an empirical question regarding Margaret Sanger. I make empirical claims, am willing to back them up, and will gladly concede if the claims are demolished.

My personal political philosophy is completely irrelevant to whether factual claims I make are correct or not. And I don't give two shits what your personal politics are, because they are also irrelevant to whether or not statements you make are true or not. If I had responded to you initially by calling you a right-wing loon who just wanted to control women's bodies, I don't think you would consider that much of a counterargument.

J. Farmer said...

@Mike:

Reading your last post and re-reading the previous post, you are basically just saying a lot of people don't know that much about Christianity. A large percentage of people that call themselves Christians do not understand a lot of Christianity, so I don't find it much of a rebuke to say that there are atheists who don't know a lot about Christianity. We have all seen the comedic videos where people on the streets express passionate adherence to a political cause and are then made to look foolish when after about six seconds of questioning, it is obvious they don't know what they are talking about. This is true of numerous subjects beyond Christianity -- science, history, politics, to name a few. How many people are passionately opposed to the theory of evolution without actually knowing much about it? That doesn't say anything about the pro or anti side. It just says that there are a lot of ill-informed people in the world. A true but trite point.

My assumption is very simple. I do not believe in god, and I therefore do not believe that we possess any sacred literature derived from any source other than the human brain. The specific minutia of the Biblical stories is completely irrelevant to rejecting the concept of god all together. Sure, people may have a misunderstanding of what the immaculate conception is or what Jesus meant when he said that he came not to abolish the law but fulfill it, but that is ultimately irrelevant to the atheist proposition, which is that there is no god.

@Eric:

"Or

He's just trolling you."

No, I was trolling you. And thank you for yet again falling for it. Dance, puppet!

Michael K said...

Factually inaccurate

"will gladly concede if the claims are demolished. "

Send my winnings to charity. I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

"Send my winnings to charity. I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man."

Except you haven't demolished anything. You've called me a bunch of names and seem to think that reveals something other than your immaturity. In other words you can't show anything I have written here that is factually inaccurate, so you resort to childish name calling.

Big Mike said...

They do not profess it; they actually believe in it.


Sounds like anthropogenic global warming.

Birkel said...

Sanger decidedly was a eugenicist. What race did Sanger believe was the ideal based on her writings? Does anybody believe eugenicists believe a eugenicist is capable of believing two races are superior? If, as I posit, Sanger was a eugenicist who believed whites superior, there is no debate that she believed blacks inferior.

Now, the Sanger defenders have asked the people who have the appropriate measure of Sanger to prove a negative, which all admit is impossible. Instead, I ask the Sanger defenders to show Sanger's writings that prove she believed blacks equal to whites. My challenge could be met, but for Sanger's racism.

My marker will go unclaimed.

Michael K said...

"You've called me a bunch of names"

Not true. Just stupid. You come on here and blather an argument that no one believes except on the hard left.

Sanger was a eugenicist who wanted to reduce births among "defectives" and she considered blacks defective.

Margaret Mead made a whole career out of some nonsense that the Samoans told her.

Rachel Carson is responsible for about a half million deaths from malaria because she advocated the ban on DDT. I have debated this with people far smarter than you are.

Relax and try to deal with reality. Most lefties live in a fantasy world. I have some children that way who are otherwise intelligent and I care about them but avoid dealing with their ignorance.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Sanger was undoubtedly a eugenicist. And so were people like Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, and Herbert Hoover. That was never in question or debate. I'll even grant you that she believed whites were superior to blacks. The claim asserted was that her work was an attempt at a black genocide, which is nonsense. Today nearly 3/4 of black children are born out of wedlock. If I said that efforts at improving family planning within the black community would be a good thing, would you accuse me of wanting a black genocide? Nobody has been asked to prove a negative. And people who want to assert that Sanger had genocidal intentions with regards to black haves the onus to provide some evidence.

Birkel said...

It is easier, J Farmer, if you just write "Birkel, you are correct." and leave it at that. Nothing you write contradicts me, beyond assertion unsupported by fact. Now is the time to quit. You have lost. Beyond this, you are only worthy of mockery.

Birkel said...

All of this:

"The claim asserted was that her work was an attempt at a black genocide, which is nonsense. Today nearly 3/4 of black children are born out of wedlock. If I said that efforts at improving family planning within the black community would be a good thing, would you accuse me of wanting a black genocide? Nobody has been asked to prove a negative. And people who want to assert that Sanger had genocidal intentions with regards to black haves the onus to provide some evidence."

is unsupported assertion. Stop it. Such efforts make you look intellectually weak and childish. Demand better of yourself.

Birkel said...

Or, as I now mock you, J Farmer, just convince me that Sanger was a racist eugenicist unconvinced of her own views.

That might, at least, amuse me.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

Again, nobody denied that Sanger supported eugenics. Your quote, which started this digression, was an insinuation that she wanted to destroy the black population. That is wrong and is a mischaracterization of what she was writing about. Wanting women to have access to birth control so that they may better regulate their reproductive lives is nothing comparable to wanting to destroy a people. She did not believe that all blacks were "defectives," and she disagreed with the eugenics movement in the 1920s more than she agreed with it, not least of which her assertion that social problems were a result mostly of environment than heredity, which was about 180 degrees from the view of the eugenics movement writ large.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

The digression on Sanger began with an out-of-context quote that was used to insinuate that she wanted to destroy the black population. However, I have read the letter from which the quote was taken, and Sanger was not saying what it was implied she was saying. In short, Sanger was not attempting to perpetrate a black genocide. Nothing you said in your post contradicted my point.

Was Sanger a eugenicist? Yes. But she did not want to perpetrate a black genocide.

Was Sanger racist? Perhaps. But she did not want to perpetrate a black genocide.

Now if you want to write another post saying that Sanger was a horrible wife and mother, I'll probably agree with that, too.

BUT, she did not want to perpetrate a black genocide.

Birkel said...

J Farmer,
Sanger was a eugenicist who believed blacks inferior. From there, she wrote things in support of the self-abortion of those she viewed as lesser. I admit you really want to deny the true beliefs of your ideological forebears. But that want will never make true what you desire to be.

Try harder.

Birkel said...

admitted so far:
Sanger believed in racial superiority of whites.
(The other side of that Sanger belief is blacks are inferior.)
Sanger was a eugenicist, who, like all eugenicists, believed in the perpetuation of the superior over the inferior.

Sanger wrote things in support of black -- in particular, black -- abortion because she wished for fewer inferior peoples... like all eugenicists.

Your argument is peculiar because yo wish so vehemently not to admit what is plain.

Michael K said...

"a mischaracterization of what she was writing about. "

How would you know ? You see what you believe and ignore what is all around you.

The pro-abortion crowd is determined to rescue the reputation of this woman no matter what it takes.

70% of black pregnancies are aborted.

I am actually pro-choice after seeing some women die from botched abortions. One of them was by the girl's boyfriend who was a medical student and he was so fucking stupid he used green soap which was a common fatal abortifacient.

You know nothing but the left wing press releases you live by.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity. For anyone who is sincerely curious, this is the best book I'm aware of for intellectual types to discover mature Christianity.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

If you'd just stick with the plane words on the screen instead of trying to battle some political caricature, you'd be a lot less self-righteous. Again, as I said in my last reply to you, Sanger did not wish to eliminate blacks through eugenics. If you say that she did, you are wrong wrong wrong. Jean Baker's biography of Sanger covers the dovetailing of her birth control activism with the popular eugenics movement. Sanger was opposed to racial-based eugenics. Never mind that the eugenics movement of Sanger's time was a completely different creature than the eugenics movement that came to be associated with Nazi Germany. The only population that Sanger argued should be sterilized without consent was the intellectually disabled.

Let me repeat myself again: I have made a single point. Margaret Sanger did not advocate elimination of blacks through eugenics. Nothing you have said has supported that claim. Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover were also eugenicists. Did they want to exterminate the black population?

@Michael K:

"How would you know ? You see what you believe and ignore what is all around you."

Except I have read the letter your quote came from. The letter you lied about reading and whose contents you seemingly still don't understand.

"You know nothing but the left wing press releases you live by."

Pathetic. What was it, Mikey? Was it the expanding waistline? The receding hairline? Or the fact that a couple of your kids don't think you were much of a father that has turned you into such an angry, bitter old man?


J. Farmer said...

Okay, okay. That last paragraph of mine was uncalled for and an impetuous, impulsive sneer. And for that, my apologies. That said, you can be quite an annoying old bastard.

Jim S. said...

Yeah, people don't seem to know that the issue was primarily social Darwinism. The book Scopes allegedly used explicitly taught eugenics and white supremacy as science. People were objecting to racism being taught to their children as scientific discoveries. Of course in retrospect we realize they should have made a distinction between evolution and social Darwinism, but equating the two was an error made by both sides.

tim in vermont said...

When you look around at the black community today, do you think they could use more responsible family planning? Would you like to see the out-of-wedlock birth rate for blacks decrease?

I would have liked to see the govt stop destroying incentives for the economic underclasses to marry. Not to prevent the underclasses from having children. Spot the difference.

Fandor said...

"What no person has a right to do is to delude others into the belief that faith is something of no great significance, or that it is an easy matter, whereas it is the greatest and most difficult of all things."

Soren Kierkegaard

Tank said...

@Mid-Life

That is a good book.

The last third or so maybe a bit too woo woo.

Or, maybe it's me.

sinz52 said...

Part of the reason why atheists can mock Christianity is because too many Christians themselves have an unsophisticated, almost comic-book concept of God as a cosmic Santa Claus. If you pray to God enough and you're a good person, He'll grant your wishes.

There is a 2,000-year-long honorable history of Biblical exegesis (what is its actual historical meaning?) and Biblical archaeology (is there real evidence for the Biblical account?). But most ordinary Christians--and even their preachers--seem largely ignorant of this.

Try asking an average Christian why certain books of the Bible ended up as canon and why other books got relegated to Apocrypha and see if they know the answer.

Finally, no sophisticated Christian ever tries to deny scientific findings about the universe or life on Earth. Rather, he or she understands that the Bible is not a science text and should not be relied on as a source of information about the natural world. They know, for example, that DNA sequencing and evidence from mitochondrial DNA show that the Genesis story of Adam and Eve isn't historically true.

sinz52 said...

Margaret Sanger's racial views are totally irrelevant to the concepts of birth control and family planning.

William Shockley, who invented the transistor at Bell Labs, had some odd racialist views too. But that didn't stop black people from buying transistor radios.

Conservatives who keep harping on Sanger's racial views to discredit the modern birth control/abortion movement are no different from the leftists who couldn't tolerate Brandon Eich as a computer scientist because he contributed to Proposition 8. It's an ad hominem attack to avoid dealing with the full spectrum of the person's views.

Birkel said...

sinz52,

Or, perhaps, I aim only to discredit the decreased Margaret Sanger without making any points about the modern pro-abortion political position. Sanger as a eugenicist. Sanger did believe blacks inferior. Sanger did want blacks to abort themselves out of existence.

(That is why it was so easy to ignore the Teddy Roosevelt con-job above. The discussion is unrelated to anything beyond Sanger's radicalized eugenics. See how easy it is to stay on point when you are 1) right and 2) better at argumentation than your sparring partners?)

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

"Tank said...
@Mid-Life

That is a good book.

The last third or so maybe a bit too woo woo.

Or, maybe it's me."

On a lot of this stuff, I have decided not to try and understand but simply rely on the thousands of years of tradition and the interpretation of better men than me. I can say that as I have gotten older, some of the beliefs that I once thought were far-fetched, or even psychotic, are now not such a reach or are even common-place.

I'm very comfortable with more of the "magical" parts, you might say. In fact, I just use "magic" to describe a lot of stuff. But I'm pretty simple minded. I look at an acorn, for instance, and think it's magic that it eventually grows into an oak tree. I understand that there is a lot of dirt, sunlight, water, etc. involved but the essence of the transformation is still growth and one substance turning into another. The magic of transformation and growth can't be explained away to me simply as chemical reactions. I used to be a lot smarter and could explain everything like that.

"Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now..."

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

"Sanger did want blacks to abort themselves out of existence."

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Your arrogance seems to be inversely related to your level of knowledge on the subject. Sanger was not generally a proponent of abortion; she was a proponent of contraceptives. Read Jean Baker's book. She did not want blacks to "abort themselves out of existence."

Birkel said...

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

This is easy.

Birkel said...

Sanger was the rarest of eugenicists who wanted more of what she considered inferior, one supposes.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

Now you're just pathetically grasping for straws. Earlier you said that she wanted blacks to abort themselves out of existence, even though she was not advocating for abortion but for contraceptives. You seem to have the flimsiest of understanding of her or her work, and what you do know seems to be cobbled together from out-of-context quotes that permeate Internet sites attacking her. You have no evidence for your claim. You just keep saying it over and over again. Sanger produced a mountain of documentation, virtually all of which has been archived by places like Smith College, NYU, and Project Gutenberg. Jean Baker produced a very good biography of Sanger.

If you want to advocate for a position that is outside the historical consensus on Sanger, go right ahead. But you need evidence. And your self-satisfaction aside, you have none.

J. Farmer said...

In September 1945, Chicago Defender interviewed Sanger on a variety of topics related to her work. I've linked to the full article at the bottom, but here are a few excerpts:

“I’ve traveled in India and China,” she said. “Knowing our own problem, it gave me greater sympathy with the others, with what I saw in the Orient. I can recall many horrible things I saw in India. I once saw a white man come out of a train; there were five or six Indians in his way; he just kicked them away--literally, with his foot. There were a hundred people around, who were powerless to strike him. The white man’s power and the Indian’s defenselessness were so unjust.

“In China, the Chinese could not go on ‘our’ property. A Chinese doctor was not allowed to see me, couldn’t come into the American area. Discrimination is a world-wide thing. It has to be opposed everywhere. That is why I feel the Negro’s plight here is linked with that of the oppressed around the globe.

“The big answer, as I see it, is the education of the white man. The white man is the problem. It is the same as with the Nazis. We must change the white attitudes. That is where it lies.”


Now that certainly seems like a strange point-of-view for a white supremacist with genocidal intentions.

“Here is another example of how attitudes have changed. When we first started out an anti-Negro white man offered me $10,000 if I started in Harlem first. His idea was simply to cut down the number of Negroes. ‘Spread it as far as you can among them,’ he said. That is, of course, not our idea. I turned him down. But that is an example of how vicious some people can be about this thing.

Miss Sanger based her views of the general situation on her own broad experience and travel. She spoke of Tucson, Ariz.

“It is not so bad there,” she said. “There is no Jim Crow in the theatres, and the restaurants serve Negroes equally with whites. But there is some overflow of southern idea into the state and supremacist feeling can be found there.”

I asked her to recall some experience from her own travel in the South.

“Yes,” she said, “I remember addressing a colored church group once. I was staying with a white doctor at the time. They didn’t let a Negro doctor introduce me to the people. The white doctor had to do it. That was in Memphis.”

“What hangs over the South is that the Negro has been in servitude. The white southerner is slow to forget this. His attitude is the archaic in this age. Supremacist thinking belongs in the museum.


https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/webedition/app/documents/show.php?sangerDoc=320145.xml

Eli Blake said...

Scopes was recruited just as Jackie Robinson was, by Branch Rickey.

There were better black ballplayers than Robinson. But Rickey needed to find someone who would be able to hold up under fire, never lose his temper no matter what kind of abuse he was subject to and always come across as the better man (in addition to being a baseball star who could get the job done on the field.)

In fact it was likely a court case-- the court martial of Jackie Robinson for refusing to sit in the back of a bus-- and his never losing his temper then that convinced Rickey that Robinson was the man for the job.

Choosing someone to challenge a law in court is difficult, because you need to find someone who is willing to see the case through as far as it goes, can accept the stresses and possibly the abuse that comes with it, who is well-spoken and can present themselves in a way that will influence people, and who is even tempered to a tee. Imagine how the Scopes trial would have gone if instead of Scopes you had someone with a short fuse and little tolerance for what they saw as ignorance as the main plaintiff, or worse a Ph.D. professor who tried to lecture the jury about science.

Birkel said...

Sanger was the rarest of eugenicists.

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

"Sanger was the rarest of eugenicists."

Not really. Eugenics was only ever a tangential issue for Sanger. Her primary concern was giving women control over their reproductive cycles. The notion that she was actually motivated by secret nefarious desires was a post hoct invention meant to discredit her, often employed by people that could not actually respond to her arguments. If you believe that men and women have a legal right to acquire and utilize contraception (including condoms), then you are essentially on the side of Margaret Sanger.

But like I said, if you have actual evidence for your position, I am willing to consider. If you actually have no evidence for your position, then you should be man enough to admit it.

Birkel said...

Secret and nefarious? No, but then you would know that she was overtly racist so challenging somebody to find the secret, nefarious motivations is a bit too clever.

Please do keep going. I won't try to educate a committed ideologue but I will continue enjoying your nonsense.

Meade said...

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...
"The first sentence (of the full article) is a dead-accurate description of the 2000s."

Always, in this great republic, controversies depart swiftly from their original terms and plunge into irrelevancies and false pretenses.

Controversies of the 2000s:

Burger King Pokémon container recall
Maya ICBG bioprospecting controversy
2001 Clear Channel memorandum
Death of Dale Earnhardt
Officegate

Meade said...

Siberia Airlines Flight 1812
Doris Kearns Goodwin plagiarism controversy
Stephen Ambrose plagiarism controversy
2003 Texas redistricting‎
Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them! controversy
Killian documents controversy (Rathergate)
Fahrenheit 9/11 controversies
Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy
Federal Communications Commission fines of The Howard Stern Show
2005 Quran desecration controversy
Zimbabwean parliamentary election, 2005
2006 Pennsylvania General Assembly bonus controversy
AOL search data leak
Dick Cheney hunting incident

Meade said...

DePauw University Delta Zeta discrimination controversy
Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
Essjay controversy
FIU–Miami football brawl
Jamil Hussein controversy
International Holocaust Cartoon Competition
Iran newspaper cockroach cartoon controversy
Jan Wong controversy
Quran oath controversy of the 110th United States Congress
Rakyat Merdeka dingo cartoon controversy
Ramdev labour law and medicine mislabeling controversy
Regensburg lecture
Wee Shu Min elitism controversy
While Europe Slept
Batak massacre media controversy in 2007
Celebrity Big Brother racism controversy
Essjay controversy
Denmark v Sweden (UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying)
Jade Goody
Grammarsgate
Melissa Harrington
Lars Vilks Muhammad drawings controversy
Brooke Skye
Timbaland plagiarism controversy
V-Tech Rampage
Alaska Public Safety Commissioner dismissal

Meade said...

Bill Ayers 2008 presidential election controversy
Concerns and controversies at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Controversial issues surrounding Slumdog Millionaire
Credit Suisse Securities Japan Limited “Mass Understatement of Income Tax” Case
Daedongyeojido
Fitna (film)
International reactions to Fitna
Internet Watch Foundation and Wikipedia
John McCain lobbyist controversy
Religion and politics in the United States presidential campaign, 2008
Renault Formula One crash controversy
Jeremiah Wright controversy
Yale student abortion art controversy
2009 Egypt v Algeria football matches
ACORN 2009 undercover videos controversy
2009 Aftonbladet Israel controversy
AIG bonus payments controversy
Air Force One photo op incident
Brian Cowen nude portraits controversy
Buying Sex is Not a Sport
Charles Freeman appointment controversy
Church of Scientology editing on Wikipedia
Climatic Research Unit email controversy
Conflict between Kirchnerism and the media
Costa Rica–Nicaragua San Juan River border dispute
Marc Garlasco
Henry Louis Gates arrest controversy

Meade said...

2009 Republic of Ireland v France football matches
Jon Stewart's 2009 criticism of CNBC
Kanye West MTV Video Music Awards controversy
Kanyegate
List of expenses claims in the United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal
Machangulo affair
Miss USA 2009 controversy
2009 Nobel Peace Prize
Question Time British National Party controversy
Renault Formula One crash controversy
Sunday Express Dunblane controversy
Texas Instruments signing key controversy
Trijicon biblical verses controversy
United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal
United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict
United States Navy dog handler hazing scandal
Boobquake
Buying Sex is Not a Sport
Concerns and controversies over the 2010 Commonwealth Games
Concerns and controversies at the 2010 Winter Olympics
Sockgate

Meade said...

Cooks Source infringement controversy
Criminal cases against supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko
Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Digg Patriots
Dove World Outreach Center Quran-burning controversy
2010 Duke University faux sex thesis controversy
Everybody Draw Mohammed Day
2010 Georgian news report hoax
Gerald Posner plagiarism controversy
Guangzhou Television Cantonese controversy
2010 Itawamba County School District prom controversy
JournoList
Nodar Kumaritashvili
Lady Gaga's meat dress
Maclean's "Too Asian" controversy
Newsweek gay actor controversy
2010 Nobel Peace Prize
2010 Oklahoma political corruption investigation
Quadruple jump controversy
Firing of Shirley Sherrod
Robbins v. Lower Merion School District
Luis Suárez controversies
2010 Tonight Show conflict
Vienna Declaration (drug policy)
Vuvuzela
Warneford Meadow
Whistler Sliding Centre
ATF gunwalking scandal
2011 attack on the British Embassy in Iran
Denis Avey
Black Swan dance double controversy
2011 British privacy injunctions controversy
Caribbean Football Union corruption scandal
Choice of code name Geronimo
Criminal cases against supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko
Criminal cases against Yulia Tymoshenko since 2010
Death of Dan Wheldon
Dove World Outreach Center Quran-burning controversy
Ed Balls document leak
Friday (Rebecca Black song)
Jordan Lead Codices
Luis Suárez racial abuse incident
The Man who Broke into Auschwitz
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012
News International phone hacking scandal
2011–12 Papua New Guinean constitutional crisis
Project Gunrunner
Seriously McDonalds
2011 Slovenian YouTube incident
Strong (advertisement)
Luis Suárez controversies
United States v. Scheinberg
Vasylkiv terrorists case
Winterbourne View hospital abuse
Agha Waqar's water-fuelled car
Alan Jones "died of shame" controversy
Arrest of Ali Hasan
Asiagate
ATF gunwalking scandal
Castle Mill
Chick-fil-A same-sex marriage controversy
Concerns and controversies at the 2012 Summer Olympics
Concerns and controversies related to UEFA Euro 2012
Controversies at the 2012 Summer Paralympics
Controversies related to Vishwaroopam
Criminal cases against supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko
Operation dhritrashtra
Guangdong National Language Regulations
Hot30 Countdown
Innocence of Muslims
Jonah Lehrer
Looking Hot
Trayvon Martin
Controversy of The MDNA Tour
Miami cannibal attack
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013
The Nightingale casting controversy
The Oatmeal and FunnyJunk legal dispute

Meade said...

2012 Olympics one minute of silence campaign
2012 Packers–Seahawks officiating controversy
2011–12 Papua New Guinean constitutional crisis
Pink slime
Project Gunrunner
Rape and pregnancy controversies in United States elections, 2012
Mitt Romney's 47 percent comments
Rush Limbaugh–Sandra Fluke controversy
Shooting of Jordan Davis
Shooting of Trayvon Martin
Stars Earn Stripes
Success by Trump
Tęcza (Warsaw)
Vicente Sotto plagiarism controversy
War on Women
Wildlife Protection Act of 2010
You didn't build that
101 Vagina
2013 meat adulteration scandal
2013 MTV Video Music Awards
Abdullah Mohamed al-Dawood
Australia–Indonesia spying scandal
Azerbaijani presidential election, 2013
Blurred Lines
Castle Mill
Controversies related to Vishwaroopam
Criminal cases against supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko
Dumb Ways to Die
2013 Federated Auto Parts 400
Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise ship case
Death of Kendrick Johnson
"Kill everyone in China" controversy
LGBT rights protests surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013
Occidental College sexual assault controversy
Orson Scott Card same-sex marriage controversy
Phil Robertson ''GQ'' interview controversy
Presidential Policy Directive 20
SpongeBob, You're Fired!
Luis Suárez controversies
Sugary Drinks Portion Cap Rule
Global surveillance
Tęcza (Warsaw)
2014 Miami Beach Bowl
Ashya King case
Shooting of Michael Brown
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives fictional sting operations
Jaycee Chan
Concerns and controversies at the 2014 Asian Games
Concerns and controversies at the 2014 Winter Olympics
Execution of Joseph Wood
Fangate
Ferguson unrest
Gamergate controversy
Garcia Report
Hillsborough Wikipedia posts
The Interview (2014 film)
LGBT rights protests surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 unofficial disappearance theories
Marius (giraffe)
A Rape on Campus
Rohtak sisters viral video controversy
Nadiya Savchenko
Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture
Oleg Sentsov
Serbia v Albania (UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying)
Shooting of Dontre Hamilton
Donald Sterling
Luis Suárez controversies
Vasylkiv terrorists case2012 Olympics one minute of silence campaign
2012 Packers–Seahawks officiating controversy
2011–12 Papua New Guinean constitutional crisis

Char Char Binks said...

It begins again back then?

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

"Please do keep going. I won't try to educate a committed ideologue but I will continue enjoying your nonsense."

Sure. I make statements and then support them with evidence. You repeat the same lies over and over, can't provide a scintilla evidence for your position, and somehow confuse adolescent bravado with being right.