31 Replies to “Is there really a culture war?

  1. 1
    lpadron says:

    Bill Hicks has long gone to meet his Intelligent Designer. One hopes He appreciates his comedy as much as Hicks’ fans do.
    Whatever the case, Hicks is a good example (at least to me) of how objections to things like ID, christianity, and religion are rooted more in emotion than clear thinking.

    For more comedy here’s an australian bit of “man on the street” creationist ridiculing:
    go here (in Real Player): http://www.abc.net.au/cnnnn/news/s729232.htm.

  2. 2
    Bombadill says:

    Thanks for that thorough misrepresentation, Mr. Hicks. Now go wash your mouth out with soap.

  3. 3
    Gumpngreen says:

    Well, there are people out there that have claimed dinosaurs fossils were put in the earth as a test of some odd sort…

  4. 4
    Bombadill says:

    It’s a shame, if they have.

  5. 5
    keiths says:

    Indeed, there is a culture war, and here is another of the combatants:

    http://tinyurl.com/azpyj

    And a satirical response to this idiocy:

    http://ideas.4brad.com/node/303

  6. 6
    Charlie says:

    Bill Hicks was a fantastic stand up comic and a great source if you want to laugh.
    What I do see here, and has nothing to do with Bill, is what always sets off my irony-meter.
    Belief in God, ID, or creation is evidence enough to cast a person as ignorant or uninformed (there was also wicked but let’s not think about that) regardless of his education.
    By elimination then, those with a highschool education (Bill Hicks as an example) or less are quite well-informed enough to have an opinion by virtue only of having accepted Darwinism.

  7. 7
    beervolcano says:

    So because some comedian makes jokes about creationism, this means there is a culture war?

    Look, there will always be something that one segment of a population believes and the other segment doesn’t.

    If his jokes were centered around people who see UFOs, would this be an indication of a culture war? Or how about people ridiculing Scientology (which is too easily ridiculed)? Is that a sign of a culture war?

    Maybe this story is a sign of a culture war:
    http://www.kansas.com/mld/eagl.....337930.htm
    Video:
    http://www.6newslawrence.com/n.....d_beating/

  8. 8
    keiths says:

    lpadron,

    That Australian creationism video was hilarious.

    It reminded me of this video about Canadian mining rights to that icon of the intelligent design movement, Mount Rushmore:

    http://home.comcast.net/~wwwstephen2/rushmore.mpg

    The same folks did this video asking Americans, including Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, how they felt about the preservation of Canada’s capitol building, the National Igloo:

    http://home.comcast.net/~wwwstephen2/arkansas.mpg

    This one asks Americans about Canada’s plan to convert from a 20-hour day (the French standard) to the American standard of 24 hours per day:

    http://home.comcast.net/~wwwstephen2/iowa.mpg

    In other segments they talk about plans to legalize insulin in Canada, and whether the US should bomb Saskatchewan.

    In case you think they’re only picking on the red states, they also did one asking Harvard students and professors to sign a petition calling for an end to the Canadian practice of abandoning the elderly on ice floes.

    No wonder Margaret Atwood once called the US-Canada border “the world’s longest one-way mirror.”

  9. 9
    Eric says:

    It seems to me that Carl Rove’s strategy of getting out the Christian vote in the 2004 election, while successful politically, has only increased the guilt by association mentality for both Christianity and ID. Many people I have talked with make the same connection that Bill Hicks does: Republican—Fundamentalist Christian—Creationism (which in their mind includes ID). They see Christianity and ID as offshoots of the Republican party and summarily dismiss both. I believe that Rove’s strategy only increased this suspicion in the minds of many. In the case of ID the connection is, in my opinion, unwarranted. ID is an inference from the scientific evidence. However, in the case of Christianity I can’t help but wonder if the culture wars wouldn’t take care of themselves if the church focused more on its core purpose and, as Spurgeon put it, let the lion out of the cage.

  10. 10
    crandaddy says:

    As a native of Arkansas, I can say that the state has its fair share of dunces, but believe me, they’re everywhere. As for Gov. Huckabee’s education, he graduated magna cum laude from Ouachita Baptist University, completing a four year degree in 2 1/2 years. Surely he knew what was going on.

  11. 11
    Aquinas says:

    He seemed to make a pretty good point to me. Anyone who claims that dinosaur fossils are fraudulent and a ‘test from God’ probably deserves to be ridiculed a bit.

  12. 12
    Josh Bozeman says:

    Those skits they do are often misleading…when someone comes up to you with a camera you’re already nervous, and then when they want to play trivia with you, it’s easy to start wondering if it’s a trick and the questions are trick questions. On top of that- a lot of the stuff they ask isn’t stuff that most people even think about- add on to the nervousness by being on camera and the fact that you’re being ambushed with what you think are trick questions…

    Also, people in general are fairly dim on general knowledge to begin with, no matter where they’re from in the US or even outside the US (the US didn’t become the sole superpower for nothing, ya know)…and people from NYC will do just as badly on these types of questions as someone in Arkansas or Iowa.

    When you get a few minutess outside of ANY large city in the US, people are generally the same all over…those upperclass residents within the city often get tagged with the elitist label, and let’s be honest- so many of them deserve it, but they’re usually no smarter than your average man on the street. Heck, even education has little to do with it- watch Jay Leno’s show when they question recent college grads asking them who the current vice president is (they so often get it wrong)…education is no measure of intelligence (nutjobs like Noam ‘I hate America’ Chomsky are proof of that!)

  13. 13
    Josh Bozeman says:

    To those who claim there isn’t a culture war…here, John C Dvorak attacks Christians as nearly total morons for opposing the creation of the .xxx domain level!

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/.....410,00.asp

    Read his comments then try to put “muslims” “jews” or any other religious group into the place of “Christians” and see if the article works. If you replaced the word with any other religious group= Dvorak would be sent to sensitivity training, but since it’s Christians he’s attacking it’s fine. He complains that one of the groups (Concerned Women for America) show complete arrogance. Arrogance is men like Dvorak who attack a religious group by refusing to see their rational for not wanting to establish a domain level JUST for porn.

    Just MORE of the obvious culture war.

  14. 14
    Red Reader says:

    Re: the Mirecki report:

    I agree the violence reported by Dr. Mirecki is very, very bad…if true.

    It very well may be that Dr. Mirecki is telling the truth; I hope so and if so, I hope the perpertrators are caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    I adamently disclaim I don’t know all the facts and can’t know them from limited reports. Therefore, I am very interested to hear the outcome of the investigation.

    However, I am skeptical. At this point, there appears to be only one witness, Dr. Mirecki. Reports of his account of the incident in my opinion are vague and caricature-ridden. “Two white men in a big pickup.” No rationale was offered as to why he stopped or got out of his vehicle in what already was reportedly a dangerous tail-gating situation. No injuries visible or otherwise were reported. “Treated and released” can mean “they checked him and he was fine.”

    Perhaps the police have a more detailed account and if so, I am ready to stand corrected. I’m going by what has been reported in several places.

    We’ve just had so much of this lately, the fake Bill Burkett memos, the fake reporting from Jason Blair and others, “Bush Lied” from people who saw the same intelligence; there is a cultural pathos out there right now that is dishonestly hysterical and it is very much political. Skeptics like Bill Hicks, the topic of this post, gain traction with audiences who get what the pay for, but forfeit all credibility with the fair-minded. Dr. Mirecki’s own email refering to “fundies”, in my mind, blows from the same vent.

    Particularly when it comes to shading the truth for blatently political purposes, there has been a lot from the Darwinian community: the piltdown man, etc.. Jonathan Wells catalogs an ignoble list of such deceptions in “Icons of Evolution.”

    However, with all due respect, I will not be surprised if no evidence of the truck (skid marks, tire tracks, shoe prints, etc.) or of the men (eyewitness, bragging of their deeds, weapon) are found. Or if two men are found, that they tell a different story. If evidence is found, I am ready to look at it and change my mind.

    Intelligence to the rescue! Let us follow the evidence (or lack thereof) wherever it may lead.

  15. 15
    tragicmishap says:

    It’s funny how people just assume that EVERYONE except a few idiots believe the same thing. So it becomes ok to misrepresent beliefs because those people aren’t cool. Childish. It happens all over the place, and on both sides of every issue. That attitude is the enemy. We need to watch out for it amongst ourselves, and posts like this one don’t help anything.

  16. 16
    GilDodgen says:

    There is, of course, the possibility of self-inflicted wounds in order to escape the battlefield with something akin to dignity. The dispassionate scientific approach is to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

  17. 17
    PaV says:

    “Two white men in a big pickup.” No rationale was offered as to why he stopped or got out of his vehicle in what already was reportedly a dangerous tail-gating situation.

    I read where he pulled over–because they were tail-gating.

    Let me see: you pull over, as a gentleman, because they’re tail-gating. They then pull over. Instead of getting back on the highway and leaving them behind on the side of the road, you get out of your car.

    That’s what sounds a little fishy about all this.

  18. 18
    bevets says:

    Aquinas

    He seemed to make a pretty good point to me. Anyone who claims that dinosaur fossils are fraudulent and a ‘test from God’ probably deserves to be ridiculed a bit.

    This is one of evolutionism’s most treasured anecdotes. I am a young earth creationist. I have associated with young earth creationists my whole life. It seems like, by this time, I would have heard a friend, acquaintance, or family member make this claim, but I NEVER have. It makes me wonder where all these atheists have heard it.

  19. 19
    Aquinas says:

    bevets,

    Unfortunately, people do say this. I have it on second-hand authority, but one of my friends informs me that he heard this preached in a Baptist church (no offense to Baptists, mind you. I go to a Baptist college, myself). Personally, I find it theologically dangerous and philosophically absurd to say that God deceived us in such a way.

  20. 20
    Josh Bozeman says:

    No joke, that would be an absurd idea that God would do such a thing. I think the people that say this, and I would say in general they’re fairly rare- they just say that because they’re not into the science (even creation science, and yes I consider creationism science in the broad sense- there are many PhD’s in sciences doing work in creation science) in any regard and they might not have a better answer besides one that seems to make sense in this regard.

    I’ve never actually read this claim from any old earth or young earth creationism sites…so it can’t be that widespread a claim overall. Surely, it’s claimed to be widespread by some merely in an attempt to denigrate creationists in general.

  21. 21
    Jack Golan says:

    I’d not seen Hicks before, but he immediately brought to mind comic Sam Kinison. Both on the opposite side from me in the culture wars — both dead young.

    Mirecki’s story isn’t passing the smell test. “White guys in pickup truck” is too neat, too stereotypical. It fits too neatly into the leftist playbook of gaining sympathy as victims of conservative right-wingers. Mirecki’s response when his version of the story — “the right wing wants blood, period. They’re not going to stop until they see blood. They’re not into anything else” — uses a political defense to a questioning of facts. My money’s on this being another hate-crime hoax …
    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/n.....E_ID=37917

    One interesting thing, though. Mirecki says, “I know what happened. I got the hell beat out of me. They can say what they want.”

    I thought only fundamentalists belived in “hell.”

  22. 22
    Josh Bozeman says:

    On the topic of Mirecki, it’s amazing how quickly bloggers distort the truth to tell the story:
    http://www.gluemeat.com/tastef.....01378.html

    One example there…where the title of the post is “Professor gets beaten by fundamentalists”- sorry, but if even the police have no idea who these supposed attackers are, how does this blogger somehow know they’re fundamentalists? You see the common liberal tactic to paint an entire state as a bunch of idiots (the blogger here attacks the state of Kansas as a bunch of idiots, yet he clearly doesn’t realize the good professor himself is FROM Kansas!)

  23. 23
    DaveScot says:

    Mirecki’s got a big mouth on him as demonstrated by the email about slapping fundies in their big fat faces. By his own admission he confronted those men when he could have driven away. Maybe he thought he was going to slap them in their big fat faces and instead got his own big fat face slapped.

  24. 24
    bevets says:

    Aquinas

    He seemed to make a pretty good point to me. Anyone who claims that dinosaur fossils are fraudulent and a ‘test from God’ probably deserves to be ridiculed a bit.

    bevets

    This is one of evolutionism’s most treasured anecdotes. I am a young earth creationist. I have associated with young earth creationists my whole life. It seems like, by this time, I would have heard a friend, acquaintance, or family member make this claim, but I NEVER have. It makes me wonder where all these atheists have heard it.

    Aquinas

    Unfortunately, people do say this. I have it on second-hand authority, but one of my friends informs me that he heard this preached in a Baptist church

    So you have never personally heard someone make the claim?

  25. 25
    Aquinas says:

    Yes, bevets, that’s correct. I’ve never personally heard that.

  26. 26
    Gumpngreen says:

    I’ve heard it once in person while living in Europe. The more astonishing event was when I heard a guy claim that dinosaurs originated from Adam *ahem* copulating with animals… I just stared at the guy. My mouth was probably open, I don’t remember. There may not be many of them out there, but they are there….

  27. 27
    dodgingcars says:

    Actually, instead of “test from God”, I’ve heard “lies from Satan.” My wife worked at a Christian pre-school and some of her coworkers didn’t believe dinosaurs ever existed and that fossils were put there by Satan to trick people.

  28. 28
    David Bergan says:

    bevets/Aquinas

    For what it’s worth, I have heard the “God tests us with dinosaurs” claims first-hand from a bright open-minded Latter-Day Saint. I don’t believe it myself… but the idea of God testing us isn’t totally laughable. Go ask Abraham.

    Passing it off on Satan doesn’t really make it any better. Anything we see that Satan does, God still allows… unless you believe that God isn’t all that powerful…

  29. 29
    keiths says:

    Gumpngreen writes:
    “Well, there are people out there that have claimed dinosaurs fossils were put in the earth as a test of some odd sort…”

    Aquinas (the poster, not the saint) writes:
    “Personally, I find it theologically dangerous and philosophically absurd to say that God deceived us in such a way.”

    I was raised as a biblical literalist (Missouri Synod Lutheran). For us, the Bible was the inspired word of God, front to back. It was intended to be read by all people, with no priestly interpretation required (this was a big issue for Martin Luther), so God made sure it was understandable and straightforward.

    The six days of creation? Six 24-hour days. The rainbow as a symbol of God’s promise not to send another global flood? Yep — rainbows didn’t happen before Noah’s time (I guess refraction is a postdiluvian phenomenon; no word on how Adam and Eve’s eyes were able to function without it).

    It was a sin to doubt any part of the Bible. Furthermore, doubting the Bible could lead you to doubt Jesus, and doubting Jesus could land you in hell if you died in a state of unbelief. So as a child I avoided questioning the Bible, and spent many an anxious night lying in bed, wondering if I “really” believed, and whether I might find myself in hell before morning:

    Now I lay me down to sleep;
    I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
    If I should die before I wake,
    I pray the Lord my soul to take.
    (And if He refuses…)

    I know that many of my Christian and ex-Christian friends suffered the same fears as children.

    Around age 12, reading what geology and astronomy had to say about the age of the heavens and the earth, doubts started to surface which I was unable to suppress. Giving up my faith in the authority of the Bible was unthinkable, but I could see no way to reconcile Genesis with what science had discovered.

    You can probably see where I’m going with this. It finally occurred to me that because God placed such a premium on faith, he might want to test it. After all, God explicitly allowed Satan to test Job’s faith in a horrendous way, and God Himself tested Abraham’s faith by commanding him to sacrifice Isaac. Imagine Isaac’s terror when his own father tied him up, placed him on the altar, and raised the knife to kill him. Imagine Abraham’s anguish at being commanded to do this.

    I felt that if God would subject Job and Abraham to such severe tests, he could certainly subject us to the much milder test of planting fossils and arranging rock layers to make the earth look ancient, or creating light already in transit to the earth from distant galaxies, to see if we really trusted His Holy Word.

    I felt an enormous relief at this realization, because it allowed me to maintain my trust in the Bible without forcing me to doubt the empirical discoveries of science. I discussed the idea with my pastor and he sort of half-heartedly agreed. I think he was uncomfortable, as Aquinas (the poster) is, with the idea of God doing something so deceptive. On the other hand, he may have sensed that this dilemma was threatening my faith, and so he didn’t rule it out. In any case, this accommodation in my thinking mitigated the crisis, and I continued to believe in the literal truth of the Bible for another couple of years.

    Eventually I allowed myself to question the Bible as I would any other book, but that is another story.

    My point is that people who believe that fossils are a test of faith aren’t necessarily being unreasonable, if you grant the truth of their premise that the Bible is literally true and should be interpreted straightforwardly.

  30. 30
    DonaldM says:

    So because some comedian makes jokes about creationism, this means there is a culture war?

    Look, there will always be something that one segment of a population believes and the other segment doesn’t.

    If his jokes were centered around people who see UFOs, would this be an indication of a culture war? Or how about people ridiculing Scientology (which is too easily ridiculed)? Is that a sign of a culture war?

    One of the best indicators that there is indeed a culture war is the book What’s the Matter With Kansas? by Thomas Frank. This book feeds into every stereotype that liberals have about conservatives. According to Frank, Plains States conservatives are under some sort of “derangement”. The formula is simple: reason and intelligence=liberalism; illogic and derangement = conservatism…or, that seems to be how Frank sees the world. It never occurs to him that perhaps he’s the one who doesn’t get it!

  31. 31
    Red Reader says:

    Here’s a late update:
    http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2.....n/?ku_news

    Prof. Mireki has hired a atorney and plans to sue both the university and the sheriff’s department: the university because it didn’t support him in refering to conservative Christians and Catholics as “fundies”; the sheriff’s dept. because they aren’t investigating the attack on him properly. Also, he NOW says the university “forced” him to resign his chairmanship.

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