"It seems to me that to organize on the basis of feeding people or righting social injustice and all that is very valuable. But to rally people around the idea of modernism, modernity, or something is simply silly. I mean, I don't know what kind of a cause that is, to be up to date. I think it ultimately leads to fashion and snobbery and I'm against it."
Jack Levine: January 3, 1915 – November 8, 2010
I was successful in getting back my old students and getting some new ones. Despite what a back-beat addled, accuracy deficient critic implied yesterday, people who know me think I've still got it. So I'm going to be cutting back here, a bit. I will still try to post six days a week and will try to have something substantial and substantiated to give you. And there will be music I hope you haven't heard to death and find interesting. And there will be the occasional blog brawl.
Update: About that blog brawl, if a blogger hosts comments misrepresenting what I said, over a period of years and it is known to the blogger that's what he's doing, I'm not going to suspend my critical assessment of his blog.
Don't misunderstand. I'm not saying that the fact the he's an asshole is more important than the fact that he's probably a serial rapist, I'm just saying that general asshole behavior is easier to cover than allegations of serious crimes that aren't in the legal system. "the fact that he's probably a serial rapist" I wonder what The Horse of Media Whores Online would have made of that phrase if it had been used by the corporate media against Bill Clinton back when you were cutting your baby blogger's teeth there. It sounds like something Falwell or Barbara Olson would have said. For the benefit of your rump of regulars, it can't be a fact and be merely probable to start with and there has been no test of its probability. If a PROSECUTOR who has taken statements, depositions, looked at chronologies, evidence, etc. brings a criminal case, which is what a charge of rape is, and he were found guilty OF MULTIPLE RAPES , well, then, yes, there would be a probability that was a fact. But there has been no indictment, there has been no trial on even a single case of rape. I hate to be in the position of having to defend Bill Cosby who I really don't have any affection for, but I do rather have warm feelings about intellectual integrity, fairness and the rule of law instead of the drool of slur which is your stock and trade at Eschaton. If you want to call him an asshole, that's not a criminal matter and the standards of evidence required aren't any higher than the opinion of your communities' lowest standard. And, in the case of your blog, that's about as low as a blog deputed to be of the left gets, these days.
Update: As an example, none of your "Brain Trust" would seem to be interested in actually reading what I wrote on this, which isn't a defense of Cosby, it's insisting that people not be tried in blog gossip and on the online tabloids like Salon and Alternet. But I guess that's too subtle a point for your geniuses. Rule of law gives way to drool of slur, it's the standard of journalism you practice. Update 2: Uh, yes, any online mag like Salon that can regularly have five or six Lena Denham or Mama Honey Boo Boo columns up at once and in the "Most Read" column - and it's the regular fare, there - is a friggin' tabloid. This is tabloid stuff that is quite reminiscent of the stuff they ran against Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton all the time. Until there is an actual conviction, it's irresponsible either if the accusations are false or if they are true.
I'm disgusted with the pseudo-feminism that pushes the line that presenting young women with a view of reality that they need in order to avoid being attacked is a violation of their rights. We live in the world we live in and in the forty year backlash to feminism that has reached nightmare proportions since the internet allowed the psychopaths to network and reinforce their hatred and objectification of women, that world is increasingly dangerous, especially for young women. "Sex pos feminism" is a fraud that was largely funded and promoted by the porn industry, several of figures among those working for pornographers, lesbians who didn't have sex with men and didn't share in the hazards of being penetrated by men... but that's research for a post I haven't gotten around to writing yet, if I ever do. The "sex pos" typists of online magazines and blogs don't care about the rights and welfare of young women, they care about telling immature people what they want to hear so their "journalistic" careers will benefit, some of them in the pay of those parts of the publishing and entertainment industries that profit from objectifying and degrading women. They are liars who construct lies for easy sale and mass consumption and the truth, so often not what people want to hear, is not as likely to get them what they want. Update: No, my point is that "sex pos" IS THE BACKLASH AGAINST FEMINISM.
Unless the people who use the term make a serious effort to save it from the kind of destructive misuse of it that has gained currency, the phrase "victim blaming" should be dropped. There is a world of difference between blaming the victims of crimes or wrongs for what was done to them and discouraging the behavior that contributed to the criminals taking advantage of them. That was brought to mind, again, by this rather lop-sided piece on today's Morning Edition. As is so often the case with this problem, it centers around rape, specifically on college campuses. And, as is so often the case, it mentions the resentment of college aged adults being told that they are putting themselves at risk by getting drunk.
"It's a tough line to tread because the blame should still be on the perpetrator, but you also want to protect these people," sighs sophomore and student activist Larkin Sayre. Telling women to not get too drunk or wear too short a skirt, she says, feels wrong. "That's not society I wanna live in, where I have to look out for what I wear. I think that's a basic human right, " she says. "And we don't tell men to not get blackout drunk." But, Sayre says, not warning women feels wrong, too. Her mom warned her. "It is so hard and honestly, I haven't figured out my full feelings about the whole idea," she says.
We don't tell men not to get blackout drunk? We don't? WELL IF WE'RE NOT WE SHOULD BE BECAUSE MEN ARE RAPED, ROBBED, ATTACKED, PRONE TO GETTING INTO FIGHTS, ATTACKING OTHER MEN AND WOMEN WHEN THE ARE DRUNK. NOT TO MENTION MANY TIMES MORE VULNERABLE TO DYING IN ACCIDENTS SOMETIMES CAUSED BY DOING STUPID STUNTS WHILE DRUNK. NOT TO MENTION GETING "BLACKOUT DRUNK" CAN KILL YOU THROUGH ALCOHOL POISONING.
If no one is sharing that level of reality with, not only college aged women but also men, then someone should be even if the dim young things don't like that basic biological and social reality being thrust upon them to that extent.
As to the fact that people dress in sexy clothes to look sexy and to allure people sexually and, especially in such venues as bars, as an invitation to ask for sex, the negotiation of that will be a lot less clear and frank if one or both parties are drunk. Is that really news to people who dress in sexy clothes? Certainly it's not just gay men who realize that's what they're doing in that situation.
The piece continues:
Grad student Brendon Smith, who signed the bystander pledge, says it's not an either/or question. Of course, students should take precautions, he says. As one law enforcement official put it, you wouldn't park your Lexus with the windows open and leave jewelry on the front seat. That would be foolish.
Actually, no, in the context of the story that would be like a young man getting drunk and getting raped. I know it's news to many straight folk but men who get drunk are making themselves targets for men who prey on men in other than fully functioning condition. For sex as well as for rolling. The issue of men getting drunk and raped among gay men is a real one and it is one that isn't helped by asserting some lame-brained "right to get blind drunk" which only provides predators with more targets to choose from.
In the same way, Smith says, students should also be advised to use common sense. "People don't like to hear that. Like, if I tell my friend like, 'Oh, I think you are drinking too much, like you should probably slow down,' I might get some crap for it, but I think it's a risk you have to take. I mean, they possibly could be a victim of some kind of assault," he says. Oh dear, we can't have COLLEGE STUDENTS being told things they don't like to hear, it might damage their self-esteem. I remember, back when the age of adulthood was 21 and college wasn't about pleasing the customer* but TELLING YOUNG FOLK LOTS OF THINGS THEY DIDN'T WANT TO HAVE TO HEAR AND REQUIRING THEM TO TRY TO PASS THEMSELVES OFF AS RESPONSIBLE ADULTS that we were advised against getting plastered. Some of us also learned that getting drunk was a voluntary suspension of the ability to think an act responsibly, you know, like an adult is supposed to act. The association of getting plastered with being an adult is one of the stupider aspects of popular culture, one that the entertainment industry has had a big hand in furthering because it's such a useful lubricant to moving along an unskillfully written story.
Mixing in the incredibly stupid idea that advising immature, naive, innocent kids that they are putting themselves at risk for all of that list I made above by getting drunk is some violation of the rights of women is mindbogglingly stupid. If feminism has devolved from the demand that women be given all of the rights, responsibilities and privileges of adulthood to a weak system of telling young girls that they will attain that status by doing stupid stuff like getting blindingly drunk, feminism needs to regain its adult status, as it aspired to forty years ago. The key to the problem isn't for women to act as stupidly as young men have been allowed to but in removing the approval for young men to be stupid and do stupid and even criminal stuff with impunity.
So, what would I say? If you think you can square the knot of dressing up like an open invitation for sex, get drunk and that drunk men on the make won't try to take advantage of that, you are a stupid young man or woman. If you think the police or prosecutors are going to be able to make a case to prosecute that scenario - generally played out in private, with no witnesses to actual consent being given or refused - you are being entirely unrealistic. They won't be able to produce a sufficient level of evidence to guarantee a conviction. They weren't there, you were and you can't do it. Your only protection IS to avoid getting in that predicament. That's just the way it is and when it's sex it always will be. I think it's time an adult told you that.
* Or perhaps expecting college students to take responsibility for themselves and their actions was more common at public universities which served a less affluent clientele.
Mary Lou Williams wrote a number of warm, intimate, beautiful waltzes, this is one of them. She is reputed to have been offered marriage by Jack Teagarden and Bud Powell and turned down both of them. How many of us could say that?
And here's my absolute favorite waltz in any genre and for all time.
With Don Byas
And my favorite version of it, incredibly passionate.
See Update Below I come clean to this because I've never been a fan of Bill Cosby's style of humor, which I always thought was kind of bland and would never have watched any of his TV shows if it hadn't been that I liked Madeline Kahn, not that I saw much of that one, either.
About the various accusations about him that have pushed Lena Dunham and Honey Boo Boo's mother off of the online tabloid front pages, I take the same position I did when PZ Myers and his posse were going after someone else I didn't much admire. RAPE ACCUSATIONS BELONG IN THE HANDS OF THE POLICE AND PROSECUTORS AND IF THEY FAIL IN THE HANDS OF RESPONSIBLE INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS, THAT WOULD BE REPORTERS NOT "OPINION" ""JOURNALISTS"". Certainly not in the trash bin of alleged journalism, the gossip typists of Salon and the other online tabloids.
Other than that, What RMJ said. Update Mr. McCarthy Doesn't Regret He's Unwilling to Hunch Today
The living embodiment of the failed Turing Test has this to say:
steve simelsNovember 20, 2014 at 7:47 PM I personally know a woman who told me a Cosby story about her and the same shit in the early 70s. He's a pig. s Fuck you and the sexual MCCarthyism crap.
Well, isn't that a relief to us all? I mean, we can disband the courts, the prosecutors offices, hell we can even dispense with defense council and police detectives, forensics labs, witnesses.... corroboration or refutation on the basis of factual evidence etc. We can save all of the money, time and expense of all of those and just rely on women personally known to His Simelsship and not even on her, we can rely on his word that some woman he personally knows told him a story. You know, sort of like Linda Tripp told a story that she said she'd been told by a personal friend. To Lucianne Goldberg. And I'll bet you would have voted to convict The Amiraults too, not to mention... hell, I'll just post that below. Only, Sims, I think you got your analogy from the wrong part of your anatomy. You see, conviction in the "court of public opinion" is what Red Channels and HUAC and those other shames of our early years were all about. Or didn't you read Naming Names? You see, what you're doing, what is being done is more in line with McCarthyism, named after my very distant cousin who my branch of the family rather detested. What I'm proposing is that accusations of FELONIES be handled by rule of law, not drool of slur. If your alleged friend didn't make a criminal accusation at the time, there may or may not have been a crime or even an incident BUT IN THE CASE OF FELONIES THAT IS FOR THE JUDICIAL PROCESS TO TRY TO DETERMINE.
Hey, wait, here's what I said on a similar occasion a few years back.
Accusations I'm not going to speculate as to why it has apparently become the default assumption on some liberal blogs that some accusations are not to be questioned but that is a position that is so wrong, so impractical and so, plainly, nuts it can't be allowed to stand unchallenged. There is nothing about any accusation that puts it or the details it contains beyond the bounds of questioning. If you don't want your accusation to be questioned, don't accuse someone because they have every right to question it. I am going to point out that even for those who objected to what I said yesterday, it's not the default assumption depending on who is making the accusation and who is being accused and what they're being accused of. The objections made in yesterdays comments carried loads of accusations. I'm going to present three instances, one which comes pretty close to home, of specific cases of false accusations and will mention one of the most outrageous examples of mass injustice in recent decades, for which I have no intention to apologize so don't bother asking for that. There is the infamous Charles Stuart case in Boston. In October, 1989, emergency took a call from Stuart who said that he and Carol DiMati (Stuart), his pregnant wife, had been assaulted and robbed in their car, shot by an unknown "black man". His wife died in the hospital, the child who was taken prematurely suffered seizures and died within days. Charles Stewart was treated in the hospital and the Boston Police immediately started looking for the unknown black man, breaking down doors and, it was rumored, some heads in the frenzied search for a particularly brutal murderer as the grieving widower recovered in the hospital. The Boston Police soon fixed on Willie Bennett who Stuart would later identify as the killer in a stand up line. The police figured they had done their job. Raymond Flynn, the mayor of Boston, Mike Barnicle, the prominent columnist and most of the movers in Boston and the region all said they'd gotten the man who had viciously killed a young, pregnant woman and the child she was carrying, in one of the most publicized cases in memory. Only, as some will remember, Stuart's brother, who had helped him cover up the crime, soon cracked and what really happened came out. Charles Stuart, who was upset that he was going to become a father and that he would suffer a decrease in standard of living when his wife stopped working, had shot his pregnant wife to collect the insurance and then inflicted a wound on himself in order to place the blame on a stereotypical scary black man. Charles Stuart, knowing he would be arrested jumped off of the Tobin Bridge and died. A similar thing happened a few years later in the Susan Smith case, in which a young mother claimed that "a black man" had carjacked her car with her children in it, setting off another manhunt for the man who abducted two white children. As you might remember about a week later she confessed that she had drowned her children in the car so she could take up with a man who didn't want them. I don't know the details of what the manhunt consisted of but it's not hard to imagine rights may have been violated and an innocent man could have eventually been arrested. I would bring up the rash of false charges of ritual child abuse from the 1980s and 90s that put many, innocent women and men in prison and which destroyed their lives before they were exonerated. But I'm sure that would be objected to by a number of possible political cliques. It's a long, outrageous episode of mass delusion and legal opportunism based in outrageous, outlandish accusations that were clearly not questioned sufficiently to find the truth. That truth came well after the false charges produced many victims, many of them who never recovered their lives after those were mad. But that would take far, far longer than I've got to present in this post. And there is the recent case in the town next to mine, in Maine, in which an unidentified young boy's body was discovered. The accusations there weren't specific and they weren't made by authorities, they were far more informal and potentially far more dangerous. The police didn't release the cause of death for a number of days and rumors were rife. A number of those rumors speculated that the boy had been the victim of a pedophile, who I guarantee you was almost always identified or assumed to have been an unspecified "gay man". Which is one of the reasons many of us living here would have been somewhat on edge until the case was solved. You will remember that eventually the boy's mother, who is clearly mentally ill, was arrested for the killing of her son. And that's the problem with an accusation against a person identified with a group, black men, gay men, etc. An accusation against an unspecified member of the group is an accusation against more than one person who could match that description. When did it become politically impermissible to ask questions about an accusation? How do any of the people who think that any accusation is beyond question expect to find out who ISN'T guilty as accused under that rule? A personal note: I'm tired of people complaining that my posts violate some kind of unwritten prohibition, putting ideas and questions I choose to raise off limits. I'm especially tired of complaints asserting that those ideas and questions violate some kind of unwritten rule for writing on a feminist blog. I have never agreed to limit my thinking to fit any kind of index of prohibited ideas, I've never been asked to. I would like any leftish bloggers or writers to point out what list of ideas they've agreed to not bring up in their writing. Show me the list of prohibited topics and ideas. There is no rule anyone can make or make up on the spot that is going to keep me from saying what I think should be said. If you can point out a factual or logical problem with what I say, feel free. If you can point out any inconsistencies or hypocrisies in what I write, please, correct me. If you have any rational, grown-up objection to anything I write about, that's within the bounds of criticism that anyone who writes something for public display opens himself up for, the kind of correction any rational person should welcome. But I'm not going to limit anything I write on the basis of political or intellectual fashion or to conform to someone's idea of what's allowable to be thought or said except my own.
The first line of this poem went through my head for years and years before the rest of it came to me. Dog culture is pheromone based. What stinks to us is to their taste, To them high art, to us just waste. Dog culture is pheromone based.
I completely endorse this idea, that since women are compensated at a lower rate than men that they are, actually, working without pay after a certain date of the year. The reason that the feminism of the 1960s-70s was first ridiculed then crushed into ineffectiveness through the advertising and fashion industries is because women within the feminist movement and its supporters started agitating for real equal pay for equal work. If women were suddenly given equal pay to men, it would be the greatest distribution of wealth downward, probably in our history. And it would bolster the effort for economic justice for other identity groups as well. Any movement that threatens those who sit at the top through agitation for justice and equality will be crushed. There is nothing more radical than a demand for economic, social and legal justice and there is nothing more guaranteed to get the oligarchs, their press and their pop culture propaganda wing set to destroy you.
Speaking of which:
“I want to do a painting of the fashion business, I hate the fashion business.”
Yes, I really did mean to propose that Alternet, a venue which spews anti-religious, primarily anti-Christian invective almost daily and which hosts some of the most vicious hate speech you'll find outside of the explicitly violent right belongs on the Southern Poverty Law Center's hate group list. "Our" haters are no less hateful for supposedly appertaining to "the left". Given the guaranteed counterproductive feature of aiming your hate speech at the large majority of the population AND THE VOTERS any thinking person who cares about the left winning at the ballot box and would want to be associated with them is simply not thinking. Anti-religious "leftists" have been an impediment to progress all along, their alleged contributions more than made up by the enemies they needlessly make for the left, the divisiveness and discouragement of possible allies and converts to our causes. The past ten years of observing, studying and researching atheists as I've encountered large numbers of them in the wake of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins opening the floodgate of their vituperation have been a real education in their habits, thinking and presence in real life. I'm as certain as possible that the left will never make progress being led by atheists who have led us down a series of dead ends and cul de sacs whenever they get the chance. Materialism, as Ernst Haeckel and many other proponents of atheist-materialist monism have pointed out, doesn't produce democracy. The most popular of those atheist systems among those who are mistaken as being on the left, Marxism, didn't have democracy as its pseudo-scientific endpoint and it was about the best try for reconciling what are unreconcilable starting points and goals among those who thought they really wanted democracy. When you START by reducing people to objects there is no way to arrive at those objects having rights or any other transcendent attribute and the real left is all about those transcendent attributes. Which is why it has become so important for me to insist that science, the study of objects as objects, remain in its chosen subject matter and to not make claims that its methods and tools can't fulfill. The power of the name "science" to gull the ignorant is far stronger than just about any other force, these days. That is certainly true in the official educated class, most of whom have never confronted the philosophy of science in any way and for whom it really may as well be a religion or an even more primitive form of magic. As it is, I do remember, very specifically, the incident that made me take the route I've been on, the thing that made me start writing blog posts. It was when a guy who took himself and who was taken as some kind of super-leftist figure of the frontier, no-sacred cows, rugged individualist type declared on Eschaton blog that "science proves that free will is a myth". And in reading that sentence I instantly had to face that if that were true then the entire theoretical basis of democracy was not only mistaken but inevitably wrong*. Which quickly led to me confronting what the growing materialism of alleged lefties would require a similar disposal of all other of the essential attributes of people on which the entire liberal political program rests. I don't think it's any accident that in the period when the supposed leadership of the left became secularized and the left was gulled into first an impotent secularization of its activities and then into a totally counterproductive anti-religious pose that it has found itself to be dispirited and unable to accomplish much. That is even as it saw the progress made in the previous period attacked and destroyed. I think anyone who has read much of atheist literature would be forced to conclude that it was an entirely predictable result. When liberalism is divorced from its metaphysical roots it dies and rots. That is what the period of the new atheism has taught me. I believe in the stands of traditional liberalism BECAUSE I BELIEVE THEY ARE AN EXPRESSION OF THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU. AND THAT IS AN EXPRESSION ROOTED IN THE REALITY OF WIDER HUMAN EXPERIENCE, WIDER THAN IS ADDRESSED BY SCIENCE. WE ARE TO MAKE THAT REAL ON EARTH IN REAL LIFE AS PERFORMED BY PEOPLE BECAUSE THAT IS THE WILL OF GOD. * It led to me posting this on the blog I wrote and the one I co-wrote.
Looking over the various putrid groups that The Southern Poverty Law Center has put on its list of hate groups, many of them call for violence, murder and genocide but the explicit calls for murder and violence are at the end of a continuum that begins with bigotry and hatred. Some of them are pseudo-Christian groups and other groups which certainly don't represent any kind of coherent continuation of the majority of Jews, Muslims or others who nominally share the same general identity.
But groups that have not actually advocated violence or murder are on the list, The American Family Association is, rightly, on the list for pushing an extreme message of hatred of LGBT people, much of which, change a few words, and you could find similar stuff on mainstream atheist promoting websites, the James Randi "Educational" Foundation, "Freethought Blogs" Alternet, Salon....
Alternet is a good example, typical of the higher end of atheist hate talk, with a number of regulars who write dozens of articles for them which are often carried by other online magazines such as Salon. Just take one of the Alternet regulars, Valerie Tarico and look at her index of articles. 6 Ways Religion Does More Bad Than Good, 10 Ways Religious Groups Are Freeloading Off of Taxpayers, Smut in Jesusland: Why Red-State Conservatives Are the Biggest Porn Hounds,.... That last one is massivly hypocritical for the editors and publishers of Alternet which also carries numerous articles promoting pornography and prostitution and turning people into sex objects through the pseudo-feminist pose of "sex pos". Apparently what they think is good when you're an atheist is to be condemned when they can assert it's being done by Christians based on geographic location. If you changed a few words and she were targeting Jews or people of color, the hate content of her screeds would be undeniable and would fit in quite well with what is said by a number of those on the SPLC hate watch list.
And she's just one of the hate talkers at Alternet. Amanda Marcotte has ridden anti-religious hatred to a kind of fame, Dan Arel is definitely professionally anti-religious, though his hate talk is somewhat moderate for Alternet. I would have included the index to Alternet's long time hate scribe C. J. Werleman but he was found to have also been a plagiarist last month and they have removed his archive from the site. So, just for the record, they didn't remove him for spreading hate and misinformation about religious people over the years but cribbing some words will get you the boot from Alternet. I don't know how Salon, who frequently carried his Alternet screeds announced it had been publishing plagarized content but that's about the only thing I know that will get an atheist hate talker banned from allegedly respectable company.
Since atheist content is guaranteed click bait, a major attraction at Alternet are the comment threads which seethe with hate talk that is considerably worse than the articles they are attached to. Hate speech is the norm on any article that even indirectly impinges on religious issues, especially anything to do with Christianity. I know for a fact that Alternet bans commentators but obviously not for even violent hate talk and the crudest, most extravagant lies about religious people and groups.
The fact is that entities such as Alternet, especially through their ability to mix virulent hate talk with other content and to get its hate talk content on to other sites, such as Salon, have a role in mainstreaming some extreme hate right into the center of that mainstream, peddling hate to a young audience. In some ways that ability is not dissimilar to such groups as The American Family Association on cabloid TV in the past and other groups on the SPLC's list. I would guess that as the hatred of LGBT people becomes, thankfully, less tolerated the kind that Alternet specializes in will count for an increasing percentage of it in the general society. I don't think that's a good thing.
Update: I should point out that Amanda Marcotte's Pandagon-Raw Story archive may contain some of her most virulent hate content, from back before she cleaned up her act, somewhat, in the wake of her being dumped from the John Edwards campaign when her previous posts caught up with her. I have not been able to find anything and suspect she may have taken a lot of that stuff down. If anyone knows how to access her writing from the middle of the last decade or so, I will link to it.
Jack Levine was Ruth Gikow's husband until she died in 1982. He was about the strongest advocate of her work. To me her work was a precursor to the earliest documents of 2nd wave feminism and it remained a continuing commentary on the position of women in the world. She was saying the same things Betty Friedan would say years and decades earlier.
Another point about the GSS and Pew Survey, in that group they identify as "nones", most of them, when given the chance FAILED TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS ATHEISTS OR EVEN AGNOSTICS. The category in the Pew survey is definitely NOT an indication of a sharp rise in the percentage of atheists due to this fact.
...if you pick a stupid prior, you can get
a stupid posterior...
Christensen, R., Johnson, W., Branscum, A., & Hanson, T. E. (2011).
Bayesian ideas and data analysis: An introduction for scientists and
RMJ, did a post the other day that examines one of Amanda Marcotte's pieces on Alternet-Salon, one in the atheist triumphant mode, claiming that they're about to take over, man. Only, when you look at the quite doubt worthy basis of her claims, they don't exactly conform to the evidence. I'd say that to accept Allen Downey's conclusions - and they ain't exactly what Mandy Marcotte is peddling with the blessings of Alternet-Salon - you have to take a great deal on faith. His statistical analysis as he describes it begins with the question asked by the General Social Survey and the answers given by a whopping total of 9000 people. And, as these kinds of surveys go, you can be very religious and be claimed by the atheists as one of theirs, as Downey would seem to intend, though he goes to a great deal of trouble to muddy the waters, something which I'm rather disappointed to find that is one of the more common uses of statistical analysis of the kind he engages in.
Note how modest his claims for his much touted survey analysis are buried deep in his explanatory blog post.
My results suggest that Internet use might account for about 20% of the decrease in religious affiliation between 1990 and 2010, or about 5 million out of 25 million people. Note that this result doesn't mean that 5 million people who used to be affiliated are now disaffiliated because of the Internet. Rather, my study estimates that if the Internet had no effect on affiliation, there would be an additional 5 million affiliated people.
In other words, he's talking about 0.016 of the population of the United States, who may or may not be religious but who, at the time of the survey, don't happen to be affiliated with any particular religious group. And he even excuses himself from that line of questioning at the very bottom of the post.
More questions There is a difference between those who are religiously affiliated (belong to or active with a church, for example) and those who consider themselves spiritual or religious. Can you clarify what you’re talking about? Yes, good point! My paper is only about religious affiliation, or religious preference. The GSS also asks about religious faith and spirituality, but I have not had a chance to do the same analysis with those variables. I have seen other studies that suggest that belief in God, other forms of religious faith, and spirituality are not changing as quickly as religious affiliation. But I don't have a good reference handy.
Which, I'm not hesitant to point out, blows the atheist's claims for his results out of the water.
Looking around Downey's blog, it's pretty clear that he's dedicated to the war against religion, he's done many blog posts dedicated to the proposition that America is becoming less religious, placing his faith in the obviously unnuanced questioning of the GSS and similar surveys. reported in such a way as to give atheism any possible advantage, one that it doesn't seem to warrant in so far as it claims people who specifically declined to identify themselves as atheists or agnostics even as they declared themselves unaffiliated with any particular group. Spreading the good news of atheism is a sure way to generate attention for yourself and your papers. I would guess that this is the one thing in Downey's extensive career of writing books and papers that has gotten him popular attention. It's why someone like Marcotte could go from her long archive of angry 13-year-old level screechiness to getting republished by Salon from Alternet.
In one of my comments on Salon, I finally said what I think needs to be said, Amanda Marcotte is one of the David Dukes of atheism, and I don't mean when he's cleaning it up for PR purposes. And she's not the only one. The new atheism is a full blown hate group, addicted to distortion and lying and the mainstream media that pushes their stuff is not much different from those mainstream newspapers that pushed other forms of hate in the 19th and 20th centuries.