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Bloggingheads
04-03-2008, 12:56 AM

samuelsd
04-03-2008, 01:01 AM
Sing Ho! for the life of a Pinkerton!

Welcome back, Jim. Good to see you back on the small screen, where you are at your best, and good to see someone to serve as an appropriately knowledgeable interlocutor for Mr. Corn. Rachel Sklar was okay, but I am already looking forward to the hilariously poorly-timed "and we're Bloggingheads TV."

This is #1 in my mp3 playlist...

Joel_Cairo
04-03-2008, 01:39 AM
JIM!!!! Welcome Back! Diggin' that hairdo, by the way (I guess it's only losing candidates themselves grow beards, while their advisors simply snub the barber for a couple months).

otto
04-03-2008, 04:21 AM
These guys actually know how to have a conversation.

Joel_Cairo
04-03-2008, 04:45 AM
Much as I hate to say it, I fear Pinkerton may have drank a bit too much Huckabee Kool-Aid (Squirrel Flavor!) on the campaign bus. His insistence that the Evangelical vote is on the up-and-up as an electoral force strikes me as hard to square with reality. I mean, how many "wither the christian right?" articles did we read after McCain (the Evangelicals' least favorite GOPer) got the nom? To be sure, the fact that the second-last-man-standing was Huckabee shows there is still GOTV strength in megachurches, and there was a whole host of other factors (i.e. candidates) that interacted to result in McCain's win, but still, I don't buy Pinkerton's optimism. The importance of the Christian Right has always seemed, to me, to be blown out of proportion due to its having been the most notable block within the expertly-crafted Rove coalition; Huck's inability to win on their backs alone brings them back down to earth (demonstrating that a candidate can, indeed, succeed without them). Going forward, I find it hard to see how they'll match, much less surpass the clout they enjoyed under GWB. Witness, for example, the most recent NYT Sunday Mag's profile of Tom Cole (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/30/magazine/30Republicans-t.html?pagewanted=5&_r=1), who has the unenviable task of recruiting GOP candidates for upcoming congressional races:

"I think that you look at the makeup of the younger generation and there’s more of a libertarian view on social issues.” Cole says that the party’s rhetoric on issues like gay marriage has cast Republicans as too reactionary for many suburban districts. “My problem on social issues is the tone — sometimes we have been too shrill, and that has alienated voters who might otherwise have joined us,” he told me. The challenge, then, is finding a new generation of candidates who aren’t.

If anybody would know the lay of the land writ large, it's someone like Cole. Pinkerton's view seems obscured by the residue of a fingers-crossed, keep-the-faith outlook promoted in pep-talks during Huck's slow-mo burn-out (Jim himself admits (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9892?in=00:20:45&out=00:21:07) having been unable to forsee how poorly Huck's "biblical constitution" bit would play).

Then again, maybe Huckabee as a figurehead is exactly the shot-in-the-arm that the ailing movement needs. Man is that guy loveable.

bjkeefe
04-03-2008, 01:46 PM
Joel:

Thank you for saving me the effort of typing out my own rebuttal to Jim's claim. You did better than I would have.

I was going to start out, like you, by saying that it appears that the Kool-Aid has yet to be flushed from Jim's system. It was interesting to see the on-the-bus, too-close-to-the-nice-candidate phenomenon on display again, right after Ana Marie Cox's appearance.

Just to emphasize the point about the Kool-Aid: I don't see why Jim remains so enamored of a guy who doesn't believe in evolution. This, to me, is a deal-breaker all by itself. I refuse to believe that anyone laboring under this mental impediment would be able to think clearly about anything else. I'll never understand why guys like Huckabee can't integrate science into their faith. What's so hard about believing, say, that God created everything and that one of the aspects of this creation was the mechanism of evolution?

I also think Jim went a little far in excusing Huckabee's expressed wish to revamp the Constitution in accordance with his own religious views. However much the leftosphere might have overreacted (Jim's view, not mine), there is no doubt that Huckabee was speaking about a lot more than gay marriage and abortion. See here (http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/14013.html) and here (http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Huckabee_at_Falwells_Chuch_Ten_Commandmants_0211.h tml), and follow the links within, for further evidence.

That rather large part aside, it was good to see Jim back where he belongs.

On another note: I was interested to hear David making the case for the plausibility of Clinton winning the nomination. I grant the scenarios that he sketched out, but his estimate of the likelihood is quite different from mine.

Joel_Cairo
04-03-2008, 02:36 PM
I don't see why Jim remains so enamored of a guy who doesn't believe in evolution. This, to me, is a deal-breaker all by itself.

It's funny, to me Huckabee and Pinkerton are a match made in heaven: two indivduals whom I can't help but like, who really come off as just about as nice and personal as you could ever hope to meet, but who make me thank Sweet Baby Jeebus that they are far, far from the levers of state power, as virtually all their policy positions are totally antithetical to mine.

p.s. thanks for the link on your blog!

deebee
04-03-2008, 04:12 PM
I agree with David that a lot can yet happen in this race, but it's most likely that the two mid-April debates will prove crucial in determining if Clinton has any chance left. That venue tends to favor her although she has messed up a few times in the past. It's not Obama's strong suit but he has definitely improved a lot since the beginning.

How they answer the Bosnia flap and Reverend Wright issue at that time will likely prove important. They both have a long time to think their responses through but I doubt that either can come up with anything more convincing that their original responses. These issues as well as the surrounding atmospherics rather than actual policy positions could present a make-or-break situation for both of them -- she regarding the primary results and he regarding any enhanced momentum towards the general election. Should be interesting....

Really enjoyed discussion about the details of on-the-ground campaigning!

bjkeefe
04-03-2008, 04:19 PM
Joel:

p.s. thanks for the link on your blog!

Delighted. It's a worthy cause.

Wonderment
04-03-2008, 04:27 PM
I'll never understand why guys like Huckabee can't integrate science into their faith. What's so hard about believing, say, that God created everything and that one of the aspects of this creation was the mechanism of evolution?

Pandering to the illiterates.

Look, the Ayatollah Huckabee has some compassion for the poor -- an otherwise non-existent quality among Republican candidates. He's from a new generation of fundies who can play bass in rock bands and goof around with Stephen Colbert without coming across as Tyrannasourous Leviticus. I can see why Jim might buy into the charm. But having a look at what Huckabee actually stands for behind the cornball populism should have been a sobering enough experience to nix the idea of working for him.

look
04-03-2008, 04:34 PM
Man is that guy loveable.

He gives me a serious case of the willies.

Wonderment
04-03-2008, 04:36 PM
I agree with David that a lot can yet happen in this race, but it's most likely that the two mid-April debates will prove crucial in determining if Clinton has any chance left. That venue tends to favor her although she has messed up a few times in the past. It's not Obama's strong suit but he has definitely improved a lot since the beginning.

What your smart and objective superdelegate should be looking at is an electoral map that's a viable path to the presidency and a Dem. majority in both houses.

That means examining polling data state by state.

But who said superdelegates would be objective or smart? If they were they could be replaced by computers.

They will vote subjectively and be more swayed by local politics, individual self-interest, peer pressure and their own preferences for the candidate which may trump electability.

bjkeefe
04-03-2008, 04:41 PM
Wonderment:

Pandering to the illiterates.

I think he's sincere in his literalist interpretation of the Bible, but if you're right about this, I would feel even less favorably towards him. Such idiocy should never be encouraged.

... Tyrannasourous Leviticus ...

!!!

jh in sd
04-03-2008, 04:53 PM
Great to see Pinkercorn back! I don't understand, other than for purposes of propaganda, why so many leftists perpetuate the idea that Fundamentalist Christians are typically unitelligent. David Corn's anti-Christian bias comes through again in this diavlog. In a previous diavlog he questions the intelligence of Creationists. Consider this. Take a step down on the ladder of abstraction, and think of Christianity in terms of a worldview. Now compare it with the worldview of the Marxists and Leninists. To people who understand the true nature of human beings, the idea that a utopian world can be created with such flawed characters seems just as crazy. But who would suggest that those people (Marx, Lenin) were unitelligent? My point is that people on the right and the left are willing to adjust their beliefs to fit into their worldview-part of the flawed nature of humans-and it has nothing to do with their intellectual abilities. And the Communists advanced their cause with a zeal unsurpassed by any fundamentalist religion.

uncle ebeneezer
04-03-2008, 05:30 PM
JH, I don't think comparing religions with poltical ideologies is appropriate. The way I see it, Marxism/Leninism were ideologies based on trying to find the best way to run a society. Poly-sci may be a blurry science but at least it tries to approach it's goal (the best society) from a perspective that shows some appreciateion of and consideration to empiricism and factual analysis. I think many Marxists/Leninists would acknowledge the "failures" that resulted from the practical examples we have seen in history (USSR etc.) They may argue that the implementation was the real problem and that M/L ideals could still be a part of the optimal policy for a society but wouldn't flat out deny the negative data against these policies.

The problem that most people have with Creationism is that it ignores the mountains of scientific facts that support evolution, plate-tectonics, and many other well established scientific theories. And worse, it downplays the importance of the scientific method. This is, to scientists and people who care about advancing our knowledge, a very disturbing point of view. The scientific method for accumulating facts and better understanding the world around us is not only the most revolutionary paradigm that man has ever formulated, resulting in countless advances, but it is also a mirror image of the very basic way that our brain shows us the world. We take in input, process it and then discard the stuff that has the least supporting data. I know one of the things that uspets me so much about creationism is the fact that people believe it is ok to teach it to children. I believe that being honest with children is very important for society, so telling them that the world is 6,000 years old, or that the theory of Evolution through Natural Selection is still "debated" among the scientific community, is simply...lying to them.

Believing in the Cristian form of morality and the teachings of Jesus, is great, and I have no beef with that. But teaching children to discount evidence that doesn't fit in with their religion, not only retards their ability to think critically and gives them inaccurate view of the world, but it also teaches them not to respect empirical evidence.

This is why it's hard to take Creationists seriously. I don't care how high my IQ may be, if I tell you that I disagree with the overwhelming majority of today's practicing scientists who have dedicated their lives to the study of infectious diseases, because their data doesn't agree with what I read in Stephen King's novel "The Stand", I think it might affect your appraisal of my intelligence.

jh in sd
04-03-2008, 06:08 PM
Uncle Ebeneezer, If you read Paul Hollander's book, The End of Commitment, your will see that the dismissal of empirical evidence of the failings of the Marxist ideal was rampant in Stalinist USSR, and is still evident among the Left today. I am not a Creationist, nor do I think that children should be indoctrinated, but my point is that you can't flatly assume these people are stupid. I personally would think that anyone who still believes in the possibility of a successful society based on Marxism would reflect a lack of insightful thought. Also, Christianity as a worldview not a way of ordering a society? Read Pinkerton's essay, "The Once and Future Christendom." Why do you think the Christian church has become so politicised?

bjkeefe
04-03-2008, 06:24 PM
jh:

I personally would think that anyone who still believes in the possibility of a successful society based on Marxism would reflect a lack of insightful thought.

Exactly. As would I. Uncle Eb has already said much of what I would say about the illegitimacy of the comparison between fundamentalist Christians and those who believed in Marxism/Leninism. I'll only add one point: the latter ideology was compared with the evidence, was found wanting, and was consequently abandoned. Crucially: even by most of its adherents.

As for fundamentalist Christians (or any other religious fundamentalists), saying "they're stupid" is a little bit of shorthand. Mostly, what I mean when I say such things is that they are embarrassingly close-minded, afraid and unwilling to learn, ridiculous in denying evidence, paranoid about imagined threats, and singularly undeserving of respect for maintaining these attitudes. It is also true that many fundamentalists lack education and fear it. It is also true that the brighter among them tend to grow out of it, given sufficient opportunity at a young enough age to hear something besides dogma.

Do I believe all fundamentalists are stupid? No. But statistically speaking, the chances are good.

AemJeff
04-03-2008, 07:36 PM
Do I believe all fundamentalists are stupid? No. But statistically speaking, the chances are good.

Yeah. I'm not trying to be particularly snarky, but what does "Christian Fundamentalist" mean? It designates somebody who believes in the literal truth of the Christian Bible. The only way you can possibly hold a set of beliefs consistent with that definition is to ignore a lot of evidence, to the extent where one imagines folks with fingers in their ears, screaming "la-la-la-la." That's a caricature, but the truth is you'll need to accept an awful lot of counterfactuals to qualify. That's not impossible for bright people, but it's easier for people with a bit less candlepower, I think. Access to education is obviously important. "Fundamentalist" leaders are often bright people, but I'll submit that like most politicians many of them have a degree of cynical opportunism about their beliefs.

I'm betting that there are a lot of people who self-identify as "fundamentalist" but who really don't labor under the strict belief system that the term implies. Call them "cultural fundamentalists." There's a chance that these folks might have IQs a standard deviation or two closer to the overall mean.

It was striking, by the way, during the period when Huckabee was still doing well, how many people on the right started expressing the view that members of the religious right weren't particularly smart. How much of that was just the expression of frustration by people who liked another candidate, how much was attributable to the slippage of a cynical veneer? Who can say?

How smart were communist sympathizers? Since many of them catch the bug pursuing a liberal education (not "liberal," necessarily) I don't see how you escape the conclusion that they tend to be relatively bright. Not because being a communist is smart, but because people getting a higher education are already selected that way.

There's no question that there are stupid communists and and smart fundamentalists. I'd guess that the patterns are otherwise.

uncle ebeneezer
04-03-2008, 08:13 PM
JH, I also think it's a silly comparison because I don't know ANY Marxists, whereas when I visit my folks in Greer, SC I'm sure I can find many Xtian fundies. True Marxists or Leninists don't seem to have much say in the ruling of my government currently, so I don't really worry about them. And yes, if I met a Marxist who believed that the USSR, Cuba etc. qualify as "success" stories, I would consider their judgement to be pretty sketchy.

But I also think hard-core "free-market" worshippers people are pretty crazy too.

Bobby G
04-03-2008, 10:34 PM
bjkeefe:

"I refuse to believe that anyone laboring under this mental impediment would be able to think clearly about anything else."

That's obviously a silly thing to say. You're super smart, so I'm guessing you're exaggerating for effect or were carried away by emotion. If not, I can introduce you to a biblical literalist I know who also has a Ph.D. in physics and a Ph.D. in philosophy (both from top programs). I don't know what you do, bj, but not only does this fellow think extremely clearly about the philosophy of physics, I would bet that he knows more and thinks more clearly about physics and philosophy than you (even if you also have a Ph.D. in both areas, I'd still wager on him, just because he happens to be a stand-out relative to his peers in those fields).

Bobby G
04-03-2008, 10:37 PM
I should add: even if one is super smart, one may still genuinely believe stupid things (as I imagine you know); for instance, I know this super smart double Ph.D. (in physics and philosophy) who is actually a <i>biblical literalist</i>. Which is, frankly, a stupid position. Though he thinks clearly about most everything else.

So maybe you did really mean your earlier remark. In which case: that was dumb!

jh in sd
04-03-2008, 11:03 PM
Uncle E, You missed my point in my examples of Marxist and Christian worldview. The point I was trying to make is that despite empirical evidence, people ultimately put their faith, whether secular or sacred, in their own conclusions about how the world works.

uncle ebeneezer
04-03-2008, 11:17 PM
JH, I guess my point is that I don't generally consider Marxism as telling it's adherents to actively deny empirical evidence. They may argue the interpretation of the data but they don't say that empirical data should be trumped by the doctrine. That is something I have only heard religions (most of them) claim.

PS Mickey- "Bump" aka "Knockout" is a great (and vicious) game. We spent many hours playing it at basketball camp. It's probably my favorite basketball-related game after "Tiphorse."

Wonderment
04-03-2008, 11:17 PM
I should add: even if one is super smart, one may still genuinely believe stupid things (as I imagine you know); for instance, I know this super smart double Ph.D. (in physics and philosophy) who is actually a <i>biblical literalist</i>. Which is, frankly, a stupid position. Though he thinks clearly about most everything else.

I have also met very intelligent biblical literalists. Many are emotionally locked into long family or tribal traditions; others are "reborn" after an especially traumatic experience or as part of addiction recovery.

Education is not always an antidote, although it usually helps in eliminating or reducing the force of irrational belief. It's hard to imagine someone having a degree in biology or astronomy and still believing the world is 5,000 years old, but people do sometimes live with weird internal contradictions.

I see smart hardcore literalists as suffering from an often benign form of mental illness, similar to mild paranoia or mild OCD. They can think rationally, critically and creatively on other topics.

bjkeefe
04-03-2008, 11:33 PM
Bobby G:

... I'm guessing you're exaggerating for effect ...

Some. But only very slightly. I will concede that in a population measured in the tens of millions, it's nearly certain that you can find a few exceptions to any claim about that population.

I can introduce you to a biblical literalist I know who also has a Ph.D. in physics and a Ph.D. in philosophy ...

Earning two Ph.D.s is a non-trivial accomplishment. Still, if your friend does not believe in evolution, I would be disinclined to respect his judgment on any matter not strictly within his fields. The fact that he evidently knows enough about science and critical thought to have earned advanced degrees would make me even more dubious than with a randomly selected literalist. How could he accept the body of work in the fields upon which his degrees rest, and at the same time dismiss the the efforts of all the people in the field of biology? I could not trust a mind which would seem so selective in accepting science only when it suits him.

What does your friend have to say about the age of the universe, out of curiosity? Does he think the Earth is only 6000 years old?

It'd be really interesting if you could get him to sign up for an account and post here directly. I'd like to hear what he has to say about all this. Or, if he blogs, maybe you could point me at his site? Or he could send me email. My address is accessible through my blog.

jh in sd
04-03-2008, 11:33 PM
Uncle E, The premise of Marxism, that humankind can be perfected by exterior forces, can only be swallowed if one dismisses the empirical evidence throughout history that humankind is by nature flawed. I believe that the Christian perspective on that idea is much more strongly supported by the evidence than is the Marxist perspective.

Joel_Cairo
04-04-2008, 12:41 AM
To weigh in on the evangelical discussion, I am not personally turned off by people who believe stuff that is wacky. I don't think a faith-based understanding of Evolution would really impair a politician's governing, as remarkably few of the responsibilities delegated to our elected officials hinge critically upon the particulars of Earth's prehistory. That stuff is not how I vote and not what I'm looking for in a candidate, by which I mean that I just don't care.

As such, I'm all for fundamentalism, so long as it is simultaneously conservative, in the sense that it is kept personal and and not made political (here I'm using conservative to mean a spartan, bear minimum kind of government without aspirations beyond facilitating citizens to live side by side). When you disambiguate the contemporary, partisan use of the words "conservative" and "fundamentalist", I really think their being automatically linked together is just an artefact of our political moment. Fundamentalism in the political realm, is necessarily unconservative.

So I say be as personally fundie as you want, but if you bring it into politics, with its whole ideological right-think social engineering project, I'm not ok with that. That's not what gov't is for, IMO. I guess I'm just a Rawlsian at heart maybe.

Joel_Cairo
04-04-2008, 12:52 AM
I'd really like to hear Abu respond to all this talk of the "proper place" or "validity" of fundamentalism, and what the fair penalty we secularists should levy against fundamentalists' credibility should be. I imagine he's got quite a dissimilar view from many of us.

uncle ebeneezer
04-04-2008, 01:06 AM
The assumption that humankind can be "perfected." Ok, that's -1 for Marxism.

And on the Christian side: the earth is 6,000 years old, women were made from a rib, man came before ainimals (or the other way around depending on which account of genesis you look at), a man lived in a whale, there was a flood that would have required more water than exists on the entire earth, a man build a boat big enough to house two of every animal species on earth (including conceivably aquatic animals), a woman was made pregnant by a miracle, another man walked on water, healed people, turned water into wine, raised from the dead, made fish spontaneously appear, and this man also had two different lineages (both ending on the paternal side despite the fact that he generated "miraculously" in his mother's womb) depending on which part you use as your reference etc. etc.

So I ask, which of the two points of view is more empirically challenged?

Wonderment
04-04-2008, 03:48 AM
I don't think a faith-based understanding of Evolution would really impair a politician's governing, as remarkably few of the responsibilities delegated to our elected officials hinge critically upon the particulars of Earth's prehistory. That stuff is not how I vote and not what I'm looking for in a candidate, by which I mean that I just don't care.

Do you care if creationism is taught in public schools? How about teaching kids about sex? Or banning such education?

Of course, religious beliefs in the political sphere are only relevant to the extent that they impinge upon governance, so you always have to ask: What are the political implications of X candidate's beliefs?

We have in US government both literalists who are liberals and literalists who are conservative. Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi, for example, are Catholics -- i.e., members of a church that proclaims abortion and homosexuality are evil; yet they both support choice and gay rights.

Most gay and feminist voters accept that politicians like Pelosi are members of homophobic and anti-abortion churches because the political consequences of such beliefs are negligible. The Huckabees, on the other hand, run and hope to govern on a theological agenda. Big difference.

bjkeefe
04-04-2008, 09:02 AM
Joel:

I don't think a faith-based understanding of Evolution would really impair a politician's governing, as remarkably few of the responsibilities delegated to our elected officials hinge critically upon the particulars of Earth's prehistory.

Wonderment has already said a part, but I feel so strongly about this that I want to respond anyway.

I agree that, in the narrow sense, there aren't a whole lot of policy decisions that hinge on whether a politician believes the earth is 6000 years old or that homo sapiens had no progenitor species. What such beliefs indicate to me, however, is a strong likelihood that the politician feels science can be ignored in favor of gut feelings and uncritical acceptance of myths. This leads, inevitably, to bad decision-making.

Look at the current occupant. He had a kneejerk instinct to be against stem cell research, and believed the lines available were sufficient, despite overwhelming protests from people in the field. He spent most of his time in office denying that there was anything to global warming. He installed political minders in places like NASA, the EPA, and the Fish and Wildlife Service -- people with no scientific background, through whom most public statements had to be cleared. He and his lieutenants made numerous appointments based primarily on ideology and family connections, in places like the Justice Dept., FEMA, and the Iraq Reconstruction team. His administration posted misinformation connecting abortions and breast cancer on government web sites, removed evolutionary biology from a list of fields of study eligible for federal education grants, and frequently suppressed the results of studies performed by federal agencies on all manner of topics. His administration promotes "abstinence only" education for young people and discourages any other sex education. The same thinking drives foreign aid in AIDS-riddled countries. He has alluded to making foreign policy decisions, including invading Iraq, at least in part due to his religious beliefs. The rest of his foreign policy "thinking" seems based on whatever Dick Cheney tells him. He was completely conned by Vladimir Putin, in large part because Putin wore a crucifix the first time they met. He felt it unnecessary to cut short his vacation after Katrina hit New Orleans, but hastened back from another one when Terri Schiavo was in the spotlight. The list goes on and on.

Now, are all of these explicitly driven by a belief that the Earth is 6000 years old or that humans and chimpanzees aren't closely related? Of course not. But to me, they're all of a piece. Someone who believes such nonsense, it seems to me, is more likely to believe other nonsense. Someone who ignores scientific results when they make him or her uneasy is more likely to ignore other discomforting data and analysis.

You're perfectly free to assign weights of importance to various aspects of a politician's mindset. But that's why my weighting system is different from yours.

johnmarzan
04-04-2008, 09:18 AM
welcome back, loser. :)

Wonderment
04-04-2008, 04:00 PM
I mostly agree with you on this, Brendan, but when you use Bush as an example and say....

Now, are all of these explicitly driven by a belief that the Earth is 6000 years old or that humans and chimpanzees aren't closely related? Of course not. But to me, they're all of a piece. Someone who believes such nonsense, it seems to me, is more likely to believe other nonsense. Someone who ignores scientific results when they make him or her uneasy is more likely to ignore other discomforting data and analysis.

....You have to explain counterexamples of leaders with deep faith and weird beliefs who do not let religion contaminate policy. Kennedy, Pelosi, John Edwards and Jimmy Carter come to mind. And lately, even Obama has discovered that he prays to his Savior every night.

The difference is that Bush is part of an activist movement of fundamentalists with a religio-political agenda. Pelosi or Edwards may have similar beliefs, but they wouldn't dream of acting on them in the public sphere.

sleepyhead
04-04-2008, 05:07 PM
Early in this conversation, Pinkerton says that the state of California is trying to "squash homeschooling." It was a comment made in passing about a case that he probably hasn't looked into very much, but for the record, I think he is passing on a hysterical interpretation of what happened. There is a single set of homeschooling parents who were suspected of being abusive to their children, and the state used technicalities of the law in order to get the children in a school setting where adults other than the parents would be able to monitor them. California has old laws on the books saying that children must be enrolled in a school and taught by credentialed teacher, but homeschoolers have always been able to make arrangements to have their homes designated as "private schools" and affiliate their children with "independent study" programs that satisfy the credential requirement. The state has no intention of cracking down on homeschooling families except in rare instances such as the family whose case prompted the latest court ruling upholding the state's laws.

There is a decent argument to be made that California's laws should be reformed in order to clarify the legality of homeschooling, instead of the having the current situation where homeschooling is permitted thanks to legal loopholes and nonenforcement of archaic laws. Homeschoolers are understandably nervous that given the current murky status of the law, the state COULD theoretically start enforcing the old laws more agressively, but it is ridiculous to use the legal action taken against a single abusive family as evidence that the state is trying to "squash homeschooling."

This is a fair-minded treatment (http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-homeschool6mar06,1,4399394.story) of the case from the LA Times. And given the outrage from Schwarzenegger and other elected officials about the current state of the law, it looks like the state will act in some way to PROTECT the rights of parents to homeschool, not to squash them.

Wonderment
04-04-2008, 05:34 PM
Exactly right, Sleepyhead. Homeschooling is not merely alive and well in California, it is hugely popular and in zero danger from the court ruling.

Pinkerton and Corn did help to debunk some of the myths about homeschooling, however, by agreeing that the movement is not by any stretch of the imagination limited to conservatives or the religious right.

Nor is homeschooling necessarily an adversary of public education. There are many good reasons support both homeschooling and public education.

bjkeefe
04-04-2008, 06:01 PM
I mostly agree with you on this, Brendan, but when you use Bush as an example ....

....You have to explain counterexamples of leaders with deep faith and weird beliefs who do not let religion contaminate policy. Kennedy, Pelosi, John Edwards and Jimmy Carter come to mind. And lately, even Obama has discovered that he prays to his Savior every night.

The difference is that Bush is part of an activist movement of fundamentalists with a religio-political agenda. Pelosi or Edwards may have similar beliefs, but they wouldn't dream of acting on them in the public sphere.

Well said, Wonderment, and you're right: I should have made an effort to distinguish between religious fundamentalists like, say, Huckabee, religious simpletons like Bush, and the many other politicians who also have some religious beliefs. To be clear, then, let me say that I have little problem with people who take comfort, moral guidance, what have you, from their faith, but who are also willing to accept the world as we are best able to understand it through reason and scientific inquiry. That's why the denial of evolution or belief in a young Earth serves as a dividing line for me.

I include in the "deniers" group those politicians who try to take the squishy way out by saying "teach the controversy." Equating Creationism with science is just as bad as preferring it.

bjkeefe
04-04-2008, 06:06 PM
Abu Noor will be too polite to blow his own horn on this, but for those interested: he's got a good debate going on the homeschooling issue over at his place (http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com/2008/03/27/new-york-times-many-muslims-turn-to-home-schooling/). It started a few days ago, not in reaction to the PinkerCorn diavlog, but in reaction to an article in the NYTimes.

sleepyhead
04-04-2008, 06:37 PM
Pinkerton and Corn did help to debunk some of the myths about homeschooling, however, by agreeing that the movement is not by any stretch of the imagination limited to conservatives or the religious right.

I agree -- progressive/secular homeschooling is definitely spreading, and it was good to see both Corn and Pinkerton point that out. In fact, that's why Pinkerton's distortion of the facts of the California case was jarring -- he's usually very good at being fair and sober-minded about the views of people that he may disagree with, but every once in a while he says something that reminds me that he's basically a Christian conservative and shares their worldview (which I obviously do not share). I doubt he intentionally misrepresented the California case -- I assume he was just passing on the version of it that he had heard from someone in the Christian homeschool movement, but as I said it's a somewhat hysterical, almost paranoid interpretation of the facts, and it shows the trouble you can get in when you learn about something from only one perspective. (That applies to many people on the left too, of course, although I consider myself part of the reality-based community so I tend to think we are less guilty of this than people on the right.)

Thanks for the link to Abu-Noor's place, bjkeefe. I had somehow missed that NYT article.

bham
04-04-2008, 09:23 PM
Welcome back Jim. Rarely agree with you, but always find you smart and entertaining. David is bomb...

johnmarzan
04-05-2008, 09:56 AM
instead of PinkerCorn, i'd rather see the old Corn and Miniter show back here in bloggingheads.

what happened to that podcast btw? was there a falling out between david and Richard Miniter? did corn quit pajamasmedia and move to BHTV?

what makes bhtv really entertaining and informative is if both diavloggers are friends, like bob and mickey. and bill scher and conn carroll. both pairs have good chemistry. because putting two people together with opposite political views who don't really know each other can sometimes be painful to watch or listen.