The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 21, 2015: When Being Afraid Just Doesn’t Help

Fear is not always a bad thing. It plays an important role in our evolution as a species. Evolution, BTW, is a fact of Science.

As Bill Nye says, there’s no reason to doubt it. None. And there certainly isn’t any reason to teach your kids Creationism as a valid theory in its place. Creationism is not Science. It doesn’t propose testable hypotheses. It simply tells you what is supposed to have happened and then tells you, “Believe this, or else.” I agree with Nye that one of the worst things you can do to your kids is to teach them that Creationism explains how we got here.

But fear is not always a good thing, either. Erick Erickson (who has blocked me on the twitter https://twitter.com/EWErickson ) is afraid, but not for any good reasons. He says that he won’t go see the new Star Wars movie because…well, here’s what he posted on his website [And, yes, I’m posting it in its entirety. Sue me.]

I’m really glad I didn’t get tickets on opening day to see Star Wars. Seriously.

I have no confidence in this Administration to keep us all safe, particularly in light of President Obama’s statement today that there’s really no way to stop this stuff.

There are no metal detectors at American theaters.

I think I’ll wait till Star Wars is less a threat scenario.

His post is titled, without irony, “Truth be told…”. Except, where did he get the idea that his hometown theater in Macon, GA, is under credible threat of attack? And why would terrorists, of any nationality or religious affiliation, choose the premiere of Star Wars to launch an attack? And for him to say that he has “no confidence in this Administration to keep us all safe” is a very disingenuous thing to say, because as a Conservative, he already believes the world is a dangerous place and always will be. It’s true that the world is dangerous, and there will always be dangers that will never go away (such as climate change and Fox News Channel), but we Liberals believe that it can be made safer from certain dangers, like fear and ignorance. Through education people can be taught to overcome their fears and to think before acting. President Obama is right to say that attacks like the ones in Paris are never going to be stopped entirely, especially if you want to live as the free people we are. Being free means being free to do things that could harm others. To deter these acts, we institute laws with punishments for violating them. And it works for the vast majority of people. But no law will stop someone who doesn’t care if he lives or dies, and this is true whether the person is motivated by extreme hatred of a certain ethnicity or skin color or by religious fundamentalism. And the only way to eliminate those kinds of attacks entirely is turn this country into a police state, where you would be stopped on the street and forced to show the cop your papers permitting you to walk around freely. And none of us wants that, Liberal or Conservative. And Erickson’s saying this for one reason, and one reason only (if you don’t count the other reasons like he’s stupid, and ill-informed, and six or seven other things): He wants you to be afraid. And he doesn’t want you to stop and think. Because when you stop and think, you realize there is nothing to fear. Because if he thinks metal detectors are going to stop would-be religious extremists from gunning down the very audience in which he and his family sit, then he’s forgetting how the Aurora, CO, theater shooter propped open an emergency exit so he could retrieve his weapons from his car and return to the theater to massacre people. A metal detector at the front entrance would not have made any difference there, would it? But simple reasoning like that doesn’t stop Conservatives in or out of government from trying to gin up fears where there is no rational reason to fear. Conservatives love hyping ridiculous conspiracy theories to keep people afraid. And as we all know, people who are afraid make bad decisions. Like voting for Conservatives to govern them.

The danger in all of this fear mongering is that when ACTUAL dangers come along, ACTUAL things that could kill much but not all of humanity, and both for the same reason – Evolution – people are not going to respond to it thoughtfully and rationally. Or they will dismiss it because none of the other world’s-gonna-die stories turned out to be true (on account of they were made up out of bullshit ideas.) And billions could die. I’m not trying to monger up any fear, I’m trying to point out a legitimate danger that could result in massive amounts of people dying. I learned something the other day and it should give you cause for concern. Not the fact that I learned something, I actually do that all the time without anyone being concerned. I mean what I learned should make us rethink how we use antibiotics. There is an antibiotic called Colistin that is considered a last resort weapon to fight dangerous bacteria. And a study out of China suggests that certain bacteria may be developing a resistance to Colistin. Not only that, but some of these bacteria “have developed a mechanism to transfer resistance to neighboring bacteria. And those bacteria don’t even have to be the same strain as those that originally developed the resistance. So bacteria that cause other health problems could be affected.” This is a cause for concern, but let’s not panic and become fearful. The World Health Organization (Whooooo are they? Who? Who? Who? Who?) has developed an action plan to combat drug-resistant bacteria. The Obama Administration has also developed a plan to fight these dangerous bacteria, which became dangerous thanks to Evolution. Does that mean Evolution is dangerous? Well, it can be. I mean, we’re here because of Evolution, but we can also be replaced by more intelligent, more rational, and less fear-based versions of humans because of Evolution. And that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. But don’t worry, Conservatives. By the time that happens, you’ll be long gone. And that would definitely be a good thing.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss your fears, rational or not, or the fears of conservatives (almost always irrational), or anything else you want to discuss. Don’t be afraid. It’s okay. You have nothing to fear at The Zoo.

30 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 21, 2015: When Being Afraid Just Doesn’t Help

  1. Fear, esp. the irrational kind, is nothing more than a political tool, useful because it can quickly convince the idiot class to vote ‘your’ way (and against its own best interests). Curiously enough, when fear is used as a political tool, it’s a virtual guarantee that it comes from the right side of politics, not the left. Republicans love it and use it constantly; Democrats rarely if ever.

    As FDR put it, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” He nailed it.

    • Alas. A significant number of modern Americans fear anyone and anything they can’t understand and they don’t understand much of anything.

      • Why is that, I wonder. Is ignorance imposed? Genetic? I assume both, but which group is the larger of the two? I’d guess that imposition is the biggee, but gotta wonder if there’s a genetic predisposition that makes imposition a lot easier (aka ‘conservative’).

  2. I see M$RNC has an old bald guy up there so Melissa Harris Perry can’t talk about BLM issues for two hours. It’s becoming the 24 hour terror channel now.

    • So, Carson was talking about “the media circus” surrounding the Bush brothers’ and Congress’s “emergency intervention”, NOT the intervention itself? The whole fucking thing was a circus, but the most egregious and troubling aspect was Congress calling an emergency session to deal with this one very personal issue.

  3. Trump et al is using fear/hatred of the Muslims against America the same way Hitler and Goebbels used the Jews against Germany – to take power and control.
    First you make the ignorant afraid, then make them hate, then use that fear and hatred to turn the ignorant, indoctrinated masses against intellectuals and any academics that can’t be co-opted to your ends.
    Then you convince the masses that the only way to redeem their fatherland is to wage war until everything is under your thumb, meanwhile use your propaganda machine to make sure the masses are kept as paranoid as possible.
    And because you have the support of the money interests – who you’re protecting, after all – you either rewrite the constitution or pass laws in your tame legislature to make the constitution moot.
    Can’t happen here, you say? It has started, and the only way to stop it is vote for the progressives, every election, every level of government, every time.

  4. I’m still a bit angry that Mr. Nye agreed to the farcical “debate” with Ken Ham. Debating someone who begins with the position that no evidence will ever change their minds is pointless and the only outcome is to validate the insane views of The Hamster by treating him as though he has a valid position.

    • Tidbit that sort of explains the problem when God is considered basic to whatever:

      “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who do not believe, no proof is possible.” (Stuart Chase)

  5. Add two words to the definition of ‘asshole’: Mo Brooks

    Rep. Mo Brooks Finds A New Angle On Syrian Refugees

    In an appearance on the Dale Jackson Show on Friday, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) discussed the Syrian crisis and President Obama’s pledge to shelter 10,000 refugees.

    Instead of viewing refugees as people fleeing the violence that has claimed more than 200,000 lives, Brooks saw a host of incoming welfare queens intent on taking advantage of Americans’ generosity.

    “We’re paying them about $15,000 a year in free health care, free food, free shelter, free clothing, free transportation,” Brooks said. “That answers very quickly why so many of them want to come to the United States of America.”

    “We’re paying them to come here,” the Alabama congressman concluded. “It’s a paid vacation!”

  6. ‘Get him the hell out of here!’: Trump sics supporters on black protester who gets beaten and kicked

    Yet another rally for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has descended into racist violence.

    CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond posted video to Twitter of a black protester being shoved down, punched, kicked and tackled during a political rally for Trump in Birmingham, Alabama — a city with a long history of racial violence.

    In the video, Trump can be heard continuing to speak in the background, then can be heard saying, “Get him the hell out of here,” as the crowd jeers.

    According to Diamond, the protester seemed to be saying, “Black lives matter,” to which at least one Trump supporter responded, “All lives matter.” He was tackled to the ground, punched and kicked by white Trump supporters.

    Maybe what Trump really needs is a database, maybe require the BLM folks to wear an identifier on their sleeves. Good management would make it work tremendously.

  7. One of the things creationists often say is that there are no examples of a “missing link,” a transitional species that stands between one kind of species and another.

    Of course, the fossil record contains many such examples. Archaeopteryx is probably the most commonly known one. Here’s a painting I made of one of the famous Berlin specimens.
    Archeopteryx

    I actually mixed some sand in the area surrounding the fossil, and sprayed some fixative over the whole thing just in case the sand gets loose. Then I painting a little linseed oil over the bone areas to make them shiny.

    • Hi, Buddy, and welcome to The Zoo. Thanks for stopping by. Awesome painting,

      If an Intelligent Designer designed us, I’d expect to see serial numbers on the bones or something. “Checked For Quality By No. 42” tags somewhere. That kind of thing.

      Creationists do not grasp the idea that they get it backwards. Life didn’t develop in this solar system on Earth and only Earth because that’s what some designer planned. Life developed in this solar system only on Earth because only Earth had the conditions necessary for life to evolve. We’re here because it’s possible to be here. And we know that even Venus and Mars are on the outer edges of that temperature zone that’s not too hot (Venus) and not too cold (Mars.) If the entire universe were designed by an intelligent being, why not have all planets fall within the Goldilocks Zone, with orbits spaced evenly apart? Why bother making uninhabitable planets in the first place if only Earth was meant to hold Life?

      There are so many holes in the Intelligent Design Theory that it could only make sense to someone who had no idea what he was talking about.

    • Beautiful work!

      I always thought George W Bush was evidence of evolution in that he was clearly just over half way between a chimpanzee and a human. Now today, with Trump, we have even further evidence. But — there is, nowhere, anywhere, a single shred of verifiable evidence that a god — any god by any name — has ever existed. Period. And there never will be.

    • Beautifully done, Buddy! Your use of sand in it is a brilliant idea, and the linseed oil is a great touch.

      I’m curious, though, what kind of fixative, and how well is it working? Although I’m sure that fixative has evolved (heh) over the decades since I last used it (mostly on pencil or charcoal/chalk works), but it never seemed to help that much.

      • I used some very fine sand and many coats of fixative, so I think it’ll be alright.

        I don’t know how it’s holding up today though, because this piece sold right away to an anonymous buyer and that was several months ago.

        • I’ve had some Navajo sand paintings for close to fifty years (actually my daughter has them now), and they too are made of fine sand held in place with a “fixative” of some sort. AFAIK, they show no signs of wear.

  8. Boston College and Notre Dame are playing at Fenway Park in the first football game held at the venue since the last game the Boston Patriots played there in 1968.

Comments are closed.