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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Teddy Roosevelt Moment or why I'll never vote for John McCain again (Page 1)

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Author Topic: The Teddy Roosevelt Moment or why I'll never vote for John McCain again
MrSquicky
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During the 2000 Republican priamries, I volunteered to work for the John McCain campaign. I didn't do much really, just stuffed envelopes and such on weekends. But I really believed in Senator McCain. He seemed to be an actually good guy and someone I'd be proud to have as President. He's spooky smart, always seems to actually know what he's talking about, seems to be generally concerned about doing the right thing, and above all, he has consistently put a high premium on integrity.

One of the first things that drew me to John McCain was an interview where he talked aobut Teddy Roosevelt was his biggest political hero. If you know Teddy Roosevelt, you know how odd that statement is to here from any politician these days, especially a Republican. I didn't think he meant it, but looking into it, it seemed like it did. I'm a huge TR fan and given the current political climate, I think that he'd be a good choice for our president to emulate (well, the glorifying war thinng I'm not so happy about, but neither was Senator McCain). Looking at John McCain, I saw a lot of the drive for reform, independence, and integrity that made President Roosevelt so admirable.

Teddy served as president his 8 years and, although so popular that a third term was his for the asking, stepped down in favor of his picked successor, William Howard Taft. President Taft, however, did not live up to ex-President Roosevelt's expectation, and over time came to cozy up to the Republican party machinery and work against or severely weaken many of the progressive reforms Teddy started. Feeling betrayed, Roosevelt ran for the Republican nomination against Taft in 1912. Despite beating him in the primaries, the party machinery gave the nomination to the incumbent President Taft. So Roosevelt, despite the increasingly insistent warnings that doing so would give the election ot the Democrats, formed the Progressive party (which came to be known as the Bull Moose party). He trounced Presidnet Taft in both the popular and electoral vote, but split the vote enough that Woodrow Wilson was elected president. Teddy then dissolved his party and counseled his supporters to rejoin the Republicans but to make it clear that they'd leave again unless they offered up a credible candidate.

I'm sure most of you have picked up why I thought this historical interlude is relevant here. The 2004 election was John McCain's potential Teddy Roosevelt moment. If he had raised the Bull Moose standard, people would have flocked to it. I would have left my job to work for him full time. He stood for all the things that our current president lacks, chief among these things being integrity. Senator McCain knows this, having had to endure a highly dishonest campaign sent at him during the 2000 primaries and through watching the President and his administration from his position as the outside Senator for four years.

He didn't do this, which, while a dissappointment, was hardly suprising. It was a huge risk and you just don't get great men to come along all that often, especially in politics. I (and some of the other people who worked for him in 2000) wasn't happy with his decision, but we understood it and were willing to support him in 2008.

What was unforgivable, however, was him prostituting himself to give the Bush campaign the air of integrity that they so sorely lacked. Keeping quiet was a disspointing but understandable choice. Becoming a rah-rah boy for the people that are against what he stands for was not.

There's a joke. A man walks up to a woman and asks, "Will you sleep with me for a million dollars?"
"Yes" she replies.
"How about $25?" he says, at which she slaps his face.
So he says, "What's the problem? We've already established you're a prostitute, now we're just quibbling over the price."

I get that he bought the Bush people's and the party's support for the 2008 elections, but he had to give up the very principles that I admired in him to do so. He prostituted himself. I don't want to see how low a price he'll be willing to accept in the future.

[ August 16, 2005, 04:11 PM: Message edited by: MrSquicky ]

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katharina
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It sucks when our heroes are revealed to be merely men.

I'm sorry, Squicky.

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The Pixiest
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So you're saying that you wanted McCain to split the republicans and give the election to the democrats?
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Beren One Hand
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Maybe McCain just saw Bush as the lesser of two evils.
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MrSquicky
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err...I do hope I came across with a bit more complexity than that.
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Lyrhawn
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I would vote for TR at the drop of a hat. I'm a massive TR fan. He's easily on my top five list of best presidents ever.

Does McCain's record match up to the president he wishes to emulate?

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Storm Saxon
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Apparently there is some behind the scenes hard ball playing to get people like McCain, Tancredo, and Snowe to play ball as often as possible.
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jeniwren
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Thing is, TR had two successful terms as President to build his party with. McCain is popular -- and with good reason -- but he's no Teddy Roosevelt. If it were legally feasible, Bill Clinton could have pulled such a trick, I think. But not McCain. He just doesn't have the necessary history or fame.
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Human
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Much as I would have loved to see McCain do something like that--it wouldn't have worked. The GOP war machine would have rolled right over him, and kept going. All that would have happened was that he would have lost both the presidency chance, and any seat he held in Congress. Then, he wouldn't be able to do anything, politically. As it is, he's been quite the force fighting for 'right', without holding strictly to The Right.
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Tresopax
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quote:
err...I do hope I came across with a bit more complexity than that.
I bet McCain was hoping the same thing... [Wink]
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TomDavidson
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Surely I can't be the only one here who's incredibly underwhelmed by John McCain...?
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Sopwith
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I'm kinda with you on that one Tom. I feel he might be the right guy, at the right time, but he just looks nervous when he steps up to bat.

I believe McCain shilled for Bush the last time around because the GOP could do so many things to his career. Slack back on funding his future senate campaigns, remove him from various commissions that he serves on, and basically set him out as some sort of pariah among his party peers in Congress.

But if he couldn't stand up for what's right in the face of that, would we really be best served with him as president?

Teddy Roosevelt, on the other hand, was willing to lose his capital within his party to do what he felt was right. It took guts.

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MrSquicky
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So, speaking of whoring yourself out for political support, John McCain has come out in favor of teaching Intelligent Design in schools.
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Dagonee
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quote:
So, speaking of whoring yourself out for political support, John McCain has come out in favor of teaching Intelligent Design in schools.
Being psychic again, squick? You have evidence that he doesn't actually believe this?
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MrSquicky
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He's not an idiot.
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Dagonee
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Your inability to imagine why an intelligent person can hold positions you think are stupid is a serious weakness.
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MrSquicky
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Your inability to admit that people who belong to the same groups as you could ever do anything wrong is a serious weakness. The rules don't change because you don't want to believe that Christians can be wrong about things.

The movement to teach ID as science is wrong, objectively. Senator McCain has never shown any inclination towards this and is intelligent enough to know that it is objectively wrong. So yeah, I feel around as comfortable saying that him shilling for the Bush campaign was much more about 2008 than his belief in their integrity as saying this is more a move to gain support that he lacks in the Christian Right than it is about his considered support of teaching Intelligent Design.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Your inability to admit that people who belong to the same groups as you could ever do anything wrong is a serious weakness.
Except that I do. And, I haven't said that McCain isn't just currying favor with this statement. My point was you don't know.

And if he does really think ID should be taught in school, then I think he's wrong.

quote:
The rules don't change because you don't want to believe that Christians can be wrong about things.
Are you still on this total B.S.? You have zero evidence for, I've flatly stated I don't believe that, and I've condemned several things done by self-identified Christians on this board. In fact I've condemned ID proponents in the last two weeks. So just give it a freaking rest, or actually prove your case for once.

quote:
The movement to teach ID as science is wrong, objectively. Senator McCain has never shown any inclination towards this and is intelligent enough to know that it is objectively wrong. So yeah, I feel around as comfortable saying that him shilling for the Bush campaign was much more about 2008 than his belief in their integrity as saying this is more a move to gain support that he lacks in the Christian Right than it is about his considered support of teaching Intelligent Design.
Thank goodness we have you here to tell us what other people's motives are.

And when you decide to call someone a whore, it might be a good idea to at least pretend to back up what you're saying.

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Rakeesh
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Interesting. People who believe in Intelligent Design are idiots.

I'm sure we'll be hearing all about how this isn't actually what you said soon, though.

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MrSquicky
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And of course, it's not actually what I said.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Your inability to admit that people who belong to the same groups as you could ever do anything wrong is a serious weakness.
I've actually condemned McCain for his support of the campaign finance bill and for his grandstanding on steroids in baseball. In this very forum. And I'm not sure I'd call him a member of "my group," anyway.

You really should try to base your insults on something factual there, Squick.

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MrSquicky
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Dag,
I never figured you considered McCain as part of your in-group.

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Dagonee
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quote:
And of course, it's not actually what I said.
No, you just strongly implied that McCain's non-idiot status was how you knew he didn't really believe that ID should be taught in public schools. A conclusion that depends on the premise, "Only idiots think ID should be taught in school."

Of course, your "He's not an idiot" post might have just been a non-sequiter, not meant to actually challenge my post that you had no evidence he was "whoring" for support.

So yeah, Rakeesh was wrong. He should have said, "Interesting. Either MrSquicky made a post that seemed like a response to Dag but actually wasn't or he thinks that people who believe that Intelligent Design should be taught in school are idiots."

quote:
Dag,
I never figured you considered McCain as part of your in-group.

quote:
Your inability to admit that people who belong to the same groups as you could ever do anything wrong is a serious weakness.
Well, that provides evidence that your "not an idiot post" wasn't a reply to what had been said in my previous post. Looks like you misjudged MrSquicky, Rakeesh.
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Rakeesh
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Of course it's not what you actually said. John McCain can't be in favor of teaching ID because he's not an idiot...but it's not obviously implied that those who agree with him are idiots.

Of course not [Smile]

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MrSquicky
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quote:
People who believe in Intelligent Design are idiots.
quote:
John McCain can't be in favor of teaching ID because he's not an idiot
Do you...ahhh...see just the teensiest bit of difference between those two statements?

edit: Here's a hint: believing in something and believing that it should be taught in a clearly innapropriate context are not actually the same thing. I think the quadratic formula is a very important concpet and one I believe in, but I think that (barring some strange Math oriented piece of literature) it's almost definitely stupid to teach it in an English class.

[ August 31, 2005, 05:11 PM: Message edited by: MrSquicky ]

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Jay
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President George W. Bush is still my hero who I trust with all my life
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Kwea
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...
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Puppy
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Wow. That was amazing. I hereby re-dub thee "MrSlicky".
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Storm Saxon
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quote:

President George W. Bush is still my hero who I trust with all my life

Truly, the juche spirit is strong in you, young one.
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James Tiberius Kirk
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Thanks Jay, I needed a laugh [Big Grin]

(No offense intended if you weren't joking, though)

--j_k

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MrSquicky
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Geoff,
I get that that is supposed to be an insult but I honestly don't see what I've done here that's so slick. I asume that you're talking about the ID thing. It doesn't require trickery to catch someone claiming you said something that you obviously didn't say. Given that Rakeesh switched it immeadiately to what I did say, which isn't actually something people would get upset about, I gotta figure he knew I didn't say what he accused me of too, or at least picked it up after he made his accusation.

I don't have a problem with people believing in ID. I gotta wonder where my man nipples fit into the vast eternal plan, but I don't really see any reasons why ID is an untenable belief. Bt I still maintain that it doesn't even pretend to be science and doing the square peg/round hole thing with it is either a sign of dishonesty or a poor use of one's reasoning facilities.

John McCain has never had a problem with evolution. He has had problems with the Pat Roberston crowd of the Republican party, in large part because he doesn't go along with them. But look, here he is, going along with one of their more obviously unjustifiable agendas. I don't know for sure that he's pandering, but I see this as by far the most likely situation.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Given that Rakeesh switched it immeadiately to what I did say, which isn't actually something people would get upset about
What? You're not serious, right? You think either one of those statements is less insulting than the other?
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MrSquicky
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Yeah, you know, I do think that saying that people who believe in ID are idiots (which I clearly didn't say, although that is what I was accused of saying) is actually a foolish and innappropriate thing to say, whereas I have no problem saying that advocating for ID to be taught as science is either dishonest or idiotic.

Could you explain to me how this is not the case?

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Dagonee
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I have absolutely no doubt that I cannot explain to you why sharing a different opinion about how science should be taught is not idiotic.

First, science is an epistemological designation. Not everyone thinks that classes should be rigorously divided by epistemological methods. I'd be willing to bet that at least some of those people are smatter than both you and me.

Second, the article doesn't even say McCain thinks it should be taught as science: "McCain told the Star that, like Bush, he believes 'all points of view' should be available to students studying the origins of mankind."

But that doesn't matter. You've made your pronouncement. McCain is a whore, and if he weren't, he'd be an idiot. History has shown I will not be able to explain why this is a ludicrous position.

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Dagonee
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Beyond that, given that a large number of people (of which I am not one of) in the U.S. believe that ID should be taught in schools, you have no basis for saying "which isn't actually something people would get upset about."

It doesn't matter whether such a belief is idiotic. You can't actually expect the people who hold that belief to not get upset when you call them all idiots in passing.

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Synesthesia
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Didn't the Bush's people drag McCain through the mud in the 2000 elections? After something like that there is no way in hell I'd work with those dishonourable people.
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MrSquicky
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Dag,
See, I think that saying "This thing is science." when it is not science nor even pretends to be sceince is evidence of poor reasoning. I'd be interested to see examples of people who are smarter than I who can provide well-reasoned aguments that science shouldn't be taught according to epistemological rigor such that ID could be offered on an equal footing to Evolution, Your assurances to the contrary, I don't think that they exist.

I also take what politicians say in carefully considered statements in the context that they are expressed in. John McCain choose to give this interview to put some parts of his message out. I feel hat a clear part of this message is that "I (verbally) support the ID movement." He is an intelligent and experienced politician. If he wished to say anything different, in the current climate, he would have given a more nuanced statement.

And when the man shills for the Bush administration, he has shown that he values some things more than his integrity. I do factor that in to his later behavior.

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Bob_Scopatz
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Didn't TR invent gunboat diplomacy?

I'm sort of curious as to why he'd be such a hero. Sure, he gave America a shot of testosterone, but was he really that terrific.

I'm asking 'cuz I want to know. I know almost nothing about him except what I saw on a documentary about some woman he was going to start a war over.

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Bob_Scopatz
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Didn't TR invent gunboat diplomacy?

I'm sort of curious as to why he'd be such a hero. Sure, he gave America a shot of testosterone, but was he really that terrific.

I'm asking 'cuz I want to know. I know almost nothing about him except what I saw on a documentary about some woman he was going to start a war over.

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katharina
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I like it when Squicky explains himself. It makes my opinion of his opinions look more and more credible.
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Sopwith
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National Parks. Anti-Monopoly legislation (I think). San Juan Hill. And without him, there wouldn't be a bespectacled representative on Mount Rushmore.

Beyond that --- [Dont Know]

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Dagonee
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quote:
See, I think that saying "This thing is science." when it is not science nor even pretends to be sceince is evidence of poor reasoning. I'd be interested to see examples of people who are smarter than I who can provide well-reasoned aguments that science shouldn't be taught according to epistemological rigor such that ID could be offered on an equal footing to Evolution,
Squick, you've said "advocating for ID to be taught as science is either dishonest or idiotic" "isn't actually something people would get upset about." (emphasis added, and I'm inserting the antecedent to "what I did say" from the previous post.)

Either your reasoning or your understanding of human nature is very faulty.

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Dagonee
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quote:
I'm sort of curious as to why he'd be such a hero.
Conservation, that Nobel Peace Prize, and trust busting.
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Destineer
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I don't see how anything Squick has said in this thread could be seen as more than mildly offensive, in the absence of some kind of existing feud that I'm not party to.

As for the issue of ID, I think what is needed is a statement from a big group of Christian scholars in all areas of science saying that ID isn't science and shouldn't be taught as such.

And as for McCain, either he's bought into neo-conservatism or he's sold his soul to Bush. I'm not sure which would make me regret more that I gave him my vote in the 2000 primary.

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MrSquicky
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quote:
It doesn't matter whether such a belief is idiotic. You can't actually expect the people who hold that belief to not get upset when you call them all idiots in passing.
Sorry, when I said that, I meant people on Hatrack, not people in general. I think, much like the whole "there are many anti-gay bigots" gets responded to with "You said that all people who are against gay stuff are bigots." Rakeesh was trying to play the publc opinion game on me by misrepresenting what I said and turning it into something that is foolish and inappropriate.

And I do think it matters that the belief that is clearly wrong is wrong is important. I don't believe that people's feelings should factor into things that are objectively determined, like whether or not something conforms to the epistemological rules of science. At a cetain point you have to expect people to behave like adults instead of whining children. If reality upsets them, I figure that's their fault, not reality's (unless you want to put the blame on God).

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Dagonee
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Destineer, he said McCain is "whoring" and he branded a large minority of this country as dishonest or idiotic.
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katharina
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I find it curious that someone who studies human psychology so greatly disregards it.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Sorry, when I said that, I meant people on Hatrack, not people in general.
There are people on Hatrack who think that ID should be taught in schools.

quote:
At a cetain point you have to expect people to behave like adults instead of whining children.
And at a certain point you have to expect people to present ideas without insulting people who hold opposing ideas.
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Destineer
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quote:
Destineer, he said McCain is "whoring" and he branded a large minority of this country as dishonest or idiotic.
I would add "or indoctrinated" to that disjunction, but other than that it has my full endorsement. Anyone who thinks that the scientific method needs to be subverted has something wrong with him/her that needs fixing. In my opinion.

Like I said, McCain might not be whoring, but if he's not then he's a neo-con. Which is probably worse.

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MrSquicky
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quote:
There are people on Hatrack who think that ID should be taught in schools.
Very few, and they've already been told by many other people on Hatrack that their belief is invalid.

quote:
And at a certain point you have to expect people to present ideas without insulting people who hold opposing ideas.
Were I concerned about engagin these people in debate or in changing their minds, I might try a milder tack, but my intent was to accurately describe reality. If you are saying that I shouldn't do that because people get upset when I do so, I'm afraid I can't agree with you. I find that idea repugnant.
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