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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-22-11 09:26 PM
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Place your votes now for the Bad Faith Awards
Click here for full article and to vote!


Its time once again for New Humanist readers to vote to decide who walks away with our annual Bad Faith Award. Now in its fifth year our award is a means of dishonouring the year's most outspoken enemy of reason. Previous winners include Sarah Palin, the Pope and last year's victor Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed, the head of the UK Islamic Sharia Council, for his assertion that it is not possible for a man to commit rape within marriage. 2011 has been a bumper year for irrationality (arent they all), and weve been flooded with nominations. We have whittled them down to a field of six arch adversaries of human advancement take a look, make your choice, then deliver the click of shame using the poll below.

Michele Bachmann

<snip>

The quote: Its not easy to pick just one, but her assertion that there isn't even one study that can be produced that shows carbon dioxide is a harmful gas" takes some beating, and usefully sums up the anti-scientific attitude that plagues the Republican Party. It was actually delivered in 2009, but this year's nomination campaign has shown that she remains one of the United States' most outspoken global warming contrarians.

<snip>

Rick Perry

Anyone who serves up a prayer rally for 30,000 people as a prelude to announcing his presidential bid is likely to pose problems for secularists, and Texas governor Perry hasnt disappointed since entering the Republican race in August. Like Bachmann, hes an arch sceptic when it comes to pesky scientific issues like evolution and global warming, and his enthusiasm for the death penalty and gun ownership has left many liberal Americans running for cover.

The quote: On evolution It's a theory that's out there. It's got some gaps in it.
<snip>

The poll is open until 28 November, when it will close in time to get the results into our January issue. Happy voting, and do feel free to tell us how you voted and why in the comments.
<snip>





Side note: Many thanks to Laconicsax, who donated a star so I can now post with the sane folk. :loveya:
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-11 08:11 AM
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1. I voted for Phillips in the end...
Choudary and Bachmann may be even crazier, but Phillips has has a far-longer-term pernicious influence on my country. She deserves a nomination for her anti-MMR propaganda alone!

Dorries is an incredibly loony and nasty individual, and her viciousness toward any individual who opposes her is legendary; but she does not have quite the same overall influence. Note that she has complained about her nomination on her blog:

http://blog.dorries.org/id-2005-2011_10_Humanists.aspx

Of course if Perry or Bachmann becomes the Republican candidate, I will have to change my nomination for next year!
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-11 07:14 PM
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2. Nadine's quite a gem
Complete with the story about the real live evil Humanist.
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mr blur Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 04:45 AM
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5. Me too, and for the same reason
Did you ever hear her on the "Moral Maze"? Vile creature.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 07:15 AM
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3. Nadine is running away with it so far! n/t
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 03:48 AM
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4. Here's Nadine on the topic again
Edited on Thu Oct-27-11 03:48 AM by LeftishBrit

http://blog.dorries.org/id-2013-2011_10_Humanists.aspx

A few comments:

(1) I am not an expert on Peter Singer, but as far as I know his remarks come mainly in the context of his being pro-animal-rights and arguing that the philosophical justifications often used for killing animals could equally be used for killing newborn babies. Not that he's actually supporting killing newborn babies.

(2) Nadine Dorries has a sort of paranoid obsession with the pro-choice former MP Evan Harris, who ranks fairly high in her demonology and whom she has accused of blackmailing the government especially on the topic of abortion (as if former LibDem MPs had that sort of power). He was *not* generally called 'Dr Death' in parliament, but firstly in a vicious Daily Mail article in 2007, to which Dorries may have contributed opinions, and subsequently in the vicious religious-right smear campaigns that contributed to his defeat by a Tory in 2010. Since he was my MP, and I don't care for religious-right smear campaigns in my backyard, I feel fairly strongly about this.

(3) There are plenty of other things that I feel strongly about re Dorries, but they don't come up in the article.

(4) The British Humanist Association are not in any way connected with Australian humanist organizations; and this is a vile semi-McCarthyite attempt at guilt by association. 'Someone supported by an Australian humanist organization said something that I don't like 30 years ago; therefore all humanists are bad; therefore the British Humanist Association is discredited.'

(5) AARGGHHH!!!

(6) YEEEEEEEAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Wouldn't claim expert status either, but know Singer's work well
He is focused on applied ethics, and approached this from a utilitarian perspective, but one which is a)entirely act based and b) features a felicife calculus that is based on the subjective preference of the moral agent rather than universalized benefit. It's a form called preference utilitarianism that is fairly common these days but to me moves too far from the Bentham/Mill and even Toulmin models. The absence of a rule starting point (it's usually better not to steal, say) makes it too mercurial but the biggest problem is the subjective and entirely individualized preference basis. In the more classical model I can justify breaking the rule against stealing only if the benefit to me outweighs the harm to all others - not just the person from whom I steal but everyone else who will misallocate resources to protect themselves from theft, reduce the social cohesion and trust and so on. If it's one loaf from a large tray at a bakery but it saves me from starvation, then I can demonstrate my benefit outweighs the bakery's loss. If it's a kid's bicycle from a poor neighborhood just so I can avoid getting my socks wet, tthen I can't. In prefernce utilitarianism, anybody who really enjoys dry socks can justify the act. The universalized harm is not considered.

Singer's examples are deliberately extreme and provocative because they are learning tools. While I don't like preference utilitarianism - I find it too Randian and lacking in consideration of societal impact - many of his examples are in line with thought exercises, not necessarily recommended policies, in more traditional utilitarianism. The culling of severely handicapped babies is a famous Singer exercise, and it's not difficult to argue a prima facie case for it from a utiliutarian view even in the classical mode. The finite resources in time, money, attention and medical care devoted to such babies throughout their lives would be better spent both from an individual and universalized calculus in caring for, educating, and healing a far greater number of children who can benefit society and of which there is a substantial number in unmet need of these resources - foster children, third world orphans etc. The babies themselves, even those with purely physical rather than mental defects, really aren't self-aware and certainly are not and probably never will be self-directed. The considerations that argue against the policy are the ones preference utilitarianism discounts. Societal revulsion, the mistrust and antagonism many parents of culled babies would naturally feel toward the authority that oversees this, the cheapened status of human life that raises the specter of slippery slopes and forced euthanasia of the sick and elderly, etc. The universalized scope that makes this a much tougher sell to classical utilitarians, while still being a valuable teaching example.
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