Thursday, June 11, 2015

Test Your News Knowledge

"Test your knowledge of prominent people and major events in the news by taking our short 12-question quiz. Then see how you did in comparison with a nationally representative group of 3,147 randomly selected U.S. adults surveyed online and by mail between March 10-April 6 as members of the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.

When you finish, you will be able to compare your News IQ with the average American and compare responses across demographic groups."

Take The News IQ Quiz by the Pew Research Center.

The Republi-CON 'Creationism' Myth

UPDATE:  For "a striking example of Darwinian evolution in humans", read the Washington Post, How a history of eating human brains protected this tribe from brain disease.  

It is also interesting if you have any interest in religion and societal development.

UPDATE:  A new video from science advocates Stated Clearly provides an 11-minute examination of the evidence behind the theory of evolution that should come in handy for anyone debating the issue with creationists.

"Thousands of observable facts from completely independent fields of study have come together to tell us the exact same story: all living things on Earth are related," the group’s founder, Jon Perry, states.

Read Raw Story, Next time your creationist friends reject evolution, show them this video:

"Evolution is nothing more than a fairly simple way of understanding what is unquestionably happening. You don't believe in it — you either understand it or you don't. But pretending evolution is a matter of faith can be a clever way to hijack the conversation, and pit it in a false duality against religion. And that's how we end up with people decrying evolution, even as they eat their strawberries and pet their dogs, because they've been led to believe faith can only be held in one or the other.

But there's no reason for people of faith to reject the mountains of data and the evidence of their own senses. Reconciling is easy: Believe, if you want to, that God set up the rules of evolution among His wonders, along with the laws of physics, and probability, and everything else we can see and measure for ourselves. But don't deny evolution itself, or gravity, or the roundness of Earth. That's just covering your eyes and ears. And only monkeys would do that."

Read The Week, Why you should stop believing in evolution.  

Read also National Geographic, Was Darwin Wrong?

For less technical detail, read George Johnson, The Evidence for Evolution.

For more technical detail, read The TalkOrigins Archive, 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution, The Scientific Case for Common Descent.

Republi-CON Family Values, All In the Family Edition

UPDATE VI:  "[J]ust before he ascended in 1999 to the most powerful position in the lower house of Congress, Hastert pushed hard for a law [saying} . . .

'This bill sends a strong message to the most heinous of criminals who prey upon our children – you will be punished to the fullest extent of the law'".

Read the Daily Mail, Hypocrite Hastert called for tough action against pedophiles, kept a file called 'homosexuals' and was praised by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  

UPDATE V:  There is no comparing Lena "Dunham’s 'admission' of non-incidents of non-abuse to Josh Duggar's conduct, to begin with, he was twice her age.  But it highlight's the nature of Republi-con celebrity. 

"Duggars are essentially famous for the same reason the Kardashians are: their sex lives.

Conservatives take their celebrities where they can get them. Sure, there are actors and country music stars, snatched up quickly for pro-troop specials and benefits, but the Duggars are the rare example of a true conservative folk hero crossovers, individuals whose fame is not dependent on a celebrity-generating skill (acting, singing) but on a set of beliefs. They share that slim slice of Venn diagram (general popular recognition and genuine conservative activism) with the Duck Dynasty clan and a smattering of lesser lights: Joe the Plumber, the owners of Memories Pizza, Cliven Bundy, and Pam Geller. Military heroes are adopted quickly, and territorially. Ben Carson was raised up immediately after his one-sided “confrontation” with the president. . .

Conservatives might argue—and they have a point—that liberals don’t need a separate celebrity culture. Liberal media darlings are, pretty much, media darlings. Their path to celebrity isn’t political because it doesn’t need to be political. Lena Dunham isn’t famous because she’s the victim of a right-wing pile-on, she’s the victim of right-wing pile-on because she’s famous.

The Left doesn’t have anything quite like the conservative folk hero, people who are neither politicians nor activists nor professional performers but simply famous for being liberals. Sandra Fluke, perhaps. Cindy Sheehan (Remember her?) And when they do pop up, the liberal political ecosystem doesn’t have the same network of conferences, straw polls and candidate cattle-calls that prop up the Duggars and their brethren.

Even more than the conferences, however, conservative folk heroes find their credibility increases not via leadership but through victimhood. All criticism by mainstream voices becomes proof of worthiness—and the case of Josh Duggar exposes just how self-defeating the raising up these folk heroes via victimhood can be.

Not that the Palins would realize this. What does Sarah Palin’s own fame stand on now these days, anyway? A caps-lock key and a sense of grievance. It’s not much, but these days, it’s all any conservative celebrity needs. Ironically, it’s their grievance that makes them worthy of attention from the mainstream media as well. The Duggars’ and Palins’ off-the-map political and world views are what draw attention. Outsiders want to stare at the spectacle.

Maybe the cruelest trick that liberal elites ever pulled was luring so many camera-starved conservatives into the limelight—and out of the reality distortion field of their own devising."

Read The Daily Beast, Sarah Palin’s Bitter Cry for Attention.

UPDATE IV:  What goes around comes around, continued.

"Should the former House speaker be prosecuted? The Dennis Hastert who impeached President Clinton thinks so."

Read Slate, Hastert’s Hypocrisy. 

UPDATE III:  Gotta love that Republi-con hypocrisy.

Read Salon, Candidate Jim Bob Duggar in 2002: Those who commit incest should be executed.

UPDATE II:  Are the Duggars part of a 'fundamentalist' Christian sex abuse ring?

"Doug Phillips of the far-right group Vision Forum was forced to step down after admitting to 'a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman.' The woman in question, Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, claims it was more than "inappropriate," noting that they met when she was 15 and that he "methodically groomed" by moving her into the house as a nanny and becoming "the pastor of her church, her boss, her landlord, and the controller of all aspects of her life" before pushing for sex. The Duggars were tight with Phillips and Vision Forum, which promoted a lot of Duggar-related material.

Another hardcore fundamentalist leader who had a mentorship relationship with the Duggars, Bill Gothard, was also caught up in a sex abuse scandal last year. Gothard was the leader of Institute in Basic Life Principles, an organization that promotes the 'quiverfull' philosophy—particularly its emphasis on forsaking contraception and having as many children as possible. Gothard resigned after more than 30 women accused him of sexual harassment and abuse. Prior to this, Wire reports, the Duggars were "devotees of Gothard's Advanced Training Institute seminars. Until recently, the Duggars' official website called Gothard's Embassy Institute (which he also founded) their '#1 recommended resource' for families (that page now displays as blank)."

Vision Forum, the Institute in Basic Life Principles, and the Duggar family are arguably the three most influential groups promoting the 'Christian patriarchy' movement, which promotes homeschooling, wifely submission, extreme pre-martial chastity (no hand-hugging or kissing), no contraception, and the idea that women's only real role in life is as wives and mothers. Having all your major leadership eaten up by sex abuse scandals is no small thing."

Read Slate, Duggar Revelations Are Just the Latest Sex Abuse Scandal to Rock Far-Right Fundamentalism.
UPDATE:  "The Duggars have previously promoted the teachings of Bill Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a conservative organization that was once popular among the Christian homeschooling movement. Gothard resigned from the institute he founded in 2014, after allegations of sexual harassment, molestation and failing to report child abuse."

Read he Washington Post, Josh Duggar apologizes amid molestation allegations, quits Family Research Council.

"The police report of Josh Duggar's alleged molestation reveals that incidents happened multiple times between the then teenager and several girls, almost always while the minors were sleeping. . .

'Josh Duggar was investigated for multiple sex offenses, including forcible fondling, against five minors. Some of the alleged offenses investigated were felonies.'

According to the police report, in March 2002, Jim Bob was told by a female minor that his son, then 14, had been 'touching her breasts and genitals while she slept' on numerous occasions.

Josh allegedly admitted to this according to the report, and Jim Bob says he was 'disciplined.'

He was accused again however in March 2003 of allegedly touching the breasts and genitals of 'several woman,' both while they were sleeping and even when they were awake.

The police report says the alleged victims 'live with their parents Jim Bob and Michelle.'

At that point Jim Bob reportedly informed the elders at his church of the situation, but no one notified law enforcement.

The family did send Josh to a 'program [that] consisted of hard physical work and counseling' according to the police report for four months. . .

After he returned home from his program, Jim Bob did take his son to Arkansas State Trooper Jim Hutchens, a family friend.

Hutchens had a stern talk with Josh, but did not take any official action.

He is now serving 60 years in prison after he being caught with child pornography shortly after being released from prison on a previous child pornography charge. . .

Josh currently works for the Family Research Council, and frequently posts photos of himself with [Republi-con] politicians."

Read the Daily Mail, Unsealed police report reveals 'Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar covered up after eldest son Josh confessed to repeatedly fondling girls when he was a teen - and case only went to police in 2006 because of Oprah concerns'.