Category: Untruths

February 6 2014

The winds of the Internet blow hard and fast, so people don’t have time to read an entire article before they are emotionally invested in it. They mostly just rely on the headline and/or the source to sum things up for them. So, when people started seeing headlines like Wendy Davis supports open carry gun law in Texas it inevitably led to headlines like Davis Takes Friendly Fire on Gun Issue and fair weather friends saying things like, “I want my donation back.” After all, it makes sense that progressives would suddenly feel betrayed when a champion of progressive thought suddenly appears to backtrack and bow down to the gun lobby.

When Wendy Davis was asked if she supported open carry of handguns in Texas she said, “Yes.” ::gasp:: Et tu, Wendy? Could there be anything else to your answer other than that shockingly-straightforward admission? Nah. Well, I mean, except for the very next sentence: “And state government should be sensitive to private property owners (including governmental, education, religious, health care and other institutions) to determine whether to allow open carry on their own properties.” Basically, what Davis did say is that she supports a law that would allow private property owners to determine whether handguns could be openly carried on their property. She did not, as the headlines would have you believe, state that she supports open carry.

Like any reasonable Texan, Davis knows that guns are almost impossible to separate from our lives. But like any savvy politician, she knows that open carry isn’t a popular idea among the public as a whole. The law she’s talking about wouldn’t give the government the right to control open carry; it would give individuals the power to decide where people could open carry. Not only does this empower gun control advocates, it’s perfectly in line with the Second Amendment and appeals to the libertarian ideal of citizen-based regulation.

Even the NRA isn’t fooled by this apparent shift in position. As their spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen pointed out (with no sense of irony), “Voting records speak volumes. As a state legislator, Wendy earned an F-rating from the NRA by voting against the Second Amendment repeatedly. Her about-face lacks credibility.” Well, of course it does! That’s because it’s not an about-face. The only thing that has changed is implication in the headlines.

If you supported Wendy Davis up until this point, then not supporting her now means you’re letting headlines think for you. She has proven to be in favor of common sense gun regulation. Backing away from her now because of this one issue (even if the misinformation was true) is a cowardly way to vote, especially considering how courageously she has fought for the rights of women, students, LGBT, and all Texans.

October 9 2009

Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” The committee voted for Obama just twelve days after he took office, so their decision was not influenced by the work he has done since becoming president. It was made because of such things as his stance on international cooperation, promoting democracy abroad, closing Guantanamo Bay, commitment to addressing both the Israeli and Palestinian concerns, increased global discussion on climate change, de-escalating the Iraq war, the looming threat of Iran’s nuclear program, North Korea’s ever-defiant behavior, and numerous promises to making America respected in the world community.

The Nobel Peace Prize is not simply a blue ribbon to show that you came in first place at the fair. It’s not a gold medal to show you were the strongest or the fastest. And it’s not a certificate that shows you’ve completed a course in Peaceology. Think of it more as a scholarship. Aside from the financial benefit, scholarships are a declaration that the individual has the support of other people. More importantly, it’s a form of social contract that says the individual now has a responsibility to use the privilege appropriately.

It’s mostly symbolic, like the olive branch, but it’s important. Winning this award does not declare that the winner has saved humanity from its woes; it says that the winner has committed to attempting to save humanity from its woes. In Obama’s case, it is the Nobel Committee’s way of saying, “Dear America, we realize you allowed yourselves to be hijacked by fundamentalism and fear for the past few years, and we appreciate you taking the steps to correct it. Now do something about it!”

October 8 2009

Contrary to popular belief, evolutionists make no claim that biological evolution proves that God does not exist. In fact, many leaders in the field of evolutionary theory are theists, and many of them have no problem reconciling their beliefs with their work. All attempts to disprove evolution have proven futile. Considering this, doesn’t it make more sense that God created evolution than the idea that proving evolution happened somehow disproves God’s existence?

This untruth was born out of a mix of religion and politics. Creationist’s primary goal these days is to force the teaching of their beliefs in public schools, and they know that something must have a scientific basis in order to be a part of public education. (Notice we have no classes on astrology or acupuncture.) A Creationist’s beliefs are centered around the idea that God created the universe, and anything that appears to prove their beliefs is important to them. Makes perfect sense. The problem is that Creationism as a workable theory is so vague that it can never hold up to scientific rigors; not to mention the fact that it is obviously a political movement working under the guise of religious freedom.

All believers in God (whichever one you’re talking about) believe that the universe was created by a higher power. Evolution has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt; the only debates now center on each of the many processes that drive it. Given this, Creationists should view evolution as one of the many “miracles” performed by God. But their political motivations have distorted the debate to the point where their main argument now is that evolution a man-made concept intended to improperly teach people about the origins of life.

Oh, the irony.

October 7 2009

For those that don’t know, there has been a persistent rumor that Faux News commentator Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990. It’s very likely an untruth, but Beck has yet to deny these claims. So the rumor persists.

But fear not! Beck has a throng of supporters, most notably Shelley the Republican. Shelley’s blog post defending Beck is the stuff of internet legend. Trust me, it’s worth bookmarking.

Fair warning: Do yourself a favor and resist the urge to post a comment until you’ve read the comments that are already posted. Because, really, the comments are the reason you’ll want to visit the blog. They are a frenetic mix of sheer genius, staggering idiocy, acute awareness, and complete obliviousness.

October 6 2009

The suggestion that President Obama’s so-called czars are unprecedented or a violation of the Constitution has been thoroughly debunked. People that continue to talk about this idea are either poorly informed or intentionally misrepresenting ideas in order to create controversy. These people are legally appointed by the president, they must be approved by the Senate, they do not have executive power, and they are merely there to serve an advisory role. The term “czar” was conjured up by the media (just at the term Dubya was) and is only used as shorthand to simplify the titles of actual titles.

Some people also believe that Obama is shying away from the controversy, but he and his administration continue to address the czar issue. This is very likely an attempt to distract from the Republican party’s hypocritical stance on czars, having once praised George W. Bush for doing the same thing. Some people claim that Obama has appointed an unprecedented number of czars, but George W. Bush appointed over 30 czars during his time in office.

October 5 2009

Just because some Republicans

target=”_blank”>are racist doesn’t mean that all (or even most) of them are. In fact, no political party is immune to racism because it is based on natural human traits that have been bred into us over millions of years. Xenophobia is one of those traits, and it sometimes serves social groups of organisms well because it promotes harmony within the social group and tends to keep us from interacting with potentially hostile groups. But with the evolution of human intelligence, it has become increasingly difficult to set people apart based on arbitrary things like skin color.

We are still in a transitional phase, so sometimes our ancient heritage (fear, rage, xenophobia) conflicts with our newfound intellect (science, art, medicine). We haven’t evolved beyond racism yet, but we have reached the point where we recognize these natural feelings as archaic and barbaric. Consequently, most people aren’t aware of their racial bias and the rest are smart enough to know they should hide it. And while some of the more outspoken and visible closet racists may align themselves with Republicans, they do not represent the party or the vast majority of people who call themselves Republican.

October 3 2009

Police are sometimes tasered during their training to help them understand how it feels. However, a person that is being subdued by law enforcement is in a completely different situation. When police are tasered it’s for demonstration purposes only, it happens in a controlled environment, they willingly let other people tase them, they usually know the person who is doing it, and they know that it will be over in the next few seconds. That is never the case when a civilian is being tasered.  From the civilian’s perspective, it is frightening, oppressive, painful, and potentially life-threatening. Police may know what it feels like to have electricity zap through them, but they have no idea what it’s like to be cattle prodded by a group of armed aggressors.

October 2 2009

Terms like “best-selling” and “most-watched” are used in place of “high-quality,” but it is simply a marketing trick intended to play into hype. While it is true that quality things tend to be watched or consumed at higher rates than things of poor quality, don’t put the cart before the horse. Many times (and, arguably, most of the time) the success of something is directly related to how well advertised and marketed it is. Just because a million people buy something horrible doesn’t mean it suddenly ceases to be horrible. It just means the advertisers did their job. Just think about how many movies/books/albums you’ve paid for only to find out it was a pile of junk.

October 1 2009

Yes, evolution is just a theory. But it isn’t a theory in the sense that most people use the word. The confusion comes from the fact that theory has multiple meanings. The differences are really subtle, so it’s easy to confuse them.

Definition 1: a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena

The definition above is the one you read in a textbook (that wasn’t written by Creationists) or a scientific journal. There are many scientific theories out there, and we’ve been able to understand them pretty well. For example, our understanding of gravity has given us the ability to land spacecrafts on other planets, place satellites and space stations safely in the sky, and bulls-eye comets from millions of miles away. Pretty good considering gravity is just a theory.

Definition 2: a tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena

Most people who claim that evolution is just a theory are using this definition. The synonym to this particular definition is hypothesis, and that’s really what most people mean whenever they say theory.

From a scientific perspective, most people misuse the word theory by equating it with hypothesis. However, from a linguistic perspective, if enough people are breaking a rule then the rule ceases to exist. So we end up with two irritatingly similar definitions of the same word. If you claim that evolution is just a theory then you are correct. Just make sure you know the difference.

September 30 2009

Barack Obama has never been a Muslim, and is a committed Christian. There are numerous examples of people debunking this untruth.

Some people have accepted that he is currently a Christian but have wondered if he used to be a Muslim. Though there have been some interesting theories that ex-Muslims risk execution, the truth is that he was raised as a Christian and practices Christianity today.

If he is a Muslim, he is a very poor example of one. He does not engage in Salah (the prayer that Muslims must do five times a day) and he professes Christianity (which is a direct contradiction that Allah is the one and only God). As to the question of whether Obama is a secret Muslim: get a life.