Pharyngula in retrospect

PZ has a most informative and thought-provoking trio of posts migrated from his old site in response to their nominations for The 2005 Koufax Awards: Best Post.  I think each of them is more than worth your time.

Idiot America. This one is something of a howl of anguish, and it’s really more a lot of quotes from Charles Pierce’s article of the same name in Esquire. If this gets the nomination, credit should go more to Pierce than to me—and that’s OK.

Planet of the Hats. This article is probably the best representation for how I actually feel about religion. It’s all metaphor, but if you don’t get it, I won’t be surprised…it means you’re really, really, ummm, devout.

The proper reverence due those who have gone before. I have to say, if one of these three gets the nomination, this is the one I’d personally favor. But hey, you’re all supposed to vote for your favorite, and there are about 220 other great choices there, too. Anyway, if you want to understand why I despise creationists of all stripes, this article might help you understand why.

You’ll find that each of these are some of his best work, and they are singularly and summarily works that everyone must read at least once.  They are excellent — truly excellent.

With Alito, what of abortion?

Following the Senate’s confirmation today of Alito for SCOTUS, I’ve seen nothing from the Right blogosphere save ranting about the eventual overthrow of Roe v. Wade.  It’s all about saving unborn children whether they be wanted or not, whether they be the result of rape or not, and whether the birth endangers the life of the mother or not.  No, who cares about that stuff.  Let’s ram more religious nonsense down the throats of the American people by reversing the legalization of abortion — a move that has no other purpose other than the expansion of the church’s influence into the medical care of women.  How silly of me to think that such a thing should be private and free of religious influence, not to mention state involvement.

Here’s my point of contention with what I’ve read thus far from the Right.  Why do I see so many men blogging about it?  How dare they!  You see, I’ve always said that I don’t like abortion, but I readily admit that as a man I should have no say whatsoever in the debate.  As a man, I can never understand the considerations that might cause a woman to even think about an abortion, let alone the final analysis resulting in the decision to have one.  I feel quite strongly about this, by the way.

The abortion debate is now raw and open, a gaping wound freshly cut from an old scar, and I hear nothing but men preaching about it.  I also see that SCOTUS still consists almost entirely of men.  This should negate the court’s ability to voice any opinion on abortion.  It is not a question for men to consider, and it’s offensive for men to even proffer unqualified opinions that might be construed as telling a woman what she can and can’t do when pregnant.

No man can know what that entails.  No man can understand the considerations and concerns.  No man will ever comprehend the thoughts and emotions involved.  So, how dare they offer any decision on the matter.  It is, by its very definition, a matter solely to be decided by women.

You see, as I said, I don’t like abortion, but I will absolutely not say it’s wrong or should be outlawed, and I sure won’t try to define what can and can’t happen under circumstances I will never understand or experience, circumstances that no man has or ever will understand or experience.  It outrages me to think that any male would consider himself so learned and insightful as to be capable of determining what women should be allowed to do when in the situation of having to consider ending a pregnancy.  It is beyond the scope of our mental powers to even scratch the surface of the question because alien are the considerations and emotions that play into such a decision.

Gloat all you want, wingnuts and wankers, for you demonstrate only your ignorance and conceit by assuming abortion is now on the table.  Were you so capable of practicing common sense and consideration, every man in the country would remove himself entirely from the debate, leaving its fate instead to the fairer gender of our species.  There is no inherent right inherent that allows any man to comment except when offering a personal opinion or when consulting a loved one.  You simply can’t know or understand the intricacies of abortion, and you certainly have no way to appreciate all of the characteristics of what can only be a woman’s decision.

You see, too many of you believe that every woman who has an abortion laughs on her way out of the clinic thinking quietly to herself, “Ha! I just killed a little human and don’t give a damn!”  How selfish of you.  How preposterous and offensive that you think yourself even remotely capable of understanding the situation with sufficient comprehension to allow you to form an opinion that must be pushed upon the only minority capable of experiencing the before, current and after of losing a child.

You will never know the joy of childbirth.  You will never know what it’s like to have a child growing within your body.  You will never know what it’s like to even cursorily think about ending that pregnancy.  Most importantly, you will never comprehend the loss of that child through abortion and how that impacts the rest of your life.  You can not know these things because they are forever removed from your realm of experience.

To equate this to a situation that is equally male in its scope as abortion is female, consider this: were women now in charge of the country, representing an overwhelming majority in the courts, various levels of government, and in every other respect, they as the majority now decide the fate of circumcision.  Those in power believe it should remain legal and the standard practice in America, so they change the law to force it upon all newborn males regardless of all other considerations save the most extreme of life-threatening situations.

Do you stop and consider that no woman will ever understand what that means?  Do you fully appreciate that no woman will ever be able to offer a truly informed decision about it?  They will never know what circumcision means to a man, what kind of physical and emotional toll it takes (as a man, it causes you to wonder why your original form wasn’t good enough), and what its forceful execution on the American people would mean for every man now and in the future.

Let me close with this: I am by no means telling men they can’t speak their minds on this issue, and I would never think of squelching the free flow of ideas and points of view on any topic.  We are all endowed with the inalienable right to speak our minds, and this despite all attempts to enforce political correctness by way of telling you what you can and can’t say and where you can or can’t say it.  What offends me, however, is the failure of every male pundit to qualify their opinions with this disclaimer:

I will never truly know what the abortion debate is about.  My opinion is based on an uninformed point of view that can never be educated on the topic.  Moreover, irrespective of what I feel in my heart and think I understand in my mind, I should never be in control of the decision to any degree save involvement with a loved one.  Such a decision is not — nor will it ever be — mine to make.

You see, I may not like abortion for whatever reasons exist in my mind, but I admit readily and openly that I can only be an outside observer in any consideration of the topic.  Based solely on that fact, I think it needs to be left the way it is so women can decide for themselves.

The experience of flight

What does flying mean to you?  Do you love the experience?  Do you hate it?  Or like me, do you both love and hate it?

Tom Strong of Wheat Think does a fantastic job of covering many of the good and bad aspects of flying in his post Descent.  It’s evocative and compelling because it’s the every-man’s thought.  There are wonders to behold and experience while flying.  There are also some very disconcerting aspects to it.  Tom communicates both with beauty and emotion.  I think everyone will enjoy his take on flight, and most will relate to at least some part of the experience he so ably conveys.

[via AmbivaBlog]