Monday, April 07, 2008

Who are we fr*ming for?

I already think the entire concept is stupid. But seriously, I dont even think I know anyone I should be fr*ming for.

N&M say its for religious moderates.

Who are these people?

I know religious liberals (or people I call liberal), and I think we have a lot in common, and I dont think they are 'offended' at my writing.

For instance, one of the few people in OK I consider a real friend is Ian Ramjohn. Hes Christian. He thinks Sally Kern is a bitch (paraphrasing, Ian is much more congenial than I).

Stephen Matheson stood up and denounced her words and actions with a Jesus fish.

James McGrath had the patience to write a Summer Glau response to Kerns rant.

None of my friends growing up, devout Catholics to this day, find anything funny about Kerns view of Christianity. We love our homosexual friends, end of story.

The same can be said of their views on science.

I was never bullied for not being a Christian growing up (even though I was bullied a bit for being a nerd). It was a joke among my friends-- I would go on their church group trips and find all the great prizes during the scavenger hunt (they would each find a coupon for a free ice cream cone at Dairy Queen, Id find $100 cash). Proselytizing attempts were met with "Oh, Abbies not like that. Shes more into that science stuff." One friend got a good lolz out of taunting her fundy aunt with "Abbies going to school to be an abortion doctor."

They arent offended by my line-in-the-sand opinions on science, because theyre right there with me.

Oh certainly my friends and I could get into a big fight over religion (especially me and Ian-- he does that 'I used to be an atheist' thing that drives me up the wall LOL!). And of course I think my friends are being silly and childish-- they know that. And of course I know they think Im going to heaven and Im going to LUV IT, whether I like it or not (???).

But we arent going to fight about science.

And we arent going to fight about civil liberties.

Um... so who, exactly, am I supposed to be fr*ming for?

The people locked in their Ivory Tower Churches? I told the elders at this church two years ago that Harrub was lying to their congregation. Yet there he is on a speaker schedule for this July.

Oh wait, thats why fr*ming is retarded.

Mooney-- Im glad to see youre trying to fr*me your fr*me shit again. Call me when you have some actions and real-world game plans to go along with your meaningless words.

Nisbet-- *flips off Nisbet* Yeah, air headed PhD telling an HIV and cancer researcher to 'be a good citizen'. Piss off. Oh, and nice to see SciBlogs has their very own Uncommon Descent now. April Fools fools on us, eh?

Everyone else-- Stop blogging about fr*ming. It pisses me off and then I have to blog about it to get the pissed-off-ness out of my system. Just stop, until they provide something beneficial to society...

(H/T to Greg Laden)


Brian G said...

Word. All the people I know, regardless of religion, have a respect for science and understand that their beliefs are, at least to them, separate. We don't usually argue about that. I don't understand who I'm supposed to be nice to (translation: be a doormat for) about science and education. All the people that I know agree about this, and the people that don't are the people that made Expelled and shit like that, you can't change those people's minds. Their minds have already been fucked beyond repair, lol.

Brian G said...

As far as that thing I said about religion and science being separate, I tend to subscribe to the Dawkins "I think your fairy tales are silly" approach to dealing with the faithful and not the wimpy Stephen Gould "non-overlapping magisteria, let's not step on any toesies" way. It's not like I'm mean about it, I just don't take any crap!

Bill said...

I remember the first time I got my phase locked loop circuit working. In a day before you could buy a phase locked loop chip.

I think I danced around the lab like nobody was looking.

Unfortunately for me, they were.

Fred Ross said...

Abbie, how can you be so insensitive to the needs of communications professors? Imagine you're in a field that grew out of teaching people oration and rhetoric, and which has completely cut off those subjects. You have to produce a research program, which means you have to generate traffic. You're not going to get it from other communications professors: they're all trying to do the same thing or are providing traffic for the current luminaries.

The only way to get that traffic is to go stir up a wasps' nest somewhere else. If he goes to English, there are people doing the same thing who are much better at it then him, along with fuddy duddies studying John Donne who will completely ignore him. The classics department with tell him to leave in ancient Greek. The musicians will just steal all the food from his lectures (I'm a musician; I know whereof I speak). Scientists are unwilling to call someone outside their own field a crackpot, but are very much willing to engage in dialogue (exhibit 1: Abbie vs. creationism). Thus it's really easy to parasitize them.

Religion has nothing to do with this. If relativity deniers were as common and vocal, he might have used them. I don't impute any malice to Nisbet, but we must remember that he's not a scientist: he isn't wired to get out the torches and pitchforks in response to dishonesty and misrepresentation.

So the trick is to tame Nisbet as we have so many others in "science studies." Give them a pat on the head so they can seem legitimate, encourage them to write scholarly studies in abstruse language, and generally ignore them. Occasionally they produce something interesting or useful. It's really just a question of making him into an endogenous retrovirus in the genome of science.

nqdrstu said...

While remaining true to the underlying science, you have to recast messages in a way that connect to people's social identity. And yes, in the United States, that means connecting to people of diverse faiths.

And if faith-based belief systems want to connect with me (a scientist and an atheist) they can start framing their dogma in a way that doesn't have me burning in hell for my choice of lifestyle and treating women like meat. If they can pull that off I'd be more than glad to stop laughing in their faces. Giggling, perhaps less so.

Jay said...

"he does that 'I used to be an atheist' thing that drives me up the wall"

Argh, I hate that! It's so unavoidably condescending!

The Monkeyman said...


This is why I love your blog.

You don't bite your tongue and you say it the way "real people" do.

This framing stuff is steaming faeces, and I'm really bored of so many science blogs talking about it. Think of the amount of peer reviewed articles these blogs could have talked about and given their readers some real insight via their own comments? It's staggering.

Tyler DiPietro said...

"Oh wait, thats why fr*ming is retarded."

Whether the general concept of fr*ming is retarded or not, I've yet to see any remarkable successes come from the Nisbet camp in this whole ordeal. They more or less simply assume that their particular "approach" is better, minus any tangible results.

I regret any statements I've made endorsing this nonsense, and not simply because of Nisbet's perplexing attempts appropriate famous atheists and science popularizers to his side. It's because the more I consider it, the more it seems repugnant. I won't deny Nisbet the ability to pursue whatever "strategy" he wants, he's welcome to all forked-tounge rhetoric he can muster. I will be honest, publicly or not, about my opinion that the modern scientific picture of the world, when taken in honest consideration, leads naturally to atheism. I would encourage people who genuinely disagree to be honest about that as well. But as of now, I think assimilating a disregard for truth and honesty in science is a profoundly dangerous undertaking. It's scary to think that Nisbet has the ear of the AAAS, one of the two biggest representative organizations for science in the U.S., endorsing such nonsense.

AIGBusted said...

Hey Abby!

I thought you might want to know: I started a website. It has a lot of stuff for atheists, like a natural explanation of consciousness, refutations of theistic arguments, and more!


Gary said...


If you are running for Pres, you got my vote, but I am afraid that you got WAY to much honesty inside busting to get out.

Here's some proper framing:
adding a "please" in front of the STFU,

Ian said...

Argh, I hate that! It's so unavoidably condescending!

Jay - please do tell: what's unavoidable condescending?

I described myself as atheist from the age of 10 to 29. So yes, I know the kind of reaction you tend to get from religious people, even well-meaning people trying to be "loving". I know what it's like to be treated as a second-class citizen in many contexts because you profess non-belief. Is it really condescending to say "yes, I understand, even if I no longer define myself that way."

When people say "atheism is immoral" my answer is "I'm no more moral now than I was before". Yes, anecdotes don't make data, but it's a far better way of making the average person question the propaganda they are regurgitating. Is that really "unavoidably condescending"? Do you have some better suggestions for how to approach that issue?

I'm sorry that your delicate sensibilities were offended. After all, the reason we blog isn't to communicate science or answer the's far more important to make sure that no one's feelings get hurt.

Evil Fruit Lord said...

I think there are really two issues that get confused here. The first issue involved is whether to soften the argument to avoid stepping on toes with the idea that by doing so we will win over moderates to the pro-real-science camp. I'm not sure that this really works...the strength of our position comes from the fact that it's based in fact, and the facts are what we are. Trying to pick and choose and present them delicately just makes are position appear weaker.

The other issue, simply put, is whether to be a jerk about it. Being insulting and condescending (and there's ample reason to feel those things) serves no purpose other than to make the science side of things look like an unappealing group of people to be associated with. And the knee-jerk reaction to essentially just call ID-proponents stupid (even when they clearly are) makes it look like we don't have valid counter-arguments--it just looks like a grade school argument that degenerates into "Oh yeah? Well you're stupid." We can do better than that.

I kind of feel like the amount of time, effort, and vitriol that goes into anti-ID rants is actually validating in the minds of some people.