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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Evolution-Creation Assertion Review

Thursday and Friday will leave me with little blogging time due to work pressures, so here is a small review:

What I believe


I believe that God created the Universe and everything in it, including all life, and that the Bible is an accurate historical representation of this. The Bible is, however, not a scientific textbook and therefore details of how this was accomplished must be sought within the evidence available to us by what means we may have to research it. I am not a believer in evolution but within the confines of this blog there has been a long, ongoing dialogue concerning several aspects of the debate between those who believe in evolution and those who believe in creation. I also periodically post a Carnival, posting any contributed articles addressing this subject that are not profane, whether I agree with the content or not.

darwin is dead carnival - So why didn't his hypothesis die with him?

Thermodynamics

It is my view, and the view of many scientists, some of whom I have previously quoted, that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is at work in the world at large despite the fact that the Earth is an "open system" due to the energy derived from the sun. I do not subscribe to the idea that the 2nd Law does not apply to any but specially controlled "closed system" situations. Observations of teenager bedrooms, for instance, will teach you this, as does the contents of your refrigerator and the condition of your garage. Therefore I will not retract my contention that evolution is posited to work contrary to the Second Law of Thermodynamics

Huxley's Horse

One commenter in particular keeps asking me to either go back to the horse and explain my model or to retract my previous assertions. He and others have pointed out that Huxley himself believed that the application of natural selection would make the impossible possible. In fact, when I calculated the odds I included natural selection as a factor, likely giving it probably more credit than deserved. It is the premise itself that matters, not whether Huxley believed one way or the other himself. The three main points here:

1) I did include natural selection in my consideration of the odds.

2) Probabalistic models have been called into question and we are addressing that in the matter of abiogenesis. The probabalistic model of simple-organism-to-horse will not be considered until we have some kind of agreement about how probabalistic models might work.

3) I will in no way and by no means withdraw my assertion that the evolution from simple-organism-to-horse is statistically impossible. If you disagree, you may either wait until I post on this again and express your disagreement at that time, or, you can post your own statistical model to refute the assertion.

Abiogenesis

The question of how life may have come from non-life is not a part of evolutionary science today. While it is being studied by many, the main concern of evolutionary scientists is how simpler life might evolve into more complex life. The matter of abiogenesis may be crucial metaphysically but the evolutionary scientist is not under any mandate to address this issue. This is a concession on my part that I wanted to repeat for the sake of posterity.

Natural Selection

I do not believe that natural selection is in any way a part of the theoretical path from non-life to life. I do, however, believe that natural selection would have to be integral to any path from simple to complex life. I also agree that natural selection operates without any controlling intelligence, that is, it is not directed by God, man or beast but is an observed operation by which the more suitable characteristics within a gene pool are, by being more likely to survive and reproduce, selected as traits that will be passed on to succeeding generations. No probabalistic model attempting to reproduce evolution can be taken seriously without including the operation of natural selection.

Due to a very dire need to feed the Bulldog, that is all until tomorrow. Cheers!

95 comments:

Jake said...

It's all fine and well to have beliefs, but when your beliefs differ from reality, your beliefs are wrong. It's okay to have beliefs that are wrong, you are perfectly entitled to be wrong, but you're still wrong.

It is my view, and the view of many scientists, some of whom I have previously quoted, that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is at work in the world at large despite the fact that the Earth is an "open system" due to the energy derived from the sun.
You are right in your assertion that the second law of thermodynamics applies to Earth. (It's a law; it always applies.) You are wrong that the second law of thermodynamics prevents evolution. You are simply wrong. Please, contact a professor at the chemistry department of your local university and clear up this misconception that you have.

You could also read this site.

1) I did include natural selection in my consideration of the odds.

I would like to see your full calculations please. Show how you supposed natural selection to work, and what the weighting was.

I do not believe that natural selection is in any way a part of the theoretical path from non-life to life.
As I said above: you are entitled to any belief you want to hold. That doesn't stop it from being wrong.

radar said...

Jake, it is therefore certain that one of us is wrong. Nice for you that you can be so sure which one it is. Oddly enough, I think that you are wrong. We both have opinions.

Remember, I said that evolution must work against the 2nd Law, I did not say that it precluded it.

Also, I mentioned why I was not doing the math on the Horse yet, and why.

Finally, since natural selection is an operation pertaining to living organisms, the runup to the first living organism would not include it, right? Or do you believe natural selection is more than that. If so, kindly explain.

Jake said...

I already explained, quite clearly, why natural selection applied to every self-replicating molecule. It's not my fault if you won't read my posts.

Jake said...

Sigh. Okay, I'll explain it again. It's really quite simple.

Natural selection is just the process by which one thing has greater success in replicating itself than another thing, based on the environment they find themselves it.

So say we have two self-replicating molecules that have formed spontaneously. Say one of them is composed primarily of C, N, P, H, while the other is composed primarily of Si, N, P, H.

In order to self-replicate, a molecule needs more than just a self-replicating structure. It needs to be surrounded by the elements that go into it.

Now, let's say that the environment of our example molecules is carbon heavy. Say that the ratio of carbon to silicon in the environment is 10,000:1. That means that the molecule that uses carbon will have a much higher success in replication than the one that uses silicon. Depending on the prevelence of the other elements, it could be that the silicon will hardly get to replicate itself at all, because all the N, P, and H will be used up by the molecule that uses carbon. Regardless, the end result will be that there will be more of the carbon molecule than the silicon one. This means that further changes, that bring it even closer to being something we could call "life" are more likely to happen to the carbon molecule than the silicon molecule.
Note that there's nothing to say that the carbon molecule is *inherently superior* to the silicon one, only that in this particular environment, the carbon was the fittest. If the carbon:silicon ratio had been reversed, the silicon one would have been fitter.
That is natural selection. That is *exactly* how natural selection works. It works on anything that is self-replicating. The boundary where we stupid hu-mans define life is not an inherent boundary. It's an arbitrary one that we made up. As far as nature is concerned there's nothing special about "life". It's just another arrangement of chemicals.

Jake said...

Also, the honourable thing to do would be to stop making claims (a la "I did include natural selection in my consideration of the odds.") about the Huxley thing unless and until you're willing to back them up.

Jake said...

Remember, I said that evolution must work against the 2nd Law, I did not say that it precluded it.

Did you read the link I provided. It gives a pretty good account of why you're wrong on this.

creeper said...

"I do not subscribe to the idea that the 2nd Law does not apply to any but specially controlled "closed system" situations. Observations of teenager bedrooms, for instance, will teach you this, as does the contents of your refrigerator and the condition of your garage. Therefore I will not retract my contention that evolution is posited to work contrary to the Second Law of Thermodynamics"

It's cute that you'd bring back that hilarious little point. Which brings us right back to yet another question you never answered:

How is it possible that you were born, and that you managed to procreate, given your peculiar misinterpretation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

"One commenter in particular keeps asking me to either go back to the horse and explain my model or to retract my previous assertions."

That would be me, but what I was actually asking was, in response to your claim that we were changing the equation and assumptions of the argument you were presenting, that you should actually say what the equation and assumptions were in the first place. Most of the numbers in those posts of yours tend to be spent on silly oohing and aahing about how many zeroes here and there, which increasingly looks to me like an effort to detract from the meaning behind those numbers, which in absence of a sound calculation is none.

"I did include natural selection in my consideration of the odds."

I second Jake's request - please show where, how, and based on what. If you actually have thought this through, this shouldn't take more than two minutes.

"I will in no way and by no means withdraw my assertion that the evolution from simple-organism-to-horse is statistically impossible. If you disagree, you may either wait until I post on this again and express your disagreement at that time, or, you can post your own statistical model to refute the assertion."

It's a pretty meaningless assertion as long as you're being so coy about what you're basing that on. When you say the words "statistically impossible", surely you can present the equation and assumptions that led you to that conclusion; if it's impossible because, say, the Bible tells you otherwise, then just say so.

But as long as you say it's statistically impossible, you need to present, you know, equation and assumptions, that kind of thing. The kind of thing you keep running away from.

It's probabilistic, btw, not probabalistic.

Anonymous said...

"It's probabilistic, btw, not probabalistic."

Now, if that was probaballistic, it would be what one goes after hearing too many silly probability arguments . . .

" Observations of teenager bedrooms, for instance, will teach you this, as does the contents of your refrigerator and the condition of your garage. "

You are using this as an amusing metaphor that nevertheless has no connection or applicability to the actual physics, right?

Got ahold of Huxley's book - the one that the horsie quote is mined from - will make an actual post about it on my poor neglected blog once I can convince blogger that I actually do have an blog with them and that they should e-mail me my password (as I probably wrote it down on a small scrap of paper that went through the wash and was later discarded . . .)

-Dan S.

creeper said...

"You are using this as an amusing metaphor that nevertheless has no connection or applicability to the actual physics, right?"

I don't know - he's brought it up a few times now, and I suspect he's not doing it because he didn't get the huge laugh he expected the first time around - he may just be serious.

BTW, what's your blog's URL again, Dan?

Anonymous said...

Hi all,
While radar is away I thought I'd post something interesting. I was reading a blog posting about flag burning (natch, it's an election year), and it evolved to a debate over evolution.

All I have to say is that Radar is light years beyond his friends with his understanding of Evolution, and he has you guys to thank for it.

Also, Tim (Highboy) is hardly neutral in this debate. He claims here that he hasn't made up his mind, which is probably true in the same way that Bill O'Reilly claims he's an independant.

Check it out The evolution debate starts right at the Lord of the Rings graphic.

Here are the characters:
Amy: Blog owner, occasional poster here.
Johnny: Amy's husband. If evolution had an ass, he'd be kicking it.
Tim: Highboy
Silke: Someone who obviously understands evolution.
Phil: Makes more misspellings in a single post than I do all week.
Fix4RSO: Avionics technician? Mostly here for the flag, but also hates evolution. A lot.

All I can say is that the debate here is so much more civil and productive. Radar, despite his faults, deserves a bit of credit for that (as do the commenters), and I believe he has learned a thing or two in the process.

Americans, have a happy 4th of July weekend!

P.S. For the record, I love the Constitution more than the flag.

-scohen

creeper said...

This one's my favorite:

"Silke the very reason that other sciencentists and archeologists have found what was left of Noah's Ark for example and the Shroud of Toran I just have to say bunk to the rest of the sciences like Evolutionaryism, There is too many other scientists who have also discredited those Evolutionary Sciences that it doesn't even pale in comparison to how much proof and evidence that has come out to the contrary."

Classic.

Anonymous said...

...one of my favorites as well, and for so many reasons. It just packs so many things that are so wrong into such a small space that you just have to sit back and admire the sheer efficiency of it.

It's almost teutonic.

-scohen

Anonymous said...

"ll I can say is that the debate here is so much more civil and productive. Radar, despite his faults, deserves a bit of credit for that (as do the commenters), and I believe he has learned a thing or two in the process."

Agreed! That's why I'm always here, babbling away . . .

"P.S. For the record, I love the Constitution more than the flag. "

Me too. I really can't understand, on a fundamental level, the arguments I'm reading over there.

"BTW, what's your blog's URL again, Dan?"

http://onelongargument.blogspot.com.

Not that there's anything there more recent than last August . . . I'm going to have to contact blogger support and beg them for my password, their automated "forgot your password" thing is not working . . .

I'm not good with the blogging. For some reason I can comment at length day after day, but when it comes to writing actual posts . . .

-Dan S.

creeper said...

"I'm not good with the blogging. For some reason I can comment at length day after day, but when it comes to writing actual posts . . ."

Just cross-post.

creeper said...

Dan,

that's a well-constructed single-topic blog, by the way. I really like the row of resources along the right-hand side. Kudos.

highboy said...

schoen: I AM neutral in this debate over evolution and Creationism, and I have posted Scriptural challenges to both YEC believers and theistic evolutionists. I've illustrated my neutrality many times. And while you may think O'Reilly is not independant, he is certainly NOT conservative.

And please don't give the bleeding heart "civilized debate" speech. You have already demonstrated your ability to insult.

Anonymous said...

Tim: Do you want me to post all of the quotes that demonstrate that you're not neutral on this issue? It's OK not to be neutral, Radar isn't. Just admit that you're not neutral as any sane person who claims that "evolution is a faith based religion".

Come on man, I don't claim to be neutral in this debate, and I certainly don't think it's an insult to question your neutrality.

And Tim, why do you think your definition of 'conservative' is the definitive one? I've been following politics for most of my life now, and the current viewpoint is a relatively new one for 'conservatives'. Back in my day, a conservative was someone who sought to shrink government and make sure it can pay for itself, and get tough on crime. While I disagreed with the policy choices they made, at least I used to be able to see why they made them. I can't say that the same is true now.

Oh, and Tim: I went to the Filmore Jazz Fest today --saw a bunch of cops being harassed by the city dwellers. No wait, they were just hanging out and enjoying the jazz with everyone. I even let one pet my dog, and later my girlfriend remarked "I bet that would really burn Highboy up". See, you're kinda famous.

-scohen

highboy said...

"Tim: Do you want me to post all of the quotes that demonstrate that you're not neutral on this issue? It's OK not to be neutral, Radar isn't. Just admit that you're not neutral as any sane person who claims that "evolution is a faith based religion"."

Do you want me to re-post all the quotes that demonstrate my neutrality as well? Or are you going to pick and choose your quotes according to your viewpoint, as you almost always do? Claiming evolution is "faith based" doesn't mean I am not neutral. Especially when Creationism is equally faith based.

"And Tim, why do you think your definition of 'conservative' is the definitive one?"

Why do you feel that because O'Reilly agrees with conservatives SOMETIMES that he is a conservative? He agrees with liberals too. Does that make him a liberal?

"Oh, and Tim: I went to the Filmore Jazz Fest today --saw a bunch of cops being harassed by the city dwellers. No wait, they were just hanging out and enjoying the jazz with everyone. I even let one pet my dog, and later my girlfriend remarked "I bet that would really burn Highboy up". See, you're kinda famous.'

And she was naked on a bicycle as well right? You let a cop pet your dog? Wow, you really proved me wrong about San Francisco with that one...

Anonymous said...

Tim:
"Do you want me to re-post all the quotes that demonstrate my neutrality as well?"

After reading Amy's blog, I don't think anything you can provide would prove your neutrality. How can someone believe that evolution is a religion possibly be neutral? How can someone who equates it with 'godless liberalism' be a passive observer? Not being neutral is not a bad thing, I don't think anyone here with the exception of you claims any neutrality in this debate. Furthermore, I'm not sure how one can be neutral on this issue, I think one either believes that god created everything, or that science has done a good enough job in explaining how life evolves to believe in either theistic or non-theistic evolution. From what I've read of your posts, you're having trouble deciding between old earth creationism and young earth creationism, which isn't neutral at all.

"Why do you feel that because O'Reilly agrees with conservatives SOMETIMES that he is a conservative?"

The idea that O'Reilly only agrees with conservatives sometimes is laughable, but I wasn't talking about O'Reilly, I don't really care about that angry little man and his yelling. I'm was instead referring to your habit of claiming that anyone who has a slightly different viewpoint than the one you have isn't 'conservative'. I was also speaking to the change in what that word means and how you use it to mean 'believes exactly as I do'. Fifteen years ago, a Conservative would look at your what you support and scratch their head in bewilderment.

"And she was naked on a bicycle as well right? You let a cop pet your dog? Wow, you really proved me wrong about San Francisco with that one..."

My girlfriend was naked on a bicycle? Insulting my girlfriend is extremely immature and frankly brings nothing to the conversation. If you are going to attack someone because you have run out of arguments, come after me, not her. You should have been taught in first grade that it's quite pathetic to pick on girls.

Tim, my point was that the cops were hanging out, being accepted by and chatting to the festival-goers, which is in direct opposition to you unrealistic and unfounded image you have of San Francisco (you know, the one about San Franciscans not respecting their police). I suppose that's what you get when your only information about our city are some pictures on a right-wing web site. Revel in your misconception if you must, but don't expect me to stand idly by when you assert it. I actually talked to the cop and mentioned your beliefs about how poorly the citizens treat the police. He laughed and said that of all the places he has worked, he has never had a better relationship with the population than he has in San Francisco. That quote, straight from a SF police officer, why my girlfriend mentioned you, and is what that will 'burn you up'.

Feel free to come here and wipe your ass with our state flag --we're the ones who understand that making that act illegal takes away from all of our rights, and while we won't like your act (heck, it would preclude seeing your butt), we will defend your right to do it. That said, you'd probably get arrested for defecating in public, which would be necessary in order to leave marks on the flag. Unless of course you're not good at wiping in the first place.

Like Dan said, I fail to understand, on a fundamental level, the arguments against flag burning. You do know you're being manipulated by politicians whenever this issue is brought up, right? It's very helpful to recognize when people play with your emotions for their gain, and once you realize that they're doing this, you can begin to ask yourself "Why?".

So, in four years, when the non-issue of flag burning is brought up again, maybe you'll ask 'why'.

P.S. I've been on this planet for 30 years now, I have been to protests, I have been to rallies, I have been to Berkeley, and I have never, ever seen anyone burn a flag with my own eyes. I'm going to bet you haven't either.

-scohen

highboy said...

"How can someone believe that evolution is a religion possibly be neutral?"

Um, pretty easily. Did I say it wasn't true?

"Insulting my girlfriend is extremely immature and frankly brings nothing to the conversation."

Now you need to go back to school and learn English grammar. I didn't make a statement. I asked a question. Why would it be insulting anyway? You're apparently okay with nudist bicyclers, remember? Exactly how does attacking Amy and her blogger's bringing anything to the conversation? Typical schoen. All's fair in blogging unless someone is doing it to you.

"That quote, straight from a SF police officer, why my girlfriend mentioned you, and is what that will 'burn you up'."

So I guess that's just another one of your "take my word for it" arguments huh?

Anonymous said...

"How can someone believe that evolution is a religion possibly be neutral?"

"Um, pretty easily. Did I say it wasn't true?"

No, they can't. From Amy's blog, your comment:

"Those "pesky facts" doesn't change the fact the evolution is a faith-based religion, whether evolutionists want to believe that or not. If you believe we are a biological accident, your world view and code of ethics will reflect that."

Indicates that if you were to believe in evolution, you would have to accept that it's
a. A faith-based religion
b. Life is a biological accident
c. You have to change your world view to reflect this

As none of these statements are actually true, it illustrates that you have certain biases about evolution. Needless to say, I cannot accept that the change of world view that you cite would be at all ammenable to you, and can only reasonably conclude that you have a negative bias against evolution. They're your words, they are very clear and sadly, they mean that you've internalized almost nothing from the debate that has been going on here. Even our esteemed host has been able to see the differences between evolution and abiogenesis and that evolution doesn't exclude a belief in the supernatural.

As for the rest, they are just ad-hominem attacks on me which I will address below.

Now we get into a typical but hilarious Tim "Failing miserably at pedantic arguments" comments

"Now you need to go back to school and learn English grammar I didn't make a statement."

The sentence you quoted was gramatically correct. Are you saying that you cannot insult someone by asking a question? If you are, let me explain how it's done: You used a question to insinuate that my girlfriend was naked and riding a bicycle, which was clearly meant to be insulting. Why else would you bring it up? Why would you even mention her in this context? Did you actually think that this was a possibility? Were you trying (and failing, I might add) to be funny? It doesn't matter if I approve or not, you clearly meant it to be insulting. Acting like a Man would entail taking responsibility for it and apologizing, and by not doing that, you have demonstrated your level of maturity to us all.

"Exactly how does attacking Amy and her blogger's bringing anything to the conversation? Typical schoen(sic). All's fair in blogging unless someone is doing it to you."

I don't recall attacking anyone in my post, just commenting at the reduced level of discourse over there. If you take that as an attack, perhaps you should endeavor to raise the intellectual level of conversation on Amy's blog? I believe the only person I made fun of was Phil, but that statement I made was most likely true.

"So I guess that's just another one of your "take my word for it" arguments huh?"

You seem to have no problem accepting "zombie time's" or radar's take my word for it arguments with respect to my city.

Next time a police officer laughs at your misconceptions, I'll be sure to have him sign a sworn statement. Whatever, don't believe it, but I have pictures of the cops in question... even the one who laughed at you. A little googling should allow you to find the photos. My 'take my word for it' arguments are all in defense of your insane notions of what living in and around San Francisco is like. Whose word should we take on this issue? Yours? Have you even been here? Lol man, lol.

Tim, it appears that you've run out of ideas and now are attacking me personally, which shows how weak your position is. Feel free to do so, but just know that every time you do, the reasonable commenters will just take another point away from your already strained credibility.

All this for saying you weren't neutral in the debate. Why is neutrality such a big deal to you?

-scohen <- NOTE THE SPELLING

highboy said...

"I cannot accept that the change of world view that you cite would be at all ammenable to you, and can only reasonably conclude that you have a negative bias against evolution."

Assumption. I simply stated that if you believe your life was a biological accident, that your world view would reflect that. I made that statement while conversing with an evolutionist who does not believe in God. Nice job removing one of my quotes from its proper context and inserting it where you see fit.

"You used a question to insinuate that my girlfriend was naked and riding a bicycle, which was clearly meant to be insulting."

Another assumption, unless you believe in the supernatural ability of reading my mind and intentions through a few remarks made online. If I wanted to insult you or your girlfriend, TRUST ME, I would do so directly. Perhaps now you can answer my question as to why this would be insulting anyways? You yourself see nothing wrong with nude bike riders, as you made clear by illustrating how funny it was to you. So why would it be inconcievable to think that your girlfriend would do this act since it is so acceptable? I see nothing wrong with asking an honest question, but you apparently see something wrong in answering it. I can only reasonably conclude that you actually DO seem something wrong with it as long as its not someone you know.

"Did you actually think that this was a possibility?"

Yes. Why shouldn't I, based on your past remarks? I made very clear how appalling I thought the practice was, and got verbally flamed rather promptly for seeing anything wrong with it, so why would it be out of the realm of possibility?

"I believe the only person I made fun of was Phil, but that statement I made was most likely true."

Right. So you're not above ad hominem attacks either are you schoen? "Most likely true". I love it.

"You seem to have no problem accepting "zombie time's" or radar's take my word for it arguments with respect to my city."

I trust a ten dollar snitch before I trust the San Francisco Chronicle, or any other left wing rag. You also have yet to prove Radar wrong, btw. You, Creeper, and Dan all love to say "got ya" but haven't really done so. Radar has given a vast amount of information and sources to back up his claims and so far I don't see either side winning this debate.

"Whatever, don't believe it, but I have pictures of the cops in question... even the one who laughed at you. A little googling should allow you to find the photos."

Yeah, haven't found any yet. Maybe you can make it easy for me and just show me, and get that sworn statement so I can read it for myself.

"Whose word should we take on this issue? Yours? Have you even been here? Lol man, lol. "

So you live there, that makes you the final authority, even though you haven't really backed up your notion that its such a great city? Please. You don't have to live in Pittsburgh to know they're all Steeler fans, and you don't have to be from San Francisco to get a feel for the terrible pulse of that city.

"Tim, it appears that you've run out of ideas and now are attacking me personally, which shows how weak your position is."

What is my position? I have yet to attack you PERSONALLY, but it appears you'd like to frame the debate as such. Why? I have no idea. But I'm much more creative in my attacks than that, as most of my fellow bloggers well know. If you were under personal attack from me, it would be much worse.

"Feel free to do so, but just know that every time you do, the reasonable commenters will just take another point away from your already strained credibility."

My credibility is actually quite fine except to those that disagree with me. (surprise surprise) In all of the blogs, including my own that I frequent I count maybe 5 commenters all together that you would consider "reasonable" in that respect.

"All this for saying you weren't neutral in the debate."

Right. Because its not true. You are making an assumption based on the fact that I don't agree with you. I don't agree with Radar either, and he can vouch for that, as we have spoken about this via blogs, email, and telephone. The discourse over at Amy's blog is just fine. She doesn't take any crap from people who jump on her blog and twist facts inside and out.

scohen said...

"Right. So you're not above ad hominem attacks either are you schoen? "Most likely true". I love it."

For pete's sake, it's S C O H E N.

Well, he's made six spelling and two grammatical errors in a three line post, so we'll have to see how I do this week. I think I'm going to compare quite favorably. That wasn't an ad-hominem attack, I didn't say Phil's ideas were wrong because he makes spelling errors. Phils ideas are wrong because they fail to make a modicum of sense, but as he's not here, I'm not going to get into why Phil's 'lets be more like Iran' argument is nonsensical.

"My credibility is actually quite fine except to those that disagree with me."

Another one of those take my word for it arguments, eh Tim?

"You also have yet to prove Radar wrong, btw."

Really? I think I made a compelling case about his argument from statistics by quoting the author of the article he cited stating that the whole statistical argument against evolution was 'deception'. If you don't consider that proving someone wrong, then you have an unreasonably high burden of proof. I've also proven that many of the statistics cited were just plain wrong. With respect to this, Radar has yet to provide me with the title of the article in question, but I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, it being a long weekend and all. It is my intention, once I get the title of the paper, to email Dr. Morowitz and have him comment on the snippet that Radar posted. If having the very person who wrote the article that radar cited as evidence against evolution say that the article was taken out of context doesn't convince you two that the argument is faulty, I can't imagine anything will. I also believe that I successfully refuted Radar's argument about the 2nd law of thermodynamics since in the post above, he makes a stipulation (believing that the earth is an open system) which makes the 2nd law inapplicable, as it only applies to closed systems. If you don't accept this, then you aren't correctly understanding the science behind the 2nd law and should seek out either a chemistry or physics teacher and have them explain it to you. That is something that would be very difficult to do on a blog.

How exactly do you not agree with Radar? What do you not believe about the creation story as told in the bible? What parts of evolution do you understand and think reasonable? If you answer nothing else from this post, please answer these questions. This is where my curiosity lies.

"So you live there, that makes you the final authority, even though you haven't really backed up your notion that its such a great city? Please. You don't have to live in Pittsburgh to know they're all Steeler fans, and you don't have to be from San Francisco to get a feel for the terrible pulse of that city."

Does that even make sense? Are you making a case for San Francisco sucking because the 49ers suck? That's nuts. I don't claim to be a final authority, just an authority. So you have a feel for this city's 'pulse' because of what you read in right-wing newspapers? Do you not see the error in this? I wrote a long post about what makes this city great a while back, if you read it you'd see that there are a host of cultural, environmental, social and intellectual resons that make the SF Bay area a great place to live and work. I consider that post more than enough to back up my assertion that this place is great. Personally, I would never make a judgment about a city before I have visited it, to do so is to let others form your opinions for you.

"I see nothing wrong with asking an honest question, but you apparently see something wrong in answering it"

Oh, so it was just an honest question. My mistake. No, she was not riding a bicycle naked. It was a music festival, not a protest, we brought the dog, she was taking pictures, it was a bit chilly, and she really prefers to wear clothes while riding for reasons that would be obvious if you've ever seen her. There, question answered. I hope this spares me the clever and cunning personal attacks that were forthcoming. I really want to see you find her photo of the police by yourself, consider it homework (hint: finding my blog is trivially easy, you can google for me in so many ways and after that, it's just clicking two links). If you don't find it by Thursday, I'll provide a link.

"Amy's blog is just fine. She doesn't take any crap from people who jump on her blog and twist facts inside and out."

She seemed OK with your assertion that teen pregnancy is high (it's not --historic low BTW), and crime is high (30 year lows) and drug use by teens and adults is rising (you can make that claim, it has been rising since 2001, but is still below 1975 levels). Maybe it's just that these assertions seem to agree with the general 'liberals are the cause of everything bad in the country' ideas, and that's why they go uncorrected. And while we're discussing these issues, which type of country would you expect to have a higher teen pregnancy rate, the conservative United States, or a liberal European democracy?

"Nice job removing one of my quotes from its proper context and inserting it where you see fit. "

I lift the entire quote and you say it's without context? Heh, there's no pleasing you! Did you expect me to cut and paste all the comments as well? There's a link above that anyone who wants the proper context can easily follow. I fail to see how the context changes your statements in any way , those three tenets are what you believe, despite the fact that two of them are totally wrong, and the other is debatable.

-scohen

Jake said...

Hey scohen, don't sweat the name thing to much. He clearly thinks you're great. Why else would he call you 'good'?

Anonymous said...

And here I thought highboy was talking about naked bike cops . . . that's what I get for skimming . . .

"Like Dan said, I fail to understand, on a fundamental level, the arguments against flag burning."

Reading through the comments there again, I'd guess that we don't get it because they're not really arguments, at least not like we expect. As presented over there, it seem to me more that it's:
1) Seeing someone burn a flag (a fundamental, if very crude, act of political expression) is very offensive and hurtful to me.
2) Therefore, flag-burning should be burned (or at least, given the wording of the proposed amendment, ban-able.)

There's other stuff, as you know - suggestions that flag-burning isn't really speech and so isn't protected, that nobody needs to burn a flag, so banning it isn't really a violation of anyone's First Amendment rights, etc., etc. - but they seem to me more like ad hoc justifications to defend and implement that gut feeling. And of course, using such justifications we could really go ban-crazy . . .

I can't remember ever seeing an American (or any, actually) flag burned by Americans either - definitely not in person. I've read about it happening during the Vietnam War era, - can't rule out that I may have seen old pictures in history books.

I did hear somewhere that the number of flags being burned by Americans (obviously we're leaving out folks from other countries burning the flag) had greatly increased in one recent year - from three the previous year to four!! - but I have no idea if those were real numbers, or a random joke. If yes, well - 1 flag burned per ~75 million people . . . hmm.


-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

obviously, I meant to say that they thought flag-burning should be banned, not burned - though a certain comment-poster did suggest that flag burners should themseleves be burned . . .

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

Oh my . . .

I never realized it before, but I was reading an excellent editorial (Wounding freedom to protect the flag, via the First Amendment Center's freedom of speech and flag burning page) when it hit me -

if we can ban flag burning on the grounds that it's not covered by the First Amendment because it's not literal spoken or written speech, but merely action, then on the same grounds we could ban flag-waving, or flag-saluting, or flag-flying.

Of course, I would oppose any attempt to do so, and luckily the chance of that happening is less than a horse evolving from random chemicals in one step completely by chance, but the principle is the same.

Additionally, while I can't remember hearing anything about it (or, in fact, having any awareness that it was a burning - heh, heh - issue, it turns out there was a rash of flag-burnings 17 years ago . . .

"The FPA [Flag Protection Act, 1989] provided penalties of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for anyone who “knowingly mutilates, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States” with “flag” defined as “any flag of the United States, or any part thereof, made of any substance, of any size, in a form that is commonly displayed.” Although the stated purpose of the FPA was to end flag burnings, its immediate impact was to spur perhaps the largest single wave of such incidents in American history. Flags were burned in about a dozen cities shortly after the law took effect in late October."

Anonymous said...

That was me -
Dan S., off to celebrate

highboy said...

"Another one of those take my word for it arguments, eh Tim?"

Um, no. You can view for yourself on my blog and those I frequent how many people agree or disagree with me. Mainly because my arguments are not composed of "I know a guy", "I live there", or "I saw a cop" type of arguments.

"I think I made a compelling case about his argument from statistics by quoting the author of the article he cited stating that the whole statistical argument against evolution was 'deception"

I'm sure you do.

"How exactly do you not agree with Radar?"

Well for one, I believe whole heartedly that God created the world, but I'm not sure if the 6 days are 6 literal 24 hour days or not. I have Scriptural, not scientific reasons for not being sold yet on either YEC or OEC. Its not that I agree or disagree with either you OR Radar, its simply stating that I DON'T KNOW. You know as well as I do how much information on this debate is out there, and having only recently gotten into this topic maybe a year ago, I'm still sifting through online and offline resources trying to figure it all out. What's wrong with that? I believe every word of the Bible to be true, infallible, and inerrant. Unfortunately though, I am not infallible and inerrant, so I must research.

"Are you making a case for San Francisco sucking because the 49ers suck?"

Heh. No. And for the record, I'm a big Bill Walsh fan. No, I was simply illustrating that one does not have to live in a city to necessarily to get a feel for its pulse. Yes, I trust my right wing rags more than I trust anything out of San Francisco's left wing rags. Talking with San Franciscans merely validates most conservative stereotypes.

"Oh, so it was just an honest question. My mistake. No, she was not riding a bicycle naked. It was a music festival, not a protest, we brought the dog, she was taking pictures, it was a bit chilly, and she really prefers to wear clothes while riding for reasons that would be obvious if you've ever seen her."

That doesn't answer my question and if I have to ask it for a third time I'm going to assume that you simply don't want to answer.

"I wrote a long post about what makes this city great a while back, if you read it you'd see that there are a host of cultural, environmental, social and intellectual resons that make the SF Bay area a great place to live and work. I consider that post more than enough to back up my assertion that this place is great."

So you wrote a post that made claims about a city where you live and you consider that a reliable source for information on the liveability of San Francisco?

"I fail to see how the context changes your statements in any way ,"

Well you're right, anyone with a mouse can go to the link you provided and read the WHOLE conversation I had with an evolutionist who DOES NOT believe in a Creator.

Anonymous said...

Oh hey, creeper - thanks! Glad you like it. Hmm, reposting, eh? That would make sense . . .

_______

"Well you're right, anyone with a mouse can go to the link you provided and read the WHOLE conversation I had with an evolutionist who DOES NOT believe in a Creator."

Y'know, I went back and skimmed through, and I don't find anything indicating that Silkie does not believe in a Creator. (I may be missing something - if so, could you point it out?) Indeed she(?) says:
" Anyway, I agree. Science can say nothing about meaning or value. Science and religion should be separate issues, yet when I say that you call me a secular materialist."

This seems to imply that she(?) isn't a secular materialist?

". I simply stated that if you believe your life was a biological accident, that your world view would reflect that."
Indeed - since in my case, I do - it does: it gives me a greater sense of the value of both human life and that of the web of life as a whole . . .

"Claiming evolution is "faith based" doesn't mean I am not neutral. Especially when Creationism is equally faith based.

But this is just silly! Evolution and literal creationism are not equally faith based. Evolution is based on evidence, with the underlying assumption being that we can learn about the world using observation, testing, and analysis. Creationism is based on faith (in the text of the Bible), with the underlying assumption being that "every word of the Bible [is] . . . true, infallible, and inerrant."

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

"Back in my day, a conservative was someone who sought to shrink government and make sure it can pay for itself, and get tough on crime. While I disagreed with the policy choices they made, at least I used to be able to see why they made them."

Kung Fu Monkey: I Miss Republicans:

-No, seriously. Remember Republicans? Sober men in suits, pipes, who'd nod thoughtfully over their latest tract on market-driven fiscal conservatism while grinding out the numbers on rocket science. Remember those serious-looking 1950's-1960's science guys in the movies -- Republican to a one.

They were the grown-ups. They were the realists. Sure they were a bummer, maaaaan, but on the way to La Revolution you need somebody to remember where you parked the car. I was never one (nor a Democrat, really, more an agnostic libertarian big on the social contract, but we don't have a party ...), but I genuinely liked them.

How did they become the party of fairy dust and make believe? How did they become the anti-science guys? The anti-fact guys? The anti-logic guys? . . .
"

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

"Are you making a case for San Francisco sucking because the 49ers suck?"

"Heh. No. And for the record, I'm a big Bill Walsh fan."

That is so over my head... You have no idea how little I understand/am interested in football. Remember Tim, I'm the guy you were beating up in high school.

"I believe every word of the Bible to be true, infallible, and inerrant."

If that's the case, what you're doing is vassilating between OEC and YEC, and as such are heavily biased against evolution. As far as I know, and Dan is free to correct me here, OEC is just as incompatible with the theory of evolution as YEC. This is a clear indication that you're not netutral, which is perfectly fine in this debate. You might not agree with Radar, but that doesn't mean you're haven't picked a side.

"Talking with San Franciscans merely validates most conservative stereotypes."

And you've talked with many? Whatever else, it seems you've put an unreasonably high burden on me. Not only do I have to somehow 'prove' my city is a nice place to live, but I have to do it without relying on most newspapers or any of its citizens. Your trust in your conservative newspapers seems unwarranted, after all, they are the ones (I assume) who made you believe that crime, teen pregnancy and drug use were all high. Maybe you should be more skeptical of all data rather than just implicitly trusting the argument being put forward by one side? Sadly, this discussion has become tedious, and I will not return to it unless you become just a little more reasonable.

"That doesn't answer my question and if I have to ask it for a third time I'm going to assume that you simply don't want to answer."

As for this, it really must be interesting living in a black and white world. It was my fault, you taunted me, and I took the bait. I should have just ignored it and let it roll off my back, but instead, I got upset. I'll leave it as an exercise for you why it upset me, but know this: Even though I dont find drug use to be immoral, it would offend me if you called my girlfriend a heroin addict. Likewise, if Dan called me 'Jewie Jewman' it would be funny, but if you called me the same name, it would be highly offensive. Heck, if Dan said what you said, I'd laugh it off. Same words, different intentions, different reactions.

-scohen

highboy said...

"Likewise, if Dan called me 'Jewie Jewman'"

I don't get it.

"As for this, it really must be interesting living in a black and white world"

It is. It helps me discern right from wrong, as opposed to rationalizing and justifying "wrong".

"Even though I dont find drug use to be immoral, it would offend me if you called my girlfriend a heroin addict"

Why? You make less sense every time you post. If you don't consider it wrong, why is it wrong for your girlfriend?

"Same words, different intentions, different reactions."

That is your problem. But it must be nice to be able to read other people's minds.

"Sadly, this discussion has become tedious, and I will not return to it unless you become just a little more reasonable."

Meaning I'm just suppose to agree with you is that it? Look, from a word of mouth standpoint, since that is what you want me to go by apparently, San Francisco is a hellhole for a conservative like me, while a free for all utopia for a guy like you.

"And you've talked with many?"

Sure did, one of them being my own dad, whose word I trust just a little more than just about anyone I know.

"You have no idea how little I understand/am interested in football. Remember Tim, I'm the guy you were beating up in high school."

Bill Walsh was the coach that took the 49ers to 4 Super Bowl victories. (You at least know who Joe Montana is, yes?) He's pretty much considered the second best coach of all time, and his 49ers possible the best team ever put together. I actually visited Candlestick to watch an Eagles/49ers game with my dad when I was little, and had one of the greatest thrills ever.

"OEC is just as incompatible with the theory of evolution as YEC."

Now you're talking over my head. But thanks for letting me know what my postition was.

Anonymous said...

"Meaning I'm just suppose to agree with you is that it?"

Quite the opposite --I'm letting you disagree. I don't see much point in arguing about this any more. Believe the conservative mags or your dad's (seemingly unbelievable) story from the 60's if you must, but don't expect me to defend my city when you refuse to accept testimony from anyone that actually has experience living here.

"San Francisco is a hellhole for a conservative like me, while a free for all utopia for a guy like you."

That might have a stitch of truth to it, but I think those things are overblown and I've been arguing with you about things that aren't relevant in a conservative vs. liberal kind of debate. How high the crime rate is, do San Franciscans respect the police and the size of our economy don't depend on anyone's political bent. Again, it's quite sad that you judge a city by its political leanings, because that has nothing to do with what makes a city vibrant and interesting. It might make you think twice about living there, but you shouldn't judge everything a city has to offer with such a trivial measure. By that same token, you must also dislike almost every major city in Europe.

"Likewise, if Dan called me 'Jewie Jewman'"

"I don't get it."

Dan and I are both lapsed jews... Sometimes people of the same ethnic or religious group kid each other about the group to which they belong, which is acceptable while an outsider using the exact same word would not be.
This is very common in the African American community, BTW.

Me: "OEC is just as incompatible with the theory of evolution as YEC."

You: "Now you're talking over my head. But thanks for letting me know what my postition was."

OEC = Old Earth Creationism, ie the belief in the literal creation story as told in the bible that questions the actual lengh of the 'days'. Creation's time cannot be determined with this belief, so OEC believers can accept much scientific evidence for the age of the earth, the universe, etc.

YEC = Young Earth Creationism, ie A belief in the literal creation story as told in the bible where each day of creation refers to a 24 hour period. Creation's time is usually set at around 6000 years ago, and because of this must argue that vast amounts of scientific knowledge are invalid.

No matter how you slice it, a belief in an inerrant, literal bible is not compatible with evolution. This isn't telling you what your beliefs are, as you have made them perfectly clear. This is telling you that the beliefs that you espouse can not reconcile with evolution. That said, OEC allows you to accept much more actual science than its more reactionary brother, YEC.

"Why? You make less sense every time you post. If you don't consider it wrong, why is it wrong for your girlfriend?"

Just because I don't think something is immoral doesn't mean that I think it should be universal. I think I really hit on something with the black and white line. This is one of the differences in how you and I think. I have no problem with someone doing heroin (provided they have treatment options and we make our drug policy sane), but that doesn't mean EVERYONE should do it, as it would most likely harm society if everyone did.

Tim, I don't see the world in black and white as you do, I consider extenuating circumstances. Stealing is wrong, but stealing a loaf of bread to feed your starving family is not. Murder is wrong, but killing someone that is trying to kill you isn't. Likewise, I don't accept that many things that are currently illegal are morally wrong at all. Does the guy that goes home after a hard day and smokes a hit or two of weed harm anyone? How is that different than the guy who takes a belt of burbon, or quaffs a beer? (Actually, I'd argue that the alcohol drinkers are actually more likely to harm someone) I'm really and truly sorry that this makes no sense to you, but you're probably used to being told what the rules are (and have always been) in no uncertain terms. It is incredibly comforting to have an all-encompasing moral code to tell you exactly what is right and what is wrong in every situation. My uncle the orthodox Jew is the same way, and his code is even more encompasing than yours. In addition to morality, he is also told what to eat, what to wear, how to relate to women and even how to shave. You're probably amazed at this, and wonder how someone could live their life encumbered by these obscure and obsolete rules. He'd probably say that they're black and white to him.

You're most likely going to throw out words like 'moral relativism' and 'secular humanism' at this point, and I'll answer that this debate is better done in a different place and at a different time. This blog is for discussion of evolution and possibly some tangential political issues, so let's keep the conversation focused there. I do not accept that the bible is the final word on morality. This should be fairly obvious, as the average citizen of the United States is far to the left of the morality it provides --especially the Old Testament. Morality, you see, changes over time to suit a society's changes. Eighty years ago, it was moral and acceptable to discriminate against black people, now it is not. It was also 'moral' to deny women the right to vote, yet now it is not. In the 20's, morality intervened and made alcohol illegal, but now we take a more liberal view. Homosexuality was also held to be immoral by the vast majority of people, but as we see now, things are starting to change. This change, and the debate surrounding it will be slow and at times full of vitriol, but it's important to see that eventually, for most of the people in the country, it will be settled.

-scohen

highboy said...

"Morality, you see, changes over time to suit a society's change"

At one time killing a baby was immoral, now it is considered moral. Did the morality of killing a baby change? No. Rather, society's desires changed. That doesn't make the practice moral, but accepted.

"I have no problem with someone doing heroin (provided they have treatment options and we make our drug policy san"

Wow.

Anonymous said...

"At one time killing a baby was immoral"

So no one cares if you take a 12 month old child and murder it? I think you're making a blanket statement here, trying to force this model into the abortion debate. If you really believe a fetus is the same thing as a baby, do you think the police should investigate miscarriages? Do you think we should have forensic gynecologists like they do in El Salvador? What should the prison term be for a woman who drinks while pregnant? You advocate making abortion illegal, but I have yet to hear about all the new laws that we'd need to make in order to do so. Perhaps you'd like to provide your opinions in this matter.

Your "Wow" comment with regard to Heroin use is most likely imagining my comment applying to the current illegal state of drugs in this country. I made sure to require 'sane' drug policy. Let's say, hypothetically, that heroin was de-criminalized in this country like alcohol is, and that it was available at a known purity at a price that reflects its actual value, and could be obtained legally. Why is it immoral to use?

Keep in mind that cigarettes addict 80% of the people that try them, and that alcoholism is a real and prevalent form of addiction that is every bit as difficult to overcome as is heroin addiction (which snares one out of three users). Why is the buying and selling of alcohol and cigarettes 'moral' and heroin and other illegal drugs 'immoral'?

If you really want to see how ludicrious our drug policy is, try simultaneously defending the illegality of marijuana and the legality of cigarettes. I bet you can't go three minutes without your head exploding.

However, in the current regime, heroin addiction is pretty awful, and it helps to fund a criminal enterprise, and I certainly consider that immoral.

-scohen

highboy said...

"Why is the buying and selling of alcohol and cigarettes 'moral' and heroin and other illegal drugs 'immoral'?"

Alcohol can be drank WITHOUT becoming addicted to it. But its a good point, though we'd probably disagree on what to do about it. As far as heroin or other drugs, you are saying that a mother of a child should be ALLOWED to consume heroin or crack? Or am I misunderstanding you? What is the purity level that you speak of?

"do you think the police should investigate miscarriages? Do you think we should have forensic gynecologists like they do in El Salvador?"

If the doctor that diagnoses the miscarriage feels a cause for alarm, sure.

"What should the prison term be for a woman who drinks while pregnant"

What is she drinking and how much? Not very many new laws would have to be written. I hear all the time about hypothetical (though rare in reality) cases of women who are victims of forced incest becoming pregnant, or the mother's life endangered if she carries the birth full term. The bottom line is that it is totally unethical to place one person's life as more important than another's. Equal care should be given in those rare cases, and let whatever happens happen. Care for the mother and the child EQUALLY. As far as rape or incest goes, we shouldn't allow the killing of a baby simply because of the emotional and financial stress involved. If you don't think a fetus is a life, what are you basing this on? What does a fetus or a baby have to have in order for you to consider it a human life? Lungs? A heart? What kind of brain wave activity? In or out of the womb? Hair or no hair? I never understood how anyone has justified conception as NOT the begininng of human life.

"try simultaneously defending the illegality of marijuana and the legality of cigarettes"

Cigarettes do not burn millions of brain cells, endangering not just the user but any that happen to be on the freeway at the same time with them, or being babysitted by them. Many people who advocate the legalization of drugs usually try to drone on at this point that no one has been able to determine marijuana to be the cause of such things, which is of course baloney. No one can honestly say that burning holes in your brain the size of my fist does not impair motor skills, reaction time, and the thought process, much like drunkenness. If it doesn't, they wouldn't call it "high".

At this point I feel I should call to your attention that you are again, by your stance on abortion and drug activity, validating most "assumptions" many have about the pulse of San Francisco, since the vast majority of that city feel the way you do. I would never raise my kids there, nor recommend anyone else do so. I might be coerced into going on vacation there, if that means anything to you, and I'd love to make it to another football game out that way.

Jake said...

Cigarettes do not burn millions of brain cells, endangering not just the user but any that happen to be on the freeway at the same time with them, or being babysitted by them.
All right. So justify the legality of alcohol, but the illegality of marijuana.

Anonymous said...

"Alcohol can be drank WITHOUT becoming addicted to it."

That really depends on the person, some people can't even have one sip. Heroin addicts less than one out of three users, and marijuana has no physical addiction at all.

"Cigarettes do not burn millions of brain cells, endangering not just the user but any that happen to be on the freeway at the same time with them"

But Tim, research has shown that neither does pot. As for the freeway argument, I'd say that I agree with you, but alcohol has the same problem, and has a criminal code associated with that. I would advocate the exact same laws be applied to all mind-altering drugs. That's also part of a sane drug policy.

"As far as heroin or other drugs, you are saying that a mother of a child should be ALLOWED to consume heroin or crack? Or am I misunderstanding you? What is the purity level that you speak of?"

Well, again, I'll draw parallels to alcohol. It's obviously not a good idea for a woman to drink or do any drugs (including smoking, which is especially harmful) while pregnant, yet women are allowed to do what they want. As far as I know, and I'm no expert, women are allowed to smoke and drink while pregnant despite harm to the child. If we were to treat all things equally, this would also apply to other drugs as well.

"At this point I feel I should call to your attention that you are again, by your stance on abortion and drug activity, validating most "assumptions" many have about the pulse of San Francisco, since the vast majority of that city feel the way you do. I would never raise my kids there, nor recommend anyone else do so"

Well, if arguing for a reasonable drug policy means that this is some kind of horrible place, then I'm guilty. By the way, I'm not sure how I feel about the specifics of abortion, but I do know that I have no problem with the current laws that allow it. As far as raising your children here, I don't think anyone is advocating letting minors have free and unfettered access to drugs, but you're kidding yourself if you think that high school kids don't have access to drugs. I grew up in Ohio, and had access to plenty. Personally, I'd rather my children be able to go to a pot-bar than an alcohol-bar.

Funny anecdote:
I was at a Phish show a couple of years ago, and when the concert let out, they funneled everyone into a small area that quickly became packed. I'm talking dangerously crowded here. I happened to be pushed very close to some of the security guards and could hear what they were saying. One guard said something like "Those idiots screwed up the gates again. Think we should worry about a riot?". The other replied: "Nah, this isn't Metallica, they're stoned, not drunk."

"I might be coerced into going on vacation there, if that means anything to you, and I'd love to make it to another football game out that way."

It means a lot to me actually. By the way, if you're ever in San Francisco, I will buy you a beer. Radar too. That's saying a lot too, since beers are $7 (high real estate prices and all).

-scohen

highboy said...

"All right. So justify the legality of alcohol, but the illegality of marijuana."

Drinking alcohol doesn't burn giant holes in your brain. Marijuana does.

"and marijuana has no physical addiction at all. "

I don't buy that. If it were true, people wouldn't be going to the extremes they go to in order to get it and smoke it. They wouldn't be blowing all their money on something that can send them to jail.

"The other replied: "Nah, this isn't Metallica, they're stoned, not drunk."

That isn't even accurate. My brother was extremely violent when he was on drugs.

"That's saying a lot too, since beers are $7"

That's one way to end the alcohol problem. I quit smoking when I first went to Canada and tried to buy a pack of cigarettes. He charged me $14.50 and I said "No thanks, I'm cured."

"Well, again, I'll draw parallels to alcohol. It's obviously not a good idea for a woman to drink or do any drugs (including smoking, which is especially harmful) while pregnant, yet women are allowed to do what they want."

Not true. Women are actually encouraged to drink a glass of wine while pregnant. Besides, we are not talking only about a pregnant woman. We are talking about a mother who is addicted to heroin or crack. You are saying this should be legal?

Anonymous said...

On marijuana not being physically addictive:

"I don't buy that. If it were true, people wouldn't be going to the extremes they go to in order to get it and smoke it. They wouldn't be blowing all their money on something that can send them to jail."

What do you define as 'extremes'? Knowing someone that can get it for you? Growing it? It's not terribly expensive either, and due to its increased potency (thanks, quixotic war on drugs!) is actually healthier, since you smoke less.

If you're going to claim that marijuana is physically addictive, you're going to need to provide studies that prove that it is. According to the US Institute of Medicine it's not physically addictive. It's actually quite hard to find non-biased information on this subject, but it's worth noting that the Nixon administration found that it was not physically addictive.

"That isn't even accurate. My brother was extremely violent when he was on drugs."

So pot made him violent? He wasn't on anything else? I'm not trying to be mean, but does he also have a personality disorder? This pretty much flies in the face of everything else I've read on the subject, though I suppose yuor brother could be a statistical outlier. I believe pot is the drug the security guards were talking about, as Phish heads aren't known for much else other than weed and hallucinogens. It's not like they're meth-heads or anything.

"Women are actually encouraged to drink a glass of wine while pregnant. "

Maybe if their doctor isn't up on the latest evidence. Even light drinking can cause problems I've never heard of this, every woman I know completely abstains from alcohol during pregnancy. The whole pregnancy angle is a moot point, because under today's laws, a woman has to admit a crime to get proper treatment, and many aren't willing to do so. Addiction during pregnancy and with children happens right now, so I don't see how the current situation improves things at all. This is why we need a system in place to help addicts. Addiction is a health issue, not a criminal one.

"That's one way to end the alcohol problem. I quit smoking when I first went to Canada and tried to buy a pack of cigarettes. He charged me $14.50 and I said "No thanks, I'm cured."

Excellent, my godfather tried to quit for 20 years, and it was the toughest thing he's ever done. To this day, almost 15 years after his last puff, he still craves the smell and taste of a cigarette. It's also interesting that he just stopped smoking weed one day. Just like that. Also, high price won't cure the problem. There was a time in America when alcohol was dangerous and extremely expensive. Oddly, even though alcohol was illegal, you could buy cocaine at the corner drugstore.

-scohen

Jake said...

Drinking alcohol doesn't burn giant holes in your brain. Marijuana does.

No, it really doesn't. I'm sorry, but you're wrong about this. Marijuana, like most intoxicants, works by messing with the levels of different neurotransmitters. It doesn't "burn giant holes" in anything, except your clothes if you leave a lit joint sitting on them.

I'd love to know where you got this information, because it's simply false.

If a person had a hole the size of your fist (or even my fist, or even a five-year-old's fist) in their brain they would show serious and permanent brain dysfunction. Not being kind of stupid, *serious* dysfunction.

My brother was extremely violent when he was on drugs.
I don't doubt it. There are a lot of drugs that will make a person violent. Marijuana just isn't one of them.

highboy said...

Short term effects of marijuana.

Is marijuana addictive?

"Yes. Long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction in some people. That is, they cannot control their urges to seek out and use marijuana, even though it negatively affects their family relationships, school performance, and recreational activities (9). According to one study, marijuana use by teenagers who have prior antisocial problems can quickly lead to addiction (3). In addition, some frequent, heavy marijuana users develop “tolerance” to its effects. This means they need larger and larger amounts of marijuana to get the same desired effects as they used to get from smaller amounts."

" Smoking marijuana causes some changes in the brain that are like those caused by cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. Scientists are still learning about the many ways that marijuana can affect the brain."

You can also look at an X-Ray of a pothead and see the big black spots where pieces of his/her brain use to be.

"Maybe if their doctor isn't up on the latest evidence. Even light drinking can cause problems"

Hey, I'll accept that. For the record, I wasn't trying to make a case for imbibing alcohol while pregnant, (my wife sure didn't) just that a lot of doctors actually recommend a glass of wine here and there.

"So pot made him violent? He wasn't on anything else?"

No. He was constantly paranoid that someone was trying to hurt him. Myself and my family were all targets. Paranoia is just another side effect of weed.

"This is why we need a system in place to help addicts."

We have one: rehab. Many who are court ordered to rehabs quit. Many don't, but there you have it. Legalizing drugs certainly wouldn't lower any addiction rates, that's for sure. I realize addictions with pregnant mothers happens now, but legalizing it would stop or lessen that how? We can't have mothers and fathers raising children while hopped up on heroin, cocaine, or even marijuana. Its that simple.

Anonymous said...

"You can also look at an X-Ray of a pothead and see the big black spots where pieces of his/her brain use to be."

This is not true. Provide images if you want to make an outrageous claim like this. People cannot live a normal life with holes in their brain.

It's also important to understand the words the NIDA used when making the case for addiction. Long-term use, 'One study shows', 'Some heavy users' etc... By their logic, some people can be addicted to food, yet I don't hear anyone claim that we should ban cupcakes. Furthermore, I find it highly suspicios that they have so few studies to back up the claims since hundreds have been done over the past 30 years. Why are they not represented? Like I said, unbiased information is difficult to find, especially from a government sponsored web site that has an obvious (and dare I say it, not entirely evil) agenda. I do wish they wouldn't mislead teenagers though. While I agree that teens shouldn't be smoking weed, lying to them makes the problem worse.

I'm not saying that pot is harmless, no drug is, but it's certainly less harmful than either cigarettes or alcohol. Physical addiction is unheard of, you can't overdose, it's inexpensive, can be grown locally and has useful industrial byproducts. Eliminating weed alone from the hands of criminals will take billions out of their hands and put that money into tax revenue, which in my book is a win-win situation.

"No. He was constantly paranoid that someone was trying to hurt him. Myself and my family were all targets. Paranoia is just another side effect of weed."

For some people, slight paranoia is a side effect of weed, but it should only last while the person is under its influence. Is this drug tolerable for everyone? Of course not, but neither is alcohol. I'm not advocating mandatory drug use here --far from it. What I'm trying to do is advocate a sane drug policy that reduces criminality and helps people get off drugs without fear.

"I realize addictions with pregnant mothers happens now, but legalizing it would stop or lessen that how?"

First off, I'm not for legalization, I'm for decriminalization, which is much like the status alcohol enjoys today. This policy will help lessen addiction by removing the ever present threat of incarceration from the mix, since right now admitting to a drug problem means you are also a criminal. Imagine what would happen if we locked up alcoholics --do you think they'd get better or worse? More importantly, do you think prison will help them or hurt them?

I know this will surprise you, but not everyone that tries a drug turns into a addict. I know many smart, productive, gainfully employed people who enjoy the occasional puff or two. They don't have holes in their brains (one of them was the validictorian of his college class of 6000 people --never got an A- ever, another graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering, yet another is probably the smartest person I know) and some of them are even parents. They keep it away from the kids, naturally, but I don't think you can make a case that they're negligent abusers of drugs. We have plenty of data on this, most european countries have decriminalized certain drugs (almost all 'soft' drugs and several 'hard' ones), and their addiction rates actually went down over time.

Since the tenth grade, I've been skeptical of the status of pot in this country. The points you bring up are exactly what I've considered since then. Are you saying that my girlfriend's mother's life was somehow better because her father was addicted to alcohol as opposed to another drug? Was his addiction easier to fight (he never stopped drinking, btw)? Was he less violent? Did it affect his body in ways that are somehow not as harmful as any other illegal drug? If we want to get serious about treating addiction, let's get serious about doing it, and remove it from the purview of the criminal justice system, and instead place it in the healthcare system where it belongs.

By the way, it seems to me that a black and white kind of guy would have an obvious reaction to my argument: Ban cigarettes and alcohol. That would also make a consistent drug policy, but I think that you will agree that it wouldn't be 'sane'.

-scohen

Jake said...

"No. He was constantly paranoid that someone was trying to hurt him. Myself and my family were all targets. Paranoia is just another side effect of weed."

If I have a single cup of coffee I get so anxious I literally can't sit still. I get confused and will huddle in a ball, afraid of everything. I get so claustrophobic I tear at my own skin. I feel like my whole life is falling apart, and entertain suicidal thoughts.

So tell me. By your logic, why shouldn't caffeine be illegal? It may not have that effect on most people, but if your brother's aberrant reaction to marijuana is justification for its criminalization, is my aberrant reaction to caffeine justification for criminilizing it? If not, why not? What's the difference?

creeper said...

"For the record, I wasn't trying to make a case for imbibing alcohol while pregnant, (my wife sure didn't) just that a lot of doctors actually recommend a glass of wine here and there."

If memory serves, the doctor's recommendation was no booze at all during pregnancy, but during early stages of labor a glass of wine was recommended for relaxation.

creeper said...

It's always funny to see someone who claims to be all black and white and not one of them moral relativist types being presented with difficult questions.

highboy said...

"Like I said, unbiased information is difficult to find, especially from a government sponsored web site that has an obvious (and dare I say it, not entirely evil) agenda. I do wish they wouldn't mislead teenagers though. While I agree that teens shouldn't be smoking weed, lying to them makes the problem worse."

I fail to see how they're lying to teens. They gave the information with facts to back it up. If you choose not to accept their studies in light of someone else's, that's fine, but that hardly makes them liars.

"I'm not saying that pot is harmless, no drug is, but it's certainly less harmful than either cigarettes or alcohol."

You have not proven that sir, and that is definitely debatable.

"Physical addiction is unheard of"

We have just shown otherwise. This conspiracy notion you have that the National Institute of Drug Abuse is just making this stuff up is entertaining, but I have a hard time buying it. Though I'm sure the two of us could have an interesting discussion about goverment programs that feed themselves. But I won't go there now, we have enough to talk about with this.

"it's inexpensive,"

Expensive enough to keep families from paying their bills because they are too busy buying the pot they are supposedly not addicted too.

"Are you saying that my girlfriend's mother's life was somehow better because her father was addicted to alcohol as opposed to another drug?"

No. I'm saying it was about the same. I'm the only person in my family that wasn't in rehab for alcohol or drugs at least 3 times. Its all the same.

"By the way, it seems to me that a black and white kind of guy would have an obvious reaction to my argument: Ban cigarettes and alcohol."

No, for two reasons. 1.) Cigarettes don't impair judgement so as to endanger the lives of those around them. 2.) Alcohol is only dangerous when it is abused.

"
So tell me. By your logic, why shouldn't caffeine be illegal?"

For one, you are only hurting yourself in that little hypothetical. (or true story, whichever it is) Now by your logic, should we just make EVERYTHING legal?

"It's always funny to see someone who claims to be all black and white and not one of them moral relativist types being presented with difficult questions."

What difficult question was that?

Anonymous said...

"I fail to see how they're lying to teens"

When you have say, forty studies saying one thing, then you have an outlier study, funded by a group with a specific agenda saying another totally different thing, and then you ONLY present that study while leaving out the rest, that's lying.

"We have just shown otherwise. This conspiracy notion you have that the National Institute of Drug Abuse is just making this stuff up is entertaining, but I have a hard time buying it. Though I'm sure the two of us could have an interesting discussion about goverment programs that feed themselves. But I won't go there now, we have enough to talk about with this."

It's not a conspiracy notion at all, it happens all the time. They trumpet the one result that agree with them (and the one they paid for), and ignore the rest. This exact tactic happens everywhere, the software industry, politics, Radar's front page... I provided a link to a study produced by the Institute of Medicine that directly contradicts their carefully worded claims. The IOM study also reaches the same conclusion as many other studies in this area, including the one undertaken by the Nixon administration, but that was back when science was science, and not politics.

"Expensive enough to keep families from paying their bills because they are too busy buying the pot they are supposedly not addicted too."

Oh Tim, thank you for that, it was hilarious. You obviously have no idea how little it costs, or what true addiction is. My sister is a social worker, and do you know how many pot-addicted people she needs to help out? Zero. Do you know what happens if someone doesn't get weed? Nothing. They don't get sick, they don't shake, they don't vomit or feel like there are insects crawling under their skin. They can go to work the next day and be productive, and nothing you've provided says otherwise. Where do you get your information on this issue? I'm not trying to insult you here or anything, but did you just make up the example of a family not being able to pay their bills because they bought weed?

On a more serious note, how expensive do you think it would be if you were allowed to grow it yourself? How much of the cost is solely due to its illegality? You do understand that by making it illegal, we're providing a very strong economic incentive for people to grow it, right?

"No, for two reasons. 1.) Cigarettes don't impair judgement so as to endanger the lives of those around them."

Actually, they do endanger those around them as second hand smoke causes health problems even for people who don't smoke. Cigarettes also cost this country billions of dollars in health care costs every year.

"2.) Alcohol is only dangerous when it is abused."

Tell that to the family from my high school who was killed by a drunk driver while they were coming home from winter break. He wasn't an alcoholic, just a guy who had way too much to drink at a party. Also be sure to tell my friend Jeremiah, who paralyzed himself on his motorcycle after drinking two beers. Smart, no, but certainly not abuse. For the record, I never drink and ride my motorcycle... Ever.

"No. I'm saying it was about the same. I'm the only person in my family that wasn't in rehab for alcohol or drugs at least 3 times. Its all the same."

Thank you, That's exactly the point I've been trying to make.

If it's all the same, why criminalize some drugs and decriminalize others?

-scohen

creeper said...

Highboy,

"What difficult question was that?"

The one most recently paraphrased as "why criminalize some drugs and decriminalize others?", obviously.

highboy said...

"You obviously have no idea how little it costs, or what true addiction is."

Oh, yes I do. That is why my in-laws are being evicted for the 4th time in as many years. They can never pay rent but they always seem to have weed...

That is why I dedicated my post about marijuana to my in-laws. Do you know how I ended up marrying my wife? Because she had to leave her home. Her parents could never seem to afford food or rent and bill money, but always seemed to have weed and $40 cartons of Newports.

""2.) Alcohol is only dangerous when it is abused."

Tell that to the family from my high school who was killed by a drunk driver while they were coming home from winter break. He wasn't an alcoholic, just a guy who had way too much to drink at a party."

Um, that's abuse scohen.

""What difficult question was that?"

The one most recently paraphrased as "why criminalize some drugs and decriminalize others?", obviously."

Hell creeper, that's not difficult. Criminalize them. If it endangers other people I have no qualms at all about it. Keep in mind, again, we are not just talking about decriminalizing marijuana, we are talking about decriminalizing ALL drugs. Cases can be legitimately made for pot smokers who are still productive, at least to an extent, or not negligent. But heroin? Crack? I volunteer at a rape and crisis center and there is no way what these people are doing should not be criminalized. Are we honestly saying heroin addicts raising children should be LEGAL?

Anonymous said...

"Oh, yes I do. That is why my in-laws are being evicted for the 4th time in as many years. They can never pay rent but they always seem to have weed..."

and my friend makes $300k per year, and has no trouble paying his rent, should why should he not be able to smoke a little weed now and then because your inlaws are irresponsible? Once again, the exact same argument can be made for alcohol.

So, does making marijuana illegal make it hard for your inlaws to buy it (doesn't seem like it), or does it just make it more expensive? What's really sad is that they could stop it if they really wanted to, they just don't want to stop --it's probably the only good thing in their lives, which must really suck if the choice is weed or rent. Do they live in a $50 per month apartment, or do they smoke a tremendous amount of weed? For example, for me to smoke my rent in weed would require me to smoke around four pounds per month. What's more, your argument seems to be along the lines of "Some people are irresponsible, so no one should be allowed to use it.", which seems pretty nanny-state to me. Where are all those old-timey libertarian conservatives when you need 'em?

"But heroin? Crack? I volunteer at a rape and crisis center and there is no way what these people are doing should not be criminalized"

I could make the exact same point about alcohol. Read the article I linked to earlier about productive heroin addicts. Again, I wouldn't do it, but it can be done.

"Um, that's abuse scohen."

Well, if that's abuse, then we should make driving while high a crime. That sounds perfectly reasonable to me. However, I think we might already have a law against that.

"Hell creeper, that's not difficult. Criminalize them."

So you're for criminializing cigarettes and alcohol then? Or are you just softening up to decriminalizing pot?

"But heroin? Crack?"

Admittedly, that's a tougher sell, but keep in mind that crack would most likely cease to exist in a decriminalized market, as cocaine would be cheaper. You also have to understand that this is a more hypothetical argument for me, I don't really want heroin and crack to be legal, but it seems to me that the current system of banning them outright isn't working either. It drives up their prices, makes drug lords rich, creates incentives to reduce purity, causes violence and crime and we waste an enormous amount of money in a sisyphean attempt to keep drugs off the street. As long as we make them available in a black market, someone, somewhere will produce the product --there's too much money involved not to. Furthermore, I'm not sure what a 'sane' drug policy would even look like, but I do have some ideas.

Maybe if you bought heroin or another 'hard' drug, the seller would be required by law to notify your doctor to ensure you don't destroy yourself. Then again, I'm not entirely sure the self-destruction that sometimes happens with the hard drugs is a consequence of the drugs themselves or the consequences of their illicit nature. Being the pragmatist, it's probably a little of both forged in the crucible of the person taking them.

Think we can make it to 100 posts before radar gets back?

-scohen

highboy said...

"Think we can make it to 100 posts before radar gets back?"

We can give it a shot.

"So you're for criminializing cigarettes and alcohol then? Or are you just softening up to decriminalizing pot?"

I would personally rather criminalize the cigarettes and alcohol than decriminalize heroin and marijuana. You could sell me on marijuana you see, but never on heroin or crack, cocaine, etc...

creeper said...

Highboy,

"Hell creeper, that's not difficult. Criminalize them."

Okay. So you're in favor of prohbition. Good, that's nicely absolute. (not Absolut)

scohen: "2.) Alcohol is only dangerous when it is abused."

Tell that to the family from my high school who was killed by a drunk driver while they were coming home from winter break. He wasn't an alcoholic, just a guy who had way too much to drink at a party."

Highboy: "Um, that's abuse scohen."


If your argument is that something shouldn't be criminalized because it is only dangerous as soon as you consume more than X quantity of it, then that applies to other drugs as well:

"Heroin is only dangerous when it is abused."

"Cocaine is only dangerous when it is abused."

And if you want to define abuse as "having had too much at a party", then alcohol is very easily abused (and at some point or other abused by virtually every one who uses this drug), and by your logic certainly should be criminalized.

"Do you know how I ended up marrying my wife? Because she had to leave her home. Her parents could never seem to afford food or rent and bill money, but always seemed to have weed and $40 cartons of Newports."

Coulda just had her move in with you, dude. About your in-laws: have they considered growing their own weed? That way they could start dealing and offset some of the costs, as well as their own consumption. With a bit of luck and entrepreneurial skill they could even use that to pay their bills and rent.

Jake said...

It sounds to me like your inlaws have trouble prioritizing and making smart decisions. That happens to some people, pot or no.

Try to tell me that there aren't people out there who get evicted and can't pay the rent, but always seem to have vodka. Sure, that's abuse of alcohol. And what your inlaws are doing is abuse of marijuana. There is a subset of the population that just can't keep their life in order. For that subset, drugs make a good excuse, but it's frequently not the cause.

I still fail to see how your inlaws' inability to keep their lives together should mean that I can't have my occasional (or even not-so-occasional) joint.

I'm also still waiting for you to either support or retract your statement that marijuana burns holes the size of your fist in the brains of the smoker.

Jake said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jake said...

shorter tim

xiangtao said...

How about the people who can't pay rent but are always buying new movies or video games or shoes or anything else you like. This is not addiction, it is simply bad budgeting decisions.

highboy said...

Sorry y'all, haven't been negligent, just working.

Jake, what is the link you posted? Its not working for me for some reason.

Check this out.

Creeper: Growing pot is illegal and if my in-laws ever did it I'd have the cops on their asses so fast it would break the sound barrier.

U.K Taking a second look.

highboy said...

"Coulda just had her move in with you, dude.

I did. I married her later. It was wrong, but I wasn't always a Christian.

Anonymous said...

Tim,
Could you please post a scientific study rather than a snazzy flash animation that has exactly zero references? It seems most of the links you send are for teens --why is this? Give me some scientific data that I can sink my teeth into, not some site that tells me that people smoke weed to because of the media or a desire to fit in. This is exactly the patronizing propoganda that first made me question the veracity of the message we were being spoon fed regarding pot. It's virtually fact-free.

I used bugmenot to get the entire text of the article in the second link you provided (emphasis mine):

"The results of the studies he cites are highly contentious (see "Too much, too young"). In the first, the conclusion rests on only three people. The second uses such a broad definition of psychosis that it would probably apply to millions of people who have never touched cannabis or suffered serious mental illness.

These studies do not add any significant insights into the impact of cannabis on mental health. They do not, for example, show unequivocally that the drug ever causes schizophrenia in an otherwise healthy person. What they do highlight is the possibility that cannabis may increase the risk of psychosis in a small group of young people.

Should the law on cannabis be toughened up to protect this minority? Cannabis was reclassified to foster better policing, and that still holds. If we are going to make drugs policy on health grounds alone, surely we should start with tobacco and alcohol, both of which exact a huge toll of misery and disease."


Not quite what you expected, is it?

Finally, alcohol and cigarettes have well known and equally scary side effects, my grandfather died of lung cancer, and it wasn't a painless death. No one is saying pot is harmless, just that the harm it causes isn't enough to justify its illegality.

Shame about ratting out your inlaws in Creeper's hilarious hypothetical situation though. They're just growing a plant. That blows my mind --the government tells you that you can't grow a plant. I hope that they don't make a case in the future that you can become addicted to tomatoes, otherwise I'm in serious trouble.

-scohen

creeper said...

"Growing pot is illegal and if my in-laws ever did it I'd have the cops on their asses so fast it would break the sound barrier."

I take it your in-laws and yerself aren't the best of chums. Just make sure they know that so they'll make sure to hide the goodies from you.

Though, um, for a black and white, absolute morality kind of guy such as you like to say you are, riddle me this:

You'd be happy to get them arrested for growing weed, but you've clearly tolerated their use of smoking vast amounts of dope for a number of years. Where do you see the clear line that makes one acceptable and the other worth calling the cops over? Why aren't your in-laws in jail right now? If they're not, that is - but then they wouldn't have a rent problem. Why aren't they getting busted on a weekly basis, courtesy of a little phone call from their loving son-in-law?

All it takes is a phone call, dude. Quit equivocating and stop tolerating crime.

BTW, I'm sure it must have caused a chuckle in their household when you told them your last name - and when their own daughter later became privileged to hold that name. The laughs they must have had over the wedding announcement! :-) :-)

"I did. I married her later. It was wrong, but I wasn't always a Christian."

Why was it wrong? What would the right thing to do have been?

That little 3D animation is very cute and even very mildly informative, but what about those "holes the size of a fist" in the brain you were talking about? I'd love to see a rotating 3D model of that, along with the relevant scientific studies of course.

Anonymous said...

"Why was it wrong? What would the right thing to do have been?"

Come on Creeper, I think we both know why he now considers it wrong, even though it was a very respectable and dare I say it, nice, thing to do.

I'm starting to think that Tim isn't as black and white as he thinks he is. Unless he's saying that because of his Christianity if it happened now, his girlfriend would be out of luck and out on the street.

I certainly hope that's not the case, and if it is, I hope his wife never finds this thread.

Tim: Was the fist-sized hole just hyperbole (that's how I took it), or do you actually have evidence to back it up?

-scohen

highboy said...

"Why aren't your in-laws in jail right now?"

The police actually have to catch you with the pot, creeper. I've called the cops, and even the drug hotline. They have been monitored, but police can't arrest them without catching them with the pot, and they can't get a warrant to search their house based on an anonymous phone call.

"That blows my mind --the government tells you that you can't grow a plant"

It blows my mind that people risk fines and jail time just to smoke "a plant." Especially if they're not addicted to it.

"I'm starting to think that Tim isn't as black and white as he thinks he is. Unless he's saying that because of his Christianity if it happened now, his girlfriend would be out of luck and out on the street."

No, I guess what I mean to say is that the things we did when we moved in together were wrong.

"Tim: Was the fist-sized hole just hyperbole (that's how I took it), or do you actually have evidence to back it up?"

You could say it was hyperbole, based on the concept that marijuana burns away LOTS of brain cells.

And don't knock my animation link. I thought it was cool.

Anonymous said...

Tim, that link doesn't say that it burns away brain cells, it says it alters brain pathways in teenagers. It also claims a causation, when only a correlation is established, and for a minority of people at that. There are people that will die if they drink alcohol and others that will die if they eat peanuts. Should we ban them as well?

Regardless, is someone here saying that teens should have unfettered access to marijuana?

"It blows my mind that people risk fines and jail time just to smoke "a plant." Especially if they're not addicted to it."

Does it also surprise you that people didn't immediately stop drinking during the prohibition? Was everyone that drank during those years an alcoholic? I seem to recall that much like our drug war, the prohibition was a total failure.

-scohen

creeper said...

Your animation is cool, but it doesn't back up that stuff you were saying about holes the size of a fist. Maybe you could post a link backing up that claim.

"The police actually have to catch you with the pot, creeper."

For heaven's sake, highboy (an increasingly hilarious moniker you've picked, btw.), quit making excuses.

You're aware of a crime going on that amounts to substantial amounts of marijuana being consumed - we're talking the level of someone's friggin' rent here - and you know the exact address where this crime is taking place every single day of the week.

Heck, if you're still welcome in that house, you probably know where they hide the stuff, or you could find out. And here you are hiding behind "anonymous phone calls" and not being able to catch these massive drug addicts with the goods?!

Take pictures, prepare evidence, find out where the stash is, go to the cops with something real, something they can use.

I don't know how you sleep at night knowing that that crime is being committed every single day.

Anonymous said...

"that link doesn't say that it burns away brain cells, it says it alters brain pathways in teenagers."

And as it turns out, you can probably say the same for alcohol - worse, maybe (at least binge drinking):

" . . . .In fact, a mounting body of scientific evidence is showing that young drinkers like Volkmann may be damaging their brains. . . .

. . . Researchers like White say studies now confirm that the delicate, developing teenage brain is much more susceptible than the adult brain to the toxic effects of alcohol.

"The brain is developing during adolescence," White says. "Whenever a brain is developing, it's vulnerable to the disruptive effects of alcohol. Pregnant women don't drink for that reason."

Studies show that disruption causes problems with important cognitive skills like attention, learning and memory.

"Adolescence is the most important period of life for learning," White says. "It's not the time you want to be blocking the ability of the brain to change with experience — and that's exactly what alcohol does. . . ."

We're not nearly at 100 comments yet, guys. Better pick up the pace! : )

Just to drag in something from another thead from Drum's Political Animal (CalPundit, back in the old days), there was a bit of discussion about social conservatives being divided into two main groups:
Neo-Victorians including most of "the old-line, country-club, WASP/Episcopalian Establishment Republicans [and many] neocons", who don't really care so much about sex and drugs and such, as long as it's kept under wraps: "I suspect most of us, growing up, knew kids from nice, respectable, upper-middle-class families whose parents tacitly condoned their sexual and pharmaceutical adventures...provided they kept their grades up and didn't get arrested, or their names/faces in the papers."

Neo-Puritans, who would rather drag sin out into the light and watch it shrivel up. The writer makes the interesting point that this is much more common among blue collar evangelicals - the folks who can't afford to mess up, who don't have the social/economic/cultural safety net.

_______

Completely tangential thought for the day: I'm betting that most people who actively don't accept evolution, who have no patience for the idea of one 'kind' changing into another - biological essentialism - are rather more likely to see the U.S. as being good in essence (and hence any criticism as unpatriotic), as opposed to seeing it as being good (or not) because of what it does, and as a work in progress, with criticism often being a patriotic act intended into lead to positive change . . .
(See excellent blog post at Mixing Memory on Two Types of Patriotism)

Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

"I'm betting that most people who actively don't accept evolution, who have no patience for the idea of one 'kind' changing into another - biological essentialism - are rather more likely to see the U.S. as being good in essence"

Why do you think that? Is it because of the present company?

Interesting article, btw... I've always considered myself a patriot, though now I'll have to qualify that as a 'constructive patriot'. Likewise, I'll have to admit I've never understood 'Blind patriotism', as it seems to require a perfect state, and we're far from that.

-scohen

highboy said...

Creeper, you're ridiculous. Its not an excuse, ITS THE LAW. You can call the cops but if the cops don't catch them then what? How am I suppose to take pictures without breaking into their house? Do you really think they give police search warrants on the testimony of a pissed off son-in-law? Please. Your sarcasm is noted, but the fact remains that pot users are criminals, and I see no reason to change that. Pot users are like any other addict, they are an endangerment to those around them. Disagree all you like, but I haven't seen any evidence to suggest otherwise.

creeper said...

"Its not an excuse, ITS THE LAW."

That's right, and you're in a position to do this according to the law.

"You can call the cops but if the cops don't catch them then what?"

Why wouldn't they catch them? They know where they live, and there's weed there, right?

"How am I suppose to take pictures without breaking into their house?"

Like I said, that depends on whether you're still welcome in their house. Generally you don't have to break into the house of a relative to get inside, but who knows, maybe they don't like you that much. If they haven't disowned their own daughter, perhaps she could help out - unless she's not so keen on sending her parents to jail (in which case I wonder what she thinks about your attempts to get them arrested).

Anyway, there are some mighty tiny cameras on the market these days. You could maybe bake an apple pie and bring it over to their house and act all nice and then take pictures while they're not looking.

"Do you really think they give police search warrants on the testimony of a pissed off son-in-law? Please."

I thought it was an anonymous phone call.

"Your sarcasm is noted, but the fact remains that pot users are criminals, and I see no reason to change that. Pot users are like any other addict, they are an endangerment to those around them. Disagree all you like, but I haven't seen any evidence to suggest otherwise."

You still haven't been able to square that with the double standard that exists re. alcohol.

Anonymous said...

"Disagree all you like, but I haven't seen any evidence to suggest otherwise."

Shouldn't you provide evidence that this is true first? It's not our obligation to disprove any claim that you make off the top of your head (pot makes fist-sized holes in the brain, alcohol is good during pregnancy, crime is at high levels... ), you need to show us some evidence that they're based in reality. So far, your case for the legal status of alcohol with respect to the illegal status of pot (or any other drug for that matter) doesn't have a single argument behind it that cannot also be applied equally to alcohol.

You're also going to have to provide evidence that someone doing a drug in the privacy of their own home is a danger to anyone else. This will be difficult because we'll most likely be able to remove all references to marijuana, replace them with alcohol, and not change the outcome, the moral, or the plausbility of the scenario.

Tim, what we've done here is to give you a clear-cut example of morality not being black and white. The line we set on drug policy is not health-based, it's entirely arbitrary (and actually fairly racist), and from where I sit, the two black and white positions are "ban all drugs" and "leagalize all drugs" --every other option is a shade of grey.

Welcome to greysville

-scohen

highboy said...

Scohen: I have provided a valid source, and a powerful one at that, that discussed the effects of marijuana, the National Institute of Drug Abuse. If you don't consider this credible, I don't know what to tell you. But considering alcohol fine in moderation while at the same time condemning pot outright is not "grey". I have not seen any evidence that pot is anything but harmful in any kind of usage, whereas alcohol has to be abused to be dangerous. That's the difference.

"The line we set on drug policy is not health-based, it's entirely arbitrary (and actually fairly racist),"

What!!??

creeper said...

"But considering alcohol fine in moderation while at the same time condemning pot outright is not "grey". I have not seen any evidence that pot is anything but harmful in any kind of usage, whereas alcohol has to be abused to be dangerous."

To state the obvious: you have not provided any evidence that pot is harmful in any way beyond the effects of alcohol. Still looking forward to that rotating 3D model of pretty vast holes in the brain, accompanied by substantive scientific studies. But I guess that won't happen, much as it would be a hit on MetaFilter.

Both alcohol and marijuana are not exactly beneficial in moderation (though both pleasurable), and harmful when used in excess. I'll agree with scohen that alcohol is the more harmful of the two, by far.

Where exactly you seem to find that hard line is a mystery that your amazing black and white understanding of the world has not been able to clarify. You make claims, but are unable to back them up.

How is pot not fine in moderation while alcohol is? How is cocaine not fine in moderation? How is whiskey fine in moderation? What is moderation? How does one slip from moderate use to abuse, and which drugs are most likely to make that happen?

And how about that study about the holes the size of a fist?

Source?

Anonymous said...

So, Tim, is it your assertion that all users of pot are addicts? Are you suggesting that it has an addiction rate of 100%, which exceeds Heroin, Cocaine, Crack, Cigarettes and Meth? Where do you get your evidence for this?

"I have not seen any evidence that pot is anything but harmful in any kind of usage, whereas alcohol has to be abused to be dangerous."

Except, of course, the evidence I provided you from the Institute of medicine and the Nixon administration, all of which you promptly ignored. All the studies you provided are for teens, and there remain valid reasons not to allow teens access to any drugs (including alcohol) while their brains are still developing. However, that logic breaks down for adults.

This report that compares Amsterdam and San Francisco's pot usage, and finds that "Most users reported a maximum-use period of 2 to 3 years, after which the vast majority sharply reduced their frequency of use or stopped altogether."

Does that look like an addictive drug? No, it does not. Furthermore, something has to show that it's not harmful in order to make your short list of approved drugs? Well, cigarettes are right out then. I can't think of a single positive effect that cigarettes have for either the smoker or for those around them, unlike marijuana. Here's another study (funded by NIDA no less, why wasn't this mentioned on their page?) that says marijuana smokers don't have an increased risk of cancer.

"But considering alcohol fine in moderation while at the same time condemning pot outright is not "grey""

If that's what you have to do to make your internal monologue consistently black and white, then go for it, but it just ignores reality. If people can use alcohol, heroin and cocaine responsibly, then they can use marijuana responsibly as well. What would you say to the person who smokes only on the weekend? Every other weekend? Once a month? Are they all addicts? Note, answering yes to this question automatically confers the title of 'addict' upon anyone who consumes alcohol on the same schedule.

"The line we set on drug policy is not health-based, it's entirely arbitrary (and actually fairly racist),"

"What!!??"

Do some reasearch and find out why certain drugs are illegal and some aren't. Believe it or not, it's not because some are 'bad', a lot of times it has to do with racism against a particular group of people who use the drug in question --other times it's because cheap and plentiful paper is a threat to someone who owns paper mills.

-scohen

creeper said...

I don't know how many days it's been since highboy first made that claim about marijuana making fist-sized holes in one's brain (for some reason blogspot only puts down the time of day, not the date, from where I'm looking) - but since he's been unable to back it up for, by my reckoning, at least 2-3 days now, is it fair to ask:

Highboy: will you retract this claim or back it up?

(On a sidenote, Highboy, I'd like to know what is stopping you from outing your in-laws as criminals. Just curious. Perhaps making the matter known to their neighbors would make their consumption a little more difficult.)

Jake said...

Highboy: will you retract this claim or back it up?
I asked that already in this thread. No such luck.

Highboy, I can think of at least 3 people off the top of my head who smoke pot several times a day and are nonetheless productive members of society who are fully capable of keeping their lives in order. If you reduce that frequency to a few times a week/month/year, then the number skyrockets. In fact, pretty much everyone I know smokes pot at least sometimes (this is Montreal, after all). Sure, I know some pot smokers who can't keep their lives together for anything, but since they have pot-smoking in common with , like I said, pretty much everyone I know, it is reasonable to conclude that there is probably an independent reason for their inability to manage their lives.

Look, we can sling anecdotal evidence at each other till the cows come home, but if you don't have any properly controlled studies to back it up, nothing is getting accomplished. Creeper and scohen have already provided studies to support our position. You've provided crapulent animation with no references, aimed at people 10+ years your junior. Is it any wonder you're not seen as credible?

Anonymous said...

Damn, Radar is back and we only have 76 comments. I blame the liberal media.

What happened to highboy? This was still interesting.

-scohen

creeper said...

"Creeper and scohen have already provided studies to support our position."

Did I? I thought I was just trying to goad Highboy into getting his in-laws arrested by the not so subtle use of a spy camera and an apple pie. Then again, 70-odd comments down the line, I may have said just about anything, and I don't feel like checking it now.

As for Highboy's absence, preceded by his repeated inability to back up his claims with anything concrete, is simple capitulation.

creeper said...

If Dan S. now throws in a comment and actually makes each couple of paragraphs a separate post, we'll have a hundred posts in no time!

Go for it, Dan, gwan.

creeper said...

And we've hit 80! Or as the French say, four times twenty.

Anonymous said...

I don't get where Dan went, I had a question for him above.

Maybe Dan and highboy are the same person, and they're trapped somewhere and need our help.

By the way Creeper, I don't think Tim is the capitulatin' type.

-scohen

creeper said...

"By the way Creeper, I don't think Tim is the capitulatin' type."

I agree with you there, but when you run out of ammo, you run out of ammo.

Whoa: "Twaid".

highboy said...

Okay, I said before that the whole "holes and fist" thing was hyperbole. I answered this question when scohen specifically asked me if it was hyperbole, which is how he took it. Find a new argument. I realize you guys like to harp on this as its all you have in your arsenal, but I have already shown how pot is harmful. You say its not as harmful as alcohol, but have yet to prove it. You have also not proven how pot is NOT harmful even in moderation. Disregarding my source because the quote I cited was directed at teens is not exactly objective, especially when its the National Institute of Drug Abuse. There is more to that site than what I quoted. Pretty sure they would know what they are talking about, but you believe in the big conspiracy theory that they are only feeding themselves if you want to.

"Do some reasearch and find out why certain drugs are illegal and some aren't. Believe it or not, it's not because some are 'bad', a lot of times it has to do with racism against a particular group of people who use the drug in question --other times it's because cheap and plentiful paper is a threat to someone who owns paper mills."

And we have the tin foil hat on extra tight again I see.

"On a sidenote, Highboy, I'd like to know what is stopping you from outing your in-laws as criminals. Just curious."

Okay, one more time: The law has to catch them with drugs. Period. I have no way of gathering evidence to condemn them. I have called the police, drug hotlines, and so on. If you want to know why they haven't been arrested, call the Altoona Police Department.

"Highboy, I can think of at least 3 people off the top of my head who smoke pot several times a day and are nonetheless productive members of society who are fully capable of keeping their lives in order"

Sure you do.

"(this is Montreal, after all"

As a matter of fact I know a few potheads from Montreal that I wouldn't trust with a mop job. (You guys drive crazy by the way. Maybe the pot is a good reason why?)

"Look, we can sling anecdotal evidence at each other till the cows come home, but if you don't have any properly controlled studies to back it up, nothing is getting accomplished."

No, once again, I provided information from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. If you want to claim that they are not "properly controlled" studies, or not credible, you'll have to show why.

"Is it any wonder you're not seen as credible?"

Says who? You and two other people on one site? Please. Considering the amount of blogging I do, with my own blog and others, you are in the minority.

"As for Highboy's absence, preceded by his repeated inability to back up his claims with anything concrete, is simple capitulation."

Or it could be he has a job, a wife, and a baby, and a number of volunteer jobs to juggle. Sorry if trying to show a pothead or two why pot is bad isn't at the top of my list of priorities. The only claim by the way, that I didn't back up, was an obvious exaggeration. But you keep harping on it if it makes you feel like you've won a debate for once.

"Maybe Dan and highboy are the same person, and they're trapped somewhere and need our help."

Dan's gonna be pissed at that insult.

For those who think the NIDA source I cited for teens has no credibility, then hereis a more "mature" cite from the NIDA:

"Long-term marijuana abuse can lead to addiction for some people; that is, they abuse the drug compulsively even though it interferes with family, school, work, and recreational activities. Drug craving and withdrawal symptoms can make it hard for long-term marijuana smokers to stop abusing the drug. People trying to quit report irritability, sleeplessness, and anxiety32. They also display increased aggression on psychological tests, peaking approximately one week after the last use of the drug33."

creeper said...

"I have no way of gathering evidence to condemn them."

Of course you do, Tim. Now you're just being lazy. Or not very creative. Do they or don't they have pot in the house? For Pete's sake, get over there and investigate. Get your wife in on the act. Don't tell me you married a moral relativist.

"Sorry if trying to show a pothead or two why pot is bad isn't at the top of my list of priorities."

I for one am not a pothead. I'll let scohen, jake etc. speak for themselves. Just because I think it's not as harmful on the whole as alcohol doesn't mean I smoke weed on a regular basis.

"The only claim by the way, that I didn't back up, was an obvious exaggeration."

You also failed to back up your claim that marijuana was more harmful than alcohol, which was fairly central to your thesis. But thanks for your retraction of the "fist-sized holes" thing.

"Long-term marijuana abuse can lead to addiction for some people; that is, they abuse the drug compulsively even though it interferes with family, school, work, and recreational activities. Drug craving and withdrawal symptoms can make it hard for long-term marijuana smokers to stop abusing the drug. People trying to quit report irritability, sleeplessness, and anxiety32. They also display increased aggression on psychological tests, peaking approximately one week after the last use of the drug33."

And this doesn't apply to alcohol how exactly?

Anonymous said...

"And we have the tin foil hat on extra tight again I see."

And I see that you still haven't figured out how to work google. Ever find the pictures of the cops by the way? Finding out why marijuana was banned is rather easy, and quite interesting, shame you never bothered. Instead you resorted to name calling, the sign of a lost argument.

"You have also not proven how pot is NOT harmful even in moderation."

That wasn't my assertion, my assertion is that pot isn't as harmful as cigarttes or alcohol and doesn't even come close to approaching the harm that other illegal drugs cause. Actually, if you read my posts, I said it was NOT harmless, but even the Nixon administration found:

"Marihuana's relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it. This judgment is based on prevalent use patterns, on behavior exhibited by the vast majority of users and on our interpretations of existing medical and scientific data. This position also is consistent with the estimate by law enforcement personnel that the elimination of use is unattainable."

...and that was under NIXON. Your assertion, however is that every single user of marijuana is an addict, and from where I sit, that hasn't one iota of evidence to back it up.

"There is more to that site than what I quoted. Pretty sure they would know what they are talking about, but you believe in the big conspiracy theory that they are only feeding themselves if you want to."

I thought this was explained to you. Why didn't NIDA post the study I linked to that could not demonstrate a link between marijuana and cancer? Instead, they claim this: "Smoking marijuana possibly increases the likelihood of developing cancer of the head or neck." even though their own reasearch indicates otherwise. That is one rather large reason to discount their web site. Science is science, and if you fund a study you should accept its results unless there are problems with the methodology (I saw no claims of errors), not post the exact opposite because it comports with the current laws --that's politics.

"Sorry if trying to show a pothead or two why pot is bad isn't at the top of my list of priorities"

So because I don't think marijuana should be illegal, I'm a pothead? Well, by that logic, your defense of alcohol makes you an alcoholic. By the way, I started thinking this way when I was in tenth grade and hadn't even seen pot before.

Here's your quote with all references to pot replaced with alcohol:

Long-term alcohol abuse can lead to addiction for some people; that is, they abuse the drug compulsively even though it interferes with family, school, work, and recreational activities. Drug craving and withdrawal symptoms can make it hard for long-term alcohol drinkers to stop abusing the drug. People trying to quit report irritability, sleeplessness, and anxiety. They also display increased aggression on psychological tests, peaking approximately one week after the last use of the drug.

Aside from the veracity of the peak of aggression, the whole thing is true, and that is why your argument is so weak.

Wait, I was wrong about that --alcohol's withdrawl symptoms are much worse than sleeplessness and anxiety and can include:
Depression
Fever
Rapid heart rate (palpitations)
Difficulty with thinking clearly
A state of confusion and hallucinations (visual) -- known as delirium tremens
"Black outs" -- when the person forgets what happened during the drinking episode

Yep, pot is so much worse.

-scohen

highboy said...

"Of course you do, Tim. Now you're just being lazy. Or not very creative. Do they or don't they have pot in the house? For Pete's sake, get over there and investigate. Get your wife in on the act. Don't tell me you married a moral relativist."

Okay genius, how am I suppose to investigate? Did you miss the part where I said I don't talk to them, and neither does my wife? We want nothing to do with them and they want nothing to do with us. Period. End of subject.

"And this doesn't apply to alcohol how exactly?"

Sure it applies to alcohol. But seeing as how some here have been arguing that there are NO withdrawl symptoms and that weed is not addictive, I find it very relavant.

"And I see that you still haven't figured out how to work google."

I see nothing to point to the idea that its racist. If I'm missing something, feel free to enlighten me, instead of repeating yourself over and over again.

"Finding out why marijuana was banned is rather easy, and quite interesting, shame you never bothered. Instead you resorted to name calling, the sign of a lost argument."

Really? Implying someone is wearing a tin foil hat isn't name calling last I checked. Misrepresentation is also the sign of a lost argument. Simply saying "You lost" doesn't imply you've proven me wrong.

"Why didn't NIDA post the study I linked to that could not demonstrate a link between marijuana and cancer?"

Maybe because they found it false? Have you ever thought of the fact that your source is inaccurate?

"Instead, they claim this: "Smoking marijuana possibly increases the likelihood of developing cancer of the head or neck." even though their own reasearch indicates otherwise. That is one rather large reason to discount their web site. Science is science, and if you fund a study you should accept its results unless there are problems with the methodology (I saw no claims of errors), not post the exact opposite because it comports with the current laws --that's politics."

I'll have to ask you to prove that. I didn't catch anything in their own research indicates the opposite of their claim. And just because withdrawl symptoms may seem worse (to you) in alcohol addiction as opposed to pot addiction doesn't mean alcoholism is any more dangerous. People (though there are some that can't) can have a sip of beer without having their judgement severly impaired. The same cannot be said of pot. That is why its called "high".

creeper said...

"Okay genius, how am I suppose to investigate? Did you miss the part where I said I don't talk to them, and neither does my wife?"

1. I've already covered that above. Bake a pie, make nice, take pictures. Then nail the suckers.

2. How do you know they smoke pot?

"People (though there are some that can't) can have a sip of beer without having their judgement severly impaired. The same cannot be said of pot. That is why its called "high"."

A sip of beer. Hm. What would be the equivalent quantity of weed? One drag? I don't think I've ever met anybody whose judgement was severely impaired by one drag off a joint.

Looks like you really don't know that much about this topic, or you're arguing somewhat dishonestly, by making a pretty skewed comparison.

"Implying someone is wearing a tin foil hat isn't name calling last I checked."

Unless you're trying to say that someone is literally wearing a tin foil hat, you're characterizing them as a paranoid conspiracy monger. Of course it's name calling, check again.

"Misrepresentation is also the sign of a lost argument."

What misrepresentation was that?

Anonymous said...

"I see nothing to point to the idea that its racist."

You know Tim, in my recent dealings with hard-right bloggers, I'm beginning to realize that you people either loathe enlightenment or really suck at research.
Were you unable to find confirmation thate that the beginnings of marijuana prohibition were racist, or did you not even bother to look?

"People (though there are some that can't) can have a sip of beer without having their judgement severly impaired."

You're a fool if you think that. I'd like you to have a single beer and join me on a motorcycle ride down Rte 84. Your judgement and reaction times are severely impaired with every sip of beer that you drink. Ask my friend Jeremiah (referenced above) about this one. As Creeper pointed out, comparing less than one beer to a joint is not a fair comparison, a joint is more like the equivalent of six beers (at least to me, but I'm a lightweight). Oh, your brain might not perceive a single beer, but I'm sure that atop the magnifying glass of a 100 horsepower 400lb rocket, the beer induced shortcomings will become readily apparent as it spits you violently out of your seat and headlong into the oh-so-immovable scenery. There was an excellent article in Motorcyclist magazine a while back that stated that with small amounts of alcohol, the actual danger came from the additional (false) confidence that alcohol gave you.

"Maybe because they found it false? Have you ever thought of the fact that your source is inaccurate?"

Well, when I first heard about the study, I was extremely skeptical (as I always am), but then a second one confirmed the resuts (both are linked above). NIDA also used the tell-tale word 'probably' which means "our own research didn't confirm this", and they also didn't provide a footnote for this claim. Why don't you provide some independent University or hospital backed research to support your claims? If they're true, you should have no problem finding a wealth of studies confirming your beliefs.

"And just because withdrawl symptoms may seem worse (to you) in alcohol addiction as opposed to pot addiction doesn't mean alcoholism is any more dangerous."

Actually, it's not just to me, they're measurably, objectively worse. Heart palpitations are worse by anyone's account than restlessness, delerium tremens are worse than irritability. These are facts, and I'd like to meet the person that would choose heart palpitations over irritability. Too much alcohol can also kill you, and in all of recorded human history, there hasn't been a single case of a marijuana overdose. I'd also like to see what percentage of the general public is susceptible to 'marijuana addiction', my personal experience would indicate it's far less than alcohol, with less of an impact on their daily lives. That's another way that I can tell that NIDA isn't being totally honest.

"Unless you're trying to say that someone is literally wearing a tin foil hat,"

Creeper, I'm sure that's what he's going to claim, after all, the same thing happened higher up in the comments regarding my girlfriend riding around naked on a bicycle. He claims that he actually thought that she was, and that any insult was a figment of my pot-addled brain. After all, Tim is genuinely concerned that my tinfoil hat is on too tight, and my girlfriend might catch a cold riding around naked. After all, he's a compassionate conservative.

-scohen

highboy said...

"What would be the equivalent quantity of weed? One drag? I don't think I've ever met anybody whose judgement was severely impaired by one drag off a joint."

So you say. I have.

"Looks like you really don't know that much about this topic, or you're arguing somewhat dishonestly, by making a pretty skewed comparison."

Nice, but I'd like to see you prove that someone's judgement is NOT impaired by a drag, other than just relaying personal experience. I have yet to hear any compelling evidence from either of you that a cab driver high on pot is safe behind the wheel.

"Unless you're trying to say that someone is literally wearing a tin foil hat, you're characterizing them as a paranoid conspiracy monger. Of course it's name calling, check again."

Wrong. Name calling is calling someone a name, something I clearly didn't do. It may have been insulting, but it wasn't name calling.

"You know Tim, in my recent dealings with hard-right bloggers, I'm beginning to realize that you people either loathe enlightenment or really suck at research.
Were you unable to find confirmation thate that the beginnings of marijuana prohibition were racist, or did you not even bother to look?"

And in my dealings with left wingers, I find the opposite to be true. I found lots of opinions and commentaries written by people that believe our drug policy now and then to be racist, but unfortunately, I see very little actual evidence to suggest this. Our drug policy is not racist by any stretch of the imagination. However, I will give some rather outragious quotes from early drug war policy that even I had to chortle at:

1932: “Hasheesh goads users to blood lust.” —Hearst Newspapers

1938: “Marihuana is more dangerous than heroin or cocaine.” —Anslinger, Scientific American, May, 1938

1945: “More harmful than habit-forming opium, inducing fits of temporary insanity.” —Newsweek, 1-15-45

1948: “Marihuana leads to pacifism and Communist brainwashing.” —Anslinger, before Congress (I found this one particularly hilarious)

1986: “Marijuana leads to homosexuality, the breakdown of the immune system, and therefore to AIDS.” —Carlton Turner

"Oh, your brain might not perceive a single beer, but I'm sure that atop the magnifying glass of a 100 horsepower 400lb rocket, the beer induced shortcomings will become readily apparent as it spits you violently out of your seat and headlong into the oh-so-immovable scenery"

You got me there. I yield to that excellant point.

The NIDA site is the most respected when it comes to drug addiction research, and I fail to see a higher authority when it comes to discussions of drugs and their effects. This briefing proves quite interesting:

"If you consider the fact that all of the health costs that's associated with the use of drugs and with addiction -- that's number one. Number two, all of the loss associated with poor productivity, with the consequences on family structure, with the consequences on social structure, with the consequences on crime, with the consequences on accidents -- it's estimated -- illegal drugs only -- $150 billion in the United States."

"So how do we interact with the international community with respect to these priorities, and with respect, of course, to our past history? Because one of the things that you have to realize is that 85 percent of research done on drug abuse throughout the whole world is funded by NIDA. 85 percent of all of the research done investigating substance abuse and drug addiction is funded by NIDA."

"Number two, we fund investigators from other countries that apply for grants at NIDA to do the research because they think it's basically something that is fallible, it's peer review, and they get the review like any other grant. So we fund several investigators from other countries. Third, one of my favorite programs is that which actually entails a funding collaboration. So we have supplements to fund research that's done outside of the United States with an international investigator who works collaboratively with the United States."

Both of those statements are quite true

Also, since we are discussing race:

"Drug use is a major health problem among racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States. NHSDA data show that Hispanics and African Americans are more likely than whites to have tried cocaine at least once and to use cocaine weekly. Moreover, the consequences of drug use are often more severe for racial and ethnic minorities than for other populations; they are more likely to die, suffer from severe drug-related illnesses, receive inadequate treatment, and be involved in disputes and crimes."

"Parenting styles were captured as indicators of a latent construct, "poor parenting." In the first of two studies, the investigators hypothesized that the parental and family risk variables would be mediated through parenting styles to predict intentions to use drugs, actual drug use, positive drug attitudes, and negative drug attitudes. In a second study, the substance use risk model was tested on a sample of adolescent siblings to determine whether the pattern of parental and family factors that contributed to early high-risk attitudes and behaviors in children would predict drug attitudes and behaviors in teen siblings. The results confirmed expectations that parental and family risks were important predictors of children's negative drug attitudes and intentions to use drugs in the future and that positive parental and family characteristics would protect against future risk by enhancing negative drug attitudes. Also, substance use attitudes and behaviors in teen siblings were predicted primarily by family risk characteristics. The family risk index also predicted frequency of use of hard drugs but only when mediated through poor parenting. [120]"

Anonymous said...

"I have yet to hear any compelling evidence from either of you that a cab driver high on pot is safe behind the wheel."

The reason you haven't heard any evidence from us is because we're not saying that anyone should drive while high. I've repeatedly said that I have no problems with laws governing where and when it's acceptable to be high, much like we have laws that dictate where and when you can drink. What was that you said about mischaracterization again?

"I found lots of opinions and commentaries written by people that believe our drug policy now and then to be racist, but unfortunately, I see very little actual evidence to suggest this"

It's not overtly racist, but the genesis was to prevent mexicans from stealing and raping white women (many newspaper quotes were provided in the links above that confirm this). They played off of racial stereotypes and fears in order to get the population to accept criminalization --hence the racism accusation. That, plus Hearst's own fear in losing his vertical paper monopoly (you cited a hilarious quote from one of his papers) coupled with the aspirations of a self-serving and ruthless politician are some of the reasons for the current policy.

"The NIDA site is the most respected when it comes to drug addiction research"

They're a source, but they're not the only source. If you want to square your assertions with reality, you will have to acknowledge that they routinely ignore studies that they fund that don't agree with their message. Imagine if cancer researchers did the same thing. There is no one singular authority when it comes to science, I fail to see how supplying the most research money makes you the only relevant authority on a subject. By that logic, Microsoft is the number one authority on all matters computer --which they're certainly not. The NIH, IOM and Duke are also well respected medical institutions and their studies directly contradict those by NIDA --at least the ones that they didn't ignore. If you read the grant request, you'll also notice that it makes several assumptions that I can only imagine are unproven at this time (that addiction is genetic, that all the drugs listed are addictive --including hallucinogens) that interestingly make the race link you provided less relevant. If there is a genetic basis for addiction, of course you'd expect to find that it's more prevalent in certain genetically similar communities.

"Wrong. Name calling is calling someone a name, something I clearly didn't do. It may have been insulting, but it wasn't name calling."

That seems to be a distinction without a difference, and a narrow definition of name calling to be sure. At least you admitted it was meant as an insult, however, I think my point still stands. My statement could be easily be changed to "Insult is the sign of a lost argument" without changing my meaning. After all, calling someone a name is meant to insult them, isn't it?

-scohen

highboy said...

"I've repeatedly said that I have no problems with laws governing where and when it's acceptable to be high, much like we have laws that dictate where and when you can drink. What was that you said about mischaracterization again?"

Then I misunderstood your argument. Sorry.

"If you want to square your assertions with reality, you will have to acknowledge that they routinely ignore studies that they fund that don't agree with their message."

You'll have to prove that is their policy. Funding over %80 of the drug addiction research load may not mean much in your book, but in the real world it does. NIDA is respected GLOBALLY as an authority on drug research. You'll have to prove otherwise.

"At least you admitted it was meant as an insult"

A playful insult, meant as a joke. You've shown you have a sense of humor in the past. But if it truly offended you I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

"You'll have to prove that is their policy. Funding over %80 of the drug addiction research load may not mean much in your book, but in the real world it does. NIDA is respected GLOBALLY as an authority on drug research. You'll have to prove otherwise."

I'm starting to think we have very different ideas about how science works. As far as I know, it is utterly impossible for me to "prove" anything conclusively with science, as we can only talk about what the current research shows. I provided links to valid studies, one of which NIDA funded. NIDA then chose to ignore the results despite a second study confirming them. Their actions speak fairly loudly here.

"Funding over %80 of the drug addiction research load may not mean much in your book, but in the real world it does"

I'm not sure why the amount of funding should mean anything to anyone --real world or not, the quality of the research is what should matter. How much research into climate change does the oil industry provide? Should we believe any of it?

"A playful insult, meant as a joke. You've shown you have a sense of humor in the past. But if it truly offended you I'm sorry."

Very well, but you should know that sarcasm doesn't translate well over the internet. To me, it sounded like you were dismissing my claims out of hand by calling me a conspiracy theorist, which is funny since I'm known as a skeptic.

-scohen

highboy said...

"Very well, but you should know that sarcasm doesn't translate well over the internet. To me, it sounded like you were dismissing my claims out of hand by calling me a conspiracy theorist, which is funny since I'm known as a skeptic."

Yes, I'm repeatedly misunderstood, because of this. But like I said, I apologize if that pissed you off.

Anonymous said...

Apology accepted, but maybe you could make sarcasm more obvious with the HTML-like <sarcasm> tag?

Example:
<sarcams>young earth creationism is a credible scientific theory</sarcams>

-scohen

radar said...

schohen, we are watching you with sarcams even now! So watch it!

Grins...