What I’m Reading, July 8, 2014

The birth control debate is really about the housing market, Eric Garland, Eric Garland Blog, March 4, 2012

All of this debate is about the housing market. And unemployment. And Afghanistan. And health care for Baby Boomers. And Netflix. And drones. And the bankruptcy of Greece. And more. None of this spontaneously vomited national debate has a thing to do with healthcare or birth control or morals. It has everything to do with a nation that is afraid to discuss its real future, so it would much prefer to re-fight the great debates of the 20th century.

As somebody who discusses the future professionally with leaders of organizations, I will tell you that people everywhere are so terrified of what is coming next that they are fundamentally incapable of having a discussion about it. The American Mindset is almost entirely about Growth and Winning, and the simple fact is that we are likely unable to grow geographically or economically due to fiscal and demographic constraints. Thus, our steady-state economics, or even steadily receding economy, will not look like winning, either on a balance sheet or in people’s minds. Americans are addicted to seeing the Dow Jones go up every year. They want their houses to be worth more and more, forever. They want to stay “number one,” whatever that means, at all costs. And virtually none of that is likely in the near future. It is so difficult for Americans to consider that they are reverting to all manner of fantastic, irrational thinking to avoid the painful realities that may be ahead.

A Fascinating Study of How Creationists Understand Early Human Fossils, Mark Strauss, io9, July 2, 2014

Young-earth creationists don’t ignore science. Instead, they reinterpret it to fit their belief system. One paleontologist was curious to find out what they teach about human ancestry, and how they interpret early human fossils. Here’s what he found out.

Prior to the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate, BuzzFeed invited creationists to submit questions, and a couple of contributors specifically asked, “Why is there only one Lucy?”

That caught the attention of paleoanthropologist blogger Adam Benton. Lucy—the fossil of a hominin species, Australopithecus afarensis, which lived 3.9 to 2.9 million years ago—should be strong evidence of human evolution. But, instead, young-earth creationist literature cites Lucy as “proof” that there are no “transitional forms” in human evolution. Some treatises go to great lengths to explain how anthropologists have misinterpreted or misrepresented their findings, to “falsely” suggest that Lucy was capable of bipedal locomotion. Other articles claim (incorrectly) that only one set of bones representing Lucy’s species exists—further implying that this was just a fringe monkey species, as opposed to a human ancestor.

Still, this made Benton wonder. Why did these creationists only mention Lucy? There are plenty of other homin species in the fossil record. What were young-earth creationists teaching about them?

Why The Men’s Rights Movement Is Garbage, Anne Thériault, The Belle Jar, March 28, 2014

MRAs [“Men’s Rights Activists”] believe that feminists are to blame for basically everything that’s wrong with their lives. The Men’s Rights Movement is a reactionary movement created specifically to counter feminism, and most (if not all) of their time and resources go towards silencing and marginalizing women. They do things like starting the Don’t Be That Girl campaign, a campaign that accuses women of making false rape reports. They attend feminist events in order to bully and intimidate women, they flood online feminist spaces with threatening messages, and they regularly use smear campaigns and scare tactics to make the women who don’t back down afraid for their physical safety. They do literally nothing to actually resolve the problems that they claim to care about, and instead do everything they can to discredit the feminist movement.


See, the problem with the Men’s Rights Movement is that they are not doing anything concrete to resolve any of the above issues. They are not raising money to open shelters for homeless or abused men. They are not starting up suicide hotlines for men. They are not lobbying for safer workplaces or gun control. Instead, they are crying about feminism, pooh-poohing the idea of patriarchy and generally making the world a sadder, scarier, less safe place to live in. In fact, I would argue that their stupid antics are actually a detriment t0 the causes that they claim to espouse, because they’re creating an association between actual real issues that men face and their disgusting buffoonery. So good fucking job, MRAs. Way to fuck vulnerable men over in your quest to prove that feminism is evil. I hope you’re all really proud of yourselves.


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