Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Jackass of a week. This week in fact. 12.6.2012 (That's the 12th of June, not the 6th of December)

I've casually followed the evolution vs creation debate on YouTube for some time now, although it's hardly fair to call it a debate. Normally in a debate both sides have an argument which they can back up with demonstrable evidence and interdependently consistent facts, or at the very least an internally consistent and logical case. 

This is Adnan Oktar (which sounds like a rejected name for a Marvel comics baddie). I'm not too sure who he is, or what this show is; and I don't really care to find out. This show seems primarily to exist so that he can stroke his own ego by wooing young women with his pseudo-scientific gobshite. What impresses me about this video, and what has earned this gentleman the prestigious honour of 'Jackass of the Week' is that he seems to have crammed into it just about every fallacious, inaccurate and miss representative creationist statement ever made. This is first class commitment to bullshit.

Well here's a surprise, It's a creationist video with the interview with Dawkins from 'expelled' in it. No doubt used because Dawkins is of course the king of all biologists and atheists (only half true)! For those who don't know, 'expelled' is a pseudo-documentary from droopy lookalike Ben Stein which claims that there is a scientific conspiracy to keep creationism covered up. It is amongst the lowest rated films ever made and when I watched it, provoked in me that quite wonderful mix of hysterical laughter and the uncontrollable desire to punch the TV. Now, I'm not a massive fan of Dawkins, as an atheist I find his childish and ill-informed attacks on religion to be , if not wholly disagreeable, to be somewhat embarrassing. That doesn't mean however that he can be straw-manned to shit, as the two clips of him in this video do. 

But whatever. I'm not gonna take the trouble to debunk this guy, all the claims he makes have been repeatedly debunked before, by people far more qualified and informed than myself. so I'll allow Doctor Cox to address this man's arguments on my behalf.


Incidentally, for anyone who is interested in the evolution/creationism "debate", I'd recommend YouTube Users Potholer54, AronRa and Thunderf00t (Although in the case of Thunderf00t, steer clear of his non science stuff. He is a fully fledged jackass in his own right when it comes to religion and political commentary, but his series 'why do people laugh at creationists' is well worth a watch). These 3, amongst several others have systematically handed creationism it's ass over, and over, and over.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Jackass of the week: 5th of June.

What's next? Like it or not, you're about to find out.

I've never liked being given the answers to questions I haven't asked. I think it's somewhat arrogant of people to assume I'm interested in their opinions. To be fair, this works a little differently on the internet than it does in real life as computers generally have a mute button. And this Jackass's diatribes are definitely what your computers mute button was designed for.

This is YouTube user 'DrinkingwithBob' and judging by his persona, he hasn't been drinking alcohol as I assume his name is supposed to suggest, but rather a blend of battery acid, caffeine and transcripts of Fox News special reports blended into a smoothie with juice from his own ego.

To get a full flavour of why Bob is a Jackass, you have to watch a fair few of his videos. Or, you could dismiss him as a Jackass without watching them to save time. Listening to Bob is like being punched in the face with a fist of pure ignorance. Right from the start of every one of his videos, Bob demonstrates his Jackass qualities by posing the the future-tense question "What's next? I'll tell you what's next!" then proceeding to tell you about something that has already happened.

But to the particular video in question; the source for Bob's inane rant is this article, which he links in his video. http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/8-old-gets-catastrophe-award-most-homework-excuses-113936385--abc-news-topstories.html. I can't be certain, but my working assumption is that this is his only source of information relating to the story. The article does indeed say that the 8 year old in question was having homework issues and that she had been enrolled on an after-school homework program, abut which the mother appears to have been unaware. But nowhere does it say anything about the Mother watching TV or hanging out with her friends and neglecting her child. Bob is making shit up to fit his antagonistic, contrived and holier-than-thou world-view that everyone is a lazy scrounger out to get his tax money.

It doesn't seem to even occur to Bob that maybe the Mother has to work two jobs, that maybe the current economic hardships experienced by so many affect this mother as well, who may well love to spend more time with her child but cimply can't for reasons outside her control. Also, what the fuck makes him assume that the daughter is on the internet speaking to strangers? The only way he could possibly know that is if he's been talking to her...

I don't know what this woman's circumstances are, but the point is, neither does Bob. He may well be right, she may well be an irresponsible parent. But he doesn't know that, and until he can show that he does, he should stop bad-mouthing people he knows nothing about, who's circumstances he knows nothing about, just to make a cheap political point. Not only is that the behaviour of a Jackass. It's just downright nasty.

Moreover, Bob completely skirts over the other key point in this article (It's a good half a page long, so I understand how he may have missed it, that's a lot of information to take in), that is that the teacher publicly humiliated the child, by giving her the award in front of her whole class. I'm not a teacher, and I don't know that much about child psychology. But it seems pretty fucking obvious to me that humiliation is not a way to encourage an 8 year old, or improve their educational attainment. Bob need only have done a quick Google search to have found out what other teachers and child psychologists have to say on the matter. He may have stumbled upon something like this http://www.humiliationstudies.org/documents/ThukralJournalHumiliation.pdf A journal article which suggests that public humiliation of children can cause severe emotional trauma. This took me 2 minutes to find, and a further 5 minutes to skim-read to get the gist. You don't have to be an academic to check up on things. You do however have to be a Jackass to go on YouTube and shriek and yell about things you know nothing about after reading half of one article.

Bob likes to compensate for his lack of content by faking passion and anger (I wrote a whole section about how you can tell his anger is fake, but it's so fucking obvious that to spell it out to you would just be condescending). But being a blow-hard does not make up for talking absolute gobshite about shit he knows nothing about.

What's next? Drinking with Bob? No thank you.