6 December 09

Workout notes 6.5 mile hike at McNaughton (2:02); I cut off the first “lower prairie loop”, the “outer prairie/heaven’s gate” loop and the foundation loop. This was about a 3:10 effort for only part of the course. I saw some deer including a buck with antlers.

Here is an interesting take on “online courses” from Rate Your Students.

Religion and Society Scientists have little tolerance for nonsense:

Over at Foreign Policy, Robert Wright repeats his usual spiel against the “new atheists,” but this time he’s turned up the invective:

The accusations: […]
4. We’re intolerant and uncivil.

All the great religions have shown time and again that they’re capable of tolerance and civility when their adherents don’t feel threatened or disrespected. At the same time, as some New Atheists have now shown, you don’t have to believe in God to exhibit intolerance and incivility.

Yeah, right. Clearly it is the atheists who are responsible for making the faithful intolerant — we haven’t respected them enough! That, of course, is why the Catholic church prefers death by AIDS to the use of condoms, and why it frowns on homosexuals and women priests. Catholics wouldn’t do that if the atheists hadn’t backed them into a corner!

And that’s why Islam keeps suppressing women, preventing them from getting a decent education (and dousing them with acid if they try), swathing them in burqas, bumping them off in honor killings, and making them second class citizens (a woman’s testimony counts only half as much as a man’s in a sharia court). Clearly, Muslims do this only because they feel threatened. It would all stop if we’d just give them a little more respect!

Shame on Wright for making such ludicrous arguments, and for implying that Islam’s disenfranchising of half of its adherents stems from a lack of respect for Muslims. That’s ridiculous: it’s a result of their scripture and dogma, as are the Catholic stances on gays and AIDS. What world is Wright living in?

I’ll add: I am sure that our religious nut-jobs would embrace science if their position was respected by society. Oh wait…their position WAS the de-facto “real American” position and they didn’t.

Here is one thing that Professor Coyne didn’t catch: our “rationalist” worldview is…well…sexist! 🙂

Post Racial America: yeah right.

It appears that many feel that affirmative action gives minorities an advantage when it comes to education and jobs. Frankly, it does NOT help with the latter; in fact some minorities have taken to hide their race when they make up their resumes:

Tahani Tompkins was struggling to get callbacks for job interviews in the Chicago area this year when a friend made a suggestion: Change your name. Instead of Tahani, a distinctively African-American-sounding name, she began going by T. S. Tompkins in applications.

Yvonne Orr, also searching for work in Chicago, removed her bachelor’s degree from Hampton University, a historically black college, leaving just her master’s degree from Spertus Institute, a Jewish school. She also deleted a position she once held at an African-American nonprofit organization and rearranged her references so the first people listed were not black.

The dueling forces of assimilation and diversity have long battled for primacy in the American experience, most acutely among African-Americans. It’s not clear that assimilation has gained an edge here in the waning days of the decade, but the women’s behavior — “whitening” the résumé — is certainly not isolated. Ms. Tompkins and Ms. Orr were among the more than two dozen college-educated blacks interviewed for an article about racial disparities in hiring published last week on the front page of The New York Times. A half-dozen said they had taken steps to hide their race, or at least dial back the level of “blackness” signaled in their résumés.

That seemed startling somehow, maybe because of the popular perception that affirmative action still confers significant advantages to black job candidates, a perception that is not borne out in studies. Moreover, statistics show even college-educated blacks suffering disproportionately in this jobless environment compared with whites, as that article reported.

But if playing down blackness is a common strategy born of necessity, perceived or real, it still takes a psychic toll, maybe a greater one now, as people calibrate identity more carefully.

Again, this article it talking about jobs rather than about educational opportunities.

On the same topic, I remember reading this blogger’s article about his troubles finding employment:

have to confess that it chaps my ass whenever someone labels me with the stigma that I, a black man, am simply looking for a handout without putting in the work necessary to get ahead. I assure you that I have worked considerably hard. I have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. I have nearly twenty years of experience in the development of various database applications systems on platforms from COBOL to Oracle to PL/SQL to Visual Basic to Microsoft Access. I have worked in industries such as oil and gas, communications, health insurance, architecture, commodities trading, risk analysis, and manufacturing and distributing. I learned carpentry and built houses with my own hands. I have helped others when I could and I have accepted help when I needed it. I have paid dues. […]

I applied for hundreds of jobs. I did dozens of phone interviews. I went to a lot of face to face interviews with several of them requiring me to go across country. I’ve never embellished my resume. But inevitably the first question I’m hit with is, tell me about your experience with quantum physics. I never worked with quantum physics. Well why did we bring you here? That’s something you have to tell me. I worked hard just to get employed. It is my personal belief that I worked a lot harder and jumped through more hoops than the average job applicant. There is no doubt in my mind. Maybe it’s the hair. It is far too ethnic for a lot of people. When I’m introduced to an interviewer and they briefly get that repulsed look or the look of being hit with a phaser set at maximum stun it would be a logical conclusion. When so many interviews start off with some pretense that there’s been a mistake the logical conclusion is that I am not conforming enough to the ethnic standards established for African Americans. I don’t know how but I lucked up on a job where the decision maker didn’t care about hair or ethnicity but about getting the job done. Although rare, there are jobs available where the person doing the hiring truly does not care.

I have to admit that, while I was happy that Barack Obama won the election, I really expected race relations to momentarily get worse. I figured that there would be a backlash of sorts.

Yes, I KNOW that all criticism of President Obama is NOT racial, but much of the very vocal stuff is. The New York Times has an article about what it is like for many African Americans right now:

A hundred and fifty years ago, Charles Dickens opened “A Tale of Two Cities” with the now-famous phrase: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. …”

Those words resonated with me recently while contemplating the impact of the Obama presidency on blacks in America. So far, it’s been mixed. Blacks are living a tale of two Americas — one of the ascension of the first black president with the cultural capital that accrues; the other of a collapsing quality of life and amplified racial tensions, while supporting a president who is loath to even acknowledge their pain, let alone commiserate in it.

Last year, blacks dared to dream anew, envisioning a future in which Obama’s election would be the catalyst for an era of prosperity and more racial harmony. Now that the election’s afterglow has nearly faded, the hysteria of hope is being ground against the hard stone of reality. Things have not gotten better. In many ways, they’ve gotten worse. […]

We are now inundated with examples of overt racism on a scale to which we are unaccustomed. Any protester with a racist poster can hijack a news cycle, while a racist image can live forever on the Internet. In fact, racially offensive images of the first couple are so prolific online that Google now runs an apologetic ad with the results of image searches of them.

And it’s not all words and images; it’s actions as well. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2008 hate crimes data released last week, anti-black hate crimes rose 4 percent from 2007, while the combined hate crimes against all other racial categories declined 11 percent. If you look at the two-year trend, which would include Obama’s ascension as a candidate, anti-black hate crimes have risen 8 percent, while those against the other racial groups have fallen 19 percent. […]

The racial animosity that Obama’s election has stirred up may have contributed to a rallying effect among blacks. According to a Gallup report published on Nov. 24, Obama’s approval rating among whites has dropped to 39 percent, but among blacks it remains above 90 percent.

Read the rest of the article; basically it says that President Obama has to maintain his distance in order to appear to be neutral.

This reminds me a bit of when I heard a black basketball coach say that he’d rather have white referees at his games because, at times, if a black referee made a correct call that helped his team and the other coach was white, the other coach would “work” the referee by saying something like “oh, I see how it is”…hence the black referee would overcompensate in an effort to appear to be neutral.

I don’t like any of this, but ultimately I see this as growing pains that a multi-racial society has to go through.

December 6, 2009 - Posted by | 2008 Election, affirmative action, atheism, Barack Obama, Blogroll, education, morons, politics, politics/social, racism, science, superstition, training, walking

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