Ethics Quiz: Should Flat Earthers Be Mocked And Ridiculed? Never Mind, Just Kidding! Of Course They Should…

The Denver Post has an alarming article on the Flat Earthers, a group of Americans who deny astronomy, physics and other known and proven facts about the physical world and universe. They are, says the Post, “thousands strong — perhaps one in every 500 — and have proponents at the highest levels of science, sports, journalism and arts.”

It would be an amusing article, were it not so sad and frightening. These people, who might be nice, kind, and otherwise great neighbors and patriots, are so suspicious and so committed to their own ignorance that they say astounding things, like Cami,  who explains,

“Our YouTube channel gets people to critically think,” she said to the Fort Collins group. “The heliocentric model says that we’re spinning at 1,038 mph. They say you won’t notice it because it’s a continual motion. But you should be able to feel it. You shouldn’t be able to function allegedly spinning that fast.”

Good point, Cami. Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Ahmed Mohamed, Justin Carter, And White House Priorities”

I was going to include in the post that spawned this Comment of the Day many of the similarly shocking examples of school abuse of innocent students because their teachers and school administrators were paranoid, insensitive, mentally-challenged dolts that somehow didn’t bother the Presdient of the United States sufficiently to utter a peep of protest. I decided instead to concentrate on an example not of school related abuse, but as in the Ahmed Mohamed case, the criminalization of teens acting like teens while living in a society that has been fear-mongered into derangement.

I am grateful that long time commenter here Michael R took up the challenge and provided links to the some of the examples I left out. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, Ahmed Mohamed, Justin Carter, And White House Priorities: Continue reading

Ahmed Mohamed, Justin Carter, And White House Priorities

Wrongly accused Texas kid on the left goes to the White House; wrongly accused Texas kid on the right goes to jail. Explain.

Wrongly accused Texas kid on the left goes to the White House; wrongly accused Texas kid on the right goes to jail. Explain.

Let us stipulate that Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Texas high school student who was the latest victim of public school cruelty, police incompetence, child abuse, and school-attack hysteria, resulting in an arrest for the Kafka crime of making a “hoax bomb”—that is, a thing that isn’t a bomb and the maker didn’t say was a bomb, but some idiot teacher thought looked like a bomb, and thus assuming  it must have been intended to make idiot teachers think it was a bomb even though even the idiot teachers knew it wasn’t— deserves every kindness and compensatory trip, photo op, meeting and accolade imaginable as a societal apology for being treated like a mad bomber by unethical adults no more qualified to teach the young than they are to fly to Gibralta using their arms as wings.


…So do all the other teens (and younger) who have been treated this badly or worse in recent years—the kids punished for gun-shaped pizza and pastries….or the students who were punished after taking weapons away from fellow students and turning them over to teachers, only to find that they were the caught in the Catch 22 of  “no tolerance” madness, seeded in part by the fear-mongering inflicted on our society by President Obama and his political allies.

Like Ahmed, Justin Carter particularly warranted high-level official mea culpas—remember him? He was another Texas teen who languished in jail for months because he made a joke on Facebook about school shootings. Nobody lifted a finger to help him, because, you see, he wasn’t one of the favored minorities to this administration. Don’t you dare argue that the distinction is that Justin made his “terroristic” comments in the context of a computer game, while Ahmed’s home-made clock was proof of special talents. Typical kids deserve fair treatment as much as budding geniuses.




In a 2013 post titled, If Only Justin Carter Were Black…Or Muslim…, I wrote Continue reading

Ten Ethics Musings On The “Unethical Photograph Of The Year” And The Daughters of Villi and Mary Kay

Here's my Jack Russell Rugby doing his imitation of the dog in "The Artist." It's a good antidote, at least for me, when I look at the Villi and Mary Kay family photo. Keeps the gorge down.

Here’s my Jack Russell Rugby doing his imitation of the dog in “The Artist.” It’s a good antidote, at least for me, when I look at the Villi and Mary Kay family photo. Keeps the gorge down.

I should have included these with original post, but the photo so nauseated me that I was barely capable of critical thought. I’m still nauseated, but better. So now I offer these ten question and thoughts:

1. Will this photo and its implication be used by cultural to excuse student-teacher sexual liaisons? They are grotesquely unethical when minors are involved, but professionally reprehensible even when the loving couple are college professor and student.

2. I presume it will. As I noted in the original post, this photo is a breeding ground for rationalizations, “No harm, no foul” among them, and of course, “It all worked out for the best.” This is like showing the modern China that arose out of Mao’s slaughter of millions with the face of the Great Leader superimposed over it all. It worked out so well! How can anyone argue with that?

3. Every time a grossly wrongful act creates some unanticipated good, consequentialism runs amuck. If Mary Kay  and Rape Victim Vili had produced children who had arms growing out of their mouths or who were drug-addicts and cat-burners, the same people who look at the photo now and say  “Awww!” would be pointing and crowing, “See?”

4. The proper comparison is a family created through incest. That taboo is so powerful still that a similar photo of Mom, Dad/Grandad and lovely Daughter–No, Sister! No, Daughter! No, Sister! (Sorry, I was having a “Chinatown” flashback) would not garner the kind of positive reaction too many are having to the Happy Fualaau. Continue reading

Psychic Discrimination In Uptown Yucaipa

Psychic signThe faithful in Yucaipa, California don’t want psychics in their town. After all, what’s next? Soon you’ll have meetings of people being told wild stories about miracles and virgin births and resurrections, and…oh.

This is one of those situations where the intolerance of religious Americans undermines their own cause, though I  know they don’t see it that way.

John Johnson is asking Yucaipa for a home occupation permit so he can continue to provide psychic readings, which he has done without incident for decades. However,  it looks like opposition from surrounding neighbors at the public hearing might foil  Johnson’s efforts to let his home business pass muster as  a nonconforming use in a commercial zone. This makes no sense to him. (It makes no sense to me either.)

“I’ve never hurt any children or gone astray,” he said at the hearing. “I don’t take drugs nor have any tattoos. You people judge me without even knowing me…. I’m a devoted Catholic.”

No, the godly of Yucaipa think you’re evil, John. Here are some of the comments at the meeting: Continue reading

Bergen Community College Shows Us Why Justin Carter Is Being Persecuted

Can't have this. Terrifying. Dangerous.

Can’t have this. Terrifying. Dangerous.

Remember Justin Carter? Last I checked, he was being tried for making a joke on Facebook, because of the culture of fear and speech monitoring created by the irresponsible hysteria over guns and terrorism.  He faces prison time. That this is a freedom-suffocating societal illness that threatens any and all of us is chronicled in Ken White account, and accompanying commentary, on the astonishing mistreatment of Bergen Community College Professor Francis Schmidt by the school, which was sent into a frenzy of terror because he posted to Google+ “a cute picture of his young daughter wearing a Game of Thrones t-shirt in a yoga pose next to a cat.”  Inside Higher Ed reports what happened next: Continue reading

Fairness And George Zimmerman

squashed 2George Zimmerman is in trouble again, this time from a domestic abuse incident. Presumably the justice system will work, and protect his pregnant girlfriend, as well as give Zimmerman whatever punishment the evidence indicates that he deserves.

In the meantime, the news media should be giving his misadventures back page rather than front page attention. I have heard Zimmerman described in the news media as the new O.J. Simpson, which is a slur (O.J. murdered two people in cold blood, with intent and malice aforethought), but which correctly describes how reporters want to treat him. In truth, he is the new Rodney King. Like Zimmerman, King was a maladjusted individual with poor judgment and a penchant for violence, who nonetheless did not deserve the fate that befell him, and was a reluctant celebrity. After the events and the trials stemming from his arrest (which was warranted), his resisting it (which was wrong) and his brutal beating (which was also wrong), King had more arrests and incidents involving law enforcement. These were news items, but not major ones, and the minor coverage they received was proper and appropriate.

Why is Zimmerman’s arrest the lead on this morning’s cable shows? It is because so many in the media fervently wanted him convicted of murder, and to have an official declaration that he stalked and killed Trayvon Martin out of racial prejudice, although there was, and remains, no evidence this was the case. Now they want to frame his current legal issues as proof that he should have been convicted, which is a biased, warrantless, illogical and unfair assumption. A far more plausible conclusion is that Zimmerman’s conduct and instability today arises from the chaos of his life, which was inflicted on him by a culture-wide, media-assisted effort to turn him into a national villain, and the face of racism in America. Continue reading