Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Right's Doublethink

One unexpected side effect of the Internet was, not the unprecedented access to information available to the public, but the widespread propagation of openly ignorant, easily debunked bullshit. The easy availability of knowledge has been balanced by easy availability of conspiracy theories, lies, and unintentional errors. Add to that the unprecedented ability to cherry-pick preferred oversimplified answers to complex situations, and one thing becomes obvious.

Despite the potential inherent in what evolved from the ARPANET, it has become apparent to those of us who think about stuff that we've actually entered the Misinformation Age.

For example, today’s front page story on that flaming stack of ignorance and mendacity calling itself Conservapedia is a fascinating story called “Atheism and obesity,” where they determine that, apparently, if you don’t believe in God, He makes you fat (as you could probably tell from the title, but I thought I’d spell it out for you).

The crux of this theory (so to speak) is a Gallup poll, which reached the conclusion (repeated in the first line of the Conservapedia story):
Very religious Americans are more likely to practice healthy behaviors than those who are moderately religious or nonreligious.
Now, I could get all statistical and point out that a poll measures how people answer questions, not how they behave. And religious people are more prone to guilt, so wouldn’t they be more likely to lie when answering questions like “Do you do things you aren’t supposed to?”

But that would be the easy answer. (Plus, some actual atheists, as opposed to one nameless doubting agnostic, are cheerfully ripping this one apart.)

Instead, let me point out that, two weeks after the Gallup poll was released, we hear from New York that 1300 people are now in danger of contracting Hepatitis A, because they all took drinks from the same communion chalice. And remember, very religious Americans practice healthy behaviors. Like sucking down the backwash of other diseased Catholics.

Should I point out that they’re all at risk because they came in contact with the blood of Christ? Has He been shooting up with dirty needles again? Or should I just move on, since it's probably endangering your immortal soul to be taking religious advice from people with the balls to rewrite the "inalterable Word of God"?

Maybe the easiest answer is to show the following two maps? First, this.

See that? That shows how religious Christians claim to be, in various parts of the country. The greener, the Godlier, right? OK, then. Now check this out.

Now, that one shows the distribution of weight, per capita, in these United States. The more red, the more rotund.

See how the dark green and the dark red tend to match up? It’s kind of like Christmas, isn’t it? I guess you can’t spell faith without F - A - T.

Not a new thought to me, by the way. We already knew this; it's one of those pesky "fact" things that the GOP is so desperate to rewrite.


Nameless Cynic said...

OK, I'm with you on this, but on the obesity map, why does Mississippi have its own color? It's not included on the key. Are they THAT much fatter than the rest of us? Can we move to Mississippi so I'll be thinner?

Nameless Cynic said...

Oops, I think I just commented as you. Sorry!

Nameless Cynic said...

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's the Trophy Wife.

Not the most technologically apt of people. And she's hitting me as I type this.


Octopus said...

Several years ago, I changed my screen moniker to ‘Tree Octopus’ because some enterprising jokester sneaked into Conservapedia and posted an article on tree-dwelling cephalopods. Damn funny, I thought, so I continued the joke until I got tired of it. The reason why I restored my moniker: A longing to return to Waterworld where I feel safer and further away from fatuous fatheads.

About the Internet as a medium for the viral spread of Idiocracy, I’ve voiced similar sentiments over the years. These days, I am ready to give up. This country is becoming too damn difficult to live in because there are idiots everyone … for whom citizenship, civility, and mutual respect are treated with disdain. I feel as if I am an alien in my own country … and find it no longer hospitable or inhabitable.

(Please extend my greetings to the trophy wife)

Nameless Cynic said...

It's a hazard that can happen when you share a computer. It's not because the Trophy Wife is a Luddite.


Not, I say!!

(anticipating another ow! when she reads this... I'm not abused. I'm really not...)

(I probably deserve every one... Yeah, pretty sure I do...)

Octopus said...

Almost immediately, I recognized the logout / login oversight. In my household, I regard computers as something akin to underwear: Each should have his/her own.

Why just the other day, Mrs. Octopus came home, stood in front of the door, and said to me:

"Take off my blouse! Now take off my dress! And stop wearing my clothes!"

Given the mess the patriarchy has made of the world, I wouldn't mind at all if the matriarchy took over.