Monday, September 3, 2012

My apology to Mr.Akin



I recently called for congressman Todd Akin to quit his Senate race in Missouri because of comments he made regarding the likelihood of conception during rape.

Commentor Ilion took me to task for my abandonment of a man of obvious integrity and a pro-life stalwart:

... when the leftists turn their well-oiled hoot-machine against a presumptive conservative, the Republicans abondom him, post haste. But, no matter what a Democrat does, so long as he is useful to the furtherance of the leftist agenda, the Democrats turn their hoot-machine against those trying to bring his misdeeds to light.
Even if what you'd seaid were actually true, don't you think it odd that you cannot see the self-defeating flaw in the pattern?...

if conservative are going to oppose Akin, it should be for solidly conservative reasons, not because the hysterics and histrionics of the leftists and their "liberal" puppets, who have no intention of allowing a rational (and charitable) examination of what he said … and meant.
It would be like me or you worrying about – and conforming ourselves to – the lies and intellectual dishonesty of that ‘anonymouse’ troll immediately above...
is the fact that a (presumptively conservative) politician did not speak with the careful precision with which some persons (me, for example) habitually write, such that the imprecise and non-felicitous thing he said is dishonestly used by the leftists, of all people, to make it sound as though he said something wicked, a solidly conservative reason for conservatives to demand he commit sepukku?

Ilion had a point. So I thought about it, a lot actually.

Then I read this fine essay by Mike Huckabee (excerpt):

Since Todd Akin made his infamous remark in what was an unfortunate and awkward attempt to explain his strong pro-life position, I have openly spoken out about what was a disproportionately harsh reaction from party officials and elected officials, all of whom didn’t merely distance themselves from Akin’s statement (understandable), but distanced themselves from him personally and politically and proceeded to publicly call for his head on a platter as surely as Herod demanded the head of John the Baptist. Both John the Baptist and Todd Akin said things that the institutional power structure didn’t like. Todd Akin admitted his error, publicly apologized for his comment, and asked for forgiveness. John the Baptist recanted nothing he said and shouldn’t have since it was the truth. I talked to Todd Akin on my daily radio show as he made his first public statements following his comments. He was contrite, he sincerely stated that he was factually incorrect in his statement, and apologized for having said it. He didn’t excuse his comments, justify, or rationalize them.
Despite that, calls were swift, public and brutal not merely suggesting, but demanding that he just up and quit. I was shocked. I’ve seen fellow Republicans get caught in scandals of adultery, drunkenness, corruption, and other forms of shocking behavior and never recall seeing such a systematic and orchestrated attempt to destroy a man’s candidacy and his life from HIS OWN PARTY! I wrote a strong rebuttal to the curious actions of party officials and suggested that someone had called a “code red” to take down Todd Akin. I was called and had numerous messages from current and former Senators and Congressmen, and from party officials and political operatives who all but begged me to “get Akin out of the race.” Some of them surprised me and disappointed me. It was as if all were reading from the same talking points as a carefully contrived script that had been handed out. I asked one of them if he had spent 2 years risking all to get a nomination for his Senate seat for which he had received ZERO party support and had a verbal gaffe and then the very people who didn’t want him in demanded that he get out, would HE do it? Silence at the other end of the phone and then the subject was changed.

There is no question that Akin is an excellent conservative and an excellent candidate. I still disagree with his comment on rape and conception-- he has repudiated it, in fact-- but I was wrong to demand that he resign. The hyaenas on the left deserve no homage. A party that idolizes woman-killer Ted Kennedy and elected serial sexual abuser Bill Clinton and nominated "silky pony" John Edwards has no business dictating rules on public discussion of rape and sexual morality.

Mr. Akin will make an outstanding Senator from Missouri. He has my support, and my apology.  

20 comments:

  1. Michael,

    'Is the fact that a (presumptively conservative) politician did not speak with the careful precision with which some persons (me, for example) habitually write, such that the imprecise and non-felicitous thing he said is dishonestly used by the leftists, of all people, to make it sound as though he said something wicked...'

    LOL.

    You? Careful and precise? Not unless you mean, lying carefully and precisely? You twist so many facts that the results bear little relation to reality. For example, your lies about Rachel Carson. And the way you fabricated a quote as if coming from me (which, by the way, you haven't apologized for). Quote mining is standard practice for creationists, a skill you excel in. Quote fabrication is just blatantly dishonest and beneath contempt.

    By the way... I thought Mike Huckabee was a minister of religion. Doesn't he know his scripture? '... as surely as Herod demanded the head of John the Baptist'? Don't Mark and Matthew indicate that the unnamed daughter of Herod (presumed to be Salome) performed a dance for Herod such that he swore an oath to grant her any wish desired. And Salome asked her mother, who hated John the Baptist, what she should wish for and was told to ask for the head of John the Baptist. Herod didn't want to kill John, but heck, an oath is an oath, similar to the oath Jephtha made promising he'd sacrifice the first living thing he saw coming out of his house (turned out to be his daughter) if his prayers to slaughter all his enemies was granted.

    And anyway, Akin meant what he said. If a woman becomes pregnant after being raped, then according to Akin, it wasn't rape. That's below contempt.

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  2. This has to be one of your worst posts, Dr. Egnor.

    Akin's comment was deeply offensive. He should have quit the race while he had the chance, but now it's too late. No need to apologize to him.

    TRISH

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    1. TRISH:

      I disagree strongly with Akin's comment, as I've noted, and if he had not retracted it, I would still call for him to quit.

      But politicians making stupid offensive comments is the norm. Even good politicians say stupid things at times. They are constantly in public and on TV, every word is recorded and parsed.

      To judge a politician, we should look at the totality of his life and ideas. Akin (as best I can tell) does pretty well in those areas. He is a decent man, a fiscal conservative, and a strong defender of innocent life.

      If he had done something wrong (rather than said something wrong) that would be a different matter.

      Ilion makes an excellent point. We have allowed the left to control our public language. We conservatives even act as the left's enforcers. I believe that the appropriate conservative response to Akin's comment is:

      1) He must retract it, because it it medically wrong (as far as I know) and it implies that a woman who conceives after rape was not "legitimately" raped. Akins did retract it.

      2) We must then judge Akin's candidacy based on the whole package. Otherwise, he is a good candidate.

      3) We must reiterate that it is the left that kills innocents and has through its abhorrent social policies abetted crime, including rape.

      We need to keep our eyes on the real dangers to our society, and not dissolve into fratricide over a single offensive comment.

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    2. Trish,

      Please, explain what is offensive about it. Give me even one rational reason that I should give a damn about your emotional reaction to what the man said?

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    3. Please, explain what is offensive about it.

      If you don't understand what is offensive about implying that women who got pregnant as a result of rape were not "legitimately" raped, then there's not any real possibility of rational discourse with you.

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  3. "There is no question that Akin is an excellent conservative and an excellent candidate. ... Mr. Akin will make an outstanding Senator from Missouri."

    Myself, I take no position on either of those points; as always, I am against unsound thinking -- and against mental/spiritual submission to leftism.

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    1. I lost a long-time internet friend over the poor-little-Sandra-Fluke-is-being-attacked-by-mean-old-(male)-Rush-Limbaugh incident, because he would not see that he was just dancing on leftist strings by joining in the fray against Limbaugh, would not see that his "prudent approach" was the very opposite of prudent.

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    2. because he would not see that he was just dancing on leftist strings by joining in the fray against Limbaugh

      Yes, "dancing on the leftist strings" by realizing that Limbaugh was behaving like an ignorant asshole. You keep claiming to be against "unsound thinking", but every comment you make illustrates that you don't have a clue what unsound thinking means.

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    3. Limbaugh's comments were humorous observations that a public plea for industrial quantities of contraception for personal use naturally raises questions about the behavior that might give rise to the need for such massive contraception.

      I would not have used his terminology to describe the young lady, but his concept is entirely valid, and clever.

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    4. I'm with mregnor on this. Slut shaming is a perfectly valid and clever concept.
      Now, look, before you get your Liberal panties in a bunch over "facts" and "morality", this Sandra Fluke whore should have expected some pushback from Moral Americans™ when she outrageously decided that her coverage and the coverage of sluts like her (coverage that is mandatory and that she and other sluts pay for) should cover, and you're head is going to pop when I tell you, her ladyparts. As though ladyparts were part of the human body! Pah!

      Outrageously, she even pointed out that things like the proposed Blunt amendment would effectively ban, should the employer choose for her, things that ladies and ladyparts need, even for such whore and slut-tramp uses as, say, a cheap and effective preventative treatment for ovarian cysts or any of the various other icky and oozy ladyproblems that sluts are afflicted with.

      Now, ladies, before you burn your bras at me, just remember that good, Conservative men, like Saint Akin or Rush Limbaugh*1, are border-patrolling your ladyparts for you, because you shouldn't have to, nor should you, worry your pretty little head about these things. Ladyparts are Man's business. When the Christian Right wants your opinion, they'll give it to you.

      In closing, Rush is right and moral and not a bottom-feeding, public discourse coarsening, forked-tongued misogynist (and race-baiter), and mregnor is right for agreeing with him. "Whores!", as the saying goes. That's it. Just "Whores!". It's not all that verbose, but it gets the slut-shaming point across, even if [especially if!] the sluts who are shamed aren't actually sluts, or are really sluts but for some reason think their sluttery isn't everyone else's business.


      *1 ...who, if memory serves, posited that girls need to take the pill every time before they have sex, which is as correct as it is any of Rush's business, and it's plenty of Rush's business.

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    5. @Modus:

      I knew you'd come around.

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  4. M.Egnor:I recently called for congressman Todd Akin to quit his Senate race in Missouri because of comments he made regarding the likelihood of conception during rape. … I still disagree with his comment on rape and conception …

    I think it would be better to neither agree nor disagree. To be more precise, I think that how he phrased what he said may well be factually false (though, even there, who knows?), but what he was trying to say may even be true.

    Biology is stranger than any of us can ever imagine.

    * Medical science says that human girls raised in the same households as their biological fathers enter puberty at a statistically-significant older age than girls raised absent their biological fathers. Strange-and-inconceivable, no?

    * What about the ‘Bruce effect’, which has been demonstrated in rodents and ‘proposed’ for at least one primate species? How do we know that something similar (and if so, obviously weaker) doesn’t happen amongst humans? We *don’t* know it doesn’t, and morally we can’t directly experiment to find out. –

    What we *do* know is that many cultures, throughout time and place, have “locked their women away” … from strange men. We, because of our strange leftist-inspired cultural taboos, attribute this to “sexism” and “patriarchy” … but, what if it was because, throughout time and place, people had noticed that pregnant women exposed to strange men tended to miscarry more often? Would not the people of a culture in which this had been noticed, desirous of children … desirous of the continuation of their own culture … rationally be expected to segregate their women from strange men?

    What if one reason that so many modern women are finding it so difficult to get pregnant … I mean, aside from the fact that so many are putting off even attempting it until they are 39 … is that leftism/feminism *demands* that they “work outside the home” … constantly exposed to strange men?

    Why do we imagine that our obviously suicidal culture is rational, much less that it is the only rational way to organize a society? What is rational about destroying one’s own culture for nothing in return?

    * What about the anecdotal evidence that a woman’s long-term psychological state has some bearing on a woman’s ability to conceive and carry-to-term a pregnancy? Surely, everyone knows a least one couple who had tried unsuccessfully for months, or even for years, and perhaps with many miscarriages along the way, to conceive and bear a child … and then, having resigned themselves that they were barren, and perhaps having adopted, find themselves pregnant.

    Thus: On what rational ground is it so inconceivable that a woman’s emotional and psychological state following a rape may have the effect of, say, making more likely a failure to implant of an embryo conceived from the rape?

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    1. I've slightly expanded the above in a post on my blog -- with some further questions that I would like to imagine that Mr Egnor -- in his role as Dr Egnor -- may find thought-provoking.

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    2. @ilion:

      I am not saying that Akin's comment is not medically possible, I'm saying that I don't know of any evidence that it is true.

      If it is true, it raises disturbing questions about evaluating a victim's "cooperation" in a rape.

      Therefore, it is the sort of scientific claim that should be vetted thoroughly if it is to be made at all.

      The conservative approach is to not say it, without very strong evidence that it is true, and with a clear and good reason to bring up the topic.

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    3. @ilion:

      I read your post.

      Regarding:

      "On what rational ground is it so inconceivable that a woman’s emotional and psychological state following a rape may have the effect of, say, making more likely a failure to implant of an embryo conceived from the rape?"

      It is a perfectly fair scientific question. But the issue with Akin's comment is not the science-- he was not speaking at a scientific conference.

      The issue is the political and public policy implications, along with the truth, of his comment.

      Given that the comment is speculation, and the political and public policy implications of speculating on the matter are hardly beneficial to civic society, he should not have made the comment.

      I point out that public circumspection and tact are conservative values. It is the left that makes unmoored scientific claims in public.

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  5. "If it is true, it raises disturbing questions about evaluating a victim's "cooperation" in a rape."

    I quite disagree -- AND I would argue that the statement is a one more example of how we all have been brainwashed into subscribing to leftist shibboleths without even knowing it.

    Unfortunately, I don't have time to say more -- I have to pack up and head to the city where I work (for the work-week starting tomorrow). If I can comment more during my lunch-break tomorrow, I will.

    "Therefore, it is the sort of scientific claim that should be vetted thoroughly if it is to be made at all.

    The conservative approach is to not say it, without very strong evidence that it is true, and with a clear and good reason to bring up the topic.
    "

    Of course! That has been implicit in everything I have said on the topic. One will search in vain to find me defending Mr Akin -- I am objecting to the wholly misplaced and irrational condemnations of him.

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  6. If it is true, it raises disturbing questions about evaluating a victim's "cooperation" in a rape.”

    No shit Sherlock, that’s why people are outraged. God you conservatives can be downright dim. Making his dubious medical claim to support the notion that rapes that result in pregnancies aren’t “legitimate” rapes is to say that if you’re pregnant you didn’t get raped.

    In 1995, North Carolina State Rep. Henry Aldridge said that “the facts show that people who are raped—who are truly raped— the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work, and they don’t get pregnant," before adding that “to get pregnant, it takes a little cooperation.”

    In 1997, Leon Holmes, a prominent Republican pro-lifer in Arkansas wrote, “Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conception from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snow in Miami.”

    If Republicans are talking about this at all they talk about his “medical misstatement” to avoid having to confront his actual point, and the fact that this little piece of misinformation has become lore in some anti-abortion circles. They don’t want to admit that this extreme and once fringe notion is on the verge of being represented by a sitting senator.

    Hey, if “legitimate rape” is a little over the top for you, don’t worry, there’s legitimate rape light, aka “forcible rape”

    -KW

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  7. Keep trying, I’m sure you’ll figure out some way to force women to have rape babies.

    -KW

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    1. Now imagine that a woman after a rape (being psychologically shaken) would realize that she do not want her child at the eight/nine month of pregnancy.
      Your opinion, please.

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  8. I love a good rapin'.

    TRISH

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