Natural Sciences (and Un-)

Galileo pointed his telescope at Jupiter and discovered four moons.


Had it happened in the here and now, we could bank that Michelle Malkin would sneer at Galileo and his new-fangled and untrustworthy device. Newsbusters would point out that the Universe was perfect and that there couldn’t be any moons around Jupiter; Sean Hannity would growl that the moons were just a result of fuzzy liberal thinking, Rush Limbaugh would claim that it was the Clintons’ fault, and Ann Coulter would question Galileo’s masculinity in some particularly egregious manner calculated to garner headlines for her latest book, probably entitled, hmmm … High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Slander, Treason, How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must), Godless, If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans, and the latest, Guilty … so, let’s see, something zippy and vicious. Ah! Got it: ViciousHow Liberals Use Facts to Unfairly Win Arguments.

And “Butt-Plug” Bob Owens would write for Pajamas Media that it was just like mainstream scientists to denigrate the well-accepted principle of spontaneous generation just because it didn’t fit real world observations. Just like that madman Galileo, who thinks that the Earth revolves around the sun, and not, as everybody knows, around George W. Bush.

(For obvious reasons, he would refuse to believe in the existence of Uranus. See “How To Find Uranus” 21 Sept 07)

Uranus, as seen by Hubble

But most of all, as eternal as the swallows returning to crap on the Mission at San Juan Capistrano, Pajamas Media’s Bob would trot out the fallacy of the excluded middle, as he has, in defense of Pajamas Media’s Roger Simon’s idiotic pronouncement that Pajamas Media’s Joe the Plumber = Ernest Hemingway. (See Sunday’s “America’s Newest Fun Family, The Idiots!“).

Now, with Simon, the speciousness of his argument was probably intentional, because as a mystery writer, one can’t imagine that he’s that intellectually gullible. But with Bob, one can’t be quite sure. (You can read HERE to see why.)

Simon’s argument, and amplified through Bob is a classical example of the Argument From Spurious Similarity.

this is a relative of Bad Analogy. It is suggested that some resemblance is proof of a relationship. There is a WW II story about a British lady who was trained in spotting German airplanes. She made a report about a certain very important type of plane. While being quizzed, she explained that she hadn’t been sure, herself, until she noticed that it had a little man in the cockpit, just like the little model airplane at the training class

[* Oh, all right, it could be the Fallacy of Composition, as well, if you’re being technical.]

Or, in Pajamese:

ALL Mainstream Media is bad. (I’ll get to this in a moment.)

SOME non-Journalism School graduates have excelled at writing and/or reporting.

Therefore Joe the Plumber is as good a journalist as the entire MSM, and, therefore, the self-aware incompetents that are the entire MSM are “frightened.”

Pro-Joe: Plumber’s Trip to Israel Scares the Establishment Media

After all, some of the best reporting of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War came from a cook. (Watch Joe’s first report here)
January 12, 2009 – by Bob Owens

Pajamas TV is turning Joe the Plumber into a journalist, and the media class doesn’t like it one bit.

Joe Wurzelbacher is in Israel with a television crew in tow to talk to Israeli civilians about the war with Hamas in Gaza, and quite a few journalists — including the author of this media blog — seem personally offended that an out-of-work plumber who was recently the focus of their snarky asides might soon be counted as a peer.

On the surface, their complaint seems to be that that being a war correspondent — among the most glamorous and dangerous of media assignments — requires a specialized journalism background.

At the risk of bruising the fragile egos of some of these journalists — no, it doesn’t.

It never has….

You see, the whole argument rests on confusing “ALL” and “SOME.” Some MSM journalists are total incompetents, biased, clueless and apt to scramble facts. (More than a fair percentage of which are employed by Faux Nooz™ I will note).

But ALL are not. Indeed the “MSM” encompasses so many persons in so many positions at so many levels of skill that the grotesque characterization of media as ONE homogenous “enemy” is revealing of pathology on the part of the speaker, perhaps, but meaningless in its generalization.


It is a stereotype, a caricature, and Pajamas Media and its affiliated bloggers seem absolutely committed to promoting that stereotype for some political end. Logically, the best that can be said is that some talented amateurs are better than some untalented professionals.

ALL MSM Journalists are incompetent. (And ALL MSM journalists went to journalism school as a corollary.)

SOME people become great journalists without journalism degrees. Bob cites the following examples:

Stephen Crane “the novelist and journalist best known for the Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage, covered the brief Greco-Turkish War and the Spanish-American War, somehow completing his assignments without graduating from a string of colleges.”

Ernie Pyle, “known for his folksy, down-home stories of regular people serving in World War II. Pyle didn’t complete his degree at Indiana University, but he didn’t let that stop him from getting syndicated by more than 300 newspapers. He picked up a Pulitzer on his way to becoming the most famous war correspondent in American media history.”

You know, this whole thing seems to be ANTI-college, doesn’t it? Anti-“smart.” Evidently if you’re educated, by definition, you can’t be educated.

Cogito ergo dumb.


Let’s pass over the fact that virtually NO journalist in America was college educated in 1865. The journalism degree is a post-World War II phenomenon. Reporters were apprenticed, like Hemingway, and learned on the job, by doing. (And indelibly enriched American expression.)

But Joe the Plumber isn’t apprenticed, and if he were, his “teachers” would be Roger the Logick and Bob the Logiciker — neither of which show a consistent ability to differentiate between shoe polish and generic manure.

Again, the preposterous assertion that by sending a complete idiot to Israel to report the facts THAT HE ALREADY KNOWS (see “Idiots“) he will automatically do a better job than ANY COLLEGE-EDUCATED MSM journalist, well, the astonishing thing is that this buffrontery isn’t laughed out of the room.

ALL journalists/journalism degrees are responsible for any professional screwup.


source: dunno, but hey, I are not a evil MSM journo

SOME “non” journalists have triumphed, DESPITE NOT HAVING A COLLEGE DEGREE!

Yeah, but both Pyle and Crane were journalists in that old tradition. Wikipedia [emphasis added]:

Crane — “He began writing at an early age and had published several articles by the age of 16. Having little interest in university studies, he left school in 1891 and began work as a reporter and writer.”


Pyle — “Pyle attended Indiana University, traveled to the Orient with fraternity brothers of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and edited the student newspaper—but he did not graduate.[1] Instead, with a semester left to graduate, Pyle accepted a job at a paper in LaPorte, Ind. He worked there three months before moving to Washington, D.C. A tabloid newspaper, the Washington Daily News, founded in 1921, had hired Pyle as a reporter.

Hmmm. Crane and Pyle were both members of the MAIN STREAM MEDIA?


And didn’t have college degrees?


And so Joe the Plumber is Ernie Pyle, Ernest Hemingway AND Stephen Crane?

(We look forward to his first novel, The Grease Trap Also Overflows, as we also eagerly anticipate a Pajamas Media column that is more logical than pathological.)


Geez, Bob! Don’t you ever bother to READ this stuff before cut-and-pasting as a means of avoiding actual critical thought?

Unless you have the logical linkage Journalism/College Degree = Journalist = Main Stream Media, the whole idiotic construction returns to the formless ordure from whence it originally derived.

But note the point:

  • ATTACK the mainstream media and delegitimize them.

Why? (Your call, Gentle Reader).

HIRE the symbol-figure Joe the Plumb-bob as a “reporter,” so that you will get ATTENTION and HEADLINES.

And, that’s the point.

Still, making the argument that Ernie Pyle wasn’t a MSM journalist is kind of sort of grandiloquently preposterous and ridiculous-making. Wikipedia:

The opportunity to return to writing came after [Pyle] spent time on a leisurely trip to California to recuperate from a severe bout of influenza. Upon his return, it was suggested that he write some columns about his trip to fill in for the vacationing syndicated columnist Heywood Broun. The series of 11 columns was a hit. G.B. (“Deac”) Parker, editor in chief of the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, said he had found in Pyle’s vacation articles “a Mark Twain quality that knocked my eye out”.

Pyle was relieved of his duties as a managing editor and began writing a national column for the Scripps-Howard Alliance group. He wandered around the country and the Americas in his car, writing columns about the unusual places and people he met in his ramblings. Select columns were later compiled and published in Home Country. Nevertheless, Pyle suffered from fits of deep depression, never satisfied with the quality of his writing. In 1928 he became the country’s first aviation columnist, a role in which he continued for four years….

But as the scorpion told the frog, it’s in Bob’s nature to make these sorts of impassioned and ultimately irrational arguments, and he just can’t help himself.


Still, SOMEBODY’S sure insistent on pushing that MSM is illegitimate meme, and that any dumb rube can do anything. (Joe the Plumb-bob seems to be sticking his foot in his mouth more than wearing out the shoe leather in his Hemingwayesque War Correspondenting… )

An actual war correspondent writes on Outside the Wire:

Joe the Plumber–Out of His Depth

…Where Joe gets into trouble is every time he moves beyond that angle, specifically in a long report where he says reporters should not be out in the battle with the troops.

That means Joe thinks Michael Yon, Michael Totten, Bill Roggio & his team, myself and others should not be running around with infantry units.

PJTV, the first majorly funded (sic) new media venture of its kind, hired, as its first star middle east reporter, a man who thinks the U.S. Military and IDF should yield the media battle space to the enemy.

I don’t know what fantasy world Joe lives in, but the media is going to cover a war however they can get access to it.  If the U.S. military or IDF doesn’t allow access, you can bet the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaida, Jaish al Mahdi, etc. will become the primary distributors of information.  Heck, they already are.

Luckily General David Petraeus sees things differently and in the counter insurgency field manual stated clearly that the media should be encouraged to embed with infantry units for long stretches of time.

And this is the hazard of sending Joe to be a media organization’s star correspondent….

Joe the Plumbium Worker is not there to report the news as much as he is there to make headlines, which is a different thing altogether.

It is in their nature, and close observation reveals the behaviors.

And, OF COURSE Bob Owens would defend Pajamas Media’s decision to hire Joe the Plumbium Worker to go-a-War-Corresponding near Gaza on Pajamas Media’s site. As they say, when the facts are on your side, pound on the facts; when the law is on your side pound on the law; but when nothing’s on your side, pound on the table.

Bob the Google-Slayer then brings up various contemporary blogger/journalists who happen to share Bob’s admittedly interesting weltanschauung. It is a circular argument, but Bob needs more examples, before dropping this bomb:

I’m not expecting Pyle’s humanizing folksiness, nor Yon’s gritty incisiveness, nor Crane’s vivid imagery from Wurzelbacher. I don’t know if he can craft a coherent sentence or conduct an revealing interview. And perhaps he’ll be an absolute disaster as a journalist, even as he’s created a PR explosion for PJTV.

But there is an obvious fear among so many members of the media so defensively and preemptively dismissive of “Joe the Plumber” trying his hand at reporting. Deep inside, they must wonder if an Ohio plumber could really be much worse than the so-called professionals we already have. There lies the fear that underlies those mocking Wurzelbacher in the media. It is a bruise to their egos when they realize that almost anyone can do what they do.*

[I’ve skipped over the part where Free-lance Hero Michael Yon is soliciting “donations” on his website so that he can sue Michael Moore. It’s sort of out of the purview of this piece.]

Witness the assumed world-view that “almost anyone can do what they do.” Ultimately, it is a circular argument: sneering at the media justifies sneering at the media; sending Joe the Hemingway justifies sneering at a media that, in its thousands of practitioners has made mistakes.

Sneering at professionalism is professional. Sneering at them college-educated fancy-britches with their new-fangled ways means you’re a smart guy. Just like Joe the Dumber.

Dumbass über alles.

It is in their nature and cannot be helped.


A degree in journalism does not make one a good reporter, and a lack of one doesn’t preclude it. What is unusual or meaningful in that? Somehow, the argument has mutated into the “MSM” fearing Joe the Plumber because he might delegitimize ALL of their college educashuns.

This is called dream logic. Galileo was locked up using similar dream logic.

Just as that other phenomenon of nature rages up the Atlantic seaboard in what has become a yearly event. Witness the annual migration, as predictable as the salmon coming up the Columbia to spawn and die, of Ann Coulter and her newest book tour.

It begins with a mediagenic promotion of her latest book, entitled something provative, like MURDER! or SEDITION! or HEATHENS! or PERVERTS! or some other such “attention” grabber.

She makes a scene on one of the TeeVee interviews, always searching for that tender spot that will cause a media hubbub over Ann’s latest little verbal stunt.


For the last three years, it ends with everyone appalled APPALLED at what she said at the CPAC convention in February.

Two years ago it was:

One comment that drew criticism from the blogosphere, as well as fellow conservatives,[113] was made during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2006, where she said, referring to the prospect of a nuclear-equipped Iran, “What if they start having one of these bipolar episodes with nuclear weapons? I think our motto should be, post-9-11: raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.”[114] Coulter had previously written a nearly identical passage in her syndicated column: “…I believe our motto should be after 9/11: Jihad monkey talks tough; jihad monkey takes the consequences. Sorry, I realize that’s offensive. How about ‘camel jockey’? What? Now what’d I say? Boy, you tent merchants sure are touchy. Grow up, would you?”[115]

Last year’s gem was that John Edwards was a fag. Oh, it was couched in cunning-like and wordy-lawyerness, but Coulter has figured out how to sell books:


Writes George Gurly, formerly of the Kansas City Star, in the New York Observer, “Coultergeist” (2002):

[Ms. Coulter] said she “takes joy in liberal attacks. It’s like coffee. I mean, usually when I write up a column, I know what’s going to drive them crazy. I know when I’m baiting them, it’s so easy to bait them and they always bite. That is my signature style, to start with the wild, bald, McCarthyite overstatements—seemingly—and then back it up with methodical and laborious research. Taunting liberals is like having a pet that does tricks. Sit! Beg! Shake! Then they do it.”

Ann Coulter is not a screeching reactionary?

“The American people don’t think so. I speak for them.”

What happens if everybody finally converts to conservatism, then will the liberals finally give in?

“No, liberals are too stupid, they will never give in. They are implacable. They don’t read. They hate America.”


It’s in her nature and can’t be helped.

This year, it was “NBC banned me for LIFE!” And then the “scene” on The View. All to culminate at the CPAC this February, which is beginning to look less and less like a convention and more and more like a black mass. Pajamas TV will have Joe the Plumber there, along with Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds, etc. (See Sunday’s “America’s Newest Fun Family, The Idiots!“).

What Ann will say, we can only guess. But it will be calculated to generate controversy and, therefore keep her only revenue stream healthy. And it WILL be said. You can count on that.

As is the fact that each column (like this one) only drives up book sales, so that she can, in her own inimitable and endearing words, according to Gurley:

So just write books? I chirped.

“That’s right,” she said. “That’s right. The American people like me; editors don’t. I’ve arranged my life so that I am unfireable. [sic] I don’t have any bosses. The only people who can fire me are the American people. That’s part of the reason I’m not anxious to have a TV show. Who’s gonna give me a TV show? I didn’t work for an impeached, disbarred President who was held in contempt by a federal judge. That’s what they look for in objective reporters.”

Ann Coulter says awful things to sell books filled with her saying awful things. Isn’t that an awful thing?


As Oscar Wilde said, the only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about. (Carol-Anne! Carol-Anne!)

But watch the playbook from the Hamstringing of Clinton in 1993 — the “gay” divide-and-conquer “controversy” that dropped today. The “nannygate”-style controversy. The rumblings about derailing the Attorney General nominee over old Clinton pardons. The tossing stuff at the wall to see if it sticks, even before Obama can actually take office.

AND: The hounding of the MSM to not give Obama a pass, conveniently forgetting Bush’s multi-year pass from said media, bordering on groveling. Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice … ?

Meantime, according to Scientific American:

Jan 13, 2009 01:45 PM
Astronomers retrace Galileo’s discoveries with replica of his 400-year-old telescope

For astronomy buffs, the arrival of 2009 brings more than just resolutions to eat better or live more frugally. The fledgling year has been designated the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Astronomical Union.

The IYA, intended to raise the public profile of astronomy, recognizes the 400th anniversary of the year Galileo, the Italian astronomer, began studying the heavens with telescopes of his own making. His observations of 1609 and 1610 showed the moon to be pockmarked rather than smoothly surfaced and unveiled four of Jupiter’s moons, among other discoveries.


The 4 moons of Jupiter discovered by Galileo



cross-posted from his vorpal sword

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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2 Responses to Natural Sciences (and Un-)

  1. Cares Sentin says:

    Yeah well it’s the syndrome of the news in your country: everyone can be a pundit. Even the guy who has an imaginary plumbing business. In Portugal every pundit is either a university teacher, a psycologist, member of a respectable public organization or parlament member of a party. (Doesn’t change the fact that most of them are dumb but hey better than having a plumber).

    Duck those israeli DIME bombs Joe! Duck!

  2. Hart Williams says:

    True enough. The attack on expertise, on education, on science has already produced fruit: a significant and embarrassing number of Americans actually believe in Creationism, reject evolution (in both senses) with the more skeptical idiots signing on to “Intelligent Design.”

    Weird, considering that “Intelligent” is not a term that they generally embrace otherwise. (They’re agin’ it.)

    The good news is that all day, the RIGHTIE blogosphere has been putting distance between Pajamas Media and the Wingnutosphere™. When you’re too crazy for that crowd, you’ve achieved something impressive in a bizarro world way.