Jul 31 2017

The Goldwater Rule Revisited

goldwaterIn 1964 Fact Magazine published an article titled: “1,189 Psychiatrists say Goldwater is Psychologically Unfit to be President!”  They were later sued successfully for defamation. This incident led the The Goldwater rule – Section 7 in the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Principles of Medical Ethics, which states it is unethical for psychiatrists to give a professional opinion about public figures they have not examined in person, and from whom they have not obtained consent to discuss their mental health in public statements.

This rule has held sway for the last 50 years. However, recently the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) e-mailed its members to inform them that they are not constrained by the Goldwater rule. So which stance is correct?

There are two competing ethical principles at stake. The first is the ethical responsibility of professionals not to cause harm to someone else by making public statements they have no business making. This is especially true when it comes to psychiatric diagnoses, because they carry a heavy and (in my opinion) unjustified stigma. The mere fact of being a public figure does not mean that medical professionals are free to bypass confidentiality and consent to make public speculations about your mental health.

Further, psychiatric diagnoses are especially complex and subjective. In order to make a accurate diagnosis you need a lot of background information about a person, and you need some professional interaction. This should ideally be a personal examination, however watching a video of another professional conducting an examination could suffice. But even then, the purpose of psychiatric diagnoses is to guide therapy. They are still fuzzy and subjective entities. It seems profoundly unethical to turn them against an individual, and use a formal diagnosis to medicalize their personality and behavior for non-therapeutic purposes.

When dealing with politicians, it is further very difficult for professionals to filter out their own ideology or personal feelings. It becomes too easy to use the tools of medicine for political fighting.

One might argue, however, that there is a competing ethical principle – a duty to publicly comment on a public figure who holds (or is vying for) tremendous power. Are there any cases extreme enough to justify breaking the Goldwater rule? I think theoretically there could be, but even then mental health professionals should tread very carefully, and err on the side of saying nothing.

What about for non-professionals? I wrote about this earlier. I think generally non-professionals should not speculate about the mental health of other people. To clarify, everyone has the right to make their own judgments about other people, especially public figures asking for their vote. If you think a candidate is unstable, you are free to consider that in your voting decision. I recommend, however, not medicalizing your judgments. Don’t frame them as specific psychiatric diagnoses you don’t have the expertise to make. Further recognize that your judgment is likely to be overwhelmed by political ideology and tribalism.

I also feel it is harmful to use a medical diagnosis as a weapon – to accuse someone else of mental illness in order to exploit the stigma of such diagnoses. This kind of behavior was rampant during the 2016 campaign and I condemned it on both sides.

What about non-psychiatric diagnoses? In such cases I think the same general principles apply, but the thresholds are different. A medical diagnosis can be more objective and carries less of an unfair stigma.

One situation in which I think it is completely justified to publicly comment on a medical diagnosis is when someone has made their personal medical history part of their own public commentary. For example, if someone claims they were injured by a vaccine as part of their anti-vaccine political speech, then I feel it is fair game to analyze the evidence they present for their diagnosis and the alleged cause. They have essentially entered their medical condition into the arena of public commentary – they cannot then claim privacy for that same information.

I would further add that professionals should never recommend specific interventions based on remote information and without having a therapeutic relationship with a patient. But that is very different from simply commenting on information placed into the public domain.

Another factor to consider is the diagnosis itself. Some diagnoses are mostly visual. You can make them confidently based upon casual video. Parkinson’s disease is a great example. People with this disorder have a certain facial expression, posture, way of moving, and may have a characteristic tremor. It is what we call an “Across the room diagnosis.” I still would not presume to make management recommendations without a personal history and exam, but it is possible for an expert to make a confident diagnosis of at least the general category of Parkinsonism based purely on video.

What about public figures who have not made their own health a public issue? I think this goes to the more general question of how much privacy public figures deserve and have a right to expect. If we return to the president, for example, pretty much when you run for president everything about your life becomes fair game. Candidates are expected to turn over their health records, for example.

I think this is reasonable. When you are asking for the responsibility of the most powerful position in the country, it only seems reasonable that the public deserves to know as much as possible about the person they would put in that position. If you want privacy, don’t run for president.

There is also the matter of the 25th amendment, which contains procedures for declaring a sitting president unfit for duty. This only states that congress, or the cabinet, or other suitable body, “transmit their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”  This could be an obvious situation, like being under general anesthesia. But it may also simply mean that the president is medically or cognitively unfit.

It is now clear, for example, that Reagan was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease toward the end of his presidency. He clearly wasn’t as sharp as he was toward the beginning, and those around him were doing their best to cover for him. However, from the public perspective this change could simply have been from normal aging and the stress of the job. After he left office the official diagnosis of dementia was announced, and it became clear that we were seeing the early stages of this, not just normal aging.

Was there a point, however, when the 25th amendment should have been invoked? What if  a dementia expert, examining the copious video of Reagan, determined that it was very likely he had early dementia. Should they tell someone? Should they have made a public statement? It does seem reasonable that at some point the concerns of the country outweigh other concerns.

 

184 responses so far

184 Responses to “The Goldwater Rule Revisited”

  1. fbrosseaon 31 Jul 2017 at 8:23 am

    To the point of this article (I think), there seems to be a lot of desirability bias when lay people make diagnoses of mental illness, especially on prominent figure.

    One thing I hear a lot of is on how company executives and billionaires display psychopath-like behaviors, and drawing a conclusion that you have to be a psychopath to be a CEO. Some often cited work is for example that rich people are more likely to display unethical behavior (http://www.pnas.org/content/109/11/4086.short ) but this fails to consider that rich people have more opportunity to show unethical behavior, they can afford to get speeding tickets or can afford to tax-evade…

  2. Gotchayeon 31 Jul 2017 at 9:44 am

    Another factor would be: how much good is public comment from psychiatrists likely to do?

    What if experts, examining the copious video of Trump, determine that it is very likely that he is for various reasons unfit to serve as President? Who would even care? Basically everyone who’s likely to respect their opinions already believes this. This doesn’t inform the thinking of people who might be in a position to invoke the 25th Amendment — it’s pretty clear that they all already believe this too.

    I don’t really have a problem with psychiatrists talking about Trump, but it doesn’t really strike me as likely to do anything other than confirm what some people already believe about Trump and confirm what other people already believe about psychiatrists.

  3. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 10:02 am

    I see no problem with doctors expressing opinions on general issues of public policy and using their professional competence to inform such opinions. There are many debates in which such perspectives can be helpful (for example, debates on euthanasia, etc).

    On the other hand, I think it is unethical for a doctor to make a diagnosis on a public figure without having a professional physician-patient relationship with that person. I think the Goldwater rule is appropriate: if you are a psychiatrist, and you think Trump is crazy, it’s perfectly ethical to publicly state your viewpoint, as a political viewpoint.

    But it is unethical to state it as a medical viewpoint, in the sense that a doctor would make a diagnosis. That is grossly unethical, and tarnishes public debate and tarnishes the medical profession.

    And, by the way, Trump isn’t the least bit crazy. He’s brilliant, has massive kryptonite balls, and is draining the Washington sewer in a masterful way. The sewer rats, understandably, aren’t pleased with the new Exterminator, and they are squealing. Music to my ears.

    Trump is the best president we’ve had since Lincoln, and maybe better. Bless him.

  4. DisplayGeekon 31 Jul 2017 at 10:30 am

    Aren’t we speaking of apples and oranges here? This is NOT the APA that has lifted the Goldwater Rule, but psychoanalysts, who by any reasonable standard rank close to naturopathy on the ‘quack’ scale. The members of the APsaA may also be board certificated psychaitrists, but they needn’t be. Psychoanalysis is the prime example of pseudoscience per Popper, and I strongly agree. So, concerns for “professional” ethics would seem not to apply. We might as well be concerned about the professional ethics of astrologers and numerologists.

  5. edamameon 31 Jul 2017 at 11:22 am

    You don’t drain a swamp by piping in raw sewage. Sorry Egnor you have been bamboozled, but it is clear, by your pattern of thought and posts, that you are easily swayed by bs. You positively fawn over it. No intelligent, non-desperate, person voluntarily enters a business relationship with Trump. Everyone that enters his orbit ends up a shell of what they once were. Good leaders raise people up around them, they do not diminish and humiliate.

    “I like people that weren’t captured.”

    I know you were trolling (as usual) with the idiotic Lincoln comment, but you might consider at what point your professional, intellectual, and personal pride might override your impetuous urges to get a reaction.

    The internet is forever.

    The fact that neurosurgeon, Dr Michael Egnor, actually said that Trump is the best president we’ve had since Lincoln, is going to be out there forever.

    Is this indicative of how much thought you put into things? Of how reflective you are about your opinions in general? Of the underlying mechanisms in your thought process? Pretty interesting stuff, Dr Egnor.

  6. The Sparrowon 31 Jul 2017 at 11:42 am

    As an aside, kryptonite balls might be one of the most appropriate descriptors of Trump I’ve heard lately, but definitely not for the reasons @egnor was hoping for. And that’s all I have to say about politics today.

  7. JohnWon 31 Jul 2017 at 11:52 am

    “kryptonite balls might be one of the most appropriate descriptors of Trump I’ve heard lately”

    That one made me smile too… Here, the hero of the dimwitted, their superman, has testicles of kryptonite! How apt. Cartoonish fraudulence all the way down.

    Perhaps that’s what protected him during his Vietnam-era heroism at Studio 54.

  8. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 12:58 pm

    ed:

    [You don’t drain a swamp by piping in raw sewage.]

    Trump ain’t the sewage. He’s the disinfectant. Sometimes disinfectants are pungent and don’t smell nice. But they get the job done.

    The sewage is the Clinton Foundation, and the political scum that feed off American taxpayers, and an FBI and ‘Justice’ Department that protects gangsters like Hilliary and Bill (Loretta Lynch’s secret meeting on the Phoenix tarmac with the husband of a suspect under investigation), scumbag Comey’s lies about Hilliary’s obvious multiple felonies with classified data, Muller’s hiring of a bevy of Clinton Foundation donors and lawyers to “investigate” the bullsh*t “Russia conspiracy”, the countless frauds and connections between the Media and the Democrats revealed by Wikileaks, the endless “leaks” of classified info on Trump etc by CIA, FBI, NSA etc sewer-rats, each of which is a felony, the intimate relationship between the Pakistani IT scum (recently arrested fleeing the US) and the DNC and Wasserman-Schultz), etc, etc.

    Trump is like George Patton. He’s uncouth, a tad crazy (in a loveable way), but he’s a killer (metaphorically)–he fights ruthlessly and effectively. He’s one man taking on almost the entire Wshington establishment, which is a sewer, and remarkably, he’s winning, because Americans are seeing the true nature of the people who’ve been running this country.

    So I paraphrase Lincoln, who, commenting on Grant, said “I can’t spare this man. He fights.”

    Trump fights. We can’t spare him. God bless him. I love the guy.

  9. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 1:05 pm

    ed:

    [The fact that neurosurgeon, Dr Michael Egnor, actually said that Trump is the best president we’ve had since Lincoln, is going to be out there forever.]

    What on earth would make you think that I mind having my love for Trump enshrined forever?

    Goodness gracious, why would you think that the opinion of a bunch of lefty Trump-hating morons and supercilious Never-Trump cuckservatives would make a bit of difference to me?

    It’s hilarious, and quite revealing about you, that you would act as if I had committed some social faux-pas, like using the wrong salad fork, in my support of Trump. It demonstrates your own obsequiousness to conventional wisdom, and your own cowardice and lack of insight.

    I love Trump. He’s doing a great job–much better than I had even hoped. I am happy that my opinion can be widely known. And I hope the Trump-haters know it. There are tens of millions of people like me who love the guy, and we will fight for what he is doing for our country.

    I hope the fight remains metaphorical. If Trump is impeached, it may not.

  10. bendon 31 Jul 2017 at 1:28 pm

    I agree with Dr. Egnor on one point. The armchair psychoanalyses of Trump are inappropriate. It may well be that in the future, we find out that he had a massive brain tumor the size of his entitlement that caused his brain to shrink to the size of this tiny hands and we will say, “see! Dr. Lefty McSocialist was right!” But in the meantime, we should limit our efforts to the diagnoses of insanity within his policies and public actions and his demeanor itself (i.e. it’s perfectly fine to say that he’s acting paranoid, but not to say that he is certifiably a paranoid schizophrenic-also, someone should tell the Mooch this too).
    Conservative columnist George Will offered an example of a proper critique of the president just the other day, describing him as “alpha male as crybaby.” So while Egnor has noted our president’s testicles of unusual composition, given Trump’s infantile behavior it is uncertain whether or not they have even descended. (note: this is not a medical diagnosis)

  11. edamameon 31 Jul 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Egnor wrote:
    “What on earth would make you think that I mind having my love for Trump enshrined forever? ”

    You did more than say you love Trump (which is itself weird). You said

    Trump is the best president we’ve had since Lincoln, and maybe better.

    I have some amazing vodka to sell you, just meet me at the Taj Majal in Atlantic City. I hope you buy your real estate from someone with a degree from Trump University. He’s definitely been an honest man his whole life, is exactly the kind of high-character person we need to clear the swamp. lol

    So many people fawning over a BS machine, literally parroting his lines about being the best president since Lincoln. It would be hilarious if it was still just The Apprentice.

  12. MosBenon 31 Jul 2017 at 2:05 pm

    I’m confused as to why kryptonite balls would be considered a good thing. Even on the surface level knowledge of non-comics fans, pretty much everyone knows that Superman is a good, heroic person, and kryptonite is a mineral that is poisonous to him, is frequently used by his enemies to undermine his heroic deeds, and has no real useful purpose. Slightly deeper into nerd-knowledge, kryptonite is primarily used by two of Superman’s enemies, the cyborg Metallo, who has a kryptonite power source in his chest, and Lex Luthor, an evil businessman who is so xenophobic that he opposes the heroic Superman to the point of trying to kill him. To go even a bit further, years of exposure to kryptonite eventually gave Luthor cancer.

    So Trump is like a gestalt of two of the bigger villains in DC comics who fight against one of the most genuinely purely good heroes in our modern mythology, and this is supposed to be a sign of how strong and awesome he is?

  13. MosBenon 31 Jul 2017 at 2:30 pm

    In much the same way that non-medical experts should probably avoid phrasing their dislike of a politician in the terms of medical diagnosis, non-legal experts should probably avoid posing their political arguments in terms of legal conclusions.

  14. Steven Novellaon 31 Jul 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Michael,
    I’m curious – why do you think Trump refuses to release his tax returns? Why do you think Don Jr., Manafort, and Kushner lied repeatedly about their meeting with multiple people connected to Russia, and about being told specifically that the Russian government was interested in helping Trump’s campaign?

    I wonder what you would think about these sorts of things if the Clinton’s or any Democrat were guilty of the same things.

  15. edamameon 31 Jul 2017 at 3:01 pm

    “Trump is like George Patton.”

    Yes, : he avoided the military, uses the truth as an opportunistic means to an end rather than a principle to follow, happily takes advantage of those disadvantaged people in his way even if it will destroy their lives, etc..

    Basically, take away everything that made George Patton an honorable and good man, add a sense of bluster, entitlement, ignorance, and NY pugnacious attitude, and you start to see an outline of The Donald.

    Seems the BS of the do-nothing president is rubbing off on his devotees.

  16. hardnoseon 31 Jul 2017 at 3:10 pm

    “… psychiatric diagnoses, because they carry a heavy and (in my opinion) unjustified stigma.”

    Anyone who thinks mental illness is a stigma must be crazy.

  17. hardnoseon 31 Jul 2017 at 3:13 pm

    It looks like Steve N just gave away his political affiliation. Not that we didn’t know anyway.

  18. edamameon 31 Jul 2017 at 3:29 pm

    hardnose have you read Bill Kristol lately?

  19. Steven Novellaon 31 Jul 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Given ME’s rather extreme position, I just asked him some obvious questions. That hardly reveals any political affiliation. Further, as edamame quickly pointed out, just read the conservative commentators. They have not been kind to Trump.

    Truth, honesty, intellectual integrity, and basic decency should have no political affiliation.

  20. bachfiendon 31 Jul 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Hardnose,

    I don’t think that Donald Trump has any mental illness (such as paranoid schizophrenia). I think he has a serious and significant personality disorder. I can’t decide whether he has narcissism or a borderline personality disorder. In any case, he lacks empathy and has an exaggerated sense of self worth.

    Both would explain his incredible changes in direction in policy and his addiction to making policy statements in 140 characters or less on Twitter.

    All previous presidents have grown into the job, which basically is the most difficult in the world. Trump, 6 months in, obviously hasn’t. I hope he doesn’t cause too much damage before his term ends. I hope Congress comes to their senses and impeach him.

  21. Insomniacon 31 Jul 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Does the stance of the American Psychoanalytic Association matter?

    I understand this ethical discussion is wider than any question about the epistemological status of psychoanalysis, but psychoanalysts have a range of diagnoses that are not listed in either the ICD or DSM, at least here in France where they are still relevant in the public discussion. So in my opinion, they should not openly give professional opinion about the mental health of public figures whether or not you consider this practice to be ethical.

  22. hardnoseon 31 Jul 2017 at 4:38 pm

    “Truth, honesty, intellectual integrity, and basic decency should have no political affiliation.”

    The “Skeptics” oath: We are, and always shall remain, about it all.

  23. TheGorillaon 31 Jul 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Wait so because psychoanalysis has a different diagnostic manual they shouldn’t be commenting on mental health? Is this all part of the psychoanalysis is quackery meme put out by people who are completely clueless about the field?

  24. hardnoseon 31 Jul 2017 at 4:41 pm

    ABOVE it all

  25. hardnoseon 31 Jul 2017 at 4:42 pm

    The real definition of insanity:

    Everyone who disagrees with me is insane.

    Therefore, if you are a Democrat, Trump is insane.

  26. bachfiendon 31 Jul 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Hardnose,

    You’re making your usual straw man attacks.

    I don’t think that anyone thinks that Trump is insane. He does have very significant personality problems which should have disqualified him from being elected, and he was elected by a minority of the electors voting, who were in turn a minority of electors eligible to vote.

    I met a young American on the train from the Zugspitze in Germany in June and spontaneously he announced that he was a Texan and a Republican, but that he was embarrassed by Trump. And that he couldn’t overcome his revulsion for him to allow him to vote last November.

    Being wrong doesn’t make a person insane. You’ve been demonstrably wrong on numerous occasions as shown by your comments on this blog, but that doesn’t make you insane.

  27. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Steven,

    [I’m curious – why do you think Trump refuses to release his tax returns?]

    Who cares. Hillary has personally committed tens of thousands of felonies: each email on her private (ie illegal) server is a felony, and that adds up to 60,000 at least. She deleted half of them (the ones about yoga and Chelsea’s wedding) and scrubbed the hard drives before smashing them with hammers. Each of those actions is a felony, so we’re in the range of 100,000 felonies. She ran a pay-for-play scheme as Secretary of State, in which she took millions of dollars from foreign governments for favors– for example, she sold 20% of the US uranium reserves to a Russian company. and Bill got some whopping speaker fees in return. The Saudi’s have paid her 20 million at least (and that’s just what we know about).

    Now while she was doing this, the FBI/Justice Department etc etc did nothing at all. No investigation. No indictments. Nada. The Attorney General (Loretta Lynch) met with hubby secretly, obviously to discuss the “fix” for the little problem. FBI director Comey detailed many of her felonies publicly, and then explained that it wasn’t his job to recommend prosecution for tens of thousands of felonies. He’s got more important things to do…

    This is just the f*cking beginning. The entire Democrat Party is a crime syndicate, and most of the Republican Party is too. The media is in the tank for this scum, and the “Russian” sh*t is a hoax obviously.

    And you have the gall to ask about Trump’s ‘tax return’?

    We aren’t in normal times. I don’t give a sh*t about Trumps tax return. There’s obviously nothing there (if there were it would have been leaked before the election–everything else is leaked, including top secret information. If they had anything on Trump–any f*cking thing–it would be on the front page of the NYT, WaPo, etc instantly. They’ve got nothing because there ain’t nothing.

    [Why do you think Don Jr., Manafort, and Kushner lied repeatedly about their meeting with multiple people connected to Russia, and about being told specifically that the Russian government was interested in helping Trump’s campaign?]

    I hope they met with Putin. It’s not a crime, and I trust Putin more than I trust the scum running our country. And who knows if they “lied”? We are inundated with fake news–every week it’s another bombshell, that turns out to be nothing but crap and lies.

    Where are the prosecutions for the leaks? Where are the prosecutions of Comey, who lied about Hillary and who leaked himself? Where are the prosecutions of Loretta Lynch, who obviously impeded the investigations in to Hillary’s crimes?

    [I wonder what you would think about these sorts of things if the Clinton’s or any Democrat were guilty of the same things.]

    Are you kidding? Clinton and the f*cking Democrats are guilty of orders of magnitude more sh*t than Trump ever dreamed of. Every time they sent or received an email on an unsecure server they committed one more felony than Trump ever did. Every time they destroyed evidence, or lied to investigators, or scrubbed hard drives, or took money from foreign governments while serving as cabinet officers, they committed felonies far beyond anything you’ll ever find on Trumps tax returns.

    We are in a new stage in this country. This is a cold civil war. So no one gives a sh*t about Trump’s tax returns–even the a**holes asking for them. Because this is just about a gang of organized criminals who’ve taken over the federal government of our country.

    There’s a great analogy called the “Flight 93 election”, referring to the plane on 9 11 that crashed in Pennsylvania. Our country is the plane, and we citizens are the passengers. The crooks (Dem scum and most Republicans) are locked in the cockpit and they’re taking our country down.

    Trump is the beverage cart. He’s not a perfect instrument–you’d prefer something a bit more suited to the task–but he’s all we have, and we’re using him to break down the door and take our country back.

    I assure you, if he doesn’t succeed–if he doesn’t take down this criminal scum who are running our country, then we will find someone who will. If you don’t like Trump, you really won’t like what comes after Trump.

    This is war.

  28. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 5:51 pm

    And there are tens of millions of Americans who are just as angry as I am. We are, to use the leftist term, “woke”.

    That’s an aspect of Trump’s political genius. He is trolling the Swamp. He’s making them reveal themselves. Look at CNN, which is absolutely destroying any shred of credibility it ever had.

    Trump’s tweets to the press are like playing with a laser pointer with a cat. He’s forcing them to do all kinds of stupid things. He’s playing them.

    Regarding his tax returns, again, there’s obviously nothing there or it would have been leaked instantly. Sh*t, they leak anything and everything (every leak is a felony, and none are being prosecuted). Trump is using the tax return issue to obsess the left and make them make fools of themselves, just like Obama did with the birther issue. Obama had his long form birth certificate, and he held onto it for a couple of years before releasing it, so the Right would waste its time and energy going after him on a non issue. Trump learned the trick, and he’s got you guys dancing like kittens chasing a laser light. Fools.

    He’s taking the swamp down. It’s messy and ugly, but it needs to be done. Like cleaning the toilet.

    Trump’s support is intense, and tens of millions of Americans are going to make sure the swamp is drained. And remember that we are the ones who support the Second Amendment.

    If Trump is impeached, there will be civil war.

  29. BillyJoe7on 31 Jul 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Nero my god to thee….

    http://farcornercafe.blogspot.com.au/2017/07/nero-my-god-to-thee.html

  30. DisplayGeekon 31 Jul 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Mr. Gorilla…

    Psychoanalysis has been studied to death. It was a cult lead by S. Freud… now it is simply another form of pseudoscience quackery with not a shred of empirical research to back it up. When it does deign to have anything to do with reality, experimental psychology was already there first. (And yes, I have a degree in psychology and a very strong background in applied psychophysics with published papers and over 100 patents in the field.) Psychoanalysis is much like naturopathy, mixing total quackery with a smidgen of evidence based science… but whose basis is grounded in a totally untested and untestable non-sense that allows one to conclude almost anything. When it’s adherent’s ideas have been tested, they usually turn out to be totally wrong (e.g. the psychoanalytic literature is rife with specious misogyny and homophobia whose predictions regarding sexual orientation and gendered behavior have been demolished rather thoroughly).

  31. RickKon 31 Jul 2017 at 6:32 pm

    “This is war.”

    You’d better hope not. I don’t think the drug addicted, no-work-ethic Trump base can put up much of a fight even given the rates of weapon ownership.

    But just calm down “Doctor” – your partisan absurdity makes you look ridiculous. Trump is flailing. We know what he thinks and how he thinks, anyone and everyone who has spent time with him confirms that there’s no shrewd ghost in the chaotic machine. He’s just a bully putting up a front, and you’re desperately trying to convince yourself the Orange Emperor isn’t naked.

    Listen to you carry on about emails while conveniently giving Bush a pass for “losing” millions of mails on official business on a private server.

    While your BS may play in a trailer park in Lead Hill, Ark, it fools nobody here. Your precious GOP blew itself up, letting the crazies run the show. And now after the intelligent, erudite, moral and all around exemplary human being we dirty liberals put in office, you’re desperately trying to convinced yourself that the strutting fool you put in office has some redeeeming feature. News flash – he doesn’t – and your trolling rants just make you look sillier than him.

    You’re part of his 37% approval rating, and that was before his latest cabinet meltdown. Come back when it’s down to 10% and tell us again how brilliant he is.

  32. RickKon 31 Jul 2017 at 6:50 pm

    I do have to pause to thank the dubious Doctor for one thing. His ranting about the Clinton speaking fees caused me to learn a bit more about GW Bush’s $25+ million in fees, his charging $100k to speak to veterans of wars he instigated and the brouhaha over Reagan’s $2 million for speaking in Japan.

    But, as ever, Egnor is loyal to tribe, right or wrong. His religious and philosophical interests are purely academic.

  33. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Ricky:

    [Listen to you carry on about emails while conveniently giving Bush a pass for “losing” millions of mails on official business on a private server.]

    Bushies are scum too. Shrub had the Saudi ambassador over to lunch a couple of days after 9 11, even when he knew the deep extent of official Saudi involvement in the attacks. Bushes get lots of oil money from their buddies in the Middle East, and no reason to upset the apple cart over a few thousand dead Americans.

    [And now after the intelligent, erudite, moral and all around exemplary human being we dirty liberals put in office]

    Yea. Our first affirmative action president. Obama is absolute scum. The worst president, ever, not even close. “Erudite”? Are you kidding? What was his GPA? (he hasn’t released it). Name all of the articles he wrote when he was editor of the Harvard Law Review (he didn’t write any). What job did he ever hold? He never even ran a f*cking lemonade stand before he “ran” the country.

    He destroyed the Democrat party. Never in American history has there been a more comprehensive collapse of a political party at the national and local level. Over a thousand elected offices lost. “Erudite” yea.

    What do you think of his violations of the Constitution which are massive and continuous. Unlawful orders (eg on immigration), using the IRS to target political opponents, inciting race riots reliably 6 months before every election (remember Ferguson? Remember Trayvon?–all ginned up with hate to get the scummy Democrat base out in the next election)

    How do you feel about your “erudite, intelligent, moral” president inviting Al Sharpton to be his main man on advice on racial matters? Al F*cking Sharpton, a homicidal race hustler who starts race riots for a living.

    How about Obama’s message to Putin to “cut a little slack–I’ll have more flexibility after the election”. That’s a million times worse than anything Trump was ever even accused of.

    How about Obama’s under the table deal with Iran– billions (3 billion if memory serves) and the go ahead to make nukes and money secretly delivered, all without congressional approval?

    Worst. President. Ever. No even close. An absolute f*cking criminal. Chicago gangster Lefty acolyte of Rev. Wright. Scum.

  34. chikoppion 31 Jul 2017 at 7:07 pm

    [michaelegnor] This is war.

    At the risk of contributing to the derailment of yet another thread, I just have to ask…

    What are the specific conditions for:

    a) victory
    b) defeat

  35. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Ricky:

    Oh, and Obama’s secretary of state in his first term was running a multi-multi million dollar influence peddling scheme from the state department. Did president “moral” do anything about it, except hire her and cover her ass? Did he do anything about the IRS crimes? Did he do anything about the scumbag Attorney Generals he hired–Holder and Lynch, both of whom are simple common criminals? (Holder was held in contempt of congress and Lynch obviously put the fix in for the B*tch)

    And Obama issued an EO just before leaving the WH allowing the massive sharing of classified information, obviously to facilitate leaks about Trump. Let me make it more clear: he enabled hundreds of felony leaks to disable and try to destroy his successor in office.

    “Moral”?

    Piece of sh*t.

  36. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 7:13 pm

    chi:

    [What are the specific conditions for:
    a) victory
    b) defeat]

    Easy.

    Victory:

    Economy roaring.
    Massive tax cuts.
    Drilling for oil everywhere.
    Jobs (blue collar) surging.
    Strong non-interventionist defense.
    Massive cutting of regulations.
    Massive firing/laying off of Washington bureaucrats and lobbyists.
    All Democrat leadership and most Republican leadership in prison.

    We’re actually making pretty good progress.

  37. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Red Ricky:

    [I do have to pause to thank the dubious Doctor for one thing. His ranting about the Clinton speaking fees caused me to learn a bit more about GW Bush’s $25+ million in fees, his charging $100k to speak to veterans of wars he instigated and the brouhaha over Reagan’s $2 million for speaking in Japan.]

    Bushies are scum. They can share cells with their Democrat pals in Leavenworth.

  38. bachfiendon 31 Jul 2017 at 7:24 pm

    It’s good to know that ‘Egnor’s victory’ won’t happen. There’s inconvenient impediments such as the Law.

  39. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 7:24 pm

    Ricky:

    [“This is war.”
    You’d better hope not. I don’t think the drug addicted, no-work-ethic Trump base can put up much of a fight even given the rates of weapon ownership.]

    90% of the military voted for Trump, as well as every gun owner in the country.

    You get the illiterates, yoga instructors, and welfare queens. Maybe you can make a rebel army out of your trannies who can’t decide if they’re men or women.

    We get the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, cops, firefighters, and every hunter and gun owner in the US.

    It wouldn’t actually be a war. It would be like one of those baby-seal hunts.

  40. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 7:30 pm

    bachie:

    [It’s good to know that ‘Egnor’s victory’ won’t happen. There’s inconvenient impediments such as the Law.]

    There ain’t no Law. That’s what Trumpies are woke to. We understand that “Nation of Laws” went out the window a while back.

    When the B*tch and her cronies walk free, huge portions of the federal government conspire to stage a coup to cripple and get rid of an elected president, when destroying evidence and smashing hard drives and secret meetings on tarmacs about investigations and FBI directors who leak and lie and refuse to do their job, when immigration laws are thrown in the trash to deliberately change the population of the country in order to elect one party in perpetuity, there is no “Law.”

    The reason the Left and their many enablers are going nuts about Trump is that they understand that we understand. There is no Law. We get it, finally. And we’re fighting to win.

  41. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 7:49 pm

    How about the unmaskings of American citizens who were spied upon by the CIA under Obama? Hundreds of people, all of whom were involved with Trump. Looks like Susan Rice was the henchman. Using the CIA to spy on political opponents.

    Countless felonies, violations of basic Constitutional rights.

    Birds chirping.

    Obama is “intelligent, moral and erudite”?

    There ain’t no Laws.

  42. hardnoseon 31 Jul 2017 at 7:53 pm

    bachfiend:
    “I don’t think that anyone thinks that Trump is insane. He does have very significant personality problems which should have disqualified him from being elected, and he was elected by a minority of the electors voting, who were in turn a minority of electors eligible to vote.”

    Yes, a tiny little minority of the voters elected Trump.

    “I met a young American on the train from the Zugspitze in Germany in June and spontaneously he announced that he was a Texan and a Republican, but that he was embarrassed by Trump. And that he couldn’t overcome his revulsion for him to allow him to vote last November.”

    OMG, one person was embarrassed by Trump!!

  43. chikoppion 31 Jul 2017 at 8:09 pm

    [michaelegnor] 1) Economy roaring.
    2) Massive tax cuts.
    3) Drilling for oil everywhere.
    4) Jobs (blue collar) surging.
    5) Strong non-interventionist defense.
    6) Massive cutting of regulations.
    7) Massive firing/laying off of Washington bureaucrats and lobbyists.
    8) All Democrat leadership and most Republican leadership in prison.

    Well, 1 and 4 we can agree on.

    2 is half an answer. Whose taxes get cut, how is “massive” quantified, and what budget items and tax breaks are sacrificed?

    3 to produce what outcome?

    Does 5 include cuts to military spending and abandoning the Middle East to Iran and Russia?

    Does any regulation count for 6, such as fewer financial market and banking regulations?

    7. How is “massive” quantified?

    Can you put a number on 8? Ten people? Twenty?

    What are the specific conditions for defeat?

  44. edamameon 31 Jul 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Egnor has gone off the rails. He jumped two spots, passing drunk angry uncle and landing ahead of Richard Spencer . Gaining on alex jones.

  45. bachfiendon 31 Jul 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Hardnose,

    Agreed, one young Texan American Republican is only one data point, but there are many run of the mill Republicans who detest Trump. I just found it interesting that someone was willing to express his disdain of Trump to a stranger on a train.

  46. Lane Simonianon 31 Jul 2017 at 9:22 pm

    One factual error regarding former President Obama–he was a U.S. Senator before becoming president. He was an effective speech writer and a successful author–so on that basis he could be considered erudite.

    Obama will likely be ranked high among Presidents in that his policies helped us out of one of the worst financial crises in American history and he wound down two ill-conceived and very costly wars.

    I am not really into supposed historical equivalencies. Often times they are laughable on their face–like the commentator Jeffrey Lord claiming liberal Democrats (not the racist Democrats of the Old South) were behind the KKK. I have never been a fan of the Clintons and some of what they did, but here too the equivalency is not exact. Donald Trump and his son actively sought help from a foreign enemy to try to win an election. One can argue whether this is treason or not but if not treason it is certainly close.

    Trump tagged Mexican immigrants as being mostly rapists and drug dealers, has given his blessing to police brutality, gives a wink and a nod to beating up protesters at his rallies, mocked a disabled reporter, tried to ban immigrants from certain countries based purely on their religion, claimed thousands of Muslims cheered the collapse of the twin towers in New York City, threatened to deny funding to a state because of its senator’s vote against a health care bill that would have taken insurance away from millions of people, fired an FBI director over the investigation of his administration’s collusion with Russia, harassed the U.S. attorney general because he recused himself from the investigation, directed that false statements be given by his son, and so on and so forth. He has neither the experience nor the temperament to be the president of the United States. He is with very few exceptions a false populist unless populism is defined as race baiting.

    Don’t worry about the Democratic party. People sometimes prefer change regardless of what that change may be. But once all but the most hardcore Trump supporters realize that they were deceived the pendulum will swing back again as it always has in American history.

  47. MosBenon 31 Jul 2017 at 9:29 pm

    Egnor is really gunning for a new level in how vile he presents himself. Sexism, transphobia, and just general egnorance. But it’s cute that he dropped an “ain’t” in there.

  48. The Sparrowon 31 Jul 2017 at 9:44 pm

    I’m really enjoying the HN/Egnor meltdowns today, they are in rare form right now. Looks like Egnor is a true believer after all, who knew.

    More to the point, as a Texas moderate who knows and is related to many Texas conservatives, Trump’s popularity ain’t what it used to be among the GOP. Just adding an anecdote to the party.

  49. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Lane-o:

    [One factual error regarding former President Obama–he was a U.S. Senator before becoming president.]

    B.S. He began running for president when he became a senator. The presidency was his first job, if being a corrupt underling in the Daley Political Machine doesn’t count as employment.

    [He was an effective speech writer and a successful author–so on that basis he could be considered erudite.]

    Bill Ayers wrote his autobiography. Obama couldn’t write a coherent grocery list.

    [Obama will likely be ranked high among Presidents in that his policies helped us out of one of the worst financial crises in American history]

    In one of his few semi-employment escapades, Obama was an ACORN hack who pushed for regulations mandating subprime lending. He helped cause the meltdown.

    [and he wound down two ill-conceived and very costly wars.]

    Without question, the worst foreign policy president in American history. F*cked relations with Russia, and destroyed the Middle East. Absolutely destroyed it. Caused ISIS, f*ucked Syria, absolutely f*cked Libya, caused a massive immigrant and refugee situation in Europe, let North Korea run wild with nukes and ICBM’s, gave Iran (the world’s worst terrorists) billions of dollars in secret shipments, without congressional approval. Absolutely the worst foreign policy president ever. Ever.

    [I am not really into supposed historical equivalencies. Often times they are laughable on their face–like the commentator Jeffrey Lord claiming liberal Democrats (not the racist Democrats of the Old South) were behind the KKK.]

    The KKK had very close ties to Progressives–the most KKK-loving president was Wilson, who was the first Progressive Democrat president.

    http://reason.com/archives/2005/12/02/hooded-progressivism

    Learn some history, ace.

    [I have never been a fan of the Clintons and some of what they did, but here too the equivalency is not exact.]

    Clintons are a crime syndicate. Trump is tacky. No equivalency.

    [Donald Trump and his son actively sought help from a foreign enemy to try to win an election. One can argue whether this is treason or not but if not treason it is certainly close.]

    Treason, asshat, is providing aid to an enemy in war. We ain’t at war with Russia, and Trump provided no aid. Meanwhile, Felonia von Pantsuit was taking money from any government that moved, to the tune of hundreds of millions to the Clinton Syndicate, including various Saudis, Arab potentates of all stripes, and… Russians. The B*tch sold uranium–f*cking uranium (you know, the stuff they make nukes with…) to the Russians, for money. Spare me your angst about the fake Russia-Trump sh*t. Your B*tch sold them uranium.

    [Trump tagged Mexican immigrants as being mostly rapists and drug dealers, has given his blessing to police brutality, gives a wink and a nod to beating up protesters at his rallies, mocked a disabled reporter, tried to ban immigrants from certain countries based purely on their religion, claimed thousands of Muslims cheered the collapse of the twin towers in New York City, threatened to deny funding to a state because of its senator’s vote against a health care bill that would have taken insurance away from millions of people, fired an FBI director over the investigation of his administration’s collusion with Russia, harassed the U.S. attorney general because he recused himself from the investigation, directed that false statements be given by his son, and so on and so forth.]

    Makes me want to vote for him all over again.

    [He has neither the experience nor the temperament to be the president of the United States.]

    Exactly. He’s no politician. I love that.

    [He is with very few exceptions a false populist unless populism is defined as race baiting.]

    Obama sat through 20 years of Rev. Wright’s race-baiting sermons, called that bigot his “mentor”, embraced Rev. Al Sharpton (the ultimate race-baiter who starts riots for a living) and retained him as his primary race advisor, inflamed racial situations continuously as president in order to keep his base motivated, and left a legacy of the worst race relations in half a century. And you have the audacity to call Trump a ‘race-baiter’.

    [Don’t worry about the Democratic party. People sometimes prefer change regardless of what that change may be. But once all but the most hardcore Trump supporters realize that they were deceived the pendulum will swing back again as it always has in American history.]

    I’m not worried about the Democrat Party, except I’m worried that it might survive and that not enough Democrats will go to prison.

  50. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 10:03 pm

    chi:

    [[michaelegnor] 1) Economy roaring.
    2) Massive tax cuts.
    3) Drilling for oil everywhere.
    4) Jobs (blue collar) surging.
    5) Strong non-interventionist defense.
    6) Massive cutting of regulations.
    7) Massive firing/laying off of Washington bureaucrats and lobbyists.
    8) All Democrat leadership and most Republican leadership in prison.
    Well, 1 and 4 we can agree on.
    2 is half an answer. Whose taxes get cut, how is “massive” quantified, and what budget items and tax breaks are sacrificed?]

    I want my taxes cut. I pay about half what I make to these asshats. I work from January to June for the swamp.

    [3 to produce what outcome?]

    Mainly to piss off greenies.

    Also to make jobs, and provide affordable oil to ordinary people. We should corner the fossil fuel markets (which we are doing), and put the Saudis in a deep hole (which we are doing). It also puts the squeeze on Russia.

    [Does 5 include cuts to military spending and abandoning the Middle East to Iran and Russia?]

    I would support cuts, as long as our soldiers are protected. We should bring our troops home, and stop fighting other people’s wars. I don’t give a sh*t about the Middle East. Let them kill each other all they want.

    [Does any regulation count for 6, such as fewer financial market and banking regulations?]

    Don’t know. I don’t like bankers, but I don’t like regulators more.

    [7. How is “massive” quantified?]

    Kryptonite massive. I want to hear the lamentations of their women.

    [Can you put a number on 8? Ten people? Twenty?]

    Ten, twenty per day. There are hundreds of these scum who need to wear orange–all the Clinton Foundation cronies, the DNC crooks, a lot of Democrat (and Republican) “lawmakers” who are on the take and who protect criminals. I would clean out the FBI and CIA and arrest leakers and other scum.

    [What are the specific conditions for defeat?]

    There are two main criteria for defeat:

    1) Trump is impeached or defeated in 2020.
    2) There are empty federal prison cells not occupied by Democrats.

  51. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Edster:

    [Egnor has gone off the rails.]

    Yea. You think Hilary’s innocent, Washington bureaucrats are honest, and Obama was a great president. And you think I’ve gone off the rails.

  52. chikoppion 31 Jul 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Interesting. I’ll be curious to see how closely Trump’s actions track to your objectives.

  53. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 10:17 pm

    chi:

    [Interesting. I’ll be curious to see how closely Trump’s actions track to your objectives.]

    We’ll see. He’s an imperfect instrument, but he’s the best we’ve got. Just destroying the Washington sewer will be a miracle, and he’s working hard.

  54. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 10:22 pm

    MosBen:

    [Egnor is really gunning for a new level in how vile he presents himself. Sexism, transphobia…]

    I should have given you a trigger warning, sweetie. Are you a man or a woman today?

  55. Lane Simonianon 31 Jul 2017 at 10:34 pm

    One by one:

    Your statement was: What job did he ever hold? He never even ran a f*cking lemonade stand before he “ran” the country.

    Regardless of how you feel about how he got elected, he was a U.S. senator. Trump has absolutely no political experience and it shows every day.

    “Bill Ayers wrote his autobiography. Obama couldn’t write a coherent grocery list.”

    Also a false statement.

    “In one of his few semi-employment escapades, Obama was an ACORN hack who pushed for regulations mandating subprime lending. He helped cause the meltdown.”

    To say this is an error of magnitude, it ignores the role that many powerful people in politics–Republicans and Democrats–and in the financial world played in deregulating financial institutions. Bush had no answers to the collapse and Obama did.

    “Without question, the worst foreign policy president in American history. F*cked relations with Russia, and destroyed the Middle East. Absolutely destroyed it. Caused ISIS, f*ucked Syria, absolutely f*cked Libya, caused a massive immigrant and refugee situation in Europe, let North Korea run wild with nukes and ICBM’s, gave Iran (the world’s worst terrorists) billions of dollars in secret shipments, without congressional approval. Absolutely the worst foreign policy president ever. Ever.”

    Another order of magnitude error. George W. Bush’s war in Iraq opened the floodgates to radicals claiming to be Muslims to gain supporters in the region. I did not agree with all of Obama’s policies regarding the Middle East, but you cannot drop a long history of poor relations between the U.S. and the Middle East on Obama’s doorstep.

    “The KKK had very close ties to Progressives–the most KKK-loving president was Wilson, who was the first Progressive Democrat president.”

    The KKK existed long before the Progressive movement. Historical exceptions exist but it is historical irresponsible to claim that the KKK was a product of the Progressive movement (as Jeffrey Lord does). Some progressives and perhaps even some liberals were/are racists but most were/are not.

    As far as treason, the constitutional definition is:

    “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

    What the Trump administration did may not rise to the level of treason, but it is certainly more than just being tacky. Dealing with an adversary to try to get incriminating evidence on your opponent to win an election is likely an impeachable offense. Covering it up and obstructing justice certainly are.

    [Trump tagged Mexican immigrants as being mostly rapists and drug dealers, has given his blessing to police brutality, gives a wink and a nod to beating up protesters at his rallies, mocked a disabled reporter, tried to ban immigrants from certain countries based purely on their religion, claimed thousands of Muslims cheered the collapse of the twin towers in New York City, threatened to deny funding to a state because of its senator’s vote against a health care bill that would have taken insurance away from millions of people, fired an FBI director over the investigation of his administration’s collusion with Russia, harassed the U.S. attorney general because he recused himself from the investigation, directed that false statements be given by his son, and so on and so forth.]
    “Makes me want to vote for him all over again.”

    That is just scary.

    [He has neither the experience nor the temperament to be the president of the United States.]
    “Exactly. He’s no politician. I love that.”

    So you like someone with no experience and with no sense of self-control, self-refection, or judgment heading the most powerful country in the world?

    [He is with very few exceptions a false populist unless populism is defined as race baiting.]
    “Obama sat through 20 years of Rev. Wright’s race-baiting sermons, called that bigot his “mentor”, embraced Rev. Al Sharpton (the ultimate race-baiter who starts riots for a living) and retained him as his primary race advisor, inflamed racial situations continuously as president in order to keep his base motivated, and left a legacy of the worst race relations in half a century. And you have the audacity to call Trump a ‘race-baiter’.”

    Obama never abandoned the fight for racial justice, but he did distance himself from the more radical pronouncements of old friends and mentors. Trump on the other hand suggests that a large percentage of people that come from Mexico are rapists and drug dealers, claims that a Mexican-American judge is biased because of his heritage, fails to condemn attacks against Muslims in London, and falsely calls out the Muslim mayor of London for being soft on terrorism. Whether Trump is actually a racist (and a misogynist and anti-gay and transgender) is somewhat open to question. But his actions and words certainly build a case for it.

    I don’t have to try to defend some of the actions of other presidents, to condemn the actions of Trump. So called populists like him have been the bane of people throughout much of recent history.

  56. michaelegnoron 31 Jul 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Laney:

    [Regardless of how you feel about how he got elected, he was a U.S. senator. Trump has absolutely no political experience and it shows every day.]

    Trump, unlike these politicians, actually ran billion-dollar international projects and competed very successfully in business. He’s immeasurably more qualified than a “community organizer” and a shrew who married her way to power.

    [“Bill Ayers wrote his autobiography. Obama couldn’t write a coherent grocery list.” Also a false statement.]

    Right. O never wrote anything as an editor of the Law Review, and never wrote anything as a “law professor”, but he churns out a best seller that reads remarkably like the diction and syntax of his old buddie (and serial bomber) Bill Ayers, who hosted Obama’s first political fundraiser in his living room.

    “In one of his few semi-employment escapades, Obama was an ACORN hack who pushed for regulations mandating subprime lending. He helped cause the meltdown.”

    [Bush had no answers to the collapse and Obama did.]

    Obama is one of the worst economic presidents in American history. Stagnation, very slow growth, jobless recovery, record numbers of people completely out of the job market. Food stamps at record highs. As soon as he stepped out of office, the stock market rocketed up and hasn’t stopped.

    [George W. Bush’s war in Iraq opened the floodgates to radicals claiming to be Muslims to gain supporters in the region. I did not agree with all of Obama’s policies regarding the Middle East, but you cannot drop a long history of poor relations between the U.S. and the Middle East on Obama’s doorstep.]

    Bush’s war in Iraq is the seminal foreign policy error of the 21st century. A catastrophe. Obama, astonishingly, made it worse. No mean feat.

    [The KKK existed long before the Progressive movement. Historical exceptions exist but it is historical irresponsible to claim that the KKK was a product of the Progressive movement (as Jeffrey Lord does). Some progressives and perhaps even some liberals were/are racists but most were/are not.]

    The KKK was a progressive movement, as a matter of historical record. It was devoted to activist socially-controlling government to better the lives of its constituents, who just happened to be white protestant Democrats. Jim Crow and segregation were the ultimate government social engineering, and were closely linked to the Progressive movement.

    As far as treason, the constitutional definition is:

    [What the Trump administration did may not rise to the level of treason,]

    We are not at war with Russia, and no one has accused Trump of giving aid to Russia (it’s the other way around). None of this has anything to do with treason, asshat. You just say “treason” because it’s the worst thing you can think of, and you’re not very bright.

    [Dealing with an adversary to try to get incriminating evidence on your opponent to win an election is likely an impeachable offense. Covering it up and obstructing justice certainly are.]

    Dealing with an adversary to get incriminating evidence to win an election is… politics. All campaigns do it, and at the national level, all campaigns deal with foreigners (the Clintons had countless Russians and Chinese and Ukrainians etc on their payroll). There is nothing illegal or even unethical about getting the truth about your opponent. As for obstruction of justice, the fact that a Democrat is lecturing me on obstruction of justice is so funny I’m having trouble typing…

    [ “Makes me want to vote for him all over again.” That is just scary.]

    You poor thing. It’s scary to be scared.

    [So you like someone with no experience and with no sense of self-control, self-refection, or judgment heading the most powerful country in the world?]

    He’s a wildly successful billionaire real estate tycoon who runs a business empire, a media empire, and just won the presidency coming from nowhere and destroyed three political dynasties (Bush, Clinton and Obama) as well as 17 or so primary opponents while spending very little of his own money. I like his experience. Beats Felonia von Pantsuit (married into power) and Barry “I never even ran a lemonade stand” Soetoro.

    [Obama never abandoned the fight for racial justice]

    Vomits into garbage can…

    When he speaks, I bet you get tingles in your groin.

    [but he did distance himself from the more radical pronouncements of old friends and mentors.]

    Translation: his racist and terrorist lifelong mentors and buddies were politically inconvenient, so he threw them under the bus. Except for Al Sharpton, who he embraced and employed as a race-relations advisor (vomits again into garbage can…).

    [I don’t have to try to defend some of the actions of other presidents, to condemn the actions of Trump. So called populists like him have been the bane of people throughout much of recent history.]

    Obama left a smoking wreckage of a culture and a political climate. He didn’t just destroy the Middle East. He damaged our nation profoundly. F*cking Leftist scum.

  57. bachfiendon 31 Jul 2017 at 11:57 pm

    I wish I ate popcorn, so I could eat some while watching this continuing train wreck of Michael Egnor.

    It seems to me that Donald Trump is doing everything that Richard Nixon did – but many times worse. And Richard Nixon had the decency to resign before his was impeached. And Richard Nixon was a much nicer person, with a sense of loyalty to his subordinates and empathy.

    How many underlings has Trump fired by Twitter already?

    Trump is a narcistic infant. America certainly has changed (for the worse) since the ’70s.

  58. Lane Simonianon 01 Aug 2017 at 12:04 am

    You have bought into too many of the far right talking points. I am just going to deal with the more outlandish statements.

    “Obama is one of the worst economic presidents in American history. Stagnation, very slow growth, jobless recovery, record numbers of people completely out of the job market. Food stamps at record highs. As soon as he stepped out of office, the stock market rocketed up and hasn’t stopped.”

    What was the unemployment rate at the beginning and end of the Obama administration? And don’t go into how many people have given up looking for work and are not counted. That is true for the beginning and for the end of Obama’s term. A rising stock market looks good until it bursts.

    “Right. O never wrote anything as an editor of the Law Review, and never wrote anything as a “law professor”, but he churns out a best seller that reads remarkably like the diction and syntax of his old buddie (and serial bomber) Bill Ayers, who hosted Obama’s first political fundraiser in his living room.”

    And Obama was born in Kenya. And he is not smart enough to write a book. Some untruths are held onto for a long time.

    “Dealing with an adversary to get incriminating evidence to win an election is… politics. All campaigns do it, and at the national level, all campaigns deal with foreigners (the Clintons had countless Russians and Chinese and Ukrainians etc on their payroll). There is nothing illegal or even unethical about getting the truth about your opponent. As for obstruction of justice, the fact that a Democrat is lecturing me on obstruction of justice is so funny I’m having trouble typing…”

    Dirty tricks have long been a part of politics, but this takes it to a new level. The Russian offered incriminating evidence about Hillary in return for something. What was that something and how did the Trump team respond? At the very least, this poses a problem of a compromised president and staff. This is not just politics as usual; it is a conspiracy with an adversarial power that potentially hinders U.S. foreign policy.

    “He’s a wildly successful billionaire real estate tycoon who runs a business empire, a media empire, and just won the presidency coming from nowhere and destroyed three political dynasties (Bush, Clinton and Obama) as well as 17 or so primary opponents while spending very little of his own money.”

    This is part myth. Trump left a legacy of bankruptcies and lawsuits. His team of rivals is now a team of chaos. He does not know how to manage or even to participate in policy decisions and pushing legislation other than making threats and bullying people. This actually may be the one good parts of the Trump presidency–his experience in business did not teach him how to compromise or to work well with others–so if we are lucky almost nothing gets done.

    “The KKK was a progressive movement, as a matter of historical record. It was devoted to activist socially-controlling government to better the lives of its constituents, who just happened to be white protestant Democrats. Jim Crow and segregation were the ultimate government social engineering, and were closely linked to the Progressive movement.”

    This unfortunately is something the right just throws out there because they have little understanding of history. The KKK was a racist movement responding to the end of slavery and Republican reconstruction efforts which initially sought to give civil rights and voting rights to African Americans. Its origins had nothing to do with the Progressive movement even if a few Progressives later sympathized with southern whites.

    The last point is a minor one–except I find it offensive when people try to rewrite history to fit their political ideology.

    False equivalencies, false analogies, red herrings, alternative facts, and alternative histories can all be served up in defense of an administration that is rife with infighting, is inept, and appealed to basic insecurities and hatreds of some people, while fooling others into thinking that Trump was a man of the people.

    P.S. Who is your speech writer: Anthony Scaramucci? I am just asking because much of the syntax is the same.

  59. TheGorillaon 01 Aug 2017 at 1:21 am

    “# DisplayGeekon 31 Jul 2017 at 5:59 pm
    Mr. Gorilla…
    Psychoanalysis has been studied to death. It was a cult lead by S. Freud… now it is simply another form of pseudoscience quackery with not a shred of empirical research to back it up. When it does deign to have anything to do with reality, experimental psychology was already there first. (And yes, I have a degree in psychology and a very strong background in applied psychophysics with published papers and over 100 patents in the field.) Psychoanalysis is much like naturopathy, mixing total quackery with a smidgen of evidence based science… but whose basis is grounded in a totally untested and untestable non-sense that allows one to conclude almost anything. When it’s adherent’s ideas have been tested, they usually turn out to be totally wrong (e.g. the psychoanalytic literature is rife with specious misogyny and homophobia whose predictions regarding sexual orientation and gendered behavior have been demolished rather thoroughly).”

    I’m not even sure how to properly respond to this because of how confused it is. The first issue is that you have put forth no actual substantial argument against psychoanalysis. Instead, you have used vague comparisons to naturopathy, called it a “cult” without elaboration, and have written stuff so blatantly false (ie, regarding empirical research) that it’s impossible to take you as being anything but an uninformed ideologue. Ignoring that psychoanalysts pay close attention to experimental results in psychology, are mountains of case studies suddenly not empirical data? That surely isn’t how mainstream psychology or literally any other field of medicine would look at case studies, so it’s not clear why a different criteria should apply here.

    Take, for example, your mentioning of Freud as some sort of cult leader when the majority of the developments in psychoanalysis have taken place *after* Freud. What sense does it make to judge a contemporary field by explicitly ignoring its contemporary status? Should I base my NFL draft picks on their kindergarten flag football performance? Most contemporary psychoanalysis is not Fruedian. The only explanation for such a move is ignorance — ie being completely unaware and talking out of your ass — or dishonesty, and a complete unwillingness to note that psychoanalytic ideas are still widely used in long-term psychotherapy and avoidance to note the research into how such therapies perform.

    It sounds like you read (about) Popper’s (very weak and confused) critique of psychoanalysis and ran with it because it fits with what you were taught in your studies. For example… who even says that psychoanalysis was seeking, or is claiming, to be a science like contemporary psychology in the first place? That hardly means it cannot provide knowledge unless you are operating under some embarrassingly naive Scientistic worldview. This is the equivalent of economists attacking Marx’s economics — which literally does not exist.

    Worse, is that your only specific criticism (misogyny, homophobia, etc) is equally applicable to the history of sciences you would be praising. Soooooo…. how is that somehow a worse blow for psychoanalysis?

    TLDR why can’t people read about things before yelling about them.

  60. michaelegnoron 01 Aug 2017 at 1:28 am

    Lame:

    [Dirty tricks have long been a part of politics, but this takes it to a new level.]

    Says a Clinton apologist. You’re shocked, shocked…

    [The Russian offered incriminating evidence about Hillary in return for something. What was that something and how did the Trump team respond?]

    Hilary and 0 interfered in the Russian national elections in 2012, and Putin hated her guts. He undoubtedly felt that Trump could be dealt with more successfully. It’s called diplomacy.

    I’m much more interested in what the Russians had on the B*tch. Funny that you seem so uninterested in what was in the emails she deleted and the hard drives she wiped and pulverized…

    [At the very least, this poses a problem of a compromised president and staff.]

    How’s this for compromise: Hilary’s 30 thousand deleted emails (from her unsecured server in her bathroom) were undoubtedly possessed by multiple foreign governments, including the Russkies, and would have been prime blackmail leverage. They had a million times more leverage on Felonia Pantsuit than they had on Trump.

    [This is not just politics as usual; it is a conspiracy with an adversarial power that potentially hinders U.S. foreign policy.]

    How’s this for conspiracy:

    Obama secretly to Medvedev 2012, picked up on an open mike:

    President Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.”

    President Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…”

    President Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

    President Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you.”

    Here’s a translation, Lame:

    “If Vladimir helps me get reelected, I’ll do him some favors after I’m reelected.”

    How’s that for conspiracy with Putin? And from your boyfriend, caught on tape. You’re an asshat, Lame.

    [This unfortunately is something the right just throws out there because they have little understanding of history. The KKK was a racist movement responding to the end of slavery and Republican reconstruction efforts which initially sought to give civil rights and voting rights to African Americans. Its origins had nothing to do with the Progressive movement even if a few Progressives later sympathized with southern whites.]

    There were two iterations of the Klan. The first iteration was a mostly southern organization devoted to terrorizing blacks, Republicans and Catholics. and antedated the Progressive movement. The Klan went into eclipse at the end of the 19th century, and the second iteration rose in the early 20th, with the making of the movie “Birth of a Nation”. This iteration of the Klan was essentially part of the Progressive movement; the first Progressive president, Wilson, championed the Klan. The Klan grew again, nationwide, closely tied to the Progressive movement, culminating in the 1924 Democrat Convention dubbed the “Klanbake”

    http://armored-column.com/the-democratic-klanbake-1924/

    The Klan (in it’s second iteration) was a part of the Progressive movement. Just like you, they hated Republicans and Catholics (and Blacks of course).

    The Progressive movement has a lot of dirty laundry. Mostly dirty sheets.

    [P.S. Who is your speech writer: Anthony Scaramucci? I am just asking because much of the syntax is the same.]

    I like the Mooch. But it looks like he’s moved on to other pastures.

  61. Maculuson 01 Aug 2017 at 1:44 am

    Maybe it’s a bit late to go back to the post topic, but I agree with Gotchaye. Publicly pronouncing that a politician has a mental (or behavioral) disorder is not going to be taken seriously. If a clinician has a concern, I would think that voicing that concern privately to a member of Congress would be more appropriate.

    Regarding the rest of the discussion, I find it amazing how differently people can interpret the information that we have. It’s unlikely that anyone has 100% accurate information, yet so many people feel certain that they know what’s really going on.
    I think that as a basic premise I believe that most people (including politicians) are pretty good and trying to do the best they can with the information they have. It’s unfortunate that we are so blinded by our own brains’ biases.

  62. FuzzyMarmoton 01 Aug 2017 at 2:28 am

    Thank you, Dr. Novella, for a nuanced and balanced analysis of a very delicate issue. Your points about the essential complexity and subjectivity of psychiatric diagnoses are extremely important.

    To those who accuse Dr. Novella of partisanship– given the vast and apparently even amounts of criticism aimed at him from both sides of the political spectrum (or from all points in whatever higher-dimensional space in which you classify political ideology), I think he has a fair claim at political neutrality. At the very least, he keeps his politics out of this blog.

  63. bachfiendon 01 Aug 2017 at 3:27 am

    Egnor: ‘I like the Mooch. But it looks like he’s moved on to other pastures’.

    I like Egnor’s sense of reality. ‘Mooch’ was sacked by Trump after only 10 days. I’ve seen Conservative website pages which have an item saying that his dismissal was a plus for Trump while at the same time retaining an item praising his appointment.

    It must be difficult for a conservative to come up with a defence for Trump’s erratic behaviour.

    Conservatives such as Egnor persist, obstinantly, in thinking that liberals have the same way of thinking as conservatives. Conservatives tend to look on things in black and white. Liberals tend to see things in shades of grey, with nuances.

    Egnor just can’t seem to understand that a liberal criticising Trump for his many deficiencies in his character doesn’t mean that the liberal can’t see the many faults in Hillary Clinton.

  64. Cdesign Proponentsiston 01 Aug 2017 at 4:52 am

    Watching Michael Egnor is kind of like watching a movie like Requiem for a Dream. I am simultaneously intrigued, entertained and horrified by what is happening. I’m glad I watched it, but I don’t know if I ever want to watch it again because it is so depressing.

  65. bachfiendon 01 Aug 2017 at 6:29 am

    Cdesign,

    Observing Michael Egnor in action is like watching a train wreck. I know it’s terrible and I shouldn’t be enjoying it, but I’m afraid I just can’t help it. It’s addictive.

    It’s ironic really. In a thread discussing the perils of making psychiatric diagnoses at a distance, Michael Egnor pops up with his 19 comments (out of a total of 63). I think he’s provided any psychiatrist with enough material to diagnose Egnor’s psychopathology.

  66. michaelegnoron 01 Aug 2017 at 11:35 am

    [I think he’s provided any psychiatrist with enough material to diagnose Egnor’s psychopathology.]

    This is why I do this stuff. Here I am dealing with folks who think that everything happened for no reason, survival of survivors explains life, the mind is meat, Hilary is honest, the Washington bureaucracy is doing a great job, and Vladimir Putin is lurking everywhere trying to destroy us.

    It’s like stumbling into a psychiartic ward.

  67. NotAMarsupialon 01 Aug 2017 at 11:58 am

    Egnor:
    “…the countless frauds and connections between the Media and the Democrats revealed by Wikileaks, the endless “leaks” of classified info on Trump etc by CIA, FBI, NSA etc sewer-rats, each of which is a felony…”

    Got it; their leaks evil, our leaks patriotic. We can tell which ones are good and which ones are bad by the scare quotes around the word, right?

  68. Willyon 01 Aug 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Dr. Egnor, since you are a physician and certainly have some understanding of healthcare, what do you make of Trump’s own comments on health care?

    On May 11, 2017, Trump said: “But in a short period of time I understood everything there was to know about health care. And we did the right negotiating, and actually it’s a very interesting subject,”

    In his NYT interview last week, Trump said: “So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, “I want my insurance.” It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of.”

    Can you put lipstick on that pig?

    Now consider Trump essentially saying just yesterday: “In a short period of time I understood everything there was to know about North Korea.”

    For those of you who are not Dr. Egnor, Sam Harris had a very informative podcast on NK:

    https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/must-we-accept-a-nuclear-north-korea

  69. edamameon 01 Aug 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Willy his supporters end up saying you have to look at what he intends to say, not what he actually says. Sort of like what people had to do with George W Bush.

    We were spoiled the last 8 years having a President with an expert command of the English language (note cogent lucidity is spun as a weakness by the pseudo working class supporters of Trump (Egnor is not working class, not by a long shot)). Trump has done nothing to help working class people — he, ironically, has none of Obama’s eloquence, but also none of that working class ethos he loved to fake when he would put on those hard hats or pretend to drive a truck like a big boy. He spends his weekends at resorts playing golf, not helping the working class. Certainly not reading over policy and figuring out nitty-gritty details about how to make his policy dreams a reality.

    However, as long as he talks about how great he is, and how he is the best president since Lincoln, the authority-craving fawns will continue to nod their heads and wear their Trump clothes that were made in Mexico.

  70. michaelegnoron 01 Aug 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Not:

    [Got it; their leaks evil, our leaks patriotic. We can tell which ones are good and which ones are bad by the scare quotes around the word, right?]

    Let me help you understand ethics and law.

    It is unlawful to steal classified/protected information.

    It is lawful to receive it and to publish it.

    Working in the CIA/FBI/WH and stealing classified/protected information is criminal. A federal felony.

    Stealing emails may or may not be criminal, depending on the specific applicable laws.

    Meeting with someone who obtained leaks illegally is not itself illegal, nor is publishing illegally obtained information. Journalists make a living doing it.

    The scum in the FBI/CIA/WH who leak are criminals.

    Donald Jr. and journalists and people who meet with leakers are not criminals.

    There’s no evidence anyone in Trumpworld committed any crime at all. Meeting with Russians about Hillary secrets is not a crime at all.

    Every leak from the CIA/FBI/WH is a felony.

    So Trump is the victim of criminals, and is not a criminal himself.

    Now about the ethics: is it unethical to receive leaked/stolen info?

    Depends. Journalists do it all the time. Part of the job. Political players do it all the time. Part of the job.

    Imagine that Trumpies refused to meet with the Ruskies. The compromising information wouldn’t go away; it’s just that the Trumpies wouldn’t know it. Which would be stupid and incompetent.

    I’d be much more worried about the fact that Hillary has so much to hide, and is so compromised.

    She was an obvious blackmail target if she had been elected. Why doesn’t that bother you?

  71. Willyon 01 Aug 2017 at 2:02 pm

    edamame Agreed, but, really, Trump just showed he doesn’t know the difference between health care and life insurance. I’m waiting for Dr. Egnor’s spin, or lack of response, or deflection on that one. Maybe he’ll accuse us of being Anglicans.

  72. DisplayGeekon 01 Aug 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Mr. Gorilla,

    Psychological science tests its hypothesis and self-corrects. Psychoanalysis doesn’t, ergo, it is pseudo-science. If it was real science… it would be recognized as real science. It is not.

    At its core, psychoanalysis is based on the erroneous idea that human beings are a special creation, separate from all other life, completely different in how their cognitive processes work than other encephelated animals. Can you imagine psychoanalyzing a parrot? A dog? A dolphin? A Chimpanzee? Oh… female baby rat sees daddy rats penis and becomes envious… so becomes more like mommie rat to obtain intimacy with daddy rat substitutes… yes, I use hyperbole, sarcasm, and the like… but seriously, that’s a pretty good imitation of what I’ve read over the decades, especially drivel about sexual orientation… all written without a shred of experimental or statistical testing… or the intention of testing.

    Don’t assume I don’t know anything about it… we’ve all read Masson… and I first become very skeptical as a high school student in the early ’70s, as I devoured everything I could on psychoanalysis under the mistaken impression it was a science. My mistake. Ah… but experimental psychology, psychophysics, and neurology… these were the real keys to the kingdom of the mind… and lead to a great career in applied psychophysics. (google: “pentile matrix”)

    –Candice H. Brown Elliott
    CEO, Nouvoyance, Inc.

  73. NotAMarsupialon 01 Aug 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Egnor:

    “It is unlawful to steal classified/protected information.

    It is lawful to receive it and to publish it.”

    That stolen classified/protected information that Wikileaks puts out there was leaked by someone. The stolen classified/protected information that the media puts out about Trump was leaked by someone. I’m not seeing what the difference is.

    “There’s no evidence anyone in Trumpworld committed any crime at all. Meeting with Russians about Hillary secrets is not a crime at all.”

    I made no comment about Trump’s associates committing any crime. I just pointed out your internal inconsistencies. You seem defensive and presumptuous.

    “[Hilary] was an obvious blackmail target if she had been elected. Why doesn’t that bother you?”

    I point out your inconsistent logic and your diatribe ends in you getting riled up about the fact that I didn’t mention I was upset about some completely unrelated fact? I am annoyed that Michael Bay continues to be given excessive amounts of money to make terrible movies. I don’t like the fact that I live so far away from a beach. I think it is a shame that people think of school shootings instead of beautiful flowers when they hear the word “columbine”. This is all just as relevant to my original comment as how upset I am about Hilary being a potential blackmail target.

  74. bachfiendon 01 Aug 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Michael,

    ‘[I think he’s provided any psychiatrist with enough material to diagnose Egnor’s psychopathology.]

    This is why I do this stuff. I am dealing with folks who think that everything happened for no reason, survival of the survivors explains life, the mind is meat, the Washington beueaucracy is doing a great job, and Vladimir Putin is lurking everywhere trying to destroy us.

    It’s like stumbling into a psychiatric ward’.

    As I’ve noted previously, I don’t think that Trump has a mental illness. I think that he has very serious personality and character deficiencies that should have made him unelectable to fill the extremely important and difficult position of President of the United States.

    The same applies to you. I don’t think that you have any mental illness. But you do have serious and significant personality defects as shown by your very sad and excessive trolling on a minor blog which probably doesn’t see much traffic (Steve Novella might be able to give the numbers). It’s probably a little more than what your now defunct blog ”Egnorance’ achieved, which was remarkable for the number of trivial threads you started each day (Steve is much more restrained in his choice of new threads).

    Do you really think you’re going to ‘convert’ the audience of the blog with your pathetic misunderstandings of science, logic, philosophy, history, etc? I must admit, half the reason I read this blog is to marvel at your mental contortions. Steve Novella ought to pay you for your contributions because you appear and promptly provide an illustration of what he’s saying.

  75. Teaseron 01 Aug 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Michael Egnor – your inane points don’t stand up to the recorded facts that will stand in the history books.

    A wonderful journalist has been keeping a log of the facsist and authoritarian behavior of Trump since day one of his presidency. She publishes the list on a weekly basis. It is fact checked and includes sources.

    The formatting was lost in the copy paste:

    Here is the link
    https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-37-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-95953670b72a

    Here is Week 37 – ONE STINKING WEEK!

    Week 37: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

    July 29, 2017
    This was a week of complete disarray within the Trump regime: firings, resignations, withdrawals. Trump distracted and played to his remaining base all week by targeting marginalized groups, and ramping up hateful rhetoric.

    Also of note, and a continuation from Week 36: Republicans are turning on Trump — this week, not just in words this week, but in actions. And in response, by firing Priebus and replacing him with a general, Trump seems to be preparing for an aggressive approach towards the legislative branch.
    On Sunday, Trump’s comm director Scaramucci told State of the Union Trump is still not sure if Russia interfered in our election. This, just after Pompei, Coats and Dunford confirmed Russia meddled (Week 36).

    As Trump floated the idea of firing Mueller, Former CIA director Brennan said elected officials need to “stand up” if this happens.

    After Trump said, “we’ll let Obamacare fail,” Trump has taken several steps to sabotage ACA, and make that a reality.

    Since taking office, Trump has spent nearly 1 in 3 days at a Trump property, and 1 in 5 days at a Trump golf property.

    CNBC reported investors have dumped the majority of ‘Trump trades.’ Investors are no longer confident tax reform, deregulation and fiscal stimulus will happen.

    New Yorker interviewed a veteran ICE agent, disillusioned under Trump. The agent said they are explicitly encouraged to pursue undocumented as aggressively as possible, adding “We’re going to get sued.” He also noted agents no longer look at the “totality of the circumstances,” and that it’s not just the person being removed, but “their entire family.”
    Several people were arrested by ICE at the Houston INS office when they went for their marriage interviews for green cards.

    Pew Research found that 75% of Muslim Americans believe there is a lot of discrimination against Muslims in the US, and 74% believe Trump is unfriendly towards them.

    Thousands marched in Warsaw to protest their right-wing government’s attempted control of the Supreme Court and judiciary. Trump chose Poland en route to the G20 to deliver a nationalistic speech (Week 34).

    On Monday, Trump continued to signal the possibility of firing Sessions, referring to him in a tweet as “our beleaguered A.G.”
    Trump floated the idea of Rudy Giuliani as a replacement for Sessions. WAPO reported replacing Sessions is viewed by some Trump associates as part of a possible strategy to fire Mueller.
    Trump continued to target Sessions on Tuesday, tweeting he “has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes,” and asking on a phone call with an associate, “What would happen if I fired Sessions?”
    Trump continued attacking Sessions on Twitter Wednesday, questioning why he hadn’t fired acting FBI director McCabe.
    WAPO reported Trump spoke privately with confidants and advisers about the possibility of replacing Sessions with a recess appointment.
    Grassley responded tweeting the agenda for the Senate Judiciary Comm is set for the rest of 2017, and would not have time for an AG nomination. Democrats threatened to block recess appointments.
    Breaking their typical silence, several Senate Republicans spoke out against Trump’s treatment of their former colleague, Sessions. Sen Roberts (KS) said, “It’s very difficult, it’s disconcerting, it’s inexplicable.”
    Sessions told Fox News that Trump’s attacks are “kind of hurtful,” but that he intended to stay on and serve as long as Trump will let him.
    In an op-ed, Yates warned Trump is trying to “dismantle the rule of law, destroy the time-honored independence” of the DOJ, and if we’re not careful, “our justice system may be broken beyond recognition.”
    Yates cited as examples Trump’s efforts to bully Sessions into resigning, his goading Sessions to re-opening an investigation on a former political rival, and his efforts to get Comey to back off from Flynn then firing him.
    NYT reported David Apol, Trump’s choice to replace Shaub, has clashed with OGE employees over his efforts to roll back or loosen ethics requirements on federal employees, including those in the WH.
    The Center for Public Integrity reported Bannon is potentially violating the Antideficiency Act, by using an outside shadow press office not employed by the Trump regime, and providing services for free.
    In another blow to the credibility of Trump’s Election Integrity Comm, a federal judge upheld a fine against Kobach, citing a “pattern” of “misleading the Court” in voter-ID cases.
    A lawyer in West Palm Beach filed a lawsuit with a federal judge in FL, saying Trump is violating the Constitution by making money from renting rooms in his hotels or other buildings to federal agencies.
    According to Gallup, Trump’s approval in underwater in 11 of the states he won in November, including NC (-11), MI (-10), WI (-9) and PA (-9).
    Trump’s Boy Scouts jamboree speech turned into a political rally, as Trump led the crowd to boo Hillary and Obama, chided the “fake news” and Washington “cesspool,” and promised to bring back Christmas.
    Boy Scouts of America faced a backlash after Trump’s speech, which some compared to Hitler’s Youth. Former scouts called for a public denouncement, and called the speech “a disgrace.”
    Randall Stephenson, the national president of the Boy Scouts of America is also CEO of AT&T, whose pending merger with Time Warner requires government approval. In Week 34, the Trump regime discussed using this pending merger as leverage over CNN’s reporting and president.
    The day after reporting on Stephenson’s role as CEO of AT&T, the Chief Scout Executive for the Boy Scouts of America issued an apology.
    After the State Dept’s Cyber Coordinator resigned (Week 36), Tillerson plans to shutter the State’s Office for the Coordination of Cyber Issues.
    The State Dept’s head of diplomatic security bureau, Bill Miller, resigned. Miller is one of a long list of senior State Dept officials who have resigned since Trump took office.
    CNN reported Tillerson is considering resigning, citing his frustration and doubt that “the tug-of-war” with the WH would subside. Tillerson is also upset about Trump’s unprofessional treatment of Sessions.
    Many of State Dept’s typical responsibilities have been re-assigned to the WH in a consolidation of power, including Kushner taking the Middle East, and in Week 36, the WH taking over Iran compliance certification.
    On Tuesday, Tillerson said he would taking time off. The State Dept refused to comment on if he is happy.
    Longtime chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell criticized the lack of transparency from and access to Trump’s State Dept.
    Speculation grew that McMaster may resign. POLITICO reported on a meeting on Afghan policy, described as a “s*** show.” Axios reported McMaster is frustrated by the “disorganization and indiscipline.”
    Scaramucci threatened mass firings, saying he will purge aides who are not loyal to Trump or leak. His first firing happened Tuesday: assistant press secretary Michael Short, who is close to Priebus and Spicer.
    Trump’s nominee to lead the DOJ’s criminal division, Brian Benczkowski, disclosed to Congress that he previously represented Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s largest banks, whose owners have close ties to Putin.
    The FBI is investigating data transmission between Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization’s servers during the election, which may indicate back-channel communications.
    Benczkowski took on representing Alfa Bank after serving as part of Trump’s transition team. He continued despite reports of the FBI investigation (Week 21), and continued until his nomination in June.
    A complaint filed by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control alleges Trump ally Rohrbacher violated the Magnitsky Act by trying to get Russia’s deputy general prosecutor removed from the US sanctions list.
    Ahead of his Monday, closed-door testimony to the Senate Intel Comm, Kushner publicly released the full text of his testimony in which he denied participating in, or knowledge about, collusion with Russia.
    After his Senate testimony, the WH set up a podium with the White House seal for Kushner to make his statement to the media.
    Kushner stood at the podium and said, “I did not collude,” nor did he know anyone in the campaign who did. He said his actions were “proper and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign.”
    On the June 9 Trump Tower meeting with Russians, Kushner claimed he was unaware of the promise of damaging information, despite the email subject line: “Re: Russia — Clinton — private and confidential.”
    Kushner claimed he met with four Russians but did not discuss specific policies, including US sanctions against Russia.
    Kushner also said, “I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses.” ‘Relied’ seemed a carefully chosen term for its possibility to obfuscate.
    Guardian reported Kushner bought part of the old New York Times building from a Russian oligarch, Lev Leviev, known as the “king of diamonds,” for $295mm in 2015.
    Kushner’s recently disclosed $285mm loan from Deutsche Bank was used to refinance this deal. The purchase is part of Mueller’s investigation of Trump-Russia ties.
    Leviev also sold properties to Prevezon, the Russian company represented by Veselnitskaya: apartments at 20 Pine Street in NYC. The property was subject to a money laundering case.
    The Prevezon money laundering case, originally brought by Bharara for $230mm before he was fired, was settled by Sessions two days before trial for $6mm. The 20 Pine Street apartments were also released.
    Mother Jones reported on Monday, former senator Carl Levin sent a letter to Mueller about his 2000 investigation of Kaveladze, who he described as a “poster child” for Russian money laundering.
    Levin said Kaveladze circulated more than $1.4bn through US bank accounts. Kaveladze was Aras Agalarov’s representative at Donald Jr.’s June 9 Trump Tower meeting.
    Ivanka hired a defense lawyer to represent her in the Russia investigation. Donald Jr. hired an additional lawyer with congressional experience to his legal team.
    On Tuesday, Manafort testified in front of the Senate Intel Comm on the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower. Tuesday, he was also subpoenaed by the Senate Judiciary Comm to appear.
    On Tuesday, Kushner testified behind closed doors for the House Intel Comm. Democratic leader Schiff said Kushner had agreed to come back.
    On Thursday, Bill Browder, founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management which was looted by Russian kleptocrats in a case that gave rise to the Magnitsky Act, testified in front of the Sen Judiciary Comm.
    Browder testified he believed there was more than one meeting between Veselnitskaya and Donald Jr., Kushner and Manafort, and that Veselnitskaya’s goal would be to repeal the Magnitsky Act.
    Browder also testified that Russian intelligence knew about the June 9 meeting in advance, and that he believes Fusion GPS — the firm behind the Russian dossier to get dirt on Trump — was hired by the Russians.
    On Tuesday, by a vote of 419–3, the House passed a Russian sanctions bill, punishing Russia for election interference, and curbing Trump’s power to roll back sanctions.
    Russia warned of a “painful” response if Trump backed the sanction bill, calling it “anti-Russian hysteria.”
    Weekly Standard reported their interview with Vladimir Kara-Mirza, a Russian journalist, politician and filmmaker, started late because he was in the hospital being treated for poison, again.
    Buzzfeed filed a lawsuit to compel the release of information on the death of Putin’s former media czar, Mikhail Lesin, who was brutally murdered in DC the night before a planned meeting with DOJ in November 2015.
    The Senate passed a motion to proceed on healthcare Tuesday with no input, no debate, no CBO score, and without knowing what they would be voting on once the motion passed. 13% support Obamacare repeal.
    The vote was 50–50, with Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. After the passage, uncharacteristic chants erupted on the Senate floor of “kill the bill,” and “shame, shame, shame.”
    Ahead of the vote, reporters were blocked from the Senate halls where protestors were being arrested. Reporters were told, “no photos. Delete your photos.”
    A hot mic in the Senate captured a conversation between senators Reed and Collins, with Reed saying of Trump, “I think — I think he’s crazy,” and Collins responding, “I’m worried.”
    Trump’s s actions have galvanized many who care about health care, climate change and research funding to run for office. A PAC called “314 ACT” (named for pi) was set up to recruit and assist scientists to run.
    At a rally in Ohio Tuesday, Trump said he could act more presidential than any other president except, “the late, great Abraham Lincoln.” He also joked he should be on Mount Rushmore.
    Trump also told a graphic tale about illegal immigrants slicing up beautiful teenage girls with knives, “They don’t want to use guns because it’s too fast and it’s not painful enough.” The story is a lie.
    WAPO reported between the Ohio and Boy Scout rally, Trump made 29 false or misleading statements.
    On Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted the US government would “will not accept or allow…Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
    The Pentagon was not informed of Trump’s announcement ahead of time, and was left scrambling with no plan in place for implementation, including how to deal with transgender individuals now serving.
    The House and Senate Armed Services Committees were also not notified. The committees were awaiting results from a 6 month review of potential impact ordered by Mattis in Week 33.
    On Thursday, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff instructed the military policy on who is allowed to serve would not change until the WH sends DoD new rules and the secretary of defense issues new guidelines.
    Mattis was on vacation when Trump tweeted. According to the NYT, he was given only one day’s notice about the decision, and per people close to him, was appalled that Trump used Twitter for the announcement.
    Even Republicans spoke out against Trump’s plan to ban transgender individuals. Conservative Sen Hatch said, “Transgender people are people, and deserve the best we can do for them.”
    Trump’s candidate for a senior position at the DHS, John Fluharty, withdrew from consideration because of Trump’s transgender ban.
    Wednesday, in a second attack on the LGBTQ community, Sessions’s DOJ filed a brief saying that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not cover employment discrimination “based on sexual orientation.”
    Rep Farenthold said of “some female senators from the Northeast” who were against an Obamacare repeal, if they were a guy from south Texas, “I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style.”
    Wednesday, Trump chastised Sen Murkowski tweeting she had let the Republicans and country down by not voting to repeal Obamacare.
    Later that afternoon, Interior Sec Ryan Zinke called both of Alaska’s senators, saying Murkowski’s vote would impact the Trump’s administrations view on issues that are a priority for Alaska.
    Of note, all during the week, Republican men insulted and threatened their female colleagues for not supporting their healthcare bills. Male senators not in support did not face the same harassment.
    Graham said Thursday, “there will be holy hell to pay” if Trump fires Sessions, and said if Trump fires Mueller without good reason, it would be “the beginning of the end” of Trump’s presidency.
    Later that day, Graham and Booker said they will introduce a bi-partisan bill next week that will limit Trump’s ability to fire Mueller.
    On Wednesday night, Scaramucci accused Priebus of leaking his financial disclosure information, and said he would be contacting the FBI. Shortly after POLITICO indicated the information is public, he deleted the tweet.
    Scaramucci gave an interview to The New Yorker Thursday, saying of his colleagues, “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” and “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock.”
    Scaramucci also threatened leakers, saying, “What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers.”
    Later that evening, Scaramucci tried to shift the blame to the reporter, tweeting, “I made a mistake in trusting in a reporter,” but Lizza shot back saying he had a recording of the call which was “100% on the record.”
    On Thursday, the Senate passed a new sanction bill by a 98–2 vote, which would sharply limit Mr. Trump’s ability to suspend or lift sanctions on Russia. With House and Senate passage, the bill now goes to Trump.
    On Friday, Russia retaliated, expelling a large number of US diplomats and seizing US diplomatic properties.
    Late Friday, the WH announced Trump plans to sign the bill.
    Trump encouraged officers to be rough with suspects in a speech to police Friday on Long Island, addressing the gang MS-13.
    Trump also used the speech to encourage Congress to find money to pay for 10k more ICE officers “so that we can eliminate MS-13.”
    After the speech, the Suffolk County PD tweeted, “As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners.”
    Later that evening, a second police department, Gainevilles Police (FL), also rejected Trump’s remarks, citing “The @POTUS made remarks today that endorsed and condoned police brutality.”
    The International Association of Chiefs of Police issued a statement Friday night countering Trump, saying officers are trained to treat all individuals “with dignity and respect.”
    After all other versions of Senate healthcare bills failed, late Friday, the Senate voted on the “Skinny Repeal.” An 8-page copy of the bill was provided to Democrats at 10 pm Friday night, ahead of a midnight vote.
    The night prior, GOP senators Johnson, Graham and Cassidy announced they would only vote for the “Skinny Repeal” if House Republicans assured them that it would never become law. Still the vote proceeded.
    Ahead of the vote, Enzi filibustered the Senate floor for an hour. Democrats tried to interrupt and ask questions. Enzi told Murray, “Perhaps your time might be better spent taking a look at the bill.’
    At 1:30 am Friday morning, after over an hour spent by Pence and other Republicans to change McCain’s mind, the Skinny Repeal bill was voted down 49–51: Collins, Murkowski and McCain voted with Democrats.
    After the failed vote, at 2:25 am, Trump tweeted, “let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”
    Trump also again pushed for the Republicans to end the legislative filibuster, a long-time norm in the Senate, so bills can pass with 51 votes.
    Trump unceremoniously fired Priebus, informing press and staff shortly after Air Force One landed in DC. WSJ reported that part of Trump’s rationale was that Priebus did not fire back at Scaramucci.
    Priebus served the shortest time of any chief of staff in a president’s first term since WW2.
    The WSJ Editorial Board excoriated Trump over the Priebus firing, writing “this shuffling of the staff furniture won’t matter unless Mr. Trump accepts that the White House problem isn’t Mr. Priebus. It’s him.”
    WAPO tracked the Trump regime’s unusually long list of firings, resignations, and withdrawals from consideration. Trump also has far less appointed and confirmed candidates for key executive roles.
    Trump appointed General John Kelly, current Secretary of DHS. Kelly little political and legislative experience. One Ryan-Priebus ally said the next phase of Trump presidency will be warfare against GOP Congress.
    On Saturday morning, Trump tweeted attacks Republicans, saying they “look like fools” and that Democrats “are laughing at R’s.”
    Trump also commanded Republicans to change norms: “Republican Senate must get rid of 60 vote NOW!” and he threatened if healthcare did not pass, he would end “BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress.”
    Resource for sorting by keywords: https://goo.gl/scqAFn

  76. michaelegnoron 01 Aug 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Not:

    [That stolen classified/protected information that Wikileaks puts out there was leaked by someone. The stolen classified/protected information that the media puts out about Trump was leaked by someone. I’m not seeing what the difference is.]

    This is the difference:

    The Wikileaks stuff on the DNC is of unknown provenance. None of it is ‘classified’ etc. It’s just the internal chatter of a crime syndicate. It’s not clear if it was stolen, or if it was released by someone who had a legal right to possess it (eg a DNC IT employee).

    Most of the Trump leaks are unmaskings, release of CIA/FBI intercepts and analyses that are by definition classified and confidential and the theft of which are federal felonies.

  77. Willyon 01 Aug 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Dr. Egnor manages to obfuscate and distort, however poorly. He seems to lack the integrity to address people who disagree with him in a fair way. He sees anyone who disagrees with him and his worldview as an evil person. Said the Doc not too far above:

    “Here I am dealing with folks who think that everything happened for no reason…” No, no one said that and no one here believes that. The folks here are honest enough to say they don’t know how “everything happened”.

    “…survival of survivors explains life…” Again, no. The people herein with whom you disagree believe that evolution explains how life has progressed these several billion years. I’ve yet to see anyone herein claim there is an explanation for “life”.

    “… the mind is meat…” Wrong again. The consensus here seems to be that the brain is indeed “meat” and the mind is what the brain does. What happens in the brain of a fish? Do fish have souls? Lemme guess, since fish don’t grasp “universals, they just don’t count. In other words, the sub-human mind is just meat.

    “…Hillary is honest, the Washington bureaucracy is doing a great job…” LOL, Again, find someone who says that. Quit putting your idiotic delusions and misconceptions in someone else’s mouth.

    Meantime, what did you think of Trump’s brilliant comments on health care? Is this the kind of man you want to trust with the nuclear codes? A man who claims to have mastered healthcare completely, yet seems confused between healthcare and life insurance? Trump is putty in Putin’s hands. There is likely not a single world leader who has met with him (or seen video of him) who isn’t chuckling behind his (our) back(s). We can only hope Mattis, Kelly et al can reign the nutcase in. Based on his AM porcelain throne Tweets, I’m not very optimistic.

    Tellya what, Doc. Google some of Trump’s conversations with Howard Stern–the ones where he agrees that Ivanka is a “piece of ass” and boasts that her “parts” are “real”. Ask yourself why a normal, successful businessman would degrade himself and his family by appearing a number of times on Stern’s show.

    Then ask yourself why it seems the leaks lately aren’t from that nefarious “deep state”, but instead originate in the WH where those close to him see what a deranged fool they are dealing with. Ask yourself why leaks about Hillary and Obama never bothered you. Ask yourself why you can’t be just a squidgen more objective.

  78. bachfiendon 01 Aug 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Willy,

    I think Egnor’s problem is that he’s an ‘uber-conservative’. Conservatives tend to score low on the open-mindedness spectrum in the OCEAN personality description (liberals tend to score highly). Open-mindedness refers to the ability to examine and accept new ideas, to take a nuanced view of things, to see things in shades of grey instead of extremes of black and white.

    Egnor is just at the extreme end of the scale. He’s made up his mind, he’s got his narrative and he’s not going to change it.

    The trouble is – he ascribes his blinkered outlook to everyone else. He thinks that his inability to convince anyone with his deeply flawed arguments means that we have blinkered outlooks too. He just doesn’t realise that his problem in convincing people is his arguments. Including his persistent hyping of Thomistic hylomorphic dualism as an ‘explanation’ of the mind.

  79. MosBenon 01 Aug 2017 at 10:15 pm

    The single data point that you need in order to decide that Egnor simply isn’t worth talking to is that he insists on suggesting that evolutionary theory can be summed up as “survivors survive”. I can’t count the number of times people have corrected him, explained their views, explained why they don’t find other theories compelling, etc., but at the very next opportunity he trots out the “survivors survive” straw man. It’s not that he’s incapable of remembering; his constant refrains about his various hobby horses show that he can remember. He’s just a troll. He doesn’t want to change minds, nor does he want to honestly engage in debate. He just comes into a thread and dumps his same terrible arguments into a dozen posts, adds some assholery for flair; rinse, repeat. He has no character or saving grace on display, he’s just here to waste everyone’s time and pump up his sad little ego with his own imagined victories.

  80. Willyon 01 Aug 2017 at 10:57 pm

    Amen, bach and Mosben. Egnor really isn’t worthy of serious conversation…but he’s damned fun to poke. It’s quite hard to square the “Christian ideal” with one who claims to exemplify it.

  81. TheGorillaon 02 Aug 2017 at 12:29 am

    “Mr. Gorilla,
    Psychological science tests its hypothesis and self-corrects. Psychoanalysis doesn’t, ergo, it is pseudo-science. If it was real science… it would be recognized as real science. It is not.
    At its core, psychoanalysis is based on the erroneous idea that human beings are a special creation, separate from all other life, completely different in how their cognitive processes work than other encephelated animals. Can you imagine psychoanalyzing a parrot? A dog? A dolphin? A Chimpanzee? Oh… female baby rat sees daddy rats penis and becomes envious… so becomes more like mommie rat to obtain intimacy with daddy rat substitutes… yes, I use hyperbole, sarcasm, and the like… but seriously, that’s a pretty good imitation of what I’ve read over the decades, especially drivel about sexual orientation… all written without a shred of experimental or statistical testing… or the intention of testing.
    Don’t assume I don’t know anything about it… we’ve all read Masson… and I first become very skeptical as a high school student in the early ’70s, as I devoured everything I could on psychoanalysis under the mistaken impression it was a science. My mistake. Ah… but experimental psychology, psychophysics, and neurology… these were the real keys to the kingdom of the mind… and lead to a great career in applied psychophysics. (google: “pentile matrix”)
    –Candice H. Brown Elliott
    CEO, Nouvoyance, Inc.”

    What are you even responding to? Look at your first line, for example, which completely ignores what I stated about whether psychoanalysis is even claiming to be that type of science in the first place — ie when Freud talks about it as a science he means it the same way that Marx and Hegel mean it, which is much more broad that the narrow conception of experimental science.

    You also ignored what I mentioned about case studies and the efficacy comparisons of psychoanalytically informed (ie psychodynamic) therapies and alternatives such as CBT, as well as the very fact that psychoanalytic ideas are incredibly widespread throughout science based (in the strict sense) therapies.

    I don’t even know what to say about your absolutely ridiculous talk about psychoanalyzing other species. You are fully aware, as is any other intellectually honest person, that human beings are unique in their social complexity (language, symbols, ETC) and that this level of distinction hardly requires an extreme ontological split between Man and Animal. What next, should we throw away any activities that aren’t applicable to mice and chimpanzees? This is a straight up laughable complaint. Can you imagine a transgender dolphin?!?! LOL, therefore transgender humans is obviously BS too!!!

    You once again mention issues with discrimination and ridiculous talk about homosexuality yet ignored my point that this is not at all unique to psychoanalysis and that the mainstream psychological tradition has been abhorrent on these topics as well. “Special pleading” comes to mind here.

  82. bachfiendon 02 Aug 2017 at 1:34 am

    MosBen,

    Agreed. Egnor is just a troll with very serious personality problems too numerous to list.

    If he want a neurosurgeon, he wouldn’t be getting any attention at all. He’d just be ignored for the ignorance he spews.

  83. Lightnotheaton 02 Aug 2017 at 6:47 am

    The thing that annoys me most about Michael Egnor, at his worst as in this thread, is not his ideology per se, but rather his extremely ideologically-driven style of arguing, all heat no light. Countless straw men, caricatures, extreme over-simplifications, completely false statements, ad hominem attacks, and insults. Using his own definitions of words, constant cherry picking, Gish Gallop, etc etc etc. The thing is that the ideology itself doesn’t matter; I’ve seen this style with, for example, Leninists talking about Venezuela being far more democratic than the U.S. I would feel equally disgusted if Egnor’s rant were pro-Obama, and the rant would be equally free of honest intellectual content.

  84. Egstraon 02 Aug 2017 at 8:50 am

    Wait, wait — you mean that the michaelegnor, whose comments I have sort of skimmed, is this guy?

    http://americanloons.blogspot.com/2010/12/119-michael-egnor.html

  85. michaelegnoron 02 Aug 2017 at 10:44 am

    Lightnotbright:

    [The thing that annoys me most about Michael Egnor, at his worst as in this thread,]

    At my best in this thread.

    I’m sure you’re shocked–shocked–by my impudence. How dare I address this cadre of Brights in so unrespectful a manner!

    You atheist/Lefty sheep aren’t used to honesty. You’re morons, and need to know it. I’m happy to help.

  86. Lightnotheaton 02 Aug 2017 at 10:50 am

    Thanks for illustrating my point about your all-heat-no-light arguing style. BTW, it’s lazy and repetitive as well.

  87. Willyon 02 Aug 2017 at 11:33 am

    No “shock” at all, Mikey. We don’t see “impudence” as you claim, nor do we see or perceive disrespect. And I’m betting NO ONE figured this was you at your “best”. I mean…ROFLMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What we see is ignorance and blindness. My typical reaction to many of your posts is laughter and/or head shaking and I’m sure that is true of many herein. You apparently see yourself as a white knight on a stallion; we see a steaming pile of donkey turds.

  88. Willyon 02 Aug 2017 at 11:52 am

    I can’t stop chuckling; heck, I might even be guffawing or chortling! Dr. Egnor said: “At my best in this thread.”

    Now, that there’s funny. I don’t care whatcha say.

  89. MosBenon 02 Aug 2017 at 12:48 pm

    He’s “at his best” because his goal isn’t an honest discussion it’s, as he’s said, “rattling the monkey cages” (a cruel sounding analogy, but if the shoe fits). He continues repeating the same straw man arguments because his goal is to bring chaos to a thread; to make people pay attention to him and validate his opinion that he’s somehow “winning” these little shows. So no matter how many times he’s corrected he’ll fall back on his same old rote recitations of things that neither liberals or skeptics believe because more than anything he’s just talking to himself.

  90. Lightnotheaton 02 Aug 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Yeah it’s cage-rattling, as illustrated by him constantly missing my point that it’s his method of argumentation I find annoying, not the fact that it’s skeptics or liberals or atheists or what-have-you that he’s attacking. Of course there are reverse Egnors out there, using strawmanning and all the rest to rant against Thomistic dualists, populist conservatives and so on, and it would be interesting to see the piles of feces produced by an argument between one of them and Egnor.

  91. BillyJoe7on 02 Aug 2017 at 3:09 pm

    “Brights”

    Talk about not letting a dead argument die…

  92. bachfiendon 02 Aug 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Michael Egnor reminds me of the Black Knight in ”Monty Python and the Holy Grail’. He has no insight. He thinks he has always won with his pathetic arguments (if they can actually be called arguments).

    He so hopeless, he’s very funny. I hope he continues to waste his time commenting here. He proves the arguments Steve Novella is making whenever he appears.

  93. Lightnotheaton 02 Aug 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Yes bachfiend, his main value here is how he provides so many textbook examples of how not to argue.

  94. RickKon 02 Aug 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Wow, what a thread. Egnor sure got riled up, spewing the most rabid of alt-right conspiracy fantasies and racism. Talk about showing his true colors. The man who claims there’s objective right and wrong will gladly throw facts and reality away in defense of his angry, shrinking little tribe.

    Michael’s so far over the Conservative deep end that even his blessed Vatican is distancing itself from him and his bitter ilk.
    http://nyti.ms/2ulHAx2

  95. bachfiendon 03 Aug 2017 at 12:02 am

    Rick,

    It won’t matter to Egnor. Even when Pope Francis (bless him) expresses an opinion concerning global warming, capitalism or inequality, Egnor ignores him. He only takes notice of him if it’s in regard to something he agrees with.

  96. michaelegnoron 03 Aug 2017 at 6:53 am

    Ricky:

    [Egnor sure got riled up, spewing the most rabid of alt-right conspiracy fantasies and racism.]

    Racism?

  97. RickKon 03 Aug 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Yes Michael

    Egnor about Obama: “Our first affirmative action president. ”

    Racism

  98. string pulleron 03 Aug 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Hi Michael Egnor- it was interesting watching you pivot from hints of violence in this thread, to full on assurances. I hope, if Trump is impeached, you will walk back your violent rhetoric and accept the rule of law, like any decent American would.

  99. Teaseron 03 Aug 2017 at 3:31 pm

    Here is a timely paper and an article about the paper.

    Social Psychological Perspectives on Trump Supporters
    Thomas F. Pettigrew
    https://jspp.psychopen.eu/article/view/750

    Here is the link to the article.
    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/08/a-psychological-analysis-of-trump-supporters-has-uncovered-5-key-traits-about-them/

    From the article:
    In a recent review paper published in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Psychologist and UC Santa Cruz professor Thomas Pettigrew argues that five major psychological phenomena can help explain this exceptional political event.

    1. Authoritarian Personality Syndrome
    2. Social dominance orientation
    3. Prejudice
    4. Intergroup contact
    5. Relative deprivation

  100. BillyJoe7on 03 Aug 2017 at 5:21 pm

    string puller,

    “Hi Michael Egnor- it was interesting watching you pivot from hints of violence in this thread, to full on assurances. I hope, if Trump is impeached, you will walk back your violent rhetoric and accept the rule of law, like any decent American would”

    Michael Egnor is a religious crank who can’t wait for the end times.
    If anybody still had some grudging respect for this guy, it would surely have vanished with this thread.

  101. michaelegnoron 03 Aug 2017 at 7:34 pm

    [Yes Michael
    Egnor about Obama: “Our first affirmative action president. ”
    Racism]

    I agree that affirmative action is racist. By definition.

    Obama was elected only–only– because of his race. He had zero other qualifications. Zero.

    Blacks voted for him nearly 100%–massive racism.

    Whites voted for him in much larger numbers than they would have ordinarily voted for an unemployed far left Chicago machine pol whose ‘mentor’ was a spitting antisemite racist nutjob preacher in a racist church, and whose buddy (Ayers) was an admitted serial bomber and unindicted murderer.

    Obama was elected only because of the color of his skin. Only.

    Our first affirmative action president.

  102. RickKon 03 Aug 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Yep Michael, you’re a flaming racist and you don’t have the excuse my relatives from Arkansas have – you know better.

    It doesn’t matter that a man is a U.S. Senator whose intellect was called “incandescent” by instructors at Harvard, who taught Con Law at U. Chicago, is a talented organizer and a brilliant speech writer. If he’s black and he gets elected, it must be affirmative action.

    Or perhaps you’re changing the definition of affirmative action. By your new usage of the term, Trump is benefitting from affirmative action sponsored by the morally and educationally compromised.

    Stop trying to convince yourself you’re enlightened. You’ve stared on multiple occasions your confidence that white male Christians are superior to everyone else. Stop hesitating and just embrace your longing for a return to the 13th Century, your tribalism, your anti-ntellectualism and yes, your racism. Man up and own your beliefs, Michael.

  103. bachfiendon 03 Aug 2017 at 9:13 pm

    Michael,

    You’re still living in your delusional world, thinking that you’re shaking the bars of the monkey cage. In reality, you’re in the ‘monkey cage’ looking out and we’re looking in, laughing at you.

    Obama isn’t far left. On a global prospective, he’d be regarded as middle of the road. He wasn’t unemployed. He was a Senator of the American Congress and previously a professor of law, so he certainly qualified to be President of the United States, and he (like almost previous presidents) grew into the job. Donald Trump 6 months in doesn’t seem to be coping.

    Obama might have got the great preponderance of Black votes – but would you expect? He was the Democrat candidate.

    There are many reasons why he won in 2008. Including McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as running mate. The thought of an obviously unsuitable person being next in line in case something happened to McCain worried a lot of people (although, on second thoughts, Palin would have been a better president than Trump).

  104. michaelegnoron 03 Aug 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Racist Ricky:

    Could you refer me to “incandescent” Barry’s GPA and “Professor” Barack’s legal publications? That would help sort out whether he was an AA baby or had genuine accomplishments.

  105. michaelegnoron 03 Aug 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Race-baiting Ricky:

    “Although he was president of the Harvard Law Review as a student, in which capacity he no doubt wrote some unsigned notes, a search of the HeinOnline database of law journals turns up exactly nothing credited to Obama in any law review anywhere at any time. This is yet more indication that his status as “lecturer” at Chicago was not a regular faculty appointment, since regular full-time faculty are expected to produce scholarship. Notwithstanding an apparent eleven-year teaching career in constitutional law at a top-flight law school, not one single article, published talk, book review, or comment of any kind, appears anywhere in the professional legal literature, under Barack Obama’s name.”

    Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/08/barack_obama_legal_scholar.html#ixzz4okIBorDw

    “Incandescent” scholar. “Professor” at U Chicago.

    Affirmative Action hack. Fake scholar.

    Worst president in history. Not even close.

    Leftist piece of sh*t.

  106. bachfiendon 03 Aug 2017 at 10:34 pm

    No, the worst president in history is George W Bush. Trump might give him a run for the honour when his term comes to an end in 2021 or when he’s impeached, which ever comes first.

    At least Trump has plenty of publications, in 140 characters or fewer, to his name.

  107. Willyon 03 Aug 2017 at 10:57 pm

    I’m still chuckling about Dr. Egnor claiming he’s at his “best” here.

  108. RickKon 03 Aug 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Temper temper, Michael.

    Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law. That’s earned on academic merit. Forgive me if I believe Harvard Law School about his achievements and I believe U. of Chicago about his status instead of believing the tired conspiracy theories of American Thinker. Similarly, I would believe you on neurosurgical matters more than I’d believe Gwenyth Paltrow. Michael, you really should try reading the sources of truth rather than just the sources that make you feel better.

    Your inability to accept that Obama is a very smart fellow and vastly more intellectually qualified than your orange hero, and your constant fallback to “affirmative action”, are just proof of your racism. Look, you’ve been quite clear in your beliefs in the fundamental superiority of white male Christians. Your race-based dismissal of Obama’s indisputable intellect goes hand in hand with your stated opinions and beliefs.

    So why try to deny and deflect? Just own it, Michael.

    I wish you a good night. May you have happy dreams of Trump in inquisitor robes burning liberals.

  109. michaelegnoron 04 Aug 2017 at 7:58 am

    Ricky: Obama “is an incandescent scholar.”

    Mike: “Obama has no record of scholarship whatsoever.”

    Ricky: “Raaaaaaaaacist!!!”

    heh.

  110. Willyon 04 Aug 2017 at 10:37 am

    And the pig doesn’t realize he’s fouling his own sty.

  111. Lightnotheaton 04 Aug 2017 at 11:22 am

    I’ve said that Egnor’s ideology-driven, truth-be-damned arguing style bothers me rather than who he is attacking or his ideology per se, but sheesh, some ideologies are definitely worse than others, and this alt-right stuff is waaay over on the, shall we say, unreasonable end of the scale. Obama on the far left?? Not as smart as Trump??? There are gigantic mountains of evidence that these two claims are false. But I guess that “evidence” is simply the religious belief of the materialist, secularist tribe..

  112. bachfiendon 04 Aug 2017 at 11:43 am

    Lightnotheat,

    Egnor thinks he’s doing the good fight, rattling the bars of the monkey cage in order to annoy the monkeys, but he doesn’t realise that he’s the monkey in the cage trapped by his ideological delusions, looking out and working himself into an insane frenzy. While we’re looking in, amused at his frantic behaviour. And coming back occasionally to see what the monkey is up to now.

    Great fun really.

  113. BillyJoe7on 04 Aug 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Bachfiend,

    Yeah, great fun, but also very sad.

    Especially when Michael Egnor was not always like this. Apparently some religious “friend” converted him when he supplied him with a “justification” of why suffering occurs (in relation to the death of one of his young patients). I think Michael must have been desperate for an answer and latched onto the “justification” that his “friend” supplied, because it made no sense whatsoever. I can’t remember the details but it was the typical of the bullshit that pours out of the mouths of the so called “sophisticated theologians” who have written books full of this crap.

    Many of us have gone the other way, losing our religion and belief in gods on the basis that they are total non-explanations (wherefrom gods?), and basing our beliefs on science, logic, and reason.

  114. mumadaddon 04 Aug 2017 at 6:46 pm

    BJ7: “I think Michael must have been desperate for an answer and latched onto the “justification” that his “friend” supplied, because it made no sense whatsoever. I can’t remember the details but it was the typical of the bullshit that pours out of the mouths of the so called “sophisticated theologians” who have written books full of this crap.”

    The details were: god is closest to little children when he is torturing them.

    That works for Michael Egnor and it works for me.

  115. michaelegnoron 04 Aug 2017 at 8:46 pm

    BJ:

    “Everything came from nothing for no reason, life just happened by itself, survivors survived explains biology, the mind is meat, there is no free will, babies in the womb aren’t human, killing handicapped kids is moral (Jerry Coyne), Hillary is honest, Putin rigged the election, the Administrative State has our best interests at heart, Obama is an “incandescent scholar”.

    “…basing our beliefs on science, logic, and reason.”

    Heh.

  116. michaelegnoron 04 Aug 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Oh, and:

    “monogamous sodomy is marriage… women can be men and men can be women when they feel like it…”

    “… basing our beliefs on science, logic, and reason.”

    That’s probably the funniest one.

  117. michaelegnoron 04 Aug 2017 at 9:06 pm

    “… men have periods too!…”

    http://mashable.com/2017/07/27/pyramid-seven-transgender-period-boxers-underwear/#smMGtSDNAOqf

    “… basing our beliefs on science, logic, and reason.”

    You can’t make this stuff up. There’s nothing too bizarre that an atheist-materialist-Leftist hasn’t said it.

  118. bachfiendon 04 Aug 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Michael,

    ‘Everything came from nothing for no reason’ – yes, that’s true. You’re not accepting reality.

    ‘Life just happened by itself’ – yes, that’s true again. The were circumstances necessary for it to happen, matter and energy. Ditto.

    ‘Survivors survived explains biology’ – as has been pointed out to you numerous times, this is a gross caricature. Differential reproductive success explains biology.

    ‘The mind is meat’ – this is almost a true statement. The mind is the brain, and the brain is the mind. There’s a conscious mind (and a conscious brain) and an unconscious mind (and an unconscious brain). This has been accepted in philosophy and neuroscience for decades

    ‘There’s no free will’ – there is a free will, the illusion of a free will. This is just as real as the illusion that one has perfect high definition colour vision right out to the edge of the visual fields, whereas it just covers the equivalent of the size of the thumb nail with the hand held at arm’s length.

    ‘Babies in the womb aren’t human’ – yes they are. The argument is whether they’re ‘human beings’ legally, and at what stage. You’ve still repeatedly have refused to disagree with the Colorado law which doesn’t give legal rights to 7 month gestation foetuses.

    ‘Killing handicapped kids is moral (Jerry Coyne)’ – inevitably there will be considerable argument about this. I don’t think it’s ethical to actively kill handicapped neonates.

    ‘Hillary is honest’ – she’s a politician. Politicians stretch the truth and obfuscate to reach a political goal. It’s why we have, or should have, a free press scrutinising politicians and free elections. Clinton may or may be more (or less) dishonest Trump, but she’s much better qualified. I’m still shaking my head regarding the full transcript of the phone call he had with my leader Malcolm Turnbull, who has also been revealed to lie at times (no surprise there).

    ‘Putin rigged the election’ – that’s currently the subject of Congress inquiries and also an FBI investigation. Muller has empaneled a Grand Jury to investigate the questions, and Congress is expected to legislate (with bipartisan support) preventing Trump sacking Muller.

    ‘The administrative state has our best interests at heart’ – no, it exists to carry out the law. If it doesn’t, or the law is wrong, then that’s why we have oversight by the legislature and a free press.

    ‘Obama is an “incandescent scholar”‘ – I don’t have any particular opinion on this. I’m quite happy going to a doctor for medical treatment regardless of whether he or she has published articles in the professional literature or not. All I’m concerned about is whether the doctor is professionally competent and doesn’t have any character flaws preventing the task being done. Obama was qualified to be President and showed himself to be competent. Trump is neither qualified for the job, and in addition he has serious character flaws. Six months into the job, he doesn’t appear to be competent at the job. Nor does he appear to be growing into the job.

  119. bachfiendon 04 Aug 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Michael,

    ‘You can’t make this stuff up. There’s nothing too bizarre that an atheist-materialist-Leftist hasn’t said it’.

    How do you know that the writers on mashable.com (you certainly must spend a lot of time looking for obscure websites for anything you can deride) are atheists, materialists or Leftists? From a brief glance, it just appears to be a site that exists to market products to people who don’t realise that they don’t actually need them. Reminds of Kathleen Geier’s ‘this book fills a much needed gap in the literature’.

  120. RickKon 04 Aug 2017 at 10:50 pm

    Michael said:
    Ricky: Obama “is an incandescent scholar.”
    Mike: “Obama has no record of scholarship whatsoever.”
    Ricky: “Raaaaaaaaacist!!!”

    Here, let me fix that for you:

    Rick: Obama was a tremendous organizer, a brilliant speech writer, graduated Harvard Law with great academic distinction, taught Con Law at a top 5 law school, and …. oh yes, was a U.S. Senator.

    Mike: Affirmative action president

    Me: Racist

    There, that’s better.

    There is a young man in our neighborhood – a polite, respectful and well-liked guy, bit of a nerd but a born leader, class president, Eagle Scout, not an “incandescent” intellect but gets great grades, writes engaging articles for the school and local papers, plays in the school band and works evenings and weekends at the local hardware store. Because of this impressive set of skills and achievements this fellow was accepted to Harvard and was named a Presidential Scholar.

    And because he’s visibly of African descent, he’s had the phrase “affirmative action” thrown at him. All his hard work and skills and abilities and talents are discounted because, well, you know… *lowers voice* those people have it all handed to them.

    It is racist when they said it, and it’s racist when you say it.

    So yes Michael, “racist” is exactly the correct term – particularly in your case because you’re experienced and educated enough to know better. So like I said before – stop deflecting and dodging, grow a pair and just own it.

  121. BillyJoe7on 05 Aug 2017 at 1:07 am

    Rick,

    I don’t know how affirmative action works out in America, but the way it should work is to correct the situation where the most competent people for the job don’t get the job because of their sex, sexual orientation, religion, race, or colour. It should not work to give people jobs on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, religion, race, or colour, who are not the most competent for the job.

    It’s not clear to me where you or Michael Egnor stands on this question.

  122. BillyJoe7on 05 Aug 2017 at 1:23 am

    Michael Egnor,

    “Killing handicapped kids is moral (Jerry Coyne)”

    He should sue you for slander, but I’m sure he couldn’t be bothered with you.
    You have either not read what he wrote on the subject, or misrepresented what he said.
    My guess it that you read about what he said from a biased secondary source and haven’t bothered to go to the original.

    For those interested:

    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/now-i-am-become-professor-death-the-destroyer-of-infants/

  123. BillyJoe7on 05 Aug 2017 at 1:35 am

    Disclaimer: I don’t agree with everything Jerry Coyne says. In fact I’ve been banned from commenting on his site.

  124. MosBenon 05 Aug 2017 at 2:39 am

    First, maybe people liked the campaign that President Obama ran better than the campaign that McCain ran. Maybe they were fed up with the Republican party after the disaster of the President Bush years and literally anyone from the other party would be acceptable.

    But what maies Egnor’s comment racist is that even if we granted that someone shouldn’t vote for a presidential candidate on race alone there are plenty of other “bad” criteria which he doesn’t even consider because, of course, he’s zeroed in on a racist argument that he just has to make. Maybe some people voted for him because he was more handsome, or younger, or taller, or had a nice smile, or had a nice wife, or had a young family, or liked cool music. But no, the only reason could be his race, because Egnor is a racist.

  125. michaelegnoron 05 Aug 2017 at 6:54 am

    Affirmative action is bad, for three reasons:

    1) It’s racism. Favoring or disfavoring on the basis of race is racism, and is morally wrong.

    2) It tarnishes the genuine accomplishments of blacks who are not beneficiaries of AA.

    3) It sets students up for failure. It admits students to educational environments in which they are at a perpetual disadvantage. AA may get you into Harvard, but it doesn’t help you in the classes and exams and other competitive situations. AA takes a bright black kid who would otherwise have prospered at a somewhat less competitive school and puts him into an environment in which he is at the bottom of the pecking order.

    I was on the Academic Standing Committee at Stony Brook, and we reviewed the status of students in the med school who were in academic trouble. Many of them were ultimately expelled because they simply couldn’t do the work. The vast majority were minority, and the obvious reason that they flunked out was that they were admitted under AA, so they were in an environment for which they were prepared. It was a set up for failure. If they had gone to a less competitive med school, or into a health profession that was not so demanding (PA, nursing, etc) they would have done well and not gone though the agonizing and soul-crushing experience of failure.

    AA is a terrible thing for all people concerned. It is obviously racism. It perpetuates the odious idea that people’s race should a factor in how they are treated. It hurts both white and black students. It denies white students equal (merit-based) opportunities, and it sets black students up for failure. When black students get into colleges based on their own merit, without AA, it tarnishes their accomplishments because people assume it was AA even if it wasn’t.

    AA is a typical liberal social program. A catastrophe.

  126. michaelegnoron 05 Aug 2017 at 6:55 am

    “…so they were in an environment for which they were NOT prepared…”

  127. michaelegnoron 05 Aug 2017 at 6:59 am

    “[Coyne] should sue you for slander, but I’m sure he couldn’t be bothered with you.
    You have either not read what he wrote on the subject, or misrepresented what he said.”

    Regarding Coyne and baby-killing, I posted here:

    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/07/darwinian-biologist-endorses-killing-handicapped-babies-who-suffer/

    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/07/the-second-most-horrendous-thing-about-euthanasia/

    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/07/euthanasia-reveals-atheisms-moral-confusion/

  128. michaelegnoron 05 Aug 2017 at 7:08 am

    [First, maybe people liked the campaign that President Obama ran better than the campaign that McCain ran. Maybe they were fed up with the Republican party after the disaster of the President Bush years and literally anyone from the other party would be acceptable.
    But what maies Egnor’s comment racist is that even if we granted that someone shouldn’t vote for a presidential candidate on race alone there are plenty of other “bad” criteria which he doesn’t even consider because, of course, he’s zeroed in on a racist argument that he just has to make.]

    Obviously Obama has political talents, and obviously people voted for him for some reasons other than race. Just as people voted against him for some reasons other than race.

    But race–“the First Black President”–was his gimmick, and he obviously would have gone nowhere politically if he weren’t black. His race was the fundamental theme of his campaign, often explicitly, always implicitly. His “accomplishments” and qualifications were otherwise minimal, and certainly not enough to get a white guy elected president.

    The First Affirmative Action President.

  129. michaelegnoron 05 Aug 2017 at 7:13 am

    As an example, I have a close friend who is active with me in the pro-life movement. On the day after the 2008 election, I ran into him at work. He looked very emotional–actually had tears in his eyes. I told him that I felt the same way–the election of Obama was a disaster, especially for the pro-life movement.

    He told me that he was crying for joy. “This is wonderful and historic. America just elected our first black president. We are moving past racism.”

    I couldn’t believe what he was saying. Obama was a catastrophe for everything this guy supported in the pro-life movement, but he was crying for joy because Obama was black.

    I told him that his election was the result of racism. We would be moving past racism when we didn’t notice or care what race he was.

    Martin Luther King got it right: we should judge based on content of character, not color of skin.

    The color of Obama’s skin was a major factor–the major factor–in his election.

  130. Steven Novellaon 05 Aug 2017 at 7:31 am

    Michael,
    I thought Obama was underexperienced for the job, and should have ran in 4-8 years after getting some more time in the senate. That is a reasonable position.

    However – I think it is the height of hypocrisy to take such a position on Obama, then support Trump, who has no relevant experience (and it is showing, badly). The fact of Trump disproves your hypothesis that only Obama’s race could have gotten such an inexperienced person elected.

    Further, no matter what the situation, race was going to be an element in the first black president, just as gender will be an issue in the first woman president. That does not make it affirmative action. Your premise is flawed, and seems to only reflect your underlying bias.

    You may find it interesting that I agree with you to some extent about the downsides of AA. If it is enacted carelessly it sets people up for failure. But you ignore the underlying motivation for AA – previous racial injustice. Some minorities are at a disadvantage because of historical and current injustice. Those disadvantages demonstrably carry forward from generation to generation. Even if we magically eliminated all racism, the lingering effects would last for generations.

    AA is an attempt (I agree, a crude one) to make fair adjustments for historical injustice and uneven privilege. There is no perfect solution, but that is the fault of the prior racism. Proponents of AA have been moving in the direction of considering race as one factor, but not a definitive factor, and to carefully avoid setting up students to fail. AA also can be coupled with programs to support students to make up for their previous disadvantages.

    Again – there is no perfect solution, but just shrugging and accepting the effects of historic racism is not a good solution.

  131. michaelegnoron 05 Aug 2017 at 9:30 am

    Steven:

    You can’t “make up” for past discrimination. What happened, happened. No one alive today was a slave or a slave owner. AA is just more discrimination. You can’t any more “make up” for old discrimination with new discrimination than you can make up for past rape with new rape. It’s wrong to discriminate on the basis of race. Period.

    It’s also unconstitutional (14th Amendment, equal protection…) and illegal (Civil Rights Act) to discriminate on the basis of race.

    Regarding motivation for AA, “amending past racial injustice” is only the superficial motivation. The genuine motives are:

    1) Virtue-signaling
    2) Feeding the diversity industry–the “diversity” administrators and bureaucrats who make a living off of racial bean-counting. They are an interest group, and quite influential. Don’t mess with their jobs and perks, or you get called a racist.
    3) Politics. Democrats (and Republicans) do favors for their voters. AA is a big favor for blacks, and keeps them on the Democrat plantation.

    Regarding, Trump’s qualifications for the presidency, he certainly is sui generic, but I think he is the most highly qualified president since Johnson and Nixon. His business experience is massive. He has extensive political experience–he’s been dealing with politicians intensively for decades–that’s what the real estate business is, largely, is getting political backing and clearing political obstacles. Building skyscrapers in New York and other big cities is a major political feat. Trump also has extensive experience with foreign governments–he’s been negotiating for decades with other countries to get things done.

    It’s typical of elitist blindness to fail to see the experience and expertise a businessman with Trump’s experience brings to the job. I think it’s one of his strongest points. The stock market thinks so too, and they’re right.

  132. RickKon 05 Aug 2017 at 9:52 am

    The stock market? Really Michael?

    300% increase under that “liberal” “scum” “hack” president.

    “They worked all their lives to save and now what happens is they’re being forced into an inflated stock market and at some point they’ll get wiped out,”
    — Donald Trump, 2015 – Dow at 18,000

    The market is 135%+ of GDP. If you don’t know, that’s dramatically overvalued based on historical data.

    Tell me right now when the correction (or crash) comes, will you credit Trump for the loss of sentiment the way you’re crediting him with the gain in sentiment?

  133. RickKon 05 Aug 2017 at 10:20 am

    BJ7

    The way Egnor is using the term “AA” is just the way the Trumpies in our neighborhood use it to belittle our local rising star – “he couldn’t have done it if he wasn’t black”.

    Newsflash – Trump couldn’t have won middle America if he wasn’t white. No president before Obama COULD have been elected to office if they weren’t white, regardless of their accomplishments.

    Michael’s unfortunate story about the exchange with his pro-life friend exemplifies Michael’s completely skewed perspective. The fact that America could elect a black president was precisely a sign that we had made great progress at moving past race. Michael’s friend was right to be happy, but Michael just saw dark – that black voters voted for a black president.

    I too am no great fan of AA because it is crude, but it is at least an attempt to compensate for Egnor-esque bias. The simple fact is this, because of the biases in our society, Egnor and I and most of the people on this discussion would have had more limited opportunities if we were not born white.

    As for qualifications: The global opinion of the United States has plummeted since Trump’s election, the current president enjoys the lowest approval ratings in decades, the mood of the nation is more divided than ever, the stock market is headed for another burst while the current administration strips away protective regulations, the cabinet is stuffed with billionaires who couldn’t be farther from the concerns of the voters, “facts” no longer matter, and the current president is just as much a beneficiary of playing the “race card’ as the prior president. And, just for kickers, the current president can’t form 3 coherent sentences in a row and is a horrible example for young people.

    So who really is more qualified?

  134. michaelegnoron 05 Aug 2017 at 11:13 am

    [The fact that America could elect a black president was precisely a sign that we had made great progress at moving past race.]

    Yea. There sure has been a lot of racial healing since 0 was elected…

  135. bachfiendon 05 Aug 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Michael,

    ‘Yea. There sure has been a lot of racial healing since O was elected’.

    Well, it’s hardly helped racial healing with the well publicised killing (and justifiably so – the publicity, not the killing) of unarmed Blacks by poorly trained police officers.

    Some of the killing, not all of it, can be put down to police nervousness at the number of handguns out there. Some of the police officers are worried that they’ll be shot by some unstable citizen, so they adopt a shoot first, ask questions later. Even extending to the shooting and killing of an Australian woman in her night clothes who’d made the tragic mistake of calling 911 to report a possible assault outside her house. And a police officer had shot her after hearing a firework go off.

    America has a ridiculous number of handguns in circulation. It is suffering from a serious case of phallus envy. And you think it’s a good thing.

  136. michaelegnoron 05 Aug 2017 at 11:05 pm

    [Well, it’s hardly helped racial healing with the well publicised killing (and justifiably so – the publicity, not the killing) of unarmed Blacks by poorly trained police officers.]

    Bulls*t.

    The vast majority of violent interracial crime in the US is black perp on white victim, not the other way around. Most black crime victims are victims of black perpetrators. Blacks have nothing to fear from cops. There are a couple of million cops in the US, and scores of millions cop-black encounters annually. Vanishingly few end in unjust killing of the black person. The whole Black Lives Matter cr*p is a fraud.

    Cops protect blacks, mostly from each other. Cops put their own lives on the line daily. How many of the pansies who post on this blog go to work each day with the very real chance they will be shot?

    There are a few bad cops (out of a couple million). Most are heroes doing a damned tough job, dangerous as hell, and they have to put up with a**holes making them out to be racists and murderers.

    Blacks are rarely the victims of interracial crime. They are much much more likely to be the perpetrators.

  137. BillyJoe7on 06 Aug 2017 at 12:09 am

    Michael,

    Most of your responses to Jerry Coyne’s arguments are illogical. Your counter-arguments, if you can call them that, are mostly tangential, and even orthogonal, to his arguments. There’s also quite a few non-sequiturs. And have you heard of Godwin’s Law? You break it by introducing Naziism up front. So it’s hard to know where to start. Maybe you should try posting a response on his blog.

    The opinions he expressed were in response to this article:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/opinion/you-should-not-have-let-your-baby-die.html?mcubz=2&_r=0

    It is about a child born with a severe form of trisomy 18. The author suggests the parents should not have let him die. They should have killed him.

  138. bachfiendon 06 Aug 2017 at 2:51 am

    Michael,

    What you call ‘bad cops’ I call ‘poorly trained police officers’. And I’d wondered if some of the police shooting of unarmed civilians (including in some cases children with toy guns) was due to the real fear that the police are in danger because America is awash with handguns, which is true enough.

    It hardly helps racial healing to have unarmed Blacks shot and killed by police officers, who are there to protect them, not kill them.

    You think it’s peachy that America is awash with guns. You’re looking forward to a civil war if Trump is impeached, claiming that 90% of the armed forces and police, and all of the NRA voted for him (I’ll take that with as much scepticism as I did your claim in 2012 that Romney was going to win 52:48).

  139. BillyJoe7on 06 Aug 2017 at 3:20 am

    Michael,

    If you have been banned from posting on his site as I have, this the response Jerry Coyne gave to some direct questions about his views:
    (I have paraphrased the questions)

    Q: What were you actually saying about neonatal euthanasia?

    It makes little sense to keep alive a suffering child who is doomed to die or suffer life in a vegetative or horribly painful state. After all, doctors and parents face no legal penalty for simply withdrawing care from such newborns, like turning off a respirator, but Singer suggests that we should be allowed, with the parents’ and doctors’ consent, to painlessly end their life with an injection. I agree.

    (In other words, he was suggesting euthanasia in only very limited and unusual circumstances. Refer back to the link above – In cirumstances where the parents have decided to withdraw life support, should they watch the child die of suffocation or should they be allowed to give the child a lethal injection?)

    Q: Do you think there is a connection between you being an evolutionary biologist and your views on euthanasia?

    No, there’s absolutely no link between my studies of evolutionary biology and my views on euthanasia. To say that I want to weed out sick infants to improve the human gene pool is a total mischaracterization of my position, which stems solely from philosophy and thinking about ethics. It’s the classic “naturalistic fallacy” to think that we should do to our own species what natural selection did. If I really believed that, I’d be against any medical care, as well as eyeglasses and dentistry, which of course allow genetically “inferior” people to survive and reproduce. And I’d be having as many kids as possible, for of course those who leave the most offspring (and genes) are the winners in the evolutionary race. But, alas, I’m childless, and have never had the desire to pass on my genes.

    Q: Do you think your atheism has influenced your position?

    Only insofar as I am able to think about the question in a purely utilitarian way, considering how to best reduce the amount of suffering in the world, without my views being polluted by unfounded religious notions such as the soul or the idea (of which Mother Teresa was one exponent) that it’s somehow good to suffer.

    Q: So where do you get you opinions on euthanasia?

    Vis-à-vis this particular view, it’s clearly the work of Peter Singer, one of the first to broach the idea that under some circumstances euthanasia of newborns is the moral thing to do. He’s written extensively on it, and has been brave enough to state his conclusions (nearly all of which I agree with) publicly, even though they’re close to being heretical. For that he’s been demonized, picketed, deplatformed, had his universities besieged by requests to fire him, and even physically attacked. He’s a brave man to follow his philosophy exactly where his conclusions lead, and to try to prompt others to think through this difficult issue–even though most instinctively reject it or would rather avoid thinking about it. It really does need to be discussed publicly, just as assisted suicide of terminally ill adults (also once demonized) was discussed and is now being adopted.

    Q: Are your views still evolving?

    My views are indeed still evolving–mostly about what medical conditions would make euthanasia the right choice, and how one should regulate this procedure so it’s used in an ethical way and as consistently as possible. But I’m very sure that in some circumstances it is indeed the right thing to do.

  140. michaelegnoron 06 Aug 2017 at 7:15 am

    BJ:

    I was banned years ago on WEIT. Coyne can’t handle criticism.

    I respect Steven’s willingness to host dissent and debate. It takes some courage to do that, and many Darwinists lack it.

    Coyne really stepped in it on the infant euthanasia thing. Killing handicapped babies is a hard sell, especially in a culture that hasn’t been rotted out completely. It worked in Nazi Germany (it’s not Godwin’s Law if it’s true) and it’s working in Holland and a few countries today that are killing babies.

    Abortion and physician-assisted suicide are the manifestations of the Culture of Death here in the US, and the ghouls are trying hard now to kill handicapped babies. Of course it won’t stop there–handicapped adults will be next, and eugenics is going strong (prenatal testing and abortion) and will eventually again involve involuntary sterilization.

    Darwinism is a universal acid, as Dennett famously pointed out. If we are animals, and nothing more, we will live and die like animals.

    The fact that we are seriously entertaining the medical killing of handicapped children makes me sick.

  141. michaelegnoron 06 Aug 2017 at 7:16 am

    I’ve got another couple of posts going up on ENV this week on infant euthanasia.

  142. michaelegnoron 06 Aug 2017 at 7:22 am

    Regarding Coyne’s answers to the Q&A, it’s charming to see him try to squirm out of baby-killing. “Only in
    special circumstances… only really handicapped babies… only if mommy and daddy want him dead… it’s all for the child’s sake… how could anyone say such mean things about me just because I want to kill handicapped babies…”

    It’s the same defense the Nazi doctors used at Nuremberg. “We were only trying to alleviate suffering… for the good of humanity… these people were better off dead… ”

    What Coyne demonstrates is that what happened in Germany was not an outlier. The impulse to kill defenseless people is present in all cultures, and must be continuously resisted.

  143. RickKon 06 Aug 2017 at 8:11 am

    Egnor, whose capacity for hypocrisy is apparently limitless, said: “I respect Steven’s willingness to host dissent and debate. It takes some courage to do that, and many Darwinists lack it.”

    And ALL creationists lack courage as demonstrated by the complete absence of comments or discussion at the Discovery Institute, Answers in Genesis, or the Institute for Creation Research. You can comfortably host debate when you’re position is based on facts. That’s the heart of science.

    But when you’re just broadcasting a religious opinion unsupported by logic or reality, there’s really no foundation on which to defend your position against criticism. Hence the cowardly avoidance of any and all debate by creationists, and the one-way press releases and sermons from their websites.

  144. tb29607on 06 Aug 2017 at 10:09 am

    In pediatric and neonatal intensive care units across the nation, when parents and physicians agree that further life prolonging efforts are futile, care is regularly withdrawn and large doses of medications are given to alleviate any resulting air hunger or suffering. The medications are given with the knowledge that they will likely hasten death.

    I do not know why the child with trisomy 18 did not receive anything for air hunger but withdrawing care is not uncommon. Allowing someone to die with as little suffering as possible and euthanasia are often difficult to distinguish but this has been the practice for decades.

  145. michaelegnoron 06 Aug 2017 at 10:19 am

    AKA Ricky:

    [And ALL creationists lack courage…]

    Says the anonymous commentor to the guy who blogs under his own name…

  146. michaelegnoron 06 Aug 2017 at 10:22 am

    [In pediatric and neonatal intensive care units across the nation, when parents and physicians agree that further life prolonging efforts are futile, care is regularly withdrawn and large doses of medications are given to alleviate any resulting air hunger or suffering. The medications are given with the knowledge that they will likely hasten death.]

    True. Withdrawal of care and medication to prevent pain and suffering are often the right thing to do. I do it a lot.

    [I do not know why the child with trisomy 18 did not receive anything for air hunger…]

    It is malpractice to let a patient suffer like that. Air hunger and other discomfort are easily treatable.

    [Allowing someone to die with as little suffering as possible and euthanasia are often difficult to distinguish but this has been the practice for decades.]

    The difference is intent. Intent is the core of ethics. If the intent is to kill, that is murder.

  147. BillyJoe7on 06 Aug 2017 at 10:24 am

    Michael,

    It’s really quite strange that you continue to deny what he actually said, even when given the direct quotes of what he actually said.
    How disingenuous is that?

    You have a dogmatic point of view based on your catholic religion which you must defend at all costs. Therefore Jerry Coyne must be undermined and it doesn’t matter how you do it.

    I will ask you the question he posed (without any hope of receiving a response):

    If you had a patient with a severe from of trisomy 18 and the parents decided to turn off the respirator, would you allow that child suffocate to death over a period of 15 to 45 minutes, or would you grant them the right to have their newborn receive a lethal injection in order to avoid the period of slow suffocation before dying anyway.

    NOTE: Jerry Coyne was responding to this specific scenario, providing a link to the article where a journalist bought up that specific case. JC then generalized to SIMILAR situations – not to ALL handicapped children as his detractors are claiming. He has been very specific about this.

  148. michaelegnoron 06 Aug 2017 at 10:47 am

    [If you had a patient with a severe from of trisomy 18 and the parents decided to turn off the respirator, would you allow that child suffocate to death over a period of 15 to 45 minutes, or would you grant them the right to have their newborn receive a lethal injection in order to avoid the period of slow suffocation before dying anyway.]]

    You’re not stupid, so you’re lying. The answer to the problem is to give the baby analgesics and a sedative, which I do routinely in such (tragic) circumstances.

    You know that. And you left it out of the the options deliberately. Asshat.

  149. michaelegnoron 06 Aug 2017 at 10:52 am

    [Jerry Coyne was responding to this specific scenario, providing a link to the article where a journalist bought up that specific case. JC then generalized to SIMILAR situations – not to ALL handicapped children as his detractors are claiming. He has been very specific about this.]

    Coyne made it very clear that his intent is to kill a broad spectrum of handicapped children, including children with spina bifida, anencephaly, “vegetative state”, trisomies of various sorts, as well as hydranencephaly, lissencephaly, holoprosencephaly, bilateral open lip schizencephaly, etc. (Coyne doesn’t know what they are, but they are profound handicaps and would fit his criteria).

    He means to kill them all. He can’t tap dance out of what he said..

    “I’m not a monster– I only meant to kill a few of the handicapped babies!” is not a convincing defense.

  150. Johnnyon 06 Aug 2017 at 12:01 pm

    @michaelegnor: “If we are animals, and nothing more, we will live and die like animals.”

    This is an appeal to consequences*, which is a logical fallacy.

    *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_consequences

    Yes, we are animals. We are a part of the evolutionary tree of life along with other animals, plants etc. And there is no reason to think that’s bad. If anything there is beauty in that.

    And speaking as a non-American, I think Obama is one of the best presidents your country have had in recent decades. Not perfect, but good. Given the many problems the world is facing right now, I don’t think the world can afford to have that joke of a president that is Donald Trump to lead the world’s only superpower.

  151. michaelegnoron 06 Aug 2017 at 2:51 pm

    John:

    We are animals, but not mere animals.We have a spiritual aspect.

    [And speaking as a non-American, I think Obama is one of the best presidents your country have had in recent decades. Not perfect, but good. Given the many problems the world is facing right now, I don’t think the world can afford to have that joke of a president that is Donald Trump to lead the world’s only superpower.]

    If Obama were president of Non-America, your endorsement would be meaningful. As president of American, he sucked.

    His foreign policy in particular was a catastrophe. He personally destroyed much of the middle east (Iraq, Syria, Libya, tried to destroy Egypt). He gave billions of dollars to the terrorists in Iran. US standing after his presidency was horrendous.

    In the US, he set race relations back 50 years, gave us a lousy economy, undermined the rule of law with a vengeance, shredded the constitution in man ways, basically put out hit orders on cops, put our immigration system in chaos, and caused a toxic political environment that is the closest we have been to civil war in 150 years.

    If you like that piece of sh*t, take him and let him run (ruin) your country.

  152. BillyJoe7on 06 Aug 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Michael,

    As I predicted, you did not answer the question:

    Would you give that child an injection so that when the respirator is turned off he would die; or would you withhold the injection and allow that child to suffocate to death?

    You can’t answer the question because then you would also run the risk of being labelled “Doctor Death”.
    Jerry Coyne, despite all his faults, has more balls than you.

    BTW, you may enjoy this cartoon:

    http://farcornercafe.blogspot.com.au/2017/08/angry-catman-vs-dark-net.html

  153. tb29607on 06 Aug 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Dr. Egnor,

    The only trisomies being discussed are 13 and 18. Trisomy 21 was specifically excluded and the rest do not result in live births (unless you count those displaying mosaicism which I have not seen mentioned).

    By emphasizing intent I believe you are endorsing the currently accepted practice which is based on the doctrine of double effect (if a goal is good then a bad effect is ethically acceptable as long as the bad effect is not the goal).

    I am curious as to your take on the arguement that allowing death through inaction is morally the same as actively causing death. For example, not alerting someone to a bus that is about to hit them is no different than pushing them in front of the bus. The same could be said about letting someone suffocate by not intubating them versus cutting off their oxygen supply. While I agree with the generally held belief that the passive roles seem more acceptable, I have never heard a convincing argument as to why.

  154. RickKon 06 Aug 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Michael said: “I respect Steven’s willingness to host dissent and debate. It takes some courage to do that, and many Darwinists lack it.”

    I went and checked – though I didn’t look at every one, it seems that none of the ~400 entries by Michael Egnor on evolutionnews.org allow comment or discussion. Nor do the “blog” entries of any of the other contributors. The same situation is found on ICR and AIG.

    Of course, when challenged with the facts, Michael attacks anonymous commenting. For using this signature dodge, I award Michael the “John A. Davison Memorial Crank Award”, as John was the undisputed master of this particular method of distracting from a losing argument.

    Meanwhile, over at such Darwinist bastions as Panda’s Thumb, Richard Dawkins Foundation, Neurologica, and the National Center for Science Education I see commenting and discussion.

    It’s self-evident who fears debate.

  155. michaelegnoron 06 Aug 2017 at 9:38 pm

    tb:

    I do endorse the doctrine of double effect.

    Your question about the morality of inaction vs action when the outcome is the same is a good one, and is often brought up in such discussions.

    Of course, there is a legal principle which is not identical to the moral principle. I’ll discuss the moral principle.

    The PDE (as generally understood–there are several variants) asserts that an act is moral if these conditions are together met:

    The good is intended and the bad is not intended.
    The good must be proportionately considerably greater than the bad (with the relative chance of good/bad outcome factored in).
    The act must inherently be morally good or at least neutral.
    The bad must not be the means by which the good is achieved.

    In the case of the bus and the pedestrian, by the moral (and not legal) analysis, it seems to me that the intent is key. If the intent is not to harm the person (say that you didn’t realize what was about to happen, or you believed that alerting them posed some greater risk in some way, etc), and you fail to warn them, there is no moral fault.

    If you intended that they die, and refrained from acting on that basis, that would be morally wrong.

    It is the same in medical situations. When I discontinue a ventilator on a terminal patient, and I prescribe sufficient medication to prevent suffering, it is very likely that my removal of the ventilator and perhaps the administration of the medication itself will hasten their death.

    But my intent is not to kill them, but to remove futile treatment that is causing them to suffer. This is moral by the DDE, and it is the intent that distinguishes this from euthanasia.

    To put it in a different perspective, if I disconnect the respirator and administer the medication, and the patient lives (and does not suffer), I would be very happy, and I would consider my treatment to be successful.

    If I were carrying out euthanasia, and the patient lived, I would be disappointed that my action failed (to kill).

    It is in the intent that passive withdrawal of care differs from euthanasia.

  156. michaelegnoron 06 Aug 2017 at 9:47 pm

    [The same could be said about letting someone suffocate by not intubating them versus cutting off their oxygen supply.]

    The intent standard can be applied here too (again as a moral, not legal, question)

    If a patient refused to be intubated, and was competent to make such a decision, I would be morally justified (and required) not to intubate them. There is no moral fault as long as I did not intend my inaction to kill them and I was respecting their competent wish (which is morally good on my part).

    If I deliberately cut off their oxygen, I am deliberately trying to kill them, which is bad intent (it is never ethical to deliberately kill an innocent person).

    If they ask me to cut off their oxygen, it is still immoral for me to comply, because assisting in suicide is inherently evil and not good.

    A request not to be intubated is not suicide, but a request to forgo heroic care, which is good or neutral and is permissible to comply with.

  157. tb29607on 06 Aug 2017 at 10:29 pm

    Again, you are adhering to the current conclusions of the medical community with which I agree.
    And, as I am sure you anticipated, what is your feeling about a request to be extubated and not reintubated?

  158. bachfiendon 06 Aug 2017 at 11:13 pm

    I’m having trouble thinking of a situation in which an intubated patient would be capable of indicating to a doctor that he wants to be extubated, and as a result is effectively committing suicide.

    The only situation I can think of is a patient with motor neuron disease. Steve Novella has discussed this in the past and the need for the person to decide in advance whether he wants to be intubated and ventilated in the final stage of the disease, because once it’s done, there’s no going back.

    Perhaps there could be a rare situation with a person with end stage motor neuron disease wanting to stay alive for an extra few days? Perhaps there’s a relative on the other side of the world and they want to say farewell in person? Perhaps the person is still able to indicate that he wishes to stay alive for an extra few days and wishes to be intubated and ventilated until the relative arrives? And then at a mutually agreed time, be extubated?

    I agree it’s rather contrived. But can you think of a more plausible scenario?

  159. tb29607on 07 Aug 2017 at 12:12 am

    bachfiend,
    Most of my experience is with kids and their parents so my question was geared more toward a parent requesting extubation and no reintubation of their child, which is not uncommon. Others will have to weigh in on the adult experience.

    My underlying question regards an experience where a mom, who is a veterinarian, asked me to induce anoxia in her daughter (FiN2-1.0, FiO2-0.0) prior to withdrawing support (extubating). The idea being that anoxia would ensure unconsciousness and no air hunger (the child’s only function was 2 agonal breaths per minute on multiple brain death exams).
    I ultimately assured mom that sedation and analgesia would be adequate and it was. However I have wondered about her request. Would it be ethical? Given the goal of alleviating air hunger and suffering I would say yes, the mom’s request was valid. The current JC debate brought to light (for me) the suggestion of this method of inducing anoxia being used for administration of the death penalty. This now feels uncomfortably close to the example of the unacceptable practice of giving a neuromuscular blocking agent (a paralytic only hastens death and in no way reduces suffering) at the same time as the acceptable use of sedatives and analgesics.

    Dr. Egnor seems to spend significant time thinking about these type questions so I was interested in his thoughts.
    However, all opinions are appreciated as the ones I have solicited to date have been less than satisfying.

  160. bachfiendon 07 Aug 2017 at 4:03 am

    tb26907,

    I agree with you. My difficulty was with Egnor’s scenario of a patient being able to refuse consent to be intubated even if it results in the death of the patient (and is effectively suicide – if the patient realises that this will definitely lead to death and isn’t just suffering from a delusion that his prognosis isn’t so dire) but not being able to retract his consent to continue to be intubated, again resulting in his death, again suicide.

    How is a doctor being permitted to respect his patient’s refusal to give consent to intubation, resulting in the patient’s death, morally right, whereas the doctor respecting his patient’s retraction of his consenting to continuing with intubation not morally right?

    Egnor often comes up with these highly implausible scenarios which would rarely, if ever, arise (like the runaway trolley scenario).

    I suppose a better scenario would be a patient with a particular cancer which has a reasonable chance of complete cure -say 50% – with chemotherapy. Is the patient allowed to refuse chemotherapy even though it will certainly lead to his death? Certainly, if he’s mentally competent.

    What happens if the patient suffers severe side effects to the chemotherapy, not able to be controlled? Suppose that, even with the side effects, the cure rate of 50% stays the same? It’s just a matter of gritting one’s teeth and continuing the chemotherapy. Can the patient retract his consent to the chemotherapy and refuse to continue? Can the treating doctor refuse to accept the patient’s retraction of consent and force, somehow, the patient to continue?

    I would think that the patient can retract his consent to treatment at any time – if he’s mentally competent to do so. I think that it’s splitting hairs to think that a doctor is morally justified in not starting treatment, whereas it isn’t morally to stop treatment when started.

  161. chikoppion 07 Aug 2017 at 4:27 am

    [michaelegnor] If I deliberately cut off their oxygen, I am deliberately trying to kill them, which is bad intent (it is never ethical to deliberately kill an innocent person).

    If they ask me to cut off their oxygen, it is still immoral for me to comply, because assisting in suicide is inherently evil and not good.

    I think this is a bit of an oversimplification, as there are two criteria.

    The first is whether an action, in abstract, can be said to increase or decrease well being. I can say that stealing generally decreases well being, as it deprives others of resources, increases distrust and animosity among people, impedes cooperation, etc.

    The second is whether an action, in a specific situation, is preferable to other possible actions or to inaction. It may well be the case that stealing is the most ethical choice in some scenarios, even opposed to inaction, as the net consequences of not stealing would result in greater harm.

    I can say that I will never steal, but that doesn’t exonerate me from consequences that occur when I have the opportunity to intervene and choose not to. Ethics is about choices and agency. I don’t think inaction or blanket abstention from an action inoculates a person from ethical obligation or consequence.

    To what lengths should we go to force someone to continue living? Should a person be forcibly restrained and imprisoned, possibly to languish without hope of respite until they inevitably expire? There is a difference between the abstract act of “killing” and that of providing compassionate choices to a person who is going to otherwise experience an inevitable, prolonged, and painful death. Inaction is a choice with consequences as well.

  162. michaelegnoron 07 Aug 2017 at 7:25 am

    tb:

    [what is your feeling about a request to be extubated and not reintubated?]

    I’ve had this happen, and I’ve always respected the patient’s request (they’ve all been competent).

    I (in keeping with the Catholic Church) divide care into two types: ordianry and extraordinary. Ordinary includes hydration, nourishment, clothing, shelter, hygiene. Extraordinary includes meds, surgery, ventilators, etc.

    I respect patients’ request to discontinue extraordinary care.

    I won’t discontinue ordinary care; I won’t starve someone to death, just as I would not let them die of exposure or lie in their own waste.

    Every human being should have ordinary care, and I won’t withdraw it, even if asked. No person should be forced to have extraordinary care.

    I’ve encountered requests to remove feeding tubes, and I’ve refused. The hospital knows (and respects) my stand on this issue, and they assign a different physician to the patient.

  163. BillyJoe7on 07 Aug 2017 at 7:53 am

    “I’ve encountered requests to remove feeding tubes”

    I imagine for reason that feeding tubes fall in the “extraordinary care” category.

  164. michaelegnoron 07 Aug 2017 at 8:02 am

    [I imagine for reason that feeding tubes fall in the “extraordinary care” category.]

    Nutrition is certainly ordinary care, although there is some debate (among Catholics) whether feeding tubes push it into the “extraordinary” category.

    My own perspective is that I will not remove a feeding tube, but if the patient requests that none be placed, I respect that.

  165. bachfiendon 07 Aug 2017 at 10:45 am

    Michael,

    How is it morally right to respect a patient’s right to refuse giving consent to having a feeding naso-gastric tube inserted, but not morally right to respect a patient’s right to withdraw consent to continue having a feeding nasogastric tube in place?

    In both cases, not having a feeding nasogastric tube will lead to the death of the person, in Bobby Sand’s case in 66 days.

    it’s arguably a different set of circumstances when the patient isn’t mentally competent and someone else is making the decision, either to insert the feeding nasogastric tube in the first place or to remove it. And in most cases the two courses of action are equivalent – the treating doctors (and hospital) have the right to go before a judge to overrule the patient’s legal guardians and insert a feeding nasogastric tube (or keep it in place) if they consider it clinically necessary. And the judge can refuse to have the guardian’s decision overturned.

  166. BillyJoe7on 07 Aug 2017 at 5:21 pm

    bachfiend,

    “How is it morally right to respect a patient’s right to refuse giving consent to having a feeding naso-gastric tube inserted, but not morally right to respect a patient’s right to withdraw consent to continue having a feeding nasogastric tube in place?”

    Makes no moral sense at all.
    Just as it makes no moral sense to refuse an injection so that child will die when the respirator is turned off as opposed to having him suffocate to death.

    I predict again that we will get no response from Michael on these specifics of how his moral view fails. He is now busy trying desperately to breathe life into angels and demons.

  167. michaelegnoron 07 Aug 2017 at 9:44 pm

    I’m busy, so I’ll make this quick.

    The difference between agreeing not to insert a feeding tube (which I will agree to, but I request transfer of care to another physician) and refusing to pull out a feeding tube is intent.

    By not forcing a patient to have a tube inserted, I’m not intending that he die. I’m merely acquiescing in his request (a request I do not agree with but will comply with).

    By pulling a feeding tube I am necessarily intending that the person die. People who do not eat, die. Death is the inevitable consequence of pulling a feeding tube in a patient who cannot eat, so pulling the tube necessarily means that I am intending death.

    I will not kill. I have rights too, and I exercise my right of conscience. If a patient wants to starve himself to death, it won’t be by my hand.

  168. bachfiendon 07 Aug 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Michael,

    As a doctor you have the right to decline treating a patient (provided it’s not an emergency, in which case you have a moral and legal obligation to provide treatment).

    Inserting a feeding nasogastric tube isn’t an emergency. Bobby Sands took 66 days to die.

    I still can’t see that it’s morally right to accept a mentally competent patient’s declining consent to a feeding nasogastric tube but not morally right to accept a mentally competent patient’s withdrawing consent to the feeding nasogastric tube.

    To be consistent, either both have to be morally right or both have to be morally wrong.

    About the only case I can think of where a mentally competent patient refuses to accept a feeding nasogastric tube is a patient with high quadriplegia, who decides to starve himself to death (it’s arguable whether he’s mentally competent, since there would be some element of depression involved).

    Can you think of another scenario? Or describe the cases where you’ve been involved? The cases with patients with a persistent vegetative state in which legal guardians are making the decision to remove a feeding nasogastric tube are completely different. It’s no longer a matter of suicide but homicide (which legally could be murder, manslaughter, unlawful actions causing death or nothing at all).

  169. bachfiendon 07 Aug 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Michael,

    Another point is that in acceding to the mentally competent patient’s right to withdraw consent to a feeding nasogastric tube, you’re not intending the patient to die. The patient could change his mind at any time and consent to have the feeding nasogastric tube re-inserted.

    At which point, you’re back to the original position of accepting the patient’s right to decline consent.

  170. Robneyon 07 Aug 2017 at 11:58 pm

    “To be consistent, either both have to be morally right or both have to be morally wrong”

    This is really a trolley problem, I think.

    In a utilitarian view of ethics, the outcome of removing a feeding tube and agreeing not to insert a feeding tube is the same. In both cases the person dies. So there is no ethical difference – but this, I think, ignores human psychology.

    We tend to attached greater psychological weight to an outcome if we are an active participant in affecting it. So sins of commission are generally seen as worse than sins of omission.

    This means a person could be okay with passively allowing a person a die, but not be okay with participating in an action they know will result in the same person dying. The outcome is the same ethically, but if it is a consequence of their inaction there is a sense they had less agency in affecting the outcome.

    I think this is more a reflection of our psychology than any ethical truth but I’m subject to the same psychological bias.

  171. bachfiendon 08 Aug 2017 at 12:32 am

    Robney,

    I’ve always have problems with the runaway trolley scenario. That it’s OK to divert the trolley onto a side track killing one person and saving 5, but it’s not OK to push a fat person from a bridge onto the track derailing the trolley, killing that person but again saving 5.

    I find the scenario unconvincing and rather contrived. It wouldn’t ever happen. My personal opinion is that it’s wrong to both divert the trolley onto the side track and to also push a fat person onto the track. In both cases, there’s 5 people threatened with death. Surely one of them should be able to see or hear the oncoming trolley and get the group to move aside?

    My sole intention in both cases is to kill one person in order to save 5.

    The situation with feeding nasogastric tubes is different. The doctor’s intention is not to cause the death of the mentally competent patient by respecting the patient’s right to either refuse or withdraw consent.
    The intention is to respect the patient’s wishes. The patient could change his mind and accept the feeding tube. The doctor doesn’t know his action will cause the death of the patient.

    It’s a different situation to one in which a patient is extubated. Or is given a lethal dose of some drug.

  172. Robneyon 08 Aug 2017 at 2:15 am

    I think the trolley problem is fairly analogous to the feeding tube scenario in respect to whether there is an ethical difference between one’s action or inaction when the outcomes are equal. I’m not convinced there is an ethical difference, but I understand the moral intuition that there is one.

    I don’t think the possibility that the patient could subsequently change their mind changes the ethics of the problem. Yeah, the patient might change their mind, but if not, then the patient’s death is an almost inevitable outcome of the doctor’s actions. But this is just introducing new elements to avoid the ethical problem. One could just as easily introduce similar factors to get out of the trolley problem – what if you pull the lever and the trolley falls off the tracks before it hits anyone?

    Yeah, the trolley scenario is a contrived situation unlikely to ever occur, but I don’t think that detracts from its purpose as a thought experiment to test our intuitions. Introducing new elements to break the premise of the thought experiment is a bit of a side step.

  173. bachfiendon 08 Aug 2017 at 4:02 am

    Robney,

    It depends how you frame the problem. Egnor thinks it’s OK to give a terminally ill patient large doses of opiates if it’s to relieve the patient’s pain, but not OK to give the large doses of opiates if the intention is to end the patient’s life. The patient is giving consent to being given large of opiates. There’s nothing stopping the patient refusing to give consent to receiving the opiates, either starting them or stopping them once started.

    In both cases, the patient will live a little longer. Egnor thinks it’s only OK for the doctor to give opiates if his main intention is to relieve the patient’s pain.

    So how is this different to a patient deciding not give consent to have a feeding tube? The patient might want to feel he has some control over his fate, not just having things done to him against his will. The doctor in this case has the primary intention of giving the patient the right to consent or not. Not having the feeding tube might be considered to have the secondary result of speeding the patient’s demise.

    I still argue that to be consistent not inserting the feeding and removing the feeding tube are either both wrong or both right.

  174. BillyJoe7on 08 Aug 2017 at 7:18 am

    Michael’

    “By not forcing a patient to have a tube inserted, I’m not intending that he die”

    You can’t force an adult patient to have a tube inserted anyway, so what you intend is irrelevant

    “By pulling a feeding tube I am necessarily intending that the person die”

    You could just as reasonably say that all you intended to do is, quite reasonably, acquiesce to the patient’s request, and the patient’s death was simply the outworking of that patient’s decision.

    “Death is the inevitable consequence of pulling a feeding tube in a patient who cannot eat, so pulling the tube necessarily means that I am intending death”

    Just because death is the inevitable consequence doesn’t mean that that is necessarily what you intended. Your intention may have simply been to acquiesce to the patient’s request. In any case, as mentioned above, death is not inevitable because the patient may change his mind and have the tube re-inserted.

    “I have rights too, and I exercise my right of conscience”

    I know a GP who refused to prescribe the OCP, or refer any patient for a termination of pregnancy, or to refer them to someone who would. He eventually left medicine and became a catholic priest. I think he made the right move. As a result of his dogmatic views, he was incapable of fulfilling his responsibilities as a GP.

    “I will agree to [not insert a feeding tube], but I request transfer of care to another physician”

    It seems you are not as dogmatic as that GP.

  175. Pete Aon 08 Aug 2017 at 7:47 am

    “Death is the inevitable consequence of pulling a feeding tube in a patient who cannot eat, so pulling the tube necessarily means that I am intending death.”

    No, death is the inevitable result of being born. You are confusing the probability aspects of a problem with its temporal aspects. To clarify what I mean, I shall reword your statement…

    Death is the inevitable consequence of being born, so having children necessarily means that I am intending death.

  176. BillyJoe7on 08 Aug 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Michael,

    Your reasons are illogical as you must surely realise.
    Certainly you haven’t been able to defend them.
    Are you simply grandstanding for your religion amongst your colleagues perhaps?

  177. tb29607on 08 Aug 2017 at 4:10 pm

    bachfiend,

    “I am having trouble thinking of a situation in which an intubated patient would be capable of indicating to a doctor he wants to be extubated, and as a result is effectively committing suicide.”

    An 18 yo I took care of who had severe lung disease (asthma and bronchomalacia) who, when doing well, consistently stated her desire for intubation acutely. But was also clear she did not want a tracheostomy and long term mechanical ventilation. When, after intubation for an acute deterioration, it became clear that she could not survive without mechanical ventilation, she requested (via hand written notes) to be extubated and not reintubated. Her significant other agreed those were always her wishes and was present as she died after extubation. We gave plenty of comfort medications.

    Can’t believe I forgot about her. Too many call nights recently for me. Chronic and debilitating lung diseases are great examples of problems people prefer not to live with.

  178. bachfiendon 08 Aug 2017 at 4:52 pm

    tb29607,

    Good example. How long ago was it? Nowadays, I imagine she’d have a lung transplant.

    Medicine has the habit of making treatment that once was regarded as ‘extraordinary care’ standard treatment. Back in the 19th century (or at least before the invention of feeding tubes) I imagine that if people weren’t able to eat or drink soon enough after an injury, they died. No discussion about whether they’re committing suicide or their carers committing murder.

  179. JJ Borgmanon 08 Aug 2017 at 5:11 pm

    As a youngster I was taught, and a significant subset of the religious are taught, that, in the end, there is only God’s will (and some even seem to feel they know exactly what that will is). So the finger-pointing, thought experiments and philosophizing aren’t relevant to the issue.

    I don’t believe that, but some posters here appear to and won’t admit it.

  180. BillyJoe7on 08 Aug 2017 at 5:28 pm

    tb,

    “An 18 yo I took care of who had severe lung disease (asthma and bronchomalacia) who, when doing well, consistently stated her desire for intubation acutely. But was also clear she did not want a tracheostomy and long term mechanical ventilation. When, after intubation for an acute deterioration, it became clear that she could not survive without mechanical ventilation, she requested (via hand written notes) to be extubated and not reintubated. Her significant other agreed those were always her wishes and was present as she died after extubation. We gave plenty of comfort medications”

    Thank you for having ethics broad enough to encompass the quite reasonable wishes of your patient.

  181. BillyJoe7on 08 Aug 2017 at 5:37 pm

    JJ,

    “in the end, there is only God’s will (and some even seem to feel they know exactly what that will is)”

    Thou shalt acquiesce to a patient’s request not to be intubated.
    Thou shalt pass a patient who requests not to be intubated onto another practitioner.
    Thou shalt not acquiesce to a patient’s request to be extubated.
    Thou shalt pass a patient who requests to be extubated onto another practitioner.

    Pass the man a bowl of water so he can wash his hands.

  182. tb29607on 08 Aug 2017 at 5:51 pm

    bachfiend,

    It was about 7-8 years ago. We explored a lung transplant but she had some other problems which disqualified her.

    BJ,

    I appreciate you saying so. Everyone knew her well and none of it was easy.

  183. RickKon 08 Aug 2017 at 6:35 pm

    Death is inevitable.

    Death with dignity is rare and precious and should be a choice made by the patient or the family that knows the patient’s wishes.

  184. RickKon 11 Aug 2017 at 10:54 am

    A recent example: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/well/family/protecting-my-son-meant-wishing-for-his-death.html

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