Wednesday, August 24, 2005

PingPong Balls

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll has the perfect -- absolutely perfect -- analogy for understanding people who insist that "intelligent design" is a theory that should be considered competitive with Darwinian evolution. As the Vigilance blog is concerned with the sex-ed curriculum in Montgomery County, I propose that this analogy is just as perfect if you substitute "ex-gays" for "intelligent design." Here's what Carroll says:
Here's what it's like. Suppose there were a conference on child development and parenting. And some people are saying that children should start early on a rigorous academic program, and others are saying no, they should have real childhoods and be allowed to develop their creative abilities naturally. And some people say that children should get regular allowances, and others say, no, children should always do chores to get money. And some people say children should get complete sex education and access to birth control devices as soon as they reach puberty, and others say no, that just encourages promiscuity and reinforces our society's unhealthy preoccupation with sex.

And then someone says, "We should throw pingpong balls at them. All day, every day, we should throw pingpong balls at our children. It just seems like the right thing to do."

That's the role of the intelligent design people in serious discussions about the nature and the origin of life. They are the pingpong-ball people. They're not even talking about the same thing. They have an agenda. They want to change the subject. Jon Carroll

In our county, those who insist that the schools should teach about "ex-gays" are the pingpong people.

There is no science of ex-gays. The word "ex-gay" was invented by gay-haters to make it harder for homosexuals to accept themselves. It was developed as a clever strategy to attack the reasonable public, who are largely unaware of the fact that sexual orientation cannot be changed. It is a pingpong concept, absolutely off-the-wall, and merely introduced to confuse the discussion, because no thinking person would have ever thought of it. No thinking person has an answer to the "ex-gay" challenge, because it doesn't make any sense. Accused of "discrimination" against this fictitious group, a thinking person will seek to make up for their lapse -- no one intends to discriminate against "ex-gays" or anybody else, and so the thinking person is put on the defensive. Maybe they'll try to atone for their misjudgment, for discriminating against some group they never heard of in ways they didn't realize they were doing. It's clever, it's insidious.

And there is no way for the thinking person to figure this out, because nobody tells them what the game is.

People, it's pingpong balls.


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