Modern Jackass

I have been boycotting NPR ever since their rejection of Curiosity, Aroused. However, I have to admit that they have some good stuff once in a while.  For example, a friend sent me a link to a recent episode of This American Life, entitled, “A Little Bit of Knowledge,” and I have to say, it was awesome. 

The episode talks about a certain situation… I would describe it for you, but you really need to just click this link and listen for about four minutes.  Just four minutes and then come back and we’ll talk.

Are you back yet?  Good, now let’s take the jump and talk Modern Jackass!

Modern Jackass seems to be a very common behavior among us creatures known as teenagers. I have to admit that I’ve found myself in quite a number of these situations.  Here’s one that leaps immediately to mind.

A few years ago I went to spend a week with my evangelical grandparents. I remember telling my grandmother that the Bible was sexist. I was sure that I would demolish any claim she might make.  Then she started whipping out Bible verses to argue her case from pure memory. “Well, Cassie, God’s word in Galatians chapter 3, verse 28 says that in Christ there is neither male nor female. So God isn’t sexist!”  She just went on and on pouring out more slickly interpreted scriptures to support her position.  I remember just standing there and for once in my life I had nothing to say. Even though I knew I was right, I couldn’t remember all the scriptures that proved my point. I had no Internet to run to, no well researched argument, and I certainly never memorized the Bible. I was in trouble and it was horrible. I was in the land of Modern Jackass.

So skeptics, I want to hear some of your modern jackassary experiences.  Come on, you know you want to share. 

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  1. Joy Wang
    July 20, 2008 at 1:37 pm —

    I think that my most recent experience had to do with someone asking about abiogenesis, which I knew nothing about. I somehow managed to pull out a hodge podge of amino acids assembling into proteins, and heredity, and how scientists weren’t exactly positive but that it certainly wasn’t a sky fairy with a magic wand. In retrospect, I wasn’t terribly far off, especially for a not-quite random guess, but it was a terrible feeling, having to conjure vague sciencey concepts out of thin air. I never want that to happen again. I won the debate, though. I can sympathize with the citing of chapter and verse in debates without actually giving the quote. Since I grew up in a secular humanist family, I never really got exposure to biblical woo until school (and had a rather traumatic experience with Christianity when I was 4-5 years old which permanently turned me off from religion). And definitely never memorized bible verses. If I had to memorize stuff verbatim, I’d rather it not be a bucketload of woo. I’m sure there’ll be some stories infinitely more interesting than mine, though.

  2. Pato2747
    July 20, 2008 at 6:27 pm —

    It happened to me when I started to discuss a few arguments with a 9/11 conspiracy theory. I simply KNEW I was gonna beat him single-handedly, and for a moment, I did:

    Fires not hot enough to melt steel? Done.
    Collapsed on footprint? Done.
    Molten steel on basement? Done.
    WTC7? Done.
    Foreknowledge? Doneeee.
    Flight paths screwed up? Oh snap!

    I totally forgot the debunking of the flight paths, and told him “I have nothing to say against that.”

    He then proceeded to say that 9/11 was an inside job and it’s a FACT because of the flight plans. He stuck to this single point and bothered me everytime he could (Read: Calling me a close-minded sheep, etc).

  3. Joy Wang
    July 20, 2008 at 6:44 pm —

    Ah, yes. The good old 9/11 conspiracy theorists. At least it’s a change from debating IDiots. Gets a bit…tiring after a while.

  4. Cassie
    July 20, 2008 at 7:40 pm —

    I am so sorry Pato2747.

    Stuff like that has happened tome too. Now if I ever debate someone on anything I always try to put together the best argument and print out materials (studies, articles etc.) and have them with me to support my argument. Problem is, I can’t always have a bunch of papers in my purse. I recently started carrying a jump drive… 😉

  5. Pato2747
    July 23, 2008 at 6:44 pm —

    It wasn’t a live discussion, though, it was over MSN. But the thing is, he just stamped a 9/11 PILOTS-4-TWOOF thing, and seeing that the flight plans were screwed up. Which wouldn’t prove anything besides the fact that THE GUBMINT PLACED IT, but it would add little to the “9/11 inside job” theory,

    And no need to be sorry, one gets quite used to it at the beginning ._.

  6. July 24, 2008 at 12:22 am —

    Well, once, at my high school, I was kind of being one when explaining that deoxygenated blood in humans is not blood. I did have the evidences, like reasearch I showed in the computer, but I kind of over did it in my rhetorics, and ended up looking like a crank, while my classmates pestered me with their point of view of deoxygenated blood.

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