Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Saturday, February 26, 2005


I'm off to China for a week. I think I'll still be able to blog from time to time, but I'm not sure. If I stop posting, that's why.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Maya, Bria Interview

Maya Keyes' girlfriend Bria posted their interview in Metro Weekly. Maya explains her situation:
MW: At what point did you come to the realization that "I may be one of those people?"

MARCEL-KEYES: In middle school. Everybody else would be sitting around talking about actors and I was more interested in Angelina Jolie than Leonardo DiCaprio.

MW: What kind of conflict did that produce within you?

MARCEL-KEYES: Obviously, when you're young your parents sort of shape your whole world. When all I'd heard through my entire growing up years was how it was wrong and bad and evil and sinful, it didn't make me very happy when I began to realize that I was queer. But part of growing up is distancing yourself from only thinking what your parents have told you to think, shaping your own views of things. I started learning to accept that maybe being queer really wasn't all evil and immoral and wrong.

MW: So you lived with your feelings for a while, but kept it quiet.

MARCEL-KEYES: Yes. It really didn't make much sense to me to say anything about it when I knew exactly what my parents thought. I didn't think it would make life very pleasant.

MW: Did you at any point think that your being gay could change their minds about homosexuality?

MARCEL-KEYES: No. My parents believe what they believe because of their religion. My mom, if possible, is even more conservative than my dad. I didn't think it would change anything. If you think that something is morally wrong, just because somebody you know is doing it doesn't mean that you start accepting it. So if people like my parents really believe it is a sin, then because I'm sinning isn't suddenly going to make them stop and think, "Oh, well, it's okay now."

MW: You admire their dedication to their principles?

MARCEL-KEYES: Yes. They have a lot of integrity. I think they're wrong on this issue and I wish they would change, but I don't think they're going to.
MW: Roughly how long has your father known you are gay?

MARCEL-KEYES: He's known since the end of high school. I graduated in 2003, so a couple of years now.

MW: The story we're hearing is that he disowned you, kicked you out.

MARCEL-KEYES: He cut off all financial support, but that's something that I can totally understand. I am working for things that he's directly opposed to. It doesn't make much sense for him to be [financially] supporting someone who is working against what he believes in.

On a personal level, I'm not sure what's going to happen. It's been crazy.

MW: Why was there no conflict while you were working on your father's campaign if he knew you were gay?

MARCEL-KEYES: Well, basically, I think my parents have never really accepted that I was queer. They thought it was a phase. As long as I was quiet about it and it was just them who knew, they could kind of try and push me back toward heterosexuality. But when I actually acknowledged it publicly, then it was sort of like "Oh, gosh, we can't be having that around here."
Bria share's her story and has something good to say about Focus on the Family (all things considered):
MW: Bria, what's your story?

MURRAY: I was raised with the same beliefs as Maya, that being gay was wrong, it was a sin. My parents were separated. My dad left when I was 7. He was abusive to my mom, and my mom was abusive to me. She would beat me and quote Bible verses at me. She was pretty ultra religious.

She read my journal where I wrote down "I think I might be bi." She called her therapist, all upset. I'm sure you're aware of "Focus on the Family." Are you aware of their [ex-gay program] "Love Won Out?" Well, she took me to one of those.

MW: Did you resent her for trying to change you?

MURRAY: No, because it was fascinating to me to hear all this "psychology." It was not what I expected, you know, "gays bad, going to hell." It was definitely not coming from a condemning point of view. So I don't necessarily resent her for that. I don't resent a lot of people for a lot of things. It's not worth my time nor my energy.
I've become a regular reader of Maya, Bria and some of their friends' blogs. I always find different points of view interesting and they come from an angle I've never seen; gay, Christian, anarchist, pro-life -- they defy stereotypes. That makes them interesting. Recently one of Maya's best friends started his his own blog. This guy (I don't know his name) seems to be the only atheist in the group, but he furthers the cause of defying stereotypes by being in the air force and currently deployed in Iraq. Fascinating people, all of them. And they all seem like good people, too.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ideology or Pragmatism? -- or -- What's My Political Philosophy?

I had a few different lines of thought hit me today. I often define 'ideology' as believing in a preconceived set of solutions, regardless of pragmatic considerations. This is why I say pragmatism trumps ideology. But pragmatism by itself is meaningless, you need to have morals, goals and a vision to strive towards before you can actually be pragmatic about the solution. Once you have that vision, pragmatism kicks in.

Think of a map. Once you have a destination in mind you can use a good map to determine the course. First you have to find your current location and the location of your destination, then you find the best route. There may be more than one route, perhaps the freeway is busy this time of day or they are doing construction on a certain street, it really doesn't matter as long as make it to your destination. That's the pragmatic approach.

Ideologues want to drive, say, south. No matter what, you have to drive south. Then another set of ideologues come around and say you have to drive north. Before you know it everyone is arguing over whether to drive north or south and completely ignores the destination. Those that try to point to the map and say that sometimes we need to drive north and sometimes we need to drive south are derided as wishy-washy flip-floppers. First he says north! Then he says south! Which one is it?? He can't make up his mind! I say go South! I've always said go South! You may not like where I'm going, but at least you know where I stand, I'm going South!

(I didn't mean this to become a rehash of the election, but, oh well, there we are. Kerry isn't the perfect pragmatist, but Bush is an excellent example of an ideologue most of the time. But now I'm distracting myself, this really wasn't the point...)

Well, that's one train of thought. The other is "what is liberalism?", a common question in the liberal blogosphere lately. (See Matt, Mark and Kevin.) Or more pragmatically, what should the Democratic party stand for? Or more personally, what do I really believe in? Part of the reason of creating this blog was to get past the "I know what I like when I see it" stage and develop a consistent philosophy of government. But is a philosophy of government the same as an ideology as I've defined it? Can be, which is part of the problem I and others like me keep running into. We seem to keep going back to The Enlightenment or pragmatism. The best I've seen is Brin's Modernism approach, but that still isn't really it.

While contemplating all this I wondered if I was the only person who supported both school vouchers and single-payer healthcare. Vouchers are considered further to the right than most Republicans are willing to go and single-payer healthcare is considered further to the left than most Democrats are willing to go, yet I think both are a good idea. Then, just as I was thinking this was a perfect example of how we should look to pragmatic solutions to problems regardless ideology, it occurred to me that both ideas are, in fact, basically the same.

A voucher program as I would like to see it would be a federally funded program where each child gets a voucher of equal value to pay for the schooling of their parent's choice. The single-payer healthcare system would give each person a choice of healthcare plans (insurance) they could choose as they like. Just introduce the word 'voucher' into the healthcare plan and they look almost identical.

More to the point, they both have the same philosophy: combine a centralized collection and distribution of funds (the leftist, socialist side) with local control and the power of the free market (the rightist, capitalist side). The central government should also play a roll in the collecting and distributing information such as what results are gained from various (educational or medical) practices, making sure school and medical records are easily exchanged between providers, etc. Who says social justice and the free market are opposites?! I want to eat my cake and have it too! The only reason one idea seems leftist and the other idea rightist is because we are starting at two very different places on the map; education is almost completely socialized and healthcare is almost completely free market. But the destination for both are actually quite close, even if the drive is north for one and south for the other.

In fact, in the real world this is exactly how I manage. I don't micro-manage, instead I get people to take ownership of their own work, try to clear roadblocks, make sure communication occurs laterally between developers, build consensus when problems arise, etc. Hmm, perhaps I really do have a solid, consistent philosophy and didn't even realize it. That's great if it holds out.

Of course, it doesn't hold out completely. Obviously we don't want to collected everyone's pay check and just distribute them equally. Nor do we want to give local control to hire whichever soldier you decide with your military voucher. (Why is it the military is the best example I can think of something that needs to remain completely socialized? Funny how that works.)

But this is a good start on a political philosophy. I think the same philosophy can be applied in the temporal dimension as well. As I implied in Stratum IX Leadership, leaders need to be forward thinking. And even if we can't be guaranteed brilliant leaders, the basic idea can still be institutionalized. Is it fair to say government itself should focus on the long term but leave the short term up to the individual and free market? Perhaps not universally, but I think this is a good philosophy. Companies are great and making a profit from quarter to quarter and are generally okay at investing in shorter term R&D, but they really can't waste resources on long term science, math and other investments that take decades to pay off. Definitely something worth thinking about.

So here's he question. Does this mean I'm now an ideologue trying to apply the same solution to every problem? That's certainly something to look out for. But it's good to have a philosophy and this seems like a reasonable start. It seems to capture most of my (seemingly) haphazard ideas into a single philosophy.

I'm curious what others think. Totally nutzo? Absolutely brilliant?

UPDATE: I continue this train of thought in Micromanagement.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


I've seen this before, but it's too good not to post. Sorry to everyone out there that's religious. Hank:
This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door I found a well groomed, nicely dressed couple.

Man: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."
Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."
Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss his ass?"
John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, he'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, he'll kick the shit out of you."
Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"
John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do what ever he wants, and what he wants is to give you a million dollars, but he can't until you kiss his ass."
Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."
Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"
Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."
John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."
Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"
Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."
Me: "And has he given you a million dollars?"
John: "Well no, you don't actually get the money until you leave town."
Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"
Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and he kicks the shit out of you."
Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"
John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."
Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"
John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."
Me: "So what makes you think he'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"
Mary: "Well, he gives you a little bit before you leave. Maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty dollar bill on the street."
Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?
John: "Hank has certain connections.'"
Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."
John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass he'll kick the shit of you."
Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to him, get the details straight from him..."
Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."
Me: "Then how do you kiss his ass?"
John: "Sometimes we just blow him a kiss, and think of his ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass,and he passes it on."
Me: "Who's Karl?"
Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."
Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss his ass, and that Hank would reward you?"
John: "Oh no! Karl's got a letter Hank sent him years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."
John handed me a photocopy of a handwritten memo on From the desk of Karl letterhead. There were eleven items listed:
  1. Kiss Hank's ass and he'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
  2. Use alcohol in moderation.
  3. Kick the shit out of people who aren't like you.
  4. Eat right.
  5. Hank dictated this list himself.
  6. The moon is made of green cheese.
  7. Everything Hank says is right.
  8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
  9. Don't drink.
  10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
  11. Kiss Hank's ass or he'll kick the shit out of you.
Me: "This would appear to be written on Karl's letterhead."
Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."
Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."
John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."
Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"
Mary: "Not now, but years ago he would talk to some people."
Me: "I thought you said he was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the shit out of people just because they're different?"
Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."
Me: "How do you figure that?"
Mary: "Item 7 says everything Hanks says is right.' That's good enough for me!"
Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."
John: "No way! Item 5 says Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says Eat right,' and item 8 says Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."
Me: "But 9 says Don't Drink,' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."
John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."
Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."
Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."
Me: "I'm not really an expert, but I think the theory that the Moon came from the Earth has been discounted. Besides, not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it cheese."
John: "Aha! You just admitted that scientists make mistakes, but we know Hank is always right!"
Me: "We do?"
Mary: "Of course we do, Item 5 says so."
Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying Hank's right because he says he's right.'"
John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."
Me: "But...oh, never mind. What's the deal with wieners?"
Mary blushes. John says: "Wieners, in buns, no condiments. It's Hank's way. Anything else is wrong."
Me: "What if I don't have a bun?"
John: "No bun, no wiener. A wiener without a bun is wrong."
Me: "No relish? No Mustard?"
Mary looks positively stricken. John shouts: "There's no need for such language! Condiments of any kind are wrong!"
Me: "So a big pile of sauerkraut with some wieners chopped up in it would be out of the question?"
Mary sticks her fingers in her ears: "I am not listening to this. La la la, la la, la la la."
John: "That's disgusting. Only some sort of evil deviant would eat that..."
Me: "It's good! I eat it all the time."
Mary faints. John catches her.
John: "Well, if I'd known you where one of those I wouldn't have wasted my time. When Hank kicks the shit out of you I'll be there, counting my money and laughing. I'll kiss Hank's ass for you, you bunless cut-wienered kraut-eater."

With this, John dragged Mary to their waiting car, and sped off.

No Child Left Behind: The Football Version

From Hoagies, No Child Left Behind: The Football Version:
  1. All teams must make the state playoffs, and all will win the championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable.
  2. All kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the same time and in the same conditions. No exceptions will be made for interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabilities. ALL KIDS WILL PLAY FOOTBALL AT A PROFICIENT LEVEL.
  3. Talented players will be asked to work out on their own without instruction. Coaches will use all their instructional time with the athletes who aren't interested in football, have limited athletic ability or whose parents don't like football.
  4. All coaches will be proficient in all aspects of football, or they will be released.
  5. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in the 4th, 8th and 11th games.
  6. This will create a New Age of sports where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimal goals.

If no child gets ahead, then no child will be left behind.

When it comes to education, there is only one reasonable goal, every child should have the opportunity to fulfill his or her potential.

UPDATE: Hoagies also links to a Wall Street Journal article "What If Einstein Had Taken Ritalin?" which requires a subscription. I found an illegal copy here.

2004 Koufax Award Winners

Go check out the 2004 Koufax Award Winners for whom the liberal blogosphere believe to be the best bloggers. In particular, check out the winner of the most humorous posting, Poker with Dick Cheney. Here's a snip:
TE: Fifty bucks.

DC: I'm in. Show 'em.

TE: Two pair, sevens and fives.

DC: Not good enough.

TE: What do you have?

DC: Better than that, that's for sure. Pay up.

TE: Can you show us your cards?

DC: Sure. One of them's a six.

TE: You need to show all your cards. That's the way the game is played.

Colin Powell: Ladies and gentlemen. We have accumulated overwhelming evidence that Mr. Cheney's poker hand is far, far better than two pair. Note this satellite photo, taken three minutes ago when The Editors went to get more chips. In it we clearly see the back sides of five playing cards, arranged in a poker hand. Defector reports have assured us that Mr. Cheney's hand was already well advanced at this stage. Later, Mr. Cheney drew only one card. Why only one card? Would a man without a strong hand choose only one card? We are absolutely convinced that Mr. Cheney has at least a full house.

Tim Russert: Wow. Colin Powell really hit a homerun for the Administration right there. A very powerful performance. My dad played a lot of poker in World War 2, and he taught me many things about life. Read my book.

TE: He's extremely good at Power Point. But we would like to see the cards, or else we can't really be sure he has anything to beat two pair. We don't think he would lie to us, but ... well, it is a very rich pot.

Jonah Goldberg: Liberal critics of Mr. Cheney's poker hand contend that "he doesn't have anything". Oh, really, liberal critics? Cheney has already showed them the six of clubs, and yet these liberals persist in saying he has "nothing". Why do liberals consider the six of clubs to be "nothing"? Is it because the six of clubs is black?

The Drudge Report has learned that Dick Cheney has a royal flush, hearts. Developing ...
The runner ups are great as well, here is a printable snippet of the Rude Pundit's What Kerry Should Say, Part 2:
'Global mother{bleep}ing test' means that you can go anywhere in the {bleep}n world and talk to any {bleep}n' person, and you can back your actions up. You can say, 'Hey, look, we were right - mother{bleep}er was gonna bomb the {bleep} out of us.' That means you could walk up to a screaming, bleeding soldier, whose {bleep} was ripped off by a rocket-propelled grenade, and say, 'You know what, man? Sorry about your {bleep}, but you just helped stop the U.S.A. from bein' nuked.' That way, when that soldier is back home, lookin' at the empty space where his {bleep} used to be, he can be proud that he lost his {bleep} savin' the U.S. So that that soldier never has to think, 'Why the {bleep} was I sent to that mother{bleep}n' hellhole to lose my {bleep}?'
The sad part is the Rude Pundit just described "Global Test" better than Kerry did, not that anyone actually paying attention had any doubt what he meant. Lastly, Michael Bérubé describes his second day as a newly converted Republican at the RNC convention in his post, Second night:
...the point is that leadership is all about “making decisions you think are right, and then standing behind those decisions.” Even when it looks like your decision to invade Iraq was based on the advice of a notorious kleptomaniac who was possibly serving as a double agent for Iranian mullahs, you stand behind your decision, because leadership is all about making decisions you think are right and then standing behind them.  Um, I said that already.  But that’s all right, because it makes it even more true!!  And I stand firm in repeating what I said about leadership!! 

I do have two quibbles with Arnold’s speech.  One, he said, “you don’t reason with terrorists, you defeat them.” Maybe this is one of those moments where he’s respectfully disagreeing with the President, who recently told us (and I’m paraphrasing from memory here) that we can’t win a war on terrorism in a way that winnably defeats terrorists because this is a different kind of conflict than the kind of conflict in which you win a war, but that doesn’t mean we won’t win.  But I think Schwarzenegger should have consulted the President about this.  And two, he said that “we do not fight for imperialism, we fight for human rights.” I know I’ve only been a Republican for 24 hours now, but I have to press the “respectful disagreement” button here.  Screw human rights-- I’m in it for the imperialism.  You may be happy right where you are in Sacramento, Arnold, but me, I want one of those no-bid contracts.
I think he's got a handle on what it takes to be a Republican in the post 9/11 world!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Bash and Double Bash

It seems we have another case of Republicans running around and demanding everyone completely disown someone who makes a stupid statement. It never works the other way around, though. Think of how often mainstream Republicans used the term 'aiding and abetting the enemy' to describe anyone who publicly disagreed with their foreign policy. 'Aiding and abetting' is a technical term meaning a form of treason (they say 'treason' a lot as well) that, last I saw, was still punishable by death. But when Republicans haphazardly imply their political opponents should be killed no one blinks an eye. But here we are, some House member says he believes Rove was behind Rathergate and we're all supposed to be up in arms. Wonderful.

So according to the now famous, large mammal Carpe Nequam, er, Bonum:
Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY): People have been - people in the media have been intimidated. The media has changed in the last four years. People have changed in the last four years. They've had a very very direct, aggressive attack on the, on the media, and the way it's handled. Probably the most flagrant example of that is the way they set up Dan Rather. Now, I mean, I have my own beliefs about how that happened: it originated with Karl Rove, in my belief, in the White House. They set that up with those false papers. Why did they do it? They knew that Bush was a draft dodger. They knew that he had run away from his responsibilties in the Air National Guard in Texas, gone out of the state intentionally for a long period of time. They knew that he had no defense for that period in his life. And so what they did was, expecting that that was going to come up, they accentuated it: they produced papers that made it look even worse. And they - and they distributed those out to elements of the media.


Audience Member: Don’t you think it’s irresponsible to make charges like that?

Congressman Hinchey: No I don’t. I think it’s very important to make charges like that. I think it’s very important to combat this kind of activity in every way that you can. And I’m willing — and most people are not — to step forward in situations like this and take risks.

Audience: [Clapping and cheering.]
Now, if people are expecting me to be a good moderate Democrat and jump to Rove's defense, sorry about that. I have zero respect for Rove and his morals, of which he clearly lacks. Seriously, is there anyone, Democrat or Republican, who thinks Rove is morally above this kind of thing? Didn't think so.

That said, this Hinchey dude is a complete idiot, apparently. As dumb as the administration who claimed the Iraq war would cost the U.S. less than $2 billion dollars? Nah, not that dumb. As dumb as believing Ahmed "Iranian Spy" Chalabi when he said that we would be greeted as liberators in Iraq? Certainly not that dumb. As dumb as thinking the best way to solve the deficit problem potentially aggravated by social security is to borrow trillions of dollars? Hardly. But still, pretty dumb.

For one, Mr. Hinchey didn't even get his conspiracy theory right. There is no way Rove wanted this fake document out in the public. What ever long term strategic gain they might have hoped to gain wouldn't be worth the risk of short term tactical damage caused by emphasizing the issue. No, the only theory that even has a shot at being true is the possibility Rove or some other Republican was trying to discredit Bill Burkett. The theory goes Burkett was given the memo on the assumption any competent news agency would quickly discover it was a fake. After that, no news agency would ever listen to Burkett again, cutting off the main supplier of negative Guard stories. The fact CBS was too stupid to catch the forgery was not part of the plan.

Personally, I think Burkett forged the letter himself. I'll give that a better than 50% chance. If, however, he really was given the memo by someone else I'd say it is 50/50 whether it was from a Bush hater or a Republican for the reason stated above. All in all, I'd give it a one in ...oh, let's say... five chance Rove was involved.

What did Hinchey hope to gain from this? I don't know. Maybe he thought since this kind of BS works for Republicans all the time it would work for him. Silly man, Republicans have their own set of special privileges that let's them get away with this kind of stuff.

But for the righty blogosphere who take politics as a sport, a chance to get a piece of fame and prove their worth, this will get kicked up well beyond any reason. Keep it up guys! Everyone needs a hobby!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Enlightened Path to Truth

From David Brin's excellent discussion of modernism versus romanticism:
Given what may be at stake -- either billions of dollars or else a perceived world-in-peril -- it would be surprising if human subjectivity and bias did not sometimes bias outcomes.

This is, in fact the critical discovery of science. That we often perceive what we expect or want to perceive, often at variance with what is objectively true. The Cro Magnon genius of trumping objective evidence with subjective belief. The original and only true form of magic.

How has science dealt with this quandary? By encouraging open enquiry and vigorous reciprocal accountability. And by enticing younger researchers to take risks and challenge portions of the edifice that may be weak, with substantial status awaiting those who do succeed in toppling a paradigm, some time.

I have generalized this with a catchy acronym-aphorism - CITOKATE ... or... Criticism is the Only Known Antidote to Error. A practicing scientist knows this, in his or her bones, even as the Cro Magnon ego inevitably tugs in the other direction, murmuring to each of us that we are 100% correct and that critics are all vile fools. Yes, that tug is overwhelming. Which makes even the partial success of scientific training - at making some egotists welcome criticism - all the more wondrous, almost a miracle.

The lesson for everyday life? If none of us are likely to catch our own mistakes, we can hope that others will catch them for us. And yes, even when eagerly rebellious, snotty graduate students do the catching.
Even though reality itself is obviously objective, no human is capable of understanding anything other then a subjective version of that truth. No experiment, no observation, no set or laws or theories are completely objective, but we can arrive at a very close approximation when many people attempt to recreate an experiment or make the same observation or contemplate the theories. Through the combination of many subjective minds each criticizing the others (hopefully in a nice way, though it isn't strictly required) we can asymptotically approach objective reality.

Often even scientists don't see their own subjectivity. In college I attended an open forum dealing with some great injustice done by one of the college officials. (Yea, that was sarcasm. This was an excellent example of liberal activism run amok.) At one point a science professor chimed in that scientists could not be racist because they dealt with objective reality, and more than that, the scientific community was innately international in nature. This sounded reasonable enough to me at the time. He then went on to say that the end of racism was a good thing if for no other reason then intermarriage would lead to a darkening of skin color that would help protected us from the sun's UV rays.

It wasn't until contemplating what he said the next day that I realized the subjectivity of his last statement. One could even call the statement racist, but in a purely accidental, not at all evil sort-of way. The fact it took me a day to catch it showed that I too could fall for this mild, unconscious form of racism. (Re-read the sentence if you didn't catch it right away. It seems blindingly obvious to me now.) That science professor assumed that people were white. Intermarriage doesn't lead to a darkening of the skin color, it leads to an averaging. It's only darkening from the point of view of the white guy. As you can see, the scientist wasn't as objective as he thought.

I have this dream that someday creationists will someday play a true critical analysis role for evolutionary biology. For the most part, the creationist arguments against evolution have been weak, but they are getting stronger. (Though no where nearly as strong as the mountains of evidence supporting evolution.) Ideally, if creationists really want to be taken seriously they'll have to make real proposals and engage in real science. If they honestly believe creationism will be proven correct, they should have no fear in participating in the process honestly. Historically they only cared about propaganda but I've seen some signs they me be getting more serious in the debate. We'll see. In my perfect world the IDers and creationists will play a useful critical role in the natural sciences. But if they do choose to be serious they will have to open themselves to criticism right back at 'em. We'll see if that ever happens.