The Electric Commentary

Monday, July 31, 2006

Mark Belling's most nonsensical beliefs.

For those of you unfamiliar with Mark, he's a conservative talk show host in Milwaukee. I once sold a Mark Belling Bobblehead Doll for $167.50. Mark is fairly entertaining because he's loud, his silent producer Paul is funny, and he treats his callers with complete disdain. As most of his callers aren't very good, this works well.

Mark occasionally even makes a good point - when he's talking about economic issues, but when he leaves the economic arena he's often out of his league. This is especially true with regard to scientific issues. Listening to Mark is one of my guilty pleasures on those rare occasions when I'm in my car between 3-6, and I have compiled a list of Mark's most absurd beliefs. He should be mocked and laughed at when he discusses the following:

1. He does not believe in evolution, and he is apparently a young earth creationist.

Mark, deep down, knows that he sounds stupid on this point, which is why he has no problem hypothetically discussing the Earth as if it were billions of years old, but he always drops a few references to his belief in literal Bible interpretation. Mark claims to approach all subjects using logic. On this matter, he is clearly using faith. Faith's all fine and good, but no one should confuse it with logic.

I once heard him say the following when talking to a geologist:

I'll give you a book on the entire history of the Earth: THE BIBLE!

2. He believes that life begins at conception.

This is probably a slam at a big chunk of the population, but logic is not a democratic process. It is possible that life begins at some point during gestation, but claiming that life begins at conception, when an embryo is merely one single cell, is an insult to living people everywhere. Mark explained this decision as not at all based on religion. His reasoning was as follows:

a. It's not birth.
b. It's too hard to measure life during gestation.
c. Ergo, life begins at conception.

That's logic, I suppose. It's just very bad logic. Premise b is clearly the result of intellectual laziness. I don't know when life begins, but I do know that it doesn't begin at conception. No brain, no human life.

This comes up in the stem cell debate. To his credit, Mark has no problem with non-embryonic stem cell research like some conservative bio-Luddites, but his poor reasoning still poisons the well for a potentially fantastic technology.

3. Mark Belling believes that psychics can predict the future.

There was a radio psychic at one of his old stations and he often tells a story about an accurate prediction that she made, and he is now a believer. And yet no caller ever brings this up as a snappy comeback when being ridiculed.

4. He does not believe that man has any effect on global warming.

He often makes the faulty analogy about people not being able to predict tomorrow's weather correctly, let alone the weather for the next 100 years. This confuses weather, a short term phenomenon affected by many randomly fluctuating variables, with climate, a long term trend. It is the difference between predicting a specific car crash vs. predicting the number of car crashes in a year. You will be a lot closer on the latter than the former.

The disbelief in global warming hurts the credibility of conservatives, which is quite horrible, as many of their policy prescriptions are superior to those of the left. Not that conservatives are eco-friendly, by any stretch, it's just that when only one side has any credibility (as is the case here) we all suffer from a lack of diversity of opinion. The Kyoto Treaty is a stupid idea that would solve nothing, but conservative opposition seems petty.

Most of Mark's beliefs could be labeled as "controversial" but I think that these go a bit further, landing somewhere between ridiculous and hysterical. Oh, he also thinks that Christians are committing blasphemy if they see "The Da Vinci Code." It's actually a pretty funny show.

Just not how Mark intends it.


  • He also believes "wetback" is a term appropriate for saying on the radio.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:16 PM  

  • You need to distinguish "life" from whatever you really mean or your arguments sound nearly as ignorant of biology as Belling sounds of everything you've mentioned.

    "No brain, no life" is an exceptionally flawed argument. Plants have life, single celled organisms such bacteria have life, lots of things have life that don't have a cephalized nervous system. Now if you change "life" to being a person, or being truly human, or if you want to argue that something isn't an independent life from its parent until some later point, or some other distinction, then that is fine.

    I just thought I'd warn you for whatever future arguments you wish to make on the topic.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 6:16 PM  

  • Clearly, I meant HUMAN life.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 8:49 PM  

  • Yes clearly. Sorry I'm trying to deal with a response to a brief I wrote which contorts my arguments out of context - this puts me in a certain mindset. Also, I've seen some arguments get sidetracked into bickering over "life" and though I'd warn you to be more precise to save you the headache.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 10:04 AM  

  • Paul,

    I don't know why you think the argument that life begins at conception is insulting to people everywhere. I mean, so what if it does? Where else are you going to start? Conception seems like a good a benchmark to start as any. It seems to me you either would have to pick conception, sometime in between conception and birth, or birth. Otherwise, you would have to go back further, before conception, but I think a legit argument is that you're missing half the whatever those things are called, and you're still a zygote or whatever. Same thing with death, sure you might be brain dead, but until your heart stops, I would argue you're not "dead, dead" yet. I think these are the best start and endpoints.

    Even if life does begin at conception, the developmental stages don't change.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:39 PM  

  • Your comments above, Paul, show why it is Mark on a very successful radio show and not yourself. You sound bitter. Hmmm

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:14 PM  

  • Why?

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 2:35 PM  

  • You are the one with the nonsensical beliefs. Let's see some proof to contradict Bellings beliefs. You don't have any.

    Ignorant bloggers. They are everywhere!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:15 PM  

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