Welcome Hance Haney!

by on August 25, 2006 · 88 comments

By now, you’ve seen some of his contributions. On behalf of the gang [though it's too late],* I thought I would introduce the newest TLFer, Hance Haney.

Hance is Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute in Washington, D.C. As you’ve already seen, he’s mighty well versed in telecom issues. He’ll bring another dimension to our current discussions of net neutrality, and much more in the future.

I bumped into Hance on the street today and encouraged him to engage with our commenters whose disagreements with us are welcome – indeed, essential to making TLF a worthwhile endeavor.

And hopefully Hance will help counterbalance the prolific Tim Lee so his DRM obsession doesn’t make TLF “all DMCA all the time”! ;-P

*[I was just about done writing this when Adam's post went up, so I'm posting it anyway. I don't want to have wasted my time - but I will waste yours, reader.]

  • http://www.codemonkeyramblings.com MikeT

    Matt, I am still not impressed. If the DI is as you say it is, then I fail to see why it’s a threat. No intelligent person would take it seriously. I don’t care one way or another as I have no emotional attachment to ID or evolution.

  • http://www.codemonkeyramblings.com MikeT

    Matt, I am still not impressed. If the DI is as you say it is, then I fail to see why it’s a threat. No intelligent person would take it seriously. I don’t care one way or another as I have no emotional attachment to ID or evolution.

  • http://www.withoutbound.net/blog/ Amanda

    Mike, don’t you see how being an employee of an organization “No intelligent person would take… seriously” might harm someone’s credibility?

  • http://www.withoutbound.net/blog/ Amanda

    Mike, don’t you see how being an employee of an organization “No intelligent person would take… seriously” might harm someone’s credibility?

  • http://www.codemonkeyramblings.com MikeT

    I am not suggesting that it benefits him in the least. However, I am not one to disregard a message entirely because of who said it. I would like to think that if the TLF crew has invited him, that he probably is not your typical DI writer. If he is, well, TLF will have fallen tremendously in my esteem.

    Now, if we crucified everyone else guilty of similar offenses, I think we would have a line of impailed policy wonks trailing out of DC, forming a spectacle that would make Vlad Dracul giddy. I can’t say that I find either the metaphor or literal imagery entirely unappealing.

  • http://www.cato.org/people/harper.html Jim Harper

    Wow! How interesting. Thanks everyone for all your comments. My thinking, briefly:

    I’m affiliated with a controversial organization – the Cato Institute – which is truly detested by many people out there. I go out and talk to groups all the time starting at a credibility deficit because of my affiliation. If those groups were to refuse hearing what I had to say entirely, we’d all be worse off, don’t you think?

    I appreciate the passion that most of you hold about the Intelligent Design debate – I haven’t followed it very closely – but I have known Hance and colleagues of his who work on telecom policy, financial privacy, and the like at the Discovery Institute since long before the ID debate heated up.

    If you’re here on TLF to debate Intelligent Design, you’ll probably disagree with the choice of including Hance – and you’ll be bored pretty quickly, too, because it’s not germane to this blog – but if you’re here to discuss technology policy, you’ll let your opinion of Hance and TLF rise or fall on the merits.

  • http://weblog.ipcentral.info/ Noel Le

    Before you flame somebody, why not wait to see what they have to say. I’ve personally found Hance’s writings very informative, well cited and thoughtful. No, I don’t agree with intelligent design, but unless Hance writes about that, why raise and brood over the subject.

  • http://www.codemonkeyramblings.com MikeT

    I am not suggesting that it benefits him in the least. However, I am not one to disregard a message entirely because of who said it. I would like to think that if the TLF crew has invited him, that he probably is not your typical DI writer. If he is, well, TLF will have fallen tremendously in my esteem.

    Now, if we crucified everyone else guilty of similar offenses, I think we would have a line of impailed policy wonks trailing out of DC, forming a spectacle that would make Vlad Dracul giddy. I can’t say that I find either the metaphor or literal imagery entirely unappealing.

  • http://www.cato.org/people/harper.html Jim Harper

    Wow! How interesting. Thanks everyone for all your comments. My thinking, briefly:

    I’m affiliated with a controversial organization – the Cato Institute – which is truly detested by many people out there. I go out and talk to groups all the time starting at a credibility deficit because of my affiliation. If those groups were to refuse hearing what I had to say entirely, we’d all be worse off, don’t you think?

    I appreciate the passion that most of you hold about the Intelligent Design debate – I haven’t followed it very closely – but I have known Hance and colleagues of his who work on telecom policy, financial privacy, and the like at the Discovery Institute since long before the ID debate heated up.

    If you’re here on TLF to debate Intelligent Design, you’ll probably disagree with the choice of including Hance – and you’ll be bored pretty quickly, too, because it’s not germane to this blog – but if you’re here to discuss technology policy, you’ll let your opinion of Hance and TLF rise or fall on the merits.

  • http://weblog.ipcentral.info/ Noel Le

    Before you flame somebody, why not wait to see what they have to say. I’ve personally found Hance’s writings very informative, well cited and thoughtful. No, I don’t agree with intelligent design, but unless Hance writes about that, why raise and brood over the subject.

  • http://tieguy.org/ Luis Villa

    Jim: Whatever else I think of Cato (and I’m not a huge fan) Cato seems to believe that if it argues from a position of logic and truth, their arguments will win out eventually. DI (at least their ID group) seems to believe that logic and truth are insufficient- that they must grotesquely abuse facts or even make them up in order to win. That to me seems like a fundamental difference between the two organizations. One I can respect even when I disagree with it, the other I cannot. I have typically held TLF to the same standard I believe applies to Cato; I’d hate to have to revise my opinion.

  • http://tieguy.org/ Luis Villa

    I might add that while I tar with a very broad brush here, I find the threat posed to civilized political discussion by those who would abuse fact so gratuitously to be incredibly pernicious. Those of us who feel strongly that political and policy arguments should be settled based on facts and logic should fight very hard to exclude those who believe that distortion and lies are legitimate tools of political debate. (This applies across the political spectrum, of course.)

  • http://willwilkinson.net/flybottle Will Wilkinson

    I think Luis puts the point very well.

  • http://tieguy.org/ Luis Villa

    Jim: Whatever else I think of Cato (and I’m not a huge fan) Cato seems to believe that if it argues from a position of logic and truth, their arguments will win out eventually. DI (at least their ID group) seems to believe that logic and truth are insufficient- that they must grotesquely abuse facts or even make them up in order to win. That to me seems like a fundamental difference between the two organizations. One I can respect even when I disagree with it, the other I cannot. I have typically held TLF to the same standard I believe applies to Cato; I’d hate to have to revise my opinion.

  • http://tieguy.org/ Luis Villa

    I might add that while I tar with a very broad brush here, I find the threat posed to civilized political discussion by those who would abuse fact so gratuitously to be incredibly pernicious. Those of us who feel strongly that political and policy arguments should be settled based on facts and logic should fight very hard to exclude those who believe that distortion and lies are legitimate tools of political debate. (This applies across the political spectrum, of course.)

  • http://willwilkinson.net/flybottle Will Wilkinson

    I think Luis puts the point very well.

  • Curious

    I’m just wondering: Who among you are the experts in evolution who have proof that Intelligent Design is all lies, and more importantly, why do you so automatically condemn a man when he has nothing to do with advancing the theory you all-knowing amateurs are so certain is evil bunk?

    Frankly, I would have hoped for a little more rationality, and a little less knee-jerking, from a group that so clearly thinks itself brilliant.

  • Curious

    I’m just wondering: Who among you are the experts in evolution who have proof that Intelligent Design is all lies, and more importantly, why do you so automatically condemn a man when he has nothing to do with advancing the theory you all-knowing amateurs are so certain is evil bunk?

    Frankly, I would have hoped for a little more rationality, and a little less knee-jerking, from a group that so clearly thinks itself brilliant.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Curious, the bunky nature of ID has been disclosed many, many times before, and we don’t need to rehash the arguments here.

    ID is a question-begging doctrine that was created out of the belief that scientific theories that cause immoral behavior must be banned from the public square, whether they’re right or wrong.

    That’s not the rational approach to science or to public policy, of course.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Curious, the bunky nature of ID has been disclosed many, many times before, and we don’t need to rehash the arguments here.

    ID is a question-begging doctrine that was created out of the belief that scientific theories that cause immoral behavior must be banned from the public square, whether they’re right or wrong.

    That’s not the rational approach to science or to public policy, of course.

  • Curious

    Thanks Richard. That’s just the kind of “I don’t really know much about evolution or Intelligent Design, I just know I don’t like ID” answer I expected to get.

    I’m sorry, but it strikes me that far too many people on this board are condemning Hance Haney for a stand he’s never taken, on an issue no one here really knows very much about, and that is sad. By the same rules, many of you deserve to have your views ignored simply because you work for Cato and everyone knows that people who work for Cato hate the poor, minorities, and just about everyone else.

  • Curious

    Thanks Richard. That’s just the kind of “I don’t really know much about evolution or Intelligent Design, I just know I don’t like ID” answer I expected to get.

    I’m sorry, but it strikes me that far too many people on this board are condemning Hance Haney for a stand he’s never taken, on an issue no one here really knows very much about, and that is sad. By the same rules, many of you deserve to have your views ignored simply because you work for Cato and everyone knows that people who work for Cato hate the poor, minorities, and just about everyone else.

  • DC Libertarian

    Curious, if you really want a thorough fisking of ID nonsense, see this FAQ. But I’m sure you’ve already seen this before. This is not a topic for rational debate, not due to the shrillness of scientists, but because of the ignorance mongering of DI. ID can only resort to faux-skepticism to stay above water now.

  • Anono

    ID is a question-begging doctrine that was created out of the belief that scientific theories that cause immoral behavior must be banned from the public square, whether they’re right or wrong.

    That’s an absurd assertion. Agree with it or not, ID’s main point is that certain features of nature exhibit the same sort of informational complexity that we automatically take as signs of design wherever else they appear. We may think that biological complexity can be sufficiently explained by other means (evolution). Nonetheless, your description of ID is a silly caricature.

  • DC Libertarian

    Curious, if you really want a thorough fisking of ID nonsense, see this FAQ. But I’m sure you’ve already seen this before. This is not a topic for rational debate, not due to the shrillness of scientists, but because of the ignorance mongering of DI. ID can only resort to faux-skepticism to stay above water now.

  • Anono

    ID is a question-begging doctrine that was created out of the belief that scientific theories that cause immoral behavior must be banned from the public square, whether they’re right or wrong.

    That’s an absurd assertion. Agree with it or not, ID’s main point is that certain features of nature exhibit the same sort of informational complexity that we automatically take as signs of design wherever else they appear. We may think that biological complexity can be sufficiently explained by other means (evolution). Nonetheless, your description of ID is a silly caricature.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    My summary of ID is perfectly consistent with the Discovery Insttitute’s Wedge Strategy document. In their own words:

    The cultural consequences of this triumph of materialism were devastating. Materialists denied the existence of objective moral standards, claiming that environment dictates our behavior and beliefs. Such moral relativism was uncritically adopted by much of the social sciences, and it still undergirds much of modern economics, political science, psychology and sociology.

    Materialists also undermined personal responsibility by asserting that human thoughts and behaviors are dictated by our biology and environment. The results can be seen in modern approaches to criminal justice, product liability, and welfare. In the materialist scheme of things, everyone is a victim and no one can be held accountable for his or her actions.

    Finally, materialism spawned a virulent strain of utopianism. Thinking they could engineer the perfect society through the application of scientific knowledge, materialist reformers advocated coercive government programs that falsely promised to create heaven on earth.

    Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies.

    Read the whole thing.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    My summary of ID is perfectly consistent with the Discovery Insttitute’s Wedge Strategy document. In their own words:

    The cultural consequences of this triumph of materialism were devastating. Materialists denied the existence of objective moral standards, claiming that environment dictates our behavior and beliefs. Such moral relativism was uncritically adopted by much of the social sciences, and it still undergirds much of modern economics, political science, psychology and sociology.

    Materialists also undermined personal responsibility by asserting that human thoughts and behaviors are dictated by our biology and environment. The results can be seen in modern approaches to criminal justice, product liability, and welfare. In the materialist scheme of things, everyone is a victim and no one can be held accountable for his or her actions.

    Finally, materialism spawned a virulent strain of utopianism. Thinking they could engineer the perfect society through the application of scientific knowledge, materialist reformers advocated coercive government programs that falsely promised to create heaven on earth.

    Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies.
    Read the whole thing.

  • Curious

    Richard, if you want to be an honest participant in this debate, you should direct people to the Discovery Institute. Your link goes to an anti-DI site, where quotations from the “Wedge Document” aren’t even marked as quotations, leaving the reader to guess where they begin and end. (Your excerpts here are also unmarked as quotations.) You might also want to look at DI’s own explanation of how you and others have consistently misused the “Wedge Document” to promote your own viewpoints.

    You should be especially careful in making your arguments, given that you essentially convicted Hance Haney of intellectual dishonesty for his mere association with DI.

  • Anonymous

    Apologies! The correct link to DI’s explanation of the “Wedge Document” is here.

  • Curious

    Apologies! The correct link to DI’s explanation of the “Wedge Document” is here.

  • Curious

    Richard, if you want to be an honest participant in this debate, you should direct people to the Discovery Institute. Your link goes to an anti-DI site, where quotations from the “Wedge Document” aren’t even marked as quotations, leaving the reader to guess where they begin and end. (Your excerpts here are also unmarked as quotations.) You might also want to look at DI’s own explanation of how you and others have consistently misused the “Wedge Document” to promote your own viewpoints.

    You should be especially careful in making your arguments, given that you essentially convicted Hance Haney of intellectual dishonesty for his mere association with DI.

  • Anonymous

    Apologies! The correct link to DI’s explanation of the “Wedge Document” is here.

  • Curious

    Apologies! The correct link to DI’s explanation of the “Wedge Document” is here.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    So now, Curious, you’re complaining about the formatting of my comments? I marked the entire three paragraph excerpt from the Wedge Strategy with italics, but the software on this blog only italicized the first paragraph. Your struggles with links should show you something about this sort of thing.

    For the record, the copy of the Wedge Strategy I linked is the full original as it first appeared at the DI’s web site, before it was taken down and replaced with the “explanation” you tried to reference. That document, by the way, is here.

    Even in the revision, the DI charges that evolutionary biology has to be judged by its cultural and social consequences, and makes the outrageous slander that Darwin is to blame for the Nazi holocaust: Consider, for example, the eugenics crusade pushed by Darwinist biologists early in the twentieth century…. “Crusade” indeed. The creationist James Kennedy makes the same claim in the current edition of his televangelism program, and he’s been condemned by the Anti-Defamation League for it.

    The three paragraphs I cited are present in both copies of the Wedge Strategy document and they say all that needs to be said. Theologically and socially appropriate science isn’t science at all, it’s propaganda.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    So now, Curious, you’re complaining about the formatting of my comments? I marked the entire three paragraph excerpt from the Wedge Strategy with italics, but the software on this blog only italicized the first paragraph. Your struggles with links should show you something about this sort of thing.

    For the record, the copy of the Wedge Strategy I linked is the full original as it first appeared at the DI’s web site, before it was taken down and replaced with the “explanation” you tried to reference. That document, by the way, is here.

    Even in the revision, the DI charges that evolutionary biology has to be judged by its cultural and social consequences, and makes the outrageous slander that Darwin is to blame for the Nazi holocaust: Consider, for example, the eugenics crusade pushed by Darwinist biologists early in the twentieth century…. “Crusade” indeed. The creationist James Kennedy makes the same claim in the current edition of his televangelism program, and he’s been condemned by the Anti-Defamation League for it.

    The three paragraphs I cited are present in both copies of the Wedge Strategy document and they say all that needs to be said. Theologically and socially appropriate science isn’t science at all, it’s propaganda.

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