Monday, May 05, 2008

Derb defends Darwin

John Derbyshire replies below to a post by a young Jewish writer in defence of Intelligent Design. The controversy arose from Derb's criticism of some fairly extreme statements by Jewish creationist Ben Stein (Someone whom I admire, in general).

Although I am an atheist, I myself think that it is entirely proper that schools teach BOTH Intelligent Design and evolution. As they say in boxing, "Let the best man (or theory) win"! From a purely scientific point of view, I think that there are deficiencies in both theories.

No, David. "The world is truly revealed as upside-down and backward" when intelligent young Jews sign up to the anti-science crusade. One of the best reasons to be a philosemite in our time is sheer gratitude at the disproportionate contribution Jews have made to the advance of Western civilization, and to our understanding of the world, this past two hundred years. The U.S.A. dominated the 20th century in culture and technology, to the great benefit of all mankind, in part because of the work done in math and science by the great tranche of pre-WW2 immigrant Jews from Europe.

Now you have joined up with people who want to trash the scientific enterprise and heap insults on one of the greatest names in intellectual history. For reasons unfathomable to me, you and Ben Stein want to sneer and scoff at our understandings, hard-won over centuries of arduous intellectual effort. Don't the two of you know, don't Jews of all people know, where this anti-intellectual agitation, this pandering to a superstitious mob, will lead at last? If you truly don't, I refer you to the fate of Hypatia, which you can read about in my last book (Chapter 3), or in Gibbon (Chapter XLVII). Your new pals at the Discovery Institute no doubt think Hypatia got what she deserved. Civilization is a thin veneer, David. Reason and science are bulwarks against the dark.

I am sure you know the fine speech that Robert Bolt put in the mouth of Sir Thomas More, but "people need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed":
More: What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

More: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you - where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? (He leaves him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast - man's laws, not God's - and if you cut them down - and you're just the man to do it - d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

Bolt's More understood a thing you and Stein don't understand, the thing that Waugh credited Kipling with understanding in that quote I posted earlier in the week, and that Adolf Hitler (hey, you started the reductio ad Hitlerum), in his own way, and of course from the other side of the Wall, also understood. You and Stein are playing a dangerous game, a game that Jews should be the very last to play. The ADL, for all its faults, at least understands that.

I really, seriously wonder how much of a future the U.S.A. has. We are sinking into a bog of mediocrity, frivolity, superstition, and ignorance. When even Jews join the parade of folly, it's hard to keep hoping.

Yesterday (thanks! to a generous friend who got me in) I had the colossal privilege of watching Kurt Masur conduct Anne-Sophie Mutter in rehearsal. While Tchaikovsky's wonderful music filled the hall I found myself thinking, as I always do: How long shall we have this? How long will it last? How long before it is all swallowed up in the great grinning, jeering maw of hip-hop, the worship of worthless "celebrities," reality TV, Oprahified politics, and "intelligent design" - junk religion meets junk science? How long have we got?

Our civilization is on the way out. I hope it at least outlives me, but I am less and less sure it will. I'll be damned if I won't go down fighting, though.



Tony Blair: "You didn't realize how much you needed me"?

Rightward movement in both London and Rome: "In less than a week the major political parties of the Right in Britain and Italy scored unprecedented electoral victories by winning mayoral races in Rome and then in London. Since the end of the Second World War, the Right had never controlled those two offices. To grasp what this means, consider that "Londonistan" is the title of an excellent book by Melanie Phillips which warns of the descent of that great city into a radical Moslem polity. The citizens of Londonistan have chosen an iconoclastic Conservative Party leader, Boris Johnson, who has campaigned on the need to reduce crime in London and who has condemned the academic boycott of Israel by British universities as "disgusting and one sided." Although Johnson is more an offbeat moderate than a strong conservative, in Londonistan the change is dramatic and sweeping compared to what it had been before. His defeated opponent, "Red Ken" Livingston, was a blatant fan of every Marxist thug and radical Moslem in the world."

[There is a good humorous piece by Boris Johnson here]



How Many Communists Does It Take to Discredit an Anti-War Movement? "Not In Our Name (NION) is a group of people who sit around writing paranoid diatribes about the Bush administration with campy names like "Pledge of Resistance" and "Statement of Conscience." They collect signatures from celebrities and professional radicals, then publish the things in big, expensive newspaper ads. Then everyone involved pretends like they've just done something courageous and heroic. NION's money shot was the "Statement of Conscience," which they claim has been signed by over 15,000 people. Those courageous signatories include Angela Davis, two-time vice-presidential candidate on the Communist Party ticket; unindicted traitor Jane Fonda; convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal; and left-wing usual suspects like Ed Asner, Jesse Jackson, Susan Sarandon, Al Sharpton, Martin Sheen, Gloria Steinem, and Gore Vidal. Oh, and Yoko Ono. Nobody gives a movement credibility like Yoko Ono! The folks at NION aren't content just to write self-indulgent "pledges" and "statements." They also have an "activist" arm, the Not In Our Name Project, which organizes "anti-war" demonstrations."

Hillary's Jobs Ad Shows Indiana Plant Closed By Bill Clinton: "U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton stood in a Washington Township gymnasium last month and publicly said President George W. Bush was forcing the American military to rely on "Chinese spare parts" by allowing the sale of a Valparaiso defense contractor. But fresh questions are being raised in the wake of Hillary's much-publicized comments questioning why Bush failed to stop Chinese investors from moving Magnequench to China and closing the Northwest Indiana plant. For example, if the sale of the company to Chinese investors was going to jeopardize national security, why did President Bill Clinton's administration approve it in 1995? Magnequench made the sophisticated magnets needed to guided "smart bombs." Today, bomb-makers have to buy the magnets from the Chinese."

Happy 60th birthday to Israel: "Melanie Phillips says that the prosperity and growing cultural confidence of Israel is a fitting riposte to the Western intelligentsia, American meddling and the daily propaganda assault that ignores the Islamisation of the Palestinians. Indeed, much of the responsibility for these six decades of conflict lie with a Western world which, from 1921 onwards, has chosen to appease Arab violence while shedding crocodile tears over its Jewish victims. But the future of Israel is the future of the West. If the front line in Israel were to go down, the West would be next. Given its current internal appeasement of Islamism, however, the West may go down anyway. At least Israel knows it has to fight to survive. As a result, in 60 years' time it will still be there. Can the same be said for Britain or Europe?"


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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