I’ve been sitting on this this scathing critique of "Intelligent Design" by conservative John Derbyshire for at least a few weeks, but hadn’t gotten sufficient motivation to post it.
This is Bush at his muddle-headed worst, conferring all the authority
of the presidency on the teaching of pseudoscience in science classes.
Why stop with Intelligent Design (the theory that life on earth has
developed by a series of supernatural miracles performed by the God of
the Christian Bible, for which it is pointless to seek any naturalistic
explanation)? Why not teach the little ones astrology? Lysenkoism?
Orgonomy? Dianetics? Reflexology? Dowsing and radiesthesia? Forteanism?
Velikovskianism? Lawsonomy? Secrets of the Great Pyramid? ESP and
psychokinesis? Atlantis and Lemuria? The hollow-earth theory? Does the
president have any idea, does he have any idea,
how many varieties of pseudoscientific flapdoodle there are in the
world? If you are going to teach one, why not teach the rest? Shouldn’t
all sides be "properly taught"? To give our kids, you know, a
rounded picture? Has the president scrutinized Velikovsky’s theories?
Can he refute them? Can you?
And every buncombe theory — every one of those species of twaddle that
I listed — has, or at some point had, as many adherents as Intelligent
Design. The hollow-earth theory was taken up by the Nazis and taught,
as the Hohlweltlehre, in German schools. It still has a
following in Germany today. Velikovsky’s theories — he believed that
Jupiter gave birth to a giant comet which, after passing close to earth
and causing the miracles of the Book of Exodus, settled down as the
planet Venus — were immensely popular in the 1950s and generated heated
controversy, with angry accusations by the Velikovskians that they were
being shut out by closed-minded orthodox astronomers determined to
protect their turf, etc., etc. Lysenkoism was state doctrine in
Stalin’s Russia and was taught at the most prestigious universities.
Expressing skepticism about it could get you shot. (Likewise with the
bizarre linguistic theories of Stalin’s protégé N.Y. Marr, who believed
that every word in every human language derived from one of four basic
elements, pronounced "sal," "ber," "yon," and "rosh." I tell you, the
house of pseudoscience has many, many mansions.) Dianetics was
rebranded as Scientology and is now a great force in the land — try
criticizing it, and you’ll find out.
Do yourself the service of reading the whole thing.
I dunno; It’s discouraging, at times. On the one hand, we see such evidence that we live in an explicable universe that operates according to perfectly natural and definable laws; yet most people choose to adopt the stupidity disease of mysticism, and really, display little evidence that they have any greater grasp of reality than does a common cargo cult.
Other individualists often chide me for being so hard on the religious. I really don’t get that. They’ll take up all sorts of time in onslaught of the left and their religion of the omnipotent state, but don’t seem quite so nearly to mind the insane fantasies promulgated by the mainstream religions, as well as the born-again nutbars on the right.
I make no distinctions. From the religion of communism on the left, to the whacked-out fundamentalism on the right that interprets all of the Bible literally, and everything in-between, it’s all very fundamentally the same. There are no important distinctions to make in the context of what’s real vs. ‘the second coming of cargo.’
It’s like trying to make distinctions between Santa Claus, qua entity, and the Easter Bunny.
This, people, is at the very root of every single individual and social problem — every single one. It is the conscious and willing behavior of attempting to create reality in one’s own mind, in spite of a lack of any real evidence in support, and even more often, in stark contradiction to facts already well established.
The human mind is designed to perceive and integrate reality, not to create it. An honest individual’s success in life is directly tied to his or her ability to accurately integrate reality and take action accordingly. Those who don’t increasingly lead diminished lives, most often as the prey of the dishonest and criminal minded (powercrats, religious leaders, self-appointed advocates, environmentalists, "health" nuts, etc.). Those criminally minded parasites live off of the unearned money, power, and sex generated by the plethora of mystical illusions held in the hearts of men. Ironically, these parasites are the very ones instrumental in creating, propagating and perpetuating all of the fantasies and illusions in which humankind trusts and believes.