Good for Derbyshire

| 14 Comments

I'm very far from being an admirer of John Derbyshire, and I'm sure that there are other things in this article which will bother people, but conservatives tend to be so willing to accommodate the creationists that I was really pleasantly surprised that Derbyshire would say

Human beings must have their consolations in this cold world, and wishful thinking is by no means only found on the political left, as Creationism and the "Intelligent Design" flapdoodle illustrate. Science ought to be trusted. Careful, peer-reviewed science--even human science!--ought to be read with respect, and with calm objectivity, and with the yearning to understand this strange universe, shot through as it is with mystery and wonder.

It's refreshing to see that not all of the National Review crowd are under the ID illusion.

14 Comments

That’s excellent.

Now, how do we ensure that we read things “with objectivity”? This is all fine if you are operating with an enlightenment world view, but that was done away with (in philosophical terms) about a hundred years ago. Modern philosophy (to be precise, post-modern philosophy) denies the possibility of being able to read “with calm objectivity”, and has consigned the enlightenment worldview to the dustbin of historical ideas that also holds such things as the geocentric universe and phlogiston.

Objectivity (to misquote Ford) is bunk.

Have a nice day!

Wow.

If one ever wanted a more explicit admission that ID is postmodernism – and that creationism is nihilism – one is not like to find one.

My only question is, how do you avoid bumping elbows with all those in the Big Tent who are in there because “atheism leads to relativism”?

While there’s an external enemy, disparate groups can work together. If ID ever became dominant in education, and I think it has a fair chance of that, you’d see internecine fights.

Derbyshire does show the odd flash of intellectual independence now and then; it’s just too bad that most of what he has to say between those intervals is so dreadful. Chalk his willingness to own up to a disbelief in creationism as one of those things that come with being a Limey.

Steve wrote

While there’s an external enemy, disparate groups can work together. If ID ever became dominant in education, and I think it has a fair chance of that, you’d see internecine fights.

Blood would flow in the aisles between the pews. For example, a few weeks ago Salvador Cordova was already prepared to excommunicate Denis Lamoreaux from the company of evangelicals for agreeing to speak at an NCSE function, and the so-called “culture war” isn’t even over yet.

RBH

John Derbyshire is a loathsome human being. That said he is a bit of a paradox. He’s a pretty good mathematician, and in that respect a decent scientist. That said he is a raging homophobe, and an explicit racist. He’s railed against ID before, I’m too lazy to look it up, but he’s written against ID before. What I find disturbing in the article you linked to is that he’s defending The Bell Curve, a book with serious flaws. See http://www.srv.net/~msdata/bell.html This is what Derbyshire is, a well-educated man whose beliefs override science in most cases, but who in some cases is correct. I realize that this blog is about evolution, but it should not laud men who are so wrong in other categories

His mischaracterization of Gould’s critique of The Bell Curve as a defense of Marxist orthodoxy rather than as an exposure of shoddy methodology is somewhat troubling.

Though his work with Bruce Lee is beyond reproach.

RBH Wrote:

Blood would flow in the aisles between the pews. For example, a few weeks ago Salvador Cordova was already prepared to excommunicate Denis Lamoreaux from the company of evangelicals for agreeing to speak at an NCSE function, and the so-called “culture war” isn’t even over yet.

Looks like the folks over at ARN recognize ol’ Salvador for the crackpot that he is, too. (Judging by that thread, anyway.) There is hope, people!

Sal DOES give me hope.

Derbyshire is not a scientist, he’s a writer. He just wrote a book about mathematics, he’s not an actual mathematician.

“God grant that I may seek the truth, but spare me the company of those who have found it.” - Unknown -

Your kudos to Derbyshire are undeserved. If a creationist will advance his political agenda, he’ll sacrifice the advocacy of scientific truth in a millisecond. In this typical piece of junk, he wrote:

“Life, however, often consists of making a choice between unsatisfactory alternatives. Invited to choose between having my kids educated, my car fixed, or my elderly relatives cared for by (a) people of character, spirit, and dedication who believe in pseudoscience, or (b) unionized, time-serving drudges who believe in real science, which would I choose? Invited to choose between a president who is (a) a patriotic family man of character and ability who believes the universe was created on a Friday afternoon in 4,004 B.C. with all biological species instantly represented, or (b) an amoral hedonist and philanderer who “loathes the military” but who believes in the evolution of species via natural selection across hundreds of millions of years, which would I choose? Are you kidding?”

It is clear from the context that Derbyshire prefers the scientific ignoramus.

It goes without saying that aside from accurately portraying Clinton’s belief in evolution, the rest of his description of Clinton is completely distorted.

He just wrote a book about mathematics, he’s not an actual mathematician.

yes, but he has an undergraduate degree in mathematics from oxford or cambridge (i forget which). that makes a slight difference.

Razib,

Derbyshire has an undergrad degree in mathematics from University College, London - a pretty good place to study in the UK. JD is pretty modest about his academic record and makes no claims to being a math whiz - being a self-confessed “jock sniffer” at mathematical conferences. However we the public must give him much more credit than that. His book “Prime Obsession” has been praised by one and all. JD like all knowledgeable people has his prejudices. In the article that is referred to here, he makes much of peer-reviewed research regarding race and IQ. He has an able supporter (or inspirer?) in another popular character on the web - whom we shall not name here - who can become absolutely irrational when it comes to this controversial subject. I have had a lengthy correspondence with JD’s friend on the subject of race vs. abilities and have disabused him of some laughably silly notions about intelligence, caste, and race in India.

JD is unlikely to find much support for his theories on intelligence among the ID/Creationism crowd. Partly because if ID/Cists were to accept JD’s tolerance of their ‘theory’ they would have to accept the “race related intelligence” theory as well which means they would have to accept the racist strawmen they have erected as proof of “Darwinism’s” supposed corollary of race related characteristics. The other reason why the ID/C crowd will not accept the support of the likes of JD has to do with their own wholesome belief in Chrisitian charity - that has at its best always worked hard to never let anybody wallow in his/her circumstances. The “liberal” principle that - everyone can aspire for the best - that dismisses has been upheld by many churches not just the “liberation theology” ones.

Even assuming that race determines ability are we to assume that this equation can never be changed or is not worth changing? There are many people that JD hasn’t obviously heard of. In my own town Dr. Mano Singham a physicist and educationist has studied minority achievement for many years now and has come up with several findings that we can ignore only at the risk of wallowing in irrationality. Dr.Singham’s book on the subject shd be in the press next year.

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This page contains a single entry by Timothy Sandefur published on October 16, 2004 9:49 AM.

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