The New Monkey Trial

| 11 Comments

Today’s Salon.com has a good cover story by Michelle Goldberg focusing primarily on the Dover controversy, but also commenting on the general upsurge of neo-creationism around the country these days. Our own Nick Matzke gets quoted a few times: The New Monkey Trial. (If you’re not a member, you can watch a short ad to see the article for free.)

Salon is a left-leaning rag, so the article focuses a lot on the political aspect of the “controversy”, particularly the machinations of the Religious Right and their self-declared mandate. For a different political angle, see Origin of the Specious, an older article from Reason, which is one of my all-time favorites. It looks at anti-evolution as an ideological imperative for Neoconservative movement. Short answer: Neoconservatives aren’t religious, but think it’s important that everyone is. After reading these articles, try not to drive or operate heavy machinery.

11 Comments

Excellent site, across which I have just stumbled, and have bookmarked. They say that trends take some years to cross the Atlantic (west to east) but here in the North East of England we’ve got the first state run schools (with private sponsorshipp from an evangelical businessman) teaching creationism alongside evolution. Challenged about it in the house of Commons, Prime Minister Tony Blair refused to distance himself from the Emmanuel College’s science curriculum, but Richard Dawkins, Professor for the public understanding of science at Oxford and author of The Selfish Gene, called it ‘child abuse’ on national radio. This may be the start of a developing trend, and I hope the British public snap out of their usual apathy and rally aganst it.

Thanks for the links. I noted that here we have an example of creationists equating evolution (AKA Darwinists) (and liberals) with Al-Qaida,

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2[…]0/evolution/

Quoted from “The new Monkey Trial” By Michelle Goldberg

“Speaking to the Times, (Missouri) state Rep. Cynthia Davis seemed to compare opponents of intelligent design to al-Qaida. “It’s like when the hijackers took over those four planes on Sept. 11 and took people to a place where they didn’t want to go,” she said. “I think a lot of people feel that liberals have taken our country somewhere we don’t want to go. I think a lot more people realize this is our country and we’re going to take it back.”

and from an earlier Salon.com article I was reminded of another Darwin = Hitler lie,

Rep Sharon Weston Broome (D-Baton Rouge) HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 74 (2001 LA resolution) http://www.legis.state.la.us/leg_do[…]0000IGY1.PDF

Page 1 15 WHEREAS, the writings of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, 16 promoted the justification of racism, and his books On the Origin of Species 17 by Means of Natural Selection: or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the 18 Struggle for Life and The Descent of Man postulate a hierarchy of superior and 19 inferior races; and Page 2 1 WHEREAS, Adolf Hitler and others have exploited the racist views of Darwin 2 and those he influenced, such as German zoologist Ernst Haekel, to justify the 3 annihilation of millions of purportedly racially inferior individuals.

4 THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of Louisiana 5 does hereby deplore all instances and ideologies of racism, does hereby reject 6 the core concepts of Darwinist ideology that certain races and classes of 7 humans are inherently superior to others, and does hereby condemn the extent 8 to which these philosophies have been used to justify and approve racist 9 practices.

Rep. Davis (MO)

I think a lot of people feel that liberals have taken our country somewhere we don’t want to go. I think a lot more people realize this is our country and we’re going to take it back.

How far back? African-Americans want to know.

Rep Sharon Weston Broome (D-Baton Rouge)

Another reminder that ignorance is bipartisan.

Ya gotta love the Nazi comparisons. They’re comically lame.

If you don’t what Godwin’s Law here it is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwins_law

ACLU lawyers in the Dover case likened ID proponents to Holocaust deniers.

The lame rhetoric isn’t confined to one side or the other.

You can’t seem to understand the differences between Nazis and Holocaust deniers. Why is that? For someone who pretends to be intellectually gifted, you are remarkably obtuse.

I showed last month that there are multiple obvious tactical and rhetorical parallels between Holocaust deniers and science deniers. This is not an allegation that creationists are Nazis, or Stalinists, or racists or terrorists. Those allegations are made by creationists about scientists. This is why honest people can have little faith in the hypocritical bleating of professional creationists such as the Discovery Institute, or their sock puppets.

I love the Ronald Bailey article; I remember when it came out, I wrote a letter to Reason, half of which they published.

But one point Bailey doens’t make is that there are different schools of Straussians–the Eastern and Western schools. They agree that, as Bailey so well puts it, “religion is ‘the opium of the people’; they add a heartfelt, ‘Thank God!’” But they are not all creationists. Bailey focuses on the Easterners, but Larry Arnhart has written some very thoughtful work reconciling natural rights political theory with evolution, which the Western Straussians have endorsed.

Well, I didn’t know Ronald Bailey’s article: I find it very interesting. In it I see a most amusing twist of history: the Strauss position that Kristol favours closely resembles the original reaction of the Catholic Church against the Reform: reading the Bible is not for everyone, because not everyone is educated enough. Logically, the Roman Church banned laypeople from reading the Bible until the 1960s; it is most amusing to see a right-wing evangelical follow the steps to become a perfect Papist.…

Logically, the Roman Church banned laypeople from reading the Bible until the 1960s;

???

“In contrast to earlier papal pronouncements, Divino afflante Spiritu was not one large protest against private readings and intuitive understandings of the Bible, independently reached. Divino afflante Spiritu gave the green light to modern methods of research, and in so doing it rejected those traditional Catholic notions which held the Vulgate (Latin) Bible of Saint Jerome to be the absolute depository of divine truth, the source, sole and authentic, of God’s word. Pius XII’s encyclical not only opened the door for a retranslating of the Scriptures, but it encouraged biblical scholars to return to the original languages of the Bible, the earlier, pre-Latin Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. “The sacred books were not given by God to men to satisfy their curiosity or to provide them with material for study and research,” said Pius XII in the encyclical, “but, as the the Apostle notes, in order that these Divine Oracles might ‘instruct us to salvation, by the faith which is in Christ Jesus’ and ‘that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.” - John Deedy, Retrospect: The Origins of Catholilc Beliefs and Practices, Thomas More Press:Chicago (1990), pp. 231-32

Note that Divino afflante Spiritu was published in 1943. So in this case, Salvatore is inaccurate; though I believe that the Church discouraged interpretation of the text by laymen.…

Hm, yes, you’re right, inaccurate and hasty I was. However the “very actively discouraging” policy was in place since long before, so 15 yrs is not very much of an error. Moreover you have to consider the effect on the actual practices as perceived by the laypeople.

However all this is details, and doesn’t take from the main theme: that those guys are taking a position suitable for an 18th century Jesuit.

Gary Hurd says

You can’t seem to understand the differences between Nazis and Holocaust deniers. Why is that? For someone who pretends to be intellectually gifted, you are remarkably obtuse.

You seem remarkably obtuse about emotionally charged rhetoric for someone pretending to be a grownup. Why is that?

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This page contains a single entry by Steve Reuland published on January 10, 2005 12:46 PM.

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