A Study in Anti-Evolution Shamelessness


Someone calling himself Homunculus has posted this bit of anti-evolution insanity over at the right-wing website RedState.org. I give it the business in this lengthy post over at EvolutionBlog. Enjoy!


Is it just me… or does anyone else think that if you take the original piece and exchange all of the references to ID with the references to evolution/Darwinism - effectively reversing the author’s intent - you actually end up with a nearly-reasonable summary of the issue?

Whenever I see a conservative trashing Darwin, I always think of Darwin’s debt to Adam Smith.

Let us not associate the memory of the wise and humane Adam Smith with the Red State boys. Smith belonged to the Scottish Enlightenment, the American right is a key part of the American Enmerdement.

Read the comments on the RedState article if you want to be truly depressed. Or amused, depending upon your outlook.

I absolutely agree with natural cynic. This shows how far the Republican party has strayed from it’s traditional roots where lessez faire economics was the underlying economic principal and William Jennings Bryant was a Democrat. Here’s the connection: When each independant small businessman/organism is permitted to struggle for his own economic/reproductive advantage unfetterd by controls from above (intrusive government/God), as an unintended cosequence of this action the most ordered economy/ecology with the most benefit for all will be produced. That our “education president” is willing to trash science education for votes is a sin.

I’d like to propose - seriously - a project. It strikes me that many if not most of the pseudo-intellectual arguments from the creos and cryptocreos hinge on some weird and arbitrary, often unstated, definition of “Darwinism”, “neo-Darwinism”, etc. Can we collect all the definitions that have been articulated, so that when one of the DI spinmeisters uses the term we can ask them to identify which of these definitions they’re assuming, or are they introducing yet another one?

(Perhaps there already is such a repository. Does anyone know?)

I suspect the Charles Darwin would be horrified to see his name used to label any idea. Evolutionary theory is so complex and has expanded far beyond what he originally discussed, although his ideas form the basis for the paradigm used today. The term “Darwinism” makes this all sound like a “belief” system (like Buddism) or a “political” system (like Communism). We don’t talk about “Daltonism” or “Salkism” or “Einsteinism” or “Pasteurism”. The term doesn’t seem to be used by scientists at all, but by ID and creation proponents that would like to convince the general public that evolutionary theory is a philosophy or opinion. If our citizens are inadequately educated in science, they won’t recognize what science is (and isn’t).

Perhaps we should talk about Pasteurism, Salkism, and Einsteinism, especially when ID advocates argue that we should reject them.

We do speak of Pasteurization in food processing, to protect us from disease. Perhaps we should also refer to other beneficial processes by naming them similarly: The treatment of diabetes would be called “Darwinization,” as would the breeding of new crops …

The term doesn’t seem to be used by scientists at all, but by ID and creation proponents that would like to convince the general public that evolutionary theory is a philosophy or opinion.

I agree that it seems to be anti-evolutionists that mainly use “Darwinism/Darwinist” - but not exclusively. Lynn Margulis, for instance, recently described herself as a staunch “Darwinist” strongly skeptical of “neo-Darwinism”. I’m still not sure exactly what distinctions she’s drawing, but I’m pretty sure her use of the terms is different from the Discovery Institute’s.

All the more reason, I think, to compile a repository of different definitions.

Enmerdement…I like that.

I’m not inclined to wade into the comments over at Red State, but if anyone else wants to, direct them to this 8/30 piece by National Review’s John Derbyshire. Derbyshire – whose right-wing credentials are impeccable – treats ID with all the respect and admiration one would expect from Richard Dawkins: http://nationalreview.com/derbyshir[…]08300823.asp

They’d probably say he’s not a christian and can’t be trusted. Besides, how could he be expected to understand ID? He has neither a degree in Law, nor one in Engineering.

All the intelligent design nonsense will ultimately hurt the conservative cause [which I believe in], I’m afraid. But John Derbyshire is a hopeful light on the right. He has said that Darwinian natural selection is an elegant theory with great explanatory power and intelligent design is religious dogma masquerading as science. National Review has recently backed away from intelligent design a little bit in their August 29 issue. All the letters to the editor in the current issue take the editors to task for not backing off intelligent design even more. Bush’s boneheaded statement about intelligent design being a competing theory that should be taught in public schools is very disappointing. I wish he would spend a little of that energy getting the tax cuts made permanent, and maybe even increasing them.

Anti-Evolution Shamelessness?


chock-a-block full of science.

I don not understand how Bill can stand to be in the same room with himself. Have you no shame sir?


chock-a-block full of science.

Can someone underline the science on this blog?

I’m particularly interested in the scientific theory of ID, and how we can test it using the scientific emthod. But alas, there doesn’t seem to be any …

Comment #46401

Posted by Ken Willis on September 3, 2005 03:41 PM (e) (s)

All the intelligent design nonsense will ultimately hurt the conservative cause [which I believe in], I’m afraid.

If modern conservatism was the Derbyshire / Will / Krauthammer / Buckley / Andy Sullivan intellectual type, I would be more sympathetic. I believe conservatism is currently of a Hannity / Limbaugh / O’Reilly / Savage type, and I’ll be glad if it loses power. Back in the day, when I was more a conservative/libertarian, I told myself, well, these guys’ll be fiscally responsible, government won’t be full of eurosocialist red tape, and the supreme court will stop them from doing the nutty stuff like establishment of christianity, prohibiting gays, etc. When I started to distrust this analysis, and started to think that maybe I’d just get a fiscally irresponsible government which did the nutty social stuff, I began the road to liberalism.

(by the way, the second thing that pushed me towards liberalism was absentmindedly going to the ACLU website, and discovering that I’d been lied to by the right about them. The third thing was when I noticed in the RIAA situation, that really rich and powerful companies were buying laws at the expense of things like my Fair Use rights)

Comment #46413

Posted by Red Mann on September 3, 2005 08:01 PM (e) (s)

I don not understand how Bill can stand to be in the same room with himself. Have you no shame sir?

Pretty easy to understand, really:

All of the ID witnesses were being paid $100/hour for time spent in preparation and testimony, except Dembski, who was being paid $200/hour.

I could advocate militant islam for $200/hr. Death to the Infidel!

I can’t go your way, steve, because I’ve already been there. I was a liberal for many years, until it got too far left for me. Now the left wingers have total control of it, at it seems so to me. I think conservatism of the Russell Kirk brand it closer to being true, correct and beautiful than anything on the left. The left gave us too much totalitarism and genocide in the 20th Century. But unfortunately the right is infected with a disease called intelligent design that threatens to destroy it by alienating people like you. I agree with the main thrust of Panda’s Thumb, but in defense of the right’s reaction to evolution, too many scientists go too far with their hostility and mockery of religion and religious believers. Of course, some religious believers bring it on themselves by attacking science with a revamped creationism which the call intelligent design.

Well, I never said Left, partly because Left evokes things like Che Guevara, which have nothing in common with your Harry Reid / Hillary Clinton / John kerry liberlism. The terms are all confused now, and saying merely conservative or liberal is insufficient, I admit. But I submit to you that the right puts out a lot of misinformation about the left.

I find most of the people on my side of the fence are Kevin Drum / Paul Wellstone / Howard Dean / Pat Moynihan types, while the impression I had from listening to the right, was that liberals were Castro / Ward Churchill / genocidal-terrorist types. There are too many people who call themselves liberals who have essentially dumb, top-down, bureaucratic, socialistic beliefs, that’s true, and a big problem, but many or most of us aren’t, and just don’t have any relationship at all with the homicidal totalitarian movements you’re worried about. In fact, part of Gore’s, and Kerry’s problems stemmed from the fact that they really didn’t want to change much. No big movement behind which to rally people. Their platforms were lists of minor tweaks to the system. Communist Revolution it wasn’t.

On the other side, the extreme people on the right really do present a danger that they’ll do something like close the EPA, permit local establishment of christianity, or some such. While the right may have talked about limited government, when they get in office, they expand the cost and power of government. If you want to head toward those scary totalitarian situations you mentioned, pass some more Patriot Acts. Give the executive branch unlimited power during an indefinite war.

None of the people labelling themselves as “conservative” on this thread, or site, can be excused for any support given to the current false-Christian, faux-Conservatives that they have allowed to seize power. Through their my-interests-first, intolerance-of-difference casual greed and casual fear the current wars are in full swing. It’s YOU who have allowed an inflated central government to abuse our basic freedoms and interfere with the “pursuit of happiness.” Until decent, basically honest and tolerant Consercatives have the gumption to help clean out the nest of the Xian/radical right their positions are unneeded hot air.

Let’s discuss and argue about issues and policies, where the labels disappear and the problems are resolvable. When we are passionate only over the philosophy that should be standard, and the median of “truth” in the classroom, our nation will be as perfect as it may be.

All of this is seriously off topic, nevertheless:

What the right objects to in this country is the New Deal and its heirs. With very few exceptions, there simply aren’t any significant Marxists lefties around to denounce, unless you count the many Neocons who used to be Trotskyites and still sound like commissars as they try to enforce their party line with hectoring rhetoric.

A reasonable taxonomy of political positions begins by noticing that even the left wing of the Democratic party is made up of social democrats similar in outlook to the SPD in Germany or the socialists in France, i.e. decidely unrevolutionary people who support a capitalist economy moderated by government action. I’m sure you can find somebody, someplace who wants to nationalize the toilet paper factories; but I haven’t met any for thirty years. Meanwhile, the Republicans are busy demonstrating that crony capitalism can wreck an economy just as surely as soviet central planning.

Trying to claim that democratic politicians have some affinity with Pol Pot or Stalin is a blood libel calculated to appeal to libertarians, movement conservatives, and other useful idiots, who, apparently, were born yesterday. No wonder ID appeals to so many of them.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are busy demonstrating that crony capitalism can wreck an economy just as surely as soviet central planning.

Oh please. This is why I despair of a strong alliance with leftists and non-theocratic rightists. No capitalists have killed a few hundred million as Marxists have – that is a mere statistic, do you grok the human reality? I’d rather have my fate, my life or death fate, be before an ID moron than an amoral Marxist intellectual.

Left-wing scientists have gotten on board with insane Marxism, e.g. Ted Hall or J. Robert Oppenheimer. Redneck illiterates are a danger, but so are the sophisticated, smart cogniscenti who subscribe to totalitrarian crap.

Not to mention that those on the American “left,” like Al Gore the former Baptist-minister-wannabe, and John Kerry, the Skull-and-Bones Yalie, actually fought against communists. Had anyone cared or dared to listen, Kerry was decorated for personally killing communists.

And just to confuse things even more, as my friend Pete Seeger occasionally points out, it was the American communists who warned us against Naziism first, and stood against totalitarianism when “conservative intellectuals” urged we not rush to defend England.

Careful American patriots look at the issues and the facts, and weigh the alternatives. We plot our own courses for the future, unfettered by “-isms.”

So, yeah, most of those scientists – must be at least a dozen, or maybe even fifteen – who are publicly and forcefully opposed to religion, find some comfort standing with others who think things out. Those of us who care about faith and recognize that freedom of worship depends on such careful and thoughtful analysis coupled with action, are proud to stand with them.

Evidently Dembski knows no rabbis, no rabbis’ sons, no scientists, and no scientists’ sons. If one gets one’s ethics from bumper stickers instead of thinking things through to figure out what is the best course of action, one will eventually come to rest as an advocate of “intelligent design.”

And no doubt, one will come to rest when action is what is required.

Ed Darrell claims: And just to confuse things even more, as my friend Pete Seeger occasionally points out, it was the American communists who warned us against Naziism first, and stood against totalitarianism when “conservative intellectuals” urged we not rush to defend England.

Oh, come now. You do not appear to understand how vicious the American Communist party was. American Communists were pro-Stalin, one of the most brutal dictators in history. Among other things, its members, such as Manhattan Project physicist Ted Hall, spied for Stalin against the U.S. , with the result that Stalin got the bomb years before he otherwise would have. FDR’s Administration was infested with Communists or fellow-travelers spying for Joseph Stalin.

And your hero Pete Seeger?

Sen. Burton K. Wheeler of Montana was the running-mate of Robert LaFollette as **Progressive** candidate for president in 1924, and was a notorious isolationist in 1939-41. Wheeler gave a speech in Congress on January 12, 1941, in which he said:

“The lend-lease-give program is the New Deal’s triple-A foreign policy; it will plow under every fourth American boy.”

Roosevelt was furious, but not Pete Seeger. Because Seeger was a member of the Stalin-controlled Communist Party USA, and Stalin had entered a non-aggression pact with Hitler in ‘39; so like “progresive” Wheeler, Seeger was against helping England defeat Hitler.

Indeed, Wheeler’s theme was adopted by the Almanac Singers, the “anti-war” folk group led by Pete Seeger, in the song “Plow Under.”

The first verse ran as follows:

“Remember when the AAA Killed a million hogs a day Instead of hogs it’s men today Plow the fourth one under.” CHORUS: “Plow under, plow under Plow under Every fourth American boy.”

As a dutiful Stalinist, Seeger abruptly stopped being anti-war the day Hitler invaded the USSR in ‘41; plowing under every fourth American boys was then mandatory, because the Soviet Motherland had been attacked.

The conceits of leftists intellectuals and artists have caused at least as much harm to this nation as any possible threat from the IDists (and i ardently oppose the latter). You really need to get a clue about the monstrous beliefs and behavior of the CPUSA, including members like Pete Seeger, and traitors like Ted Hall.

A anti-evo interlocutor responded to my links on Jonathan Wells incorrect views on homology with the following post. I’m not a biologist so I would appreciate a good response:

“If naturalistic evolution were true one would expect to see conservation of early development in the embyro of different forms of life. That is, very early in the developmental process, we would expect similar animals (vertebrates for example) to develop along similar morphologies ( or forms) then diverge or split into markedly different morphologies as the process continues .

However, just the opposite is observed. The earliest stages of the embryo (from egg to blastula to gastrula) are strikingly different in form and then converge to form a more similar embryo. So it is not just that the Ontology Recapitulates Phylogeny argument is false; it is that the embryos start out radically different and then get closer in form and resemblence. The biology textbooks usually just present the later similarities, cutting off the first half of the diagram. The result is that we are painted a picture of complement morphologies. However, with the early stages being vastly different, this lends little evidence for a common multicellular ancestor via Darwinian mechanisms.

So that is a negative or counter argument against naturalistic evolution from embryology. But the story does not end there- we have positive evidence that there is intelligent design behind the formation of embryos. One example of this positive evidence is found in the embryogenesis of Drosophila Melangaster (fruit fly).

Disruptions in early development are more likely to be harmful than those occurring later. In other words, later developments depend on earlier ones, so the earlier mistakes occur, the more severe they are likely to be. Mutations that arise in early formation of the embryo are extremely disruptive to the further development of the embryo. Embryologists experimenting in this area have demonstrated that disruptions at early levels do one of two things: development ceases and the organism dies or development recovers and proceeds along the same path via a redundant pathway.

I need to stress the importance of some of these developmental genes. A gene that controls development may be necessary for the viability of the organism. In other words, developmental genes exist such that if they are not present, the organism dies. Paul Nelson gives the bicoid gene as an example: After a fruit fly embryo is fertilized, the bicoid messenger RNA, located at the anterior or head pole of the embyo, is translated into protein. The protein then migrates to the posterior pole setting up a gradient (high concentration to low concentration) half way down the body. As the the protein diffuses down the embryo, it acts as a body plan morphogen- it directs the development of head and thorax of the fly. If the bicoid gene is not present the fly dies; the embyo develops with posterior structures at both ends. This gene is logically prior to the organism’s existence.

An interesting question follows: How did the bicoid gene come about? Macroevolution holds that new gene sequences arise out of the old one being subjected to selective pressures. But what was bicoid’s intial selective role when it first evolved? The gene must exist before the organism can exist. If we arose from a common multicellular ancestor, there must have been tremendous disruptions in the early development of the new animal which we understand to be lethal. When we take a good look at the embryological differences in the egg, blastula, and gastrula stages of the groups of organisms we wish to compare, they are very different in the early stages. One developmental biologist Davidson rightly calls this “intellectually disturbing”.

Therefore, we see powerful evidence for intelligent design operating in nature. We have genes that cannot be selected upon because if the genes did not exist, the organism could not exist and some of these necessary genes do not exist in the organism from which they supposedly evolved.”

Not to mention that those on the American “left,”

Dude, there hasn’t been an “American Left” since the IWW was rounded up and destroyed in 1919.

“If naturalistic evolution were true one would expect to see conservation of early development in the embyro of different forms of life.


Other than “because I say so”.

Oh, and how exactly would NON-naturalistic evolution differ from “naturalistic”? And how, exactly, is “evolution” any more “naturalistic” than is, say, weather forecasting or accident investigation or medical science or the rules of basketball?

Why oh why do we continue to let the nutters set the terms of the “debate”?

Therefore, we see powerful evidence for intelligent design operating in nature.

Then you’d have no problem SHOWING us this “operating”, right?

What does this “intelligent deisgner” do, specifically?

What mechanisms does it use to do whatever the heck it is that you think it does?

Where can we see it using these mechanisms to do … well . . anything, today?

And why won’t IDers answer any of these simple questions?

Why oh why do we continue to let the nutters set the terms of the “debate”?

It’s a natural consequence of us having a theory, and them not. We don’t initiate the debate. We have a theory, and these people show up and say, “Oh yeah, well how come.…” and in that moment, they frame that little part of the debate. If they had an actual theory, we’d be the ones asking the challenge questions, and in asking those questions, our choice of words would be framing the discussion.

It was my impression that the X was originally used by the groups themselves and not necessarily an insult, assault, slur, sign-of-bigotry etc. So I thought I’d check google as the quickest (if not completely reliable) resource. It seems that annoyingly advert-ridden Snopes site, among others, agrees with me (and with the book of Kells and other such ancient texts I’ve seen).

These are people who wish to wield ultimate power, yet receive applause as martyrs. It’s enough to take someone’s god’s name in vain: their vanity and pride! In the old days, when I was silly enough to spend time arguing with fundies on other forums (and never was I even once moderately impressed with ANY of their “qualities” as people) I began using the expression as a shorthand. Christians usually didn’t blink an eye, since they could see that I could disagree, very strongly, but still considered them as people, equal to myself. Again, if someone honestly engages me and finds the expression upsetting, I avoid using it, nor do I use it to mischaracterize Christianity, but to distinguish (with a barb) one portion of it as de-de-despicable.

Ah! Tricked back into mud-wrestling with people I wouldn’t have coffee with a second time! Curse you, Boris, you fiend!

Boris seems to have run away, though, since Lenny seems to be waiting (again.)

(Vain of me to think it possible someone might notice, but an earlier promise I made when discussing these issues has been kept. I will abandon this thread entirely, now. Pardon my own ravings, if they bored you.)

It was my impression that the X was originally used by the groups themselves and not necessarily an insult, assault, slur, sign-of-bigotry etc.

You are correct — there are several different groups of Christians (and Jews) who interpret the injection against “taking the name of the Lord in vain” as banning any use of those names in public. So they will write “G-d” and “Xian” instead of “God” and “Christian”.

As usual, the fundies demonstrate that they are just as utterly pig-ignorant about their own religion and its history as they are about … well … everything else. (shrug)

The Greek letter chi looks like a capital X. Chi is the first letter of christos. Next question.

Speaking of “vile, disgusting bigotry”, though, perhaps you’d be so kind as to explain to us why IDEA allows only Christians (fundamentalist ones, I’d wager) as officers in its little club? Why aren’t, say, Jews allowed as officers. Or Muslims. Or Hindus. Is there some legitimate scientific reason for that (ID is, after all, just science, right?) or is this just plain old-fashioned religious bigotry we are seeing?

Here’s your chance to show us your deep-rooted opposition to vile bigotry .… .

Or not.

(sound of crickets chirping)

Well, Boris? I’m still waiting .…

(sound of crickets chirping)

I guess that looks like an “or not”, doesn’t it. (shrug)

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This page contains a single entry by Jason Rosenhouse published on September 2, 2005 10:17 PM.

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