Tuesday, April 29, 2008

John Derbyshire Has Expelled for Lunch

John Derbyshire and I disagree about many things, but one thing we can agree on is the rank dishonesty of the intelligent design movement. In this piece for National Review, he takes on "Expelled" and the Discovery Institute, and when he's done, there's not much left to say.

Some choice quotes:

"When talking about the creationists to people who don’t follow these controversies closely, I have found that the hardest thing to get across is the shifty, low-cunning aspect of the whole modern creationist enterprise."

"The old Biblical creationists were, in my opinion, wrong-headed, but they were mostly honest people. The “intelligent design” crowd lean more in the other direction. Hence the dishonesty and sheer nastiness, even down to plain bad manners, that you keep encountering in ID circles."

"The “intelligent design” hoax is not merely non-science, nor even merely anti-science; it is anti-civilization. It is an appeal to barbarism, to the sensibilities of those Apaches, made by people who lack the imaginative power to know the horrors of true barbarism."


John Farrell said...

Well said. I used to write occasionally for NR...but they long since stopped considering my pieces, as they were even more hostile to the Discovery Institute then his.

Apropos of Derb.

Anonymous said...

The “intelligent design” crowd lean more in the other direction.

Shouldn't that be "leans"?

Anonymous said...

Derbyshire mixes it up with David Berlinski, senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture over at Pajamas Media:

Berlinski: The Scientific Embrace of Atheism

Derbyshire: Getting It Wrong about Atheism and Science

Anonymous said...

I particularly enjoyed the comment of Andrew Garland on the "Getting It Wrong about Atheism and Science" reference.

He writes:
Jim: There is a God.
Bob: Prove it.
Jim: OK. I have here a potato. You see that I take a 1/8 inch slice of it.
Bob: With the skin?
Jim: Are you looking? Here, try to bend it.
Bob: It bends a little.
Jim: Give it a good bend.
Bob: It broke. It doesn’t bend very much.
Jim: OK, here is another slice.
Bob: Am I going to bend this one too?
Jim: Here, I drop it into this hot oil.
Bob: I see it sizzling in there. I like potato chips.
Jim: Do you see what it is doing?
Bob: It is sizzling, and getting brown, and curling up.
Jim: Yes, curling up. Bending a lot. Now, you couldn’t bend that chip, and I couldn’t, and I can’t imagine any power on earth that could bend that chip. But, see, it bends. So, there is a God.
Bob: Did you learn that in philosophy class?

Erdos56 said...

The descriptions of Expelled ring something like all those Jack Chick tracts that used to turn up in the oddest places. I'm just glad to see NR showing the intellectual courage to savage it in the face of their faithful (well, I doubt NR's faithful see the Culture Wars so depressingly stupidly). I equally loved seeing The American Conservative tear into Jonah Goldberg's nonsense.

Anonymous said...

David Berlinski replies to Derbyshire's Blood Libel artice:

"... Expelled has nothing to do with creationism...

Ha ha ha! Apparently now he's taken to comedy writing.