A Note on Purim

At the risk of sounding a brief religious note and therefore inviting from ID critics the usual (and so extremely logical!) inference that the Discovery Institute supports theocratic rule, let’s consider for a moment the message of Purim. That Jewish festival is upon us today and, with its themes of randomness versus a guiding providence at work in history, it happens to be an excellent time for reflecting on themes relevant to ENV. Celebrated with lots of eating, drinking, and charitable and other gift-giving, Purim recalls the events told in the Bible’s book of Esther. In the story, which is very much screenplay-ready, a conniving minister to the king of Persia uses his influence on the monarch to plot the Read More ›

What Is Hypocrisy, After All?

I’ve been corresponding with Nicolas Gotelli, a University of Vermont biologist. When I received his response to my initial email, I thought it was so ridiculous and hypocritical that I said to myself, Wouldn’t it be amusing to publish this on ENV? Then I reflected disappointedly, No, it’s a private correspondence, that would be unethical! I can’t do it without his permission and, since he’d have to be pretty thoughtless to allow someone to reprint his hysterically bristling letter, it’s not worth asking. Luckily, Professor Gotelli has solved my problem for me. He promptly and without seeking permission sent our emails off to PZ Myers, who immediately published them on Pharyngula. You can read the correspondence there. Thank you, gentlemen. Read More ›

The Strange Case of Little Green Footballs III

As I mentioned in previous posts in this brief series, the ID-bashing blog Little Green Footballs has done important work in sensitizing us to the sympathies expressed in parts of the Muslim world for Hitler and Nazism. One of the most sickening videos I’ve ever seen was noted recently on LGF. It was of a smiling, youngish Egyptian cleric in front of a slick TV backdrop, praising the Nazis for slaughtering Jews and saying he only hoped it would be Muslims who do this work, blessed by Allah, next time around. On an inset screen, the cleric nodded and gestured approvingly to old black-and-white newsreels from the death camps, of Jewish corpses being bulldozed, or pulled out of ovens as Read More ›

The Strange Case of Little Green Footballs II

About the Darwin-Hitler connection, I’ve written many times before (see here, here, and here, for example), quoting Hitler himself, his standard biographers, and Hannah Arendt. What emerges is that Nazism is indeed a kind of applied Darwinism, unintended by Charles Darwin himself, of course. Ideas have consequences, and some of them are unintended. Obvious, right? Not to blogger Charles Johnson in Little Green Footballs, who jumped on me in a recent post for writing two sentences in a Jerusalem Post op-ed to the effect that “Hitler himself clearly dismissed as ineffective any fancied strategy to try to whip up Germans with appeals to punish the Christ-killers. In Mein Kampf, an influential best-seller, he relied on the language of Darwinian biology Read More ›