Discovery Institute, the All-Purpose Boogey Man

It always amazes me how if you want to bash intelligent design, Discovery Institute, or Darwin doubters generally, you can pretty much say anything you want, however ridiculous, and everyone in the Darwin choir will sing hallelujah and never bother to fact check what you say. At the Huffington Post, science writer John Farrell debuts with an awkwardly written blog trying to pick a fight with John West on Darwinism’s sinister race-war theme (“Bad Faith (in Science): Darwin as All-Purpose Boogey Man?“). The post struck a nerve, garnering 1,266 comments as of this writing. Says Farrell, West wants his readers to realize that Darwin’s racism had murderous overtones and that therefore the science of evolution must be suspect. Farrell means Read More ›

Berlinski Takes on St. Christopher, Now Viewable Online at C-SPAN

Good news! The Berlinski/Hitchens debate of a couple weeks ago, “Does Atheism Poison Everything?,” is now viewable online in full at C-SPAN. Berlinski is inimitably rapier-like yet courteous as always, though I don’t envy him having to fend off the sympathy vote for the ailing and recently sainted Christopher Hitchens (who looks eerily like Sebastian Shaw as Anakin Skywalker in Return of the Jedi). At Why Evolution Is True, Jerry Coyne notes the C-SPAN production, first smugly saying — apparently before he watched it — how enjoyable it is to see Hitchens “take apart” the “haughty” Berlinski. Then he offers an update to the same post, apparently now having watched the event, where he pronounces it a “reasonably good debate” Read More ›

On Yom Kippur, Considering the Moral Meaning of Theistic Evolution

Tonight is Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, a wrenching time when we look back on our moral failures of the past year and ask God to accept our repentance as Avinu Malkeinu, our Father and our King. In this space we’ve sometimes considered the theological implications of accepting a Darwinian picture of how human beings came to be. By the lights of so-called theistic evolution, God may have hoped for something like human beings to emerge from the otherwise blind, purposeless process of Darwinian evolution, but to see him as our creator or designer goes too far. What is the moral meaning of such an idea? One of the phrases in the Yom Kippur liturgy asks of God, Read More ›

New TV Documentary Poses the Moral Challenge to Darwinism

A new documentary for cable television, What Hath Darwin Wrought?, offers an excellent, meaty introduction to the moral consequences of Darwinism. Discovery fellows David Berlinski, John West, and Richard Weikart, interviewed by TV personality Todd Friel, are all lucid and informative, sketching the relevant history from Darwin to Galton to modern “scientific” racism, to American and German eugenics, Hitler, and the rise of a revived eugenics in our own time. Many of these themes have been discussed in this space before, but one new thought occurred to me — something I hadn’t quite grasped before watching this film. (It can, by the way, be purchased on DVD at the website, and will be showing on cable this fall.) I’ve sometimes Read More ›

Derbyshire: “Mommy, You’re Stupid! You’re Stupid, Mommy!”

John Derbyshire at National Review was AWOL for a while but I’m glad to see he’s back in action, abusing us in his accustomed style. He is one of those Darwinists like PZ Myers who’s always at least an enjoyable read notwithstanding that part of the enjoyment lies in the way the actual content tends to boil down to something little above the level of “Mommy, you’re stupid! You’re stupid, Mommy!” (This is our three-year-old Saul’s current best shot at a counterargument when crossed.) Thus it’s a relief to find that on his vacation from Darwin advocacy, John has learned nothing. On James Lee, briefly famous gunman and hostage-taker at the Discovery Channel headquarters, Derbyshire chides those who took a Read More ›