Thursday, October 21


Some Things You Got Right While You Were Left

Kathy Shaidle writes about 8 Things she wishes she'd known when she was a leftist.

And for the most part, it's a solid piece.  But then, near the end, I noticed this paragraph:
Today we also know that Sacco & Vanzetti were guilty, as were the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss. There really were Communist agents in the State Department. Rachel Carson made stuff up. The Kennedys were jerks. Hollywood lied about the Scopes “Monkey” Trial. Many of the most iconic images and “facts” about the Vietnam War have been twisted beyond recognition.
(My italics.)

While I agree with most of those points, I was interested to see how, exactly, Hollywood had lied about the Scopes trial.  I had no particular reason to doubt that there were distortions in Inherit the Wind, so I followed the link to see what was said.

What was said was an abjectly dishonest apology for creationist claptrap.  When you see phrases like:
the purported evidence for evolution
you know you're not in for an honest debate about Hollywood's representation of a historic trial.

They pass of straightforward falsehoods like:
Indeed, the case for evolution remains far from satisfying standards of verifiable science.
With equally straightforward misrepresentations and ad hominems:
This is evident in the current vociferous debate between two of evolution’s most outstanding high priests, Stephen J. Gould and Richard Dawkins.
That current vociferous debate was about rates of evolutionary change on the local scale and the contigent nature of evolution.  Which is to say, there is no doubt at all that evolution happened; rather, there were questions about the reconstruction of the process on short timescales.
The Scopes Trial took place more than 70 years ago. Nevertheless its legacy continues to be felt in the series of legal battles currently being fought in courts across the USA.
Fought by the creationists, and lost, because what they are attempting to do is replace science education in public schools with their religious beliefs, and that is not just an affront to every right-thinking individual, but actually against the First Amendment.

Sorry, Kathy, on this one point you were right the first time, back when you were left.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:00 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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One way the Scopes trial has been misrepresented is that it is usually strongly implied, if not outright stated, that Mr. Scopes was wrongly convicted.

In fact, he was guilty and the jury correctly found him to be guilty. He violated a state law that forbade the teaching of evolution. Whether such a law should have been on the books is an entirely different question, but it was and he broke it.

Now having said that, some of the stuff you quoted was bogus, and I'm not defending that site. For instance, there is no "current" debate between Gould and Dawkins because Gould died in 2002. (And Dawkins is dying now.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Thursday, October 21 2010 04:05 PM (+rSRq)

2 Dawkins is...  You're not thinking of Christopher Hitchens, are you?

Anyway, yeah, Scopes was guilty by the letter of the law and everyone knew it; he volunteered for the trial as a test case and public relations gambit.

In fairness to that site, while the URL is dated 2006, the article seems to date from 1998, when the debate, and Gould, were still current - and long before the creationists got smacked down again in Pennsylvania.  In fairness to everyone else, the article is still crap.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, October 21 2010 04:39 PM (PiXy!)

3 You're right, I was thinking of Hitchens.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Thursday, October 21 2010 05:54 PM (+rSRq)

4 I did that once...
I was looking for info on Fugates for my evolution teacher who demanded that I back up my insane assertion that there were ( at any given time less than 50) blue people living in Kentucky and the Virginia panhandle...
I Found what appeared to be a well researched link rich and footnoted link...
skimmed it...
sent it...
and then realized the second after I hit send that it was a creationist site...
and  page 2 was claiming that Fugates were the product of women having relations with demons or something.....



Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Friday, October 22 2010 12:31 AM (EJaOX)

Posted by: brickmuppet at Friday, October 22 2010 08:17 AM (EJaOX)

6 It's not like creationists twist the facts any more than global warmists. It's ok to quote them as long as you verify and stay vigilant about their agenda.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Saturday, October 23 2010 04:07 AM (9KseV)

7 The creationists flat-out lie, and do so incessently.  They lie about what they are doing, they lie about why, they lie about biology and geology and statistics and everything else.  And they're stupid enough to have documented all this.  And they're playing chicken with the First Amendment.  With the current Supreme Court they're just plain screwed, and good riddance to them.

The warmists, well, that's a little different.  There's real science there, though it's taken a back seat to the politics and activism and snake-oil peddlers...  Excuse me, I mean "carbon offset" scams.  Schemes, carbon offset schemes.  CO2 levels are up, temperatures are up, ice is down, and there is good reason for concern and an urgent need for more rigorous study.  Unfortunately, what we've got is Kyoto and ClimateGate and Cap'n'Trade.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Saturday, October 23 2010 04:51 PM (PiXy!)

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