Wednesday, April 23

World

On Comporting Oneself In The Arena Of Public Discourse

Matoko of Ghost Blog called Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit a "theocon shill" for linking to Captain Ed's (formerly of Captain's Quarters, now blogging at Hot Air) favourable review of Expelled without linking to any of the unfavourable reviews she'd emailed him.

The problem with this is that it's (a) rude and (b) inaccurate.  Mostly (b); as I said earlier, if you're going to be rude it helps to be right.

But here's the thing: In the film, Ben Stein blames the Holocaust on Charles Darwin.

That's beyond rude, beyond being idiotic bigoted ahistorical claptrap.  It's essentially a blood libel against science.

You can see how a scientist might be a little irked.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:40 PM | Comments (14) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1

Epithets rarely produce useful results. Certainly calling someone names is a very poor way to convince them to change their ways.

(It also helps, if you're doing it in writing, to use proper capitalization, to form correct sentences, and try to avoid ending every sentence in a ellipsis.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Wednesday, April 23 2008 01:36 PM (+rSRq)

2 i apolo'd.
i admit i lost my temper.

Dr. Yes has stood firm for Science against ESCR vetos, crazed lifewarriors, mad terribots, creationists, ID "theorists" and DI stooges, homophobes, the odious "bioethics" council, and neoluddites of every flavor.
He has promoted nanotech, biotech, quantum mechanics, cosmology, Friendly AI,  space travel.....he is a "good-natured technofiend".

ok, i had the guy on a pedestal.
but the only way he could link captain stupids post to the exclusion of all others was if he was promoting that view of Expelled.

He is the Great Signal Aggregator of Known Blogspace.
A link from him is endorsement.
sad

Expelled is foul, nasty IQ-baiting, pure and simple.

How irresistable, how infinitely seductive is this meme?

You are just as smart as those snobby scientists....you are smart where it really matters!
God-smart!


Posted by: matoko_chan at Wednesday, April 23 2008 11:12 PM (bqE4v)

3
ok, i had the guy on a pedestal.
Yeah, that's the problem.  Pedestals can be pretty high-maintenance.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, April 23 2008 11:38 PM (PiXy!)

4 So I will agree that it was rude....but not that it was innacurate.
Dr. Reynolds was shilling for the theocons.
He was endorsing the Religious Right's view of Expelled, the party line.
ED: the film presents a powerful argument not for intelligent design as much as for the freedom of scientific inquiry.
If scientists get punished for challenging orthodoxy, we will not expand our learning but ossify it in concrete.


Unless he didn't actually read the review.....

Posted by: matoko_chan at Wednesday, April 23 2008 11:42 PM (bqE4v)

5 Andrew, do you know what happens when you invite a vamphyre into the house? Pretty much everyone in the house is forced to become a vamphyre. And soon the vamphyres think they own the house.

The republican party is 1/3 theocons now.
Republicans now stand for LIFE!, no samesex marriage, school vouchers, border fences....the republican party is headed right for Morgan's Jesusland in Thirteen.

My grandfather's party is now becoming the anti-Science party.
I hate it.
It is unbearable.

Posted by: matoko_chan at Wednesday, April 23 2008 11:50 PM (bqE4v)

6 He hadn't seen the film, and presumably hadn't read Expelled Exposed. He's not a biologist, even an amateur one. Captain Ed, a familar and popular conservative blogger, posted a review of a film that was getting some publicity, and he linked to it, probably seeing it more in light of the academic freedom issue than the Intelligent Design issue.

Remember that he did call Intelligent Design "pernicious twaddle". Let's look at the definition of pernicious:
1. Causing insidious harm or ruin; ruinous; injurious; hurtful: pernicious teachings; a pernicious lie.
2. Deadly; fatal: a pernicious disease.
3. Obsolete. evil; wicked.
That's pretty harsh for an endorsement!

He wasn't aware that the academic freedom angle of the film was also a lie.  That's not his fault, no-one can keep track of everything that's going on in this crazy world.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, April 23 2008 11:52 PM (PiXy!)

7
Andrew, do you know what happens when you invite a vamphyre into the house? Pretty much everyone in the house is forced to become a vamphyre. And soon the vamphyres think they own the house.
Nah. I've got vampires next door, but they never come over; they're allergic to my pet werewolf.
The republican party is 1/3 theocons now.
Republicans now stand for LIFE!, no samesex marriage, school vouchers, border fences....the republican party is headed right for Morgan's Jesusland in Thirteen.
I'm sympathetic with at least two of those. And while I may disagree with a good third of the Republicans, I also disagree with at least the same proportion of Democrats.

The undying efforts to push the corpse of Creationism back into schools is a threat that needs to be fought. But so is the soul-sucking monster of Post-modernist "Thought", which equally seeks to deny all of Science. And they're both immune to anything less than a +3 weapon!

Never forget Blair's Law. Idiocy is no great respecter of sides.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, April 24 2008 12:02 AM (PiXy!)

8 Disclaimers: Haven't seen the Steyn film, but just finished Goldberg's Liberal Fascism.

IMO it is fair to list Darwin's theory among the many things that the Nazis perverted to justify their policies. Hitler wanted to get rid of the Jews, and the gypsies, anyone non-"Aryan" (and anyone else he didn't like). He and his minions scoured the literature for "scientific" quotes (such as the Darwin one cited in the expelledexposed link) to justify his plans, but if Steyn indeed says "Darwin caused the holocaust," he's a fool-- confusing causes with justifications-- or a knave-- twisting the truth for his own purposes. While Hitler DID use Darwin (and others) to support his race-purity theories (as propaganda, to convince the naive), it's unquestionable that once he had achieved power the holocaust would have proceeded, Darwin or no Darwin.

What bothers me about the exposedexpelled post is that it tries to minimize the popularity of "eugenic" theory at the beginning of the 20th century. The 1926 Darrow quote is significant because Darrow was writing in opposition to what was (at the time) the conventional wisdom. The author at expelledexposed says
By the 1930s, scientific support for eugenics continued to wane...
...the key word being "scientific." Support among non-scientists remained strong until much later. ("Social improvement" was used as justification for calls for sterilization of "defectives" all the way into the early 50s.) If you believe Goldberg, the major reason we don't hear about the use of eugenic theory (outside the Nazi sphere) as a justification for programs of social control during that period is because eugenics, like Communism, was a theory that "progressives" wound up on the wrong side of. Recoiling in horror from the logical extension of the policies they had advocated -- the holocaust, they moved at once to airbrush those policies and their advocacy of them out of history.

Posted by: Old Grouch at Thursday, April 24 2008 11:33 AM (TTce3)

9
While Hitler DID use Darwin (and others) to support his race-purity theories (as propaganda, to convince the naive)
This is specifically not true.

Yes, the rationale for the Holocaust was based on a twisted notion of eugenics, but as you say, the cause was existing European anti-Semitism. And eugenics was a social philosophy derived from evolution, but never had any scientific validity.

The point is, Hitler never mentioned evolution, not in Mein Kampf, not in any of his speeches or other writings; indeed, On the Origin of Species was banned by the Nazis. I haven't seen the film either, so I have to go on what has been reported, and that is that Stein spends considerable time arguing that the Theory of Evolution was a cause of the Holocaust - followed by a throwaway line claiming that he wasn't arguing that.

If that's accurate, then as you say, he's a fool or a knave.  Personally, I think he's a little of one and a lot of the other.

And if it's not entirely accurate - there must be something to it, because everyone agrees that the film makes extensive use of images from the Holocaust - I perhaps owe an apology to Stein, but not to some of his fellows. I had an argument in the comments at LGF with someone who was claiming that Hitler picked up his anti-Semitism wholesale from studying Darwin, which is simply insane.
If you believe Goldberg, the major reason we don't hear about the use of eugenic theory (outside the Nazi sphere) as a justification for programs of social control during that period is because eugenics, like Communism, was a theory that "progressives" wound up on the wrong side of.
Yeah. The eugenics movement had many proponents in the early 20th century, no few of them otherwise heroes of the modern left.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, April 24 2008 12:05 PM (PiXy!)

10 it is religion versus science all the way down isnt it?
Derbyshire is puttin the screws to all the NRO theocons over the popes wiki, where benedict (apparently) denouced relativity.

i feel sorry for the poor clods, ponneru an goldberg an jim...the derb can think circles around them.


Posted by: matoko_chan at Thursday, April 24 2008 01:45 PM (bqE4v)

11 Derb is talking complete garbage about consciousness, though. And totally misrepresents Douglas Hofstadter.

The overwhelming view among consciousness researchers, neuroscientists and psychologists is what they sneeringly refer to as "naive materialism". Of course "humans are machines". As for "our minds are flesh-based computers", that Derb dismisses so blithely, that's nearly right. Our brains are the computers; our minds are the programs - or the activity of the programs, depending on how you want to look at it. Only complete idiots believe in any sort of panpsychism.

Derb says he just came back from a week-long conference on consciousness. Well, so he did. And one of the speakers was Rupert Sheldrake. Which should tell you something. (If you don't know who Rupert Sheldrake is, well, he's the go-to guy for incompetent analysis of silly fringe ideas. Morphic Resonance? That's Sheldrake.)

On the other hand, the guys he's responding to have clearly never heard of (or have no understanding of) evolutionary psychology or game theory. There are perfectly logical bases for materialist and atheist systems of ethics and morals. Derb does a poor job of answering these questions, even though the questions are themselves pretty bad.

The point that there are lots of atheists and very few axe-murderers is sound, though, and you have to worry a little about people who claim that they would have no moral system at all without their religious beliefs.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, April 24 2008 02:53 PM (PiXy!)

12 and i'm a q-consciousness grrl...i kinda flirted with dualism on your old thread, but hammerhof has convinced me.
the derb likes that model best, if you read his posts.
they are duplicated at GNXP.

Posted by: matoko_chan at Thursday, April 24 2008 09:57 PM (bqE4v)

13 oops!
lost a comment there.
the Derb favors q-consciousness if you read his posts.

aren't a lot social mores and taboos just hangovers from tribal consanguinous kinship? religions just grew over that wiring like exploitive barnacles.

so atheists still have the underlying wiring.
the point the derb doesn't make is that the underwiring is highly suceptable to exploitation for extreme competition against other memetic tribes.

Posted by: matoko_chan at Thursday, April 24 2008 10:04 PM (bqE4v)

14 There are two problems with the idea of quantum consciousness. First is that it is an unnecessary hypothesis; human consciousness displays no signs of quantum behaviour. Second is that it's impossible.

Quantum consciousness is to neuroscience what homeopathy is to medicine.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Friday, April 25 2008 11:18 AM (PiXy!)

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