Friday, September 18, 2009

Darwinism and Potholes



Yesterday, as part of my essay, Requiem for a Nightmare, I wrote: "The Reductionists have been very aggressive in promoting their philosophy as 'The Truth.' And they don't allow dissent."

Want proof?

See this news article from Wednesday's St. Petersburg Times: Can Bill Foster's creation beliefs evolve into valid issue in St. Petersburg mayoral race? The answer, sadly, is "yes."

From the piece...

In this election Foster has been dogged by questions about his religious beliefs after he sent a controversial letter to the Pinellas School Board, urging members to allow discussion about alternatives to the theory of evolution...

"This city is trying to increase its employment base with respect to scientific organizations and trying to recruit scientific concerns to come here,'' said St. Petersburg architect Michael Dailey, who supports Kathleen Ford, Foster's opponent. "If our mayor has a belief system that basically rejects science, how can people take him seriously?"

Foster said he would eagerly court and recruit any science-based employers, regardless of his own personal religious and scientific beliefs. Those beliefs, he insisted, have nothing to do with how he would govern the city.


"I'm very accepting of the many faiths and diversity of the city,'' Foster said, acknowledging that he constantly faces questions about his religious beliefs. "How does my knowledge of scientific theory impact my ability to rationally govern the city of St. Petersburg? It's completely irrelevant."


Ford disagreed: "What's relevant is where the city of St. Petersburg is going in the future. That future is in science and technology. Creationism has no place in science and technology."


Foster insists his personal religious beliefs, which are shared by millions of Americans, never will and never have overlapped with his governing...

"The Bible is what I use to dictate my personal belief system and values, but this book also … commands me to submit to the authority at hand, which is the Constitution,'' Foster said.

This is an extremely troubling development. Do you really want to disqualify Christians - real Christians - from serving in public office? Do we really want to make acceptance of Darwinism a requirement for elected office?

The Darwinists obviously say "Yes." But what about the rest of America - the vast majority of citizens who believe in God and have little interest in the debate?

I think they'd ask: "What the heck does Darwinism have to do with fixing potholes?"

And they'd be right.

But that's not good enough for the Darwinists. It's not enough that you understand Darwinism. It's not good enough that you tolerate Darwinism. No, you must believe in Darwinism!

And if you don't...leave managing the country to the "enlightened elite."

Oh yeah, America will be much better off with them in charge!


6 comments:

mgl said...

My policy on evolution is the same as on global warming: Unless you have spent serious time studying the details of the technical arguments on both sides (whether science, economics, philosophy, whatever), you have no business whatsoever making it into a litmus test for social or political acceptability. This is not to say that people can't have an opinion on the topic in question, merely that they should recognize in all humility that their own ignorance renders them unfit to sit in judgement on others.

I mean, how many non-scientists can give you even a halfway coherent explanation of (say) genetics, or the evolution of life from non-life, or the evolution of conscious, purposeful beings via an entirely random material process? Almost zero, that's how many. They accept Drawinian evolution or AGW because that's what Smart and Sophisticated people believe, not because they understand the first thing about the subjects.

Sometimes I think these two particular subjects have become litmus tests precisely because they are utterly irrelevant to most peoples' everyday lives. By getting people to parrot leftist/materialist opinions on subjects of which they are almost entirely ignorant, it is much easier to herd them on more substantial subjects.

Todd White said...

MGL: "Unless you have spent serious time studying the details of the technical arguments on both sides...you have no business whatsoever making it into a litmus test."

TW: See, I just wouldn't make it a litmus test at all. At the end of the day, what does evolutionary theory have to do with the responsibilities of being Mayor?

The Founding Fathers were horrified at the prospect of a "religious test" for public officials. What we see in St. Petersburg is a modern, twisted version of the "religious test."

MGL: "Sometimes I think these two particular subjects have become litmus tests precisely because they are utterly irrelevant to most peoples' everyday lives. "

TW: I wish I could be so generous. I see it as a deliberate attempt to make conservatives seem "dumb" and "out-of-touch." Does it work? Well, I'm skeptical. As I've noted before, very few Americans accept Darwinian orthodoxy.

http://mustardseednovel.blogspot.com/2009/04/what-do-polls-say.html

mgl said...

Hi Todd,

I agree that there shouldn't be a litmus test at all. But I'd allow the very small minority of experts a certain degree of cliqueiness, since that's what intellectuals do. For everyone not so motivated to dig into the science, the evolution debate should carry a similar level of social and emotional commitment to the debate over, say, the existence of dark matter, or string theory.

Todd White said...

Hmm, I'd like to meet you half-way, MGL, but I don't think I can agree with that, either.

The Darwinists aren't saying "I, as a Darwinist, will not vote for someone who doubts evolution." That's silly, but it's not unfair. That's their prerogative as a voter. Indeed, it fits with your point that "experts" have a degree of "cliquishness."

On the contrary, the Darwinist position is: "EVERY voter should reject this candidate because he doubts Darwinism. The very fact that he doubts Darwinism disqualifies him from office."

That, in my mind, is a perversion of democracy. It goes way behind "special interest group" politics; it's close to a "religious test" for office which I find deplorable. And a dangerous precedent for the future.

mgl said...

You know, I think we're in complete agreement, Todd. Maybe I'm just expressing myself particularly badly today.

On the contrary, the Darwinist position is: "EVERY voter should reject this candidate because he doubts Darwinism. The very fact that he doubts Darwinism disqualifies him from office."

Exactly. That's the litmus test I'm talking about. It doesn't matter much to me if Richard Dawkins argues that Darwinian skeptics should be barred from public life--what matters is that millions of voters have been cowed into accepting the legitimacy of such a totalitarian view, though they themselves know less about evolution than many skeptics.

Todd White said...

MGL: "What matters is that millions of voters have been cowed into accepting the legitimacy of such a totalitarian view, though they themselves know less about evolution than many skeptics."

TW: Yes. My feelings exactly. I apologize if it took me forever to realize we were in agreement the whole time ;)