"Help! I'm a refugee from a climate of gay pig dog terrorism!"

It's Columbus Day, and so I feel it's my duty to be insensitive. . .

(Plus, I'm worried that God sent a quake to bin Laden's home turf.)

Anyway, as the struggle against the Darwinian theory of evolution continues to occupy the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer (today it's preempted Columbus), I'm constantly fascinated by the fact that the people on each side of the debate do not seem to be speaking the same language.

According to the Inquirer, even the people supporting "intelligent design" aren't speaking the same language:

The advocates of "intelligent design," spotlighted in the current courtroom battle over the teaching of evolution in Dover, Pa., have much larger goals than biology textbooks.

They hope to discredit Darwin's theory as part of a bigger push to restore faith to a more central role in American life. "Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions," says a strategy document written in 1999 by the Seattle think tank at the forefront of the movement.

The authors said they seek "nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies."

Overthrow of an "ism"? As someone who doesn't like "isms," overthrowing one would seem to be the sort of thing I'd be inclined to support.

But cultural legacies?

What might that mean? While I don't know how much stock to put in the Inquirer's assertions, I certainly hope these people aren't pushing for more of the damned "Culture War." I started this blog because I hate the Culture War, and many times I've been told the Culture War was over and I assumed I could stop blogging, but each time the rumors of peace turned out to be false, and the damned Culture War would flare up again. I feel like Al Pacino, yelling in vain that "Every time I try to get out, they drag me back in!"

Seriously (if I must get serious), there are holes in the fossil record, and I don't think all evolution proceeds according to any Darwinian "plan." But that does not in any way prove that a thing called "intelligence" is involved. While it's one thing to question the gaps in the record, it's rank anthropomorphism to insist on such a thing as "intelligence" without solid evidence, and I do believe it's more of a religious than a scientific assertion. I have no problem with the religious view that there is a god or gods with human style intelligence, but I don't believe in insinuating them where they just don't belong. I mean, something like gravity is fine, but I don't see the value of "scientific" arguments about why God would allow or dictate it -- at least, not in science classes.

Might as well interpret the weather that way. (I know that people do that, but I don't think it should be required in Meteorology 101.)

But what irritates me is that according to the Inquirer, the "intelligent design" theory is not intended so much as a scientific debate, but as a "wedge" issue intended to -- get this -- change the "social consequences" of Darwinian theory. Again, the Inquirer:

Intelligent-design advocates have focused publicly on "teaching the controversy," urging that students be taught about weaknesses in evolutionary theory. The 1999 strategy document, though, goes well beyond that.

That "wedge document," outlining a five-year plan for promoting intelligent design and attacking evolution, has figured prominently in the trial now under way in federal court in Harrisburg. Eleven parents sued the Dover school board over a requirement to introduce intelligent design to high school biology students as an alternative to evolutionary theory.

"The social consequences of materialism have been devastating... . We are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source," wrote the authors of the strategy plan for the Center for Science and Culture, an arm of the Discovery Institute and the leader of the effort to promote intelligent design. "That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. If we view the predominant materialistic science as a giant tree, our strategy is intended to function as a wedge that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when applied at its weakest points." (Emphasis added.)

I have no idea how accurate these assertions are, but they seem to find confirmation in the Discovery Institute's denial of any "secret plan":
And they say the wedge document was written as a fund-raising tool, articulating a plan for reasoned persuasion, not political control. Critics, they say, have an agenda of their own - to promote a worldview in which God is nonexistent or irrelevant.

"The Center for Science and Culture does not have a secret plan to influence science and culture. It has a highly and intentionally public program for 'challenging scientific materialism and its destructive cultural legacies,' " the center says on its Web site. (Emphasis added.)

Whether there's a secret plan or not isn't the issue. I see a serious problem in attacking any scientific theory because of "destructive cultural legacies." That strikes me as similar to the medieval thinking which maintained that it would be bad for people to learn that the earth revolves around the sun, and if science can be revised for being allegedly "destructive," where does it end? Einsteinian Relativity, it could just as well be asserted, has caused untold cultural damage, because when people think everything is relative, they'll be less likely to listen to people who want to tell them what to do, how to live, how and what to worship. etc.

Notice the underlying assumption being made that Darwinian theory has in fact caused people to "misbehave." How can that be proved? It's like saying that the Beatles caused a "decline" in "culture," or that mother's milk led to cigarettes, which led to marijuana, which led to heroin, which led to murder.

During the recent debate over the divine intent behind Hurricane Katrina, once I accepted for the sake of argument the premise that "God did it," I was struck by the difficulty in determining his precise motivations, to say nothing of which targets he might have had in mind. There's just no way to know -- other than allowing a designated caste of priests to have final say-so in these matters. (And I see no way to do that in a free society.)

Conventional science teaches that natural events like weather, asteroids, and earthquakes are forms of random chaos (i.e. stuff just moves around), but it's certainly reasonable to suppose that people who desire order might find the idea of scientific chaos to be infinitely threatening. They might call it unscientific, and they are free to offer another theory, which I suppose scientists could test out.

Intelligent weather?

Intelligent catastrophe design?

(No, I do not mean the theory that Bush and Rove blew up the levees in New Orleans. Rather, some form of divine intelligence did so.)

I am sure that there are various alternative spiritual explanations could be offered -- including but not limited to the angry bearded Old Testament God, or the Bigot God of 9/11, which sent "Private Katrina" on an errand. For the Global Warming crowd, the idea that "Mother Nature" (Gaia will do, if, like me, you have pagan sympathies) was extremely pissed off at man for whatever reason will also do. I suppose all these groups could form political lobbies and demand that their weather theories be taught as scientific alternatives.

But my bottom line is that I find the "social and cultural consequences" meme a bit annoying, because whether something is true does not depend on whether people don't like it.

Sometimes the truth hurts as much as nature. One could argue that children shouldn't see dogs screwing in the streets, or animals screwing on a farm or in the zoo, because there might be "consequences." Yes, there might be. But why drag science into it?

I don't mean anything I've said as an argument against religion generally, or against any particular religion.

But speaking of particular religions, there is something that's been bothering me, and at the excuse of ranting a little, I'd like to address it.

I'll start with a fundamental premise said to flow directly as a cultural consequence of Darwinian theory: the Peter Singer-based premise that "A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy."

OK, just for the record, let me say that I don't think this flows from Darwin at all, and I think using it against "Darwinists" reveals a shocking lack of scientific integrity. (If anything, declaring that all species are equal is profoundly anti-Darwinian, and I believe Darwin himself would be shocked by the idea.)

But in the interest of science, I'll select (by hands-on application of random chaos theory) one of our equals, the domestic pig, Sus scrofus. Why would God create the pig? Why would the pig evolve? Why would man genetically coax the pig into its current status of evolutionary development?

In the interest of full scientific accuracy, I thought I should supply a picture of typical domestic pigs, doing typical pig things:

piggies1.jpg

The problem is, I might have just offended the religious sensibilities. Why? Because, apparently, God hates pigs.

How do we know this? Because, the argument goes, it is asserted in certain religious books that God asserted that pigs are unclean and that man should not eat them. From there, it gets more complicated -- to the point where not only have pictures of dirty pigs like the one above been banned, but so have cutesy pig pictures -- like Piglet:

NOVELTY pig calendars and toys have been banned from a council office -- in case they offend Muslim staff.
Workers in the benefits department at Dudley Council, West Midlands, were told to remove or cover up all pig-related items, including toys, porcelain figures, calendars and even a tissue box featuring Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.

(Via Glenn Reynolds.)

Mark Steyn has an excellent analysis of this idiocy, and wonders aloud whether uncovered women (and by implication open homosexuals) aren't far more offensive than pig images. (I think they are, but it's politically more feasible -- for now -- to go after cutesy pig calendars and the like, which are, after all, mostly displayed by older female office workers.

Looking into why a cutesy pig calendar would offend Muslim sensibilities, I learned that there is no religious reason why they should, because the Koran only forbids eating them, not making likenesses of them. (At least, no more than it would forbid likenesses of any other creature.)

But the point, as Steyn notes, isn't really whether cutesy pigs offend "Muslim sensibilities"; it's done in order to advance an activist agenda:

Likewise, Piglet is deeply offensive and so's your chocolate ice-cream, but if a West End play opens with a gay Jesus, Christians just need to stop being so doctrinaire and uptight. The Church of England bishops would probably agree with that if, in their own misguided attempt at Islamic outreach, they weren't so busy apologising for toppling Saddam.

When every act that a culture makes communicates weakness and loss of self-belief, eventually you'll be taken at your word. In the long term, these trivial concessions are more significant victories than blowing up infidels on the Tube or in Bali beach restaurants. An act of murder demands at least the pretence of moral seriousness, even from the dopiest appeasers. But small acts of cultural vandalism corrode the fabric of freedom all but unseen.

Perhaps such small acts of cultural vandalism invite more by way of retribution. Even the celebration of Western Civilization might be seen as a form of retribution. If Muslim pig sensibilities, why not Christian snake sensibilities, and Muslim and Christian homo sensibilities?

In a strange way, I'm beginning to see a common thread between cultural vandalism, religious sensibilities, and the advancing of activists' agendas in disguised form. Seen this way, a monkey is a snake is a pig is a dog is a homo is a refugee is a terrorist.

You think I'm kidding?

Check the facts:

  • The monkey is a three way threat -- offensive to Darwinists, Muslims, and assorted crackpot activists alike. Bear in mind that Muslims don't like evolution either....
  • The snake is offensive to numerous theists, although it was a positive symbol to pagans, to the point where it still exists on the caduceus.
  • Well, why doesn't this blatantly pagan symbol (combining attributes of Aesculapius and Hermes) offend Christian sensibilities?

    caduceus[2].jpg
    Beats me (but I'm inclined to agree with Steyn that Christians aren't as hypersensitive as Muslims about these things, and for that I'm glad.)

  • That the dog is of course an unclean animal (especially if they're, um, black -- a factoid for which I should be sorry for mentioning!) for Muslims is too well known to require extended discussion. But homosexuals seem to have earned a more prominent place in the Hall of Religious Offensiveness (again, extended comment is unnecessary), and at least one major religious leader has called homosexuals "dung eating dogs."
  • I can remember a time when a "refugee" was someone who fled a disaster area in order to be safe. But that was over thirty days ago. Now, because of the objections of a prominent religious activist (who declared that a word having nothing to do with race now did), the forces charged with word usage have decided the word "refugee" is offensive, and it has been replaced with "evacuee." (I'm inclined to think that these people are refugees from common sense who should not be allowed to evacuate our brains, but who asked me?)
  • Similarly, "terrorist" was once a normal word, used to describe, well, terrorists. It really didn't matter where terrorists struck, they were almost always called terrorists. Until, that is, terrorist committed the worst act of terrorism in their history on September 11, 2001. Since then, despite the fact that this ordinary word would seem more appropriate than ever before, the word "terrorist" has been declared offensive -- another word that must Never Be Used. (Especially in conjunction with "hunting.")
  • Don't ask me about creating a "climate." Please.
  • In short, everything has become offensive (or declared offensive).

    That means that everything can be an offensive (or a declared offensive).

    That's all for Columbus Day.

    PorkyAllah.jpg

    Well, um, ub, ub, doh, er, forgive for for s-s-st-stuttering, but almost all. Right now I'm also worried that the president might have deliberately nominated Harriet Miers in order to offend Republican sensibilities and foment cultural offensives.

    Is that all?

    If you don't like it, don't trust me, folks!

    While I'm sure it's just a coincidence that "pork" rhymes with "bork," I'm getting a little sensitive about people who want to lord pork over me. (And naturally, sensitivity begets insensitivity.)

    UPDATE: Who invented "Lord Pork Pork," anyway? Offensive, no doubt... Was it the blessed Steven Malcolm Anderson? While I hope so, I thank whoever it was for the "climate."


    AFTERTHOUGHT: I think today's a good day to celebrate diversity, so after careful consideration of the various sensitivies, I was dictated by my feelings to recycle an old picture:

    CrossDiv.jpg


    (My apologies if this seems like a shotgun approach to Columbus Day.)


    UPDATE: Regarding chaos theory, Glenn Reynolds has buried a fascinating analysis of the subject within a dry constitutional tome. Sample:

    Under classical physics, predicting the interval between drips was seen as straightforward and determinate -- know the velocity of water, its surface tension, and so on, and you can always predict when each drop will fall. In the real world, the result is strikingly different. As scientist Robert Shaw has discovered, the complexity of the system confounds efforts at prediction. [FN7] Yet, although the dripping seems random, it follows certain patterns such that -- although each drop is unpredictable --*112 the overall pattern of dripping turns out to be structured and coherent. That is, though no one can predict when the next drop will fall, a phase-space graph showing the distribution of drops over time will reveal the sort of intricate, yet predictable structure we see in multidimensional fractal graphics generated by chaos researchers. And though no one can predict where on the graph the next data point will fall, it is possible to predict what the graph will look like when many such points have been plotted. The structure of the graph is predictable, even though no single drip is. [FN8]

    This structure is the characteristic that distinguishes "chaos" from mere randomness. Chaos, as used by scientists, means order masquerading as randomness -- unpredictable, yes, but by no means unstructured.

    Well! (Better not let the intelligent designists hear about this....)

    Anyway, I'm not fooled by the above, and I'm beginning to suspect that Glenn is a scientist posing as a law professor. (That's OK, as long as he doesn't crack my chaotic code....)

    (I keep my chaos intentionally sloppy, as if by design.)

    UPDATE: Is there something about Columbus Day that invites this sort of thing?

    posted by Eric on 10.10.05 at 11:13 AM










    Comments

    A Columbus Day Storm of a post. I love that picture. What a HEROIC MAN!!!! you are, like a Greek or Roman God (Classical Values). I wish I looked that good. I'd have women swooning all over me.

    I certainly admire this lady, my kind of woman:
    "Last week, I was watching the Today show when they had a story about some old fuggly slag in Sydney wanting to recreate the Lady Godiva legend. They showed this old bitch "auditioning" all these young and attractive attention seeking women for the role by making them strip off in front of her so she and her cronies can all have a good perv.

    What kind of a scam is that? This old bitch comes up with this bullshit plan all so she can get to perv on some young female flesh."

    The nuns in the Tribadentine Cathedral are exactly like that. No wonder they so worship holy Dawn, captive Goddess of her holy Negro wife Norma. Some of them must secretly lust for wicked Wanda, too, even though Wanda is an atheist.

    Thank you again for the link! But it wasn't me who thought up Lord Pork Pork, it was Arnold Harris (man and a half) of Mount Horeb, WI, my favorite commenter in Dean's World.

    And, yes, pork does rhyme with Bork -- not kosher. I don't eat much pork myself, but G. K. Chesterton was fond of pork and pigs. He was as fat as Lord Pork Pork, but with quite a different ideological orientation. He'd have some things to say about it all.

    I have absolutely had it with Political Correctness, the West's suicidal surrender to our sworn enemies. Despicable.

    refugees = refugees
    terrorists = terrorists
    Jesse Jackson = race pimp
    And pigs is pigs.

    Every Muslim terrorist should not only be hanged but covered with pig shit. Every rapist should be castrated. Every Muslim who mutilates a woman's face should be branded with the words "I Hate Allah" (in Arabic) on his forehead and tatooed with those words all over his carcass. Every Muslim who does not absolutely agree to 100% obey our laws and to 100% respect and be loyal to our Western ways and freedoms should be deported immediately back to the sewer he crawled out of -- on a leaky boat, preferably. You're either 100% on our side or else you are 100% on the side of the enemy. Harsh, I know, that's the way I am. I'm mad as Hell. I have had it.

    As to the evolution theory, it would really be science if somebody like Wanda proved it through physics. Myself, I'll stick to the doctrine of Intelligent Design, the dogma of Divine Creation. Man and Woman were created in the image of the Gods and the Goddesses. I also believe in the Fall. We have fallen away from the Divine. The rise and fall of civilizations reflects our continual striving for the Divine and our continual falling away. History shows that when man ceases to be a God, he becomes a Devil (e.g., see the 20th century).

    Eric

    You always give me lots to think over and this post is no different ... in the meantime, and in the spirit of the post

    Beer proves evolution

    heh.

    Darleen   ·  October 10, 2005 2:07 PM

    Steven thank you, but the women haven't been swooning! I don't think my uncertainty exudes the type of confidence that's consistent with generally accepted female expectations (whatever they may be...) I'm sure of nothing -- except my unsureness of almost everything. If I learned to hide it, I doubt that would help.

    Darleen, that's hilarious, and it touches on the evolutionary importance of beer:

    ...the human brain can operate only as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, we all know, kills off brain cells, but naturally it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker cells, constantly making the brain a faster and more efficient machine.

    The result of this in-depth epidemiological study verifies and validates the causal link between all-weekend parties and engineering performance. It also explains why, after a few short years of leaving university and getting married, most engineers cannot keep up with the performance of the new graduates. Only those few that stick to the strict regimen of voracious alcoholic consumption can maintain the intellectual levels that they achieved during their university years.

    http://www.netjeff.com/humor/item.cgi?file=beer.evolution.txt

    Eric Scheie   ·  October 10, 2005 2:55 PM

    On Snakes.

    There was that Israelite tribe with a snake for a symbol. Likely their totem animal, and possibly the focus of their worship.

    Hypothesis: Yahweh was originally Judah's totem figure. When Judah became pre-eminent in the confederation Yahweh was pushed as the lead deity in the Israelite pantheon. With the disappearance of the other 10 (11 if you count East and West Mannasseh as separate entities) and the subordination of Benjamin, Yahweh was promoted as the God of Israel and essentially replaced the other tribal gods. All that guff about Israelite and Judean kings a' whorin' after foreign gods is post facto editorializing about a common and long accepted Israelite practice of the time.

    Which leads to an interesting what-if. What-if the Assyrian army that took away the 10 tribes had been recalled to handle a Babylonian rebellion? Or had been destroyed on the way to Israel by an epidemic?

    Alan Kellogg   ·  October 10, 2005 6:22 PM

    Interesting about the Hebrews. Their Commandment says: "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me." -- not "There are no other Gods." Yahweh was a jealous God, and one is not jealous of the non-existent. I've also heard tell of a Hebrew Goddess, Yahweh's consort, the Shekinah, similar to Shakti in the Hindu mythology.

    Women like certainty rather than doubt? Then I must be even more dogmatic, more fanatical in my dogmatism, become Ayn Rand and Jack T. Chick and Torquemada rolled into one.


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