I really, seriously wonder how much of a future the U.S.A. has.Given the indulgent self-pity of some of its recent immigrants, well, John, I wonder myself.
Our civilization is on the way out.We're All Doomed, New Revised Edition (2008): This Time, We're Serious. Of course, didn't we all starve to death in the 19th century, or something? Some cold voice of reason named Malthus seems to have predicted it. Oh well.
We are sinking into a bog of mediocrity, frivolity, superstition, and ignorance.Yep: scientific research has been devastated by armed mobs of Christian fanatics, burning labs and universities, liquidating intellectuals as "dangerous wizards." Right? Right? What facts have to be true to make this hysterical hyperbole true?
In fact, how the hell can John Derbyshire pretend to be a vox clamans in deserto, the voice of Reason and Science amidst Superstition and Barbarism, when more and more kids are eagerly going to college, where, to no one's surprise, they are learning that life is the result of evolution. That a bunch of people with no skill and interest in science occasionally demands that an unscientific theory be taught in biology classes really fails to get me worked up, for two reasons: the contemporary university is in no danger of being overcome by this magical thinking, because academics (in the sciences, at least) have the common sense not to entertain fairy tales; and because, when ignorant people have exerted their political power to force public schools to teach nonsense, they have met with immediate rebuttal. Remember the Dover Area School District?
The Chinese are, by John Derbyshire's own admission, the most superstitious people in the world. Is their civilization collapsing? I don't know what it is about the evolution debate, but it seems universally to make people throw out logic and start arguing utter nonsense, even when their positions are fundamentally sound. Really, does the "evolution happened" crowd need to pull sophistic tricks like these? Does it do any service to education to argue in such a shabby manner, essentially convincing undecided young people of intellect that your position must be wrong, because it requires such bad reasoning to sustain it?
What do Ben Stein, John Derbyshire, and Richard Dawkins have in common? They epically fail at logic. And, well, none of them has been in my kitchen.
I am glad I learned enough to make a judgment about evolution before the debate got so ugly, because Dawkins et al. are a strong turn-off. Nice PR campaign, idiots.