Cover your ears and close your eyes!

Cover your ears and close your eyes! July 13, 2018


It looks much better at night than during the day.
Vegas by night. (Wikimedia Commons public domain)


“Philosophise this – psychology research by philosophers is robust and replicates better than other areas of psychology”




“The fate of giant planets depends on where they grow up: The more crowded and chaotic their initial environment, the more likely they are to move out.”




“Our Postmodern World: Science Is Political And Non-PhDs Are Scientists”




“Earthquake Reveals 12th-Century Temple Hidden Within Aztec Pyramid: The structure, which lay buried beneath two Aztec temples for centuries, is dedicated to the rain god Tláloc”




“‘Find Your Passion’ Is Awful Advice: A major new study questions the common wisdom about how we should choose our careers.”




The other day, I invited readers to have a look at Tom Bethell’s 2017 book Darwin’s House of Cards, which I said I had found “extremely stimulating.”  I didn’t denounce Darwin or evolution, let alone science.  I simply said that I that thought that many would find the book “interesting.”  (I tend to like to look at contrarian thinking on various topics.)


“I would,” I said, “be interested in reactions to the book from people who have actually read it.  Not, that is, from people who object in principle to any questioning of Darwinian ideology, from people who fear that any serious deviation from Darwinian orthodoxy might expose society to a rebirth of religion, or, even, from people who, not interested in reading the book for themselves, skim a couple of reviews of it and feel themselves, therefore, fully equipped to pronounce judgment on it.  I don’t care to hear slogans or witty quips or impassioned denunciations.  I have no interest in irrelevant fallacies of distraction.  I would be interested in hearing about genuine engagements with Darwin’s House of Cards.”


Thus far, while a couple of folks have denounced the book in a knee-jerk fashion — one of them (“Prop 8”) even claimed to have read it (it’s 300 pages long) and to have thoroughly seen through it and written a critical review of it within about two hours (he actually plagiarized somebody else’s hostile Amazon comment) — there has been no sign of “genuine engagements” with it.


This isn’t surprising, perhaps, because Darwin’s House of Cards is a substantial and complex book, and a normal person (that is, most people other than the poseur “Prop 8”) would have to read it slowly and carefully before meaningfully opining on it.


I’ve been amused, however, to see responses elsewhere.  It seems that, for some, even looking at something that raises even the slightest question about Darwinism — not, mind you, about genetics, or a very old earth, or the emergence and extinction of species, and so forth, but, in this case, about the sufficiency (and logical coherence) of the principle of “survival of the fittest” as the sole source of speciation is to commit sacrilege, blasphemy, lèse-majesté.  It’s a crime against science, which apparently depends for its flourishing on solid, lock-step conformism and a refusal to ask or entertain questions.  Certain ideas should not even be considered.  Books that contain them (or that might contain them) are, effectively, on an Index Librorum Prohibitorum.  To read such books is to reveal oneself as both hostile to science and absurd.  Or, in my case, morally depraved and lacking integrity.  (Honest.  They’re saying that.)


One of the participants at that other place — a fellow who has sent me scores and scores of anonymous notes for a number of years now, was so exercised by my latest plunge into Crimethink that he wrote to me directly, and with his characteristic eloquence.  Here is his epistle, in its entirety but with some slight family-friendly editing:


“sputtering blubbering cultist bloated noise.  you and mope shill smeldrum otta road show…..[vulgar insult deleted].”


Posted from Las Vegas, Nevada



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