March 15, 2008

Persistence of (the) Vision and the Crisis-Myths of the Fascist Left

Hatched by Dafydd

I am always amazed by the curious immunity the Left has to truth, no matter how well established, if it doesn't fit what Thomas Sowell calls "the vision of the anointed." A factoid that seems to fit the preexisting story persists forever, regardless of how often debunked... just as creationists cite the same "failures" of evolutionary theory over and over, without regard to lengthy -- sometimes even book-length -- debunking:

  • The "stupidity and illiteracy" of George W. Bush (and Ronald W. Reagan), 1999-2008 (1979-2008);
  • The Mohammed al-Dura "murder by Israelis" in 2000;
  • The Bush "suppression" of the black vote in Florida in the 2000 election;
  • The Florida vote in 2000 that Al Gore would have won if "all the votes" were counted;
  • The "specific warning" from the CIA before the 9/11 attacks of 2001;
  • Our Afghan allies who "deliberately allowed bin Laden to escape" from Tora Bora in 2001;
  • The "Jenin massacre" of 2002;
  • The Bush administration "lying us into war" in 2003;
  • The Iraqi "wedding party" massacre in 2004;
  • Police Captain Jamil "Lt. Kyje" Hussein, 2004-2006;
  • "Murders" in the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina in 2005;
  • The "Iraqi civil war" of 2006-2007;

But one has persisted above all others: The ludicrous Johns Hopkins "survey" that found more than 600,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed by the Iraq war. It persists to this day, despite repeated, highly credible debunkings by everyone from statisticians to the military to the Associated Press to the Iraqi government itself. And here it bubbles up again from AP -- an unquestioned bit of lore that has become part of the Left's Iraq-war catechism:

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, 3,987 American soldiers and at least 128 journalists have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led war began. But to me, they were all just numbers until last year.

The best estimate actually available is on a website called Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, which is updated from all reports filed by the international and American elite media, the United States and coalition militaries, and by the Iraq government. As of March 13th, they estimate total Iraqi civilian deaths to be 40,765 plus some unknown number killed before 2005; but civilian casualties were low in the early days of the war (prior to the destruction of the al Askiriya "Golden Dome" mosque in Samarra in 2006).

Thus, the best evidence that comes from actually counting bodies finds only 7% of the original "estimate" from Johns Hopkins, and only 4.7% of their later, upgraded guess of more than a million deaths. But the myth persists and probably will continue to be misreported as fact a hundred years from now, when government-mandated history books will use it to teach the "history" of our imperialist, oil-stealing warmongering in Iraq.

The myth of the 600,000 (or one million) dead Iraqis is successful precisely because it feeds into the general "crisis-myth" of the Left: That America is being led to economic and political disaster (recession, tyranny, loss of rights) by a ruinous war started by the Capitalists to steal Iraq's oil and make billions of dollars for their fat-cat cronies. But really, all the myths above tend to the same overarching story... the imperialist warmongering and crimes against humanity of America and Israel, and the concommitent victimhood of the Left and the ummah.

Before fascism can really take hold, the fascists must discover (or create) an enduring myth of a great crisis that will serve to unify the country under the banner of national socialism; for the Nazis, the myths they finally settled upon were the perfidy of the Jewish "race" (of course) -- and the "martyrdom" of Horst Wessel, a National Socialist street fighter who was killed by a Communist (perhaps even a Jewish Communist!) in 1930.

The triple-crisis comprised the clinging vestiges of Capitalism (which had brought Germany to the disasterous Great War and the Treaty of Versailles, the Nazis preached), the rise of Communism (which threatened to erase national boundaries and put Russians and Slavs above Aryan Germans), and naturally, the mindless genius of the Jews -- who, despite being inferior to Aryans in every way (physically, intellectually, and morally), had managed to foil the rightful ambitions of the master race again and again. Against all three crises stood the bulwark of the Nazi Party.

Wessel came originally from the radical monarchist German National People's Party, but he left them and joined the Nazi Party (and its militant core, the SA "stormtroopers") in 1926. He was an amateur poet as well as a brownshirt, and his poem "Die Fahne hoch" ("Raise the Flag High") became the official Nazi anthem, which today we call the Horst Wessel song.

Although Wessel was a minor player of little account during his lifetime, after he was slain, Josef Goebbels seized upon the "martyr" and turned him into the great, unifying myth-figure of the Nazi movement, according to Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. Calling him the "Socialist Christ," Goebbels churned out hundreds of thousands of words of "hagiography" about Wessel and his heroic combat against Capitalists, Communists, and Jews.

The fascist crisis-myth is vital to the movement, whether in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s or America in the 21st century, because of its ability to unify the people (Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer!), to crush dissent (stop the mouths of seditionists!), and to rally die Volk behind a leader who will make quick decisions to save them (no time for democracy in such an emergency!).

Fascism's great goal is always the complete unity of the people, the land, and the leader. In practice, of course, eine Reich must become Lebensraum: Socialist states are by nature contraeconomic and can only survive by relentless expansion and conquest; when they run out of land to conquer, they collapse under the bloat of their own unworkable economic policies... as the Soviet Union did in 1991.

They are also by nature totalitarian; and the first step in seizing power is generally to take control of the nation's news sources. By controlling the newspapers and airwaves, they get to write the mythic "first draft of history" without pesky debate or dispute from the peanut gallery. Hence the continued rush of modern American liberals into journalism for the entire twentieth century and what we've experienced of the twenty-first... as well as into other information-hoarding and -controlling fields, such as publishing, teaching, the law, the federal and state bureaucracies, and Hollywood.

This has given the Left command of news and opinion (propaganda mongering), popular novels and histories, children's education and indoctrination, legal interpretation and regulatory regimes, and the great American mass-art forms, television and the movies. Thus they hope to control the totality of information that passes before the eyes, ears, and ultimately the minds of the American people:

"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."
-- "George Orwell" (Eric Blair), Nineteen Eighty-Four

The American fascist moment came (and went) in the teens, under President Woodrow Wilson; it came and went again in the 1930s and 40s, under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It came and went a third time in the 1960s and 70s, with the rise of the fascist New Left and the riots, takeovers, demands, and murders of the SDS and Weathermen, NOW, the Black Panthers, the gay-rights movement, and finally the Symbionese Liberation Army. The Left lives eternally with the audacity of hope that a facist utopia is just around the corner.

The unifying crisis-myth of the first fascist moment was the purification of morals by Prohibition, of the national soul by the Great War, and of the white race by "scientific eugenics." This was summed up by Woodrow Wilson's slogan "100% Americanism," and resulted in mass arrest of "seditionists," press censorship, and rule by presidential decree and executive committee.

The unifying myth of the second fascist moment was first the Great Depression that was "caused by Laissez-Faire Capitalism;" and later by the war against the Nazis and their Japanese allies. These crises resulted in the New Deal, which again allowed the president to bypass all normal democratic channels in the rush to remake the entire country according to a "progressive" (fascist) model -- complete with yet another scapegoat race. (First the Jews, then the blacks, now the Japanese; it's not coincidental that FDR was Wilson's Assistant Secretary of the Navy.)

And the unifying myths of the third American fascist moment were:

  • Consciousness raising via psychedelic drugs, music, street theater, puppets, teach-ins, and protests to produce the new, psychedelicized, socialist man;
  • The rise of feminism against patriarchial oppression;
  • The rise of Black Power against the institutionalized racism of "the system;"
  • The rise of countless other protest movements (parodied by Allan Sherman's "the 'Let's All Call Up AT&T and Protest to the President' March," decrying "all-digit dialing" of telephone numbers). The real, underlying purpose of all these "movements" was to level the entire American establishment ("the Man"), so a radical, Stalinist society could be installed in its place. (Hillary Clinton, the man who would be queen, was deeply enmeshed in this radical movement.)

This "consciousness raising" resulted in the entire panoply of Great Society programs: the civil rights movement, the "war on poverty," the Department of Education, the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Medicare and Medicaid, the National Endowment for the Arts and for the Humanities, and modern radical environmentalism (the Endangered Species Act, the Clear Air, Water Quality and Clean Water Restoration Acts, and so forth). All had the same purpose: the complete nationalization of American life and the end of Federalism.

The last fascist moment was not as successful or totalitarian as the first two, to a large extent because the unifying myths didn't really unify. There was never any national front; the radicals forgot about what the Nazis called the "forgotten man," or what Richard Nixon dubbed at the time the "silent majority."

Thus, the radicals were undercut by "reformers," more moderate in ideology but no less obsessed with power, including the national leader, President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The radical leftists turned on Johnson (and against the Vietnam War, where we clearly were on "the wrong side," they -- including John Kerry -- decided) even during his presidency -- "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" -- forcing him to withdraw from his reelection campaign in 1968. To this day, leftists hate and despise Johnson.

So far, we have not reached any fascist moment today; the forces of liberal fascism -- many of them youths, as the usual pattern has it, but also quite a few aging hippies, Yippies, and other moldy, 60s leftovers -- have been singularly unsuccessful in their quest for a unifying myth... but as we see, it's certainly not for lack of trying.

The problem is still, as it was four decades ago, that the crisis-myths the radicals put forward (see the top of this post) exclude ordinary people; they still have not learned the lesson that you cannot foment a fascist revolution by appealing only to the fringes. Populism, a necessary element of fascism, only works when one appeals to the center of the population.

The radical revolutionary also cannot attack the military itself; he must co-opt it. In the end, all civilian society must be militarized; thus the successful radical must champion and extol martial virtues, such as courage, sacrifice, obedience, and dehumanization of the enemy. Jingoistic chants of "question authority" (or more strongly, "f--- authority") actually undermine the stated goal of revolutionary transformation: The very system the Left wants to impose on the American people is even more authoritarian than what we have now; and the same slogans they sling with such wild abandon are sent stampeding, like Hannibal's elephants, back through the ranks of the attackers.

To produce another fascist moment, the Left will have to abandon its anti-authoritarian rhetoric and refocus on pure, unabashed, and unstinting populism, where the masses have the "right" to whatever material possessions they think will make them happy... money, cars, consumer electronics, food, drugs, free health care, and free sex; but they must combine this with a censorious control of all aspects of Americans' lives, from drinking alcohol to smoking cigarettes to driving recreational vehicles to (naturally) what they can read, watch, or listen to. You have a right to satisfaction of all your material needs -- but only as we specify.

And they will need an all-purpose scapegoat; that is just as essential as populism -- someone to blame for the inevitable crises intentionally provoked and created by the leader.

We're just beginning to see exactly that progression in the alliance of the New Left and the Global Caliphists, which really began with the 1979 Islamist revolution in Iran; say what you will about Wahhabis, Salafis, and Khomeiniites... they know how to unify a people through mass-media propaganda, and they know how to fight. The Left can learn a lot from their new mentors; the rise of extreme antisemitism among American and especially European "Progressives" indicates they've become good students.

Keep your eyes on the liberal crisis-myths. The time to worry is when they start to "make sense" to regular Americans; that is when they become truly dangerous.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 15, 2008, at the time of 6:35 PM

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The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Dafydd, I think that the casualty counts come from taking averages: The high estimates are 600,000 dead or a million. The low estimates are 40,000 or thereabouts. Ergo, probably the right answer is in the middle --> hundreds of thousands dead.
This kind of nonsense is what passes for logic too often today.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 15, 2008 10:05 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


So if Johns Hopkins issued a new "survey" claiming 100 million dead Iraqis, would AP just split the difference and say "tens of millions?"



The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 15, 2008 10:51 PM

The following hissed in response by: Davod

The Global warming/climate change movement is an attempt to unify the people. While the problem is classed as global in nature the warmenists basically say we need to rise up as a people to force change.

The above hissed in response by: Davod [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 16, 2008 6:24 AM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

I think that's exactly what would happen, Dafydd. Take a look at the wikipedia article, Casualties of the Iraq War. They have no interest in grading the different estimates; after all, they are "reputable sources", as required by wikipedia guidelines.
By the way, the wikipedia article on the Iraq War is awful beyond imagining. One would never know from it that the Surge showed remarkable success or really any success at all. Maybe you could recruit from your army of admirers a few wiki-savvy people who could work to move the page to a more sane level of bias? A lot of people use wikipedia.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 16, 2008 8:12 AM

The following hissed in response by: Insufficiently Sensitive

So far, we have not reached any fascist moment today;

In some places, we have. In Washington, the urban imperialists who run Seattle have reached out into the county and seized control of 65 percent of all rural properties. It was done under the unifying pretext of 'the environment', but once the smoke cleared, each owner of a rural property was left to decide which 35% of his own property he would choose to actually act as an owner on. The rest was to be prohibited to him and left in a state of 'nature' so that those urban imperialists could make it the subject of their new warm fuzzy dreams at night of bunnies and fish, unviolated by the crude actions of the unworthy owner.

The above hissed in response by: Insufficiently Sensitive [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 16, 2008 10:04 AM

The following hissed in response by: Insufficiently Sensitive

Um, an addendum to the Seattle post: the targeted properties were located within King County only.

But isn't it the case that when environmentalists yearn to 'protect' something under private ownership, their intent is to seize control of it?

The above hissed in response by: Insufficiently Sensitive [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 16, 2008 10:07 AM

The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

Keep your eyes on the liberal crisis-myths. The time to worry is when they start to "make sense" to regular Americans; that is when they become truly dangerous.
Many of the Leftist Crisis Myths are true inequities that are used as an excuse to enact destructive Socialist 'reforms'. Feminism was initially an attempt to bring equality between the sexes; very quickly the movement was taken over by leftists who use real gender inequities as a whip to enact Socialist cures. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stood before a huge crowd describing a dream of a colorblind society. Now Leftists like Rev. Wright use real racial inequities as a whip to promote Socialist cures. Environmentalists used to lobby to help the environment, now Leftists have taken over the cause and use the Environmental Crisis as a whip to enact Socialist cures. There used to be a radio commentator in Seattle who used the term "Watermelons" to describe the last group... "Green on the outside, Red on the inside". Heh.

But you can see the pattern in many advocacy groups, and it is a very successful practice. Take a true problem that catches the sympathy of the average American, take over the organization that pushes that cause, claim Absolute Moral Authority and then use that cause to enact your basic Socialist solution. Anybody who resists the Socialism is declared an enemy to the appropriate cause.

It's when the newer, younger activists get active that they lose their 'cover' and are seen for what they are. Perhaps the patient and tempering hand of the Leftists' old Soviet manipulators kept them from going over the edge and they are now missing that influence, I don't know... but it seems that since the end of the Soviet Union all of the activist groups have lost their esteem and their respectability. I'm glad the new kids on the block are so honest... but the time you worry about Dafydd occurred many years ago, and the damage they have done is visible proof of their treachery.

Of course, when the damage to our Nation becomes unbearable, the Leftists use the crises that hey have themselves created as another excuse to enact... but you see the pattern.

By the way, I'm not really that well versed in President Wilson and fascism... but is that why the 'Mercury' Dime has a fasces on the reverse? It's the right time period.

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2008 2:13 AM

The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

Also, it may occur to you that I confuse Socialist with Fascist. This is true. What is the actual difference between the two systems/beliefs? With all of the name calling that goes on, I can't even properly define them.

And yes, that is terribly embarrassing to admit in print.

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2008 2:16 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Mr. Michael:

Also, it may occur to you that I confuse Socialist with Fascist. This is true. What is the actual difference between the two systems/beliefs?

Easy to remember. Socialism divides fairly neatly into two main branches:

  1. International socialism, which wants to abolish all national borders and create a one-world government. Think of the "ComIntern," the Communist International.
  2. National socialism, which sees the nation as a vital "myth" (identifying the people with the land) to unify the people. Thus, "Germany for the Germans," "100% Americanism," Fascist Spain, etc.

(1) includes Communism, Kropotkian and Bakuninite anarchism, the Socialist International, the 60s revolutionaries here in the U.S., International ANSWER, and any other socialist party or group that doesn't recognize national boundaries. (2) includes all versions of fascism, Maoism, the Khmer Rouge, the American socialisms under Wilson, FDR, and suchlike -- anything that centers around a nation-state.

Thus fascism is a form of national socialism, which is a subset of socialism in general.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2008 2:53 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

By the way, I think I should have called the 60s radicals "international socialists" instead of "fascists" in the actual post above. Oh well, if I ever turn this into an article, I'll monkey with it then.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2008 2:55 AM

The following hissed in response by: David M

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 03/17/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

The above hissed in response by: David M [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2008 8:09 AM

The following hissed in response by: Baggi

Hey, what's with the drive-by on us Creationists?

Perhaps you could share some of our cited debunkings of evolutionary theory that have been debunked?

The above hissed in response by: Baggi [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2008 12:26 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Perhaps you could share some of our cited debunkings of evolutionary theory that have been debunked?

That would be all of them.

Baggi, the first problem is that creationists don't seem to have the slightest idea what a disproof of a scientific theory should look like; so they're continually trying, with great desperation, to find some quirky site where you find fossil remains in reverse-complexity order -- without even bothering to notice that there is clear evidence of geological folding there.

Even were they able to find some area with no folding that showed such a reverse, that doesn't "disprove" evolutionary theory; it means that evolutionary theory must itself evolve, as it were... as it has done many, many times in the 149 years since Charles Darwin published the Origin of Species.

To disprove a theory, you must first find the core elements; then set up a measurement or observation that the theory predicts must go a certain way; then perform it and have it go an incompatible way; then wait many years for other scientists in the field to search for alternative responses other than "throwing out everything."

Evolutionary theory was finally accepted (after many decades) precisely because scientists kept trying to do so but were unable to disprove it. Certainly creationists have never been able to achieve this... for the simple reason that evolutionary theory is a very good model for the physical universe.

Then, if you want people to accept intelligent design, you must do exactly the same thing: You must try to disprove it -- and fail. But the attempt must be honest; to date, no creationist has proposed a measurement or observation that even has the possiblity of disproving creationism or intelligent design... the conjecture is carefully crafted to be unfalsifiable.

Can you describe an experiment or observation that could, even in theory, "disprove" intelligent design? How can you, when any anomaly can be answered by merely saying, "because God hath willed it so?"

Why are fossils always presorted in the sedement to go from simplest on the bottom to most complex on the top? Because God hath willed it so.

If every living thing was specially created by God, then why do all creatures above the level of some anaerobic bacteria -- plants and animals alike -- share the same DNA coding pattern? Because God hath willed it so.

Why are great strands of DNA redundantly duplicated throughout the chain? Because God hath willed it so.

Oh... and the creationist explanation must also explain astronomical measurements that show an old Earth, physics theory that shows an old Earth, mathematical-statistical theory that implies an old solar system, observed evolution from one species to another (which we see all the time in microbal life, which evidently doesn't interest creationists much), and so forth.

A scientific hypothesis must be compatible with all previous observations, both in the same field and in related fields. Scientific fields are not compartmentalized into little boxes; they all must fit together. ID doesn't fit with any other scientific discipline.

You see the problem? ID is not a scientific theory: It's not falsifiable; it's not based upon previous science; it's not compatible with other observations; it's based upon no physical law that is still in operation today; and it appeals to some force believed to be outside the universe and not itself provable.

ID is a religious teaching based upon the fundamental fallacy of incompatibility... for which see below.

Another dead-end approach creationists employ is the aptly named Argument by Personal Incredulity (discussed in the Language of God, by Francis S. Collins): Evolution cannot possibly have occurred because the creationist can't, for the life of him, understand how such a thing could happen.

For example, he cannot imagine how an eye could have evolved; therefore (he argues) it could not have. Or he cannot imagine how organelles can be created by mutation/variation plus natural selection; therefore (he concludes) they weren't.

The fact that Fred cannot imagine how an eyeball evolved doesn't mean that nobody else can; it means that Fred is uniquely unimaginative.

(Entire books have been written on the evolution of the eye, the wing, mitochondria, organelles, symbiotic digestive bacteria, and so forth, all of which have escaped creationists' notice. Another objection I have is that creationists are woefully ignorant of the scientific literature of evolutionary biology.)

What it almost always boils down to, in my scores of debates with creationists (even under the modern and rather misleading title of "intelligent design"), is that many people -- on both sides the aisle, sadly -- have internalized the fallacy that evolutionary theory and belief in an omnipotent Creator-God are mutually incompatible.

Many science popularizers -- such as Richard Dawkins, Martin Gardner, Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, and many others; along with "skeptics" like James "the Amazing" Randi, Philip Pullman, and Penn Jillette -- have emphatically pronounced that you can only believe in science if you're an atheist... that scientific principles "prove" that there is no God.

Faced with such a choice, either you believe in science or you believe in God, but not both, believers quite naturally reject the former in favor of the latter.

But why should they be incompatible? Let me ask you a simple question; and I would like you to really take a stab at answering, Baggi. This is not a rhetorical question.

Suppose for sake of argument that God, when He chose to create the universe, wanted to create it by first creating the physical laws, then creating all the matter of the universe packed in the center, then pulling the pin and letting it go.

Suppose He wanted to do it that way. Would He have been able to do so?

That is, would God have been intelligent enough to create the necessary physical laws and the necessary amount of matter, and place it all in the necessary position, in order to cause a universe to come into existence in which galaxies, then stars, then stellar systems, then the Earth, then life would have come into existence... and biological laws such that, by an evolutionary process, humans would ultimately arise... whose brain was equipped for God to instill in them a moral sense and self-consciousness?

Is God that smart? Is God that powerful? Is God able to look that far into the future?

If He wanted to do this, do you believe He would be able to do it?

That's the question, Baggi. Because if you believe that He could have if He wanted to, then you must admit that evolutionary theory and belief in God are not mutually incompatible... no matter what Richard Dawkins says.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2008 7:48 PM

The following hissed in response by: PPJ aka Jim

Not having spoken with God I can't tell you what he can, or can not do. My personal position is that he can do what he wants. You are welcome to disagree. It will be settled in the not so distant future to our satisfaction.

It also has long been by understanding that those who believe/push any theory are required to prove that theory using the scienitific method. Sorta like on the net the claimer has to provide the proof.

So far neither side has done so.

The above hissed in response by: PPJ aka Jim [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2008 8:35 PM

The following hissed in response by: Geoman


Sorry guys, the theory of evolution has proved its point using every scientific and logic tool available to mankind, and continually invents new and more clever ways to test and hone its theories, while creationism...well let's just say its argument seems to firmly rest on the "nuh-uh" principal I learned in first grade.

My basic problem with creationism is that I do not believe in a malevolent God, one who would leave lying around the evidence for evolution, then say, more or less, "Just kidding!". I think God, if he exisits, wants us to explore, to find the answers. I think the evidence is there for that very reason.

Creationist question - why did God create the fossil record? What possible purpose does it serve, other than to fool us into believing in evolution? Was it just..practice? How does that fit with a being powerful enough and wise enough to create the entire universe?

Is the fossil record not what it seems to be? Then biology, geology, chemistry, physics, and statistics must ALL have significant, previously unnoticed, and perhaps fatal, flaws.

The above hissed in response by: Geoman [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 18, 2008 12:24 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Your points are good and valid; but I think we need to get at the root of the problem: Many IDers think that they have to choose between believing in God, or believing in what they like to call "Darwinism" (as if it were the "philosophy" of one guy).

But there is no dichotomy. If God exists, and if He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent -- as I suspect 100% of believers in intelligent design would agree He is -- then he could very easily have created the entire universe, including Man... but still have done so using the mechanism of evolution (which of course, He would also have created).

If I make a machine that builds a car, then surely it's reasonable to say I made the car. Right?

So the only question we have to ask (assuming God) is... what was the mechanism by which God made the universe and everything in it? Was it a clumsy series of trillions of individual creations... or was it a single, simple, elegant act of creation that unfolded like a flower, from Big Bang to today -- much the way it's described in the longer creation story in Genesis -- and further, into whatever is yet to come.

However one answers, one must present evidence. And since evolutionary biologists have presented nearly 150 years of continuous evidence for their answer, I think it's high time the anti-evolutionists present something other than Argument by Repetitive Nitpicking.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 18, 2008 3:04 AM

The following hissed in response by: Mikey

By the way, I'm not really that well versed in President Wilson and fascism... but is that why the 'Mercury' Dime has a fasces on the reverse? It's the right time period.

The FDR dime has a faces on the back as a torch. The faces was a symbol of the old Roman Republic, a bundle of sticks tied together. The founders adopted the symbols of the Roman Republic for the United States as they wanted people to identify the USA with the virtues of the old Republic. Think of the phrase 'E Pluribus Unum' - 'Out of Many, One' and you can see the symbolism of using the faces. Carved faces are on the walls of the House of Represenatives, and the mace of the House of Representatives is described thus:

"The design of the Mace is derived from an ancient battle weapon and the Roman fasces. The ceremonial Mace is 46 inches high and consists of 13 ebony rods – representing the original 13 states of the Union – bound together by silver strands criss-crossed over the length of the pole. Atop this shaft is a silver globe on which sits an intricately cast solid silver eagle."

Mussolini adopted the faces as he adopted all of the other symbols of the Roman Republic and Empire. He was trying to recreate a New Rome and appropriated the sumbols of the old.

The above hissed in response by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 18, 2008 10:50 AM

The following hissed in response by: k2aggie07


I know very few Christians (that is, people who believe God created the Universe) who fall under the realm that you're describing -- that the earth is slightly over 6,000 years old, that dinosaurs aren't real, etc. Lumping all IDers in with that group would be the equivalent of saying that all Christians are Amish, or somesuch.

In fact, I have heard your very argument of inclusiveness presented many times by people on the ID side. They say that such a process or vehicle presented by evolution is further evidence of design, for surely processes represent intelligence as much as actions.

As scientifically minded as I pride myself on being, I'm not really "sure" about evolution, and it has nothing to do with my religious beliefs. For a time I was as you describe, a person who believed in God and said wholeheartedly that evolution was the method in which He chose to create the universe...scrunch it up, set up the rules, pull the pin and watch. I had no heartache and felt no internal clashes over this position.

My main beef with evolution is the idea of randomness producing order. Nowhere else in the universe have we observed such a thing. Indeed, random mutations in any code (which DNA most definitely is) are generally referred to as "static". In communication theory, which governs codes and their transmission, all mutations are given to be negative as an axiom.

I shrug at the whole thing, though, because for me it doesn't matter. My only gripe at evolutionists or Darwinists is that most of them insist on using it as a tool to shove God out of the picture.

PS I have been reading in stealth-mode and not commenting, but I must say that this post was one of the best I'd ever read. I forwarded it to all my close friends and made my wife read it to boot.

The above hissed in response by: k2aggie07 [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 18, 2008 4:29 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


I forwarded it to all my close friends and made my wife read it to boot.

Hooray for force-feeding of blogposts!

My main beef with evolution is the idea of randomness producing order. Nowhere else in the universe have we observed such a thing.

How about matter coalescing via gravity into stellar systems?

Randomness produces order all the time; the theory of "clustering" is all about that, for one example: It's guaranteed that, given a large number of cancer cases, that there will exist areas where (by random chance) cancer cases cluster along power transmission lines... thus making it appear as though such lines cause cancer.

Too, we're not talking about pure randomness here; the environment selects for and against various random mutations or variations: Taller giraffes have access to more leaves, thus eat better, thus are better able to pass along the tall-neck genes to their offspring than those short-necked giraffes who go hungry.

(The same evolutionary forces created apatosaurus, a.k.a. brontosaurus, and other long-necked dinosaurs.)

If you combine random fluctuation with a filtration or selection process, whether natural or intelligent, you can build most anything. Given enough time.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 18, 2008 8:46 PM

The following hissed in response by: Daga More


The 'tall-neck genes' would only be effective and would only pass on in high enough quantities for it to effect an entire population if that mutation happen if it happened in more then one individual, evidence of ID, and that the 'positive mutations' were dominate. If ether of those options were not filled, i.e. only one male with this gene it will not pass enough of it on to effect the group, and if it is not dominate even if a lot of males had that gene it would not pass on due to the fact that in 1 or 2 generations it will no longer have an effect on the group.

Sadly South Park had a good blurb about this. And here it is:

Ms. Garrison: Now I, for one, think evolution is a bunch of *bullcrap*! But I've been told I have to teach it to you anyway. It was thought up by Charles Darwin and it goes something like this...
[she goes up to a large poster of evolution and begins pointing things out with her pointer]
Ms. Garrison: In the beginning, we were all fish. Okay? Swimming around in the water. And then one day a couple of fish had a retard baby, and the retard baby was different, so it got to live. So Retard Fish goes on to make more retard babies, and then one day, a retard baby fish crawled out of the ocean with its...
[she waves her left hand limply]
Ms. Garrison: ...mutant fish hands... and it had butt sex with a squirrel or something and made this.
[she points to a prehistoric mammal rodent]
Ms. Garrison: Retard frog-sqirrel, and then *that* had a retard baby which was a... monkey-fish-frog... And then this monkey-fish-frog had butt sex with that monkey, and that monkey had a mutant retard baby that screwed another monkey... and that made you!
[she faces the class, with the new girl among them looking around]
Ms. Garrison: So there you go! You're the retarded offspring of five monkeys having butt sex with a fish-squirrel! Congratulations!

I know it’s not totally accurate, but it is no less accurate then saying the all ID believe in the 'young earth' view.

I also dont buy most of the 150 years of evidence that proves that Evolution is the only way it works. If we truly came from Great Apes 55,000+ years ago (or what ever it was) why are there still any of the great apes, and they dont show any systems of adapting/evolving?

I have also read a few books bout the evolution of the eye, for example yet none of them can show the evolution of said eye in a single system. They dont show how it went from a light sensing group of cells, to a shape defining group of cells, to a full on working eye in a single species over any period of time. They always seem to show some sort of leap of faith, pun intended, from a phytoplankton with a basic reaction to light then to a zoo-plankton that hunts with a light/shadow group of cells, then poof its the eye of a fish (or something like that.) That does not show an evolution of an eye.

Just my 2 cents.

The above hissed in response by: Daga More [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 19, 2008 12:16 AM

The following hissed in response by: Patrick Chester

I also dont buy most of the 150 years of evidence that proves that Evolution is the only way it works. If we truly came from Great Apes 55,000+ years ago (or what ever it was) why are there still any of the great apes, and they dont show any systems of adapting/evolving?

That isn't what evolution says. That is a nice example of a false argument presented by creationists, though.

The above hissed in response by: Patrick Chester [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 19, 2008 7:58 AM

The following hissed in response by: Daga More

That isn't what evolution says. That is a nice example of a false argument presented by creationists, though.

Ok then were did we evolve from?

I truly want to understand, knowlegde is good.

The above hissed in response by: Daga More [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 19, 2008 8:11 AM

The following hissed in response by: Patrick Chester

We evolved from primate species that existed long ago. The apes and monkeys that exist now evolved from other primate species that existed long ago.

We didn't evolve from apes that exist today, in other words.

Might want to go read a few books by anthropologists, since you can find better answers than above. I'm oversimplifying things greatly.

You could also do a search on the web. I found this site, which looks interesting. That's just from a brief search on Australopithecus africanus via There are probably more using different search engines.

Finally, could also start asking honest questions from the start like your last one, rather than leading questions that you think will give you the answer you want.

The above hissed in response by: Patrick Chester [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 19, 2008 9:30 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Daga More:

I'm not a biologist, but to refine Patrick Chester's point above, both humans and great apes evolved from an earlier common ancestor.

Of course, the same can be said about humans and palm trees... you just have to go back rather farther.

As to your fish example -- Argument by South Park? -- in fact, there are various types of lungfish that can live for some time outside of water, and even walk (yes, walk!) from one pool of water to another, using their fins like legs. Clearly something similar to that was the "transitional form" between real fish and real land animals.

(There may have been many such transitional forms in different times and places: A particularly useful structure can separately evolve many times.)

Anti-evolutionists are always obsessed with finding "transitional forms." The problem is that it's a never-ending quest:

Suppose you have two different species, A and B, where B evolved from A. The creationist demands that you show him the "transitional form" between them.

All right, so you show him T, which existed in between A and B. So now you have A, then T, then B. What's he going to do next? Why, he'll demand you show him the "transitional forms" -- betweeen A and T, and between T and B! If you find T2 and T3, so you have A, T2, T, T3, and B, then... but you're way ahead of me: All right, smarty pants, so where are the transitional forms between A and T2, T2 and T, T and T3, and T3 and B, huh?

You see the problem, DM? No matter how many "transitional forms" one finds, a creationist can always demand more transitional forms between the previous transitional forms. It never ends.

Another problem is that creationists imagine a linear evolution from A to B -- and they think it somehow a contradiction if you can still find A after B begins appearing in the fossil record.

But why should every, last member of A die out except for the one line that is heading towards B, each and every generation? Just because B may be more successful than A doesn't mean that A cannot still survive, albeit probably in smaller numbers than it existed prior to competition with B.

In reality, B can evolve out of A, as can C and D and E, even while A itself also continues to exist more or less the same. You end up with more diversity of life, as A spins off many variant species, and eventually perhaps entire phyla.

So what are the biggest fallacies in the creationist (intelligent-designist) critique of evolutionary theory (ET)? Here are nine big ones. But bear in mind, not every critic embraces every fallacy.

This is, however, the betting line:

  1. They wrongly think of ET as "Darwinism," as if it were or should be a static philosophy enunciated by one prophet, like Marxism or Paulism.
  2. Therefore, they often argue that ET must be false because it changes all the time. "Every time somebody finds a fallacy, scientists just change the theory!" Anti-ETers often argue that such "inconstancy" means ET is a fraud... because they fundamentally misunderstand the scientific method (see 5).
  3. They see ET as a "house of cards," so that finding even the tiniest inconsistency in detail will cause the entire edifice to come a-tumblin' down. This induces them to waste energy and time nitpicking this or that detail, rather than develop a holistic argument against the core ideas (assuming that is even possible). This leads them deep into the weeds -- where they're usually wrong, often risibly so. See point 4.
  4. Anti-ETers are typically very poorly read in actual modern ET literature and in scientific literature in general... even for laymen. They seem curiously incurious about the actual theory they're debating... possibly because of point 1: If they believe ET hasn't changed since 1859, then why bother reading even popularizations, let alone actual journals, of modern evolutionary theory?
  5. Due to 4 above, they're typically ignorant of what constitutes science in the first place. They don't understand that any scientific hypothesis must satisfy certain criteria: (i) It must arise from existing science; (ii) it must explain all known relevant observations; (iii) it must be predictive; (iv) it must be falsifiable; (v) and it must rely only upon forces still extant in the world today. This ignorance leads them to think that, if only they can "knock out" ET, then creationism du jour (intelligent design) must prevail!
  6. Also because of 4, they imagine a bizarre caricature of ET, rather than modern ET itself; this leads them to mischaracterize it as saying, for example, that "humans evolved from modern apes," rather than what it actually claims -- that humans and apes have a relatively recent common ancestor.
  7. They believe that if species B evolves from species A, then there should be no populations of A remaining; thus if A still exists, that (they believe) proves that ET is bunk. "If it evolved, why do I still see it today?"
  8. They rely heavily upon Argument from Personal Incredulity: If they cannot imagine how an eye or a wing or some other organ or body part evolved, they conclude that nobody else can, either.
  9. And they foolishly listen to ET cheerleaders who also happen to be atheists; anti-ETers typically think that ET requires that they renounce God and faith. In fact, there is no conflict; religion and science exist in different realms; an evolutionary biologist can be a believer, an atheist, or an agnostic.

If those who reject evolution out of hand would just take the time to really sit down and understand it -- not by reading anti-ET "textbooks," but from evolutionary biology's popular literature itself, even if you have to grit your teeth at Richard Dawkins' irrelevant atheism -- they would better understand modern evolutionary theory: Where it came from, why it came about, and what it actually says.

And the odds are that many would see how logical and powerful an explanation it really is... and they might be willing to embrace it as the model for one facet of life in this here universe.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 19, 2008 7:20 PM

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