Discovery Institute’s James Lee Fever Intensifies

We’re worried about the Discovery Institute. We could almost understand their fervid explosion of blogging back in 2008 when Louisiana was enacting a creationist education law. We wrote about that here: Ecstasy Over Louisiana. But what concerns us now is a new episode of seemingly uncontrollable blogging that has overtaken the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

Our last post about the Discoveroids’ alarming condition was a few days ago: Discovery Institute’s Discovery Channel Orgy, when they had already blogged an unseemly amount about the alleged “Darwinist” motivations of the terrorist lunatic, James J. Lee, who briefly took hostages and threatened to bomb the headquarters of the Discovery Channel.

Lee left behind a deranged manifesto which has been posted at the website of Salon.com: Discovery Channel gunman James J. Lee’s manifesto. It’s a long, rambling rant, mostly about the environment and over-population. Darwin’s name appears in it twice — each time in connection with Malthus and over-population.

Contrary to the delusions of both Lee and the Discoveroids — who have clearly embraced Lee as their current poster boy — restraining human population growth is something Darwin specifically opposed. We quoted some of Darwin’s writings to that effect here: Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin. In that post, among other Darwin quotations, we gave you this, from Chapter 21 of The Descent of Man:

Hence our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means. There should be open competition for all men; and the most able should not be prevented by laws or customs from succeeding best and rearing the largest number of offspring.

In other words, Lee knew nothing about Darwin’s ideas; he was just babbling. So what can we say about the Discoveroids, who blame Lee’s rampage on Darwin? The first thing to be said is that they’re wrong — obviously and hopelessly wrong — but that’s nothing new. The second thing is that their obsession with Lee seems to be growing worse.

After we posted about the Discoveroids’ furious burst of Lee = Darwinism activity, they’ve continued on their downward slide. In addition to what we mentioned earlier, they subsequently posted More on the Darwin (and Obama) Angles in the Discovery Channel Hostage Episode. That one was by Klinghoffer, and we won’t bother with it because we’re temporarily bored with writing about him.

But it doesn’t end there. Today they’ve posted James Lee Was Disturbed, but What Happens When an Entire Culture Embraces Social Darwinism? It’s by John West (whom we affectionately call “Westie”). He’s not only a “Senior Fellow,” he’s also Associate Director of the Discoveroids’ Center for Science and Culture, which consumes almost half of the Discoveroids’ $4 million budget (see Their 2007 Tax Return). That makes Westie one of the chief Keepers of their notorious wedge strategy.

Westie’s latest post is only a single paragraph, so we won’t bother quoting any of it. Click over there to read it if you’re curious. As his title indicates, he asks what would happen if the whole culture thought as James Lee thought. Frankly, dear reader, that’s an amazingly silly question, but to the Discoveroids it’s truly profound.

Now you understand why, as we said at the start of this post, we’re getting worried about those people.

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8 responses to “Discovery Institute’s James Lee Fever Intensifies

  1. Gee, what would the world be like if everybody thought like Westie and the Disco Tutes?

    Oh, wait a sec, we already did that. It was called the Twelfth Century.

  2. Let’s see, we now have Chapman, Klinghoffer and West in the “orgy.” Let me know when Luskin joins in.

  3. I always knew that insanity was inherited. You get it from your inbred Discoveroids.

  4. In other words, Lee knew nothing about Darwin’s ideas; he was just babbling. So what can we say about the Discoveroids, who blame Lee’s rampage on Darwin?

    Yeah, but Darwinism only exists to deny God, and denying God is the only real evil (just read the Bible, there’s almost no “other evil” that isn’t commanded by God).

    That’s why West easily slides from the obvious self-serving societal distortion and misuse of real science that is called “Social Darwinism” to attacking “Darwin Day” and to the Godwinesque tripe “What hath Darwin Wrought?” It isn’t about Darwin at all, it’s about the only evil being the denial of God (lying certainly isn’t a problem for them), which effectively is easier with evolution than without it. Hence evolution is evil, and lying about it is sanctified.

    And they are very sanctimonious DI fellows.

  5. Why not strive for a ridiculous consistency, eh? Darwin was opposed to the concept of “social Darwinism,” too. That was the point of his comments in Descent of Man — Darwin furiously disagreed with Spencer’s claims that, among humans, “survival of the fittest” meant the poor to be inferior, and the rich superior. (Oddly democratic view from Darwin, considering his riches were inherited at the start.)

    So, Darwin was opposed to eugenics as the Discoveroids understand it, and he was opposed to “social Darwinism” as the Discoveroids understand it, and as they practice it (which may be opposed to how they understand it in some cases).

    If they had any sense, they’d celebrate Darwin for those areas in which they agree with his positions. Wait till they discover Darwin was opposed to racism and slavery . . .

  6. Interestingly, I haven’t had any response from my e-mail to them.

  7. To be fair, Darwin’s reasoning here sounds a bit like Social Darwinism:

    “Hence our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means. There should be open competition for all men; and the most able should not be prevented by laws or customs from succeeding best and rearing the largest number of offspring.”

    Darwin is arguing against restrictions on population growth on the grounds that the “most able” will/should produce the most children. Social Darwinism takes that idea a lot further than Darwin did, though. I’m certainly not saying that Darwin was a Social Darwinist; he was not; but there are certain points they can agree on, while totally disagreeing on the bigger picture.

    Mr. Lee doesn’t sound like either a “Darwinist”, or even a Social Darwinist. A “Darwinist” is simply someone who acknowledges the fact of evolution; it doesn’t follow that someone who believes in evolution is a Social Darwinist. What Mr. Lee is, is a very deranged Malthusian. Whereas a Social Darwinist would want to restrict the reproduction of the “less able” and promote the reproduction of the “more able”, modern Neo-Malthusians, if we can call them that, don’t care about evolution or Social Darwinism at all and simply want to reduce population growth, period, without regard to “more able” or “less able” in the population.

    In short the Neo-Malthusians believe, or reason as though, that all people are interchangeable (all are equally mouths to feed, equal cogs in the machine with no specialized value) and it is simply a matter of reducing the numbers of people. In that sense they are the exact opposite of Social Darwinists, who go to the opposite extreme of classifying people on some kind of scale of worth.

    “Darwinism” or evolution, as a science, doesn’t make value judgments about the worth of people or whether large population growth is desirable or not. These are “ought” questions, which may be true or false, good or bad, but are beyond the reach of evolution as a science, which is only concerned with “is”. For instance “some groups have higher IQ than others” is an answer to an “is” question; whereas “we should promote the reproduction of high IQ people and reduce the reproduction of low IQ people” is an answer to an “ought” question, and thus, not a truly scientific question at all, whether one thinks it a good or a bad answer (an answer to a question that Mr. Lee in his rambling manifesto doesn’t seem to be at all concerned about, anyway).

    When Darwin is speaking as a scientist and answering “is” questions, then if he is wrong that has an impact on evolution as a theory. When Darwin is speaking personally about “ought” questions, even if he is totally wrong that has no impact on evolution as a theory. So even if Darwin believed that the most able “ought” to have more children than the less able, that has no impact on evolution as a theory. If Darwin is saying the most able do have more children, that is an answer to an “is” question, and can be scientifically tested (it might have been true in the past, but it certainly is not true now, IMO). If he is saying they “ought” to, that is a value discussion and not a scientific one.

    So, which Lee should we discuss? The real Lee, the Neo-Malthusian who wants to reduce the human population? Or the Disco-toot’s Lee who is a “Darwinian” or Social Darwinist? They don’t seem to understand the distinction, and confound the two. The kind of “world we would live in” would be radically different depending on which Lee you choose. I can see lots of problems with either, but it does not follow that these are our only choices, and that being bad choices, we should go back instead to the Disco-toot’s preferred world, that of the Dark Ages.

  8. Gabriel Hanna

    The point of asking “what would society be like if everyone thought this way” is to invoke the categorical imperative, which is Kant’s system for deriving a moral law. For example, we can say that stealing is wrong because no one would want to live in a society where everyone is stolen from, even thieves wouldn’t like it.

    It’s a respectable philosophical tradition, but all you could ever prove from it is that if Lee was a Darwinist it’s wrong to be a Darwinist–which of course is not scientific reasoning, because Darwinism is still true, or not, regardless.

    Discovery Institute is not even pretending to care about science these days.