The Discovery Institute has developed yet another scientific argument showing why their so-called theory of intelligent design is infinitely preferable to what they call “Darwinism.” As you might expect, the author of their latest post, Science and Culture, and a Tale of Two Cities, is David Klinghoffer, their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
New York Times columnist David Brooks is getting to be more and more interesting. … [H]e acknowledged that his writing of late has been increasingly focused on spiritual and moral matters. … [H]e worries about evidence of a pervasive relativism that is wreaking havoc on a segment of the culture identifiable by several key social markers, including their chaotic family and sexual lives.
This segment, he observes, mostly never made it past high school. Their college-educated counterparts enjoy, again for the most part, a much more orderly existence. It’s not a college degree, per se, that gives the other half a leg up. Brooks doesn’t say exactly this, but no doubt the kind of self-discipline needed to get that far as a student is also what makes it more likely that these folks live more productive lives. College is just an outward sign of that.
This isn’t terribly profound. Obviously, those who have no self-discipline are unlikely to succeed in life. What does Klinghoffer make of it? He says it’s all about Darwin. Watch and learn:
Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture is called that for a good reason. Revealing the nexus between science and culture — that there exists no “firewall” (in John West’s apt expression) between the two — is one of our central insights. If life arose and evolved through no design whatsoever but only by a meaningless, thoroughly materialist process of chaos and winnowing (mutation/selection), then humanity bears no special seal of dignity, no divine image. A human being under Darwinism is just another animal. It’s a notion bound to deeply influence a culture that embraces it.
See? Before Darwin and his pernicious influence, society had no problems. Klinghoffer gives us an example:
Sometimes, though, it helps to get out in the street. We are located in downtown Seattle, which can be a scary place. You’re surprised? You think of Seattle as home to Starbucks, Microsoft, Boeing, the Seahawks football franchise — symbols of an orderly, disciplined business culture. Those are all enterprises outside the downtown core which, more than any other city I’ve lived in, is a magnet for dysfunctional lives of exactly the kind that David Brooks writes about. I reviewed this social reality yesterday after work, when I took a slightly longer route through the streets to the underground bus tunnel.
As we’ve long suspected, the Discoveroids are located in in what Klinghoffer describes as “a scary place.” Let’s read on, as he describes his adventurous journey through downtown Seattle:
This is no skid row but the heart of the downtown shopping and business district. Yet at 5:30 pm, the sidewalks were filled with people who were neither on business nor doing any shopping. Aimless youths and aged panhandlers, of all races, they were loafing, and in a pervasively threatening way. Shouts, arguments, insults, vulgarities mixed with noxious, sickly clouds of pot smoke every few feet.
We know — it’s tempting to blame those conditions on the malignant vapors emitted by Discoveroid headquarters, but we shouldn’t jump to any conclusions. Klinghoffer sees things very differently:
A couple was slouching ahead of me, a young man with his hand prominently grasping his young lady’s rear end. They passed the entrance to a parking garage where a traffic cop was directing cars out onto the street. The youth turned to the officer and did a sort of obscene dance step in the cop’s face, then kept walking. The cop looked at him and gave a half-grimace. The open disrespect, right in front of a crowd of people, made me feel ashamed for the policeman. The powerlessness of that facial expression … there was not a thing he could do about it.
Gasp! How could such a vulgar atrocity occur within walking distance of Discoveroid headquarters? Klinghoffer continues:
The predominant picture of man we carry around in our head — whether a beast with an attitude problem, or the cherished product of intelligent design — matters deeply to any society. It would have to do so. But different groups of people can assimilate the evolutionary picture better, more safely, than others.
Huh? Surely the abominable teachings of evolution should have a universally degrading effect. How can some groups handle it better than others? Here’s more:
[Evolutionary biologist] David Barash’s students were admitted to the University of Washington in the first place because they had a successful, which is to say disciplined, high school experience. It’s a safe bet they have the habits needed to live productively despite the corrosive message from their teacher.
How is that possible? Surely, in Klinghoffer’s words, those students believe that they evolved due to “a meaningless, thoroughly materialist process of chaos” and that “humanity bears no special seal of dignity, no divine image.” What accounts for their successful behavior? Klinghoffer says:
As that same message filters out to other parts of population, through media and other channels, the effect could not help but be otherwise. Some segments of the culture digest the toxin without visible ill effects. Others are far more vulnerable to it. The successful demographic is the one responsible for distributing the toxin to the more vulnerable cohort. That’s exactly what many college students will grow up to do.
We still don’t understand. Is Klinghoffer subtly suggesting that there’s a — gasp! — racial component to this phenomenon? No, that can’t be it. Then why are the college students immune to the pernicious influence of Darwinism? To our great disappointment, Klinghoffer doesn’t offer an explanation. He concludes with this:
It’s a tale of two cities, two Seattles, very different from each other. David Barash [the evolutionary biologist] should take a walk through the streets of that other Seattle sometime to see the effects of demoralizing materialism outside his own classroom. David Brooks [the New York Times columnist] might take a look as well. To have his impressions, as a chronicler of moral crisis, would be fascinating.
Well! This certainly is a moral dilemma. It seems to us that if Klinghoffer is correct about the degrading effect of Darwinism, all of you evolutionists should be behaving like that “young man with his hand prominently grasping his young lady’s rear end.” Maybe that’s exactly what you’re doing. Klinghoffer says it’s the Darwinian thing to do.
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