They’re so desperate at the Discovery Institute that they’ll seize anything, grasp at any straw, in order to promote their “theory” of intelligent design. You gotta give the Discoveroids credit for one thing — they’re unrestrained in their quest for evidence.
Today at their creationist blog we find Thomas Nagel’s Evolutionary Critique, on London Theatrical Stage? It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger.
Who is the Thomas Nagel mentioned in Klinghoffer’s title? He’s a philosopher of whom most of you never heard, who recently — presumably upon entering his dotage — became enamored with the supernatural, and therefore said some kind words about the Discoveroids’ “theory.” The first time we wrote about him was more than five years ago: Discovery Institute: How They Spent Kitzmas.
Now it appears that someone has written a play in which one of the characters espouses Nagel’s viewpoint. This is a big deal for the Discoveroids, so Klinghoffer is writing about it. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
… I read about the new Tom Stoppard play The Hard Problem, now at London’s National Theatre, which dramatizes a familiar clash of ideas in the person of a God-believing psychology undergrad student, Hilary, and her Dawkins-like academic supervisor, Spike, who’s also her lover.
The playwright presumably chose those names with care. The student is Hillary — a name with unavoidable connotations, suggesting that she’s sensitive, caring, and intelligent; while the “Dawkins-like academic” is Spike — a name that reeks of harshness, cruelty, and unthinking dogmatism. Not much subtlety there. Then Klinghoffer says:
The “hard problem” [in the play’s title] refers to the difficulty, given materialist premises, of accounting for how meat in the form of the brain can give rise to mind.
The Discoveroids have a long history of pointing to consciousness as something at “materialist Darwinism” is unable to explain, so it must be a gift from the intelligent designer — blessed be he! The first time we wrote about it was Discovery Institute Revives Mind-Body Dualism. Back to Klinghoffer:
For Hilary, consciousness is the dilemma on which purely materialist science unravels. Leroi [a friend of the playwrght] professes not to know on which side of the debate Stoppard comes down, whether in denying the Darwinian model (as Nagel does), or with Dawkins in affirming it.
But the audience is already preconditioned to sympathize with sweet Hillary in her conflict with the brutally-named Spike. Let’s read on:
The hostility of some of the reviews Stoppard has received would suggest that the reviewers sense Stoppard is more sympathetic to Nagel, and that such sympathy is not allowed.
That’s obviously due to the wicked influence of the Darwinists! Klinghoffer continues:
The play doesn’t directly mention intelligent design — for whose theorists the atheist philosopher Nagel has expressed admiration, earning him denunciations across academia. But Stoppard’s protagonist Hilary says at one point that she’s working on a paper whose equations cast doubt on aspects of human evolution and specifically whether the conventional account allows sufficient time for it.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! A fictional character in a play says “she’s working on” some equations. Wowie — that’s evidence for intelligent design! Here’s more:
By the end, she has announced that she is making plans to continue her research and studies at New York University — where, the audience may or may not realize, Nagel himself teaches. That is sly on Stoppard’s part. Nagel is not cited by name, but he is in the program notes.
Everything about this play seems exquisitely subtle. Moving along:
I’m unaware of plans to mount the play in Seattle, so I don’t anticipate getting to see it anytime soon. However it sounds like a thoughtful and critical consideration of evolutionary themes.
Yes, it’s a thoughtful play — about as thoughtful as one in which Jack the Ripper is portrayed as having been influenced by Darwin. Here’s the end of Klinghoffer’s little essay:
Well, it’s easier for a famous playwright like Stoppard to go off the reservation on these issues, for the same reason it’s easier for a distinguished philosopher like Nagel. You reach a certain pinnacle of achievement in your field, and you no longer have to worry about sniping colleagues or tottering status. It’s a nice thing about being venerable. You can say what you want.
So there you are, dear reader. A “venerable” playwright has dared to say what he wanted to say, and he’s not worried about the sniping of Darwinists. It’s a story that will bring tears of joy to every creationist’s eyes. And it will bring satisfaction to the Discoveroids’ generous patrons, who will see this as evidence that that their largesse is paying off, because the Discoveroids are penetrating the popular culture. Exciting, isn’t it?
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