Klinghoffer: John West Praises Alfred Wallace

The fun never stops at the Discovery Institute. Look at this one: John West on Alfred Wallace and the Road Not Taken.

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. But this time we’re not using our “Slasher” graphic because Klinghoffer is praising John West, whom we affectionately call “Westie.” Westie is now President of the Discovery Institute, and he was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award.

Klinghoffer says, with bold font added by us:

Sadly it’s behind a paywall, otherwise I’d simply tell you to go read our colleague John West’s terrific essay in First Things, “The Church of Darwin.” West recounts some of the terrible currents in thought outside science that have flowed from Darwin’s theory. But he also shows that it didn’t have to be that way.

Ooooooooooh — there are “terrible currents” outside of science that have flowed from Darwin’s theory. We know all about that. Klinghoffer has already posted a series of essays attempting to link Charles Darwin to: Hitler, and communism, and Stalin, and the Columbine shootings, and Charles Manson, and the Ft. Hood Massacre, and Mao Tse-tung, and Dr. Josef Mengele.

Let’s find out what “terrible currents” Westie has linked to Darwin. We’re told:

At the inception of the theory of evolution, Darwin and co-discoverer Alfred Russel Wallace represented two paths forward, one headed in the end to nihilism, atheism, and despair — basically, today’s ascendant culture — the other to a wondrous and hope-giving recognition that material stuff is not all there is in the universe.

[*Curmudgeon dashes to the bathroom to heave mightily*] Wow! Darwin’s path leads to nihilism, atheism, and despair. Wallace’s path, on the other hand, leads to the glorious wonderland of mysticism. As you know, the Discoveroids have seized upon some writings by Wallace late in his life and have claimed him as one their own — see Discoveroids Adopt Alfred Wallace as Godfather.

Klinghoffer then gives us a big quote from Westie’s article. We’ll skip it. After that he tells us:

Let that sink in. If the co-discoverer of evolutionary theory were alive today, he would be attacked by the National Center for Science Education as a “creationist.”

We don’t know what to call Wallace’s later writings, which he produced when he was deep in his dotage. But his earlier work was admirable. Let’s read on:

John West observes that much of what we think of as “evolution” is perfectly compatible with a recognition of intelligent design in biology (not to mention cosmology). I would say that ID is a theory of evolution, just not a Darwinian one.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Similarly, the stork theory is a theory of reproduction, just not …. ah well. Klinghoffer then mentions Thomas Nagel, a philosopher who, like Wallace, has descended into mysticism. He says:

Dr. West sees in Nagel a reason for optimism that the path traced by Wallace is not lost: [another big quote from Westie’s article].

Optimism? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! One day, dear reader, when you are old and unable to leave your bed, and your nurse has you strapped to a bed pan, along with other infirmities you may find your powers of reason failing. If that fate should befall you, then you too can follow the path traced by Wallace. Klinghoffer finishes with this inspirational paragraph:

It’s a sign of the times, an indication of the intellectual impoverishment of journalism and academia, that Darwin advocates are currently triumphant in convincing so many thoughtful people that evolution means Darwin, period, that Darwin is the only alternative to that ill-defined scare word, “creationism.” First Things deserves applause and thanks for reminding its readers that there is another way.

We’re not sure what that was all about, other then to announce that the Discoveroids have found a website willing to publish their material. It’s not much of an accomplishment, but we can’t blame them for bragging about it. What else have they got?

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

10 responses to “Klinghoffer: John West Praises Alfred Wallace

  1. michaelfugate

    One can read a review of Christian Astronomer Owen Gingerich’s “God’s Planet” by Christian Physicist Stephen Barr at First Things even if not Westie’s stellar scholarship…..

    Barr ends with this paragraph

    Now, however, we seem to be entering a new era. Many of the most interesting and fundamental questions that science has stimulated are ­unlikely to be decidable by new data: Was there something before the Big Bang? Did the universe have a beginning? Do we live in a multiverse? Is the universe infinitely large? Are the laws of nature fine-tuned for life? Are there other intelligent species in the universe? How did the “transition to the spiritual” occur? Increasingly, one finds science lapping over its seawalls. Indeed, in some areas, the boundary between science and speculation has been entirely washed away. Science began with philosophical speculation twenty-five centuries ago, and it seems likely that it will end in the same place.

    Methinks Barr needs to get out more. Seriously, more data because we develop new methods of collecting data won’t help. Can anyone say “God o’ the Gaps”!

  2. Westie is possibly the best illustrator amongst the DI pantheon that the real ‘Controversy’ isn’t a fight between Science and Religion, it’s actually betwixt Science and Politics. Or more precisely, between Science and reactionary politics.

    It has always been manifest that the Discoveroids have no interest whatsoever in Science, and they love to claim they don’t have a specifically religious agenda (e.g. they love to point out how amongst their ‘Fellows’ are both Christians and Jews)–and I actually think this is actually a relatively honest claim, as far as it goes.

    But their real driver is the desire for political control, and insofar as they are ‘theocrats’, that’s only about using religion as the basis for centralised and authoritarian governance.

    The sad thing, in the United States, is the degree to which the once-respectable Republican Party has given sanctuary and encouragement to these reactionary crazies. More than sad; it’s dangerous.

  3. “Atheism and despair?”

    Westie should try it sometime… I know my life brightened considerably when I realized religion was untrue. It’s refreshing to lean that there is no supernatural slave-master to torment me for all eternity for thinking that women are equals, slavery should be forbidden, people should not be killed for minor transgressions, etc.

    I’ve also saved a lot of money over the years and have been able to do productive things on Sunday mornings, including just sleeping in from time to time.

    No, Kling, Westie is wrong – there is no connection between atheism and despair, at least for those who are actually atheist.

  4. @Megalonyx
    I tend to agree that it is a political issue. But I don’t know but that religion is often a sort of politics. In certain countries, a particular religion is identified with the nation. (And I include certain Christian varieties – it isn’t just a Middle Eastern thing.)

  5. docbill1351

    Well, the good news is that old Westie published his dreck on the First Things website hosted by the obscure Institute on Religion and Public Life, and gooder news is that it’s pay for view or by subscription. The likelihood of a sane person stumbling on Westies barf is miniscule. All upside from what I can tell!

  6. michaelfugate

    But it is only worth a $1.99!

  7. No, $1.99 is the price. It is worth much less, at least to me.

    In fact, they’d have to pay me to read it.

  8. West doesn’t rate his own Wikipedia entry. Tell us more about him. He describes himself in his masterly rebuttal of Judge Jones’ Kitzmiller ruling (http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=1186) as at Claremont Graduate University, no position stated.

  9. I would also comment that Wallace was, from his youth, a Socialist, and that since Kropotkin there have been evolutionary biologists writing about the fitness advantages of cooperation. But I can’t see the DI mentioning either of these alternatives to their parody of Darwin.

  10. So they’re back to openly promoting religion and openly acting as a religious center? Just two weeks ago they were talking about how that was just a false conception from people being confused by the Darwin Libby.