The Incredible Wisdom of Discoveroid John West

This one is unbelievably exciting. We found it at the creationist blog of the Discovery Institute, and it’s titled John West: Darwin’s Corrosive Idea. It has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

On a classic episode of ID the Future [Ooooooooooooh! A Discoveroid podcast!], catch the first half of a public talk by political scientist John West on how Darwinism has poisoned Western culture.

Wowie — a lecture by John West (whom we affectionately call “Westie”). Wikipedia describes him as: “a senior fellow at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute (DI), and associate director and vice president for public policy and legal affairs of its Center for Science and Culture (CSC), which serves as the main hub of the pseudoscientific Intelligent design movement.” Let’s find out what the Discoveroids say:

In the lecture, delivered at the Dallas Conference on Science and Faith, West explores how Darwin’s purely materialistic theory of evolution [Purely materialistic? Yuk!] drained meaning from nature [Drained supernatural meaning, presumably], undercut the idea of inherent human dignity [What?], and fueled the rise of scientific racism in the 20th century.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We’ve written about Westie’s claims before — see Was Darwin the Most Evil Man Who Ever Lived?

After that the Discoveroids tell us:

West is author of Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science.

That’s thrilling. Here’s the book at amazon. It was published in 2007. And now we come to the end of the Discoveroids’ glorious post:

Download the podcast or listen to it here. [Link omitted!]

Okay, dear reader — what more could you possibly want? Watch the podcast, buy the book, and then spend the rest of your life as a devoted fan of the Discoveroids. Verily, a life well lived!

Copyright © 2022. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

19 responses to “The Incredible Wisdom of Discoveroid John West

  1. Off topic:
    A news item says that June 29 was 1.59 milliseconds short, making it the shortest day ever observed. Apparently recently there have been many short days. The Earth is spinning faster. And there might be a cause for subtracting, rather than adding, a “leap second”.

  2. Inherent human dignity was so abundant before Darwin came along that the term “baddies” was never invented until the Mitchell and Webb era of the 21st century.

  3. chris schilling

    Westie argues for the privileged status of humans over our animal cousins (while pretending to rail against racism). How is speciesism any more preferable to racism? Fact is, man is the Great Despoiler, God or no; given enough time, unless checked, people will wreck most natural beauty.

    Darwin helped destroy our illusions about our uniqueness as divinely created beings. Westie still hasn’t grown up — he wants to preserve those illusions. And he hates Darwin, not racism. Racism is just a pretext to bash Darwin.

  4. The immediate reaction to “On the Origin of Species” was the monkey-man link, although Darwin didn’t write about that, not until much later.
    And as long ago as Cicero, the similarity of monkeys to man was noted.

  5. “West explores how Darwin’s purely materialistic theory of evolution”

    Now I know how creationists feel when someone says that if a theory is supernatural then it is a ridiculous theory. West’s position is the opposite: If a theory is not supernatural, then it is a ridiculous theory. Intuitively, West’s version sounds inane compared to the first version. Therefore, going by the Intelligent Design standard of if it’s intuitive then it’s true, West needs to look in the dictionary under the word “inanity” and put his own picture there.

  6. The legal precedent for if West should put his picture under the word “inanity” in the dictionary:

    “aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial.” –Judge John E. Jones III

  7. If Darwin wouldn’t have written his book, it would have been called Wallace’s Theory. That’s the beauty of science, individual scientists are unimportant because somebody else would have explained the phenomenon under investigation, sooner or later. This distinguishes science from art. Nobody would have written the B-minor mass if Bach wouldn’t have existed.

    Secondly, why does he insist on “Darwin’s purely materialistic theory of evolution”. The majority of Christians have no problem in seeing evolution as guided by God. Why does West insist on bringing in the supernatural?
    The answer, in my opinion, is that these guys want to have a “scientific proof” for the supernatural.

  8. Dave Luckett

    Uh-huh. Darwin’s explanation for the origin of the species is to be excoriated and abjured, not because it is wrong, but because it has implications that John West dislikes. Ri-ight.

    John West can give lectures and write books about his pet peeves. Sure he can, and why not? What’s to stop him? Certainly not reason or rational cause, let alone some kind of law or secret cabal of scientific illuminati. Thus, this podcast.

    It’s twenty minutes long, and only the first half of this particular harangue. “Harangue” is a term from French cuisine, meaning a meringue flavoured with gall, wormwood and rue, served flat, resembling a cowpat. For some reason, the dish never caught on at Versailles.

    But onward! After establishing his aesthetic credentials and credibility as a family man by describing his emotional response to seeing, with his daughter, the night sky from a high, dark place, West tells us that the young Charles Darwin “wanted to study the eco-systems of the world”. when he volunteered to join HMS Beagle on what turned out to be a circumnavigation, in 1833. Yes, well. This would not be the last time that West lumbers Darwin with a much later concept.

    After getting off a sneer at Darwin’s loss of awe at the sheer complexity of nature once a natural law provided a rational explanation of it, West concedes that science, including (alas!) Darwinian evolution, has contributed greatly to our world-view. But “It’s not just an ivory-tower thing” says West. “Ideas have consequences:”

    There follows an attempt to attack a fact-based theory by false assertions of its consequences. That is, not only is such an attack invalid in itself, because it is irrelevant to the facts, but the alleged implications are also false.

    Darwin did not say that we humans are “just animals”. He said we are animals, which we undeniably are: deuterostome eukaryotes that must ingest other eukaryote tissue in order to live. The word “just” inserted in that phrase is not Darwin’s. It is an imposition of West and his ilk, and it immediately contradicts their claim to be in a superior state of awe on contemplating nature. It demonstrates their underlying contempt for it.

    We are animals, members of a class of living things more complex, more varied and more intricate than anything else in the known Universe; and we have also developed intelligence, technology and culture to a far greater extent than any other. There is no “just”. Inserting that word turns a fact into a lie.

    The rest is a boring, prolix and tedious regurgitation of the usual DI talking points. “Scientific” racism, Ernst Haeckel; Nazis, eugenics, euthanasia, genocide (including a long except from a film, which plays oddly in a sound-track of a lecture). But the film is about the attempt at genocide in German South-west Africa by the German army – which was all the fault of Darwin, of course. And then we get to abortion, which is again the fruit of “Darwinism”.

    It goes on and on, a ridiculously extended argumentum ad consequentiam, using utterly false “consequences”. That some extremists have seized on those false consequences to support their own agenda is part and parcel of the same falsehood. So they have, in some cases, and they are just as wrong, on both grounds.

    And that is all. There is not the slightest attempt to argue that Darwin’s theory is false to fact. The podcast is a complete scientific void. West might as well argue that the theory of gravity must be abjured because it causes infants to fall to their deaths.

    No, actually, it’s worse than that. It doesn’t even rise to that height. West is actually arguing that the theory of gravity must be abjured because it implies that men are better than women because on average men weigh more. It’s that stupid.

  9. @hans435
    There were those in Darwin’s day who preferred that the direct action of God be the explanation for the changes, rather than natural selection acting on variation with no goals. Darwin needed to account for the lack of direction for evolution. No “ladder of being”. A species evolves by being successful only to go extinct eventually. Does God change his goals?
    Can one point to “act of God” meaning something like “random” or “pointless”?

  10. @Dave Luckett
    More influential for German abuse of science in the early 20th century was Robert Koch. Hitler mentions Koch by name (apparently, H never mentions Darwin), favorably, saying that he would be the Koch of politics. And Koch, himself, was not a particularly innocent tool, although Koch was. dead before the Nazis. (But the institute bearing his name was active in the horrors.)
    I mention this because whatever evil connections there were to Koch’s ideas, no one would say that the germ theory of disease is mistaken.

  11. hans435 notes:

    Nobody would have written the B-minor mass if Bach wouldn’t have existed.

    Richard Dawkins, writing in last Saturday’s Guardian:

    Bach was a genius. When there was some talk about what to send into space as a sort of advertisement for humanity, one scientist–I forget who–suggested the complete works of Bach, but then said, “But that would be boasting.”

  12. Für Elise is the only not boring Beethoven song because it sounds like Bach.

  13. Ted Herrlich

    His little book is ranked #470,240 in Books on Amazon. I wonder how the DI will spin this to make it sound like a best seller? It might be hard with nearly a half a million books selling better. I guess the DI didn’t buy enough to get a better rating.

  14. From Jeopardy:

    A. A person nobody ever heard of.

    Q. Who is John West?

  15. @ docbill1351: Sorry, but no, that’s not the case.

    In the UK, we are deeply familiar with the fishy smell of the man, particularly from John West tuna

  16. docbill1351

    Ah, yes, fridge pot tuna … my favorite!

    Also purveyors, as I recall, of Sweet Fanny Adams tinned mutton.

  17. @Megalonyx
    That was the biologist Lewis Thomas. When he was asked what message he thought mankind should take to other civilizations in space, he replied, “I would send the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach…but that would be boasting.”

  18. @Richard
    “Für Elise is the only not boring Beethoven song because it sounds like Bach.”
    I wholeheartedly disagree with you! Beethoven has written some of the greatest music. But, unlike Bach, he has also written some trash. Für Elise is one example.

  19. Dave Luckett

    The Ninth, for example, I have always found somewhat overblown, but for that very reason, very suitable as the EU anthem.