Category Archives: Intelligent Design

The Folly of Economic Creationism

We found the perfect thing to stimulate you for the weekend, dear reader. It’s in the New York Post — the seventh-most-widely circulated newspaper in the United States, founded by Alexander Hamilton: Good ideas evolve, so how come liberals believe in ‘creationist’ government? The newspaper doesn’t have a comments feature — at least not for that article.

We love their headline! Your humble Curmudgeon has previously written a time or two about this subject, and whenever we do it seems to infuriate our readers. See Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand and Charles Darwin’s Natural Selection, where we said:

It has often been remarked that the theory of evolution, according to which life on earth evolves without the guidance of a designer, is remarkably similar to the way a free-enterprise economy develops, with each enterprise doing its best to prosper, yet without the “benefit” of a centralized planner.

And in one of our favorite posts, Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Barack Obama, we said:

We suggest that Silicon Valley emerged in the complete absence of any stimulus package. Indeed, it probably emerged because there was no such package. Silicon Valley’s nurturing environment was a mix of entrepreneurial activity, venture capital financing, and an unregulated market. What we now know as Silicon Valley emerged without centralized planning — there was no “intelligent designer.”

Darwin’s undirected mechanism of natural selection is strikingly analogous to the free enterprise economy described by Adam Smith, who wrote:

[E]very individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. … [H]e intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.

But you already know what your Curmudgeon thinks. Let’s see what the New York Post says about this subject. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

We know where humanity came from: It evolved incrementally, from the bottom up, amid much trial and error, not via the top-down efforts of an all-wise creator who anticipated every contingency and meticulously planned out every last detail. So why do we assume government, business and the economy operate this way?

We are in the throes of Curmudgeonly ecstasy — finally, someone in the press (Kyle Smith is the New York Post‘s film critic) is asking the right question! He quotes a lot from a book by Matt Ridley, who is “a longtime editor for The Economist.” Ridley’s book is The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge (Amazon listing). Smith tells us:

Far from searching for gods to explain every development, we should instead turn our attention to the smallest factors, many of them invisible. “When we find human culture being well adapted to solve human problems,” Ridley writes, “we tend to assume that this is because some clever person designed it with that end in mind. So we tend to give too much credit to whichever clever person is standing nearby at the right moment.”

Then there’s a long discussion of George Washington’s victory at Yorktown, and how it was really an outbreak of malaria among the British troops that forced Cornwallis to surrender to Washington. We never heard of that, and it’s not important for our purposes here. Let’s read on:

The Internet is a similar story; Al Gore and Barack Obama brag that the government created it. The truth is that it wasn’t until government got out of the way that what was once the Arpanet, a Pentagon creation, evolved into the Internet. “If you really want to see the Arpanet as the origin of the Internet,” Ridley asks, “please explain why the government sat on it for 30 years and did almost nothing with it until it was effectively privatized in the 1990s, with explosive results.”

Until 1989, the government actually prohibited Arpanet from being used for private or commercial ends. Ridley quotes a handbook distributed to MIT users of the Arpanet that read, in the 1980s, “sending electronic messages over the Arpanet for commercial profit or political purposes is both antisocial and illegal.”

That’s accurate history. Then he gives an example we like even better:

Consider the divergence of South Korea and Ghana, two countries that had about the same per capita income as recently as 1950. One chose trade, the other picked aid. Aid creates lots of fun jobs for central planners who use people like chess pieces and figure out how to distribute the wealth from the top, whereas trade simply allows for wealth to rise up from the bottom. Aid, it turns out, is simply an unsustainable solution to poverty, and today South Korea has about 10 times the per-capita income of Ghana. South Korea has become one of the richest and most technologically advanced countries in the world since it embraced free trade in the 1950s.

Nicely said. We’ve written about even more persuasive examples in a post which drove all of you crazy: Creationism or Socialism: Which is Dumber? After discussing Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, where he sailed down the Ohio River and described the differences between Ohio and Kentucky which were due solely to slavery, we said:

There are “Petri dish” examples which can be profitably studied regarding side-by-side societies in which the sole difference is socialism. The one which today is most striking is North and South Korea. What would Tocqueville make of a journey between them along the 38th Parallel? Several other examples have existed and are still worth studying: East and West Germany being a good one. Do today’s “social scientists” ever undertake such studies?

That’s enough of the Curmudgeon’s writing. Let’s continue with the New York Post article. This is where it gets good:

Fans of state intervention in the economy — call them government creationists — insist on giving as much power as possible to an all-wise, all-powerful daddy figure whom they elect to, for instance, “fix” climate change or health care with a top-down agenda restricting innovation and imposing ever-more regulations. Their enemy is experimentation, incremental change — evolution.

“Government creationists” — what a great phrase! Here’s the end of the article:

Their intelligent designs turn out to be incredibly stupid in practice, and for their failures the central planners expect to be rewarded with more and more power. As British politician Douglas Carswell says in “The End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy,” planners “consistently underrate the importance of spontaneous, organic arrangements and fail to recognize that the best plan is often not to have one.”

So there you are. That may have ruined your weekend, but it was great for us. Now, if it’ll make you feel better, go ahead and argue for government creationism. Your Curmudgeon is amazingly tolerant.

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

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Creationist Wisdom #639: Total Confusion

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Register-Herald of Beckley, West Virginia — proudly known as “The Gateway to Southern West Virginia.” It’s titled Religion indicted; it’s not a practical joke. The newspaper has a comments feature.

Because today’s writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Lonnie. The gender of that name is ambiguous, but we’ll assume Lonnie is male. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

The idea that the extraordinary letter which has been called just “inflammatory rhetoric,” leaving the author nameless (how sweet) and thus neutered in his wild bid for fame, is thought by some to be an elaborate practical joke (since it was prior to a season of jokes). Cursed by a perverted and sinister sense of humor and angst, this epistle has no doubt been consigned to the flames of Hell, or at least to File 13.

What “extraordinary letter” is Lonnie talking about? He describes it a bit more:

This assertion, that dear Religion merits a “bullet to the back of the head,” is both shocking and even monstrous. After all, what terrible things has it done? Only an unspecified murder of millions, the spreading of ignorance and fibs to billions of children, and the setting back of science at least 2,500 years. Yes, war criminals have been charged with much less! But we’re Religion!

We used that “bullet to the back of the head” phrase to locate the earlier letter — Several ideas ought to bite the dust. Much to our surprise, the author isn’t nameless. Lonnie was the author of that one too, so he appears to be defending what he wrote earlier. Both letters are bizarre, chaotic, and sometimes contradictory, which causes us to believe that Lonnie is strangely troubled. But you can make your own judgment, dear reader. Let’s read on in today’s letter:

How can so few overrule the majority?

Lonnie doesn’t specify who the “few” are who overrule “the majority.” We must continue reading in order to find out what he’s talking about:

We control most of the radio stations, TV programs, magazines and books, and the social media 24/7. Yet they win some court rulings, their secular humanism has taken over Europe — and is invading America. Stephen Hawking and many other world-class minds say there is no God or gods. Oh, why can’t these evil people leave us alone? Why don’t they migrate to Mars or some asteroid? Then we can practice our beliefs with peace and love and in Jesus’ light.

Okay, it’s becoming clear. The “few” are the infernal atheists. But Lonnie’s earlier letter said that religion merits a “bullet to the back of the head.” Was he being sarcastic, or is he confused? Here’s more:

How can a grain of sand acquire eyes and ears, and understanding? How can something come out of nothing? Why should we trouble our heads over these relatively few doubting Thomases? They will all be whisked away on a whirlwind on Judgment Day!

Yes, those godless fools will get what’s coming to them! Moving along:

The greatest practical joke, the height of horror, is not to see the thing before our eyes. These walking, talking, breathing monsters are not werewolves, vampires or spirits of the dead. But daylight zombies, soulless and sucking life from us believers; evil creatures that only resemble outwardly true humans. They prey on our children!

A wee bit extreme, but not a unique attitude. And now we come to the end:

They are a separate species co-evolving, co-breathing the same sweet air we are. They are real live Frankenstein monsters, or an invasion of Pod People! Or are they simply children with questions? Tell them a lie. Happy Halloween! Pat them on the head; send them to bed.

Lonnie is either tweaking the creationists, or he’s one of them, or he oscillates wildly back and forth between both viewpoints. Can you figure it out, dear reader?

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

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Post-Holiday Free Fire Zone

Mars is red,
Uranus is blue,
The Intelligent Designer,
Created you.

Traffic is down and news is scarce, so once again we need to entertain ourselves. Herewith we present a few random goodies, which may encourage you to add some of your own:

1: Louisiana continues to be the most creationist state in the country: Senator Ben Nevers Will Bring Legislative Experience to Chief of Staff. A few excerpts:

Governor-Elect John ‘Bel’ Edwards has tapped Democratic State Senator Ben Nevers to coordinate his transition team and be the administration Chief of Staff.


[Nevers was] the author of the now-controversial Louisiana Science Education Act in 2008, which opened the door for teaching creationism in public schools.

2: Creationism in Denmark — see Pair of Danish politicians plagued by scandal. Some excerpts:

Education Minister Esben Lunde Larsen was forced to respond to claims this week that he plagiarised parts of his Ph.D. dissertation. Larsen dismissed the accusations as “sloppiness at worst,” but has requested that the University of Copenhagen open an investigation.


The minister was accused earlier in November of giving misleading information on his C.V., when it emerged that he had studied at The Danish Bible Institute (Dansk Bibel-Institut), a religious institution not accredited in Denmark, between 2001-2006, and not at the University of Copenhagen as stated on his CV.

Larsen holds a PhD in theology and has not been bashful about the fact that he believes in God and creationism, which critics argue make him an unfit choice for his position.

3: Your Curmudgeon proudly announces that he has no friends on Facebook.

Okay, that’s the news. We now declare an Intellectual Free Fire Zone. You know the rules. Have at it!

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

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Thanksgiving at the Discovery Institute

This may ruin the holiday spirit for our American readers, but we can’t resist telling you about the latest at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog: What to Feel Thankful for on Thanksgiving? How About a Universe Minutely Tailored for You.

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. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

It’s a Thanksgiving custom with many families to go around the table and everyone has to say what he or she is especially thankful for. This puts everyone on the spot — perhaps that’s the point — and can be an occasion for awkwardness since some may feel more or less “blessed” than their dining companions.

We’ve never had a Thanksgiving like that, but if we were asked, we’d say that we’re thankful not to be a creationist. Anyway, Klinghoffer is on some kind of roll, so let’s see where he’s going:

But how about this? A reason to be thankful that equally encompasses every human being that has ever existed and will ever exist.

Gasp! Can there be such a thing? Let’s read on:

That’s the thesis advanced by biologist Michael Denton in the 33-mintue Discovery Institute documentary Privileged Species: The extraordinary fine-tuning of biology, chemistry, and physics powerfully testifies that the cosmos saw us coming from the beginning [link in the original]. Somehow, everything was set in place for creatures very much like ourselves.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] Klinghoffer continues:

Rather than argue about politics or sports — two other Thanksgiving staples — why not share Privileged Species with your friends and loved ones this holiday?

Will anyone be motivated to do such a thing? Here’s the end of Klinghoffer’s inspirational post:

There couldn’t be a more a persuasive case than the one Dr. Denton makes that human life is special and meaningful, and that its remarkable status in the universe is not just a matter of assertion but compelled by objective scientific evidence.

Hey — this looks to us like some kind of weird War on Thanksgiving! It’s an outrage!

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

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