Thursday, February 10, 2005

Designer Impostors

Unlike your typical "whiny liberal," I loathe The New York Times. I loathe the Times' precious, mealy-mouthed prose,
delusions of gravitas, and overall cowardly reportage. Gone the way of Woody Allen -- a once great-ish, now wrinkly ol' shadow of his former self, an incestuous, self-referential, "Kierkegaard"-dropping -every - ten - minutes - without - having - read - him, clarinet-noodling fossil -- if the Times were once the bar at the Algonquin, it is now the Barnes and Noble in Columbus Circle, or -- let's face it -- the IKEA cafe in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

I digress.

This bit of malarkey from Michael Behe, one of the proponents of the "Intelligent Design" movement's so-called argument against evolution, appeared in the Op-Ed section on Monday. It is a completely vacuous bricolage of assertions, culminating in what is essentially "well, basically a lot of people who have no truck with this science mumbo-jumbo think someone designed the planet, so there you go, Mr. Science Men!" It pissed me off, but mostly because of who Mr. Behe's "fellows" are. So, I did what I have never done before: in lieu of bitching or blogging, I actually wrote (and sent!) a letter to the editor:

Michael J. Behe asserts that "intelligent design is not a religiously
based idea, even though devout people opposed to the teaching of
evolution cite it in their arguments."

That may be, but it's a pretty disingenuous statement coming from a
research fellow for the Discovery Institute, the organization whose
mission statement proclaims that the Institute "seeks nothing less
than the overthrow of materialism ... and to replace it with a science
consonant with Christian and theistic convictions."

Where is the press release from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories
renewing their commitment to the "materialist agenda?" I suspect the
staff has been too occupied with actual scientific research, in
accordance with the scientific method -- the same scientific method
taught alongside evolution in Catholic schools -- to draft such a

Lillet Langtry
Brooklyn, February 5, 2005

I figured the Times would get a zillion letters about this, and might not print mine, given the likelihood that several people might conceiveably make this obvious point w/r/t the intellectual bankruptcy of that fucking Op-Ed in two paragraphs instead of three.

They didn't publish my letter. No problem! But look at the 8 letters that they DID publish -- not ONE addresses that having a "Fellow" from the Discovery Institute provide the DL on DI is as appropriate as inviting Jocelyn Wildenstein to be the keynote speaker at a conference on "Celebrating Your Natural Beauty" given by the American Plastic Surgeons' Association.

Ooops! Did I just scoop next Sunday's Styles?


Blogger Mika said...

Whoohoo! You go, gurl! I know how it feels to not get a letter printed and to resort to secondary publication on yer blog. Hey, that's what the blog is for! To print what the mainstream press suppresses.

You make an excellent point.

In case you're not familiar with The Panda's Thumb, it has a wonderful, sentence-by-sentence dismantling of the Behe inanity.

Also, Chris Mooney, whose blog is always good for anti-ID and anti-anti-global-warming fuming, notices the poor taste of timing the publication of Behe's op-ed as though marking Mayr's death by it.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Mika said...

Oh, also, regarding your absolutely on-target trashing of the NYT, I hope you're a regular reader of Bob Somerby's The Daily Howler. If not you are so in for a fabulous treat! Definitely read back in his incomparable archives!

12:10 AM  
Blogger Pawn of the Hudson Delta said...

Karl Popper the philosopher of Science said somewhere that it doesn't matter at all where a theory comes from in terms of inspiration or the like (which I take to include strange religious agendas), but only that it testable. So I don't tend to buy the flack over Intelligient Designs motives-- from a scientific point of view at least.

Your mention of Catholic school made me think of St. Thomas Aquinas who basically said that it was impossible to prove that world has not always been here-- and to say that you could prove scientifically that the world was created from nothing was actually in someway a denial of the faith, since the notion of creation was an article of faith not accessible by unaided human reason.

9:11 PM  

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