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Berlinski – The Jew Who Dislikes Darwinism4 min read

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I just discovered this three part interview with David Berlinksi, and it is funny!  Well, if you are an Intelligent Design supporter.  I recommend the entire thing, but here’s some great quotes, especially his critique of Talk Reason and The Panda’s Thumb.

1. On the Darwinian Blogs (Talk Reason and Pandas Thumb)

I follow two [Darwinian blogs]: Talk Reason and The Panda’s Thumb, and I must say, I find them fascinating. Talk Reason is upscale and sober, and it gets good people to write for it: Mark Perakh, for example, or Andreas Bottrero. They make an effort to be fair. And yet the overwhelming impression conveyed by Talk Reason is a kind of insecure disgruntlement. It is the impression conveyed by men who suspect that the opinions they reject might just prove persuasive to men less intelligent than themselves, rather like a group of cigarette company executives complaining to one another about the irresponsible allegations that smoking is involved in the onset of various diseases. One of their listings is entitled The Art of ID Stuntmen. An interesting title, don’t you think? A stunt is, after all, something requiring a certain skill, and stunts are designed to fool those who view them. These five words convey an entire system of anxiety.

The Panda’s Thumb, on the other hand, is entirely low-market; the men who contribute to the blog all have some vague technical background – computer sales, sound mixing, low-level programming, print-shops or copy centers; they are semi-literate; their posts convey that characteristic combination of pustules and gonorrhea that one would otherwise associate with high-school toughs, with even the names – Sir Toejam, The Reverend Lenny Flank – suggesting nothing so much as a group of guys spending a great deal of time hanging around their basements running video games, eating pizzas, and jeering at various leggy but inaccessible young women.

Now if Talk Reason conveys an attitude of insecure and even worried superiority, The Panda’s Thumb conveys something quite different, and that is a deep, almost incoherent anger.

When you look at Talk Reason, you see a lot of smart but lazy and shallow people defending what they take to be important issues of principle in a way guaranteed to make their defense a perfect irrelevance. When you look at the Panda’s Thumb, you see an entire overlooked class demanding its right to be heard, and when given that right by the blog itself, having nothing whatsoever to say beyond a very touching demand that that right be accommodated.

2. On why the public believes ID (classic)

The ID movement in its attack on Darwinism has simply articulated what many people instinctively feel. Darwin’s theory is plain nuts. It is not supported by the evidence; it has no organizing principles; it is incoherent on its face; it flies against all common experience, and it is poisonous in its implications.

And another thing. It is easy to understand. Anyone can become an evolutionary biologist in an afternoon. Just read a book. Most of them are half illustrations anyway. It’s not like studying mathematics or physics, lot of head splitting stuff there.

It is thus infinitely droll to see evolutionary biologists restrain themselves from debating the issue on the grounds that the public is apt to get confused. And God Knows, there’s no need to confuse the public so long as they keep those swell funding checks coming.