DC forum member El Goodo has done some excellent detective work on Obama’s so-called economic czars, wading through dirty pools that other so-called muckrakers refuse to tread. The first person he’s looked into is “green jobs” czar Van Jones. In typical Wikipedia fashion, the checkered past and political extremism of a politically liberal public figure is almost completely discarded and that which is left is played down. As noted by El Goodo, Jones is a former communist who was radicalized by the 1992 Los Angeles riots and has continued to associate himself with groups on the far left, including the Free Press, which advocates government control of the media, and the radical Oakland community organization Speak Out Now! As extreme as these groups may be, they’re still a far cry from the “revolutionary” groups Jones used to associate himself with, such as the now defunct Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM). Continue Reading »
…and he doesn’t like what he sees. His comments at the end of his photo essay are dead-on and devastating.
Some never do, do they? The latest of these is the seemingly unstoppable “Sarah Palin is a YEC” assertion, which we debunked a couple of weeks ago. But now, it’s back, and both the LA Times (in a story which Mark Hemingway accurately describes as being a “heaping pile of factual carnage” ) and the reprehensible Huffington Post, the favorite blog of the latte liberal set, have finally decided to casually report the latest “eyewitness” allegation of Palin’s supposed YEC beliefs as unvarnished fact, after it has been bouncing around in the moonbat blogosphere the past few weeks. This supposed eyewitness is one Philip Munger, who claims that in 1997, after Palin gave a commencement speech to some homeschooled students (wow, a perfect storm of liberal boogeymen! How convenient!), she casually told him, after he asked her about her religious beliefs, that she believed dinosaurs and humans coexisted, and that Jesus would return to Earth in her lifetime. And who, exactly, is Philip Munger? Does he have a background in reporting or science any other qualifications which might make his claim credible? Not exactly. A musician by profession, he’s also a raving far-left moonbat blogger whose most notable prior claim to fame was a cantata canonizing Rachel Corrie.
But beyond the question of whether or not we can trust Munger to be an unbiased (*snort*) source of info on his former mayor and governor, has there been any further corroborating evidence that might confirm these claims of his? None so far, but they satisfy the left’s need for the “truthiness” which they like to project onto their opponents. They don’t need any actual evidence, corroboration or fact checks when it satisfies their gut feelings about what Palin, and by implication, anyone who dares vote for her, is all about. Even if Munger’s claims are fake, they’re still accurate! We want our biases confirmed and our prejudices pandered to! And if you press them some more, they’ll fall back on Ken Ham’s catchphrase: were you there ? No, I wasn’t there in Wasilla back in 1997, but I do know that Munger is not an unbiased and credible source, and in either science or politics, the verification of a source as credible is crucial in evaluating any sort of claim. Until Palin makes a genuine, wholehearted YEC statement which I can see and hear with my own eyes and ears, Munger is nothing more to me than another sludge driller.
Needless to say, us Rational Republicans were pretty disappointed when Sarah Palin offered an ambiguous answer to question of allowing creationism in public schools, saying that she wouldn’t enforce its teaching in schools (and the evidence tends to confirm this her actual position), but was not necessarily against discussion of it in the school curriculum. Not only did this feed into the hungry Palin smear machine in the forms of distortions of her actual position (including some made by people who should know better) but has aided in the spreading of particularly vicious lies pandering to the prejudices of far-left political bigots. The most recent one: Palin is not just a creationist, but a Young Earth Creationist, who believes that the Earth is less than four thousand years old and that people and dinosaurs walked the Earth. Now, there are enough faux conservatives out there who actually believe that crap, but Palin certainly isn’t one of them. But this is starting to catch like wildfire through the blogosphere, as one might expect. Among the perpetrators are Howard Zinn’s foster child Matt Damon and frustrated Catherine Zeta-Jones wannabe Maureen Dowd. The source of this rumour, as both Ace and Patterico have pointed out, is an obviously fake viral e-mail, that has been debunked on CNN, no less. Oops.
While you can make obvious connections between this and the scurrilous “Barack is a Muslim” lies, but in their own way, they’re even worse. Even if Obama were a Muslim, so what? The only people who fell for that lie were disgusting bigots who hold prejudices against Muslims to begin with, no different than the people who went into anti-Mormon hysterics over Mitt Romney’s presidential run. On the other hand, while simply being a Mormon or a Muslim or an evagelical Christian is not itself relevant to whether or not someone is responsible enough to govern, professing beliefs in something like young earth creationism is not just irrational but anti-rational, and by spreading this rumour, the far left clearly hopes to get more moderates and undecideds on their side. Although the CNN report above claims that the “Palin is a YEC” rumours will mainly play with already-decided liberal Democrats, the reality is, a lot of people who are not necessarily liberal Democrats will take these rumours very seriously. If Republicans want to avoid being the target of these sorts of lies in the future, they should quit trying to weasel themselves out of these questions in order to appeal to the Coulter-Falwell types who they erroneously assume to be their base. In addition to lending themselves to lies, they result in grave doubts from people who on the surface, should be their allies. In other words: Draft Jon Huntsman in 2012.
UPDATE: Jim Manzi offers his own response to West here.
Oh my dear NRO, is there a more bipolar on-line journal around? You regularly publish brilliant pieces by John Derbyshire, Mark Steyn, Deroy Murdock and Thomas Sowell, but then you turn around and post something like…this. John West of the Discovery Institute is already notorious for his rabid anti-science views and dogged determination to be ignorant of the very things he pretends to have authority to discuss, but man, this article is so stunningly stupid, that after you read it, you’ll be like one of the zombies in Return of the Living Dead, running around screaming “brains brains!” in a desperate attempt to replenish your cerebral cortex following its accelerated decay. It starts out has just another yawn-inducing Discoveroid diatribe crowing over their “victory” in Louisiana but as you near the end of the first page, the stupidity really begins:
One of the most disheartening developments for us pro-science types has been the passage of the grossly misnamed “Academic Freedom” Bill in Louisiana, awaiting only the signature of its governor to become law. Sure, we’ve seen a similar flurry of such state legislation lately, but most of them mercifully were either DOA or, as in the case of Oklahoma’s recent bill, but few have sailed through with such ease, or are in such danger of becoming law of the land. Worse yet is what it will to do for the already currently funked-out state of American conservatism. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has been hailed as the next great leader of the Republican party, but with his sympathies to teaching ID already well known, he is danger of not only shouldering responsibility for depriving a generation of Lousianans the science education they need, but becoming the straw that broke conservatism’s back. If he signs the law, he will confirm in the eyes of many that the future of the Republican party remains in the hands of theocrats for whom Biblical idolatry takes precedence over the defence of the Constitution.
Maybe that’s why we are (finally!) starting to see conservatives shout louder, following the spirit, if the not the letter of Bill Buckley in yelling STOP! to what is perceived as an inexorable path towards a certain direction. Of course, the indefatigable John Derbyshire is among them, with a post title meant to invoke Reagan’s greatest quote. AllahPundit of HotAir is also on the case, offering video of and commentary on Jindal’s dodge on the issue, and LGF offers the full text of the LA Coalition for Science’s letter to Jindal, as well as choice comments from his former genetics teacher. Lately, LGF head Charles Johnson has been blogging more on science issues, including evolution. I particulary enjoy his running “OOPS” gag, as used here and here. For some reason, it never gets old…probably because its targets never give up.
It pays to say it again: creationism is not conservative. As Milton Friedman said of economics, there is no left-wing or right-wing science, just good or bad science, and people across the political spectrum should stand united for good science, as much as they do for common decency.
’Twas once upon the internet I chanced upon an argument;
A blog appeared to splinter into internecine wars.
’Twas all precipitated by a movie dedicated to
Portraying Darwinism as a truth-suppressing force.
A thousand comments did I read, another thousand did I feed
Into my aching brain, yet little progress did I find.
No sooner was a claim defeated, than it was again repeated;
Surely there’s a better way to influence a mind.
Oh Lord, I grew so weary of the cry: “It’s just a theory!” for
This charge is not dismissive in the scientific world.
And though this point was oft explained, it did not hinder those who claimed
That “Theory!” is rhetorical invective to be hurled.
My neurons whirled, my senses swirled; how did man come into this world?
I longed to take a nap, but someone said: “I’ve found a gap!”
And though the gap was quickly filled, there promptly came a voice more thrilled:
“Behold!” it cried, “I now have spied a flanking pair of gaps!”
Expelled plunges another 50% in its third week and goes down to 656 theaters, raking in a total of just under seven million in three weeks.
I was hoping for a full-fledged assault on EXPELLED by National Review’s resident evolution aficiondo John Derbyshire, and while NR itself may have disappointed me, the Derb sure didn’t. He has a great takedown in today’s National Review Online, arguing that creationism is not just anti-science; it’s anti-civilization. It’s a point we’ve made here before (here and here) but Derbyshire expresses this better than we ever could. Science, argues Derb, is one of the great glories of Western civilization, whose ideas led directly to the American experiment, and anyone who calls themself a conservative should be as ready and able to defend it as much as any other of our great institutions. I strongly urge you to read the whole beautiful thing, but I’ll still give you the final paragraph, to give you an idea of what it all leads up to:
Which other of our civilizational achievements would you like to sneer at? What else from what Waugh called “the work of centuries” would you like to “abandon … for sentimental qualms”? You call yourself a conservative? Feugh!
For shame, Ben Stein, for shame. Stand up for your civilization, man! and all its glories. The barbarians are at the gate, as they always have been. Come man the defenses with us, leaving the liars and fools to their lies and folly.
Bravo, Derb, bravo!
UPDATE: Derb responds to his critics, and says what’s on a lot of our minds:
A mature scientific theory is as much a glory of our civilization as is a cathedral or a university; and it is uniquely of ours. Other civilizations had temples, universities, systems of government, literature, philosophy; but only we of the West came up with scientific method, and the whole world owes the innumerable fruits of that method to us.
I am a huge fan of Western civilization. Thus, when people — well-educated people, who ought to set an example for the general — sneer at and spit on these majestic creations of the human intellect, I get mad. They are taking sides with barbarism. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. Ben Stein ought to be ashamed of himself. And no, I won’t sit through his wretched movie.
And the applause never ends!