catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Derbyshire v Bethell

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A sign of the times at the intellectually refreshing if archconservative National Review magazine was when its premiere columnist went from being the literate and wry Florence King to the sophomoric Jonah Goldberg.

It is indeed unfortunate that the most politically neanderthal writers on NRO also tend to the most intelligent and sensible ones. So credit where credit is due to the politically neanderthal but scientifically literate John Derbyshire as he debates the creationist conservative author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science, Tom Bethell.

Incidentally here’s a money quote from Derbyshire:

I am at a loss to know how creationism has got mixed up with conservatism. I have always thought of conservatives as the cold-eyed people, unafraid to face awkward facts, respectful of rigorous intellectual disciplines, and decently curious, but never dogmatic, on points of metaphysics. Conservatism thus understood is, in my view, the ideal outlook for free citizens of a free society. Contrariwise, pseudoscientific fads, metaphysical dogmas like “dialectical materialism,” magical explanations for natural phenomena, and slipshod word-games about “agency” and “design” posing as science, arise most commonly in obscurantist despotisms. The old USSR was addled with such things, Lysenkoism being only the best known. You may say that an obscurantist despotism can be conservative in its own way, and you may have a terminological point; but that’s not the style of conservatism I favor.

Written by Admin

February 27, 2006 at 10:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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