Ann Coulter's Satirical Reply To Radio Derb On Evolution
Print Friendly and PDF Derbyshire's Radio Derb recently did an item on what Derb thought was the settled question of evolution, which we ran as an article:John Derbyshire Is Nostalgic For Creationism—It Was Nicer Than Cultural Marxism. The Discovery Institute's David Klinghoffer has a response, which Derb described as "like being savaged by a dead sheep."

Ann Coulter, who took the other side of the argument in Godless: The Church of Liberalism, has also sent in a reply, in the form of a parody of John Derbyshire's original column.

I know John admires Ann very much, and has defended her repeatedly, including (on Twitter) against President Trump. Ann agrees with John about most things, and I expect they can agree to disagree with each other on whether evolution did or did not happen.

Nostalgic for climate change deniers.   I got a little blast from the past reading about Bill Nye’s recent podcast on climate change.

Nye is a mechanical engineer, most particularly a specialist of the hydraulic resonance suppressor tube he invented for Boeing, with a wonderfully comprehensive knowledge of the increase in global average air and ocean temperature, the rise in global sea levels and widespread reduction of snow and ice cover.

His August 5, 2012 Los Angeles Times interview, "Mars rover Q&A with Bill Nye the Science Guy,” is pretty representative of his interests: mechanical engineering, science education, and space exploration. Just a word of warning: If you feel you want to comment at Nye’s blog, let me tell you that he does not suffer fools gladly. If you want to challenge him, just make quite sure you know what you're talking about.

Well, last week on the John Oliver show, Nye issued a polite and non-vituperative but very eloquent defense of the scientific approach in general, and of climate change science in particular. Sample quote: "I've got an experiment for you - safety glasses on. By the end of this century, if emissions keep rising, the average temperature on Earth could go up another 4 to 8 degrees. What I'm saying is the planet's on f---ing fire. There are a lot of things we could do to put it out. Are any of them free? No, of course not,—nothing's free, you idiots. " End quote.

As I started by saying, this struck me as a blast from the past; and it stirred a peculiar kind of nostalgia in me. Let me try to explain that.

When I first got involved in writing for conservative outlets in the U.S.A. twenty-some years ago, climate denialism— which had been rebranded in the 1990s as "weather"—was the default position among my colleagues. Bill Buckley, for example, was a climate denialist; Pat Buchanan I think still is one; Ann Coulter likewise, last time I checked.

I've been a science geek from childhood, and I spoke up for science and against climate denialism in those conservative outlets I was writing for, to the displeasure of some of my colleagues. National Review, to its credit, let me speak my mind freely, to the displeasure of some of their readers.

One anti-Denialism piece I published in their pages, in February 2005, got the attention of weatherman Richard Lindzen, a Denialism professor in Boston. He sent a whole squad of people over to New York to try to get the magazine back on the Denialism rails, including some of their big guns: Richard Lindzen, Arthur B. Robinson and Roy W. Spencer

We—that is, me and a couple of National Review editors—met with them in the library. The exchanges were cordial, but of course nobody's mind was changed.

Denialism is still around, but it's faded as an issue among legacy conservatives—what we at call "Conservatism, Inc."—and it's not an issue at all on the Dissident Right, far as I am aware. The Dissident Right is science-friendly. Why wouldn't it be? Everything science turns up reinforces our view of climate change.

What caused Denialism to lose market share? Well, it suffered two setbacks, one sudden and one gradual.

The sudden setback was in 2009, Rep. John Shimkus (R-Illinois) floor statement in 2009. The Denialists did not come up well in that debate. Shimkus cited God’s post-flood promise to Noah as evidence we shouldn’t be worried. “The Earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over.” The floor debate shone an unflattering light on the Deniers’ dishonesty and double-talk.

The gradual setback was the rapid advances in weather forecasting that were getting airborne about the same time, as described by Nye in the Oliver interview. In the last fifteen years we have gotten a much better grip on the actual chemical and geological processes underlying the weather.

Science has greatly improved our understanding. None of the new things we have learned supports Denialism; none of them has overthrown orthodox weather forecasting, as Denialists of the 1990s were promising was about to happen any day.

Meanwhile, as real science has advanced, Denialism has stood still, adding nothing to the stock of human knowledge. The science versus Denialism match-up has turned out to be no contest.

So Nye’s John Oliver interview looked a bit quaint. Having been on the side of science all along, believing that truth is better than falsehood, I'm glad that Denialism has declined. At the same time, though, I can't help feeling some nostalgia for it.

Denialism was ignorant and unscientific, but it was harmless. It was in fact a remnant of the old, weird America for which people of my generation feel a romantic affection.

Denialism was very American. I suppose we had Denialists in England fifty years ago, but they made no noise; nobody paid them any attention. It was one of those quirky American things, like high school proms or affixing "Jr." to your name or eating peanut butter with jam.

If, as is probably the case, ignorant and unscientific attitudes are bound to be widespread in any society, better they should be of the harmless kind like Denialism, than that they should be of the persecuting, anti-human, totalitarian kind like the Cultural Marxist ideology now dominant in the West.

Denialism was nutty and wrong, but in a civilized way, a very American way. Now we have a new style of superstitious ignorance, a style that is not civilized at all, nor especially American: a style that is barbarous, violent, cosmopolitan, and crazed with power.

I was never going to be a Denialist; but now that Denialism is fading, I miss it.

My very strong preference is that youngsters in our schools and colleges be taught true facts about nature, and about climate science. If that's too much to ask, and we're going to teach the kids hogwash, I'd rather it was the harmless, nutty American hogwash of Denialism than the evil, poisonous, nation-breaking hogwash of Cultural Marxism.




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