To my great embarrassment a couple of years ago I lauded the uplift of Trump clone Boris Johnson as a great leap forward for Britishkind. It was not, most emphatically, although it did solemnify the proximal goals of Brexit — but unfortunately without the sort of steel-spined dedication necessary to make Brexit really work. And now Britain is saddled with another neocon scumbag as PM, and we are right back where we started — but at least it seems like the British situation is legal, unlike the US situation with its obviously stolen election…
But that is not the point of this post. The point of this post is to express the deep and truly sincere sorrow that ASD feels for the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. It is true that my daughter is named for “Queen Elizabeth”, although we have been somewhat reticent about choosing which Queen Elizabeth — both of them are pretty cool, and to be perfectly honest, my mother is also named Elizabeth, so there is that confound as well. But beyond all of that, the Queen clearly represents a link to a better time — surely we agree on this? — before the grayness of the Cold War and the Culture War and all the weird egregoric death matches that have followed the “end of history”. There was a time, ever so brief, when the world was united behind the idea that good had defeated evil, and the future was a shining bridge of possibility into the stars, and Elizabeth II was perhaps the most obvious icon of that epoch. One could perhaps argue that her “annus terribilis” in the 1990s was shared by all — the final collapse of postwar exuberance, the failure of the “peace dividend” and the Russian Commonwealth — but at least for me she remained a bridge to the old world all the way up to the present day. When the commie shitbags were dragging down statues in 2020, Elizabeth II was still Queen. When they set fire to Notre Dame, Elizabeth II was still Queen. When the best and brightest in the US were cheerleading the castration of pre-teens, Elizabeth II was still Queen. Now, all of those demons are still running wild through our society, like werewolves on a full moon, but Elizabeth II is no more. And what besides her remains from that old world, other than our “mystic chords of memory”?
Elizabeth II was the head of a Church that, in its heyday, would have burned me at the stake. But now her descendants and I stand facing an implacable enemy that is mutual, and apparently unstoppable. Can the memory of this indefatigable, superlative example of English womanhood spur us to action to save what can be saved? I hope so, but looking at her heir, the namesake of two usurped Charleses of the past, I despair… may the gods of the green and pleasant fields of my ancestors give me hope in these dark days!
One of the more intriguing justifications Vladimir Putin gave for invading Ukraine was that it needed to be “de-Nazified”. The millions of Americans who never heard of Ukraine before 2022 found this to be hilariously ridiculous, since obviously if anybody was going to be compared to Hitler it was the Boomer Führer, Putin, not the toned and photogenic Ukrainian bossman Zelensky. This crew of sudden pro-Ukraine boosters is mostly of the left-wing variety in the US, albeit with a healthy dose of unrepentant W Bush neocon holdouts on the right side of the aisle as well. To these people, the “Nazi” canard was just that — an unjustified slur made up by Putin to justify his irrational war of conquest. And you can understand the attitude — Zelensky is Jewish, for gods’ sake, how could he also be a Nazi?
Of course, those of us who have paid some amount of attention to Ukraine for the past years have a different view. I first wrote about Ukraine back in 2014, during the Maidan coup, and even then there were news stories about scandalous connections between the pro-Western Ukrainian factions and various hardcore “neo-Nazi” activists like the Azov Battalion and Right Sector. However much American leftist ladies lubricate over Zelensky’s biceps, the fact is that he presides over a more-or-less right-wing civic nationalist government. Ukrainian nationalism doesn’t have much going for it in the way of ancient roots, but rather seems to define itself largely in terms of who it excludes — namely, Russians, who unfortunately comprise a large chunk of the country’s population. Russian-Ukrainians can provide a laundry list of anti-Russian policies the government has engaged in, such as the desecration of Soviet-era war memorials, the banning of Russian language instruction in schools — even in parts of the country where it is the only language people speak — and the persistent claims of violent persecution of ethnic Russians in the Donbass breakaway republics since 2014, much of which was allegedly committed by “neo-Nazi” paramilitaries like the Azov Battalion with the explicit support of the pro-Western government in Kiev.
Well, you can take that or leave it; all of it might be Russian propaganda, but it’s propaganda they’ve been consistently publishing for eight years, so kudos to them for staying on message that effectively for that long. But the question I want to address here is, is it fair to call Azov et al. “neo-Nazis”? Because as Americans on the right, a lot of us get called Nazis all the time — is it possible that Azov are just good ol’ Ukrainian patriots and Russian commie left-wingers are smearing them as Nazis, the same way the Democrats do to us? Well hey, it’s Hitler’s birthday today, so let’s find out!
With tongue firmly in cheek, may I suggest that there are six levels of Nazi-hood, and everybody falls into one of them. Let’s consider each one in turn.
Level 0 Nazis: This category is for actual communists, “democratic socialists”, and other leftist rabble. Unless you have a hammer and sickle tattoo on your skinny, pimple-covered, gender-fluid arm, you are at least a Level 1 Nazi.
Level 1 Nazis: You are a “centrist” of some sort. Maybe you think Mitch McConnell isn’t that bad, or that JFK kind of had a point wanting to do Castro in. You still think, even after the Summer of Floyd, that living in the West is probably better than living in the Congo. Most of the US political establishment falls into this category. Importantly, leftists will not distinguish between you and George Lincoln Rockwell, so you might as well go ahead and keep climbing the Nazi ladder to at least Level 2.
Level 2 Nazis: You are unabashedly right-wing, a nationalist and a patriot, just like Adolf Hitler himself. If you’re an American, you probably tear up at 4th of July fireworks and you might even unironically enjoy Lee Greenwood’s classic track “Proud to be an American”. You likely have American flag apparel, or perhaps you even fly a flag outside of your home. You probably like to shoot guns and think men should have muscles and women should wear makeup. You are absolutely intolerable to Level 0s who will likely lose control of their bladders in your presence. They will definitely call you a Nazi every chance they get. This category includes the MAGA movement and its orange autocrat, Donald J. Trump, as well as all the related worldwide movements such as Brexit, Front National, and so forth. To be fair to him, Zelensky probably fits in this bucket as well, but mysteriously American leftists give him a pass. Note that we’ve still got three levels to go, people, but this one was enough to plunge our country into a slow-motion civil war — whatever they are, the Azov Battalion is definitely higher up on the scale than this.
Level 3 Nazis: You are not only proudly right-wing and nationalist, but you are bold enough to notice that nations have biological dimensions. Maybe you aren’t a full-scale ethnonationalist, but you nevertheless understand that shared language, shared history, and shared culture are indispensable for the formation of a stable nation-state, and inevitably a group of people who share these three things will, generally speaking, also share a single, more-or-less cohesive biological heritage. In this level, you’re likely to find people who are capable of sympathizing with the movements that led to history’s most reviled political regimes (such as the actual Nazis). A typical statement you might expect from someone at this level of Nazi-hood is “Under the right economic and social pressures, you would have supported Hitler, too, and so would I.” You are not only utterly intolerable to the Level 0s, but they will be willing to forgive the Level 1 Nazis of their thoughtcrimes if they agree to pitch in with your cancellation (looking at you Mitt Romney).
Great examples of the “Level 3 Nazi” are plentiful and quite varied. Amongst relatively mainstream Americans, Pat Buchanan comes to mind — he has for decades been an unrepentant proponent of western civilization and its roots in the Western European diaspora, and his bold revisionist work Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War committed the cardinal sin of treating Hitler and Germany like human beings with real-world policy goals and incentives instead of preternatural demons who committed atrocities just for the lulz. Other examples include “far-right” writers of younger generations such as Moldbug and BAP.
I would also include in this group a wide variety of “folkish” neopagans who think spirituality and religion should be particular to a given people and their heritage, instead of universal and cookie-cutter like the Christian, Islamic, and Buddhist traditions. I would further throw in people who enjoy a lot of other edgy esoteric stuff that borrows from the same well of Germanic imagery, folklore, and philosophy that the Nazis (mis)used: e.g., the writings of Julius Evola and Savitri Devi, or bands like Burzum and Death In June, and other “National Socialist Black Metal” or “Apocalyptic Folk” acts, many of which are really good. None of this stuff is “what made the Nazis bad”: no matter how much they might trigger squeamish normies, neither rune insignia, nor totenkopfs, nor the word “Aryan”, nor theories that Indo-Europeans came from Atlantis, nor “Hitler as Kalki”, nor pagan body-building clubs built Auschwitz or invaded Poland or sent the Gestapo to have you shot for missing work.
Perhaps tellingly, my favorite Ukrainian band Nokturnal Mortum, highlighted in these pages a couple months ago, has been considered “National Socialist” in the past — and my understanding is that the Ukrainian black metal scene is pretty influential amongst the more militant Ukrainian nationalist circles like Azov. Importantly, as I learned more about the “Ukrainian Nazis” like Azov, I learned that they at least dabble in the same religious traditions that I follow and make use of a lot of those edgy symbols and ideas described in the previous paragraph — for instance, they use the ancient “wolf’s hook” bindrune as their insignia, which despite its innocuous medieval roots would get you insta-cancelled if you wore it in the US because of the fact that the Nazi SS apparently used it at some point. They also apparently had an impressive Perun idol (that’s the Slavic incarnation of Thor) at one of their recently over-run Mariupol bases that looks straight out of this Arkona album cover:
Given all of that, it’s totally worth considering that the “Nazi” label applied to Azov is the same, more or less, as what leftists have tried to stick me and many like me with it — you’ve got weird spiritual beliefs, dig extreme music, and love your country and your ancestors, therefore you must be dangerous.
But, good readers, I don’t think that’s really where it stops with Azov, which brings us to…
Level 4 Nazis: In case it wasn’t clear enough, let me say explicitly that I don’t think any of the three levels above qualify in any meaningful way as “Nazis”. To be clear, I think the actual Nazis would have gassed 100% of the people who fit in Level 3 because who wants a bunch of jokers running around who are capable of thinking unapproved thoughts when you’re trying to run a modern Sparta and conquer the world? But here at level 4 we are going to cross over into the “Yeah, these guys are kinda Nazis” territory. We’re talking people with swastika tattoos, who think Hitler wasn’t just understandable but that he was awesome and did no wrong. In level 4, you believe simultaneously that the Holocaust didn’t happen but also that the Jews totally had it coming. In fact, you see the hand of “the Eternal Jew” in everything, even though you probably only rarely if ever encounter Jews in your day-to-day life. The jealous defense of your own ancestral heritage that drives the “Level 3” thinker has become an antipodal definition for the Level 4 — what we are, is not those assholes over there. And of course, the need to get rid of those assholes over there starts to become a priority.
Representatives of this group are pretty hard to find because they are so rare, but you can do it if you try because the ones that exist are usually quite loud. The Russell Crowe character from Romper Stomper is a solid representative of the type, but you could also run through the list of White Power outlaw celebrities — guys like David Duke, Andrew Anglin, David Lane, whatever. We’re well beyond ‘heritage’ and ‘aesthetics’ here, and into genuine political extremism. Governments are right to be worried when political extremist groups start flowering in their country; with all the usual caveats (e.g., people are more complex than any single opinion they hold, under the right social/economic pressures we’d probably be just like them, free people should try to understand extremists rather than repress them, etc.), you don’t have to be a jump-at-their-own-shadow Resister to think that Level 4s are at least a little bit dangerous. Our question is: do Ukrainian nationalists make it into this group, or are they safely down in the Level 3 edgelord territory?
Well, I guess it depends. There’s no question that Azov, Right Sector, and other right-wing paramilitaries in Ukraine have all the aesthetic accoutrements of Nazi-dom — the runes, the symbols, Nazi ink under their shirts, the belief in their own ethnic superiority, the focus on martial virtue as the epitome of nationalism. They also have the ethnic hate thing going for them, and it’s obviously all related to their militant politics, but I guess we have to ask: if you devote all your Nazi-dom to hating Russian speakers instead of the Jews, are you really as bad as the literal WWII Nazis? To be honest, I have no idea how Azov feels about the Jews; they seem content to work for a Jewish boss and don’t harass non-white Gastarbeiters too much AFAIK, so maybe they don’t fit into this bucket of ultra-deplorables. That doesn’t matter, though, because I’m pretty sure they make it to the next level —
Level 5 Nazis: How, you ask, can one be more of a Nazi than David “Fourteen Words” Lane? Well, by being a member of the actual NSDAP. In principle the NSDAP — the actual Nazi party of Hitler himself — was disbanded and made illegal after 1945, but in reality bits of it survived in a few political movements around Europe. One of those survivals was in the hero-cult surrounding Ukrainian badass Stepan Bandera. Bandera was a Galician, which was an Eastern European country in what is now far western Ukraine, and is the region that gives us the language currently called “Ukrainian” and whose culture “Ukrainian nationalism” apparently seeks to revive. In early Soviet times an anti-Soviet Ukrainian separatist nationalist movement arose that wanted to push out the Slavic Rus in favor of creating an independent, ethnically Ukrainian (i.e., Galician) state. When Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa and invaded the USSR, Bandera and the other Ukrainian separatists sided with the Nazis, going so far as to help them round up and exterminate Jews and even other ethnic Slavic groups. After the war, he apparently lived on as some kind of 1980s action-movie villain, terrorizing the apocalyptic post-war wastelands of Eastern Europe as a free-lance Nazi terrorist before finally being assassinated by the KGB in 1959.
So like I said, sort of a badass, but also kind of “problematic” as the kids say these days. One thing is for sure, though, the Azov Battalion and all the other hardcore Ukrainian nationalists love this guy. Indeed, Ukraine has an on-again off-again public love for Bandera. For instance, Ukrainian president Viktor Yuschenko — the guy who should really get the blame for starting all this crap with Russia — awarded him a posthumous “Hero of Ukraine” award, which is pretty much the equivalent of an American president giving Nathan Bedford Forrest a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor for war-time heroism. Couple that with the last two Ukrainian presidents’ removal of wartime memorials honoring the USSR soldiers who gave their lives driving the Nazis out of the country, and you’ve got a pretty solid case that there are factions in Ukrainian politics with an unbroken line of inheritance to Bandera and therefore to the actual Nazionalsozialistiche Deutsche Arbeiterspartei itself.
So yes, I think it’s reasonable for Putin to call the Ukrainian government a Nazi-occupied organization, and since the violence of those Nazis is directed against ethnic Russians, it seems to me to provide at least some level of casus belli for the war (although whether the magnitude of the war is justified is another question entirely). To be clear, it’s not Azov’s runes, or their pagan sensibilities, or even their goofy 1488 tattoos that bring me to this conclusion — it’s their support for militant, ethnic violence, and their veneration of a literal Nazi-collaborating terrorist whose actions they apparently seek to emulate in Donbass. I can overlook people having racist attitudes, getting off on Hitler memorabilia, or any number of other “level 4” ideologies — but when you pick up a gun or a baseball bat and decide to start hurting people for dumb reasons, you lose me. These guys suck, and to the degree that the Ukrainian government endorsed them and armed them, it’s equally culpable and frankly is getting what it deserves. Moreover, the fact that the Ukrainian regime thinks it can gloss over this stuff makes me mistrust every thing they say, including all the reports of supposed Russian atrocities — in fact, the more shocking the atrocity, the less I believe it actually happened. At least the Russians aren’t sending literal Nazis to the front lines, my dude.
What I find absolutely bewildering, though, is that the American left is willing to overlook Level 5 Nazi shit from the Ukrainians, when they absolutely condemn attitudes orders of magnitude less extreme than that in their own countrymen. They want to mobilize the entire security apparatus of the United States against “Level 3s” in the US, while sending our military to fight a nuclear war in support of Level 4s and 5s in Ukraine — how does that make sense? They want to send their Gestapo against grandmas who believe Brandon stole the 2020 election, but they’re cool with the Ukrainians deputizing the Boogaloo Bois to attack Russian kids in Donbass. I mean, come on man, If you’re going to be a bigot, at least be consistent, ffs.
So, crazy muslims are killing people again. Everywhere I see good modern atheists lamenting the barbarism of religion. “Remember that time that radical atheists killed all those people? Me neither,” they say. If people would just see the light of reason and give up these silly caveman superstitions, all of this violence would go away.
Point one: Radical atheists have killed WAY more people than radical muslims.
Here are a few examples:
Communism is to its very core antireligious. “The opiate of the masses” and all that. Even disregarding the massive famines, plausibly caused by characteristic leftist innumeracy rather than genocidal malice, communists murdered 38 million people in the 20th century. If we want to compare apples to apples, let’s just think about all the Commie bombers and terrorists active in the 60’s and 70’s in Europe, like the Red Brigades.
The French Revolution abolished Christianity and set about enacting the destruction of Catholicism in that country. In less than a year, the Reign of Terror enacted by the revolutionaries claimed 40,000 lives, including some 2,000 Catholic clergy.
In a similar vein, the Mexican Revolution of the early 20th century resulted in a regime that despised the Catholics. The non-religious Plutarco Calles was “president” of Mexico in the 20’s, during which time thousands of priests were executed and literal wars were fought between Calles’ regime and the overwhelmingly Catholic population of Mexico.
This isn’t meant to suggest that atheism prompts mass murder; it’s just to make the point that atheists aren’t exactly immune to radicalism and extreme violence.
Rather than blaming religion, perhaps we should blame ideology. The notion that any of our airy philosophies are worth more than actual human lives may be the only truly evil thing that exists.
Point two: Even if you eliminated religion from the picture entirely, Arabs in France would still be pissed off and violent.
Obviously it doesn’t fit with the proper multicultural worldview, but I’m convinced that the only way Arabs and French will really get along is if it becomes impossible to tell them apart. I would say the same thing about any other pairing of ethnic groups, in any other country, anywhere in this world or any other one.
I’m biased in this thinking by my training as an ecologist and an evolutionary biologist. It’s clear that if you put two populations in the same environment, competing over the same resources, you’re going to end up with only one population after not too long. Either the two will blend together, or one will outperform and supplant the other. There are ways around this, but those are the two most likely outcomes.
Not only is conflict guaranteed between two distinct populations in the same environment, but there are good reasons to suspect that the conflict will usually favor the resident population over the immigrant. This is especially true when you have organisms that extensively engineer their environments or depend on complicated social arrangements — both things that are important in human societies. Culture has an infrastructure — all the buildings and art and language and even modes of transportation that accumulate through the industry of a people acting in a place for many lifetimes. Every last bit of that infrastructure is designed by and for the resident group. Whatever the resident’s peculiar strengths are, you can bet those will be enhanced and emphasized by that cultural infrastructure. Moreover, you can pretty well guarantee that that infrastructure has been adapted specifically to give the residents an edge over their nearest neighbors, who incidentally are also the most likely to immigrate.
On a “level playing field” then, the residents will usually win out over the immigrants. We can try to make things more equitable by giving the immigrants a ‘leg up’ or by hamstringing the residents in various ways — but even then, all those policies will be designed by the residents, using the resident’s cultural infrastructure, and will still usually wind up screwing the immigrants. The only way those poor bastards can come out ahead is either to conquer the residents or to marry them and cease to exist as a distinct ethnicity.
Because we believe so strongly in multiculturalism, we are basically incapable of thinking about this UNTIL the situation gets so out of hand that heads are being lopped off. So we encourage immigration, and inevitably the immigrants figure out that the game is inherently stacked against them forever, no matter what anybody does. This results in very pissed off people, often in large numbers.
Pissed off immigrants might be forgiven for lashing out at the resident population, who is in fact the proximal cause of their problems. Even if the residents welcome the immigrants, their very existence restricts the success of the immigrant population.
And how do pissed off poor people fight the resident authority? Do they call up the reserves and field their tank armies? Do they whip up votes in the legislature and sink billions into lobbying for their interests?
No, they use terrorism. It’s the only weapon they have. Acting surprised when poor immigrants blow up soft targets is like acting surprised when a dog bites you after you poke him in the eye. What did you think he was gonna do, call the cops?
Terrorism is the curse of a globalized humanity, where people move around so much that every moderately successful country has large populations of failing immigrants growing progressively more radical and angry. There are no good solutions to this situation, but one might predict that ethnic nationalism in Europe and elsewhere will continue to grow in popularity, both as a defense mechanism for immigrants and a solidarity movement for residents.
Apparently the wonderful state of Alabama is attempting to update its science education standards to meet 19th 21st century standards. Toward this end, the Alabama Department of Education has paid a panel of experts to draft a document outlining these standards, indicating what students at each level, K-12, are expected to understand, as well as strategies for teachers to move them towards these achievement goals.
Now, I realize I’m biased, but the first thing I looked for was whether or not these poobahs included evolution in their curriculum. So, I searched the document for the word, “evolution”. It turned up only 3 times — which, you might say, is 3 times more than one would expect in Alabama, so yay. Unfortunately, all 3 mentions were in a single paragraph on page 6 (of 80-something), and were part of a mealy-mouthed and weasely attempt to dodge responsibility for letting Christer extremists impoverish education for the whole state:
“The theory of evolution by natural selection, a theory included in this document, states that natural selection provides the basis for the modern scientific explanation for the diversity of living things. Since natural selection has been observed to play a role in influencing small changes in a population, it is assumed, based on the study of artifacts, that it produces large changes, even though this has not been directly observed. Because of its importance and implications, students should understand the nature of evolutionary theories. They should learn to make distinctions among the multiple meanings of evolution, to distinguish between observations and assumptions used to draw conclusions, and to wrestle with the unanswered questions and unresolved problems still faced by evolutionary theory.”
Now, you might think from reading this paragraph that the intention was to salve the wrath of the Christers against future mentions of evolution in the curriculum. However, they never bring it up again. To their credit, evolutionary principles are brought up in many places in the document, under the heading of “heredity” or maybe “unity and diversity”. They even talk about the role of mutations in producing long-term changes in populations. From the 7th-grade standards:
“Construct an explanation from evidence to describe how genetic mutations result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of an organism.”
So that pretty much defines evolution, huh? SO CALL IT BY ITS NAME, YOU FUCKING COWARDS.
I understand what these people are doing. They’re trying to get as much good science into this document as they can without triggering a full-court press from the backwoods hellfire revivalists that could endanger much more than just evolution in the curriculum. But coddling those people is causing serious harm to Alabama’s students — two of whom happen to be my F1’s.
You see, evolution isn’t some abstract conjecture about the origin of life or human beings or whatever. It directly affects our health in the form of the ongoing evolution of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria. But more than that, evolutionary theory and the hard math that underlies it forms the basis for all sorts of practical, presumably religiously uncontroversial things. It’s used by computer scientists and mathematicians to solve intractable problems. Engineers use it to improve mechanical designs and think outside of the boxes that we’ve made for ourselves over the centuries. Doctors use it to figure out how to tailor medicine to different populations of people with different biologies.
Evolution permeates EVERY ASPECT of modern technology and science.
In the introduction to the document by Thomas Bice, the State Superintendent of Education, we are told:
“In addition, today’s workforce depends on graduates who are prepared with necessary scientific and technological skills to address these issues. Our newly developed science standards affirm the importance of science literacy for all students.”
You can’t achieve that goal if you don’t call evolution evolution, dude. Don’t even pretend you care about these things if you can’t stand up to the jerks that have been making this state a laughing stock for a hundred years.
My desire here is simple. I want this document revised to do what the page 6 preface says: to teach evolution politely, without suggesting you “have to believe it” or whatever. My readers know that I often support the rights of Christers to be Christers and here is no different. All I ask is the word “evolution” to appear throughout this document, wherever the writers are frakking talking about evolution.
One might suspect that the Christers are attempting a classic troll of MSU biologists. You would think that Internet-savvy millenial graduate students would be able to spot it a mile away, shake their heads, and move along. I mean, these guys know not to read Internet comments, right?
But no… some of them are apparently organizing some kind of response. HOW DARE someone not accept the SACRED DATA! To the barricades!
There are lots of annoying, self-righteous, cruel, wrong, etc. people in the world. Many of them would love to change the system in generally problematic ways. Some of those people actually have the power to do the horrible shit they want, and yes, we should fight people like that. Other people, though, are paper tigers — they talk a big game, but ultimately don’t have the capacity to change much of anything.
The Creationists — particularly these Young-Earthers — are of the latter variety. They bluster, posture, and circumlocute. But their bizarre beliefs don’t have much impact in the real world! When they manage to organize a publicity stunt like the one at MSU, it’s a major success for them. Probably the worst thing these types have managed, in decades of effort, is putting some stupid sticker in the front of high school biology textbooks. Guys, these small successes represent the extent of the Creationists’ power, the result of massive expenditures and years of cajoling.
We are strong; they are weak. By fighting them, we suggest to the world that we are afraid of them, which elevates them — at least in the public view — to parity with us. It makes them look stronger, viable, and certainly must help them attract recruits. Fighting an enemy like that — one that is orders of magnitude weaker — is literally counter-productive, since it strengthens the enemy! Sending the weight of academic evolutionary biology to crush the Creationist bug would be as ridiculous as sending the entire US military to destroy a small cadre of religious gangsters on the other side of the world.
Please tell me you’re smarter than this, scientists. Stay out of the quagmire.
Let’s not forget that al-Qaeda and affiliated groups were able to spend the last ten years growing from a platoon of cavemen into an army with the capability of actually threatening conquest, and this growth was entirely facilitated by the hatred inspired by the army we sent to fight them. When I look at right-wing resistance to climate change, for instance, I see the same thing — people reject the science because they hate the people who talk about it all the time. Don’t make it worse by wrestling the Christers in public!
And don’t try to convince me that I’m underestimating the Creationists’ current abilities. That’s like Matt Drudge trying to convince me I should be skeert of Ebola. It takes a lot to scare me. And anyway, science invented atom bombs and VX gas, whereas superstition has bupkus for weaponry. So if it they ever do become a problem, we can just take ’em on the old-fashioned way. Problem solved.
2) THEY DON’T DISAGREE WITH YOU OUT OF IGNORANCE.
Many of my colleagues seem to believe that the Creationists disbelieve in evolution due to ignorance about evolutionary theory. Under this hypothesis, careful and patient explanation will result in everyone agreeing! After all, truth is truth, and we all want the truth! Right?
Wrong. I’ve arguedextensively in the past that Christian rejection of evolution has nothing to do with the truth or falsity of evolutionary theory. It is important to remember here that you, the scientist, want to make a scientific argument to the Creationist, backed by data and logic; but the Creationist is more interested in political and social arguments — also supported by logic. The Creationist has a worldview, driven by his faith, that is mostly consistent with reality and highly useful to him for structuring his social world. Unfortunately, these social truths are inconsistent with certain scientific truths — but the Creationist perceives those scientific truths to be less important than the social ones. Therefore, he optimizes his social fitness by rejecting science in favor of religion.
The take-home message here is that the rejection of science provides a fitness advantage for these Christians. No amount of argument, data, or re-education will change their minds. If you want to convince them that evolution is real, you first have to convince them that it’s important enough to outweigh the benefits gained by rejecting it. This is how every other controversial scientific notion spread from an esoteric conjecture to a household fact: by doing something useful. So use your energy to make evolution do useful work for people, and quit wasting your efforts tilting at Christian windmills.
An aside: many of the same scientists who get their panties in a bunch about things like the genetics of IQ appear to also be the kind that want to fight the Christers. A bit ironic, no? These guys are willing to shitcan or even falsify data to back up their left-wing fantasies, but when the right tries to support its faerie tales with Rube Goldberg gobbledygook, we’ve got to go to war. Guilty consciences, anyone?
3) YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY RIGHT AND THEY ARE OBVIOUSLY WRONG.
Ideas exist in a marketplace; right (or useful) ones prosper and wrong (or harmful) ones fail. That’s the whole point behind a free society: by allowing wildly divergent viewpoints to exist and compete, our consciousnesses evolve to adapt to an ever-changing physical and social environment.
To make that marketplace work, we have to jealously defend the rights of expression for the most (apparently) wrong ideas — the ones we don’t want to hear, either because they sound evil, absurd, or silly to us. Time and again, ideas once considered evil, absurd, or silly have turned out to be true. Other times, elements of very wrong notions have inspired and supported different ideas that would ultimately be seen as true.
If you ask me, science has nothing to fear from these Creationist loons. Their ideas are obviously wrong. Presumably we have faith in this — why then are so many of us afraid that unsupported rambling by a Creationist poses a threat to the massive edifice of modernity?
Presumably the notion is that, left unchecked, the Christers will accumulate enough power to shut us up using the coercive, violent power of the State. (Note to good academic leftists: if it weren’t for that giant central government y’all love so much, that kind of coercion would be impossible…)
Let’s think about another obviously wrong idea that actually did manage to become the law of the land, due to state force: communism. Communists had been pushing their innumerate bullshit for decades before they finally managed to grab control of a country. Like Christians, they preyed on the weak and vulnerable, people whose poor lot in life (and deteriorated mental state caused by malnutrition) made them receptive to utopian visions. But the ideas never caught hold in the mainstream of society because anybody with any sense could tell things literally just didn’t add up. When communism finally did catch on, it was only in countries that had been totally wrecked by war. One gets the impression that communism never actually won hearts and minds; it just happened to be the only surviving organization capable of providing law and governmental services.
The analogy here: if the creationists ever gain control it will be because we allowed our civilization to crumble, not because of the strength of their arguments or beliefs. Western pluralistic attitudes toward thought and speech and innovation underlie the success of Western science, and the extreme versions of those freedoms represented in 20th century US society represented the height of scientific achievement anywhere, ever. The best way to let superstition get a foothold is to disassemble those freedoms, and a great way to start would be by having government-sponsored researchers shout down Christers in public.
SO THERE, scientists. Don’t feed the trolls. Please.
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