Wednesday, September 28, 2011
11And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:It is, indeed, no accident that David Klinghoffer has posted his introduction to the "companion book" to Metamorphosis, the latest propaganda movie by the Undiscovery Institute, under the title "A Still Small Voice."
12And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
You can get the book for free (if you're willing to sign up for a Center for Science and Culture newsletter) but, with all that's going on in my life, the effort is too much. Perhaps some enterprising soul will save me the trouble. Given that Klinghoffer is the editor of the book, described as "The Case for Intelligent Design in a
After describing an encounter he and his son had with a Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly comes this insipid thought:
Later I wondered, as have others, how such a vulnerable, defenseless, conspicuous and leisurely creature emerged, if the conventional evolutionary scenario is believed, as the fittest to survive over competitors.... as if Darwin or any other scientist had declared that only 800 lb. bear and tiger ravaging creatures could fly from flower to flower and survive on nectar long enough to reproduce!
There is much talk of "enchantment," a theme Klinghoffer has essayed before, which boils down to "Look at the pretty ____________, ergo God!". But Klinghoffer, at least, among the Discoveroids, realizes that the "case for ID" has not been made:
This is an intuition and an intuition can be mistaken. Some observations need to be proved but some don't. In his wonderful little book Real Presences, the literary critic and philosopher George Steiner teaches that if materialism were to really win the day and conquer our culture, the expression and recognition of beauty would be crippled. He calls this a conjecture and admits it can't be proven. Yet Steiner also cites Aristotle's Metaphysics to the effect that knowing when an idea needs to be proven at all is a matter of apaideusis. The Greek word can "be translated as meaning a want of schooling, a fundamental lesion in education. I would render the term as connoting an indecency of spirit and of understanding."In other words, if you are looking for a scientific case for ID in Metamorphosis or its companion book, you'll be disappointed. All you'll get is insipid mangling of what science actually holds and "ideas" that are nothing more than wishful yearnings that the world might be more like our preconceived notions of our own importance.
To feel unmoved on seeing a butterfly, or even to feel moved yet to ask for harder proof that the creature points to the presence of an invisible reality behind nature, may well be indecent. If so, then you can call me indecent. Metamorphosis is a fantastically beautiful and informative documentary, but it left me hungry for a more detailed and conclusive treatment of the contradictions that butterflies have long been recognized as posing to Darwinian materialist philosophy. We have gathered the essays in this book because doubtless many other viewers will want, if not proof, then at least an elaboration of the ideas to which the film briefly alludes.
Not that I begrudge them their hopes and fears ... I just despise the dishonesty by which they insist on calling them "science."
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Truth In Labeling
Charisma has come up with a perfect caption:
Saturday, September 24, 2011
... is being spread, once again, by Ellis Washington, a major intellectual arsonist.
His article starts with a quotation by the rather crazy Jerry Bergman; works through the ol' Darwin ==> Stalin ==> Hitler ==> all bad things bullhockey; and even touches on the incredibly ignorant/dishonest equation of the subtitle of The Origin with racism.
But this is what gets me:
Dawkins said of Perry: "It [evolution] is the stunningly simple but elegant explanation of our very existence and the existence of every living creature on the planet. Thanks to Darwin, we now understand why we are here and why we are the way we are. You cannot be ignorant of evolution and be a cultivated and adequate citizen of today."Washington is (very partially) right! Nothing in science is absolutely certain. But he also says:
Nothing in science is absolutely certain. Even today scientists are proving one of Einstein's bedrock theories to be false – that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.
The unholy trinity, Darwin-Lenin-Dawkins, and their intellectual children have carried the day in modern times because they control virtually every aspect of science, education, law, philosophy, politics, economics, culture and society.But wait a minute! If the evil 'Darwinists' are so powerful as to control almost everything, how did they allow this example of the supposed utter frailty of science slip by? Given his own premises, Washington has no warrant to cite to scientists!
Of course, Dawkins did not say that evolutionary theory is "absolutely certain." He said that it is a stunningly simple but elegant explanation of life on Earth today, which is true, and that no one can be ignorant of evolution and be a cultivated and adequate citizen, which Washington has proven, once again, not to be.
More importantly, even if (a big if) it turns out that Einstein was wrong in that some things can go faster than light, it is almost certain that Einstein will have been right about most things not being able to ... just as Newton was right about the mechanics of most things, except those going at some significant fraction of the speed of light or located deep in a massive gravity well. Evolutionary theory is as likely to be completely overturned as the heliocentric theory of the solar system is and Washington is no better than those who hope it will be shown that the sun orbits the Earth.
Scientists are not embarrassed by this new data ... they are excited!
Friday, September 23, 2011
afraid of ghosts
a chill breath on the neck
a smile fled
an echo of a laugh
would all be bearable
if we could forget
I know a lot of people are enjoying Non Sequitur's series on creationism (as am I) but I kinda like the above.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Of Sheep and Clothing
Oh! Lookie here:
A founder of an intelligent design movement warns parents that as their sons and daughters head off to college, they may be in danger of undergoing a "faith-ectomy" within the first couple of years of alleged "higher learning."Alleged higher learning? And Christianity is a "fragile worldview"? My, my ... who knew?
According to the Discovery Institute's Dr. Stephen Meyer, when Christian students enter college, a majority of them are in danger of losing their faith, as their fragile worldview and Christian upbringing are seriously challenged.
As always, it is the theistic evolutionists who are the real danger as far as creationists are concerned:
[Meyer] laments that students entering Christian colleges and universities are not necessarily immune.So, what is the solution?
"It can be very disorienting if you have biologists who are Christians but Darwinists, or psychologists who are Christians but behaviorists who think that all human behavior is determined by genes and environment," Dr. Meyer notes.
Dr. Meyer has helped develop the TrueU series -- worldview training sessions that can help prepare those students who will soon be entering college, as well as those who have already enrolled.What might TrueU be?
Many Christians are failing to keep their faith after they begin college or enter the workforce. Focus on the Family's TrueU curriculum offers an introduction to apologetics (a defense of belief in God) that aims to help reverse this trend.Say it ain't so! A founder of the science of ID (that "intelligent design movement" is surely just a typo), engaged in apologetics and a defense of belief in God with, of all groups, Focus on the Family? No way!
Well ... way. Under a section entitled "Does God Exist?" we find "Biology: Is There Evidence for Intelligently Designed Life?" by ... wait for it ... Dr. Stephen Meyer! And what does it hold? Well, we can look to the "Leader's Guide to TrueU Lesson 5: DNA by Design, Part 1—Biological Information" for starters:
How does this lesson strengthen the argument for the intelligent design of life (and by implication, God's existence)? Why do you think many people seem determined to explain life's origin without reference to the kind of intelligent designer whom theists worship, namely a God who interacts in special ways with humans?And again:
Review the evidence that points to theism as the best explanation for the origin of the universe and life.And:
How are tiny bacterial rotary engines and many other molecular devices found in living cells best described as "functionally integrated high tech systems"? How does this evidence, alongside the scientific discoveries discussed earlier, call for a highly reasonable "return of the God hypothesis" in our time—echoing, with amplification, the confident voices of early modern scientists who believed in God?But my personal favorite is this:
A further irony here is that design theorists, as scientists, only infer the operation of intelligence, not the identity of the designing intelligence. Many design theorists go further than this, but only by using additional fields of knowledge beyond science, such as human history (e.g., evidence for Jesus' resurrection). Methodological naturalism artificially limits a scientist's ability to find the truth about origins.Um ... the "historical" evidence for Jesus' resurrection is a scientific reason to propose a God hypothesis?
And, of course, ID has nothing at all to do with religion!
Monday, September 19, 2011
As I noted before, the Giles County (Virginia) School Board had taken the plunge and continued the posting of the Ten Commandments in its schools with the fig leaf of making it a part of a "historic display."
Pulaski and McCreary Counties in Kentucky have been struggling to pay off the $460,000 in legal fees and interest they owe the ACLU for trying the exact same scam that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals saw through and the Supreme Court refused to grant certiorari to review.
Now, as noted by Ed Brayton, the ACLU has started a suit against the school board that can hardly be anything but a slam dunk.
Unfortunately, the ones lying hurt in the bottom of the pool are mostly going to be the school kids in Giles County ... both the ones who are having their right to be free of taxpayer-financed majoritarian proselytizing and the ones who will have school resources dumped down the drain of this hopeless attempt to circumvent the Constitution.
P.S. Rob Boston at The Wall of Separation has an article about the dangers of taking on First Amendment cases in rural Fundiland. Naturally, the student and his/her parent who are suing the school board have asked to be anonymous. The comments that have already been circulating are certainly filled with hate, if not overtly threatening.
But this is all you need to know about what's wrong with Giles County:
"You folks are allowing Satin [sic] to rule you!!!" wrote a woman identified in the pleadings as a Giles County elementary school teacher.The demonizing of fabric is an ugly thing.
Labels: Giles County
Saturday, September 17, 2011
An Interesting Source
... for an interesting article:
Among developed nations, America stands out as an exceptionally religious country. While other wealthy nations grow ever more secular, the U.S. remains devoted to religion. New research on religion, however, finds that the U.S. may not be so exceptional after all. There is growing evidence linking religiosity to income inequality—countries where there are more haves than have-nots tend to be more religious than more egalitarian societies. ...You might be thinking it is the downtrodden who flock to religious solace.
The reason may be due to inequality. The U.S. economy is distributed much more unequally than other Western economies. By the most common measures of inequality, the U.S. is ranked as the 39th most unequal economy (out of 136 countries). The U.S. is ranked near Uganda, Jamaica, Cameroon, and Cote d'Ivoire. Turkmenistan, Mali, and Cambodia have greater income inequality than the United States. Canada is ranked 101st; the entire European Union is ranked 111th. Sweden is considered the most equal nation.
One possible explanation for this pattern is that the wealthy are more attracted to religion in unequal societies because religions can justify their elevated positions. ...So what outlet is publishing an article suggesting that the haves smugly attend church to congratulate themselves for not being among the have-nots?
College graduates in the U.S. are more likely to attend church than those with just a high school diploma. Moreover, over the past thirty years—decades during which inequality has risen—church attendance among those without college educations has dropped while attendance among college graduates has remained steady.
Why, Christianity Today.
This is the second article on eugenics by Clarence Darrow found by Nick Matzke that I have OCRed and am posting here: "The Edwardses and the Jukeses" (1925) The American Mercury, Vol. VI, pp. 147-157.
BY CLARENCE DARROW
This is what little Edwards are made of,Most of the evidence on which the eugenists rest their case has come from the study of animals whose love affairs have been controlled and dictated in the interest of science. On the basis of these observations, made on rats, dogs, horses and what not, a large number of people have been convinced that the human race would be stronger and better if its production were controlled by taking thought, rather than by leaving the matter of future generations to the system of pot luck which exists in nature. There has recently come to my attention a book by Mr. Albert Wiggam, entitled, "The Fruit of the Family Tree," which may very well serve the purpose of illustrating what has come to be a rather popular point of view. This book is written in a readable manner. The style is lucid, and the author has adopted some striking methods of stating his propositions. Listen to this lyrical outburst on the possible accomplishments of scientific breeding:
Little Edwards are made of:
Sugar and spice and everything nice;
This is what little Edwards are made of.
This is what little Jukes are made of,
Little Jukes are made of:
Nails and snails and puppy-dog tails;
This is what little Jukes are made of.
Finally, then, we see, actually and literally, that from dogs to kings, from rats to college presidents, blood always tells. The one central problem of progress, the endless task of statesmanship and education, is, therefore, to bring about those economic conditions, those social, political and educational ideals and opportunities which encourage those of good blood to mate with their own kind and produce good families of children, at least more than are produced by stocks of mediocre blood; and to institute stern measures which will insure that those of positively bad blood produce no children at all. Such a race of people can easily run on through the vicissitudes of time, creating ideals, building institutions of worth and grandeur, and developing a culture, all of which are simply the outward expressions of the ceaseless energy of noble blood. Such a people and only such can build great civilizations—civilisations that will continue amid happiness and achievement,This is the general thesis of Mr. Wiggam's book, It can be summed up in the words at the end of the first sentence I have quoted; "blood always tells." The thing which interests me about the book (beside the author's poetry) is that, like every other eugenist since the days when Dugdale first wrote his little classic on the Jukes family, Mr. Wiggam brings in, as part of the evidence to prove his case, the old story of the Jukeses and the Edwardses. This tale, from much retelling, is now familiar to every student of eugenics and even to the man in the street. It concerns, as you will recall, the surprising adventures of the progeny of one Max Jukes (the villain) and one Jonathan Edwards (the hero), both pursued by a relentless fate (the germ-plasm).
"Until the stars grow old
And the earth grows cold
And the books of the Judgment Day unfold."
Now, while I am perfectly willing to admit with the eugenists that blood always tells, I have never been quite clear about just what it tells. Let us, then, see what it has to tell about the Edwardses and the Jukeses.
As a rule, the eugenists treat the Edwards family as if the stock began with the celebrated divine, Jonathan. The popular idea would seem to be that Jonathan was sent down from heaven, as it were, to originate a new line and demonstrate the potency of the germ-plasm. In common with many others, I have been considerably impressed, as I have read the books on eugenics, by the array of learning shown in the discussion of the Edwards family, but always there seemed to be something lacking. I was thus not satisfied, and determined to go a step further. After much investigation and deep thinking, I discovered that Jonathan Edwards had ancestors. In fact, he had a father and a mother, grandfathers and grandmothers-—an ancestry running back to Adam, or in that general vicinity. Of course, the records of most of this ancestry have been lost in the mists that hang over all the past, but at least one can go a little way in tracing back his line.
Jonathan Edwards' father was Timothy Edwards, a New England preacher, whose glory has been dimmed if not totally eclipsed by his son's. His mother was Esther Stoddard, of whom little is known except that she was the mother of Jonathan. He was one of eleven children. All the rest were girls. This being the case, the family name as well as the immaculate germ-plasm has been carried down through history by Jonathan himself. Timothy Edwards was in turn the son of Richard Edwards, an obscure New England merchant, and of one Elizabeth Tuttle. Timothy was the second of the seven offspring of this fateful couple.
The eugenists stubbornly stick to the Edwards tree and the Edwards name in tracing the output of this remarkable family. Still, even some of the eugenists make it fairly plain that the Edwards family had little to do with the prodigies that followed in the wake of Jonathan. As we shall see, the "tilt toward greatness" in his line was given by Elizabeth Tuttle, his grandmother. Elizabeth Tuttle was not an Edwards, save that she took her husband's name. The important question then becomes : who and what was Elizabeth Tuttle? First, let us hear from the invaluable Mr. Wiggam on the subject:
Elizabeth Tuttle was a marvelous girl. Nearly three hundred years ago at Hartford, Connecticut, she married Richard Edwards, a great lawyer, They had one son and four daughters. They have all left their mark upon American blood. And when anything marks a nation's blood, it marks for weal or woe its ideals, institutions and history * * * *I note in passing, by way of comment on the general possible accuracy of statements of this sort, that the official genealogy of the Edwards family, prepared by Mr. William Edwards and published in 1903, gives the number of children from this mating as seven, instead of four, and says that Richard Edwards was not a "great lawyer" but a merchant. Furthermore, I am unable to find anything about this Richard Edwards in the encyclopedias, so that, even supposing that he actually was a lawyer, it is not likely that his greatness is to be measured with the same stick as that of a Romilly, an Erskine, an Everts, or an Elihu Root. But let that pass. If Elizabeth Tuttle, "this marvelous girl," was the founder of a new dynasty that "marked the nation's blood for weal or woe,'' it would have been only fair to her memory, to say nothing about the new science of eugenics, for Mr. Wiggam to have given more facts about her character and her family. In all justice it should be said that he is not the only one at fault in this respect. A number of other books on eugenics give the same meager account. However, Mr. Charles Benedict Davenport of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, who is really the outstanding exponent of eugenics in this country, has fortunately given us more information. His book, "Heredity in Relation to Eugenics," was published in 1911; Mr. Wiggam's, by the way, was published in 1924. Is it possible that Mr, Wiggam could have overlooked the following statement by so eminent an authority as Mr. Davenport?
From two English parents, sire at least remotely descended from royalty, was born in Massachusetts Elizabeth Tuttle. She developed into a woman of great beauty, of tall and commanding appearance, striking carriage, "of strong will, extreme intellectual vigor, of mental grasp akin to rapacity, attracting not by a few magnetic traits" but repelling when she evinced an extraordinary deficiency of moral sense.In view of the fact that in the discussion of the Jukes family (as we shall see later) a great deal of emphasis is laid upon the criminal records and immorality of some of its members, it would seem that the family taking its origin from Elizabeth should have received a little more attention at its source. Probably most of the eugenists who believe that the human race should be tinkered with by way of improving on nature would have then united in the opinion that the line should have ended before it began.
On November 19, 1667, she married Richard Edwards of Hartford, Connecticut, a lawyer of high repute and great erudition. Like his wife he was very tall, and as they both walked the Hartford streets their appearance invited the eyes and the admiration of all. In 1691 Mr. Edwards was divorced from his wife on the
ground of her adultery and other immoralities. — The evil trait was in the blood, for one of her sisters murdered her own son, and a brother murdered his own sister
That it is really a Tuttle line and not an Edwards line is not a matter of dispute. Mr. Davenport goes on to say that "after his divorce Richard Edwards remarried and had five sons and a daughter by Mary Talcott, a mediocre woman, average in talent and character and ordinary in appearance. None of Mary Talcott's progeny rose above mediocrity and their descendants gained no abiding reputation." This is quite a slam at Mary, but as she has been dead for 250 years she probably won't mind.
In passing, I may remark on the doubtful chivalry of attributing to her the obvious inferiority of Richard Edwards, which manifested itself so plainly after he married her. Still this may be admissible in the cause of science. It is obvious, however, that her descendants by Richard Edwards were as much Edwardses as those coming from Richard and Elizabeth Tuttle. Yet, unfortunately, for the argument in favor of the potency of the Edwards germ-plasm, this second batch of Edwardses "never rose above mediocrity."
So much for the not altogether savoury beginning of the Edwards line. But let us be generous and put to one side the unpleasant fact that it began to the tune of "adultery and other immoralities," with overtones of murder, sororicidc, and infanticide. Let us look at the great Jonathan himself. Nothing of startling import showed in the line before the birth of Jonathan. If we forget her "frailties," certainly the fact that Elizabeth Tuttle "was remotely descended from royalty" (whatever that may mean) added nothing to the luster of the Edwards name, especially as the authorities fail to mention the specific royalty or any evidence therefor. What of this Jonathan Edwards, then? Was he really a great man?
At the time of his birth at Windsor, Connecticut, in 1703, there were probably not more than half a million people in America. Most of these lived along the eastern border and largely in New England. No doubt all of them came over in the Mayflower. It was in this group of New England Puritans that Jonathan Edwards gained some fame in his day. He was a metaphysician, a preacher, and the president of a college. He wrote an elaborate essay on free will which probably not one out of ten thousand of the present generation has ever read. This discourse was based mainly on his weird theology. He had read Locke's celebrated treatise on "The Human Understanding," but he had never read Hobbes, who was one of the greatest Englishmen of his time and who had written profoundly on this subject. Neither had he read the works of David Hume. However, he did read Hume after the publication of his own book. Such was his open mindedness and scientific zeal that of Hume he wrote: "I am glad of an opportunity to read such corrupt books, especially when written by a man of considerable genius, that I may have an idea of the notions which prevail in our country."
But the real fame of Jonathan Edwards came to him as a preacher. He was a Fundamentalist, stem and unyielding, He was filled with religious zeal and ardor and never suffered a doubt to lodge in his brain. At the early age of seventeen he wrote: "I seemed to be convinced and fully satisfied as to this sovereignty of God, and His justice in thus eternally disposing of men, according to His sovereign pleasure; but never could give an account of how or by what means I was convinced, nor in the least imagine at the time, nor a long time after, that there was any extraordinary influence of God's spirit in it."
The boy's strange conviction bore its full fruit in his ministrations as a preacher, He delighted in defending the most cruel dogmas and doctrines, He seemed to take joy in the thought of eternal hell for the wicked. Some of the titles of his numerous sermons show the ferocious nature of his religion: "Future Punishment of the Wicked"; "Wrath Upon the Wicked to the Uttermost"; a series entitled "Man Naturally God's Enemies"; "The Misery of Unbelievers"; "A Warning to Professors"; "Of Endless Punishment." Or take, for example, these two titles from his essays: "The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin Defended" and "The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners." But his greatest effort, prototype of all the rest, was "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Listen to him preaching the religion of the gentle Nazarene:
They [sinners] deserve to be cast into hell; so that divine justice never stands in the way; it makes no objections against God using His power at any moment to destroy them. The sword of divine justice is every moment brandished over their heads, and it is nothing but the hand of arbitrary mercy, and God's mere will, that holds it back.The effect of this and other tirades from the pulpit on the minds of the meek and gentle New Englanders was terrible, even ghastly. One account tells us that the "congregations were convulsed with agony. ... As they groaned and wept, another minister sitting in the pulpit cried out, 'Mr. Edwards! Mr. Edwards! is not God also merciful?'" What the great spokesman of God replied, we are not told. Another account from one who was present on the occasion, is as follows:
They are now the objects of that very same anger and wrath of God that is expressed in the torments of hell; and the reason that they do not go down to hell at each moment is not because God, in whose power they are, is not then very angry with them; as angry as He is with many of those miserable creatures that He is now tormenting in hell. Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth; yea, doubtless with many that are now in this congregation, than He is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell.
So that it is not because God is unmindful of their wickedness and does not resent it that He does not let loose His Hand and cut them off. The wrath of God burns against them; their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared; the fire made ready; the furnace is now hot; ready to receive them; the flames rage and glow. The glittering sword is whet and held over them, and the pit hath opened her mouth under them.
The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; His wrath towards you burns like fire; He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the fire; He is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in His sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in His eyes than the most hateful and venomous serpent is in ours. And yet it is nothing but His hand that holds you from falling into the fire at every moment; it is ascribed to nothing else that you did not go to hell the last night; that you were suffered to awake again in this world, and there is no reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God's hand has held you up; there is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell since you have sat here in the house of God provoking His pure eyes by your sinful, wicked manner of attending his solemn worship; yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down to hell.
O Sinner! consider the fearful danger you are in; it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you as against many of the damned in hell: you hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it and burn it asunder.
Consider this, you who are here present, that yet remain in an unregenerate state. That God will execute the fierceness of His anger implies that He will inflict wrath without any pity.
I think a person of keen moral sensibility, alone at night, reading this awful discourse, would well nigh go crazy. He would hear the judgment trump, see the advancing hosts of heaven, and feel the day of doom as it began to mantle him with its shroud, And that is exactly what some of his audience felt, for they actually seized hold of the pillars and braces of the meeting-house as if that very moment their sliding feet were precipitating them into the yawning gulf of ruin below. Many groaned and shrieked so convulsively that their outcry of distress completely drowned the speaker's voice and compelled him to pause and ask for silence that he might go on. Mr. Edwards' sermons have been described as a sort of moral inquisition where sinners were put upon argumentative racks and beneath screws, and with an awful revolution of a great truth in hand, evenly and steadily screwed down and crushed.This great progenitor of a strong and righteous line, this carrier of a potent germ-plasm to regenerate the race, was a lover of children. In the name of his Master who said, "Suffer little children to come unto Me," he talked of infant depravity in such language as this: "As innocent as young children seem to be to us, yet if they are out of Christ they are not in God's sight, but are young vipers, and infinitely more hateful than vipers; and are in most miserable condition as well as grown persons; and they are naturally very senseless and stupid, 'being born as the wild ass's colt' and need much to awaken them."
But enough. . . . Even cold and Puritan New Englanders could not stand this man of God, They drove him from his church-for his hard and ruthless theology. True, he afterwards became president of Princeton College for a short time. But God had need of him and soon called him to his final reward. Let us leave Jonathan resting in the bosom of Abraham and pass on to a consideration of his illustrious descendants.
Here, again, we must be on our guard against the blandishments of the eugenists, It will not do for us to assume out of hand that all the twigs on this family-tree are free from worm-holes. The eugenists do not tell us just how many descendants have sprung from the loins of Jonathan. However, knowing something about the begetting powers of Timothy and Richard, not to mention Jonathan, and assuming with the eugenists that the virility and potency of the Edwards germ-plasm has been passed on in undiminished vigor, we may do a little figuring for ourselves.
Jonathan, it will be remembered, was born in 1703. This was a little more than 200 years ago. If we count thirty years to a generation this means that we are now six or seven generations removed from the founder of this noble line. However, as we have already seen, it was not Jonathan who was the real founder, but Elizabeth Tuttle. This means that we are nine generations removed. Now, we know that Elizabeth had seven children by Richard Edwards, one of whom was Timothy, But Richard had six more children by poor little Mary Talcott, making his total score thirteen. Timothy Edwards, in turn, had eleven children, one of whom, Jonathan, is the hero of our romance. Jonathan, in his turn, had five children. (This all happened before the Malthusian law had been thought of). In order to be fair, let us assume that the first three generations had only four children each who lived to have children of their own begetting (instead of the actual figures given above), and that thereafter, on down to the present generation, each member of the family bore three children, each of which lived long enough to preserve and carry down the precious Edwards germ-plasm.
Theoretically, then, the descendants of Elizabeth Tuttle, living and dead, should number approximately 90,000 individuals. This assumes that there have been no intermarriages in the family. (Which, of course, there have been, and with God knows whom else, mayhap even with the despised Jukeses! But, more of this in a moment). To be perfectly safe, let us cut the figure to less than half. Let us take 40,000. We may then assume that, by the law of chances, half of the 40,000 descendants from Elizabeth were females, This means that about twenty thousand new names have been brought into the Edwards line. Now, it is also obvious that with every marriage, both male and female, new blood has been brought into the Edwards stream of inheritance, and that in figuring out the laws of heredity attention should be given to the female line as well as to the male. Something like this has been done by the eugenists. An examination of the list of names given as descendants in the Edwards line reveals the fact that they have grabbed a name of more or less importance wherever they could find it. Davenport quotes fifteen names of the "famous" ones in this line, only two of which are Edwardses. One of these is Jonathan himself and the other his son, who lived near enough to Jonathan "to get talked about." The parade of notables is as follows:
Jonathan Edwards,It might be fair to assume that the fairly well-known family of Dwight, which appears four times in this list, contributed some blood of its own. And this is exclusive of Theodore Dwight Woolsey, who possibly also had something to do with the precious blood that is traced in this genealogy.
Jonathan Edwards, Jr.
Sereno Edwards Dwight,
Theodore Dwight Woolsey,
Theodore William Dwight,
Henrietta Frances Merrill,
Catherine Maria Sedgwick,
Charles Sedgwick Minor,
If one is interested in knowing how really great are the individuals represented by this list of names, one may apply a rough and ready test by consulting any encyclopedia—and finding what small space is given to most of them, when they are mentioned at all. Another author adds to the Davenport list the names of Robert Treat Payne, who signed the Declaration of Independence, the Marchioness of Donegal (whoever she was), the Fairbanks brothers, Melville W. Bigelow, Morrison R. Watte, Grover Cleveland, U. S. Grant, and Edith Carow. It might be interesting to ask by what right some of these worthies get fame and shelter under the Edwards tree. For instance, Sarah Reeves is put down as the wife of Tapping Reeves—good enough! Daniel Tyler was a general in the Civil War and founder of the iron industry in Alabama. Henrietta Frances, wife of Eli Whitney, gets in by "burning the midnight oil by the side of her ingenious husband, helping him to enduring fame." The Fairbanks brothers are mentioned as the "makers of scales." Somewhere I have heard of the Fairbanks scales. Their exact weighing qualities are clearly to be traced to Jonathan Edwards. Melville W. Bigelow is mentioned as a great lawyer. Possibly he was. The Encyclopædia Britannica gives biographies of three or four Bigelows which are much more extensive than his. However, we find it stated that he was a law lecturer at Ann Arbor and wrote and revised some law books. This is certainly enough.
But perhaps the inclusion of the name of Edith Carow in the list is the crowning triumph of the eugenists in tracing the enduring vitality of this family-tree. One eugenist uses this language: "Edith Carow, widow of Theodore Roosevelt and mother of his five sons, one of whom, Quentin, was killed in the air service in France, and the remaining four are starting upon careers of honor and distinction." The public generally has attributed some power to Theodore Roosevelt himself. Who would have suspected that his fame and the prestige of his family were due to the fact that his wife was nine generations removed from Elizabeth Tuttle, and had perhaps one chance in a million of having some of the blood of Jonathan Edwards in her veins?
Another author gives us a grand statistical summary of the "greatness" of the descendants of Elizabeth Tuttle. "The descendants number 12 college presidents, 165 college graduates, 65 college professors, 60 physicians, 100 clergymen, 75 army officers, 60 prominent authors, 100 lawyers, 30 judges, 80 public officers, 3 governors, mayors and State officials, 3 congressmen, 2 United States senators, and 1 Vice President." This adds up to something over 600 out of a possible 40,000. We are not informed about the rest. Probably some of the descendants of Jonathan Edwards have been farmers—poor but honest; perhaps, some of them have even worked. Possibly some of them have received outdoor or indoor relief. There is even room for a few inmates of jails. Who knows? Perhaps if one looked closely enough and had the facts one might find here and there in the 40,000 a few morons and an imbecile or two. But of all these the eugenists tells us nothing. To be a college graduate is not a great distinction; neither to be a physician, an army officer, a lawyer, a congressman, a governor, a Vice President, or even a President. About the only thing that these figures show is that for some reason a considerable number of the descendants of Elizabeth Tuttle escaped manual toil. But this does not mean that they necessarily had rare intelligence or were men of great parts. Genius cannot be proven by lumping together 265 college graduates.
It is not possible within the limits of this article to show the utter absurdity of tracing out any given germ-plasm or part thereof for nine generations, or five, or three. Not only does new blood enter at each generation, but to follow the germ-plasm one must go across, as over the squares in a checker board, and take a blind chance at every one of the infinite cross-roads reached. There is probably not one chance in a million that any particular individual in the last generation had any of the "blood" of Elizabeth Tuttle. The amazing thing to me is why anybody of this generation or any other should want to be traced to Jonathan Edwards. Why should any eugenist resort to the devious ways that have been used in this genealogy for the purpose of linking even his worst enemies to Jonathan? Who was Jonathan Edwards? Except for his weird and horrible theology, he would have filled no place in American life. His main business in the world was scaring silly women and little children and blaspheming the God he professed to adore. Nothing but a distorted or diseased mind could have produced his "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Nothing but the puritanical, cruel generation in which he lived could have tolerated it. It is easy to see how a considerable number of college graduates, divines, even judges and bankers of that early day might be nearly or remotely related to him, His fame as a preacher gave him a sort of standing that opened opportunities and places to his kin and descendants that were denied to others of greater abilities. The laws of heredity are infinitely subtle and uncertain. The laws of social heritage are very much easier to understand.
What the eugenists have done here is to commit the most elementary error in logic: "after this, because of this." They have gathered a list of more or less well-known names appearing somewhere in the nine generations following Elizabeth Tuttle and have then assumed that in some way the precious germ-plasm of Elizabeth went into making these names "great." Suppose that some evil-minded person wished to show that Elizabeth Tuttle was the bearer of a defective germ-plasm? Such a person would only have to follow the methods and ape the commendable industry of the eugenists. It would be necessary only to pick out of the forty thousand or more individuals who might possibly have taken their origin from the Tuttle germ-plasm a number of idiots, imbeciles, morons, criminals, paupers and the like, and then lay the whole burden on Elizabeth Tuttle via Jonathan Edwards. This without regard to the endless mixture of the germ-plasm all the way down the line, or to the known effect of the social heritage in determining the life of every individual. If the effect of "good" germ-plasm can be demonstrated in any such crude way as has been used in the case of the Edwards family, then anything can be shown which any writer wants to show.
So much for the positive side of the case which has been made out for the "marking of the nation's blood for weal or woe." Let us now turn to the negative proofs. What of the villain in the plot, Max Jukes, and all the little Jukeses? Surely, there can be no reasonable doubt that they were a bad lot. Well, let us see.
Most of the information about the Jukes family which has been elaborated into volumes by near-scientists and from them carried to the man in the street by enthusiastic uplift workers originated with Richard L. Dugdale. Dugdale made his first announcement regarding this unhappy family in a report to the Prison Association of New York in 1875. He seems to have been a moderate, rather painstaking and careful gatherer of what appeared to him to be the facts. He had little scientific knowledge concerning the laws of heredity, and did not make any such claims for their effects as those that have been so boldly made by the uplifters since his time. In his day, and for many years thereafter, anything like scientific and thorough investigation was not possible. The kindness and charity of Dugdale are shown by the fact that the originator of the line, in so far as lines have an originator, was concealed under the pseudonym of "Max Jukes." In this respect, he was kinder than the biographers of the Edwards line.
The origin of the Jukes family, like the origin of the Edwards family, must necessarily be settled arbitrarily. So we are informed that the father of the klan was born somewhere between 1730 and 1740. He was christened 150 years after his birth and 100 years after his death by the name of Max Jukes. He was born, if not especially created by a just God, somewhere on the borders of some wild and rocky lake in the Adirondacks, a region which was then almost an unknown wilderness. Max is described as "a hunter and fisher, a hard drinker, jolly and companionable, and averse to steady toil." Not so bad. In only one regard does he seem to have been like the Edwards family, i.e., he was averse to steady toil. But this appears to be a common failing of all the sons of Adam: I recognize it in myself.
Max in all other respects was certainly the antithesis to Jonathan Edwards, who was not a hunter and fisher (unless of men), probably not a hard drinker, and certainly not jolly and companionable. One can't help thinking that most of us would have preferred Max to Jonathan, and possibly in that number, knowing her as we do, we may include Elizabeth Tuttle. We may pass over the rather obvious fact that Max must also have had a father and a mother, and grandparents, and so on back, and that where they came from and when is entirely concealed by the years, as is the genealogy of most of the common people. However, Windsor, Connecticut, which, it will be remembered, was the birthplace of Jonathan, was less than 200 miles away as the crow flies from the five lakes region in the Adirondacks. It is probable that Max's ancestors came from that direction, as they couldn't very well have come from anywhere else. But we will come back to this later. We are further informed that Max worked by spurts and became blind in his old age. The statement is worthy of note. He had many children, two of whom married two out of six sisters. All of these six had the same mother and four bore the same family name. The names of the other two are unknown, which for the eugenists warrants the inference—in this family, at least—that they were illegitimate. Much is obscure after 150 years.
The region in which Max and his family lived is described as the forest-covered margin of five lakes so rocky as to be at some parts inaccessible. In the early days the only work which could be had in those parts was in stone quarries and at lumbering. The Jukeses "lived in log or stone houses, similar to slave-hovels, all ages, sexes, relations and strangers 'bunking' indiscriminately. During the Winter the inmates would lie on the floor strewn with straw or rushes like so many radii to the hearth, the embers of the fire forming a center toward which their feet focused for warmth." In these surroundings, we are told, the Jukeses lived for more than a hundred years. A community of semi-industrious laborers and licentious women developed. The young women of the families grew up "comely in appearance and loose in morals." These interesting characteristics naturally attracted the men from a nearby city, even those of so-called good families, and there was brought forth many an illegitimate child, usually named after its supposed father. "As a result one finds among the Jukeses some of the most honored names of the region." As is only right and proper in a case of this sort, these names are not given by Mr. Dugdale.
Just as the eugenists have produced for us the panorama of the Edwards family from Elizabeth Tuttle down nine generations with all the high spots in between, so, also, they have painted, for us in no uncertain colors the dark history of the Jukeses. In the latter picture, however, the high spots are all low spots.
Dugdale studied "709 persons, 540 being of Jukes blood and 169 of X blood who had married into the Jukes family." He estimated that the Jukes family would consist of 1200 persons were it possible to trace all the lines of descent from the original six sisters. As the science of eugenics was then in its infancy, it is not explained how Dugdale knew that 540 were of Jukes blood and 169 of X blood who had married into the family. We can understand how the Jukes name might be traced for live or six generations, but we can't understand the evident assurance of the eugenists of their ability to trace out the devious wanderings of the Jukes germ-plasm after 150 years, or even after one new birth. It is obvious that what Dugdale did was to start his investigation with a list of names which he had collected during his connection with various State institutions of New York. He then sought to connect up in a single line all of the paupers, criminals, and whatnot, that he had been able to get records of, and to trace them back to Max Jukes. In the case of the Edwards family the same technique was applied. The biographer starts with a list of "prominent" names and then follows the meanderings of the Edwards germ-plasm back to Elizabeth Tuttle by way of Jonathan Edwards.
Of the cases investigated by Dugdale, we are informed that 180 had either been in the poor-house or received outdoor relief to the extent of 800 years. (This means an average of about 4½ years for each person receiving outdoor relief or living in a poor-house). There had likewise been 140 criminals and offenders. (How many criminals, and how many offenders, and what or, whom they offended is not clear.) There were 60 habitual thieves, 7 lives sacrificed by murder, 50 common prostitutes, 40 women venereally diseased, contaminating 440 persons, and 30 prosecutions for bastardy—all in a period of 75 years. Of course we have no data to show how many of these were the same people under different headings, but that certain individuals were prostitutes, thieves and likewise received outdoor or indoor relief seems to be fairly clear.
This is the way that the case stood against the Jukeses when Dugdale finished his investigation in 1875. But science is untiring in matters of this sort, so in 1916 we find Mr. Arthur A. Estabrook publishing another chapter in the Jukes history under the title: "The Jukes in 1915." Mr. Estabrook took up the study of the Jukes family where Dugdale left off and tried to bring the account down to 1915. In his investigation the total number studied, inclusive of those studied by Dugdale, was 2280. It was not claimed that this was by any means all of Max Jukes' descendants. Like Dugdale, Mr. Estabrook was able to study only those of which he could get records.
Without going into technicalities of method or into any great detail, it may be said that Mr. Estabrook finds that some of the Jukeses are still up to their old tricks. They are still a bad lot. They are charged with harlotry (licentiousness), pauperism, syphilis, intemperance, crime, idleness, blindness, insanity, feeble-mindedness, etc. But a careful reading of Mr. Estabrook's report suggests that the uncritical and over-sanguine partisans of heredity may have to revise some of their notions. When it comes right down to an examination of the actual traits which are inherited, we find that neither Dugdale nor Mr. Estabrook is willing to hazard the opinion that the cases of social deficiency appearing in the Jukes family are directly due to heredity. When one ceases to talk in-vague generalities about "good and bad blood" and begins to talk about unit determiners and chromosones [sic] (which is the only language that a really scientific biologist can understand) the case against the heredity of the Jukeses begins to assume an entirely different appearance.
Let us take up some of these traits one by one. There is harlotry, for example. Mr. Estabrook practically concedes that the cases of licentiousness in the Jukes family were due more to environmental conditions than to any hereditary determiner. He finally concludes that before tracing this defect to heredity it is necessary to have much more data than can possibly be obtained. So far as harlotry can have any connection with heredity, it must be reduced to terms of abnormal sex impulse. As a matter of fact, I am willing to hold that a better case can be made out against the Edwardses in this respect than against the Jukeses. Consider the career of Elizabeth Tuttle and the potency and fecundity of Richard, Timothy, and Jonathan Edwards!
The amount of pauperism and indoor and outdoor relief figure prominently in all accounts of the Jukes family. This, too, is conceded to be hard to trace to heredity. It may be due to illness or environment, or, as suggested, "the readiness of the old-time politicians to grant outdoor relief to prospective voters."
Mr. Estabrook does not claim any evidence for the inheritance of syphilis in the Jukes family. It seems to be well settled that while syphilis may be contracted in some cases in the mother's womb, it is never inherited in the germ-plasm. If it were so inherited, it would be hard to find anyone free from it. In Dugdale's examination of 709 persons in the Jukes line he found that, 40 women were venerally diseased and that they contaminated 440 persons. How he could get this information after 75 years is difficult to imagine, especially the particular persons contaminated, with the evidence of where they were contaminated, and the name of the right lady. To anyone acquainted with the statistics of venereal diseases it is hardly necessary to suggest that the contamination of 40 women out of 350 at some time in their lives, and, especially in view of the conditions under which the Jukes lived, is a rather low batting average. It would only be taken into account by some eugenist hot on the trail of a Jukes.
As to crime, no biologist would pretend to say that burglary, robbery, arson, or murder are inherited in the germ-plasm. Crime doubtless is found more frequently in weak structures, but, weak or strong, it requires the right sort of environment to make a criminal.
Why idleness is catalogued I am unable to say. I never could bring myself to believe that love of work is a virtue. So far as my experience and observation go, the only reason that any one has for working hard is to fix himself in a situation where he won't need to work. If idleness is a crime, why pick on the Jukeses?
Assuming for the sake of the argument that there is an unusually large number of individuals who might be judged socially deficient in the Jukes family, what can we say has been inherited? When all has been said and done, the only contention is that the apparently large number of feebleminded persons in the Jukes stock furnishes some evidence of inheritance. But what is feeble-mindedness, anyway? I submit that it is entirely out of the question to find out whether a person is feeble-minded fifty or a hundred years after his death. The only way that feeble-mindedness can even be approximately determined is by a thorough and elaborate mental test, which could not possibly have been given in these cases.
It has been the fashion in late years, under the influence of the publications of alarmists, to assume that feeble-mindedness is directly inherited. However, the latest studies on this subject leave us entirely in the air. Mr. Stanley P. Davies, in an instructive and critical analysis of the question published by the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, says, by way of summing up his investigation: "It is apparent from the foregoing that we can be certain of only one thing at present with regard to the mode of transmission of hereditary mental defects, and that is of our uncertainty."
Is there, then, any mystery about the Jukes family? What is all the shooting about, anyhow? Why do the eugenists dodge the perfectly obvious facts to bolster up their case for tinkering with the human race? The Jukes story is the story of any number of other families environed as they were. Living in a sterile country, surrounded by poverty, condemned by conditions which have always been common to certain localities, they developed a manner of living and acquired a reputation which as social heritages were passed on from generation to generation. A few members of the family were sent to prison. As the record shows, they found it difficult to get work in the small community where they lived. They lacked education where there were no schools nor any adequate opportunity to learn. It is the story of the squalid section of every isolated, sterile, rural community and of every poverty-stricken city district. This has been abundantly proven, if proof were necessary, in the growing improvement of the family.
Dr. Estabrook, whose study has been quoted above, came to the conclusion that the stock of the Jukeses showed marked improvement in those members who migrated to other parts of the country and brought up their children outside of what Dugdale called "the crime cradle of the State of New York." This is what we might have expected. Even Dugdale himself pointed out at the time of his study that "during the last thirty years the establishment of factories has brought about the building of houses better suited to secure domesticity and, with this change alone, an accompanying change in personal habits has been introduced, which would otherwise be impossible."
The Jukeses in a barren, rocky, isolated community are contrasted in the literature of eugenics with a family in the fertile Connecticut river valley—a family in which a few members having fame were able to pass this heritage to others down the line. Why go out of the way to even infer that the germ-plasm had anything to do with either case? The generations back of Max and those back of Jonathan were infinitely greater in number than the generations that have so far followed. In any fairly homogenous community one needs only to go a little way back to find the lines crossed and the germ-plasm mixed. Otherwise there couldn't possibly be enough ancestors to go around. These two historical sires are first discovered living less than two hundred miles from each other. I, for one, am willing to contend that it is a safe bet that Max came from the East, and a not unreasonable guess that the ancestors of the Edwardses and the Jukeses were mixed.
The history of the Jukes family is largely that of all pioneers, of all workers, of the great mass which make up the warp and woof of every country. Their history is the "short and simple annals of the poor." Some men may preach hell-fire sermons, or make speeches in the Senate and the court room. Others do the rough work of the world. Which are the most important in the scheme of life, assuming that there is any scheme of life?
If one were confined to a choice of neighbors between Max and Jonathan, which would one take? I am free to confess that I would take Max without a moment's hesitation.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
According to the Undiscovery Institute:
Throughout history, butterflies have fascinated artists and philosophers, scientists and schoolchildren with their mystery and beauty.According to scientists:
In the new Illustra Media film Metamorphosis you can explore their remarkable world as few ever have before. Spectacular photography, computer animation and magnetic resonance imaging open once hidden doors to every stage of a butterfly's life-cycle. From an egg the size of a pinhead to a magnificent flying insect, it is a transformation so incredible that biologists have called it "butterfly magic."
How did these extraordinary creatures come into being? Are they the products of a blind, undirected process? Or were they intelligently designed?
A single gene in a caterpillar virus sends its victims running for the treetops, where they die and their bodies liquefy, sending an ooze of virus particles on their brothers and sisters below.The "Designer" seems to like the horrific as much as the beautiful.
This species of baculovirus infects only gypsy moth caterpillars, essentially turning them into zombies. It stops the caterpillars from molting and sends them up into the tree leaves during the day (a behavior they normally save for the cover of darkness), where they die among the leaves as they wait to molt.
"They die there, and then they melt within hours after they die, and they are dripping virus down onto the leaves below," said study researcher Kelli Hoover, of Pennsylvania State University.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I Do Not Think It Means ...
Via PZ Megahertz, comes this monumental misunderstanding of the point:
A Kansas high school teacher is apologizing after parents complained because she stepped on an American flag while discussing free speech rights in her class. ...Uh, Cherie ... that was the point of the lesson! You don't get to silence other people merely because you are offended.
Cherie Davis, a parent of a Circle student, complained to school officials. ...
... Davis says she didn't want McKinsey to be fired but did want her to understand that the lesson would offend many people.
... Unless you live in the benighted state of Kansas.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Collateral Ego Damage
Ellis Washington, (one of) Ed Brayton's favorite wingnut punching bags, is over at (where else?) WingNut Daily, making the usual fool of himself ... as well as nursing old grievances:
If evolution is so scientific, factual and beyond all rational argument, then why do the proponents of Darwinian evolutionary theory systematically lie about their findings, block and defame other scientists with contrarian ideas like Intelligent Design, creationism and natural law, and in the name of "academic freedom" dominate the majority of the academic journals and university professorships with a Stalinist grip? What of derivative theories of evolution like the Big Bang theory – that all matter and living things in the universe, including mankind, came about 13.7 billion years ago from an explosion? I'm not a scientist, but I was taught in elementary school that explosions destroy things, not create them.Hush now, stop giggling!
There is exactly one thing right about the above paragraph. Washington is no scientist ... and hasn't a clue about what science is. To drive home the point, via a sledgehammer, right in the middle of Washington's rant, WND put a link to, of all people, Ray (Banana Man) Comfort's "Evolution: A Fairy Tale for Grownups."
The occasion for Washington's rant is the old news about Granville Sewell's fraud upon the journal Applied Mathematical Letters, in which he passed off old material as if it was an original paper fit for publication in a scientific journal. Because of poor peer review at Applied Mathematical Letters, it had, at first, accepted Sewell's paper and, when they were alerted to their mistake, withdrew it. For this original error in judgment, the publisher wound up paying Sewell $10,000 in "shoo fly" money.
Amusingly, this is Washington's "defense" of Sewell:
Sewell did not present Intelligent Design arguments, but postulated that there are certain forms of complexity most people agree will not happen under a natural, unguided environment.Of course, postulating that there are certain forms of complexity that will not happen under a natural, unguided environment is the sum total of Intelligent Design. The fact that Sewell didn't use those words is just a piece with the dishonest tactics developed to sneak creationism into public school science classrooms (no small part of which is sneaking vaguely ID papers into the scientific literature as a PR tool) that gave rise to the "cdesign proponentsists" in the first place. That, in turn, is the importance of that "most people agree." Grade schoolers and high schoolers and others mostly ignorant of science (such as Washington) can go on believing whatever they want to without any pesky facts from annoying scientists getting in the way. But that is the very point of education ... not necessarily to change the student's mind, but to give him or her the information that makes having a mind a useful thing ... something Washington wouldn't know about.
But as to Washington's old scores, what has really got his knickers in a knot is his own failures. He starts his article with a quote from that intellectual giant, Ann Coulter:
Liberals defend the guilty and impugn the innocent not only because they side with barbarians, but because a fair and just system of law challenges their hegemony as judges of the universe.What the heck that is supposed to have to do with evolutionary science is beyond me ... but not, apparently, beyond the delusional. Speaking of whom, here is Washington's real rational for his piece:
I can personally testify to this widespread intellectual discrimination against conservative thought in academic journals. As a conservative academic, I've written over a dozen law review articles; half of those papers were rejected at the 11th hour after having been accepted for publication, cite-checked, edited and peer-reviewed. In some cases I was forced to have my work published with another law journal. For example, in a 2010 law review article, "The Delinquencies of Juvenile Law: A Natural Law Analysis," after being accepted then rejected by an American law journal for no rational reason, I was forced to publish this work in a Romanian journal – the former communist country of the murderous dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. How's that for irony?Here is the abstract of the paper:
This article is a substantive analysis tracing the legal, philosophical, social, historical, jurisprudence and political backgrounds of juvenile law, which is an outgrowth of the so-called Progressive movement-a popular social and political movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. I also trace how this socio-political cause célèbre became a fixture in American culture and society due to existential child labor abuses which progressive intellectuals used as a pretext to codify juvenile law in federal law and in statutory law in all 50 states by 1925. Moreover the dubious social science and Machiavellian political efforts that created the juvenile justice system out of whole cloth has done much more harm to the Constitution and to the children it was mandated to protect than any of the Progressive ideas initially envisioned rooted in Positive Law (separation of law and morals). Finally, I present am impassioned argument for congressional repeal of all juvenile case law and statutes because they are rooted in Positive Law, contrary to Natural Law (integration of law and morals), the original intent of the constitutional Framers and are therefore patently unconstitutional.Unfortunately, while the original is behind a paywall, the article can be found here. While I usually have a compunction to read something through before criticizing it, I simply will not sacrifice untold numbers of innocent neurons to death by stupidity. I could not get further than this:
For example [of bad things], the [Supreme] Court's removal of prayer from the public schools, legalized birth-control for everyone including unmarried minors, legalized abortion on demand, pornography (including the public libraries providing children access to pornography on the internet), de facto legalization of homosexuality, severely limited religious freedom of speech, and outlawed the posting of the Ten Commandments in the public schools.Paranoia and religion are a deadly mix.
Behind these radical court decisions are a cabal of well-organized, well-financed and diverse group of progressive politicians, socialists, fascists, anarchists, communists, atheists, agnostics, secularists, leftist special interest groups, and their supporters which were becoming increasingly hostile to America's traditional notions of family, morality and respect for the historical and substantive influence that Christianity and the church has played in controlling the marketplace of ideas.
As I said in the comments over at WND (for however long it lasts):
As any "attorney" should know, the "guilty" don't achieve that status until they have had a fair trial, which includes having competent counsel.
John Adams, at great personal and professional risk, defended those British soldiers "everyone knew" were guilty of the Boston Massacre. Damn liberal Founders!
It is not at all ironic that your anti-democratic (small "d") rantings could only find a place in a country with so little experience of the concept.
P.S. Congratulations to my longtime acquaintance from talk.origins, Wes Elsberry, on his achievement of skeptical validation by being attacked in the official organ of the planet of Wingnutia.
Friday, September 09, 2011
Separated At Birth
[T]he science [of climate change] is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans' economy at jeopardy based on scientific theory that's not settled yet, to me is just nonsense. I tell somebody: "Just because you have a group of scientists that stood up and said, this is the fact" … Galileo got outvoted for a spell. But the fact is, to put America's economic future in jeopardy, asking us to cut back in areas that would have monstrous economic impact on this country, is not good economics, and I will suggest to you is not necessarily good science. Find out what the science truly is before you put the American economy in jeopardy.
- Gov. Rick Perry at a debate of Republican presidential candidates
A man does not attain the status of Galileo merely because he is persecuted; he must also be right.
- Stephen Jay Gould
It might also be suggested that a man does not find out what the science truly is at upscale hair salons or at the knee of fanatical Religious Right donors.
But to really put down American politicians, trust a Brit:
They're both victims of persecution though … In a way, yes. Galileo was put on trial by the Roman Inquisition and sentenced to house arrest for almost 10 years until his death, while Perry has been plagued by pesky scientists wielding facts.
Facts? Considered a form of psychological abuse by some on the Christian right. ...
Goodness. How can we tell them apart? Poke one. The one that responds is Perry. Probably.
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Biblical Milk Bottles, Milking Pols
Michelle Goldberg, whose book, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism I've witten about a few times before, has an article at The Daily Beast concerning the real power behind The Hairdo.
In Texas political circles, the fact that Perry owes his career to [James Leininger, an archconservative San Antonio multimillionaire] is well known. Leininger has consistently been a top Perry donor and even financed Perry's first campaign plane. "Time and again, the political and personal fortunes of James Leininger and Rick Perry have intertwined," says a new report from Texans for Public Justice, an Austin-based group that tracks the influence of money and corporate influence in Texas politics.Oh, yes ... in case anyone is wondering ... Perry's stated beliefs on evolution and science in general are important ... if for no other reason, to get an idea of just who is pulling what strings.
At the same time, Leininger also helped bankroll the transformation of the Texas GOP from a merely conservative party to one dominated by religious fundamentalists. ...
Leininger is a physician who became a multimillionaire thanks to founding a company, Kinetic Concepts, which distributes specialty medical beds that rotate to prevent bed sores. He went on to diversify into other businesses, including Promised Land Dairy, which sells milk in bottles printed with Bible verses, and eventually amassed a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars. ...
He's been a particular foe of secular public education, pouring millions into primary challenges against Republicans who failed to support school vouchers, and funding school board candidates who push creationism and a Christian nationalist view of American history.
Saturday, September 03, 2011
Stopping the March
A couple of new favorite quotes:
No idiot knows that he is an idiot. As a rule, those of small intellectual equipment are so sure of themselves that they are eager to make the race over in their own image. This is a controlling reason why they should not be encouraged to exercise their power. ...
The bigoted and the ignorant are very sure of themselves. No business seems to be too important or too personal for them to undertake. One of their chief pastimes is the regulation of other people. They are willing to do anything to others that to them seems important. To compel all others to adopt their own views and ways of living is their aim. In fact, one of their chief sources of comfort and pleasure is making others unhappy. How safe would it be for the human race and the comfort of the individual units if the production of human beings were left in their hands?
- Clarence Darrow, "The Eugenics Cult"
The following is an article by Clarence Darrow that appeared in The American Mercury, Volume VIII, Number 30, June 1926:
BY CLARENCE DARROW
IN THE last ten years the reading public has been bombarded by books and articles on eugenics. In the main these articles have set forth a single thesis: that doom hangs over the human race. Of course, we have all known for a long time that each individual of the human race is doomed. Though we seldom speak of it and try not to think about it, every man inevitably comes to the realization that in time his own life must pass. The eugenists' concern, however, is not over the fact that we die one by one. What alarms them is that the race is apparently bent upon committing a wholesale biological harikari. So there has been much beating of drums, blowing of trumpets and hubbub on the street-corners; there have been cries in the night of "race suicide," "the rising tide of color," "the race is dying out at the top," and "torrents of degenerate and defective protoplasm.". . . It is vain to ask the question, What, of it? That does not stop the clamor. Neither will the remarks that I am about to make on the subject.
The evidence with which the eugenists support their contentions is simple and overwhelming. Are not the weak and unfit breeding much faster than the strong and the fit? College professors, lawyers, doctors, and the like average not more than two children to the family. On the other hand, carpenters, bricklayers, bootblacks and the other unfit average at least twice as many. Everybody knows that dagos, hunkies, wops, bolsheviks and all the other undesirables are begetting children at an indecent rate. These children are surely bound to overrun the earth, along with the morons, the insane and the criminal. Inevitably the superior stocks will be submerged. The only wonder is that with the persistent and senseless breeding of the unfit this hasn't happened long ago. Right here in our own country, which was settled by the Nordics after the Indians were driven out, the superior race is fast going down before the misfits of inferior races. In the face of the promiscuous breeding of these latter such noble strains as the Edwardses and the Adamses will be swamped by mere force of numbers. The good old Mayflower stock is suffering the same unhappy fate as the good old pre-Prohibition liquor. It is being mixed with all sorts of alien and debilitating substances.
Semi-cultured citizens read the eugenist books, and, sitting on hard Chautauqua benches, listen to the speakers. Then they shudder with horror at the thought of the rising tide of undesirables. They believe it all, of course, for they assume that they themselves are the intelligent and the well-born. The professors, the preachers, the lawyers, the bankers, all the good solid citizens, are worried. Something, obviously, must be done to save the world, and the eugenists are ready and even importunate with their remedy. Organized society, they say, must in some way control mating and birth. True, most of them seem to pause purposely just before they draw the logical conclusion that the state should interfere with the production of humans, as man already does with the production of hogs. When they come to this point they falter and quibble, raise doubts and get cold feet. They take refuge in vague generalizations and leave the intelligent reader and the more intelligent politician to do the rest, But that rest will evidently be a plenty.
However, some of the eugenists are not so shy. Mr. Albert Wiggam, for instance, speaking with his wonted clearness, force and sureness, tells us that society must take stern measures to prevent the unfit from producing their kind. He pleads with us to take heed of the laws of science. If we only knew it, says Mr. Wiggam, "we already have enough science at hand to bring the world into an earthly paradise! It remains only for all men to apply it." Again, there is Mr. Herbert W. Walter, who joins a Mr. Davenport in sounding a call for race improvement. In his book, "Genetics," he quite definitely sets forth the necessity for the control of the production of human beings by state agencies. "A negative way," writes Mr. Walter, ' 'to bring out the better blood in the world is to follow the clarion call of Davenport and 'dry up the streams of defective and degenerate protoplasm.' This may be partially accomplished, at least in America, by employing the following agencies: control of immigration, more discriminating marriage laws, a quickened eugenic sentiment, sexual segregation of defectives, and, finally, drastic measures of sterilization when necessary."
Mr. Walter later informs us that already our face is turned toward the light. Eight States have sterilization laws, and if such laws could be enforced in the whole United States "less than four generations would eliminate nine-tenths of the crime, insanity, and sickness of the present generation in our land. Asylums, prisons, and hospitals would decrease and the problems of the unemployed, the indigent old, and the hopelessly degenerate would cease to trouble civilization." Mr. Wiggam is right: paradise is just around the corner. Amazingly simple, isn't it? Just a law providing for a "'minor operation on the male which occupies but a few moments" and in the case of the female "'the removal of a portion of each Fallopian tube" and presto! in four generations we are rid of nine-tenths of our criminals, paupers, insane, etc. No wonder the man in the street marvels at the wonders of science!
But except for his proposal of the sovereign remedy of sterilization, Mr. Walter lacks any very specific administrative programme for "drying up the streams of degenerate protoplasm.." Luckily, however, we have with us Dr. William McDougall, who has evolved a plan for carrying out the ideals of the eugenists which has the virtue of being at once both definite and simple. It is so simple as to be almost fool-proof, even in a democracy. Dr. McDougall is certainly an eminent authority; he is the head of the psychology department of Harvard and was lured to this position from Oxford, the well-known headquarters of the Nordics. He has been recognized for these many years as one of the leading psychologists of the world and his writings are eagerly devoured by the classes who believe in the essential aristocracy of the Nordic germ-plasm.
Dr. McDougall, in his- book, "Ethics and Some Modern World Problems," begins by saying that two classes of undesirables in the population can be immediately determined: the mentally-deficient and the convicted criminals. The first class can be selected "through our highly organized medical science and institutions" and our legal institutions can select the latter.'' (This must mean doctors, lawyers and judges.) For Dr. McDougall it is a "simple and indisputable truth" that both of these classes should be disenfranchised. The third category, which we are informed can be just as easily recognized, is that of the illiterates. These, too, should be disenfranchised.
So far, so good. Now we come to the eugenic high-point in Dr. McDougall's plan, On the basis of literacy tests the population is to be divided into two classes, which we may call the A and C classes. Intermarriage between these two classes is to be strictly prohibited. Those who cannot read will not be allowed to marry those who can. In this manner, Dr. McDougall tells us, the A class will be constantly purified by shedding into the C class those who do not fit into the higher order. But there should be an opportunity for the best progeny of the C class to be elevated to the A class. This could be accomplished by creating another class with a probationary status, which we may designate the B class. Every candidate "for admission to the A class would have to spend at least twenty or twenty-five years of his life as a probationer in the B class." But children whose parents were both of the A class would have the status of the B class as their birthright, and these favored ones, upon attaining adult life, would be admitted to the A class if otherwise qualified,
The state system of education, says Dr. McDougall, should be free to all, but compulsory to none. To pass from a lower status to a higher one, there should be, beside the time requirements, educational tests and examinations. It might be wise also, he tells us, to provide that any citizen of the A class who married a member of the C class should automatically lose his status and revert to the C class. "In this way the nation would achieve the benefits of a simple caste organization, namely: the preservation of the qualities of the superior strains." The scheme would likewise "avoid those features which condemn to stagnation every society founded upon a rigid caste system." In time, the three class system would bring three great advantages: first, political power would rest in the hands of a select body of citizens; second, the nation would be fortified against the fatal tendency of civilization to die away at the top; third, the class of full citizens would be protected against the lowering of its average by the inmixture of blood of inferior quality.
Here then, we have a "neat but not gaudy" little plan for saving civilization: a simple caste system in which the literate sheep are carefully separated from the illiterate goats. What may be called literary miscegenation by members of the A class is forbidden on pain of the offender being reduced automatically to the illiterate group from which neither he nor his descendants can escape, save by going through the purgatory of twenty years in the B class. The inference to be drawn from all this is as clear as it is inevitable. Dr. McDougall is of the opinion that there is a definite and direct correlation between the ability to "read intelligently" and desirable germ-plasm. All those whose .parents are members of the A class are forthwith members of the A class (provided that they can pass the necessary examination); the presumption is that they have good germ-plasm. But those whose parents (or either of them) are members of the C class carry a bad germ-plasm, and it must be aged in the wood, as it were, for twenty years before it reaches the A class standard.
What could be simpler than all this? Nothing, perhaps, except Dr. McDougall's biological innocence. On the basis of what biological principles, and by what psychological hocus-pocus he reaches the conclusion that the ability to read intelligently denotes a good germ-plasm and desirable citizens I cannot say. Here I merely rehearse his plan. I present it as Exhibit A of the scheme of the eugenists to save civilization.
Quotations from other eminent authorities might be multiplied to show just how far the biological uplifters are willing to go. Their romancing would not be worth discussing were it not for the fact that the public apparently takes it at its face value. "Aren't these eugenists. scientists? And you can't get around scientific law, you know." The politicians stand ready with their usual willingness to deliver what the people want. So-called eugenic laws are already on the statute books of various States. When one stops to consider what a radical departure in the conduct of human beings in the most important concerns of life is called for by the movement, the measure of success that it has already obtained is enough to inspire the most substantial hopes or fears—depending upon one's point of view.
The question which naturally arises at this point is, What evidence do the eugenists have at hand to support their demand for the organized control of human breeding? Everyone who has any knowledge of the matter knows that the biologists have experimented for years in the production of sweet peas, pigeons, white rats, guinea pigs, fruit flies and domestic animals of various kinds. Such deductions as have been drawn from this controlled breeding of animals and plants are formulated in the so-called Mendelian laws, the theory of unit characters, and that of the continuity of the germ-plasm. But what has all this to do with the production of human beings? What, if anything, can be learned about the proper and desirable breeding of men from experiments with fruit flies? The biologists have discovered that by regulating the breeding of various species and taking notice of what are called unit characters (such as eye color, tallness and shortness, fatness and leanness, long hair, etc.) they can within certain limits produce strains that will breed true to almost any type desired. In this fashion, for example, we are able to get the draft horse, the race horse, the milch cow, different kinds of flowers, and fruit flies with various and sundry characteristics. How natural to suppose, then, that man, also an animal, must have his unit characters, which can be manipulated and bred, out or in, as desired!
The eugenist would have us believe that on the basis of these experiments on plants and the lower animals, together with some alleged observations on the so-called degenerate germ-plasms of human beings, plus certain reflections on the haphazard character of human mating, we are justified in the conclusion that all that is needed is to use the same skill and force with humans that has already been used with hogs, and the miracle will be wrought. A new humanity will arise full grown in place of the ignoramuses and misfits that now cumber the earth.
But can we actually draw any such conclusion? Let us turn for an answer to Dr. H. S. Jennings, an eminent biologist at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Jennings is an experimental biologist and not a eugenist. In his little book, "'Prometheus," he warns us against this very fallacy of placing too great reliance on experiments with animals as a basis for the breeding of the human race. To those eager colleagues who are too ready to make assumptions about human heredity he says:
When the biologist, from his knowledge of other organisms, is tempted to dogmatize concerning the possibilities of human development, let him first ask himself: How correctly could I predict the behavior and social organization of ants from a knowledge of the natural history of the oyster? Man differs from other organisms used in these experiments as much as the ant docs from the oyster; for these distinctive aspects of his biology, only the study of man himself is relevant.And then, to the further edification of Messrs. McDougall, Wiggam, Walter et al., he tells us that so far as our present experimental knowledge goes we know little or nothing about unit characters in human heredity and that what we do know leads us to the general conclusion that the very nature of human bi-parental reproduction effectively prevents the continued reproduction of what the eugenists would regard as a desirable type. In this matter, Nature not only seems to have something to say, but is all powerful. Says Dr, Jennings:
If an ingenious inventor were set to work to devise a system for the purpose of heading off completely anything of this sort (i.e., the production of specified human types) he could hardly produce one so effective as the one found in Nature. This might rather seem devised to the end of giving the greatest possible variety; of yielding the extremes of diversity at any one time; of inducing most thorough-going and continuous changes as generations pass. Personified Nature might well be held to abhor uniformity and constancy for the higher organisms.We have made no actual experiments in the breeding of human beings. It is obvious that the biologists have not and cannot experiment by mating men and women, as they mate guinea pigs and rabbits, and then studying the offspring. Even if our folkways and mores would permit such experiments, the generations of men are so long that no conclusive results, comparable to those in animal experimentation could be obtained except over a period of several hundred years. Thus all observations on human heredity up to this time have involved starting with specific individual and then seeking to trace his heredity backward as far as possible. But no authentic record of specific human beings goes back very far, and even if such records were available it would remain a fact that with each new mating the germ-plasm would be changed. In the course of a few generations many different lines are crossed. But the investigators start with a human organism which they consider either good or bad and then arbitrarily assume the direction of the "stream of the germ-plasm" at each cross-roads in order to confirm their preconceived theory. In this way they frequently find what they are looking for. In any possible number of ancestors, no matter what the line, you can go but a little way without finding both strength and weakness. So this method by, and large, has meant only seeking evidence for what someone wanted to prove.
But let us assume that man can, by breeding, change the human race. Do we really know that we can make it what is called "better"? Do we even know what we mean by the word? The eugenist, who is always lamenting that man has taken no such pains in breeding humans as he has in producing desirable plants and animals, assumes, of course, that he has done a good job with plants and animals. By carefully mating fat hogs and discarding lean ones, he has produced the Berkshire from the razorback, and after persistent selection the Berkshire now breeds fairly true. But is the Berkshire a better hog than the razorback? For my part, I am convinced that it is nowhere near as good.
Of course, I am here considering the change from the standpoint of the hog. He has not been able to speak for himself, and men have not spoken for him. Turn the Berkshire and the razorback out to shift for themselves. Which would fare the better and live the longer? The Berkshire, in fact, would probably soon smother in its own fat. And even if it should survive to reproduce, the hog race would slowly return to the razorback type. Take another case: that of our thoroughbred cows. They must be carefully tended, fed and milked. They are not healthy animals. In fact, they are not cows at all; they are simply milk machines. Again, there is the thoroughbred running horse. It is valuable to man for betting purposes —but the draft horse can pull loads. The race horse, if turned out without a blanket and left to get its own living, would probably die of pneumonia before it got very far from the paddock. And if it should survive turning out, then, in the course of time, its descendants would be like the scrub animals on the plains. I am inclined to think, indeed, that man never bred a plant or animal without weakening it or injuring it.
Thus it cannot be seriously argued that any "thoroughbred" animal or plant is better than one in a natural state. If so, better for what? Nature knows but one meaning of the word "better" and that is "fitted for survival." There is no evidence that even the "mind" of the thoroughbred hog or horse or cow is better than that of the scrub. The evidence seems to be the other way. When we speak of improving animals, we mean only that they have been improved for man's purposes, not for the purposes of living in competition with other organisms.
But to return to the point I have assumed for the sake of the argument: that man can be changed by controlled breeding: If we should eliminate the lean, and breed only the stout, we might get a race of mostly fat men. By eliminating the short and breeding only the tall, it is conceivable that the race would increase in stature. We might breed men who were lean or fat, or tall or short, but this could only be done within limits. Probably nature would rebel at any considerable variance from the present type. It has taken too long a time to produce the species in its present state to make possible a wide divergence of type.
But on what grounds would anyone be rash enough to want to change the physical type of man? Have we any assurance that a different type would be more desirable? If so, what kind of type? Furthermore, haven't the eugenists in their zeal for "bringing the world into an earthly paradise," forgotten that man, as he stands, is created in the image of God? Is it possible that they are also ambitious to meddle with the perfection of the very Cosmic Plan itself?
But perhaps they do not desire to breed a different physical being. Perhaps, with Dr. McDougall, they will say that their real aim is to breed for better intellects. The world, unfortunately, is largely ruled by phrases, and there a convenient and fetching slogan for those who think the race may be improved by breeding has been supplied. "A healthy mind in a healthy body" is the new slogan. But are good minds necessarily domiciled in healthy bodies? The history of the race does not prove it. There is something about a healthy body, apparently, that does not lure a good mind. It is probably too healthy. No; you cannot sort out intelligence by physical symmetry. The workings of heredity are obscure enough in the body; they are hopelessly indefinite in the mind. No eugenist knows anything about breeding for intellect. That the manifestations which we call mind are in some way a product of bodily functioning seems to be fairly well established. But what appears to be the healthiest and most symmetrical body may not produce the best mind. A slight and utterly obscure variance in some part of the structure may make a wide difference in mental strength. It is not unusual to find imbecility in the same family with first-rate intellects. To talk about breeding for intellect, in the present state of scientific knowledge and data, is nothing short of absurd. No scientist has ever pretended to advance any theories for breeding intellect; we do not know what intelligence is, much less how to breed it. Are we even convinced, that better minds are desirable? The question of human welfare is not so much a question of more strength as of a better use of such strength as we have. About all that we can say about a good mind is that it adds to the effectiveness of the individual. What will be accomplished with the mind, good or bad, is not a matter of breeding; it is a matter of education.
It is, in fact, in no sense a foregone conclusion that the general welfare of man would be improved by increasing his intellect. It cannot be shown that the intelligent are happier than the ignorant; still less can it be shown that they contribute more to the happiness of their fellows. The great mass who are born and die are not "intellectual''; yet they survive and their tribe increases. Real intelligence is as rare, and perhaps as unnatural, as idiocy. One can imagine a human being so imaginative and sympathetic that he would pity the genius as much as the simple. No idiot knows that he is an idiot. As a rule, those of small intellectual equipment are so sure of themselves that they are eager to make the race over in their own image. This is a controlling reason why they should not be encouraged to exercise their power.
Is there any way to tell what class is the happiest? It cannot be shown that riches or learning or power or intellect have anything to do with happiness. Those who in a measure possess these gifts seem not to be sure of the happiness that they bring. It is not unreasonable to suppose that the cocksureness of ignorance, the lack of imagination that goes with conceit, and the crude hopes and dreams born of stupidity give more contentment and pleasure, and less pain, than the vision and imagination that are born of intelligence.
Assuming, for the sake of argument, that science could furnish us with such exact data on the method of breeding as would permit the elimination of morons, idiots and imbeciles, and at the same time vastly increase the numbers of the intelligent, scholarly and well disposed, I repeat that it is not at all certain that it would be desirable to accomplish that result. The large mass of men and women, the world over, must do manual work, and one of the first indications of intelligence and training is that an individual separates himself from such work. What would happen to the operation of factories, railroads, buildings, and all the various activities of men if everyone became a genius or a scholar? Are not the morons, so-called, also important in the scheme? In the processes of living, are they not even more important than the geniuses? Would not a well-developed system of birth-control leave out the vast number of people who do the manual work of the world? And if so, what would become of the intellectuals who were compelled to take their places? All men must live in houses, wear clothes and consume food. No society would be possible that did not take into account the vast army who must supply these primitive wants, and be more or less directed by the intelligent who do not perform manual work. Where is the assurance that any organized society, such as the state, through the regulations of breeding could produce the proper proportion of laborers and intelligentsia to improve the general standard of comfort and welfare of the whole people?
Even if human breeding could be so controlled as to produce a race such as the eugenists desire, we might still lose much that is worth while. It is hardly possible to breed certain qualities in without breeding others out. I, for one, am alarmed at the conceit and sureness of the advocates of this new dream. I shudder at their ruthlessness in meddling with life. I resent their egoistic and stern righteousness. I shrink from their judgment of their fellows. Every one who passes judgment necessarily assumes that he is right. It seems to me that man can bring comfort and happiness out of life only by tolerance, kindness and sympathy, all of which seem to find no place in the eugenists' creed. The whole programme means the absolute violation of what men instinctively feel to be inherent rights. Organized society shall say who must and must not breed, and establish stern rules for picking out mates.
But of the various ways that the individual has found for attaining to pleasure, one of the greatest is the business of selecting mates. A large and important part of life is made up of the gestures that precede and go with mating. Every Jack pursues his Jill, and every Jill lures her Jack. In this prime occupation of life they want to be free to do their own choosing. The boy and girl resent the proffered advice of even parents. It is safe to say that few fathers or mothers at fifty would approve of their own conquests in early life. It is still safer to say that in such a primitive affair as mating, the young would not give a fig for the opinions and wisdom of the old and seasoned. The youth does not even know why he is specially attracted to some special mate. The urge of life calls him, and he feels that he knows who he wants. No one can imagine a boy or girl going to a committee and asking its members to pick out a mate. Nature does not work that way, and it is not easy to understand how it ever could work that way.
The normal boy and girl, indeed, do not go a-wooing in order to find mates to improve the race. They are thinking of themselves and their happiness, which is far more vital to them, and probably to the race, than the character of the human beings who will inhabit the earth in the distant future. It is the immediate feeling that preserves life. True, much mating is improvident, and many unions do not bring the anticipated joys, but still their emotions and hopes perpetuate the species, and so the race survives. If the scheme of the eugenist could be carried out, it is easy to conceive of a thoroughly mechanical human being, preserved for a time by his disappearing emotions, but eventually going down to annihilation. Is there any certainty that the intellectual control of life would bring more pleasure and satisfaction and variety than the seeming haphazard and instinctive mating that has at least produced most of the zeal and interest of living?
The bigoted and the ignorant are very sure of themselves. No business seems to be too important or too personal for them to undertake. One of their chief pastimes is the regulation of other people. They are willing to do anything to others that to them seems important. To compel all others to adopt their own views and ways of living is their aim. In fact, one of their chief sources of comfort and pleasure is making others unhappy. How safe would it be for the human race and the comfort of the individual units if the production of human beings were left in their hands?
It is well enough to rhapsodise over what should be done when there are no facts to sustain the theories. Mr. Wiggam may wax eloquent over the wonderful potentialities of man, to be realized by manipulating the germ-plasm. It is well enough to say that eugenics means that the enhancement of "man's inborn capacities for happiness, health, sanity and achievement shall become the one living purpose of the state'' and that eugenics is "simply the projection of the Golden Rule down the stream of protoplasm" (whatever that might mean if it were translated into prose). To one who likes such things it sounds well to declare that "had Jesus been among us he would have been president of the first Eugenics Congress." (A great deal of time has been wasted in discussing what Jesus would have done and been had He lived to-day. Not long ago, a preacher declared that Jesus was the first great Rotarian and another enthusiast declared that He was the first great advertiser. And of course He is claimed both by the wets and the drys. Whether man was made in the image of God may still be a subject of debate, but there is no question that Jesus has been made over and over again in the image of every fanatic who has a crude and undigested idea about what should be done). It is well enough for Dr. McDougall to say that intelligent physicians operating through their societies could sort out the morons and the unfit, and that the courts could sort out the convicted criminals, and that some other organization could sort out something else. But it requires unlimited faith, unbounded hope, and a complete absence of charity to believe that the human race, which has been slowly developing for half a million years, would actually profit by placing the control of breeding in the hands of the state. Even assuming that we know what kind of man we should breed, and how it could be accomplished, is there any reason to believe that it could be done through any existing agency?
If the state is to regulate the production of human beings, it is important to know what we mean by the word "state." It can mean nothing else save the individual members who make up the political unit. And in the last analysis, those who manage to get power are its real rulers. It is hardly necessary to ask: Are these men the scientists? Are they the idealists? Are they the tolerant, the humane, and the well-disposed? It is doubtful if anyone would even contend that they are. Of course, all the classes I have named, working in their own way, and quite independent of government, do have some influence upon the actions of men, but that influence has no direct relation to forcible control. Every informed man knows what the state is and who it is. Imagine cities like New York, Chicago or Boston picking out boards of control to organize, in the eloquent language of Mr. Wiggam, "a method ordained by God and seated in natural law for securing better parents for our children?" It is not necessary to take New York, Chicago or Boston; every part of the country and every other country is controlled in the same way. Those in power would inevitably direct human breeding in their own interests. At the present time it would mean that big business would create a race in its own image. At any time it would mean with men, as it now does with animals, that breeding would be controlled for the use and purpose of the powerful and the unintelligent. Every social organization, every religious creed, every fad and fancy would set this power above every other function of the state. If any such scheme should be seriously considered, it would bring in an era of universal sexual bootlegging.
I am not a blind worshipper of Nature. I can not say whether she is good or bad. Man has no means of knowing. We can say only that, like all life, he is her product, that she is strong, if not invincible, and that she seems to delight in undoing the puny work of those who seek to meddle with her laws. I don't believe we could escape from her power, no matter what we sought to do. Neither do I believe that we could improve her job if we did escape. The history of the race shows endless examples of the pain and suffering that men have inflicted upon each other by their cocksureness and their meddling.
We know something about biology. We know a little about eugenics. We have no knowledge of what kind of man would be better than the one that Nature is evolving to fit into the environment which he cannot escape. We have neither facts nor theories to give us any evidence based on biology or any other branch of science as to how we could breed intelligence, happiness or anything else that would improve the race. We have no idea of the meaning of the word "improvement.'' We can imagine no human organization that we could trust with the job, even if eugenists knew what should be done, and the proper way to do it. Yet in the face of all this we have already started on the course, and the uplifters are urging us to go ahead, with no conception of where we are going, or what route we shall take!
In an age of meddling, presumption, and gross denial of all the individual feelings and emotions, the world is urged, not only to forcibly control all conduct, but to remake man himself! Amongst the schemes for remolding society this is the most senseless and impudent that has ever been put forward by irresponsible fanatics to plague a long-suffering race.