Saturday, April 19, 2008

Maybe There's Hope

Hard as this may be to believe, John Derbyshire has a good post up on The Corner. It's a succinct dismissal of the Creationist trope Darwin = Hitler, and it's as pointed as one could ask, especially considering where it's posted. Bonus points: Derbyshire is responding to an article published elsewhere on his own site!

(h/t: John Cole)


Eponym said...

I'll admit to being a fan of Derbyshire, prickly SOB that he is. He really does do yeoman's work clarifying the boundary between creationism/ID and rational belief/science. And his math popularizations are damn good.

bjkeefe said...

Thanks for weighing in, Jeff. I admit that I don't know Derbyshire's work well enough to have characterized him as I did. Most of what I do know about him comes from Sadly, No! or TBogg, say, mocking his more wingnutty postings.

If you'd like to point me to some of Derb's better stuff, I'd appreciate the effort.

Eponym said...

A good place to start would be his book about the Riemann Hypothesis (zeta functions and the distribution of primes) Prime Obsession, and his history of algebra Unknown Quantity. They're both a lot more interesting than those descriptions might seem to imply. His shorter writings are collected on his website:

He's damn close to being a crank, a self-acknowledged anti-immigrant immigrant, paleo-con whose expression often veers into self-parody. He's also very smart. Al of this to say that plowing through his work is an adventure and sometimes the suprises are unpleasant. My primary exposure other than above listed books is to what he writes on The Corner, which ranges from well written and reasoned defense of science pieces to very well informed and illuminating bits about China (his wife is a Chinese national and he lived there for some years) to odd political screeds that can seem almost embarrassingly obtuse. I wouldn't call him a racist, but sometimes his views ("rubble doesn't make trouble") seem cringemakingly close to matching that description.

bjkeefe said...

Thanks for the reading recommendations, Jeff. Actually, even the description sound interesting.

Eponym said...

More Derbyshire on "Expelled"

Eponym said...

Try again
I'll never get the hang of linking in Blogger comments

bjkeefe said...

Thanks for this, Epo. Good article, except maybe for the conspiracy thinking about "Saudi princes" possibly funding it.

I was laughing when I followed Derb's link to the story about Yoko Ono suing them for using "Imagine" without permission, and the pathetic defense of "fair use." Come on. That's Movie-Making 101 -- any sound clip over a few seconds requires a release, if not royalty payments.

I really liked this line:

When talking about the creationists to people who don’t follow these controversies closely, I have found that the hardest thing to get across is the shifty, low-cunning aspect of the whole modern creationist enterprise.

and the following hypothesizing about why this might be so. Devastating examples, too.

Re links not working: Thanks for the second effort. I remind you, also, of the "Preview" feature -- you can see if you've gotten a link's markup right by previewing your comment and opening the link in a new window or tab. If you knew this already, I apologize for nagging.

But thanks again for the link.

bjkeefe said...

In fairness to Derb, he doesn't think Saudi princes funded this movie. I don't think he needed to raise the possibility at all, though, even to dismiss it.

It was an ironic juxtaposition to the ad that lay next to it, though.