Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Drum's Swipe at the Right's Faux Outrage   posted by TangoMan @ 8/03/2005 11:31:00 AM

I'm sure you've all read about the President's latest idiocy, his advocation of teaching intelligent design alongside evolution in the nation's schools. When the news broke yesterday I thought about blogging it but just couldn't muster the enthusiasm to once again go on the attack against the religious right and their ignorance-based policy prescriptions - our archives are full of posts dealing with those very themes and I thought we'd add nothing new to the numerous stories swirling about the blogosphere, especially for our regular readers who are well aware of this blog's position (they'd never confuse us as having sympathy for the Religious Right) and besides how could we top this line - "Sheesh. Trying to prove the Dems right, one stupid f*cking statement at a time. Is Bush 'playing to the base' or does he believe it? I don't know which is worse."

However, today Kevin Drum has a post blasting the conservative side of the blogsphere for for their faux outrage. I don't think he's too far off-base either, this creationist delusion that the President operates under shouldn't be a surprise to anyone and the voters knew what type of man they were electing. Here's Drum's point:

Actually, what bugged me most about this whole affair was reading the faux outrage from Bush's conservative supporters in the blogosphere, as if they had no idea he felt this way before this week. Give it a rest, guys. Bush thinks creationism sounds great, Tom DeLay thinks the teaching of evolution was responsible for the Columbine shootings, and Bill Frist - a medical doctor! - is so scared of the Christian right that last December on "This Week" he hemmed and hawed and fidgeted like a naughty schoolchild while repeatedly declining to say whether he thought HIV-AIDS could be transmitted through tears or sweat.

Note to Bush supporters: You all knew what you were voting for when you put these guys in power. I'm happy to see you on the side of the angels here, but it's a little late to pretend to be shocked that the Republican leadership feels this way.

However, Kevin is painting with too broad of a brush. I think we all pretty much know that the candidate's positions on Creationism vs. Evolution weren't the main litmus tests for most voters and the conservative movement is not as monolithic in ideology as the Left would like to think. Nor is the Left as monolithic as the Right likes to think, and it was a pleasure to be a by-stander to the whole "Savage Minds (Leftist anthropologists) calling Jared Diamond's supporters racist" bro-ha-ha as Razib detailed in his post Eating Their Own. Anyways, I think it safe to assume that to many blogosphere readers we here at Gene Expression are solid Right Wing soldiers, however that impression isn't supported by data. Take a look at the data on our readership 18% of whom are inclined towards the Left vs. 37% inclined towards the Right. In the matter of religious inclination, 68% are either athiests or agnostic towards god and 57% of whom have no religion whatsoever. Also 33% voted for Kerry compared to 26% for Bush. In terms of godlessness I think we have most of the liberal community beat on that front!

Now Kevin is right to make as much hay about this embarrassment as he possibly can for such shame is a powerful tool to use to slap down the idiots in the conservative camp but in doing so Kevin is offering only a shallow, and mostly erroneous, dig at his opponents. This National Review article nicely delineates the Types of Right and I think that the emergence of the Evol-Cons is not really on the radar of many on the Left for they have no counterpart faction on which to map such emergent ideology.

. . . that lessons of the new science of evolutionary psychology are largely conservative ones about an adamantine human nature, the natural basis of sex roles, and so on; second, that the knowledge gained from the Human Genome Project and the rise of genetic engineering will throw up some fascinating and contentious political issues in the increasingly near future . . . . The main obstacle to their acceptance by other conservatives is that, although they actually lend support to the moral rules derived from the Judeo-Christian tradition, they seem to rob them of divine backing by making them merely adaptive.

As for the new issues born of genetic research, some have already crossed the political radar screen - notably, the controversy over race and I.Q. - and others will stride into the limelight very soon as it becomes possible for parents not merely to correct obvious genetic effects, but also to improve their children's I.Q., looks, height, etc. Will governments allow this? It will be hard to deny a parent the right to lift the curse of some hereditary disease from his daughter. But since there is no clear dividing line between correcting a defect and improving a feature, then wealthy parents would be able to buy better life-prospects for their offspring. Liberals would then want to use the same technology to "equalize" life-chances.

Major political battles are riding on the back of these scientific discoveries - and the evolutionary conservatives are among the very few people who have thought about them seriously.

Now, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if many of our readers who have a liberal slant to their politics, have by the Left's conscious renunciation of Human Bio-Diversity found themselves, by default, in the Evol-Con camp, though likely with many of their liberal social and economic proclivities still in tact. Afterall, one needs to only wade into the swamp of righteous indignation, willful blindness, self-affirming mantras divorced from reality and self-congratualatory adulation exhibited in this Daily Kos post to realize that liberally inclined Evol-Cons have as much in common with their ideological comrades (take a look at how one commentator is taken to the mat as a racist for using the word snigger) as conservative Evol-Cons have with the President and his ilk. For a different take on the Daily Kos issue take a look at John Hawk's post. Note the content difference between the two approaches. One need only look to the Larry Summers' debacle to realize that the Left bows before their own pieties of Blank Slatism and Gender Science (take a look at my post on Anti-Racist Math for the Gender Science take) that are equal in outlandishness to the Creationism idiocy. From my post, here's Gender Theorist, Sandra Harding:

I have been suggesting reasons for reevaluating the assumption that physics should be the paradigm of scientific knowledge-seeking. If physics out not to have this status, then feminists need not "prove" that Newton's laws of mechanics or Einstein's relativity theory are value-laden in order to make the case that the science we have is suffused with the consequences of gender symbolism, gender structures and gender identity.

To point to another example, the Cochran, Harpending & Hardy paper on Ashkenazi I.Q. has no safe harbor within the Left where it can be accepted without being seen as a threat to Leftist pieties. Of course, the standard response I've encountered is that the Left accommodates scientific reality within its ideological framework, and in fact that's precisely the tack that was taken in response to my post, The Turning of the Tide which argued that we'll likely see a merging of the Right and Left creationist and dogmatic elements against the Right and Left "reality-based" elements. At the time I felt it necessary to respond with the illustration of Leftist creationist-type thinking in this follow-on post, The Conflict Within - The Left's Version of Creationism.

So, in a nutshell, yeah Kevin, this is a perfect opportunity to crow about the Right's creationist idiocy and how the voters knew what they were getting, but don't get too far out on that plank, because the Left isn't anymore virtuous or reality-based when their own dogmas are challenged.

And for the record, I voted for Kerry.