The Strange Case of Little Green Footballs I
The popular conservative blogger Little Green Footballs has it in for Darwin doubters and recently called me a near-liar merely for alluding in an article to the well-known Darwin-Hitler connection. He regards the very idea of such a connection as a "creationist" canard. "Klinghoffer's claim," comments LGF, "is just short of an outright lie."
Normally, I think it's best for friends of ID to avoid a defensive posture and generally let critics say what they want without our always feeling obliged to respond. But here, because LGF is otherwise such an interesting and valuable blog, and because he's given me an occasion to raise important related questions, I am going to answer him after all.
As of this writing, if you glance at LGF's tag cloud, you'll see that he has devoted more items tagged to the topic of "Evolution" in the past 60 days (33 tags) than he has to that of "Militant Islam" (32 tags). That's significant because LGF came to prominence in the first place after the blog's author -- whose name is Charles Johnson -- had his political consciousness transformed in the wake of 9/11. Ever since then, he's been an outspoken and influential critic of Muslim fundamentalism. He never misses an opportunity to chide liberals for weakness and naivety in the face of Islamic fascism.
I like his blog, including the lovely photos he used to post, shots of the Pacific Ocean from the coast around Los Angeles, a geography I love. He's also a bicycle enthusiast, so we have that in common. But as I say, he's not a fan of Discovery Institute (DI). One doesn't get the sense that he's contemplated the scientific issues involved very seriously. Instead, his thinking seems to proceed along the following lines.
Advocating an aggressive and confident stance in the confrontation with radical Islam, LGF appears to view any challenge to secularism as a concession to the great Islamic fundamentalist enemy. Since intelligent design's critique of Darwinism implicitly poses a challenge to one of secularism's main support pillars, and since secularism (in his view) is a bulwark in the defense of the West, it follows according to a certain stunted logic that blog-warriors arrayed against the Muslim terror threat must also rally in defense of Darwin and against intelligent design.
Given the way blogging rhetoric tends to go, I guess it was inevitable that Johnson would even try to associate the Discovery Institute itself with terrorism: "When they aren't busy praising Osama bin Laden or applauding Hamas for murdering Jews, the Wahhabi propaganda site IslamOnline is fully on board with the Discovery Institute and their 'intelligent design' hoax." Sigh. This almost is too silly even to touch upon.
You might as well link DI with Hitlerism because, as Johnson points out, a 1935 set of guidelines for banning books, published in a Nazi library journal, included "Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Häckel)." So you see, one Nazi organ was actually critical of Darwin. The Discovery Institute is critical of Darwin. It follows by the rigorous standards of argumentation which LGF applies in these matters that DI is in bed not only with Islamists but with Nazis -- or, anyway, Nazi librarians!
But there are good reasons for looking a little more closely at LGF's stance, chiefly that I know it to be shared by a certain portion of conservatives who are similarly animated by the struggle with radical Islam. A couple of points need to be made -- about which, more tomorrow.