Derbyshire: "Mommy, You're Stupid! You're Stupid, Mommy!"
John Derbyshire at National Review was AWOL for a while but I'm glad to see he's back in action, abusing us in his accustomed style. He is one of those Darwinists like PZ Myers who's always at least an enjoyable read notwithstanding that part of the enjoyment lies in the way the actual content tends to boil down to something little above the level of "Mommy, you're stupid! You're stupid, Mommy!" (This is our three-year-old Saul's current best shot at a counterargument when crossed.) Thus it's a relief to find that on his vacation from Darwin advocacy, John has learned nothing.
On James Lee, briefly famous gunman and hostage-taker at the Discovery Channel headquarters, Derbyshire chides those who took a glance at Lee's Darwin-heavy manifesto and pointed out the obvious. Writes John, "It ought to be a well-established principle that you can't deduce anything at all from a lone act of insanity, but when you have an axe to grind, the temptation can be irresistible."
Who deduced anything? Not me. Observe, quote, correlate, yes. Deduce, no.
Yet John writes:
David Klinghoffer at the Discovery Institute, a creationist think-tank, chimed in with the observation that James Lee seems to have believed in the preposterous and utterly discredited theories of Charles Darwin, along with fellow Darwinists Charles Manson, Mao Tse-tung, Joseph Stalin, Josef Mengele, and of course Adolf Hitler. That doesn't quite compute. Wouldn't a Darwinist wish for his species to be successful, not go extinct? But no doubt the Discovery Institute people can discover a response to that.Huh? I don't know what a hypothetical Darwinist "would wish for," I only know what these monsters drew from Darwin's notion of inevitable ongoing warfare between superior and inferior races by which the species advances, which they translated into their own terms.
No one who's read what I wrote, citing sources and quoting directly, about those individuals (and others) could doubt the Darwinism of their thinking. John, it's clear, didn't use his time off to consider the historical evidence.
He goes on to note that Lee was against war so therefore, "Perhaps we should be fingering Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa here as well as ol' Chuck Darwin." Ignoring the lame sarcasm, this, again, still makes no sense at all. No one who drew on Gandhi or Mother Teresa for inspiration has, as far as I know, gone on to pursue dreams of genocide, eugenics, or racial or class warfare.
If they did, if there were a pattern of their doing so, and if Gandhi or Mother Teresa were cited the way Darwin was in Lee's demands, that would be of interest. It's "ol' Chuck Darwin" and his influence that forms the interesting pattern of which James Lee is a small instance. And that, John, is the point.