Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Intelligent Design Fueled By Kristolmeth

By now you've read this, Wolcott's take on John Derbyshire's apostacy/detective work, where he comes down hard on Irving Kristol and Gertrude Himmelfarb for their cynical war on science.

Wolcott's framed it appropriately, laying the blame on the Kristolmethodist/Straussian penchant for the Big Lie. Yes, Kristol and Himmelfarb have personally shaped the ID propaganda, but, as Paul Krugman wrote about back in August, Kristol's done more than that: he helped build the structure of the propaganda machine:

I'd like to nominate Irving Kristol, the neoconservative former editor of The Public Interest, as the father of "intelligent design." No, he didn't play any role in developing the doctrine. But he is the father of the political strategy that lies behind the intelligent design movement - a strategy that has been used with great success by the economic right and has now been adopted by the religious right.

Back in 1978 Mr. Kristol urged corporations to make "philanthropic contributions to scholars and institutions who are likely to advocate preservation of a strong private sector." That was delicately worded, but the clear implication was that corporations that didn't like the results of academic research, however valid, should support people willing to say something more to their liking.


Creationists failed when they pretended to be engaged in science, not religious indoctrination: "creation science" was too crude to fool anyone. But intelligent design, which spreads doubt about evolution without being too overtly religious, may succeed where creation science failed.

The important thing to remember is that like supply-side economics or global-warming skepticism, intelligent design doesn't have to attract significant support from actual researchers to be effective. All it has to do is create confusion, to make it seem as if there really is a controversy about the validity of evolutionary theory. That, together with the political muscle of the religious right, may be enough to start a process that ends with banishing Darwin from the classroom.

Irving Kristol is not only the godfather of neoconservatism, but also of rightwing Lysenkoism.