Peter Hitchens, the Discovery Institute, and Cultural Marxism

I like Peter Hitchens and, while he has been correct about many things (such as the futility of the Iraq War), he is clearly wrong in his understanding of human evolution. In Hitchen’s recent exchange with Jerry Coyne (here and here), Hitchens demonstrates a number of misunderstandings about evolution, which Coyne addresses.  Interestingly, Hitchens seems to defend Intelligent Design (ID).  Personally, I don’t see why one needs to take that extra step.  Why don’t the religious  just reconcile Christianity and evolution – argue there is no contradiction?  One doesn’t need ID.  I wonder what Hitchens’ thoughts are on the flagship institution of ID, the nutjob Discovery Institute.  Recently, it was discovered that the Discovery Institute fabricated its scientific labs and, since Hitchens considers himself a traditionalist, I wonder what his thoughts are on the fact that much of the underlying motivation of the Discovery Institute seems to be Cultural Marxism?   By this, I mean that the problem for many ID people is that evolution seems to violate the myth of universalism / egalitarianism.  An overwhelming number of articles at the Discovery Institute decries evolution for being “racist”.  When one looks at those funding the ID movement — Trotskyite neocons perennially worried that “evolution leads to fascism” — one can understand the unhinged obsession with “racism.” These neocons seem, from an allegedly religious perspective, to mirror the frauds Boas, Lewontin, and Gould always at war to defend “Liberal Creationism.”   But seriously, I hope Peter is smart enough not to fall for this squid ink.


See our response:  “Why the Religious Should Reject Intelligent Design

10 thoughts on “Peter Hitchens, the Discovery Institute, and Cultural Marxism

  1. Pingback: Why the religious should reject Intelligent Design | Occam's Razor

  2. I don’t care about the Discovery Institute, but you do mislead. One quick look at their website and it’s contents showed that although they believe that some racism is heavily rooted in early Darwinian evolutuionary theory, their major thrust is in fact focused in very different areas and their whole racism rant is more the frosting than the cake. Then noting that you missed the first boat, I googled the fabricated lab issue and found out that they had used a green screen to film a lab scene documentary; nothing to see there, it’s done all the time, it’s easier and cheaper to film. So I Googled the scientist in question Ann Gauger. She has received a BS in biology from MIT, and a PhD in developmental biology from the University of Washington; As a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard she cloned and characterized the Drosophila kinesin light chain. Her research has been published in Nature, Development, and the Journal of Biological Chemistry. So…. green screen or not she is a real scientist from real Universities who has worked in plenty of real labs. If there is a third alternative to you just being ignorant or purposefully deceiving, I’d love to hear it. Now your beef with the DI is so reactionary and weak that you haven’t argued one point of actual data with them. I looked though your whole article and you don’t take them to task on one single point of science or data; not one. All you’ve done is name call, so here’s the right thing to do: DI’s website claims to show many intractable problems with unguided evolution, pick one….. you pick, maybe the how DNA originated, or how life actually formed step-by-step and explain it to us, correcting DI and proving (you really should provide a complete proof, no conjecture) and them wrong and proving yourself right, then maybe you can regain some respect as an intellectual. Frankly, I’m really just expecting crickets, or “I don’t have time to waste on this” but we’ll see.

  3. “I don’t care about the Discovery Institute….”

    I would hope that you indeed do since you appear to be one of their little minions doing damage control. Scientology has the same setup.

  4. I used to be religious. Conservative Christian of the ‘manospherian’ type in many ways (this was in the mid 80’s to early 90’s, obviously long before but this is how I would define most of my theological views looking back), and though I liked science and science fiction I truly brought the anti-evolution/ID spiel of places like Discovery.

    What changed me was going to college (got an undergrad in a biological field) and doing my own research. During said research I caught the ‘number 2’ guy at Discovery in a downright no doubt about it lie. He had said some fish biologist dude was skeptical of evolution. I stumbled across that paper purely by luck or chance (and made sure it was the quoted paper in the Discovery literature) and read it. The biologist was very clear that while he didn’t believe in a certain theory as to how the class of fish he was studying evolved, he had an alternate theory of the history of this fish’s evolution. I mean this was very clear, hardly any biological ‘jargon’ was necessary, and he went on for several paragraphs. Meanwhile this guy I had trusted from the DI had selectively quoted part of his dissent about the older evolutionary theory as to how the fish evolved, and then outright stated that he was a skeptic of evolution, totally ignoring the later part of his paper.

    While that didn’t totally make the case against creationism, it did against the ‘Discovery’ Institute. And this was in the early 90’s before their shenanigans were widely spread about the web for all to see. Now there are wonderful resources like the Talk Origins archive and nearly all scientists have their contact information (and often some of the papers) available for free on the internet. I had no such resources. I had 2 college libraries and a few Baltimore city ones. I had no money for more exotic research or to go to other cities or countries, and I certainly couldn’t count on help from the Biology department (I’d be embarrassed) when I was checking out the anti-evolution ‘case’. People these days have it so much easier.There’s no excuse for creationism or “Intelligent” Design anymore other than people being suckered into believing what they want to believe.

  5. Not quite sure how someone can be ‘clearly wrong’ when his position is one of questioning scepticism about an unresolved question. I have repeatedly said that it is perfectly possible that theory of evolution by natural selection is correct, but we have insufficient data to be certain about it. It is speculation about the distant, unobserved past, and the leading supporters of the proposition disagree amongst themselves as to how it took place. That’s all you need to say for the Thought Police to descend upon you with anger and contempt, and absolutist statements. Well, anything that needs defenders of tnhat sort plainly lacks much intellectual confidence. Nothing has done more to make me wonder about the Evolution theory than the almost invariable spite and fury of its defenders, directed agaisnt even the mildest expression of doubt. This sort of thing explains why I prefer not to take part in debates on this matter. Immediately we’re in an atmosphere of conspiracy theories and angry name-calling.

    • Mr. Hitchens,

      As I note above, I’m a big fan of you. Yes, “clearly wrong” might have been a little strong.

      Although a Darwinist myself, I’ll be the first to admit that the tactics of the “New Atheists” are a little extreme and, ironically, have probably helped to alienate some religious people from Darwinism.

      Thank you for commenting at our humble blog. It’s an honor.

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