Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Taking a cue from a recent column by Denis Prager at NRO I venture here to list ten claims which I think are almost indisputably true but which people are very reluctant to discuss in polite politically correct society:

  1. People are not basically good.
  2. Men are generally superior to women in some ways and women are generally superior to men in others.
  3. African Americans are, in general, much better athletes than members of other groups.
  4. Black males are disproportionately responsible for violent crime in America.
  5. Jewish and Asian men are disproportionately successful over other groups in mathematics-related fields.
  6. Some ways of living are better for human flourishing than others.
  7. Many people are poor by choice.
  8. America was founded on principles derived from a Christian worldview.
  9. By almost any measure, America is the greatest nation in the history of the world.
  10. Americans are the most generous people in the history of the world.
Are any of these propositions false? If not, why is it almost taboo in our society to voice them? Why do we seem so afraid to say things that are true? Or am I wrong in thinking that people feel a certain inhibition about discussing such things publicly?

Each of these statements has important implications. If they are true we shouldn't shrink from discussing why they are true and what their truth means for public policy and education.


A little over a year ago philosopher of science Stephen Meyer came out with a book that has completely reoriented the Darwinism/ID debate. The book was titled Signature in the Cell and it presented a massive amount of evidence in favor of the proposition that living cells, even the most primitive, contain massive amounts of information. It further argued that information is not a feature of blind random processes such as those which are believed to have produced the first living things.

Touchstone magazine has an article on Meyer's book which, inter alia, says this:
Signature in the Cell has been the subject of intense controversy, mostly in what is known as the blogosphere, meaning electronic publications on the Internet. In a way, the attacks are only to be expected, because another thing we know from our uniform experience is that Darwinists tend to be bitterly resentful of any thinker who challenges the fundamental theory on which their careers have been built.

In another way, however, it is peculiar that there is such a furious and often ill-informed objection to a learned volume that isn’t even about the theory of biological evolution. The book advances well-reasoned arguments based on solid evidence about a prior problem—the origin of the cell’s information content—concerning which most scientists would concede that they know very little.

The one thing that many of these scientists think they do know for certain is that, however the cell may have originated, the process could only have involved natural (i.e., unintelligent) causes. But this conclusion is not something these scientists know from the evidence. On the contrary, it is something they know—or rather, think they know— regardless of the evidence. For a long time, it has been the rule in evolutionary science that, if the evidence does not support a fully naturalistic theory about both the origin of life and its subsequent development, then there must be something wrong with the evidence rather than with the theory or its underlying philosophy.

This last paragraph shines a light on the way many people think about evolution. They work from a basic theological assumption, i.e. either God doesn't exist or, if He does, He doesn't meddle with the natural world. This, it should be noted, is not a conclusion that science is qualified to render. It's not based on empirical evidence. It's a purely theological assumption about the existence and nature of God.

From that basic conviction, though, it's argued that, since there's no divine intervention into the natural world, however life arose it must have been through exclusively natural processes and any theory that denies this must be wrong because it contradicts the basic conviction. If you sense that this has about it the odor of a circular argument you wouldn't be wrong.

It's ironic that the theory that is everywhere hailed as scientific - naturalistic evolution - is at bottom religious (and circular). Yet this theory, based as it is upon theological assumptions about God, can be taught in public schools but Intelligent Design, which does not require any assumptions about God, cannot. Why is that?

Thanks to Evolution News and Views for the tip.