Friday, May 9, 2008

Bad Bet

Here at the luxurious environs of Radical Center Headquarters, known around the cooler and to a few good old boys as RCH, we've been contemplating an office pool. The pooled funds will go to the worthy who accurately guesses the number of months after a putative Obama inauguration that the U.S. suffers a major terrorist attack. My personal pick is eighteen. I figure about a year for an Obama administration in cooperation with a Democratic congress to dismantle large parts of our post 9/11 intelligence apparatus, empty out Gitmo's potential recidivists (100%), and chat up sundry jihadi thugs/heads of state--all in pursuit of confidence building measures--for the terrorists that is. Add a short six months for attack planning, quicker Saudi funding due to fewer financial impediments, and much easier border penetration than last time. Call it kerblooey in late summer of 2010. My sincerest apologies if you think that's a wildly pessimistic view of things. If an attack occurs I personally will be as angered and appalled as anyone and utterly, utterly unsurprised. Lest you think I am an unregenerate beast if the worst does not happen I will be glad of heart and very happily surprised.

Oh Son of Jamin Hear Me!

Our core mission here is to critique and expose sundry manifest idiocies of both the left and the right. Recently the left has seemed so intent on cornering the market and attention payed thereto perhaps excessively so in fairness to recent left-jabs a right-cross seems in order. A gentleman of whom I have had a fairly favorable opinion of for years is Ben Stein. From my first notice of him as the hyper-deadpan teacher on The Wonder Years to recent years as reliable conservative gadfly I have enjoyed most of his perorations in service of conventional wisdom skewering. But now Ben appears to have taken a swan dive into the deep end with his promotion of a new movie, Expelled, which purportedly takes the educational establishent to task for freezing out discussion of Intelligent Design in the classroom. Some consternation has occured in more respectable conservative environs. John Derbyshire, one of my favorite people, has taken Ben to considerable task on the issue and goes as far as to accuse him of betraying Western Civilization. Bit overheated that but understandable from a mathematician.

Ben Ben Ben, do you not realized what a pack of boobs, rubes, ignoramuses, and moutebanks with whom one must consort by buying into the whole creationism thing? And do NOT attempt to persuade that Intelligent Design is in any significant way different from straight-up creationism. Even the dullest banana in the bunch knows that a putative deity can be the only possible "intelligence" referred to in I.D. So you were thinking maybe the Tooth Fairy? Ben Ben Ben, in the vanishingly unlikely event conventional natural selection were proven wrong in virtually every detail there is not the remotest logical necessity to supplant it with the farrago of nincompoopery that is I.D./creationism. Ben Ben Ben, the exquisite logical construct that is natural selection is not true merely to itself but its precepts enable and make possible virtually all of modern medical and genetic science. Things such as Population Genetics studies and endless scientific questions involving the heritability of traits would simply not be approachable without the framework and guidance of the fine points of natural selection. Ben Ben Ben the flak you have been getting is far more than the high-dudgeon of a petulant neurotic educational establishment. This nonsense really does threaten rationality. In matters cultural that establishment is hardly without sin but this time I fear I have to side with them. Wish I didn't have to but I do. Tell you what Benjamin, I'll spot you all the Christmas pageants and prayerful invocations you'd like in the schoolhouse if you'll just gather your recently soiled hem and slink away leaving the sciences unsullied.

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