August 20, 2006

Sharing the Links

Some things I noticed at Professor DeLong's place. He's installed a new little blog tool called MyBlogLog. The idea is you can find out what your readers find interesting enough to click. And he notes Cernig has found an English conservative worrying about the fool in charge: As a citizen, I am willing to be resolute in the face of terrorism, which must be defeated. I become much less happy about the prospect of immolation, however, when Bush and Blair translate what should be an ironclad case for civilised values into an agenda of their own which I want no part of..

Also via Brad is a fascinating piece by Gina Kolata on a study that economic prosperity not only made it easier for people to live longer, but also to be much healthier as they lived. One hundred years ago, the cronic and debilitating illnesses struck people down much earlier in life (ususally by their 40s or 50s). Yet this ill-health isn't showing up in their descendents who are taller and healthier than their ancestors. Looks like Rove dream to taking us back to the good old days isn't such a good deal for the majority of Americans.

New research from around the world has begun to reveal a picture of humans today that is so different from what it was in the past that scientists say they are startled. Over the past 100 years, says one researcher, Robert W. Fogel of the University of Chicago, humans in the industrialized world have undergone a form of evolution that is unique not only to humankind, but unique among the 7,000 or so generations of humans who have ever inhabited the earth. ... The effects are not just in the United States. Large and careful studies from Finland, Britain, France, Sweden and the Netherlands all confirm that the same things have happened there; they are also beginning to show up in the underdeveloped world.

Brad notes that Daniel of Crooked Timber has a long post reflecting not only on where the Iraq war went wrong, but whether it should have been fought at all. He makes a point that I think isn't stated often enough: saying the violence today is due to "ancient hatreds" is an easy excuse for those who don't understand that the violence is part and parcel of the failed state we created and only to be expected. His analogy was that if war broke out in the North of England, then Tom Friedman would be pouring over Shakespeare to show why it was inevitable. However, it was this point that made me want to comment:

Or more succinctly, I should have withheld support for intervention in Iraq not pending more competent operational command, but pending a more sensible and proscribed theory of the limits of nation-building.

Oh, yeah? That's still assuming these guys could figure that out. The real point was what I was saying before Bush began his war of choice: "Saddam might be a really bad guy, but letting the Bush gang take the country to war would be a terrible mistake. We should wait for a new administration that could be trusted before taking this step."

Read this if you want to understand where Ann Coulter really went wrong: hint, she believes Darwin is the root of all evil. (via Altercation)

What's annoying about Coulter (note: there's more than one thing!) is that she insistently demands evidence for evolution (none of which she'll ever accept), but requires not a shred of evidence for her "alternative hypothesis." She repeatedly assures us that God exists (not just any God -- the Christian God), that there is only one God (she's no Hindu, folks), that we are made in the image of said God, that the Christian Bible, like Antonin Scalia's Constitution, "is not a 'living' document" (that is, not susceptible to changing interpretation; so does she think that Genesis is literally true?), and that God just might have used evolution as part of His plan. What makes her so sure about all this? And how does she know that the Supreme Being, even if It exists, goes by the name of Yahweh, rather than Allah, Wotan, Zeus, or Mabel? If Coulter just knows these things by faith alone, she should say so, and then tell us why she's so sure that what Parsees or Zunis just know is wrong. I, for one, am not prepared to believe that Ann Coulter is made in God's image without seeing some proof.

Moreover, if evolution is wrong, why is it the central paradigm of biology? According to Coulter, it's all a big con game. In smoky back rooms at annual meetings, evolutionists plot ways to jam Darwin down America's throat, knowing that even though it is scientifically incorrect, Darwinism (Coulter says) "lets them off the hook morally. Do whatever you feel like doing -- screw your secretary, kill Grandma, abort your defective child -- Darwin says it will benefit humanity!"

...The mistake of equating Darwinism with a code of behavior leads Coulter into her most idiotic accusation: that the Holocaust and numberless murders of Stalin can be laid at Darwin's door. "From Marx to Hitler, the men responsible for the greatest mass murders of the twentieth century were avid Darwinists." Anyone who is religious should be very careful about saying something like this, because, throughout history, more killings have been done in the name of religion than of anything else. What's going on in the Middle East, and what happened in Serbia and Northern Ireland? What was the Inquisition about, and the Crusades, and the slaughter following the partition of India? Religion, of course -- or rather, religiously inspired killing. (Come to think of it, the reason Hitler singled out the Jews is that Christians regarded them for centuries as the killers of Christ. And I don't remember any mention of Darwinism in the Moscow Doctors' Trial.) If Darwin is guilty of genocide, then so are God, Jesus, Brahma, Martin Luther, and countless popes.

Oh yes, and TNR wants to know why we might find their pitiful defense of Ann Coulter shameful? What is it about kicking the victim that makes you happy?

Avedon was right to recommend this Liberal Oasis post on the Lieberman-Lamont race.

Posted by Mary at August 20, 2006 06:33 AM | Recommended Reading | Technorati links |