Commenter Archive

Comments by George Jochnowitz

On “Paul Ryan on Real Progressivism

Democracy is the only form of government that is inherently moral. Monarchy is based on the theory that a country is the private property of a family whose owner can will it to his descendants. Dictatorship is based on the theory that a hooligan can grab a country and call it his own. In the case of North Korea, the two theories are joined.
THE BLESSED HUMAN RACE ends with the words "Democracy is the political realization of the scientific method."

On “How little you know: The Deniable Darwin by David Berlinski

Chairman Mao rejected science, closed colleges, and got high school kids to beat up their teachers. Marxism is a system that demands absolute faith.
Darwinism can be modified, rejected in part, or reconsidered in the face of new evidence. The alternative, for most conservatives today, is not honing or modifying Darwinism but replacing it with creationism. Creationism can never be questioned or modified. Faith is faith. Mao, the Inquisition, and the Salem witch trials are all the result of faith--the sin of faith.
Dogs are the result of genetic engineering, done long before the word was invented. Darwinism can be questioned, but it can't be separated from what we know about aspects of evolution. Darwin, as far as I know, never tried to explain how life came into existence. His work is based on studies of real species, both living and extinct. The greatness of science is that it can be questioned and broadened. The evil of faith is that it is immutable.


@ adam:
The decisive moment in the appearance of humanity is told figuratively in the Genesis story of the Tree of Knowledge. Humans decided to explore the question of Good and Evil, and in doing so, discovered they were mortal, invented division of labor, and committed themselves to an artificial world in order to make up for their lack of claws and fangs.
Here are my thoughts, in the title chaper of my book.


In the June 1996 issue of COMMENTARY, Berlinski wrote, "God said, 'Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let the fowl fly above the open firmament of heaven' ... And who on the basis of experience would be inclined to disagree? ... An act of intelligence is required to bring even a thimble into being; why should the artifacts of life be different?"

I cited this very creationist-sounding quotation in a letter to the editor that was published in the September 2001 issue of COMMENTARY in response to a different Berlinski article. He replied, "I regard Darwin's theories AND various theories of design as inadequate; I have no replacement for either." You say the same thing, Colin. But the segment that I quoted first sounds unambiguously creationist. Perhaps Berlinski doesn't understand what his opinions are.


@ CK MacLeod:

If you're thinking of a revival of sorts of Lysenko's theories, then you're not at all in agreement with Berlinski. Berlinski is careful to avoid a discussion of faith, but his arguments are simply anti-evolution and not pro-anything else. He is silently pro-creationism without ever really facing the issue of why he opposes evolution. He is not interested in "as yet undiscovered processes." He ignores important facts such as the deveopment of bacteria that are immune to antibiotics--an aspect of evolution that is happening in our own time.


@ CK MacLeod:
Genetics is based on the same principal as evolution, and Darwinian evolution is the only kind there is. There certainbly are problems when it comes to explaining irreducibly complex forms of life, but they are nothing compared with the problems of creationism.
The Bible is a beautiful, important, and historically informative set of writings. Taking it literally and using it as an argument against evolution cheapens it.


People don't know how to read the Bible. As I said way back in November,
The Bible tells us that there is water above the sky, that the mark of Cain was placed on him to warn others--at a time when there were no others except his parents--and that he found a wife. Later on in Genesis, there is the story of Jacob, who gets animals to bear offspring with spots on them by placing branches in front of their eyes while they are mating.
The Bible is very beautiful. The stories relating to Creation are obviously not meant to be taken literally. Besides, as I wrote in COMMENTARY in a letter once cited by Colin, an intelligent Creator would certainly have wanted to make use of evolution in order to perfect His creation.
We humans have always known how evolution works and have always made use of it. We are always indulging in selective breeding and generating new variants of animals. That's probably what Jacob did in the story of placing the branches in front of the eyes. The branches had nothing to do with what happened. Jacob simply chose the animals he wanted to choose in order to get the offspring he wanted to see.
Blind faith is a force that makes good people bad and smart people stupid. There are only two doctrines in the world today that people accept with unquestioning faith: Marxism and Islam. Islam is trying very hard nowadays to teach the world the meaning of unquestioned faith. Alas, nobody is learning.

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