Thursday, August 16, 2007


Gilder and Me

I have been, at times, a member of the Discovery Institute, and even less frequently a financial contributor thereto. (If you aren't acquainted with the Discovery Institute, I invite you to have a look at I also talk about these guys a bit in Chapter 5 of Wonderboy.)

Recently, I received my membership renewal request in the mail, and with it, a copy of an essay entitled "Evolution and Me," by one of the founding members of the Discovery Institute, George Gilder. (I note, with no little amazement, that this is MISTER George Gilder and not DOCTOR George Gilder, because he's absolutely USDA Choice-Grade Freaking Brilliant. In addition to being a founding member of DI, he has also authored several books, on topics as diverse as biology, computer theory, and macroeconomics, and currently publishes an investment newsletter. No dummy, this hombre.)

Sidebar: A common strategy of the pro-Darwin crowd is to try to paint DI as a mere bevy of Bible-thumping, evangelical Christian, Young-Earth creationists, hell-bent on stifling scientific inquiry, and eager to bring the scientific juggernaut not only to a halt, but to push it back to the Dark Ages. In Wonderboy, when San Salbedo Professor and global warming knowitall Dr. Fabari presents a lecture entitled "Barbarians at the Gate: Defending Science from Bad Science, Pseudoscience, and Creationist Pretension," he speaks specifically of DI. So George Gilder is one of the barbarians.

Bull-oney. Darwinian evolution can be questioned without citing Scripture. There's nothing in the Gospel that says we have to reject evolutionary theory. Not everyone who believes in creation believes that it took place in 4000 B.C. And it is Darwinism itself, and not the questioning of Darwinism, which stifles scientific inquiry.

That's because Darwinism is a religion. Not LIKE a religion, but a genuine, bona fide religion all its own, with its own dogma (that natural selection operating in tandem with random genetic mutation is all you ever need to turn a one-celled microorganism into a whale or a bat or a human being), its own creation myth (abiogenesis), its own message for salvation (Darwin loves you--and, yes, there's actually a book by this title; you can find it on Amazon), its own code of ethics (scientific explanation must be naturalistic), and its own god (not the God of Nature, but Nature herself). But I digress. End sidebar.

Anyway, after reading Mr. Gilder's essay (reprinted from its publication in the July 17th issue of National Review), all I can say is I was stunned. This was some top-notch writing, the kind of writing I've ached to do all my life--precise, eloquent, with color, flavor, and a jim-dandy vocabulary. As a result, three things happened:

· With no thought of my current financial state, I immediately squeezed out another $50 from my budget and renewed my membership with DI.
· I propped my elbows upon my desk, plopped my face into my hands, and cried great gloppy girly-man tears at the realization that I will never--capital N-E-V-E-R--be able to write as well as this guy does, and
· Out of sheer envy (and something of a sense of desperation), I quickly opened up a blank document and copied the essay, word for word, in the hopes that, by forcing my fat fingers to go through the motions of writing well, I might get something of Mr. Gilder's style to germinate in myself. You tell me if it worked.

I won't bother to reproduce the essay here. You can find a copy easily enough on your own. But allow me to offer this wholehearted recommendation that you give it a read. It is further support to the idea that Darwinism isn't the whole story. There are questions that naturalistic evolution doesn't--and can't--answer.

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