The Dang ThingJohn Derbyshire and the movie he hasn't seen. Published in National Review
In an essay published recently on National Review Online, John Derbyshire has declared that the documentary Expelled contains a blood libel against Western Civilization. His is an exercise of striking vulgarity, the more so since, as he insouciantly admits, he has not “seen the dang thing.” A blood libel, one might recall, refers to the charge that the Jewish people are irredeemably stained by their occasional, if modest, need for Christian blood. Some terms have acquired through their historical associations a degree of repugnance that persuades sensitive men and women not to use them. If Derbyshire has been repelled by the smell of blood, it is a revulsion that he has successfully overcome.
Having not seen the documentary that he proposes to criticize, Derbyshire is nonetheless quite certain that he knows what it conveys. “It is pretty plain,” he asserts, “that it is a piece of creationist porn.” Perhaps I will be forgiven for suggesting that John Derbyshire’s late-night scrutiny of the Internet may have corrupted his habitual search for le mot juste. Expelled has nothing to do with creationism, and if it is pornographic, the details have not become widely known.
Expelled makes a point far plainer than pornography and points to a phenomenon just as widespread. The scientific community is intolerant of dissent and morbidly so when it comes to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Those who reject criticism because it is unwelcome have in John Derbyshire acquired an ally of the best sort. He is not disposed to ask questions of his friends; and he is eager uncritically to attack their enemies.
It is a match made in heaven.Continue Reading at National Review