Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

George Orwell would be proud of the Council of Europe – “I predicted it!”


I gather that the move by the Council of Europe to portray intelligent design theory as a threat to human rights has been put off – for now.

A number of things could be said about the Council of Europe’s move. First that you can be sure that the Council will be back later. Second, no matter what they get, they will want more. They can’t help that. Materialism is failing and there are ever more “enemies” to suppress.

Third, that the Council twists the definition of “human rights” into something straight out of British political journalist George Orwell’s urgent mid-twentieth century warnings: Human rights means being protected by the State from anyone who might challenge your thinking.

For those who would like to get up to speed on Orwell (1903-1950), whose pen name* gave the English language the term “Orwellian”, go here for his essay, “Politics and the English Language” (1946), here for a synopsis of his futurist novel Nineteen Eighty Four , and here for a synopsis of his sendup of creeping socialist totalitarianism, Animal Farm . Unlike modern Darwinists, Orwell could predict, not just postdict.

(*Note: Orwell’s name was Eric Blair.)

I think Orwell made only one important error in his key ideas: He assumed that the face of the totalitarianism that he sensed growing up around him would be hard and cold. Aldous Huxley knew better. In Brave New World (synopsis here ) he gets Europe dead right – soft totalitarianism rules. People are protected from any reason to doubt or question the authorities’ beliefs, for their own alleged good. They are, indeed, free to do absolutely anything they want, except think, speak, or act for themselves.

Recently, I was having coffee with a Christian academic who professed concern about the rapid growth of this type of intolerance. As he meets with other Christian academics to share concerns, I offered him some guidelines for dealing with it, which I have presented here in a slightly adapted form. Please note that the material that follows is aimed at Christians, not because they are the only ones concerned but because they are frequent current targets, and I know the Christian community better than others:

1. Quit feeling guilty. This is not happening because of something we did.

Lord knows,

you’re no rose,

but that’s not why they hate you.

The secularist establishment hates the Christians who are most successful and commendable the most. Hitchens wrote a book against Mother Theresa, not against Jim Bakker.

2. Quit making scapegoats. It is not happening because other Christians are stupider or wickeder than us. The secularists’ hatred is not our fellow Christians’ fault any more than it is ours. When one target fails them, they simply find another one.

3. It is not happening because the people who tried to help made a mess of things. The people who actually try to help face a very difficult battle, and mistakes and losses are inevitable – except for those who do little or nothing. THEY can always be right, of course, but never commendable.

4. Quit hiding the fact that we are Christians. It is actually safer to just admit it, because openness on our part makes covert persecution more difficult.

5. Learn as much as we can about intelligent design; the materialists wouldn’t hate it so much if it were not a threat to their system.

6. Focus on getting the people we are trying to organize to accept the hatred and the political situation it creates as simple realities. Quickly shut down discussions about who is to blame other than the persecutor and the bigot. Such discussions are evasions. (Yes, it is true that some people should behave differently, but if we can’t persuade them, we must deal with the situation just as it is, kvetching is a waste of time, and things will only deteriorate if we do nothing.)

Now, the above list is not a series of action points for getting anything done. It is a baseline for real-world discussions, aimed at short circuiting the purveyors of comfy intellectual clutter. (Make no mistake: Some people are quite happy to justify inaction against substantial erosions of intellectual freedom by claiming that it is all some fellow Christian’s fault.) Once real-world discussions about classical intellectual freedom begin, many people will come forward with ideas with discussing.

Speaking of clutter, many serious Christians are due for great disappointment with the responses of their comfy academics and their “therapeutic culture” clergy to the growing oppression by materialists. Of course, assuming they read the Bible as often as they read celeb trash talk – Christian or otherwise – that should be no surprise to them. Judgement begins, after all, with the house of God.

Also, my latest webbed column: Can you choose to help? Or are you just a victim of your selfish genes?

Hmmm..... In the bigining, God created Man and all life on this Planet... Long ago, Man used to worship God... Then, Man killed in the name of God... Then, Man slowly forgot to worship God... Then, Man started to believe there is no God... Then, Man took God out the his life... Then, Man strated to impose an anti-God form of religion.... Then, Man laugh at God and assaulted Him... Then, probably, Man will outlaw all who still beleive in God... Then, probably, Man will persecute all who still believe in God... Then, God will get angry... Sladjo
Bilaam was a priest who toadied up to Balak for a price. So how about the nice men of the cloth today who do the same for a place at the table of respectability (and maybe also a job)? Anyone reading Parashat Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9) this weekend might reflect on the fact that anti-IDism is a form of anti-Semitism, because if you can depose the Designer you have also put the God of the Torah out of a job and turned the Jewish people into the purveyors of the world's most pernicious "meme". Rude
Rude, This is a great commentary. Who is Bilaam today? I have my thoughts both for the Jewish people and for Western Society in general and Darwinism in particular. jerry
Having just read Rabbi Berel Wein’s brief comments on this week’s Torah portion I am struck by how we in ID face the same twin threats that are inherent in anti-Semitism.
Balak is brutal, direct and minces no words. The existence of the Jewish people itself is somehow seen as a lethal threat to him and Moab. Bilaam, on the other hand, is suave, cunning, full of sweet words and blessings, but no less inimical to the existence of the Jewish people. . . . Without Bilaam, Balak cannot function, let alone succeed. And therefore the Torah nowhere describes for us the demise of Balak; it only deals with the killing of Bilaam. For the end of Bilaam is in fact the end of Balak as well.
It should be easy to see how this fits the war on ID. Rude
We must neutralize religious belief if we are to avoid repeating this terrible tragedy.
What a conundrum. We must kill off these religious believers in order to prevent them from spreading their infectious meme. Tragedy is required in order to prevent tragedy! Yet these religious beliefs are obviously the result of evolution, not the result of some obvioulsy non-existent God. So we must deny evolution, in order to save evolution. Darwinists/Athiests are obviously insane. Mung
For example, Darwinists have always been on the forefront of advancing human rights through eugenics and genocide for the common good.
It was in the most enthusiastic Darwin-worshipping states (all communist countries) that 100 million people were killed. Apparently, oppression of religion and official veneration of the Master were not powerful enough forces to stop the theistic religious impulse that had been implanted by thousands of years of evolution. The desire to know and experience God remained, and millions died. We must neutralize religious belief if we are to avoid repeating this terrible tragedy. russ
Thousands of years of history passed without his inane theory and now, they reason, that the world will cease to function without him!?!
You obviously don't understand evolution. Go spend a couple of hours over at talkorigins, then we can have a discussion. At least that's what I was told by a passionate Darwinist/athiest at work. russ
Jehu: right on. They are now claiming to be the protectors of liberty "and justice for all" - all while witch hunting, persecuting, denying tenure etc. to their opponents. Not to mention doing everything in their power to imitate the totalitarian regimes in character assassination and policing academia like the Gestapo (who also loved the great infallible Pope Darwin the 1st). As Orwell so justly said, "some are more equal than others" eh. Yes brothers and sisters of the congregation of Darwin the great, our Lord and savior Charley taught us that we are mere "animals and share a common heritage with earthworms" and therefore we have inherent rights to peace, the pursuit of happiness life and liberty! (just like worms and lab rats right? Umm... oops... wonder where those rights come from under that scheme?) I can just imagine good brother Jones preaching it this way before the next honorary degree assembly - so rightly merited for his keen expertise and lucid insight in copy/paste groveling! Borne
I understand, before Darwin there was no advancement of human rights, democracy, or sciennce. For example, Darwinists have always been on the forefront of advancing human rights through eugenics and genocide for the common good. Darwinists have advanced democracy by silencing debate on the issue of origins. And Darwinists have promoted science by excluding from the discussion any evidence that design exists in nature. Jehu
"...a dangerous attack on scientific knowledge." This is hilarious. "... evolution as a fundamental scientific theory is therefore crucial to the future of our societies and our democracies," Indeed!? The implication is that, before Darwin, the future of 'our societies and our democracies' was null. Darwin has saved the world! How did the world ever survive without him?! Thousands of years of history passed without his inane theory and now, they reason, that the world will cease to function without him!?! This Darwinist illogical 'reasoning' is bleak, blind, anserine and oh so typical of them. Darwinists are indeed, as Hoyle implied, "mentally ill" creatures - and as such, I would add, immune from normal reason and logic. The lights are on, the sci-fi TV show is blaring, but nobody's home. Borne

Leave a Reply