Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Jeff Epstein’s cultural dumpster fire spreads to ID vs. evo controversies


American billionaire Epstein, as most likely know, was arrested on child sex charges. He hobnobbed with everyone. Names you may know:

As a philanthropist, Epstein aligned himself with many prominent scientists and leading thinkers, including Lawrence Krauss, a prominent theoretical physicist, bestselling author, and so-called “celebrity scientist” who directed a program on the origins of life that Epstein funded. Krauss gave a glowing quote in defense of his benefactor to the Daily Beast following Epstein’s brief incarceration. “If anything, the unfortunate period he suffered has caused him to really think about what he wants to do with his money and his time, and support knowledge,” Krauss told the Daily Beast in 2011. “Jeffrey has surrounded himself with beautiful women and young women but they’re not as young as the ones that were claimed. As a scientist I always judge things on empirical evidence and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I’ve never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people.” Coincidentally, Krauss himself was put on paid leave by Arizona State University after facing his own sexual misconduct allegations in 2018; an ASU investigation found sufficient evidence that Krauss had violated its sexual harassment policies. Though he denied the claims, he retired shortly thereafter.

E. J. Dickson, “Accused Sex Trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s Political Connections: A Guide” at Rolling Stone

Some groups that readers might recognize received funds from Epstein and are now squirming:

The Santa Fe Institute says the last donation it received from Epstein was in 2010… Jenna Marshall, spokesperson for the institute, told NBC News in an email that Epstein’s behavior was “appalling” and that SFI had not accepted any money from him since 2010. “Following news of Mr. Epstein’s actions,” said Marshall, “the SFI leadership team held a meeting and unanimously decided the Institute would not accept any donations from Mr. Epstein.”

NautilusThink, which publishes the science magazine Nautilus, received a $25,000 donation from Epstein’s foundation in 2017, according to federal filings. John Steele, publisher and editorial director of Nautilus, said, “We have not returned it. But we’re starting to think about it now.”

Laura Strickler and Shelby Hanssen, “Jeffrey Epstein may have exaggerated his charity donations” at NBC News

Just because people are in the news doesn’t mean they did anything. It rather shows how a bad actor can change the news picture.

See also: Alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein pledged $30 million for Harvard evolution program. Some of these areas would seem to be science issues and others only questionably so. It is much easier to get general, evidence-based agreement on what constitutes cancer and its remedies, for example, than on what constitutes selfishness and its remedies.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

Secular progressivism has one overarching purpose and goal: to demonize and vilify anybody who believes in, follows or defends what are now derided as traditional moral values. For example:
Family — once a beautiful joint enterprise of people overcoming differences between the sexes to support each other and their children — came to symbolize weakness, not joy. For far too many feminists, marriage is a patriarchal ploy, and love itself is manipulative. Kate Millett, author of the 1970 feminist classic Sexual Politics, wrote: “The concept of romantic love affords a means of emotional manipulation which the male is free to exploit. . . . Romantic love also obscures the realities of female status and the burden of economic dependency.” The birth-control pill, which permanently broke the link between sex and children, has irreparably changed our mores, too. Prior to the Pill, casual sex could not be quite so casual because sex usually meant the possibility of children. Men and women knew this and acted accordingly. Without any link between sex and having children, marriage’s ability to keep spouses together to nurture any resulting children became weaker. Childless sex and a casual approach to sex and relationships do more than fuel the #MeToo movement. They make it more difficult for women and men, especially those who do not engage in casual sex, to form families. They are the ones who have higher demands in relationships. Those who see one path to family through lifelong marriage are in a minority and will find it harder to compete in the relationship market.
https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/settle-down-lean-in-unhelpful-advice-to-young-women/ Of course, abortion exists because birth control is not 100% reliable. And, the truth is the push to legalize “same sex marriage” was never motivated by the belief that marriage is something good, rather it seen by activists as nothing more than a cynical tactic to further undermine society’s moral foundations. Foundations that secular progressives see as obsolete and oppressive. Tragically people on my side of the issue have been either asleep or spineless when trying to counter the leftist agenda. john_a_designer
Ever since the 1960's (and prior, if you really want to trace it back), the whole idea has been to throw off all stuffy moral restrictions. It appears that "someone" failed to realize how hard it would be to put the brakes on such an idea. Powerful people have always taken advantage of the less powerful, but now they think they have full license, and they know that in a relativistic age, it will be extremely difficult to make a case against their general attitude. EDTA
I think this is why the celebrities try so hard to look perpetually young. They are mortally afraid of the end, and in their hollywood world appearance is reality. So, just like Michael Jackson went through ridiculous lengths to avoid the appearance of age, yet his insides were aging all the same, so it is with the rest of these celebrities. They'll try looking 40ish right until they keel over, or commit drugged out suicide if keeping up appearances is impossible. In their nihilistic minds, the end of their life is the end of everything, so if they can keep up appearances until they die, then for their postmodern reality they will be immortally youthish. The entire hollywood construct is the appearance is reality postmodern philosophy incarnate, essentially the same idea behind idolatry: as long as we can fool ourselves and everyone else, it is true. EricMH
The Epstein saga is not an isolated phenomena. It is the result of 60 years of a culture that has abandoned transcendent moral truth and objective moral obligation and replaced it with an anything goes view of moral relativism and subjectivism which was the paradoxically defended by secular progressives as an absolute freedom. (How can something that is morally relative and subjective morph into some kind absolute right? That’s not a paradox it is a logical contradiction.) It was not only defended by the cultural elites it was preached and even celebrated. Kyle Smith at National Review describes it this way:
Hugh Hefner fired up a flare lighting the way to an almost anything-goes view of female sexuality, and it reached its apex at the 2003 Oscars. Under the regime of Hefnerism, conservative prudes and often the law stood charged with being uptight and repressive about sex involving girls just over or even under the age of consent. That Polanski became an exile from this country after his crime made him Hollywood’s favorite martyr. The Academy was eager to give him the Oscar both to showcase its view that he had been victimized by prudery and to dunk on conservatives. Attendees didn’t just applaud, they let out a mighty whoop of approval when Polanski’s Oscar was announced by a smiling Harrison Ford. Meryl Streep, Martin Scorsese, Weinstein, and others all jumped to their feet to participate in a chilling standing ovation. Jack Nicholson, at whose house Polanski’s assault took place, looked confused and joined in the applause, but remained seated. So did Nicolas Cage. No one captured by the cameras looked particularly peevish. As far as I know, no one in Hollywood had any problem with lionizing Polanski at the time. (emphasis added)
https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/07/jeffrey-epstein-roman-polanski-hollywood-sexual-exploitation/ And it wasn’t just Polanski.
Woody Allen made what felt like an autobiographical movie about a 42-year-old television writer having an affair with a 17-year-old high-school student, and nobody blinked. Time magazine put him on the cover under the legend “American Genius.” (It turned out Allen had had affairs with two teenagers around that time). Urged on by her horrible mother, Brooke Shields built a career around being jailbait, posing nude at age 10 for a Hefner publication called “Sugar and Spice,” then starring as a 12-year-old hooker in Pretty Baby (which began filming when she was 11), then at 14 starring in a film about two teens discovering their sexuality, The Blue Lagoon (though a double did her nude scenes). At 15, she starred in Endless Love, which as filmed initially received an X rating, before most of the nudity was cut to achieve an R. Whatever “controversy” attached to any of this was reported by the press solely to pump up the box office, as though conservative naysayers were aliens from a quaint, slightly daft foreign country. The media itself had no problem with it.
In other words, this type of libertine exploitive behavior was a well-known not so secret open secret. And, if you were rich and powerful, well know and famous you were given a complete pass. Now we see what happens to forbidden fruit when it is exposed to the light of transcendent moral truth: it begins to rot. Unfortunately the hypocrites have not completely given up. They are blaming everyone else. It’s society that is hypocritical, not them. john_a_designer
LK: "As a scientist I always judge things on empirical evidence and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I’ve never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people.” People around here are always so persnickety about others talking about things they don't have a PhD in. If Larry is living up to that high standard, then I presume he's an expert in identifying the ages of women in the 19-23 range by sight. (Or at least I presume he asked each of them for a photo ID.) EDTA

Leave a Reply