I believe I was reading a book review the other day of a book by philosopher Thomas Nagel. The book basically argues that science is going to have a difficult time, at some point, proving everything. He also seems to be making the argument in the book that we seem to be evolving toward some higher-order species, and that it is not as obvious to him that this is simply an evolution/natural selection process alone — even if the natural selection process is the tool by which our progress is happening. I won’t comment more on this – but Nagel seems to be saying that we don’t know if God exists or not, or whether God has a hand in any of this, but from the perspective of an unbiased extra-universe “person” it appears that we are evolving in a way that a God-like being would sort of like to see us evolve.
That’s still not quite the correct characterization, but it’s close enough.
And what do you know about the response among some in the intelligentsia? That books like this are just so typical of we neanderthal thinkers – that it is just one more representation of the “complete abandonment of science by conservatives.” Never mind this. Or this. And these slurs are causally thrown around as if any and all classical liberals must by definition reject the idea of evolution.
Well, I suppose we can play this stupid game if you want. So if some member of a group that I am a part of adheres to some stupid, wrong, (or right) belief, then that means every member does? It means that every member is an idiot? You know, I once met a progressive-liberal that believed in aliens. Seriously. That seems pretty anti-science and pretty “stupid” to me. Good, great, so all progressive liberals are stupid anti-science idiots. How mature. And here I thought we are all supposed to celebrate the diversity of thought and ideas that is out there in the world.
But let’s consider some other serious scientific evidence. What share of “progressives” believes that the minimum wage is an effective way to fight poverty? Because even if you take the best of the literature that shows the minimum wage has small or no negative impacts on employment, that’s a far cry from helping. That’s like saying, “great, so drinking a lot doesn’t kill you.” What proportion of “progressives” believe the minimum wage helps the poor? That’s a totally anti-science position to take. Or better yet, how about the idea that centrally planned economies work better? What share of “progressives” believe in that fantasy? And how does that compare to the share of “stupid, old, white, conservative people” who reject evolution? I actually don’t know, but surely such things can be estimated, no?
This does not mean that the appropriate strategy is to spend time smearing people who disagree with you on these kinds of grounds. Rather the point again is to demonstrate the utter nudity of these emperors, and to mock these arguments out of existence, as they have little place in a serious conversation.