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The Unrepentant Traditionalist
January 6, 2010

Darwin Says Chill
by Frank Creel

ARLINGTON, VA — The University of East Anglia’s hacked emails prove that the global warming alarmists are not intellectually serious. So does their entire message.

If you polled the Chicken Littles of the global warming movement, you would undoubtedly discover that 100 percent of them are Darwinian evolutionists. Thus, it is a certitude to them that the vast and incredibly complex universe we inhabit (not to mention its astounding beauty and complementarity) is the fortuitous result of the innumerable random collisions of mindless matter and energy following the Big Bang.

We rarely see these people asking what caused the Big Bang, or how those random collisions of elementary inertness flowered into living organisms. But they will laugh off the stage anyone with the temerity to suggest that an intelligent power had to be behind all the energy, order, and beauty we espy with our telescopes, microscopes, and mathematical models.

One of the more consequential drawbacks of the scientific revolution and modernity in general is that the explosion of available data imposes on the most gifted intellects the necessity to specialize. Success in any branch of the scientific enterprise requires such an intense focus that competence in that branch is always accompanied by an astonishing ignorance of all that lies outside the specialty.

I had a passing acquaintance with one of the greater intellects of the 20th century, that of Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, the Nobel Laureate discoverer of vitamin C and recipient of the 1954 Albert Lasker award for his research on heart muscle. He devoted the last years of his life to finding a cure for cancer. I was writing a series on cancer research and was given the opportunity to go to Woods Hole to interview the great man.

He was in his mid-80s and still had a heavy Hungarian accent, but I knew I was in the presence of an expansive mind. He answered my questions with a remarkable combination of vigor and modesty, never once betraying condescension toward this interviewer with a scant scientific background. He had the enthusiasm of a teenager for his hypothesis that cells were semiconductive at the molecular level and that cancer was the result of a trauma-induced electronic misfire. Thirty years later, I still believe he was onto something important.

Yet, this great mind produced a political book in 1970 called The Crazy Ape, Szent-Gyorgyi’s attempt to lay some preliminary groundwork for international peace. I read it and cringed. It could just as well have been penned by some college sophomore enthused by his newly budded ideals.

No. This side of the Renaissance, we will never again see overarching genius like that of Aristotle, Albertus Magnus, or even Francis Bacon. No scientist can presume to speak in the name of Science, much less to philosophize (see the crazy apes like Richard Dawkins who are presumptuous enough to try); nor can any philosopher any longer rest his syntheses on the cacophony of specialization we call Science.

Still, we might hope our scientists could achieve more modest goals, such as recognizing the tensions buried in their assumptions.

I am waiting, for example, for a scientific intellect aware of the fact that the orthodoxies of Darwinian evolutionism and apocalyptic environmentalism contradict each other. The adaptability of species is the very heart of Darwinism. The sky-is-falling alarmism of the climatologists, cannot, in the long term, be reconciled with the essential resilience of nature from an evolutionary perspective. Would these people have us believe that the fundamental tenets of the Darwinist creed can be set aside only by them, Darwinism’s most fervent acolytes?

Wendell Berry, that great man and apostle of what might be called humble environmentalism, has written, “Science is not superior to its subjects, nor is it inherently superior to the other disciplines. It becomes markedly inferior when it becomes grandiose in its own estimate of itself.”

The climatologists at East Anglia University and their fellow conspirators around the world had become, the moment they conspired to silence dissident scientists, a bit too grandiose in their estimate of themselves.

Thankfully, we who believe in the Intelligence responsible for the vast cosmos and all it contains have reasons to relax. From our perspective, being smothered by the gas the Creator made the issue of our lungs does not fit our notion of divine wisdom. We also have it on authority that the apocalypse is coming, and if it is to be in 2012 — well, hold up your heads and say amen, for your deliverance is at hand. If it is not till 20012, that is cool, too.

But if you are a Darwinian steeped in both the geological and biological resilience of nature and convinced that this big blue marble and its diverse life forms will somehow muddle through until the sun sputters out and, at the same time, a climatologist shouting doom from the rooftops…. Well, maybe your god has failed you.

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The Unrepentant Traditionalist is copyright © 2009 by Frank Creel and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. All rights reserved.

Frank Creel, Ph.D., a columnist and author, was an English teacher in the Peace Corps in Turkey. He is fluent in the Turkish language and in Arabic script.

See a complete biographical sketch.

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