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>Ship Gitmo Prisoners To Alaska


by Don White

Is there a wrong way to make a mistake?. That’s what I and many others consider closing down Guantánamo. If he was going to close Giutmo, the prison camp, Obama did the right thing in making it a presidential order, despite comments of New York Law School visiting professor, Brandt Goldstein in a Huffington story. The president did it quickly and decisively, pleasing his supporters and angering the right.

Goldstein suggests Congress enact a law so that Gitmo can never be reopened, making sure Mitt Romney, a possible new president in four years, doesn’t reverse this decision if all doesn’t go well under the inexperienced Obama. I’ve got news for you, Goldy, all presidential decisions can be reversed by subsequent presidents. Look what Obama has done already to the conservative Bush mandates such as abortion.

But Obama has far more important things on his plate right now than inviting a Congressional fight that would divide, not unite the country. He needs to concentrate on ending the wars, leveling the economic playing field without taxing away our ability in America to create jobs, giving make-work infrastructure jobs to all non-whites (as suggest by Robert Reich), solving the Social Security puzzle, and determining how not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000. Did I say that? Yes, he won’t raise enough money to pay for his extravagant multi-trillion-dollar spending bills with just taxing the rich who make over $250,000 a year. Mark my words. When he’s done he will have incresed taxes on everyone making more than $50,000 a year.

Indeed, his plate is full. He doesn’t need dissent – he’s got plenty of that already, what with his announcement he will raise energy prices drastically to keep his “green” promises. He wants to revert to a seldom used Senate rule called “Reconciliation” where the Senators have only 20 hours to consider spending bills coming up from the House. If he is successful in stifling debate in the Senate we might as well not have a Senate. That is the body that is charged with lengthy debate. Senators are supposed to be our brightest and best debaters, our last hope against tyranny. If this happens, mark my words — no these are Rush Limbaugh’s and Sean Hanity’s — we will then be a dictatorship, why stop at socialistic regime.
In several strokes of the pen in one week Obama took this country back to the dark ages in social and economic policy and has managed by himself to alienate the right wing. After he had indicated, in not so many words but actions, that he would not run the country as a far left-wing radical, he has gone back on that impression and is

following to the hilt all of his campaign promises.


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You who voted for him because of his blackness, intelligence, speaking ability, and charm before liberals at Jay Leno and in his frequent press conferences which are just another venue for him to filabuster,, not to, but at the American people. He orchestrates everything so that he can do the most talking. He even has a list prepared of those reporters he will allow to ask questions. See, there’s no democracy already in the East Room of the White House. It’s a new kind of press conference we are seeing, not open, not freewheeling. but boring. And those are the words of people like Hugh Huett, who has seen many press conferences, and even Democrat pundits. He even uses a large teleprompter so that he looks to the TV viewing audience that he’s speaking impromptu, but he isn’t. He has it all on the screen twenty paces in front of him so that he doesn’t misspeak again.

I was wrong. I said he was first a left-wing radical politician. There have been others. Just watch the White House guest list to see who will occupy the biggest West Wing

bedrooms and you’ll know I’m right. Then you, too, will awaken to the truth –

Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He opted for the executive directive to save

face; he left the Gitmo deal to execute in one year, not tomorrow because,

frankly, he doesn’t have a clue as to what he’s going to do with those 200 to

300 prisoners.

I got diverted away from Gitmo, and that, too, was orchestrated by Obama. He doesn’t want to discuss it until next January. But I do have the best solution: I suggest he set up a prison in South Chicago near his elite subdivision, but you will see the special prison we build for these people who would like to wipe America off the face of the earth will cost us upwards of one hundred million dollars and the good Demos from Chicago would be burning down the phone lines if Obama tried to do this.
“Imagine the jobs you could create in your home city, Barak.”

He will turn it down, of course. But hey, how about Nevada? Nope, that’s Harry’s state. Then Utah. Bob Bennett and Orin Hatch are Republicans and Obama liberals would like to see them squirm.

That’s how it will go and states will spend millions lobbying not to have the facility built in their states. It will become as toxic an issue for the states as the nuclear waste facility.
I do have the ultimate answer. Put them up in Alaska, the far north part. It’s isolated and if they do get out they’ll freeze to death trying to walk away. You say there isn’t enough timber and cement up there? Well, get some chain saws and carve ice blocks and make an ice house. You can’t heat it of course, but that’s the plan.

The global warming lie was most evident this year during the coldest winter in recent history, where it was 50 degrees below zero just a month ago in Alaska. You can save money, just turn off the heat. Alaskans are used to the cold, but the Arabs and others in Gitmo aren’t. That may turn out to be the best form of torture we could devise. They’ll spill the beans, after we promise we’ll let them a cell in a warmer clime.

>Obama Releases Stem Cell Research Funding


Obama opens up stem cell work, science inquiries

Featured Topics:

President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order on stem cells and a Presidential AP – President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order on stem cells and a Presidential Memorandum on scientific …

WASHINGTON – From tiny embryonic cells to the large-scale physics of global warming, President Barack Obama urged researchers on Monday to follow science and not ideology as he abolished contentious Bush-era restraints on stem-cell research. “Our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values,” Obama declared as he signed documents changing U.S. science policy and removing what some researchers have said were shackles on their work. Full Story:

>Gore Fires Scientists Who Don’t Agree With Him

Wayne Stayskal, Tampa, FL, Tribune Media Services
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Scientist Fired by Gore Calls Warming Fears ‘Mistaken’
I suppose that if you’re a Nobel Peace Prize winner, you invented a convenient lie about global warming that has made you millions of dollars, and you’re a former U.S. Vice President you can fire about anyone you want.

Where are this big democrat’s scruples, has he strayed from the Democratic Party mantra that states the party is big enough for all views, ethnicities, and differences? When it comes to Global Warming, Al Gore creates his own rules, including hiring only those who agree with him.

There is a well-known Princeton University physicist named Dr. Will Happer who says he was fired by Vice President Al Gore for failing to adhere to Gore’s views on global warming. Happer says man-made warming fears are “mistaken.”

This comes from a well-regarded scientist who served as the director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy from 1990 to 1993, and he isn’t upset about the firing. “I had the privilege of being fired by Al Gore,” he said, “since I refused to go along with his alarmism. I did not need the job that badly.”

In 1993 Happer said, “I was told that science was not going to intrude on policy.”
Now Happer has asked to join the more than 650 international scientists who have spoken out against man-made global warming fears and are cited in the 2008 U.S. Senate Minority Report from Environmental and Public Works Committee ranking member James Inhofe, R-Okla.

“I am convinced that the current alarm over carbon dioxide is mistaken,” Happer told the committee on Dec. 22.

President-elect Barack Obama’s choice as his top science adviser, Harvard University professor John Holdren, is a staunch believer in the dangers of man-made global warming and advised Gore on his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” But consider that against the fact that Dr. Happer has published over 200 scientific papers, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Sen. Inhofe said that the statements of prominent scientists like Happer who are willing to publicly dissent from climate fears strike a blow to the United Nations, Gore, and the media’s claims about global warming.

“The endless claims of a ‘consensus’ about man-made global warming grow less and less credible every day,” Inhofe said. Happer agreed: “I have spent a long research career studying physics that is closely related to the greenhouse effect — for example, absorption and emission of visible and infrared radiation, and fluid flow. Fears about man-made global warming are unwarranted and are not based on good science. The earth’s climate is changing now, as it always has. There is no evidence that the changes differ in any qualitative way from those of the past . . .
“Computer models used to generate frightening scenarios from increasing levels of carbon dioxide have scant credibility.”

>Mother Nature Discriminates Against The Globe

>Global Warming Spawns Icy, Winter Storms, Vexing Travelers In Northern States


CHICAGO – Hundreds of holiday travelers spent the night in the nation’s second busiest airport celebrating Global Warming. Forget Christmas.

Others faced delayed or canceled flights and highways choked by snow and ice as promises of Global Warming abounded, despite obvious storms. But the Al Gores of the world were out proclaiming it’s always darkest before sunrise. Bear with us a little longer, they say, our scientists have proclaimed Global Warming is real, so in just a few more days Global Warming will manefest itself with Florida-like temps.

More snow fell Wednesday in the Midwest, where the National Weather Service said up to 4 inches was possible in Chicago. The Northwest faced more snow and sleet early Wednesday, with up to 20 inches possible in the Cascade range. And more snow and ice spread over the Northeast and the skiers are loving it.

“We’re seeing quite a bit of messiness out there,” said weather service meteorologist Ed Shimon, who’s been at work at the agency’s Lincoln, Ill., office for six straight days, a period when the state has seen snow, ice and subzero temperatures. “It’s something different every day — never a dull moment.” He, too, has been fooled by the machinations of Global Warming nuts. If you look closely, you can see these Gore-ites standing out in freezing weather with icicles forming on their long red noses, trying to figure out what went wrong.

Thanks to their miscalculations, about 500 travelers had to spend the night at Chicago’s O’Hare International, the nation’s second busiest airport, after stormy weather canceled more than 500 flights Tuesday, said Chicago Aviation Department spokeswoman Karen Pride.

To make the disciples of Al Gore and Global Warming look even worse, more than 100 flights were canceled at O’Hare on Wednesday. On Tuesday, cancellations totaled more than 500.

South of Portland, Ore., where our architect friend, Brandon Francom, stood out in the cold for several hours for his bus that didn’t come, crews shut down a section of Interstate 205 at Oregon City because a buildup of ice and snowbanks, said Dave Thompson, public affairs manager of Oregon Department of Transportation. The department also was requiring tire chains on all highways. Leave the car in the garage, Brandon. Stay home, don’t go out. Those Beaver State people don’t know how to drive on ice anyway. . .Global Warming is not true–bad weather the past three years has proven that.

>What Happened To Global Warming?


Winter visits with a Vengenace

A few tourists brave the ice and wind to get a view of lower Manhattan from AP – A few tourists brave the ice and wind to get a view of lower Manhattan from Brooklyn, in New York, Monday, …

In Chicago, the wind was blowing off Lake Michigan, registering wind chill temperatures at a wonderful “Global Warming” clip of minus thirty. What happened to Al Gore’s Global Warming farce-of-a-warning? Where is Al today? We know the president-elect isn’t in the lower 48, he’s lapping up 80 degree weather in Hawaii.

The weather outside was frightful from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Ore., on Monday, with last-minute holiday shoppers shivering and stranded travelers hoping for the best as Christmas rapidly approached. The little town of Eustis, Maine, got nearly 3 1/2 feet of snow. In Marysville, Wash., north of Seattle, heavy snow collapsed part of the roof Monday at the Whitley Evergreen factory, which makes modular buildings. No one was injured, but inspectors were dispatched to make sure other buildings in the business park were safe.

The 14.5-inch snowfall Sunday in Portland, Maine, surpassed the old record for Dec. 21 of 12.4 inches, set in 1933. On the other side of the country, a total of 11 to 13 inches in Portland, Ore., was the biggest snowfall since January 1980. Depending on how much more fell Monday as the snow trailed off, the storm could rank as one of the city’s 10 worst on record. Daughter’s friend Brandon in Portland, Oregon said he was unable to get his car out to go to the store, it was so deep.

“It is amazing,” said Dave Thompson, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation. “You say to yourself: ‘That’s Portland?’ The roads are snowpacked, covered with ice and it’s freezing rain. Portland doesn’t have good snow removal equipment. Why should they, Al Gore told them warming was coming and they usually don’t have snow in the winter.

Most of the Global Warming advocates have taken cover. The blistering cold weather has silenced them. But the scientists–the scientists predicted….they are saying. Well, they are probably wrong.

Those of us who don’t believe in global warming would like a little warming just now. Actually, it isn’t something anyone should shun or worry about. It might make America an even more productive crop country. It might alleviate hunger across the globe. Global Warming would have some definite benefits. No, not the six-degree warming they’ve talked about, because we here in Florida might get flood water. Actually, since we live in Orlando and are high enough to take some global flooding, we could have beach front properties, something that might–with some stretch of the imagination–increase property values.

>John West’s Ablution Thougts–Bibliography


What these photographs (and others on the Web} show, is that Global Warming is not just a figment of Prince Charles’ (and other “tree huggers”) imaginations. It is real, and it is having serious consequences.

Is there a link between this and any of the economic arguments put forward by John, when he referred to economists such as Kondrat’eff and Schumpeter?

An age of science is necessarily an age of material­ism,” wrote Hugh Elliot early in the last century. “Ours is a scientific age, and it may be said with truth that we are all materialists now.”[1]

One does not have to look far to discover the con­tinued accuracy of Elliot’s assessment. Scientific materialism–the claim that everything in the uni­verse can be fully explained by science as the prod­ucts of unintelligent matter and energy–has become the operating assumption for much of American politics and culture. We are repeatedly told today that our behaviors, our emotions, even our moral and religious longings are reducible to some combination of physical processes interacting with our environment.

In 1943, British writer C. S. Lewis wrote propheti­cally about the dangers of scientific materialism in a small, penetrating volume titled The Abolition of Man. There Lewis warned that “if man chooses to treat him­self as raw material, raw material he will be: not raw material to be manipulated, as he fondly imagined, by himself, but by mere appetite…in the person of his dehumanized Conditioners.”[2]

My book Darwin Day in America explores the impact on American politics and culture of the mate­rialistic abuse of science Lewis warned about so many years ago. Contrary to its title, the book is not just about Darwin. It is about how modern science–a very good thing–has been misappropriated by scien­tific elitists who want to offer a materialistic explana­tion of every part of human culture.

Darwin comes into the story because his theory of unguided evolution based on natural selection and random variations offered a seemingly convinc­ing explanation for how materialism could actually work. That is why someone like Richard Dawkins praises Darwin for making “it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.[3] But Darwinism is only one part of the larger problem, and scientific materialism reaches far beyond Darwin.

The effort to apply scientific materialism to American public policy began in earnest more than a century ago with high hopes. Around the turn of the 20th century, defenders of scientific materialism began issuing increasingly lofty claims about how the understanding of the material world offered by science could be enlisted to solve all the problems of human society. The same scientific advances that produced inventions like the steam engine and medical breakthroughs like the germ theory of dis­ease were also supposed to supply the basis for eliminating a host of social ills ranging from poverty and crime to unproductive workers.

Writing in the Journal Science in 1903, J. McKeen Cattell, president of the American Society of Natu­ralists, argued that previous scientific achievements in helping man subjugate the natural world were just a foretaste of the future power science would bestow on man to control human nature:

The nineteenth century witnessed an extraor­dinary increase in our knowledge of the mate­rial world and in our power to make it subservient to our ends; the twentieth century will probably witness a corresponding in­crease in our knowledge of human nature and in our power to use it for our welfare.[4]

Charles Eliot, president of the American Associa­tion for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), simi­larly predicted in 1915 that “biological science” would open the door “to the prevention as well as cure of [the]… bodily defects” that caused such anti­social behaviors as murder, robbery, forgery, and prostitution. “These are all biological problems; and the progress of biological inquiry during the past fif­ty years is sufficient to afford the means of solving on a large scale these fundamental social problems.”[5]

Such comments embodied perfectly the optimis­tic vision offered by scientific materialism at the dawn of the last century. During an era when science seemed to be uncovering the material basis of all human problems, it was widely believed that science with a capital “S” could lead to the transformation of society, bringing about greater human freedom, dig­nity, and happiness in the process. In short, scientific materialism was supposed to be a great engine of human progress in politics and culture.

It was not. Human nature was not reformed; crime did not disappear; and scientific materialism did not usher in a new age of liberty, equality, and fraternity. Instead, the excesses of scientific materi­alism have continued to influence American public policy in at least five important ways.


One influence of scientific materialism on American public policy has been the elevation of technocracy–rule by scientific experts–over democracy. Since science was supposed to be the only true source of objective information about the world, proponents of scientific materialism logically concluded that scientists–not the general public or their elected representatives–should be the ulti­mate arbiters of public policy.

At its core, this message was profoundly anti-egalitarian and anti-democratic. Speaking before the Second International Congress of Eugenics in 1921, Alleyne Ireland declared that current conditions had rendered America’s original form of government, established by the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, “utterly unsuitable.” America’s Founders believed that “governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” and they set up arrangements “designed with a view to making abuse of power difficult.” But in an age when government must increasingly provide a wide range of social services, society could no longer afford to rely on government by non-experts. Ireland stated that it was “imperative…that the omnipresent activ­ity of government should be guided by the light of scientific knowledge and conducted through the instrumentality of a scientific method.”[6]

The claim that society should place its faith in scientific experts rather than ordinary citizens or elected officials was a common refrain in public pol­icy debates influenced by scientific materialism. To be sure, few were as blunt as Ireland in directly attacking the Constitution or demanding that scien­tists govern ordinary citizens. Yet in controversy after controversy, the underlying message was unmistakable. Whether the issue was education or welfare or crime, members of the public were urged to place their trust in the findings of scientific experts rather than in their own core beliefs or the views of political and religious leaders. Science dic­tated the replacement of punishment with treat­ment in the criminal justice system, the enactment of forced sterilization in the welfare system, and the substitution of supposedly “value-free” information from sex researchers for traditional moral teachings about family life in public schools. In each of these areas, the claim was made at least implicitly that sci­entific expertise should trump other sources of knowledge, including ethics, philosophy, tradition, religion, and common sense.

Of course, there is much that can be said in favor of the authority of scientific expertise in modern life. In an increasingly complex and technologically driven world, the need for scientific input on public policy would seem obvious. Since many policy questions today arise in such science-based fields as medicine, transportation, and ecology, why should politicians and voters not simply defer to the authority of scientific experts in these areas?

Although this line of reasoning exhibits a surface persuasiveness, it ignores the natural limits of scien­tific expertise. Scientific knowledge may be neces­sary for good public policy in certain areas, but it is not sufficient. Political problems are preeminently moral problems, and scientists are ill equipped to function as moralists. C. S. Lewis warned about this drawback of technocracy in the 1950s. “I dread spe­cialists in power, because they are specialists speak­ing outside their special subjects,” Lewis wrote. “Let scientists tell us about sciences. But government involves questions about the good for man, and jus­tice, and what things are worth having at what price; and on these a scientific training gives a man’s opinion no added value.”[7]

For example, wildlife biologists may be able to provide policymakers with information about which species are in danger of extinction. Perhaps they can also predict some of the costs of a species’ extinction to biodiversity. But they have no more authority than anyone else in determining whether a particular endangered species is more valuable than the jobs that may be lost trying to save that species from extinction. Politics is largely about ranking and reconciling competing goods; but the ranking of goods involves questions of justice and morality, and as Lewis pointed out, “a scientific training gives a man’s opinion no added value” on such questions.

Technocracy poses a further difficulty: The lim­its of human reason assure that experts can be wrong, sometimes egregiously. If the history of scientific materialism in politics shows anything, it is that scientific experts can be as fallible as any­one else. They are capable of being blinded by their own prejudices and going beyond the evi­dence in order to promote the policies they favor. Alfred Kinsey’s empirical claims about the sexual behavior of the general American public were junk science, given his deeply flawed sample pop­ulation; yet that did not stop him from boldly making his claims and vigorously defending them as sound science.

The errors of the scientific community in the early 20th century were profound. For decades, eugenics–the effort to breed better human beings by applying the principles of Darwinian biology to reproduction–was embraced as legitimate by America’s leading scientists and scientific organi­zations such as the AAAS. Critics of eugenics, meanwhile, were roundly stigmatized as anti-sci­ence and religious zealots. Yet the critics of eugen­ics were the ones who turned out to be right, not the scientific elites.

Similarly, the lobotomy was uncritically embraced for years by the medical community as a miracle cure, and the scientist who pioneered the operation in human beings won a Nobel Prize for his efforts. Only after tens of thousands of individuals had been lobotomized did healthy skepticism prevail.

The point is that public policy claims made by scientists ought to be scrutinized by policymakers and citizens in the same way that public policy claims made by other interested parties are scruti­nized. Any suggestion that policymakers should simply rubber-stamp the advice of the current majority of scientists is profoundly subversive of the fundamental principles of representative democra­cy. As equal citizens before the law, scientists have every right to inform policymakers of the scientific implications of their actions, but they have no spe­cial right to demand that policymakers listen to them alone.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a growing cho­rus urging that public policy be dictated by the majority of scientific experts without input from anyone else. Today, this bold assertion is made not just with regard to evolution, but concerning a host of other controversial issues such as sex education, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, cloning, and global warming. On these matters, any dissent from the orthodoxy of the “experts” allegedly repre­sents a “war on science.”[8]


A second influence of scientific materialism on public policy has been the cultivation of a vigorous form of utopianism. Believing they possessed the key to understanding and ultimately controlling human behavior, defenders of scientific materialism over the past century were supremely confident that science could usher in heaven on earth if experts were only permitted to implement its teachings without obstruction.

Their heady optimism is not difficult to under­stand. By the late 19th century, science had pro­duced marvelous advances in medicine, agriculture, sanitation, and transportation. Why could the tri­umphs of the scientific method over the natural world not be extended to the social sphere? If sci­ence could prevent the spread of physical diseases like smallpox, why could it not also prevent out­breaks of social diseases like crime and poverty? If science could breed better strains of cattle and corn, why could it not breed better kinds of people?

Addressing the American Breeders Association in 1913, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture James Wilson acknowledged that the wholesale replacement of “inferior” human stocks with “the best part of the human race…at first seems like an Utopian vision” but then quickly added: “Why should it not come? Must science stop in its beneficence with the plant and the animal? Is not man, after all, the architect of his own racial destiny?”[9]

Wilson’s rosy rhetoric revealed the startling naïveté at the heart of the scientific materialist agen­da. Scientists and policymakers who were readily skeptical of claims made by religion or tradition turned out to be supremely credulous when it came to claims made in the name of science. They accept­ed at face value the purported benefits of such pro­cedures as lobotomies, psychosurgery, and forced sterilization. They made grand promises about how science could solve intractable social problems such as crime and poverty. They showed little apprecia­tion for the fact that science, like all human endeav­ors, could be misused, especially when allied with political power.

Eugenist Herbert Walter sanguinely predicted that nothing like “the Spanish Inquisition or…the Salem witchcraft persecution” would take place in an age of modern science. Only two decades before the Nazis ascended to power in Germany, Walter predicted that “it is unlikely that the world will ever see another great religious inquisition, or that in applying to man the newly found laws of heredity there will ever be undertaken an equally deplorable eugenic inquisition.”[10] Eugenist Harry Laughlin similarly asserted with confidence that no one– not even one person–had been wrongly sterilized in America.[11]

AAAS president Charles Eliot at least acknowl­edged the prospect that physical and chemical sci­ence could be enlisted “as means of destruction and death.” But even he thought the application of biol­ogy to society posed no danger: “Biological science has great advantage in this respect over physical and chemical [science]. It can not so frequently or easily be applied to evil ends.”[12] Eliot wrote those words in 1915 as the eugenics movement was well on its way to forcing the sterilization of thousands of peo­ple across America.

This is not intended to imply that scientific mate­rialism was the only source of utopianism in Amer­ica. There were elements of utopianism in religious reform movements of the 1800s and early 1900s, as well as in various expressions of secular populism. But scientific materialism was one of the most pow­erful sources of utopianism because it eroded previ­ous obstacles to the spread of utopianism.

Prior to the rise of scientific materialism, a strong realist, anti-utopian sentiment in American political culture counterbalanced the idealism and utopia­nism of reformers. America’s Founders, in addition to their idealism, displayed a keen realism about the imperfections of human nature. “If men were angels, no government would be necessary,” James Madison wrote in The Federalist.[13] “The best Institu­tions may be abused by human depravity…. [T]hey may even…be made subservient to the vilest of pur­poses,” echoed George Washington.[14]

The anti-utopian undercurrent in American cul­ture continued during the 19th century when writ­ers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne satirized the overblown hopes of contemporary reformers. In his short story “Earth’s Holocaust” (1844), Hawthorne described how militant do-gooders planned to cleanse the earth of imperfection by creating a giant bonfire out on the western prairies on which they could throw every conceivable cause of social evil.[15] The great conflagration burned for days and con­sumed everything thrown into it, but the fire still did not produce the perfect society. Hawthorne’s punch line was that the reformers failed because they could not reach the ultimate cause of human misery: the human heart. Social conditions might wax and wane, but sinful human nature was unchangeable this side of heaven.

Scientific materialism tried to refute this kind of political realism. According to its adherents, human nature was not fixed; it could be remade through the methods of modern science. Men may not be angels now, but under the right biological and envi­ronmental conditioning, they might become angel­ic. Scientific breeding and medical treatment could usher in a new age only dreamt of by previous reformers. Scientific materialism undermined the very premises of American political realism.

One would like to believe that Americans have learned from the excesses of scientific utopianism, but current political controversies inspire no confidence in this regard. The miracle cures may be different today, but the utopian rhetoric is remarkably similar.

Seventy years ago, eugenics promised to cure America’s social problems through better breeding. Today, mental-health crusaders promise to elimi­nate behavioral problems among America’s chil­dren by screening every schoolchild for mental illness and putting millions of them on psychoac­tive drugs. Like the eugenics crusade of the last century, the current push to increase dramatically the number of children on psychoactive drugs reduces behavioral problems to a purely material cause. Like the eugenics crusade, it is accompanied by grandiose claims that go far beyond the actual science. Like the eugenics crusade, it is justified in humanitarian terms even while it raises serious issues about civil liberties and human dignity. How many people will be harmed before this latest cru­sade runs out of steam?


A third influence of scientific materialism on public policy has been dehumanization. Although its supporters saw scientific materialism as a way to solve social problems and advance human dignity, the historical record shows that it often denigrated entire classes of humanity. The claim that men and women could be reduced to their physical capaci­ties plus their material inputs turned out to be pro­foundly dehumanizing.

In criminal justice, the belief that a person was, in the words of one textbook, “no more ‘responsible’ for becoming wilful and committing a crime than the flower for becoming red and fra­grant”[16] may have led to more humane treatment in some cases, but it also robbed the criminal offender of the dignity of being treated as a ratio­nal being whose choices matter. At the same time, in many other cases it opened the door to horrific forms of “scientific” rehabilitation that never would have been allowed if they had been imposed as punishments.

The impact of scientific materialism on welfare policy is especially worth noting because it directly challenged the guiding principles of the existing social-welfare system. Charity in the traditional view was premised on the idea that all human beings are created in the image of God and there­fore worthy of assistance, mercy, and redemption. Eugenic welfare reformers denounced such humanitarian views as false and dangerous. Har­vard biologist Edward East attacked the idea that “man is created in the image of God” as unscientific and suggested that the claim that all human beings have equal worth is ludicrous.[17] Margaret Sanger warned of the “dangers inherent in the very idea of humanitarianism and altruism, dangers which have today produced their full harvest of human waste, of inequality and inefficiency.”[18]

America’s experience with the dehumanizing effects of scientific materialism was far from excep­tional. The three regimes of the 20th century best known for being founded explicitly on the princi­ples of scientific materialism–Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, and Communist China–are most remembered for their horrific brutality rather than any advancement of human dignity. In Germany, the connection between scientific materialism and Nazi crimes against humanity is unmistakable, as historian Richard Weikart has ably demonstrated in his recent book on the influence of Darwinian ethics in Germany.[19]

The dehumanizing effects of scientific material­ism remain a live issue for public policy today, espe­cially in so-called right-to-die cases. Efforts to redefine mentally and physically disabled infants and adults as already dead, the widespread careless diagnosis of the “persistent vegetative state,” and the demeaning rhetoric of bioethicists such as Peter Singer all raise, chillingly, the ghosts of evils past.


A fourth influence of scientific materialism on public policy has been relativism. Darwinian the­ory in particular has supplied a powerful justifi­cation for evolving standards in politics and morality. Part of the justification is by way of anal­ogy: If evolution is the normal state of the natural world, why should it not be regarded as the nor­mal state of politics?

The preeminent achievement of applying the evolutionary paradigm to politics was the doctrine of the evolving Constitution championed by Woo­drow Wilson and other Progressives. No longer would American government be hamstrung by a static understanding of human nature or human rights. It must adapt and evolve to meet the chal­lenges of new conditions. In the words of Wilson:

[L]iving political constitutions must be Dar­winian in structure and in practice. Society is a living organism and must obey the laws of Life…. [A]ll that progressives ask or desire is permission…to interpret the Constitution ac­cording to the Darwinian principle.[20]

But the link between Darwinian theory and rela­tivism is not merely analogical. In The Descent of Man, Darwin depicted morality as the evolving product of natural selection. Rather than reflecting timeless standards of truth sanctioned by God or nature, moral codes evolved by natural selection to promote survival. As the conditions for survival changed, so did what was moral for any species. In one situation, maternal love might be moral; in another situation, infanticide. In one situation, kind­ness might be moral; in another situation, cruelty.

While Darwin surely hoped that traditional vir­tues were biologically beneficial in 19th century Britain, if circumstances changed and those virtues no longer promoted survival, he would have to grant that they would no longer be virtues. Darwin himself admitted as much in a particularly startling passage:

If…men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters; and no one would think of interfering.[21]

Whatever his own personal moral preferences, Darwin’s reductionistic account of the development of morality left little room for objectively preferring one society’s morality over another’s. Each society’s moral code presumably developed to promote the survival of that society, and so each society’s moral code could be considered equally “natural.”

Darwin’s evolutionary explanation of the origin of the family was just as relativistic. It was clear from his account that there was no right form of marriage or family life for every time and place. Sexual stan­dards differed sharply across societies and human history, and each form of family life was adapted to meet the biological and environmental require­ments of its particular situation. In Darwin’s frame­work, everything that regularly occurred in nature must be regarded as normal almost by definition.

While for the most part Darwin did not press his relativistic analysis of morality to its logical conclu­sion, he laid the groundwork for others who came after him. The ultimate result of Darwinian moral relativism can be seen in the sex research of zoologist Alfred Kinsey and the moral pluralism embraced by sex education reformers from the 1960s to today. Their efforts to convince the public that all variations of sexual behavior are “normal”–including, accord­ing to some of them, adult-child sex and even incest–were a logical culmination of the approach Darwin pursued in The Descent of Man.

Stifling Free Speech

A final influence of scientific materialism on public policy has been the suppressing of free speech and debate over the public policy impli­cations of science. This is surely one of the most striking ironies of the effort to enlist scientific mate­rialism to reform society.

In their own minds, proponents of scientific materialism were the defenders of enlightenment against superstition and rational debate against unreasoning dogmatism, but the rhetoric they employed against their opponents is often far from conducive to open debate. The repeated insistence that scientists know best and, thus, politicians and the public should blindly accept the policy views of scientists did not encourage critical scrutiny of sci­entific claims made in politics.

Even less conducive to genuine debate was the frequent playing of the religion card in policy dis­putes involving science. With the help of sympa­thetic journalists, proponents of scientific materialism portrayed every policy dispute as a bat­tle pitting the enlightened forces of science against bigoted religious extremists. Promoters of eugenics heaped scorn on Catholic and fundamentalist critics of forced sterilization. Advocates of Kinsey-style sex education demonized parents who raised objections as Bible-thumpers who were conspiring against democracy. Today, defenders of a Darwin-only biol­ogy curriculum similarly accuse their opponents of trying to insert the Biblical creation story into sci­ence classes, even when such claims are inaccurate.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of these attempts to frame policy disputes in terms of reli­gion versus science is the attempt to shift the focus from the content of the debates to the supposed motives of those who oppose any claim made in the name of science. Instead of addressing the policy arguments raised by critics of sex education or Dar­win-only science education, defenders of scientific materialism try to make the religious beliefs of their opponents the central issue, arguing that critics’ real or perceived religious motivations somehow dis­qualify them from being active participants in the public square.

America is a deeply religious country, and no doubt many critics of the agenda of scientific mate­rialism are motivated in part by their religious beliefs. So what? Many opponents of slavery were motivated by their religious beliefs, and many lead­ers of the civil rights movement were even members of the clergy. All of them had an equal right with other citizens to raise their voices in public debates. So long as religious persons in politics offer secular justifications for their policy proposals, they have every right to demand that their ideas be heard on the merits regardless of their private religious views.

In the controversy over the teaching of Darwini­an theory in public education, reporters often note the supposed religious beliefs of critics of Darwin’s theory, but they almost never investigate the anti-religious beliefs of many of the leading defenders of evolutionary theory. Why? Motives are either rele­vant for both sides of a political dispute, or they are irrelevant to either side. The willingness of some reporters to embrace uncritically the agenda of Dar­winists represents a grave disservice to the public as well as a serious breach of journalistic ethics. Given the troubled legacy of scientific materialism in pub­lic policy, what is needed is greater critical scrutiny of scientific materialism in politics, not less.

Conservatives who are uncomfortable with cur­rent debates over science and public policy need to realize that the debates are not going to go away, because scientific materialism raises fundamental challenges to the traditional Western understanding of human nature and the universe. Scientific mate­rialism is central to arguments over moral relativ­ism, personal responsibility, limited government, and scientific utopianism.

Moreover, these debates are not going away because many of America’s most influential scien­tists are avowed materialists, and it is nearly impos­sible for them to separate their materialism from their policy recommendations. Nearly 95 percent of biologists in the National Academy of Sciences, for example, identify themselves as either atheists or agnostics. We are not supposed to wonder how their materialism influences their application of scientific expertise to public affairs?

As members of a free society, we should be will­ing to defend vigorously the right of laypeople and scientists to voice dissent from the current scientific consensus, whether the issue is global warming, the over-prescription of Ritalin for children, the content of sex education, or even the debate over Darwin­ism and intelligent design.

We do not always have to agree with dissenters in order to defend their right to present their views free from harassment and intimidation. But if we are unwilling to defend their right to debate scientific issues implicating public policy, we have no grounds for complaint when the agenda of the sci­entific elites leads to coercive utopianism or when every attempt to raise a different point of view is smeared as an attack on science.

Contrary to the assertions of some, robust public scrutiny of claims made in the name of science does not constitute a “war against science.” Indeed, it may be the very thing that saves science from its own excesses.

John West, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow at the Dis­covery Institute, Associate Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, and author of Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science (ISI Books, 2007).

[1]Hugh Elliot, Modern Science and Materialism, 2nd impression (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1927), p. 138.

[2] C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1947), p. 84.

[3]Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1996), p. 6.

[4]J. McKeen Cattell, “Homo Scientificus Americanus,” Science, April 10, 1903, p. 569.

[5]Charles W. Eliot, “The Fruits, Prospects and Lessons of Recent Biological Science,” Science, December 31, 1915, p. 926.

[6]“Eugenics in Politics,” The New York Times, October 9, 1921, p. 93.

[7]C. S. Lewis, “Is Progress Possible? Willing Slaves of the Welfare State,” in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), p. 315.

[8]See, for example, Chris Mooney, The Republican War on Science (New York: Basic Books, 2005).

[9]James Wilson, “Presidential Address,” American Breeders Magazine Vol. 4, No.1 (First Quarter, 1913), p. 56.

[10]Herbert Walter, “Human Conservation,” in Horatio Hackett Newman, Evolution, Genetics and Eugenics, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1932), p. 531. The essay was reprinted from a book published by Walter in 1913.

[11]Harry Hamilton Laughlin et al., Legal Status of Eugenical Sterilization (Chicago: Fred J. Ringley Co., 1930), p. 79.

[12]Eliot, “The Fruits, Prospects and Lessons of Recent Biological Science,” p. 928.

[13]James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 51 in Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers (New York: New American Library, 1961), p. 322.

[14]George Washington, “[Proposed Address to Congress],” in John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799 (Washington, D.C.: United States George Washington Bicentennial Commission), Vol. 30, pp. 301-302.

[15]Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Earth’s Holocaust,” at (July 26, 2005).

[16]Nathaniel Cantor, Crime, Criminals and Criminal Justice (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1932), p. 265.

[17]Edward M. East, Heredity and Human Affairs (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1927), p. 29.

[18]Margaret Sanger in Michael W. Perry, ed., The Pivot of Civilization in Historical Perspective (Seattle, Wash.: Inkling Books, 2001), p. 214.

[19]Richard Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

[20]Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom: A Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People, with an introduction and notes by William Leuchtenburg (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1961), pp. 41-42.

[21]Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1981), Vol. 1, p. 73. This is a reprint of the first edition, which was published in 1871.

John G. West lives and works in the Seattle and Auburn, WA area. He is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and associate director of the institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the chairman of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, Dr. West holds a Ph.D. in government from Claremont Graduate University. He has been interviewed frequently by the national media, including Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times, and has appeared on CNN, Fox News, and C-SPAN.

>The Dangers of Group Decisions

>By Don White
Group Decisions Are Losers:
Groups usually make poor decisions. Recently, I read a story of the millionaires who are the group that advises Barak Obama. He’s starting to turn to them again. He usually flies almost alone, with only his family or staff, from one campaign destination to another, listening to music, reading, and writing his next speech.

But this last time he had a plane-load of old friends whom he considers his inner advisory group and he roved up and down the isles soaking in their spirit. Almost without exception, they are Chicagoans or Illinois people of high standing and influence in the country,old friends and supporters.

Admirable, right? But when you examine Barak Obama you find that he lacks the experience to make good decisions himself. As president, if he has to rely on others, which he will, he’s going to make a poor president. He has never served in the military and will make a poor commander in chief and a poor president, based on the fact that he has never done anything or run anything, never sponsored significant legislation either as a state representative or a Senator for two years.

I’m not spouting gloom for America and Obama just to be negative. This is not strictly my opinion either,this is the record. If you want further backup on that, I suggest you read Ronald Kessler’s excellent article about Obama’s public and private record recorded in NewsMax entitled “Obama’s Inexperience Tough To Ignore.”

President Kennedy had this same deficit. He was young and inexperienced, so he brought into the White House this huge think tank advisory group. All of us were unduly impressed by the names of Kennedy’s advisors. They included Theodore C. Sorensen, speech writer; Dean Rusk, Secretary of State; C. Douglas Dillon; Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara; Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy; Postmaster General J. Edward Day; John A. Gronouski; Stewart L. Udall, Interior; Orville L. Freeman, Agriculture; Luther H. Hodges, Commerce; Arthur J. Goldberg, Labor; W. Willard Wirtz, and Abraham Ribicoff, Health, Education and Welfare; Anthony J. Celebrezze; and Adlai Stevenson, UN.

That was a high-powered think tank, each in every way as smart as they get. Obama, no doubt, will have a just as highly educated think tank; and so will McCain. But what kinds of decisions do they come up with when they act as a group, making decisions?

Usually, not so good. The Bay of Pigs could be used as an example. Committee decisions are usually poor. And early in an inexperienced president’s tenure, that’s the kinds of decision-making that takes place because he must lean on others heavily.

Stephen Leeb, in his book The Coming Economic Collapse, quotes social psychologist Irving Janis who wrote a book, Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes.
Janis recounts how many of Kennedy’s advisers had misgivings about supporting the invasion of Cuba that turned out so badly. They realized that errors were likely being made, but the pressure to maintain group solidarity prevented those concerns from being raised and properly addressed. Leeb said that some group members, Robert Kennedy for one, actually tried to keep information from the president that might have alerted him of the danger.

“Janis concludes that the closed-mindedness, overconfidence, and pressure within the group to conform can lead to a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment, which he calls groupthink.

A recent parallel to the Bay of Pigs incident was the U.S. government’s belief in the early 2000s that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Leeb said that claim was “laid to rest by America’s chief weapons inspector, David kay, in 2004.”

The Economist, in a special report on the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into the intelligence failure, notes: “It diagonosed a severe case of ‘groupthink’: that is, that the spies were failing to test the general assumption that Iraq had a growing WMD program. To have done so would have been considered heresy, which may be why Hans Blix, chief UN weapons inspector, accuses America of positing ‘faith-based intelligence.’ “

In the next installment we shall discuss “Overcoming Psychological Barriers” that each of us have. We shall determine why civilizations go into decline and fail and what separates those, such as the Japanese and British, which face extinction but which find ways to solve their energy or other crises. We will talk more about the crisis of energy facing the U.S. today and why Democrats, in particular, seem reluctant to buy onto the idea that this crisis poses an immediate threat to America; why it has the capability of ending our nation as we know it in a short period of time, and why they believe, just as in the technology bubble of the late 1990s, this crisis will just go away; and why they would rather buy onto the idea that if global warming is not properly addressed, over a much longer period the world’s population could become extinct.

For my money, if you give me just one to five years and fail to drill for new energy and compare that to the hundred or so years that you have with the global warming threat, I take saving our nation first, then worrying about fixing global warming later with new technology, perhaps.
Part Two will follow in a few days.