January 5, 2006

Sign-up sheet for Rustic Ignoramus Club - Colson pushes to front of line

Chuck Colson has a typically poorly informed and reasoned piece online about the persecution Christians must suffer at the hands of such brutish media organs as the New York Times.
"The New York Times ushered in the new year with a nice gift for Christians—one it did not give to anyone else: a slap in the face.
One has to appreciate the calm, considered crafting of such an opening line.
The slap came in the form of a piece written by Thomas Vinciguerra. It was titled, “The Pre-Blogger: Find Mencken at nature-abhors-a-moron.com.” Sixty years ago, H. L. Mencken was one of America’s most acerbic social critics, and the Times was speculating on whether Mencken would have become a blogger. Vinciguerra then offered entries from a hypothetical Mencken blog—entries that were indicative of both the bigotry and ignorance of the New York Times.

One entry read: “Sanity has triumphed in Dover, Pennsylvania, where the boobs who tried to foist intelligent design on the local lyceums have been soundly thrashed . . . Would that this victory were permanent. It will take more than jurisprudence to retire the forces of ignorance. Meanwhile, we can only hope they engage in less egregious forms of buncombe—like installing the Ten Commandments in public squares, or speaking in tongues.”

Ha, ha, ha. Very funny.
Of course, Mencken referred to Christians as “rustic ignoramuses” when he wasn’t calling us worse things. But he also had insulting things to say about women, Blacks, and Jews—comments that today we recognize as both ignorant and offensive. To its credit, the Times would never dream of trying to be funny by calling Blacks and women mentally inferior, or by imitating Mencken’s viciously anti-Semitic comments. But when it comes to Christians, all bets are off. And like any bigot, the newspaper that celebrates itself for politically correct tolerance and exquisite sensitivity can’t seem to recognize its own blind prejudice.
Apparently Chuck is one of those guys who laughs at inappropriate times and places. Because it's pretty obvious that Vinciguerra was not calling Christians ignoramuses, he was calling those who perpetrate fundamentalist boob boorishness ignoramuses. Last time I looked there were plenty of Christians who turned down membership in that little club (too expensive, the dues include surrending intellectual integrity right up front).

And Colson has to compound that bit of foolishness with the now familiar rant about how the Christian community suffers the slings and arrows of extravagantly outrageous misfortune. No, Chuck, I think a few bets are still on, like the one where the Times is a business which, while counting on a certain level of comprehension from their readers (a ferry you've missed in this case), would rather not disenfranchise an entire religion. Like most of his ilk Colson's logic is a bit fuzzy and could benefit from a visit to Ockham's barbershop.
The Times also exposed its ignorance of the kind of people who espouse intelligent design. Does it realize it is calling Albert Einstein a boob? Einstein once said: “God does not play dice with the cosmos”—he found design in the universe. Scientist Fritz Schaefer—four times nominated for a Nobel Prize—is another “boob” who believes in the intelligent design theory. So does Professor Michael Behe, the Lehigh biochemist who has proven the “irreducible complexity” of the human cell structure. And then there is Oxford Professor Antony Flew, the famous British philosopher. Throughout his long career, Flew argued that there was a “presumption of atheism”—that is, the existence of a creator could not be proved. Intelligent design caused Flew, at the age of 81, to reverse himself and acknowledge God as creator. Flew is “ignorant”?
Now this is comedy. This is where we should be laughing, I mean Colson's being wry, isn't he?

Where is the word to capture the irony of a comment which criticizes the Times for ignorance and then references Albert Einstein and Anthony Flew as believers in "Intelligent Design?" Good god Chuck, try to keep up! Einstein never believed in anything resembling what today's ID advocates propound and Flew, when he discovered he'd been misled by the man who initially explained the concepts of ID to him, retracted any endorsement of such a position.

And to assert that Michael Behe has "proven" irreducible complexity, well, let's just say that even Behe would probably blanch at such a witless statement.
For Christians, being attacked is one of the realities of life. The secular world, and the New York Times in particular, detest us because we stand for absolute truth. But our response to attacks like this is to overcome evil with good. For all of its faults, the Times now and then expresses grudging admiration for the human rights work evangelicals perform in the trenches. We need to strengthen our witness there and continue defending the truth.
Hmmm, sometimes the Times says things in our favor, and sometimes it doesn't. What does a clear thinking individual do with this information? He probably figures there's two sides to the story. Chuck, on the other hand, has no use for this kind of introspection. For him this is all about good and evil, hatred and absolute truth.

I guess not everyone is interested in plumbing a deeper understanding of the issues. Perhaps Chuck is afraid of a kind of intellectual "bends," and prefers to stay in the shallow end of the cognitive pool. Let's just hope he remembers to wear his water wings.


Anonymous Joe Shelby said...

four times nominated for a Nobel Prize

This is showing ignorance right there. Nobody knows, outside of the Nobel committee, who is nominated for a prize. The nominations aren't public like the Oscars, and neither is the voting.

Any word about who might have been "nominated", even if such a formal process exists, is the private domain of the Nobel awards committee and is entirely unreliable hearsay outside of their internal discussions.

10:01 AM  

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