- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Honest evolutionist

"The New York Times eulogized the great evolutionist Steven Jay Gould of Harvard, who died in May at the age of 60. The world of biology and paleontology will surely miss Mr. Gould, as will his worldwide fan club who kept buying his many books, which let them in on the inside story of evolution and related topics.

"Why should I, an Orthodox rabbi who believes that the world is 6,000 years old, write about Mr. Gould? He is my hero. Gould believed in evolution, but he told the facts as they are. Gould was great enough to pronounce the secular heresy that there is no biological process to produce evolution. If people evolved, as Gould believed they did, it was an atypical accident that would only occur over extremely long periods. The importance of this cannot be overemphasized. Evolution is not a scientific process, said Mr. Gould. 'If the Tree of Life was planted anew,' said he, 'life would not form as we know it.' Gould stood evolution on its head. It has no scientific basis, because 'accidents' are not science."

Rabbi David Eidensohn, writing on "Why Was Evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould a 'Hero' of an Orthodox Jew?" in the June 19 issue of Culture and Family Report

Truth vs. PC

"One of the most destructive elements of political correctness involves its preference for emotion over accuracy the casual disregard of normal standards of evidence and objectivity in pursuit of some 'higher' cause.

"A recent controversy involving a public high school in the scenic town of Poulsbo, Wash., demonstrates the current eagerness to dispense with accuracy when it gets in the way of politically correct preachments.

"Local members of the American Legion energetically objected to a popular class called 'The Vietnam Experience' because it suggested that American troops regularly engaged in atrocities. The teacher of the course, Anthony Bressan, managed to shield himself from all criticism because of his status as a decorated Vietnam vet who held his students spellbound with first-person accounts of his nightmare experiences in Southeast Asia.

"After extensive investigation, however, the teacher's critics could find no evidence that he ever served in the armed forces in any capacity during the years Mr. Bressan purported to fight as a 'grunt' in 'Nam,' he was actually registered as a full-time student at Central Washington University.

"Asked to document his purported service, Bressan abruptly resigned.

"[Former student] Mary Kaplan proclaimed: 'The lessons he taught us are valid, whether he lied about his Vietnam War experience or not.'

"Fabrications are acceptable, in other words, if they advance some notion of higher 'truth.'"

Michael Medved, writing on "Political correctness prefers emotion to honesty," Monday in World Net Daily at www.worldnetdaily.com

Myth and madness

"As he was leaving his lodgings in Turin on Jan. 33, 1889, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche caught sight of a cabby beating his horse. Forgetting his former invectives against pity, he ran across the street and, weeping, threw his arms around the animal's neck in an act eerily reminiscent of a scene from Dostoevsky's 'Crime and Punishment.' He then lost consciousness and had to be carried back to his room. When he awoke, he was no longer himself.

"Nietzsche was taken away to a clinic in Jena. He lived on at first muttering and singing, then silent for another decade. His publishers shrewdly discerned in the spectacle of the mad philosopher the most marvellous marketing opportunity, and quickly reissued his works.

"His descent into madness was not sudden but gradual. Evidence of it is visible in his last published work, 'Ecce Homo,' which contains chapter headings such as 'Why I am so clever' and 'Why I write such excellent books.'"

Edward Skidelsky, writing on "The human question mark," June 17 in the New Statesman

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