Reader Mail

The Agony of Victory

Counting our losses, and other Democratic games. Plus a letter from Prof. Kenneth Miller. And much else.

11.27.05

Send to Kindle

SENATOR STEIN
Re: Ben Stein's As Thanksgiving Approaches:

Ben Stein needs a sabbatical so he can run for office. Really. I love him. Give him the boot and make him run for the Senate.
-- Maureen Beattie

COURANT AFFAIRS
Re: George Neumayr's The Origin of Speciousness:

I read with great interest Mr. Neumayr's article "The Origin of Speciousness" in the November 18 edition of The American Spectator. It may not surprise you that I do not agree at all with the substance of the article. But that is not why I am writing you today. There is a serious error in the article which I respectfully request that you correct in the on-line version of your publication. The article reads:

"Theistic evolutionists like Kenneth Miller, who has said that his Catholicism gives his Darwinism 'strong propaganda value,' are misrepresenting the theory for rhetorical reasons."

The direct quotation attributed to me is False. I have never said or written such a statement. I would hope that the standards of your publication rise above false quotation, and that you will make a full correction immediately.

I look forward to hearing from you before this false quotation is used to misrepresent my views further.
-- Kenneth Miller
Professor of Biology
Brown University

P.S. It is possible that your author lifted the words "strong propaganda value" from an article written in the Hartford Courant. If that is the case, I would suggest that Mr. Neumayr re-read that article. In that article those words are (correctly) attributed to "another veteran of the evolutionary war," and not to me.

The Editor replies:
Professor Miller is correct. Here is the relevant excerpt from the Hartford Courant: "Miller is both one of the [evolution] science's most clever and tireless defenders, and a practicing Roman Catholic. His religion gives him, as another veteran of the evolutionary war observed, 'strong propaganda value.''' We regret the mistaken attribution, though it's not clear to us how those words misrepresent Professor Miller's views.

NOT SO DESPERATE
Re: George Neumayr's Desperate for Defeat and Reader Mail's The Ecstasy of Defeat:

I am writing in response to the "Desperate for Defeat" article of 22nd November and a number of comments from other readers.

The article and its respondents all appear to believe that an American victory is imperative but none of them discuss what set of circumstances would constitute such a victory. Taking the public utterances of America's leaders at their word (and leaving aside the President's declaration of "victory" aboard an aircraft carrier in the summer of 2003) I assume an American victory would be at hand when a stable democratic government, the rule of law and a peaceful civil society were established in Iraq. If a politician expresses the view that withdrawing foreign troops will hasten the achievement of the coalition's aims, how is he or she being cowardly, unpatriotic or defeatist?

I am very surprised that such a respected journal as the Spectator and its well-educated readers chose to cast aspersions on John Murtha's patriotism and that of his party, rather than engaging in the more important debate about the merits of his suggestion.

Yours faithfully
-- Jonathan Proudfoot
London, United Kingdom

I have read with tremendous disbelief the article written by Mr. Neumayr. It is also incomprehensible that anyone could still support the Republican Party and this power-hungry President. He is the first President in American history to single-handedly change the policies of the United States to such an extreme, that we are actually becoming an imperialistic form of government.

He boasts of his conservative roots and the only conservative thing about him is his charade of being religious. This has been done to string the populous along for the ride so that he can further his own political and greedy agendas. He is historically one of the biggest tax and spend liberal spenders in American Presidential history.

If the fanatical right wing of the Republican Party felt that President Clinton should have been impeached for a consensual sexual relationship, which he lied about under oath, than what should be this current president's punishment? He is one of the most infamous liars in American history, having lied about our intelligence pre-war, and having caused the deaths of thousands of people.

The separation of church and state is essential so that we can efficiently hold our leaders feet to the fire. If we are numbed by religion it provides them the opportunity to do anything in the name of religion. Have any of you hard right-wingers ever heard of a few little things like the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades?

I for one don't want to see history repeat itself and that is why I am thrilled to see liberal democrats proudly stepping up to the plate boasting of their liberal roots. I do not patronize anyone who is a Republican bully and also refrain from too much contact with anyone who supports this President. They are either daffy or dangerous and I want no part of them.
-- Mary Ann Whitonis
Mountain Top, Pennsylvania

Mr. Neumayr's article regarding the approach and attitude of America's Democrat's may be the best description of them I have read in a very long time. By failing to vigorously support our troops and the War on Terror, Democrat's show themselves as anti-American. Although they put on enough of a show for the public to claim they are just trying to make sure we maintain our morals and ideal's as Americans.

Our troops in the field are beginning to wonder if the work they are doing, is worth it. Once this type of attitude sets in among the military, any nation comes perilously close to defeat in any endeavor. Recently, the issues that have been put forth as more important than winning this war, are vacuous at best! Calling what the Democrat's are saying and doing, support, is truly disingenuous.

For most of the president's time in office, he has addressed his detractors with kid gloves. Despite this, his detractors pulled off the gloves long ago, and have in fact resorted to any and all sorts of dirty tricks just so they can posture themselves for the next presidential election. One can only hope and pray the true messages get out to the public, and that they turn on these people and elect another who will fight for the survival of this nation.

The concept of global governance is gaining traction among some. They want us to feel we should act only if the international community agrees with our position. Since much of the international community they want us to seek approval from, is involved in numerous nefarious acts and even are associated with terrorists in some form, asking their "permission" is tantamount to suicide. When one looks at the international organ that Democrats and their socialist allies tout as the one to lead all of the world, is full of corruption and has acted behind the scenes in direct opposition to measures that would have helped to avoid war, allowing the United Nations any level of control of our sovereign interests is also tantamount to suicide.

Great article explaining just where the Democrats are, and just what they want when you look closely at their actions. With a complicit media supporting the causes Democrats hold dear, this nation faces an uphill battle to save itself from destruction from within, let alone by outside terrorist interests.

Thank you,
-- S. Ralston
Coatesville, Pennsylvania

BUCKLEY BRILLIANCE
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Peerless at the Pierre:

"Buckley also ran for office," reports RET. Most notably in 1965 when he ran for mayor of New York City. Buckley was never a serious contender, but once when a reporter asked him what he would do if he was elected, Buckley replied, "Demand a recount!"

Buckley was brilliant in every endeavor!
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois

Yes, the media's Buckley boycott continues. Especially in comparison to that other journalist who made a mark in the 50s getting so much ink.
-- Karl Maher
Denver, Colorado

Regarding the Buckley Gala at the Pierre: it is not unusual that mainstream media would ignore the celebration of a Right Thinking Intellectual Giant, the likes of which they could never produce a worthy adversary.

Try to imagine a debate between Bill Buckley and Bill Clinton, Al Gore or Howard Dean. Paramedics would be standing by to remove the shattered remains of such lightweights. When I say lightweight, I refer to mental wattage, not avoirdupois. Obviously Clinton and Gore win there. As to that homunculus, Howard Dean, his mind matches his stature. If anyone can think of an liberal opponent who would not cower at the thought of debating Buckley, I would like to hear it.

I recall the years of watching Firing Line and PBS Debates with my mother. She would remark on how Buckley's eyes sparkled in enjoyment. I said that's not "sparkle," that's "glitter," as in a cobra about to strike. First the demure lowering of lids; the quick, almost imperceptible smile and then the coup de grace. One could almost hear his opponent whimper. I loved it. It's engraved in my memory.

There will never be another Bill Buckley, but there will never come a time when it will be as if Bill Buckley never existed. Will there come a time when Inveighing We Will Go or The Jeweler's Eye or any of his numerous other collections no longer exist? I have them all and mine will go to my grandsons and they will read them.

The Right remembers and that's all that counts. The less the Left remembers, the more they stumble and lurch.
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

CONTEMPORARY CLASSIC
Re: Mark Goldblatt's Rome: An Appreciation:

I have never taken the time to comment on a TV show. However, Mark Goldblatt's review of Rome is spot on and deserves much credit. This series offers the serious viewer a perspective on the attitudes and mores of earlier times and allows reflection on how far we've come. Contemporary Western society (I make a distinction from the Islomofascists) has lost any concept of the evolution of the human being as an individual, regardless of birthright, status, et al. Unfortunately, the socialist left, regardless of country, unwittingly would devolve the individual to the situation that existed in ancient Rome. Tragic that this understanding is beyond their grasp.
-- R. D. Vraa
Mansfield, Texas

Before we all get to the tear-jerk stage in our praise of the Roman Empire, let's not forget that this was the culture that produced Nero and Caligula, as well as the people who decided to crucify the Son of God. I see very little worth watching in this series that is mostly soap-opera plots and lots of skin, a show whose purpose seems to be to try to promote the idea that a society can live and flourish without our modern western views of traditional Christian morality. This is, of course, what I have come to expect from Hollywood: its dream world -- one without Christianity or a higher moral standard.
-- Gerald Sorrentino
Enterprise, Alabama

I find it interesting that Mark Goldblatt in his article extols the un-PCness of the "Rome" series yet near the last part of the article uses the Hyper PC term of "BCE." Such appreciation only goes so far apparently...
-- Craig Sarver
Seattle, Washington

TRAITOR PULL
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's In Disservice to America:

Most of the leaders of the Democrats are morally bankrupt. Consider Teddy, the swimmer, Kennedy, then we have the war "hero" Kerry, several that just steal whole pages of writings and call it their own. I am at a loss understanding how Americans can look up to these people and keep electing them. They are for killing babies and our soldiers, just look at how they wait for each new body count. My problem is that a lot of the Republicans are turning into RINO's, spending money like it is not our tax dollars, wanting to add "guest" workers from overseas so BIG business can hire cheaper labor, not keeping our borders safe from ILLEGALS and the magic word here is ILLEGAL. I am MAD AS HELL AND DON'T WANT TO TAKE IT ANYMORE, but what can I do? There should be term limits on Congress just like there is for the President, then maybe the pols will work for us instead of big business. Sorry to be so long winded, will get off my soapbox now.
-- Elaine Kyle

"For a keener insight into liberal perplexity in matters of war and military service, one needs only to read the words of future Commander in Chief Clinton, writing in 1969 to excuse himself from a promise to join an ROTC program for which he had no further use after he drew a high draft number."

I am writing too in the hope that my telling this one story will help you to understand more clearly how so many fine people have come to find themselves still loving their country but loathing the military, to which you and other good men have devoted years, lifetimes, of the best service you could give. To many of us, it is no longer clear what is service and what is disservice, or if it is clear, the conclusion is likely to be illegal.

This should be on every front page of every paper in America.

Granted we all think differently, but what was a man who feels like this being a president of America?

It must have been a long eight years for the military, but they returned and we could not find enough words to thank them for their courage and perseverance.

Thank God there is a American president who has the same qualities as the troops and they know this and respect him highly.
-- Carole
Calgary, Alberta

I remember the Vietnam protests very well (A-4 carrier pilot, Viet Nam 67-68, and a volunteer). Grass roots protests from the college campi to the streets to Washington. They said the war was un-just but me thinks it was all about the draft, which I support today as a matter of duty. But, what about today? Are the Democrats wanting their power back so much that they will sacrifice the integrity of the U.S. and the 2,000 soldiers that have died thus far? I guess so. They sacrificed 60,000 in Vietnam and never looked back. I really don't get it. As Ann Coulter said, they are "gutless traitors."
-- Jim Steel
Pensacola, Florida
P.S. Happy Thanksgiving

Here is something: FDR served as assistant secretary of the Navy from 1913-1920
-- Herman
Ephrata, Washington

WARNER BOTHERS
Re: Shawn Macomber's Meet Mark Warner:

I am not surprised at all that Mark Warner is enjoying notoriety and liberal warmth up north. However, the man's popularity astounds me -- I will never forgive him, his scion Kaine, or most especially the traitorous Republicans who collaborated for the 2004 tax increases -- increases that were foisted upon us Virginians for a lie.

Evidently my fellow Virginians cannot get enough of that ol' time taxation, and they have insisted on electing a Governor we deserve. I am not sure why voters believe we deserve to be taxed more, and thank God Jim Gilmore is raising a call for fiscal responsibility.

American voters may decide that Warner is the President we deserve, and that would be a real shame. The man has no new ideas, he's a New Democrat running on personality and a record of increasing taxes.

Shawn, conservative Virginians hardly needed your reminder!

Finally, I cannot understand why Warner is not universally lampooned for the "confused puppy-dog" look he sports. It is inconceivable that such a goofy-looking pol can enjoy so much success.
-- Mark Stoffel
Arlington, Virginia

Nice article Shawn. I've been laughing at the Democrats for years myself, even though they really aren't that funny. It's along the line of nervous laughter as I try to figure out what idiotic plan they're going to pull on the uninformed next. Now Warner probably rates as a stand up comedian in this instance but let's not forget the Howard Dean wing of the party or even the Clintonian part of it, since neither is going to do any of us good. The Democrats won in Virginia, through default. In that case, they (for once) seemed to be the lesser of two evils and in New Jersey(?), well N.J. is N.J. and let's keep it at that. Is this what we can expect in the upcoming election cycle? Imagine all the Democrat candidates doing stand up routines as they campaign, using Howard Dean's primal scream as a "heeeere's Mark ( or whomever)" lead in, and that is not funny.
-- Pete Chagnon

TEXAS DERANGER
Re: Dan Robbins letter (under "Disparate Desperation") in Reader Mail's The Ecstasy of Defeat:

Mr. Robbins,

Certainly you are entitled to your opinion. But I would ask you set your Bush Derangement Syndrome aside for a moment:

My first observation is that oh yes there certainly were 'war hawks' during the period. Many of them. They advocated for escalation in Lyndon's War both in severity and breath. But an important distinction -- President Johnson was a Democrat.

You are right again that the Arabs do not have a good history of democracy. Their history proves it. But darn, there we go again! Stumbling across facts, pesky things that they are. Iraq is the result of a division of the Ottoman Empire by the Brits. As such Iraq has a diverse mix of ethic cultures. The Kurds in the north are of Eurasian stock not Arab. The Shia in the South and East are descendents of the Persian empire not Arab. The Sunni probably being the ethnic division the most truly Arab still has roots in the ancient Assyrian empire. These people we call Iraqi are actually 3 or 4 cultures with a slightly unifying religious belief of practicing Muslims. But only a small percentage of them could lay claim to the true Arabs that swept off the steppes of the central Urals.

And in almost the same thought, you denigrate both the past and the present. Sure the word assassin is an Arabic root. But then so is the concept of the zero of which modern mathematics would be at a loss without. Or the arts or early medicine to which they contributed. You deny the record of the Babylonians, Hammurabi, or that the first nation-state was birthed out of what is now Iraq. For while we of the European continent of the period were gripped in the Dark Ages, warring constantly, the Arab-Ottomans were maintaining a culture that persisted for 6 centuries. It was the early riches being brought by the explorers of Genoa of the Near East that ultimately prompted the likes of Marco Polo travel even further to the Orient. You refuse to see what has transpired in the last 30 years in this region. Nay in the last 10. The freeing of a Kuwaitis from invasion, Iraq on the verge of what may be the first Arab representative state, the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, Palestinian elections, Jordanians flooding the streets seeking release from terror.

Then by willful consignment of an entire region to the trash heap you forego your own rightful gift. You tarnish it in ways that make Lexington, Gettysburg, Tripoli, Iwo Jima but tactical win-loss statistics rather than the marble edifications to a concept. The belief that men possess the right of self-determination. Liberty is not something you can place in a bottle and retain forever. That, if anything, was the sole flaw of the Truman Doctrine. That I may retain my liberties by denying them to my brother is false. That is the core of Bush's foreign policy. Liberty's defense is not assured by being contained like a flower in a pot but like the runners of a vine. The test of that concept Sir is Iraq. Shall the vine flourish there then its eventual flow across this planet may not be denied.

But turn away from the dark that blinds you and look out the window. Is it not better to live a shortened life in expansion of our beliefs than to wheeze in our last breaths of old age signifying nothing for our lives? To deny this is to deny the very thought for what this country was founded. Should you wish to stand in the dark, I can only close with the thoughts of Samuel Adams -- "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom -- go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"

It is time to choose.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

ATHEIST WATCH
Re: George Neumayr's The Origin of Speciousness and Noah Praetorius's letter (under "Wandering Without God") in Reader Mail's The Ecstasy of Defeat:

George Neumayr's column from November 18, 2005, "The Origin of Speciousness," makes extensive use of quotations by atheists (Edward Wilson, Richard Dawkins, etc.) to make his point that evolution "is an intrinsically atheistic theory." Neumayr fails to quote even a single Bible verse in support of his position.

Unfortunately for Neumayr, Christian doctrine is based on the Bible, not on philosophical pronouncements from prominent atheists. Theological statements from atheists are likely to be lies from the mouth of Satan, and it is not proper for a Christian to yoke oneself with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14).

"Origin of Species" mentions God the Creator several times in Victorian terminology, most notably in the final sentence: "There is grandeur in this [evolutionary] view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved." Wilson's statement that "The theory excludes God as a cause of nature" is patently false.

Genesis 1:11, 20, and 24 appear to describe theistic evolution. The repeated phrase "let the earth bring forth" tells us that the earth acts as the agent of creation, bringing forth new creatures at God's command. These verses are the best definition of theistic evolution. If George Neumayr feels that the scientific theory of evolution contradicts the Bible, let him cite a book, chapter, and verse from the Bible that evolution supposedly contradicts.

John 3:16 and Romans 10:9 tells us how to be saved - it's a lot about Jesus and nothing about biology! The words of atheists are very poor substitutes for the Word of God.
-- Carl Drews

In his short comment about a discussion of Darwin's theory that you ran, a gentleman calling himself "Noah Praetorius" wrote, "Atheism whether acknowledged or not is very widespread among educated Western elites. Get over it." Perhaps a more accurate description of the people to whom he referred would be "pseudo-intellectual, self-styled elites." I don't know about Mr. "Praetorius," but I have never been sufficiently arrogant nor egotistical to be an atheist.
-- W. B. Heffernan, Jr.

The "Culture, et cetera" section of the Washington Times on 11/23 pointed me to Mr. Neumayr's article on Darwin.

Below, I provide an excerpt from Darwin's "Descent of Man" (DOM) that comes to my mind whenever I read things like "Wilson reminds readers that Darwin rejected Christianity, and that this 'shedding of blind faith gave him the intellectual fearlessness to explore human evolution wherever logic and evidence took him.'"

Here are some words from the Descent of Man, Part III/Chapter XIX. The second paragraph starts out:

"Man is more courageous, pugnacious and energetic than woman, and has a more inventive genius."

A few pages later there is a subsection called "Difference in the Mental Powers of the Two Sexes." The second paragraph of this subsection reads:

"The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man's attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman -- whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands. If two lists were made of the most eminent men and women in poetry, painting, sculpture, music (inclusive both of composition and performance), history, science, and philosophy, with half a dozen lists under each subject, the two lists would not bear comparison. We may also infer, from the law of deviation from averages, so well illustrated by Mr. Galton, in his work on 'Hereditary Genius,' that if men are capable of a decided pre-eminence over women in many subjects, the average of mental power in man must be above that of woman."

As a comment, let me first report my suspicion that very few people actually have read Darwin. Next, let me offer an opinion that if we want to lionize Darwin for being the first to write up the theory of natural selection (the theory of evolution being extant before Darwin), that's fine. I'll also point out it does not conflict with any of my religious beliefs (and I have such beliefs!).

HOWEVER, if, as they seem to be doing, some States make it against the law to teach, in public schools, any alternative to what is loosely referred to as "Darwinism," it seems we should not be selective. Let's teach the good and the bad and let students ponder the implications.

Remember Nancy Hopkins, MIT*** biology professor, got a case of the vapors after hearing Lawrence Summers's suggestion (in not so many words) that evolution may have bestowed some attributes in men to a greater extent than it has in women (would this be an example of what biologists call "bimorphism?"). Imagine Nancy's reaction to Darwin's words quoted above. (My assumption is that she, a professor of biology, has surely read DOM).

Perhaps "the battle" is being fought the wrong way. Why not simply present "here are some things Darwin has written: (1) whatever Darwinists want to say, (2) the above from DOM (there are many other such jewels). In other words, hoist Darwin on his own petard.
-- Bob Wenzel
Dumfries, Virginia
*** P.S. Inscribed in stone along the tops of the building that surrounds Killian Court at MIT are the names of the world's greatest scientists, at least in the opinion of those in power at MIT in the 1920's. A position in the top ten (out of 110) is held by Charles Darwin. He is ranked above Pythagoras, Euclid, Galileo, Kepler, LaPlace, Descartes, Pascal, and numerous others of their ilk. Again, the claim is that Darwin is a scientist. Isn't it ironic that when Nancy Hopkins escaped the foul air surrounding Lawrence Summers, she retreated to a monument to a man whose contribution to the "discussion" Summers was so bold to suggest would be that, in essence, it is ludicrous to even imagine women are capable of achieving the eminence of men in science, etc.

TEE TIME
Re: Lawrence Henry's The Mysteries of Ball Striking:

Mr. Henry's article was great! I can see myself in every scenario he described!
-- Robert E. Cokes
Dallas, Texas

Please tell Lawrence Henry that this piece was a nice read.. and Happy Thanksgiving.
-- Jim Steel
Pensacola, Florida

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article