Back here, an anonymous commenter takes exception (and with some justification, I'll admit) with my referring to Ottawa Citizen columnist David Warren as a "dumbfuck." Anonymous writes:
That's it, CC? Warren writes a piece beating up on evolution and your best response is just to call him a "dumbfuck"?
No wonder evolution is getting creamed in the scientific community if it has defenders like you. You can't even dispute his points, can you?
In response, let me start by quoting from a 1984 article by W. V. Mayer entitled "The Arrogance of Ignorance" (emphasis added):
Arrogance comes in a variety of forms. The arrogance of great wealth, the arrogance of great power, the arrogance of great beauty, and the arrogance of a great master are bearable because they rest on an acknowledged and measurable base. The arrogance of ignorance, however, is unbearable because it is rooted in smug satisfaction with being isolated from the facts of the case. The anti-evolution plank in the platform of Christian fundamentalism, is a classic example of the arrogance of know-nothings.
Note well what Mayer is talking about. It's not that the anti-evolution fundamentalists are so unspeakably ignorant of that which they criticize; no, that's not it. It's that they wear that ignorance publicly and proudly. No fancy book larnin' for those folks, no sir. They don't know the first thing about science but, rather than admit it humbly, they bellow it from the rooftops -- their sheer, unadulterated ignorance is the very basis of their arrogance, and they wear their total lack of knowledge almost as a badge of honour.
How else to explain a couple of excerpts from Warren's piece, starting with this one:
Here is where a little autodidactic training in philosophy has served me better than any kind of scientific tutoring could have done.
Yes, far be it from Warren to actually have any "scientific tutoring" before he starts spouting off about that which he knows fuck all. But why bother having actual scientific knowledge when "a little autodidactic training in philosophy" will do just as well? Why, indeed?
Then there's this bit of anti-intellectual puffery:
I continue to draw inspiration from so many simple people, lacking the intellectual means to confute the Darwinian priesthood in the academy, ...
Of course. Why bother actually learning any science when you can be inspired by the "simple people" who, according to Warren, lack the "intellectual means" to refute, you know, real science? And does Warren's ignorance slow him down? Of course not -- for him, it's a matter of simple pride, a bond to the common (and similarly ignorant) man on the street. This is Warren's appeal to the masses -- they can both be stupefyingly ignorant together, and revel in it. Does life get any better than taking blissful ignorance and turning it into a virtue?
Warren is precisely the kind of person Mayer was talking about, and it's why any intelligent dialogue with him is impossible since it would require Warren to actually learn some science, and he's already made it clear that that just isn't going to happen.
If I might paraphrase a common saying: "Trying to educate an anti-evolutionist is like trying to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of time and it annoys the pig." And trying to refute Warren's stunning stupidity would be just as unproductive. Warren has made it clear that he's not only hopelessly ignorant, but that he intends to stay that way, and proudly.
A better example of the concept of "dumbfuck" would be hard to find, don't you think?