He Said “Flapdoodle” “Bumcombe” and “Twaddle”

I’ve been sitting on this this scathing critique of "Intelligent Design" by conservative John Derbyshire for at least a few weeks, but hadn’t gotten sufficient motivation to post it.

This is Bush at his muddle-headed worst, conferring all the authority
of the presidency on the teaching of pseudoscience in science classes.
Why stop with Intelligent Design (the theory that life on earth has
developed by a series of supernatural miracles performed by the God of
the Christian Bible, for which it is pointless to seek any naturalistic
explanation)? Why not teach the little ones astrology? Lysenkoism?
Orgonomy? Dianetics? Reflexology? Dowsing and radiesthesia? Forteanism?
Velikovskianism? Lawsonomy? Secrets of the Great Pyramid? ESP and
psychokinesis? Atlantis and Lemuria? The hollow-earth theory? Does the
president have any idea, does he have any idea,
how many varieties of pseudoscientific flapdoodle there are in the
world? If you are going to teach one, why not teach the rest? Shouldn’t
all sides be "properly taught"? To give our kids, you know, a
rounded picture? Has the president scrutinized Velikovsky’s theories?
Can he refute them? Can you?

And every buncombe theory — every one of those species of twaddle that
I listed — has, or at some point had, as many adherents as Intelligent
Design. The hollow-earth theory was taken up by the Nazis and taught,
as the Hohlweltlehre, in German schools. It still has a
following in Germany today. Velikovsky’s theories — he believed that
Jupiter gave birth to a giant comet which, after passing close to earth
and causing the miracles of the Book of Exodus, settled down as the
planet Venus — were immensely popular in the 1950s and generated heated
controversy, with angry accusations by the Velikovskians that they were
being shut out by closed-minded orthodox astronomers determined to
protect their turf, etc., etc. Lysenkoism was state doctrine in
Stalin’s Russia and was taught at the most prestigious universities.
Expressing skepticism about it could get you shot. (Likewise with the
bizarre linguistic theories of Stalin’s protégé N.Y. Marr, who believed
that every word in every human language derived from one of four basic
elements, pronounced "sal," "ber," "yon," and "rosh." I tell you, the
house of pseudoscience has many, many mansions.) Dianetics was
rebranded as Scientology and is now a great force in the land — try
criticizing it, and you’ll find out.

Do yourself the service of reading the whole thing.

I dunno; It’s discouraging, at times. On the one hand, we see such evidence that we live in an explicable universe that operates according to perfectly natural and definable laws; yet most people choose to adopt the stupidity disease of mysticism, and really, display little evidence that they have any greater grasp of reality than does a common cargo cult.

Other individualists often chide me for being so hard on the religious. I really don’t get that. They’ll take up all sorts of time in onslaught of the left and their religion of the omnipotent state, but don’t seem quite so nearly to mind the insane fantasies promulgated by the mainstream religions, as well as the born-again nutbars on the right.

I make no distinctions. From the religion of communism on the left, to the whacked-out fundamentalism on the right that interprets all of the Bible literally, and everything in-between, it’s all very fundamentally the same. There are no important distinctions to make in the context of what’s real vs. ‘the second coming of cargo.’

It’s like trying to make distinctions between Santa Claus, qua entity, and the Easter Bunny.

This, people, is at the very root of every single individual and social problem — every single one. It is the conscious and willing behavior of attempting to create reality in one’s own mind, in spite of a lack of any real evidence in support, and even more often, in stark contradiction to facts already well established.

The human mind is designed to perceive and integrate reality, not to create it. An honest individual’s success in life is directly tied to his or her ability to accurately integrate reality and take action accordingly. Those who don’t increasingly lead diminished lives, most often as the prey of the dishonest and criminal minded (powercrats, religious leaders, self-appointed advocates, environmentalists, "health" nuts, etc.). Those criminally minded parasites live off of the unearned money, power, and sex generated by the plethora of mystical illusions held in the hearts of men. Ironically, these parasites are the very ones instrumental in creating, propagating and perpetuating all of the fantasies and illusions in which humankind trusts and believes.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Rich on September 28, 2005 at 16:30

    though the minority to be sure

    Indeed. Such understatement.

    I am saying there are scientists from all disciplines who look at the evidence and come to a different conclusion

    I doubt it. They begin with the faith they learned, and proceed from there.

    No such "evidence" for their faith exists, which, by the way, is why they advocate faith. In the presence of actual and verifiable evidence, faith is quite unecessary.

  2. Rich on September 28, 2005 at 18:47


    Well, I'd say that for a kid that's a student of a private Christian college in the Bible belt, you are well on your way, given your response.

    I am personally a product of a private Christian education from grades 7-12 (Baptist). I then went on to a year of Christian college in Tennesee. So, I have a history, as you might imagine.

  3. Mr Bob on September 28, 2005 at 15:41

    You've got a few strawmen there burning. Listening to one-sided critique is hardly a good way to build an opinion. Perhaps you have, but according to your tyrade, you seem fueled by a one sided lecture. There are many (though the minority to be sure) scientists much smarter than I that believe the evidence points to a designer, for you to dismiss them all using the Santa Claus defense only makes you look willfully ignorant and closed-minded. I am not saying you should drop to your knees and worship Jesus, I am saying there are scientists from all disciplines who look at the evidence and come to a different conclusion, to dismiss them as wacked out fundies is pretty rediculous on your part.

  4. Mr Bob on September 28, 2005 at 15:42
  5. Josh on September 28, 2005 at 17:59

    BlogExplosion directed me to your blog, and I hope you will not mind me responding to your post.

    I am a student at a private Christian college in Arkansas. Before you make assumptions, I assure you I am not happy with my present lot. I long to return to my home in New England. I long to leave the Bible belt.

    That said, I think perhaps you might be a little hasty in your assumptions about Christians and religion in general. I agree that most religious folk have absolutely no understanding of their own proclaimed beliefs, and they use "faith" as a convenient way of precluding intelligent analyses. I don't consider myself a Christian only because I refuse to stagnate by simply accepting dogmas and doctrines. Perhaps then I would not even call myself religious. I do, however, consider myself thoughtful.

    The problem, however, is assuming that all religion is mindless and that simple reason should lead invariably to an empirical, naturalistic worldview. I certainly am not trying to impose on you God, religion, or even philosophy. I only mean to say that naturalists' rejection of religion is often as hasty and unthoughtful as a religious people's rejection of empirical evidence.

    If I am out of line, or if you just care to chat, feel free to respond on my own blog.

  6. Heathen Dan on September 29, 2005 at 01:56

    Ahh, so people do tout that list of 100 scientists. At first it seems impressive to see scientists affirming their suspicions of evolution. One would think that there is indeed a controversy in science as to the fact that evolution happens.

    But then, there is Project Steve ). Listing about 628 scientists (as of 28 Sept. 2005) whose names are Steve, Steven, Stephen, Stephanie and other permutations, these scientists all support the statement that goes: "Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences, and the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that all living things share a common ancestry."

    Those are just scientists named Steve. I assume a list of Johns, Juan, Johann, Joanna, etc. would be much longer.

    But those are just lists. The evidence is what matters. And the evidence point out that evolution is well established. It is, as Stephen Jay Gould said, "an embarrassment of riches."

    Intelligent design is not science, it is a trojan horse of creationism, meant to infiltrate science classes. It saddens me when Christians, who are usually kind people, would do something as nefarious and as two-faced as that.

    What would Jesus do? He'd take a biology course and learn the facts.

  7. Rich on September 29, 2005 at 09:38

    Oh c'mon, Michael. Are you going to tell me that the practical meaning (perhaps not the technical definition) of ID is not exactly that?

    Moreover, we need no superstition-based critiques of Natural Selection and Evolution. The scientific method does a dandy job.

  8. Kyle Bennett on September 29, 2005 at 12:16

    No ID person would accept that definition.

    No shit. And no alcoholic accepts what he does as fitting the definition of alcoholism.

    Unitl he wants to change, that is.

  9. Michael PApe on September 29, 2005 at 08:00

    "the theory that life on earth has developed by a series of supernatural miracles performed by the God of the Christian Bible, for which it is pointless to seek any naturalistic explanation."

    Worst. Definition. Ever.

    Look, you can't just define something however you want to. No ID person would accept that definition. ID has nothing to do with Christianity. It is a critique of the weaknesses of Darwinism, plain and simple. I don't think it should be taught in schools, no. But don't call Darwinism "settled" just so you can sleep at night knowing there is no God.

  10. chandira on September 29, 2005 at 12:16

    Huh! Been a long time since I heard anybody mention Velikovsky! Awesome post, on that basis, as well as others.. made me laugh, anyway… 🙂

  11. gary on September 30, 2005 at 09:28

    You're being overly harsh on Cargo Cultists. Their ancestors actually did see real planes.

    Other religions accept underlying impossibilites by swallowing whole.

  12. Heathen Dan on September 30, 2005 at 02:47

    The fact that ID'ers and creationists still the term Darwinism shows their ignorance of the subject and the motivation for their opposition. Few evolutionist would call themselves Darwinists (some aren't even comfortable with evolutionism). It is not that we hate the man, it is simply that science progresses, and in Evolution, it has progressed far beyond Darwin's 19th century worldview. Heck, Darwin didn't even know the correct process of inheritance (DNA).

    So why would ID creationists use the term Darwinist? Simple, they are mostly Christians. They are "of Christ," and therefore, their enemies are for someone else. Someone they can point to as the idol of their opponents. Someone… like Darwin.

    Anyone who thinks this is not about religion (or even worse, that this is about science), would do well to learn the issues before calling their enemies names. I am an evolutionist. Darwin may have proposed the mechanism of natural selection (with Wallace), but to call the idea Darwinism (and by extension, its proponents as Darwinists) is to engage in a detestable oversimplification.

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