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Himmelfarb, Ctd.


Derb: Your post of 3:26 pm yesterday seemed to suggest that you believed that science would increasingly (though not fully) demonstrate a “mechanistic and reductive” account of human nature to be true, that you thought Himmelfarb is worried about the effects of this demonstration on people’s understanding of their “sense of personal responsibility, that you shared this concern, and that you disagreed with her about the appropriate response to the concern–since you don’t favor banning the relevant lines of scientific inquiry (while she supposedly does?).

I responded (4:24 pm) that Himmelfarb did not appear to share this concern. She seemed to think that science would not tend to demonstrate the truth of mechanistic and reductive accounts of human nature, but would be misread to have demonstrated it. Your response to that post–to quote yourself saying that you share Himmelfarb’s concern–isn’t terribly pertinent, since the question is whether you accurately represented her concern in the first place.

As further evidence of the need for Himmelfarb to “go boil her head” and her “unspeakably horrible and inhuman” worldview, you 1) suggest that she is attributing “scientism” to Darwin and 2) suggest that she believes in telling “noble lies” about religion. I’m not sure what your basis for the first claim is.

The basis for your second is a Ron Bailey story. That story mentions Himmelfarb three times. We learn that she attended a meeting at which intelligent designers spoke; “has told at least one colleague that she, too, thinks [a pro-I.D.] book ‘excellent’; and wrote the following passage in a book in 1959: “So solicitous of morality were the Victorian agnostics, that they were even willing to make concessions to religion in the interests of public morality. They were willing to suspend their own disbelief in order to bolster up other people’s morals–not their own, for of their own they had no doubt.” She described the support of other people–including Darwin, I’m guessing–for noble lies. (Perhaps you should call for the boiling of Darwin’s head?)

Himmelfarb deserves much better.


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