Page 1

PIECE OF MIND

Issue 19 Winter 2011

MIND

CONTROL

Are You Anything More Than Neurons Switched On? James M. Kushiner (p. 4) Tom Gilson (p. 18) Denyse O’Leary (p. 52)

$6.99US $8.99CAN

SOCIETY

Doctors Contagious p. 23 Brit Hume p. 26 “Son of Hope” p. 57

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 1

SEX

Sex & the Kiddies p. 32 Unfriendly Benefits p. 38 Pedophiles Unite p. 40

SCIENCE

Darwin’s iPod p. 46 Whale Doo-Doo p. 49 Eyeballing Design p. 54

11/18/11 3:31 PM


Salvo19_Galleys.indb 1

11/18/11 3:31 PM


Issue 19 Winter 2011

15

SOCIETY

16 Ammo 17 Shrapnel

FEATURE q 18 Hunter-Gatherer Nut Cases Let’s Just Reduce Our Altruism, Morals & Love to Brain Waves by Tom Gilson

COLUMNS p 23 Foreign Intel with Michael Cook Doctors Contagious: Has the Unethical Research of Dr. Cutler Spread to Others?

26 R & R with Marcia Segelstein Anchored Man: Interview with Brit Hume

18 29

SEX

30 Ammo 31 Shrapnel

FEATURE q 32 Sex & the Kiddies The Sexualization of Children & How Advertising & Entertainment Change Their Brains by Robin Phillips

COLUMNS p 38 Undercover with Terrell Clemmons Reckless Entanglement: The Dead-End Nature of “Friends with Benefits”

40 Hazmats with Judith Reisman Coming Attractions: Is Pedophilia the Next Sexual Perversion to Become Normalized? 32

43

SCIENCE

44 Ammo 45 Shrapnel

FEATURES q 46 Biological Software

Darwin Can’t Connect Your iPod to a Printer by Richard W. Stevens

49 Save the Whales! Monsters Well-Designed for the Earth’s Ecosystem by Hugh Ross

COLUMNS p 52 Deprogram with Denyse O’Leary Brain Scams: Have Some Neuroscientists Lost Their Minds?

54 Operation ID with Casey Luskin 46

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 1

Eyeballing Design: “Biomimetics” Exposes Attacks on ID as Poorly Designed

11/18/11 3:31 PM


DEPARTMENTS o 4 Opening Salvo A Matter of Mind by James M. Kushiner

6

10

5 Hired Guns 6 Blips Featured: The Moral Facts of Life What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide by J. Budziszewski reviewed by Terrell Clemmons s Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Please Enroll Responsibly, Anatomy of the Soul, A Queer Thing Happened to America, The World Turned Upside Down, Don’t Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid ] NOVA ScienceNOW: How Does the Brain Work?, Except in Cases of Rape?, The Price of Pleasure, Trans-Humanism, Prayers for Bobby, 180

9 The Trenches Members Only: Can an Atheist Join a Christian Campus Fellowship? by A.W.R. Hawkins

10 Headquarters Intelligence Central: Just the Facts Even an Educated Atheist Can Understand by Regis Nicoll

14 37 42 57 49

Fake ad: The AWICCOC Fake ad: The CNASP Fake ad: Cryodrive Great Escapes From “Son of Sam” to “Son of Hope”: The Story of David Berkowitz by Terrell Clemmons

60 Camouflage Believed & Deceived: Hitler’s Rise & the Deadly Loss of Moral Courage by Terrell Clemmons

63 Crosshairs Bill Maher: Mr. Know Nothing by Terrell Clemmons

64 Parting Shot with Herb London Wrong Answer: Cheating Is Now a Learning Experience?

65 Fake ad: Liberation Mutual 57

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 2

11/18/11 3:31 PM


Issue 19 Winter 2011 Founder Richard A. Moselle Executive Editor James M. Kushiner Senior Editors Rebecca Hagelin, Casey Luskin, Bobby Maddex, Marcia Segelstein Contributing Editors Hunter Baker, Terrell Clemmons, Regis Nicoll, Robin Phillips, Leslie Sillars Columnists Michael Cook, Herb London, Denyse O’Leary, Judith Reisman Graphic Designer Jerry Janquart Managing Editor Anita Kuhn Business Manager Jonathan Dockery

salvo n. (săl'vō) 1. 2. 3. 4.

A mental reservation An expedient for protecting one’s reputation A forceful verbal or written assault A group of shots fired simultaneously for effect

We use the language of war, a metaphoric conceit that is as old as literature itself, only to reflect the life-or-death seriousness of the endeavor in which we are engaged. Salvo does not advocate gratuitous violence in any form.

Credits/Salvo 19 p. 13 - Voltaire Planting Trees (detail) by Jean Huber, 1750–1775, wikigallery.org p. 24 - From Ethically Impossible: STD Research in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948 p. 25 - Poster commisioned for the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project (1936–1938) pp. 15, 26, 27 - Brit Hume photos courtesy of Fox News p. 57 - Edward Zigo with David Berkowitz, August 1977 p. 58 - David Berkowitz p. 63 - Poster for Real Time with Bill Maher (detail)

Editorial Advisory Board Francis J. Beckwith, Mark Brumley, Paul Copan, William Dembski, Dinesh D’Souza, Norman Geisler, Robert P. George, Gary Habermas, Craig Hazen, Hugh Hewitt, Phillip E. Johnson, Greg Koukl, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Michael Medved, Stephen Meyer, J. P. Moreland, Paul Nelson, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, John Mark Reynolds, Jay Richards, Hugh Ross, Fr. Ron Tacelli, John West, W. Bradford Wilcox Partner Organizations Alliance Defense Fund, Discovery Institute, MercatorNet, Stand to Reason, Reasons to Believe

A publication of The Fellowship of St. James (www.fsj.org), Salvo is dedicated to debunking the cultural myths that have undercut human dignity, all but ­destroyed the notions of virtue and morality, and slowly eroded our appetite for transcendence. It also seeks to promote the Christian worldview. The opinions expressed by individual contributors are not necessarily those of the editors or publisher. SALVO (USPS #025-638) is published quarterly in Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter by The Fellowship of St. James at 4125 W. Newport Avenue, Chicago, IL 60641-4009. Periodicals Postage paid at Chicago, IL and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to SALVO, PO Box 410788, Chicago, IL 60641-0788. SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES For new or gift subscriptions, renewals, changes of address, or questions about your subscription, contact: Salvo Subscription Services, P.O. Box 3000, Denville, NJ 07834-9986, 1-800-783-4903. Back issues, missing or damaged c­ opies: Call Publishing Management Associates 1-877-375-7373. SUBSCRIPTION RATES U.S.: $25.99 for one year (four issues); $45.99 for two years (eight issues). Canada: $32.99 (U.S.) for one year; $59.99 (U.S.) for two years. Other foreign: $37.99 (U.S.) for one year; $69.99 (U.S.) for two years. Special rate for students and those on reduced incomes: $15.99 for one year. Bulk rates are available. Copyright © 2011, The Fellowship of St. James. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without permission.

The Fellowship of St. James

Help Promote Salvo!

Know someone who would like Salvo? If so, please write or call our publisher to request sample copies.  5

P.O. Box 410788, Chicago, IL 60641 Subscription Services: 1-800-783-4903 Office Phone: (773) 481-1090 Fax: (773) 481-1095 Email: editor@salvomag.com www.salvomag.com

Winter 2011 SALVO 3

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 3

11/18/11 3:31 PM


DEPARTMENT o

OPENING SALVO by James M. Kushiner

A Matter of Mind

D

avid Barash is an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the ­University of Washington. He is also a self-described “utter and absolute, dyed-in-the-wool, scientifically oriented, hard-headed, empirically insistent, atheistically committed materialist.” Thus, when asked after a lecture what was the most difficult unsolved problem in science, he recalls that he answered without hesitation: How the brain generates awareness, thought, perceptions, emotions, and so forth, what philosophers call “the hard problem of consciousness.”

Now, there are some other very hard problems in science, such as figuring out what “dark energy” really is, or how to prove “string theory” experimentally. But, Barash admits, the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that I can’t even imagine what kind of empirical findings would satisfactorily solve it. In fact, I don’t even know what kind of discovery would get us to first base, not to mention a home run. Still, Barash hopes that science will someday figure out how the physical brain creates our “selves.” In his must-read book, Why Us? How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves, science writer and medical doctor James Le Fanu details how the scientific research conducted before, during,

and after the “Decade of the Brain” (proclaimed by Congress and President George H. W. Bush in 1990) has only deepened the mystery of human consciousness and our sense of self. Many hoped we would discover the physical roots of self-consciousness, the material causes of the sense of having free will, and the neurological wiring of everything from love to anger to shame to compassion. We would be able cure Alzheimer’s and someday even help reprogram the brains of serial killers and drug addicts. Le Fanu writes: While theoretically it might be possible for neuroscientists to know everything there is to know about the physical structure and activity of the brain, its “product,” the mind, with its thoughts and ideas, impressions and emotions, would still remain unaccounted for. As the philosopher Colin McGinn expresses it: “. . . knowledge of your brain does not give me knowledge of your mind.” That is not a shocking statement, unless you are an absolute materialist. Le Fanu explains: This distinction between the electrical activity of the material brain and the non-material mind (of thoughts and ideas) as two quite different things might seem so self-evident as to be scarcely worth commenting on. But for neuroscientists the question of how the brain’s electrical activity translates into thoughts and sensations was precisely what needed explaining—and their failure to do so has come to haunt them. So, for everything

4 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 4

11/18/11 3:31 PM


that the Decade of the Brain undoubtedly achieved, nonetheless, as John Maddox, editor of Nature, would acknowledge at its close: “We seem as far away from understanding [the brain] as we were a century ago. Nobody understands how decisions are made or how imagination is set free.” (p. 19) In an important sense, the intense research on the brain (see Tom Gilson’s feature article, p. 18) may actually help make the case for the mind, and even for the soul. That is because, as long as the physical mechanisms of the brain were little understood, materialists like David Barash could claim that what we call the mind or the soul would someday be explained. After all, physicists have successfully unlocked many of the secrets of the structure of reality: atoms, sub-atomic particles, quarks, time-space, gravity, black holes, and so on. And biologists have discovered genes and DNA. Give neuroscientists enough time and they will unpack the brain and find its operating manual. But now that we have a great deal more information about the workings of the brain, thoughtful neuroscientists, such as Mario Beauregard, are using these findings to argue the case for the existence

of the soul (see his book, The Spiritual Brain, coauthored by Denyse O’Leary). Nevertheless, just as Barash continues to believe (or at least hope) that science will yet solve the mind problem, so also do materialist brain scientists continue to assume that they can or will be able to explain your mind (see “Brain Scams” by Denyse O’Leary, p. 52). You can make up your own mind on these matters, because you really have one and it belongs to you. You are more than the sum of your neurons. You really are a person, a unique self. Just because others have given over their minds to neurons doesn’t mean you should lose yours.

Ammo & Shrapnel Readers may notice that our usual opening Shrapnel section is gone. Upon closer inspection, however, you will see that there are three Shrapnel pages—one each in the Society, Sex, and Science sections. Each Shrapnel is preceded by an Ammo page. The flipside of Shrapnel, Ammo is for self-defense, making points, countering arguments, and encouragement. —James M. Kushiner

2010. He has a Ph.D. in military history from Texas Tech University.

HIRED GUNS Terrell Clemmons (pp. 6, 38, 57, 60, 63) is a freelance writer and blogger on apologetics and matters of faith. Michael Cook (p. 23) is a Melbourne journalist and the editor of MercatorNet and the international bioethics newsletter, BioEdge. Tom Gilson (p. 18) is a writer and ministry strategist on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ, currently assigned to work on loan with BreakPoint on worldview ministry strategies. He also runs the Thinking Christian blog (http://thinkingchristian. net). He lives in Yorktown, Virginia, with his wife, Sara, and their two children. A.W.R. Hawkins (p. 9) is a senior opinion editor and writer for the Alliance Defense Fund (www.telladf.org) and was a visiting fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal during summer

James M. Kushiner (p. 4) is the executive editor of Salvo and Touchstone magazines. Herb London (p. 64) is president of the Hudson Institute and the author of America’s Secular Challenge (Encounter Books) and Diary of a Dean (Hamilton Books). Casey Luskin (p. 54), a senior editor of Salvo, is co-founder of the Intelligent Design & Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Center and Research Coordinator at the Discovery Institute. Regis Nicoll (p. 10) is a Centurion of Prison Fellowship Ministries’ Wilberforce Forum, and his work regularly appears on BreakPoint Online. Denyse O’Leary (p. 52) is a Torontobased author, editor, and blogger and the co-author of The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul (Harper One). Robin Phillips (p. 32) is the author of the forthcoming book Saints and Scoundrels and is currently working on a Ph.D. in

historical theology through King’s College, London. He operates a blog at http://robinphillips.blogspot.com. Judith Reisman (p. 40) is Visiting Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government and Social Thought. She is the author of Sexual Sabotage: How One Mad Scientist Unleashed a Plague of Corruption and Contagion on America (WND Books, 2010). Hugh Ross (p. 49) is an astrophysicist and the founder and president of the sciencefaith think tank Reasons to Believe (RTB). Marcia Segelstein (pp. 16, 26, 30, 44) is a part-time writer and a full-time mother. A former senior producer for CBS News, she has also written for First Things, Touchstone, and OneNewsNow. Richard W. Stevens (p. 46) holds degrees in both computer science and law and has practiced civil litigation and taught legal research and writing at George Washington University and George Mason University law schools. He is particularly interested in studying and writing about intelligent design.

Winter 2011 SALVO 5

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 5

11/18/11 3:31 PM


DEPARTMENT o

FEATURED BLIP by Terrell Clemmons

The Moral Facts of Life What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide by J. Budziszewski

J

. Budziszewski wants to talk about the facts of life. No, not those facts of life, but the moral and ethical realities built into the created ­order—those common truths we all really know about right and wrong that have historically been referred to as the natural law. To suggest the existence of such a thing as a “moral fact” in postmodern company may be regarded as more scandalous than bringing up the other facts of life at a dinner party. But a created moral order exists as certainly as does a physical one, and Dr. Budziszewski has produced an excellent manual for helping us become conversant about it. The Common Ground: First, he re-establishes the common moral ground of natural-law philosophy, the best expression of which is found in the Decalogue— the Ten Commandments. What We Can’t Not Know lays out rational explanations for its moral precepts, which are unapologetically presented not only as true for all people, at all times, in all cultures, but also as known at some level by all. Precepts such as It is right to acknowledge the Creator and It is wrong to murder are underived. We just know them, whether or not we choose to acknowledge them. Budziszewski presents four clear and perennially present “witnesses” that attest to natural law: (1) the interior witness of deep conscience or the moral intellect—which is deeper than surface conscience, which can be damaged and rendered ineffective; (2) the witness of design, as seen in DNA or in self-replicating life; (3) the witness of design in the human species, as seen in human

i­nterdependencies, complementarity, and spontaneous ordering—the prime example of which is the family as the universal foundation of all civilizations; and (4) the witness of natural consequences or penalties, such as guilty knowledge, for violating the moral order. The Role of Conscience: Conscience plays a central role in both knowing and revealing moral truth. The natural purpose of conscience is to be our teacher, warning us against wrongdoing or accusing us when we do wrong to lead us to repentance. But when we flee, not from wrong, but from our accusing conscience, then its furies operate as an “avenger, which punishes the soul who does wrong but who refuses to read the indictment.” Budziszewski adroitly traces this willful blindness to the mental depravity that follows it, skillfully explaining how twisted minds conjure up perverted reasoning to defend and perpetuate the evils of our day. The Nature of the Conflict: Ultimately, the conflict is a struggle between the Author of the moral order and the immoralist movements of the day, which seek to excuse, then to condone, and then to extend evil by twisting the inescapable moral precepts and putting them to work in the service of goeteia, the ancient practice whose goal was to wield power by “uncreating creation.” “The immoralist movements are not isolated phenomena,” writes Budziszewski, “but branches of the goetic arts; they are united in their hatred of the human design, and, by extension, of its Designer.” The inevitable end of goeteia is the debasement of all that is good and the destruction of what the Creator has made. To engage in dialogue over “those things we can’t not know” is to engage in the ageless struggle between good and evil. What We Can’t Not Know is a manual for acquiring fluency in the moral facts of life in order to better contend for the good.

6 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 6

11/18/11 3:31 PM


Book Blips o

s Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New GirlieGirl Culture

s Please ­Enroll Responsibly: Avoiding Indoctrination at College (e-book)

by Peggy Orenstein

A self-described “recovering liberal” helps college students avoid the intellectual abuse endemic in higher education. An attorney and new media pundit, Doren gives concise, practical strategies for choosing classes wisely, supplementing one-dimensional course content, and introducing alternative viewpoints to fellow students and, in certain situations, professors. An invaluable resource.

Journalist Peggy Orenstein wrote about girls for nearly two decades. Then she had a daughter, and all her feministinformed conceptions about gender were challenged by Daisy, who enjoyed girlie things like playing princess. Orenstein raises good questions about female identity issues, but sadly, she totally misses the role of a girl’s Creator and father in forming healthy self-esteem.

by Lee Doren

s Anatomy of the Soul by Curt Thompson, M.D. A psychiatrist in private practice combines ancient spiritual wisdom with current developments in neuroscience to demonstrate how meaningful relationships and the spiritual disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, study, confession, and repentance serve to integrate the brain’s left and right hemispheres, rendering a sound mind and a transformed mental life.

s A Queer Thing Happened to America by Michael L. Brown, Ph.D. When no publisher would “touch this manuscript,” Dr. Brown launched his own imprint in order to document—with sensitivity, yet with scrupulous accuracy, in the words of LGBT activists themselves— our four-decade journey from a society in which heterosexuality is the norm to one in which, not just toleration, but full-throated acceptance of deviant sexual practices is demanded. A must-read for acquiring conversancy on all issues gay.

s The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth, and Power by Melanie Phillips A British columnist documents the explosion of unreason, under whose sway truth and lies, right and wrong, and victim and aggressor have been inverted—all because of the West’s abandonment of Christianity and the Hebrew Bible. As a result, factual journalism has given way to ideological propagandizing, leaving the West vulnerable to serious threats.

s Don’t Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left’s Assault on our Families, Faith, and Freedom By Marybeth Hicks

A Washington Times columnist and minivan mom “bringing up geeks,” Hicks writes to convince readers that “leftists in positions of power and influence over our children are seriously undermining the values and virtues essential to our national character and to American citizenship.” Her case made, she also provides ammunition for culture warriors moved to confront this fundamental threat to life, liberty, and all that is good. Winter 2011 SALVO 7

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 7

11/18/11 3:31 PM


DEPARTMENT: Film Blips o ] NOVA ScienceNOW: How Does the Brain Work?

Astrophysicist and popular science host Neil deGrasse Tyson visits with Las Vegas magicians, IBM engineers and programmers of Jeopardy “contestant” Watson, and various neuroscientists researching brain functionality to explore the wondrously complex organ that is the human brain. Engaging and geared for a general audience, including children.

] Except in Cases of Rape?—12 Stories of Survival Pro-life speaker and attorney Rebecca Kiessling, conceived in rape and twice nearly aborted, assembles interviews and testimonies of twelve survivors of rape—nine people conceived in rape and three rape victims who carried their pregnancies to term—to tell the world that, however compassionate rape exceptions to abortion laws purport to be, they still condemn innocent human beings to death.

] The Price of Pleasure This film examines the effects of pornography on sexuality and relationships. Its most encouraging aspect is that, despite the Marxist leanings of its makers—who pronounce porn bad because it depicts unequal male/female power structures and is driven by capitalistic profit motives rather than because it’s a perverted use of sex—their critique still concludes unequivocally that porn damages all of society.

] TransHumanism— Destroying the Barriers Breeding human-animal chimeras for organ harvesting, creating super-soldiers for wartime operations, bioengineering human reproduction to relieve the burdens of conventional parenting—would these applications of technology improve human life, alter it beyond recognition, or bring about its extinction? Tom Horn discusses the possibilities and ethical quandaries on the horizon of the brave new transhumanist world.

] Prayers for Bobby When all-aroundloveable-kid Bobby Griffith comes out gay, his mother Mary determines to overrule him through prayer and other interventions, whereupon Bobby grows increasingly withdrawn and takes his life at age 20. The film is obviously designed to pin the responsibility for gay suicide on Christian mores, but what it actually reveals is that the filmmakers and the gay lobby are utterly clueless about the true nature of Christianity.

] 180 Man on the street Ray Comfort fires off questions about Adolph Hitler, the Holocaust, abortion, and good and evil. At issue: When and how is it permissible to terminate a human life? The historical, moral, and ethical illiteracy of many hipsters is both appalling and frightening, but on the upside, some thoughtful ones actually show a change of mind when the facts surrounding apparent moral difficulties are plainly presented to them. Comfort does include a “gospel message,” but the power of this film is in its pursuit of razorsharp moral logic.

8 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 8

11/18/11 3:31 PM


DEPARTMENT o

THE TRENCHES Dispatches from the Academic Front

Members Only Can an Atheist Join a Christian Campus Fellowship? by A.W.R. Hawkins

A

pparently so, if trends at several U.S. universities are any indication. For example, a policy at Vanderbilt University that prohibits “discrimination on its campus against anyone because of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression” is being used to discriminate against religious groups. According to an online article in the Christian Post,1 at least four “Christian student organizations at Vanderbilt have been put on ‘provisional status’ for saying that the leaders of each of their respective groups are required to submit to their group’s religious beliefs.” Vanderbilt’s Office of Religious Life emailed one group, the Christian Legal Society, to say that it was not allowed to “preclude someone from a leadership position based on ­religious belief. Only performance-based criteria may be used.” In other words, a nondiscrimination policy that was originally put in place to prevent discrimination by the school is now being used to disallow campusrecognized religious groups from distinguishing between practitioners and non-practitioners of their religion when choosing leaders. At San Diego State University, although the policy against discriminating in membership or leadership on the basis of “race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, color, age, gender, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or disability” exempts all “social fraternities or sororities” from the prohibition on gender discrimination, and allows non-religious groups to require their members and leaders to adhere to their beliefs, the school recently denied official campusrecognized status to Alpha Delta Chi (ADX), a Christian sorority, and to Alpha Gamma Omega (AGO), a Christian Fraternity. Why the denials? Because both of these groups share a requirement that their members and officers adhere to specific religious beliefs, namely, those of Christianity. Since ADX and AGO can technically still meet (can still exist) without official recognition as an

­ n-­campus student group, some may think that this is o not such a big issue. However, the lack of official recognition means that neither ADX nor AGO can access the channels of communication used by other student groups to promote their views and invite new members. It also means that they can only exist informally. They are effectively segregated from normal communal aspects of campus life.

Undercut from Without & Within If Christian groups are prevented from choosing their own members and leaders, or from ensuring that they practice what they preach, they will have a hard time remaining effectively Christian. Thus, when nondiscrimination policies are applied as Vanderbilt and San Diego State have applied theirs, the policies become a means of undercutting or eliminating official on-campus Christian groups altogether. Moreover, applying policies in this way plays directly into the hands of radical, non-Christian students who are more than willing to join a Christian group simply for the opportunity to seek a leadership position and gut the group from within. If they get the leadership position, they succeed; and if they don’t get it, they can complain about discrimination and have the group expunged—which means they still succeed. Apart from winning the lawsuits that have been filed to have these policy misapplications corrected, perhaps the only way to end this obvious discrimination against campus Christian groups will be to turn the tables: that is, for a Christian to seek (and be denied) a leadership position in an atheist group on a campus somewhere. But regardless of the approach taken, we must remember that all students have a God-given right to freedom of speech, of religion, and of association. These rights are not up for a popular vote, nor are they such as can be given or whimsically taken away by chancellors, deans, and boards of regents. These fundamental rights are at risk when the misapplication of policies like those at Vanderbilt and San Diego State go unchecked. Endnote 1. Jeff Shapiro, “Vanderbilt’s Nondiscrimination Policy May Discriminate Against Religious Groups” (September 28, 2011): www.christianpost.com/news/vanderbilts-nondiscrimination-policy-may-discriminate-against-religiousgroups-56756.

Winter 2011 SALVO 9

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 9

11/18/11 3:31 PM


DEPARTMENT: Headquarters o

Intelligence Central Just the Facts Even an Educated Atheist Can Understand by Regis Nicoll

I

n 2007, a slate of American presidential hopefuls was asked to indicate, by a show of hands, who among them did “not b ­ elieve in evolution.” Although a few raised their hands, most appeared ill at ease with the ­question. And understandably so. What did the questioner mean exactly by evolution?

For those who accept the demonstrated process of micro-evolution (small adaptive changes in a species) but not the speculations of macro-evolution (species evolve into other species), “hands down” would have indicated belief in macro-, or Darwinian, evolution. Contrariwise, for many macro-evolutionists, “hands up” would have indicated an anti-science attitude or ignorance, or both.

Evolution Exalted Last August, candidate Rick Perry had the temerity to call evolution a “theory” that contained “some gaps.”1 His irreverence for this venerated theory of materialism provoked its high priest, Richard Dawkins, to refer to Perry in a Washington Post blog as an “uneducated fool.”2

Dawkins, Britain’s top atheist, has been pushing to make the “evolution question” a litmus test of the fitness of candidates for public office. As he pitches it, unbelief in Darwinian evolution “betrays woeful ignorance . . . which likely extends to other fields as well.” After pillorying Governor Perry, Dawkins extolled evolution as the “explanation of our very existence and the existence of every living creature.” “Thanks to Darwin,” the loyal acolyte gushed, “we now understand why we are here and why we are the way we are.” So who even needs God? In Dawkins’s brief, glowing panegyric,

10 SALVO Issue 19

Headquarters_SV19.indd 10

11/18/11 3:54 PM


evolution undergoes its own “evolution”— from the theoretical to the scientific to the metaphysical, or should I say whimsical? Despite the heart-felt sentiments of Darwin’s cantor, the “why” of human existence is beyond the scope of materialist science. At best, such science purports to answer “how” we got here. The question of “why” implies intent, purpose, and foresight—and those features involve intelligence.

Monsters & Magic Dawkins, the proselytizer of all things Darwinian, has spent his career trying to remedy the false beliefs of others. He is fond of saying that there are many things he doesn’t believe in: woodland fairies, fire-breathing dragons, and (his favorite) the Flying Spaghetti Monster—beings for which there is no objective evidence, but whose existence cannot be categorically disproved (to do so would require the omniscient perspective he criticizes). God is just one more being he adds to this list. He willingly grants that God’s nonexistence cannot be proved, either; but, he insists, in the absence of concrete, objective data, the Divine must be relegated to the realm of other childish myths and imaginary figures. It’s a clever argument that plays well to those already inclined to agree with him. But it is ontologically flawed. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is an admitted invention, which, like elves, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny, is not a necessary being. That is to say, the universe, life, and the fulfillment of man’s transcendent yearnings are not contingent upon the existence of such a being. So while simple and great thinkers alike have been entertained by the exploits of Odysseus or Peter Pan, they have been deeply informed by the story of God. Dawkins’s latest strategy involves a 272page apologia for scientific materialism written for children: The Magic of Reality—How We Know What’s Really True. As one blogger describes it, [Dawkins] is taking over the role of a Sunday School teacher . . . using his beautiful prose and Dave McKean’s fantastic illustrations to give scientific explanations to the questions we all have growing up, while discreetly sticking a tongue out at any person

who refers to a Holy Book for the answers instead. It’s like he’s telling children, “What your pastors have been telling you is a lie.”3 That should serve as a reminder to parents to check up on the books their children are reading.

Simply Rotten Dawkins is clearly exercised that Perry and most Americans do not share his convictions.4 He lectures Perry in his blog: “Evolution is a fact, as securely established as any in science.” “You cannot be ignorant of evolution,” he asserts, “and be a cultivated and adequate citizen of today.” A few

In Dawkins’s brief, glowing panegyric, evolution undergoes its own “evolution”—from the theoretical to the scientific to the metaphysical, or should I say whimsical? sentences later, he calls intelligent design (ID)—the scientific theory that the design in nature, universally acknowledged by biologists, is the result of purposive intelligence—“a rotten theory.” That’s a polished way of putting it. I suspect that what loosens his school-yard tongue is angst that his beloved “Fact” is losing (or at least not gaining) in the public square to a theory that, in his words, “assumes most of what it is trying to explain.” Does it? Let’s see. In his post, Dawkins offers no facts to substantiate his Fact, while he alleges evolution’s simplicity and elegance. But on close inspection, we see that his Fact depends on a passel of imaginary devices and undemonstrated processes (that is, gaps): self-organization, abiogenesis, emergence, selfish genes, memes, transitional body plans, and punctuated equilibrium. This could hardly be called simple or elegant. Now, Darwinian theory and ID both acknowledge the existence of information and machine-like systems in the biological structures of living organisms. But they each offer a different explanation for how those features came about. The question is, “Which is the best explanation?” Dawkins offers the following criterion for deciding between them: “The power of a scientific theory may be measured as a ratio: the number of facts that it explains divided by the number of assumptions it needs to postulate in order to do the explaining.” Okay, we’ll go with that. Winter 2011 SALVO 11

Headquarters_SV19.indd 11

11/18/11 3:36 PM


DEPARTMENT: Headquarters o Which Is Elegant? ID takes what has been demonstrated and is universally known about information—namely, that it only comes from intelligence—to propose that the most reasonable conclusion is that the software, machinery, and irreducible complexity of living systems also come from intelligence. Darwinian materialism, on the other hand, takes what has been observed on small scales—that is, limited intraspecies changes over short timeframes—as the basis for positing large-scale modifications over geological timeframes through the creative powers of random genetic mutation and natural selection. In the full-throated version of evolution that Dawkins admires and promotes, the modification process is extrapolated back in time to further posit: the creation of DNA software from the random alteration and shuffling of life’s building blocks; the creation of life’s building blocks from the chance collision of particles; the creation of particles from a cosmic inflation event; the creation of cosmic inflation from a “big bang” singularity; the creation of the “big bang” from a runaway fluctuation in the quantum potential; and the creation of the quantum potential from . . . well, that is yet to be determined. All of this is happening, mind you, ad infinitum in a “multiverse” that is neither proven nor provable but that has to exist because evolution, lest we forget, is a “fact, as securely established as any in science.” Applying Dawkins’s own criterion: ID and materialism endeavor to explain an equal number of facts; ID does so with one assumption, intelligent agency; materialism, on the other hand, relies on seven assumptions to get to the code of life, plus another seven (mentioned earlier as “imaginary devices and undemonstrated processes”) to go from there to complex living organisms. Based on Dawkins’s own formulation, the explanatory power of intelligent design is, if my math serves me, 14 times greater than that of materialistic evolution. So, contrary to Dawkins, it is not ID, but materialism that “assumes most of what it is trying to explain.”

Widowed Science Too few people know that Darwinian evolution shares haunting similarities with geocentrism, the planetary model that places Earth at the center of the solar system. Geocentrism went virtually unquestioned for millennia for three reasons: It was supported by some observational data; it was predictive of planetary movements; and, perhaps most importantly, it agreed with long-standing and prevalent sensibilities concerning the way things should be. But upon closer inspection by Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler—investigators who refused to succumb to the groupthink of “settled” science—the geocentric model, despite its historical success and popularity, proved to be utterly wrong. Evolution is also supported by some observational

data (e.g., morphological similarities), is predictive of adaptive changes (e.g., antibiotic resistance), and, most importantly for Darwinists, holds their materialistic worldview together. But over the last two decades, the ground-breaking work of scientists like Michael Behe, William Dembski, and Stephen Meyer has shown that evolution by chance and necessity lacks the creative power needed to produce the integrated complexity of life we see all around us. People should be aware of other “facts” that, in the not-too-distant past, were considered “as securely established as any in science”: the existence of ether in space, the absolute nature of time, the medical benefits of blood-letting, the circularity of planetary orbits, the planetary model of the atom, and subatomic parts that are discrete and comprehensible. The fact is, there is a long line of scientists, wedded to the science of their day, who ended up as widows and widowers.

Off the Tracks To his credit, Dawkins “gets” the complexity of life. His writings are filled with references to its grandeur and mind-numbing intricacy. He refers to humans as “complex thinking machine[s].” He describes a bird as a flying machine whose flight is “sensitively adjusted in real time by the on-board computer which is the brain.” He goes so far as to admit: The whole machine is immensely improbable in the sense that, if you randomly shook up the parts over and over again, never in a million years would they fall into the right shape to fly like a swallow, soar like a vulture, or ride the oceanic updraughts like a wandering albatross. He gets that. What he doesn’t get is how that complexity arose. “Any theory of life” he touts, “has to explain how the laws of physics can give rise to [such] a complex flying machine.” This is where he jumps the rails. Physical laws result in order, regularity, and predictability, not in complex functional information as is found, for example, in the digital instructions inscribed on the DNA macromolecule.

12 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 12

11/18/11 3:32 PM


The Half & the Half Not Excerpts from

Why Us?

How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves

by James Le Fanu (Vintage Books, 2010) pp. 236, 251 & 246

V

oltaire, despite his antipathy to established religion, held there to be nothing so self-evident as the two halves of human experience, of the material and the non-­ material, from which he could only infer the necessity for there being an “eternal and supreme” God. The most powerful evidence for the divine hand was (as ever), first, the wonders of the natural world, from “the meanest of insects . . . the disposition of a fly’s wings or the feelers of a snail”—and second, the rational human mind. “We are intelligent beings: intelligent beings cannot have been formed by a crude, blind, insensible being: there is certainly some difference between the ideas of Newton and the dung of a mule. Newton’s intelligence, therefore, comes from another intelligence.”

Voltaire Planting Trees (detail) by Huber Jean

Likewise, the phenomena of music, art, language, literature, creativity, imagination, and philosophy are not reducible to a set of field equations. Nor are such things as the appreciation of beauty, a sense of purpose, aspirations for the future, and feelings of guilt governed by the principles of matter and motion. To believe otherwise “betrays woeful ignorance” of what is known about the true nature of things, including man himself. And that is not very intelligent. Endnotes 1. “NH Mother Uses Child as a Prop to Question Rick Perry on Evolution,” August 18, 2011: http:// abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/08/nh-mother-uses-child-as-a-prop-to-question-rick-perry-onevolution. 2. “Attention Governor Perry: Evolution is a fact,” August 23, 2011: www.washingtonpost.com/ blogs/on-faith/post/attention-governor-perry-evolution-is-a-fact/2011/08/23/gIQAuIFUYJ_blog.html. 3. “The New Richard Dawkins Book: The Magic of Reality,” May 10, 2011: www.patheos.com/ blogs/friendlyatheist/2011/05/10/the-new-richarddawkins-book-the-magic-of-reality. 4. “Four in 10 Americans Believe in Strict Creationism,” December 17, 2010: www.gallup. com/poll/145286/four-americans-believe-strictcreationism.aspx.

T

he most obvious feature that distinguishes modern man from Voltaire and his contemporaries is the ascendancy of scientific materialism, and the loss of an appreciation of there being a non-material reality that transcends our everyday concerns. . . . We might now, thanks to science, comprehend the universe of which we are a part, only to discover that its properties, as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins puts it, “are precisely those we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good—nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” . . . We no longer appreciate what at one time seemed self-evident: the extraordinariness of possessing a mind whose powers of reason can distinguish truth from falsehood. There is nothing remotely scientific in denying the most certain thing we know, our sense of self; but “On the maps provided by contemporary science,” writes Brian Appleyard, “we find everything except ourselves.”

N

obody has the slightest idea how anything material [such as the brain] could be conscious,” observes the cognitive scientist Jerry Fodor. “Nobody even knows what it would be like to have the slightest idea about how anything material could be conscious.”

Winter 2011 SALVO 13

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 13

11/18/11 3:32 PM


F I G H T D I S C R I M I N AT I O N S TAY C O N N E C T E D

Join the Club! THE

AWICCOC The Atheists Who Infiltrate Campus Christian Organizations Club We meet to discuss our progress in dismantling discriminating clubs from the inside. In accordance with our members’ stated position of tolerance, THIS IS AN OPEN GROUP. You do NOT need to be an atheist, a Christian, a student, or even a member of a club to be an awiccoc. For more info visit www.awiccoc.edu.

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 14

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SOCIETY SEX SCIENCE AMMO 16

SHRAPNEL 17

“We have expensive (but scientific!) fMRIs to tell us that an emotional ­approach is more emotional than one that runs the ­numbers. It’s a great example of ­insights we could never have gained any other way—except, ­maybe, by sitting back a ­minute and thinking about it.”

18

23

26 Winter 2011 SALVO 15

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 15

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SOCIETY o

Mom Power W

hen Arlene Tessitore learned about the survey her two middle-school daughters, ages 13 and 14, had been given in school, she was upset. Among other questions, the survey asked the students:

AMMO

• Have you ever tried to kill yourself? • Have you ever sniffed glue, or breathed the contents of spray cans, or inhaled any paints? • With how many people have you had sexual intercourse? • Have you ever had oral sex?

Death Wish W

hen Dr. Eric Manheimer was diagnosed with carcinoma of the throat, he knew he was in for a rough ride. The brutal (as he describes it) treatment included radiation and high doses of platinum chemotherapy. Writing in the New York Times, Manheimer describes his

ordeal: “During one particularly desperate hospitalization, after receiving blood transfusions and a drug to stimulate my white cells, I decided that I had had enough.” He writes that, despite his good prognosis, his doctors were powerless to override his decision to refuse further treatment. Fortunately, his wife wasn’t, and she did. Of his decision to die, he now writes, three

There were other questions about condoms, birth control pills, and more explicit topics. The Fitchburg, Massachusetts school district hadn’t notified parents about the survey, and students weren’t given a choice about taking it or not. According to FOX News and the Worcester Telegram, the “Youth Risk Behavior Survey” was administered by a local social services agency, but originated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tessitore enlisted the help of the Rutherford Institute and filed a complaint. The survey will no longer be given in that school district. • (Sources: www.foxnews.com/ us/2011/06/15/school-surveys7th-graders-on-oral-sex/; www. telegram.com/article/20110915/ NEWS/109159456)

years later, “The life force had simply slipped away and made me ready to die. It had also rendered me incapable of making the right decision for myself. . . . When neither doctor nor patient can make the right decision, it is vital to have a caring family.” • (Source: www.nytimes. com/2011/09/03/opinion/whendoctors-become-patients.html)

16 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 16

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SOCIETY o

Prodigal Donor T

(Source: www.nytimes. com/2011/09/06/health/06donor. html?pagewanted=all)

avid Blankenhorn, founder of the Institute of American Values, discussed the meaning of newly released census data on marriage on PBS’s News Hour: “I think the shift in broad terms is [away from] marriage as an institution to marriage as a private relationship, an option for a private relationship. You know, in our parents’ and grandparents’ generation, when you got married you were joining an institution that had authority, told you the rules. . . . One way to think about it is, in an earlier day, the marriage vow defined the couple. And now it’s really the couple defining the marriage vow. . . . [A] related issue is the . . . breaking of the link between marriage and childbearing. It used to be that . . . having a child outside of marriage was frowned on by society. . . . Now it’s perfectly acceptable among many Americans.” •

(Source: www.pbs.org/newshour/ bb/social_issues/july-dec11/census_08-29.html)

Get Out of Jail Free I

n 2005, then 19-year-old ­Katrina Effert secretly gave birth to a baby boy in her parents’ home in Alberta, Canada. She then strangled him and tossed his dead body into a neighbor’s yard. In 2011, her original conviction of murder for this crime was downgraded on appeal to the legally lesser crime of infanticide. Effert will serve a suspended sentence only, no jail time. The judge in the case stated that “while many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept, and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support.” So, as the headline at LifeSiteNews suggests, now infanticide is just a sort of late, late abortion? •

SHRAPNEL

he New York Times reports that the mother of a child conceived with donor sperm has tracked 150 other children with the same father. Using numbers assigned to sperm donors, more and more parents are checking web-based registries to find the half-siblings of their donor-conceived children. Often they’re shocked at how many there are. And those numbers are probably on the low side, since it’s estimated that only 20 to 40 percent of mothers register their children. Many have concerns about the increased odds of accidental incest between halfbrothers and half-sisters. Others wonder about the potential impact on the gene pool. Some critics are calling for legal limits on the number of children who can be conceived using the same donor’s sperm. •

Defining Marriage Down D

(Source: www.lifesitenews.com/ news/infanticide-just-a-late-lateabortion-according-to-one-canadian-judge-prett)

Abortion Benefits I

n Canada, a woman who aborts her child after 19 weeks is eligible for maternity leave. She may take the same amount of time off—17 weeks—as a woman who has given birth. For an abortion before 19 weeks, a woman is also entitled to 17 weeks off, except that it’s called sick leave. •

(Source: www.lifesitenews.com/news/canadas-feds-paying-full-maternitybenefits-after-abortion)

Winter 2011 SALVO 17

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 17

11/18/11 3:32 PM


FEATURE q

HunterGatherer Nut Cases Let’s Just Reduce Our Altruism, Morals & Love to Brain Waves by Tom Gilson

I

  opened up “The End of Morality,” Discover magazine’s latest article on ethics and the brain (July/ August 2011),1 and I wondered, “Will this be any different from the others?” Articles on this topic seem to follow a consistent pattern: (1) Researchers can pinpoint physical events taking place in people’s brains when they make ethical decisions. (2) Thus, science is discovering, finally, what ethics is all about: it’s chemistry and electricity doing their chemical and electrical thing inside your skull. And that’s it.

It’s an approach many thinkers call reductionist. Reductionism in this context means that crucial aspects of human experience, like consciousness, love, ethical decisions, the ability to make choices (free will), and so on are best understood as biological processes, which in turn are best understood in terms of chemistry and physics. It’s a matter of bringing down—reducing—these things to the lowest level of physical explanation. According to reductionism, in fact, the only real thing going on is what happens at the level of chemistry and physics. Everything else—whether it’s an ethical decision, a seem-

ingly free choice, the love we feel for that special someone, whatever we think makes us human—is just a by-product. Some say everything but chemistry and physics is an illusion. So society is an illusion? Love is just a neuron in heat?

Brain in the News Science journalists must love this reductionist story; they keep telling it over and over

18 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 18

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SOCIETY Good questions. In 2008, the New York Times reported on an imaging study showing that “a mother’s impulse to love and protect her child appears to be hard-wired into her brain.”3 Dr. John H. Krystal, the lead researcher, told the paper, “This type of knowledge provides the beginnings of a scientific understanding of human maternal behavior.” Unfortunately, “it’s not known whether fathers have similar brain responses to a child’s smile or tears.” Scientists didn’t put any dads in the scanners, you see, so whatever we might think we know about human paternal behavior, it probably hasn’t Greene thinks our ethical functions quite attained the status of “the beginnings of a scientific understanding.” stumble when we’re confronted with In 2007, Scientific American reported on high numbers because, at that point, we “Your Brain in Love,” including this wisdom:

former hunter-gatherers switch to using “valuation mechanisms designed to think about things like nuts!”

Researchers have revealed the fonts of desire by comparing functional MRI studies of people who indicated they were experiencing passionate love, maternal love or unconditional love. Together, the regions release neuro­transmitters and other chemicals in the brain and blood that prompt greater euphoric sensations such as attraction and pleasure.4

again. Four years ago, for example, the Washington Post reported on brain research and ethics, telling us that when volunteers thought about donating money to charity, their brain scans revealed that the generosity activated a primitive part of the brain that usually lights up in response to food or sex. Altruism, the experiment suggested, was not a superior moral faculty that suppresses basic selfish urges but rather was basic to the brain, hardwired and pleasurable.2 The article went on to wonder about the “troubling questions” this gave rise to: Reducing morality and immorality to brain chemistry—rather than free will—might diminish the importance of personal responsibility. Even more important, some wonder whether the very idea of morality is somehow degraded if it turns out to be just another evolutionary tool that nature uses to help species survive and propagate.

Apparently no poet, artist, novelist, or philosopher ever knew where the fonts of desire were to be found. How could they? They didn’t have functional MRI (fMRI) machines. There is a predictable reductionist sameness about these articles. You or I could almost write them before we read them: Brain researchers study human experience y, and discover that human experience y is nothing but some region x lighting up in our brains. Admittedly, I’m taking a rather reductionist approach of my own: I’ve reduced all this research and journalism to a neat little formula. It seems unfair, I’ll admit. Brain science is certainly one of the most challenging of all scientific disciplines. The object under study is, after all, the most complex structure we know of anywhere in the universe. I thank God for how neuroscience saved my nephew’s life when he was three, and my sister’s life just a few years ago. I have great respect for the knowledge and skill that go into this research. I’m just suspicious of the logic some neuroscientists and secularists employ when it comes to explaining complex human experiences like ethical decision-making, altruism, and love. Too often their reasoning goes like this (seriously): 1. Ethics and morality reside in the brain. 2. We look in the brain, and we find regions lighting up under stimuli. 3. Therefore, ethics and morality, at their core, are probably nothing but parts of the brain responding to stimuli. That pattern was already in the back of my mind (I don’t know how many centimeters back) when I began Winter 2011 SALVO 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 19

11/18/11 3:32 PM


FEATURE q to read “The End of Morality,” and I wondered if it, too, would match the formula. I was not, shall we say, disappointed: once again, it was the usual tale of brain scans and reductionism.

Take the Trolley But maybe this is brushing the Discover article aside too quickly, for it did have all kinds of fascinating insights to offer. One of the tough ethical dilemmas it covered was “the trolley problem.” The trolley problem is a thought experiment that’s been making the rounds of psychology labs and philosophical discussions (with and without beer) for several decades now. In one classic formulation, a trolley is careening out of control down a track onto which some “mad

Apparently no poet, artist, novelist, or philosopher ever knew where the fonts of desire were to be found. How could they? They didn’t have functional MRI (fMRI) machines.

philosopher” (as the problem’s originator, Philippa Foot, imagined it) has tied five people. You’re standing near the track, and you can save the five by flipping a switch that diverts the trolley to another track—but there’s one person tied to that other track who will die as the direct result of your action. So what do you do? Let’s find out if science can help. Brain studies have now demonstrated that the trolley problem pits utilitarian calculations (five is greater than one; therefore, I will kill the one to save the five) against gut emotion (I can’t stand to be the one who sends the trolley over to kill that one guy!). It’s numbers versus feelings. We know this scientifically, thanks to neuroscience. In people who take the more utilitarian approach, brain regions involved in calculation light up. Those who follow more of a gut approach activate an emotional center more strongly. Now, isn’t that helpful? We have expensive (but scientific!) fMRIs to tell us that an emotional approach is more emotional than one that runs the numbers. It’s a great example of insights we could never have gained any other way—except, maybe, by

20 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 20

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SOCIETY sitting back a minute and thinking about it. (Should I apply for a grant to do that? I promise you my charge for sitting and thinking would be less than whatever an fMRI scan costs.)

Passé Hunter-Gatherers I’m being unkind again, I know. I admit to overlooking some really good stuff coming out of neuroethics. For example, neuroethics has taught us that real-life decisions seem to be conditioned by factors other than common sense. That’s important. Joshua Greene, a Harvard scientist who studies morality by using “behavioral experiments, functional neuroimaging (fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and genotyping,” presents some of the fruit of this deep science on his faculty website: As everyone knows, we humans are beset by a number of serious social problems: war, terrorism, the destruction of the environment, etc. Many people think that the cure for these ills is a heaping helping of common sense morality: “If only people everywhere would do what they know, deep down, is right, we’d all get along.” I believe that the opposite is true, that the aforementioned problems are a product of wellintentioned people abiding by their respective common senses and that the only long-run solution to these problems is for people to develop a healthy distrust of moral common sense. This is largely because our social instincts were not designed for the modern world. Nor, for that matter, were they designed to promote peace and happiness in the world for which they were designed, the world of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.5 Designed?! I thought that was a naughty word in biology. (If you don’t believe me, look up for yourself W. J. Bock’s 2009 article, “Design—an inappropriate concept in evolutionary ­theory.”) Regardless, I’m grateful we have this research to inform us that sometimes we get confused, and, in spite of our best efforts, we don’t always make the right decisions.

{DECIPHER THIS}

S

alvo cryptographers have analyzed the quote on this page by Harvard scientist Joshua Greene: “. . . the aforementioned problems [war, terrorism, destruction of the environment, etc.] {an equivalency spectrum; plus “etc.” is open-ended and could include many other “problems,” e.g., “homophobia”} are a product of well-intentioned people {they mean well but are clueless} abiding by {stubbornly clinging to} their respective common senses {they seem to think they are a majority} and that the only long-run solution {this will take some time for us to change} to these problems is for people to develop {through our indoctrinating them} a healthy {they’re sick and need to be healed} distrust {they need to let go} of moral common sense {they must be re-educated to abandon their—note well—moral views}. This is largely because our social instincts were not designed for {bad word choice here; he simply means, “did not come about through evolution for the survival benefit of”} the modern world.” Summary Translation: Human nature and “morals” are constantly evolving; only the evolutionists understand what’s happening now, and they need to reform the common sense of ordinary people so the human race can survive. Analysis: This quote reveals the rationale of elites for consolidating power over others in the name of “science.” If education doesn’t work, re-education camps may be justified later. Counterpoint: “Common-sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.” —Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Up until now, I could never figure that out! I’m not sure I could have done it even with grant money. Thank you for that, Dr. Greene. But you seem to be a bit confused about the evolutionary part; you used a word—design—you shouldn’t have. Jordan Grafman and Jorge Moll, also featured in Discover’s “The End of Morality,” are a little more careful: Winter 2011 SALVO 21

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 21

11/18/11 3:32 PM


FEATURE q Brain scans showed that donating money activated primitive areas like the ventral tegumentum, part of the brain’s reward circuit that lights up in response to food, sex, and other pleasurable activities necessary to our survival. Moll concluded that humans are hardwired with the neural architecture for such pro-social sentiments as generosity, guilt, and compassion. While the dollar amounts were modest, those who donated more . . . showed a small but significant bump of activity in the brain’s septal region, an area strongly associated with social affiliation and attachment. “This region is very rich in oxytocin receptors,” Moll says. “I think these instincts evolved from nonhuman primates’ capacity to form social bonds and from ­mother-offspring attachment ­capabilities.” There’s none of that “design” language here. There’s no language of virtue, either. We are not designed to love. Rather, compassion, guilt, and generosity are “pro-social sentiments,” “instincts” relating to “primitive areas” in the brain that we must attribute to evolution. I suppose that’s how you speak if your primitive-region instincts lead you to adopt pro-social sentiments toward evolutionary biologists. Discover tells us that the same Joshua Greene mentioned above has proposed a viable hypothesis to explain a certain human paradox, summed up in Josef Stalin’s trenchant observation that “the death of one man is a tragedy; the death of millions is a statistic.” We tend to focus on individual drama far more than, say, the many thousands who may be suffering from famine right now in Africa. Greene’s neuroimaging studies have revealed which region of the brain lights up when we think of tragedy in large numbers. It’s an arithmetical part of the brain rather than an ethical part. Greene thinks our ethical functions stumble when we’re confronted with high numbers because, at that point, we former hunter-gatherers switch to using “valuation mechanisms designed to think about things like nuts!” (He does like that word “designed,” doesn’t he? I wonder just how pro-social his primitive regions really are toward biologists.)

The New Society I’m not sure what good Greene’s discovery does us, though. Maybe we could wear transcranial magnetic stimulation devices to re-direct our neural systems for more nuanced ethical/arithmetical processing. Or maybe his insights could lead us to reflect on how imbalanced you and I can be in our responses to tragedy, and prod us to think of ways to correct that. But then again, maybe some of us could have worked that out even before Greene discovered that our ventral striata were involved in the process (and our approach wouldn’t have required near so much in grant funding). Seriously, genuinely helpful insights flowing out of this

kind of research are hard to find. Why, then, does it even matter? Even Kristin Ohlson, who wrote “The End of Morality,” seems to have been asking herself this question. If the answer were obvious, she probably wouldn’t have felt the need to explain it to us. But she did: This is why this research matters. It helps us become conscious of our brain’s moral machinery. When the sirens of our emotions are sounding in unproductive ways, we can crank up the reasoning parts of our brain to make sound decisions. Often, Greene observes, we have made progress as individuals and as a society when we have managed to override our automatic settings, even if we did not realize that was what we were doing. There you have it. Nowhere does “The End of Morality” suggest that we should cease being moral. It speaks instead of Spock-like “new ways to approach . . . moral questions, allowing logic to triumph over deep-rooted instinct.” Progress for society will come out of “moral machinery,” which can be “unproductive” unless we “crank up” other “parts” and “override our automatic settings.” So, what part of the brain lights up when we “manage to override” these “settings”? How do we flip those switches? I’ll have to think about that. But first I must deal with the guilt-related instinctive response my pro-social sentiments have activated in my brain for the way I’ve treated these neuroethical researchers and the journalists who write about their work. I wish I could just find it in my brain’s huntergatherer wiring to be more charitable. But the neurochemistry within me is bound to do whatever it is that neurochemistry does. Nuts. Endnotes 1. Subscribers only: http://discovermagazine. com/2011/jul-aug/12-vexing-mental-conflict-calledmorality/?searchterm=%20brain%20morality. 2. www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/27/AR2007052701056.html?nav=rss_ print/asection. 3. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/07/maternal-instinct-is-wired-into-the-brain. 4. www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=yourbrain-in-love-graphsci. 5. www.wjh.harvard.edu/~jgreene.

22 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 22

11/18/11 3:32 PM


COLUMN p

/ / F oreign I ntel _ wi th M ic h a el C o ok /

Doctors Contagious Has the Unethical Research of Dr. Cutler Spread to Others?

F

or the past year, it has been bioethical bow, scrape, and grovel time in Washington, D.C. After learning that American public health researchers had infected hundreds of Guatemalans with venereal diseases between 1946 and 1948, President Obama had to telephone his Guatemalan counterpart to apologize. He then asked the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to investigate the appalling story of coercion and deception. The commission did so, and a detailed report of its findings, titled “ Ethically Impossible: STD Research in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948,”1 was published on September 13, 2011.

prostitutes with the disease to infect the prisoners (since sexual visits were allowed by law in Guatemalan prisons). When “normal exposure” failed to infect enough men for their research, they did direct inoculations, pouring a serum made from syphilis bacteria onto the men’s penises or onto the lightly abraded skin of their forearms and faces. In some cases, they used spinal punctures. The subjects were given penicillin after they contracted the illness.

Ignominious Science The tale came to light long after the doctors and participants had passed away. After World War II, thousands of STDinfected servicemen were being demobilized. American public health officials needed to know more about the effectiveness of the new miracle drug penicillin to control the spread of STDs in the U.S. After conducting research on volunteers in an Indiana prison, they went to Guatemala. With the cooperation of local officials, Dr. John C. Cutler, a Public Health Service physician, first

selected men in the Guatemala National Penitentiary as research subjects, then men in an army barracks, and then both men and women in the National Mental Health Hospital. The commission concluded that he and his fellow researchers had deliberately exposed about 1,300 inmates, psychiatric patients, soldiers, and commercial sex workers to syphilis, gonorrhoea, or chancroid. Permissions were obtained from government authorities but not from individuals. Initially, the doctors used

In the 1950s, Dr. Cutler also worked on a project that became an even bigger scandal, the Tuskegee syphilis study.2 Starting in 1932, black sharecroppers in Macon County, Alabama, about 400 with the disease and 200 without it, were told that they were being treated for “bad blood” and were given free medical care. But they were not told about their syphilis, and they did not give “informed consent.” Public Health Service doctors withheld treatment to observe the effects of the progression of the Winter 2011 SALVO 23

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 23

11/18/11 3:32 PM


COLUMN p disease—even though penicillin was available to cure it. These experiments went on for 40 years, until an Associated Press journalist exposed it in 1972.

Susan M. Reverby.3 Like most of the research done by Nazi doctors, Cutler’s studies proved to have been a waste of time. “What stings the most in terms of bad

Abortion, assisted reproduction, and population control programs were all started by men and women whose utilitarian philosophy was much the same as Dr. Cutler’s. Despite this background, Dr. Cutler eventually became “a much beloved professor” in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. He died in 2003. The findings of his research in Guatemala were never published, and his notes gathered dust in university archives until they were unearthed by a historian at Wellesley College,

science is that it never passed peer review and was never published,” one member of the commission later said.4

Wrong & Reprehensible Even by the standards of the time, the Guatemalan project was regarded as unethical. After all, only a few months before,

Nazi death-camp doctors had been condemned to long prison terms, some even to death, for conducting medical experiments without their subjects’ informed consent. Principles later formalized as the Nuremberg code of medical ethics had been published in the

Journal of the American Medical Association in 1947. In April of that year, New York Times science editor Waldemar Kaempffert observed, as if it were universally accepted, that deliberately injecting human subjects with syphilis microbes was “ethically impossible.” Dr. Cutler pushed ahead anyway. “The attitude toward the Guatemalan people was pretty much what you’d expect if they were doing research on rabbits,” said a member of Obama’s commission, bioethicist John Arras, of the University of Virginia. Failure to obtain consent from the research subjects was bad enough, but Dr. Cutler was also deceitful. In a 1947 letter to a colleague, he admitted that he was deceiving the research subjects. “As you can imagine,” he wrote, “we are holding our breaths, and we are explaining to the patients and others concerned with but a few key exceptions, that the treatment is a new one utilizing serum followed by penicillin. This doubletalk keeps me hopping at times.” The higher-ups in the public health bureaucracy were more squeamish, but they did not stop the project. Cutler’s superior confided, “I am a bit, in fact more than a bit, leery of the experiment with the insane people. They cannot give consent, do not know what is going on, and if some goody organization got wind of the work, they would raise a lot of smoke.” When the U.S. Surgeon General, Thomas Parran, was told of the project, he commented, “You know, we couldn’t do such an experiment in this country.” But he did not stop it.

24 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 24

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SOCIETY For Dr. Arras, a single anecdote was enough to show how immoral the research had been. One of Cutler’s subjects was Berta, a psychiatric patient who had been injected with syphilis and not given treatment for three months. On August 23, 1947, Cutler observed that Berta was dying (why is not clear). That same day, he put gonorrhoeal pus from a male subject into both of Berta’s eyes, as well as in her urethra and rectum. He also re-infected her with syphilis. Several days later, Berta’s eyes were filled with pus and she was bleeding from her urethra. She died on August 27. Bioethics today tends to be more concerned with protocols than with harshly judgmental words like “right” and “wrong.” But President Obama’s bioethics commission did not hesitate to describe the Guatemalan experiments as “reprehensible” and “morally wrong.”

Lessons & Follow-Up What lessons from this shameful episode can be applied to contemporary medical research? One, says the commission with great common sense, is “never to take ethics for granted, let alone confuse ethical principles with burdensome obstacles to be overcome or evaded.” Another is that “the quest for scientific knowledge without regard to relevant ethical standards can blind researchers to the humanity of the people they enlist into research.” The commission is following up its historical investigation with a report to President Obama on how well human research subjects are protected nowadays. With the proliferation of clinical trials by drug companies in countries like Russia, India, and China, there is certainly a need to ensure that people’s health does not suffer because of lax oversight or dangerous experiments. A National Institutes of Health database

currently lists 113,717 trials being conducted in 176 countries. Some of them are bound to be deadly.5

Pragmatic Inhumanity However, now that this dark chapter in medical history has been exposed, shouldn’t it provoke broader questions about ethical standards in reproductive health research, the field in which Dr. Cutler worked throughout his career? Abortion, assisted reproduction, and population control programs were all started by men and women whose utilitarian philosophy was much the same as Dr. Cutler’s. In fact, in vitro fertilization (IVF), a burgeoning field of reproductive medicine, was developed without the standard clinical trials we take for granted today. One of the most popular techniques, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, was never tested on animals. Now it appears that it is associated with a small percentage of birth defects. The commission did not follow this up. That is a pity, because Dr. Cutler almost certainly brought with him the pragmatic inhumanity that had corrupted his work in Guatemala and elsewhere. After leaving the Public Health Service in 1967, Cutler helped establish a public health program at the University of Pittsburgh. His wife, Eliese, served on the board of Planned Parenthood, and “he worked tirelessly to find better ways to provide affordable reproductive health-care services to women who need them,”

according to his obituary.6 The university named a lecture series after him (but dropped it after his scandalous research became public). One of the lectures, “John Cutler’s Quiet Legacy” lauded him for making “sexual health . . . a vibrant field at University of Pittsburgh” and for “embracing new public health challenges, no matter how controversial.” “John Cutler is smiling!!” was the message on the final PowerPoint slide. Smiling about what, exactly? Endnotes 1. The report can be found at www. bioethics.gov/cms/node/306. 2. See www.cdc.gov/tuskegee/timeline. htm. 3. A synopsis of her report can be downloaded from www.wellesley.edu/ WomenSt/Synopsis Reverby ‘Normal Exposure’.pdf. 4. See http://blog.bioethics. gov/2011/08/29/questions-and-answers-on-guatemala-research. 5. A January 2011 article for Vanity Fair by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele describes some of these trials. It can be found at www.vanityfair.com/ politics/features/2011/01/deadly-medicine-201101. 6. The obituary can be found at www.post-gazette.com/ obituaries/20030212cutler0212p3.asp.

Winter 2011 SALVO 25

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 25

11/18/11 3:32 PM


COLUMN p

/ / R & R _ wi th M arc i a S e g el s tein /

Anchored Man An Interview with Brit Hume

B

rit Hume has spent 35 years as a journalist, covering Washington politics first for ABC News, and now for the Fox News Channel. During his ten years as anchor for Special Report, it became the highest-rated political program on cable television. In 2008, after deciding to step down from the anchor chair, he became a senior political analyst for the cable news channel, offering frequent commentary on various Fox News shows.

During his interview with Salvo, Hume spoke as he does on the air, with calmness and confidence. He talked about being a Christian in the secular worlds of Washington and journalism, how personal tragedy brought him to faith, his “Tiger Woods moment,” and what he thinks are the two most controversial words in America today. You have spoken publicly about being a conservative. One newspaper article about you described you as having changed over time

from a “garden variety liberal to a committed conservative.” Is that accurate? And if so, what brought about the change? Well, it just came from years of covering Washington and watching what unfolds here, and watching what seemed to work and what didn’t. It also came from the experience of being a parent and sensing what worked and what didn’t in terms of what causes people to do the right thing versus the wrong thing. And over time I became a conservative. At that time were you at ABC News? I was. And was that difficult? Did you feel you had to hide it?

No. Look, I was a reporter. I wasn’t in the opinion business. And I was a reporter a long time before I was a conservative, and I was a reporter first. So if anybody asked me, I would tell them what I thought. It led me to realize there was a different way of looking at a lot of stories that was journalistically as legitimate as any other, or at least as legitimate as the conventional story line. I would often make the argument for what I thought was a better way of looking at stories. And if I was right, I found that my colleagues were willing to acknowledge that. But it was fine. I didn’t suffer any persecution as a result of it. In 2008, when you announced your retirement from the anchor position, you said you wanted to spend more time on the three Gs: God, granddaughters, and golf. You’re still frequently on the air. How is semi-retirement going? It’s been wonderful so far. I still work enough to keep myself busy, but I’m usually only a couple of days a week in the office, so that gives me plenty of time to pursue the three Gs. And what specifically did you mean when you said you wanted to spend more time pursuing God? I spent my life over the past 12 or 13 years trying to face up to the fact that I’d really neglected my faith for decades. When my son died in 1998, it was a crisis, and I was pretty devastated. I felt oddly close to God at the time and enormously supported by a lot of people, and feel tremendous gratitude to him for that. I’m spending the rest of my days trying not to be just a part-time Christian. Last year, I read the Bible cover to cover; I go to church; I’m involved with some Bible studies. I also do some work for a youth home here in Virginia, a faith-based charity,

26 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 26

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SOCIETY and I give my lecture earnings to that home. When you went on the air and suggested that Christianity would offer Tiger Woods [who was in the midst of his cheating scandal] forgiveness and the possibility of recovery, did you take a lot of heat for that? Oh, yeah. From everybody! I got a lot of heat, and I also got a lot of support. What about the heat? The thing went viral; it was all over the place almost immediately. It just struck a chord with people. And it occasioned a lot of comment, some of it favorable, but much of it not. I expected that there’d be a lot of negative comments about it, because the two most controversial words in the English language—in contemporary America anyway—are Jesus Christ. You say the name of Jesus Christ outside of church and all hell literally breaks loose! So that’s what happened, and

No, not at all. Did you get heat from Fox? No, none whatever. In fact, one friend of our boss, Roger Ailes, wrote an email recommending that I basically be shut down on the issue, and the response he got back was scathing. I remember thinking, “Oh, I’m glad I didn’t write that memo!”

I had such an outpouring of support for me from places and people I couldn’t possibly have imagined, in quantities I’d never dreamed of, that I attributed it to God. It seemed like a miracle to me. I wasn’t about to back away from it. I believed then and believe now that if Woods had turned to Christ, it would have been a wonderful thing for him. I think he’s a persistent guy who knows how to commit himself to a cause or to an idea. So that he could have been, and perhaps still could be, a good example. So I assume you don’t regret saying it.

You’re one of the few media people I can think of who’s open about being a Christian. Well, there are a lot of them around, a lot more than you might think. Fred Barnes is very open about his faith. There are some people who work here at Fox. Molly Henneberg is one who’s quite open about her faith. Shannon Bream is another one.

Look, we cover politics in Washington, and we’re not presented with opportunities where it’s appropriate to discuss it every day. But when the opportunity does come along and it is appropriate, I mention it. Once your Christianity became public, did you find people coming up to you and talking about their faith? I did. And I was struck by something that people had told me was true but that I’d never had any experience of. When someone who is in the public eye to some extent speaks of their faith, it encourages other Christians to a far greater degree than I could have imagined. Did you find it difficult in terms of your work life to be known as a Christian? No. Do you think it’s just plain difficult to be a Christian in your business? I think it’s difficult to live as a Christian. It’s a challenging life. Journalism requires a constant focus on the things that are of this Winter 2011 SALVO 27

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 27

11/18/11 3:32 PM


COLUMN p world. I think that we are especially steeped in the secular world of the politics and government that we cover. There are a lot of counterfeit gods that insinuate themselves into what you’re focused on. You have to work at it, I think. It’s very challenging.

football player scores a big touchdown and raises his fingers to the heavens as a way of giving thanks to the Almighty, and nobody remarks on it—as if it didn’t happen. Or if it’s in an interview, the questioner quickly hurries on to the next question.

How does the media view Christianity?

Do you think there’s hostility toward Christianity in the media sometimes?

I think many people in the media are a bit embarrassed and made uncomfortable by public protestations of faith. You see this when a

H

osts Brit Hume, Chuck Colson, Dr. Robert George and a distinguished panel undertake a six-part exploration of ethics before a live student audience in Princeton, New Jersey. The panel, students, and interviewed guests examine and discuss these questions over six 30-minute sessions: • How did we get into this mess? • Is there truth, a moral law we can all know? • If we know what is right, can we do it? • What does it mean to be human? • Ethics in the marketplace • Ethics in public life

http://www.colsoncenter.org/ethics

In some quarters there is. But I don’t sense that there’s so much of that as there is a feeling that it’s kind of an odd thing to talk about. People respect religion in this country, at least on paper. There certainly are people who believe faith is fantasy, that it’s like believing in the tooth fairy. But by and large, if you stand up for your faith, people won’t publicly challenge you on that. You referred to the death of your son as being a turning point for you in terms of faith. Where were you before that happened? I grew up in the Episcopal Church; I went nine years to an Episcopal day school here in Washington, St. Albans, but I drifted away from the church and faith for years. If someone had asked me if I was a Christian, I would have said yes. But I was what you’d call a nominal Christian, not an active, participating, enthusiastic Christian. I was just somebody who’d say he was Christian if somebody asked. Tragedies can turn people away from God or toward God. Why, in your case, do you think it turned you toward God? Well, I just realized when it happened I wasn’t angry at God. I had had a good relationship with my son, so when he committed suicide [at the age of 28], I didn’t have this terrible sense of guilt about my relationship with him. I didn’t think I had caused it by anything

I did or failed to do. So that was a good thing. And I thought it was a terrible thing that had been visited on me and all his other loved ones and on himself, of course. But I felt God was in it. That God was there. And that God was there to be called on and would support me somehow. I had this funny feeling, this idea that the phone would ring and the voice on the other end would say, “Brit, this is God.” I had such an outpouring of support for me from places and people I couldn’t possibly have imagined, in quantities I’d never dreamed of, that I attributed it to God. It seemed like a miracle to me. At the time this happened, you have to understand that Fox News was new on the air. We’d only been on the air a little more than a year. And the audience we had every day numbered around 20,000 or so. It was a tiny audience by contemporary standards. Neither I nor my son was that well known. There were newspaper stories around the country about his death. But somehow in the aftermath of that terrible thing I’d gotten some printed cards to thank people for their expressions of sympathy. Well, we had to keep re-ordering them. In a matter of weeks after that, my secretary sent out 973 of those. I would come home at night and the mailbox would just be stuffed. And I don’t even know how people got my address. And I read every one of them; I wept over some of them; I felt tremendously supported and loved. And I thought, this is the hand of God. I was going to ask if the fact that you were a public person made it more difficult, but it sounds like it didn’t. No, it didn’t. If anything, it made it easier. But, you know, I was open to it. It just gave me an inestimable lift when people would come up and say a kind word. I so appreciated it.

28 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 28

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SOCIETY SEX SCIENCE AMMO 30

SHRAPNEL 31

“Certainly we should be concerned that the marketing and entertainment industries are influencing children to think about sex when they ought to be thinking about dolls and trains. But shouldn’t we be even more concerned that they are subtly influencing children to think about sex in the wrong way?”

32

38

40 Winter 2011 SALVO 29

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 29

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SEX o

“I Don’t” A

AMMO

ccording to revised Census Bureau numbers, there are currently fewer than 650,000 same-sex-couple households in the U.S., not 902,000, as originally reported in August. Perhaps even more surprising is the small number of same-sex “married” households. Despite the fact that same-sex “marriage” is legal in six jurisdictions, including Massachusetts, where it’s been available since 2004, there are a grand total of 131,729 households headed by “married” same-sex couples in the country. That works out to twotenths of one percent of married households. • (Sources: www.breakpoint.org/ bpcommentaries/entry/13/17957; www.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/us/ census-bureau-reduces-estimateof-same-sex-couple-households. html)

Contra­ ception Infection A

ccording to a study in the British medical journal The Lancet, the most popular contraceptive for women in eastern and southern Africa doubles their risk of HIV infection. And in women who are already HIV-positive, the injectable hormone, given once every three months, appears to double the risk that their male partners will become infected. The New York Times reports that “the evidence suggest[s] that the injectable contraceptive has biological properties that may make women and men more vulnerable to HIV infection.” But National Review suggests that, “to those who have not been blinded by the leftist global health consensus, another explanation seems quite possible: the aggressive promotion of contraception may increase the rates of sex, both protected and unprotected (especially with multiple partners, the main cause of the HIV pandemic).” • (Sources: www.nytimes. com/2011/10/04/health/04hiv. html?pagewanted=all; www.nationalreview.com/corner/279166/ contraceptive-increases-hiv-riskafrican-study-patrick-brennan)

Ad Protection B

ritain’s Advertising Standards Authority issued a statement to the ad industry, saying that “protection of children from inappropriate or harmful material sits at the heart of our work and the Advertising Codes.” Specifically, the ASA will more carefully monitor sexual images on outdoor advertising, such as billboards. It’s being done in response to complaints from the public, and to a government report on the commercialization and sexualization of children in the U.K. It’s a small step, but at least it’s in the right direction. • (Source: www.mercatornet.com/family_edge/view/9805)

30 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 30

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SEX o

Toys for Tots K

(Source: www.lifesitenews.com/ news/sex-box-for-swiss-kindergarteners-has-genitalia-toys-willteach-sexuality-i)

GenderMandering W

lmhurst College, located outside of Chicago, has become the first college in the U.S. to ask potential students directly about their sexual orientation. The question—“Would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community?”—is optional, but answering “yes” might qualify a student for a scholarship worth up to onethird of tuition. The school’s dean of admissions explains the move: “Increasing diversity is part of our mission statement. This is simply closing the loop, in many ways, of another group who has a very strong identity. It may not be race or religion but it’s an important part of who they are.” • (Source: http://slatest.slate.com/ posts/2011/08/25/elmhurst_college_lgbt_school_becomes_first_ to_ask_directly_about.html)

Summer Reading A

New Jersey school district included on its required summer reading list two books that contain graphic descriptions of gay sex. Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines describes a homosexual orgy, and Norwegian Wood contains a story of lesbian sex between a 13-year-old girl and a 31-yearold woman. After complaints from parents, the books were removed from the list, but only days before fall classes were scheduled to start. •

hen he was 7 years old, Thomas Lobel was diagnosed with gender identity disorder. At age 8, with the support of his lesbian parents, who adopted him when he was 2 and live near San Francisco, Thomas began “transitioning” to becoming Tammy. Now, at age 11, doctors have put an implant in his arm which blocks the release of hormones in order to postpone puberty. The idea, according to his parents, is that at age 14 or 15 he can choose whether to go through male or female puberty. Naturally, they don’t want to rush into decisions about surgery. •

In Vogue E

(Source: www.dailymail.co.uk/ news/article-2043345/The-California-boy-11-undergoing-hormoneblocking-treatment.html)

(Source: www.lifesitenews.com/news/10-year-old-girl-poses-seductivelyfor-french-vogue)

SHRAPNEL

indergarten children in Basel, Switzerland have a new set of toys to play with this year: a “sex box” full of fabric models of human genitalia. The idea is for teachers to use the kit during sex-education classes which are intended to encourage children “to develop and experience their sexuality in a pleasurable way.” According to a local Swiss newspaper, the curriculum “recommends having children massage each other or rub themselves with warm sand bags, accompanied by soft music.” Requests by parents to exempt their children have been denied. •

Gay Grant E

(Source: www.onenewsnow.com/Education/Default. aspx?id=1419470)

arlier this year, French Vogue featured a 15-page spread showing a model wearing heavy makeup, a neckline cut to her waist, and spiked heels while reclining on a leopard-print bed. Sounds par for the course, except that in this case the model was ten years old. •

Winter 2011 SALVO 31

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 31

11/18/11 3:32 PM


FEATURE q

Sex & the Kiddies The Sexualization of Children & How Advertising & Entertainment Change Their Brains by Robin Phillips

E

arlier this year, the BBC documentary series Panorama ran a program titled “Too Much Too Young.” The program explored the way Britain’s children, particularly her girls, are being prematurely sexualized.

Although the program tended to downplay the seriousness of the issue, there has been a string of reports in UK newspapers this year highlighting the urgency of the matter. Music videos, displays in High Street shops, lap-dancing kits, padded bras for grade-school girls, pencil cases with the Playboy logo, and features in teen magazines are merely some of the tools being used to sexualize Britain’s youth at alarmingly young ages. There have even been reports about a pajama set aimed at ten-year-olds with “Porn Star” written on it. But it is not just parents who have been concerned.

The UK government has weighed in, introducing five initiatives in three years aimed at responding to the issue. The latest plan, according to a BBC news report, is “to explore whether rules should prevent the marketing of items such as ‘Porn star’ T-shirts or padded bras. . . . A code of conduct on ‘age appropriate’ marketing and a new watchdog are among plans being considered by the review.”1 Prime Minister David Cameron, himself

32 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 32

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SEX children to think about sex in the wrong way? We need to ask not just whether children are being sexualized too early, but how they are being sexualized. Indeed, it is not just a matter of the ideas being presented too soon—the ideas themselves are wrong. The stimuli children are bombarded with orient them towards an illusory understanding of their sexuality. Embedded in the products now available to children—especially children’s TV and music videos—is a false narrative As children are bombarded with more about what it means to be a man or a woman. and more sexual stimuli, they cease to see The narrative is one in certain things as sexual in nature, with the which sex is disengaged from consequence that normal sexual barriers the secure relationship of a man and woman in marriage. disappear. Chloe encountered this It is a narrative in which sex is situation when she was eleven. emptied of any emotional, let alone ethical, underpinning, thus reducing it to something purely animalistic. It is also a narrative that associates the “good life” (which is now also a “sexy” life) with what is fashionable, cool, and up to date. Of course, manufacturers have an economic incentive for perpetuating this last illusion, since whatever is fashionable, cool, and up to date can be manipulated to correlate with their new products. The marketing of the good life beguiles many consumers, bypassing their critical faculties and penetrating directly to the level of the subconscious. a father of three, made this issue a personal concern after discovering that beds with a “Lolita” theme were being marketed toward six-year-olds2 (Lolita is a novel about a girl and a pedophile).

False Sexuality So far, the debate over the sexualization of children has centered on quantitative questions. Are our young people being exposed to too much sex at too young an age? This is certainly a relevant question—as is the related one of who profits from the sexualization of 13- or 14-year-olds. Few would doubt that the beneficiaries include the growing network of pedophiles in Britain. But there is also a crucial qualitative dimension to the problem that is being ignored. Certainly we should be concerned that the marketing and entertainment industries are influencing children to think about sex when they ought to be thinking about dolls and trains. But shouldn’t we be even more concerned that they are subtly influencing

The Normalization of Sex Another subversive feature of the sexualized environment in which children are growing up is desensitization. When sex is used to sell everything from shoes to vegetables, children become so used to it that they cease to recognize the difference between genuinely sexual and non-sexual things. Take, for example, 13-year-old Chloe, featured in the Panorama episode. Her dream is to travel all over world as a dancer. In the program, she is seen in skimpy dress, imitating the erotic dancers she has viewed on television. When reporter Sophie Raworth asks Chloe if she was trying to be sexual, the girl avows that there was nothing sexual in her mind while she was dancing. Moreover, she asserts that, as long as she keeps her clothes on, there is nothing inappropriate about her moves. Of course, the self-evaluation of a 13-year-old girl is not objective. But it is clear that Chloe failed to recognize the overt eroticism of her behavior—and this despite the fact that, when she was eleven, a stranger who had seen some of the dance moves she posted online contacted her to tell her how sexy she was. At that time, Chloe panicked and immediately removed all the videos. As children are bombarded with more and more sexual stimuli, they cease to see certain things as sexual in nature, with the consequence that normal sexual barriers disappear. Winter 2011 SALVO 33

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 33

11/18/11 3:32 PM


FEATURE q Chloe encountered this situation when she was eleven. The question remains: How have young people like Chloe managed to convince themselves that all but the most explicit displays (in Chloe’s case, taking her clothes off) are non-sexual and benign? Do the products and media that young girls have such easily access to have anything to do with this desensitization?

The Naked Beach In his book The Sexual Revolution, Wilhelm Reich (1897– 1957), an early pioneer of the sex-education movement, described the means for achieving a society that would not put any obstacles in the path of sexual gratification.

There is much harm done by the ­advertising and entertainment industries that literally train children’s minds to think of sex in trivial, reductionist, and mechanistic ways. For all his moral anarchism, Reich was perceptive. He realized that in order to arrive at the sexual utopia he advocated, people would first have to learn to dispense with their natural shyness and embarrassment concerning sexual matters. They would have to lose their reluctance to expose erotically important parts of their bodies. Reich attempted to facilitate this by conducting psychotherapy sessions in which he would require his clients to, well, remove all their clothes.

Reich would be pleased to see a European beach today, which is often more in keeping with his ideal than what is found in brothels. In a brothel, the women have had to overcome the natural shyness surrounding erotically important parts of their bodies in order to sell sex. On a sunny European beach, women in various states of undress can be seen to have overcome this natural shyness—with no thought of sex at all. By refusing to acknowledge the erotic implications of revealing attire or nudity, they have so nearly achieved Reich’s goal of overcoming shyness that, for them, sex is flattened of its inherent potency. “Profane” may be the best word to describe Reich’s ideal and its realization, given that the term originally meant “to treat as common,” or as just the latest fashion. The sexualization of the young can be viewed in this same framework. When lowcut blouses are marketed to 13-year-olds, when children’s music videos are saturated with sexual imagery, and when sex is constantly used to sell all kinds of products to young teens, one can expect many girls to become hyper-sexualized. However, such saturation can equally have a desensitizing effect, since it subtly encourages youth to treat their sexuality as something trivial, benign, and commonplace. Either way, it primes girls for perverts like Reich: hyper-sexualized girls will want to

Examples in Advertising

PERFUME

34 SALVO Issue 19

FeaturePhillips_SV19.indd 34

11/18/11 4:39 PM


SEX have sex, and desensitized girls will be less likely to guard and protect what they have been conditioned to treat as nothing special.

FASHION

Changing Children’s Brains? The latest findings in neuroscience should also heighten our concerns, though these findings have yet to be factored into the British government’s investigation of the issue. Recent discoveries have shown that the human brain is in a constant state of flux, a characteristic that brain scientists call neuro­ plasticity. Put simply, the human brain is remarkably adaptable, constantly adjusting itself to the demands of the environment in which it finds itself. This neurological fluidity is a good thing because, among other things, it enables people to learn new skills, makes it possible for stroke victims to recover some motor functions, and helps blind people compensate for the loss of sight by strengthening parts of the brain associated with the other senses. But neuroplasticity also has a downside. In his 2007 book The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge shows that certain types of sexual stimuli have the power to reshape how the brain thinks about both sex in general and people of the opposite sex in particular. Because our brains are so adaptable, the dominant assumptions that a collective culture has about sex can exercise a formative influence on the brains of those growing up within that culture, training them to think about sex in a certain way. We see this in the way people in different cultures have adhered to different, and sometimes opposing, paradigms regarding such things as female beauty and pleasing smells. In her book, Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray, Helen Fisher notes that, during Elizabethan times, it was the custom for a woman to keep a peeled apple under her arm long enough for it to absorb her scent. If the woman had to go away, she would offer the “love apple” as a gift to her boyfriend for him to sniff during her absence. In societies where distinctive body odors were normative (as they were before deodorant was invented), the brain adjusted itself to the smell. Similarly, Norman Doidge tells how members of the Masai tribe in East Africa use cow urine as a pleasing lotion for their hair. “Many tastes we think ‘natural,’” remarks

Doidge, “are acquired through learning and become ‘second nature’ to us. We are unable to distinguish our ‘second nature’ from our ‘original nature’ because our neuroplastic brains, once rewired, develop a new nature, every bit as biological as our original.” Our society has dispensed with love-apples, but we are not immune to other fetishes. For example, a society that thinks high-heeled shoes on a woman are sexy but body hair is not, has already undergone considerable neuroplastic changes. Many such biases are relatively harmless. But there is much harm done by the advertising and entertainment industries that literally train children’s minds to think of sex in trivial, reductionist, and mechanistic ways. Unfortunately, this point was ignored in the recent debate over the sexualization of children. Yet consider: just as the proliferation of body odor or cow urine in a culture can cause people’s brains to associate those smells with something pleasing, so the proliferation of certain attitudes about sex, through Winter 2011 SALVO 35

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 35

11/18/11 3:32 PM


FEATURE q the marketing of products our youth have access to, can cause children’s brains to associate these paradigms with the good life, especially when they are saturated with such things from an early age (during which time the plasticity of the brain is most acute).

Government Duplicity Nowhere do we see these types of brain changes outworked more clearly than in the sex-education curricula used in schools—curricula that have avowedly been designed to change the way children think about sex. When a sex-ed curriculum was first introduced into primary schools in Britain, the teachers experienced discomfort when talking about the subject. That was hardly surprising, since many of the textbooks contained highly inappropriate graphical representations. In time, however, these same teachers started to say that talking about sex organs was no different than talking about elbows. Sex became trivialized and commonplace, rather than something set apart from the ordinary for important use. Teachers as well as students became effectively desensitized. Wilhelm Reich would have been delighted by the pictures in contemporary sex-education manuals. In his book Lessons in Depravity, E. S. Williams commented that “Reich made the point that nakedness and exposure of the sexual organs was a crucial element of sex education’s attack on

MAGAZINES

conventional morality. He believed that society could only become ‘sex-affirming’ when people lost the shyness to expose their genitals.” This goal has been realized in the contemporary sex-education project, and it is also becoming a reality through the vast array of products targeted at children. The result is that our brains are being changed to think of sexuality in completely disenchanted terms. In earlier generations, when this area of life was considered “holy ground,” the veil of shyness that properly attended sexual things preserved the sense that our sexuality, though on one level purely functional, is also a matter of great significance, calling for reverence, respect, and privacy. In treating sexuality as common, we neutralize its potency, turning it into something tame, benign, and trivial. But in doing that, we put children at risk. When Camille Paglia argued that if rape is a devastating psychological experience for a woman, then that woman doesn’t have a proper attitude about sex (because rape is just like getting beaten up, and “men get beat up all the time”),3 she was merely following the path of desensitization to its final destination. This is the path the British government has set its country on. For all David Cameron’s lip service against the sexualization of children, both his Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats have openly supported the sex-education program in Britain’s schools. Since this program is one of the primary conduits for the early sexualization of youth, Cameron’s declaration that he stands with concerned parents seems more than a little disingenuous. If the Prime Minister is really serious about helping Britain’s youth, perhaps he needs to look beyond the issue of children being exposed to too much too soon and instead take a long, hard look at what they are being exposed to. The sexual narrative they are being taught is a lie that is objectionable in itself, for anyone of any age. In Britain and elsewhere, it is time that public discourse began addressing that narrative, instead of merely complaining about the symptoms. Endnotes 1. www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11923107. 2. www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/dec/06/davidcameron-review-sexualised-products-children. 3. Camille Paglia, Sex, Art, and American Culture: Essays (Vintage, 1992).

36 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 36

11/18/11 3:32 PM


The Center for Normalizing Any & All Sexual Preferences

Carolyn

Mike

prefers men

prefers men

Candace

prefers women

and you?

Daniel

prefers large dogs

Aimee

prefers 8th graders

www.CNASP_redraw.com

That’s where we come in.

CNASP is dedicated to to redrawing the lines of sexual acceptance, both socially and legally. “If it happens, it’s natural. If it’s natural, it’s OK.”

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 37

11/18/11 3:32 PM


COLUMN p

/ / U n d e r c o v e r _ w i t h Te r r e l l C l e m m o n s /

Reckless Entanglement The Dead-End Nature of “Friends with Benefits” “

T

wo people should be able to have sex like they’re playing tennis,” Dylan blurts out. “Yeah!” says Jamie. “Yeah!” echoes Dylan, his volume rising.

Thus begins the relationship escapade at the center of the 2011 film, Friends with Benefits. Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis) have been hanging out together since Dylan moved to town, and on this lazy afternoon, they are watching a cheesy romantic movie. Jamie really wants the fairy tale ending—the one where her Prince Charming pursues her, sweeps her off her feet, and they live happily ever after. But she doesn’t tell Dylan that. What she says instead is, “God, I miss sex! . . . I mean, sometimes you just need it.” Like a visit to the chiropractor. “It’s like . . . uh, it’s like cracking your neck.” Dylan is all over that, except that he compares it to tennis. “You shake hands, you get on with your sh—.” “Yeah!” they both agree. And stare at each other for an expectant moment. Then, after swearing not to make any demands on one another whatsoever (“No relationship, no emotions, just sex,” Jamie insists), the young twenty-

somethings, who had heretofore been breezily passing some free time together, decide to take their friendship to the next level. The “benefit” level. Five minutes later, they are in J­ amie’s bedroom. The same plot played out earlier this year in No Strings A ­ ttached, when Emma (Natalie Portman) proposed to Adam (Ashton Kutcher) that they “use each other for sex, at all hours of the day and night. Nothing else.” No relationship allowed. “If we were in a relationship, I’d become a weird, scary version of myself, and my throat starts constricting, the walls start throbbing, it’s like a peanut allergy. It’s like an emotional peanut allergy,” Emma says.

Voluntary Sex Trade To avoid the emotional allergic reactions of relationships, just have sex like tennis and shake hands when you’re done. Brilliant, right? Of course not. Even before the deals get “sealed,” you can see the awkwardness with which the participants negotiate the

­ rrangement, as if they must suma mon the willpower necessary to overcome some primal reluctance to it. Even more telling, you can see in the main characters of both films a personal aversion to other people engaging in similarly cavalier sex. Jamie’s mother, for example, has flitted from man to man all her adult life, sometimes playing “Who’s Your Daddy?” games with Jamie. Jamie takes it in stride, but clearly does not find “Who’s Your Daddy?” amusing. And Adam doesn’t look with favor on his father when the latter takes up with Adam’s ditzy, glitzy ex-girlfriend. Nevertheless, despite misgivings, Dylan and Jamie, and Adam and Emma, disengage their hearts, minds, and emotions—their very souls—and resolutely forge ahead into what amount to voluntary sextrade agreements. “Friends with benefits.” It’s the cutting-edge manifestation of what Dale Kuehne calls iSex: relationships of choice, as opposed to relationships of obligation, where individual freedom is the supreme non-negotiable and sex is not valued for its role in procreation or building a marriage, but is pursued for personal pleasure and as a necessary component of a good life. WikiHow.com will help you get started and follow through. According to “How to Start a Friends with Benefits Relationship,” the final step, after making the decision, choosing a partner, and planting the idea in a joking manner (so you can pass it off as “just kidding” if you get rejected), is to add alcohol to make it easier. When inhibitions get in the way, suppress with alcohol? College professor J. Budziszewski notes that this same coping mechanism is at work in the hookup scene: “Many young women drink before meeting new men, just so that, if sexual intercourse follows, they will be able to go through with it.” Clearly, friends-with-benefits

38 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 38

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SEX sex is qualitatively different from cracking your neck or playing tennis. Because something is terribly amiss when people have to overcome inner misgivings, joke deceitfully about their intentions at the outset, and get drunk, just to follow through with an activity.

A Faustian Bargain And something is wickedly insidious about these Hollywood promotions of reckless entanglement as a means to the fairy-tale ending. Predictably, Dylan and Jamie, and Adam and Emma, run headlong into the powerful emotions and overwhelming fears and vulnerabilities they were trying to avoid. Also predictably, but unfortunately, both films, which start out as kinds of anti-romantic comedies, turn out to be (what else?) romantic comedies in which the guy pursues the girl, sweeps her off her feet, and the two live happily ever after. To the extent that the stories work, it’s because the characters get the love they want in the end. But iSex simply doesn’t work out that way. iSex is a Faustian bargain that not only disappoints, but also hinders the attainment of that love for which the soul really longs. Kuehne explains: The problem is not that sex is bad but that it alone cannot deliver the fulfillment for which we yearn. Worse, the pursuit of sex can distract us and even rob us of the intimacy and love for which we yearn. Frankly, until we comprehend the nature of true intimacy and love we will never really understand the proper place of sex in our lives. We humans are, at heart, relational beings. We crave intimacy, connection, and love. The Irish poet William Butler Yates pursued

a woman for nineteen years before bedding her. When the relationship subsequently went sour, he remarked bitterly, “The tragedy of sexual intercourse is the perpetual virginity of the soul.” The sex may have been pleasurable for a moment, but he wanted more than sex. He wanted a relationship of love between two souls. So do the characters in these films, and so do the writers who created them. But they got the means and the ends mixed up.

Relationships for Life Somebody in Hollywood still knows the best way to pursue intimacy, love, and relationship, and the proper place of sex in engendering them, though the message gets out in a back-door kind of way. Consider The Bucket List. Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) and Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) are both terminally ill. An otherwise unlikely pair, the two hospital roommates become friends and set out to check off the items on their combined “Bucket List.” In some ways, the men have the time of their lives: driving racecars, climbing the pyramids, and visiting the Taj Mahal. In other ways, they examine the measure of one another’s lives. Edward has

been married four times. “Problem is, I love being single, too,” he smirks. “Hard to do them both at the same time.” A business tycoon, he can and apparently does get sex anytime he wants. Carter has been married to Virginia for 45 years. “I’ve never been with another woman,” he mentions in passing. “Whoa!” says Edward. “That’s gotta be on the list!” And he hires a drop-dead gorgeous femme fatale to proposition him. But Carter, the faithful husband, gently turns her down. And then he returns home to Virginia, where she and their children and grandchildren gratefully welcome him home. Home is where he belongs. It’s where his people are, and it’s where he wants to be. Meanwhile, Edward disintegrates into tears in his chic, but cold and empty, ­condominium. The contrast could not be starker. Edward Cole has had plenty of iSex, but he is alone, estranged even from the one child his liaisons have produced. Carter’s sex life has been fruitful. There have been obligations, but he has no regrets. The rewards far outweigh the costs. Moreover, the benefits will live on long after he is gone. Winter 2011 SALVO 39

Undercover_SV19.indd 39

11/18/11 4:42 PM


COLUMN p

/ / H az ma t s _ wi th J u di th R ei sman /

Coming Attractions Is Pedophilia the Next Sexual Perversion to Become Normalized?

T

he sexual anarchy campaign has no end in sight. Its latest undertaking is to legitimize pedophilia, as Matt Barber, Associate Dean of the Liberty University School of Law, and I witnessed at a “B4U-ACT” conference in Baltimore, Maryland, on August 17, 2011. This symposium was called “Pedophilia, Minor-Attracted Persons, and the DSM: Issues and Controversies.” The DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders put out by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

To eliminate the “stigma” against pedophiles, a growing pedophile lobby wants the APA to establish pedophilia as a recognized sexual orientation, calling pedophiles “minor-attracted persons.” B4U-ACT met to address, among other things, “ways in which minor attracted persons [pedophiles] can be involved in the DSM 5 revision process.”1 Dean Barber and I sat in the back of the meeting room among roughly 50 “researchers, scholars, mental health practitioners, and minor-attracted persons.”2 In keeping with Alfred Kinsey’s tactic of lulling “straights” into a false sense of security, the dress among the attendees was largely conservative: short hair, jackets, some ties, and few noticeable male ear piercings. The keynote speaker was Fred Berlin, M.D., Ph.D., “founder, ­National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of ­Sexual Trauma; Johns Hopkins ­Sexual Disorders Clinic.” This clinic was founded by John Money to give judges “leeway” in sentencing sex offenders—that is, a place where they could send child molesters other than jail. Money, who died in 2006, was a pedophile advocate who called for an end to all age-of-consent laws. Dr. Berlin was his disciple, and our keynote speaker.

APA Drives Change In 1973, a small APA committee of psychiatrists, cowed by homosexualist public harassment, agreed to rely on Alfred Kinsey’s fraudulent human sexuality data to declare homosexuality normal and to remove it from the DSM. The APA’s decision was duly noted in college textbooks, law journal articles, judicial rulings, and, by 1974, in high-school sex education curricula. Since then, the homosexualist lobby has moved into primary schools and kindergartens, under cover of educating 40 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 40

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SEX for AIDS prevention and against bullying and hate. In redefining homosexuality as a normal orientation, given by nature and not influenced by nurture or experience, revisionists ignored data making connections between homosexual behavior and early sex abuse or other trauma. In 1999, U.S. Department of Justice data disclosed that 64 percent of forcible sodomy victims were boys under age 12, but apparently such abuse is not a factor in boys’ later sexual development. In addition to claiming that anywhere from 10 percent to 37 percent of men were sometimes homosexual, Kinsey also said that children are sexual from birth and so deserve to have sex—with adults or youths. The APA’s path to normalizing pedophilia follows the trajectory of the earlier campaign to normalize homosexuality. If it is normal for very young children to have sex, then the only question that remains is with whom. And if there are people who want to have sex with children for whom having sex is “normal,” then isn’t that natural? Pedophiles’ major propaganda message today is that they are just looking to be accepted when they fulfill the sexual desires of allegedly “gay” youths. B4U-ACT claims to “help mental health professionals learn more about attraction to minors and to consider the effects of stereotyping, stigma, and fear.” While the group claimed to want to teach pedophiles “how to live life fully and stay within the law,” no one at the conference suggested how they might curb their desire for illegal sexual contact with children. Perhaps they assumed that lowering the age of consent would help. Dean Barber asked the group what “age of consent” it would propose, and what role pornography plays as a causative factor in child sex abuse. No one would answer the first question, and all denied any harm from pornogra-

phy, with the cautious exception of Dr. Berlin (who sat next to me during the event). He admitted that occasionally pornography could trigger sexual acting out. He also expressed a personal belief that pre-pubescent children (those under about age 10) cannot consent, and that perhaps even teenagers might be sexually vulnerable. All the speakers characterized

“sex panic.” The attendees did not appreciate my comments, but I was not surprised. The day before the conference, a pedophile posted these comments about me on a site called BoyChat: Judith Reisman [is] with the worst of them . . . [with] dehumanizing hate speech . . . extreme chris-

Conference attendees were eligible to earn six units of continuing education credit, ­courtesy of the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners. A twelve-member board thus credentialed this pedophile academic farce. pedophiles as healthy and normal but unfairly victimized by stigma and mean words. Following repeated assertions that pedophiles never force children but instead are gentle and loving, one researcher did cite a child victim who was raped and sodomized. Well, mistakes happen, I guess. One speaker laughingly compared doing an obscene act on a child to doing the same act on a shoe. No one protested, and some chuckled. One young woman suggested that pedophiles might be helped by engaging in “sex play” using naked pictures of children, incorporating some sadism as part of the “play.” This Ph.D. socialworker candidate proudly noted her objection to any sexual “repression.” Conference attendees were eligible to earn six units of continuing education credit, courtesy of the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners. A twelve-member board thus credentialed this pedophile academic farce.3 Though primarily committed to quietly monitoring this meeting, I did offer a few closing remarks. I noted the arrogance of the group’s conclusion that Americans’ fear for child safety is due to a puritanical

tian [sic], right wing . . . alarmist . . . a harlot. . . . Judith did, in fact, make [Kinsey’s sexual stimulation of infants and toddlers] sound like horrendously violent, child sexual assault . . . horrible, wretched scumbag . . . pathetic, sorry excuse for a human being. . . . The world will become a less wretched place, the second Judith Reisman drops dead . . . (from natural causes, of course, though I’d not complain if she got accidentally ran [sic] over by a semi). . . . With Love, Stevie-D.4 With love? And what was that about stigma and hate speech again? Just because they’re after your children doesn’t mean they’re not nice people. Endnotes 1. www.b4uact.org/science/symp/2011. 2. Ibid. 3. I would encourage people to complain to the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners at http://dhmh.maryland. gov/bswe/boardMember2010. 4. www.boychat.org/messages/ 1265341.htm.

Winter 2011 SALVO 41

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 41

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SYSTEM FAILURE can happen at any time.

Will YOU forget to save?

Don’t worry. We’ve got you backed up. Literally.

With CRYODRIVE you can back up your brain for easy personhood retrieval at any time. Our massive amounts of storage space ensure that your consciousness data will be 99% complete and ready for upload to your new BODI (mechanized embodiment) after your biological systems have failed. For more info visit cryodrivebackup.com today! C-R-Y-O-D-R-I-V-E

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 42

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SOCIETY SEX SCIENCE AMMO 44

SHRAPNEL 45 “When we realize that every biological hardware system requires biological software to operate it, then we have leapt with both feet into a worldview that is compatible with intelligent design but poses grave problems for Darwinism.”

46

49

52

54 Winter 2011 SALVO 43

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 43

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SCIENCE o

AMMO

ReOrientation T

he results of a study that tracked individuals seeking to change their sexual orientation were recently published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy. Conducted by psychologists Stanton Jones of Wheaton College and Mark Yarhouse of Regent University, the seven-year study specifically followed people who sought help through involvement with Christian ministries affiliated with Exodus International. Fifty-three percent were categorized as having a successful outcome; i.e., 23 percent reported a change to heterosexual orientation and functioning, with an additional 30 percent reporting behavioral chastity and no longer identifying themselves as homosexual. This research flies in the face of the American Psychological Association’s stated judgment that sexual orientation cannot be changed by therapy. •

(Source: www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/change_happens_new_ evidence_on_sexual_orientation)

Intelligent Curriculum A

Can Science Be Wrong? A

ccording to the Wall Street Journal, the rate of retractions of scientific studies published in research journals is surging. Data compiled for the newspaper from Thomson Reuters reveal that in 2001, there were 22 retraction notices; in 2006, there were 139, and in 2010, there were 339. There is even a blog called “Retraction Watch.” As the WSJ writes, “The studies spur others to embark on related avenues of research, so if one paper is later found to be tainted, an entire edifice of work comes into doubt.” One notorious case is that of the highly esteemed British medical journal The Lancet, which retracted a study that had connected autism with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. The lead investigator in that study was stripped of his license to practice medicine after British authorities concluded that he had engaged in “serious professional misconduct.” •

s part of its TrueU series, Focus on the Family has put out a two-DVD set called Does God Exist? Intended as a kind of curriculum, it’s aimed at students ages 15 to 22 who are either preparing for or already attending college. Its stated goal is “to help students solidify their Christian faith . . . [and] to stand strong in the university environment” by providing scientific information that supports, among other things, the concept of intelligent design. In ten engaging lectures, Dr. Stephen Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design, covers everything from the digital codes in DNA to the mathematical improbabilities of proteins forming by mere chance. Ultimately, Meyer does present a convincing scientific case for the existence of God. The TrueU series was produced as a resource for youth groups, Sunday-school classes, and homeschoolers. • (Source: www.trueu.org/en/­ AboutUs.aspx)

(Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230362710 4576411850666582080.html)

44 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 44

11/18/11 3:32 PM


SCIENCE o

Cloning for Cures T

(Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405297020338880 4576613001386422180.html)

new study published in the journal of Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists sheds new light on the issue of abortion and mental health. Dr. Priscilla Coleman, of Bowling Green State University, analyzed data from 22 studies on abortion published between 1995 and 2009, which together included research on 877,181 women from six countries. Her metaanalysis revealed that women who have had abortions are 81 percent more likely than those who have not to experience mental health problems, particularly suicidal behaviors and substance abuse. London’s Daily Mail reported that publication of the study in the highly regarded journal “is a signal that the psychiatric establishment is now taking seriously the possibility that abortion is a cause of anxiety, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide.” •

SHRAPNEL

he journal Nature reported on an experiment in which scientists used cloning techniques to create 13 early-stage human embryos of diabetic patients. Each embryo had three sets of chromosomes instead of the normal two, which means they would not have been viable if implanted in a womb. The research is part of a quest to develop patient-specific stem cells to treat diseases. However, in order to become a viable treatment, such embryos would have to be actual clones, without the extra set of chromosomes. The co-author of the study said he “really didn’t don’t know how hard it’s going to be” to eliminate the extra set. •

Abortion Hurts A

(Source: http://afterabortion. org/2011/most-studies-show-abortion-linked-to-increased-mentalhealth-problems)

My Brain Made Me Do It W

riting for Slate Magazine, Ron Rosenbaum describes current thinking among some neuroscientists about evil. This “new neuroscience,” as he calls it, reduces evil to a glitch in the wiring of the brain. He quotes Simon Baron-Cohen, a British professor of psychopathology and author of The Science of Evil, whose goal is to replace “the unscientific term ‘evil’ with the scientific term ‘empathy.’” People who do bad things are merely lacking empathy, according to Baron-Cohen. They have “a chip in their neural computer missing.” Another neuroscientist, David Eagleman of Baylor’s College of Medicine, writes in his book Incognito about using MRI scans to, as Rosenbaum puts it, “preemptively identify those who have the potential to commit acts formerly known as evil.” • (Source: www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_­ spectator/2011/09/does_evil_exist_neuroscientists_say_no_.html)

Winter 2011 SALVO 45

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 45

11/18/11 3:33 PM


FEATURE q

Biological Software Darwin Can’t Connect Your iPod to a Printer by Richard W. Stevens

I

n the burgeoning world of hi-tech handheld gadgets, nothing comes close to Apple’s iPod Touch. Like some of its competitor products, the iPod1 plays music and video files, takes photographs, stores all kinds of personal scheduling and calendar information, and connects to the internet via wireless remote.

But you cannot print files directly from an iPod. You can send and receive email with it, and store data on it, but you cannot hook it up to a printer and print the data out. Why not?, you may ask. After all, the current model iPods have USB connectors, which physically can connect to printer cables. So why can’t you just plug in a printer and go? Well, you can try it, but nothing will happen. And the reason for this, once explained, not only becomes obvious, but also can lead to a fundamental worldview shift.

Download the Right App Let’s start with what we already know. When you get an iPod, a Blackberry, or other similar computer device, you see that it comes preloaded with a set of features and func-

tions. Among these, you’ll often find various games. The game of chess, however, typically does not come installed. If you want to play chess on your device, you need to download an “app.” “App” is short for “application,” which in turn is short for “application program.” An app is a computer program, which is a set of symbolic instructions arranged and ordered to get a device to perform a task. A collection of such instructions is called software. The electronics—the physical equipment within the iPod or other device—is called the hardware. The hardware can do almost nothing without software. When you turn on an iPod, it takes a moment to boot up. During

46 SALVO Issue19

SciFeature_Stevens_SV19.indd 46

11/18/11 3:56 PM


SCIENCE that delay, the device is loading the operating system, that is, the software that directs the iPod hardware to do various things. When you start a function or run an app, you are starting other software that directs the iPod to carry out all of the tasks involved in the function you’ve chosen. For most iPod, iPhone, Blackberry, and Wii users, these facts are not surprising. To do anything with computer hardware, you need an app, that is, you need software. The equipment doesn’t just run by itself. So, again, why can’t you simply connect a printer to your iPod and print? After all, you have the hardware: the iPod device, the printer, the cable. And the iPod already has some software: the operating system, other apps, etc. What’s missing? The iPod cannot send documents to the printer and have it print them because there is no app for that function. Computer people know the special term, “driver software”— the software program that enables computer devices to work with printers, scanners, monitors, gaming joysticks, and more. You can’t connect to and use new hardware without also having the software—the app, the driver, etc.—that knows how to instruct the new hardware in what to do.

Animal Hardware Needs Apps, Too Worldview issues arise as these concepts are applied to biology. Think of any mammal, bird, insect, or reptile. We think of such animals first in relation to their physical characteristics—their skin, legs, feet, heads, eyes, skeletons, muscles, circulatory systems, nerves, joints, and so on. Animals’ physical

features, including their internal organs, are their biological hardware. Just as iPods and other computer devices have a collection of components that can perform functions, so do the animals. Here’s the link from the iPod to animal biology: Merely possessing a hardware item does not mean the device can use it. In the case of the iPod, just having a USB port, a cable, and a printer does not mean the iPod can get things printed. Without the appropriate app—without the software—the iPod cannot use the new printer hardware.

You cannot operate biological ­hardware without the corresponding biological software. An animal species that “evolves” a ­physical set of legs cannot use them ­without having also “evolved” the software to operate those legs. The same is true for living organisms. Just because an animal has legs does not mean it can use them. A braindamaged animal, for example, can have two, four, or even six legs and still not be able to walk. Without the proper know-how, an animal cannot use its legs. Legs don’t run by themselves. That know-how is a form of programmed intelligence.2 Using a leg requires lots of it. Somewhere in the animal must be a set of instructions that direct the leg to lift, extend, stop, apply pressure, reverse course, stop, reverse pressure, and lift again—all in coordination with the other legs that are doing the same thing—and then to repeat that sequence over and over again. Quickly. Precisely. Tirelessly. To walk requires a set of instructions. In The Advent of the Algorithm, David Berlinski observes that “locomotion” occurs by the operation of “powerful computational routines.” Jumping, running, skipping, and crawling all require different sets of instructions. Therefore, to operate a biological hardware component, such as a leg, requires a set of instructions. Evolutionary scientist Ernst Mayr referred to the instruction sets for biological hardware as “somatic programs.” We can call them biological software.

The Crucial Algo-whatzit?

USB connector fits the port. That connection allows the electrical signals to move between two devices. The physical connection has nothing to do with whether the software exists to send meaningful signals to direct the connected device’s operations.

The concept of worldview enters a discussion when our understanding of something depends upon how we view the big picture. When we realize that every biological hardware system requires biological software to operate it, then we have leapt with both feet into a worldview that is compatible with intelligent design but poses grave problems for Darwinism. Here’s why. Winter 2011 SALVO 47

SciFeature_Stevens_SV19.indd 47

11/18/11 3:58 PM


FEATURE: Science q Mathematicians and computer scientists have established that, if we can describe a process as a tightly defined series of steps, then we can program a simple hypothetical computer to carry out those steps. Such a series of steps is called an algorithm. The hypothetical computer is called the Turing Machine, named after its inventor. Software, such as computer programs and apps, carries out algorithms. All computer hardware systems follow the path of the Turing Machine. As David Berlinski has explained, we know of no other way to perform a finite step-by-step process than by following an algorithm.3 That means, for the Turing Machine, that it must get the first instruction from the set, decode it, execute it, then get the next instruction and do the same, and so on through the whole set. It can be no different for animals using their legs (or any other hardware feature). There must be biological software to operate those legs. There is no other conceivable way for hardware to operate than to have some source of information directing it to carry out its functions. And that means there must be software, a series of stored instructions that are fetched, decoded, and executed, one after another.

Evolution Deals Only with Hardware Now, visit a natural history museum or open a book about evolution. Nearly all you’ll see are diagrams and discussions of physical features: feet, beaks, wings, tails, toes, hair, skin, etc. The fossil record shows nothing other than the markings left by certain anatomical parts of ancient creatures. In other words, you will see or read about animal hardware. You’ll see little or nothing in discussions of evolution that describes how the biological software came to exist. Yet you cannot operate biological hardware without the corresponding biological software.4 An animal species that “evolves” a physical set of legs cannot use them without having also “evolved” the software to operate those legs. Believe it or not, a printer is much simpler than a leg, yet an iPod cannot operate a printer without the appropriate software. The algorithm needed to operate a printer exists in software, i.e., in an app. There must, therefore, be an algorithm to operate a leg, or the animal cannot use the leg. It gets worse for the evolutionary view. Natural selection is supposedly the creative process of evolution. An organism with a trait that confers a survival or reproduction benefit will out-compete other individuals not having the feature. But any new physical hardware feature will be worthless to an animal—and to its species—if it lacks the software to use it. In fact, the new hardware could be a detriment: A leg, without leg software, will be just a big, fat waste of space, if not an outright burden to the animal.

Half the Story Isn’t Fact You can’t print from an iPod by connecting it to a printer

unless you also have the software app to do it. The same is true for every animal with physical features such as legs, jaws, eyes, thumbs, wings, etc. If the animal lacks the proper biological software, then the animal cannot use the physical feature. If the animal cannot use the hardware, then the hardware will not confer a survival advantage. In that case, natural selection will tend to discontinue that animal’s line, along with its hardware. Neo-Darwinism has difficulty explaining how the biological software was installed for each new feature that appeared on the evolutionary scene. Software typically requires many lines of code (coded instructions) to be present and functional—all at once—or it doesn’t work. Could mere undirected mutations produce so much complexity in one fell swoop? No—the probability is extremely low, too low to be plausible under natural conditions. Moreover, natural selection does not explain how biological software could be tested to see if it worked with any given piece of biological hardware. Thus, modern evolutionary biology typically just ignores the problem of software. In his 2004 book, What Makes Biology Unique, Ernst Mayr considered the issue “irrelevant” and a matter of mere chemistry and physics.5 But you cannot understand even a simple computer system without understanding its software. A computer-science graduate who knew only about hardware and nothing about software couldn’t even be competent, much less an authority, on computers. Likewise, scientists cannot proclaim, “Evolution is a proven fact,” based solely on their knowledge of physical hardware, while they fail to consider biological operating software entirely. Who knew that the iPod could help people recognize a fundamental concept of intelligent design? Endnotes 1. The terms iPod, iPhone, Blackberry, and Wii are trademarks held by their registered owners. 2. Donald E. Johnson, Programming of Life (Big Mac Publishers, 2010), pp. 39–43. 3. David Berlinski, The Advent of the Algorithm (Harcourt, 2000), pp. xvi, 183–188, 254, 270–273, 315–316. 4. Richard W. Stevens, “Can Evolution Make New Biological Software?”, Creation Research Society Quarterly (Summer 2009), pp. 17–24. 5. Ernst Mayr, What Makes Biology Unique (Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 55, 61.

48 SALVO Issue19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 48

11/18/11 3:33 PM


FEATURE q

Save the Whales! Monsters Well-Designed for the Earth’s Ecosystem by Hugh Ross

A

mid extremists’ clashes over philosophy and tactics, international efforts to preserve a healthy population of the world’s largest cetaceans became fodder for comedians. Meanwhile, recent discoveries have provided new reasons to resolve these conflicts and get on with the business of managing whales as part of mankind’s assigned role of managing all the planet’s resources for the benefit of all life (see Genesis 1:28–30).

Whales provide a prime example of resource management gone wrong. For nearly three centuries, the whaling industry drove whale species close to extinction, endangering itself, the whales, and an oceanic ecosystem that we’re finding has a direct impact on important greenhouse gases and fishery stocks. A growing recognition of the danger to whales and whaling led to the creation of various r­ egulatory agencies, such as the International Whaling Commission. Human nature being what it is, however, disagreements over appropriate hunting quotas and the lack of an effective enforcement plan, not to mention different attitudes towards cheating, have perpetuated whale management problems, to our detriment.

Whale of a Factor Meanwhile, a team of researchers has provided fresh motivation to solve these problems. A group of eight Australian and German biologists and oceanographers,

led by Flinders University biologist Trish Lavery, has discovered that sperm whales play a crucial role in regulating the earth’s greenhouse gases—a key factor in global temperature control. Despite releasing huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere, the world’s largest mammals actually help subtract far greater quantities of this greenhouse gas than they add.1 The sperm whales’ contribution to relieving the planet’s greenhouse effect emerges from the enormous creatures’ pattern of eating and defecating. Just how big are these animals? Adult male sperm whales grow up to 67 feet in length and weigh up to 63 tons. With a jawbone as long as 18 feet and 50-some teeth, the sperm whale is the only predator capable of feeding on the giant squid and the colossal squid, which themselves can be up to 50 feet long and inhabit the darkest depths of the world’s oceans. Sperm whales have been known to dive down 9,800 feet, or nearly 2 miles, in search of squid. Their hunt requires a series of dives that may last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes each, with only an 8-to-10-minute rest period between dives. To make such deep and prolonged dives requires some special features that suggest amazing design. For example, sperm whales can hold their breath longer than any other air-breathing creature. Their uniquely flexible ribcage permits lung collapse, which reduces nitrogen Winter 2011 SALVO 49

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 49

11/18/11 3:33 PM


FEATURE q intake, thus minimizing the effects of the bends. In addition, their blood has an extremely high red-blood-cell count and can thus store a huge quantity of oxygen, which the whales can conserve by drastically lowering their metabolism. Scientists also believe that the distinctive spermaceti organ in the whales’ forehead enables them to regulate their buoyancy, another feature allowing for such ultradeep dives. The research team led by Lavery observed that sperm whales tend to defecate while resting briefly on the surface. As they do, some 85–90 percent of the iron they ingest as part of their extremely iron-rich squid diet is expelled in the form of ferrous salts. Since most of this fecal matter is liquid, nearly all of the iron is efficiently delivered to the upper, light-absorbing (photic) layer of the ocean waters. This photic layer is the zone where photosynthetic plankton, or phytoplankton, thrives. Phytoplankton represents the base of the food chain for all oceanic life. The more phytoplankton, the greater the total biomass the oceans can support. Just as importantly, phytoplankton pumps more oxygen into the atmosphere than all other

forms of photosynthetic life combined, and it removes more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than all other living things combined. Meanwhile, the main factor in the growth of phytoplankton, particularly in the southern oceans, is the availability of soluble iron. Lavery’s team discovered that sperm whales play a crucial role in delivering the necessary iron to the phytoplankton. By the team’s calculations, the 12,000 sperm whales that populate the ocean surrounding Antarctica deliver 55 tons of iron per year to the phytoplankton dwelling there. This same phytoplankton “colony” makes use of that iron in the photosynthetic process to remove 440,000 tons of carbon from the atmosphere. Given that these 12,000 whales respire 176,000 tons of carbon annually, the net effect of the process is removal of 264,000 tons of carbon from the atmosphere every year. In other words, sperm whales are playing a part in greenhouse gas control.

Boon for Others

TAKE GLOBAL WARMING

R

eaders may wonder about Salvo’s take on “global warming.” So far, we are neutral on aspects of this highly politicized issue: we’re not dogmatic on exactly how much influence atmospheric carbon has on the earth’s temperature over against solar factors, nor on the extent to which increasing or decreasing levels of atmospheric carbon have been caused by man’s activities. Global warming is worth debating, without politicization, but we haven’t had occasion to deal with it very much. While this article assumes that global warming is a real, and problematic, occurrence, that is not its main point. Its main purpose is to describe a complex (designed) ecosystem and to explain the role that system might play in the larger picture involving greenhouse gases, ocean fish stocks, oxygen supplies, and our own stewardship of the earth’s resources. When I first read this article, I thought, “How amazingly complex and beautiful this world is, with all its creatures, great and small!” —James M. Kushiner

Paradoxically, sperm whales’ predatory activity actually stimulates the growth of giant and colossal squid populations. The 440,000 tons of carbon delivered to the deep Southern Ocean as a result of the sperm whales’ iron fertilization provide extra food for deep-sea fish stocks, which in turn provide extra food for the squid, which makes for more and bigger squid. In other words, even though sperm whales prey upon giant and colossal squid, the greater the population of sperm whales, the greater the population of giant and colossal squid—and of all fish species the deep oceans support. (The same kind of positive-feedback loop occurs between baleen whales and krill and all the sea life krill support.) To put this situation in the negative, the reduction in sperm whale populations brought about by industrial whaling dramatically reduced the phytoplankton biomass, which reduced the surface and deep fish populations, which in turn reduced the giant and colossal squid populations, with the end result that, according to the Lavery team’s calculations, at least 2 million more tons of carbon remain in the atmosphere annually.2 Thanks to these biologists and oceanographers, we now know that whales are a boon to resolving a global warming problem from greenhouse gases, as well as to the health and wellbeing of all other species

50 SALVO Issue19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 50

11/18/11 3:33 PM


SCIENCE l­iving in the oceans. Lavery’s team concluded that the need to respond to the observed warming of the earth’s surface represents, by itself, sufficient reason for the nations of the world to work together in returning the world’s whale populations to their pre-1750 (pre-industrial whaling) numbers. What these researchers discovered also hints at one possible reason why God would have created a sequence of whale species, gradually transitioning them from freshwater locales to partly salty river estuaries to seas adjoining continental landmasses and finally to all the oceans of the world. Astronomical research tells us that the sun grows slowly and progressively brighter—and hotter—as it continues to convert hydrogen into helium through nuclear fusion in its core. (The increasing core density causes the sun’s nuclear furnace to burn hotter.) It seems reasonable to suppose that, as God was preparing the earth for humanity’s arrival, he compensated for the increasing solar luminosity, at least in part, by creating more and more species of whales, gradually increasing their range and population. In this way, he would have set in motion a critical, life-enhancing cycle whereby the range and population of whales provided greater fertilization of the earth’s photic zones, resulting in a progressively greater removal of greenhouse gases from the earth’s atmosphere. Thus, even as the sun brightened, the temperature on the earth’s surface remained ideal for more and more life, both quantities and kinds, through the progressive removal of greenhouse gases from the earth’s atmosphere. At the very least, this research has shown us that sperm whales must not be taken for granted. They are a unique species, designed like no other to serve the planet’s living creatures, particularly its human beings. As the Psalmist declares, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”3 Every life form that God has created on earth in some way enhances the quality of life for all. Endnotes 1. Trish J. Lavery et al., “Iron Defecation by Sperm Whales Stimulates Carbon Export in the Southern Ocean,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Biological Sciences, June 16, 2010: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/06/14/ rspb.2010.0863.full. 2. Ibid. 3. Psalm 24:1.

BONE TO PICK

Fossil Throws a Bone into Whale Evolution Story by Casey Luskin

W

hale evolution has faced problems because of the short timescale (about 10 million years, or 400,000 whale generations) allowed by the fossil record for whales to have evolved from fully terrestrial mammals to fully aquatic whales. Pro-ID biologist Richard Sternberg has argued that the many anatomical changes necessary to convert a land-mammal to a whale could not have taken place by Darwinian evolution in that time span. Just a few of these changes include: • Emergence of the blowhole, with musculature and nerve control • Modification of the eye for permanent underwater vision • Ability to drink seawater • Forelimbs transformed into flippers • Reduction of hind limbs and pelvis • Ability to nurse young underwater • Origin of tail flukes and musculature

There was just far too little time to allow for these and the multitude of other changes needed to convert a land-mammal into a whale. But the situation just got worse. In a recent article titled “Ancient whale jawbone found in Antarctica,” the AP reported in October that paleontologists have found “the oldest fully aquatic whale yet discovered,” which is about 49 million years old. This new find pushes fully aquatic whales back 9 million years earlier, so that the timeline now looks something like this: > Pakicetids (fully terrestrial): 50 million years ago (mya) > New Fossil Jawbone (fully aquatic whale): 49 mya > Ambulocetids (semi-aquatic): 49 mya > Remingtonocetids (semi-aquatic): 49 mya > Rodhocetus (semi-aquatic): 47 mya > Basilosaurids (fully aquatic): 40 mya

In light of this new find, it now appears that fully aquatic whales existed around the same time that the semi-aquatic Ambulocetids appeared. The fossil record now jumps from the fully terrestrial land mammal Pakicetids to fully aquatic whales in perhaps just a couple million years—even less than 100,000 whale generations. If this find has been correctly identified, then fully aquatic whales existed before many of their alleged semi-aquatic ancestors, dramatically constricting the amount of geological time available for their evolution. Isn’t that a problem? •

Winter 2011 SALVO 51

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 51

11/18/11 3:33 PM


COLUMN p

/ / D ep ro g ram _ wi th D eny s e O ’ L e ar y /

Brain Scams Have Some Neuroscientists Lost Their Minds?

D

uring the Decade of the Brain (1990– 2000), clinical neuroscience thrived. But pop neuroscience really took off after 2000. Brain scanners became increasingly available for non-medical research, including research into political views. Soon stories like these festooned the pop science media:

• “How facts backfire: Researchers discover a surprising threat to democracy: our brains”1 • “Left brain, right brain: researchers link neurology to political orientation”2 • “French government begins ‘neuropolicy’” (against smoking)3 • “Hate Area of Brain Identified”4 • “Political Science: What Being Neat or Messy Says about Political Leanings”5 • “Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults”6 Anything bother you about these themes? They leaked over onto the campaign trail. For example, neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine suggests that if voters were attracted to Sarah Palin as a candidate in 2008, it may have been because the “mirror neurons” in their brains were going “‘ding, ding, ding—this person is just like me.’”7 And another group of scientists suggest that voters who rated Hillary Clinton unfavorably on questionnaires were, according to their brain images, actually “battling unacknowledged impulses to like Mrs. Clinton.”8 That’s neuropolitics. The takehome message is: We don’t know our own minds, but neuroscientists do. And reasoned judgment plays little role in our decisions. So say again, why do armed forces personnel risk life and limb to maintain democracy? Should they bother?

Revolting Against Neurotrash Out of the blue, some neuroscientists revolted. The occasion was a September 2011 neuromarketing sally in the New York Times titled “You Love Your iPhone. Literally.” In this piece, Martin Lindstrom wrote that brain imaging provided evidence that people have a personal love relationship with the popular Apple device.9 That news coincided with the vast commercial 52 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 52

11/18/11 3:33 PM


SCIENCE “Suppose I know every thing about your brain: I know its a­ natomy, its chemical ingredients, the pattern of electrical activity in its various segments, I even know the position of every atom and its subatomic structure. Do I therefore know everything about your mind? It certainly seems not. On the contrary, I know nothing about your mind. So knowledge of your brain does not give me knowledge of your mind.”

“The bond between mind and brain is an ultimate mystery, a mystery that human ­intelligence will never unravel.”

—Colin McGinn, Mysterious Flame: Conscious Minds in a Material World (Basic Books, 1999). Cited in Why Us? How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves by James Le Fanu (Vintage Books, 2010)

noise around new iPhone features and releases—too closely for ethical comfort. A key rebel against this claim was neuroscientist Russ Poldrack of the University of Texas at Austin. In a letter to the Times, he noted that activity in the anterior insula part of the brain, cited in the Times article as evidence of love, is observable in nearly a third of all imaging studies. Besides, other well-known studies of brain images don’t even show activity related to love in the insula, but instead in the classic “reward system” areas of the brain. (A reference to an earlier letter to the Times indicates that the 2007 “battling unacknowledged impulses” piece on Hillary Clinton seethed in the background of Poldrack’s protest, too.10) Forty-four other neuroscientists signed Poldrack’s dissenting letter, which was published in edited form in the New York Times in October 2011.11 Atheist neuroscientist Raymond Tallis has also been an influential recent critic of this type of “neurotrash” (his word). His recent book, Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis, and the Misrepresentation of Humanity, denounces

thinkers who see human beings as animals “acting out a biological script inscribed in our brains by evolutionary forces.” But will the revolt make any difference? One senses it won’t. However much they are concerned by these developments, most neuroscientists are committed to materialism. Materialism is, after all, the establishment creed, whose interest areas—neuromarketing and neuropolitics— will likely prevail. Materialist power brokers deal with atheist challengers as they do

with any other: The tank divisions, Power, Status, and Money, roll in, quiet but sure. To judge from the recent profile in the Chronicle Review, the influential Tallis is already beginning the descent into “marginal crackpot”: We are told that he “likes a fight” and that most opponents withdraw establishment approval simply by refusing to debate him.12 And the New York Times gets revenue from the vendors of cool toys, not from dissenting neuroscientists. Help, if it comes, will be from Another Quarter.

Endnotes 1. By Joe Keohane (Boston Globe, 7/11/10): http://tinyurl.com/28pxyka. 2. By Andrew Duffy (Ottawa Citizen, 4/7/11). 3. By Vaughan Bell (Mind Hacks, 5/31/10): http://tinyurl.com/3cwxd4n. 4. By Rick Nauert (PsychCentral, 10/29/08): http://tinyurl.com/cy5epg. 5. By Jordan Lite (Scientific American, 10/13/08): http://tinyurl.com/68f3zne. 6. By Ryota Kanai et al. (Current Biology, Volume 21, Issue 8, 677–680, 4/7/11): http://tinyurl.com/3bugf9e. 7. Jordan Lite, op. cit. 8. Marco Iacoboni et al., “This Is Your Brain on Politics” (New York Times, 11/11/07): http://tinyurl.com/3duogo9.

9. Martin Lindstrom, “You Love Your iPhone. Literally.” (New York Times: 9/30/11): http://tinyurl.com/43swtep. 10. Russ Poldrack, “NYT Op-Ed + fMRI = complete crap” (russpoldrack.org, 10/1/11): http://tinyurl. com/42rd6g3. 11. Russ Poldrack, “The iPhone and the Brain” (New York Times, 10/5/11): http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/05/ opinion/the-iphone-and-the-brain. html?_r=2&ref=scienceandtechnology. The uncut version and list of signers are at http://tinyurl.com/6fck9ur. 12. Marc Parry, “Raymond Tallis Takes Out the ‘Neurotrash’” (Chronicle Review, 10/9/11): http://tinyurl. com/6gnfboo.

Winter 2011 SALVO 53

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 53

11/18/11 3:33 PM


COLUMN p

/ / O p era tion ID _ wi th C a s ey L u sk in /

Eyeballing Design “Biomimetics” Exposes Attacks on ID as Poorly Designed

A

t least since the ancient Chinese tried to produce artificial silk, people have turned to biology for inspiration when designing technology. A 2009 article in the world’s oldest science journal, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, authored by Ohio State University nanotechnology engineer Bharat Bhushan, explains how this design process works: The understanding of the functions provided by objects and processes found in nature can guide us to imitate and produce nanomaterials, nanodevices and processes. Biologically inspired design or adaptation or derivation from nature is referred to as “biomimetics.” It means mimicking biology or nature.1

Perhaps the most familiar example of biomimetics is the body shape of birds serving as the inspiration for aircraft design. But the list of fascinating cases where engineers have mimicked nature to develop or improve human technology goes on and on: • Faster Speedo swimsuits have been developed by studying the properties of sharkskin. • Spiny hooks on plant

seeds and fruits led to the development of Velcro. • Better tire treads were created by understanding the shape of toe pads on tree frogs. • Polar bear furs have inspired textiles and thermal collectors. • Studying hippo sweat promises to lead to better sunscreen. • Volvo has studied how locusts swarm without crashing into one another to develop an anti-collision system. • Mimicking mechanisms of photosynthesis and chemical energy conversion might lead to the creation of cheaper solar cells. • Copying the structure of sticky gecko feet could lead to the development of tape with cleaner and dryer super-adhesion.

• Color-changing cuttlefish have inspired television screens that use a fraction of the power of standard TVs. • DNA might become a framework for building faster microchips. • The ability of the human ear to pick up many frequencies of sound is being replicated to build better antennas. • The Namibian fog-­ basking beetle has inspired methods of desalinizing ocean water, growing crops, and producing electricity, all in one!

Disclaiming Design The purpose of Dr. Bhushan’s paper was to encourage engineers to study nature when creating technology. For some reason, however, he felt compelled to open his article with the following disclaimer: Nature has gone through evolution over the 3.8 Gyr [Gigayear, equal to one billion years] since life is estimated to have appeared on the Earth. Nature has evolved objects with high performance using commonly found materials. Why did Bhushan feel this was necessary? The answer is hard to miss. The widespread practice and success of biomimetics among technologycreating engineers has powerful implications that point to intelligent design (ID). After all, if human technology is intelligently designed, and if biological systems inspire or outperform man-made systems, then we are confronted with the not-so-subtle inference that nature, too, might have been designed. To prevent ID-oriented thoughts from entering the minds of readers, materialists writing about biomimetics have long

54 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 54

11/18/11 3:33 PM


SCIENCE upheld a tradition of including superfluous praise of the amazing power of Darwinian evolution. For example, when explaining how the unique bumpy shape of whale flippers has been mimicked to improve wind turbine design, a ScienceDaily article reminded readers that “sea creatures have evolved over millions of years to maximise efficiency of movement through water.”2 Similarly, in 2008, Business Week carried a piece on biomimetics noting that “ultra-strong, biodegradable glues” have been developed “by analyzing how mussels cling to rocks under water,” and that bullet-trains could be made more aerodynamic if given “a distinctly bird-like nose.” But the story couldn’t help but point out that these biological templates

tions permeate the field of biomimetics, and they are dangerous to materialism. Evolutionary thinkers, of course, will assert that these finely tuned biological systems evolved by blind natural selection preserv-

In Dawkins’s ever-humble opinion, the vertebrate eye is “the design of a complete idiot.” weren’t designed, but rather “evolved in the natural world over billions of years.”3 It’s uncanny how predictable this theme has become. In another instance, MSNBC explained how “armor” on fish might be copied to improve battle ware for soldiers. Yet the article included the obligatory subheading instructing readers that “millions of years of evolution could provide exactly what we need today.”4 Well, aren’t we lucky?

Better Keep the Disclaimers Dr. Bhushan was wise to include his disclaimer promoting unguided evolution: From an ID-based view, it’s unsurprising that designers of human technology would find so many solutions to problems within the biosphere. ID-friendly implica-

ing random mutations. Over billions of years, they imagine, this unguided process perfected these systems, ultimately besting the inventions of our top engineering minds. Such deeply held convictions might be hard to unseat from the minds of materialists. But consider this: When human engineers want to create technology, do they use unguided processes of random mutation and natural selection? No. They use intelligent design. In fact, whenever we understand the origin of a piece of technology, we see that intelligent design was always required to generate the system. How then, is Dr. Bhushan so confident that the elegant systems in nature that surpass human designs—including multi-component machines—­ resulted from unguided evolutionary processes?

Poorly Designed Objections Some materialists attack design arguments not by alleging that biological systems lack high levels of specified complexity, but by alleging that they are full of “flaws.” Yet anyone who has used Microsoft Windows is painfully aware that flawed designs are still designed. But theistic evolutionist biologist Kenneth Miller argues that evolution would naturally lead us to expect the biological world to be full of “cobbled together” kluges that reflect the clumsy, undirected Darwinian process.5 For example, Miller maintains that the vertebrate eye was not intelligently designed because the optic nerve extends over the retina instead of going out the back of the eye—an alleged design flaw. According to Miller, “visual quality is degraded because light scatters as it passes through several layers of cellular wiring before reaching the retina.” Similarly, Richard Dawkins contends that the retina is “wired in backwards” because light-sensitive cells face away from the incoming light, which is partly blocked by the optic nerve. In Dawkins’s everhumble opinion, the vertebrate eye is “the design of a complete idiot.”6 A closer examination shows that the design of the vertebrate eye works far better than Dawkins and Miller let on. Winter 2011 SALVO 55

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 55

11/18/11 3:33 PM


COLUMN p Dawkins concedes that the optic nerve’s impact on vision is “probably not much,” but the negative effect is even less than he admits. Only if you cover one eye and stare directly at a fixed point does a tiny “blind spot” appear in your peripheral vision as a result of the optic nerve covering the retina. When both eyes are functional, the brain compensates for the blind spot by meshing the visual fields of both eyes. Under normal circumstances, the nerves’ wiring does nothing to hinder vision. Nonetheless, Dawkins argues that even if the design works, it would “offend any tidy-minded engineer.” But the overall design of the eye actually optimizes visual acuity. To achieve the high-quality vision that vertebrates need, retinal cells require a large blood supply. By facing the photoreceptor cells toward the back of the retina, and extending the optic nerve out over them, the cells are able to plug directly into the blood vessels that feed the eye, maximizing access to blood. Pro-ID biologist George Ayoub suggests a thought experiment where the optic nerve goes out the back of the retina, the way Miller and Dawkins claim it ought to be wired. Ayoub finds that this design would interfere with blood supply, as the nerve would crowd out blood vessels. In this case, the only means of restoring blood supply would be to place capillaries over the retina—but this change would block even more light than the optic nerve does under the actual design. Ayoub concludes: “In trying to eliminate the blind spot, we have generated a host of new and more severe functional problems to solve.”7 In 2010, two eye specialists made a remarkable discovery that showed the elegant mechanism found in vertebrate eyes to solve the problem of any blockage of

light due to the position of the optic nerve. Special “glial cells” sit over the retina and act like fiber-optic cables to channel light through the optic nerve wires directly onto the photoreceptor cells. According to New Scientist, these funnel-shaped cells prevent scattering of light and “act as light filters, keeping images clear.”8 Ken Miller acknowledges that an intelligent designer “would choose the orientation that produces the highest degree of visual quality.” Yet that seems to be exactly what we find in the vertebrate eye. In fact, the team of scientists who determined the function of glial cells concluded that the “retina is revealed as an optimal structure designed for improving the sharpness of images.” ID-theorist William Dembski has observed that “no one has demonstrated how the eye’s function might be improved without diminishing its visual speed, sensitivity, and resolution.”9 It’s therefore unsurprising that optics engineers study the eye to improve camera technology. According to another tech article: Borrowing one of nature’s best designs, U.S. scientists have built an eye-shaped camera using standard sensor materials and say it could improve the performance of digital cameras and enhance imaging of the human body. The article reported that the “digital camera has the size, shape and layout of a human eye” because “the curved shape greatly improves the field of vision, bringing the whole picture into focus.”10 It seems that human eyes are so poorly designed that engineers regularly mimic them.

Repeat After Me . . . Bhushan ends his article on biomimetics by paying more lip service

to evolution, declaring that “nature has evolved and optimized a large number of materials and structured surfaces with rather unique characteristics.” His chosen blindness to the pro-ID implications of biomimetics does not negate the fact that, intriguingly, nature routinely inspires and outperforms the best human ­technology. Biologists and engineers who still want to believe that life’s elegant complexity results from neo-Darwinian processes may find that the only way to do so is to keep repeating Francis Crick’s mantra—“Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved”—over and over to themselves. Endnotes 1. Bharat Bhushan, “Biomimetics: lessons from nature—an overview,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A, vol. 367 (2009), pp. 1445– 1486. 2. “Whales and Dolphins Influence New Wind Turbine Design” ScienceDaily (July 7, 2008): www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080707222315.htm. 3. Matt Vella, “Using Nature as a Design Guide,” Bloomberg Businessweek (February 11, 2008): www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/feb2008/ id20080211_074559.htm. 4. Jeanna Bryner, “Incredible fish armor could suit soldiers” (July 28, 2008): www. msnbc.msn.com/id/25886406. 5. Kenneth R. Miller, “Life’s Grand Design,” Technology Review (February/ March 1994), pp. 25–32. 6. Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (Free Press, 2009), p. 354. 7. George Ayoub, “On the Design of the Vertebrate Retina,” Origins & Design, vol. 17:1 (Winter 1996): www.arn.org/docs/ odesign/od171/retina171.htm. 8. Kate McAlpine, “Evolution gave flawed eye better vision,” New Scientist (May 6, 2010): www.newscientist.com/ article/mg20627594.000-evolution-gaveflawed-eye-better-vision.html. 9. William Dembski & Sean McDowell, Understanding Intelligent Design: Everything You Need to Know in Plain Language (Harvest House, 2008), p. 53. 10. Julie Steenhuysen, “Eye spy: U.S. scientists develop eye-shaped camera,” Reuters (August 6, 2008): www.reuters. com/article/2008/08/06/us-camera-eyeidUSN0647922920080806.

56 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 56

11/18/11 3:33 PM


DEPARTMENT o

GREAT ESCAPES by Terrell Clemmons

From “Son of Sam” to “Son of Hope” The Story of David Berkowitz

O

A Troubled Youth He was relieved. He was a terribly tormented man whose life had spun desperately out of control. Born in Brooklyn on June 1, 1953, David Berkowitz had been adopted at birth by Nathan and Pearl Berkowitz of the Bronx. They were devoted parents, but from childhood David was plagued with mysterious emotional problems, anger, and severe bouts of depression. He would hide under his bed for hours, lock himself in a closet, or sit on the window ledge of their sixth-floor apartment, legs dangling, flirting with suicide. When he was 14, his mother died, and things deteriorated. He got into fights or cut school to wander the streets. He joined the army after high-school graduation, hoping for a fresh start, but there too, he had difficulty coping. He returned to the Bronx when his three years were up, hoping to find a girlfriend, maybe get married, have a family, and eke out a decent civilian life.

n August 10, 1977, after the largest manhunt in New York City history, New York City police captured the infamous serial killer known as “Son of Sam,” who for more than a year had terrorized both their city and the nation. Referring to himself as the “Duke of Death” and the “Wicked King Wicker,” he had set more than 2,000 fires, shot and killed six people, wounded seven more, and left bizarre, hand-scrawled notes with messages like, “POLICE: LET ME HAUNT YOU WITH THESE WORDS: I’LL BE BACK! I’LL BE BACK! TO BE INTERPRETED AS BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG—UGH!!”

As the suspect was being removed from his car, one of the officers asked him, “Are you glad this is over?” “Yeah,” he said, “I’m very glad.” The arresting officers were taken aback. The Son of Sam had said he wanted to bring New York City to its knees—and in many ways he had. Now he appeared relieved to have been stopped.

Winter 2011 SALVO 57

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 57

11/18/11 3:33 PM


DEPARTMENT: Great Escapes o From Troubled to Deranged Then the real trouble started. “You’re looking for a girl, looking for a good time?” a couple of guys asked him one day. “We’ve got some friends that meet in a park.” Most of his high-school crowd had moved on, and his father had remarried and moved to Florida. What else did he have to do? David followed them deep into the woods of a park, where a group of people had a fire going. There was some drinking, some singing, some chanting. “What is this?” he asked. “We’re pagans,” someone said. “And witches. We come out here to have a good time.” Alone, troubled, and aimless, David started hanging out with them. They had circles and pentagrams. They would engage in rituals, meditate, and call on supernatural powers. He began reading the “Satanic bible,” the 1969 work of Anton LeVey, founder of the “Church of Satan” in San Francisco. Someone had said it would give him power and control over his life. He’d always wanted that. As he continued to read and take part in the rituals, things began to change within him. David began to believe he was some kind of soldier in the satanic army. While Satan’s job was to destroy, the ultimate aim, according to this twisted new outlook, was to bring about God’s kingdom of peace. David had always wanted something to commit his life to, and he surrendered himself to this power that he thought was going to give him a mission in life.

From Despair to Hope For more than a year, he did wield a certain power to steal, kill, and destroy, but the promise of a good

outcome turned out to be hollow. Instead of a mission in life, he found himself looking at life in prison, where he had virtually no control over anything. For the next ten years, he went about prison life as despondent as ever. Then, one night in 1987—it was winter, cold— he was pacing the yard when another inmate approached him. “You’re David Berkowitz, right?” “Yeah, what of it?” “Jesus Christ loves you very much,” the stranger said. “Listen, God ain’t interested in me. I appreciate it, but God is not for me.” David knew he wasn’t a good person. He knew what he’d done. But the interloper wasn’t put off quite so easily. “Well, you don’t understand. God loves you, and if you’d let me, I’d like to be your friend.” His name was Rick, and the two of them began to walk the yard together. A few weeks later, Rick handed him a pocket Bible. “Read the Psalms,” he suggested. What did he have to lose? He started reading the Psalms . . . and was shocked and amazed to find some of the most beautiful words he’d ever read. One night, alone in his cell, he read these: “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” At these words, something broke. David had been troubled and in trouble all his life. God, he prayed, I can’t take this anymore . . . if you’re out there, if you want anything to do with me . . . I’m sick of having to live with knowing that I’ve hurt innocent people, knowing that I destroyed lives. I’m sick of the devil. I’m sick of being lied to . . . And in the quietness, he poured out his burdens, needs, and tears until he was utterly spent. When he finally got up off his knees, he felt that a tremendous burden had been lifted. He didn’t understand what was happening, but he knew his life was somehow going to be different from then on. That night, he slept like a baby. He continued reading the Bible Rick had given him and found there hope and encouragement that lifted him out of the despair he could never shake before. Through the prison Bible studies and chapel services—he attended every one he could get to—he met other inmates with dark pasts, yet also, like him, with newfound faith. For the first time in his life, he began to know hope.

Not Just Another Jailhouse Conversion Jailhouse conversion stories are usually suspect, but the 24 ensuing years have demonstrated that something is radically different about David Berkowitz. Rebekah Binger, who interviewed him in 2009 for the Pace Law Review, commented that “he more 58 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 58

11/18/11 3:33 PM


resembled a retired police officer than a former serial killer.” His name made national news again in August 2011, when he announced that he will not seek parole when his next opportunity comes, in May 2012. Responding to an inquiry from Fox News reporter Joshua Rhett Miller, Berkowitz wrote, “I have no interest in parole. . . . I am already a ‘free man.’ I am not saying this jokingly. I really am. . . . While society will never forgive me, God has. I am forever grateful for such forgiveness.” Besides, he has a mission right where he is. “Right now my life is filled with deep inner peace and with joy in the Lord. I am, by the grace of God, doing and accomplishing many positive things,” he wrote in a letter to Salvo. David is the inmate pastor and worship leader for the prison church of about 50, where “broken hearts are being mended . . . tormented minds are receiving deliverance . . . [and] damaged and bruised souls are getting healed.” He works as a Mobility Guide for sight-impaired inmates and a Program Aide for inmates with mental health impairments. Binger called him “a sort of prison trustee.” Some of the younger inmates call him “Grandpa Dave.” He writes voluminously on his treasured electric typewriter, mostly letters and journal entries, which are periodically uploaded by friends to his website, www.ariseandshine.org, and he shares his story with young people in churches and juvenile detention facilities through films and his writings. He doesn’t write about his crimes, though, and says he probably never will. Those are still too painful. “I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in

my heart over the lives that were destroyed through my own foolishness.” Their families figure into his decision-making concerning parole, too. “I never want to do anything to add to their pain.” But he will talk about his descent into the twisted web of satanic thought, especially for the benefit of other young people, who might learn from his missteps. Though bar mitzvah’d as a youth, David says he had no real fear of or respect for God. “I just did whatever I felt like doing, whatever felt good.” He preferred darkness, witchcraft, and occult things. “I watched countless horror and satanic movies,” particularly Rosemary’s Baby, which “totally captivated my mind.” I realize [now] that I had been slowly deceived. I did not know that bad things were going to result from all this. Yet over the months the things that were wicked no longer seemed to be such. I was headed down the road to destruction and I did not know it. His personal message to young people is, “Your life and your soul is precious, more precious than you realize. Cherish your life, and look to God for your help. In addition, remember that the choices you make today may determine how you will be living your life in the future.” Though he’s been incarcerated for 34 years, David says he “no longer sees the prison bars. My eyes are focused beyond that to see Jesus who is the author and finisher of my faith. My freedom is found in one word: Jesus.”

statement of ownership, management, and circulation united states postal service

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Publication Title: Salvo Publication Number: 0025-638 Filing Date: October 1, 2011 Issue Frequency: Quarterly Number of Issues Published Annually: 4 Annual Subscription Price: $25.99 Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication: 4125 West Newport Ave., Chicago, Cook, Illinois 60641-4009 Contact person: Jonathan Dockery, Telephone: 773-481-1090 Complete Mailing address of Headquarters or General Business Office of Publisher: 4125 West Newport Ave., Chicago, IL 60641 Full names and complete Mailing Address of Publisher: James M. Kushiner, 4125 West Newport Ave., Chicago, IL 60641 Editor: James Kushiner, 4125 West Newport Ave., Chicago, IL 60641 Managing Editor: Anita Kuhn, 4125 West Newport Ave., Chicago, IL 60641 Owner, Full Names: The Fellowship of St. James Address: 4125 West Newport Ave. Chicago, IL 60641 Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders: None Tax Status: The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes has not changed during preceding 12 months. Publication Title: Salvo

14. Issue Date for Circulation Data Below: Fall 2011 (#18) 15. Extent and Nature of Circulation: Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months / No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date a. Total Number of Copies: 2599 / 2415 b. 1. Paid/Requested Outside-County Mail Subscriptions: 1887 / 1647 b. 2. Paid In-County Subscriptions: 0 / 0 b. 3. Sales through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales: 83 / 77 b. 4. Other Classes Mailed through the USPS: 11 / 2 c. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation: 1981 / 1726 d. 1. Free Distribution by Mail Outside-County: 132 / 131 d. 2. Free Distribution by Mail In-County: 0 / 0 d. 3. Free Distribution by Mail, Other classes through the USPS: 41 / 28 d. 4. Free Distribution Outside Mail: 45 / 0 e. Total Free Distribution: 218 / 159 f. Total Distribution: 2199 / 1885 g. Copies Not Distributed: 400 / 530 h. Total: 2599 / 2415 i. Percent Paid: 90% / 92% 16. Publication Statement of Ownership: Will be printed in the Winter 2011 (#19) issue of this publication 17. I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. Jonathan Dockery, Business Manager, Date: September 28, 2011

Winter 2011 SALVO 59

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 59

11/18/11 3:33 PM


DEPARTMENT o

CAMOUFLAGE by Terrell Clemmons

Believed & Deceived Hitler’s Rise & the Deadly Loss of Moral Courage

I

n April 1945, as British and American soldiers ­liberated Nazi concentration camps, civilized people around the world gasped in horror at the images coming out of Germany. Newsreel footage showed catatonic, living skeletons, many of them all-but-dead in various stages of disease, dehydration, and starvation. Bergen-Belsen alone, liberated on April 15, held 60,000 living men, women, and children, with another 20,000 lying dead in the open, unburied.

By the end of April, Adolph Hitler had added his own corpse to the death toll, and the war in Europe was over. Good people everywhere were grateful and relieved, but in the aftermath, deeply troubling yet inescapable questions arose. How did this happen?— in Germany, no less, the land of Martin Luther, the Catholic monk who had given birth to the Protestant Reformation. Nearly a century later, it’s easy to view the whole of Nazi Germany telescopically through the lens of Schindler’s List or the U.S. Holocaust Museum: The Nazis were bad; it must not happen again; now let’s

move on. But human history is not so simple. The same Adolph Hitler, who in the 1940s was recognized as a murderous despot, rose to power in the 1930s with widespread approval. The more apropos question might be, How did that happen?

How Not to Tame Your Dragon Two recent books shed light on that enigma. One, Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts, vividly recaptures pre-World War II Berlin as it chronicles the

60 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 60

11/18/11 3:33 PM


t­ enure of William Dodd, U.S. ambassador to Germany from 1933 to 1937. Larson puts particular focus on 1933–1934, when “all the themes of the greater epic of war and murder soon to come were laid down.” Dodd gradually began to see the dark threat posed by Adolph Hitler and the regime he was organizing around him, but his 24-year-old daughter Martha, captivated by the Nazis’ pomp, power, and handsome young men in uniform, not only failed to see it, but ignored it when it played out right in front of her. The story that unfolds through and around these two Americans, who rubbed elbows with Berlin’s elite, reads like a novel of political intrigue. But the eerie awareness that it recounts factual history, involving men whose names have become synonymous with evil personified, makes it riveting reading. It also makes it a clarion call to learn from history. To that end, Larson reveals some common traits of otherwise well-meaning people that enabled the dragons among them to grow virtually unchecked. One such trait is moral obtuseness. It’s one thing to extend grace and give others the benefit of the doubt. But it’s quite another to overlook wrong or make excuses for it. Soon after the Dodd family arrived in Berlin in July 1933, Martha received a visit

How was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who at the young age of 27 stood apart from both the Nazis and the established church, able to see what most of his contemporaries missed? from Sigrid Schultz, a Berlin correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. Schultz spoke to Martha about the rapid transformation of Berlin since Hitler had come to power—the violence, the beatings, and the imprisonment of Jews and others unsympathetic to Nazi objectives, but Martha didn’t believe her. Across Germany, observant people were aware of, or heard rumors about, Nazi abuses like these, but they either overlooked them (It was an isolated incident) or, like Martha, dismissed them out of hand (That’s impossible!). Related to this moral dullness is an antipathy to strain. In August 1933, Martha witnessed a disturbing midnight spectacle. Amid torches and banners, SA storm troopers were “half-supporting, half-dragging” a woman whose head had been shaved bald. Around her neck hung a placard reading, “I HAVE OFFERED MYSELF TO A JEW.” Martha learned that the woman’s sole offense was becoming engaged to a Jewish man. Even so, Martha—the daughter of the American ambassador, whose eyewitness account could have simultaneously bypassed Nazi censors and lent international credibility to rumored Nazi abuses—pleaded

that the story not be reported. “It was not really important, would create a bad impression, did not reveal actually what was going on in Germany, overshadowed the constructive work they were doing,” she argued. This was a heady time in Germany. The Third Reich promised hope for a strong, restored Germany. Perhaps the Nazis waxed a bit overzealous, the more astute might concede. But the general citizenry, being peaceable and law-abiding themselves, believed that law and order would prevail. Whether due to moral cowardice or naïve optimism, the effect was a moral impotence by which “Don’t make waves” usually won out over making an incident. Another significant factor was leader worship. The Great War (later called World War I) had been catastrophic for Germany. Since its cessation, the German people had endured chastisement internationally and political and economic chaos internally. Amid this seemingly interminable maelstrom, many saw in Adolph Hitler a magnetic and commanding leader they could believe in, and his personage approached godlike status in the public mind. Accompanying this pseudo, if not blatant, idolatry was a nationalistic fervor that clouded many Germans’ otherwise good judgment and began to supplant reason and healthy skepticism in their minds. Being German was a crucial part of a German citizen’s identity. And, as the Nazis cast it, to be German increasingly meant to be Nazi. It was neither popular nor a simple matter to retain one identity while rejecting the other. And so the Nazi train rolled on, and the German people were carried along with it.

Gleichschaltung This train had been moving at head-spinning speed from day one. Hitler was appointed chancellor on January 30, 1933. The first concentration camp, KZ Dachau, opened on March 22. Jews were not taken there (yet), but hundreds, possibly thousands, of political opponents were sent there for “protective custody.” Discipline was swift and merciless. (“Any pity whatsoever for ‘enemies of the State’ was unworthy of an SS-man,” a guard later attested.) Winter 2011 SALVO 61

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 61

11/18/11 3:33 PM


DEPARTMENT: Camouflage o On March 23, the Enabling Act was passed, essentially placing all government power in Hitler’s hands. And on April 7, the “Aryan Paragraph,” the first of Germany’s far-reaching Aryan laws, went into effect. In less than ten weeks, Adolph Hitler had consolidated power, opened prison camps, and begun dispossessing the Jews. Things were changing rapidly that summer, and the pressure of Gleichschaltung— “synchronization” or “coordination” with National Socialism—was mounting equally rapidly. Most Germans submitted willingly, a phenomenon that became known as Selbstgleichschaltung, or “selfcoordination.”

The Courage to Counter Gleichschaltung One remarkable exception was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose life Eric Metaxas has set forth exquisitely in Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy. By the time the Dodd family arrived in Berlin, Bonhoeffer had been trying to alert German pastors to the threat posed by Nazism for three months. Tragically, most of his colleagues considered his opposition too extreme, and by the fall of 1933, the overwhelming majority of them went along with the Nazis. How was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who at the young age of 27 stood apart from both the Nazis and the established church, able to see what most of his contemporaries missed? According to Metaxas’ account, it was because of specific virtues Bonhoeffer possessed and exercised. One of these was moral clarity. The son of a devout mother, young Dietrich had been immersed in religious training from infancy. He understood that man was capable of great evil, and he therefore had the moral vision from the beginning to see Adolph Hitler for what he was: a would-be tyrant who set himself up as a god in defiance of the real God. But there was more to his approach than a doctrinaire moralism. From his father, a medical doctor dedicated to empirical science, Dietrich had learned to think critically and to give primacy to reason over feelings, and he brought these intellectual disciplines to questions of faith and theology. “There was only one reality, and Christ was Lord of all of it or none.” He also exhibited moral courage. Since Christ was Lord of all of it, Bonhoeffer committed himself to determining and doing what was right before Christ, regardless of what people around him were doing and regardless of the cost to himself personally. A ruthless intellectual, he went to great lengths—consulting the Scriptures, trusted friends, and, through prayer, God himself—to determine the right course of action. “[O]ne cannot simply think about God in one’s own strength, one has to enquire of him,” he wrote. But once he determined on a course of action,

he executed it with faithful resolve and entrusted everything else to God. Finally, Bonhoeffer reserved his worship for God alone. Germany was steeped in liberal theology. Against this lax theological background, Bonhoeffer, a remarkably independent thinker from a young age, reverted to the traditional Lutheran belief in a transcendent God who actually existed and who was able and willing to reveal himself to anyone who earnestly sought him. Convinced of this, he sought to “selfcoordinate” to God first and to man second, if at all. This both simplified and complicated things for Bonhoeffer. It simplified things because, having done his best to determine the right course of action, he was able to rest his case on the mercy of the God he knew to be trustworthy. It complicated things because it set him at odds with the Nazis and rendered him an oddity (or a fool) to Nazi sympathizers, who, in 1933, included most of his fellow Germans.

Learning from History The political machinery for the complete Nazification of Germany was in place by the summer of 1933, but Hitler lacked the military power necessary to carry out his objectives. He therefore could have been stopped at that point if enough Germans had, like Bonhoeffer, refused to go along. Following German failure, Hitler subsequently could have been stopped if European powers had checked his aggression. Even as late as 1936, England and France possessed overwhelming military power compared to Germany. Across the Atlantic, a similar reticence followed. William Dodd warned repeatedly of the Nazi threat upon his return to America in 1938, but the U.S. State Department appointed a successor to Berlin who praised Hitler and the Nazis. The cost of this moral obtuseness and the appeasement that resulted from it was staggering. Estimates of the total death toll attributable to Adolph Hitler range from 20 to 40 million people. Those were real people. With sweeping rhetoric, Hitler promised great things for them, but instead of peace and prosperity, he brought them death and destruction on a mind-numbing scale. Many of them, had they bothered to read Mein Kampf or to compare Hitler’s past actions to his words, would have foreseen their inevitable end. Tragically, very few did. Even more tragically, those few who did see it were generally ignored or dismissed as extremists. But history has vindicated them and convicted their accusers. History has also provided a stark lesson for anyone willing to learn it. Evil can only be stopped through moral strength. Two things are required: the moral vision to see through the façade of smooth words, and the courage to call evil what it is and to stand against it.

62 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 62

11/18/11 3:33 PM


DEPARTMENT o

CROSSHAIRS by Terrell Clemmons

Bill Maher Mr. Know Nothing Background: William “Bill” Maher, Jr., was born in New York City in 1956 and grew up in New Jersey. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English from Cornell University in 1978, he started doing stand-up comedy in and around New York City. He hosted the late-night talk show, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher from 1993 until its cancellation in 2002, and he has hosted the similarly formatted Real Time with Bill Maher since 2003. Maher is a contributing blogger at the Huffington Post and a member of the board of directors of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). He holds the dubious record of having the most Emmy nominations (22) without a win, and, although he talks a lot about sex and his need for it, he has never married. He lives in Los Angeles.

Wanted For: Bill Maher makes his living communicating. His favorite subjects are sex, politics, and religion. As for his delivery, sarcasm (his primary language) and cynicism (a close second) roll off his tongue with the expertise of a skilled practitioner. As for substance, one searches in vain for any rationally coherent intellectual underpinnings for any of his diatribes. They’re just not there. The title of Maher’s first book, a (widely assumed to be autobiographical) tale of young comics in search of sex, laughs, and drugs, published in 1994, captures perfectly the confusion that mars everything Bill Maher says: True Story: A Comedy Novel. Now, does that mean we’re to take the story as true? Or as fiction, something he just made up? There’s no way to tell, and he doesn’t seem to care. Does he even know there’s a difference? The prevailing Maher philosophy seems to be, “I said it. Therefore it is.” As for “the big questions,” Maher has identified himself in past years as an agnostic. More recently, he’s adopted the term “apatheist.” “It’s a combination of apathy and atheist,” he told Piers Morgan. “I don’t know what happens when you die, and I

don’t care.” That’s certainly his prerogative. But he goes one step further, adding, “No one is ever gonna know.” Really? No one? Ever? Apparently, if Maher doesn’t know it, then it cannot be known. Ever.

Most Recent Folly: Although he’s said he doesn’t know, doesn’t care, and doesn’t think about religion very much, he did think about it enough to make a film about it. (Unless he made the film without thinking about it, which is a possibility . . .) Anyway, in 2008, Maher traveled the world and interviewed all manner of “religious” people. “I felt like this is the one topic that needed to be painted on a bigger canvas,” he told ReelzChannel’s Nando Velasquez. That bigger canvas became a 101-minute “mockumentary,” consisting of interview clips, comedic interludes, and Maher’s personal comments and conclusions. He named it Religulous. “Religion is dangerous because it allows human beings who don’t have all the answers to think that they do,” he roundly concludes at the end of the film. “Anyone who tells you they know—they just know—what happens when you die, I promise you, you [sic] don’t. How can I be so sure? Because I don’t know, and you do not possess mental powers that I do not.” Well, there you have it, folks. He who has all the answers has spoken. He doesn’t know; therefore it cannot be known. How does he know that? He knows. He just knows. Winter 2011 SALVO 63

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 63

11/18/11 3:33 PM


COLUMN p

/ / Par tin g S h ot _ wi th H er b L on don /

Wrong Answer Cheating Is Now a Learning Experience?

A

recent, well-publicized cheating scandal at Great Neck High School in New York featured a fact-toting, criminal entrepreneur who was paid to take the SAT test for several college-bound high-school students. My colleagues in academia tell me that cheating is endemic, with papers being written by “service” organizations and plagiarism a national contagion.

Teachers routinely engage in “scrubbing” various tests in an effort to increase the ratio of passing grades. The Atlanta school system was recently indicted for changing student grades in an effort to improve its schools’ performance profile. These stories invite the obvious question: Are conditions worse now than earlier? Clearly, it is impossible to measure what is happening at the moment by some abstract standard from the past. But anecdotal evidence leads me to suspect that cheating is now more prevalent than ever. There are several factors that account for this. One, cheating is easy. The internet is a window on the world. You can sit at your computer or cell phone and access articles from all across the globe. Moreover, copyrights and intellectual property rights are routinely violated within a digital system that doesn’t honor the ownership of ideas. Two, there has been a break-

down in academia’s standards of conduct. In fact, cheating is so ubiquitous on campus that professors often accept it or avert their gaze. Many students do not associate cheating with moral turpitude. As one college student claimed, “what happens in college is unrelated to what occurs in ‘real’ life.” Three, many students rationalize cheating as another form of learning. As one student argued, “I was helping someone or I was taking advantage of technological opportunities.” These rationalizers have convinced themselves that cheating isn’t wrong. Fourth, most students have reached the conclusion that what is really important is “getting ahead.” “The better the grades, the better the graduate school,” is a refrain. If you can cut corners, you’ll save time and energy. Fifth, despite the rationalizations, most students will still admit that cheating is wrong. However, they will also note that

many ­p eople in prominent positions cheat: Presidents Nixon and ­Clinton are invariably cited in student surveys. Athletes taking steroids is another frequently mentioned example. If these people do it, it cannot be a big deal. In a 2002 survey conducted by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, 74 percent of students admitted to cheating on an exam. As I see it, these students were saying, in effect, “Cheating is wrong and society is justified in condemning it, but special circumstances make it okay for me to ignore the rules.” In most instances, cheating students appeal to a “higher,” narcissistic standard in making moral judgments. They haven’t abandoned the notion of integrity; they simply believe that, for them, circumstances often call for bending the rules.

Some Essential Questions Does this explanation suggest that relativism is now the prevailing moral compass for young Americans? I find it hard to arrive at any other conclusion. There is, however, another essential question: Do consciences shut down after cheating episodes? Presumably, cheating is regarded as acceptable because it doesn’t hurt someone else. But one can argue that it hurts those who aren’t cheating and who depend on a fair and honest assessment of their abilities. Furthermore, it adversely affects the person who cheats, since cheating encourages the belief that you can get away with violating prevailing moral norms. Should cheating be treated as a trivial vice, like overeating or gossiping? Or should it be treated as harmful and as a stain on one’s character? As a society, we have an obligation to answer this question and to address as well the growing chorus that contends that cheating is “no big deal.”

64 SALVO Issue 19

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 64

11/18/11 3:33 PM


Be Assured

Liberation Mutual ®

Our new gender insurance policy offers financial peace of mind for parents who encourage their children to decide their own gender. Should the need arise, the cost of new clothes, toys, and bedroom furniture, not to mention surgery and cosmetics, will all be covered. That’s Liberation Mutual.

®

Visit www.liberationmutual.com.

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 65

11/18/11 3:33 PM


SALVO SOCIETY SEX SCIENCE www.salvomag.com

• Subscribe online • Give a gift subscription • Read select new articles online • • Search archived material • Browse all of the fake ads • Check out the Salvo blog • • Purchase back issues • See daily news updates • Discover new resources and links •

• Or even buy a T-Shirt •

Salvo19_Galleys.indb 66

Now phone friendly.

11/18/11 3:33 PM


19

www.salvomag.com

Salvo Magazine  

Issue 19 / Winter 2011

Salvo Magazine  

Issue 19 / Winter 2011

Advertisement