Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bonus Episode: The Wedge Strategy

Play Now!

There are, I believe, a few select documents that, if known, reveal possible reasons behind actions that might otherwise go unappreciated or even unnoticed. I shared the first in my first podcast Bonus Episode. It is time to share the second. In this Bonus Episode: The Wedge Strategy, I read from the The Wedge Strategy, produced by the Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science & Culture.

In this episode, I read both from the Wedge Strategy document (PDF) and from the Wikipedia entry concerning it.

I also offer an apology early on to a listener, as of yet unidentified. I probably deleted a message that listener tried to give me. This accident—again, for which I am truly sorry—got me to pondering whether or not an online forum for listeners to connect should be created.


  1. Hey Jim, thanks for sharing this(appalling)document. G.K Chesterton, in "Orthodoxy" i believe, once wrote: " The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad." though it's an issue to get this out of context, it's applying quite well, it seems, to the situation of christianity in the USA. And to a lesser extent in Europe, where i live(France). The gods of the deserts who once upon a time, and "thanks" to hypocritical and corrupted roman emperors, invade european imaginary landscape are the ennemy of scientific knowledge, because unlike most of the other gods they really claimed territory in the profane, outside of the temples, in Time, where science thrive. So this Wedge garbage is one thing, but the problem is, when you take a look to the history of science (Lemaitre Big bang theory for exemple, or Darwins under a certain light)or read for instance, David Noble's book "the religion of technology" you see religion, and christianity in particular already there.
    Anyway, i don't comment often but i always listen, keep up Jim, you're awesome.

    1. Hey, Vincent!

      ...the problem is, when you take a look to the history of science... you see religion, and christianity in particular already there.

      I see what you mean, especially (for me, at least, given some familiarity with his work) with those that took Darwin out of context or put words into his mouth, interpreting his writings to fit their desires.

      Even Herbert Spencer, his personal friend, did him grave injustice when he appropriated the astronomical term "evolution" — used to signify the inevitable unfolding of events once prior conditions are met — and applied it quite inappropriately to Darwin's theory of natural selection.

      Since Darwin's theory includes as its lynchpin naturally selected but completely random characteristics that appear without predictability, it is unwise to suggest that, for example, any creature must gain prominence in size or intelligence. Darwin himself noted creatures that appear to have evolved from self-sufficient to parasitical, creatures like a barnacle that evolved into a crab's parasite. Ah, but to folks like Spencer and others, this violated the vision of the March of Man — and worse, by association, the Victorian Era's Marches of both Progress and Empire.

      All of these marches that were largely predicated on explaining the ascendance of Western peoples, and helped to justify their excuse that they were merely delivering the benefits of religion to the unchurched heathens with their imperialistic expansions.

      But I babble.

      I hope to surprise you (and other listeners) with the direction I have planned for referencing the Wedge Document here. Like the Powell Memo itself, I believe it became a useful road map for those that didn't necessarily hold religious beliefs at all.

      ...Jim, you're awesome.

      Thank you! You have rouged my cheeks with embarrassment!

    2. hey Jim, what you say is very true, and, in a sens, we kind of find in the ideology of Spencer, and such, the influence of these judeo-christian memes : election, arrow of time with a beginning, an end, and a purpose(time has been predominantly cyclic in other religions, or philosophies), ascent. But it only shows again how western scientific/philosophical imaginary has never been religion free, despite the Enlightenment. I think, in that landscape, the "Intelligent Design" people are not the strangers but, rather,the idiots of the village. By the way, social darwinism should be considered a misnomer, and one of the most delusional and dangerous ideology of the last centuries. Darwin was a careful scientist, and a generous humanist, Spencer, Galton, and others, have betrayed his "spirit". For exemple, perhaps you know that Darwin frankly rejected eugenics in a 1871 letter, to Galton, if i recall well. Outrageous fallacies about Nature have been, and remain, believed because most people are still too uncomfortable with the idea of a thing without a maker, a selection without a selectioner, and a life without a glorious destiny ; they want an intelligible, ultimate, cause, and/or a purpose for everything that happen or is knowable...
      Anyway, can't wait to ear what you have planned.
      On a more musical note, i have to thank you for the discovery of Ga'an, i'm a long time prog rock and prog-psyche-like music listener, always fond of new sounds.

    3. Hey, Vincent,

      ...we kind of find in the ideology of Spencer, and such, the influence of these judeo-christian memes...


      The early Enlightenment "luminaries" (if you will), the early natural philosophers, collected their data points on the natural world to better understand God's Creation. Only after many of these observations started to lead to uncomfortable conclusions did this natural philosophy, this science, start to challenge the Church's creation myth.

      Darwin was a perfect example. After the full impact of his theory finally hit him, finally made him realize that there was no need for the creation of life (consider the final paragraph of On The Origin of Species for a great example), he underwent a crisis that made him mostly sickly and homebound.

      Personality-wise, he was unconfrontational; he realized that his theory was the ultimate confrontation, especially to his wife, who was quite devout.

      And you are absolutely correct:

      ...social darwinism should be considered a misnomer, and one of the most delusional and dangerous ideology of the last centuries.

      No one who has carefully read Darwin would have ever come up with such a silly misreading! It's bad enough that Galton was Darwin's cousin; for him to coin the term "eugenics" is a travesty to ever be associated with his more famous relative.

      However, credit where due. Galton's paper on his findings with guessing the weight of a slaughtered ox includes his surprise that the "common people" might have more collective wisdom than he ever gave them credit: "This result is, I think, more creditable to the trustworthiness of a democratic judgment than might have been expected."

      I'll stop now. I can bloviate on the history of science until the cows are slaughtered. Glad you liked Ga'an! It's repetitive as all get out, but oddly hypnotic.



    4. Hey Jim, thanks for the great supplementary remarks (and the link).

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.