Things had been quiet. Too quiet. So quiet that Orac couldn’t even enjoy his usual recreational pastime of analyzing limericks and jokes linguistically in order to try to understand what made them so amusing to the humans among whom he was forced to exist. Even probing the perturbations in the electromagnetic fields caused by the nearest black hole wouldn’t let him shake this sense that something was going to happen.
Sense? Orac is a computer; how could he have a “sense” of anything? Certainly, computers don’t usually have intuition or a “sense,” but Orac was a much higher order of computer, a computer able to tap into any network anywhere any time, a computer so complex that its circuitry mimicked and in some ways surpassed the complexity of the human brain. So, yes, he did seem to have developed a form of intuition. He inherently did not trust it, because to him it smacked of the irrationality so prevalent among humans. It lacked the logic that he so enjoyed and found so satisfying.
Then he got an incoming message from one of his fellow travellers, PZ Myers. More followed in rapid succssion, from Ed Brayton, Afarensis, RPM, Razib, and Josh Rosenau. The summary came in:
An upcoming television special produced by a Christian broadcaster that features conservative pundit Ann Coulter blames Charles Darwin for Adolf Hitler, RAW STORY has learned.
“Author and Christian broadcaster Dr. D. James Kennedy connects the dots between Charles Darwin and Adolf Hitler in Darwin’s Deadly Legacy, a groundbreaking inquiry into Darwin’s chilling social impact,” announces a press release issued by Florida’s Coral Ridge Ministries. “The new television documentary airs nationwide on August 26 and 27 on The Coral Ridge Hour.”
“To put it simply, no Darwin, no Hitler,” says Dr. Kennedy. “Hitler tried to speed up evolution, to help it along, and millions suffered and died in unspeakable ways because of it.”
Fourteen scholars, scientists, and authors featured on the show “outline the grim consequences of Darwin’s theory of evolution and show how his theory fueled Hitler’s ovens,” according to the press release.
This was bad. Very, very bad. Orac knew he was too late to save the brains (such as they were) of the pundits on the show. Clearly the monster had fed long and deeply on many brains for such an atrocity of argumentum ad Nazium to have been produced. He also knew that, given the poor quality of the fare it had just consumed, the Undead FÃ¼hrer would still be quite hungry. But he might yet be able to do something. Orac sounded the alarm, and, without consulting the crew, changed the Liberator’s heading to Earth, something that never failed to irritate the humans with whom he traveled. But some things were more important.
Several weeks prior:
The atmosphere at the meeting room was one of intense debate, with tension so thick that you could almost cut it with the proverbial knife (clichÃ© be damned). Dr. D. James Kennedy was meeting with Michael Behe, Phillip Johnson, Lee Strobel, and Ian Taylor, all luminaries of the “intelligent design” creationism movement (if one could actually use that word “luminary” to describe anyone associated with ID). They had been discussing a television special that would highlight their favorite pseudoscience and, of course, attack evolution in general and their most hated icon, Darwin, in particular. But they were having difficulties coming up with ideas. Every straw man attack, every misrepresentation of evolution, all of it had been rebutted scientifically many times before. They needed a new angle. The discussion had been going around and around for hours, without any consensus over what form or what emphasis the show should take. It was getting late.
The door to the room opened.
There, standing in the doorway were Richard Weikart and Ann Coulter. Excellent, thought Kennedy. I knew Weikert would show up, but I wasn’t sure if Coulter would accept our invitation. He turned to look at them and paused. Although the weather outside was over 90 degrees and the air conditioning had been a bit dodgy, they were both wearing large, furry hats that completely covered the tops of their heads, a particularly incongruous look for Ann Coulter, who was wearing a rather short leather skirt that did not flatter her in the least. Most strange, thought Kennedy, as they entered the room, leaving the door ajar.
“Hello,” said Kennedy, standing up to shake their hands.
“Hello,” replied Coulter. “I think Richard and I have figured out just the angle you need for your television special to attack the liberal fascists.”
“Excellent, excellent!” said Kennedy. “Are you proposing that we tie it in with your new book Godless? That would be great publicity!”
“Well, yes, but not exactly,” said Coulter.
“Surely, you’ve read my work,” interjected Weikart.
“Of course, of course,” said Kennedy, who was now sweating profusely, and not because Coulter was wearing clothes more suited to a 22 year old than a 45 year old. Weikart’s book From Darwin to Hitler was well known to him.
“Then I’m sure you’ll be happy to meet my friend, who’ll help you understand what I propose.”
“Sure,” Kennedy. “By the way, so you smell anything?”
“Like what?” said Coulter.
“Like rotting meat,” replied Kennedy.
“Yeah, I noticed it too when Weikart opened the door,” chimed in Behe.
“Don’t worry about it,” said Weikart. “Let me just bring my friend in to introduce you to.”
He turned to the door, stepped briefly out, motioning to the right, and then entered the room again, standing right next to the door expectantly.
Then, it stepped–or more like shambled– through the door, a skeletal being, with shards of charred and rotting flesh barely hanging on to its bones, but somehow still with a small mustache recognizable, as well as a Nazi military uniform.
“Brrraaaaaaiiiinnns!” cried the creature*, as it lunged forward, skeletal hands reaching for Kennedy’s head.
No, it couldn’t be, thought Kennedy (although he now understood where the hats came from–to hide big chunks taken out of Weikart’s and Coulter’s skulls). He pulled out his cross and held it in front of him, firm in the belief that his God would not let him die at the hands of this most unholy of creatures.
Unfortunately, Kennedy had his horror movies wrong. This wasn’t a vampire, but rather a zombie, and, in fact, a zombie with very particular tastes. It slapped his cross aside, embedding it in the nearby wall, grasped Kennedy’s head firmly between its skeletal hands, and fed.
Coulter and Weikart closed and locked the door, standing in front of it to prevent any from escaping the creature.
The screams continued for several minutes, and then stopped.
Only to be followed by a cry from a voice that echoed from beyond the grave, “Mooorrre braaaaiinnns!”**
Abel and Orac materialized in the conference room. Abel placed Orac on the table around which the Kennedy and crew had been meeting.
“Report,” said Orac. “What do you observe?”
“Holy crap, there’s old dried blood everywhere!” Abel, not being a physician and not having observed the aftermath of such carnage before, looked distinctly wobbly.
“There’s little bits of—it’s brain, I think! But it’s all dried up.”
“As I feared,” said Orac. “We’re too late. The monster struck a while ago and has already moved on.” Lights flickered as Orac considered.
“Look here,” said Abel.
“What is it?”
“It’s a DVD labeled Preview: Darwin’s Deadly Legacy.”
“The product of the monster, no doubt,” observed Orac. “Play it.”
Abel placed the DVD in a nearby player, and the TV flickered to life, to show this.
There was a long silence, broken only by the whirring of Orac’s circuits.
“Truly, the monster has fed upon many brains today,” said Orac. “This is perhaps the most moronic invocation of Hitler and the Nazis ever. Well, maybe not as moronic as this one, but it’s far more pernicious because it has a superficial air of credibility, of reasonableness–that is, if you don’t know a lot about the Holocaust and evolution.”
“There are a number of fallacies in just the preview alone. Really, an historian like Weikart ought to know better. Here’s the most egregious and ignorant example: Note how he harps on the fact that the Nazis used the word ‘selection’ when the doctors met each new transport to the camps when they selected who would die and who would live as ‘evidence’ that these ‘selections’ were intended as ‘helping evolution along.’ He’s either lying or his brain’s been chomped by the monster, or both. ‘Selection’ was indeed the term that the Nazis used for what the physicians did when each new trainload of Jews arrived. They did indeed ‘select’ who would go straight to the gas chambers. However a purpose any further from Darwinian one could not imagine. In Darwinian ‘selection,’ there is an implication of reproductive success or failure based on traits selected for. In the camps, the only thing ‘selection’ meant is the difference between dying immediately in the gas chambers or dying later of overwork, starvation, and/or disease, and the only basis of this ‘selection’ was whether the prisoner looked healthy enough to work. A historian of World War II would–and should–know that equating the ‘selection’ that occurred at the camps with natural selection is utterly specious.”
“But what about social Darwinism?” asked Abel.
“”A perversion of evolution that many saw plausible because it gave a rationale to support the current social structure. After all, if those in charge are in charge, it must be because they are ‘fitter’ or more worthy. It’s nothing more than the old concept of divine right gussied up with pseudoscientific appeals to Darwinism.”
“But the Nazis did try to eliminate what they termed ‘life unworthy of life’ or ‘useless eaters.’ Wasn’t that an attempt to guide evolution?”
“Yes and no. The rationale for the T4 euthanasia program and its successor program (known as ‘wild euthanasia’ because it was essentially unregulated) was not explicitly an appeal to evolution. Indeed the concept was more to free up resources for the war effort. The Nazis frequently pointed out how much money it took to support one ‘imbecile’ and how these ‘useless eaters’ had to be cared for by Aryans who might be better used either as soldiers (if male) or supporting the war effort or raising good German children (if female). The Nazis also made analogies to germ theory, likening their enemies to ‘tuberculosis’ or ‘microbes’ infecting the body of the volk. You might just as plausibly blame the Holocaust on Pasteur using these idiots’ logic. In fact, it’s far more plausible to blame the Holocaust on German biologist Ernst Haeckel than on Charles Darwin.”
“I see where you’re going,” said Abel, ” but what about the selective breeding of the SS?”
“”Farmers bred animals for various traits centuries before Darwin ever lived without any concept of evolution. Selective breeding was nothing new when Darwin lived; what Darwin proposed was a mechanism by which selection could occur with no intervention by man. What Hitler did was nothing more than selective breeding. It’s downright silly to claim, ‘No evolution, no Hitler.’ All the ingredients for the Holocaust would have existed if Darwin had never lived. That Nazi racial hygeinists sometimes used language that invoked concepts of social Darwinism doesn’t change that. Hitler tried to coopt Christianity and God all the time to justify his treatment of the Jews. Would Kennedy blame the Holocaust on Christianity? There’s at least as good an argument for that.”
“So what do we do now?”
“Notice who was advertised as being affiliated with this project: Francis Collins.”
“Yes, I couldn’t believe it when I heard it,” said Abel. “Do you think his brain’s been chomped as well.”
“I fear it may be so, but there is reason to hope that he has not.”
“What reason?” asked Abel.
“Collins has repudiated any involvement in this project. However, he has no one to blame but himself for being slimed by this; he put himself in a situation where it might happen. There are no depths to which Kennedy and his fellow ID shills won’t sink, as he has now found out. I sense that he is in great danger, though. His rhetoric and sucking up to evangelicals has placed him in a position where the monster might find him a tempting target. After all, if the monster could get Michael Ruse, there’s no reason to think he couldn’t get Francis Collins as well.”
“So what do we do?”
“We must find him before the monster does,” said Orac.
“Orac?” said Abel.
“What is it?” replied Orac testily.
“What is that smell?”
“You must teleport us now!” hissed Orac. “Now! Unless you want to find yourself appearing on Darwin’s Deadly Legacy as a guest!”)
….TO BE CONTINUED
*Translated from the German, of course!
**Again, translated from the German, of course!