Intelligent Design and the Armenians' Genocide
In early 2005, I had written an essay entitled, "The Creationism of the Armenian Genocide," exploring how the politics, obsession and wealth of both the genocidists and the Creationists (or their "scientific" successors, the Intelligent Designers) affect society's acceptance of a version of events that has little to do with the truth.
Let's explore these parallels in greater depth, using the revelations of the documentary as a guide. (The reader is reminded that the documentary has a point-of-view, a view that I happen to share. One must be wary of accepting every claim at face value, and the necessary research has not been conducted here to verify the film’s claims.) The power of the religious right (in the case of the USA), able to chip away at the separation between church and state, is not a problem peculiar to the United States. Now that the Islamists are gaining greater power in Turkey, the principles of Darwin are being attacked in Turkish schools, as well.
Here's a look at the background of the evolutionary wars:
The documentary begins by explaining the first phase of the "Evolutionary Wars" took place in 1999-2000, when Creationism was unleashed in force. The second phase began in 2004, when the forces behind Creationism realized fire and brimstone could only go so far, and a more "scientific" solution was called for, named "Intelligent Design."
In 1860, the religious forces were dealt a crushing blow when "Darwin's Bulldog," Thomas Henry Huxley, took on Bishop "Soapy Sam" Wilberforce, in a clash sponsored by the Oxford Debating Society. When Scopes, a science teacher, was convicted for teaching evolution in a sleepy Tennessean town, Clarence Darrow made a monkey out of William Jennings Brian in the Scopes Monkey Trial (1925), as those who recall "Inherit the Wind" may attest.
|From a newsreel: the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial|
However, the film does not tell us Scopes was convicted in this kangaroo court; his conviction was later overturned on a technicality. We have had "genocide" counterparts of such show trials, as in the cases of Prof. Bernard Lewis in France, and Dogu Perincek in Switzerland. The forces of politics and prejudice are so powerful in the case of genocide, these men had to be found guilty, regardless of the evidence. (In Lewis' case, the court irresponsibly refused to consider history, yet still threw out three of the four cases, and in the remaining case, the court ordered Lewis to pay one franc each to the two plaintiffs, and a contribution to the plaintiffs' court costs. In Perincek's case, the biased judge turned a complete blind eye to the irrefutable evidence presented, including Russian documents, fining the defendant thousands of dollars.)
150 years after Darwin's "Origin of the Species" was published, Americans are still not overwhelmingly convinced; 35% believe evolution is supported by the evidence, another 35% dismiss evolution as one of many theories, and 29% don't know. (And as Olson wittily points out, leaving 1% of the poll unaccounted for.)
"The neat part about this country is you can
agree to disagree," remarked a conservative
Christian from Kansas, whom Olson interviewed.
A necessity of civilization and freedom that some
European nations, as France, Switzerland and
Austria, have forgotten.
The chief scientist the forces of Intelligent Design call upon is Dr. Michael Behe, a biochemist at Lehigh University, and author of 1995's Darwin's Black Box. His favorite way of explaining Intelligent Design, making it comprehensible to the dumber ones among us, is this: If you were to ask how the Rocky Mountains got there, the answer would be along the lines of a geological process, erosion or some such thing. But Mount Rushmore? Someone carved that, allowing us to detect the effects of intelligent activity. Intelligent Design detects effects of intelligence in life.
(Later in the film, when a pastor from a Pennsylvanian school board drives home the same point, it's amusing when the filmmaker keeps reminding the pastor that it was humans who carved Mount Rushmore. But I am now thinking of another flaw in this analogy. Since God gets the credit for creating everything, and as much as John Denver got a high out of them, what is so intelligent about the Rocky Mountains?)
But Olson is ahead of the game, as he next presents a few scientific testimonials demonstrating the lack of "Intelligent Design." (This is the great thing about filming a documentary to push one's point-of-view. One always has the power to make a fool of the other camp. A delirious example is Andrew Goldberg's PBS-sponsored "Armenian Genocide" propaganda show, where even the rare truth allowed to slip through — the testimony of Gunduz Aktan explaining why there could have been no genocide — was allowed to be called "garbage" by Ara Sarafian. In this case, however, anyone taking the trouble to scratch a little more deeply beneath the easy surface could see where the real garbage lay.) And so we have a professor explaining that the human heart comes from the reptilian heart, which comes from the fish heart, containing only one measly coronary artery, leading to poor circulation and great vulnerability; and an animated Dr. James Hanken explains the shortcomings of the digestive systems of cows and horses, but it's the rabbit who gets the grand prize for unintelligent design; the rodent's food travels past its stomach & intestines, the matter is excreted, and it is at this point that the rabbit eats the nutritious (and non-fecal) excretion, allowing the matter to finally go through the intestines. (Hanken does concede cases of Intelligent Design, as with the eye, but exclaims that for every one case of such intelligence, there are ten cases of unintelligence.)
After Dr. Behe states that Intelligent Design is not a religion, no more than Mount Rushmore's design is a religious conclusion, he stresses that Intelligent Design is based on physical evidence. Film Director Olson then took the opportunity to ask Dr. David Bottier (University of Southern California) whether evolution could be considered a religion. Part of the professor's response was, "I think of science as something that is continually changing, whereas religion is something that is fixed in its ideas."
Now is that not a beautiful parallel to the genocide debate. The genocidists are banking on the perspective of Turks as subhuman creatures, prone to commit violence, and thus, of course, the poor, helpless, innocent and Christian Armenians were subjected to the Terrible Turks' extermination policy. They have no factual evidence, all of their evidence derives from hearsay and forgeries, but it really does not matter; their belief is a religious belief, based primarily upon prejudice. Note the bigoted genocidists almost never refer to the Turks and others who suffered in droves of the same non-murderous causes (famine, disease) that claimed the lives of most Armenians, and they certainly ignore completely the hundreds of thousands of Turks and others that their "innocent" Armenians systematically killed.
And who can argue with the statement of "science as something that is continually changing"? That is true of any science; when new and better information comes along, it is the duty of a true scientist to reject the old notions and to acknowledge the more valid facts. (As much as it hurts our ingrained belief systems to do so; who wants to stop thinking of Pluto as a planet, for example?) In other words, "revisionism" goes with the business of science, history and of scholarship in general. Now, the genocidists use that word with disdain when they attack the real historical facts, implying that the revisionist's goal is always to dishonestly engage in manipulation, in order to challenge the old notion that, to the genocidists, must remain "fixed in its ideas." All the genocidists wind up doing, by countering the character of their challengers instead of countering the facts of their challengers with BETTER facts, is prove what poor scholars and charlatans the genocidists really are. (They are also neglecting the fact that they are the real "revisionists." After WWI, Armenian leaders were not stressing "genocide," but bragging about their belligerence and treacherous alliance with the Allies.)
The film reviews the concept of evolution, its central idea resting in the mechanism of change through Natural Selection: When the environment changes, species must change along with it, in order to survive. As an example, the dodo became extinct because people brought cats and dogs into the island the dodos inhabited, endangering the eggs of the dodo. (I always thought the Europeans who came in recklessly killed the dodo for food, and the flightless bird was a sitting duck; yet a professor on the program claimed the dodo apparently did not taste very good.) Skeletons of animals are examined to demonstrate "Adaptation"; the teeth in skulls serve as one example, and the pelvic bones in sperm whales, left over by their legged ancestors.
Interestingly, we are informed that Intelligent Design experts mostly accept the evidence for evolution, such as the
earth's being 4.6 billion years old (Biblical believers, by contrast, go for a life span of around 6,000 years), and that over 90% of human DNA is shared with chimps. In other words, the Intelligent Designers have truly made sure to distance themselves from the the non-scientific ideas of Creationists, and the core of their concept rests with "Irreducible Complexity," the idea that some structures and organisms are so complex that there is no way evolution alone could have created them. There had to be something else at work, an intelligent designer guiding it all.
We next get into the stage of teaching evolution in the classroom, a most relevant parallel with the genocide debate. Once impressionable youngsters are taught the myth of the Armenian genocide in American classrooms, they learn that Turks were no better than the Nazis, breeding the racism that hateful Armenian extremists would love to share with the rest of humanity.
The film tells us that the evolutionists say there is only one thing to teach in biology class, evolution. It's science and involves only natural explanations as to how species originated and changed over time. Their Intelligent Design opponents counter, however, that evolution has flaws, and there are many other equally viable explanations; all of which add up to what they feel is a controversy, and their message is to "teach the controversy."
Director Olson regrets that Behe has no evolution counterpart, a champion who goes around fighting for evolution in conferences and the like. A former educator of his, Steven Jay Gould, was one, but he died in 2002.
Here's a big parallel with the genocide world. The Intelligent Designers have the obsession and the money to arrange conferences (and to utilize other tactics such as influencing school boards, manipulating the media, and so forth) to spread the word. Nobody from the opposing team is present in these conferences (by film's end, we learn there is one evolutionist who attends such conferences, but it turns out he is really on the Intelligent Designers' team. [Dr. John Angus, a senior fellow with the Discovery Institute.] Sneaky!), and the reason given is that there are no evolutionists who care to attend these conferences, because Intelligent Design is not real science.
Similarly, don't we know that the genocide industry gives closed door genocide conferences all the time, preaching their hateful agendas to the rest of the lazy-thinking world; these forces have the obsession and deep pockets to do so, and even if contra-genocide specialists wished to attend such conferences, they would not be allowed to. The genocidists are aware the factual content of their propaganda is so fragile, it wouldn't take much to create doubt in the minds of those the genocidists hope to corrupt. This is why the genocidists concentrate on the ad hominem attacks they frequently engage in, hoping to damage the credibility of the true scientists and historians who know there was no Armenian genocide. As a result, there are very few historians who wish to enter this debate, with the knowledge that such dangerous and unscrupulous people can harm the historians' precious reputations. This is the downside of being the underdog; the ones in power write the rules. If the evolution debate was such that Intelligent Designers had the upper hand, you can bet the people in charge would be behaving similarly, engaged in underhanded tactics such as calling the evolutionists "deniers," and attempting to reduce them to the level of crackpots. (During "Evolutionary Wars I," when they were Creationists, they somewhat went this route, telling the evolutionists that they are destined for Hell; but this strategy did not go far, and that is why they've toned down their fanatical attitude, and are now focusing on pseudo-science.)
|The passionate evolutionist.|
Director Olson presents a round-table discussion of poker playing evolutionists, eight sharing evolution Ph.D.'s. The most passionate of these unnamed men declares that Intelligent Design is "mendacity" (meaning the tendency to be untruthful, a word more than valid for the Armenian genocidists), adding that Intelligent Design is a movement by and for lawyers. He proceeds to make fun of their principles, for example, by throwing the question at them, "Who is that intelligent agent?" with the answer boiling down to "I don't know." (Yet in the documentary, several believers, from a conservative Republican school board member to Dr. Behe himself, make no bones about identifying the agent; that would be God, of course. In the case of Behe, it's ironic, because he initially went to great lengths explaining that there is no religion in Intelligent Design.)
One of them says, "I really think part of it is rhetorical and we should stop talking about the theory of evolution and we should start talking about the fact of evolution, because evolution is a fact."
In other words, get aggressive, and stop dilly-dallying around. Similarly, contra-genocidists should stop being constantly on the defensive, explaining through fact after fact after fact why there was no Armenian genocide (because the religious-minded are simply irrational, and the facts are next-to- meaningless), and start concentrating on the reality that it was the Armenians who engaged in the true systematic extermination policy, when they held regions of Eastern Anatolia on and off between 1915-1920, with and without their Russian allies, and a portion of Southeastern Anatolia after the war, with their French allies. The Armenians engaged in what was the real genocide, conforming to the rules of the 1948 U.N. Genocide Convention. (Their defenseless victims — since the Turkish men were away, fighting the war — were targeted for no other reason than for being who they were, not fitting in with the Christian-Armenian prototype, as the "as such" requirement of the Convention's Article II requires; these victims were not fighting back, and did not form a political group; meanwhile, the "intent" factor to exterminate is there for all to see, from the testimonies of their Russian and French allies, for one, as well as the 1919 report of Armenian-sympathizers Niles and Sutherland, for another, as well as internal Ottoman reports. By contrast, the evidence for "Armenian genocide" derives from hearsay and forgeries. In the rare case where a U.S. consul witnessed corpses, he could not even connect the killers with the Ottoman government.)
Olson compares the evolutionary wars to a prize fight. In one corner, "weighing in with 150 years of knowledge," is the
champion, evolution. In the other corner is the Intelligent Design movement, "which momentarily seems to have the upper hand." At least the side representing "mendacity" in this case needs to fight its way from the bottom, which is far better than when the dishonest, harmful and fanatical forces have the upper hand, counting on unthinking political correctness, and freely using underhanded tactics to retain their claim to the throne. At the moment, the "genocide war" is not even a match, a fact that should be of great concern to everyone who values the truth.
Olson wonders, "Scientists alone are not enough to create a social movement. Who was behind the promoting of Intelligent Design in our society?" One name kept cropping up, that of John Calvert, a geologist and attorney who had taken on Intelligent Design as his life's mission, traveling the country to promote and defend the concept. We also meet the conservative author and filmmaker, Jack Cashill, who discusses the situation in Kansas (i.e., the way the Kansas school board handled the issue), terming Darwin a "borderline hoax," and emphasizing that the anti-Darwin movement has been taken over from the Creationists, by agnostics and non-religious people. (Cashill was so sharp and engaging, if Olson were to devote more screen time on the man, I suspect a lot of evolution-minded folks would have been second-guessing themselves.)
(However, here is a good example of why we must always remain on guard regarding things that we are told, that is, we must try to maintain a healthy skepticism. When Cashill reported that the Anti-Darwin movement had been taken away from Creationists by agnostics and non-religious people, of course I paid attention. Obviously non-religious people will have much less of a conflict-of-interest, and if they are saying Intelligent Design has merit, then I would listen more attentively to such people. On the other hand, Is that an accurate statement? Perhaps there are a couple of people like that, but who are they? Even the ones featured in this film who tried to come across as non-religious, as Dr. Behe himself, admitted later that God is their man. If non-religious people are looking into Intelligent Design as genuine science, then who becomes the creator of this Intelligent Design? Martians? Klingons, perhaps? It is logical that the only contender could be God, and if these agnostics or non-religious people give God the credit, then it would be difficult to see them as agnostics or non-religious people.)
(That is to say, since the human mind is too limited to know for sure the answers to how the universe was created, it is possible to allow for the existence of a supreme entity, without being religious. But if these "agnostics and non-religious people" actively support the hand of God by going on record about how great Intelligent Design is, instead of passively allowing for the possibility that, who knows, maybe there is a God, then they would stop being agnostics and non-religious people.)
The realists on the Kansas School Board had been outvoted on almost every issue by the six member conservative Republican majority. (A majority member admits that the Kansas Republican Assembly, representing the far right wing of the Republicans, helped raise the funds for her election.) One admirable woman, Sue Gamble, described as a "moderate Republican" on the school board, made very insightful comments throughout the film; she was troubled, at this point of the production, by the majority board members "trying to interject concepts into the science standards that would have explanations other than the natural one."
One of the poker-playing evolutionists commented, "All these matters speak to truth in government and transparency in government and when you can compromise the truth in textbooks, through quasi-governmental bodies like the school board or when you can quash government reports, it all leads to the same place, it leads to a breakdown of democracy." And isn't that the truth! That's what the lawsuit still brewing in Massachusetts boils down to: why is the Massachusetts school board censoring the contra-genocide standpoint, the one in keeping with historical facts, and not hateful propaganda?
And this is a point where the contra-genocide perspective comes more in line with the Intelligent Designers; the genocidists have succeeded so wildly with their falsehoods, thanks to their immense power, prejudice and propaganda (along with Turkish apathy), now the historical truth (that there was really no Ottoman extermination plan against Armenians) has become a "controversy." And this is the ace-in-the-hole of the Intelligent Designers. They are saying, since there is more than one view on evolution, why not "teach the controversy," as Jack Cashill is shown to be urging. This is the way the Intelligent Designers can sneak in their Godly non-science, you see, crashing through that separation of church and state.
Interesting dilemma, isn't it? On one hand, we have the principles of Darwin, which is much more than a mere theory at this stage of the game, representing the real science. If the nonsense of Intelligent Design is introduced into the classrooms, in order to be fair to the religious-minded, then a great disservice would be committed toward the concept of education, helping to corrupt the minds of the students. On the other hand, there are reasonable people who don't come from the perspective of religious fanaticism, as Cashill struck me (at least from the things he was stating onscreen; it could have been a front to disarm the critics of Intelligent Design, just as the religious administration of Turkey claims they are for secularism, but once in power, try to sneak in their religious agenda), and could genuinely believe in Intelligent Design as a "science."
But in the long run, simply because these folks are mistaken (or even deluded), innocently or not, and believe in a version of events, does not mean alternative views must always find a place in the classroom. This is why we must rely on honorable people without agendas to ensure that the truth, and nothing but the truth, must be taught our children.
|Dr. Steve Case: A smart guy|
As one of these professionals tell us later in the film (this would be Dr. Steve Case; the ten member school board in Kansas approves standards of teaching for the state, but someone has to write these standards. Dr. Case serves as chairman of the writing committee), "Intelligent Design opens the doorway a little bit by changing the nature of science, establishing a supernatural foundation." Dr. Case continues:
"The theology that these guys are promoting is a really destructive theology... where God lives in the gaps of our understanding, and irreducible complexity is a beautiful example of that. They say that the universe is so complex, that we cannot understand it. So the question a kid is going to have is, well, why would we do science? If we're not going to get it anyway, what a waste of time. But, you know, the thing is, for a child then to adopt that theology, that means the more you learn, the smaller God gets. Because He's in where we don't understand. Well, that means we are setting kids up to be anti-intellectual, or have a crisis of faith where they reject their faith. Neither one of those things should be going on in a public school, that's not what we do."
The problem is, of course, what happens when the elected leaders' first consideration is not the truth, but their own warped agendas, or religious beliefs? When this takes place in the form of the teaching of the "Armenian genocide," the repercussions are far from innocent. When school board members, as in the cases of those from the Los Angeles school district or in the cities of Massachusetts, give credence to this genocide mythology, because of the board members' own prejudices, or because they feel it is the politically correct thing to do, or because they are influenced or pressured by the Armenian activists among them... and they forget their duty to examine all sides of the story to arrive at an objective and truthful conclusion... then the children walk away with the belief that a certain branch of humanity has it in them to be monsters. Furthermore, when this certain branch of humanity is singled out, and other human branches are never touched (note that the hypocritical school boards don't feel the responsibility to give equal time to all the many other historical examples of "Man's Inhumanity to Man," save for the politically chosen few), then the license is provided to feel hatred all the more, toward the designated villains.
So what do you think happens when activist Armenians make a point of
hitting school boards, as the one from Kansas above... particularly when
the Armenians present their "genocide" arguments unchallenged, since
Turkish-Americans are often in their own worlds, and are unaware of
such meetings? School board members don't even need to be so devoutly
Christian to sympathize with the poor, innocent Armenians at the hands of
the brutal Turks, suckered in as they are to do the politically right thing, feeling
it is their duty to teach students about "human rights," and of the evilness of
genocides. Such board members rarely consider that there may be another
side to the story, and that they serve as accomplices to promote hatred
and racism. (Unless the meeting is the extremely rare one where Turks attend;
and board members have the honor to consider the actual facts, as occurred
in 1999 Wisconsin.)
The forces for evolution boycotted the Kansas hearings in 1999, sending one lawyer against twenty-five Intelligent Design experts; Cashill opined the lawyer was "obnoxious." Here again, the forces of Intelligent Design represented the side of the underdog, on similar plane as the contra-genocide perspective of the genocide debate. Deborah Lipstadt is outraged that she should even acknowledge what Holocaust deniers have to say, and it is hard not to sympathize, because we all know the Holocaust definitely took place.
However, it's one thing when her opponents are looney Sieg-Heil'ing types, and another if they are legitimate historians with track records who have objections (for whatever reasons; maybe they are anti-Semitic, but maybe they're not). If Deborah Lipstadt is certain of her facts, then as distasteful as she might find doing so, she must let her facts speak for themselves. The worst thing Lipstadt and her "genocide scholar" ilk can do is go after the character of her "legitimate" opponents, and encourage (indirectly, in Lipstadt's case; she was not in favor of the idea, but her efforts encouraged such a result) their imprisonment (as what happened with David Irving in Austria). We may not like what the other guys say, but we must defend their right to say it. Otherwise, tomorrow, the ones getting censored and threatened with imprisonment could be us.
Here is the great damage caused by the "I'm not going to discuss your notion that there is no Holocaust, you're crazy" crowd characterized by Lipstadt and company. The unscrupulous Dashnak "end-justifies-the-means" Armenian extremists noticed their opportunity to take advantage of the strategy, and attempted to liken their phony genocide with the Holocaust, just so they can cash in on the idea of dismissing the honorable historians as neo-Nazi types, in order to stifle the debate they know will expose their false version of history. (Peter Balakian cleverly went this route, and actually placed Justin McCarthy in the same category as a "white supremacist"; similarly, Harut Sassounian aided in forcing an editor out of The Los Angeles Times, by implying the editor was somehow linked with the distinguished historian, Andrew Mango, whom Sassounian wrote was like "David Irving, the infamous Holocaust revisionist.") And Jewish Holocaust scholars sadly go along for the ride, because they have their own Holocaust agendas, and irrationally fear that telling the truth about the Armenians will cast doubt upon the Holocaust. (David A. Harris, the Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, wrote in his "Truth and Consequences: Armenians, Turks and Jews" essay of August 21, 2007 that digging in to the truth of the Armenian matter “does not bode well for those who would oppose Holocaust denial,” echoing Kenneth Stern's words.) But if the Holocaust scholars are going to be untruthful about the Armenians, what else are they being untruthful about? Don't they realize they are endangering the credibility of the Holocaust?
It seems to me that if a real scientist goes up against an Intelligent Designer, the Intelligent Designer would stand no chance. (Think of the scene in "Inherit the Wind," where Spencer Tracy's character — based on Clarence Darrow — completely pulverized his opponent, by showcasing the inconsistencies of the unscientific Bible.) Similarly, if a Holocaust believer goes up against a Holocaust denier, the latter will not stand a chance either, as Lipstadt demonstrated in her court battle with David Irving. (I believe Irving finally had to concede, in face of the overwhelming evidence, that yes, there was a Holocaust.... which makes one wonder why he got imprisoned by the Austrians. On the other hand, because the conclusion is correct does not mean everything said about the Holocaust is necessarily correct, especially when the genocide field has become so disgustingly politicized; the reason why Holocaust scholars wish to stifle debate very likely has to do with their desire to not have anything questioned *, which would certainly not be in keeping with true scholarship.)
( * As an example, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has revised the figure of WWII's Jewish mortality down to a median of 5.25 million; holocaust scholars should know better than to keep repeating six million.)
Everything should be up for intellectual (as opposed to "hate language") discussion, and censorship should never be encouraged. And (unless they are out of their minds) even, or perhaps especially, when the opponent is a racist. Look at the Armenian genocide theorists... men such as Morgenthau, Bryce, Lepsius, Theodore Roosevelt... who among them is not an anti-Turkish racist? That does not necessarily mean everything they say is invalid, however; nor does it mean that the invalid things they do say should not be addressed, particularly when Armenian genocide evaluators give credence to these people.
If people are wrong, their lack of facts will let them down. As the passionate poker-playing evolutionist put it, after expressing his contempt for the "Yahoos" and "ignoramuses" interfering with public education: "One should never mock one's religious beliefs... but when... they start saying things that are manifestly wrong, that are manifestly ignorant, I think people ought to stand up and say, 'You're an idiot.'" Now you just know when this professor goes up against an Intelligent Designer, he is likely going to make mincemeat out of the Intelligent Designer. Similarly, if an educated contra-genocider goes up against a "genocide scholar," you know the latter is not going to stand a chance. The difference is, the evolutionist professor seems too contemptuous of the Intelligent Designer to even want to debate, whereas the genocide scholar capitalizes on the Deborah Lipstadt type of contempt reserved for Holocaust deniers, in the case of the Armenians; this is done so that the chances of the genocide scholar to land in an embarrassing debate will be minimized. The Armenian Genocidist simply does not possess the legitimate facts, and therefore the Armenian Genocidist must avoid debate at all costs, in the preservation of his/her dishonest agenda; otherwise, the Armenian Genocidist will run the risk of appearing as the "idiot" he or she really is. (Here's an example of a clash between two specialists in both camps; note how amateurish the Armenian Genocidist comes across as, in scholarly comparison. For good measure, here is another example. To try and come out on top, the genocidists kept lying through their teeth.)
Dr. Case further informs us, "John (Calvert) will argue now that the Ohio Science Academy adopted a definition of science that is open to Intelligent Design. Well, what John doesn't tell you is, he went to Ohio, wrote that definition and helped get it adopted in the political process, and now he is using that as scientific credibility for this change in the nature of science." Isn't that just like the sneaky, underhanded tactics of the pro-Armenians. For example, Taner Akcam retires from his life-threatening career of supporting PKK terrorism against his Turkish homeland, Vahakn Dadrian sees the importance of having a "Turkish" agent for the Armenian Cause, recruits the Kurdish-Turk by helping him write a dissertation (given that Akcam's books are copy-paste jobs of Dadrian's works, one can bet Dadrian's hand was heavily involved throughout the paper that earned Akcam his Ph.D.), Dadrian co-approves the dissertation with the help of a fellow genocide scholar, and it's not long before Akcam is given a job in a U.S. university as a "scholar" and then suddenly a "professor," with the financing help of Armenian foundations. The Armenians wind up with the "scientific credibility" of having a "Turk" vouch for their mythology, helping to pull the wool over the eyes of the ignorant and prejudiced public.
A talking head describes Calvert as "quixotic," helpfully defined onscreen as "Caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals; idealistic without regard to practicality." No doubt many genocide fanciers are motivated by the same, thinking they are serving a noble cause as well, since genocide is, after all, the worst crime against humanity. Too bad they forget, at least in the case of the Armenian matter, that their first observance must always rest with the facts.
"Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth?" is one of the sources of information the filmmaker had issues with; this one served as Dr. Behe's top three Intelligent Design books. Olson particularly did not care for the book's subtitle, "Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong," pointing to the second word as a "hefty accusation."
Jonathan Wells, the author of "Icons," chooses eleven standard examples used in the teaching of evolution, what he calls the icons of evolution. Olson tells us, "We don't have time to go through all of his examples, but if even one of them is wrong, then we have to wonder about his whole book." (That's a rule of thumb we need to remember when we take apart the claims of the Armenian genocidists, as they hardly get anything right.) Olson, a former embryologist himself, chose to focus on Haeckel's Embryos (1874); it turns out Haeckel committed scientific fraud with his drawings of embryos. Wells attempted to discredit the study of evolution by claiming that Haeckel's work is being used in textbooks today, a claim that Calvert repeats in his interview with Olson. Olson replies that is not true, and he and Calvert reach for two textbooks that happen to be within reach, in what appears to be Calvert's own office. (What a lucky break.) But Olson does not rest on his laurels, and is shown digging through other books in later scenes, finally finding a book that does showcase Haeckel's work... but the book is from 1914.
This scene made me think of how easy it would be to trap any fact-disrespecting "genocide scholar" if similarly caught on camera. Can you imagine, as they go through all of the usually dopey propagandistic claims, such as Armenians engaging in self-defense, 1.5 million being murdered, or the Hitler Quote... and how utterly easy it would be to make them look like the "idiots" that they are?
Dr. Bottier opines that the Icons of Evolution book struck him as "really just one big tabloid style article," very cleverly written as a National Enquirer piece on evolution and "why it has to be so wrong, And just as we all like to read the National Enquirer and other tabloids, this makes for interesting reading too." The same can be said for the Armenian genocide books, as well. (For example, Peter Balakian's "The Burning Tigris." Horseshoes nailed onto Armenian feet, anyone? The difference, however, is that these latter books perpetuate hatred.)
The passionate poker-playing evolutionist interestingly claimed that if a professor applies for a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant (described as the "bread and butter of top scientists") today in Evolutionary Biology, "You are advised that when you get the money, you are told by your...director, when you do your plain English summary, that you don't mention evolution." If that's the case, what a great pity; another indication of how truth-in-education cannot escape the effects of politics, even when the subject matter is still comfortably in the lead of public acceptance.
Conservative yet charismatic Christians, clockwise from
top left: Jack Cashill, Connie Morris, John Calvert, and
Kathy Martin; all would make fine poker playing pals.
Olson makes a wonderful and amusing point; the Intelligent Designers onscreen all come across as very nice people, many with friendly and fun personalities, charismatic, and without anger. In contrast to the evolutionists who, as a group, come across as fairly drab. Olson asks, "Who'd you rather play poker with?" This served as a reminder of the difference in approach I had noticed between the two genocide camps. The Armenian sites had sensationalism and personality, whereas the Turkish sites had taken the high road, in a boring, academic manner. Who was being listened to? That influenced the reason why the TAT site has taken the more colorful approach.
The "Discovery Institute is truly the big fish in this picture, with an annual budget of about five million dollars... According to the New York Times, their funding comes from twenty-two right wing foundations, at least two-thirds of which have explicitly religious mission statements." And that's what it all boils down to, doesn't it? Money. No different than with the genocide industry. (The Discovery Institute would not grant the filmmaker an interview.)
The school board in Dover, Pennsylvania got a little too enthusiastic about Intelligent Design, more than the Discovery Institute desired. The board put together two paragraphs they wanted to be read in their 9th grade biology classes, basically attesting to evolution being only a theory, and not a fact. (The teachers refused to recite the statement.) A court case subsequently materialized over the violation of church and state, and the Discovery Institute withdrew support, leaving the Dover school board on their own.
The film's narration informs: In December of 2005 the forces of Intelligent Design were dealt a stunning defeat in the Dover lawsuit. Judge John E. Jones, a Bush appointee, ruled that Intelligent Design is in fact repackaged Creationism, and the school board's decision to introduce it into the classroom was "breathtaking inanity."
If the defamatory proponents of the "Armenian genocide" should ever be taken to court, and if the judge possesses the necessary professionalism and objectivity (a significant requirement, as the Perincek trial bitterly demonstrated), the results would be no different. The claims of the "science" of the Armenian genocidists boil down exactly to Judge Jones' words, "breathtaking inanity."
Director Olson examined the ins and outs of the evolution debate very nicely. "Intelligent Design," Olson tells us, "is a movement that has stalled out at the intuition stage. A great deal of very valid and important science begins as mere intuition, scientists looking at nature and having a gut instinct about how things work which they then figure out if they're right by creating hypotheses and putting them to the test."
"There's nothing wrong with intuition, and we can see it's a major part of the process for both John Calvert, who looked at DNA and intuitively knew it was designed, and Dr. Behe, who looks at the bacterial flagellum, and intuitively knows it is designed. But this is where they have stalled out; they have been unable to advance their intuition into testable hypotheses. And so, in the end, all they are left with is intuition."
And the problem is, as Olson continued, there's not that much difference between intuition and faith.
"This is what the Dover judge picked up on, leaving him to conclude that Intelligent Design simply is not a science.
And thus we can see that the Intelligent Designers have an idea which starts in the gut, like many great discoveries, but while scientists eventually move their ideas up to the brain for critical analysis, it appears at present that Intelligent Design has gotten stuck in the heart."
Isn't that a marvelous way of putting it? "Armenian genocide" proponents operate on faith too, and are stuck in the heart... given their religious passion for "genocide." The one important difference is that Armenian genocidists operate on a foundation of racial prejudice.
Even if Intelligent Design is stalling out, we are told, the attack on evolution continues unabated. Sue Gamble, of the Kansas school board, adds, "I think anytime you have a five million dollar budget, and people willing to continue to fund it, this is not going to be over for a long time." By contrast, the Armenian genocide movement is stronger than ever, and the wealthy Armenians will make certain it stays that way, by continuing with their immense financial support. This point is further emphasized in the film:
"And this is where the anti-evolution forces have the upper hand, because they are willing to allocate the sort of money needed to communicate effectively today. The budget of the largest organization combating the attack on evolution is dwarfed by the Discovery Institute." (National Center for Science Education, $700,000)
Here is an idea of the millions of dollars invested by Armenians, a good chunk of which goes to feed their genocide obsession. There are no Turkish organizations in the USA serving as their lobbying counterpart, meaning the budget of the contra-genocide camp is practically "zero." (Save for the times when the latest "genocide resolution" hits Congress, in which case the Turkish government ponies up obscene amounts to pay lobbying groups. Note this is always in the category of a defensive measure.)
The Discovery Institute, far from defensive, is nearly always on the attack, just like the Armenian lobbying groups. We are told they hired the public relations firm CRC (Creative Response Concepts), the ones who had masterminded the Swift Boats Veterans for Truth campaign in 2004's presidential election, giving a black eye to George Bush's opponent, John Kerry. The Discovery Institute also recruited an Austrian cardinal, according to the New York Times, to write an editorial, in essence, reversing the endorsement of evolution by the previous Pope.
In the poker party, Olson's boom man asks why the evolutionists are losing this game, and are not able to communicate their version of science?
One professor replies, "Part of it is human nature; humans like a simple answer for any complex problem and Intelligent Design offers a simple explanation that is not founded in science."
No different than the Armenian genocide claims; people love the pat, black and white representation of brutal Turks vs. poor, innocent, Christian Armenians ripe for the slaughter. They buy the whole sticky business, from harems to impaling women to conversion to Islam at the point of a sword. The "soap opera" explanations are simply much more fun than the real facts and history, and are in keeping with comfortably established, ingrained prejudices.
Another scientist insightfully explains: "Evolutionary biologists have not fought the fight... [as] they don't respect the kinds of arguments these people are making, and they just ignore it and think that it's going to go away, and that's probably one of the problems. They haven't gone to task with these people in the way they need to. Most self-respecting evolutionary biologists would not give them the time of day. I mean, they won't get into debates with them because they think it's so ridiculous."
For many years, the Turks kept quiet in the face of genocide charges for exactly the same reasons. They considered it beneath them to acknowledge these vicious accusations. But in this world, it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, and a strategy of "noble" silence simply does not work. Silence only encourages such fanatical forces to step up their assaults.
Olson begins to wrap up: "The cultural environment has changed drastically over the past fifty years as we witnessed our knowledge and information increase exponentially." The public is less capable of processing the surplus of information, Olson continues, and mass communication has come up with new techniques. "Public relations firms have figured out the need for simple slogans, and instead of wasting time explaining entire stories to the general public, they know how to jump to conclusions and provide followers with what has come to be known as the talking points."
|The truth vs. the P.R. of simplified stories.|
"So in America today, we now have two voices for evolution. The first voice, that of academics, is handicapped by their blind obsession with the truth. The second voice, emerging from public relations firms understand the need to tell simple, clean stories not constrained by the truth."
What a remarkable parallel to the world of genocide. One difference: the voice of the contra-genocide perspective is not only handicapped by their preference to stress the historical truth, but also by being suppressed through the below-the-belt character assassination attacks, as well as other threats, from the unscrupulous genocide industry. The genocide industry has successfully frightened away the opposition, as nobody wants a Harut Sassounian to compare them with "infamous Holocaust revisionists." The unthinking public is easily going to accept such an ad hominem attack without looking into the charge, because the public appreciates clean, black and white heroes and villains.
We are informed that the voices of reason triumphed, at least in the case of many of the Kansas school board's religious conservatives being voted out. Evidently, many Kansans became aware of the issues involved, given the press received, and were uncomfortable that their educational system would be subjected to faith, rather than the facts. (The Dover school board experienced ejections, as well.) The truth ultimately has a way of prevailing, and one day, the "mendacity" of the Armenian genocidists will come to light; the whole dishonest genocide industry will come into danger of falling, like a house of cards.
- Turkish - Armenian Relations
- American Academicians' Declaration (May 19, 1985)
- Turkish diplomats killed by armenian terrorists
- Questions and Answers
- Western perception towards the issue
- How the armenian issue came about?
- Armenian Terror
- What is the Armenian Problem?
- Armenian-Azerbaijan Conflict
- So Called Armenian Genocide
- Karabakh Conflict
- Khojaly Massacre
- Book Reviews