Monday, June 27, 2016

Human Nature, another thing the Discovery Institute knows little about!

In a post I read this morning, little davey 'klingy' klinghoffer, one of the more prolific Discovery Institute (DI) talking heads, says something incredibly foolish. Here's his post "Intelligent Design and Human Exceptionalism" and here is the quote:

"Here's an analogy. Let's say you know two very wealthy people. One came by his wealth via a lottery, a blind process, and he sees no purpose or intention behind it. It was the luck of the draw. The other, whether he inherited his wealth or came by it through enterprise, perceives it as a gift motivated by an underlying design. His fortune is not by the luck of the draw. It was given to him on purpose.
Both individuals are exceptionally wealthy. Which is likelier to use his money to advance good causes, to share it with others, to see himself as, in some sense,deputized to put his fortune to noble uses?"
I underlined the two interesting phrases.  My comment to klingy it simple, isn't he making an awfully wild assumption here?  Does someone who wins the lottery required to see no purpose?  Is someone who inherits, or gains though enterprise, going to perceive it as a gift motivated by some underlying design?  Really?

Now I am not yet addressing the purpose of the article, I am focused on his statement.  It's an analogy klingy is using the try and force a square peg, Intelligent Design (ID), into a round hole, Human Exceptionalism.  But just look at his analogy.  His answer to his own question is, of course, the person who inherited or came through his work through enterprise is much more likely to put his fortune to noble uses.  This way he can try and create a relationship between ID, as he characterizes as inherited/enterprising, and evolution, which he characterizes as blind process.

Now here comes the human nature part of the equation that klingy ignores.  Do you agree that someone who inherits money, or comes to it through enterprise, is more likely to put that money to noble purposes?  And do you also agree that a lottery winner would be selfish and not share his money?

See what I mean?  I don't have statistics to support either answer, and I am sure that klingy doesn't either or he would have been spouting them.  He's expressing a point of view as if it's reality in order to spin things the way he wishes.  Think about it, how many spoiled, self-entitled brats have you read about who inherited their fortune?  We have names for them, 'trust fund babies/brats/bums'.  We read about them in the paper all the time.  Rich kids who flout the law because of their entitlement and wealth -- even self-made people who are horrendous examples of human beings.  As tempting as it would be to name a few names, I'm pretty sure you can think of a number of your own examples.  It is a pretty big leap to assume they are more likely to be using their fortune 'to noble uses'.

On the other hand, can you think of lottery winners who donates part, a majority, and even all of their winnings to charity?  That one is easy to Google and you see hundreds of examples.  Some people didn't need the money, others used a small part and donated the rest to avoid the issues that have been popularized by reports in the news and on TV of how 'The Lottery Ruined My Life.".  There were several examples of people donating their entire winnings away to one or more charities!  So, to me, it's an equally big leap to assume someone who won a lottery is more likely to not use that money for anything noble!

One a personal note, I am not wealthy, in the terms of money in the bank.  I have neither won the lottery nor inherited any great wealth.  While it might be interesting to win a lottery and see if it actually ruins my life, regardless, I am a donor to a number of charities.  I donate to charities that have affected myself, my family, and my friends personally.  For example charities related to heart, cancer, MS, diabetes, and Parkinson's diseases.  I also donate to some organizations like Goodwill, Vietnam Vets, Boy and Girl Scouts, Special Olympics and my local PBS/NPR station.

Do I give a sizable percentage of my income?  I'm not sure of the exact amount, but in all honesty, I doubt it.  I would be shocked if I even hit 10%, let alone anything sizable.  But then, I don't have a great deal of disposable income.  Like many people my most sizable expense each month is a mortgage and car payments and they take up a pretty big chunk.  After that its living expenses, like food, utilities, insurance, and retirement.  Followed by savings and a small emergency fund.  While you may or may not agree, I place those things well ahead of any charitable donations.  Does that make me 'noble' in some way?  I never thought of it that way . . . and I still don't.  I know that I don't feel 'deputized', I just behave in the way I was raised, and that included my charitable donations.

It's not based on the source of your money, donating is a personal decision and one I believe is more based on who you are than what you have.  Yes, a wealthy person can give more than I can, but they give not because they got it from a particular source, they give because of who they are!

As for the rest of the article, it's nothing more than another effort to make the idea of human exceptionalism into something more than it is.  It is a belief, most often based on religion (man is made in the image of one deity or another . . .).  Of course klingy tries to use such beliefs as justification for ID.  He also mis-characterizes ID as:
"On the other hand, against a backdrop of intelligent design, which is a scientific not religious argument for purpose behind nature . . ."
His misspelled 'science', when used in conjunction with ID, the correct spelling is 'pseudo-science'.  But then, this is what the DI does, they spin!  How many times have I, and many others have, pointed out examples.  This is clearly another one!  I honestly think they could spin any subject and find a way to make it sound as if it support ID.  Look at how many they have already spun.  As long as the donations come in, the spin will continue to entertain us.

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