I have a subscription to Forbes and enjoy it more than any of the other financial magazines. That said, I do find a lot of the editorial content annoying. Particularly Steve Forbes--can you imagine if he'd won that presidential election back in 1996?--and Caspar Weinberger. But a new name entered my dislike list with the June 20, 2005 issue. British historian Paul Johnson wrote an editorial titled "Thoughts on the Existence of God" in which he railed against what he viewed as Darwinism. Not that his definition of this made any sense. Johnson describes Darwinists as a fundamentalist group that rules college campuses and preaches a militant brand of atheism. It's an odd argument since there's plenty of lively disagreement on the theory of evolution within the scientific community. There's certainly no monolithic belief in Darwinism (more accurately called 'natural selection') within the research community--evolution is accepted nearly universally by scientists, even Paul Johnson acknowledges its validity in his column, but the exact mechanism is debated vigorously by scientists with a number of other mechanisms suggested to explain speciation.

The editorial is mainly a thinly disguised attempt to use science to attack Darwin's theory of evolution--one of the main targets of rightwing religious folk for reasons that escape me--as well as to support the existance of God or at least a originating force of some sort. To this goal Johnson calls on Isaac Newton's Pricipia from 1713 as well as the ancient Greeks and Hebrews. Johnson's conclusion seems to be that since we can talk there must be a God and that this gift was His second manifestation--the first being inducing the Big Bang that started the Universe. It's not a particularly convincing argument. Personally I'd go with something like water reaching its densest point at 4 degrees C and not zero. Now that's a miracle should such things exist. Speech is just an outreach of our developing the frontal lobes of our brain, specifically the Wernicke's area. Water being denser while still a liquid than when it becomes a solid is amazing--and life can exist on Earth as a result. How convienient!

So while Forbes is a very good magazine, the editorial content is full of fuzzy thinking!


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