Book Review: Merchants of Despair

MerchantsOfDespairby Anniel6/26/15
Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism  •  by Robert Zubrin, Author, New Atlantis Books, 2012. Available on Kindle.  •  Part One

The author dedicates his book as follows:


Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. WILLIAM PITT, Speech in the House of Commons, November 18, 1783.

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I found that reading this book was essential before I could understand the political forces that have brought us where we are. It is the first time I have had any inkling of how long the march through our civilization and attainments has been going on. Mr. Zubrin tells his readers that instead of seeing mankind as creatures created by God, there are so-called scientists and philosophers who, over the last 200 years, have come to think of us as a “cancer on the earth” that requires culling and management.

Two paragraphs from Mr. Zubrin’s Preface to this book are key to understanding his thinking. I will quote them here in full:

Antihumanism is not environmentalism, though it sometimes masquerades as such. Environmentalism, properly conceived, is an effort to apply practical solutions to real environmental problems, such as air and water pollution, for the purpose of making the world a better place for all humans to thrive in. Antihumanism, in contrast, rejects the goal of advancing the cause of mankind. Rather, it uses instances of inadvertent human damage to the environment as points of agitation to promote its fundamental thesis that human beings are pathogens whose activities need to be suppressed in order to protect a fixed ecological order with interests that stand above those of humanity.

Antihumanism has recently enormously expanded its influence by raising hysteria about global warming. This phenomenon, by lengthening the growing season and increasing rainfall and the availability of atmospheric carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, has actually significantly enhanced the abundance of nature, to the benefit of agriculture and the wild biosphere alike. Nevertheless, according to antihumanism, punitive measures especially harmful to the world’s poor, are required to repress mankind’s activity and economic growth in order to deal with this putative threat. That antihumanism should propose such global oppression as a response to an improvement in the earth’s climate should not be surprising, since, as this book will show, in horrifying detail, similar vicious antihuman solutions to fictitious problems have repeatedly been advocated and implemented by antihumanism’s followers for two centuries – that is, since long before global warming was an issue at all.

Mr. Zubrin is, or at least was, a believer in the hoax of global warming, but saw it as a benefit rather than a curse. Although I cannot speak for him, I assume he has noticed the leaked e-mails, the “pause,” all the cold winters and Antarctic ice build up, so he may be a “denier” now.

I was surprised, pleasantly, by the copious and wonderful photos and illustrations in this book. Some of them are difficult to look at, but they are so revealing of the times being discussed that they are a crucial element of the book.

Mankind has paid a high price for all the guises that antihumanism has morphed through during the last 200 years, including overpopulation, racial diversity, pesticides, resource limits, nuclear power, biodiversity, global warming, even feminism, Zubrin says they are all faces of the same conflict: a fundamental debate about the worth of mankind. He says we MUST win the debate.

Chapter 1. Mr. Zubrin’s cast of characters begins with Thomas Malthus (1776-1834), whom he characterizes as the “most dismal scientist.” At the beginning of his writing about Malthus this quote struck a chord with me:

Here is the difference between the animal and the man. Both the jay-hawk and the man eat chickens, but the more jay-hawks the fewer chickens, while the more men the more chickens. Henry George Progress and Poverty, 1879

Beginning around 1800 the writings of Thomas Malthus, who had worked in India for The British East India Company, became fashionable in England, especially among the political class. Malthus believed that the earth was finite and only certain populations should be allowed to propagate the species. He taught that certain “inferior” breeds polluted the human race, that the earth would soon reach its carrying capacity, and that man’s breeding capacity was always greater than available resources. John Holdren, Obama’s science advisor, and Paul Ehrlich of The Population Bomb fame, are both Malthusians.

Malthus’ gloomy philosophy and teachings went against the ideas of the Marquis de Condorcet and William Godwin, who both believed in a form of evolution, but believed also that mankind was on a path to betterment because of expanding knowledge and technological advancement. Unfortunately Malthusian ideas were accepted by the movers and shakers of the time, and in the 1840’s those ideas led directly to the death by starvation and disease of over one million Irish during the Potato Famine. Death of such “inferiors” was said by Malthusian politicians to be a kindly act of God for the advancement of the species and should be encouraged by The Church and all right-thinking men.

There was more than enough food to feed the poor Irish, but they were taxed heavily, then forced from their homes to live with little food and no shelter. If you have ever wondered how the “troubles” in Ireland came about you can blame Thomas Malthus and his disciples. The Church was helpless because the men in power who would not let food be distributed.

Worse was in store in India three decades later. From 1876 to 1879 a terrible drought struck India, but there should have been enough food for the Indian people. The Raj of England in charge of the British East India Company, and the British Government made the decision to place the starving Indians in camps and only minimally aid them. As a result the death rate in just one of the camps in Madras was 94%. It is estimated that between 6 and 10 million people, including babies and small children, perished during the three years of the famine.

The Duke of Buckingham tried to get Parliament to act and raised money and goods for relief, but British Viceroy Robert Bulwer-Lytton refused all aid to India. His Malthusian excuse was that the people tended to be “breeders” and needed to die. Florence Nightingale wrote articles begging Parliament to stop the taxes on poor Indians and get aid to them. Lytton stopped any aid and even the sainted founder of the Boy Scouts, who at the time was a British Army officer in India, B. H. Baden-Powell said that reducing the merciless taxes on the Indians “would only encourage them to overbreed.”

The photographs of the starving people are, because babies and young children were involved, more horrifying than what one sees in pictures of Nazi Concentration camps.

Today’s Malthusians, such as Paul Ehrlich, know the agony these ideas have brought to humankind, but they seem not to care. Zubrin says that Ehrlich, who was born in 1933, would know that population growth is a good thing if he had ever opened his eyes. He knows the world today is more advanced and healthful than in 1933. But Ehrlich, who has never been right about anything, is a darling of the left and still sure he is right. I listened to a recent clip of him speaking and bragging how he almost single-handedly saved the world by stopping the rate of population growth when he did.

In a series of charts Zubrin shows the growth of wealth in the world from 1 A.D. to about 2000. He says that as the population grows the world’s total GDP does not just grow, but actually squares with the rate of population growth. He asks why we should be so much better off and so much richer with a larger population, then cites a book called The Ultimate Resource, by Roger Simon, and comments:

. . . A larger population can support a larger division of labor, and so it is economically more efficient. Ten people with ten skills, working or trading together, can produce far more than ten times as much as one person with one skill. A larger population also provides a larger market, which makes possible mass production and economies of scale. And because they represent a larger market, larger populations drive investment in new plant and equipment much more forcefully than smaller populations. If the market for an item is small, no one is going to build a new factory to produce it or spend much money on research to find ways to improve it. But if the sales opportunity is big, the necessary investment will quickly be made as a matter of course.

In fact, a larger market in all things, including roads, hospitals, schools, bridges, clean water systems, draining of swamps, whatever it takes to keep growth going, is possible only with a large population and humanist values. Technology doesn’t come from land, it comes from human work.

This makes me want to say, “Yes, we did too build that, with our taxes and our dreams.” We want a better life for all.

Mr. Zubrin says that a world wide developed civilization was not really possible until about the 1500’s when the age of Discovery began. The next step was the Industrial Revolution and the inventions that accompanied it.

Then he gives us a thought experiment. Louis Pasteur and Thomas Edison were born within a few months of each other. Which would you choose to not be born to bless the earth with his wisdom? We are rich in what we have because of those born before us. Zubrin says we need to reject Malthusian dictates, and that we need more children.

Chapter 2. Next on Zubrin’s list of bad guys is Charles Darwin. This was interesting because Zubrin believes in Evolution, just not what he calls “the moral inversion” that comes with Darwinism. Darwin did not “discover” evolution, he just wrote a popular book about it and became famous because of his book. There were other men before Darwin who believed that a form of evolution directed by God had occurred and they were horrified by Darwin’s theory.

Zubrin says Darwin actually brought together two theories that changed everything. The first was the Malthusian idea that men are always in competition for resources, and the second was the Victorian philosopher Herbert Spencer’s (1820-1903) concept of “survival of the fittest,” And these two ideas were a lethal combination. When the ideas of evolution are applied to human affairs wild theories abound, and antihumanism is the result.

For the Malthusians “survival of the fittest” meant that there were grades or orders of men, and white Scandinavians and Europeans were more evolved so other “inferior” races needed to be culled, or even wiped out. Darwinism became a cult of hate and antihumanism. The Malthusians now saw compassion as not just useless but as a proven moral wrong.

Mr. Zubrin fails to see that evolution, in and of itself, is dehumanizing and wrong, but still can say:

For thousands of years, the Judeo-Christian civilization had held life to be good, and death to be evil. Based on this ethic, Europeans had always viewed death as an enemy to be overcome, not a beneficial force. By rejecting the truth that the advance of humanity is achieved through what people achieve during life, in favor of advancement by elimination, Darwinism reversed this.

Instead of being evils, war, disease and famine were now good and necessary. Without famine and disease, the unfit could not be culled. Without war, the superior could not rid the world of the inferior. Peace, plenty, care and compassion were interferences in the course of nature. All progress was based on death.

Chapter 4. Eugenics and how it grew out of the melding of Malthus and Darwinian Evolution was the next step in antihumanism.

The following editorial was printed in the New York Times on February 27, 1895 following the death of Frederick Douglas:

It might not be unreasonable, perhaps, to intimate that his white blood may have had something to do with the remarkable energy he displayed and the superior intelligence he manifested. Indeed, it might not be altogether unreasonable to ask whether, with more white blood, he would not have been an even better and greater man than he was, and whether the fact that he had any black blood at all may not have cost the world a genius, and be, in consequence, a cause for lamentation instead of a source of lyrical enthusiasm over African possibilities. It is always more or less foolish to credit or discredit a race with the doings, good or bad, of a particular member of that race, but if it must be done, plain justice should see to it that the right race gets the glory or the humiliation.

Yes, America’s Paper of Record published that.

In 1879, Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton, wrote a book called Hereditary Genius, in which he coined the term “Eugenics” which he hoped would become a “new religion.” Galton also set up a system for grading all races and assign them a value. You’ll be pleased to know that England got rid of its low grade riff raff when people came to America.

The Eugenics movement which was begun by Galton soon became international in its scope. Zubrin names the people in the movement, many of whom were members of the radical left-wing Fabian Society.

Chapter 4. In the name of Darwinism, the [Germans] believe they can maintain the science itself, the most modern and solid science, condemns all the nations on earth to be either assimilated or destroyed by the German, as the species best equipped for the struggle for existence. Emile Boutroux, 1916.

In Germany Professor Ernst Haeckel, a virulent anti-Catholic, anti-Semite, Pan-German fanatic took up the cause of Eugenics. He was a militant atheist who worshipped nature and felt that men were just other animals who needed to be classified and the inferior races culled. He also believed that every organism in embryonic form repeats its evolutionary history.

Haeckel set up a system showing 12 different human species with 36 different races, topped by 4 different white races. “Indo-Germanians” were said to be the highest of the races, so they were most fit to control everyone else. Haeckel said Darwinism set up a new “scientific” worldview to replace Christianity. He termed this worldview “monism,” and attracted many followers. Monists advocated infanticide of abnormal children and mass murder of invalids to improve the race. Doesn’t that sound like Peter Singer, Beloved House Ethicist of The New York Times?

Monists sought to further human evolution through German Global Conquest. Haeckel said that, if he could, he would return to the days of Sparta and dispose of unwanted and unneeded mouths, they “. . . bring not the slightest profit to themselves or the general body.” Monists also taught that war was the proper use of power to cleanse the race and should be viewed as necessary for going forward into a new and better world with no religion to stop man’s destiny. A German biologist named Ammon said, “. . . war is a good deed for humanity.”

The fatal impact of Monist ideas was first felt in the butchery Germany launched against the Hetero people of German Southwest Africa, now known as Namibia, in 1904. By 1906 every man, woman and child of the Hetero had been killed in the first Genocide of the 20th Century.

The only reason many Monists called themselves pacifists was that they felt the wrong people, the superior officer class, went to war and got killed, while the wrong people stayed at home and continue to breed. There were people in Germany who loved the idea of death and war. And WWI was waiting right around the corner.

Chapter 5. In 1861, a large group of very wealthy people in the United States, founded and then constructed The American Museum of Natural History in New York City. In 1877, Harvard President Charles W. Eliot stated the purpose of the Museum:

In whose honor are the chief personages of the nation, state, and city here assembled? Whose palace is this? What divinity is worshipped in this place? . . . Nothing else than the stupendous doctrine of heredity transmission [which will] . . . Enhance the natural interest in vigorous family stocks , , , give a rational basis for penal legislation, and promote both the occasional production of illustrious men and the gradual improvement of the masses of mankind.

For over 6 decades the Museum promoted Darwinism and Malthusian ideas to the public. In 1890 the U.S. Census officially closed the frontier in the U.S., which helped further the idea that Malthusian thought was correct. Mankind was running out of space and resources, and in 1896 new anti-immigrant legislation was passed against Hungarians, Bohemians, southern Italians, Poles and Russian Jews.

In 1910 a Eugenics Records Office (ERO) was founded and became the voice of the eugenics movement in the United States for the next 30 years.
One of its first goals: was forced sterilization of certain groups, including:

1. Feeble-minded.
2. Insane.
3. Criminalistic.
4. Epileptic.
5. Inebriate (including drugs).
6. Diseased (long list, including TB and leprosy).
7. Blind.
8. Deaf.
9. Deformed.
10. Dependent (including tramps and homeless).

30 states passed their laws and over 63,000 institutionalized persons were forcibly sterilized. In addition, an unknown number, possibly in the millions, was forced to accept sterilization in order to receive welfare benefits. This process was finally ruled unconstitutional in 1974.

The disease Pellagra, which is caused by a lack of niacin from fresh fruits, meat and vegetables, was allowed to flourish in the Southern United States, even though the cure was known, until the 1930’s so the ERO could continue a high death rate. The ERO said the people who got Pellagra were naturally sickly and inferior.

The ERO manipulated IQ testing of American servicemen in WWI, to show that new immigrants coming into the country were not as intelligent as Americans or even their own forbears had been. In fact, they were idiots. Henry Fairfield Osborn, president of the Museum of Natural History, said of the reports on the tests:

I believe these tests are worth what the war cost, even in human life, if they served to show clearly to our people the lack of intelligence in our country, and the degrees of intelligence in different races who are coming to us, in a way that no one can say is the result of prejudice . . . We have learned once and for all that the negro is not like us. So in regard to many races and subraces in Europe we learned that some which we had believed possessed of an order of intelligence perhaps superior to ours [i.e. Jews] were far inferior.

Teddy Roosevelt found this report very helpful, wrote the preface to it, and was a strong supporter of the eugenics movement. He wrote a very approving take on the tests, and said, ” . . . It has taken us fifty years to learn that speaking English, wearing good clothes and going to school and to church does not transform a negro into a white man.”

And TR is on Mt. Rushmore, what more can we ask?

The word was put out by the Museum that the inferior races did not love the world and nature as much as white races did, so Environmental Protection groups, including the Sierra Club and the Save the Redwood Group were founded. Teddy Roosevelt helped establish today’s Environmental movements.

The eugenics movement attracted the very wealthy in America, so those who fought against it were disadvantaged. The list of members included Margaret Sanger, founder of the American Birth Control League, now Planned Parenthood, and her goal was to legalize abortion in order to eliminate undesirable racial stock (especially blacks.)

At the Third International Conference on Eugenics, held at the Museum of Natural History in 1932, the stars of the show were two German Professors, Eugin Fisher and Ernst Rudin of the new Nazi regime’s Society for Racial Hygiene. They received an inordinate amount of attention and backing for their leader, Adolf Hitler.

Zubrin says there is a single unifying theme, with the Malthusian foundation underlying both Naziism and Environmentalism. The theme was, “. . . The purposeful leadership of Adolf Hitler . . . In his holy national and international racial hygienic mission.”

In Berlin in 1935 Hitler held the first International Congress for Population Science. There were 500 attendees from all over the world, including a large United States delegation. The Nazis were were feted for their foresight and boldness in racial matters throughout the conference. The leader of the U.S. Delegation, one Clarence Campbell, after applauding an appearance by Hitler, said, “the Leader of the German nation, Adolf Hitler, ably supported by Dr. Frick and guided by Germany’s anthropologists and social philosophers, has been able to construct a comprehensive racial policy of population development and improvement. This policy promises to be epochal in racial history.”

Chapter 6. The Nazi Holocaust. Just one 1941 quote from Adolf Hitler, “The law of existence prescribes uninterrupted killing, so that the better may live.”

Mr. Zubrin makes the following observation about Haeckel and his adherents having laid the foundation for Darwinism and making it respectable. However, now, under Hitler, things were switched around. Zubrin says,

. . . with the ascent of Naziism the roles changed. Instead of serving as a rationale supporting the program of a militarist state, Darwin became the controlling principle of the state itself. Where once antihuman ideology had been the servant, it was now the master.

We all know the record of Hitler, but Zubrin tells us of Hitler’s most fatal mistakes. He drove off the best and brightest of the Jews who had served the nation faithfully in prior wars, also the doctors and scientists, like Albert Einstein. He threw all that talent away. When he went into Russia the people wanted to support him over Stalin, but he drove even that good will away. For Nazi Germany, genocide was a higher priority than victory.

Did you know that there were over 20,000 Death Camps operated by the Nazis? It would have been impossible for the population at large to be unaware of what was going on. Nothing was ever secret because Hitler openly stated his goals. The Germans openly celebrated the pogroms and actions against the Jews and others. The question has always been, how?
How could a civilized nation have done what the Germans did? Zubrin’s answer is one word: “Darwin.”

There were Americans who were complicit with the Nazis and made sure escapees were turned away from refuge in our country.

Zubrin does tell of people who tried to stop the madness, and it is interesting to read the writings of what was known as the White Rose Group who spoke against the Nazis. Many of these people paid with their lives.

One quote from Historian Richard Weikart:

Darwinism by itself did not produce the Holocaust, but without Darwinism, especially in its social Darwinist and eugenics permutations, neither Hitler nor his Nazi followers would have had the necessary scientific underpinnings to convince themselves and their collaborators that one of the world’s greatest atrocities was really morally praiseworthy. Quote from a study called, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics and Racism in Germany

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End of Part One. I tried to hold this down but it became impossible. Part Two coming up soon.

Following is a link to pictures taken during the famine in India. • (1273 views)

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7 Responses to Book Review: Merchants of Despair

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Sounds like an interesting and chilling read, Annie. And from your once-again detailed review, I get the feeling this is another liberal who is having second thoughts…but still there are some Kool-aid stains on the lips. Does he still believe in global warming? If so…well, although I prefer the approach of ripping the Band-aid clean off in one pull, some do it slowly…and painfully.

    It’s also a puzzle to me the cause of all this, the various poisonous doctrines this author describes in the book. Part of it is just unconsciously imbibed from the culture. You go to college a (perhaps) somewhat normal kid and out you come a “secular humanist” or some such thing. Whatever the case may be, the propaganda is so thick, there is no way to disengage from the big three: Darwinism, Marxism, Freudianism. With the metaphysics of a purpose larger than our sexual organs or coarse impulses having been ruled out, there is nowhere for these people to go but believe in various mixes of this stuff.

    That is, once you imbibe the premises, it’s very difficult to reject bizarre things such as gay marriage, the fraud of global warming, etc. To reject global warming (or “climate change”) is, in the minds of the indoctrinated, to reject science and thus to do the most forbidden thing of all: believe in a principle or idea that derives from Judeo-Christian ethics, for nothing, absolutely nothing, can be higher than science which measures the material…and the material is all there is, or ever was.

    And this is the clouded water most people are standing in. At the margins — the extremes (which can easily become mainstream) — you have eugenics and stuff like that. And the useful idiots will declare “Oh, it will never come to that.” But what they don’t see is that it can’t help but come to that if you, Mr. or Mrs. Useful Idiot, have no principled stance against it. The agitators will eventually get their way.

    So cowardice, cultural indoctrination, and just plain narcissism (rooted in caring only to be *seen* to be caring, without giving a rip what the results of this “caring” actually are…perhaps a holocaust of abortions, for example) partially explain how these rotten ideas gain the light of day and take root in the culture at large.

    But I can’t help thinking of deeper and more fundamental causes…even Cosmic causes. Let’s just say, for sake of argument, for example, that the Jews are the chosen people. I find this idea at least somewhat plausible if life was indeed constructed by an intelligent agent. Earth is a garden and one species — human beings — is at the top of that garden…perhaps made in the image of the one who planted the garden, which means sharing to a larger degree certain traits (such as a moral conscience, for instance, something we might assume a mosquito does not have).

    But that species still needs guidance. It must be raised somehow from its part-animal nature to something higher and holier. Well, we all understand the power and necessity of role models. And we could see the Jews in that role. And if this is so, what would the consequences be if the chosen people, in significant numbers, not only stopped being those role models but actually became atheists and invented doctrine (such as Marxism) which was a rejection of the Divine and the enthronement of man, the animal?

    Well, not all Jews took part in such horrible ideas, but many did. And most Jews today have abandoned their faith and, assuming they aren’t secular, are, according to Dennis Prager, actually practicing Leftism, not Judaism, the values of the former (“social justice,” diversity, multiculturalism) replacing the latter. Would not there be dire consequences both for Jews and for everything their horrible invented doctrines (such as Marxism) touched?

    Many Protestants, and perhaps most Catholics, have done the same thing. They’ve implicitly rejected the idea of the Divine by turning their religions into “social justice” machines whereby (in concordance with Marxism) economics and class are central to what is deemed the highest good.

    That is, to sum up, what if mankind is not just a random collision of atoms but has implicit purpose? If this is true, could anything good ever come from rejecting this fundamental aspect?

    And all of this is likely WAY over the head of this author, as it is for most people indoctrinated in “secular” culture. But what if? Might the common denominator of all this gunk be more than just the result of various books written by various authors (Darwin, Malthus, etc.)?

    • Anniel says:

      Interesting take but my feeling is that Zubrin is trying his best to warn us that these same pernicious doctrines, particularly in tandem, have been on a long march destroying everything in sight. I do not know if he has left behind some baggage, along with former beliefs, or not. His book leaves me with a greater understanding of the long march of destruction of truth, and with it religion and goodness. Malthus, Darwin, eugenics and all the “isms” are his targets.


    I recall Zubrin as an occasional contributor to NRO, where his routine calls for government to mandate “flex-fueled” vehicles that could run on methanol provided myself and a few other commentators with an easy butt of humor. He also called for a taxpayer-funded mission to Mars, if I remember correctly – of course he’s not alone in this latter folly, as too many people still support government-directed and controlled scientific research, and with the specious justification that the fruits of this research repaid the “investment” (to which the Conservative can quite properly respond that if the “investment” is that good, it should have no trouble succeeding as a private endeavor).

    And he admits AGW as a fact, but a beneficial one – no concern with the fraudulent data or questionable methodology of the warming crowd at all, even given their known Marxist inclinations?

    So Zubrin is probably a middle-of-the-roader overall. At least he understands and recognizes the anti-human intellectual movement he writes about here, although why he tries to distinguish between it and the environmentalist movement, which the anti-humanists obviously control, isn’t clear. Why not instead draw a distinction between conservationism and environmentalism, and frankly acknowledge the blatant anti-human character of the latter?

    • Anniel says:

      After hearing Zubrin only once I got the impression that something changed for him along the way. He said that environmentalism was founded as part of the antihumanism agenda and that Hitler was big on it. Remember, too, that a lot of global warming info has come since he wrote his book.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        He said that environmentalism was founded as part of the antihumanism agenda and that Hitler was big on it.

        You know me, Annie. I’m no Jesus Freak. But “anti-humanism” is atheism, in practice. And it’s very very uncomfortable for many people in and around the “proper” scientific or even the Fox News opinion establishment to bring religion (or just metaphysics) into it. So, for my money, I would expect this guy to be beating around the bush constantly, never able to actually break out and say: “Hmm….maybe there’s something that ties this all together that is more than just a bunch of random ideas by various random people.”

        It’s okay that he can’t. That’s why ST is here. 😀 We’re the advanced course in conservative thinking.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      As a convert to the idea of intelligent design (at least until something more plausible comes along), one of the prime justifications for going to Mars (robotic missions or otherwise) is looking for life. And if ID is true, you’re just not going to find any. It won’t “emerge” simply because some planet used to have water.

      So it might help to some degree to be clear about what this search is all about. As interesting as the rocks are on Mars, I’m sure, I doubt mankind gains much by getting the relative content of the various minerals to a few more decimal points.

      Our push to the moon had many purposes. One of them was not an expression of naturalism.

      Regarding government-funded science, I think one of the best expenditures is the robotic mission to the solar system. (Why? Because it’s there.) And perhaps the best bang-for-the-buck are the space telescopes. I support those endeavors. But looking for life on Mars or any other planet is more a secular religious pursuit hidden in the guise of “science.”

      And he admits AGW as a fact, but a beneficial one – no concern with the fraudulent data or questionable methodology of the warming crowd at all, even given their known Marxist inclinations?

      I haven’t read the book yet, Nik, but, yes, that’s a huge problem as far as I’m concerned.

      Why not instead draw a distinction between conservationism and environmentalism, and frankly acknowledge the blatant anti-human character of the latter?

      Which is why I jumped to my advanced metaphysics. 😀 There’s only so much Zubrin can say. After all, if we are but a lucky random distribution of atoms, why not any of the stuff he critiques? From my point of view, it’s useful that he shows that these things have wended their way into our culture. But we all know that. For me the best question is “Why?” And I wonder if he has answered that. I believe I have.

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    This sounds like a book I may have to put on my list to look for (it may be available at the deaders’ room at an SF convention, such as InConJunction, which we’ll be going to next weekend). I have previously seen a difference made between conservation and environmentalism; now Zubrin takes it a step further by separating out anti-humanism (naturally, liberals claim to be humanists — a typical liberal truth inversion).

    And, yes, Hitler was a big environmentalist. This comes up in places in Proctor’s The Nazi War Against Cancer — which, ironically, I read when we went to the funeral of one of Elizabeth’s relatives, who had specialized in chemotherapy research.

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