You can’t trust anything anybody writes today!

You never can tell with Jonah Goldberg — everything he writes tends to be so stupid you’re left thinking that he must be joking. He’s just finished watching that new propaganda movie, Fitna, which portrays some of the worst atrocities of Islam — beheadings and terrorism and rioting and fatwas, etc. — and what does this bring to his feeble mind? Those awful, evil, odious atheists who put Darwin fish on their cars. After all, chopping heads off people is exactly equivalent to putting a bumper sticker on your Volvo.

I find Darwin fish offensive. First, there’s the smugness. The undeniable message: Those Jesus fish people are less evolved, less sophisticated than we Darwin fishers.

The hypocrisy is even more glaring. Darwin fish are often stuck next to bumper stickers promoting tolerance or admonishing random motorists that “hate is not a family value.” But the whole point of the Darwin fish is intolerance; similar mockery of a cherished symbol would rightly be condemned as bigoted if aimed at blacks or women or, yes, Muslims.

As Christopher Caldwell once observed in the Weekly Standard, Darwin fish flout the agreed-on etiquette of identity politics. “Namely: It’s acceptable to assert identity and abhorrent to attack it. A plaque with ‘Shalom’ written inside a Star of David would hardly attract notice; a plaque with ‘Usury’ written inside the same symbol would be an outrage.”

But the most annoying aspect of the Darwin fish is the false bravado it represents. It’s a courageous pose without consequence. Like so much other Christian-baiting in American popular culture, sporting your Darwin fish is a way to speak truth to power on the cheap.

Uh-oh. If Goldberg had his way, I’d be off to Gitmo if he saw the back end of my car. I don’t just have a Darwin fish … I’ve got a T. rex eating a Christian fish.

But basically, his whole argument is ridiculous. Having a statement that proclaims your acceptance of the scientific evidence over the bizarre revelations of an old, data-free book is not bigotry, and it is especially not comparable to religious fanatics murdering people. It is also ironic for a dogmatic conservative like Goldberg to be whining about the “agreed-on etiquette of identity politics” — I’ve never seen that coming from his side of the political fence. I grew up with “America: Love It or Leave It” bumper stickers yammering at me from the back of cars, and now we’ve got “Anti-War=Pro-Terrorism”, and of course Goldberg’s own book, Liberal Fascism. His “agreed-on etiquette” is nothing but a set of rules he applies only to his political opponents and never to his political allies.

So, I’m confused. It’s April Fool’s day. A fool has written a foolish article. Is it real or is it a joke? I sincerely cannot tell.

If Goldberg really wanted to catch us by surprise, he should have written something intelligent.

Cafe Scientifique tonight


Start traveling, everyone. The Morris Cafe Scientifique will be held at 6pm, Tuesday, 1 April (that’s tonight) at the Common Cup Coffeehouse on Atlantic Avenue. So come on out and learn about local climate change!

Climate Change in Lake Wobegon: predicting the impact of a warmer world on the forests of West Central Minnesota
Pete Wyckoff, Biology

What will West Central Minnesota look like at the end of the century?

This talk will explore what science tells us about the past response of vegetation in Minnesota to changing climates, and how knowledge of the past may (or may not) provide a useful guide to the future.