There’s an old tradition in the writing business for the writer to declare his interests before stating a strong opinion on a subject. The reason is to let the reader know in advance of the writer’s bias. So, before I get started, I want to state upfront that I have never liked Fred Reed. I mean his writing, not the man, who I have never met. The main reason is I don’t like acts or contrived styles. It makes me think the writer is up to something that is not in the reader’s best interests.
In the case of Fred Reed, his corn pone act is a synthetic attempt to play on the vulnerability of his target audience. His is not a unique act. Lots of middle and late middle aged men adopt this style. It is a passive-aggressive way to avoid being challenged on the assertions. In his case, it is an attempt to signal to a particular audience that he is one of them, without actually having to be one of them. It is intended to deceive and that’s something I find unappealing.
That said, his latest posted on The Unz Review is very disappointing. By that I mean I’m surprised it was posted there at all. The Unz Review is one of the few places willing to post heterodox opinions on complicated and controversial issues. Steve Sailer is an obvious example. Razib Khan is another. Fred Reed’s clumsy and somewhat incoherent column covering very old objections to evolutionary theory from the flat earth perspective seems wildly out of place.
In fact, it looks like troll bait. Ron Unz is a gazillionaire so it is not like he needs the traffic to sell ad space. Maybe he has a soft spot for Fred Reed or is throwing the guy a bone out of pity. The narcotic of minor celebrity can hook even autistic millionaires, so maybe that is the reason Unz host Reed. Putting that aside, what really bugs me about this is the dishonesty of it. Take a look at the introductory paragraphs.
Over the years I have occasionally expressed doubts over the tenets of evolutionism which, perhaps wrongly, has seemed to me a sort of political correctness of science, or maybe a metaphysics somewhat related to science. As a consequence I have been severely reprimanded. The editor of a site devoted to genetic expression furiously began deleting any mention of me from his readers. Others, to include Mr. John Derbyshire of Taki’s Magazine, have expressed disdain, though disdaining to explain just why.
In all of this, my inability to get straight answers that do not shift has frustrated me. I decided to address my questions to an expert in the field, preferably one who loathed me and thus might produce his best arguments so as to stick it to me. To this end I have settled on Mr. Derbyshire.
He has the several advantages of being highly intelligent, an excellent writer, ardent of all things evolutionary and genetic, and well versed in them. I would profit by his instruction in things in which I am only an amateur—should he be so inclined. (He may well have other things to do.) To this end, I submit a few questions which have strained my admittedly paltry understanding for some time. They are not new questions, but could use answers. I agree in advance to accept his answers (if any be given) as canonical.
I’ll address the bold portion in order. Fred Reed is a fairly well known crank on the topic of evolution. I’m not a regular reader, but I have seen him referenced as a creationist many times in other places. It is a hobby horse for him. Put “fred reed creationism” in a search engine and I get 6,900,000 results. Granted, most will just have “creationism” in them, but the point remains. This is his thing.
The “crank” label derives from the first bolded sentence. There are libraries full of books with all the “straight answers that do not shift.” What he lacks the courage to say or the honesty to admit, is he does not understand or accept the science. Instead, he disingenuously shifts the burden for his ignorance from his shoulders onto others, as if his ignorance is the default position.
The second bold section is an outright lie that he surely knows is a lie. He knows John Derbyshire well enough to know his body of work. John has been writing about these topics for a couple of decades, at least. Not only has he written about these topics directly, eh as written about many other who have written extensively on the topic of human evolution. In other words, Fred is either a moron or a liar.
John spent years debating these guys about intelligent design, young earth creationism and Darwin. If Fred Reed has yet to “profit from John’s instruction” by this point, he never will. Again, this is just an oleaginous attempt to present himself as something other than an crank looking for an argument. I’ll also note that again he places the burden to educate him on others. Therefore, if he continues to clutch at his superstitions, it is the fault of others.
The last bold section is an outright lie wrapped in a falsehood. His questions have all been answered thousands of times by thousands of people. He has rejected all of those attempts so there is no reason to believe this one last try by his chosen bogeyman will do the trick. In other words, he does not come to the topic in good faith, but he demands others stop that they are doping and try one more time to educate the ignoramus on a topic about which he refuses to learn anything.
He knows all of this, but he lacks the honestly and integrity to simply say he prefers his own voodoo. I can respect people who prefer their religious explanations for the natural world, as long as they are honest about it. I disagree with them, but if they are sincere and honest about the why and the what, I have no quarrel with them. There is some chance they are right, so there is no benefit in trying to force them to see things the way I see them. That’s not Fred Reed. He’s just a liar.
The rest of the very poorly written piece is a recitation of the same old complaints from the creationist crowd. Done up in the phony-baloney corn-pone style Fred has cultivated over the years makes for painful reading. The only worthwhile take away is he seems to have the boohoos over Derb saying something mean about him. In addition to being a ridiculous phony, Fred Reed is a pussy, it seems.