Sunday, May 26, 2019

#2195: Mark Rushdoony

R.J. Rushdoony is famous for being one of the most deranged fundies of the latter half of the twentieth century. His son, Mark Rushdoony, has hardly managed to achieve the same kind of fame or renown, but he is at least not much less crazy and has dutifully followed in his father’s footsteps. Like his father, Mark Rushdoony is a dominionist and theocrat, and has campaigned tirelessly with the Chalcedon Foundation, of which he is president, to convert conservative fundamentalist churches to Christian reconstructionism. “We must base our laws on faith, not reason,” says Rushdoony. And the fight against the secular, Constitution-based and reason-loving America will be violent; as Rushdoony puts it: “We are authorized by God to challenge all that is not godly! God is angry with the wicked every day, and the sins of the wicked deserve the infliction of God's wrath in this life as well as the life hereafter!

The goal, in other words, is to ensure that society is “reconstructed” so that everyone in it lives under strict Old Testament moral codes imposed by local theocracies – there is no room for tolerance or dissent: “To oppose us is to attack God's law, and to attack God's law is to attack God himself!”, a transgression that, understandably, requires nothing less than death. Similarly, of course, homosexuals and adulteresses will be put to death. In the 2005 presentation before his Chalcedon Foundation from which the above quote is taken, the foundation’s vice president, Martin Selbrede, followed up by calling for the assemblage to arm themselves with “the powerful bazookas of God, not the peashooters of the flesh.” Joe Morecraft is another member of the foundation.

Rushdoony has also written about e.g. evolution, though his claims about evolution are merely regurgitating fundamental misunderstandings about what science is and does from Answers in Genesis and Kent Hovind.*

Diagnosis: There really isn’t anything relevant that distinguishes Rushdoony and his foundation from ISIS or the Taliban, except the ability to actually implement their goals. Completely insane, and utterly evil.

*Footnote: The regurgitated claims include the assertion that evolution is non-scientific because it is about phenomena that can’t be observed directly, rather than about things that can be weighed and measured. This, of course, is a standard creationist and pretty fundamental misunderstanding: Science is precisely a set of means for using observations to test hypotheses about the unobservable (laws, causal relationships, and that which is too big or small, or too far away in time or space, to be observed directly) – weighing and measuring is book-keeping and logistics, not science. Science proceeds by taking hypothesis about something unobservable, determining what observableconsequences the hypothesis has – i.e. what we should, in fact, observe if that hypothesis is true – and then checking whether this is what we, in fact, observe. Rushdoony is also fundamentally confused about the repeatability condition for scientific investigations and experiments: it is the observations that must be repeatable, not the unobservable states of affairs described by the hypothesis. Of course, Rushdoony goes on to use his fundamental misunderstanding to claim that evolution is just as faith-based as religion. 

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