I’m always glad to see a fellow scholar take the book seriously enough to review it, especially in three separate installments. At the same time, Weikart misrepresents my arguments in a number of ways that might mislead someone who has not read the book. Here I respond to a number of Weikart’s critiques in the interest of clarifying the issues under debate.
Of course, ideas do have consequences. Otherwise, I would not have bothered to write this piece or to spend ten years working on Red Dynamite. But a brief examination of Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences(1948) demonstrates the wisdom of a materialist twist on Weaver’s title: ideas are consequences. In this case, Weaver’s ideas and those who have deployed them are fundamentally a product of conservative movements seeking to uphold the established power relations in society and fight off desperately needed social change. The ultimate meaning of “Ideas have consequences” is sit down and shut up.
Almost two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, we are inundated with COVID conspiracy theories: Satan-worshipping globalist elites, including George Soros and Bill Gates, deliberately developed and spread the COVID virus around the globe. The COVID vaccine is the Mark of the Beast from the Book of Revelation. Hollywood celebrities caught COVID by drinking infected adrenochrome harvested from live children in a satanic ritual. Mask and vaccine mandates are a communist plot by the Jewish Illuminati. Polling data suggest that millions of Americans—up to 20 percent of the country—believe at least some of these claims.
For secular-minded defenders of evolutionary science, it’s easy to make fun of Ken Ham and his young-earth creationist group Answers in Genesis (AiG): The life-size dioramas with animatronic vegetarian dinosaurs frolicking with humans in the Garden of Eden at the Creation Museum. The dragon exhibit—AiG claims that belief in these mythical creatures is rooted in the time when humans and dinosaurs together walked the earth. The gigantic wooden boat at Ark Encounter.
As the reference to the 1965 Watts urban rebellion suggests, Noebel’s concept of music-inspired sexual animalism had a clear racial, and racist, dimension.
Evolution, communism, power, deception, morality, sex, violence—all of these themes were present in the century-long political tradition that creationist geologist George McCready Price christened in 1925 with the “Red Dynamite” metaphor. Amazingly enough, they are also embedded in the story of literal dynamite and its enigmatic inventor, Alfred Nobel.
It is the afternoon of November 16, 2012, and we have just stopped at the Mexican border. We’re about to cross into Tecate, Baja California, home of the eponymous beer and a slew of foreign-owned factories—maquiladoras—that run on cheap Mexican labor. For the last hour, we have driven through the hilly scrubland southeast of San Diego. From the back seat, I have been interviewing Tom Cantor, owner of Scantibodies Laboratory, Inc. whose plant in Tecate manufactures medical testing products. Through his Light and Life Foundation, Cantor is also the owner of the suburban San Diego-based Creation and Earth History Museum, formerly the property of the Institute of Creation Research (ICR). As we get out of the car to walk through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection station, Cantor is telling me how he became a creationist.