Ed Driscoll

Nowhere Man

Physician and molecular biologist Henry Miller buries Jeremy Rifkin, whom Miller describes as ” an “anti-meat, anti-technology, anti-capitalism activist”–and few deserve it more:

The late Harvard evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, by his own admission, tried to be sympathetic to Rifkin’s views toward biotechnology but was overwhelmed by the “extremism” and “lack of integrity” in Rifkin’s anti-biotechnology diatribe, Algeny. Finally, he concluded that Rifkin “shows no understanding of the norms and procedures of science.”

Gould, a renowned scholar, was appalled at Rifkin’s poor distortions: “Algeny is fall of ludicrous, simple errors — I particularly enjoyed Rifkin’s account of Darwin in the Galapagos. After describing the ‘great masses’ of vultures, condors, vampire bats, and jaguars that Darwin saw on these islands, Rifkin writes: ‘It was a savage, primeval scene, menacing in every detail. Everywhere there was bloodletting, and the ferocious, unremittent [sic] battle for survival. The air was dank and foul, and the thick stench of volcanic ash veiled the islands with a kind of ghoulish drape.'” “Well,’ said Gould dismissively, “I guess Rifkin has never been there.”

In fact, whether the subject is economics, politics, cosmology, ecology, science or technology, Mr. Rifkin has never “been there.” Some of us try in our professional lives to build edifices of one sort or another, to make society richer and more equitable, to make life less “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short,” in the words of Thomas Hobbes. But people like Mr. Rifkin devote themselves to retarding progress and to creating only uncertainty and anxiety.

Finally, the coup de gr