Monday, October 10, 2005


Fundamentalists and the Free Market: The Paradox

If Red State Rabble had any money to invest, we'd ask Rob Feightner, a former punk rocker and health care economist, who provides investment advice -- alongside opposition to intelligent design -- on his blog, Desert of the Real Economic Analysis to clue us in to the mysteries of the market.

Feightner has published a post, "Intelligent Design is Creationism with its own K Street Lobbying Firm," that discusses an article posted on ABC Online by professor of mathematics at Temple University, John Allen Paulos, the author of best-selling books, including "Innumeracy" and "A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market."
"[S]ome of the most ardent opponents of Darwinian evolution," writes Paulos "for example, many fundamentalist Christians -- are among the most ardent supporters of the free market. These people accept the natural complexity of the market without qualm, yet they insist that the natural complexity of biological phenomena requires a designer.

“They would reject the idea that there is or should be central planning in the economy. They would rightly point out that simple economic exchanges that are beneficial to people become entrenched and then gradually modified as they become part of larger systems of exchange, while those that are not beneficial die out. They accept that Adam Smith's invisible hand brings about the spontaneous order of the modern economy. Yet, as noted, some of these same people refuse to believe that natural selection and "blind processes" can lead to similar biological order arising spontaneously."

This is a delicious paradox -- closely related to the embrace of Social Darwinism in the form of rugged individualism by many on the fundamentalist right -- and a subject near and dear to RSR's heart.


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