Klinghoffer: The Soul-Crushing Burden of Science

Once again we have the opportunity to discuss an article by David Klinghoffer. He’s a “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), among the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

We won’t bother to repeat our description of Klinghoffer’s creationist oeuvre here, but you can check it out in this recent post. Klinghoffer’s latest appears at the Discoveroids’ blog: What Intelligent Design Offers to Agnostics.

Does that title strike you as being just a little bit crazy? Can you imagine a science course named “Chemistry for Anglicans,” or maybe “Astronomy for Jews”? Or either one offered “for agnostics”? Of course not! Hydrogen is hydrogen and the moon is the moon. Science is science, and its practitioners are attracted to it from every background from all over the world. The Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design — were it science — should appeal to all rational people regardless of their views on religion. What is Klinghoffer talking about?

Well, let’s get past the goofy title and see what Klinghoffer has to say. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Intelligent design has as much to offer to the unbeliever or the unorthodox searcher as to the confirmed traditional believer. It might even have more. Does that surprise you?

Don’t try to tease, David. It’s not cute coming from you. Just get on with it:

If ID were religious in nature, then with what theology or with what faith exactly is it congruent? ID is as much a religious idea as is the cosmology of the Big Bang. Sure, it’s more readily reconciled with Judaism or Christianity than you can say of Darwinism or materialism, but that’s something different. It also has as much to offer to the unbeliever or the unorthodox searcher as to the confirmed traditional believer. It might even have more.

We can easily answer David’s question about the theology with which ID is congruent — it’s any theology that wants to suppress reason and establish a theocracy to rule over an uneducated, mindless population. That’s quite sufficient to distinguish it from the Big Bang. Let’s read on:

It’s far from the case that only orthodox religionists have perceived what Alfred Russel Wallace, evolutionary theory’s co-founder, called in 1889 the “crushing mental burden” that materialism imposes on modern man.

Wallace again. The Discoveroids’ bizarre metamorphosis into the cult of Wallace-ism is virtually complete. See: Discoveroids Adopt Alfred Wallace as Godfather.

Wait — we must interrupt to comment on Klinghoffer’s mention of “materialism.” As creationists always do, Klinghoffer is — and we suspect it’s deliberate — equating philosophical materialism with something very different — methodological materialism. The latter is a procedure (not a philosophy) which is inherent in the scientific method. We’ve explained that in detail here: Bring Me An Angel Detector!

That ends our interruption. Sorry, but it was necessary. Then Klinghoffer purports to quote the venerable Wallace:

[Warning -- what follows is an unverified creationist quote. Klinghoffer claims Wallace said:] As contrasted with this hopeless and soul-deadening belief, we, who accept the existence of a spiritual world, can look upon the universe as a grand consistent whole adapted in all its parts to the development of spiritual being capable of indefinite life and perfectibility.

Eeeyoweeee! Science is a “hopeless and soul-deadening belief.” No wonder the Discoveroids love Wallace. Klinghoffer continues:

He describes beautifully that sense of optimism that I’ve identified elsewhere with “enchantment,” the hope of an invisible reality behind the façade of the physical world.

Ah, so that’s the purpose of the Discoveroids’ “science” — it’s all about enchantment! Intelligent design is truly wonderful stuff. Here’s one last excerpt from Klinghoffer’s post:

Materialism corrodes the confidence we might otherwise have that any search for meaning that we undertake is not necessarily in vain. Intelligent design offers the hope, by the refutation of materialist science, that “something is out there,” whatever it might be, capable of granting genuine purpose to our existence.

There it is, dear reader. Klinghoffer says that “materialism” — his misleading word for rational, evidence-based science — “corrodes the confidence” that we might understand the world. Our only hope is to embrace Oogity Boogity! Blessed be Wallace!

Oh, back to Klinghoffer’s peculiar title: “What Intelligent Design Offers to Agnostics” — our conclusion is that it offers nothing to anyone, but that’s only our Curmudgeonly view of things. Opinions vary.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “Klinghoffer: The Soul-Crushing Burden of Science

  1. If I can paraphrase Klinghoffer’s little sermon; a religious view of nature can offer hope to non-religious people. It’s better to believe in oogity boogity than to not believe. People are happier who believe there is some scary, all powerful, invisible creature out there…. (cue the theremin)

    However, Klinghoffer does make it clear that ID is not about making any sort of scientific discovery or, heaven forbid, identifying a designer, but rather it is about displacing “materialist” science. He builds a convincing case that ID is not science at all, but is about religion. Thanks, Kling!

  2. How disappointing, I was hoping he was giving away a cool prize, like an iPad2.

  3. Just a little digging and I found the quote. It is from “Darwinism (1889) by Alfred Russel Wallace”

    Pure quote mining again, Wallace is not arguing against science, but atheism. The section is mostly about theistic evolution.

  4. Flakey says: “Pure quote mining again”

    I’m shocked. Shocked!

  5. I’d rather be a rational agnostic than an IDiot who needs a permanent Santa Claus because he refuses to grow up and deal with reality.

    Oh, wait! I am a rational agnostic!

    LOL! ;)

  6. Once again, creationists fail to understand the fallacy of a faulty appeal to authority. The line that I was taught was “God said it [in the Bible]; I believe it, and that settles it.” Substitute Wallace for God, and it’s the same kind of thinking. Science, by contrast, doesn’t rely on authorities, but on evidence.

  7. Gabriel Hanna

    I think the argument ad Wallace is supposed to be that since Wallace was as much of an expert on evolution by natural selection as Darwin, then his philosophy should be just as valid as Darwin’s for someone who believes in evolution. Which is irrelevant because evolutionary science has long since passed both of them by, and what philosophy you subscribe to cannot change experimental outcomes and empirical facts.

    For example, Newton thought angels kept the planets in their orbits and modern scientists don’t, but the planets still move according to the laws of motion regardless. So there’s no point in going back to Newton and using him as an authority to support the existence of angels, by saying that if you believe in gravity you must believe in angels because Newton did.

    I think Klinghoffer’s Wallace argument is the same idea.