When you start with a bad premise, there’s nowhere to go but downhill. That’s what we learn today from 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).
Their latest post is by David Klinghoffer, whose creationist oeuvre we last described here, and upon whom the Discoveroids have bestowed the exalted title of “senior fellow” — i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist. His name has some of the resonance of Red Skelton’s Clem Kadiddlehopper.
Neither a lawyer nor a fallen scientist, Klinghoffer plays the role of house mystic — a convenient guise for a retained essayist whose principal job is to enthusiastically function as an unrestrained journalistic slasher whenever his creationist masters assign him to the task. Klinghoffer’s (or Kadiddlehopper’s) latest post is titled “Who Lost Science?” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and his links omitted:
After 1949 when China went Communist, American anti-Communists in their anguish turned on fellow Americans, seeking to pin the blame somewhere and prompting the famous “Who Lost China?” debate. Evolutionists lately have been following this same path, bewailing the public’s continued discontent with Darwinism and support for academic-freedom legislation, and looking for someone to blame, even if that someone is on the Darwinists’ own side.
Since on their own (extremely silly) terms, rejecting Darwinian theory means rejecting all of science, you could call it the “Who Lost Science?” debate.
There is a bit of creativity involved in that, but Klinghoffer’s essay assumes that science has “lost” and is looking to blame someone; so it’s the kind of creativity that goes into defending the Time Cube. In truth, science hasn’t lost, although it’s undeniable that a large segment of the population knows nothing about it and seems quite happy in their ignorance. The question should be: “Why do so many people exhibit a resistance to science?” Anyway, let’s play along for a while:
Robert Wright (in the Atlantic) and Michael Zimmerman (of the Clergy Letter Project) put much of the blame on the New Atheists. According to this view, Dawkins & Co. alienated members of the religious community and helped turn them against “science.”
Others, like braying atheist Jerry Coyne, will accept no responsibility for any undesirable outcome and instead blame religion. After all, that’s the only possible reason anyone would fail to embrace evolution.
We don’t follow that theater of the debate, so we’re only vaguely familiar with it. Our policy about it is one of indifference, which we’ve described a few times, for example here: Religion and Evolution: Part II, and also here: Religion and Evolution: Part III. But we don’t doubt that the Discoveroids, being theocrats, see atheists as their principle adversaries. Observe how Klinghoffer denies that as he gives us his answer to the phony question about who lost science:
The most likely answer to the question as stated is the one that nobody in the Darwin camp is prepared to consider. A major reason that evolutionary science can’t seem to seal its deal with the public is that the science on the other side continues to grow and deepen.
Got that? Klinghoffer pretends he’s not bothered by the atheists. Oh no — he and the rest of the Discoveroids aren’t concerned with religion — they’re scientists! And our kind of science (that nasty “naturalism” stuff) has lost — we’ve lost! — because the Discoveroids are proving to be superior scientists. Amazing, isn’t it? Let’s read on:
In the science-education context, this is particularly clear. “Teaching the controversy” is an increasingly realistic and reasonable pedagogic objective because there’s so much mainstream evidence — from scientific journals, not Biblical “creationist” ones — that’s out there and available to which you can now expose students, alongside the traditional Darwinist view, to their intellectual profit.
Yes, the kiddies are gaining “intellectual profit” by being exposed to the Discoveroids’ vacuous arguments. Klinghoffer continues:
This is the material, as we cover it here at ENV [the Discoveroids' blog], from which our Darwinist friends resolutely turn away, preferring to spend their time mocking young earth creationists and posting photographs of cute cats.
He’s not talking about your Curmudgeon. It’s true that we mock the YECs, but we spend at least as much time mocking the Discoveroids, because their arguments are no better. But who’s he talking about with the cat photos? Anyway, here’s more:
The New Atheists are particularly pathetic in this regard. A guy like PZ Myers hardly ever writes about science at all. I can’t imagine anyone feeling genuinely challenged by him. Why would they?
PZ is capable of defending himself, so we won’t bother with that. Here’s Klinghoffer’s conclusion:
It’s not, in short, the New Atheists who are to blame for losing “science,” nor is it religion. Wright and Coyne are both wrong. Gentlemen, please, it’s the science itself!
As we said at the beginning, when one starts with a false premise, it’s all downhill. So here we are at the bottom. It’s a good place to end.
Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.