Klinghoffer Tells How Creationism Triumphed

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.

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19 responses to “Klinghoffer Tells How Creationism Triumphed

  1. Christine Janis,

    “because there’s so much mainstream evidence — from scientific journals, not Biblical “creationist” ones — that’s out there and available ”

    Er — any actual citations?

  2. Kadoopleplinker,,,, sociopath?, liar? Or just in deep denial and an incredible dumbass? It’s 3 Discoveroids in one! Either way, there’s no excuse. Kadooplsdopper, heat up your Alpo tonight for a change.

  3. The cat reference is to Jerry Coyne, he’s very fond of them. The Discoveroids are rather in a pet about him, they consider that he brays too much in their direction.

    Yeah, let’s see all the mountains of new evidence! I’ll thoroughly review every last bit of it—I have a spare ten minutes.

  4. “The New Atheists are particularly pathetic in this regard. A guy like PZ Myers hardly ever writes about science at all”

    When has a Discoveroid or creationist type ever posted about science? All they have is politics, lies and fundamentalism dressed in a lab coat. They may mention science but only in the same way an astrologer would mention gravity and cosmology.

  5. NeonNoodle

    A better question might be “Who lost religion?” The younger generation is turning away in droves, if yearly church attendance is any indication. When the next census is taken in 2020, I’ll be interested in seeing which is in steeper decline. My hunch is it won’t be belief in science.

  6. For once, I would like one of these . . . gentlemen to describe what the theory of intelligent design is–without using the words “Darwin” or “theory of evolution.” My guess is that they would be tongue-tied. Simply tell me what your theory is and why you believe it to be so, that is, state the evidence. Until they do so, their claims are just background noise.

  7. docbill1351

    I’ll have you know that Kink the Cat is both cute and has won me two autographed books by Jerry Coyne who puts his cat chow where his mouth is. Wherever Jerry travels he carries a bag of cat chow for when he meets a stray kitty. That’s a bit of kindness and forethought that would be alien to the sociopaths Klakenklopper & Co.

    And as for “science” on ENV? Ha and double Ha, that’s a laugh! When’s the last time, er, first time you’ve seen any kind of original science article on that swamp of a site? Never! When’s the last time you saw a distorted, misrepresented, quote-mined out-and-out pack of lies on that swamp of a site?

    Why just the other day. Read how Lying Luskin gets his clock cleaned … again!

  8. On the one side, we have the relatively small but diverse group of science related bloggers whom Klink labels as “Darwinists”, and on the other side we have the ENV. Klink would have us believe that the small group of bloggers are, in effect, the mainstream science establishment. What he doesn’t say, however, is that for every outspoken “Darwinist” blogger, there are many thousands of working scientists around the world who do not maintain blogs, but who are conducting research and making contributions in a variety of fields bearing on evolution every day. The bloggers are simply the tip of the iceberg, the part the public can most easily see, and like scientists in general, they vary quite a bit in their opinions and backgrounds. (The iceberg analogy is not completely apt, because the number of science bloggers is a much smaller percent of total scientists than the portion of an iceberg seen above water.)

    On Klink’s side, by contrast, there are only bloggers and other writers. There is no large community of scientists working in the background. What you see is all there is. Not only does ID exist only as a written illusion, but virtually all of the original writing on the subject originates at the DI. Other bloggers who have embraced ID as a tool for religious apologetics essentially duplicate the information posted by the DI.

    Using the iceberg analogy, ID is like a chunk of styrofoam floating on the waves – it only looks like ice from a distance, and there is nothing underneath it.

  9. Christine Janis,

    I love the styrofoam analogy! I’m always amazed by how creationists on discussion sites seem to think that those in support of “Darwinism” are Richard Dawkins and a handful of acolytes, while the real science establishment is apparently discovering more and more each day about how science supports creationism, ID, etc. I guess that the creationist sites keep repeating that momentous lie, and if you don’t know the science yourself, you can’t see how stupendously erroneous this is.

  10. Ed says: “On Klink’s side, by contrast, there are only bloggers and other writers. There is no large community of scientists working in the background. What you see is all there is.”

    Very well said.

  11. There’s a disgusting little meme starting to go around the right-blogosphere: that because university officials at Penn State were covering up for Sandusky, they obviously wouldn’t stoop to covering up any malfeasance that Michael Mann committed, which is why the commission that investigated Mann and concluded he didn’t do anything wrong cannot be trusted. I’ve seen this in three places now.

    You can expect Klinghoffer to latch on to this pretty soon. Of course academics are covering up the case against Darwinism, after all they covered up child rape…

  12. NeonNoodle

    You can expect Klinghoffer to latch on to this pretty soon. Of course academics are covering up the case against Darwinism, after all they covered up child rape…

    Pot, meet kettle. The Catholic church covered up child rape for considerably longer, and many more instances.

  13. @NeonNoodle:The Catholic church covered up child rape for considerably longer, and many more instances.

    A), Klinghoffer is not Catholic. B) Dwarfed by American public schools. Department of Education estimates 10% of 8th -11th graders were sexually abused by educators. I assume you will now turn your outrage on the public school system? Thought not, a few bad apples, etc.

  14. NeonNoodle

    Did the Department of Education deny and/or cover up the abuse for decades? The coverup is what separates the men from the boys – er, as it were. BTW, I’m not singling out Catholics, mind you. I agree with your bad apples analogy. I was just pointing out the foolishness of the potential tact that you outlined, if Mr Klinghoffer, whose religion is irrelevant so long as he has one, is reckless enough to adopt it. It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve thrown stones while squatting in a glass house.

  15. The point of my bringing that up is that it is a bogus argument for many reasons. First, the Discovery Institute has not engaged in child abuse and covering it up, so there is no reason to say “pot, kettle”, unless you think all religiously motivated people are somehow complicit. Second, “the Catholic Church” has not either, any more than “the public school system has”, or “academics” have. Nobody deserves to be smeared this way, not Michael Mann, and not David Klinghoffer.

  16. NeonNoodle

    Yes, yes, quite right. But if they, meaning the Discovery Institute, “latch onto” the “disgusting little meme,” as you put it, of child rape (bearing in mind this is the same group that regularly compares Darwin to Hitler, so I don’t put any outrageous behavior past them), it could backfire spectacularly. When one side plays dirty, it changes the playing field and the other side may also.

  17. @NeonNoodle: When one side plays dirty, it changes the playing field and the other side may also.

    Ah, the “he did it first!” defense. Is that what it comes down to?

    In response to a hypothetical action of David Klinghoffer, you decided to smear an entire religion–a different one that is not even promoting creationism–and claim that it’s a case of pot and kettle, and that it’s all about sides. I think the better part of honor, at this point, would be to just disavow entirely what you said at first instead of trying to rationalize it.

  18. NeonNoodle

    I clean forgot that Catholicism doesn’t advocate creationism! Point taken, I hereby stand corrected. Beyond that, I’ve already made clear I wasn’t trying to smear anyone. Believe what you like.

  19. While arguing with a creationist (I know I shouldn’t bother) I was trying to make the point that a literal interpretation of genesis is not a requirement of christianity. I said the majority of christian denominations do not support such a strict stance. They asked me what percentage of churches held such views. I really can’t seem to find anything on that. Does anyone on this forum know what proportion of christian denominations acknowledge the truth of evolution.