Klinghoffer: Why the Discoveroids Are Failing

We have a new theory about the blog of 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).

Our theory is that the purpose of their blog isn’t to persuade anyone about the non-existent merits of intelligent design. Creationists don’t need persuading; they’re already willing to go along with the Discoveroids, and the rest of the world either ignores them or laughs at them. Surely the Discoveroids know this. Yet they devote a great deal of time to their blog. So what’s it all about?

We think their blog’s principal purpose is to convince their generous patrons that they’re making progress. There can’t be any other reason for it.

Consider their latest article. The title is Homework Avoidance: A Major Reason for Resistance to Intelligent Design. It’s 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. There’s really no conflict between his role as both mystic and slasher. Rather, they’re complementary behaviors. Whenever his mystical view of the world is threatened by science, he starts slashing to preserve his rapturous befuddlement.

In this instance, Klinghoffer (or Kadiddlehopper) seems a bit out of character — he’s neither slashing nor being mystical. His post was apparently drafted in response to a patron’s question as to why the Discoveroids aren’t making more progress in the academic world. Their wedge strategy, which we assume was their major fund-raising manifesto when they started, declares their Five Year Goals:

• To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.

• To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.

• To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.

But they haven’t met those goals, have they? Certainly not the first one — not even close. The same document also declared their Twenty Year Goals:

• To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.

• To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its influence in the fine arts.

• To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.

Again, they’re nowhere near accomplishing that first goal, or the second. So maybe their patrons are growing restless and the Discoveroids have some explaining to do. Here are some excerpts from what seems to be Klinghoffer’s excuse, with bold font added by us:

Probably most serious working biologists dispense with Darwinian theory in their everyday work. It simply doesn’t come up, and insofar as it does, it raises manifest problems in terms of its own scientific credibility.

With a start like that, is there any hope for this article? No, there isn’t, but at least we can squeeze some amusement out of it. Klinghoffer continues:

The defense of the theory is thus left to two notable groups: the Internet atheist brigade of PZ Myers & Co. and celebrity atheists like Richard Dawkins — who, for his part, is no longer considered a serious scientist or even a serious public intellectual — and, curiously, to a fringe of minor academics at small religious colleges.

Wow! No one defends Darwin’s theory except atheists like PZ and Richard Dawkins, and “a fringe of minor academics at small religious colleges.” Evolution must be fading fast! Let’s read on, as he talks about that Darwinist fringe at religious colleges:

You could speculate about what drives some of the religious folks who take Darwin’s side. A desire to curry respect with higher-up figures in the academic world, or a fear of being mocked for holding a controversial minority scientific view.

Observe, dear reader, that Klinghoffer has trouble imagining why religious folks would take Darwin’s side. His puzzlement is rather revealing, coming as it does from an outfit that claims to be doing science, and denies that it’s nothing but a creationist cult. He continues:

I would say there’s an additional factor, though, one that is of much wider applicability: homework avoidance. I see this clearly in the religious community I know best, the Jewish one, and in the professional community I belong to, that of journalists. It’s huge.

Ah, there’s the answer. No one wants to do the necessary homework! It’s laziness that prevents acceptance of intelligent design. Here’s more:

If you’re going to identify yourself with one side or the other in the evolution debate, it’s very, very tempting to go Darwinist. Sure, there’s the consideration of your own social anxiety and eagerness to win the esteem of your peers and betters. But even more important for many is that when you embrace orthodox evolutionism, you can feel confident that for the most part you’ll be able to go about your business without anyone challenging you to defend your beliefs. If they do, you can just say, “Hey, it’s what all those scientists say! Leave me alone.”

Yeah, that must be it. Everyone is going along to get along. That’s how it is in the world of science. No one wants to rock the boat. Moving along:

Identifying with an alternative to Darwinism is far more difficult. What if someone challenges you on that, demands that you defend your regard for intelligent design? To answer creditably, very different from Darwinism, you need to have done your homework. And that’s no easy thing. The science is hard, and I say that as someone, a non-scientist, who’s immersed in it daily.

We won’t bother commenting on that. Another excerpt:

I would say ID’s greatest challenge at the moment is to make its ideas publicly accessible — explain itself to people in a way that’s easy to grasp by any thoughtful individual. This is terribly important.

If only they had more funding, they could really make some progress with their public relations efforts. See how this fits our theory? Their blog all about persuading their patrons to keep the funds flowing. Here’s how the article ends:

Right now, we have a lot of work to do on that front.

So there you are. There’s nothing wrong with the theory of intelligent design. It just needs more publicity — and more money. Then maybe those lazy academics will finally do their homework. It’s their fault the Discoveroids haven’t succeeded yet.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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20 responses to “Klinghoffer: Why the Discoveroids Are Failing

  1. DK: “I would say ID’s greatest challenge at the moment is to make its ideas publicly accessible — explain itself to people in a way that’s easy to grasp by any thoughtful individual. This is terribly important.”

    This is extremely unlikely.

  2. All the creationists need to do is publish the trial transcript that shows how their design science evidence pummeled the crap out of the testimony provided by those few lazy crazy evolution-believing Darwinist biologists the opposition managed to scrape up from Jupiter-knows-where in Kitzmiller v Dover. It’s just a shame that most serious working biologists, who have little if any truck with evolutionary theory in their everyday work, were unable to spare the time to testify for the truth during that trial. No doubt they regret the outcome, and will promptly respond to Klinghoffer’s challenge to make ID’s ‘ideas publicly accessible — explain itself to people in a way that’s easy to grasp by any thoughtful individual.’ Yessir. The information possessed by those biologists ought to come streaming in to Klinghoffer’s office soon. Very soon. How many years are left on that 20 year plan schedule? Send money.

  3. To answer creditably, very different from Darwinism, you need to have done your homework. And that’s no easy thing. The science is hard, and I say that as someone, a non-scientist, who’s immersed in it daily.

    Klinghoffer is indeed stepping into a pile of ID every day, and I imagine he’s already up to his neck in ID crap.

  4. Charles Deetz ;)

    Sorry, I’ve done my homework. Well, my freshman son’s biology homework. Even at the basic level, when helping him study, the case is pretty obvious for evolution. Frogs versus toads, platipus, dinos to birds, DNA. The real problem is for kids coming out of this education, faced with strict religious dogma is a really bad case of cognitive dissonance. Scientists grow up and get past that (rather than suffer), it isn’t a lazy choice. It is just plain obvious, where Kipplehopper can’t even explain what they are proposing.

  5. Great insights and love this article about what’s going on at the Tute based on Kaflinglehoopers latest science fiction article. I guess Ahmundsen’s asking questions? The Ahmundsen people are businessmen after
    all.
    But, there’s a solution . If the DI guys just ‘fess up and admit that they’re creationists, they could point to the latest polls that say roughly half of US citizens are creationists.That might buy them more time even though it’s deceitful.
    After all , they are backed up by creationists.
    They’re used to fraud.
    As to the problems with ID not being accepted in the academic and science communities, Kadiddlehooper, you’re hosed.
    finally, I have to say, I loved the immersed in Research comments. Kaddoplehuffer is going psychotic apparently.

  6. I have never been more convinced that the champions of Creationists are nothing more than a pack of liars out to make a dime. To think that I actually used to be a Creationist sickens me.

  7. They seem to have forgotten their last goal, to wit:
    •To return to the Dark Ages.
    Good luck, Flingpooper. We’re pulling for you, one finger at a time.

  8. Publiclly accessible? Klinkerklopper is high-Larry-ous!! All they have to do is pull Behe, Meyer and Dembski out of hiding and open their website to comments! Easy peasy! Nothing stopping them.

    Project much, klinkleankle ? Get help, David. You’re mentally ill and have been for many years.

  9. Absolutely delusional, they think they are the normal ones and can’t figure out why the rest of us are in their view the crazy ones.

  10. Curmudgeon: “Creationists don’t need persuading…”

    Must I drag out the demographics every time? If by “creationists” you mean the ~25% that will not admit evolution under any circumstances, of course not. But they do crave reassuring sound bites, though for that they prefer the overtly Biblical outfits like AiG (young-earth) and RtB (old-earth).

    But there’s another ~25% with varying degrees of doubt of evolution, and corresponding various degrees of uncritical acceptance of some creationist claims. I contend that the DI does a much better job of maintaining the misconceptions among that group, and among another ~25% that accepts evolution (though more often a caricature) but thinks it’s fair to “teach the controversy” in science class.

    The poll results have been virtually unchanged in 30 years, while (1) the “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated” of evidence for evolution has increased exponentially, while the tactics of anti-evolution activists have retreated steadily into “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The irony is that very few people can name a Discoveroid, yet their sound bites have trickled down at least as well as they expected.

  11. I would say ID’s greatest challenge at the moment is to make its ideas publicly accessible — explain itself to people in a way that’s easy to grasp by any thoughtful individual. This is terribly important.

    That sounds rather like what a number of people have been saying for quite some time: What is the theory of Intelligent Design? According to ID, what happened and when, how and where; what sorts of things are, and what sorts of things are not, likely products of ID; etc.

    Not that this is an issue of PR, or being “easy to grasp by any thoughtful individual”, it’s rather “of sufficient positive substance that there is something there to be grasped”.

  12. I’m seein’ a lot of love expressed in the comments on Curmudgeon’s blog
    about this article. Just bringing out the warmth in his readership.

  13. @TomS:

    The problem is that the “number of people” who ask for a “Theory of ID” then ruin it with accusations of “sneaking in God” and “ID is too creationism” is huge. Whereas the “number of people” who demand that IDers answer simple “what, where, when” questions can be counted on one hand, with about 3 fingers left over. The scam artists can easily evade our questions because we are greatly outnumbered by those who feed them.

  14. When perusing the DI’s list of “peer-reviewed scientific articles” — something I hadn’t done in quite a while, so I thought I’d take the time to do it now — two things stand out for me:

    1) Many of them appear in the pages of Bio-Complexity, a journal which appears to have been established for the express purpose of “exploring” the evidence for ID; and

    2) There’s not a lot of wet-lab or field work, is there? The articles are more along the lines of literature reviews, analysis of computer models, critiques of others’ experimental approaches, etc. Do they ever grow some bugs, isolate DNA, or run gels? Do they ever sequence anything?

    Oh, why bother. I already know the answers to my questions. It is a striking contrast, though; I can go to Pubmed and immediately pull up hundreds of articles on virtually any subject related to evolution, and almost all of them will be full of actual data.

  15. There is no science in ID, hard or otherwise. Kling knows this, of course, and is just lying.

    If there was ever an “Idiot’s guide to ID”, it would be a very short book, and would consist of the following chapters:

    1. God created the universe and all life, therefore, evolution cannot be true.
    2. Any evidence supporting evolution must be countered by opposing rhetoric. Quote mining, lying, and questioning the motives of the researchers work well.
    3. To address the charge that there is no positive evidence for ID, invent rhetorical arguments such irreducible complexity, fine tuning, and other claims which appeal to a sense of incredulity. Keep the arguments simple.
    4. Maintain a continuous propaganda presence. Claim that evolution is in trouble, and that it is only supported by vocal atheists and fringe religious groups – and question their motives. Claim that others who dispute evolution have “not done their homework”. Further claim that belief in evolution leads to Nazism, Atheism, eugenics, mass murderers, etc. etc. etc….
    5. Promote legislation requiring criticism of science and scientific conclusions in schools. Attempt to indoctrinate children not to believe in scientific conclusions which might run counter to their religious beliefs.
    6. Litigate whenever and wherever possible.

    Nowhere in the ID process above is any scientific inquiry conducted. I believe it’s a fairly accurate summary. I did my homework.

  16. You did indeed, Ed. I’ve done a bit myself and have come to the same conclusion.

  17. Curmudgeion,Certainly there are plenty of people in the category of supporting a rational citizenry, ownership of private property points as one of the founders principles. I’m j not a fan of Ahmundsen and their support for the Discooveroids. After doing lots of ‘Roid bashing in comments here, I’m thinking there are some articles by the Curmeister on democracy , guiding principles of the founders I ought to spend some time thinking about. Thought. What a novel concept! Casey should try it sometime.

  18. will says: “Certainly there are plenty of people in the category of supporting a rational citizenry, ownership of private property points as one of the founders principles.”

    We’ll find out in November, won’t we?

  19. Lovely how Klammerdigger summarizes the state of ID so well! Fringe of minor academics and crackpots, Klingers, you forgot crackpots, you dolt!