David Klinghoffer, Bruce Chapman, and Jewish Squid

THIS is really too weird. Your Curmudgeon isn’t going to spend the time required to work out all the twists and kinks in If the Children of Israel Were Giant Squid. It’s written by David Klinghoffer, and it’s posted at his blog, Kingdom of Priests, which is part of Beliefnet.

As we’ve previously seen, what Klinghoffer writes at Beliefnet sometimes shows up at the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids), so we regard the one as an extension of the other. And you should know that the Discoveroids have bestowed upon Klinghoffer the title of Senior Fellow. We take that title to mean “full-blown creationist.”

Bear in mind that in tirelessly promoting their concept of intelligent design (ID), the Discoveroids always insist that they’re engaged in an entirely scientific endeavor. (See: “Don’t Call Us Creationists!”) Here’s their official line:

Is intelligent design the same as creationism?

No. The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the “apparent design” in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations.


Is intelligent design a scientific theory?

Yes. The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. …

On the other hand, they’re always falsely attacking the theory of evolution by claiming that it’s atheistic. For example: Why Aren’t Scientists Allowed to Believe In God?

Not only that, but here, Faith and Evolution: Friends or Foes? Find out at FaithandEvolution.Org, the Discoveroids announce their new website, Faith and Evolution, which promotes their claim that Darwin’s theory is utterly and implacably incompatible with religious faith, notwithstanding the well-known views of many scientists to the contrary.

So the Discoveroids are trying to have it both ways. On one hand, they’re claiming that ID is all about science. On the other hand, knowing how vacuous their scientific claims are, they insist — as do all creationists — that evolution (and “materialist” science in general) is the enemy of religious faith.

The problem with living half-in and half-out of the creationist closet is that sometimes they forget themselves and wear the wrong clothing to the wrong event. Such is the case with Klinghoffer’s article. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Purportedly religion-friendly Darwinists like genome scientist Francis Collins and biologist Kenneth Miller get a lot of mileage out of reassuring the faith community that Darwinism poses no threat to traditional religion. As I noted the other day, neither thinks it would undermine the idea of God’s children having been created in His image to imagine the videotape of life’s history being re-run and producing not humans but intelligent creatures of some totally different description. Perhaps, in Miller’s example, brainy mollusks. Maybe giant squid

What follows is bizarre. It’s Klinghoffer’s attempt to belittle the very existence of a religious scientist. He’s arguing — we think this is his point — that evolution is atheistic because humanity, created in God’s image, had to be the intended result of the Designer’s labors, and any alternative that evolution might have taken is unthinkable. Here’s how Klinghoffer makes that point:

If the post-larval juvenile squid of Israel were taken captive by their natural predators and sent into exile in a marine Babylon, perhaps they would sing this lament …

[This is Klinghoffer paraphrasing Psalm 137:] In the oceans of Babylon, there we jetted, yea, we discharged ink, when we remembered Zion. .. How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange sea? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right tentacle forget her cunning. …

Klinghoffer’s re-working of scripture is much more extensive than the little bit we’ve excerpted, and it’s ghastly to read, but you get the general idea. With that, his post ends. Thus, Klinghoffer “proves” his point that theistic scientists are wrong to assert that “Darwinism poses no threat to traditional religion.” Well, we told you it was weird.

Okay, so what can we make of this? The most chaotic arguments are the most difficult to work on, because first one must wrap his mind around the chaos to figure out what’s being said, and only then can a response be framed. We won’t even attempt to do that here.

Instead, let’s look at the comments posted by Klinghoffer’s readers. One, by Gabriel Hanna, points out:

If ID really doesn’t entail the existence of God, then it can’t be an alternative to theistic evolution. If it really does, then it can’t be taught in schools as science. Who are you lying to? The believers, or the judges?

Very neat. But then we see an admiring comment by none other than Bruce Chapman, President of the Discovery Institute, Lord High Keeper of their Wedge strategy, and the ultimate leader of all cdesign proponentsists (described here: Missing link: “cdesign proponentsists”). Chapman says:

The satire is hilarious and spot-on. The rebarbative Gabriel Hanna should display such wit in his self-indulgently repeated posts. Meanwhile, do we not note that this article by David sends up SCIENTISTS who write about religion–e.g., Miller and Collins? They are the ones who brought up the topic; Klinghoffer is examining their position. His piece is not about intelligent design, by the way, but the vacuities of theistic evolution. ID, doesn’t express a religious claim; theistic evolution expressly does, does it not? That is why it is such a delicious target for the seafaring Klinghoffer.

And so, dear reader, we now leave it to you to sort this mess out. Is ID all about science? If so, why do they spend so much time and effort to belittle their adversaries on religious grounds? Why are they all worked up over scientists who say that their acceptance of evolution has no adverse effect upon their religious beliefs? Why do they struggle so mightily to arouse the religious community to battle the “evil” of evolution?

And why does Chapman think Klinghoffer is such a clever guy?

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “David Klinghoffer, Bruce Chapman, and Jewish Squid

  1. If it’s about science, they’re batting a giant goose egg in the race to publish experimental data. Still a failure; ID is easy to critique like that.

  2. I ain’t no kin to giant Jewish squid!

    (And I can’t believe I managed to get that posted that before anyone else did! O happy day! The joy! The rapture!)

  3. Great Claw says: “I ain’t no kin to giant Jewish squid!”

    Hit a bit of a nerve, did I?

  4. The Curmudgeon taunted:

    Hit a bit of a nerve, did I?

    A palpable hit, Sir.

    The notion of giant Jewish squid has filled me with horror that mohelim may have been involved in producing the plate of calamari fritti which I, in blissful ignorance, so enjoyed for supper last night…

  5. Great Claw says: “The notion of giant Jewish squid has filled me with horror …”

    That’s what you deserve for dining in a restaurant that serves squid. And thanks for making me look up “mohelim.”

  6. [Sorry, bobxxxxxxx, your comment was a bit to crude for this site.]

  7. This article is really just an afterthought from his article of the previous day, “Are Humans In God’s Image? Even Darwinists like Francis Collins Say, Effectively, No” ( http://blog.beliefnet.com/kingdomofpriests/2009/06/in-gods-image.html )
    which I found incoherent. It takes a smarter man than I to figure out what he is saying.

    It is a waste of time to try and debate with Klinghoffer. He really isn’t interested in hearing any differing viewpoints. As far as he is concerned, “Darwinism” is the root of all evil. He has connected it to the Nazis, Communism, Columbine, Von Brunn and strip clubs ( http://blog.beliefnet.com/kingdomofpriests/2009/06/strip-clubs-v-darwinism.html ), etc.

    He may be a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute which should mean he professes belief in ID but, he is overtly a creationist.