Creationism & ClimateGate in “Human Events”

THIS is about Stephen C. Meyer‘s latest attempt to use Climategate to challenge the theory of evolution. It’s crazy stuff, but you need to know what’s going on out there. Here’s a bit of background on him which you can skip if you already know who he is:

Meyer is an officer, director, and “senior fellow” of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). Meyer is not only the author of “Signature in the Cell” — a pseudo-scientific creationism tract — he’s also the central figure in the infamous peer review scandal, involving a paper written by him which was slipped into print by Richard von Sternberg, who was then managing editor of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington.

Meyer has written an article which appears in Human Events, a conservative journalistic organ that sometimes promotes creationism. It’s titled Climategate Recalls Attacks on Darwin Doubters. The title pretty much gives it all away. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Believers in human-caused global climate change have been placed under an uncomfortable spotlight recently. That is thanks to the Climategate scandal, centering on e-mails hacked from the influential Climate Research Unit (CRU) at England’s University of East Anglia. The e-mails show scientists from various academic institutions hard at work suppressing dissent from other scientists who have doubts on global warming, massaging research data to fit preconceived ideas, and seeking to manipulate the gold standard “peer review” process to keep skeptical views from being heard.

Okay, now we’ll watch as Meyer exploits these events in yet another shabby effort to prove Noah’s Ark, or the magical mystery designer — or whatever it is that the Discoveroids want to teach in public school science classes. Let’s read on:

Does this sound familiar at all? To me, as a prominent skeptic of modern Darwinian theory, it sure does. For years, Darwin-doubting scientists have complained of precisely such abuses, committed by Darwin zealots in academia.

That didn’t take very long. Meyer invokes the vindication of all kooks doctrine — which holds that if the legitimate views of any global warming skeptics have been wrongly suppressed, then all science dissent has been similarly mistreated, and therefore creationism is now respectable. It’s every bit as persuasive as Charles Manson’s pointing to some wrongly-convicted chap and saying: “Let me out too!”

We continue with Meyer’s article:

There have been parallels cases where e-mail traffic was released showing Darwinian scientists displaying the same contempt for fair play and academic openness as we see now in the climate emails.

Yes, “parallel” cases. No doubt the flat-earthers also have such complaints, as do devotees of the Time Cube. And so it is with the creationists — Climategate vindicates them all!

At this point in his article, Meyer exhumes the intellectual corpse of one of the “victims” of academic “censorship” mentioned in propaganda efforts like the Ben Stein “documentary” Expelled, about which see Expelled Exposed. We’ll skip that part and get to Meyer’s next brilliant point:

To me, the most poignant correspondence emerging from CRU e-mails involves discussion about punishing a particular editor at a peer-reviewed journal who was defying the orthodox establishment by publishing skeptical research. In 2004, a peer-reviewed biology journal at the Smithsonian Institution published a technical essay of mine presenting a case for intelligent design. …

Jeepers, what a coincidence! One of Meyer’s own creationist articles was involved in such a problem — the infamous peer review scandal that we mentioned above. This really is like Charles Manson shouting: “Let me out too!” Here’s more:

The public has been intimidated into thinking that “non-experts” have no right to question “consensus” views in science. But the scandal in at the University of East Anglia suggests that this consensus on climate may not be based on solid evidence.

But what about the Darwin debate? We are told that the consensus of scientists in favor of Darwinian evolution means the theory is no longer subject to debate. In fact, there are strong scientific reasons to doubt Darwin’s theory and what it allegedly proved.

We’ve been hearing about the creationist’s “strong scientific reasons” for a long time now, but we’ve never yet seen one of them. Maybe now, in this Human Events article, we’re going to learn that Meyer has found the Precambrian rabbit, which would answer our long-standing question: Where Are The Anachronistic Fossils?

No, actually that’s not what happens here. To spare you the agony of reading excerpts, we’ll summarize: Meyer hauls out several long-debunked creationist canards. He mentions the so-called Cambrian explosion, then he chants the micro-yes, macro-no mantra. After that he waves around the woeful list of “more than 800” dentists, sociologists, proctologists, and maybe even chiropractors who have signed on to the Discoveroids’ Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.

Wow — more than 800 evolution skeptics, virtually none of whom are biologists. But Meyer doesn’t mention a different list which indicates that over 100,000 scientists support evolution. See: Project Steve. And unlike the Discoveroid list, the “Steve” list includes a large percentage of signers who are actually involved in the biological sciences.

Those are the “strong scientific reasons” Meyer presents in his article. Impressed? Wait, he gives even more “evidence”:

Indeed, living systems display telltale signs of actual or intelligent design such as the presence of complex circuits, miniature motors and digital information in living cells.

That’s how Meyer slips in a tasteful plug for his own book. Classy guy. The final paragraph of his article (just before a literal plug for his book) is yet another invocation of the vindication of all kooks doctrine:

All the more reason — in this debate as in the one about global warming — to let the evidence, rather than the consensus of experts, determine the outcome.

Do articles like this have any effect? Sure. We can see it now — a typical reader of Human Events puts down his beer, turns to his 700 pound wife, and says: “It’s like ah been tellin’ ya, Martha … all them science fellers is lyin’ to us! Lets send another contribution to the Flat Earth Society.”

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

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9 responses to “Creationism & ClimateGate in “Human Events”

  1. Curmudgeon: “Wow — more than 800 evolution skeptics, virtually none of whom are biologists. ”

    Also, a survey was conducted a few years ago that determined that only ~10% of those biologists doubted common descent.

  2. I can’t resist pointing out that there must be a bit of envy among the creationists for flat-earthers, astrologers, and all those “unconventionalists” who have actual alternatives to talk about.

  3. Exactly how many AGW deniers/skeptics were prevented from publishing?

    Shouldn’t Meyer have examples of deniers denied in the journals before he can use climategate as evidence for extreme bias?

    Shouldn’t he also have to show the emails and code do in fact show what he claims, that the science is now suspect?

    Mind you, many of the denialists took their tactics straight out of the creationist handbook so maybe Meyers is just trying to share the wealth.

    I guess once you start lying, the complexity of the lie increases and your ability to admit to anyone, including yourself, that it is a lie decreases.

  4. TomS speaks: “I can’t resist pointing out that there must be a bit of envy among the creationists for flat-earthers”

    Hmmm. Suffering from Flat-Earth Envy. Doesn’t exactly trip lyrically off the tongue does it?

  5. Tom S: “I can’t resist pointing out that there must be a bit of envy among the creationists for flat-earthers, astrologers, and all those “unconventionalists” who have actual alternatives to talk about.”

    Et tu Tom with “the creationists”? I guess you mean the Discoveroids, because the “classic” YECs and OECs do have alternatives, just like the flat-earthers. And just as easily falsified.

  6. > a typical reader … beer … 700 pound wife …

    I haven’t seen this site before so I don’t know if that is typical of your usual standards. Will you be wihdrawing the remark and apologising for the lapse in professionalism, or is ad hominem attack the norm here ? 🙂

    > I guess once you start lying, the complexity of the
    > lie increases and your ability to admit to anyone,
    > including yourself, that it is a lie decreases.

    Yes. That’s pretty much how it goes with human nature in most areas. Certainly its the case in the East Anglia CRU events. But, it’s done the world a favor – I anticipate that 2 years or so from now real science will again dominate in that area.

  7. RussellMc says: “Will you be wihdrawing the remark …”

    You have a point. Actually, I’ve got friends who write for Human Events. I’ll modify that remark. I should have said “a typical creationist reader.” Okay now?

  8. RussellMc chides The Curmudgeon for a “lapse in professionalism”? Gee Curmy, I didn’t realize you were getting paid for this.

  9. RogerE says: “Gee Curmy, I didn’t realize you were getting paid for this.”

    I’m paid in quatloos.