It’s always safe and easy to predict that something goofy and amusing will come our way from the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). But rarely are such prophecies fulfilled so quickly.
It was only three days ago days ago that we wrote about an article by Casey Luskin, in which Casey, while discussing the joys of global warming denial, said:
… Darwin’s defenders make heavy use of personal attacks, and Richards suggests we ought to consider skepticism “When ad hominem attacks against dissenters predominate.”
To which we responded:
Right, it’s the Darwin defenders who use personal attacks, never the Discoveroids. Hey, Casey — over at the next desk there’s a guy named David Klinghoffer. We’ve cataloged his gentle criticisms of Darwin on numerous occasions.
At the time, it never occurred to us that Klinghoffer would obligingly come forward and make our point for us, and certainly not so quickly — but that’s the situation in which we now find ourselves. And so we present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Michael Ruse, the Charming Darwinian Atheist, which appears at the Discoveroid blog. It’s by David Klinghoffer.
Who’s he? Most of you know, so you can skip this indented paragraph:
David Klinghoffer, is a “Senior Fellow” (i.e., full-blown creationist) among the Discoveroids. He has written a series of essays attempting to link Charles Darwin to: Hitler, and communism, and Stalin, and the Columbine shootings, and Charles Manson, and Holocaust Museum shooter, James von Brunn, and the Ft. Hood Massacre, and Mao Tse-tung, and Dr. Josef Mengele, Angel of Death and “Devotee of Darwin”, and most recently Darwin at the Mountains of Madness: Evolution & the Occult.
Now you know why we pointed Klinghoffer out to Casey when Casey was having one of his fainting spells while contemplating that “Darwin’s defenders make heavy use of personal attacks.” Okay, this has been a long introduction. Now here are some excerpts from Klinghoffer’s post, with bold — and color — added by us:
Unlike the reptilian Dawkins, sinister Dennett, or smug Coyne, Michael Ruse is a prominent Darwinian atheist by whom it’s hard not to feel charmed.
No trace of ad hominem attacks, right? The essence of Klinghoffer’s piece is that Darwin killed God, and thus “Darwinism” is the death of morality, yet Michael Ruse is “charming” because he claims that we are, by our nature, moral creatures. Klinghoffer doesn’t like this idea of natural morality very much. Apparently, he thinks we’re all raving beasts (the Fall, you know), and Darwin’s theory releases us from all moral constraints.
With an attitude like that, it’s probably difficult to avoid ad hominem attacks against Darwin defenders. But David doesn’t even try to conceal his contempt.
Anyway, get ready for a parable (or something) that Klinghoffer relates to make some kind of point about morality. See what you make of it:
In fact, we know that some people have an easier time being good, while others feel tormented by their evil impulses on various fronts. The Talmud tells a relevant story. The sage Abaye observed an unmarried man and woman heading off across a lonely meadow together, apparently seeking privacy for a tryst. To keep them from sinning, the rabbi followed after the pair for some miles, only to observe them parting at the end with a friendly farewell. Abaye leaned his head and wept, knowing that in such a situation he himself would not have resisted the temptation. He was comforted when an old man found him and explained, “The greater the man, the greater his evil inclination” (Sukkah 52b).
What a delightful tale! A rabbi spied on a couple for miles “to keep them from sinning.” How disappointed he must have been! Let’s read on:
Perhaps an old person with a lifetime’s experience behind him would likelier grasp the point.
Hey, even your Curmudgeon gets the point. The rabbi would have been better off viewing some internet porn. He wouldn’t have wasted all that time trailing the couple, and he would have easily seen what he so obviously wanted to see. What does Klinghoffer get from this creepy voyeuristic tale? Here you go:
There is a spectrum of struggle. Some people do not have to work very hard to be kind, fair, and honest. Others have to work very hard and are subject to frequent internal battles and screw-ups.
What does this have to do with creationism? Here’s how Klinghoffer wraps up his little essay:
For the former [the naturally good people], whether an intelligent being designed life and accordingly provided a tradition describing transcendent standards of right and wrong — that might truly make no practical difference whatsoever. For the latter? Of course it does! What are you, crazy?
Ah, there it is. For those who just can’t seem to behave themselves, belief in creationism is essential — according to Klinghoffer.
We find it difficult to see how a belief in the literal truth of Noah’s Ark is going to stop Manson from being Manson, but we admit that we don’t have Klinghoffer’s deep moral insights. Nor do we see how a truly intelligent designer gave us Manson in the first place.
But wait — David explained that in an earlier essay. Manson was Darwin’s fault. All clear now?
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