Klinghoffer: “What, me worry?”

BY now you’re aware of the exceedingly amusing fiasco that has developed in Louisiana. For more than two years, the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) have been hoping their legislative victory for “academic freedom” — the Louisiana Science Education Act (the “LSEA”) — could be exploited by some clever school board. The idea was that at least one of their creationist texts could become approved for teaching about evolution.

The Discoveroids publish some of their own anti-science tracts (see Discovery Institute Press) and they have others they recommend. (Pandas is no longer on the list.) Getting their anti-evolution books into the science curriculum would advance the theocratic goals of their malevolent wedge strategy.

The difficulty the Discoveroids face is maintaining discipline — keeping all their idiotic followers in line — so that no one blabs the obvious truth about what’s going on. It’s rather like the task faced by a certain political party, the one that wants to establish socialism in the US, but which conceals that purpose behind an elaborate rhetorical repertoire of expressions like “social justice,” “fairness,” etc.

Such politicians can usually deal with criticism. When someone in the opposition party points out the obvious, they fly into feigned outrage:

How dare you question our patriotism! Your accusations are so outrageous and over-the-top they reveal what a wing-nut extremist you are!

But when some loyal but simple-minded office-holder forthrightly describes himself and the party as being socialist, top party officials are faced with a different kind of problem — the “honest admission of purpose.” In such cases they have no choice but to deny the truth of what’s been said and to disown the hapless and bewildered loyalist.

The honest admission of purpose is the current crisis facing the Discoveroids. A particularly naive school board in Louisiana’s Livingston Parish spilled the beans about their desire to take advantage of the 2008 law and teach creationism, about which we wrote: World-Class Idiocy.

Many of the key players on the rational side of The Controversy commented on the school board’s gaffe: The National Center for Science Education did here: The latest from Livingston Parish; and Barbara Forrest did here Livingston Parish School Board Wants to Implement Discovery Institute’s “Academic Freedom” Law; and Lauri Lebo did here: “Taking a Stand for Jesus” in the Public Schools.

The school board’s accurate understanding of the intent of the LSEA, together with their primitive urge to jam creationism into their schools, created a spectacular example of an honest admission of purpose. It exposed the hypocrisy of the Discoveroids’ carefully-crafted script that the LSEA is supposed to be about teaching science, not destroying it. Their departure from the script was so bone-headed that the overlord of all Discoveroids, Bruce Chapman, had to publicly disown them. We wrote about Chapman’s desperate (and unconvincing) denunciation here: Bruce Chapman’s Louisiana Damage Control.

Chapman’s predictable effort to distance himself and the Discoveroids from the raw creationism of Livingston Parish didn’t fool anyone. The whole world knows the game. Just because the Discoveroids don’t admit that they’re creationists, and they pretend that the creation tale in Genesis isn’t the purpose behind their “science,” they shouldn’t expect any rational observer to be confused as to what’s really going on. Thus, Lauri Lebo wrote about Chapman’s peculiar embarrassment here: Don’t Use the “C-Word”.

The Discoveroids’ current problem in Louisiana is acute. Chapman’s denunciation was necessary, but it’s also laughable. What can they possibly do now to salvage the situation?

In retrospect, the solution they’ve chosen was an obvious one — they’ve deployed Klinghoffer. We’ve previously described him and his strange writings, the last time being here. But even with Klinghoffer’s willingness to undertake any task in the service of his theocratic masters, what can he do here? The situation looks hopeless.

In such cases, the only tactic available is one they’ve used before. We described it more than two years ago: Discovery Institute — Deny, Deny, Deny! In that post we said:

What’s really interesting about this Discoveroid article is their tactic of openly declaring the full truth of their motivations, but thinly disguising it as an absurdity that only their misguided adversaries believe. Yes — how ridiculous that the Discoveroids might actually be promoting an anti-science agenda!

This biased presentation of reality is then followed by shameless denials and ad hominem attacks such as “All our opponents are atheists!” But there is never any refutation of the truth. Only denial.

We see exactly that tactic hauled out and put to use again at the Discoveroid blog, where we read Dear Lauri Lebo, Please Help Me Understand Your Conspiracy Theory. Klinghoffer criticizes Lauri’s article by: (a) claiming to find her observations ridiculous; and (b) denying that the Discoveroids have any creationist desires. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Ms. Lebo seems to think that in supporting the LSEA, Discovery Institute intended to ease the way not merely for what the law clearly indicates, but for the teaching of Biblical literalist creationism. It’s hard to believe that Ms. Lebo, a journalist who wrote a whole book about the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, isn’t aware of the enormous difference in content between creationism on one hand, and the scientific critique of Darwinism, or the related theory of intelligent design, on the other.

Klinghoffer is shocked — shocked! — that Lauri or anyone else could even imagine that the Discoveroids are creationists. Let’s read on:

Giving Lauri Lebo the benefit of the doubt on this score — she seems bright enough — the only explanation for her outburst must be that she thinks Discovery supports critical thinking on Darwinism with the secret aim of providing a path for something wildly different, incompatible and contradictory — namely, for creationists to teach the Bible as a science text book.

See how it goes? Klinghoffer directly confronts the truth (the “secret aim” of creationism) but he exaggerates it (no one claims they literally want to use the bible as a science text) and then he pretends to laugh: What, me a creationist? How could anyone even think such a thing?

That’s the general concept of Klinghoffer’s article. It’s beyond silly; it’s desperate. And it’s pathetic. But that’s the sort of job they give to Klinghoffer. Besides, what other course can they follow?

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Klinghoffer: “What, me worry?”

  1. And yet Stephen Meyer (head of the DI’s CSC) went onto TBN’s creation fest, explicitly stating that ID and his book was about God the Designer, using the commonsense point that something that could create the universe was a tad “god-like.” Unfortunately, that episode is no longer available at TBN (maybe somewhere else?), but was linked at http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/05/creationist-ext.html

    Here’s what Meyer does when he’s not writing confused screeds about information in life (review of a kit called “Does God Exist?”):

    Review: It was as-if I was a student in a college class room listening to a professor. And, I did take notes. Dr. Meyer challenged me by asking questions about the meaning of life. Questions such as, “Is there purpose in the universe?” As well, each lesson added a building block to the foremost question “Does God exist?” Dr. Meyer debated the four present worldviews of how the world began while he systematically built his case with scientific evidence and Scripture that says “Yes, God does exist and He did create the world.” He also pointed out which well-known scientists came to believe in God as a result of evidence supporting that the world does have a Creator. The DVD set is an excellent resource for high school and college students looking for reasons that defend their faith against those who oppose their views. It is great for individual study or in a group setting.

    http://www.clashentertainment.com/word/42-the-word/1883-review-qdoes-god-exist-trueu-dvd-setq

    Clearly he sees ID as a way to demonstrate that God exists.

    When the audience is religious, they quit pretending that they’re about anything other than teaching God as the creator. Behe complained at Walla Walla College (now University) that although challenges to evolution are allowed to a degree, the ones involving the supernatural are not (clearly referring to his own). And, of course, since they have nothing except “it’s so complex that God had to have done it” as an “argument,” teaching their dishonest “weaknesses of evolution” is what teaching creationism is anyway.

    Klinghoffer himself might just be dull enough to actually believe what he says, however. He has a remarkable ability to ignore everything that he doesn’t want to accept, and that he knows he can’t refute. That seems to characterize the “DI fellows” in general, though, and they seem to think that they can tell church audiences that they’re fighting to put God into the classroom without this at all detracting from their denials of same in secular channels. Indeed, how could anyone be so wrong as to think so?

    They are perhaps as deeply and intricately dishonest as any group of advocates has ever been.

  2. “Klinghoffer himself might just be dull enough to actually believe what he says, however.”
    Very likely, from what I’ve read by him. I doubt that he could chew gum and walk at the same time, without explicit directions from his masters at the Disco Toot.
    Excellent post by His Curmudgeonlyness, and very insightful comment from Glen.
    Thanks to both.

  3. As I read the article I got the feeling that if Lauri was standing right next to Klinghoffer he would be patronizing her with a pat on the head. I mean he said:

    “Ms. Lebo, a journalist who wrote a whole book about the Kitzmiller v. Dover case”

    A ‘whole’ book . . . Wow! Does this imply that she did something amazing by write an whole, entire book? Obviously he didn’t read the whole book or he would realize that like Barbara Forrest, Lauri Lebo knows exactly what she is talking about. He was certainly damning with faint praise with:

    “Giving Lauri Lebo the benefit of the doubt on this score — she seems bright enough”

    ‘Bright enough’? Who the hell is he to make such a judgment? This is the man who cannot do 30 seconds of research to realize his Darwin and Hitler comments have no support what-so-ever! David, she’s plenty bright enough to see through your BS, isn’t she? Which means she is considerably brighter than you — which isn’t much of a compliment because I think a cabbage has an intellectual leg up on you. So let me be clear. I read Lauri’s book “The Devil in Dover” and enjoyed it for its professional and personal insight into the Dover trial. I have enjoyed reading her occasional updates on her Facebook page and I have certainly enjoyed her comments on the this whole subject. She is knowledgeable, writes well, and always supports her work! David, you should take lessons rather than try and patronize her!

    Ted
    tedhohio@gmail.com
    http://sciencestandards.blogspot.com/2010/08/klinghoffer-discovery-institute-shill.html

  4. no one claims they literally want to use the bible as a science text

    Oh, I disagree. I believe that is precisely what they want to do. Otherwise, how can you explain how the Bible gets trotted out every time they try to explain something of the world. We bring details of evidence, of measurements, of actual data, and they quote Scripture. Yes, given the time and ability, they would very much like to have their Bible be the one and only textbook. We cannot give them that ability or its curtains for science.

  5. Gary says:

    Oh, I disagree. I believe that is precisely what they want to do.

    Maybe, but the Discoveroids are mostly old-earth types. Still, you’re probably right. They’re theocrats, so that’s the bottom line.

  6. Curmudgeon: “Maybe, but the Discoveroids are mostly old-earth types. Still, you’re probably right. They’re theocrats, so that’s the bottom line.”

    Yes, which makes their goal much more devious than one that requires the Bible to be read as a science text. At least one key Discoveroid (Behe) has plainly called reading the Bible as a science text “silly,” and I strongly suspect that most of his DI buddies agree. Whereas classic OECs claim that their version is “the” literal one, just like heliocentric YECs, geocentrists and flat-earthers.

    In the DI’s “theocracy” you will be permitted to take the Bible allegorically. You will even be permitted to accept common descent if you so desire. But you will apparently not be permitted to openly criticize any anti-evolution position that contradicts yours, however. And strongly discouraged if not outright banned from openly detailing what your designer did, when and how, as it relates to the origins and history of life, Earth, Universe, etc. Refutations of anti-evolution arguments will be censored wherever feasible.

  7. Gabriel Hanna

    I laughed hardest at this part:

    It’s hard to believe that Ms. Lebo, a journalist who wrote a whole book about the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, isn’t aware of the enormous difference in content between creationism on one hand, and the scientific critique of Darwinism, or the related theory of intelligent design, on the other.

    Because it reminded me of the part of the Dover trial when it was revealed that the DI took Of Pandas and People and replaced “creationists” with “intelligent design proponents”.

  8. Awwww, I love you guys.

  9. Lauri says: “Awwww, I love you guys.”

    Well, someone has to protect you from Klinghoffer.

  10. I can understand Klinghoffer’s “whole book” argument.

    I mean, what good is half a book?

  11. Doc Bill asks: “I mean, what good is half a book?”

    In the bathroom, half a creationist book can still provide useful service.

  12. LOL! I love that: Doc Bill asks: “I mean, what good is half a book?”

  13. This blog would be more fun to read without the permanent partisan swipes, not least because they are so over the top and irrational. The Democrats introducing socialism? I’m not an American myself, but even from my outside perspective (or maybe especially from there), it has to be said: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  14. More socialism talk…. FrumForum.com has some great posts dealing with this topic.

  15. That’s OK Alex, the other party represents fascism, so it all evens out.

  16. It’s hard to believe that Ms. Lebo, a journalist who wrote a whole book about the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, isn’t aware of the enormous difference in content between creationism on one hand, and the scientific critique of Darwinism, or the related theory of intelligent design, on the other.

    She is not only aware of it, but also aware of how IDers constantly bait-and-switch definitions of creationism to prenend that they have some “3rd option.” ID may not be “creationism” in the sense of an honest belief in a 6-day creation, but it is where it counts – a strategy to promote unreasonable doubt of evolution by any means possible, e.g. defining terms to suit the argument, cherry picking evidence, quote mining etc.

  17. Im a vehement anti-theist, but even a firebrand like me will doff his cap happily to Ms Lebo.

    How she came through the Dover case and retained her faith is something I will never understand, but in a way can admire. She has moral and intellectual integrity – a quality 99% of her fellow Christians cant even begin to define. Her writings exemplify compassion, understanding and a need for truth. In a strange land infected with the most childish versions of world belief systems she shows integrity, maturity and humanity.

    And that is why a madass anti-theist like me will stand by her shoulder and happily defend her every time.

    Stand up and take your faith back angel from those idiots and children, before someone like me takes it away completely.