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.