Our readers know what quote-mining is — see Lies, Damned Lies and Quote Mines, edited by John Pieret. It involves plundering the writing of someone to quote them out of context, thus distorting the meaning of the quote. The victims are usually dead people, because they can’t speak out to criticize the perversion of what they’ve said.
Among the most experienced practitioners of that black art are the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
We’ve posted before about some of the Discoveroids’ more outrageous efforts. For example, see High Risk Quote Mining, and also Workin’ in the Quote Mine, and also Quote-Mining Where No Quote-Miner Has Gone Before.
But for our purposes today, the most appropriate example is Discovery Institute Quote-Mines Eugenie Scott. Why is that appropriate? Because today the Discoveroids are quote-mining Eugenie Scott again.
Actually, this time it’s not really quote-mining. It’s more like — what shall we call it? — quote shifting. They’re taking something Scott said (or so they claim) and blatantly applying that quote to something else entirely. It’s amazingly brazen, and you may find it amusing.
The quote-miner in this case is Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. He’s the only non-fellow among the Discoveroids, which is a considerable distinction. His post at the Discoveroid blog is Eugenie Scott Endorses Discrimination Against Darwin-Doubting Scientists.
Casey starts out talking about Martin Gaskell, the astronomer who didn’t get hired by the University of Kentucky because they were worried about his attitude regarding evolution. Casey has posted about him before, and so have we — most recently here: Discovery Institute Discovers Martin Gaskell. Today Casey says, with bold font added by us:
Gaskell alarmed the Darwinian thought police at UK because in online notes from a talk, he favorably cites the works of proponents of intelligent design like Michael Behe and Phillip Johnson, and states, “there are significant scientific problems in evolutionary theory,” and “these problems are bigger than is usually made out in introductory geology/biology courses.”
Speaking favorably about Discoveroids certainly is an alarming thing for a scientist to do — but Casey’s a Discoveroid, so he looks at it differently Let’s read on:
Apparently Eugenie Scott thinks that such apparent doubts about the Darwinian consensus justified UK in denying Gaskell the job:
As you know, Eugenie Scott is Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education . Casey purports to quote Scott speaking about the Gaskell affair:
Pro-evolution advocates say the university was well within its rights. “It’s an employment law case,” says Eugenie Scott … . “Can an employer discriminate based on the scientific knowledge of an employee?” she asks. “Well, yeah.”
She’s correct. So what can Casey do with that quote? You’ll see. He says:
Scott is right about one thing: this is an employment law case.
Casey knows about employment cases — at least those involving creationists. He’s some kind of adviser to the lawyers for David Coppedge. From that perspective, what does he say about Scott’s remark? Here it comes:
Two of the questions at stake in this case are:
1. Can a university deny a scientist a job simply because they believe he holds scientific doubts about Darwin?
2. Does a university have the right to discriminate against a job applicant based upon his perceived religious affiliation?
Most rational observers would answer “Yes” to Casey’s first question and “No” to the second (a question that Scott didn’t address). Okay, brace yourself, because here’s how Casey concludes his post:
It would seem that Eugenie Scott thinks the answer to both questions is, “Well, yeah.”
As we said, this isn’t really quote-mining; it’s quote-shifting — or something. It seems to be a new tactic. Be careful, dear reader. If you get quoted answering “Yes” to a question, the Discoveroids may “quote” that as your answer to a totally different question. Isn’t creationism fun?
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