Klinghoffer in “Human Events”

It’s always interesting to see what publications are sympathetic to 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).

Today we observe that Human Events, which had once been a reasonably respectable conservative publication, has unquestionably descended into the slime. Back in 2005 they published a list of Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. It’s a darn good list, with nothing by Darwin on it, but both his Origin of Species and Descent of Man were among the 20 other books for which some of their judges had voted, and to which they gave honorable mention. That mention of Darwin could have been shrugged off at the time as the deranged consequence of a few creationists among those who were consulted for that project. But there is no longer any reason for anyone to make excuses for Human Events.

They’ve fallen so low that Human Events can now be considered a reliable and obedient Discoveroid fellow-traveler. The depth of their descent is unmistakable, because today they’ve published an article by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist). Klinghoffer’s article is titled ‘Science Says’ Is Now Just Another Special Interest Claim. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

President Obama echoed an often-heard lament when he complained recently that, among Americans, “facts and science and argument do not seem to be winning the day.” According to distressed cultural observers, public ignorance about science is evidenced by failure to accept global warming, “animal rights,” euthanasia and Darwinian evolution.

Nice collection of topics that don’t share too many common characteristics. Would this be some kind of attempt at guilt by association? Maybe, although it’s difficult to label every propaganda device we encounter. Let’s read on in the article by Klinghoffer — but to show that we’re learning from his tactics, along with his name we’ll also mention pond scum, toxic waste, and leprosy:

The assumption is that doubting scientists’ claims means you have divorced yourself from reality. Yet steadily accumulating stories from the scientific community itself suggest grounds for doubting that scientists all pursue truth without fear or favor. Last year’s “Climategate” email leak from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit is the best-known case, but hardly the only one.

Yes, it’s clear now that scientists are all frauds. We can only place our trust in Klinghoffer — and famine, pestilence, mass extinction, etc. We continue:

If there’s any question on which science has spoken definitively, it’s supposed to be the theory that an unguided material process of natural selection accounts for life’s long development. A consensus of biologists appears to agree on this. Yet to what extent is that uniformity coerced — specifically, by employment pressure?

There’s no need to go on with this, is there? You’ve all seen the sludge that oozes from the pen of Klinghoffer and his like-minded comrades in Seattle. If you like, go ahead and read the whole article. We’ll skip it all until we get to the end, which is this:

If only we laymen could simply trust our scientists, without thinking critically for ourselves, as we once trusted priests and rabbis. Alas, those days are gone too. Recognizing such things does not make you ignorant. It makes you a realist.

That was pretty bad. Nevertheless, we’ll end this post on a positive note. We’ve figured out something to be said in Klinghoffer’s favor: He’s consistent.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “Klinghoffer in “Human Events”

  1. The last paragraph by Klinghoffer is a laugher, given that the discoveroids want “laymen” to avoid critical thinking at all costs.

  2. Gabriel Hanna

    Oh dear Lord, he has brought up the biologist in disguise again. Here was my exchange with Klinghoffer on that last year:


    David, I don’t believe you. I work at a university, right?

    If you are doing lab work at a university, you have a name and an ID number which you have to use for everything. Where does his money come from? How does he have access to equipment? Who gave him a key to the building? What name does he put on the peer-reviewed papers he will no doubt soon be publishing? What name and ID number did he use when he signed all the waivers and forms he needs to sign to do research? What name goes on his paycheck?

    Given that your name and your university ID, which is linked to your Social Security number, go on every piece of paper pertaining to you, and that at universities it is impossible to get anything done without lots of pieces of paper, what good does it do to change your appearance?

    I don’t know what ANY scientist looks like unless I’ve met them or they are very famous indeed (I know what Carl Sagan looked like).

    Your reputation in the scientific world follows your NAME.

    Based on my experience doing research at a university, either this guy is lying to you, David, or you are lying to us about him. You cannot just walk into a “lab” and start doing research. Every lab “belongs” to a department or a professor and access is controlled, based on your name and ID number.

    There are three labs I primarily spend time in. I have a key, physical or electronic, to each one. Even though I am a member of the Institute for Shock Physics I don’t have access to any of their labs. If I were in there unaccompanied I would be asked, by the people who DO work there, what I am doing there, even though they know me. If I just started using their equipment, without them knowing who I am or what I am doing and who I am working for, I could expect to be hauled away by security.

    So I don’t believe in your mysterious ID researcher who works in disguise. A disguise won’t help him. He needs keys and access and a budget, and those go with a name and an ID number. Unless you work with people on a regular basis they won’t know who you are by sight.

    In order to do research he has to be known to the people already doing research there.

    I challenge you to provide enough information that we can believe you, David.

    David, here’s an example of some of the paperwork you need to get into the lab I’m standing in at this moment:


    Look at what you need: Name, phone, email, status (faculty, grad student, undergrad, staff), department, a faculty director or advisor, whom to bill, the budget number for that bill, nature of proposed research.

    You fill this paperwork out, submit it, and it works its up the chain for review, and then once it’s all sorted out, then they give you an electronic key.

    What good would it do to dye your hair?

    Your “source” is taking you for a ride–if you’re not taking us for a ride.

    I would look into this, David, because your journalist credibility can suffer from something like this. Anonymous sources are sketchy enough, but anonymous sources that tell wildly improbable tales, which anyone with any experience can easily spot; well, you haven’t done due diligence.

    David, I wish you would answer my challenge about your biologist in disguise.

    If he has to hide his identity, how does he get keys to buildings, access to labs and equipment, budget numbers…

    Is he the Jason Bourne of biologists, with endless numbers of fake university IDs and NSF budgets?

    Sounds more to me like the Scott Beauchamp of biologists.


    Any response, David?

    Gabriel, think about it. Let’s say there were someone affiliated with the institution, acting as his host. The hosting was kosher, all arranged according to protocol. But if the guest’s identity–his ID, shall we say–became well known, along with what he was working on, I trust you can imagine that this would be seen as reflecting on the host. The host wanted to help but not to get hurt in the process by having his name associated with ID. I’m confident that you can grasp the situation without my giving further details.

    But his name IS associated already, because not even a professor can get approval for random people to do research at a university.

    So this mysterious biologist has already had his research program, etc, approved by the University bureaucracy–under his own name and that of his host.

    Which kind of undercuts your claim that ID people have to disguise themselves to do research.

    This guy is paranoid to the point of mendacity if he thinks anyone is going to know him by his appearance.

    I’m pretty sure this story is made up, either by Klinghoffer or his source.

  3. It appears that Klinghoffer’s article is largely a repackage of his post just before the movie Expelled came out.


    His post includes all the same stories, including the clearly invented scientist-in-disguise tale. (To be fair to Klinghoffer, he may have been told that whopper by someone else, and just doesn’t understand enough about how the real world works to see that he was being had.)

  4. Gabriel, Klinghoffer has no journalistic credibility. That’s why he works for the Disco Tute and not a magazine, print or on-line. His piece at the Huffington Post was so trashed by commenters as being a vile piece of writing that Klinghoffer himself admitted that he’s not welcome to submit again to the HP. Klinghoffer just makes stuff up to get noticed. He has a very childish, superficial mind and, of course, he’s totally clueless about what goes on in a real university or research institution.

    Imagine Klinghoffer writing an article for National Geographic about grizzlies when his only experience has been watching the Yogi Bear Show. “Some grizzlies wear hats and neckties and steal pick-a-nic baskets, hey, hey, HEY!”

    As for the persecuted described by Klinghoffer:

    Sternberg – factually wrong. Deliberate lie.
    Gonzalez – factually wrong. Deliberate lie.
    Coppedge – factually wrong. Deliberate lie.
    Baylor – that’s Dembski. Why not write how he was relieved of duties for “un-collegiate behavior”, i.e. being a jerk, by the President of Baylor who hired him in the first place, but kept his pay for five years. Some persecution. Dembski subsequently bragged, collegiately, of course, about his paid sabbatical. Jerk.
    George Mason – Carolyn Crocker, 1-year teaching contract not renewed, disciplined for teaching creationism in biology class. Subsequently joined then quit or was fired by the Disco Tute. How do you get fired by the Disco Tute? Can’t be for being dishonest or incompetent, I dunno.

    Nothing shocking here except that Klinghoffer was unable to work in Nazis. Maybe next time.

  5. comradebillyboy

    I really don’t see any change in the level of intellectual honesty displayed by Human Events magazine over the years. They have always made observable reality, or as some might say “the truth”, secondary to pushing their ideological agenda. Their rejection of science and embrace of creationism is hardly surprising given the very real anti-science stance of the American conservative movement. If it conflicts with the bible or the corporate bottom line Human Events, in tune with its benefactor’s interests, oppose it without regard to its objective merits.

  6. If only we laymen could simply trust our scientists, without thinking critically for ourselves, as we once trusted priests and rabbis. Alas, those days are gone too. Recognizing such things does not make you ignorant. It makes you a realist.

    Since David isn’t the slightest bit capable of dealing with the facts when these are presented directly to him (Gabriel and I know this through repeated experience of doing precisely that), and won’t “trust” them based on his appalling ignorance, he’s clearly decided to live with the considerable benefits of science while attacking it with all of the ignorance in his airy head.

    At least he increasingly faults science altogether, rather than simply pretending that evolution isn’t science. That’s not really the official DI script, although it’s obviously all that they’ve ever been able to do. But I can’t say that it’s not gratifying to see he and others attacking science at large with merely an emphasis on evolution, instead of any sort of pretense that they care about science and the honesty that it tends to enforce.

    ID could never abide the demands for intellectual honesty that science requires.

  7. Gabriel Hanna

    @comradebillyboyIf it conflicts with the bible or the corporate bottom line Human Events, in tune with its benefactor’s interests, oppose it without regard to its objective merits.

    Let’s not commit the pro quid fallacy, unless you’d like to see a list of the President’s corporate donors.

  8. comradebillyboy

    Right you are about that Gabriel Hanna. I apologize for the logical error.

  9. I wonder, does Klinghoffer take the medication his doctor tells him to when he’s sick? (Assuming he’s not into woo medicine.)

    I wonder, does Klinghoffer do all his work using electronic devices, the principles of which were discovered by (gasp) scientist?

    I wonder, does Klinghoffer eat corn grown in the US (95% 85% of which is GM)?


  10. I just remembered — a year ago I wrote about an earlier article in Human Events, written by Discoveroid Stephen Meyer: Creationism & ClimateGate in “Human Events”.

  11. I think I’ve figured out Klinghoffer. He’s actually a character on WireTap.

  12. I think I’ve figured out Klinghoffer. He’s actually a character on WireTap.

  13. “If only we laymen could simply trust our scientists, without thinking critically for ourselves, as we once trusted priests and rabbis.”

    Ah, if only our Mid-Eastern fundamentalists religions did not require such blind adherence to their faith then the world, never mind you know where I’m going with this. Spirituality doesn’t have to be this way and to quote another great spiritual leader, the Buddha regarding critical thinking:

    “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find anything that agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” (Siddhartha Gautama – The Buddha), 563-483 B.C.

    Can you imagine a priest, fundamentalist preacher or imam saying this to their flock? Not a chance in…

  14. Human Events is worthless. They are more interested in selling books, financial advice and magic medical cures. Same as all the other right wing noise sources.

    Almost all their headlines are either lies or misrepresent the truth.

    I subscribe to their E-mail feeds. Just the same as DelGaudio, Family Research Council, NOM – all after people sending them money based on threats.

  15. I just read about the Tucson shooting. Let’s see how long it takes Klinghoffer to blame “Darwinism.”

  16. Gabriel Hanna

    A hell of a lot of people are already blaming Sarah Palin–Klinghoffer’s tactics are not limited to the left side of the spectrum.

    I think it is disgusting that before the bodies are cold people are trying score points using a mentally ill kid who need treatment as a poster child for conservatives. And of course conveniently forgetting the violent rhetoric emanating from the Left aimed at conservatives–were we all asleep from 2003 – 2008?

    A kid who thinks the government is trying to control people through grammar did not learn that from Glenn Beck. Maybe we should focus on how to find and treat those people before they commit mass murders, and take a break from politics for a while.