Klinghoffer & The Clergy Letter Project

He’s back! Yes, it’s our old friend, David Klinghoffer, whose significant work we last described here. He holds the exalted title of “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), bestowed upon him by 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).

His latest post at the Discoveroids’ blog is Clueless at the Clergy Letter Project. That’s right, dear reader, Klinghoffer is attacking The Clergy Letter Project, a strong, pro-evolution statement signed by over 12,000 Christian clergymen. Here’s the Wikipedia article on it: Clergy Letter Project. The Project is exceedingly troublesome for creationists because it flatly contradicts their claim that one can’t be a good Christian and also accept evolution.

When we say the Clergy Letter is a strong statement, we’re not exaggerating. Part of it says:

We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator.

As we discuss Klinghoffer’s article, it’s important to keep in mind what he doesn’t say. He doesn’t challenge the fundamental concept of the Clergy Letter. Nor does he embarrass himself by contrasting it with the Discoveroids’ tragically pathetic attempt to compile a competing list — A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism. Here’s the Wikipedia article about it.

The Discoveroids rarely announce the total signatories on the woeful list of evolution skeptics who have signed their feeble statement, but they sometimes mention that it’s “more than 850.” They don’t mention that very few of them are biologists. But they’ve got a lot of dentists, sociologists, proctologists, and maybe even chiropractors, so it’s an all-round list of people who are essentially irrelevant to the point at issue. Further, when compared to the Clergy Letter, the Discoveroids’ dissenters sign an incredibly vacuous statement, which meekly declares:

We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.

Even Klinghoffer knows that’s hopeless, both in numbers and in substance, so he doesn’t mention it (your Curmudgeon does, however). Instead, precisely because he has nothing on his side, Klinghoffer nitpicks about trivia, and ends up looking a bit foolish.

Okay, after all that introduction (we like putting things in context) let’s get into Klinghoffer’s post at the Discoveroids’ blog. We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us. He begins by referring to an article by Michael Zimmerman (whom he describes as “of the pro-Darwin Clergy Letter Project”). He purports to quote the following from Zimmerman’s article:

Fundamentalists like those at the Discovery Institute who promote a redefinition of science to include the supernatural …

We assume that’s an accurate quote because it’s a fair description of the Discoveroids’ basic purpose. It’s what you’ll find in their loathsome wedge strategy, and it’s exactly the approach they successfully urged on the brain-dead Kansas Board of Education back in 2005 (see: Kansas evolution hearings). The Kansas Board literally re-defined science in their state so that it wasn’t limited to natural explanations — which thrilled the Discoveroids.

But Klinghoffer, being a creationist, prefers to deny reality. This is what he says in response to Zimmerman:

Now that is a passage of prose rich in grotesque errors and misconceptions. There’s nothing in intelligent design that redefines science — it merely asks that the definition not be reformulated to arbitrarily exclude precisely those explanations of natural phenomena that best fit the data.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Then, like anyone who knows he’s lost the debate before it’s begun, he launches an attack on another trivial issue. He fixates on Zimmerman’s reference to the Discoveroids as fundamentalists, and he says:

For a gentleman who’s professionally committed to activism in the evolution debate, Zimmerman doesn’t seem to have followed the players very carefully at all. Folks at Discovery Institute “proclaim that their religious teachings dictate their scientific beliefs”? We are “fundamentalists who adhere dogmatically to a specific interpretation of ancient texts and demand that those bizarre interpretations be taught in science classes”? Where? When? Who at DI has every [sic] “proclaimed” such a thing?

Who cares? All Discoveroids are creationists, so the details are unimportant. Klinghoffer then ducks the whole issue by changing the subject and engaging in the Seattle version of the Big Lie:

But this whole tedious “Science v. Religion” trope misses the point. It does so almost every time a Darwinist tries to address it. The real question of interest isn’t whether religion can live comfortably with science but whether religion can live comfortably with scientific ideas that are in error, fallacious not as religion but as science.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Then Klinghoffer switches to yet another trivial issue, but this one is unintentionally very revealing. Watch, as he virtually beheads himself:

You really have to wonder whether folks like Michael Zimmerman give any thought at all to what they write. Among the items of evidence he gives for his thesis, there’s this:

[Allegedly said by Zimmerman:] The US National Academy of Sciences, probably the most prestigious scientific honorary organization in the world, published a book in 2008 entitled “Science, Evolution, and Creationism.” The book couldn’t have been any clearer about the conflict between religion and science: “Attempts to pit science and religion against each other create controversy where none needs to exist.”

In response to that, Klinghoffer unwittingly gives away the whole game:

But the same organization, the National Academy of Sciences, has a membership composed almost exclusive of atheists and agnostics (65.3% and 29.1% respectively, for a total of 94.4% …

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Those statistics are irrelevant. What’s important is that Klinghoffer has no science on his side and he knows it. So he attacks his “Darwinist” opponents on religious grounds — while claiming that he and his colleagues aren’t fundamentalists. Hey, David: you blew it again!

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

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

6 responses to “Klinghoffer & The Clergy Letter Project

  1. I realize I do a lot of spell-checking on your posts, so when I saw this:

    Klinghoffer unwitting gives away the whole game:

    I at first thought, “Hmmm. I think that should be unwittingly.”
    But then I thought, “Ya know, perhaps he’s making fun of Klinghoffer’s mistake when Klinggie said, ‘composed almost exclusive of'”.
    Then I had a third thought. I think you should actually say “Klinghoffer the unwitting gives away the whole game:”
    I believe that captures it better.

  2. Gary says:

    I at first thought, “Hmmm. I think that should be unwittingly.”

    Correct, and I always appreciate your assistance. I’m surprised that was the only typo in that one. It was difficult to write.

  3. It seems that you are purposely overlooking certain articles. Two days before Klinghoffer’s article was posted, an article by the Genesis Expert was posted at http://inewp.com/?p=9546.

    In it, it specifically says “I make the declaration that unless they repent, all of those 13,480+ clergymen will be cast into the Lake of Fire (joining Lucifer, the anti-Christ, and the false prophet) 1,007 years after the “Second Coming” of the Lord Jesus. Those “infidels preaching from the pulpit” have shown their ignorance, dishonored the Word of God, and have chosen to be “unbelievers”. I have supporting scripture for that, which is Revelation 21:8 that says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death”. This goes double for those that pretend to be ministers of the Word, yet “stand in the way”, preventing the people from learning the truth.


  4. Curmudgeon: “They don’t mention that very few of them are biologists.”

    Nor do they mention that only a small minority of those biologists deny common descent. Then again, most Discoveroids themselves either reluctantly concede common descent or play dumb aboit it.

  5. Klinghoofer either seriously misrepresented Zimmerman’s paragraph mentioning the DI, or he just didn’t understand it. Kling whines:

    Folks at Discovery Institute “proclaim that their religious teachings dictate their scientific beliefs”? We are “fundamentalists who adhere dogmatically to a specific interpretation of ancient texts and demand that those bizarre interpretations be taught in science classes”?

    Note to Kling: No, Zimmerman said those things about Ken Ham. What Zimmerman said about the DI was that you “promote a redefinition of science to include the supernatural, which is an accurate statement. While you quoted that statement, you eliminated the single word “also”, which would have told your audience that the previous comment was about someone else. So you lied about Zimmerman’s comment, in order to invent a reason to rant.

    You also point to a Zogby poll, indicating that a majority of americans (actually, 52% in the poll) believe in ID regardless of religion. How do you know that’s regardless of religion? Almost all Americans are religious – atheists are a small minority. Zogby actually had some questions about the phrasing of some of the DI’s questions, and asked for feedback – – http://www.zogby.com/blog/2009/02/18/a-thin-line/ Even the pollsters knew that the questions were from an organization hoping to prove a point of view.

    Finally, you take a shot at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, by quoting from another Discovery Institute flack, John West – without noting that he is simply another member of the staff there instead of an independent and possibly unbiased source. Generally, to establish some credibility when quoting academic authorities, writers indicate their university or other affiliations – it is only when they are trying to present a clearly biased and non-academic source as an authority that writers conceal such matters, and only mention the name, and maybe the title of a book.

    In short, Kling, your piece was a passage of prose rich in grotesque lies and deceptions.

  6. Herman Cummings, please allow me to direct your attention to this line from the Clergy Letter:

    “We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator.”

    Do you reject the premise of this statement? It’s hard for me to believe you do, since you do seem to be curious about understanding the reality of the world around you — otherwise, why would you even bother reading the Curmudgeon’s blog? Or are you merely here to save our souls?

    Good luck with that, fella.