Creationist Wisdom #264: No Respect

Rodney Dangerfield

Rodney Dangerfield

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in The Advocate of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the title is Evolution backer disrespects others . We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis.

As we usually do, we’ll omit the writer’s name and city; but you should know that the writer is the same “management consultant” whose letter was featured in: Creationist Wisdom #260: Hook, Line, & Sinker. Okay, here we go:

What I like about James Houk’s letter of Aug. 25 (in response to mine of Aug. 20) is his description of science. He said, among other things, that “Standard science … is our best attempt to understand the world as it actually is.” I could not agree more.

He’s referring to this: Science is science, not religion. Today’s letter continues:

Where Professor Houk and I diverge is on the treatment of scientists and scientific findings that cast doubt on the adequacy of Darwin’s theory. He disrespects anyone who disagrees with his pro-Darwin position, including the 800 highly credentialed scientists who have endorsed the statement …

The letter-writer must be suffering from a bad case of the Seattle Virus. He once again — as he did in his earlier letter — refers to the Discoveroids’ sad little list of confused people who signed their Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.. We’ve discussed it here: NCSE’s “Project Steve” Now Has 1,200 Steves. On with the letter:

He [James Houk] belittles all of the signatories by referring to them as “scientists,” adding the quotation marks.

We could do better than that, but Houk was being polite. Let’s read on:

Houk also accuses all who question Darwin as having an “anti-evolution agenda.” Actually, I find the reality of evolution is not in doubt by any of the scientists who have published books and articles on the subject. The controversy (and it is indeed a controversy) is over the mechanisms involved.

Huh? What’s the controversy? Oh, he’s referring to the competing “theory” about the intelligent designer. We continue:

The actual mechanisms that drive evolution have not been found, and the quest for the truth remains one of the great unsolved problems in science.

Wow! Okay, here’s more:

Another rhetorical ploy used persistently by many Darwinists in general and by Houk in particular is to brand all who question Darwin as pushing “a religious agenda.” While there are indeed a few people with that motive [BWAHAHAHAHAHA!], it is quite wrong to assume that all the scientists who question Darwin have that view. My reading of their books indicates that they are keenly focused on the scientific issues. To accuse them all of having a hidden agenda is disrespectful and contemptuous.

Why is it that creationists don’t get any respect? It’s one of life’s great mysteries. Now we come to the end, and here we see (as we did in his earlier letter) the source of the letter-writer’s information:

I urge interested readers, including Houk, to judge for themselves by looking up some of the leading authors and their books on the weaknesses in Darwin’s theory, including Stephen C. Meyers, Donald E. Johnson, Michael J. Behe, William A. Dembski, Jonathan Wells, Jerry Fodor, Michael Denton, Lee Spetner, Thomas Woodward, and Geoffrey Simmons.

We don’t recognize a few of those names, but the bulk of them are Discoveroids. And for some inexplicable reason — like the letter-writer — they just can’t get any respect.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #264: No Respect

  1. Retired Prof

    “The actual mechanisms that drive evolution have not been found. . . .”

    I am speechless. Just speechless. Good thing I can still type while hyperventilating.

  2. Why is it disrespectful to say that someone has a religious agenda?

    If one would say that they have a social/political agenda behind their religious language, or that they are quote-mining the Bible to support their revulsion at the idea of being related to the rest of the world of life, that would indeed be disrespectful.

    BTW, if there are those hundreds of eminent scientists, why haven’t they been able to come up with an alternative explanation for any of the observations that evolution accounts for?

  3. Particle Man

    A significant number of signers to that list (including myself as a naive assistant professor many years ago) signed it under false pretense, and have had our pleas to have our names removed go ignored. When I signed it, I didn’t know that years later it would be titled “Dissent from Darwin”. Ironically the statement itself doesn’t deny Darwin and is accurate – natural selection and random mutations alone don’t explain all of life’s diversity – a statement that Darwin himself would have probably agreed to. His writings indicate that he suspected other mechanisms at play, but he didn’t know about genes and DNA. I am not a biologist but have read Origin of Species and fully accept modern evolution. Perhaps if I had been a biologist and knew about the anti-evolution movement I would have suspected foul play before signing it? I imagine that is how a lot of signatures got added and why there are a significant # of non-biologists on the list. Unfortunately, this important nuance is lost to an uneducated populace that doesn’t know the most basic things about evolution, and even more to the ultra religious who are not interested in learning them.

  4. Particle Man says: “A significant number of signers to that list (including myself as a naive assistant professor many years ago) signed it under false pretense, and have had our pleas to have our names removed go ignored.”

    I’d like to see a “Refugees from the Dissenters List” posted somewhere.

  5. The end of the post turns into a plea to purchase books from nutters, possibly the actual intent of the post in the first place. Will the next move be to try and force public libraries to give space to their nonsense?
    Another interesting element is the apparent need to completely ignore the Neolithic era, Evidence determined to be from the period seems to bridge the timeline defined by new-earthers.

  6. My 2c on the letter writer:

    Like the great majority he’s male. But one who clearly favors the Discoveroid strategy over that of the Biblicals (AiG, RtB). Though that could be tactical in response to the accusation of being religiously motivated. I for one never accuse anyone of being religiously motivated, even if I’m convinced that it’s the case. Why give these martyrs just what they want?

    Note that he admits that the scientists – and in the context he means the “dissenters”– have no doubt of “evolution.” In fact a critic of anti-evolution activism has determined that the great majority of the biologist signatories accept common descent with modification. A good bet is that the letter writer does too, but will play “don’t ask, don’t tell” if asked. That he used the word “evolution” in that sentence means that some of his target audience will infer he meant common descent, while others will infer that he meant “microevolution.” The question is whether that was intentional. Whether or not it is, sloppy wording always works to the advantage of a pseudoscience peddler.

    See also my comments on this slick wordsmith on the “Creationist Wisdom 260” thread.

  7. @Particle Man:

    Thanks! I was going to write about that, but the comment was getting long enough. I had read that a few did get their names removed, but until now only heard rumors that they refused to remove some names even after demands to remove them. That makes it even more of a scam than I thought.

  8. “Men are respectable only as they respect,” according to Emerson. The letter writer might try to keep that in mind. In trumpeting a list of Discoveroids, part of an organization that’s made some very disrespectful (not to say hysterical and disgraceful) comparisons between Darwin and Hitler, I’d say they get more respect than they deserve.

  9. Four years old and still a goodie.

    Thank you, DonExodus2!

  10. Mike McCants

    From Wikipedia:
    Geoffrey Simmons (born 1943) is a medical doctor, author, lecturer, trainer and intelligent design advocate from Eugene, Oregon. He has a BS in biology from the University of Illinois and received an M.D. from the University of Illinois Medical School in 1969.[1] He is a doctor of internal medicine for the Peacehealth Medical Group in Eugene, boarded in internal medicine and disaster medicine.[2]


    Simmons is a fellow at the Center for Science and Culture, part of the Discovery Institute.

  11. @Mike McCants:

    The list is loaded with Discoveroids and their close allies. That alone makes the whole pretense of a “dissent” a conflict of interest. But of course the peddlers of that scam and their trained parrots conveniently omit that part, as well as the very inconvenient fact the “dissenters” represent less than 1% of scientists, and ~0.1% of biologists, most of whom concede common descent anyway.

    Many if not most signatories have previously dedicated their lives to peddling pseudoscience, driven by a demonstrated radical paranoid authoritarian agenda (note how no reference to religion is necessary). There’s an article that shows a dramatic drop in publications in scientific journals by people like Michael Behe and Guillermo Gonzalez that coincides with their “conversion” to peddling pseudoscience.

  12. To the letter writer and all “professional” proponents of ID: Keeping yourselves variously employed by creating a perpetrating the lie of ID, thereby preying on the ignorant, subverting education, and harming the economy is contemptible at the very least. Your “indignant” letter is only part of the posturing and self-convincing you must do to give substance to emptiness. What do you really stand for? You live a pathetic lie and have no morals. scruples, or soul if you continue “work” that is only a scam.