Klinghoffer: Authoritarianism is Best

Once again we are given an unintended peek behind the curtain of the neo-Luddite, 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).

The Discoveroids’ latest post is In The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell Explains the Inability of Disorganized Systems to Effect “Design”. It’s by David Klinghoffer, whose creationist oeuvre we last described here, and upon whom the Discoveroids have bestowed the exalted title of “senior fellow” — i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist. His name has some of the resonance of Red Skelton’s Clem Kadiddlehopper.

Klinghoffer says, with bold font added by us and his links omitted:

An email correspondent brings to my attention a delightful article from The New Yorker that Malcolm Gladwell wrote a couple of years ago. Gladwell’s subject is the way people have wildly overestimated the power of social media to bring about significant change. Remember all the hubbub, from journalists in the West like Andrew Sullivan, about how Twitter was responsible for fueling revolutionary fervor in Iran and Moldova? Gladwell delights me because he confirms my longstanding skepticism of such “outsized enthusiasm” for computer-related novelties.

What does an apparently frivolous article about Twitter have to do with anything? Bear with us, it gets better:

Why do I bring this up here? Because Gladwell’s fine reporting also tends to confirm a point that Darwin doubters will find familiar. He analyzes activism like that of the Civil Rights movement, that effects revolutionary change, and shows how it depends, among things, on a hierarchical organization, a top-down vision of the kind that social networks by definition lack: [quote from Gladwell].

The chatter on Twitter is non-hierarchical, but Klinghoffer and the Discoveroids like hierarchies — they get things done. He quotes his new guru, Gladwell:

Facebook and the like are tools for building networks, which are the opposite, in structure and character, of hierarchies. Unlike hierarchies, with their rules and procedures, networks aren’t controlled by a single central authority. Decisions are made through consensus, and the ties that bind people to the group are loose.

Hierarchies have rules and procedures. That’s good, because it promotes tight control. He quotes Gladwell again:

Car companies sensibly use a network to organize their hundreds of suppliers, but not to design their cars. No one believes that the articulation of a coherent design philosophy is best handled by a sprawling, leaderless organizational system. Because networks don’t have a centralized leadership structure and clear lines of authority, they have real difficulty reaching consensus and setting goals. They can’t think strategically; they are chronically prone to conflict and error. How do you make difficult choices about tactics or strategy or philosophical direction when everyone has an equal say?

You know where this is going, don’t you? Klinghoffer isn’t very subtle. Here it comes:

Designing complex artifacts (e.g., a car) is a task for which leaderless networks are particularly poorly suited. “No one believes” otherwise, writes Gladwell. No one believes such a thing [design by leaderless networks], I would add, other than advocates of Darwinian evolutionary theory.

Ah yes, only Darwinists are foolish enough to reject the necessity of hierarchies. Let’s read on:

Darwinism is an idea predicated on the creative power of a process (evolution) entirely without “leadership” or “goals,” without purpose or guidance, fueled precisely by “conflict and error.”

See? According to Klinghoffer and his new mentor, Gladwell, Darwinists are fools! Nothing gets designed without hierarchies. Here’s his conclusion:

If the network model is so bad at “design” in the human realm, why expect it to be any better in the realm of evolutionary history? Darwinism is a notion, like the current rhapsodic excitement for social networking, that is due in the end to be corrected and tempered by reality.

There you have it — Klinghoffer’s declaration that evolution is absurd because design requires an authoritative hierarchy, headed by the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — who is empowered to make and enforce the necessary decisions. Evolution is as ineffective as Twitter.

The only problem with Klinghoffer’s proposition is that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. A quick look at the Wikipedia article titled Open source reveals a whole world of things that are designed and improved in a non-hierarchical manner. It’s not just internet resources like Wikipedia, Firefox, and other open-source products that are mentioned in that article, there are also open-source hardware products and a vast array of Commercial open source applications.

Additionally, aside from corporate research projects that are assigned from above, the whole enterprise of science is an open-source activity — and even corporations are part of it. Despite Discoveroid fantasies of a vast, centralized, mysteriously-controlled conspiracy that is determined to suppress their brilliant insights about the magic designer, each lab and its scientists operate essentially on their own, publishing their work, and cooperating in voluntary associations of people with similar interests. The results are nothing less than spectacular.

In contrast, religious organizations tend to be bound by an unalterable dogma, and they often ruthlessly expel those who don’t follow their doctrines. Oh, we should also mention that unless they hire artists and architects (who could do their work elsewhere), such hierarchies don’t design or produce anything.

The Discoveroids have an inherent preference for hierarchies, and they don’t like or even understand the idea of uncontrolled activities — like evolution. They don’t like you either, dear reader. If something isn’t controlled, it’s bad. Now you know the Discoveroids’ mindset — thanks to Klinghoffer.

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

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43 responses to “Klinghoffer: Authoritarianism is Best

  1. Sounds like DK is advocating bureaurocracy, which most people
    believe creates stumbling blocks – like ID in science class.

  2. Ha ha! You said Klingstupid didn’t know what he was talking about! There’s not a font big enough to write DUH!

    Let’s take two internet search companies as an example: Yahoo! and Google.

    In the beginning, Yahoo! said “Let there be search! And it was good because the Yahoo! minions organized every single fricking link into a Perfectly Designed Taxonomic Hierarchy! Perfect! Perfect in a perfect world everybody would know how the hierarchy was organized, but, alas, that was not the case. As the internet grew it became impossible for the Yahooligans to keep up with the links and the hierarchy and It was Good became It was Bad.

    Google, however, was self-organized and let random mutations and natural selection determine which links thrived and which ones withered. It was random Darwinian Google that prevailed precisely because it didn’t rely on legions of intelligent designer minions to create every link.

    I don’t know which it is, either Kllinkleklanker is mentally ill or he writes for the mentally ill. One or the other.

  3. But Klinghoffer is right, nothing gets designed without a centralized leadership structure. Take the languages of the world, for instance…wait, never mind.

  4. Prigogine.

  5. I take it that Klinghoffer is anti-free market. And I’m not sure there should be a sarcasm tag on that, or not.

  6. longshadow says: “Prigogine.”

    I’ll see your Prigogine and raise you with Hitler.

  7. The whole truth

    “I don’t know which it is, either Kllinkleklanker is mentally ill or he writes for the mentally ill. One or the other.”

    Both. 🙂

  8. Magnificent post, Curm. Perhaps your best ever.

    Klingleberry has provided the perfect argument for socialism, or fascism, or both. Nazi philosophers called this hierarchy idea the Fuhrerprinzip, leader principle.

    Another DI fellow, George Gilder, has written at great length about “hierarchy” which he insists is an idea that must subjugate all science. Gilder is a sexist, chauvinist, bigoted pig who uses hierarchy as a code
    word to bludgeon women, minorities and real scientists who must grovel before the hierarchy. It’s back to Fuhrerprinzip for us.

    I don’t have the link now, but I recommend you google George Gilder and hierarchy.

  9. Its articles like these that make me wonder just how dangerous the DI crowd really are.

  10. But we see darwinist ideas in everything designed, especially cars. We start of with something like planks of wood and wheels, we move onto stronger materials and the weaker ideas get tossed. New inventions; steam, engines electricity etc. The old ideas evolve, the good ideas stick. If we lived in an environment like Klingles is describing we would still be living in caves or mud huts, every idea would be new, unevolving.

    I am sure that some creationists are just in it for the business, to make money for themselves praying (see what I did there?) on the weak. Klinker is not one of those, he seems genuinely that stupid.

  11. Twiggy120 notes:

    If we lived in an environment like Klingles is describing we would still be living in caves or mud huts, every idea would be new, unevolving.

    Yep, that’s an accurate and succinct description of the Dark Ages back towards which the Discoveroids strive to drag us — except, in such societies, one does not find the Priests in mud huts, but in dwellings far more palatial.

    It is of course the original meaning of hierarchy — Rule by the Priesthood — and it is remarkable just how much of recorded human history amounts to bloodthirsty powerstruggles between competing wannabe priests-Fuhrers. Or, in short, Group A’s Oogity vs. Group B’s Boogity. The Enlightenment was about banishing oogity-boogity from human governance, so little wonder the Discoveroids and their ilk labour so ceaselessly against it.

  12. A brilliant post,SC. There is nothing I can add to your comments. Thanks.

  13. Megalonyx, your comment was somehow delayed by the spam-catcher. I have no idea why these things sometimes happen.

  14. Many thanks to Donna for bringing up the B word. While someone as radically pro-science as I am does not fit any stereotype of liberal or conservative, I went from mostly left to mostly right in the 90s. They say that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. Well. I have been “mugged” by every “kind” of bureaucrat, “safety nazi” and other shameless authoritarian imaginable. It’s not that I have any love for, or “faith in” the free market, but it’s almost always the lesser of 2 evils. I only wish I had recognized it 30 years earlier.

    I don’t want to tangent into a no-win left-right debate, but I think that, left or right, we need to admit that the problem with anti-science activists is not that they’re “conservative” – and I would argue that they’re not by any reasonable definition – but radical paranoid authoritarians. The only thing that keeps them going is that their word games fool much of the “swing vote” that lacks the time or interest to see that they are being scammed. Case in point, they spread this meme of “let the students decide,” which on the surface sounds fair. But the fact is they don’t want the students to decide, we do. We encourage that students learn in science class what has earned the right to be taught. Earned not by “approval of a hierarchy,” but by passing the tests of independent verification. Dare I say it, a “Darwinian” process. We also encourage students to learn and critically analyze the mutually contradictory failed alternatives – on their own time and on their parents’ dime.

    No one but a radical, paranoid, incorrigible authoritarian – or a lying opportunist that exploits them – can claim with a straight face that the scam artists are fair or that we’re not.

  15. @Juggler Dave: Good point about languages. Languages do go through a process something like evolution (I believe that Darwin mentioned this?), with there being no overall central control over changes. Some people complain about mistakes being made which then are accepted by everybody, and some people complain that if we don’t control the language then eventually everybody will just be mumbling incoherently. Even though for the first thousands of years of language (at least), languages arose with great expressive power without central control. Classical Latin, for example, is a result of “deterioration” from Old Latin. Modern English is a result of a jumble of Anglo-Saxon, with a touch of Nordic languages, overwhelmed by Norman French (not, btw, “Parisian French”, itself a descendant of Vulgar Latin) after 1066, and so on.

    And I’d also note that eugenics was a result of people thinking that undirected (micro)evolution within human-kind could only result in “deterioration”.

  16. Gabriel Hanna

    So which water molecule in the snowflake is the leader who tells all the other ones were to go?

  17. Gabriel Hanna asks: “So which water molecule in the snowflake is the leader who tells all the other ones were to go?”

    It’s not the same thing at all, but it’s really a marvel to watch a couple hundred milling-around soldiers in an unmarked field assemble themselves into a crisp company rectangle, four abreast, arranged by height, within seconds of being ordered to “Fall in!” The first time I saw it I wondered: How did they do that? I’m sure snowflakes have a different system.

  18. Gladwell’s article wasn’t exactly prescient. Just a couple of months later the Arab Spring began, largely organized through social media. That’s brought about quite a bit of significant change.

  19. johnpieret says: “Just a couple of months later the Arab Spring began, largely organized through social media.”

    An argument could be made that the American Revolution was initiated by social media.

  20. Gabriel Hanna

    An argument could be made that the American Revolution was initiated by social media.

    And the Reformation. Lots of social movements got going because they cheaply disseminate their ideas. Our focus on Founding Father is a little unfortunate; while it couldn’t have been done without them, nothing would have happened if Americans hadn’t had traditions of local government and men and women with local influence.

  21. Mexican National Oil Company, Vera Cruz, Mexico. Van, lunchtime . We are half an hour
    past the last Army checkpoint. I’m farther away from the Discoveroid’s vomit comet than the people in Seattle. Sweet and having a great day.

  22. Here’s DI fellow George Gilder on hierarchy.

    “After 100 years or so of attempted philosophical leveling, however, it turns out that the universe is stubbornly hierarchical. It [the universe] is a top-down “nested hierarchy,” in which the higher levels command more degrees of freedom than the levels below them, which they use and constrain.”

    Translation: “the higher levels [that] command more degrees of freedom” are conservative Christian leaders and the fascist plutocrats who fund them. The “levels below them, which they use and constrain” are scientists, atheists, women and minorities.

    “Thus, the higher levels can neither eclipse the lower levels nor be reduced to them. Resisted at every step across the range of reductive sciences, this realization is now inexorable. We know now that no accumulation of knowledge about chemistry and physics will yield the slightest insight into the origins of life or the processes of computation or the sources of consciousness or the nature of intelligence or the causes of economic growth.”

    All of the above is bull. We can’t understand intelligence or computation or economic growth? Wow, this guy is threatened by and hates science.

    “…Analogous to such canonical self-denying sayings as The Cretan says all Cretans are liars, the paradox of the self-denying mind tends to stultify every field of knowledge and art that it touches and threatens to diminish this golden age of technology into a dark age of scientistic reductionism and, following in its trail, artistic and philosophical nihilism.

    All right, have a tantrum… Say that I am some insidious charlatan of “creation-lite,” or, God forfend, “intelligent design.”

    You are an insidious charlatan of “creation-lite,” or, God forfend, “intelligent design.”

    “In the beginning was the Word” is from a mystical passage in a verboten book, the Bible, which is not a scientific text. On your side in rebuffing such arguments is John E. Jones III of central Pennsylvania, the gullible federal judge who earlier this year [2006] made an obsequious play to the Panel of Peers with an attempted refutation of what has been termed “intelligent design.” But intelligent design is merely a way of asserting a hierarchical cosmos.

    The writings of the leading exponents of the concept, such as the formidably learned Stephen Meyer and William Dembski (both of the Discovery Institute), steer clear of any assumption that the intelligence manifestly present in the universe is necessarily supernatural.

    …In the 21st century, the word — by any name — is primary. Just as in Crick’s Central Dogma ordaining the precedence of DNA over proteins, however, the word itself is not the summit of the hierarchy. Everywhere we encounter information, it does not bubble up from a random flux or prebiotic soup. It comes from mind. Taking the hierarchy beyond the word, the central dogma of intelligent design ordains that word is subordinate to mind. Mind can generate and lend meaning to words, but words in themselves cannot generate mind or intelligence….Wherever there is information, there is a preceding intelligence.

    …This constraint on the Munchausen men of the materialist superstition is a hard truth, but it is a truth nonetheless. The hierarchies of life do not stop at the word, or at the brain. The universe of knowledge does not close down to a molecular point. It opens up infinitely in all directions. Superior even to the word are the mind and the meaning, the will and the way. Intelligent people bow their heads before this higher power, which still remains inexorably beyond the reach of science.

    …It [science] must eschew reductionism — except as a methodological tool — and adopt an aspirational imagination.

    Yes, imagination is very important when you have no evidence to back up your claims. Scientists have evidence; ID proponents promote their active imagination.

    “Though this new aim may seem blinding at first, it is ultimately redemptive because it is the only way that science can ever hope to solve the grand challenge problems before it, such as gravity, entanglement, quantum computing, time, space, mass, and mind. Accepting hierarchy, the explorer embarks on an adventure that leads to an ever deeper understanding of life and consciousness, cosmos and creation.

    [Evolution and Me. The Darwinian theory has become an all-purpose obstacle to thought rather than an enabler of scientific advance. By: George Gilder. National Review. July 17, 2006.]

  23. Thank you, Diogenes. That was a fascinating insight.

  24. Notice how Gilder uses the language of authoritarianism and coercion. How many verbs relating to coercion can you find in his speech?

    Gilder: “…insuperable…No possible knowledge of the computer’s materials can yield any information whatsoever…regulates…the world… precedes and regulates…primacy …ordains…dictates…dominated by…primacy…stubbornly hierarchical…top-down…higher levels command…levels below… use and constrain… inexorable…a hierarchical cosmos…primary… precedence …the summit of the hierarchy…intelligent design ordains …subordinate… constraint… a hard truth…The hierarchies of life do not stop…Superior…the will and the way…Intelligent people bow their heads before this higher power…inexorably…[science] must eschew …may seem blinding … [but] the only way …[is] Accepting hierarchy…”

    — [Evolution and Me. The Darwinian theory has become an all-purpose obstacle to thought rather than an enabler of scientific advance. By: George Gilder. National Review. July 17, 2006. ]

    You look at all his verbs of coercion. At no point does he use a scientific argument: “Our theory makes testable predictions, let’s compare them to observable quantities.” At every point, he’s bullying and browbeating people into the supremacy and all-power of his Gospel of John theology.

    Dembski once said that ID meant that theology would be restored to her place as the queen of the disciplines. But that means, of course, that Dembski’s tradition is “queen” and all other forms or sources of knowledge are mere subjects, vassals, of Dembski’s unprovable religious beliefs.

    Gilder’s point is the same. He’s bullying us with words like “superior”, “primacy”, “precedence”, “dominates”, “dictates”, “constrains”, “commands”, “accepting hierarchy” etc. into bowing our heads before the “higher power” of his religious tradition.

  25. Diogenes wrote:

    Notice how Gilder uses the language of authoritarianism and coercion. How many verbs relating to coercion can you find in his speech?

    Now that you mention it, it reminds me of the John Belushi skit on Saturday Night Live where they are all pirates, and all they keep talking about is “discipline” and how much they look forward to more “discipline” from the captain, and every time someone uses the word “discipline,” all the pirates get more and more excited…. as it turns out, the entire ship is full of sado-masochistic domination perverts.

    Something about Gilder’s preoccupation with “order,” and “hierarchy,” and “domination” sound strangely familiar to Belushi’s hilarious skit. And thus, if I’m ever invited to a Bring-Your-Own-Choke-Ball “Pirate Party” at the Discovery Institute, I’ll decline the invitation. “Arrrrrr.”

  26. Gabriel Hanna

    @Diogenes:Notice how Gilder uses the language of authoritarianism and coercion. How many verbs relating to coercion can you find in his speech?

    I’d not read too much into that. Creationists never tire of pointing out that It’s hard to discuss evolution without using the language of intention.

  27. @Hanna: I’d not read too much into that.

    I don’t think I’m reading too much into it. Everything Gilder writes is political, not scientific. Who, in discussing a real scientific theory, ever uses the language of coercion? What scientist ever says “you must be subjugated by my hypothesis”? His whole point is scientists have no choice and must be subjugated under his allegation of “hierarchy”, which literally means “rule of the priests”, the hierophants.

    Again, everything that Gilder writes is explicitly political. Gilder attempted to derive free-market fundamentalism from Intelligent Design. In the speech I excerpted, he invokes the Central Dogma of molecular biology– which he misstates, of course– to argue idiotically for the subjugation of women, and in particular, women scientists, who are inferior in his hierarchy. In my excerpts, I left out the part about women scientists. You have the read the source.

    Gilder first became “famous” as America’s most extreme male chauvinist– one who took delight in making extreme statements about the superiority of men over women. His language of “superior” and “inferior” is enabled by his doctrine of inescapable, inexorable, universal hierarchy. In the very speech I just cited, he attacks the equality of women scientists.

    In addition, he is also an ethnic chauvinist who argues for the total superiority of white culture over Native Americans, Africans, etc. whom he describes as “suicidal” (despite their nationalities existing without us for tens of thousands of years). I’ll refrain from using the word “racist”, but he is indisputably an ethnic chauvinist and jingoist. Again, his language of “superior” and “inferior” is enabled by his doctrine of inexorable hierarchy, which requires somebody dominates and somebody be subjugated. But we’ll discuss his ethnic chauvinism some other time.

    Let’s just focus now on his insistence on the inferiority of women scientists. In the speech I cited above, he invokes the case of Lawrence Summers, once president of Harvard, who stated that women were genetically less adept at science, and who was fired by the Senate faculty for this and other obnoxious behavior.

    Gilder: “But the beat goes on. By defrocking Lawrence Summers for implying the possible primacy of the genetic word over environmental conditions in the emergence of scientific aptitudes , the esteemed professoriat at Harvard expressed its continued faith in Lamarckian and Marxian biology.”

    This hominid invokes multiple levels of idiocy. He equates Lamarckism = Marxism, and states that the reason for objecting to Summers’ sexist genetic determinism was “Marxism”, which he equates with “Lamarckism.” Summers had no evidence women are genetically inferior at science, but if you point out his lack of evidence, now you’re a Marxist.

    This idiot Gilder bases his sexism on the notion that environment cannot change one’s talents, which are genetically determined. That’s genetic determinism.

    But idiot Gilder has no evidence that scientific talent is determined only by genetics, and that women are inferior to men in science due to genetic determinism. He assumes what he needs to prove. His only proof is, if you doubt his bigotries, you’re a Marxist.

    Scientifically, what’s infuriating is that he bases his sexual genetic determinism on the Central Dogma of molecular biology, which he misstates. The Central Dogma is that genes made of DNA code for proteins. Idiot Gilder twists this into “proteins can’t change DNA”, which is not technically true, and then in turn he twists that into “environment cannot change genetic determinism”, while he has not proven that genetic determinism even exists, nor that “proteins” are equivalent to “environment.”

    Again, idiot has no evidence that women are inferior to men in science due to genetic determinism, he just assumes it. But if you disagree, then you believe “environment can change genetic determinism”, which makes you Lamarckist, and idiot says Lamarckist = Marxist.

    In another essay from 1996, Gilder describes what happens if women (not men) have premarital sex, i.e. “choice.” They’re to blame for destroying the family (not men) because they have the “choice” to have sex before marriage; when men have choice, the family is preserved:

    Gilder, 1996: …the woman loses all her power over men and the reverence and respect toward the procreative potential of woman is lost. And that really destroys the family. But if the power of “choice” is given up, the woman actually ascends to a higher level of sexuality

    Again with the hierarchical language of “higher levels.” Who is this idiot to decide what’s a higher level? Damn he fears the female orgasm, and loathes female scientists who are vastly smarter and more successful than himself.

    Analogously, if black people would just give up their power of “choice” and go back to picking cotton for Massa, they would “ascend to to a higher level of” blah blah blah I’m an intellectual yadda yadda yadda. Right-wing think tanks actually PAY these people to write this pseuod-intellectual garbage!

    Gilder, 1996: and her body attains an almost mystical power over men… men are inferior sexually–they are probably inferior morally–but they are superior in the workplace and in the great creative ventures outside the family circle. This has been true throughout human history and always will be true.

    But there are countless female scientists who have contributed greatly to science, and virtually no creationists nor ID proponents like Gilder who have contributed to science in the last 110 years. Who is this idiot and failure to decide what’s “superior’ or “inferior”?

    I understand perhaps Curm and Hanna are tired of my liberal PC bashing of sexism and racism. But I’m going to put this in terms even a conservative can appreciate.

    In conservative terminology: ID proponents are against meritocracy, and substitute religion-based hierarchy in place of meritocracy. Who has contributed more to science in the last 110 years– women, minorities, Asians, Indians– or creationists or ID proponents? Creationists or ID proponents have contributed virtually nothing to science for 110 years. These failures and know-nothings are not in a position to be passing judgment on the inherent inferiority of women or minorities.

    So to sum up: everything Gilder writes is political, everything is about hierarchy, and hierarchy always means there’s a “superior” who subjugates an “inferior.” That is a political assertion, and Gilder is explicit about the political implications of his “hierarchy of the universe”, which is anti-meritocratic.

    Your position in the hierarchy is not determined by the only scientific standard of success: do you have a theory that makes testable predictions confirmed by experiment? No; instead, ID proponents will tell you exactly where you are on the totem pole. It is their religious affiliation, and only their their religious affiliation, which gives them the authority to tell you what you may do and where you may go.

  28. Diogenes says: “I understand perhaps Curm and Hanna are tired of my liberal PC bashing of sexism and racism.”

    Huh? When has anyone around here defended sexism and racism? I always try to think in terms of individuals — each of whom has the same natural rights, and who also have wildly different abilities — which are revealed in (and should be rewarded in a free market by) the objective merit of their work.

  29. @Diogenes:“I understand perhaps Curm and Hanna are tired of my liberal PC bashing of sexism and racism.

    I’m sure I can speak for SC when I say that we are not in favor of sexism, racism, or cannibalism for that matter. What I (and I assume he) tire of is calling things sexist and racist which are not, or using accusations of sexism and racism to shut down arguments. But that’s not really relevant here.

    Either Gilder is, or is not, making valid arguments about evolution. Whether he is sexist or racist has nothing to do with the validity of his argument. You are arguing ad hominem, sir. Just like Gilder would if he said that Dawkins’ language on evolution is chosen so that it reflects his atheism. He is seeking to discredit one argument based on other views held by the people who make that argument; and so are you, to him. I don’t think people who defend science should make argument they know to be invalid, but others disagree.

  30. @Diogenes: Putting it more explicitly. Gilder might say that Dawkins’s atheism is his driving motivation and so anything he says about evolution is tainted by it; it’s all a smokescreen to promote atheism, and you can tell from his language. Creationists do say this about Dawkins all the time. You’re saying something similar about Gilder. It doesn’t matter. Gilder is right or wrong in his arguments about evolution, and that is evaluated through logic and evidence, not on any other views he may hold.

  31. Gabriel Hanna: ” Gilder is right or wrong in his arguments about evolution, and that is evaluated through logic and evidence, not on any other views he may hold.”

    Thank you. It’s unfortunate that this point needs to be stated over and over.

  32. You are arguing ad hominem, sir. Just like Gilder would if he said that Dawkins’ language on evolution is chosen so that it reflects his atheism. He is seeking to discredit one argument based on other views held by the people who make that argument; and so are you, to him. I don’t think people who defend science should make argument they know to be invalid, but others disagree.

    Wow. Just wow. Curm writes a post about the political implications of Klinghoffer’s ideas implying political authoritarianism. I say the same thing about Gilder, and I’m told “You are arguing ad hominem, sir.”

    When the subject of a post is politics, an analysis of someone’s political beliefs is not “ad hominem.” It might be if the subject of this post were evidence for evolution, but that’s now what Curm wrote about it.

    At no point did Curm challenge Klinghoffer’s statements about evolution– this whole post was not about Klinghoffer’s statements about evolution, right or wrong, it was about the political implications of Klinghoffer’s language of hierarchy.

    But, now we’ve changed the definition of “ad hominem.” OK then… so, by Hanna’s new definition of “ad hominem”, Curm’s whole post was “ad hominem” against Klinghoffer.

    Gotcha. Let me, therefore, reflect your accusation back on both of you:

    You [Curmudgeon] are arguing ad hominem, sir. Just like Klinghoffer would if he said that Dawkins’ language on evolution is chosen so that it reflects his atheism. He is seeking to discredit one argument based on other views held by the people who make that argument; and so are you, to him. I don’t think people who defend science should make argument they know to be invalid, but others disagree.

    FIXED.

  33. Gabriel Hanna

    @Diogenes:But, now we’ve changed the definition of “ad hominem.”

    No, we haven’t.

    At no point did Curm challenge Klinghoffer’s statements about evolution– this whole post was not about Klinghoffer’s statements about evolution, right or wrong, it was about the political implications of Klinghoffer’s language of hierarchy.

    Not much point in restating it when it’s already written up there, but the political implications were only the last bit at the end. The rest was criticism of Klinghoffer’s argument that systems have to organize from the top down. SC provided plenty of counter-examples and then speculated why Klinghoffer found the argument appealing.

  34. Gabriel Hanna

    I let this go before, Diogenes, but since you’re already annoyed–was this necessary?

    But I’m going to put this in terms even a conservative can appreciate.

    First, I’m not a conservative, whatever SC is. Second, there was no need to be condescending. Third, there wasn’t any need to drag politics into it at all.

  35. Diogenes says: “Curm writes a post about the political implications of Klinghoffer’s ideas implying political authoritarianism. I say the same thing about Gilder, and I’m told You are arguing ad hominem, sir.

    Let’s calm down. Regarding my post, bear in mind that we already know Klinghoffer’s views about creationism. Those views have been judged on their merits. Therefore his obsession with hierarchies was seen — at least by me — as consistent. I wasn’t condemning his creationism because of his politics.

  36. @Hanna: the political implications were only the last bit at the end

    AND THE TITLE OF THIS POST. “Authoritarianism is best”? Remember that? It’s in the Title bar of your browser window right now.

    I’m reminded of what Dembski said when it was pointed out to him that the No Free Lunch theorems did not disprove evolution, which was central to his whole argument in his book “No Free Lunch.” His response was to blame his critics for misunderstanding the importance of the No Free Lunch theorems, which the evolutionists stupidly thought were important to Dembski’s book, because he made it the title of his book. How stupid we are to think that the title given by the author represented his arguments therein.

    The rest was criticism of Klinghoffer’s argument that systems have to organize from the top down. SC provided plenty of counter-examples…

    Right– and I criticized Gilder’s fact-claim that the Central Dogma of molecular biology proves that women are inferior scientists due to their genetics. His was an empirical claim backed up by no evidence— but you guys skipped over that part of what I wrote, I guess. The argument that women are genetically programmed to be inferior scientists is a fact-claim, and the argument the Central Dogma “proves” this is a fact-claim. I challenged both of them.

    …and then [SC] speculated why Klinghoffer found the argument appealing.

    As I too proceeded to do, re: Gilder.

  37. @Hanna: First, I’m not a conservative, whatever SC is. Second, there was no need to be condescending. Third, there wasn’t any need to drag politics into it at all.

    I apologize for misrepresenting your position. I didn’t intend to be condescending. Rather, I meant that regardless of our political affiliation, we can all agree that science should be a meritocracy, and that ID has failed by the standards of merit.

  38. Getting back to Kanklehumper: One day there’ll be a whole Wikipedia page devoted just to Klinghoffer’s disparaging nicknames.

  39. retiredsciguy

    Neon Noodle: “One day there’ll be a whole Wikipedia page devoted just to Klinghoffer’s disparaging nicknames.”

    I’m sure someone with time on his/her hands will pick up on that, soon. So, let’s get busy and add some more:

    Kinkyhoofer: implies foot fetish.
    Kinkyhuffer: inhaling strange stuff.
    Klingonhumper: no explanation needed.
    Klingydingles: implies the need for more Charmin Ultrastrong.
    Klinkydinkles: just sounds funny.
    Klinghoffer: pretty funny just the way it is.

  40. I was appreciative of the post regarding Gilder, which I found to be valuable information, especially as he is a Fellow at the DI. Whether Gilder’s racist or misogynist pronouncements bear directly on his denial of evolution or not, he apparently revels in provocation and couching in science assertions of the most inflammatory and ignorant kind which can only produce problems in the future for the DI . I think that they are, therefore, of interest to us at least on this basic level (psychology notwithstanding).

    A couple of thoughts came to me while I was reading:
    Aside from wishing for a dungeon of his own (I totally agree with longshadow’s assessment), Gilder seems to think the universe is a pyramid scheme. And essentially, the pyramid scheme concept also frames ID and creationism. Gilder’s view just obviates the “Loving Father” image of the guy(s) at the top.

  41. @Gabriel Hanna

    How is the little one (and everyone) doing? A boy wasn’t it?

  42. Ohhhhh, Klingonhumping! I could so do that!

  43. Klinghoffer calls his own sister “my brother in law’s wife”, when he should say “my brother in law’s uterus.