Discoveroids Launch Another Zack Attack

The Discoveroids — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page — have apparently decided to squash Zack Kopplin if they can. If they can’t do that they’ll try to minimize his impact.

To achieve that end they have dispatched one of their professional lobbyists, Joshua Youngkin, whose job is euphemistically described as “Program Officer, Public Policy and Legal Affairs.” He was one of the Discoveroid apparatchiks who took on this task before, when Zack appeared on the Bill Moyers Show. We wrote about his effort here: Confessions of a Discoveroid Lobbyist.

Now that Zack Appeared on the Bill Maher Show, the Discoveroids are again going into full spin mode, and unintentionally revealing their true nature — which is far more like Orwell’s Ministry of Truth than the science “think tank” which is their cover story.

The resulting Discoveroid hit piece is Non-Scientist Says, “You’re Not a Scientist”. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

History undergrad Zack Kopplin, enfant terrible of Rice University, appeared recently on Bill Moyer’s program to pump his latest campaign to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). This will be Zack’s third campaign against the LSEA in as many years.

That’s right, it’s Zack’s Third Campaign. The LSEA is the high-water mark of the Discoveroids’ nefarious anti-rational activities. It’s like a greasy stain on the landscape after a sewer pipe breaks, and preserving it is one of their greatest tasks. That makes Zack one of their greatest problems. The Discoveroid rant continues:

By its plain terms, the LSEA is a law that protects from administrative reprisal the objective, multi-sided teaching of scientific controversies covered during normal curricular science instruction, including evolution, climate change, and human cloning.

Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard all that before. By now we assume that our readers understand the situation, so we’ll skip a lot of the spin. Let’s read on:

Critics of the LSEA, including Zack Kopplin, say that the law is really an unconstitutional back door for getting religion into science class, that it is harmful to science education, harmful to an economy dependent on innovation, and therefore ripe for repeal.

Yes, exactly. The propagandist continues:

Advocates of the LSEA reply that if the law induced unconstitutional conduct, or could even be read to encourage unconstitutional conduct, then there would have been a lawsuit long ago. Yet the LSEA remains unchallenged since passage in 2008.

Wow — what a great defense — “We haven’t been sued yet!” BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Here’s more:

Until very recently, Zack had managed only limited attention. That is no longer the case. Last Friday, he took his LSEA repeal message to Bill Maher’s Real Time, his biggest stage so far, which he announced beforehand on Twitter.

That got Hugh Hefner excited, at least on Twitter. [We’re skipping Hefner’s remark.] The attaboys really streamed in on Twitter after Zack managed a rhetorical takedown of the token skeptic on Maher’s panel, Steve Moore.

It wasn’t all that much, really, but somehow it thrilled the audience. You can watch it here. It’s less than two minutes long:

The Discoveroids are in the propaganda business, so the effect on the audience is what bothers them. Here’s what their apparatchik says about that brief exchange between Zack and Moore:

During panel discussion, Moore questioned the wisdom of federal funding for research on snail mating and implied that a lot of government funding of scientific studies is similarly unwise. Without missing a beat, Zack reminded Moore of something more important: “You’re not a scientist,” Zack said.

What did the Discoveroid propagandist learn from the incident? That’s revealed at the end of his rant:

The audience laughed and clapped approvingly at Zack’s argument, convinced by what now passes for science that the two million dollar snail sex study must go on for the sake of, say, national security. Or something.

And non-scientists everywhere learned a valuable lesson about asking questions in public: don’t do it. Just don’t.

The Discoveroids aren’t stupid; they’re learning. No, they’re not learning any science — they have no interest in that. Rather, they’re learning about what kinds of publicity can be harmful to them, and when they’re better off keeping their operations in the shadows.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Discoveroids Launch Another Zack Attack

  1. … if the law induced unconstitutional conduct, or could even be read to encourage unconstitutional conduct …

    Apparently the DI collectively has a short memory. Remember the Livingston Parish school board and Bruce Chapman’s frantic signaling that it should ix-nay the reationism-cay?

    http://dododreams.blogspot.com/2010/08/damage-control.html

  2. The more the DI brings attention to Zack’s efforts, the more they help advance his cause. The best argument he can make against the LSEA is to show who supports it – and the DI continues to rise to the bait and document their involvement.

    I suspect even their small cadre of supporters wishes they would just shut up sometimes.

  3. Christine Janis

    Was there really a funded project on snail reproduction, or was that just made up? If it’s true, then as snails serve as intermediate hosts for a variety of parasites, I can see how one could make it highly important.

    Also, Bill Maher’s guess at $2 million to fund the project, — if this was NSF funding they’d have been lucky to get one tenth of that.

  4. Christine Janis asks: “Was there really a funded project on snail reproduction, or was that just made up?”

    Apparently so, but it had a larger purpose. See Feds Spending $880,000 to Study Benefits of Snail Sex.

  5. But any discussion of sex, snail or otherwise, is a no-no for conservatives who frown on it. I would suspect that if given the opportunity they would advocate total abstinence from sex for snails and likely allocate funds for that as well. 😉

  6. The snails as vector of diseases also occurred to me while watching Real Time. The Discoveroids may have a point about one of the challenges for a mostly non-scientific public as well as the mostly scientifically illiterate congress trying to make an assessment on funding worthy research in the pure sciences. I suppose a good remedy is to see how often such research is cited by other scientists in the literature. If something is causing buzz, even if has an amusing (to the layman) title it is more than likely worthwhile.

  7. Abstinence doesn’t work for all snails; some of them can reproduce sexually and/or asexually as I learned reading part of the snail study.

  8. How about a contest to name the most important discovery in biology resulting from the most ridiculous-sounding research. I open the contest with “why are some peas wrinkled?”

  9. Funny the critics of research never wonder why a study is being done and what other questions will be answered. I haven’t read anything about the snail study, but is the intent to find a way to restrict or encourage snail reproduction thereby affecting other species, perhaps ones that we consume? Or perhaps the snail shell has valuable molecular or structural lessons for us. Or maybe the slime they use to climb walls has interesting or useful traits we can exploit in other areas.

    The rejection of even silly sounding studies is embracing ignorance, if all possible outcomes aren’t considered.

  10. docbill1351

    Steven Moore is a shrill nincompoop and climate change denier of the Don McLeroy ilk: somebody has to stand up to the experts. Yes, and that somebody will be a complete idiot.

    Note Zack’s zinger: Stephen, we already went over this, you’re not a scientist.

    Yep, old Zack schooled the journalist, Fox commentator and idiot (oh, sorry for the redundancy) Moore. Moore, still digging, went on to say that he “knew” that snail sex studies didn’t need to be done. Oh? Moore also made the astounding, and wrong, assertion that all the innovation comes from private sector science. It’s clear that Moore was espousing an ideology, not sound economic advice and Zack just cut through him.

    Where Moore made his mistake, but didn’t learn from it, was assuming he knew more than Zack or could bluff him. Not a good idea.

  11. Watching Zack, I think Klinghitler must be peeing his pants about now.