Klinghoffer: Higgs Boson Validates Creationism

Our title may be an exaggeration, but not a very big one. At the blog of the Discoveroids there’s a new post by David Klinghoffer. He’s the Discoveroids’ journalistic slasher and poo flinger. His brilliant new offering is “Science Is Not Democratic.” Who Knew?

It consists of only three paragraphs, and one of those is a quote from this article in New Scientist: Dark matter tops physicists’ wish list, post-Higgs. Before we get to what Klinghoffer has written, we’ll give you a few excerpts from New Scientist:

A new survey of about 50 particle theorists reveals mixed feelings about whether the long-sought Higgs boson will ever point the way to new theories, but renewed optimism that the mysterious stuff that makes up most of the universe’s matter will show us the way.

There’s a bit more to it than that:

Physicists had high hopes for the Higgs boson. Its discovery last year at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland, filled in the missing piece of the standard model, physicists’ current best explanation of all the particles and forces in the known universe.

However, the standard model is still incomplete – it does not account for gravity, for example – so physicists hoped the Higgs would turn out to be weird enough to point the way to new theories.

They’re disappointed. Nothing revolutionary was found. Let’s read on:

A new survey suggests that physicists are giving up hope for the Higgs. Last week Ibanez [Luis Ibanez of the Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain] and his colleagues held a meeting to discuss just why the Higgs has the properties it does, and gave attendees an opinion poll to kick off the talks.

Of nearly 50 respondents, only 53 per cent believe the LHC [Large Hadron Collider] or the next future collider will ever detect non-standard properties of the Higgs. Just 59 per cent were confident that the LHC would make any new discoveries now that the Higgs has been found.

This isn’t really surprising. Scientists at the very cutting edge of what is known are rumbling and mumbling about where it’s all going. One could read into it the obvious fact that they don’t have any preconceived agenda — contrary to creationists’ conspiracy theories.

We’ll skip to the end, and that’s where we find the paragraph that Klinghoffer has quote-mined:

Of course, with just a small fraction of particle physicists represented in the survey, results must be taken with a pinch of salt. “This kind of discussion gives ideas on what to pursue,” says Ibanez, but he cautions that consensus is not necessarily the route to discovery. “Science is not democratic. Very often the one who is correct is in a minority.”

Okay, now let’s see what Klinghoffer makes of all that. Remember, he’s written only two paragraphs. The first one mentions the New Scientist report on the survey of particle physicists. Then Klinghoffer quotes the paragraph we already showed you, from the end of the New Scientist article, and he puts this part of his quote in bold font:

consensus is not necessarily the route to discovery. “Science is not democratic. Very often the one who is correct is in a minority.”

You’re thinking: So what? But you know the full context of that quote. Remember, we’re dealing with a Discoveroid. They’re creationists and they’re quote-miners. They’ll say almost anything to convince their brain-dead readers that evolution is nonsense and their “theory” about a magic designer — blessed be he! — is great science. So Klinghoffer grabs that quote and uses it for his own purposes. Here’s his final paragraph, with our bold font:

So the truth of a scientific proposition — say, the Darwinian theory of evolution — is not, after all, decided by a count of heads? The majority, the precious “consensus” we hear so much about, may be wrong after all, while the minority may be vindicated in the end?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, David. That’s what the survey of particle physicists was all about. The secret has slipped out and you spotted it. It’s now official — the vast majority of evolutionary biologists may be totally wrong and you Discoveroids may be right after all. That’s also true of the guy who keeps promoting The Time Cube. All you need now is some evidence.

Oh, we almost forgot. Klinghoffer’s last line takes a swipe at the National Center for Science Education, who are always mentioning the scientific consensus regarding evolution. Klinghoffer imagines that his mined quote totally discredits them.

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

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15 responses to “Klinghoffer: Higgs Boson Validates Creationism

  1. SC said:

    All you need now is some evidence.

    Lots and lots and lots of evidence!

  2. Klinghoffer’s hoped-to-be-vindicated minority holds that there is no evolution of species, period, not that some particular problem remains to be solved in one way versus another.

    For the mined quote to be equivalent to the ID position, Ibanez would have to have said, in effect, “science is not democratic, and the minority of physicists who hold that the universe was created whole cloth by a supernatural entity might be right.”

  3. Without reading Klinghoffer’s article or SC’s post (other than the title), I will take a “wild guess” that Klinghoffer does not claim that the HB “validates creationism.” Though less certain, I will guess that he did not even claim that it “validates the ‘theory’ of ID.” Rather, I expect that he only claims it to be another “weakness” of “Darwinism,” and more evidence(s) that 99+% of scientists are all involved in a conspiracy to replace God with Hitler. No, I don’t think he used those exact words either, but I will bet that that’s all he claims (in so many words), and that anything beyond that is strictly inferred by his audience as they “take the bait.”

  4. Stephen Kennedy

    The Higgs Boson turned out to have the properties that were pretty much expected by the majority of physicists. While reality conforming with previously held beliefs is very comforting for the religious, for scientists it can be somewhat of a let down. Scientists thrive on the unexpected which is what leads to new inquiries and eventually deeper understanding of the natural world.

    If the Theory of Evolution is ever replaced it will not be with Intelligent Design. ID Is an old idea that was believed for a long time but it, and other forms of creationism, were discarded in the wake of the Enlightenment and they are not coming back.

  5. It’s getting harder and harder to tell the Discoveroids and the Time Cube Guy apart.

  6. The Discoveroids like their science democratic and their guv’mint theocratic.

  7. @Frank J: Yeah, you probably want to read the post. SC’s, at least.

  8. Charles Deetz ;)

    At least Klingy isn’t citing or following the current GOP, where the minority is convinced they are right and willing to hold the government hostage to prove it. But I’ll bet Klingy is every bit as delusional as Ted Cruz is.

  9. retiredsciguy

    Klinghoffer conveniently ignores 180+ years of scientific research conducted by many tens of thousands of scientists that supports evolution, and instead insists that the 4,000-year-old oral mythology of ancient goat herders is instead the correct explanation, even though there is not one shred of supporting evidence.

    Truly amazing.

  10. As hinted at by a few other commenters, the bulk of evolution is not new cutting-edge science in the way that the Higgs boson and dark matter are. The basics of evolution have been around quite a while and have withstood manifold challenges. At the cutting edge of any science, there is much uncertainty and thus room for speculation, even wild speculation, until new knowledge is made available that settles those questions. Scientific consensus is about those (mostly) settled questions, e.g. how evolutionary scientists debate the details of evolution, not whether it’s a valid theory. Scientific consensus is not about voting for whose novel speculative hypothesis concerning a poorly understood phenomenon is the right one. The evidence will decide that. And this is the central issue of which Klunklehuffer is oblivious — one might suspect purposefully so.

  11. All you need now is some evidence.

    No, what is really needed is a theory, or something like that. Something about which evidence might count.

  12. Gary: @Frank J: Yeah, you probably want to read the post. SC’s, at least.”

    I finally did, and to his credit SC admits it in the first sentence. What also caught my eye was Klinghoffer’s jumping on the word “consensus.” Years ago, on a discussion board that allowed trolls to hijack threads (SC’s is one of the few that doesn’t) I made the mistake of using that word, and got the usual misunderstanding (almost certainly deliberate) that I was advocating that science be determined by vote. The word I meant, and should have used, was “convergence.” Specifically that which Pope John Paul II referred to as “neither sought nor fabricated” when explaining his acceptance of evolution.

    Until the general public – including the great majority of nonscientists who accept evolution – grasps the simple, but counterintuitive concept of how science is done, the scam artists will continue to quote-mine like that, and we will continue to face an uphill battle.

    TomS: “No, what is really needed is a theory, or something like that. Something about which evidence might count.”

    As you and I, and maybe 3 others in the universe, keep saying, all they need is for their audience, whether or not one finds the DI’s arguments convincing to keep asking: “OK, you have been claiming to have found ‘design’ for ~20 years, so when are you going to tell us what the designer did, when, where and how? For example, is Behe right about ‘4-billion years of common descent’?…” We know that they’ll only weasel out of that line of questioning, but we’re still a tiny minority that knows how they frantically run for cover when forced to take what they dish out.

  13. Retired Prof

    I have been surprised that theists have not pounced on the Higgs field and declared that it finally fills what may be the biggest gap in the “god of the gaps” system–and filled it with god’s own spiritual substance.

    Think about it. The field is postulated to consist of some sort of energy that permeates the universe but is not confined to it, just like the immanent god (referred to as “G-d”) Hasidic rabbis speak about. It can be presented as a creative force that bestows mass on particles of matter and pours out wave-packets of energy. Through some sort of inverse law it may govern both the attractive force of gravity and the repulsive force attributed to dark energy. Thus it may, once we understand it properly, provide the key to understanding all the features of the universe.

    I know the cosmologists who referred to the Higgs boson as “the God particle” were not proposing that they had identified an atom of the deity. It just seems to me that religious folk are missing a big rhetorical opportunity here for a grand unification of science and theology.

  14. retiredsciguy

    @Con-Tester: Well-said. Thanks.

  15. Retired Prof: “Through some sort of inverse law it may govern both the attractive force of gravity and the repulsive force attributed to dark energy.” I know of no one making that claim.