This is entertaining because it not only shows the Discoveroids on the defensive, but this time they’ve really been insulted. We’ve seen them react like this before — for example: Discoveroids: “We’re Not Crazy!” Poor guys. It seems they’re always being insulted, bullied, misunderstood, disrespected, lobbied against, expelled, etc. Now a psychologist thinks they need help.
Today’s defensive whining at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog is from David Klinghoffer, their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. His latest is: Story Time: Psychologists Show How to “Suppress” Children’s Intuition of Design in Nature. He says, with bold font added by us:
I don’t know whether this is outrageous, hilarious or simply very telling. Probably all three. The Wall Street Journal salutes the research of Boston University psychologist Deborah Kelemen. She has discovered that it’s possible with Darwinian storytelling to suppress common sense in children of the kind that leads them to recognize artifacts of intelligent design in nature.
This is the article that has upset Klinghoffer: See Jane Evolve: Picture Books Explain Darwin. It’s very good, and well worth reading. You’ll see that, contrary to Klinghoffer’s introductory remarks, it doesn’t quite say what Klinghoffer suggests. Here’s a small excerpt from the Journal article to show you what it actually says:
Scientific ideas always challenge our common sense. But some ideas, such as the heliocentric solar system, require only small tweaks to our everyday knowledge. We can easily understand what it would mean for the Earth to go around the sun, even though it looks as if the sun is going around the Earth. Other ideas, such as relativity or quantum mechanics, are so wildly counterintuitive that we shrug our shoulders, accept that only the mathematicians will really get it and fall back on vague metaphors.
But evolution by natural selection occupies a not-so-sweet spot between the intuitive and the counterintuitive. The trouble is that it’s almost, but not really, like intentional design, and that’s confusing. Adaptation through natural selection, like intentional design, makes things work better. But the mechanism that leads to that result is very different.
Intentional design is an excellent everyday theory of human artifacts. … Even babies understand that human actions are “teleological” — designed to accomplish particular goals. In earlier work, Dr. Kelemen showed that preschoolers begin to apply this kind of design thinking more generally, an attitude she calls “promiscuous teleology.”
Babies begin explaining things by using “promiscuous teleology” — that’s good! Now that we know what Klinghoffer is attacking — it’s Dr. Kelemen’s way to correct the very thing he’s defending, which Kelemen regards as baby thinking. Let’s read on to see what Klinghoffer says:
The Journal notes that quite apart from religious instruction, kids are primed to see life as reflecting “intentional design.” It’s intuitive. The corrective is to catch them at an early age and train them to see things in a Darwinian light.
Klinghoffer gives us a big quote from the Journal about how a fictional animal with a fictional mutation is used as an example with children to explain the concept of evolution by natural selection. He doesn’t like teaching such ideas to kids. He claims:
There are a number of interesting points here. First, that the example of natural selection is fictional. …. Second, it is decidedly in the micro-evolutionary realm — a kind of evolution that no one disputes, certainly not advocates of the theory of intelligent design. … The extrapolation from such a trivial thing into the origin of all species and all biological complexity by unguided natural processes is a cheat.
There’s a comforting consistency in the way they cling to their institutional dogma — a year ago we wrote Discoveroids Dance the Micro-Macro Mambo. Klinghoffer goes on to quote a lot and complain a lot, but we want you to read it all for yourself, so we’ll give you only one more excerpt:
The initiative to program children is repeatedly referred to as “intervention,” a term used in psychological counseling to refer to an attempt to thwart counterproductive, dangerous thoughts or behavior. The intuitive response of human beings, seeing design in nature, is implicitly compared to destructive patterns of abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, and the like!
Calm down, David. There’s no reason why you should take any of that personally. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
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