Klinghoffer Rebuts the New York Times

There are two or three different threads running through the latest essay by David Klinghoffer, the Discoveroids’ journalistic slasher and poo flinger. His post at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog is George Johnson in the New York Times; Steve Meyer at the Chabad of Snohomish County.

He’s primarily criticizing this column in the New York Times: Creation, in the Eye of the Beholder. We remember seeing it a couple of days ago. It’s good, but we rarely blog about columns with which we agree. However, now that it has provoked an agonized reaction from the Discoveroids, that Times article has become a source of entertainment.

The background, or “frame,” for Klinghoffer’s post is an auto ride to attend a presentation by Stephen Meyer, Vice President and Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute and a central figure in the infamous Sternberg peer review controversy. Meyer spoke to a Jewish group in Lynnwood, Snohomish County about his book, Darwin’s Doubt, in which he claims that the Cambrian “explosion” is powerful evidence of the mystical activity of the Discoveroids’ un-named intelligent designer. His “scientific” claim is that the supernatural designer visited Earth around 450 million years ago and performed his mysterious work to magically create a variety of “kinds” which (he insists) couldn’t possibly have been the result of evolution.

We’ve previously discussed that conjecture. It’s nothing but a God of the gaps argument. Wikipedia says: “God of the gaps is a type of theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God’s existence.” Aside from that and William Paley’s watchmaker analogy, that’s all there is to the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design.

Meyer’s appearance is mostly background, but it plays a role later. According to Klinghoffer’s post:

Steve [Meyer] was speaking to Chabad of Snohomish County, not a mega-synagogue by any stretch. Basically a storefront, the room was packed out with what looked like a little more than thirty people.

That’s nice. But the fun part is Klinghoffer’s discussion in the car on the way to the event, in which Johnson’s column in the Times was discussed, so we’ll focus on that. With bold font added by us, Klinghoffer says that the column was:

… a typically complaisant reflection on what Johnson sees as the foolishness of perceiving design in nature. One thing’s for sure: It’s not possible to detect any familiarity on the part of this veteran Times reporter with the evidence or arguments that Meyer or other leading intelligent-design advocates offer.

That’s standard. Whenever anyone dismisses the Discoveroids’ “theory” as being jazzed-up creationism and utterly silly pseudo-science, they always respond by asserting that their critics are uninformed. Let’s read on:

Johnson writes about his wonderment 27 years ago on seeing an artistically rendered schematic drawing of the AIDS virus. He makes a lot of that. Intricately beautiful yet unspeakably cruel, HIV for him embodies what’s wrong with the design argument.

Johnson has a good point. If the Discoveroids can swoon over the “design” of DNA, why isn’t the HIV virus also attributed to the designer? And if the designer is responsible for HIV, what was his purpose? Klinghoffer continues:

Johnson goes on to compare “creationists” (by which he means ID advocates) to conspiracy buffs:

[Klinghoffer quotes Johnson:] What creationists and conspiracy theorists share is a deep disbelief in accidents like the ones that drive evolution, and a certainty that everything that happens was somehow intended.

Excellent point! Why didn’t we think of it? Here’s Klinghoffer’s response:

He’s incredulous that anyone could attribute design to nature when nature includes cruel things. Johnson wouldn’t allow such in his world if he were God.

We’ve mentioned before that this is a big weakness of the Discoveroids’ attempt to immunize their teachings from a First Amendment challenge by insisting that intelligent design is science, not religion. Biblical creationists can blame bad things on Adam & Eve, but the Discoveroids’ litigation strategy doesn’t allow them that handy escape hatch. They’re stuck with the fact that their magical designer — blessed be he! — sometimes gets things screwed up. This is how Klinghoffer handles the, ah, Discoveroids’ Dilemma:

But that’s a theological objection to design. Why is it that Darwin defenders always answer science with theology? The theory of intelligent design is not theology. It leaves such valid doubts to religious thinkers, restricting itself to science — explaining the origin of the genetic and epigenetic information needed to build animal forms, the “explosive origin” of animal life in the Cambrian event, and much more — letting the chips fall where they may.

Ah, so that’s how they handle the problem — by waiving it away. Hey, David — the question remains: Why does your designer produce such stunningly malevolent handiwork? No answer? We weren’t expecting one.

We promised you that Meyer’s appearance before a small group would return to play a role in Klinghoffer’s essay. Here it comes. Klinghoffer changes the subject from the embarrassing fact of designer’s malignity. Instead, he gushes about how attentive Meyer’s little audience was. He contrasts that with “the incuriousness on the part of a reporter for a world-class newspaper.” Good rebuttal, Klinghoffer!

He devotes a few paragraphs to praising Meyer’s wonderful audience, and he finishes his essay with this:

How does it happen? A reporter for the New York Times tosses off a column mocking the design argument as “creationism,” reflecting no knowledge of what design theorists say more than two centuries after Paley. Yet gather together a random group of Jews in a random town in Washington State and you get an intense, serious and illuminating discussion exploring the cutting edge of ID. Guys like Mr. Johnson should get out a bit more. Read a book perhaps. Here’s one. [Link to Meyer’s book at Amazon.]

Don’t be too hasty in dismissing Klinghoffer’s essay, dear reader. There’s a good lesson to be learned here. If a major newspaper publishes a column that says you’re a world-class idiot, now you know how to respond in a way that crushingly defeats your critic. Point out that a group of 30 people in the middle of nowhere think you’re endlessly fascinating.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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19 responses to “Klinghoffer Rebuts the New York Times

  1. How horrible it must be to go through life not being able to enjoy the discoveries of science. There but for the grace of the FSM, go I…

  2. Yet gather together a random group of Jews in a random town in Washington State…

    Random? So they just threw a dart at a map, went there, rounded up a random sample of 30 people, and found that they were enthralled by ID? Ha.

  3. waldteufel

    Upon reading our Curmudgeon’s post, I had a little epiphany: In addition to his duties as a verbal slasher and poo flinger, Klingklepooper acts as sort of an anatomically correct verbal blow-up doll for Meyer, Casey, Westie, and the other intellectual giants among the Discoveroids.

  4. waldteufel

    OOoops . . [Edited out]. My bad.

    *Voice from above* Blunder repaired!

  5. The theory of intelligent design is not theology.

    What is it then? Me would want to know.

  6. Nick Matzke

    What’s with the flurry of new reviews of “Darwin’s Doubt” on amazon? Did they tell everyone at that Snohomish talk by Meyer to go write a review and talk about how evolutionists are mean rather than about science?

  7. As we have said before in response to the what I call the Pinto argument (because Casey Luskin famously said that a Ford Pinto may explode on impact, but it’s still designed), if the “Bad Design” counter-argument is theology, then the “Good Design” ID argument is also theology.

    IDcreationists have insisted that we have no Junk DNA, not a bit. If life were created by God, then they predict we must have no Junk DNA. This is a “Good Design” argument which the IDers now say is not theology. If it’s not theology, then the “Bad Design” argument is not theology either.

    But if their hypothesis really leads to the prediction that humans must have no Junk DNA, then the discovery of any Junk DNA falsifies the ID hypothesis. Their response is to say, “Hey, whoa, WAIT. That’s theology buddy! How dare you bring your religion into a science discussion!”

    Uh huh. It’s simple logic:

    1. They say: If God designed life, then humans must have no Junk DNA.

    This immediately & necessarily entails the converse statement:

    2. If humans have any junk DNA, then God did not design life.

    Humans do have Junk DNA, so God did not design life.

    1 and 2 above ARE THE SAME STATEMENT. They’re logically equivalent! If 1 is true, 2 is true. If 2 is true, 1 is true.

    So the IDiots are playing a game where they say “Statement 1 is science, but statement 2 is religion. How do you Darwinists bring your religion into a science discussion!”

    Or if you life:

    1. They say: If God designed life, then life will be well-designed.

    This immediately & necessarily entails the converse statement:

    2. If life is not well-designed, then God did not design life.

  8. Klinghitler is such a little liar! Or deluded, or lives in a world of wishful thinking! Did you catch this bit?

    “The group was tracking it all fixedly, peppering him with queries throughout, not entirely on Steve’s side but turning it over and over with him — down to and including the clash with Berkeley paleontologist Charles Marshall in Science over developmental gene regulatory networks.”

    Uh huh. “The clash in Science.” Riiiight, Klingleberry. Like Meyer was published in Science!

    What happened was that Charles Marshall, real scientist, was published in Science– writing a devastating, negative review of the &$%* book written by philosopher Stephen Meyer, who was not published in Science. There was no “clash.” Just a negative review.

    Jesus tapdancing Christ, these people are mad with status envy.

  9. More yucks. This is Stephen Meyer 2014 explaining how ID appeals to cool, hip, young rebels!

    Stephen Meyer: “Right, you want to know whether anyone actually agrees with us. Here’s what’s happening. I’m actually very optimistic because Thomas Kuhn, the famous historian of science, said scientific revolutions don’t happen when the old guard suddenly changes their mind. They happen one funeral at a time. And what we have found is we’re attracting an awful lot of young talent.” [Stephen Meyer 2014, cited at http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/04/our_professors_084371.html%5D

    Young talent. Riiight. ID is eXXXtreme! ID is for young, hip rebels! Don’t follow the rules– use Xout to remove your pimples! Starburst has UNTAMED fruit flavor!

    Now I want you all to carefully examine this photo which Klinghitler has posted of Meyer speaking to his most recent audience. Count the young, hip rebels in the audience.

    Talk about headed for the graveyard.

    One funeral at a time, Meyer. One funeral at a time.

  10. Diogenes mentions: “how ID appeals to cool, hip, young rebels!”

    That’s why Casey’s “IDEA clubs” (see Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center) were such a big hit on college campuses.

  11. waldteufel

    ” Jesus tapdancing Christ, these people are mad with status envy.”

    Absolutely true. Even more pathetically, the Discoveroids are desperate for any sort of validation from academia or even educated laymen. So far it’s only in creationist settings, where their babbling is sandwiched between prayers and hymns, that they can garner any respect.

  12. @ Diogenes; I recognize the people in that photo, I’ve run into them hanging out by the free sample ladies at Costco. Hipsters indeed, as I’m sure most have had their hips replaced.

  13. I like it when they talk about how bad design is all part of the plan. It shows that the eight inches of colon surgeons had to remove from my insides means that the G.O.D. loves me more than you guys.

    /sticks thumbs in ears, waves fingers all willy-nilly, and goes Pttthhhhhhhh.

  14. Eddie Janssen

    “His “scientific” claim is that the supernatural designer visited Earth around 450 million years ago and performed his mysterious work to magically create a variety of “kinds” which (he insists) couldn’t possibly have been the result of evolution.”
    550?

  15. So after babbling about their transcendent designer they are now back to pretending to be scientific?

  16. The theory of intelligent design is not theology.

    Nor is it intelligent

  17. Klangerhuffer huffs a clanger—

    “The theory of intelligent design … leaves such valid doubts to religious thinkers, restricting itself to science — explaining the origin of the genetic and epigenetic information needed to build animal forms, the ‘explosive origin’ of animal life in the Cambrian event, and much more — letting the chips fall where they may.”

    Let’s see if I’ve got this straight. The Grand Ole Designer put some basic “types” together and let them loose on our planet. The “types” then go forth, mutating and multiplying without Ole Grandy interfering or adding new ones. So basically Ole Desy just kicked off a whole bunch of good things, went hands-off and it’s been evolution ever since, which is how we ended up with nasties like HIV and Ebola and Loa loa.

    Do the Discorrhoids really want to go around that deistic detour to circumnavigate the problem of evil? Sounds to me like Des the Ole Grandy didn’t plan this thing so good. Or maybe it was an early prototype which he abandoned soon after ’cos it had too many flaws to fix.

  18. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    He works hard for the money
    So hard for it, honey
    He works hard for the money
    So you better treat him right