Klinghoffer: All Scientists Are Scoundrels

Although creationists have absolutely nothing to show for their endless prattling about the evils and uselessness of science compared to the imaginary value of creationist (and intelligent design) mythology, they persist in promoting their nonsense. One of their techniques is to seize upon any errors in scientific work, proclaiming such to be typical of all science, and rock-solid evidence that science is worthless.

They never mention that: (1) it’s always scientists, not creationists, who discover and correct such errors; (2) actual instances of scientific fraud are career-killers; (3) creationists never correct each other or retract anything, no matter how crazy their claims may be; and (4) regardless of their idiocy, there are no creationist career-stoppers — their careers continue forever.

A good example of this creationist anti-science tactic is the latest post at the Discovery Institute’s blog by David Klinghoffer, their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. It’s titled People Are Starting to See Scientists the Way They Really Are. Oooooooh! He says, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

The public used to see politicians in far more exalted terms than they do now. The same fate befell the clergy. Now it’s scientists.

Oh dear. The public is waking up to the scam of science. We’re told that:

Dr. Ivan Oransky, MD, of Retraction Watch gets a delicious write-up from Forbes:

Here’s the Forbes article he’s talking about: Bad Science Muckrakers Question the Big Science Status Quo. We’ll overlook the way Klinghoffer precedes Oransky’s name with “Dr.” and follows it with “MD.” The About Ivan Oransky page at his website is impressive, and he doesn’t appear to be a flake at all. So why is Klinghoffer quoting him? According to the poo-flinger, Forbes says:

Oransky is raising awareness of the impact that competition for grants and career advancement is having on the quality of the science being produced. Far from being above the fray and immune to corrupting influences, “Scientists are just as human as anyone else,” says Oransky. And increasingly, “People are starting to see scientists the way they really are.”

Okay. No one doubts that scrambling for government handouts is a demeaning activity. What does Klinghoffer make of it? Let’s read on:

When we say things like that, they say we’re “anti-science.” No, just pro-realism about scientists.

[*Sigh*] Actually, Klinghoffer, you and your comrades are anti-science. Yes, it’s true, some science papers need to be retracted, and some scientists (but not very many) do misbehave. How does that compare to the creationist track record of having no creationist articles published — except in your own captive journals? Creationists’ papers are such obvious junk that they rarely get to the point where they need to be retracted — but it sometimes happens, e.g., the paper by the Discoveroids’ own Stephen C. Meyer, resulting in the Sternberg peer review controversy.

Klinghoffer continues:

Also quoted [by Forbes], Dr. Thomas Stossel of Harvard Medical School:

[Klinghoffer’s mined quote:] “I realized how fundamentally honest business people are compared to my academic colleagues, who’d run their grandmothers over for recognition.”

When you read the article Klinghoffer’s quoting, you’ll see that Stossel isn’t saying that scientists are fundamentally dishonest — ambitious, yes, but not dishonest. What he’s really saying is that his eyes were opened to how basically honest business people are, compared to what he had believed in his isolated academic life when he was a “typical academic socialist.” How does that help to make Klinghoffer’s case? It doesn’t.

So what’s the conclusion of Klinghoffer’s post? Here it comes:

As for non-scientists who have not yet been disabused of their childlike faith, one can only say: Growing up is hard to do.

We see it differently. First of all, very few science papers need to be retracted. Some of those are due to error, and yes, some small percentage is due to fraud. However, the fraudsters aren’t typical scientists. Rather, such people behave like creationists, and it’s entirely proper that their once-promising careers end in infamy.

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

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18 responses to “Klinghoffer: All Scientists Are Scoundrels

  1. If all scientists are scoundrels, then don’t use any technology–no computers, phone, TV, cars, elevators, etc. Put your life into god’s hands and don’t use medicines or go to the hospital for surgeries, etc.

    Original Message—–

  2. Right, Klinghoffer. And all Intelligent Design advocates are IDiots, too.

  3. anevilmeme

    Is this guys target audience really so stupid and ignorant that they don’t understand that without science and scientists we’d be literally living in the dark ages?

  4. Yes, they are. They are creationist, remember. Very little gets through to them that is real.

  5. Three words: Peer reviewed journals.

    University libraries are filled with them. Peer review keeps scientists honest and eventually corrects their errors.

    To the extent that there is any peer review of creationist articles, it appears to come with the caveat, “never question the ‘evidence’ of ‘scripture.’ Last time I checked, the bible never underwent peer review.

  6. Ceteris Paribus

    Can Klignoffer confirm that all the Jack Chick tracts in my collection peer reviewed by Fundamentalists? I would be really bummed to see any of them retracted for consigning some poor sinner to the wrong Circle of Hell®.

  7. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    The DI, having failed at getting their not-science into schools and taken seriously by anyone other than faith-heads, have taken to becoming a living caricature of one of Aesop’s tropes.

    One hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. “Just the thing to quench my thirst,” quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.”

    From Cosmos to anything else they can find to whinge about. Hey, if ya can’t falsely don the mantle of forwarding mankind’s knowledge and earn honest respect, might as well kick everyone else in the nads who does so legitimately. So sad.

  8. Ivan Oransky is no flake. Recall the information flow:
    1) Bill Frezza interviewed Ivan.
    Frezza is affiliated with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has a long history of anti-science efforts, including climate science (front groups and being one of the 2 key think tanks behind the attack on the climate hockey stick), and against medical research that linked smoking and disease.
    CEI has gotten money from tobacco companies for a long time and is now among those beating the drums for e-cigarettes, as is Forbes.

    2) Frezza wrote up interview for Forbes, so one would have to listen to the podcast to know how good the portrayal was, rather than being able to look for something Ivan wrote.

    3) Forbes is not exactly a science publication. It regularly runs climate anti-science pieces by (non-scientist) James Taylor of the Heartland Institute, which is also allied with creationists.
    Steve Forbes’ associate George Gilder was a co-founder of the Discovery Institute, and a promoter of climate anti-science, as in first few minutes of this video.

  9. [*Sigh*] Actually, Klinghoffer, you and your comrades are anti-science. Yes, it’s true, some science papers need to be retracted, and some scientists (but not very many) do misbehave. How does that compare to the creationist track record of having no creationist articles published — except in your own captive journals? Creationists’ papers are such obvious junk that they rarely get to the point where they need to be retracted — but it sometimes happens, e.g., the paper by the Discoveroids’ own Stephen C. Meyer, resulting in the Sternberg peer review controversy.

    Of course, creationists will argue they can’t get their papers peer-reviewed by respectable authorities because of the worldwide scientists’ conspiracy against belief in God. We all know all hose eggheads are atheistic Communists, after all–just look how many of them are Jews!

    Nutbar arguments like this shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone, but unfortunately, as P.T. Barnum said, there’s a sucker born every minute.

  10. As for Forbes, John Farrell writes there. One of the few pop science writers not duped by the “Death of Junk DNA.”

  11. The whole truth

    klinghoffer projected: “As for non-scientists who have not yet been disabused of their childlike faith, one can only say: Growing up is hard to do.”

    Yeah, religious fairy tales that are fed to kids sure do make it hard to grow up:

    http://www.iflscience.com/brain/religious-children-struggle-separate-fact-fiction

  12. Garnetstar

    Actually, the old societal stereotype that all scientists float above the turmoil of human emotions, robot-like in their perfection, is damaging to the profession. It’s a good thing that more people realize that scientist are, in fact, human.

    The drying-up of grant money in recent decades has made scientists more fiercely competitive, with all the consequences that that brings in any job. But it hasn’t notably increased the incidence of fraud. As SC says, that’s a career-killer, and no one who is fighting for the limited number of prizes (grants) is going to knowlingly self-sabotage like that.

    Fraud isn’t even the most common cause of inaccurate publications. That’s always been mostly due to the universal human trait of loving one’s own theories to the point of convincing oneself that the data supports them. The number of such incidents isn’t going to change much, and it’s not going away, because scientists are, in fact, human. That’s why we have peer review, to root out unconscious bias.

  13. Garnetstar observes, “That’s why we have peer review, to root out unconscious bias.”

    And scientists, being human, like to get credit for finding the errors in others’ works.

  14. Jim Thomerson

    I think scientists are quite honest in their work. First there is peer review. Off the top of my head, I probably have recommended non publication, or major revision, of half the papers I have reviewed. I think of the review process as helping me and my colleagues do better science. I’m an ichthyologist, a fairly small sub speciality, so there is a community which I am part of, and whose respect I crave. I like for colleagues to be glad to see me when I go to meetings, of visit another institution.

  15. The About Ivan Oransky page at his website is impressive, and he doesn’t appear to be a flake at all.

    He’s far from a flake, and Retraction Watch is a very useful blog/site, well worth following.

  16. “As for non-scientists who have not yet been disabused of their childlike faith, one can only say: Growing up is hard to do.”

    Coming from a grown man that still believes that a bearded skyman created the universe from nothing by middle eastern deity magic, I find that claim hilarious.

  17. Sam Harris, are you the Sam Harris? Welcome to our humble blog. Klinghoffer has a new post about you: From Sam Harris, Evangelizing Advocate of Scientific Atheism, Some Welcome Common Sense.

  18. His Google+ page actually says “not THAT Sam Harris.”