This is typical of creationists. They don’t attack their critics on scientific grounds, but by saying that their critics are — gasp! — atheists. That’s nothing new, but this time it’s noteworthy because the targets are two of the most respected conservatives in the US — George Will and Charles Krauthammer.
Both Will and Krauthammer are regular contributors and panelists on Fox News, and they both regard the Discovery Institute’s “theory” of intelligent to be junk science, as we documented several years ago — see Conservatives and Intelligent Design. That’s gotta drive the Discoveroids crazy! How do we know? Keep reading, and it’ll be obvious.
The Discoveroids’ new post was written by David Klinghoffer, their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. It’s titled The Varieties of “Atheism”; plus on Kindle Now, Here’s Our New Book The Unofficial Guide to Cosmos.
Klinghoffer begins by promoting the Discoveroids’ “book” criticizing the Cosmos series, calling it “Tyson-style atheism.” It doesn’t matter that Neil deGrasse Tyson says he’s an agnostic. Klinghoffer claims he’s an atheist — as if that affected the scientific validity of Cosmos. He says, with our bold font:
It’s true that Tyson rejects the self-description “atheist,” with its connotation of braying, in-your-face activists like Jerry Coyne. Tyson is a more sophisticated type, smarter and more effective in his cause. If I held his picture of reality, one that clearly admits no place for God, and if I wanted to influence and communicate that picture to a broad audience, especially including young people, I too would prefer to be called an “agnostic” rather than an atheist.
It’s a silly argument, but Klinghoffer knows what the Discoveroids’ fans want to hear. (He doesn’t say: “If I were a creationist and wanted to influence young people, I’d prefer to be called an intelligent design theorist.”) Then he tells us:
For the [atheist] evangelist and apologist [like Tyson], nothing is gained from using a know-it-all sounding descriptor like “atheist.” It’s much wilier to call yourself an agnostic, or merely a humble “scientist.” That is Tyson’s way.
Having deftly demolished Tyson — or so he thinks — Klinghoffer then uses his poison pen to attack George Will, who has nothing whatsoever to do with the Cosmos series:
I’ve toyed with the idea that it may be fair to distinguish between a lower-case atheist and an upper-case Atheist. The latter might refer to activists like Coyne or Dawkins, who make no bones about their mission to see faith wiped off the map. A lower-case version might be someone like columnist George Will who identifies as an “amiable, low-voltage atheist.”
He purports to quote something Will said:
I’m an atheist. An agnostic is someone who is not sure; I’m pretty sure. I see no evidence of God. The basic question in life is not, “Is there a God,” but “Why does anything exist?” St. Thomas Aquinas said that there must be a first cause for everything, and we call the first cause God. Fine, but it just has no hold on me.
Then he purports to quote what Will said about Krauthammer, who also has nothing to do with Cosmos:
I think he’s an atheist. He flinches from saying it. I saw what he said: “I don’t believe in God, but I fear him greatly.” Oh, please!
What’s the point of this? Does it have anything to do with science, or with Cosmos? No, but Klinghoffer’s dislike of Will and Krauthammer goes way back, and it seems that he can’t control himself. Why are they enjoying the spotlight on Fox News while he’s languishing in some dingy Discoveroid cubicle in Seattle? The attack continues:
In the past, George Will has had some uninformed things to say about the evidence for design in nature (e.g., that intelligent design is “not a scientific but a creedal tenet”). But certainly, Will is not on any kind of atheist jihad.
See? If you disagree with the Discoveroids, it’s not about science, but because you’re on an “atheist jihad.” That’s an impressive defense of intelligent design. Klinghoffer goes on:
Now take a guy like George Will, who is not animated by a strong desire to convince everyone that science edges faith out of the picture. You’re going to tell me that someone like that is an atheist but that — after watching Cosmos with its clear materialist agenda, aimed now at kids in public schools — someone like Neil Tyson’s isn’t? As George Will says of his friend Charles Krauthammer’s self-reported agnosticism, “Oh, please!”
Okay, that’s it. Now ask yourself, dear reader: Considering that Klinghoffer’s post was supposed to be an attack on Cosmos, or Tyson, or maybe a defense of intelligent design, what in the world did he actually say? What was he trying to say? Or was he just lashing out, Hambo style, at a couple of influential conservatives who not only aren’t creationists, but who probably think the Discoveroids are a bunch of kooks?
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