Klinghoffer Wants an “Honest Evolutionist”

The Discovery Institute continues to insist that they’re a science outfit, and not one that promotes creationism. We’ve written about such claims numerous times, and now they’re doing it again. This one is Revealed! The SECRET PLOT to Teach About Evolution in an Objective, Responsible, Engaging Manner!

The title alone is amazing. It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. But we’re not using our “Slasher” graphic because what he’s doing in this one is mostly slinging the ol’ propaganda Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Actually, Discovery Institute’s aim to see evolution treated as a normal scientific idea, subject to question and criticism, is neither secret nor a plot.

“Criticism”? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The Discoveroids’ offered criticism is a faith-based belief that their imaginary designer exists. There’s absolutely no verifiable evidence for that, or for his role in any phenomenon the Discoveroids attribute to him. Also, the nature of intelligent design has already been decided — see Kitzmiller v. Dover: Is ID Science?

So far we’ve only dealt with Klinghoffer’s first sentence. The rest of it isn’t any better. He says:

But vocal members of the Darwin community habitually cast our efforts in paranoid terms, so it’s good to be able to report that we’ve now published an updated Educator’s Briefing Packet on teaching evolution and intelligent design.

Wowie — this is big news! We can put that on the bookshelf next to our treasured volume on “Teaching Flat Earth.” Let’s read on:

The packet spells out in detail, in 32 pages with 89 endnotes, exactly how we think, as a scientific, legal, and a pedagogical matter, evolution is best approached in public school science classrooms. … From “A Letter of Introduction,” here is our education policy on ID:

Are you eager to learn the Discoveroids’ education policy? Okay, Klinghoffer quotes from their pamphlet:

[I]t’s vital to understand that just because intelligent design is a growing scientific theory backed by much evidence, that does not mean it’s smart or appropriate to push it into public schools. For the record, we do not propose that intelligent design be mandated in public schools, which is why we strongly opposed the school district policy at issue in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case.

The Discoveroids “strongly opposed” the school board’s policy in Dover? How very odd then that their participation — including contacts between the school board and Discoveroid lawyers, providing videos, making a legal presentation to the school board, providing Michael Behe’s trial testimony, and filing amicus curiae briefs, was discussed in that opinion — see Kitzmiller v. Dover: The Role of The Discovery Institute. Klinghoffer continues quoting the Discoveroid pamphlet:

However, if you voluntarily choose to raise the issue of intelligent design in your classroom, it is vitally important that any information you present accurately conveys the views of the scientists and scholars who support intelligent design, rather than a caricature of their views. Otherwise you will be engaging in indoctrination, not education.

In other words, if the topic of ID comes up, then you should give the kiddies a full ark-load of Discoveroid literature. That’s great advice! Then he gives us another quote from their wonderful pamphlet, this one is from the “FAQ on Intelligent Design, Evolution, and Education”:

Is Intelligent Design the Same a Creationism?

No. … The charge that ID is “creationism” is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize ID without actually addressing the merits of its case.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Here’s another:

Has ID Been Banned from Public Schools?

No. Science teachers have the right to teach science. Since ID is a legitimate scientific theory, it should be constitutional to discuss in science classrooms and it should not be banned from schools. If a science teacher wants to voluntarily discuss ID, she should have the academic freedom to do so.

Klinghoffer goes on and on, and he takes a few swipes at Discoveroid critics like Zack Koplin and the National Center for Science Education, who are always “regaling gullible reporters with tales of the Wedge Document Illuminati and the Protocols of the Elders of Intelligent Design,” but we can’t take much more. Here’s one last excerpt from the end:

I would love to hear a genuine argument against teaching evolution objectively, rather than just a series of evasions that mutate depending on which Darwin activist you’re listening to. I really would love that. Won’t some honest evolutionist oblige me?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Klinghoffer is looking for an “honest evolutionist.” Perhaps he could identify one for us. Surely he must know of at least one. Maybe not. We suggest that Klinghoffer should read the Kitzmiller opinion. That might explain things for him.

Hey — if you want your very own copy of the Discoveroids’ new pamphlet, you can have one for free. There are links in Klinghoffer’s post.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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24 responses to “Klinghoffer Wants an “Honest Evolutionist”

  1. michaelfugate

    From Klinghoffer: ” intelligent design is a growing (lie #1) scientific (lie #2) theory (lie #3) backed by much evidence (lie # 4),…

    and that’s before he get to the part about Dover….

  2. [I]t’s vital to understand that just because intelligent design is a growing scientific theory backed by much evidence, that does not mean it’s smart or appropriate to push it into public schools.

    Since ID is a legitimate scientific theory, it should be constitutional to discuss in science classrooms and it should not be banned from schools.

    If a science teacher wants to voluntarily discuss ID, she should have the academic freedom to do so.

    Well, we’re waiting to see some, no, any, of this evidence Klingenheimer. And it’s only a “scientific” theory in the eyes of the creationists because they want to redefine science to include the supernatural forces of their imaginary designer. Followed up with their plea for “academic freedom” to teach creationism. I suggest they open up their Dishonesty Institute website to some of their academic freedom and allow “honest evolutionists” to freely make their comments rather than the censorship that is imposed on the outside scientific world by these creationists.

  3. I really would love that. Won’t some honest evolutionist oblige me?
    Sure, at your web site… …or not, I guess you’re not *that* interested.
    Let’s start off by you telling us about something that was not designed….

  4. When I first saw that ENV post, I downloaded it and started reading it. My plan was to post about its flaws on my blog.

    I quickly discovered that the flaws were so obvious, that it would be a waste of my time. It’s just the same nonsense they have been pushing for years, dressed up with a few graphics.

  5. @AR
    something that was not designed
    Even hypothetical.

  6. “I would love to hear a genuine argument against teaching evolution objectively.”
    So would I, Klingy, so would I. When will you and your colleagues offer one, instead of your usual IDiocy?

  7. Mike Elzinga

    Klinghoffer challenges:

    I would love to hear a genuine argument against teaching evolution objectively, rather than just a series of evasions that mutate depending on which Darwin activist you’re listening to. I really would love that. Won’t some honest evolutionist oblige me?

    That’s not hard.

    1. ID/creationists never get the science right at even the most basic, high school levels of chemistry, physics, geology, and biology. Not even ID/creationist PhD’s get any of it right. For over five decades they have been bending and breaking scientific concepts to fit with a narrow range of sectarian beliefs; and that ensures that the concepts no longer apply to the physical universe or belong in a science classroom.

    2. They get the laws of thermodynamics wrong from the start; and they inherited their misconceptions and misrepresentations from Henry Morris who founded the Institute for Creation “Research” back in 1970. This feature alone reveals their intellectual inheritance from the Creation “Science” movement.

    3. Junkyard parts, battleship parts, ASCII characters, dice, and coin flips are not representative of the properties and behaviors of atoms and molecules. Therefore, any ID/creationist “calculations” using these to make statements about the probabilities of molecular assemblies are completely irrelevant.

    4. Dembski’s “Complex Specified Information” calculations are nothing more than the number of trials multiplied by the probability per trial (high school AP statistics); but all gussied up by taking logarithms to base two and calling it “information.”

    5. Granville Sewell has been trying for over 12 years now to show that the second law of thermodynamics prohibits evolution; but he can’t even get units correct when plugging his “X-entropies” into a diffusion equation. Even high school students taking physics and chemistry know to check units. Sewell’s concept of entropy and the second law has nothing to do with the laws of thermodynamics.

    6. David L. Abel writes a continuing series of phony scientific papers, all citing himself in his previously written papers in which also cites himself. And all this is done with “funding” from an “institute” housed in his modest ranch-style home in a modest neighborhood of the same style, cookie-cutter houses.

    7. As he demonstrated dramatically in Kitzmiller vs Dover, Michael Behe has not kept up with the current research in molecular biology. The Biological Sciences Department at Lehigh University where Behe works has posted a disclaimer about Behe’s views; and Behe’s own webpage acknowledges the disclaimer.

    8. ID/creationists don’t do peer-reviewed research, are not immersed in, and do not contribute to advancing science. They are grousing outsiders who constantly engage in raucous kvetching about being persecuted by the scientific community; and they push their ideas in the socio/political realm, while spending the bulk of their time quote-mining scientists and writing diatribes against the scientific community.

    9. ID/creationists don’t lay out viable scientific research programs – complete with estimated costs, personnel, and time lines – and submit them to peer-review committees for project funding. ID/creationists work out of plush offices, get paid very good salaries, and are funded by people who espouse extreme sectarian religious views. Their hours are spent on writing their own opinions about science; which, as mentioned above, are always wrong.

    10. This pattern hasn’t changed in over fifty years; and the only “evolution” in their attitudes and behaviors has been in the morphing words they use to try to court-proof their sectarian beliefs and bypass the crucible of peer-reviewed science to get their views into public education

    11. It is professionally irresponsible and unethical for any science instructor to deliberately mislead students by passing off junk science as a “foil” to real science. Professional science instructors don’t fritter away valuable time teaching things that are just plain wrong at even the most fundamental levels.

    This is just a very small list. Fifty years of ID/creationist quote-mining and kvetching has produced a huge pile of publicly-available ID/creationist junk science from which they can no longer distance themselves. Even high school students can laugh at them.

  8. I ain’t no evolutionist (whatever that is), but I am a reasonably honest scientist. As I’m sure is true of many who visit this site, I’m really tired of the Discovery Institute’s claim that the “theory” of intelligent design has any resemblance to a scientific theory. It is based on no empirical evidence or data and it makes no testable predictions. Klingy, please try to understand this: “The invisible, undetectable sky fairy did it” is no more a scientific theory than “The Leprechaun under my bed did it” is.

  9. @Mike Elzinga: That’s an excellent post — unfortunately, your points will won’t be understood by anyone in the ID group…

  10. But…but…Klinghoffer has *endnotes*! That means real science is happening.

  11. @Mike Elzinga: I’ll second that, it’s an excellent post indeed. Sadly by I.D. standards you cannot be honest and criticize the at the same time. I’m sure this is predicted by the Klinghoffer Uncertainty Principle otherwise know as K.R.A.P.

  12. @Mike Elzinga: (slow, loud clapping) Bravo zulu!

  13. Dave Luckett

    Some creationists will tell you that evolution contradicts their religion, and they prefer their religion, because it feels right to them, no matter what the evidence. Evidence simply doesn’t matter in the face of their internal reality. That’s pretty honest, no matter how crazy it is. But in my experience, that’s a minority position even among creationists. Rather than admit that they couldn’t care less about evidence, most of them have a compulsion to honour it, in a sort of way, by distorting, fudging, misrepresenting or imagining it.

    Ken Ham does that. He also invents protocols to exclude evidence he finds inconvenient – his “historical science” nonsense, for instance, or his gig about “naturalism” as a religion. Klinghoffer’s technique is even simpler. Instead of excluding science by some shift or other, or even employing that old standby, Making Stuff Up, he simply ignores evidence altogether. He has no evidence, and he leads none. He simply states the converse, over and over.

    There must be some furtive understanding, in the back of his fractured mind, that he can’t hope to assail the actual science, so he won’t go there. Instead he simply reiterates lies: “intelligent design” is a scientific theory; a growing body of scientists support it; there is evidence for it. Over and over, he lies. He has no theory; a miserably tiny coterie of failed scientists have produced no work whatsoever supporting creationism; there is no evidence for it. These facts are plainly obvious to anyone who looks.

    It is clear, then, that Klinghoffer is banking on the power of simple repeated assertion: The Big Lie. It’s a technique, used because it works.

    The question on the table, comrades: how is it to be countered?

  14. Mike Elzinga


    Old submariner here; from my navy days.

  15. Charles Deetz ;)

    @Dave Luckett, you pose a good question … how is it to be countered? We can only continue to marginalize their ‘theory’. People who believe in the bible don’t hold it 100% accountable for accuracy, and neither with the idea of ID … it fits their world view and comforts their cognitive dissonance, and that is enough. They cling so tightly to outmoded concepts, they are going to squish them to death.

  16. [I]t’s vital to understand that just because intelligent design is a growing scientific theory…

    That’s a new one for me. How does a scientific theory “grow”?

    I would presume that a growing scientific theory is one which explains more and more of the data as times goes by. And, in a way, their ID theory can indeed explain any and all new data that comes along–because “God did it” (i.e., God created it that way) is the ultimate explanatory theory. It’s the ultimate “wildcard argument” because it trumps everything.–even better than Ken Ham’s “Because I said so!” (Moreover, only Ham’s interpretation of the Bible is valid and “God did it” also trumps everybody else on the piety spectrum.)

    Of course, the only problem [sarcasm alert] with that particular Discovery Institute strategy is that it is a theory in philosophy or theology, not science. (However, no peer-reviewed philosophy journal would ever accept it because the DI crap reads more like a term paper written by a non-major who only took Intro to Philosophy because on the last day of registration it was the only section still open that didn’t meet before 11:30am. Not only can the student sleep late, he can treat the class like one long snoozzze bar interval.)

    You would think with a Ph.D. philosopher at the Dishonesty Institute, Stephen Meyer, that they could have presented their philosophical theory in a competent way. Yet, they didn’t try that angle because they know that nobody would care, even their supporters. So they decided to pretend that ID was a scientific theory instead. Unfortunately for them, the Dover trial involved well-prepared lawyers and so Meyer et al panicked–and they all raced to the airport faster than the speed of light under Humphreys’ imaginary starlight-problem solution and blew town before their scheduled testimony–and the dreaded cross-ex. They missed their big chance to expose (objectively!) the flaws in The Theory of Evolution and show everyone how it’s done.

    Mike Elzinga gave IDers an excellent list of things that should keep them off the streets for a while. Unfortunately, IDers are much like YECists when it comes to systematically explaining lists of evidences and arguments. They ignore them.

  17. The question on the table, comrades: how is it to be countered?

    I’m a “Been there. Done that.” veteran of that question. I’ve been pondering YEC-dom for a very long time, and it comes up so often that it’s in my robo-reply system I built from Shortkeys3. (I decided to live longer just to take advantage of handy writing-assistance software.) These are my standard replies when asked for a strategy:

    1) David Luckett’s question goes straight to the heart of the matter:
    It’s About Feelings, Not Just Facts. It’s the “#2 favorite” article at Bible & Science Forum blog–although one YEC critic said that the entire blogsite was his “favorite #2” and that Deuteronomy 23:13 should apply to all of it. [In this case, very careful exegesis is necessary in determining the proper interpretation of the text.]

    2) Then I take the feelings-driven Young Earth Creationist (and the vast majority of IDers) to my eye-witness account of the infamous “YEC Shoot-out at the O.K. Chorale.” [That’s a pun, not a typo. Long story.] Yes, it was the Pearl Harbor of “creation science” and it led to The Great Purge, also known as The Great Hurling. (Think bulimia, not Stalin.) Never again would annual loyalty agreements be sufficient vetting for conference speakers. And never again would a hot-mike placed in the audience for the Q&A session after each speaker at a “Creation Conference Weekend” lack an emergency kill-switch within three feet of the podium. The April Fools Day Massacre & the Seven Deadly Questions YECists Dread put a bounty on Professor Tertius’ head and sent it and the rest of him into the Witless Protection Program. It’s kept him a fugitive to this day. In YEC-dom there is no Statute of Limitations for a capital crime: Helping a Young Earth Creationist conference speaker make a fool of himself using his own words. It can earn one the ultimate penalty: You get called “a friend of atheists” and “a tool of Satan” and even “a compromising Christian who is actually an atheist masquerading as a Christian.” (Spending many years translating the Bible into various languages doesn’t earn me a single point with them!)

    Now, decades later, my secret identity as a fugitive allows me to fight for truth, justice, and actual evidence without getting my car windows soaped and my website hacked. (The name Tertius tells Bible-semi-literate YECs that the world’s first Dunning–Kruger Folding Chair in Anti-Baraminology knows his way around a Novum Testamentum and that it takes all kinds. Think “Visiting Professor” but he moves around a lot more.)

    I chose the Seven Deadly Questions because each provokes the kinds of strong feelings that finally gets Young Earth Creationists and “creation science” fans to feel betrayed by their YEC “heroes”. After reading the most shocking chapter [so far] of Professor Tertius’ action-packed autobiography, some have even asked their favorite “creation scientist” to explain why there are so many apparent contradictions in their standard spiel–and when they dare post even just one of the Seven Deadly Questions on a Young Earth Creationist forum (in hopes of getting a reply that they can use against me), it gets censored. Sometimes they even get themselves deleted and banned along with the question. Just for daring to ask.

    We often assume that loyal drones of Ken Ham and others are unwavering in their devotion. In fact, many Young Earth Creationists do become troubled about what they see within the movement. They don’t usually leave their fundamentalist views but many do scale back on their origins emphasis and even stop their donations to the creation science millionaire entrepreneurs. Many will withdraw from origins arguments in the forums and will instead take up what they consider more fundamental doctrines of fundamentalism. They post private emails to the Bible.and.Science.Forum and ask me to recommend articles to help them think through their positions on origins. Conversions tend to happen in private. But the hard-core YECs rarely break under pressure. So you can’t judge the success of your efforts from the loudest voices.

    So, Dave, in answer to your question, the two aforementioned blog articles describe my approach. I let them think they have the home field advantage.

  18. Professor Tertius, no one can criticize your method of dealing with creationists, because it’s based on a lifetime of experience and inside information.

    Lacking your insights, I’ve been doing it differently — especially in the case of the Discoveroids, who pretend that they’re not religious creationists. I hammer away at their weaknesses: (1) no evidence; and (2) no theory. Their “evidence” is merely a list of questions not yet answered to their satisfaction. Their “theory” is god-of-the-gaps and Paley’s watchmaker analogy — they know design when they see it. That’s all they’ve got, and I say so often.

    They can’t rebut that, so their typical defense strategy is based on arousing the emotions of their followers. They demonize their critics by denouncing them as atheists and leftists. When they can’t do that, as is the case with this humble blog, all they can do is ignore us — but that’s not rebuttal.

  19. What disappoints me the most about the ‘roids is that their #2 guy was a geophysicist at Atlantic Richfield briefly. I’m wondering what types of mental gyrations one has to go through when evaluating a heavily contorted subsurface stratigraphic section 20,000’ thick on 3d seismic, knowing that
    during that period there are hundreds of microfauna extinctions and new species (foraminifera) that geologists commonly use to age date rocks, to still believe in ID. Thats ALOT of supernatural interventions which, remarkably,
    coincide with global sea level rises and falls.
    Its a miracle. Oh wait, its thousands of miracles. Kluckledoopman.
    The gift that keeps on giving.

  20. @SC
    And (3) Inconsistency. Why, for example, accept modern science, contrary to the Bible, when it is about the structure of the Solar System? How can geological/fossil patterns be formed contrary to the “2nd law of thermodynamics”?
    And (4), as Och Will points out, the tons, literally, of evidence.
    One can believe that the Intelligent Designer had some interest in forming a few animals for sport, and let them go extinct. But how many varieties of tribolites had pointless lives? And the White Cliffs of Dover?

  21. docbill1351

    Yes, Och Will is on to something and using the best elements of “ID theory,” that is, wild [edited out] speculation the Truth ™ is probably far more mundane than the narrative.

    I was employed by the oil industry (retired after 26 years, yea, me!) during the time Number Two would have been hired by ARCO as a geophysicist. With “only” a BS in physics the most #2 could have been was a geophysical technician, not a full-fledged geophysicist which would have required a MS or PhD. Since #2’s tenure at ARCO was only 18 months, he was barely past his probationary period and first round of training and evaluations before (speculating) he was laid off. I doubt that he interpreted any seismic during his tenure at ARCO. Our company, in line with practices among all the majors, put our new geoscientists through an 18-month round of training in all areas of geological interpretation, and a short stint in engineering, so they had a general idea of what we were trying to do in exploration. Judging from how well #2 has handled science since ARCO, I suspect he was weeded out for a combination of poor attitude and poor aptitude.

    Working for an oil company with “only” a BS in physics was probably the best a student could hope for, salary-wise; oil companies are very generous and competitive with pay. To leave a potentially lucrative career to get an advanced degree in philosophy and history which would then make one virtually unemployable has always been a mystery to materialistic old me, just saying, unless one got laid off and decided that science and math wasn’t one’s “bag,” so to speak.

    Not falling far from the tree, #2 has not demonstrated a mastery nor expertise in his second chosen field of interest, philosophy and history of science, either. I suppose the real tragedy for #2 and his fellow #2’s is that there isn’t a BS in Grifting to really prepare these students for their future careers. That would be a BS in BS.

  22. “Lacking your insights, I’ve been doing it differently”
    There is not one right way to deal with creacrappers, my dear SC. That’s also why I think you’re a bit too harsh on Bill Nye, even if I never would debate Ol’ Hambo.

  23. No. … The charge that ID is “creationism” is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize ID without actually addressing the merits of its case.

    It’s more than that: it’s a legal opinion in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case.

    As for discussing ID’s “merits,” it’s hard to do that, since there aren’t any. Pretending that there are is a rhetorical strategy on the part of creationists.

  24. One of the most dishonest creationists writing today is looking for an “Honest Evolutionist.” The irony is strong in this one, Obi-Wan.