Discoveroids: Should They Allow Comments?

Some of you may recall that almost five years ago, the Discovery Institute briefly allowed comments at their creationist blog — see Discovery Institute’s Blog Will Allow Comments. We said at the time:

Why did they change their policy? For all their endless propaganda about academic freedom and fairness and teaching “both sides,” they’ve never let the science side post at their site. The only thing we can figure out is that they’re hoping for comments that will fit their “Darwinist” stereotype — rude, profane, blasphemous, illogical, etc. Keep that in mind if you decide to play their game.

We don’t recall if they ever implemented the promised comments feature, but if they did it didn’t last long. You may also recall that Klinghoffer briefly maintained a blog called Kingdom of Priests where comments were allowed, but he gave it up.

Now the subject is being discussed again. This was recently posted at the Discoveroids’ blog: Why No Comments at Evolution News? 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. He says, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

A complaint we sometimes get at Evolution News & Views [their creationist blog] concerns why we do not provide a forum for comments after each post. Rather than reply to this question afresh each time it comes across my desk, I would like to state the reasons here so that, in the future, I can simply provide a link by way of an answer.

Okay, what are the reasons? Let’s read on:

Now and then the query is posed in a polite manner by a thoughtful correspondent. … More often, the question is accompanied by the abusive, insulting, not infrequently obscene language that’s typical of a certain online demographic. … Why not give critics a chance to put their beefs right under the articles they object to?

Well, why not? Klinghoffer continues:

[H]osting a free-for-all is impractical. Here are our options. We could allow anyone to post any comment they like to our site. We would then be inundated with abuse, obscenity — and lies.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, that’s the style of that “certain online demographic” the Discoveroids call “Darwinists.” Here’s more:

So what are we supposed to do when, under a free-for-all commenting policy, Darwinists like [biochemist Larry Moran at the University of Toronto] — who is far from scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as online evolutionists go — post abusive, defamatory, and false comments on our own news site? Should we delete their comments? Edit them? But then we would be accused of “censorship.”

Should we perhaps allow them to say whatever they like, fouling the carpet in our own living room? When they have every opportunity to write what they like where they like and receive an answer from us, if the challenge rises to the level of being worthy of a reply? Why in the world would we do that?

Besides, if the Discoveroids’ generous patrons, who probably read nothing online except the Discoveroids’ blog, ever saw comments from knowledgeable people, they might become curious as to whether they were supporting a rational movement. Anyway, this is Klinghoffer’s last paragraph:

We don’t have the resources to wade through the gallons of bilge that such a policy would invite. We currently provide an adequate forum to respond to intelligent challenges. We would be only too glad to provide more space for legitimate disputation about evolution, if substantive ID critics stepped up to join us in debate, rather than fleeing from it. Meanwhile, are we going to allow people of low caliber to decide how we spend our modest budget? Of course not.

But wait — there’s more! Today there’s a new post at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog: Comments by Darwinists: Another Perspective, by written by Michael Egnor — that’s his writeup at the Encyclopedia of American Loons. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis. He refers to Klinghoffer’s “superb post” on the comments issue, and says:

David provides a fine explanation for the decision not to allow comments.The point he makes is valid: Much of the output of the Darwinian blogosphere is venom unrepeatable in polite company. Indeed, some of our fine readers might be unable to access the Darwinists’ comments from work, due to obscenity filters. Moderating comments would be a Herculean task. Can you imagine a more unpleasant job than sifting through that?

Yet I would add that comments can be quite enlightening. A decade ago when I turned my attention to the evolution controversy, I noticed something that astonished me: the arguments by the intelligent design community were thoughtful, polite, and carefully reasoned. The arguments by the Darwinian community were crude, nasty, and illogical. Remarkably, some of the vilest arguments for the Darwinian perspective — full of crude fallacies and obscenities — were made by genuinely prominent scientists and evolutionary biologists.

You Darwinists are all so vile! Moving along:

My opportunity to read the candid comments of evolutionary biologists about the scientific questions raised by the evidence for design in nature taught me a great deal about the Darwinian perspective. The real scientists — the people asking the honest questions and following the evidence — were on the intelligent design side of the debate.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! He concludes with this:

For my part, I say: Provide the Darwinists every opportunity to speak. One of the most devastating things intelligent design has done to Darwinism is to provoke Darwinists to try to explain themselves.

So there you are. What will the Discoveroids do? Egnor says that the filth spewed by the Darwinists will help to show that the Discoveroids are the good guys. Klinghoffer says that Darwinist comments would be too disgusting to allow. We think their reason for not allowing comments is very simple — they don’t want their generous patrons to see the other side of the controversy. It might be too enlightening.

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

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32 responses to “Discoveroids: Should They Allow Comments?

  1. This is so reminiscent of the current tantrums over the CNBC moderators’ questioning: the best way to deal with tricky questions, it seems in both instances, is to revile the questioners.

  2. the Encyclopedia of American Loons… BRILLIANT!!

  3. Filth, like, say, referencing actual scientific evidence. Unbearable!

  4. Dr. Egnor claims the moral high ground:

    Much of the output of the Darwinian blogosphere is venom unrepeatable in polite company. Indeed, some of our fine readers might be unable to access the Darwinists’ comments from work, due to obscenity filters.

    It’s as well I hadn’t got around to replacing my Irony Meter (which was shattered, as our Curmudgeon recently reported, by Ken Ham’s claim that Dawkins was “close-minded”, for this latest from the redoubtable Dr. Egnor would have blown it for sure.

    One need only check out Egnor’s own blog, the aptly-named Egnorance, to get a sample of his own obscene invective. It’s hard to quote examples of his ravings from his own blog without running afoul of the obscenity filters on this present one, e.g.

    as long as there are dumb-f*uk Democrats there will be gun-free zones.

    There’s no asterix in the original…

  5. Compound irony from Dr. Egnor, I should have said. He defends Klingy’s decision to bar comments because of the dreadful overhead of dealing with venom and obscenities, which is the opposite of his own policy on his own blog (where he himself is the author ot the bulk of the venom and obscenties). Go figure.

    [And, in my haste to avoid tripping the family-friendly profanity filter on our Curmudgeon’s worthy blog, I of course misplaced the fig-leaf asterix in my previous post😦 ]

  6. “We don’t have the resources to wade through the gallons of bilge that such a policy would invite.”

    And yet they not only continue to publish their own ‘gallons of bilge,’ but they actually expect people to accept what they publish as good evidence for the supernatural’s existence. Wouldn’t it be nice if they stopped clowning around?
    https://creativemarket.com/cthoman/16627-Clown-Waving/screenshots/#screenshot1

  7. So the D.I. feels it’s too much trouble for them to allow both sides of The Controversy to be equally represented. But it’s not creating a massive waste of resources to demand schools allow their craziness in classrooms.

    Being consistently inconsistent seems to be a hallmark of the D.I. trolls.

  8. > “Much of the output of the Darwinian
    > blogosphere is venom”
    ——————
    Yeah – ‘cuz we’re ticked at the unbelievable harm you cretins are causing. I’ve observed that many creation cultists spew venom and lies and hate.

    There are pros & cons to comments, as many before me have noticed. For example, youtube comment sections & ratings are more of a popularity contest thing, which appeals to those with a junior high school mentality and attitude. I initially disabled all my little youtube nature-related video clips – there’s nothing to comment on – they’re just reference visual information & I’m not interested in popularity contests or trolls or idiots. Several years ago, one of my geology students put together an experimental documentary on the geology of Mammoth Cave using hand-held camcorder video clips. Because it was her video, I asked her if she wanted comments – she said “Yes”. Of course, eventually there were creationist loons who didn’t like hearing the reality of the age of the rocks and the age of the passages. I replied to their comments, pointing out their idiocy. It’s easy to get caught up & entangled with responding to lunatics. But it is important – if we don’t stand up to those doing harm (even slight harm), they’ll continue and spread. Other commenters didn’t like the Texas accent of my student’s narration. Others didn’t like our filming. As if we’re BBC documentary makers? Sheesh. How about the science, hmmm? Most of my post-Mammoth Cave youtube videos are Yellowstone geysers and hot springs. Some are comment-viable, some are not. No one comments on them anyway. But I don’t intend there to be any. With maybe an occasional exception – if I’ve misidentified/mis-named a depicted feature, I’d like to know (geyser nomenclature is, like comments, often a quagmire in the fog in the dark). Sometimes – sometimes – useful information is communicated & honest mistakes can be corrected.

    Here at Curmy’s site, the mix of comments is delightful – humor and mockery and scientific info. abound.

  9. michaelfugate

    If I were the DI, I would be afraid of comments. Look what happened when they were on the stand in Dover – sitting ducks.

  10. @Dean:
    Spot on!

  11. I agree with their decision not to allow comments. Since their bunk is a distinct and ridiculed minority the vast majority of comments would not be kind and the internet populous is notorious for being rather crude with fools. (In person to person interactions empathy will naturally present itself.) All the profanity filters in the world won’t eliminate this and it might be a potentially large task as Klinghoffer alludes to.
    The most obvious reason is that to maintain an illusion, any peep (or torrent) of rationality could defeat the intelligent design scenerio they are trying to propogandize.

  12. Mike Elzinga

    I agree with Troy; ID/creationists should never get any feedback or get to debate with knowledgeable scientists in an open debate forum. If they have anything to present as science, let them take it to the crucible of peer-review where all real scientists have to go.

    I think that ID/creationists should be kept in the dark about how their pseudoscience fails. They should never know who can take them down and when. All ID/creationists have systematically constructed misconceptions and misrepresentations of science to comport with their sectarian dogma; and not one of them knows that their understanding of science fails at the high school level; and often the middle school level for that matter.

    And as far as their perceptions about the kinds of responses they get on the internet are concerned, let them believe that this is how the science community thinks; that leaves them totally unprepared for what they would actually encounter if they had the temerity to try to present their pseudoscience to a real scientific audience.

    I am quite happy to allow them to wallow in their own self-delusions; it makes them quite impotent without their ever knowing why. And, besides, it is also humorous to watch.

  13. My opportunity to read the candid comments of evolutionary biologists about the scientific questions raised by the evidence for design in nature taught me a great deal about the Darwinian perspective. The real scientists — the people asking the honest questions and following the evidence — were on the intelligent design side of the debate.

    I guess Eggnog, I mean Egnor is right–if one defines “asking the honest questions and following the evidence” as “asking, ‘What does the Bible say?'” and considering their answers to that question as evidence.

  14. michaelfugate

    Like they are mostly afraid of the counter-argument’s tone – the least of their worries.

    And it is not just science that they misrepresent and misunderstand – it is philosophy, history, law, the US constitution, and some people even think theology (I wouldn’t know as I have no idea how theology works).

  15. I apologize if I’m repeating others’ comments — i haven’t time right now to read all. But I hope the D’rrhoids don’t allow comments. They will just edit out the thoughtful, reasoned comments of rational scientists, and allow in only those posts that either support their views or show “Darwinists” in a bad light. Hell, they will probably invent some posts, allegedly from “Darwinists”, and fill the posts with the most vile, ridiculous statements imaginable.

    Klinghoffer is fully capable of pulling a stunt like that.

  16. Creationists don’t come here much, but I let them comment, as long as they’re well behaved — which is a rarity. When they burn out, as they quickly do, then I get rid of them. We see plenty of creationist arguments in letters-to-the-editor, and from Hambo and the Discoveroids.

  17. @ Mike Elzinga: Applause! Very well stated. especially

    I think that ID/creationists should be kept in the dark about how their pseudoscience fails. They should never know who can take them down and when. All ID/creationists have systematically constructed misconceptions and misrepresentations of science to comport with their sectarian dogma; and not one of them knows that their understanding of science fails at the high school level; and often the middle school level for that matter

    And it is indeed their extraordinary ability to dwell in a bubble of self-delusion that makes them so delicious a source of humour!

  18. @James St. John: By any chance, were you ever on one of the geology field trips for Earth Science teachers led by Doc Michael Schneider of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania? He arranged for grants from the National Science Foundation to cover the stipends for about 25 teachers at a time to travel for 6 weeks through about 30 national parks, national monuments, state parks and other points of geologic interest throughout the West, camping along the way. I had the good fortune to do it during the summer of 1985. Since we were camping and we all received the same size stipend, we could take our families with us if we wanted, so my two daughters got the geology education of a lifetime! We traveled in our own vehicles, and assembled as a group each evening at our predetermined campground. We also received 35 rolls of slide film and processing envelopes to take our experience back to the classroom.

    Probably THE highlight of my education.

  19. Mike Elzinga

    @ retiredsciguy:

    They will just edit out the thoughtful, reasoned comments of rational scientists, and allow in only those posts that either support their views or show “Darwinists” in a bad light. Hell, they will probably invent some posts, allegedly from “Darwinists”, and fill the posts with the most vile, ridiculous statements imaginable.

    They already do this quite routinely over at Uncommonly Dense. And the ones who have shown up over on The Skeptical Zone and have been given editorial privileges have repeated the same behavior over there as well. As a result, TSZ has become a psychological mess and a halfway house for people who have adopted ID/creationist debating tactics because they have spent far too much of their intellectual lives trying to debate the followers of ID/creationism.

    It appears that when some people hang out with these characters for too long, they begin to think and argue exactly like them. Working scientists do not have the time or patience to plunge into a labyrinth of these kinds of juvenile games.

    But these are the minds of the defenders of ID/creationism; they have behaved this way ever since the founding of the Institute for Creation Research by Henry Morris and Duane Gish back in 1970. It is an infuriating tactic designed to get people angry and lose their cool in a debate. And it also reveals the ugly inner demons of ID/creationists.

    There is absolutely nothing about ID/creationism and its thinking that matches the vetting and peer-review processes in science. ID/creationism is cargo cult all the way down, a veritable Potemkin village of empty structures pretending to imitate the appearance of scientific activity.

  20. Ceteris Paribus

    RE: “ad hominem attack = anyone who requests evidence of assertions”

    Speaking of assertions, there are some who hold that an ad hominem attack is what results if a Creationist doesn’t take care to properly balance their intake of grits with the consumption of biscuits and gravy.

  21. Hey, Klinghoffer, you can take your comments section and stick it up your [edited out].

    Dangit. He’s right.

  22. Cornelius Hunter allows comments. For some reason (I’m not in a hurry to find out which one) he hasn’t the problems Kinkleklapper is so afraid of.

    “ID/creationists should never get any feedback or get to debate with knowledgeable scientists in an open debate forum.”
    Absolutely correct. Knowledgeable scientists have better things to do – namely doing scientific research. However I’m not a knowledgeable scientist, so I can have fun with IDiots and other creacrappers whenever I feel like.

  23. @mnb0

    However I’m not a knowledgeable scientist, so I can have fun with IDiots and other creacrappers whenever I feel like.

    Hear, hear!

  24. They have now told all of their readers that “Darwinists” are foul, vulgar beasts who cannot marshall the civility to write the worthless uneducated opinions they have of ID on a family friendly and intellectual blog like ENV.

    They have created this impression of “Darwinists” over years, and allowing actual comments might prick the bubble. Anything which challenges the carefully constructed myth that there is scientific controversy and Darwinist conspiracy must be kept outside. This is why they pounce so quickly on evolution stories which appear in media outlets, and why they wrote frantic articles over every episode of Cosmos. The bubble must be maintained at all cost.

  25. @mnbo and realthog:

    As long as a non-scientist is able to retain his (it is almost always a guy who uses ID/creationists as chew toys) mental health in poking at these characters, I don’t mind them stirring the pot to get reactions that can be observed by lurkers. It’s a bit like watching cats playing with their food.

    ID/creationists don’t get any credibility, legitimacy, or publicity when they can’t get free ride on the back of a scientist; and such encounters on the internet are not a good use of time for the scientist. Most working scientists simply don’t have that kind of time to waste on parasitic crackpots anyway; but they do have other obligations to pass their research findings on to the public and other scientists.

    Furthermore, ID/creationists divulge more of their misconceptions when they think they are arguing with someone who isn’t a scientist because they get cocky and smug, believing they have the upper hand. Just look at a site like UD or Cornelius Hunter’s site.

  26. Megalonyx:
    “There’s no asterix in the original…”

    Hey Megs, I must ax the question — is that a British spelling of “asterisk”?

  27. “to retain his (it is almost always a guy who uses ID/creationists as chew toys) mental health”
    Our dear SC himself shows the way: mockery. It’s indeed impossible to have a serious discussion with a creacrapper. But what they do I can do myself – pretending to be serious long enough that they give me the points I need. And they come quickly.
    What I misuse most is their incapability to admit any error. Their first reaction usually is to ignore it. So what I do is remind them endlessly. That’s quite often enough to piss them off.
    But that’s indeed the only positive result you can get when discussing a creacrapper.

  28. Pope Retiredsciguy asks

    is that a British spelling of “asterisk”?

    Only if one is absent-mindedly thinking of Astérix le Gaulois.

    Which is to say, my bad! Peccavi, pater! Mea culpa maxima!

  29. Pete Moulton

    I’m uncharitable enough to think they’ll never allow comments because that would deprive Klinghoffer of his favorite entertainment; namely, the flinging of insults and snark at his betters from behind the protective skirts of their no-comment policy. He’s too cowardly to engage real scientists in an open forum where they might strike back.

  30. Methinks the Discoveroids mistake ridicule for abuse … well OK … that IS abuse, but consider exactly what is being ridiculed. The D’s regularly engage in quote-mining, bait and switch, begging the question, poisoning the well, and any number of other bad behaviors. IOW, they have earned the abuse they are so fond of complaining about. It’s almost like they want something to complain about.

    It occurs to me that someone should open up a blog to parallel ENV, linking to every post and providing a place for comments. There could even be a bit of fair minded moderation to remove the worst abuse. I bet there would be plenty of volunteer’s to help keep it up too.
    There wouldn’t be any replies from the authors, but this is already the case.

    We can call it Evolution’s New Voice.

  31. @TA — Fantastic idea!

  32. The whole truth

    Speaking of “abusive, insulting, not infrequently obscene language”, “abuse, obscenity — and lies”, “scraping the bottom of the barrel”, “abusive, defamatory, and false comments”, “fouling the carpet”, “gallons of bilge”, “people of low caliber”, “venom unrepeatable in polite company”, “crude, nasty, and illogical”, “some of the vilest arguments”, and “crude fallacies and obscenities”, wouldn’t it be fun to see joe g comment at ENV?

    For anyone who is unfamiliar with ID-creationist joe g (aka Frankie, Virgil Cain, etc.), here’s a link to his blog:

    http://intelligentreasoning.blogspot.com/