Discoveroids Whine About Academic Freedom

Over at the Discovery Institute, they have a peculiarly one-sided view of academic freedom, and we’ve mentioned it a few times before — for example: The Discoveroids Oppose Academic Freedom, where we said:

While they pretend to be champions of academic freedom by promoting their phoney Academic Freedom bills, and scream to the heavens when a creationist is disciplined for promoting religion in a state school’s science class, they never object when someone is stopped from teaching evolution at a creationist school — see
The Reality of Creationist “Academic Freedom”.


In state school science courses they demand the freedom to wedge in their Oogity Boogity nonsense — disguised as the “weaknesses” of the theory of evolution. But when creationist schools throw out those who teach genuine science, they give tacit approval by their silence. They never demand that science should be taught in bible colleges — and they never defend the academic freedom of those who teach science in such places..

This was just posted at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog: Academic Freedom for Thee…What About Me? 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. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

There is no field more perilous for open-minded scholars than evolutionary biology.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s not true. Astronomy is also perilous for “open-minded scholars” — if they want to teach astrology, Moon landing denial, or the geocentric universe as viable theories. Other science classes are equally perilous for those inclined to teach flat-Earth, faith healing, crop circles, and a number of other weird and worthless ideologies. But the Discoveroids are currently fixated on evolution, and trying to challenge that has been perilous for them. Klinghoffer says:

So this caught my eye. Journalist Menachem Wecker has co-written a whole book on academic freedom. Now, with a piece in the National Catholic Register, Wecker gives a précis of what it means for scholars to enjoy the freedom to teach and think without fear. What will he say about the question of Darwin versus design? Just this:

[Klinghoffer’s purported quote:] Contrary to popular belief, academic freedom isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card. Instead, it guarantees that professors can only be dismissed for cause, ascertained by a hearing of their peers. So if a biology professor “goes off the deep end” and tells students there’s no such thing as evolution, or genes don’t exist, that professor will go before a committee, which could decide that behavior is unprofessional … . But if a biologist goes in a new research direction that threatens “some of the old truisms of the field,” that professor must be protected.

That sounds reasonable — to us, but not to Klinghoffer. He tells us:

[O]ne of his two examples of “going off the deep end” that could reasonably get a professor disciplined is if he “tells students there’s no such thing as evolution.”

“No such thing as evolution”? That reads as if Wecker doesn’t understand that evolution has several meanings — change over time, the Darwinian mechanism, common descent. In our experience, what has landed scientists in serious trouble is giving students grounds to question the second of those — the efficacy of unguided natural selection in generating biological information, the software that runs life.

Ah yes. In the Discoveroids’ universe, there is what they call “change over time,” but that’s caused by their intelligent designer — blessed be he! — who does his wondrous works in ways that are forever hidden from us. But the other thing, which Klinghoffer scoffingly refers to as “the Darwinian mechanism, common descent,” conflicts with their “theory” of magical design. He continues:

It’s the super-Darwin partisans who dishonestly equate that — a genuine and profound scientific question — with saying “there’s no such thing as evolution.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The miraculous and unevidenced tinkering of the designer is “a genuine and profound scientific question.” Here’s more:

And it is at that level of blunt aggression that the censors employ their power to silence.

Oh, how cruel and unfair! Moving along:

A guy like Ward Churchill could teach whatever vicious claptrap he likes, but a responsible articulation of the evidence on a controversial subject like intelligent design — that is prohibited, worthy of a fatwa.

Klinghoffer babbles on, but we’ve seen enough. It must be frustrating for the Discoveroids. They’ve been promoting their “theory” for years — in classrooms, in courtrooms, and in legislatures, trying to force their way into public schools, yet (except for some legislative success in Louisiana and Tennessee) they’ve made no progress at all. It’s an outrage!

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5 responses to “Discoveroids Whine About Academic Freedom

  1. michaelfugate

    I have been reading this great little book on the history of logic – “If A, then B: How the world discovered logic” by Michael Shenefelt and Heidi White – David if you are checking this blog, you might want to give it a look. Just saying.

  2. Charles Deetz ;)

    Oooh, someone mentioned evolution without referencing the mechanisms behind it, real or supernatural. This is about the same rationality as those who rage at hearing “Happy Holidays”. Thin skinned a bit, Klingy?

  3. Klinghoffer and the rest of the IDiots have a major case of Darwin envy. They always bring up Darwin (in a negative way of course), even though evolutionary theory has changed a lot since Darwin presented his evidence and ideas.

  4. The”Darwinian mechanism” isn’t “common descent”; that’s just a consequence of the true mechanism of natural selection, operating on separate populations of what was once a single species, isolated from one another and each under different conditions.

    As for Ward Churchill, his Wikipedia entry indicates he was not “free to teach whatever vicious claptrap he [liked]”; he was fired, and after elaborate legal proceedings his firing was upheld even though it was determined that he would not have been fired absent his eccentric views regarding 9/11–or, in other words, if he had not aired controversial opinions. The cherry on top is that none of this had anything to do with evolution. Klinghoffer had to reach outside of the DI’s purview to find an alleged case of academic suppression, and when he did, he got it wrong.

  5. I wonder whether any tenured faculty member would be in danger of losing his job for saying that there is no such thing as evolution.
    There is the case of Michael Behe:( as far as I know, no one has suggested that he lose his tenure. (Has he been asked to explain himself to any authority?) There is the point that he has not gone so far as denying evolution, to be sure, but I doubt that that fine line is what saves him.