PLOS Retracts, Discovery Institute Reacts

Yesterday we wrote Peer-Review Ruckus Thrills Discovery Institute. As we noted, the journal PLOS ONE has retracted the clumsily translated and shoddily edited paper that mentioned “the Creator.” Presumably, the retraction occurred not long after the Discoveroids posted.

Since then, the Discoveroids have posted twice about the incident — both times by David Klinghoffer, their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. First, Klinghoffer wrote Censorship in Real Time — PLOS ONE Retracts “Proper Design by the Creator” Paper. He says, with bold font added by us:

That was fast. The sound of one hand clapping? Now, it’s no hands. Besieged by a furious mob of censors, the editors at the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE have retracted a paper on the “architecture” of the human hand that repeatedly invoked notions of “design” and a “Creator.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The peer-review process, albeit belated, is referred to as censorship. Then he again reminds us of the Discoveroids’ crafty cleansing of their version of creationism, desperately hoping to disguise it as science, because old-fashioned biblical creationism is certain to lose in court:

I must note here that the theory intelligent design does not infer a “Creator,” a religious idea that goes beyond what the scientific evidence says. ID infers a source of intelligence, and leaves it to others to argue about the identity of the source.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Let’s read on:

That aside, this should be an eye-opener. True, the language about a “Creator” was not what you expect in a scientific paper. It’s not justified by the science. An unadorned inference to design is a different matter. But that’s moot now.

What about this imbroglio does Klinghoffer regard as “an eye-opener”? He continues:

You can see, far from the first time in our coverage of matters relating to academic freedom, how the mechanism of intimidation works. … In this case, an editor’s naivety has become an occasion for admonishing others not even to consider researching their own heretical ideas. In an oppressive atmosphere where doubters are shamed and punished, honest investigation hardly stands a chance. The censors want an echo chamber, and that’s what they’ve created.

Note the Discoveroid Newspeak: Keeping nonsensical conclusions out of science papers is the “mechanism of intimidation,” which is an abuse of “academic freedom.” It’s done in an “oppressive atmosphere” where “honest investigation” (i.e., creationist propagandizing) is regarded as “heretical.” He concludes by saying:

There are “closeted” design thinkers scattered around the academic science world — indeed, we know many of them, while you can be sure a great many more are out there too, unknown except to themselves. Whatever the merits of this paper, the episode was another warning to them.

What is the purpose of such a bizarre post? Who will find it to be a satisfying explanation of events? Your Curmudgeon’s opinion is that such things are written to convince the Discoveroids’ generous patrons to keep the money flowing, because theirs will be a long struggle, against an exceedingly evil and determined conspiracy, which explains why their “theory” isn’t making any progress in the world of science.

After that, Klinghoffer posted yet again about the subject: Racism? Here’s an Interesting Take on the PLOS ONE Censorship Story. He says, with our bold font:

The authors and editor of the now retracted PLOS ONE paper, making reference to “design” and a “Creator” in analyzing the human hand, are Chinese. One author appealed for mercy, citing problems with the translation of their work into English. In Chinese, he explained, they attributed the architecture of the hand to “Nature,” not God. Nevertheless, rather than simply amend the article, the peer-reviewed journal bowed to a lynch mob of censors and pulled it altogether.

Yeah, a “lynch mob.” He quotes some blogger at great length, who says that retracting the paper is racism. After giving us that gigantic quote, which we’ll skip, Klinghoffer righteously declares:

I’m not endorsing this theory. Calling people “racist” is also serious business.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! But saying that it’s censorship by a lynch mob is okay. Hey –if referring to the retraction as “racism” is going too far, then why did Klinghoffer even mention it? He explains:

But certainly some form of bigotry played a role in the retraction. Mere mistranslation or an editor’s goof that did not seem to favor a religious interpretation would obviously not have occasioned the riot this did. Since the journal is online, it could easily have been fixed, with an editor’s note added indicating as much, not retracted.

Yes, bigotry must have played a role. Sure, it makes sense. After all, it was done by — gasp! — Darwinists.

Can the Discoveroids get any more mileage out of this incident? We’re bored already, so they’d better be very entertaining if we’re going to return to it again.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “PLOS Retracts, Discovery Institute Reacts

  1. One author appealed for mercy, citing problems with the translation of their work into English. In Chinese, he explained, they attributed the architecture of the hand to “Nature,” not God.

    When I first read of this issue my first thought was exactly this: that the authors were using the term “God” in the same sort of way that Einstein did when saying such things as “God does not throw dice,” and the translation created (sic) the confusion. If you read the relevant passage with that interpretation in mind, it seems to make perfect sense.

    For once I actually agree with Klinghoffer: PLOS ONE should have taken a little more time before retracting the paper. For all I know the paper may indeed be botox (commenter cunningly sidesteps profanity filter), but the reaction of the Chinese author does make it does sound very much as if there’s simply been a communication error.

    This is not, by the way, to suggest incompetence on the part of the translator. Again, faced by an expression like “God does not throw dice,” how do you render it in another language without causing the kind of misreading that Klinghoffer’s wallowing in?

  2. Klingie, get back to us when even one of your alleged “‘closeted’ design thinkers scattered around the academic science world” presents some evidence, rather than a personal opinion, about a great designer. I’m always happy to look at data.

  3. It appears Kent Hovind was impressed with the “hand” article and gave some time to it in one of his videos this morning at:

  4. It appears Kent Hovind was impressed with the “hand” article

    As you’d expect, given the standard unit of bananas.

  5. This problem also has occurred in translating the Tao de Ching (ancient Chinese book). Missionaries especially liked the translations where the Tao was MIStranslated as “God” even though it is NOTHING like the Christian “God.”

  6. Eric Lipps

    That was fast. The sound of one hand clapping? Now, it’s no hands. Besieged by a furious mob of censors, the editors at the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE have retracted a paper on the “architecture” of the human hand that repeatedly invoked notions of “design” and a “Creator.”

    Moving right along:

    I must note here that the theory intelligent design does not infer a “Creator,” a religious idea that goes beyond what the scientific evidence says. ID infers a source of intelligence, and leaves it to others to argue about the identity of the source.

    *snicker*Oh, come on. Intelligent design implies an intelligent designer. If that isn’t a Creator, who’s the designer working for?

    At least old Klink admits that identifying the designer as God “goes beyond what the scientific evidence says.” Can we now expect him to be tarred and feathered by his fellow creationists for uttering such heresy?

  7. “leaves it to others to argue about the identity of the source”
    Yet I have to meet the first IDiot who admits that that identity implies a non-transcendental designer, while the very definition of “Creator” is transcendental designer.

  8. H. K. Fauskanger says: “Now Ham is on the ball as well”

    Yes. It’s a wild rant, but nothing new. Like the Discoveroids, he babbles about censorship, and them he goes on to refer to the “religion” of atheism.