This is about a most peculiar post by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger.
Klinghoffer is wildly critical of an utterly unobjectionable and very brief post at Jerry Coyne’s blog, Why Evolution Is True — and it wasn’t even written by Coyne. It’s Make it better, which points out that “almost anyone can improve upon the Ten Commandments with minimal effort,” because its ethics emphasize “livestock, possessions and outward symbols of worshipping the right god.” It also says:
It’s not particularly concerned with the well-being of children say, or women or pretty much anyone who wasn’t an adult male Jew camping at the bottom of Mount Sinai.
That certainly seems true. The last paragraph says:
The point is that through no effort of our own and no failing of theirs, we live in a century where we are moral giants compared to our ancestors.
Indeed. We’ve had close to 3,000 years of experience since the origin of the Ten Commandments, and although much of that time saw very little progress, thanks to some very wise people we have greatly improved on the science, politics, and legal systems of long ago. Nevertheless, Klinghoffer is a big fan of those good old days, and he’s furious about that post. His very strange little essay is titled Evolution as a Moral Metaphor. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
This from Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution Is True is just perfect. Over the weekend I was trying to explain to my daughter Naomi what distinguishes conservatism as a philosophical outlook from other perspectives. I said it has to do with the attitude you take to the dead.
What? Let’s read on:
Do generations that came before have anything to teach us? Were they wiser, more in touch with certain truths about the universe, than we are? Conservatives say yes, very possibly so.
But doesn’t it depend on what dead people we’re talking about, and what they had to teach us? And doesn’t it also depend upon subsequently gained knowledge that has improved on the legacy of the past? Klinghoffer doesn’t get specific here, but he doesn’t need to. Because he’s a creationist, we know he prefers the pre-scientific days, before our thinking was improved by Enlightenment principles. He continues:
In that case [the Old Ones being wiser and more in touch with the universe than we are], conserving the heritage they left behind makes sense.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Your Curmudgeon is a conservative. We want to preserve the Enlightenment and all that it gave us — including superstition-free reason, liberty, science, and free enterprise. The Discoveroids, however … well, we said it all before in Discovery Institute: Enemies of the Enlightenment. Klinghoffer then quotes from the “offending” post at Coyne’s blog, and says:
It occurs to me this is evolution as a moral metaphor.
What? That blog post didn’t even mention evolution! Klinghoffer attempts to explain himself:
In that view, generations of men and women are on an upward-climbing escalator, guaranteeing that “we are moral giants compared to our ancestors.”
Aaaargh!! No one mentioned any guarantees — not in human ethics or in evolution. But when an improvement shows up, it benefits future generations. Then Klinghoffer builds on what he’s already said:
There follows the transparently inane conclusion that “now we can do better without even thinking too hard about it.”
Well, we can do better than our ancient ancestors, but that’s because we don’t have to re-invent things like the scientific method or the American Constitution. We’re fortunate that our predecessors have already done that for us. But we do need to appreciate what we’ve inherited. Klinghoffer and the Discoveroids don’t appreciate those things — only what was known by those who died thousands of years ago. They think that‘s the good stuff. No evolution is necessary. This is how Klinghoffer ends his post:
I do not know how that idea [that we know more than the Old Ones] can possibly be reconciled with ten minutes of surfing the Internet. But such is the power of evolutionary thinking! It twists and overwhelms the evidence of daily experience.
As we said at the beginning, that was a most peculiar post. But it’s also revealing of the Discoveroid mindset — and that of creationists in general. Think about it.
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