Klinghoffer & That Old Time Wisdom

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.

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

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20 responses to “Klinghoffer & That Old Time Wisdom

  1. You’re right that it’s a curious post from Klinghoffer: the Disco ‘Tute is supposedly a scientific organization, and yet here he is, writing in defense of a purely religious proposition. Imagine how jaws would (justifiably) drop should somewhere like MIT do something similar — issuing some kind of proclamation favoring baseball, or Cubism, or religion, or tangerine marmalade, or . . . over, say, physics. They’d be rightly derided. Klinghoffer obviously doesn’t think this is a problem for the Disco ‘Tute.

  2. 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.

    Well, there’s the fact that there is an Internet. Not to mention television, radio and the printing press, without which we’d be pretty much limited to what could be passed on by word of mouth or by scribes writing on parchment or papyrus. (Or chiseling on stone tablets.) Oh, and modern medicine, and modern sanitation, and . . . but why go on?

  3. Oh, and by the way . . . weren’t the Old Ones hideous evil deities in H. P. Lovecraft’s stories?

  4. modern sanitation

    Blasphemy! We are supposed to poop in the desert. Otherwise, what are deserts for?

  5. “But doesn’t it depend on what dead people we’re talking about, and what they had to teach us?” …..Well yes, but Klinkman’s sermon cares not for such trivia. Pshaww

  6. Charles Deetz ;)

    I was trying to explain to my daughter Naomi what distinguishes conservatism as a philosophical outlook

    Me, the unprincipled 21st century dad who didn’t try to indoctrinate my daughter in distinguishing ‘outlooks’. I guess I’m a dummy for letting her take in the evidence around her and figure it out herself. Her first presidential election season and she voted for Bernie, Klingy. I hope you can be as proud when your daughter votes for a knuckle-dragger (talk about throwbacks) like Cruz.

  7. I doubt the Disco Tute employs anyone who can understand posts at WEIT.
    Klinkleklankle certainly doesn’t.

  8. Dave Luckett

    Down on your knees, realthog, and beg forgiveness of the Lord! For His Holy Word at Deuteronomy 23:12- specifies that you can’t poop wherever you feel like it, even in the desert (or dessert, either) and you must take a trowel to bury it, lest the Lord God of Hosts, who gave you your bowels and excretory function, will see and be offended, and go no further with you.

    You wouldn’t want that, would you?

  9. michaelfugate

    Klinghoffer opines, “Revelation trumps observation and science, period.”

  10. @Dave Luckett

    Well, dammit, I’m not allowed to poop in the dessert? And how do I explain to the visiting inlaws why the flavor has so radically changed?

    That God, he’s a real hard taskmaster, isn’t he?

  11. 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.

    “Why, yes, Naomi, there really are such things as witches, and they must be burned. In fact, as a woman, the generations before us have taught that you should not have authority outside the home, you should not vote, you should not question the authority of your father (me) or your husband, you will need to marry your brother-in-law should your husband die… in fact, I will pick your husband. Naomi, you should come to church but never speak there. Be modest at all times, cover your hair, do not speak to men who are not your kin.”

    “Remember, Naomi, to honor the ten commandments, especially the last one which directs you not to covet your neighbor’s male or female slaves, his livestock, his wife, and his other property.”

    “Oh, and don’t disrespect me, your father, or you will be put to death.”

    Ah, Kling longs for the good old days. Let’s hope he didn’t actually elaborate on what those generations who came before him actually believed.

  12. “There follows the transparently inane conclusion that “now we can do better without even thinking too hard about it.”

    Considering it’s us versus creationists like Klinghoffer, we really don’t have to think too hard about doing better than any creationist any day.

  13. What Klinghoffer describes as ‘conservative’ is in fact reactionary.

    But what do you expect from someone who cannot distinguish Shinola from Creationism?

  14. “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.”
    The originators of conservatism, Edmund Burke for instance, would cringe.

    “Your Curmudgeon is a conservative.”
    Actually no. You are not interested in improving of what goes wrong – like the USA doing poorly on rankings of social standards. Conservatives want to maintain what goes right – but are open to change of what goes wrong.
    You’re reactionary. And gasp – you have that in common with Klinkleclapper. It’s just a different historical period you try to cling to.

  15. Megalonyx says: “What Klinghoffer describes as ‘conservative’ is in fact reactionary.”

    I think it goes beyond that, and borders on necrophilia.

  16. I think the reason Klingie likes dead people so much is that they never contradict his inane rambling.

  17. Klingklepooper’s little piece is a great window into the intellectual dead zone that is the creationist mind.

  18. Derek Freyberg

    It’s the end of the quarter – I wonder if Klingy has a quota of articles he has to write and was behind and risking his bonus unless he turned out another piece of dreck.

  19. eric collier

    “…including superstition-free reason, liberty, science, and free enterprise.”
    You seem to be trying to trace out some distance between these benefits of enlightenment and liberalism. These values, the Enlightenment itself, and the hole history of civilization is the story of the gradual, erratic triumph of liberalism.

  20. Techreseller

    His poor poor daughter. I feel so sorry for her. What a struggle independent life is going to be.