Klinghoffer: Universities Need More Diversity

The Discovery Institute is forever trying to present their creationist campaign in terms of civil rights. We’re familiar with their endless grumbling that their nonsense is being kept out of science classes because of “viewpoint discrimination” and “censorship.” Now they appear to be trying yet another approach.

The latest at their creationist blog is The Diversity that Dare Not Speak Its Name. Cute title. 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. We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis.

Georgetown University professor John Hasnas has a fine Wall Street Journal op-ed today, The One Kind of Diversity Colleges Avoid, pleading for intellectual and philosophical diversity in faculty hiring, alongside the racial and sexual kind. There’s something missing, though.

Something’s missing? Klinghoffer then quotes from the article:

In the more than 20 years that I have been a professor at Georgetown University, I have been involved in many faculty searches. Every one begins with a strong exhortation from the administration to recruit more women and minority professors.

[…]

Yet, in my experience, no search committee has ever been instructed to increase political or ideological diversity. On the contrary, I have been involved in searches in which the chairman of the selection committee stated that no libertarian candidates would be considered. Or the description of the position was changed when the best résumés appeared to be coming from applicants with right-of-center viewpoints. Or in which candidates were dismissed because of their association with conservative or libertarian institutions.

We’re shocked — shocked! — that universities are biased in that way. Klinghoffer takes that as the starting point for what you probably suspected was coming. He says:

That is all fine, as I say, and he’s of course right to push for fair consideration of “right-of-center viewpoints.” But I wonder where Hasnas (or for that matter the editors of the Wall Street Journal) would come down on the question of philosophical diversity when it bears on thinking about cosmic and biological origins.

Gasp — is there bias in academia regarding those subjects? Probably not in the philosophy department, where such discussions are appropriate. But Klinghoffer wants to extend the debate to other subjects. Let’s read on:

Because with debates on origins, the dividing line between the politically correct view (orthodox Darwinism) and the politically incorrect one (Darwin skepticism or intelligent design) is scientific only as a secondary matter. The divide begins with a difference of perspective on what kind of scientific conclusions are to be permitted in the first place.

There’s bias in science about what kind of conclusions are permitted? Of course there is — if hypotheses aren’t testable — at least in principle — they’re not science. Klinghoffer continues:

As the ultimate driver behind the story of life, may intelligence or creativity be considered — or must it be ruled out before investigations even commence? That’s not a scientific question — it’s a philosophical one. Maybe an aesthetic one. Even simply a matter of personal inclination.

If it’s primarily a philosophical or aesthetic issue, then it belongs in philosophy class. But the Discoveroids are always telling us that their “theory” of intelligent design is science. We’ve getting confused. Here’s more:

Advocates of ID insist there is no reason to exclude mind as an ultimate explanation behind the cosmos. For that, they are branded as thought criminals. On the other hand, for those who embrace the exclusionary principle, the scientific evidence must confirm a materialist understanding. The conclusion is built into the premise.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! All scientific evidence is “materialist.” That’s why science used to be called natural philosophy, because it deals only with what can be observed and tested. Alleged immaterial causes, like the Discoveroids’ transcendental designer — blessed be he! — are for philosophers to debate because they can’t be investigated scientifically. They’re totally outside of the scientific endeavor.

This is how Klinghoffer ends his little post:

I’ll regard the university faculty hiring system as healthy when even diversity on this question is regarded as a positive good. We’re a long way from that now.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Klinghoffer thinks universities should welcome preachers of Oogity Boogity into their science faculties. He’ll be waiting a long time for that kind of diversity to be regarded as a positive good. For now — and hopefully for a long time to come — it will be regarded as positively insane.

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

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15 responses to “Klinghoffer: Universities Need More Diversity

  1. Derek Freyberg

    ID advocates are “branded as thought criminals”? I don’t think so. There are a few things they might be branded as – “intellectually dishonest” comes to mind for some of them, “thick as a brick” for others (those two groups are not mutually exclusive), but “thought criminals” implies thought, and ID seems to exclude that.

  2. Shocking news to everyone who may read this, but Klinghoffer is a world class hypocrite.

    It wasn’t that long ago when he explained that Bryan College, as a private institution, could decide to 86 a couple of professors that didn’t subscribe to a certain statement of faith on human origins. Here, though, is a private university that Klinghoffer thinks would do well to include a variety of philosophies on origins!

    Why the change of heart, Dave? Nothing to do with Georgetown being Jesuit, I’m sure.

  3. michaelfugate

    The problem is with conservatives’ willingness to work. Being a college professor is much harder than writing op-eds from a “think-tank”. A good case in point is Thomas Sowell who gave up an economics post at UCLA to write drivel. I am sure he made tons more money and never had to submit his ideas for peer review.

  4. One thing to consider is, how many experienced candidates with strong resumes are creationists? Kling may complain, but if the university wants to hire a science professor, they will be looking for someone who is qualified to teach science. Very, very few (if any) ID advocates are going to pass that test.

    Of course, if a university establishes a college of magic, then an ID advocate would be perfect.

  5. If they want there to be presented an alternative explanation for a feature of the world of life, I suggest that the first step is obvious.

    Describe that alternative explanation.

    What happens, when and where, why and how, so that things turn out as they are.

    That means more than saying, “There has to be a better explanation”, or “Maybe if one considers the supernatural”, or even “There is something missing with the evolutionary account”.

  6. Damn if he isn’t right. Imagine the lack of diversity at Bob Jones University and other similar citadels of academic excellence that refuse to allow or even admit that evolution should be allowed anywhere near their student body.

  7. Mike Elzinga

    It is not surprising that Klinkhofer has no clue about why ID/creationists can’t make the cut in being considered for a position in a science department. ID/creationists have no clue how to do research. They have no clue about how to lay out a research program, write research proposals, and make estimates of time, budget, and manpower needs. They don’t know the outstanding research questions needing answers; they can’t even formulate an answerable question.

    All the major expounders of ID/creationist propaganda get the science wrong at even the high school level; but there has never been one ID/creationist in their nearly 50 year history who recognizes that important fact. They can’t see their own shortcomings and they can’t imagine that real working scientists can recognize pure incompetence and egregious ignorance after just a few sentences uttered by an ID/creationist.

    Can anyone imagine Jason Lisle teaching physics or doing physics research after reading his “theories” or hearing him give a talk about the speed of light or his calculation of the rate of recession of the Moon’s orbit? Can anyone imagine William Dembski’s “probability calculations” for molecular assemblies as being worthy of consideration for a Nobel Prize in chemistry? Does Granville Sewell know anything about thermodynamics? Does Michael Behe push the frontiers of research at Lehigh? Has anyone seen any example of an ID/creationist who has opened up a path of research that others can follow and make progress on?

    Can Klinkhofer offer up any concrete example of where an ID/creationist has actually done something that other scientists can verify?

    Contrary to what Klinkhofer thinks, all ID/creationists fall flat on their faces the minute any of their high school level misconceptions are checked out by people who actually know things. Why should universities be required to hire people who are incompetent at the most basic levels of science?

  8. Given the problems the Disco ‘Tute has in finding well-qualified (in the field they wish to pontificate on) and productive (the moribund Michael Behe being a prime example) ID creationists for their own staff, how can they expect universities to be chock full of them?

  9. Why couldn’t the I.Diots teach “Communications” courses? They seem to “create knowledge” of the same quality as other fringe groups even though the other groups may be at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum.

  10. Christine Janis

    “One thing to consider is, how many experienced candidates with strong resumes are creationists?”

    Many, according to the DI. But those already occupy positions in academia — they’re just afraid to speak out because of the Darwin Mafia.

  11. There is a setting for an action movie here like The Seven Samurai.

  12. In the more than 20 years that I have been a professor at Georgetown University, I have been involved in many faculty searches. Every one begins with a strong exhortation from the administration to recruit more women and minority professors.

    […]

    Yet, in my experience, no search committee has ever been instructed to increase political or ideological diversity. On the contrary, I have been involved in searches in which the chairman of the selection committee stated that no libertarian candidates would be considered. Or the description of the position was changed when the best résumés appeared to be coming from applicants with right-of-center viewpoints. Or in which candidates were dismissed because of their association with conservative or libertarian institutions.

    Even if that were true (and considering the howlers the K-man has come out with, one can’t take a word of it for granted) what does that have to do with creationism? Unless, that is, creationism is a political idea, in which case it has no place in science classes.

    Klinghoffer, though, helpfully explains:

    That is all fine, as I say, and he’s of course right to push for fair consideration of “right-of-center viewpoints.” But I wonder where Hasnas (or for that matter the editors of the Wall Street Journal) would come down on the question of philosophical diversity when it bears on thinking about cosmic and biological origins. . . .

    Because with debates on origins, the dividing line between the politically correct view (orthodox Darwinism) and the politically incorrect one (Darwin skepticism or intelligent design) is scientific only as a secondary matter. The divide begins with a difference of perspective on what kind of scientific conclusions are to be permitted in the first place.

    No, it begins with a “difference of perspective” on what science itself is. Klinghoffer et al. want it to be a matter of starting with conclusions—theirs, of course—and then working backward to find “evidence” which can be trimmed to fit. It has nothing to do with “political correctness” or “philosophical diversity” (science hasn’t been “philosophy” since the eighteenth century at the latest).

    And what creationists routinely ignore is that their ideas had their chance, starting out as the consensus position even among scientists and being displaced by evolution because that was how the evidence piled up.

    If evolution were easily disproved by scientific evidence, as these people claim, evolutionary ideas could have prevailed only by way of a global scientific conspiracy right out of V: The Miniseries. (And that one was a fake ginned up by alien enemies of humanity to discredit scientists. Are creationists really lizards under the skin? ;D.

  13. What has anyone offered as an alternative account? What happens, where and when, why and how, so that something turns out this way?
    “Anything is possible” is no answer to “why this?”

  14. SC: “Now they appear to be trying yet another approach.”

    Yet it’s really the same approach all along. Remember circa 2000 when some groups demanded “equal time” for Ebonics? The confusion is that anti-evolution activists are usually dismissed as “conservative,” which unfortunately carries the connotation of “intolerant.” Yet in a way they’re “too tolerant” in that they demand what has not earned the right to be taught as science, and that Johnny get credit for wrong answers on the test. Paradoxically, “too tolerant” means intolerant of the refutations of their nonsense. While there is unlikely ever enough class time to effectively counter their misleading, but catchy sound bites, the fact that they don’t even mention that those refutations exist is pure censorship. Yet they have the chutzpah to accuse us of censorship! The only thing crazier than that is when critics refute that accusation, but neglect to show who the real censors are.

  15. An effective tactic seems to accuse one’s opponent of what one is about to do. When you want to silence any discussion of a topic, accuse those who want to talk about it as censoring: The science-deniers don’t want to talk about obvious facts about the world of life – they have no account to offer – so they say that those who have a well-evidenced evolutionary account as censoring alternatives.