Klinghoffer: The Anguish of Evolution Skeptics

On rare occasions we upset many of our readers by posting about your Curmudgeon’s political thinking. Twice before we’ve mentioned that although Republicans may appear to be the anti-science party, they have no monopoly on idiocy. Our last post on that touchy topic was a couple of years ago: Is Your Political Party Really Pro-Science?, in which we said:

Our conclusion is that both parties, like the population as a whole, are mostly ignorant of science, but they tend to have confidence in science where it doesn’t conflict with their other opinions — like religion, environmentalism, “social justice,” etc. In other words, the parties are driven by ideology, not science.

There’s been some news coverage recently about a column by Jonah Goldberg in National Review, of which he is a Senior Editor. The title is Who Are the Real Deniers of Science? When denying science is a progressive moral imperative. It’s mostly about climate change — which Goldberg doesn’t deny. Instead, he discusses government policies about it, some of which are purely political and very debatable. Evolution isn’t mentioned at all.

In deference to our readers’ sensitivities, we ignored Goldberg’s article. However, a post about it just showed up at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog: Leaving Evolution Skeptics Out of a Discussion of Suppressing Scientific Dissent.

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.

After quoting from and mostly praising Goldberg’s article, he says:

He [Goldberg] goes on, and there’s hardly a word to disagree with. Except there is no mention of the subject on which censors have done the most to silence dissenters. That subject is Darwinian theory, of course. Not one word.

So what? Creationism — ooops, intelligent design advocacy — isn’t what Goldberg wrote about. Klinghoffer is furious at the omission. He tells us:

I’m unsure how you’d prove this, but it’s certainly my sense that the intimidation directed against Darwin doubters puts in the shade the intimidation directed at, say, skeptics on climate change.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s because the “Darwin doubters” have as much scientific credibility as Moon-landing deniers. Klinghoffer thinks otherwise, of course. Let’s read on:

The social intimidation is so intense that even conservatives [like Goldberg, presumably] leave evolution out of a discussion about denying scientific dissent.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We might have missed something, but we’ve never seen the slightest hint that Goldberg is a creationist. If he didn’t mention the Discoveroids’ pet issue of the “social intimidation” faced by creationists, it’s probably because he doesn’t think it’s worth mentioning.

Klinghoffer continues with an example of someone who fears that if he came out positively for intelligent design, “I would probably be in danger of losing my job.” Regarding that presumably closeted creationist, Klinghoffer says:

He’s correct, and he’s chosen the right word to describe the treatment of ID scientists: “persecution.” Say the wrong thing, think the wrong thing, and your career is over.

Oh, the horror! Here’s how Klinghoffer wraps it up:

That’s likely true in some contexts for climate skeptics, but to the same extent? I’m inclined to doubt it.

Actually, Darwin deniers and other creationists can often find jobs teaching at bible colleges. As for climate change skeptics, your Curmudgeon doesn’t follow that issue, so we have no idea what alternatives they have. Klinghoffer may not know either. He’s only concerned about creationists. Hey — if the Discovery Institute were to shut down, what employment alternatives does he have? That’s probably what’s really on his mind.

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17 responses to “Klinghoffer: The Anguish of Evolution Skeptics

  1. Instead, he discusses government policies about it, some of which are purely political and very debatable.

    Name one such.

  2. waldteufel

    Our Curmudgeon shows true compassion as he muses: “Hey — if the Discovery Institute were to shut down, what employment alternatives does he have? That’s probably what’s really on his mind.”

    I’m confident that given his moral integrity, Klingy could easily slide right in at AiG, ICR, or just about any creationist outfit that values rigid dogma over evidence, the scientific method, and reality itself.

  3. michaelfugate

    Goldberg’s ploy is to claim the left is wrong on issue X, therefore it is wrong on issue Y. Nice try, too bad it is empty rhetoric. A typical anti-fact tactic to cast doubt – to make a controversy where none exists – to imply two sides to every issue.

    If governments weren’t run by big business, then we could have sensible solutions. Instead, we have power companies building solar farms in the deserts – destroying ecosystems – when solar panels on houses would suffice.

    This is not a left-right issue and Goldberg makes no progress other than calling people names.

  4. Eddie Janssen

    Klinghoffer should have mentioned the moonlanding-maffia who are way more succesfull in keeping their opponents out of business than the climate-maffia and the evolution-mob combined.

  5. @michaelfugate

    In fact, when our host referred to the Goldberg article I immediately assumed he and Klinghoffer had accidentally picked up one from several years ago that I can remember reading and eviscerating partly along the lines you mention. I can’t now recall the original well enough to know if Goldberg is simply recycling an old piece.

    Probably about the one type of recycling Goldberg believes in, come to think of it . . .

  6. How about mentioning the creationists who are successful in keeping people from expressing doubts about Noah’s flood being global, or preventing people from getting or keeping jobs who don’t sign up on YEC?

  7. Charles Deetz ;)

    I once had a co-worker strongly hint that they were a 9/11 truther. How does one have a conversation with them face to face without calling them nuts? It was a little easier that they said that ‘all the evidence’ needs to be considered, as if The Truth hadn’t been found yet. My point back to him was the problem that if he considered the conspiracies, then that necessitated believing additional conspiracies and unproven facts are true. You end up having to believe in holographic projections of the planes just to consider the use of thermite to collapse the buildings.

    And so it is with global warming deniers and ID proponents … you need a world of alternate facts, physics, and conspiracies just to make it work. That is why it is a fireable offense for a scientist.

  8. michaelfugate

    @realthog – if Goldberg weren’t a rightwing hack, he would have called out his side too – including the Discovery Institute and Ken Ham. Why is it so hard for people like Goldberg to admit that his allies are sometimes wrong. The universal reply to Trump’s lies is “but, Benghazi”. This is not to imply that Clinton is not flawed and open to criticism, it’s just not an answer.

    The other problem is “is/ought” divide. What “is” doesn’t tell us what we “ought” to do, but if we deny what is, then what we ought to do becomes near impossible. A sperm has human genes and is alive, ought it be sacred?

  9. @Charles Deetz;)
    There is a thing about ID, which is that there is no alternative that it offers.

    That makes their task simpler, for they don’t have anything to defend. Conspiracy theorists feel the need to tell us how the moon landings were staged. They tell us what really happened, not just that there was no moon landing. When, where, why how and who.

    ID is quite open about not saying who (it might not be the God of the Bible, they tell us), and they refuse to choose sides about the age of life on Earth. And all the evolution-deniers are silent about where, why and how.

    The thing is, nobody has come up with an alternative account, for the variety of life on Earth, which does not involve evolution. The closest is something like Ompalism: things were made with the appearances as if they evolved.

  10. “Say the wrong thing, think the wrong thing, and your career is over.”
    Yes, the poor profs/instructors at bible colleges who teach evolution or don’t take the oath of loyalty to the deity or both? Where’s klingy’s stance on that issue?

  11. Do you expect consistency?

  12. realthog dares the Curmudgeon: “Name one such.”

    I don’t want to turn this into a debate, but you asked for one example of a government climate-oriented program that is “purely political and very debatable,” so consider this: Solyndra: Politics infused Obama energy programs.

  13. You mean the best you can manage is a single failed investment in 2011?

    The initial terms of reference were “government policies about it, some of which are purely political and very debatable”; that’s suddenly become “a government climate-oriented program that is ‘purely political and very debatable’.”

    The WaPo may or may not be right in saying that the govt’s investment in Solyndra was doomed because of political maneuvering (I have no idea of the truth), but the fact remains that you can’t call a single investment scheme a climate policy.

    If you want to look at a genuine example of a government climate policy you might pick the promotion of cap ‘n’ trade. Unfortunately, the political tilt of that is in the direction of the free market, which doesn’t fit Goldberg’s narrative.

  14. Derek Freyberg

    @Waldteufel:
    I agree that Klingy’s mindset and modus operandi would fit in well at AiG or ICR, but I think he might have problems with the loyalty oath – I believe he’s Jewish: perhaps the only Jew associated with the DI.

  15. Evolution deniers and climate change skeptics are cut from the same cloth.
    One usually accompanies the other.

  16. “they have no monopoly on idiocy”
    As a hardcore leftist (Sanders is in my eyes a moderate) I can only confirm this. Still I’d like to add that the unshatterable faith our dear SC displays regarding a certain Invisible Hand is almost as unscientific and idiot as everything Klinkleclapper produces. Had we Dutch relied on it regarding or polders and levees then half of The Netherlands would not have existed today. This city

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amersfoort

    might have had a nice beach.

  17. Who Are the Real Deniers of Science?
    I started to read but it was so silly and inaccurate I thought I was reading some creationist literature. Yeah, both parties have their loons but only the Repubs make reference to god 12 times in 2012 platform.