Klinghoffer: The Glow of the Designer’s Intention

They’re talking again about “human exceptionalism” at the Discovery Institute. That issue of theirs has always been a bit of a mystery to us. If their transcendental designer — blessed be he! — created all living things, and each species is the result of the designer’s special attention, wouldn’t that dilute the exceptional status of humans?

The phrase seems to be more than a thinly disguised claim that humans aren’t related to other animals, and therefore, as the creationists always say: “I ain’t no kin to no monkey.” They also invoke human exceptionalism when they rant about abortion and euthanasia, two practices they routinely blame on Darwin and his diabolical theory.

We always suspected the phrase was Discoveroid code for “In His Image,” but originally they avoided making that claim. Recently, however, they said it — see Intelligent Aliens Terrify the Discovery Institute, so “In His Image” is another concept that fits under their human exceptionalism umbrella. Nevertheless, as is typical with pseudo-science, the actual meaning and purpose of the phrase has been elusive.

Well, the Discoveroids are beating the human exceptionalism drum again today. At their creationist blog they just posted Intelligent Design and Human Exceptionalism, written by David Klinghoffer, their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis.

Does an understanding of humankind’s unique dignity and worth depend on religious arguments and religious faith? Our friend and colleague Wesley Smith forcefully argues no — and I agree with him. He makes the secular case for human exceptionalism in a concise podcast, [link omitted] based on a rational surveying of mankind’s gifts that distinguish us from all other known life.

Well, duh! Of course we’re different from every other species. We have abilities they don’t have — notably our hands and our brains. But other species — also unique — have abilities we don’t have — better hearing, eyesight, strength, ability to fly, regeneration of lost parts, etc. Evolution results in a lot of trade-offs, but we’ve got a pretty good deal. Anyway, after announcing the astounding fact that we’re different from all other forms of life, Klinghoffer says:

Wesley, however, if I understand correctly, says mankind’s unique endowments argue for human exceptionalism whether they are the product of “blind evolution” or intelligent design. I’m not sure I agree with that.

Ah, now maybe this will get interesting. Let’s read on:

The question is always: What should we do with our gifts? What inference should we draw from them?

That’s always the big question? Klinghoffer continues:

Here’s an analogy. Let’s say you know two very wealthy people. One came by his wealth via a lottery, a blind process, and he sees no purpose or intention behind it. It was the luck of the draw. The other, whether he inherited his wealth or came by it through enterprise, perceives it as a gift motivated by an underlying design. His fortune is not by the luck of the draw. It was given to him on purpose.

Okay, now what? Klinghoffer tells us:

Both individuals are exceptionally wealthy. Which is likelier to use his money to advance good causes, to share it with others, to see himself as, in some sense, deputized to put his fortune to noble uses?

We’ve seen examples of charitable behavior from both types. We’ve also seen examples of tycoons who never give a dime to charity. Klinghoffer thinks he’s scored big with that one, so he’s ready to move along:

Another point: All of mankind’s unique gifts are functions of consciousness. They aren’t as evident when a person is unconscious or cognitively impaired. In an evolutionary scenario, perhaps human dignity is partially or wholly surrendered when the condition (consciousness) that makes us exceptional isn’t there.

If Klinghoffer isn’t careful here, he’ll make the case for euthanasia. Oh wait — he deals with that next:

On the other hand, against a backdrop of intelligent design, which is a scientific not religious argument for purpose behind nature [Hee hee], impaired cognition would not rob an individual of his profound significance.

Really? What’s the “profound significance” of a permanently brain dead person? Never mind. Here’s another excerpt:

Even in the absence of religious understanding, the observation of design — that the universe was somehow prepared with our privileged species in mind — endows human life with a glow of intention that can’t be denied.

Yes — oh yes! We have “a glow of intention that can’t be denied”! Having brilliantly dealt with all the issues, Klinghoffer ends his article with this:

That would seem to be true whether we are conscious and in possession of all our faculties, or not. In short, I would say, design helps make the case for human dignity. Evolution doesn’t.

We can’t think of a thing to say — except BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

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

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23 responses to “Klinghoffer: The Glow of the Designer’s Intention

  1. The fact that we share something like 96% of our DNA with chimpanzees immediately negates any claim Discoveroids might have about each species being unique, or humans not being related to any other primates.

  2. @Mark
    Creationists have said that that shows that there is the same creator.

  3. In short, I would say, design helps make the case for human dignity. Evolution doesn’t.

    Why is that? Design, by itself, makes no more case for humans than for any other living organism. Pick an organism at random and insert into that sentence and it would be equally valid.

    Without a religious perspective, there is nothing to indicate that humans are special rather than simply another designed life form – and one that in the long history of life on earth seems like an afterthought.

  4. michaelfugate

    So a hammer has more dignity than a rock?

  5. michaelfugate asks

    So a hammer has more dignity than a rock?


    But rock beats scissors, and scissors beats paper…

  6. Actually, Klinghoffer may be half right here: no other species can be quite as exceptionally vile as ours can sometimes be: Anti-Polish cards in Huntingdon after EU referendum

    Thanks to Brexit, the UK is no longer “a bullied province of that unaccountable oligarchy called the European Union” (as Stephen Meyer, approvingly quoted by Klinghoffer, characterised it). All our Little Englanders are now crawling out from under their stones and ejaculating their Precious Sovereignty Fluids with wild and wanton abandon.

    So I hope Klingy is enjoying the spectacle of the Zombie Apocalypse that has been unleashed by the Brexit he so warmly advocated as a model of the DI’s own struggle against the tyranny of the “bullying authority” of science.

    O brave new world, that has such exceptional creatures in’t!

  7. michaelfugate

    But doesn’t the design analogy mean that humans are to god as a doll is to a human?

  8. Ken Phelps

    “…a glow of intention…” – Sounds suspiciously like the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation of ID. I assume it’s measured in standard AWSS*units?

    *Aren’t We Special Snowflakes.

  9. docbill1351

    I’ll tell you one thing, after a few gins or four I’ve got quite a “glow of intention.” By design, too. Can’t say much about intelligent, though.

    Just think, over 20 years of research into “intelligent design” creationism and what do they have to show for it: glow of intention.

    Perhaps after another 20 years of research they’ll come up with a “spark of ingenuity.”

    Fifty years of IDC research yields a “dollop of gravy.”

    One hundred years later Scottish IDC researchers discover “a wee dram more.” Oh, and glows of intention!

  10. Anyone who claims, as Klingon does, that “…that the universe was somehow prepared with our privileged species in mind…”, displays complete ignorance about the universe. The overwhelming majority of the volume of the universe (and even much of our planet) would kill Klingly instantly.

  11. @docbill – just do please refrain from telling us if the “glow of intention” develops into the “tumescence of signification” after the gin.

  12. Ken Phelps, even if drink does light up the “glow of intention” and develop into the “tumescence of signification,” a line in Shakespeare suggests nothing will come of it. Queried about what things drink provokes, the porter in *Macbeth* answers, “Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance. . . .”

  13. ID are a wondrous breed

    they will tell us that iD isn’t about god then deny all alternatives to god they will deny it has to be there god then start clearly invoking specifics that after a while look startlingly like their personal religious god

    but really think there greatest trick is against there real position as it is anti-Christian as to even conceive another god or whatever built this universe as this deny the power and authority of said being and as we know the Christian god is a jealous being indeed and doesn’t care for his authority being questioned even in the name of legality

  14. Eric Lipps

    @Mark: Or in some cases they’ve rejected that 96% (or 98%) figure, claiming (with no real justification) that the real number is much lower.

    Ugh. I’ve just linked o the ICR. I need a shower.

  15. The assertion that the universe is designed for us, the “privileged species”, is essentially a YEC point of view. A universe that was made 13.8 billion years before we came into being is patently not designed for us. If a designer wishes to make a universe specifically for humans, the designer would simply do it and poof us into existence at the same time. Even an omnipotent designer would get bored waiting billions of years for the conditions to become right for our existence.

    The YEC argument is better aligned with the argument that we are a privileged species living on a privileged planet. The DI has been overtaken by the glow of confusion.

  16. Ed says: “A universe that was made 13.8 billion years before we came into being is patently not designed for us.”

    Right. If the evidence suggests anything, it’s that the universe was designed for hydrogen.

  17. Once again:

    If the universe was designed for us. If the laws of physics were designed to make intelligent life possible …

    Why, then, does the production of life violate the second law of thermodynamics?

    Why does it take supernatural intelligence to increase the information in making DNA?

    Why is divine intervention needed to make Homo sapiens?

  18. It’s all part of the design, TomS.
    That’s why our dear SC doesn’t get it either.
    So our Universe is designed for hydrogen. Well, no hydrogen, no Homo Sapiens. QED.
    I can’t repeat it often enough: with IDiot logic you never can go wrong.

  19. @docbill1351
    Just think, over 20 years of research into “intelligent design” creationism and what do they have to show for it: glow of intention.
    Well, they’ve also announced Axes’s axiom:
    If I think it’s true, it must be true.

  20. michaelfugate

    The DI motto: Revelation scientia vincit

  21. Very nice tip of the hat to their wealthy donors being better people than those lottery-winning nouveau riche.

  22. DavidK identifies “Axes’s Axiom”:

    If I think it’s true, it must be true.

    Almost. But in Creationist circles, ‘thinking’ is frowned upon. I think the true axiom is

    If I intuit it’s true, it must be true.