Klinghoffer: Requiring Evidence Is Fascism


The Discovery Institute seems to have a never-ending grudge against Neil deGrasse Tyson. They posted a number of rants about him when the television series Cosmos: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY was being shown.

This just appeared at their creationist blog: #Rationalia? Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Authoritarian Daydream. 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. The graphic above this post is in his honor. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Dr. Tyson of Cosmos fame has come in for mockery after proposing a “virtual country” called #Rationalia.

A “virtual” country? That means it’s a suggestion for an internet phenomenon, not a real country. What’s Klinghoffer’s problem with that? He quotes something that looks like a tweet from Tyson:

Earth needs a virtual country: #Rationalia, with a one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence.

Seems harmless enough — but not to Klinghoffer. He says:

He’s even got some pictures of friends posing in what looks like a mash-up between police mug shots and The Hollywood Squares. That’s Dawkins at two down, three across, as a “Citizen of #Rationalia.”

Egad — one of the dozen people in the composite pic at Klinghoffer’s post is Richard Dawkins! He’s another of the Discoveroids’ numerous adversaries. Let’s read on:

Look, I know Tyson for all his popularity is not exactly a serious thinker, for better or worse, so I wouldn’t take this too seriously. It doesn’t, by itself, represent a move to authoritarianism on the part of the New Atheist or “skeptic” community.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! How could Tyson’s cyber country ever represent “a move to authoritarianism”? Klinghoffer continues:

It’s merely a daydream for Tyson, but as daydreams go, it is disturbing. “A one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence,” if it were imaginable in practice, would be a formula for scientistic quasi-fascism.

“Scientistic quasi-fascism”? Can Klinghoffer be serious? Well, such a policy would certainly exclude creationism, so we can understand the Discoveroids’ concern. Here’s more:

The problems are obvious. Who would weigh the relevant “evidence”? What about questions — the vast majority in government — that turn upon the application of values once the “evidence,” whatever there may be, is available?

Values? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Science is a process for learning about reality. Values are the province of moral philosophy. Moving along:

What about questions — extremely common — where the “evidence” is ambiguous?

That’s not unusual in science. In such cases, we look for more evidence. Why is Klinghoffer having so much of a problem with this? Another excerpt:

Tyson’s imaginary republic is an invitation to arbitrary, undemocratic rule.

Science isn’t a democracy. It isn’t arbitrary either. Klinghoffer’s post is truly bizarre, and it isn’t over yet:

Absolutely, follow the evidence where it leads, as you understand it, in your own intellectual and spiritual life. But to picture imposing that on others is a dictator’s impulse.

There’s so much wrong with that paragraph that we won’t even bother to expound on it. It would take too long and it isn’t necessary. Hey — if Klinghoffer wants to follow the evidence as he understands it in his spiritual life, he’s free to do so — wherever that leads him. But we don’t want to go there.

There’s more to Klinghoffer’s rant, but we’ll quit here. It’s fun to see how Tyson affects him.

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

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18 responses to “Klinghoffer: Requiring Evidence Is Fascism

  1. Ken Phelps

    OK, let me see if I have this straight. Perhaps my laptop has somehow mixed up the words. As I read it, David Klinghoffer, the one from the DI, has stated that Tyson isn’t a serious thinker. That David Klinghoffer. I dunno. It just seems all, how you say, whaaaaat?

  2. Curmy iterates one of my favorite lines: “Science isn’t a democracy.” Some of my idiot relatives seem to think that we sit around in the lab and vote on what our conclusions should be. The same folks also accept that science is a big conspiracy that is likely atheistic and immoral.. Hard to talk rationally with them, so I would like to join Tyson’s virtual country.

  3. Even though the Klingon has no evidence to go with any of his assertions, I’m sure Tyson would let him post a rant or two on #Rationalia.

  4. michaelfugate

    Sounds very postmodern, I wonder if Klinghoffer has between studying for a science studies degree? Maybe reading Steve Fuller?

  5. Chill out Dave. It’s not like Tyson outlined 5-, 10-, and 20-year plans to defeat materialism and evolution and remake America according to conservative Christian values. I mean no organization would do that, right?


  6. Charles Deetz ;)

    Tyson and John Lennon (“Imagine”) would put together a place I’d want to live. I don’t even want to think of the world Klingy would create, it probably involves a President Cruz. Yecch.

  7. Klinghoffer ain’t the only one to promote similar ideas in the past day or two. Try Trump Surrogate Dismisses Fact-Checking As ‘Elitist’ And ‘Out Of Touch’.

  8. Tyson is talking about a thought exercise, imo. Klink-klank can’t have that!

  9. Ah, yes, the “scientistic quasi-fascist” world of facts. Such a stifling world, even if it’s only virtual. There’s no place where a discoveroid can breath the free virtual air, free of the constraints of facts, free of the labor of collecting evidence. free of the stress that comes from finding that reality is not what you wish it were, and substituting your own.

    That cruel, mad Dr. Tyson. Even his amusements hurt the poor Kling, hurt him so. If only he, Kling, could be popular. If only he could make virtual countries, and have other popular people join him. If only he could rule them all, the hobbitses, the cruel, cruel hobbitses…. yes, yes….

    Oh, sorry. Getting a little too into character.

  10. Ahhh! Now I at last understand why Klinghoffer recently posted philippics against the “bullying authority” of the EU! I little doubt that, inspired by the insane Brexit imbroglio in The Britain Formerly Known as Great, the Discoveroids will soon announce their own global referendum in which everyone may make their mark on the following ballot paper:

    □ I wish to REMAIN in Reality
    □ I wish to LEAVE Reality

    Yes, it’s time for the Rexit Referendum!

    The confederated Creationists will of course be working for the Leave Reality campaign. They are fed up by the continuing infringement of our ancient and sacred sovereignty by the tyrannical laws of physics, which have been imposed on us, without the consent of Congress or Parliament, and are directly responsible for countless calamities from train wrecks and car crashes to ingrown toenails and male-pattern baldness. They will demand an end to the ‘laws’ of supply and demand, gravity, evolution, and the ageing process. And when we deny Reality its undemocratic and usurping powers, we will finally be liberated from worries about international terrorism, mass migration, famine, global warming, and the heartbreak of psoriasis!

    The Leave camp of the Rexit campaign will extend fraternal greetings to the folk of other lands who are even now working so diligently on their own Rexit-style flight from realities: Donald Trump, Vladi Putin, and Robert Mugabe, to name but a few. Their battle cry will be:

    Reality? Let’s Wreck It with Rexit!

    I could say much more on this, but right now I’ve got to go feed the unicorns.

  11. Come on guys, let’s give Klinkleclapper some credit. He openly admits that IDiocy is not about following the evidence – and hence not science.

  12. Dave Luckett

    Klingfilmer is using “thinker’ in a sense familiar to his DI colleagues, and also to fundamentalist creationists. By “thinker” he means something like “constructor of abstract ideological philosophy, unconstrained by physical reality”.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson is not a thinker by that definition. Nuclear physics and cosmology intransigently refuse to yield to such an approach, preferred though it may be in the intellectual world of Klunkcopper. Physicists are, alas, restricted to the mundane and the material, and cannot know the pleasures of unfettered pure reason, the poor momsers.

  13. constructor of abstract ideological philosophy, unconstrained by physical reality
    That is really being too generous to ID. For they are not constrained by logical consistency, either. And they do not construct anything as substantive as abstract ideological philosophy. What they are doing is best described as a social-political advertising campaign. “Who wants to be a monkey?”

  14. Megalonyx provides a list of woes: “terrorism, mass migration, famine, global warming, and the heartbreak of psoriasis!”

    You forgot the plague of mesothelioma.

  15. michaelfugate

    Adding to Megalonyx and TomS, they especially want to exit the Primates clade (Prexit?). How can we divorce ourselves from our ape, monkey, and lemur relatives?

  16. michaelfugate tentatively suggests the term


    Not bad, but sounds a bit like a snack food served alongside pretzels, peanuts, and Pringles.

    Maybe instead: Apexit (pronounced ‘Ape-zit’)? Or is that too close to ‘Apesh*t’?

  17. michaelfugate

    Here is Gary Yonge in the Guardian:

    One week ago, against the advice of its political establishment, Britain narrowly voted to leave the European Union. Within a few days, that establishment was in the process of a full-scale implosion: the country is effectively without government or opposition, shorn of leadership, bereft of direction. As the pound crashed and markets tanked, the chancellor of the exchequer went missing for three days while Boris Johnson, the most prominent member of the Leave campaign, spent the weekend not sketching out a plan for the nation’s future, but playing cricket and writing his column for the Telegraph. Having asserted its right to sovereignty, the country can now find nobody to actually run it.

    We have seen this happen to science when totalitarian regimes take over (e.g. Russia, Spain) and we can imagine the same if the DI won and implemented their wedge agenda. Comic frenzy among creationists to find a leader and then try to develop science policy would almost be worth it – almost.

  18. Aww…too bad. I was hoping The Curmudgeon would offer his unique insights on a recent ENV post. The post offers us a glimpse into what the world would be like with only Curmudgeonites in it. Charles Deetz take note.

    Well it’s nice to know that multiverse deniers will be welcomed into Rationalia. With constitutional rights no less!