Klinghoffer Says ‘Go With Your Feelings’

This is a strange one from the Discovery Institute, but that’s not surprising. Everything they churn out these days is strange. It appears at their creationist blog: Scientists Aren’t Exempt from Feelings, Any More Than the Public Is.

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. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Amanda Freise makes a fine point in a post for Scientific American, It’s Time for Scientists to Stop Explaining So Much. [It’s an article at their blog.] She’s a PhD student in molecular and medical pharmacology at UCLA and has evidently made a study of research on science communication. She concludes that scientists shouldn’t be shocked if loading more technical information on the public doesn’t dissuade them from skeptical views on certain controversial issues.

We’ve all seen that nothing will change a creationist’s mind. Does Klinghoffer agree? We’ll find out:

She doesn’t mention evolution, but she could have done so. Freise explains that many of her colleagues still hold a “widely discredited” idea, the “deficit model,” which says that if only people could be supplied with enough of the right information, they would come around and believe what they are supposed to. It’s not so, however.

Very true. That’s what keeps the Discoveroids in business. Then he quote from the Scientific American blog article, but we haven’t verified the quote:

There are other approaches to communication which provide alternative methods to opening dialogue with skeptical audiences. For instance, contextualization suggests that science must be presented in the context of a person’s values, beliefs, and personal experience. Scientists accustomed to making decisions purely based on evidence, without the influence of feelings or personal values, may find this to be an onerous task.

It’s difficult to imagine trying that with a creationist. What is Klinghoffer going to do with this? His post is chaotic, and we’re still not sure. See if you can figure it out:

I don’t expect that Amanda Freise will be sympathetic to this — after all, she seems more interested in redirecting skepticism toward an embrace of orthodoxy [Hee hee!] — but engaging with “personal experience” is exactly what some of the best evolutionary skeptics do.

Ah yes, the “best evolutionary skeptics” — presumably the Discoveroids — like to engage with personal experience. That’s how science should be done! Klinghoffer continues:

Advocates of intelligent design appeal to the daily observation that only intelligent agents generate information of the kind we find in computer code, magazine articles, and the like, the very same kind of information we find in DNA.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! DNA is just like a magazine article! Here’s more:

Douglas Axe in his new book, [link omitted], shows that the intuition of design in nature is valid, being based on our “personal experience” of how expertise is brought to bear in invention. As he points out, a bed is not made, an omelet is not made, unless someone makes them. It’s no different with organisms: with the design of an orca, a spider, or a crane.

No comment necessary. Moving along:

In the evolution controversy, the context we know best, here’s how the dynamic works. So much hinges on the dread of “creationism.” No one should ever forget the power of that scare word, “creationist,” with all it implies by way of not only scientific but social opprobrium. Though ID is emphatically not creationism, being called “creationists” is something ID proponents face every day. This is the major way in which the orthodox, including scientists, confuse the public in order to tamp down dissent and skepticism.

It’s good to know that being called creationists really bothers the Discoveroids. We intend to continue calling them such — because that’s what they are. Another excerpt:

In the minds of many, in science and in the media, merely to question the evidence that Darwinian processes explain life is to shame and taint yourself through association with “creationism.” Of course this would make even Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discoverer with Darwin of the theory of evolution by natural selection, a “creationist.”

Wallace was a creationist, at least late in his life — see Discoveroids Adopt Alfred Wallace as Godfather. On with the article:

However absurd, the term “creationist” is an effective prophylactic against thought, which is why, if I had my way, it would be retired from all discussion. Language should clarify and distinguish, not muddy and blur. Any lower standard is a hallmark of propaganda.

Creationism is a “prophylactic against thought.” And now we come to the end:

But propaganda is effective even with scientists. No, they are hardly more exempt from the “influence of feelings” than the public is. Recognizing that, and its flipside — that intuition can sometimes be valid, cutting through reams of obscure technical data — would help advance the conversation about evolution. Maybe about some other controversies in science, too.

Feelings, intuition, and personal experience. That’s the method humanity used to practice, before the Age of Enlightenment. And it’s still the preferred method of the Discoveroids.

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

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18 responses to “Klinghoffer Says ‘Go With Your Feelings’

  1. Scientists accustomed to making decisions purely based on evidence, without the influence of feelings or personal values, may find this to be an onerous task.

    Oh, bloody hell. You’re not saying, Klinghoffer, that scientists try to base their judgements on purely objective evidence, are you? The swine!

    Or are you saying, Klinghoffer, that relying on purely objective evidence is a poor tactic when it comes to winning over the US public, who know a knucklehead when they see him and sure do love him for his knuckleheadness?

  2. michaelfugate

    Not like the terms “Darwinist”, “materialist”, “atheist” are used to shut down thought and discussion?

    If ID is not creationism, then what is it? Is the designer just a human limited to working with materials already in place – a conscious substitute for the unconscious RM+NS?

    And the thing from Axe about beds – standard Christian apologetics – the argument from design. Once again ignoring the Enlightenment….

  3. michaelfugate says:

    Not like the terms “Darwinist”, “materialist”, “atheist” are used to shut down thought and discussion?

    You forgot that they also call us bullies, propagandists, lobbyists, and secularists.

  4. Not to mention “Social Darwinists”, eugenicists, racists, …

  5. Yes, the ‘deficit model’ as applied to science was also discussed in a book I’d previously referenced, “Fool Me Twice, Fighting the Assault on Science in America” by Otto. Why more facts and knowledge do not always sway people to accept science as they have pre-conceived ideas on which they base their lives and are threatened by anything that might change those ideas.

  6. Holding The Line In Florida

    Barf!!!! That is all I can say! As the Klingster says, I am going with my feelings! Retire Creationist? Oh the horror!! What would they call themselves?

  7. This time, I think the Discoveroids are at least half right. If you want to change people’s minds, then you should indeed appeal to what you call, summarising their argument, “feelings, intuition, and personal experience”. For example, we all know about family resemblances, making it easy, indeed child’s play, to explain that lions and tigers and the pussycat next door are similar because they are closely related.

    If they resist evolution because they feel that accepting it would make life meaningless, they are not being irrational. It is perfectly rational to exact extremely high standards of proof for a conclusion that has such major consequences. In this situation, the best strategy may be to lower the stakes by pointing to all the people who accept evolution while living happy, productive, and indeed if relevant religiously devout lives.

    Intuition, however, does present a special problem. As Bertrand Russell points out in his essay, Mysticism and Logic, it is within the domain of common experience that it has the greatest credibility. In everyday affairs, intuition may represent the informal wisdom of experience. However, intuition tells us that we are standing still on solid ground, that animals and vegetables are different kinds, that space is Euclidean, that the heavens are unchanging, and that an object will eventually come to rest if no force is acting on it, none of which is true.

    Scientists, of course, are as likely to have their judgements distorted by feelings, intuition and personal experience as anyone else. As an example, I would cite the long resistance of mainstream geologists to the basic concepts of plate tectonics, for decades after Wegener proposed continental drift, and Arthur Holmes had described the basic driving mechanism. Ideally, scientists should rise above such distortions of judgement. In reality, they only do so when forced to by their colleagues.

  8. And I say to Klinghoffer: “Go! And take your feelings with you!”

  9. Ken Phelps

    On the plus side, those special DI “thought condoms” don’t exactly need to waste a lot of valuable latex on reservoir tips.

  10. Richard Bond

    Paul Braterman: I am delighted to see you accord proper credit to Arthur Holmes for the theory of plate tectonics. As someone who understood the physics, he got the basic mechanism right, which Wegener did not. What is more, while Wegener (primarily a meteorologist), did not really put his reputation on the line by speculating about geophysics, Holmes took the high-risk route of serious heterodoxy. An excellent account of the controversy and Holmes’s battle with orthodoxy is given by Richard Fortey in The Earth: An Intimate History.

  11. Thanks. I don’t know if you are familiar with his amazing 1931 Glasgow Geological Society paper. I wrote about it here: https://paulbraterman.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/the-deep-roots-of-intelligent-design-creationism-pt-ii-of-kelvin-rutherford-and-the-age-of-the-earth/ and it is also accessible through the Wikipedia article on Holmes. He was also among the first (although the neglected Boltwood, coresponding with Rutherford, was earlier) to carry out radiometric dating, and was largely responsible for seeing this generally adopted

  12. Amanda Friese makes an excellent point about communication. The best science communicators speak in a language that resonates with their listeners. Carl Sagan, for example, was almost poetic in his descriptions of nature, and he captivated his audience. He wove science and the effect scientific discoveries had on ordinary life into a single coherent message.

    Klinghoffer and Axe mislead in that they attempt to confuse the way science might be communicated, (in this case by an appeal to the audience’s intuition) with the way science itself is conducted. This is, of course, the only thing they can do, since ID is not science and has no hard data upon which it is based. Intuition is all they have, so they are trying to legitimize it as a basis for the science itself.

    Sometimes Klinghoffer appears to have drunk the Kool-aid and believes what he writes, but in this case I think he is lying, pure and simple. After years of trying to convince their audience that they are a legitimate, evidence based science, the 180 degree turn to intuition cannot possibly be due to any sudden conclusion that it is true. The shift is only a change in marketing strategy, and their attempt to sell it is knowingly dishonest.

  13. “Language should clarify and distinguish”
    That’s exactly why we call you a creationist, Klinkleclapper.
    1. You accept Paley’s False Watchmaker Analogy.
    2. You accept the God of the Gaps.
    3. You reject Evolution Theory.
    Nothing ambiguous here.

  14. michaelfugate

    Is this just an excuse for the DI not to provide any evidence for ID?

  15. docbill1351

    Re: Axe and Kladiddlehopperklinkerflopperwallawallabingbang

    They appear to have dropped a major Toot plank: follow the evidence, follow the data wherever it leads. Now, it’s follow your heart! Clap for Tinkerbell! I think I can, I think I can!

    Soon, can we expect a duet of “Let It Go?”

  16. Eric Lipps

    Though ID is emphatically not creationism, being called “creationists” is something ID proponents face every day.

    Gee, I can’t imagine why. Surely it couldn’t be because “ID proponents” argue for a supreme Designer indistinguishable from God who created the universe and all that is therein in a manner indistinguishable from the Genesis account.

  17. There was the question asked recently here as to why we are interested in ID advocates who call themselves “creationists”. Does that contributor still wonder?

  18. Ken Ham’s calls himself a creationist, Ken Miller calls himself a crestionist, but David Klinghoffer won’t call himself a creationist?