The Discovery Institute’s Glorious Struggle

This is simultaneously one of the strangest and most revealing posts we’ve ever seen at the creationist blog of the Discovery Institute. 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 title is A View of the World Fueled by “Nothing Special”. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Everything we talk and write about here at Evolution News is unified by our common defiance of a persuasive but damaging view of the world. The worldview we critique is unified by the attitude that everything human beings have held to be precious really isn’t special at all.

Okay, that’s the big picture. Then he refers to some Discoveroid articles that critique your view of the world, about which he says:

In other works [sic], people are nothing special. By the same token, Darwinian evolution dispenses a narrative whereby dead compounds generated life by a series of chance happenings involving matter and energy. Thus microbes led to man. Nothing in this chain of being is special. Our planet isn’t special, either. According to this same line of thinking, countless parallel Earths exist, including exoplanets inhabited by living, even intelligent beings.

How dreary! We’re nothing special. But the Discoveroids want to be special, so they know you’re wrong. Klinghoffer tells us:

Just as the winner of a state lottery is nobody special, at least not by virtue of having won a lottery, our universe, our planet, us — none of this is precious. None of it occurred by design. None of it means anything in an ultimate sense. As atheist Bill Nye has memorably put it, speaking for the human race:

[Purported quote from Bill Nye:] I am just another speck of sand. And the earth really in the cosmic scheme of things is another speck. And the sun, an unremarkable star, nothing special about the sun. … And the galaxy is a speck. I’m a speck on a speck orbiting a speck among other specks among still other specks in the middle of specklessness! I suck!

Klinghoffer doesn’t provide a source for that alleged statement by Nye, so we searched around trying to verify it, but without success. It doesn’t matter, we’re dealing with the Discoveroids. Klinghoffer continues:

“I suck”: that is the anthem of the Nothing Special movement that seeks to do away with what Wesley Smith calls human exceptionalism. Science — junk science — is a vehicle for the drive to wipe out the idea of mankind’s special status in the world, along with the unique responsibilities that brings with it. Politics and history are other vehicles.

You advocate what Klinghoffer refers to as “junk science,” dear reader. Let’s read on:

Because after all, not only do I suck, but so do you, and so does our country. Our friend and colleague Michael Medved’s upcoming book [link omotted] takes on the Nothing Special view as applied to U.S. history. That history is chockfull of what can only be called the uncanny, suggesting the working out of a preconceived plan.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] American history is part of the Great Plan of the designer — blessed be he! Now Klinghoffer puts it all together:

Between the view that says, about everything it sees, “That sucks, we suck, I suck,” and the opposite view, there lies a great chasm. And what should we call that opposite view? There’s no more accurate descriptor than “intelligent design.”

Isn’t this thrilling? Another excerpt:

Between these opposing perspectives, a battle of ideas is being fought. Once it might have been fought over the battleground of religion, philosophy, politics — or literally over a battlefield, between armies of soldiers employing weapons of war. Today, because the prestige of science casts all else in its shadow, the fight is over science.

Yes — science is the enemy! And now we come to the end:

It’s a depressed teenager’s nihilism — but proved by science! — versus an exalted picture of the cosmos and our place in it. Few us are untouched by the demoralizing belief that nothing’s special. It’s powerfully ascendant in our culture, so how could we be unmoved by it? Who is right? Who will prevail? On that question, it seems to me, the future of our culture depends.

The Discoveroids are obviously on the right side, and you, dear reader, are horribly misguided. In the alleged words of Bill Nye … well, you know.

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

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17 responses to “The Discovery Institute’s Glorious Struggle

  1. Oooh, the Michael Medved book sounds to be worth stealing. I well remember his proud declaration (when discussing Plan 9 from Outer Space) that he and his research team had looked everywhere and could find no evidence that there’d ever been such a person as Konstantin Tsiolkovski (the movie’s dedicatee).

    Out of interest, I checked the seven nearest likely reference books in the room where I was sitting at the time, and found Tsiolkovski in every single one of them. So, essentially, Medved lied not because he had to or with any purpose, but simply because he wanted to.

    What a historian he must surely be . . . which is why I can’t wait to read his book.

  2. You know who also isn’t special? That’s right, our very own Klopperflopper.

    He wasn’t special when he was reprimanded at Brown for writing a racist article in the school newspaper, losing his position as resident hall advisor to boot. He wasn’t special when he was fired from the National Review for being, what, more extreme than John Birch. (I have no idea what kind of offense you have to commit to be fired from the National Review!) And he’s not special as an insignificant blogger for a creationist propaganda website.

    So, as usual, Klinkerstinker projects his own insecurity, well-earned inadequacy, social ostracization and failures on a “worldview” that nobody is special. If Kankerstanker can’t be special, nobody gets to be special!

    Guess what, Kneshellnotspecial, you ain’t special. No participation ribbon for you!

  3. Eddie Janssen

    Whether humans are special or not, it doesn’t change anything about human achievements. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez remains a brilliant book, even if half the planets in the universe are inhabited by intelligent beings.

  4. michaelfugate

    This is the Steve Fuller argument – it is not that creationism is true (and creationists know it isn’t), it is that creationism is supposed as a more uplifting narrative. It is supposed that it give us purpose – a reason to do science, history and art. We need to lie to common people so they will want to get up in the morning and go to work. Bollocks.

  5. This is just the whining of a terribly insecure individual – nothing more.

  6. @resalthog: Well, maybe Medved was just being coy. When I Googled “Konstantin Tsiolkovski”, This came up:

    “Showing results for Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
    Search instead for Konstantin Tsiolkovski”

    But to the main theme of Klinghoffer’s rantings — why does the DI insist everything must be “intelligently designed” in order to be “special”? After all, if the existence of life, etc. depends on an “Intelligent Designer” (blessed or otherwise), He/She/or It could make living things pop up all over the place with just the snap of a Finger — nothing special at all.

    On the other hand, if life came about without intelligent aid, now that IS something special.

  7. @retiredsciguy

    Obviously both transliterations are “correct,” as you’d have found had you clicked “Search instead for Konstantin Tsiolkovski.” Interestingly, Wikipedia uses the “Tsiolkovsky” spelling in its entry head yet the entry’s url is

  8. “As atheist Bill Nye has memorably put it…”

    Once again, the beliefs of others are extremely relevant to the conversation and must be mentioned at every turn. The particular beliefs of everyone at the DI, however, are inconsequential.

  9. michaelfugate

    The DI motto – “if someone doesn’t tell me what to believe, think, do, I won’t know what to believe, think, do; I do not have the ability to do it for myself.”

  10. @retiredsciguy

    Sorry, that sounded snippy, which wasn’t my intention. What I meant was that, if you’d clicked “Search instead for Konstantin Tsiolkovski,” you’d have found that, while “Tsiolkovsky” is in the majority, there are plenty of “Tsiolkovski” preferences.

  11. In the universe we are nothing. But if ID created in the universe we are still nothing! Also if ID is true then the ID dude is one messed up incompetent ahole!

  12. Our friend and colleague Michael Medved’s upcoming book [link omotted] takes on the Nothing Special view as applied to U.S. history. That history is chockfull of what can only be called the uncanny, suggesting the working out of a preconceived plan.

    I’ve heard this “America’s history proves we’re God’s chosen nation” argument before, from, among others, Pat Robertson. Generally it takes lucky breaks in U.S. history (every nation has them) and inflates them into the “uncanny,” that is, miracles. Misfortunes, on the other hand, are taken as the work of Satan and his worshippers (communists, atheists, Darwinists, “secular humanists,” whoever), or as divine punishment for allowing such acolytes to escape the rack and the stake.

  13. Klinkleclapper proclaims:
    – Just as the winner of a state lottery is nobody special.
    – “I suck”: that is the anthem of the Nothing Special movement.
    I yet have to meet the first winner of any lottery who at the moment of hearing this news utters “I suck”.

    “That sucks, we suck, I suck,”
    Klinkleclapper is heading in the right direction. It’s
    “IDiocy sucks, the Discotute sucks, Klinkleclapper sucks.”
    Badly, if I may add.

  14. I found the Bill Nye quote (suck is noticeably absent and there are additions and omissions, and meaning is taken out of context)

    My opinion: Whether evolution and natural selection created us or some Grand Ol’ Designer why would change if humans are special? Does Klinghoffer mean we aren’t special compared to other animals? Or does he think we aren’t special because we don’t have a celestial Father to dote over us and love us? Life is rare in the universe and exceptionally fragile, I’d suggest Klinghoffer underestimates how precious we really are.

    Really the theist’s/creationist’s notion that we are special by our mere existence is not very productive. We should attempt to stand out by what we are doing, not just the fact that we exist.

  15. So Klink considers being something else’s creation – plaything, hobby, whatever we are to that thing – is special.

    On the other hand – taking the lottery winning of having evolved intelligence and using that intelligence to create civilization, art, science, and explore the universe – is not special.

    To derive one’s sense of self-worth from the idea of being created by something else is really sad. If Kling wasn’t such an a-hole, I would feel sorry for him.

  16. Klinghoffer got exactly one thing right in his entire screed when he clearly stated “I suck”. His entire personal history exactly matches his description.