Klinghoffer Praises Tom Bethell’s New Book

The newest post at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog is Tom Bethell’s Rebuke to Fellow Journalists: A Skeptical Look at Evolution Is Not Beyond Your Powers, written by Klinghoffer. He’s gushing like a schoolgirl over something written by Tom Bethell.

Although the Discoveroids publish his writing, and Wikipedia says Bethell advocates intelligent design along with other fringe ideas, he isn’t officially a Discoveroid — at least not yet. The last time we wrote about him was The Discoveroids’ Brilliant Question. Bethell’s question was whether there was even “one modern medical opinion that would be shown to be false if it were generally accepted that bodies are designed.” Before that we wrote Discovery Institute: Natural Selection Is a Fallacy (Bethell claims it’s a tautology).

The hot news today is that Bethell has written something new, and it thrills Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts from his post, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

The popular media’s attitude on evolution mixes several elements: loathing for the large part of the public that doubts the Darwinian narrative, preening at its own (presumed) superiority in grasping science, and a fawning reverence for evolutionary biologists. Added to this is an unwillingness to weigh the evidence for themselves, offering the excuse that the experts must know best, so why bother?

Journalists have been known to behave like idiots on various issues, but their contempt for creationism isn’t one of those. Klinghoffer then says:

Veteran journalist Tom Bethell’s new book offers a marvelous implicit rebuke on each of these points, but on the last in particular. In Darwin’s House of Cards: A Journalist’s Odyssey Through the Darwin Debates [Amazon link], he records his own investigation of the evidence, including interviews with lions of science and philosophy such as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin, Colin Patterson, and Karl Popper. Lo and behold, it’s not beyond the intellectual reach of a reporter to get to the bottom of the controversy and to estimate the plausibility of Darwin’s theory.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] How exciting! By the way, Amazon indicates that the book was published by the Discovery Institute Press — a powerful clue that it was rejected by all the non-vanity publishers.

Skipping some embarrassingly gushing paragraphs, Klinghoffer tells us:

He concludes that while confidence in the pillars of Darwinism — common descent and innovation through natural selection [Huh?] — hit their high-water mark at the celebration of the Origin of Species in 1959, the evidence has steadily and increasingly gone against the theory. The whole edifice rested on a 19th century faith in Progress, propped up by a dogmatic commitment to materialism. As the former falters, the whole structure is in danger of collapse.

Klinghoffer thinks that’s so important, he gives us a quote from Bethell’s book:

At the moment, I believe, the science of Darwinism amounts to little more than the “wedding” of materialism and Progress. We have seen that if materialism is true, then Darwinism — or something very much like it — must also be true. But materialism is highly improbable and has been widely challenged. At the same time it only takes one partner to break up a marriage, and as we know, Progress has wandered off the straight and narrow.

Yes, with all the evidence of supernatural phenomena, materialism is highly improbable. Klinghoffer continues:

Bethell’s own view of evolution is as a thoroughly unjustified extrapolation from meager evidence.


The vaunted fossil record is a mystery in evolutionary terms, with almost all known phyla having sprung into existence in a “twinkling” of perhaps five or six million years.


As time goes by, evolution explains less and less. Conundrums abound, and seem increasingly invulnerable to being solved — with any formula, that is, that excludes design.

We can’t take too much of this drivel, but here’s a little bit more:

Evolutionary science is in a depressed condition, despite all that the media do to put a bright face on the situation. They never tell you what biologists say behind closed doors, in their technical literature, or to a journalist with the temerity to ask difficult questions.


In fact, Darwin’s theory, of boundless novelty generated via stuff blindly swishing around together, fits few or none of the facts.

Okay, that’s enough. In conclusion, your Curmudgeon will make a bold prediction: The publication of Bethell’s book will be on the Discoveroids’ list of the Top Ten events for 2017. That means, dear reader, you have to hang around long enough to find out if we’re right.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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14 responses to “Klinghoffer Praises Tom Bethell’s New Book

  1. Christine Janis

    “[Amazon link],”

    But no “look inside” feature.
    Only one review so far —– maybe this is something waiting to happen?

  2. Michael Fugate

    Bethell is clearly a crackpot the DI could love.

    From an Amazon comment on Bethell’s book against relativity: “Bethell’s objection, however, at base is not scientific – it is religious. He equates “relativity” with “moral relativism.” This is similar to William Lane Craig’s objection to relativity. If there is no “privileged frame of reference,” then there is no God, because God must be the final reference in observation as well as morality, or so the thinking goes. “Relativity/relativism” conflicts with the moral absolutism required by religion, therefore, it must be wrong, despite all observations to the contrary.”

  3. Bethell is an idiot of monumental proportions. Wrong on every subject.

    Here’s his diagnosis from the Encyclopedia of American Loons:

    Diagnosis: An absolute moron who takes denialism and confirmation bias to the extreme (as if that needed saying) – he is, in PZ Myers’s words, a “gumbyesque crackpot” – who appears to try to promote wishful thinking as a valid form of inference (a rule that would of course be self-validating). His book remains relatively popular, and it is probably safe to say that Bethell is the epitome of what is wrong with the world.

  4. But there might be some light at the end of the tunnel. All the work Klinghoffer, en company have done in Texas hopefully will come to naught.
    Texas mulls changing science standards questioning evolution

  5. “Bethell’s own view of evolution is as a thoroughly unjustified extrapolation from meager evidence.”
    In reality the evidence for evolution is far from meager and is far, far more abundant than in Darwin’s day. In particular, it’s hard to ignore the molecular evidences for evolution, though K and buddies do it all the time.

    “The vaunted fossil record is a mystery in evolutionary terms, with almost all known phyla having sprung into existence in a “twinkling” of perhaps five or six million years.”
    Mystery? Why does the ID crowd focus so much on the appearance of animals (not a paleontologist, but K’s time-span is wrong), leaving out the plants and fungi? And what about the even broader diversity of protists in the hundreds of millions of years before the Cambrian? Sadly, evidence just doesn’t matter to this crowd.

  6. This is similar to William Lane Craig’s objection to relativity.

    Wow! I’ve known Bill Craig for years, and so I’m amazed that I somehow missed that one. I’ve heard many others use that lame argument but I wouldn’t have thought that of Craig. Do you happen to recall where you saw or heard that from WLC?

    I’m really surprised because it just doesn’t sound like him.

  7. Michael Fugate

    It was a random comment on the internet – who knows if it is true.

    Although one might infer something from this…

  8. Christine Janis
  9. About the early appearance of phyla as contrary to evolution.
    Apparently, creationists think that phyla should evolve later than lower-rank clades? But why don’t the creationists go for the undoubted fact that all of the domains appeared earliest of all? Or that kingdoms appeared before most of the phyla?

  10. It seems that with all of the focus on when the most ancient fossils first appear (so far) in exposed formations, creationists ignore that fact that despite their “sudden” appearance, the fossils continue to fit within the structure of common descent, or the “tree” of life.

    So what if some organisms now thought to be in different phyla appeared for the first time in the same layer of rock? Will we find ancestors? Maybe. Perhaps not. There is probably a point beyond which evidence will not be possible to find, or will be indirect at best. Maybe more sophisticated tools will push that date further back in time. But wherever that limit is, it does not mean that the oldest known layer was a creation event – that there was nothing before. It only means that detecting the traces of earlier life is, at present, beyond our capability.

    The fact remains that there is structure to life, and even those most ancient of known fossils exhibit features and commonalities with each other, indicative of a pattern of descent. Darwin recognized this in living organisms – and nothing in the fossil record or the modern sequencing of DNA has altered that basic premise. Creationists can write what they want, but reality remains unperturbed.

  11. Really, folks, Klingy deserves more credit than he gets. He’s right. It is not beyond the intellectual reach of a layman to get to the bottom of Da Controversy. I myself, a simple teacher of math and physics have done so. And what have I found? IDiocy is as thick as manure and half as useful.

  12. With Third Prof I don’t think WLC rejects Einsteinian Relativity. WLC knows a few things about physics and is probably aware that rejecting Relativity means rejecting the Big Bang, which plays an essential role in his version of the Cosmological Argument.

  13. Yes, mnbo’s post sounds much more like the Bill Craig I’ve known since he was in Campus Crusade.

  14. Michael Fugate

    Perhaps the author of that short note was confused. An interesting Rational Wiki on Schafly’s views of relativity…

    Here is Craig’s answer to the question: