Why the Discoveroids Get No Respect

Rodney Dangerfield

Rodney Dangerfield

In their struggle to get their “theory” of intelligent design accepted, despite the utter lack of evidence for any of its claims, the Discovery Institute has experienced only failure — which we described in Catalog of Discoveroid Creationist Catastrophes. They are so desperate to understand why they’ve had no success, they’re now turning to sociology to provide an explanation.

We see this clearly in a new post at their creationist blog: Evolution and the Insensitive Sandwich, written by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

David Brooks at the New York Times has taken a lot razzing for a column about social class signifiers and how they serve to insulate the upper middle class and exclude everyone else. He describes “insensitively” taking a friend to a fancy sandwich shop. The friend had “only a high school degree.”

Klinghoffer quotes from the “fancy sandwich shop” incident in the Brooks column, How We Are Ruining America:

Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

American upper-middle-class culture (where the opportunities are) is now laced with cultural signifiers that are completely illegible unless you happen to have grown up in this class. They play on the normal human fear of humiliation and exclusion. Their chief message is, “You are not welcome here.”

That, of all things, caused a light bulb to go on in Klinghoffer’s brain. He says:

Evolution is a theory of origins, but it’s much more than that. Adherence to it, even in the absence of any deep familiarity with its scientific meaning or the evidence for or against it, is also a powerful “cultural signifier.” There could hardly be any more powerful. … This needs to be understood in any discussion of evolution, intelligent design, and allied matters. Even more than intimidation through fear of being punished in one’s career, as a scientist, journalist, whatever, the threat of embarrassment – being associated with the deplorable “creationists” – is a highly effective weapon wielded by evolutionists.

After that brilliant insight, he tells us:

Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discover of evolution by natural selection and later a defector to intelligent design [resulting from mental deterioration in his dotage], did not possess Charles Darwin’s social ranking, and this affected the reception he received from England’s ladies and gentlemen. … Probably, Wallace would not have known how to order a “Padrino” or a “Pomodoro” if his life depended on it.

Klinghoffer quotes a few social commentators. We’ll skip that stuff because it’s irrelevant to everything. Then he continues:

It always amazes me how thoughtful people seem not to see this – the urgent need to be and be seen as “above the herd” — at work in themselves, how it shapes their thinking about range of subjects. When personal prestige is at stake, the mental picture of yourself that you carry around in your head, personal blindness is the rule, not the exception.

Your Curmudgeon will not attempt to speculate about Klinghoffer’s mental image of himself in this context. But it’s interesting that he imagines this strange line of thought is relevant to the Discoveroids’ struggle. Now we come to his final paragraph:

The terror of being “stained” by lower class associations plays an enormous but widely unacknowledged role in maintaining discipline among the upper middle class. You see this in politics, religion, the media, academia, and yes, science, and not least in anything to do with evolution.

We’d like to think that this is the Discoveroids’ last desperate attempt to explain the failure of their “theory” to gain acceptance. But maybe there’s something else going on here. The Discoveroids could be trying to establish some kind of linkage to the great mass of uneducated people so they can harness their resentment. Yes, that could be it. Imagine a rebellion by creationists, wielding their torches and pitchforks, as they attempt to overthrow their sneering evolutionist overlords. And Klinghoffer will lead them. Oh yeah!

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

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12 responses to “Why the Discoveroids Get No Respect

  1. Michael Fugate

    Given that almost everyone has a cell phone – basically a mobile computer – one could simply search for the items on the menu. It is not about class, but the willingness to learn and experience something new – to step out of your comfort zone. I know people with PhDs who travel to foreign countries and eat at McDonalds. Oh and by the way David Brooks is a git.

  2. Eric Lipps

    I actually wrote a letter to the editor regarding Brooks’s op-ed, in which I noted that what he called the “college-educated class” (which is what he starts out blaming for “ruining America”) isn’t the same as the “upper middle class” against whom he rails later on for supposedly pulling up the ladder of privilege after themselves and their children. (I’m college-educated, for example, but don’t earn nearly enough money to qualify as “upper-middle-class,”)

    What I didn’t point out was how neatly the columnist’s tirade fit with Rev. Ray Mummert’s lament after the Dover decision that “[we’ve] been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture,” If it’s considered a negative to be intelligent and educated, this country is in a lot of trouble.

  3. Michael Fugate

    Reps Dems
    Churches 73/14 50/36
    Banks 46/37 33/54
    Labor Unions 33/46 59/22
    News Media 10/85 44/46
    Higher Education 36/58 72/19
    % who say each has a positive/negative effect on the ways things are going in the US.


  4. Klinghoffer, in his zeal to posthumously enlist Wallace as a Disco’Tute Fellow, is as ignorant about that man as he is about virtually every other topic to which he applies his pathetic pen.

    Highly recommended article, from this past weekend’s Guardian: ‘Tired of medals’: new letters reveal how Alfred Russel Wallace shunned Darwin’s fame

    Short sample from the above:

    Sandra Knapp, head of algae, fungi and plants at the Natural History Museum, agreed that the notion Wallace was robbed of his place in history is a myth. “There’s a caricature of these scientists sitting in their room trying to scoop everyone else or being totally socially dysfunctional,” she said. “If people were to look a bit more carefully they’d ask who coined the word Darwinism? Wallace.”

    Knapp has welcomed the renewed interest in Wallace’s work. “Wallace was such a character,” she said. “He’s like your grumpy friend down the street who won’t come to any of these functions where they could make friends and influence people.”

    And what would Wallace make of recent efforts to restore him to his rightful place in history? “I think he’d be a bit indifferent,” said Beccaloni. “Like being given every single important medal in Britain, he was just a bit exasperated by it.”

  5. Doctor Stochastic

    Unschooled Italian kids would have known the names of the sandwiches.

  6. Mark Germano

    Why bother living if you don’t know the ingredients of the basic Italian hero?

  7. “Oh and by the way David Brooks is a git.”

    I am *very* skeptical about that. Please provide 3 references showing where Brooks has been promoted up at least two levels. His columns are routinely insipid right wing apologetics and the NYT editorial board is stunningly dumb for continuing to pay him for his idiot column.

  8. “Klinghoffer’s mental image of himself”
    Unfortunately George A Romero has died.

  9. Skeptical Servant

    The Discovery Institute is posting more crazy stuff over someone opinion while I don’t agree with this person they should not just judge all people who believe in evolution agree with this.


  10. “soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette.” Oh yes please. I can never eat enough Speck when snowboarding in Austria.

  11. I couldn’t help noticing that he seems to have stopped posting links to all his bulls**t on Twitter. Surely he is proud of all the articles he keeps writing.

  12. Karl, I think the issue is that when he posts on Twitter, he is extremely in his ability to curate the responses. Once it’s out there, it’s out there, and he has to deal with anyone who responds.