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!
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