Discoveroid Günter Bechly Has Been ‘Erased’

Look at the title of the Discovery Institute’s latest post: Wikipedia Erases Paleontologist Günter Bechly. O the horror!

We’ve written about Bechly before — see Discoveroids: Evolution’s Story Keeps Changing — and in that post we quoted from Wikipedia’s article on him. But now, if you try that link, all you’re told is: “Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name.”

We’re rather fond of the guy, because he mentions us at his website, where he says:

I despise the dogmatic and sometimes even fanatical stance of some evolutionists like P.Z. Myers (Pharyngula blog), Laurence Moran (Sandwalk blog), Jeffrey Shallit (Recursivity blog), Jerry Coyne (Why Evolution is True blog), freelance writer John Farrell, the anonymous coward behind The Sensuous Curmudgeon blog, and other infamous web activists against Intelligent Design and religion. [Emphasis supplied.]

Anyway, let’s find out from the Discoveroids what happened at Wikipedia. Their new post 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 for emphasis:

Günter Bechly is a distinguished paleontologist, specializing in fossil dragonflies, exquisitely preserved in amber for tens of millions of years. After revealing his support for the theory of intelligent design, he was pushed out as a curator at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany. He subsequently joined Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture as a Senior Fellow. Now we learn that our colleague has suffered another act of censorship: he has been erased from Wikipedia, ostensibly for not being “notable” enough.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s a cruel world! Klinghoffer says:

This is a big deal, and a reminder of a key dynamic in the debate about ID. What the public hears about that debate is often highly misleading. That’s for a number of reasons, including media distortion, dishonest attributions of “creationism” to ID proponents, and a refusal by most professional scientists who oppose ID to respond to the theory on its scientific merits.

The “scientific merits” of intelligent design “theory.” Lordy, lordy. This is wonderful! Then he says:

The discussion of design evidence is affected as well by an absence of voices that, in a sensible world, would be in the thick of it. Those voices, a ghost chorus, belong to scholars sympathetic to ID who keep out of the controversy because they’re aware they will be punished if they speak up. We know many of them, and keep private channels of communication open. At Evolution News [the Discoveroids’ creationist blog], we have documented a range of instances of censorship and intimidation. Rarely, though, do the censors reveal themselves as clearly as in the case of Wikipedia versus Bechly.

After ranting for several paragraphs about the anonymous editors at Wikipedia, Klinghoffer tells us:

What’s there to be done? Fight the editors on their own pages? No, that’s a waste of time. We’ve tried. But do share this with friends, as widely as possible, so that perhaps readers will take the online encyclopedia with a pinch of skepticism next time.

And that’s it, except for a link to a Discoveroid “documentary.” So what do we make of this? To get the complete picture, we went to Wikipedia and searched for “Sensuous Curmudgeon.” Guess what? They don’t have a write up for your Curmudgeon! Like Bechly, we’re an unperson (see Wikipedia’s List of Newspeak words). But so what? Bechly mentions us at his blog, and we mention him at ours. It all seems to balance out.

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

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44 responses to “Discoveroid Günter Bechly Has Been ‘Erased’

  1. Ceteris Paribus

    I looked up ” Günter Bechly ” on the web and discovered that the problem of losing track of the Herr Bechly was caused merely a slip in translation. Klinghoffer need only revise his script to read his friend as ” Gunter Bechly

    Such problems always seem to crop up in Discoveroid Speak. By now they should be more careful. Another handy piece of syntax for the Discovery people to remember when protesting perceived slights is that “when dangling, watch your participles”

  2. Crazy Gunter says “the anonymous coward behind The Sensuous Curmudgeon blog”. A notable reference indeed.

  3. Michael Fugate

    Klinghoffer says, “After revealing his support for the theory of intelligent design, he was pushed out as a curator at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany.”

    Bechly says, “After resigning from my job at SMNS in December 2016 I am still actively working as a paleontologist and publish my research in peer-reviewed scientific journals.”

    Which is true? Was Bechly a subject or an object?

    And what a load of crap the rest of his commentary on ID is – buzz words of which he has no idea of their meaning.

    Then there is this from a blog post:
    https://gbechly.jimdo.com/2016/03/14/substantial-forms-explained/#commentsModule11006816449

    Note:
    It is important to understand that all substantial forms, except for human rational soul, are not created by supernatural intervention of God, but are educed by material substances from the passive potentiality of matter (e.g. the substantial form of water is educed from hydrogen and oxygen atoms, where it existed only in potentia). The reason is that all these substantial forms depend for their existence on the material substance they inform, and they go out of existence when the substance ceases to exist (e.g. in water hydrolysis).

    Only the human rational soul can survive the end of existence (death) of its animated body, because one of its functions is the grasping of universals qua universals, which in principle cannot be instantiated in matter, because for example the instantiation of universal of dogness in matter simply IS a dog. Therefore, the rational soul has an immaterial aspect, so that it does not fully depend on matter. Consequently, it cannot be naturally educed from matter but has to be created directly by God.

    Nonsense piled on nonsense.

  4. Gosh, if writing anonymously makes one a coward, what do we call someone who Intelligently Designs anonymously?

    Oh right … IMAGINARY … got it now.

  5. Ross Cameron

    ‘Those voices, a ghost chorus, belong to scholars sympathetic to ID who keep out of the controversy because they’re aware they will be punished if they speak up.’ Early Xians were praised for throwing themselves to the lions in an arena. Looks like that courage has departed from the present crop of Xians.

  6. Michael Fugate

    Amen Ross, nothing like standing up for your beliefs, is there?

  7. Congrats. SC ! You have to “be someone” to be a creationist target.

  8. Derek Freyberg

    @Ceteris Paribus:
    If you do a Google search for the good Dr. Bechly, the Wikipedia entry shows up at the top of the hit list; but if you click on the link, you get the “this entry has been deleted” message. Klingy, for once, is not making it up.

  9. “It is important to understand that all substantial forms, except for human rational soul, are not created by supernatural intervention of God, but are educed by material substances from the passive potentiality of matter…”

    Isn’t that just a philosophically flatulent way of saying “evolution did it”?

  10. What of the authors, under the pseudonym “Plubius”, of the Federalist Papers?

    Or several anonymous books of the
    Bible?

  11. Mark Germano

    He shows up on the Wikipedia page for “Bechly,” under “Notable people with the surname Bechly.”

  12. Michael Fugate

    Cindy Lou Who: Atheist editor, why? Why are you taking down our Gunter Bechly Wikipedia article? Why?
    Narrator: But do you know, that old pagan was so smart and so slick, that he thought up a lie and he thought it up quick.
    Editor: Why my sweet little tot…
    Narrator: The old heathen lied…
    Editor: …there’s an analogy in it that won’t quite make sense. So I’m taking it home to my workshop, my dear. I’ll fix it up there, then I’ll bring it back here.
    Narrator: And his fib fooled the child. Then he patted her head, he got her a drink, and he sent her to bed. And when Cindy Lou Who was in bed with her juice, he crept to his keyboard and cut the link loose.

  13. Wow! Writing this fantastic blog while managing the Boston Red Sox! How do you do it, Curmy?

    By the way, good luck in post-season play. My son-in-law is a BIG fan!

  14. Bechly’s German page is very intact.

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BCnter_Bechly

    Possibly German is not intelligently enough designed for Klinkleclapper.

  15. Bechly’s German page contains no hint that he was sacked from the museum. It also says that he explicitly claims not have promoted ID-creationism in the course of his museum work, nor in his other scientific work.

  16. SC:
    My email seems to have bounced, but:
    http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/local/new-mexico/2017/10/10/los-alamos-lab-scientists-assail-new-mexico-science-education-proposal/751446001/

    Did you see this? I had no idea this was going on. Albuquerque Public Schools are pushing back, too.

  17. M Fugate – Thanks for that quote.
    “…the instantiation of universal of dogness in matter simply IS a dog.”

    It’s all clear now. Rover has a soul, and will be reunited with Grandma in Heaven!

    Or maybe we’re just matter. He wasn’t actually all that clear.

  18. Will this earn Wikipedia the coveted Censor of the Year award?

  19. KeithB asks: “Did you see this?”

    I’ve been aware of it. NCSE has posted about it — see Opposition to proposed standards solidifies in New Mexico. At this point it’s just another crazy school board squabble, so I haven’t bothered about it.

  20. Our friend Günter is a bit two faced, translated into English from the German Wikipedia page, “Bechly is a believing Catholic Christian who rejects Naturalism and represents the intelligent design hypothesis with regard to biological origins. However, he explicitly points out that he does not promote these positions either in his previous work as museum staff or in his paleontological specialist publications.”
    I suppose most successful theistic scientists do this split mind mambo where they save the b.s. for Sunday, but act like scientists the rest of the week.

  21. retiredsciguy says: “Wow! Writing this fantastic blog while managing the Boston Red Sox! How do you do it, Curmy?”

    What??????????

  22. John Farrell is the name of the Red Sox manager. Bechley’s paragraph on fanatics and cowards is poorly designed.

  23. Michael Fugate

    John Farrell was the Red Sox’ manager until yesterday….
    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/20988965/boston-red-sox-manager-john-farrell-return-2018

  24. John Farrell wrote a great review (awful to the Tooters) of Darwin’s Doubt. Raked it over the coals. The Gerb squeaked, but nothing came of it. Farrell wiped the literary floor with him.

    As for Blechley, Google has the Wiki page cached. It’s mostly harmless. Here’s a gem from the Blech himself:

    I am a Roman Catholic Christian, supernaturalist, and immaterialist. I strongly oppose atheism, materialism, naturalism, and scientism. I have not become a Christian in spite of being a scientist but because of it. My conversion was based on a critical evaluation of empirical data and philosophical arguments, following the evidence wherever it leads. I reject the Neodarwinian theory of evolution and support Intelligent Design theory for purely scientific reasons.[11]

    In short, he had a mental breakdown, a prime requirement for being a Tooter Fellow.

  25. support Intelligent Design theory
    Does this mean that he describes an alternative to evolutionary biology? Some rules for the way that life operates, without mentioning common descent with variation (or some other evolutionary concept) so that we end up with the pattern of the “tree of life”?
    (Note that I do not insist on “scientific reasons”. Just something comprehensible, mostly consistent.)

  26. Michael Fugate

    Here is what Bechly says:
    Even though, Intelligent Design theory is in principle compatible with universal common descent and guided evolution, I personally have come to reject common ancestry as naturalistic mode of macroevolution in favor of a sophisticated [hehe] version of progressive (Old Earth) special creation in terms of non-random adaptive macromutations in the “womb” of parental organisms (analogous to Schindewolf’s and Goldschmidt’s “hopeful monsters”, recently endorsed by Rieppel 2017) combined with the instantiation of a new platonic form (“special transformism” sensu Chaberek 2017). Nevertheless, I do affirm that every organism (apart from the first living cell) was produced / born from a biological mother organism and thus did not pop into being ex nihilo. I also affirm microevolutionary speciation within biological kinds through Neodarwinian processes. However, these never generate complex new information, but mostly represent devolution or variation of pre-existing information (e.g., homozygosity from heterozygosity, deactivation or detioration of genes, polyploidy, gene duplication, horizontal gene transfer). The two above mentioned affirmations may qualify as affirmation of universal common descent in the eyes of most evolutionary biologists, but the difference is that I only affirm common ancestry in terms of an unbroken lineage of individual maternal and paternal relationships, but reject the origin of new biological kinds from other biological kinds via transformation lineages of ancestral species.

    Neither intelligent design nor new.

  27. Michael Fugate

    Goldschmidt’s “hopeful monster” doesn’t generate “complex new information” either – it is entirely a mutation-based model and doesn’t differ from the neo-darwinian emphasis on random mutations as the source of variation.

  28. @Michael Fugate
    That does not explain anything unless one is generous in understanding his mentions of common descent and variation.

  29. Michael Fugate

    I know. I am trying to figure out where the intelligence enters into the process. How can one tell a random from a non-random mutation?

  30. The Curmudgeon says “What??????????”

    I should have included a tongue-in-cheek emoji.

    I see that both Mark Germano and Michael Fugate have clarified, unless your “What??????????” was referring to my wishing you good luck in the post-season. I didn’t realize that the Red Sox were eliminated in the first round, nor that manager John Farrell was fired.

  31. Oops. Forgot to close the italics.

    [*Voice from above*] In each instance, you closed your italics with a “close bold” code.

  32. Michael Fugate

    Did you notice how Bechly and Klinghoffer both claim ID is not creationism and yet Bechly says:

    No, Intelligent Design theory is not creationism in a cheap tuxedo, but purely an empirical scientific method to detect the traces of intelligent agency in biological organisms.

    “Even though, Intelligent Design theory is in principle compatible with universal common descent and guided evolution, I personally have come to reject common ancestry as naturalistic mode of macroevolution in favor of a sophisticated version of progressive (Old Earth) special creation…”

    What?

  33. @Michael Fugate
    How can one tell the difference between random and intelligent?
    To send a message more economically, one uses a more complex coding algorithm. An act of God is something that is unexpected, or something that one cannot prepare for, not something that follows an obvious pattern – or a miracle, when the outcome is good.

  34. Michael Fugate

    So an act of God is random – like a mutation. All mutations are acts of God?

  35. If an act of God can explain something to us, then rather than being random we know something about the rules that God is operating under.
    Does anybody have a guess why God What makes human bodies most similar to chimps and other apes?
    If that similarity is just randomness
    then no more is to be said.
    If it is due to common descent, OK.
    If it is due to adhering to a design for a common purpose, doesn’t that mean that we should follow God’s purpose and act like apes?

  36. Dear Anonymous Coward,

    Keep up the good work. If you are taking flak, it’s a sign you are over the target.

  37. Having edited Wikipedia in the past, and participated in many ‘Articles for Deletion’ discussions, I can tell you that the “notability” criteria really amounts to “is there enough reliable and independent material to write an article on this topic.” The AfD on Bechly fairly conclusively demonstrated that the material available was either not independent (e.g. written by Bechly or his close associates), not reliable (blogs, fringe sources like the DI itself, etc) or bare mentions (giving him credit for a photo showed up in the discussion a few times).

  38. John-Hugh Boyd

    Even though, Intelligent Design theory is in principle compatible with universal common descent ….in favor of a sophisticated [hehe] version of progressive (Old Earth) special creation in terms of non-random adaptive macromutations in the “womb” of parental organisms ….., but reject the origin of new biological kinds from other biological kinds via transformation lineages of ancestral species.

    Say wha….????? Bechly has applied the PhD method (Piled higher and Deeper) to “Gawddidit!!!!!”

  39. Creationism, even before Darwin, has been short in substance. ID from its inception was deliberately made to be totally lacking in positive substance. And its promoters have consistently avoided any description of what they have to offer to replace evolution.

  40. “Cdesign Proponentsists”

  41. Christine Janis

    To follow up on what Hrafn said —- I’m surprised to hear that Bechley was in Wikipedia in the first place. Few paleontologists are in there unless they’re especially notable, which Bechley was not. So I’m wondering if the whole thing was a set-up, to later plead persecution.

  42. I never thought about it, but it makes sense that Wikipedia has some sort of garbage collection to prevent self promoters and people who want to exalt minutia.
    It is such a useful tool and boon to humanity I find I am able to pry open my normally tight wallet to give them a few bucks every year.

  43. Gunter seems to despise me, yet he tried to friend me on Facebook. What’s up with that?

  44. Troy — it does, the problem is that it’s not particularly effective. Only a very small proportion of garbage articles get nominated for deletion (partially because there are so many of them, partially because the process is typically quite adversarial and time-consuming for the nominator), and even if they are, it’s a lottery as to whether the nomination will be successful (both due to fans of the topic weighing in, and a small cadre of rescue-bad-articles-at-any-cost fanatics).

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