Klinghoffer: Why Scientists Are Stupid

It’s a rare day when we post twice about the Discovery Institute, but that’s where the entertainment is today. Their latest at their creationist blog is Are Scientists Smarter Now, or Dumber?, written by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

A conversation with a friend of our oldest son solicited, if I understood correctly, the observation from this friend that people including students know more, are better educated, than in previous generations, thanks to things like the Internet. This is a very bright and curious young man, but I was dumbfounded by his statement.

Why was Klinghoffer dumbfounded? He explains:

He pointed to the fact that we, as a culture, “know more” than ever before. That is true in a limited sense, but acquisition of data is a long way from having the wisdom to understand and interpret it, which I think is what we mean when we talk about the kind of smarts that really matters. It’s what you do with what you know.

We know what Klinghoffer does with he knows — he blogs for the Discoveroids. That’s really smart. Then he says:

On the gathering specifically of scientific knowledge, our paleontologist colleague Günter Bechly nails it in a comment on Facebook:

[Klinghoffer quotes Günter, the man who was erased from Wikipedia:] My theory is: Scientists nowadays are far dumber than scientists centuries ago, which is a consequence of over-specialization and lack of philosophical education in natural science university curricula. The only reason why we know so much more than centuries ago is time, much larger number of scientists, and much more resources pumped into science, which resulted in an explosion of knowledge acquired by dumber scientists.

Günter thinks you’re stupid, dear reader. And Klinghoffer agrees. He tells us:

This might explain the unthinking dismissal of an idea like intelligent design not just by media people with a tendency to shallowness, but by scientists.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! He continues:

I mentioned here the other day that even professionals in the sciences often seem to have gleaned the little they understand about ID from skimming the main Wikipedia article. ID is a quintessential multidisciplinary field of study, asking us to consider not only biology but chemistry, cosmology, philosophy, and more.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] There’s so much depth to intelligent design! In all those different fields of study, the Discoveroids’ explanation is God of the gaps, and they know that because of the Watchmaker analogy.

And now we come to the end:

As Dr. Bechley points out, the trend to ever greater specialization combined with philosophical illiteracy go a long way toward explaining the condition of our “dumb” scientists.

So there you are, dear reader. Now you know why the Discoveroids think you’re a fool!

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

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27 responses to “Klinghoffer: Why Scientists Are Stupid

  1. Michael Fugate

    Scientists are dumb.
    Bechly is a scientist.
    Therefore Bechly is dumb and we can ignore everything he says.

  2. Michael Fugate

    Bechly is a dragonfly paleontologist – can’t get much more specialized than that, no?

  3. Sadly, it’s my observation that, increasingly, new PhDs are less well versed in evolution, particularly those in biomedical areas. And, sadly, at the bachelors level, there is no required evolution course in most biology curricula. I hope I’m wrong.

  4. (to the tune of “Oh my darling, Clementine”)
    Odonata, Odonata, Odonata dragonfly

  5. Charles Deetz ;)

    I always thought it was hyperbole when CS mockingly called out ‘you fools’ in a DI voice, but this article of Klingy’s proves CS as pretty accurate.

  6. Hmm. Bechly has theory, does he? I’d love to see his data.
    Oops, my mistake. “It’s just a theory”.

  7. Klinghoffer: “[The kid] pointed to the fact that we, as a culture, ‘know more’ than ever before. That is true in a limited sense, but acquisition of data is a long way from having the wisdom to understand and interpret it, which I think is what we mean when we talk about the kind of smarts that really matters.”

    Flynn effect: “the substantial and long-sustained increase in both fluid and crystallized intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world from roughly 1930 to the present day.”


  8. This is starting to sound like a dispute in an elementary school playground:

    “You’re stoopid!”

    “No, you’re stooopid!”

    “You’re stupider than me!”

    “You’re so stupid you walk around like this…”

    “Yeah, well you’re so stoopid you walk on all fours…”

    And so on. Of course neither Klonkhopper nor Bechly have a shred of evidence for their assertions. Asking for evidence is something scientists do.

    Scientists also specify. Klinghooper doesn’t. What is this “intelligent design” idea? It is that at some unknown time or times, at an unknown place or places, an intelligent agent performed some unknown act for an unknown purpose which somehow had the effect by some unknown means of originating life, or perhaps of changing its development in some unspecified way and in some unknown particular or particulars.

    This “idea” is not a theory because it neither explains anything, nor is it falsifiable from evidence. It is a vague – almost incoherent – evidence-free conjecture. No scientist would entertain it for a moment. They’re smarter than that. But Klunkdropper is not.

  9. Premise 1. My beliefs align most closely with pre-Darwinian scientists who lacked the benefit of the last few centuries of scientific knowledge.
    Premise 2. I am very smart.
    Conclusion: Scientists today are stupider than me and all the pre-Darwinian scientists.

    Well, pack it up boys. The scientific establishment has clearly been outwitted by Bechly’s superior intellect.

  10. @Dave Luckett
    Herbert Spencer wrote an essay in 1852 pointing out that there was no substantial alternative to a natural explanation for the variety of life. See
    “The Development Hypothesis” in Wikisource.org or other places online.
    It’s still true.

  11. Christine Janis

    Bechly’s training in science is so narrow that he sees fit to declare, in his chapter in “Theistic Evolution”, that there are no similarities between different vertebrate embryos (and so Darwin Was Wrong, yadda yadda yadda)

  12. Tedinoz is snarky: “It’s just a theory”.
    Nope, it’s not even that.

  13. Apart from the wafer-thin basic premise of ID (“It looks designed so there must be a designer”) there’s also the fact that almost everything we recognise as designed doesn’t just have one or more architects, but also an executive team, a long design history, prototypes etc. etc. Something as bizarre and complex as the universe with life in it must certainly be the result of team work; the architects and the masons are likely to be different teams with their own level of experience.

    Since current scientific research never shows evidence of supernatural meddling, we must also assume that the design bureau has gone out of business.

    So Günni, take it away, show us who they were.

    And David, if you want to keep denying the tight bond between ID and religion, Mr Bechly is just about the worst choice you could make.

  14. Re “My theory is: Scientists nowadays are far dumber than scientists centuries ago…” Is this a backhanded way of saying Darwin was smarter than the Discoveroids? Odd position for them, what?

  15. “It burns. It burns”. Thats two references to the wikipedia post on ID in two consecutive articles by Klunker. Apparently wikipedia is REALLY bothering the powers that be at the tute. However, its GREAT advertising for wikipedia Klunker is providing and the likelihood that possibly a few readers of his trash might have the curiosity to go over there and actually read the wikipedia ID description. Thanks Klooglenoodle for continuing to shoot yourself in the foot.
    PLUS, Gunter (mit ein umlaut) is back ! Too much fun for a Sunday morning. I’m so glad SC goes over to the Discoveroid’s site to get this stuff because I wouldn’t want to give their website another hit myself. Thanks SC for the continuing entertainment !

  16. Really has ID made any contributions or predictions other than to proclaim with every new scientific discovery “Behold the Great Designer”?

    So really who is being stupid here? My money is on the guys who have no clue as to the definition of science and faith. Science is not a democracy we don’t have to listen to the stupid people.

  17. It’s interesting that the ID types deny that they are pushing a ‘gawd based’ explanation, yet they won’t explicitly identify their designer. To use their own argument, if things appear designed they say there must be a designer. Since they have all this knowledge it would benefit their cause if they tell us who the designer is.

  18. @mnbo
    I don’t know that I was being snarky. But until there a key to denote “satire”, I guess that’ll have to do.

    But I would have responded differently had I read this post from Florida Citizens for Science Meanwhile, in Nassau County: “I thought evolution was a bunch of baloney. They are the first school that has been faced with a citizen’s challenge to topics in the schools’ science instructional materials. As the site says, the school board made the right decision (voting unanimously against that idea). Though the board’s Chief of Legal Services and the Superintendent gave their advice reluctantly.

    And I was quite ready to accept this that UNTIL the Superintendent twice said, “it [evolution] is identified as a theory”.

    Watch the video of the School Board meeting for yourself – go to the segment titled Textbook Challenge. The whole video is interesting but the real kicker comes at 15:00 when the Schools Superintendent speaks. Worse still, new textbooks are on next years agenda. This is genuine “watch this space” stuff.

  19. Ceteris Paribus

    Klinghoffer asserts:

    [A]quisition of data is a long way from having the wisdom [emphasis added] to understand and interpret it,

    Which pretty well shows how little Klinghoffer knows about the Hebrew bible, or the workings of modern science.

    In the Hebrew texts, “wisdom” is a personage of the female gender, and an equal to Jehovah. If Klinghoffer would take the time to sit down with a scholar of ancient Hebrew, he would discover that his whole big fuss over the beginning of time, and destruction of the flood were just stories that ancient Hebrews invented in order to establish their own desires for a kingdom.

    This was all put together somewhere around 600 B.C.E. during the time of the Babylonian captivity and imprisonment of the Jews from their Kingdom of Judah.

    These ancient Jews were really just riffing on even older legends of floods in order to anchor their own saga. They could not have known at that time that 2500 years later a bunch of clueless Christian Fundamentalist rubes would arise and totally screw up everything.

  20. Michael Fugate

    And Christians and Muslims anchored their new religions in Judaism. And Mormons anchored theirs in Christianity. And so it goes.

  21. Saith Günter Bechly:

    My theory is: Scientists nowadays are far dumber than scientists centuries ago, which is a consequence of over-specialization and lack of philosophical education in natural science university curricula. The only reason why we know so much more than centuries ago is time, much larger number of scientists, and much more resources pumped into science, which resulted in an explosion of knowledge acquired by dumber scientists.

    Günter reveals himself as a true creationist by showing that he doesn’t know the difference between theory, hypothesis and, well, rant. And why should he? Hypotheses and theories are supposed to be tested against evidence—real evidence, not Bible quotations—and creationists have already demonstrated many times over that they will denounce as fraudulent any evidence which goes against their pre-existing beliefs.

    Now, they might say the same of Darwinists. But if there were credible evidence against evolution, the theory would have been discarded long ago. But it managed to survive its birth in an era when many genuine, highly respected scientists—not just fringe cranks—accepted Genesis as fact, and has prospered as more and more evidence in its favor has been found. Creationism has been in retreat during the same period, essentially disappearing from credible scientific discourse by 1880 or so and surviving at all only on fundamentalist religious life support. Creationist claims that more and more scientists are coming around to their way of thinking are simply false.

  22. @tedinoz

    I suspect that the board’s Chief of Legal Services and the Superintendent were engaged in simple acts of political CYA, the latter being an elected position and the former likely still in the initial probationary period of his employment, having been hired to the newly-created position only in February.

    ‘Cause methinks they doth protest too much — they seemed to be obviously posturing for someone.


    As far as “the Superintendent twice said, ‘it [evolution] is identified as a theory’,” I think she was merely being directly responsive to the 71-year old citizen’s specific proposal:

    “I’m proposing to the Nassau County Board that we stop the teaching of Darwinian evolution as fact.”

    More politics and constituent services — that was about the only cold comfort she could offer the citizen while flatly rejecting his proposal. That and the vague hope that “better” texts might be selected for use next year.

    PS: the lawyer referred to his college molecular biology professor as “a dyed-in-the-wool evolutionary theorist”. LOL!

  23. “ID is a quintessential multidisciplinary field of stupidity.” I fixed that for them.

  24. @Tedinoz “I don’t know that I was being snarky”
    It is just my theory that you were.

    “The whole video is interesting.”
    I’m afraid I’m gonna disagree. The legal details of creationist shenanigans at your side of the pond don’t appeal to a non-serious Dutchman like me.
    For the explanation of my little remark I refer to EricL. Like all creacrap IDiocy is not a theory in the scientific meaning of the word.

  25. Michael Fugate

    Klinghoffer is once again whining about Wikipedia and asking for money. What’s his spiel?
    “Darwinists have most universities and media plus vast government funding on their side. What we have is more potent, though. We have the truth.

    A vast conspiracy to keep the truth from the masses, Kool-Aid anyone?

  26. @mnbo
    IIntelligent Design is not a historical theory, a theological theory, an esthetic theory, …
    Maybe it is a political thery – like anarchy: “get rid of the government and I don’t care what happens”?

  27. Michael Fugate

    If you want comedy, listen to Meyer trying to justify ID.