Klinghoffer: Evolution Is Taught Wrong

At the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog we find Here, Evidently, Is How They Teach Evolution at Louisiana State University. It 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, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

If you want a taste of how and by whom evolutionary biology is being taught to college students, check this out. Prosanta Chakrabarty is an ichthyologist at Louisiana State University, and says of himself that he teaches “one of the largest evolutionary biology classes in the U.S.” Good for him, and I don’t doubt that’s true.

He refers to a video of a short speech by a college professor: Four billion years of evolution in six minutes | Prosanta Chakrabarty. It’s embedded at the Discoveroid blog article, but you don’t want to go there to see it. Our link is to the same thing at YouTube. It’s brief, covering the whole of evolution in only six minutes for a general audience. Chakrabarty does a good job. Klinghoffer, however, doesn’t like it at all. He says:

But this has got to be one of the dopiest, most simple-minded presentations of the subject that I’ve seen.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s obviously not a classroom lecture, but criticism like that from a Discoveroid creationist is high praise indeed. Then he quotes from the professor’s remarks:

[W]e’re taught to say “the theory of evolution.” There are actually many theories, and just like the process itself, the ones that best fit the data are the ones that survive to this day. The one we know best is Darwinian natural selection. That’s the process by which organisms that best fit an environment survive and get to reproduce, while those that are less fit slowly die off. And that’s it. Evolution is as simple as that, and it’s a fact. Evolution is a fact as much as the “theory of gravity.” You can prove it just as easily. You just need to look at your belly button that you share with other placental mammals, or your backbone that you share with other vertebrates, or your DNA that you share with all other life on earth. Those traits didn’t pop up in humans. They were passed down from different ancestors to all their descendants, not just us.

Fair enough. But Klinghoffer is aghast. He gives us his rebuttal:

By the same token, my car has four wheels, two axles, and runs on gasoline, like other gas-powered cars stretching back well over a century. Car models that no one wants to buy ultimately cease to be manufactured. It must be that the Ford Model T and the Volvo S70 and everything in between all “evolved” by unguided natural selection from a common ancestor. Remember, it’s a fact. Only the foolish religious fundamentalist would consider that engineering had anything to do with it.

Brilliant, huh? Let’s read on:

Professor Chakrabarty speaks with what I take to be a weary, ill-concealed [and well-deserved!] contempt for those don’t understand these matters. He teaches in the same state where the Louisiana Science Education Act was passed a little over ten years ago, and remains the law. If this is how evolution is taught to college students at LSU, imagine how it’s taught to many high school students.

O the horror! At the end, Klinghoffer praises the wonderful work of the Discoveroids:

Do you wonder, then, that educators, parents, and other residents of the state sought, under the LSEA, protection from retaliatory action for teachers who wish to add a bit of depth, some critical weighing of the evidence, to their instruction?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! It was to protect the people of Louisiana from nonsense that the benevolent Discoveroids wrote their anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism Academic Freedom Act, which was the model for the infamous Louisiana Science Education Act (the LSEA), about which see the Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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19 responses to “Klinghoffer: Evolution Is Taught Wrong

  1. Ken Phelps

    “It must be that the Ford Model T and the Volvo S70 and everything in between all ‘evolved’ by unguided natural selection from a common ancestor.”

    Well gee, Klingster, have you done an analysis of the genetic material of those cars to see if they nest? What? They don’t have genetic material? Don’t replicate with variation? Aren’t alive?

    Hmmmm. Liar? Ignorant bunghole? Both?

  2. So a lifetime professionally ignorant jackass is complaining that facts are being taught in a university instead of the ignorance that the jackass very much prefers? This is not exactly NEWs.

  3. Klinghoffer. Clearly your fundamentalist religious “education” has made you into a true classic amongst creationists.

  4. Dave Luckett

    Ken Phelps nailed it perfectly. And I would add, arguments from analogy are erroneous generally, but are invariably wrong when there is an obvious disparity between the cases – such as that cars do not reproduce and are not subject to natural selection.

    Humans look for analogies to help understand processes. That can be helpful if you are trying to test a hypothesis – a process observed in some other situation might explain how this phenomenon works here. Test and see. But analogy is always misleading if it is appealed to as an explanation in itself, which is what Klinkerslinker is doing.

    It’s a common strategy, known to every spin doctor. Look at the F-35 fiasco: a flying pork barrel, boondoggle and money pit, pushed along by the hustlers of the military-industrial complex (as that librul pinko hippy Dwight D Eisenhower called it) with the catch-cry “fifth generation”, as if aircraft reproduced. And yet it works. The strategy, that is, not the F-35, which doesn’t.

    Klunkerdunker knows that, too. He would like to create the same loyal fan club as the F-turkeyfive has. But he hasn’t got the Pentagon and Lockheed-Martin behind him, so I don’t think he’ll succeed. Won’t stop him from trying, though.

  5. Jeez. Did no-one ever teach Klingwapper about the birds and bees?

    You see, David: two Ford Model T’s got together one night over a candle-lit dinner, put on some Barry White make-out music, and things started to get a little hot and heavy.

    Nine months later- Crash!- out popped a little baby Ford Model T, (though everyone was secretly hoping for a baby Volvo!), with some minor variation. That little car grew up, and, in turn, begat more little baby cars; and so on, and on, with minor variations.

    How do I know all this? Not by consulting the Holy Car Owner’s Manual in my glovebox, that’s for sure, which gives a completely different account of the origins of the Universe, and where cars came from.

    No: I was there- at the beginning- peeping through the bedroom window when things got intimate, creepy Darwinist orc that I am.

  6. “Brilliant, huh?”
    Yeah, Klinkleclapper brilliantly neglects the crucial words “They were passed down from different ancestors” in his car analogy. Ah well, leave it to Klinkleclapper to piss against a strawman and miss it.

  7. Och Will, funnily Klinghoffer hasn’t had a fundie upbringing. He’s from a Reform Judaist family but seems to be a born religious muddlehead and became orthodox all by himself. Yet even the Haredi seem to accept Darwinian evolution.

    He’s perfect for the Discos because now they can claim they’re totally not en Evangelical Christian outfit, oh no sirree, they’re all-inclusive. But Klinghoffer is only inches away from being en evangelical fundie.

  8. bewilderbeast

    Eminently chuckle-worthy post and comments! SC and commenters in fine form today! 🙂

  9. Volvo S70? A boring car last built in 2000?

    Oh dear lawd, even Klingon’s analogies are lame. Why not a Tesla and then he could promulgate Elon Musk as the Creator, eh I meant Designer.

  10. A boring car last built in 2000?

    Good enough for a boring fart built in 1965.

  11. Eric Lipps

    I almost can’t believe that even Klinghoffer recycles this old chestnut.

    Cars don’t make more cars, with or without variation and selection. Living organisms do. The analogy he uses is therefore completely worthless, which means it fits right in with creationist arguments in general.

    I note, by the way, that creationism itself has evolved: while the old-style Bible-pounding variety still exists (there are still monkeys, after all), it has given rise to new species equipped with camouflage (intelligent design) and variants which grudgingly acknowledge that, yes, evolution can occur, but, of course, only within “kinds.”

  12. And Young Earth Creationism had just about died out in the early 20th century.
    And evolution was not an important issue for the earliest Fundamentalism.

  13. As long as he brought up the analogy ….
    Why do so many cars have four wheels? It is a lame, unhelpful answer to say, “Because they are designed.”
    Why did the 1959 Cadillac ElDorado have tail fins? Because it was designed.

  14. I happen to disagree with EricL: “The analogy he uses is therefore completely worthless.”
    On the contrary, it’s very useful.

    1. the main difference between cars and organisms perfectly illustrates the difference between design and evolution.
    2. the IDiot refusal to consider this important difference perfectly illustrates its utter intellectual dishonesty.

    What more can you expect from an analogy?

  15. docbill1351

    Well, at least we know what car Klankerwanker drives!

  16. There is some merit in the analogy: “It must be that the Ford Model T and the Volvo S70 and everything in between all ‘evolved’ by unguided natural selection from a common ancestor.”

    Modifications take the place of mutations, and market forces that of selection. A specific case of the meme/gene analogy, with all its strengths and waknesses

  17. Paul Braterman says:

    There is some merit in the analogy: “It must be that the Ford Model T and the Volvo S70 and everything in between all ‘evolved’ by unguided natural selection from a common ancestor.”

    I noted that long ago in Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand and Charles Darwin’s Natural Selection.

  18. Nice one, Curmudgeon

  19. Karl Goldsmith (@KarlGoldsmith)

    I see Dense has written an article as an excuse to shill a book by one of their creationists from the Dover case.