Saturday, October 27, 2007
Of Clowns and Colleges
The other day I quoted from a nice article by Taylor Kessinger, a junior at Arizona University, majoring in math, philosophy and physics, and a columnist for the student newspaper, the Arizona Daily Wildcat. Apparently, it must have stung, because the PR hacks at the Discovery Institute's Media Complaints Division have taken after Mr. Kessinger in a snide and (surprise, surprise!) disingenuous attack.
The DI claims that Kessinger "calls for more academic persecution to rain down upon ID proponents." But the DI flack, Anika Smith, cites the following quote from Kessinger:
On the other hand, does science discriminate against proponents of intelligent design? Well, sure, but only in the same sense that a university discriminates against bad students or the stock market discriminates against people who make poor financial decisions.Well, yes ... science does discriminate against ID ... and phlogiston theory, geocentrism, and planetary crystal spheres. The DI hack is playing semantic games by taking advantage of the dual meaning of "discrimination." It not only means "treatment based on class or category rather than individual merit," it also means "discernment" between true and false or fake and real. It was in the latter sense, in context, that Kessinger used the word and, to the extent that we even have to discuss ID being part of science education in this country (other than as an idea from history long discarded), Kessinger is absolutely right ... we aren't showing the discernment between bad and good ideas that is the hallmark of science.
If anything, the problem is that there isn't enough discrimination against this idea.
And it is a simple fact of human nature that there are repercussions for any academic who goes around dishonestly claiming ID or phlogiston or the music of the spheres is science, just as there would be if a professor insisted on wearing a big red rubber nose, floppy shoes and a fright wig everywhere he went. Certainly, any university, in this age of spiraling costs and diminishing resources would be reluctant to give tenure -- guaranteed lifetime employment -- to an intellectual Bozo.
The best that the DI flackery can do in the face of that is to refer to pathetic "defenses" they previously gave to the dismantling of ID's claim to be science by Judge Jones.
The DI's article begins: "Sometimes you run across something so head-shakingly wrong that you have to ask yourself, where did they come up with that?" Given that any rational person has that reaction every time they look at Evolution News & Views, the DI can't really be having that much trouble coming up with an answer.
Didn't somebody once say something about reaping what you sow?