Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Stupid Protection Factor

I need more stupidburn protection.

There are massive flares of stupidity and hypocrisy emanating from the environs of Seattle in the wake of the Martin Gaskell affair.

Now, I've already expressed my doubts, both about how the University of Kentucky treated Gaskell, and about whether and how much Gaskell deserved it.

But the ever ridiculous David Klinghoffer is over at the Discoveryless Institute's rather ugly new Ministry of Misinformation kvetching about Richard Dawkins' take on the whole mess.

I'm not interested in defending Dawkins' views, which I find somewhat simplistic and almost wholly ignorant of American constitutional law.

But Klinghoffer starts with a blithe and inartful canvass and, by slathering on thick layers of dishonesty and utter lack of self-awareness, manages to produce a masterpiece of doltishness.

Just warming up, Klinghoffer implies that Gaskell's claim of "academic discrimination" was established by the fact that "UK ultimately felt compelled to cough up a $125,000 settlement to Dr. Gaskell, the university's lawyers reasoning they would fare worse if the case went to trial." How much more, then, was ID established to be religious dogma dishonestly masquerading as science by the fact that a Federal judge, after a lengthy trial, made the Dover school board pony up $1 million?

But then he really hits his stride. Talking about the illustrations of private beliefs that, even if not expressed in a scientist's work, Dawkins would find relevant to a decision to employ that scientist, Klinghoffer says:

Expansive categories like this seek to mislead by gathering together and condemning things or people that are wildly unlike each other except insofar as they share one or two very superficially similar characteristics -- in the present case, being in opposition to some aspects of scientific fact or scientific prejudice. Inventing and wielding such categories is a popular technique among bullies of all types, a technique of evasion and intimidation, mastering other people's opinion by fraud. Darwinists have used it successfully to cow a lot of otherwise thoughtful men and women.

You mean, like condemning people, such as Charles Darwin and all evolutionary scientists (invariably labeled "Darwinists"), by comparing them with those who are wildly unlike them, except insofar as they share one or two very superficially similar characteristics, ... like Hitler, Stalin, Charles Manson, James von Brunn, the Columbine shooters, and many others?

Such pathetic and transparent obtuseness would be laughable if it wasn't for the fact that so many Americans have already been blinded by staring into the glare ... not to mention the danger that our body politic might succumb to the cancer of anti-science from the exposure.

Giving fuel to these people is one of the worst side affects of the whole UK affair.
I also have reservations about Dawkins's arguments but it is noteworthy that his site allows comments where Klinghoffer's does not.

Klinghoffer also positively seethes with indignation at the very possibility that Gaskell's religious views might have any bearing on his employment propects. Perhaps I missed it, but I don't remember similar outrage about the good Dr Dembski being forced to toe the party line at the Southern Baptist seminary where he is currently employed. It was made very clear that if he didn't he would be out on his ear.

Come to think of it, I wonder if the DI would employ a self-confessed atheist evolutionist if they promised to write only articles critical of evolution and endorsing the Biblical account of creation, regardless of whether they believed it or not?
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