Discovery Institute decries Cat Beard Contest

I really don’t pay much attention to David Klinghoffer of the Discovery Institute (DI), for he writes the usual creationist pap about me ad infinitum, and it gets boring. (He also lacks a sense of humor.) I guess I should be flattered, though, that the DI sees me as someone who stands in the way of their foisting intelligent design and God on the world. Yes, God, for if you look up Klinghoffer’s potted biography at the DI, you find this (the title of the first book listed is hilarious):

David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle and a contributor to Evolution News & Views. He is the author most recently of How Would God Vote?: Why the Bible Commands You to Be a Conservative (Random House, 2008). His previous books are Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western History (Doubleday, 2005), The Discovery of God: Abraham and the Birth of Monotheism (Doubleday, 2003) and the spiritual memoir The Lord Will Gather Me In (Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 1998), a National Jewish Book Award finalist. His forthcoming book is Shattered Tablets: What the Ten Commandments Reveal about American Culture and Its Discontents (Doubleday, 2006). A former literary editor of National Review magazine, Klinghoffer has written articles and reviews for the Los Angles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications.

I wonder how well those books sell? At any rate, this belies the pretense that there’s no religious agenda behind ID.  I suppose it’s pure coincidence that all the big honchos of the DI (with the possible exception of the unbearably pompous David Berlinski) are hyper-religious.  According to Wikipedia, Klinghoffer is an Orthodox Jew. This pains me, as it always does when I discover that my fellow Jews can be just as ridiculous as fundamentalist Christians.

At any rate, Klinghoffer is now churning out roughly one piece a day, trying to cast Ball State University professor Eric Hedin as a martyr for ID, and attacking me for my relentless “bullying” of Hedin. Klinghoffer’s latest piece at Evolution News & Views is a repeat of all the others, accusing me of trying to get Hedin fired—that’s a lie, of course, but the DIers are good at lying for God—and bullying the poor man. There’s even a petition to Free Hedin.

This kind of anti-Coyneian invective is fine with me: I’d be doing something wrong if I didn’t get it, and I expect such tactics from the DI. But Klinghoffer crossed the line this time—he dissed my cats! (My emphasis below):

Maybe the reason has something to do with the fact that Coyne is not a nobody (though he is an ignoramus on anything to do with the intelligent design controversy). People are overly impressed by his university affiliations. And he keeps banging away at the issue on his blog, trying to put Hedin out of a job.

Make no mistake, that will be the ultimate result if Coyne gets his way.[JAC: No it won't. Klinghoffer is an idiot.] While Jerry Coyne sits comfortably in Chicago, secure in his employment as he snaps photos of his own boots and the meals he eats and posts endless videos of cute cats, Hedin is surely in fear for the future of his career. (You don’t believe me about Coyne’s popular blog, Why Evolution Is True? Go over there periodically and see. He is currently administering a contest for readers who photograph themselves with a cat under their nose so it looks like a beard. Really!)

Yes, really!  You can criticize my anticreationism all you want, but hands off the cats! At least cat beards provide some amusement for the readers, unlike the endless and tedious lies churned out by Klinghoffer and his DI confrères. And they don’t set back science, as Klinghoffer aims to do.

But what I want to say to Klinghoffer (besides requesting that he stop lying about me wanting Hedin fired) is this: if you’re so fond of “teaching the controversy”, why do you, and every other person who writes for Evolution News & Views, refuse to allow comments on your site? I note that Paul Nelson, a young-earth creationist and Discovery Institute Fellow, posted yesterday on my site. I then invited Nelson to present his evidence that the earth really is only a few thousand years old. He hasn’t responded.

Now, let’s have the results of that cat beard contest. . .

71 Comments

  1. Posted June 11, 2013 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Argumentum ad hominem, a common charateristic of creationists and other pseudo-scientists.

    However, I would rather speak about the religous-political agenda behind ID. Since all anti-evolution propaganda is in fact about the threat posed by modern science for the political power of religious groups.

    • Posted June 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Not very far behind, if “He is the author most recently of How Would God Vote?: Why the Bible Commands You to Be a Conservative

      That’s very like a Poe.

  2. Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    Klinghoffer just stepped in the wrong litter box.

    • BillyJoe
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:10 am | Permalink

      We have a cat flap but sometimes the dog pokes his head through it. I’d like to post a clip of Klinghoffer doing that.

  3. Dominic
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Can we have a “Creationist beard” contest?!

    • Dominic
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:23 am | Permalink

      I mean, we all have to find a creationist then hold it to the chin while we get someone to take a pic. Might take a couple of assistants to hold it still… ;)

      • Notagod
        Posted June 11, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        I can find and corner one for you but, you’ll have to do the physical manipulation, I’m not going to actually touch It. [shivers]

    • docbill1351
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:27 am | Permalink

      A “creationist beard” would be the Darwinist spouse of a creationist.

      Just for show, you know, to fool the neighbors.

  4. Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    I don’t know if you’ve followed Klinghoffer for very long but he is a nasty person. For awhile most of his posts were about how Darwin was responsible for the Holocaust. He is a particularly vicious idiot.

    • Posted June 11, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Proof! Proof, I tell, that Klinghoffer is mentally ill.

      It seems to apply to all self-described “conservatives” and religious types..let’s call them ‘social reactionaries’. By their work, it is obvious that they suffer a mental disease, like “hoarding”.

      Hoarders are seemingly normal folk, outside their dwellings, but once you investigate their living conditions, it is something way beyond imagination.

      These social reactionaries are quite similar: mentally ill, by their own evidence.

  5. Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Why someone would have issues with cat videos, shoes and photo contests is beyond me

    • SA Gould
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:30 am | Permalink

      At least he admitted they were “cute cats.”

      • Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:35 am | Permalink

        He also complains about shoes, is it that he doesn’t like his shoes or he doesn’t have a camera?

        • Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:40 am | Permalink

          But are shoes in the eyes not proof of the existence of a “shoemaker”?

          • Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:41 am | Permalink

            had to be “in the eyes of creationists…”

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted June 11, 2013 at 6:14 am | Permalink

            Yes and some of Jerry’s boots are pretty fancy – probably irreducible complexity. :D

          • Posted June 12, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

            this fellow needs help with his arguments. If he is writing a science piece then Jerry’s shoes can’t feature anywhere!

    • Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:40 am | Permalink

      Fundamentalists have no fun, and therefore want no one else to have it either.

      • Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:41 am | Permalink

        Exactly!

      • Posted June 12, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        he should go fishing maybe he will cheer himself up

      • Posted June 13, 2013 at 1:50 am | Permalink

        It’s hard to say which came first, their hatred of fun, their fear of sexuality, or their wish to control.

    • Pete Moulton
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      It isn’t really a matter of having issues with cat videos, manly footwear or photo contests per se, it’s Klinghoffer’s complete lack of pro-IDiocy argument, or any other means of legitimate debate. The DI has no theory, does no actual research, publishes no papers, and in fact is unable even to formulate any kind of testable hypothesis.

      But they still feel that they have to confront ‘Darwinism’ somehow, and Jerry, having written a masterwork on evolutionary theory, is a most visible target. So they periodically roll out rabid hamster David Klinghoffer to fling the poo, because ad hominem’s the only kind of ‘argument’ they have in their pathetic arsenal.

  6. steve oberski
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    At least cat beards provide some amusement for the readers, unlike the endless and tedious lies churned out by Klinghoffer and his DI confrères.

    Well DI are unintentionally amusing, but that pales after a very short while and descends into merely pathetic.

    • Posted June 11, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      These social reactionaries are mentally ill. While, yes, I have laughed at the antics or something said by a mentally ill person in the past, I do not feel that mental illness needs to be described as anything (e.g.”pathetic”) except what it is:

      mental illness

  7. docbill1351
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Total lack of humor is a characteristic of creationists. Their “brains” are so frantic trying to hold together their fantasy world that their humorocampus is totally suppressed.

    After the Kitzmiller trial, Dembski produced a remarkable Jib-Jab-esque animation of the prime players, including Judge Jones, complete with fart noises. Dembski, himself, according to legend, provided the voice-over. It might have been marginally funny to a 5th Grader and even the creationists soon tired of it. The voice-over was pulled in Version 2.

  8. Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    This pains me, as it always does when I discover that my fellow Jews can be just as ridiculous as fundamentalist Christians.

    They’re human, Jerry. And they’re going to be human. And being Jewish doesn’t give you an exemption from any social ill — racism, criminality, wonky religious beliefs, feet of clay or any thing else — that humans suffer from.

    Which, for some reason, so many people can’t see as they’ve mythologized the entire ethnic group/sub-culture. As if it’s all Fiddler on the Roof and any moment now Tevye is going to start singing about tradition and the only role Jews can have (as a people) on this world is ‘victim.’

    • darrelle
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:47 am | Permalink

      Wow.

    • Kevin Alexander
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      Menstruating women unclean?
      Tradition!
      Spitting on little girls going to school?
      Tradition!
      Kant haz cheeseburgers?
      Tradition!

    • Posted June 11, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Humans, but mentally-ill humans. Their social context allows them to escape treatment (the sanctimonious church).

      Looking at ‘hoarders’ is a very parallel view of this type of mental illness in action. You go into a hoarder’s house, stacked to the ceiling with newspapers, and you say, “Gee, these newspapers are eight years old. What do you say, we just toss them, since the news in them is old.”

      “Oh, no!” sez the hoarder, “I believe there is some important information in that particular paper that I’ve been saving for some time…”

      Or, some other ‘reasonable’ answer like that. The fact is, hoarders and these social reactionaries refuse to accept normal reasoning. But they do it with words that sound “reasonable”.

      Yet, they are mentally ill and refuse to be treated.

      • Gabrielle Guichard
        Posted June 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        A…um. We keep newspapers for years: they have to dry quite a long time to be used to clean engraving plates. I’m wondering how many people have been thinking we needed to be treated.

  9. darrelle
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    That is pathetic. A tiny little mind is revealed. Klinghoffer’s behavior here seems similar to a grade school playground bully, which is often the result of fear and insecurity. What is he afraid of?

    • lamacher
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Himself. Everything.

  10. eric
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Well, I wasn’t that excited about it at first, but if DI decries it, it must be good. Carry on, cat beardists!

  11. Diego
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Ad hominem, ad felinem. C’mon, is that all you’ve got, Klinghoffer?

    Oh… It is? Really? That’s just kind of sad. I think the poor man just needs more cat beards in his life and he’s jealous.

  12. Grania Spingies
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    My days of not taking the Discovery Institute seriously are certainly coming to a middle.

    • Sophy
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Thank you! I loved this comment.

      • Grania Spingies
        Posted June 11, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        Shamelessly ripped off from – er, that is to say, paying homage to – Firefly. ;)

  13. alexandra moffat
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    If there was a god, it would be laughing immoderately at Klinghoffer – what a silly man!

  14. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Further evidence that the deeply religious are devoid of humour. He must be getting desperate if he has to complain about this stuff. I think it fitting to paste the definition of the MacPherson clan motto since it is to do with cat clans…this will probably annoy Klinghoffer more: Touch not the cat bot a glove & the Wikipedia description:

    ‘Bot’ means without. The ‘glove’ of a wildcat is the pad. If the cat is ‘ungloved’, its claws are unsheathed. The motto serves as a warning that one should beware when the wildcat’s claws are ‘without a glove’. It is a reference to the historically violent nature of the clan and serves as a metaphorical warning to other clans that they should think twice before interfering with MacPherson business.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Respect!

      I had always thought that the meaning was simply that you should not touch the cat (ie a MacPherson) without wearing a glove, to protect yourself. I like your more subtle version, using the old sense of “without” meaning “outside” or “outwith”.

      Colin McLachlan (Fortis et Fidus roughly, “Brave and Trusty”).

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 11, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        :)

        • Posted June 13, 2013 at 2:43 am | Permalink

          Excuse me, not just MacPhersons, but the whole Clan Chatten:
          Mackintosh
          MacGillivray
          MacBean
          Shaw
          MacThomas
          Macleans of Dochgarroch
          Macpherson
          Farquharson
          Davidson
          MacPhail
          MacQueens of Strathdearn
          MacIntyres in Badenoch
          - according to the Clan Chatten Association website.
          (My mother was a MacBean and we are inordinately proud of our ancestor Gillies, reputed to have killed 13 Sassenachs defending a breach of a wall at Culloden, but since only 95 Sassenachs were killed altogether, that’s an inordinate number.)

          The MacBean motto is “Touch not a catt bot a targe (shield)” and it is we who must not lack the targe, not the catt. (MacBean rhymes with bane, not the vegetable. Some have capitulated on the pronunciation, others on the spelling but we haven’t backed down.) John Bean took our tartan (US: plaid) to the moon.

          I don’t know Jerry can be inducted into the Clan honoris causa.

    • Posted June 11, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Sometimes I pick up my cat, push the “glove” until it gets “bot” and then snip off the tips of the claws with some clippers. You MacPherson’s don’t scare me!

  15. Posted June 11, 2013 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    “While Jerry Coyne sits comfortably in Chicago, secure in his employment as he snaps photos of his own boots and the meals he eats and posts endless videos of cute cats, Hedin is surely in fear for the future of his career.”
    ____

    Fundamentalist leaders psychologically manipulate their gullible rank and file by hiding their own rabid and rancid intellectual dishonesty–well outright lying in this case as Jerry does not want Hedin fired–behind maudlin shrieks of imagined persecution.

    I need to stay in a sauna for a few hours while scrubbing myself with a scouring pad before I can once again feel clean. What slime Klinghoffer is.

    • Posted June 11, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      He’s simply mentally ill. Nothing pernicious going on. But he’s appealing to other mentally-ill social reactionaries.

      • Posted June 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the diagnosis, doctor. Where’d you go to medical school? And when did you fully examine this man?

  16. Posted June 11, 2013 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    First off, Hedin should be ridden out of town on a rail. (figuratively, not literally)

    Secondly, it is a bit cowardly to sling insults at someone, when you run a site that doesn’t allow commenting. I have seen chickens with more guts than that.

    Lastly, I cant imagine how scrunched up someone’s drawers must be, to get riled up over a cat beard contest. I believe the correlation of ones puffed up sense of importance compares nicely with a complete lack of humor. We need a chart for that.

  17. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    DI and its fellows are just mad that the 9 lives of cats shows that there isn’t a single heaven as they believe, it is “felitrophic” evidence for multiheaven religion.

  18. Hempenstein
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    DI oughtta have a contest for the best Hypothetical Jesus on a piece of toast or pancake.

  19. Posted June 11, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    The DI version of a “fun” picture was a Darwin doll with its head in a vice. You remember that one?

  20. Gordon Hill
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    “I wonder how well those books sell?”

    Using amazon as a guide, it’s #2,534,630 with a three star rating.

    The Jewish rebuttal, How Would God REALLY Vote: A Jewish Rebuttal to David Klinghoffer’s Conservative Polemic, is at #3,450,595 with a five star rating.

    Neither seems to be burdening the USPS.

  21. Graham
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    “he is an ignoramus on anything to do with the intelligent design controversy”

    erm…. possibly because there is no controversy?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Yes and Klinghoffer et al. get sore when people point out that ID is creationism so if you say this, you’re an “ignoramus”.

  22. John
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    What you photograph is none of Mr. Klinghoffer’s business. It’s your website, not his. His critical comments are classic envy, he wishes he had the loyal following that you have and he wishes he didn’t have to make stuff up to support his viewpoints.

  23. gerard52
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    The apologist continue their drumbeat of ignorance and personal attack in the face of proven science: science is winning.

  24. neil
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    It is sometimes hard to ignore the Discovery Institute. But I find it well worth the effort.

    I doubt that Hedin is living in fear for the future of his career. He just needs to cease and desist from proselytizing in his class and get back to teaching science.

  25. Spector567
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    This whole controversy could be easily solved a simple statement from hedin.

    “yes I can see why Jerry and others may think that the course is unfair and bias. I will modify the syllabus for next year to include some notable books with a naturalistic view and I will be more mindful to not include books that make misleading arguments. So as not to provide that view.”

    No admission of guilt, no controversy,

    Quick, simple and done with a minimal effort. Everyone is happy.

    This could have been over and done with 3 weeks ago. Right now he’s just fanning the flames.

  26. Suri
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Looks like someone is obsessed with Jerry…creepy.

  27. Posted June 11, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Perhaps I’m on about my own terminology that others will find unsatisfactory, but as I sit here and muse about it, I find “social reactionary” as a very useful description. Especially, if you add the descriptor “and social reactionaries are mentally-ill”.

    We all have our mental shortcomings. But once it is affecting others or yourself (schizophrenia, hoarding) one falls into the category (IMO) that the evidence reveals one to be “mentally-ill”. Mental illness doesn’t have to be a perjorative…heck, I’d categorize someone with Alzheimer’s Disease as mentally ill. I’d say both Hitler and Stalin were social reactionaries, and mentally ill, yet led important powerful countries. It doesn’t mean you cannot function. It means that, socially, you are odds with normal human beings. You aspire to the impossible, best illustrated by the tea-party phrase “I want my country back!”

    People can disagree, such as in the case of defining ‘academic freedom’ at Ball State, and yet all can be graded ‘normal human being’ within this discussion. But to cling to ideas such as a “young earth”, which was the idea that 99% of Western Europe took as true in 1500, yet now, 90% have switched after absorbing reasonable evidence….why should the 10% refusing to alter their thinking be described as anything but ‘social reactionaries, and mentally ill.’
    ??????

  28. Suri
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    If Hedin loses his job it will be because his class is garbage and not because of Jerry.
    So , if Hedin finds himself without a job he should take responsability and blame himself.

  29. Pete Cockerell
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    The title of Klinghoffer’s book How Would God Vote?: Why the Bible Commands You to Be a Conservative reminds me of a vaguely-remembered line from The Young Ones where someone told Rick-with-a-silent-P that it was God>/i> who had decreed something or another, and Rick replied, “Right! I knew it was a Tory!”

    Nice to see that Klinghoffer’s views are up there with one of the more memorable tossers from TV sitcom history!

    • Pete Cockerell
      Posted June 11, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Tag fails, gotta love ‘em.

  30. krzysztof1
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m beginning to think that there is a good positive correlation between lacking a sense of humor and being disingenuous (which by definition almost all IDers are!)

  31. Marella
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Dreadful man, dissing on food, boots and cats, I mean is nothing sacred?


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