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“Rube-Bait”: Kevin Williamson vs. David Klinghoffer: Round 2

Kevin Williamson

Recently, we covered Evolution News and Science Today editor David Klinghoffer’s response to a sneer by Kevin Williamson against ID at National Review (where Klinghoffer used to work, incidentally). Klinghoffer cited a number of respectable thinkers who have held Darwinism in little esteem—which led to our publishing a separate and different long list of such thinkers here at Uncommon Descent.

David Klinghoffer
David Klinghoffer

Meanwhile, Williamson replied to Klinghoffer (“Irreducible Perplexity”), who fired back:

Here’s what is missing: serious public debate. Telling scientists to “slug it out” in professional journals and not try to persuade others is like asking a free-market advocate to persuade his Marxist colleagues before he dares offer his case to the public. What makes Kevin think entrenched Darwinists are willing even to listen to scientific challenges? Kevin is saying that critics of Darwin should allow themselves to be abused — by non-scientists like Kevin D. Williamson — and just take it. Why is Williamson such an (entertaining) scourge of experts in other fields, yet eager to accept and amplify the prejudices of Darwinists? There’s no “conspiracy” here. Scientists are as subject to careerism, groupthink, and status anxiety as anyone else. The hypothesis of purpose in nature is too important to leave to the “experts” alone. We needn’t be impressed by pseudo-Menckenesque put-downs.David Klinghoffer, “More Than a Technical Debate” at National Review

Not only needn’t we be “impressed by pseudo-Menckenesque put-downs” but quite a few of the people who offer them have nothing going for them but the sneer. See, for example, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos and “the artistic license to lie” and Bill Nye’s “Christianity vs. the Big Universe” myth for classic instances.

Note: Mark Steyn, who also used to write for National Review and kairosfocus here at UD, discuss the rake that National Review has
just stepped on, —a much better-known current controversy involving some school kids and a drum, resulting in a suddenly disappearing story and some deep-sixed executive tweets.

See also: Intelligent design as “rube-bait” and David Klinghoffer’s response Klinghoffer offers his vid, The Information Enigma by way of rebuttal. But rebuttal almost misses the point. Today’s Darwinism is a snipe on Twitter, a swipe in passing, a slogan on a whiteboard, a well-practiced rant – not something it would make sense to ask anyone to support with reference to facts or coherent ideas. Williamson’s got that right. No arguing with fashion.


Respectable people who doubt Darwin: a long list Why then do media rush to cover any doubt about Darwin as some kind of a descent into a panic of ignorance? Because they are struggling for survival themselves in a linked world that may not need them as much any more The longer they behave this way, the more of a certainty that is. Under the circumstances their panic, hence the nonsense, may increase.

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