Saturday, May 12, 2012

Evolutionary Blackballing No Longer in the Closet

Evolutionists don’t usually advertise their McCarthyist blackballing, for even they realize that manipulating the message, controlling information, ruining careers and the like doesn’t look good. But in the wake of the uproar over this year’s commencement speaker—neurosurgeon Ben Carson who doubts all of biology arose spontaneously as evolutionists insist—Emory University President Jim Wagner had no choice not only to implement an evolutionary “background checking step” to filter out all future commencement speakers who might say something interesting, but to make it clear to all that such a blackballing procedure would be formally implemented.

This information was triumphantly conveyed in an email from biology professor Jacobus (Jaap) de Roode who issued several misrepresentations of science in a letter to the editor.

Of course McCarthyites always believe they are right, for after all they hold the truth. And so there is always the hypocritical twist that while engaging in their blackballing activities evolutionists tell each other they are upholding truth.

So it is not surprising that, according to Jaap, President Wagner “expressed his hopes that this discussion can be followed up in the fall, with a College-wide discussion on truth and systems of belief.”

Yes, it will be another teachable moment with the evolutionists. In that fact-free ambiance all will be assured that the good doctor is a fine man with good intention, but that the objective, unquestionable scientific truth that everything came from nothing can be a bit too raw and hard-hitting for the sentimental.

How can we better communicate the hard truth of evolution while not offending those not equipped to handle it? That will be the question of the day in that polite, collegiate gathering where evolutionists, having controlled the message, continue to drink their own bathwater.

You can be sure that there will be no more evolution doubters at Emory University, blackballing is now coming out.


  1. Given that people that appeal to general purpose methods of denying anything are essentially solipsists, It's unclear why you'd expect the science community to treat them any differently than they would, well, solipsists.

  2. It would appear that the invitation to deliver the commencement address and the award of the honorary degree are still being honored. That doesn't sound like blackballing.

    As for the vetting of future candidates, is that so unusual. Is it likely, for example, that Richard Dawkins, say, would be invited to speak at Bob Jones University?

  3. Let us try an experiment in empathy, with a little rewording

    Ultimately, if you accept *X, you dismiss ethics, you don't have to abide by my set of moral codes, you determine your own conscience based false premises.

    Free Will

    Is is right for a commencement speaker for a large, diverse audience portray a good portion of that audience as "dismissing ethics?"

    Hunter thinks it is CRAZY to pick a commencement speaker that wouldn't alienate and insult the audience. Do you think you have the right to tell a PRIVATE university how to select a commencement speaker?

    1. The fact is, a lot has been written by Darwinists themselves about how Evolutionary theory - or rather the Materialistic paradigm - undermine ethics. This logical conclusion is recognized both by proponents and opponents of materialism

      It seems like Darwinists think that they can say anything they like, and when it becomes inconvenient, they can just deny it was ever said.

  4. RobertC:

    Do you think you have the right to tell a PRIVATE university how to select a commencement speaker?

    Obviously, you evolutionists thank you have that right.

    1. Members of the Emory community signed the petition.

  5. That's how evolutionists work; they can't refute their critics, so they silence them. R.I.P science.

    1. Carson is still speaking at the commencement.

    2. Yes, I know...but the fact evolutionists would go to so much trouble trying to STOP him, is the point I'm making.

  6. Robert C:

    Let's try an exercise in evaluation of messages and response.

    Please observe this, from prof Provine's keynote address at the Darwin Day event in U Tenn in 1998, a well-known statement that is conspicuously not denounced by the elites:

    >> Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . >>

    I have never ever heard of Darwinists being offended, signing petitions and complaining about this, or similar things from the likes of Crick, or Dawkins, or any number of others.

    Now, explain to me how this differs substantially in underlying meaning -- evolutionary materialism leads to subjectivism and/or relativism on morals -- from what Dr Carson said. Or for that matter, from what Plato said in The laws, Bk X, 2350 years ago.

    This is sounding uncommonly like it is not what is being said but who says it that is the problem.

    Absent a convincing explanation, I think I have a right on fair comment to hold that what is really going on is anti-Christian bigotry, disguised as huffing and puffing and finding offence over that which is routinely implied or outright said by leading Darwinists, once it comes form the mouth of someone who is taking exception to it.


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. KF-the quotes are not equivalent.

      "no ultimate foundation" and "equates the acceptance of evolution with a lack of ethics and morality" are very different. The letter to the editor believes Carson said the latter. Having ethics with other foundations and having a lack of ethics are very different things.

      I know you believe ALL ethics are founded in your God, but lets just agree for now that that belief is not universal. If you hold that outside your view of Christianity their is no ethics, you might be a poor commencement speaker for Emory as well.

      And Bigotry? Persecution? McCarthyism. All these terms have been used in reference to this situation.

      He's still speaking.

      Says one professor:
      "Dr. Carson was a childhood hero of mine, and he still is a hero of mine..."
      "The professors say this is no protest and they still want Carson to speak at the commencement."

    3. KF,

      Can one be a Christian and accept evolutionary theory, the present theory of the big bang? Dr Carson in his interview says no, you can have no foundation for your ethics if you do not accept his beliefs.

      He is free to believe that, Professor Roode is as free to express his opinion.It seems to me that there is only one group bitterly denouncing the exercise of free civil dialog.

    4. RobertC

      And Bigotry? Persecution? McCarthyism. All these terms have been used in reference to this situation.

      He's still speaking.

      Emphasis mine. This whole whine-fest is an absolute classic, innit?

      Nobody does over-the-top poor persecuted victim-hood better that the Creationists. Nobody.

  7. RC:

    You can SAY that. The problem is that if naturalistic evolution = evolutionary materialism is so, and we have no real choice or purpose, not only is it so that there is no ultimate foundation for ethics, but the relative "foundations" we erect boil down to might and manipulation make "right."

    Which is precisely what nihilism is; just what Plato warned against 2350 years ago in the Laws, Bk X:

    >> [The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC say that] The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . . .

    [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT.] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless tyranny; here, too, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . . >>


    1. So the logic here is that because you agree with Carson, no one is even allowed to question his invitation to a private affair for a community that a substantial percentage of is offended by his suggestion they are amoral because they believe in evolution?

      "The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them"

      Not a bad guess-I'm glad you and Plato didn't have your way, and the Avant-garde has kept searching and pushing human knowledge forward for the last 2400 years.

      You use "evolutionary materialism" quite a bit, defining it as

      "Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles"
      "amoral factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless tyranny"
      "might and manipulation make "right"

      I wouldn't want you at my commencement either. How does belief in naturalistic evolution make one amoral, and a believer in might makes right?

      You know there are other foundations of ethics? Property rights. Empathy-treating others as you want to be treated. The desire for a stable and happy society.

      You also know even with your supposed "ultimate foundation," ethics and morality is societies that share your exact beliefs have been, let us say, not universally applied.

      And you also must know of societies, with no concept of god at all that have quite nice ethical codes, not based on ruthless tyranny.

    2. KF: You can SAY that. The problem is that if naturalistic evolution = evolutionary materialism is so, and we have no real choice or purpose, not only is it so that there is no ultimate foundation for ethics, but the relative "foundations" we erect boil down to might and manipulation make "right."

      Exactly why would this necessarily be the case? The fact that you haven't actually argued for this in any detailed way indicates you do not recognize this as an idea that would be subject to criticism.

      For example, is it not logically possible that God created evolutionary mechanisms as a secondary cause and allowed great freedom as to what kind of life would arise, just as he supposedly created gravity as a secondary cause?

      If one is genuinely open to the idea that we simply do not know what happens after we die, is it not logically possible that human conciseness could exist in some form after death even if God doesn't exist? Is it not logically possible that God purposely designed us to be material beings that had a finite existence, making that our purpose?

      I'm guessing you recognize the above as ideas that would be subject to criticism. But, it would seem you're unable to recognize your own assumptions as such.

  8. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't UncommonDescent recently ban over 20 posters including the ultra-polite Dr. Elizabet Liddle merely for the crime of disagreeing with the "official" ID position?

    Why yes, they did.

    The stench of hypocrisy from the Intelligent Design Creationists could gag a maggot.

    1. On that note, I wonder how many posters here work for, or went to, or support institutions that have explicit doctrinal statements, as opposed to Emory, which has an inclusive and tolerant statement of purpose.

      Didn't Dr. Dembski have to walk back some statements on the flood recently? No cries of academic freedom, intimidation or bullying then.

      For goodness sake, somewhere that has had Newt Gingrich as a student, Jimmy Carter and the Dali Lama as faculty, a School of Theology, and some great evolutionary biology research has probably had some nice dialogues. What shared dogma is there to punish people for not adhering to? Who's doing the bullying?

  9. RC et al:

    I think you would be well instructed to have a look here, to see more of the problem.

    Michael Ruse, 1985:

    >> "Ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to co-operate." >>


    PS: Thorton, you begin with a smear: that you insist on falsely labelling design theory as creationism at this stage is willful dishonesty. I need say nothing further to you and simply note for record to onlookers, as you want to drag this discussion down into personalities.

    F/N: For record, onlookers, I think you will notice there was a problem of persistent, willful obstructionism at UD, including a nest of sock-puppets and trolls, extending over about a year; and associated with indefensible behaviour at several hate sites. In the case of Dr Liddle, with all due respect to her gentility (and pardon my having to speak to such, to give the rest of the story), she was in fact unfortunately associated with the enabling behaviour of going along meekly with abusive commentary at one of the notorious anti-design hate sites; sites that fully warrant my general policy of not engaging in discussions where participants on the other side routinely resort to abuse and harassment. BTW, you the astute onlooker would be well advised to note that I hold no moderating powers at UD and from time to time have made my objections known publicly and privately where I think things have gone wrong or too far (as will be inevitable in the real world, not the one where Thorton's side gets away with abuse, name-calling, slander, threats targetting uninvolved family members, outing tactics, invasion of unrelated web sites, and probable email tampering while demanding passivity on ours . . . ); and not without some positive effect. All of this was brought out in details months ago, but of course telling the rest of the story on things like mafioso style threats made against my family would not serve Thorton's purpose, or the posting of RW pictures with defacing that serve as both mockery and targetting information. In addition, you know or should know that I have been subjected to considerable web harassment from Thorton's side of the fence, with very little protest or self-correction on that side. What that tells me is that what Thorton is doing here is diverting from a substantial issue into atmosphere-poisoning and polarisation in place of addressing serious issues on the merits. In short, he plainly has nothing cogent to say so he thinks that by letting off stink bombs he can score points. All he is doing in the end is substantiating the concern that Carson made that evolutionary materialism encourages an atmosphere of relativist nihilism that lends itself to the sort of ruthless faction tactics we are seeing above. I had hoped that this blog was showing some improvement on that side, but it is quite evident that that is not the case. In any case I have said enough for responsible people to see what is going on. G'day.

  10. Onlookers,

    Let me not have to walk away on a response to a distractive rhetorical stink bomb.

    So, let me cite Princeton University moral philosopher Robbie George, courtesy ENV:

    >> of course Gentle Ben (and he is indeed one of the gentlest, kindest people one could ever meet) doesn't believe that his Darwinist friends and colleagues are necessarily unethical. What he believes is that Darwinism is necessarily materialistic. (This is a view about Darwinism that he shares with some devout Darwinists themselves.) And he believes that materialism, if true, is incompatible with free will and with ethical norms (which must be, after all, norms for the guidance of free choices, if they are to have any standing, force, and validity at all). Now, he knows perfectly well that people who believe in materialism are in many cases decent, honorable, ethical people. But he thinks that they lead lives that are much better than their formal philosophical beliefs would require them to lead. He believes that their commitment to materialism makes it impossible for them to give a sound account of the ethical norms which they themselves, to their credit, live by. Of course, he might be wrong about that (though I don't think he is), just as he might be wrong about the validity of Darwinism as a scientific theory, or the compatility of Darwinism with the rejection of materialism. But it's certainly not a mean or crazy thing to believe or say. It's scarcely a cause for "concern" about having him as a Commencement speaker. >>

    That is what the objectors of the ilk of Thorton don't want you thinking about (and clearly cannot cogently answer to), so the best retort to the sort of tactics that have begun to play pout above, is to put the issue back on the merits.

    G'day again


    1. PS: have a read. Note especially this from Klinghoffer:

      >> Beyond the specific episode involving Emory University and Ben Carson, the general point needs to be emphasized. Dr. Carson is protected both by his renown and by the fact that a Commencement address, however high profile, is still just a one-shot event. It's not an academic appointment.

      If Carson's brief comments on evolution drew this kind of harsh and distorting criticism, imagine the results if he were someone else: a young scientist seeking a strong start to his career, a not so young but still untenured scientist with his livelihood to protect, even a tenured academic worried about his reputation and the future careers of his own grad students.

      Imagine one of those folks harboring private doubts about Darwin -- as, in fact, we know that plenty do. He would have to be nearly suicidal, in disregarding his future job prospects -- either that or fantastically brave -- to breath a word about his opinions.

      This is, once again, how Darwinists maintain the fiction that the scientific community has reached a freely determined "consensus" in favor of Darwinian evolution and against competing scientific views like intelligent design. The consensus is maintained by intimidation. It's a farce -- but for vulnerable people in academic life, a scary farce. >>

      That, folks, is the real -- and sadly telling -- bottomline here.

    2. What do David Klinghoffer or you know about academic life?

      Or Emory University?

      Is giving someone a honorary Ph.D., re-extending the invitation while calling him a hero, and requesting to dialogue "intimidation?"

    3. KF,

      The central flaw in creationism is the same flaw found in the pre-enlightenment conception of human knowledge, in that it's irrational, supernatural or completely absent.

      Specifically, you assuming that morality isn't an idea that would be subject to criticism, but is exhaustively true. As such, it cannot or should not become more accurate over time.

      However, I'm a fallibilist and a critical rationalist. As such, we make progress by conjecturing theories, then exposing them to criticism. So, I have no reason to expect our answers to moral questions to be exhaustively true. Nor am I surprised that our assumptions how the impact of evolutionary theory on morality would contain errors, but would become more accurate over time.

      New discoveries reveal new problem. But those problems eventually get solved.

      While this might be a problem for you're conception of human knowledge, it's not a problem for mine. In fact, it's a direct consequence of mine.

      Since cannot predict what kind of knowledge we will create, we cannot predict what impact it will have on morality.

      For example, at some point, we will create the knowledge of how to bring back someone who has died less than 30 minutes ago due to serious injury. What would be the effect this would have on ethics? Is it OK to violently kill someone as long as you revive within 30 minutes?

      Do you see how an open-ended process of knowledge creation makes the idea of a fixed, moral code that never changes and never becomes more accurate untenable?

      Darwin's discovery is no different. It revealed new problems to be solved. This includes moral problems that we couldn't have predicted. Nor does this mean that we exhaustively solve them right away.

      But, again, this is only a problem for your conception of human knowledge, not mine.

  11. I guess the answer to my question: "So the logic here is that because you agree with Carson, no one is even allowed to question his invitation to a private affair for a community that a substantial percentage of is offended by his suggestion they are amoral because they believe in evolution? "

    Is yes.

    Why should the professors and graduates of Emory University, who believe in evolution and feel quite moral not have the right to a dialogue about the choice of commencement speaker?

    1. RC: You obviously do not want to acknowledge the difference between dialogue and intimidation; as Klinghoffer has so aptly pointed out. I need not repeat myself on that score.

      In addition, you do not seem to appreciate that reiterating a false talking point does not transform it into truth.

      Since onlookers can see for themselves why I pointed out that no small number of Darwinists -- including Darwin -- have said or implied the substantial claim made by Carson, it is plain that the real objection and reason why he was turned into a strawman and scapegoat to be smeared publicly, is that he spoke as a Christian.

      And that tells us all we need to know about what is really going on.


    2. "You obviously do not want to acknowledge the difference between dialogue and intimidation"

      Check to hyperbole. Affirming the invitation and honorary degree, calling him a hero, and making clear this is NOT a protest to withdraw the invite.

      "real objection and reason why he was turned into a strawman and scapegoat to be smeared publicly, is that he spoke as a Christian."

      And there are no Christians at Emory, or among those who signed the petition?

      I'm a graduate of Emory, and I assure you, there are.

      Are only opponents of evolutionary biology Christian? Have you drawn this line?

  12. RC: You obviously do not want to acknowledge the difference between dialogue and intimidation;

    Let's see.

    If you're a Creationist and you call scientists and academics amoral for accepting a well supported scientific theory, you're engaging in dialogue.

    If you're a scientist or academic and you object to being insulted by the gross misrepresentation of you as amoral, you're engaging in intimidation.

    Gordon, is that how they do it in Montserrat?

    1. No, not just intimidation.

      KF says it is "anti-christian bigotry" to complain when someone invited to your home institution describes you as devoid of ethics because of his religious beliefs.

      I wonder how an evolutionary biology student, after working hard for 6 years on her Ph.D. will feel at her graduation, with her family watching, if Dr. Carson chooses to describe her as amoral and irrational. Hopefully he won't--but I think the warning by the Emory faculty is valid, given his public statements. Let's hope he talks about his life and accomplishments in a positive manner, not detracting from others.

      Of course, in the spirit of open dialogue, KF posted this (even quoting me) on the site where those who don't conform to Barry's beliefs aren't allowed to post.

  13. Just watched this video on Dr. Ben Carson's life. Simply inspirational.

    Gifted Hands - The Story of Ben Carson - video

    1. We all agree. He's an absolute saint. He's just wrong about evolution.