Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests


On Being Hated: A Note to — and About — Readers

posted by David Klinghoffer
Good news: As I know from the weekly reports I get from Beliefnet, traffic on this still relatively new blog keeps going up. That’s heartening. Yet if you follow the comments box at all here you will have noticed something odd: this blog seems disproportionately popular with people who hate me and everything I stand for. I still marvel at it. A lot of these folks seem to have lots of time on their hands to monitor my every post. Some spend more energy writing here than I do, putting up multiple responses per blog entry. Many commenters “discovered” me through blogs that have linked to things I’ve written — religion- and tradition-hating blogs like Little Green Footballs, PZ Myers’s Pharyngula, or Dan Savage’s group blog at The Stranger, which all specialize in one-note jeering. 
There’s no way to know what this reflects about actual readership. Certainly, I would be grateful to hear from a greater number of people who see the world more like I do. I understand that would expose you to the same venom that greets me every time I look at the comment threads. Who needs that? Be assured, that’s why I unpublish the most offensive, obscene and vilifying comments. I know that in our country, sensible people are still in a majority, if barely. For example, just on the issue of life’s origins and history, so central to any authentic Torah worldview (cf. Rav Hirsch), a recent Zogby poll shows 52 percent of Americans agree that an “intelligent design” guided evolutionary development while only a minority, 33 percent, accept the materialist Darwinian account.
Anyway, I thought you might be interested in knowing how I deal with it. I mean, subjectively. I’ll tell you after the jump.

On one hand, God informed Abraham at the very beginning that Torah would be divisive: “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Some will indeed curse you, God warned Abraham, while others will bless you. The “Abrahamitic nation” was formed in the first place, writes Hirsch (on Exodus 6:3), to oppose the effects of “materialism.” This was intended to be the primary way by which Jews would strive to “become a blessing” to others. On the other hand, no one likes to be vilified.
The hate you get, whether you’re Jewish or (nowadays) Christian, from the party of those who curse Abraham’s legacy is something I long ago became accustomed to. Apart from being inured by familiarity, the impact is softened by friendships with sympathetic colleagues. My conviction is also stiffened by all the name-calling, contempt, insults, and vulgarity. I’ve worked my whole professional life in the impoverished but I think noble circumstances of conservative-leaning magazines, newspapers, and educational foundations. I have had many different kinds of people as colleagues. A very few made a bad impression. The rest have been remarkably decent, kind, genteel, and considerate people — a little different from what you hear about the world of profit-making and certainly from the backbiting world of academic-employment. More to the point, what a huge contrast with numerous folks I’ve come in contact with on the other side of the philosophical spectrum. Whenever I have doubts about my convictions, the nastiness endemic on the secularist Left reminds me of what, ultimately, I’m fighting for. If you think of a person as nothing more than a clever animal, then to write about or treat him brutishly becomes more easily justifiable. I’m far from a perfect specimen of humanity but I’m glad to be on the side that stands, in general, for decent values in their own personal interactions with other human beings.
You’ll ask: If the sides were reversed, if I were a Lefty, would I be subjected to as much vituperation as one comes to expect if you’re on the Right? (Cf. the case of Sarah Palin.) I don’t think so. The one major experience I had with switching sides — when Doubleday published my book explaining why Christianity is wrong in regarding Jesus as the messiah and as God’s “son” — is illustrative. When the book, Why the Jews Rejected Jesus, came out, the very first email I received in response turned out to be one I’ll always remember. It was from a lady in Atlanta who professed to be a Christian and anticipated, with satisfaction, looking down on me in Hell from her vantage point in Heaven.
It was the only – the only — such communication I ever received from a Christian. The first and last. I received a ton of email, mail and phone calls in response to that book. It still comes in. Many of my correspondents were serious Christians who wanted to argue with me. After all, I was calling their whole religion into question at its core, in a way Jews have shied from doing at least since the Middle Ages. But with that single exception, Christians have done so with courtesy, kindness, and good cheer. Most didn’t even want to argue. They just wanted to tell me they had read the book, found the Jewish view illuminating despite major disagreements, and God bless you, David, for writing it. That was it. It’s been an amazing experience.
They also had the guts to write to me using their real names. The contrast with the braying, vulgar, obsessive, insulting, childishly name-calling rhetoric of too many anonymous or pseudonymous atheists, evangelizing skeptics, Darwinists, gay-rights advocates and so on really couldn’t be more dramatic.
Or more confirming that ideas, after all, have consequences.


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freelunch

posted July 12, 2009 at 7:38 pm


David,
1. You make claims that are demonstrably false.
2. People correct you on those claims.
3. Rather than correct the erroneous claim, you repeat it.
4. Someone calls you a liar because you are telling lies.
5. You act all self-pitying because someone had the temerity to point out your lies.
6. Now you post about how proud you are that you are willing to stand up (against reality so you can continue to repeat your lies).
It’s pretty clear that the folks on Beliefnet really do not care what you write as long as it gets hits. I guess that they don’t care that you have chosen to insult some of their other writers. Your arrogant assertions about whether theistic evolution is valid are, as with all of your assertions, unsupported by any evidence, yet you whine whenever anyone points out your total lack of evidence — except when you refuse to acknowledge a valid criticism at all.
I will not read Beliefnet any more and you are personally responsible for that. It is your self-righteousness, your proud ignorance, your refusal to ever admit that you are making a mistake, along with your unlimited shilling for the corrupt falsehoods of the Discovery Institute that not only persuades me not to read your posts, but those of anyone else as long as they tolerate your dishonesty.



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Glen Davidson

posted July 12, 2009 at 7:39 pm


Why don’t you try dealing with issues and commenters in an intellectually honest fashion, rather than tarring everybody with different opinions as “haters”?
Oh, that’s right, you’re supposed to malign the “others,” no matter how reasonable, in the beginning, substituting ad hominem attacks for any honest argumentation, then you whine when you’re called on such malicious behavior.
Double standard, nothing else.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



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Glen Davidson

posted July 12, 2009 at 7:46 pm


For instance:

I know that in our country, sensible people are still in a majority, if barely. For example, just on the issue of life’s origins and history, so central to any authentic Torah worldview (cf. Rav Hirsch), a recent Zogby poll shows 52 percent of Americans agree that an “intelligent design” guided evolutionary development while only a minority, 33 percent, accept the materialist Darwinian account.

We’ve asked you repeatedly to back up such a stupid assertion, and you never have, only telling us to read the mendacious recent book by Meyer (I did demonstrate how it was mendacious, earlier).
Now you simply assert it again with the fallacy of argumentum ad populum to indicate how utterly worthless your constant attacks upon intelligent and reasonable people are.
But hey, we’re the haters, even though you’ve never once risen above the level of mere attack upon others in the area of evolution. You’re the martyr, even if you have to be completely dishonest in order to get us to attack you for your initial unjustified attacks.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



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POvidi

posted July 12, 2009 at 8:08 pm


It’s funny that you mention Sarah Palin and criticism of the Right. I read an article on this earlier today that was linked by another Beliefnet blogger. It talked about how conservatives seem to forget the past when defending Palin from the “liberal” media and their horribly unacceptable criticism of her and her family. Unfortunately, they fail to recall the bitingly personal attacks that they made against Hillary Clinton for upwards of a decade now. Jokes which included her daughter Chelsea, some of which insinuated a lesbian relationship between mother, daughter, and then Attorney General Janet Reno.
So yes, as we can see, conservatives never stoop so low as to spread hate. I also find it interesting that you think gays and atheists are unscathed by hate speech. I read a blog called Pam’s House Blend and every once in a while she likes to post a piece of hate mail received, and i can promise you they’re anything but civil. Unless of course, it’s civil to call a lesbian a “dyke” or a “sick queer”.
http://www.pamshouseblend.com
Recent polls and statistics also show that atheists are the most distrusted and “unamerican” minority. Are those enough examples of the lack of ethics and morality from the Religious Right, or will you just ignore that so you can maintain your sad small world?



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Turmarion

posted July 12, 2009 at 8:42 pm


David, I don’t sense hatred from the regulars here. Intense frustration and annoyance that you make assertions which you refuse to back up, and that you refuse to answer questions we ask or to engage in true debate or dialogue. That, however, is not hatred. I, in fact, have often complimented you on many of your writings, and have to the best of my knowledge and ability tried to be civil and polite, while honestly calling it as I see it, in bringing up issues with you regarding statements you’ve made.
On one hand, God informed Abraham at the very beginning that Torah would be divisive
Yes, just as Christ is a “sign of contradiction” (Luke 2:24)–but that has nothing to do with ID, unless you take the Tanakh literally. In which case one also must assume the earth is flat, the cosmos is geocentric, and pi is equal to 3.0.
[A] recent Zogby poll shows 52 percent of Americans agree that an “intelligent design” guided evolutionary development while only a minority
“Guided evolutionary development” sounds like the dreaded theistic evolution to me. In any case, if the your interpretation of the poll is correct, it’s irrelevant. Truth is not decided by majority vote. At one time, 100% of people everywhere thought the Earth was flat–that didn’t make it so. If 52% of Americans really think evolution didn’t happen, then 52% of Americans are wrong. This is just one more example of spurious and irrelevant data that you throw out there, rather than supporting your case or answering objections.
You’ll ask: If the sides were reversed, if I were a Lefty, would I be subjected to as much vituperation as one comes to expect if you’re on the Right?
If you think that, e.g. Bill, Chelsea, and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obam, Sonia Sotomayor, and otehrs haven’t got loads of hatred and vituperation piled on them from the Right, you haven’t been paying attention for the last seventeen years. Also, your use of the term “Lefty” is a bit of a dig, don’t you think?
They also had the guts to write to me using their real names.
If you know anything about Net culture, net names are the norm. Many of us, including myself, have had issues occur from use of real names because of some of the same types of behavior you decry. Having been burned, many of us prefer to use net names. This is not cowardice or avoidance. I’ll write you or email you privately with my real name and address, if it’s that big of an issue, and hell, I’ll throw in a photo. If I’m ever in Seattle I’ll talk to you face-to-face, and do so politely, courteously, and civilly. To accuse those of us who prefer net names of cowardice is quite frankly rude, insulting, and just plain false. And by the way, if you talk to anyone who runs a blog, especially one dealing with controversial issues, the nastiness you speak of is the norm. Talk to some of your fellow Beliefnet bloggers, for that matter. Anyway, you know the saying about heat and the kitchen.
Another thing that annoys many of us is how you can put up a fascinating post that is really worth reading, and then in the last line or two put in a gratuitous swipe at evolution which has nothing whatsoever to do with the post. Instead of “recovering the wisdom of the Hebrew Bible” I think maybe this blog’s subtitle should be “sparing no effort to club anything and everything to do with evolution”. It would be more accurate.
Anyway, as far as trolls and such go, you can’t do much about them but delete their posts. On the other hand, you could easily lessen a lot of the frustration of those of us who are not trolls by actually answering questions or engaging in the dialogue you claim to want, though your actions belie that. Is that so hard to do?



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David Klinghoffer

posted July 12, 2009 at 9:04 pm


Thanks, Turmarion, I hear your point about anonymity — there’s merit in what you say. And I will take under advisement changing the blog’s subtitle along the lines you propose; your suggestion could be catchy! :) In all seriousness, anyone who wants to be in touch with me by email can do so, and is encouraged, through the address on the Discovery site — with my complete assurance of having his identity protected. Outing people is an odious crime committed on the Left, not on the Right as far as I know. As for answering challenges, I can’t honestly say I read every word of every comment. I have a full time job and this isn’t it, not to mention a large and insolvent family to support. But I try to read as much as I can. Sometimes I reply in a thread. Sometimes I keep an objection in mind and formulate a future post with it in mind. Sometimes I don’t have an answer at the tip of my fingers. Sometimes objections change my mind. If you’ll notice, in the posts I wrote about women and gay marriage, I gradually refined my view under the influence of the more thoughtful objecting commenters. Finally, as for the comments you’ll actually see in threads here, you only see the ones I let stand and don’t unpublish, naturally. You don’t know the kind of stuff I’ve had to clean up. You’re right that the Internet is an evil place in many ways. My regret is that nice, normal people are made to feel uncomfortable about participating.



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Marc

posted July 12, 2009 at 9:37 pm


Mr. Klinghoffer,
I have had heard this argument – higher standards of civil discourse etc.. – coming from religious conservatives many times and here is my take on it:
I have no reason to doubt your personal experience, so for the sake of the argument I will grant your claims about the differences in civility between conservatives and, well, anyone who is against you, apparently.
However, I find the conclusion you – and those who think like you – draw extremely revealing in terms of where our values differ.
Whereas you like to draw a direct line from what you consider “civil” discourse and behaviour to judging someone as a good and morally praiseworthy person, I (and presumably many who think along the same lines, that is more or less secular and liberal) would emphasize “decency” as opposed to “civility”.
To make a long story short, I prefer people who use crude language against ideas/ideologies/religions that I consider dangerous and harmful over people who espouse these very ideas, but do so in a very civil and widely accepted language.
Obviously, in terms of public appeal sometimes one has to judge which approach is more appropriate for a given occasion, but those are tactical considerations. Someone in the public eye will use different language than anonymous commenters on some blog.
I guess I can understand that to you as a religious conservative, to whom your particular religion and your god are the very essence of what is good and moral, it is probably difficult to comprehend, let alone accept, the anger and contempt people have for your religion.
I admit that the position of Jews here is a little more delicate because of Anti-semitism – I haven’t gone through your comments so I don’t know how much of that you get – but frankly, I don’t think your comment section would look much different if you were a conservative Christian.
The point remains that to me the attacks of Dan Savage, P.Z.Myers and whoever else against you were entirely justified BECAUSE OF THE MERIT OF THE UNDERLYING MORAL ARGUMENT.
I think the values and views they represent are infinitely superior in how the affect society and the greater good of humanity, especially viewed against your antiquated religious dogmas which, on balance, only create more harm, suffering and division. (Sorry, but that’s the most “civil” way I can possibly express my views)
I know it is pointless to discuss this last sentence on the merits – we will never agree, because we haver radically different ideas of what “good” is and what constitutes “harm”.
Anyway, these are my admittedly overly verbose two cents…



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Phil

posted July 12, 2009 at 9:41 pm


Dave,
After seeing the atrocity of over 100 million dead in the atheistic ashes of the former soviet union, the unmitigated horror wrought by the evolutionary mindset of Nazi Germany, and the hidden holocaust on the unborn going on in our own country, It is a wonder the atheists have any gall left to proclaim they are the “rational ones” and to vilify anyone who stands up for humans to exercise their God given moral codes. If we, of the God fearing persuasion, were to use the atheistic same type of reasoning we should have outlawed atheism and exterminated anyone who practiced it after the horror wrought by its mindset in the 20th century. But yet we are stayed in this action, which would be supremely justified in the atheistic mindset, because of the same God given moral code the atheists are loathe to admit is real. Shoot, most atheist fight tooth and nail denying evolution had any role whatsoever in Hitler’s quest for a “master race”. So what do you expect Dave from people who can’t even be honest with the facts of history? So Please stick to the high road of your Theism Dave no matter what names the atheists call you and hate they spew your way.



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Yirmi

posted July 12, 2009 at 10:59 pm


The thing is, when Christians argue with Jews about who is the Messiah, they have a very good reason to stay respectful and civil. Their general meme is that Jewish opposition to believing in Jesus is “hate,” and their solution is “love.” This, to me, explains why it Dr. Laura ended up saying she no longer was Jewish (despite her conversion), marveling at all the love she’d gotten from Christians and all the hate she’d gotten from (hard core secularist) Jews. The Christians who are religious and committed enough to take your book seriously and self-conscious enough to make sure they stay on task and act lovingly toward you, just in case their love rubs off and influences you to adopt their faith.
One thing to consider is that LGF has a famously nasty and foul-mouthed commentariat. There used to be liberal blogs devoted to documenting all the racist or quasi-racist things people would say, back when the blog was devoted solely to being critical of Islamism. But that’s just one slice of your readership.
Another is the hard-core atheists. They’ve always congregated and the web and delighted in ganging up on believers with all their rationalist cliches.
Then there are the hard-core gay rights readers. Just in the last few years we’ve gotten to the surreal situation where a large chunk of the population believes lack of support for full gay marriage is no more defensible than anti-intermarriage laws in the old south. So the people you’re getting are the most hotheaded 1% of these true believers, egged on by potty-mouthed ideologues like Savage.
I won’t think any less of you if you switch to no comments or start accepting only a handful of the most thoughtful and respectful comments.



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David Klinghoffer

posted July 12, 2009 at 11:07 pm


Thanks, Yirmi, I agree with your analysis. A briefer way to say it would be, as I never tire of repeating, Ideas have consequences. (Which of course is Richard Weaver’s phrase, not mine.)



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Olorin

posted July 12, 2009 at 11:12 pm


“The contrast with the braying, vulgar, obsessive, insulting, childishly name-calling rhetoric of too many anonymous or pseudonymous atheists, evangelizing skeptics, Darwinists, gay-rights advocates and so on really couldn’t be more dramatic.”
David, if you don’t like others stereotyping you, then you should avoid—in this post and in the past—stereotyping others.
I don’t hate you because you’re conservative, or Jewish, or have the curse of psoriasis. I hate you because you persist in misleading and lying about science, even after others have corrected your blatant falsehoods numerous times. As a teacher, I try to be patient with ignorance, and tolerant with disagreement. But you and the horse you rode in on (The “Discovery” Institute) are beyond the pale.
There is an egregious example in this very post. The Zogby poll, commissioned by the Dishonesty Institute, was framed so that theistic evolutionists had to either classify themselves as followers of intelligent design or as crass materialistic atheists. That’s the only reason you were able to garner a majority for intelligent design. Some poll. No honesty.
The only point in your favor is that you do still allow comments. “Evolution news and Views” cut comments off two years ago when they got too damaging.



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David Klinghoffer

posted July 12, 2009 at 11:30 pm


Olorin, sorry to hear you “hate” me! Quite a thing to say. Regarding the Zogby poll, it used the phrase “intelligent design” advisedly. Any genuine theistic evolutionist (Kenneth Miller, Francis Collins, etc.) would have been comfortable pulling the lever for Darwin. I say that based on their writings. There’s nothing deceptive going on.



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Yirmi

posted July 12, 2009 at 11:32 pm


Thanks. I just wanted to say a couple more things. First, as someone who’s lived most of his life surrounded by the ultra-liberal (or even radical leftist fringe) I have to say the vast majority of them are really decent and kind people. And I’ve seen some of them on the street debating politics with conservatives in a civil and sophisticated way for hours on end, which really impressed me — because I don’t have the stamina and patience for that. There are a lot of gentle and compassionate people who really respect other poeple’s points of view. Of course they think they’re 100% right and disdain those who disagree with them, but to be honest I think that’s true for most hard-core conservatives too; some of the most offensive, unhinged talking heads and bloggers are on the right. Christianity does hold some of them back, that’s for sure, and in that respect you’re right that ideas have consequences. But the conspiratorial idea that liberals are closet Marxists trying to destroy the West from within and harm our national security, which has been pretty prevalent over the last few years, is also a dangerously dehumanizing idea that has negative consequences.
I also wanted to say that I enjoy and appreciate your blog. I’m actually liberal on most issues like the environment, economy and foreign policy (minus Israel) (though I guess I’d be mostly happy with calling it conservatism if Rod Dreher got to define the term), but I basically agree with you on the cultural issues. I wouldn’t dare make these views (or my pro-Israel views) known to most of my friends and acquantances, of course!



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David Klinghoffer

posted July 12, 2009 at 11:44 pm


Of course, Yirmi, the vast majority of lefties are entirely pleasant people. The point is this strain of hate appears in their ranks in a way it doesn’t on the Right, and that tells you something about the philosophy.



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Sophist

posted July 12, 2009 at 11:55 pm


The point is this strain of hate appears in their ranks in a way it doesn’t on the Right, and that tells you something about the philosophy.

This is simply not true. For every example left wing bile, you can find a counterpoint on the right that is just as vituperative, if not moreso. Neither side has a monopoly on hate, and the fact that you would claim otherwise tell us something about your philosophy.



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Yirmi

posted July 13, 2009 at 12:13 am


The only thing is that hate with a capital H, that is the various neo-nazi and other racist movements that still exist today, all identify themselves with the political right. The conspiracy theorists whose work ends up on mainstream venues like Glen Beck often are connected with the explicitly racist likeminded movements too. It may be unfair to call them conservatives (after all Buckley did to marginalize them) but there’s always been a somewhat fuzzy line in practice between the antisemitic and racist radical right and mainstream conservatism. Nowadays it seems like many mainstream conservatives believe the conspiracy theories about Obama being a Marxist, closet Muslim usurper bent on destroying America, which of course are shared by the more radical and hateful rightists. Now of course antisemitism is rising on the left, but that’s a different story.



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Sophist

posted July 13, 2009 at 12:23 am


Now of course antisemitism is rising on the left, but that’s a different story.

Hang on now, you can’t just toss off something like that unsustantiated in the last sentence of a post. I’d
really like to see the source you’re getting that from, assuming you don’t fall prey to the rising rightwing cannibalism first.



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Turmarion

posted July 13, 2009 at 12:25 am


Ymri at 11:32 PM and at 12:13 AM: Very good posts!
David: Of course, Yirmi, the vast majority of lefties are entirely pleasant people.
Which is like saying, “The vast majority of (fill in your favorite ethnic slur here) are entirely pleasant people.” “Ethnic slur” is perhaps a strong comparison, but “lefty” is used by many on the right in a somewhat catty, not entirely pleasant way in referring to their ideological opponents. It’s like calling conservative Christians “Christianists” (à la Andrew Sullivan) or fundies–it’s not quite a slur, but not really very nice, either.
The point is this strain of hate appears in their ranks in a way it doesn’t on the Right
??!! Rush Limbaugh? Ann Coulter? Most talk radio? NewsMax? The American Spectator? Your fellow Beliefnet poster and fellow conservative Rod Dreher has actually had entire posts discussing how the rhetorical style and nastiness of much of the Right is damaging the conservative movement. So, if you don’t believe us “lefties” (although I consider myself moderate), listen to a conservative! I might point out that Daniel Larison over at The American Conservative has taken the Right to task for loonieness and nastiness more than once, too.



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David Klinghoffer

posted July 13, 2009 at 1:09 am


Sorry, Turmarion, I don’t accept the Received Standard Version according to which Rush Limbaugh represents the downfall of civilization. He’s not my favorite talk radio guy. That would be Medved and, second, Prager. But he and Coulter engage in schtick, nothing more. I hear nothing like hate from their fans and I don’t encounter it anywhere else either, including on the Internet.



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your name

posted July 13, 2009 at 2:46 am


On being hated?
If you need any help in this area, just ask any gay person. We are experts in this area.



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Gemma

posted July 13, 2009 at 4:28 am


Outing people is an odious crime committed on the Left, not on the Right as far as I know.

Well, just to let you know, then. Admittedly, the right-wing blogger who did the outing in that case later apologised. Still, you shouldn’t be so quick to believe in the probable blamelessness of people who agree with you!

The point is this strain of hate appears in their ranks in a way it doesn’t on the Right, and that tells you something about the philosophy.

Alas! As a “lefty” I am unable to say that smug statements like yours are confined to the Right. I saw quite a few statements from liberal bloggers that this murderous action by an extreme right-winger was an example of a “strain of hate” which, similarly, “appears in their ranks in a way it doesn’t on the Left”, and what does that tell you, etc, etc.
I’m sorry, albeit not surprised, to hear that you’re finding it difficult to deal with the volume and vociferousness of the comments here. I’m also pleased, and slightly impressed, that you were able to still hear things in the comment threads of your women and gay marriage posts that could make small alterations to your position.
I can certainly say that I do not hate you. I’m appalled, and baffled, and have lots of objections to what you say, and keep finding myself in fits of disbelieving laughter by the time I get to the ends of your posts, but I don’t hate you. Best of luck dealing with the noise.



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Zevulun

posted July 13, 2009 at 11:14 am


On this blog, you have claimed to be the authority on what is moral, authentic, and sensible. Honestly, what kind of comments do you expect to receive from such declarations?



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Olorin

posted July 13, 2009 at 11:33 am


DK: “Olorin, sorry to hear you ‘hate’ me! Quite a thing to say.”
My religion tells me to hate the sin, not the sinner. However, when the sin becomes a way of life for the sinner, the difference tends to disappear.
For example, you persist in the lie noted above—
DK: “Regarding the Zogby poll, it used the phrase ‘intelligent design’ advisedly. Any genuine theistic evolutionist (Kenneth Miller, Francis Collins, etc.) would have been comfortable pulling the lever for Darwin. I say that based on their writings. There’s nothing deceptive going on.”
Nothing deceptive?? In the Zogby poll, the phrase “intelligent design” was used advisedly (your word) to include theistic evolutionists. Yet you and the Discovery Institute in all other venues disavow theistic evolutionists, and they in turn distinguish themselves from the intelligent-design movement. The logical fallacy in play here is “equivocation”—defining the same word in different ways while using them interchangeably. Your are equivocating and you know it full well. Yes, a way of life.



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Glen Davidson

posted July 13, 2009 at 12:56 pm


I’d hate you, David, if I thought you were any more than an incompetent, tripping all over yourself in front of the world.
Someone whose aim (if ignorantly) in life is to teach people how to avoid the hard work of learning, thinking, and honest discussion, particularly with respect to science, should be hated–if he were successful at it. I do have feelings of animosity toward the DI, because no matter how incompetent they are at science, they’ve clearly had success in lying to the public about science.
But seriously, it appears that something (likely the bigotry at Brown was a lot of it) short-circuited your ability to achieve even the facility at lying that I suspect some of your colleagues at DI have (some aren’t all that stupid, yet their claims are). You avoided learning and discussing with others, hence you’re really no good at the blogging game. Even the DI knows better than to open their blog up to comments (some of them know how lame many (all, I’d say) of their blogs are), but you naively went ahead and started a blog in the only honest way that it can be done, with comments allowed.
Now you find that you don’t like the comments. What a shock, you thought you had all the answers as you fell into the dishonest and meaningless tripe of ID, and you in fact have none at all.
My guess is that you’re not really so troubled by the idiots who just call names and take potshots, because that’s all you do on most issues as well, if with cleaner language. What bothers you is that you can’t deal with the many substantive comments you’ve received, and you’ve merely ignored or attacked people for making them. This makes you less sure of yourself in your ignorance and arrogance, which previously had been untested.
So now you’re stuck. You can’t answer the substance of posts, thus you pretend to be a persecuted boy. Well, there’s no question that you get plenty of idiotic attacks, but even those are easier due to your complete lack of backing up your claims on substantive matters. You do what you accuse others of doing, then, making ad hominem attacks, stereotyping, etc.
While this may continue to play to the morons for whom you’ve often written, here it just looks pathetic. You’re obviously out of your depth, because, for whatever reasons, you’ve run into a number of commenters who have indeed backed up their claims repeatedly and well, after reading widely, and commenting and discussing issues with other people. You haven’t done so, and you wilt here like a hothouse plant finally trying to make it in the real world.
It’s nothing to hate, but nothing to respect, either. You could fail, admit it, and many people might be willing to cut you some slack. You fail, all right, but you don’t admit it, you just whine about persecution. This does call contempt upon you, for it is contemptible to make claims and be unable to back them up or to answer the many issues of evolution that you ignorant IDists don’t even dare to touch.
Hate, though, no. I’m far too used to you IDists being utterly incompetent to deal with the facts, and apparently not even understanding what intellectual honesty is, to be much disturbed by it. I do find your tactics contemptible, yes.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



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Your Name

posted July 13, 2009 at 1:10 pm


Good sincere Christians will always be polite. I agree. They are commanded to be slow to anger. But your must understand in no uncertain terms that they believe that you will spend an eternity in hell if you don’t accept christ. That is just a fact regardless as to how polite they are to you. Once again beliefs matter. What people believe in their hearts can’t help to leach out into their overall view of your worth as a person. It is difficult for someone to think much of a person who is worthy of an eternity of torment in hell. Now if I am wrong and Christians have been telling you that your DO NOT HAVE TO ACCEPT CHRIST to enter heaven, than there are a whole hell of a lot of evangelicals they will have to resolve theis theology with.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 13, 2009 at 3:14 pm


Good sincere Christians will always be polite. I agree. They are commanded to be slow to anger. But your must understand in no uncertain terms that they believe that you will spend an eternity in hell if you don’t accept christ. That is just a fact regardless as to how polite they are to you.
This is an out-and-out lie. There are hundreds of millions of Christians in the world who do not believe that only Christians can be saved-they are an obscure sect known as Roman Catholicism, whose leader wears a funny hat, you may have heard of him.
Meanwhile poor David is sad because he tells lies about science and history and gets called on them, and refuses to back them up.
I don’t hate David, for the record, and I am a political conservative who has never voted for a Democrat, and I use my real name here.
I am also a working scientist, and when people tell lies about science I have an obligation to confront them.



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Your Name

posted July 13, 2009 at 4:36 pm


Gabriel, you act as if what “Your Name July 13, 2009 1:10″ wrote is some sort of belief of a fringe, obsure insignificant portion of Christians. Let me ask you this, if you were to ask the head of the Southern Baptist convention (um..not so small a denomination) what he believed about having to accept Christ, what would he say?
get it?



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bjedwards

posted July 13, 2009 at 4:53 pm


David Klinghoffer once wrote this in National Review:
“In a wonderful irony, the only intellectual framework in which people can genuinely be expected to pursue truth dispassionately, even if that truth undermines our sense of personal prestige, happens to be the religious framework, in which people aren’t animals at all but rather beings created in the image of God.
“In the case of ID versus Darwin, this observation may not tell us which side to embrace. It should signal, however, that when secularists insist that real science must lead to the view that life and intelligence arose through chance genetic events, we needn’t accept that view as gospel. I’ve offered a reason to doubt the Darwinian establishment, not necessarily to reject it. When laymen, including conservative journalists, follow the scientific majority on a question like this, rather than the dissenting minority, they should at least be aware that they are following guides who, while claiming to be disinterested, are anything but that.”
http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/klinghoffer200508030811.asp
This statement not only reflects Klinghoffer’s dishonest promotion of the politicization of evolutionary biology as a “left-right” cultural-political war, rather than the science that it is, but demonstrates his lack of knowledge of evolutionary biology itself. But knowledge is not his point or his pursuit.
His preposterous statement, “…the only intellectual framework in which people can genuinely be expected to pursue truth dispassionately,…happens to be the religious framework, in which people aren’t animals at all but rather beings created in the image of God,” reflects the intellectual dishonesty of Creationists and people who deliberately lie for God, to wit, the famous recent episode of the Texas State School Board and the like nationwide.
David Klinghoffer has a soap box and will use it as long as he has it to lie about evolutionary biology for God, just as The Discovery Institute does of which he is a member, and Ken Ham does with The Creation Museum depicting dinosaurs with saddles on them to show they lived “side by side with humans.” It’s despicable.
Klinghoffer is well aware of the reasons he gets the derision he earns. He reminds me J.R. Ewing’s famous quote on “Dallas”: “When you give up integrity the rest is easy.”



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Olorin

posted July 13, 2009 at 4:57 pm


Glen Davidson: “I’d hate you, David, if I thought you were any more than an incompetent, tripping all over yourself in front of the world.”
This is not ignorance or incompetence, Glen. It bears the stigmata of deliberate subterfuge and innuendo to achieve a clandestine purpose. David’s major mistake is that he has underestimated the knowledge of his audience. His motto is, to paraphrase Dante, “Lasciate ogni scienza, voi ch’entrate.” (Sorry, the pun doesn’t work in English.)
Is there any further reason to withhold the h-word?



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 13, 2009 at 5:35 pm


Gabriel, you act as if what “Your Name July 13, 2009 1:10″ wrote is some sort of belief of a fringe, obsure insignificant portion of Christians.
I never said this or anything like it. Argue with me, not words you put in my mouth.
What I said was in response to a blanket characterization about Christians which is untrue for the largest Christian denomination in the world, and thus untrue about Christians in general.
I am aware that many Christians may believe that non-Christians cannot be saved.



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your name

posted July 13, 2009 at 8:55 pm


Gabriel, your position that it is harder for an individule to get into hell than heaven, is not a Catholic doctine. You make st Peter guarding the gates to heaven like some sort of nightclub entry guard. You can just charm/buy your way in. come hindus come scientologists muslems



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Michael Chaney

posted July 14, 2009 at 10:15 am


David, I wandered in here from a link over at LGF, to see what all the hate is about. (Please don’t mistake me for your normal LGF’er, I probably am at -100 or so from my comments there.)
I expected to see your “enemies” spewing venom and hatred, instead I have found a bunch of very nice comments that happen to disagree with you. I would recommend that you read them.
I am unfamiliar with your particular work, but very familiar with DI. As a Christian, I’m saddened by the anti-scientific attitude that the DI pushes, and the gross dishonesty they have with their agenda.
You have a lot of folks here who could lead you in a truthful direction. Their words could be a great asset to you. Why not read and really think about what they’re saying?



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 1:30 pm


Gabriel, your position that it is harder for an individule to get into hell than heaven, is not a Catholic doctine. You make st Peter guarding the gates to heaven like some sort of nightclub entry guard. You can just charm/buy your way in. come hindus come scientologists muslems
Maybe you ought to run that by the Pope, since he disagrees with you. I have already quoted extensively from him on this subject, but let’s do it one more time:
http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/Catholic/2007/01/Are-Non-Christians-Saved.aspx
Everything we believe about God, and everything we know about man, prevents us from accepting that beyond the limits of the Church there is no more salvation, that up to the time of Christ all men were subject to the fate of eternal damnation. We are no longer ready and able to think that our neighbor, who is a decent and respectable man and in many ways better than we are, should be eternally damned simply because he is not a Catholic. We are no longer ready, no longer willing, to think that eternal corruption should be inflicted on people in Asia, in Africa, or wherever it may be, merely on account of their not having “Catholic” marked in their passport.



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my name here

posted July 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm


Gabreil, of course the words “decent and respectable” can be expanded or contracted in their meaning by the pope upon further inquisition. Perhaps he is saying that very pius prostants ie, Falwellians and “Opus dei Catholics” will make it, but not C&E (Christmas and Easter) Christians. As an lapsed Episcopalian, I am sure the pope would give me a thumbs down:)



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 7:02 pm


If you bothered to read the thing I linked to, you would know EXACTLY what he said. Do I have to quote the whole thing?
His sermon was to answer the question, “What is the point of being Catholic if non-Christians are going to get saved”. Here it is, since you are too lazy to CLICK A LINK.
______________________________________________________
..Everything we believe about God, and everything we know about man, prevents us from accepting that beyond the limits of the Church there is no more salvation, that up to the time of Christ all men were subject to the fate of eternal damnation. We are no longer ready and able to think that our neighbor, who is a decent and respectable man and in many ways better than we are, should be eternally damned simply because he is not a Catholic. We are no longer ready, no longer willing, to think that eternal corruption should be inflicted on people in Asia, in Africa, or wherever it may be, merely on account of their not having “Catholic” marked in their passport.
Actually, a great deal of thought had been devoted in theology, both before and after Ignatius, to the question of how people, without even knowing it, in some way belonged to the Church and to Christ and could thus be saved nevertheless. And still today, a great deal of perspicacity is used in such reflections.
Yet if we are honest, we will have to admit that this is not our problem at all. The question we have to face is not that of whether other people can be saved and how. We are convinced that God is able to do this with or without our theories, with or without our perspicacity, and that we do not need to help him do it with our cogitations. The question that really troubles us is not in the least concerned with whether and how God manages to save others.
The question that torments us is, much rather, that of why it is still actually necessary for us to carry out the whole ministry of the Christian faith—why, if there are so many other ways to heaven and to salvation, should it still be demanded of us that we bear, day by day, the whole burden of ecclesiastical dogma and ecclesiastical ethics? And with that, we are once more confronted, though from a different approach, with the same question we raised yesterday in conversation with God and with which we parted: What actually is the Christian reality, the real substance of Christianity that goes beyond mere moralism? What is that special thing in Christianity that not only justifies but compels us to be and live as Christians?
It became clear enough to us, yesterday, that there is no answer to this that will resolve every contradiction into incontrovertible, unambivalent truth with scientific clarity. Assent to the hiddenness of God is an essential part of the movement of the spirit that we call “faith.” And one more preliminary consideration is requisite. If we are raising the question of the basis and meaning of our life as Christians, as it emerged for us just now, then this can easily conceal a sidelong glance at what we suppose to be the easier and more comfortable life of other people, who will “also” get to heaven. We are too much like the workers taken on in the first hour whom the Lord talks about in his parable of the workers in the vineyard (Mt 20:1-6). When they realized that the day’s wage of one denarius could be much more easily earned, they could no longer see why they had sweated all day. Yet how could they really have been certain that it was so much more comfortable to be out of work than to work? And why was it that they were happy with their wages only on the condition that other people were worse off than they were? But the parable is not there on account of those workers at that time; it is there for our sake. For in our raising questions about the “why” of Christianity, we are doing just what those workers did. We are assuming that spiritual “unemployment”—a life without faith or prayer—is more pleasant than spiritual service. Yet how do we know that?
We are staring at the trials of everyday Christianity and forgetting on that account that faith is not just a burden that weighs us down; it is at the same time a light that brings us counsel, gives us a path to follow, and gives us meaning. We are seeing in the Church only the exterior order that limits our freedom and thereby overlooking the fact that she is our spiritual home, which shields us, keeps us safe in life and in death. We are seeing only our own burden and forgetting that other people also have burdens, even if we know nothing of them. And above all, what a strange attitude that actually is, when we no longer find Christian service worthwhile if the denarius of salvation may be obtained even without it! It seems as if we want to be rewarded, not just with our own salvation, but most especially with other people’s damnation—just like the workers hired in the first hour. That is very human, but the Lord’s parable is particularly meant to make us quite aware of how profoundly un-Christian it is at the same time. Anyone who looks on the loss of salvation for others as the condition, as it were, on which he serves Christ will in the end only be able to turn away grumbling, because that kind of reward is contrary to the loving-kindness of God.



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Mike McCants

posted July 14, 2009 at 11:44 pm


“sensible people are still in a majority”
Your opinion is hereby noted.
“Zogby poll shows 52 percent of Americans agree that an “intelligent design” guided evolutionary development”
Now you have supplied evidence that irrational people are in the majority. So I think your original opinion is incorrect.
“There’s no way to know what this reflects about actual readership.”
A lot of your “readership” (of a first few sentences anyway) is someone like me who was directed to your silliness by a blog that is written by someone who is rational.



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ERV

posted July 18, 2009 at 10:43 am


I dont hate you. I just think youre arrogant and stupid. However I find correcting your proud ignorance useful for teaching people about science. YAY!
http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2009/04/idiots_and_hiv-1_now_with_gratuitous_lazr.php



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Sarah

posted July 19, 2009 at 12:11 pm


Mr. Klinghoffer,
I sympathize with your concerns and I wish that all people, across the political spectrum, would commit to being able to disagree without being disagreeable.
But I think you are incorrect to infer that conservatives are not guilty of the same animosity and viciousness toward their opposition. As a former liberal (now more moderate, largely due to the left’s insistence on redefining marriage), I have received my share of cruel hostility and personal attacks from the right. I could give a multitude of examples, from the generic (“liberals are brain damaged”) to the more specific (if you believe abortion should be legal, you like to murder babies). These attacks occasionally take the form of personal threats.
I’m glad you haven’t seen much of this from *Christian* conservatives, but bear in mind that not all conservatives are Christians, and those who are have been instructed by their leader to treat others with brotherly love. (Admittedly, many Christians are anything but loving, but that’s another rant; the point is, they are *supposed* to be, by definition, and of course many succeed.)
Also bear in mind that people are less likely to become nasty in a mailed letter than in an internet post. Studies have been done that support this; the internet seems particularly conducive to a viciousness that people would never display in person, on the phone, or even in a written letter. It’s a similar phenomenon to road rage, in which vehicles obscure one’s face and hide one’s humanity, thereby making the target seem less like a real person and more worthy of being abused.
I was quite convinced for a long time that conservatives were extraordinarily hateful people due to their attacks on me and my fellow liberals (yup, in internet posts). I didn’t see liberals being equally hateful. Now I realize that I didn’t see it largely because it wasn’t directed at me and I agreed with their underlying perspective. The point is, cruelty appears *more* cruel and is *more* noticeable when it is directed at us and comes from our opposition, than when it is directed at our opponents and comes from our allies (or ourselves).
The bottom line is that both sides should be more respectful, and neither side has any claim to innocence. Again, I share your concerns about respectful discourse and I’m sorry your comments have been met with such unfortunate rudeness. Sadly, though, it’s a two-way street and the childishness and rudeness are not unique to any particular ideology.
Your ideas and opinions are worthy of a respectful reception and open-minded consideration, whether they are “right” or “wrong” (or neither). Thanks, and keep up the good work!



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Sarah

posted July 19, 2009 at 12:13 pm


Mr. Klinghoffer,
I sympathize with your concerns and I wish that all people, across the political spectrum, would commit to being able to disagree without being disagreeable.
But I think you are incorrect to infer that conservatives are not guilty of the same animosity and viciousness toward their opposition. As a former liberal (now more moderate, largely due to the left’s insistence on redefining marriage), I have received my share of cruel hostility and personal attacks from the right. I could give a multitude of examples, from the generic (“liberals are brain damaged”) to the more specific (if you believe abortion should be legal, you like to murder babies). These attacks occasionally take the form of personal threats.
I’m glad you haven’t seen much of this from *Christian* conservatives, but bear in mind that not all conservatives are Christians, and those who are have been instructed by their leader to treat others with brotherly love. (Admittedly, many Christians are anything but loving, but that’s another rant; the point is, they are *supposed* to be, by definition, and of course many succeed.)
Also bear in mind that people are less likely to become nasty in a mailed letter than in an internet post. Studies have been done that support this; the internet seems particularly conducive to a viciousness that people would never display in person, on the phone, or even in a written letter. It’s a similar phenomenon to road rage, in which vehicles obscure one’s face and hide one’s humanity, thereby making the target seem less like a real person and more worthy of being abused.
I was quite convinced for a long time that conservatives were extraordinarily hateful people due to their attacks on me and my fellow liberals (yup, in internet posts). I didn’t see liberals being equally hateful. Now I realize that I didn’t see it largely because it wasn’t directed at me and I agreed with their underlying perspective. The point is, cruelty appears *more* cruel and is *more* noticeable when it is directed at us and comes from our opposition, than when it is directed at our opponents and comes from our allies (or ourselves).
The bottom line is that both sides should be more respectful, and neither side has any claim to innocence. Again, I share your concerns about respectful discourse and I’m sorry your comments have been met with such unfortunate rudeness. Sadly, though, it’s a two-way street and the childishness and rudeness are not unique to any particular ideology.
Your ideas and opinions are worthy of a respectful reception and open-minded consideration, whether they are “right” or “wrong” (or neither). Thanks, and keep up the good work!



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Sarah

posted July 19, 2009 at 12:15 pm


Ooops. Sorry about the double post!



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