Irresponsible, or Wicked?

In a stunning case of projection, a shill for “intelligent design creationism” has entered a scurrilous review on of Lauri Lebo’s “The Devil in Dover”. The reviewer, anonymously writing as “Darwin Researcher”, was also among the coterie of reliable sycophants who got pre-release copies of the Foundation for Thought and Ethics’s book, “The Design of Life”, and entered a glowing review on Amazon about that book as part of an organized effort to game the Amazon review system.

This crud deserves a fisking.

irresponsible, July 16, 2008

You have here an anonymous reviewer making unsupported and unsupportable claims about a book… Like I said earlier, this is a matter of projection; the review is more aptly seen as “irresponsible” than the text reviewed.

By Darwin Researcher

Somehow, I doubt this person has done much in the way of “research” other than to credulously assume that everything the antievolutionists write is accurate. The pseudonym is apparently a ploy to falsely convey an impression that the person behind it is a serious scholar. That is at least a falsehood, at worst a lie.

The Devil in Dover: An Insider’s Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-town America, was a easy read that at times tells much more about the author than the trial.

Uh, since this was a memoir, it should tell about both. The quoted sentence does tell something about its author: “Darwin Researcher” is a Grade A idiot.

She clearly does not like theists and relished making fun of them, partly, as she made clear, in reaction to her love-hate relationship with her father.

“Clearly does not like theists”? Here we get down to those unsupported and unsupportable claims. Lauri obviously does like theists, even theists who have acted reprehensibly. But she does hold those who acted reprehensibly to account for their actions, and that apparently sets off “Darwin Researcher”.

She describes him as a very good man, generous to a fault, but yet seemed to resent him only because he was, in her words, very religious.

No, “Darwin (I don’t have reading comprehension) Researcher”, she had a prickly relationship with her father because late in his life he became very religious and expected his daughter to become very religious in exactly the same way. That’s somewhat different than being resentful of someone for being very religious, don’t you think?

When he died she said little more than “I woke up on New Years Day, realizing that I, along with the rest of my agnostic family, had inherited a fundamentalist Christian radio station” (p. 206). No kind words, regrets, or I miss him, he was a good father. Not even some words about his funeral. After all, most everyone when they die have good things said about them. This was surprising in that so much of the book was about him.

Well, duh, “Darwin (I’m still having trouble with reading comprehension) Researcher”. The content of the book to that point does far better as a eulogy than most of the platitudinous pablum I’ve heard served up at those events.

She did, mocking Christians, thank the “Flying Spaghetti Monster, without whose spiritual guidance this book would not be possible” (p. 226).

How is that “mocking Christians”? It mocks religious bigots of all sorts who wish their particular doctrines be given privileged status in our nation’s public schools, but I’ll thank “Darwin Researcher” to leave this Christian out of the group of offended religous bigots.

Having the “Flying Spaghetti Monster tattooed on her body in an embarrassing place hardly showed much professionalism.

“Darwin (I have trouble comprehending things) Researcher” seems not to get the point that people have personal lives as well as professional obligations. The anonymous coward fails to document any lapse in Lebo’s professional ethics, and latches onto a tattoo as a way to make an unsupported and unsupportable slur.

She had endless unkind words for, often mocking, theists who took their religion seriously, and endless kind words for most everyone else, especially ID opponents who could do no wrong according to her book.

“Darwin (I didn’t get it) Researcher” obviously overlooked the point made that there were theists on both sides of the case, and turns having respect for theists who did no wrong and expecting accountability from theists who demonstrably did wrong into a one-sided slur, both unsupported and unsupportable.

Her account of the trial testimony was very inaccurate, as anyone who takes the time to read the transcript will soon determine.

No, “Darwin (I wasn’t there) Researcher”, Lebo is just as accurate in her book as she was in reporting on the scene, having been a witness to the entire proceedings. As someone who did read the transcripts in a capacity as a consultant to the plaintiffs’ legal team, the reviewer’s claim here is not just unsupported and unsupportable, but also just plain false. I only see two explanations for the claim, that “Darwin Researcher” is thoroughly delusional, or that he is lying. The latter would, I think, fall cleanly into the “wicked” category of behavior.

One gets the impression that she believed people who need faith are weak, and those who don’t are strong.

Only if one doesn’t read the book, or one decides to lie about its contents. Lebo represented Ken Miller, Eric Rothschild, Steven Harvey and others on the plaintiffs’ side as having quite a bit of strength, as anyone who actually read the book for comprehension would know. That leaves out shills like “Darwin Researcher”.

Last, accusing people of things for which the evidence was flimsy was irresponsible.

“Darwin (I don’t have a mirror) Researcher” concludes with this scurrilous attack, far more apropos when applied to his own screed than to anything one will find in Lebo’s book. Did the Dover school board members lie about their desire to adopt creationism? The evidence on that point was not flimsy; it was overwhelming. The only reason that the perjury charge investigations against Buckingham and Bonsell have not yet been concluded has to do with politics and not the strength of the evidence. Judges in their decisions don’t directly accuse witnesses of lying without having the evidence to back it up.

OK, readers, please visit the Amazon site linked above and register your vote on whether you found “Darwin Researcher”‘s review helpful or not. Also, if anyone can change “Darwin Researcher”‘s anonymous status to non-anonymous, that would be a step forward for personal accountability.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

5 thoughts on “Irresponsible, or Wicked?

  • 2008/07/18 at 5:40 pm

    Is it just me, or do there seem to be more concrn trolls out there, pretending to be ‘Darwinists’? Maybe that’s part of the new strategy now that ID has proven itself a bust.

  • 2008/07/18 at 6:12 pm

    Having read some of his reviews, the question vecomes, why would anyone bother? The guy seems to have only two opinions – he just LOVES it if it’s pro-ID (5 stars), or HATES it if it’s not (1 star). There is only one review that is other than 1 or 5 star, and that’s only because the book had stuff he both LOVED and HATED.

  • 2008/07/18 at 8:24 pm

    I sent the book to my Dad for Father’s Day (after reading your review)and he loved it! After he and the rest of the family read it -he sent it back to me. I just received it today. I’m looking forward to being the fifth in my family to enjoy it! :-)

    I’m thinking it must be pretty good.

  • 2008/07/27 at 7:45 pm

    Notice this interesting item. At this link

    Darwin And Intelligent Design, Customer Reviews

    we see “Darwin Researcher” writing, “I agree with the two other reviewers.”

    But notice specifically the heading used by “The Professor” of one of the other negative reviews: “irresponsible”

    Interesting coincidence, no? “irresponsible” is the exact same header used by “Darwin Researcher” in connection with his “review” of Lauri book.

    I do understand that this could merely be “Darwin Researcher” seeing the header used by “The Professor” and liking it and using it elsewhere, but I suspect that “Darwin Researcher” and “The Professor” are one and the same person.

  • 2008/07/28 at 4:50 am

    “The Professor” is apparently YEC Jerry Bergman. Another source noted an earlier (2006?) instance in which “Darwin Researcher” and “The Professor” appeared to be the same reviewer.

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