Who’d have ever cared about Johannes Lerle if Dembski hadn’t defended him?

| 64 Comments

A rather unsavory character, Dr Johannes Lerle, was jailed in Germany for violating their laws against neo-Nazism and Holocaust denial. I discussed this earlier this week, and as Gerard Harbison and Andrew Brown have recently pointed out, he was not a very nice man at all…a bit of a kook, really.

Dr Lerle is an unabashed and deeply anti-semitic holocaust denier. He takes the view that the only good Jew is a Christian convert. All others are children of the devil: "Jews" with scare quotes round them, to distinguish them from Christians. Those "Jews", his website explains, control the world's press, and the American government, are murderers, hypocrites, liars and bent on world domination for religious reasons. All this and more is on his website but it's in German - a language few Americans read.

Now here's the weird twist and the reason I'm mentioning it here: Bill Dembski claims that this is an instance of the persecution of an Intelligent Design advocate. Even more confusingly, Dembski leapt to this conclusion because he heard that Lerle had been jailed for being against abortion. There's nothing there about evolution or Intelligent Design — it's all an anti-Semitic rant that babbles on about stopping abortions.

That's an oddly convoluted leap of logic from Dembski that I don't understand. Are we to assume that if a religious loon hates Jews and considers abortion and birth control to be anti-Christian conspiracies that will allow the hordes of Islam to overrun the country, he must also be a fellow traveler with the Intelligent Design creationists? Are these fairly common tenets among the fellows of the Discovery Institute? Where does he come up with the idea that this rather ugly story implies that teaching ID is a crime against humanity?

I don't see the connection. I'll be charitable and assume that his martyr complex is simply and generically inflamed so that whenever he sees anyone getting arrested, he takes it personally.

Just a hint, Bill—it would have been funnier if you'd gotten upset at Paris Hilton's imprisonment as representative of the persecution of creationists. Lerle…not funny. More than a little unpleasant, actually, and not the kind of frothing rabid religious fanatic you really want associated with your cause, I don't think. Although, say, how's Howard Ahmanson doing?

64 Comments

This is yet another confirmation of the point I’ve made so many times.

Yes, it is taken for granted that an authoritarian “religious” wingnut bigot is a supporter of creationism/ID, and vice versa.

It is taken for granted that a question about evolution is an issue at a Republican debate but not a Democrat debate.

A crude way to explain the relationship would be to say that those who wish to impose brutal, irrational, and unpopular policies on others in a particularly intrusive and disrespectful way, probably because of their personal psychological issues, need to justfiy themselves by claiming that God commands others to obey them. Otherwise, why would anyone listen?

Those who wish to pander to this group out of mere veniality must hint approval of this “belief” as well.

Of course, there is denial and cognitive dissonance. Dembski may or may not admit to himself “I’m making all this BS up in the service of a fantasized authoritarian dystopia (or at least, those political elements that are the closest to that ideal)”.

In practice that is what he is doing.

For the record, I think anti-Semitic ravings should be met with verbal social disdain, and civil penalties where appropriate, not punished with jail time. But that’s the business of Germans in this case.

In addition to offering his websites support to the causes of holocaust deniers, HIV/AIDS deniers, Global Warning skeptics, cranks who encourage people dying of cancer to try an untested drug (DCA), he also hosts those supporting supporting Pleasuriansism. Sheezzz, any other wingnuts you want to support Bill? It is truly a pleasure watching you completly discredit yourself and your “scholarship”.

Let’s think about this for a moment. The Nazis were killing “mental defectives” long before they were industrially killing Jews and Gypsies. “Mental Defective” included homosexuals.

This could be just another “first things first” wedge directive promoted by the DI morons, err: minions.

The part that really takes my breath away is in Uncommon Descent’s comments section, where various readers try to claim this guy wasn’t really a holocaust denier even in the face of Gerald Harrison dropping in to offer links to Lerle’s website and news articles on the subject.

Comment 33 in particular. What on earth?

I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that it would be pretty hard being a holocaust denier since the records have been made public. I recall a recent piece on Sixty Minutes where they tracked down one of the survivors and presented him with detailed documents about his captivity. The high point was when they asked him if he had ever seen a number found in the documents in reference to him, at which point he replied “every day” and rolled up his shirt to display the number on his arm.

Of course, if you can deny that we have been to the moon while Neil Armstrong is still alive, I guess you can deny anything.

Beggars can’t be choosers. [shrug]

It looks to me from his post like Dembski is upset about the Council of Europe opposing creationism, and not about the Holocaust denier being jailed. Both the letter he quotes and the article he links to discuss both, and he doesn’t place any emphasis on Lerle. It does seem a little strange to me for a non-scientific political body to endorse a particular theory or oppose a perticular doctrine, even if a pseudoscientific one.

David Stanton wrote: “I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that it would be pretty hard being a holocaust denier since the records have been made public.”

That’s tongue in cheek, right? At a website dedicated to counter evolution deniers? One would almost yearn for a Buzz Aldrin of evolution..

Peter Collopy Wrote:

It does seem a little strange to me for a non-scientific political body to endorse a particular theory or oppose a perticular doctrine, even if a pseudoscientific one.

Eh? The Council of Europe is proposing to do in a non-litigation society exactly what Kitzmiller vs Dover does, keeping the separation between religion and science education.

The Council of Europe Draft Recommendation Wrote:

Summary

The theory of evolution is being attacked by religious fundamentalists who call for creationist theories to be taught in European schools alongside or even in place of it. From a scientific view point there is absolutely no doubt that evolution is a central theory for our understanding of the Universe and of life on Earth.

Creationism in any of its forms, such as “intelligent design”, is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes. The Assembly calls on education authorities in member States to promote scientific knowledge and the teaching of evolution and to oppose firmly any attempts at teaching creationism as a scientific discipline. [Bold added.]

( http://assembly.coe.int/main.asp?Li[…]doc11297.htm )

The reason that it has become necessary is mainly because creationists have gotten a foothold among mostly eastern Europe member states and their politicians, and because turkish creationists tries to inject pseudoscientific material into schools.

“The reason that it has become necessary is mainly because creationists have gotten a foothold among mostly eastern Europe member states and their politicians”

I dropped the ball. The thing is that these creationist politicians push creationism on a political level (it is after all a socio-political movement).

They try to inject religion into science education by political decisions, while the turkish creationists does the same by sending pseudoscientific material masquerading as scientific textbooks to european (and US, I believe) schools.

…cranks who encourage people dying of cancer to try an untested drug (DCA)…

I thought the favorite anti-cancer drug of the ID crowd was good ol’fashioned semen:

www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/01/the_deceitful_c.html

PS: Does anyone know what’s happened to KwickXML links? It keeps sending me to this: www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-comments.fcgi

Well, I figure anyone can make a mistake, and deserves one chance to fix it. So I tried emailing or posting a comment everywhere that picked up the story, to let them know the kind of guy Lerle really is.

Dembki didn’t fix it. Nor did Brussels Journal, the source of the original bogus story. Nor did newsmax.com or stoptheaclu.com. Lifesitenews, on the other hand, issued a correction within 24 hours. You can bemoan their politics, but you can’t impugn their integrity.

If, knowing the guy is a rabid antisemite, they continue to run the story, in my opinion they are no longer blameless by reason of ignorance. They now own a piece of his antisemitism. They know he’s a bigot, but they continue to hold him up as a martyr.

Hmm Well known holocaust denier is taken to court, where he confidently expects to rip all counter arguments to shreds. But to the contrary he is shown through his performance in the witness box to be an obsessive loon. The judgment as presented by the judge is a masterpiece of legal argument utterly destroying the holcaust denier’s case. The denier is David Irving. The judge is The Hon. Mr. Justice Gray. You can read it on http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/i[…]t-00-00.html The parallels are spooky. I wonder if, when Mr Irving looks in the mirror, he sees Behe & Dembski peering back at him? And I would love to be present when or if Judge Grey & Judge Jones ever meet: a pair of legal colossi indeed.

I would care because in Germany you can be jailed for thoughtcrime.

“It’s all so funny really. It is refreshing to step back and see that we are all still such children, haggling over what something is or isn’t. As a young child we picked up and tried to discern, with our limited database of knowledge, what objects were. Though we cannot recall the emotional feeling of ‘awed wonder’, we are delighted when we see it reflected on the face of our young.

To me it seems very clear. But first let’s set the stage here.

First we have the EVOLUTIONISTS. They say evolution is the only way to go because some viruses, bacteria etc. have been found to mutate into changing their number of chromosomes, i.e. become ANOTHER SPECIES entirely, by our chromosomal spe-cial definition. They say, if the viruses can mutate into another species, then so can everything.

Then there are the CREATIONISTS. They say NO EVOLUTION, everything was done with the wonderous, miraculous powers of God. And they would as soon hang you as a heretic, than listen to you even consider suggesting that GOD is an ALIEN.

Though the CREATIONISTS HAVE SOFTENED A BIT THESE LAST FEW YEARS, EITHER OF THE ABOVE TWO CAMPS SCOFF AT ANY THEORY THAT ENCOMPASSES BOTH IDEAS.

To me - it seems pretty clear.

Yes, viruses and bacteria can mutate, even to the point of the new generations being different species, by our cromosomal count standard.

However, where is the proof that anything higher than a crustacean has done this?

THE WAY I SEE IT, THERE IS A MORE ADVANCED PERSON(S) - OR ENTITY (IES). CALL THEM GOD, IF YOU LIKE. THE HAVE LEARNED THE INS AND OUTS OF DNA COMPLETELY. THEY ARE COMPLETE MASTERS OF THE SUBJECT.

THEY CREATED US. THE BUILDING BLOCKS THEY USED ARE THE SAME, AND SOME PARTS ARE SIMILAR - HOWEVER NO “LINK” CAN BE FOUND BECAUSE THERE IS NONE. SIMILARITIES CAN GIVE HOPE TO A “LINK’, BUT WHO NEEDS A LINK?

To clarify: WHEN YOU WERE A KID AND YOU PLAYED WITH YOU ERECTOR SET DID YOU CHANGE YOUR BUILDING JUST ONE PIECE BY ONE PIECE AT A TIME? MAYBE SOMETIMES YOU DID, BUT USUALLY YOU TORE IT DOWN AND CREATED ANOTHER ONE. SOME FACETS WERE THE SAME, BUT A ‘MISSING LINK’ WAS CERTAINLY NOT EVER TO BE FOUND IF SOMEONE WANTED TO RECREATE BOTH MODELS. AS WE GOT OLDER WE BECAME MORE COMPLEX IN OUR ERECTOR DESIGNS. SOME OF US LOST INTEREST. OTHERS WENT ON TO BECOME ARCHETECTS AND BECAME QUITE PROFICIENT AT CREATING IN THE 3RD DIMENSION AT THE FOURTH DIMENSION. Perhaps DNA is 5th dimensional.

To me it’s obvious that we did not entirely evolve from thunder and sunshine. A computer cannot just ‘come to be’. A basic law of physics states that, “Any system without work gets more chaotic.”

I suppose it might be possible to creat a simple organism to grow into a mammal over generations - as long as it was encoded in the DNA to do that. However, from the evidence of the dinasaurs, and what our “folklores” tell us, God created us “in his image”, knowinf full well that we could happen upon this “tree of life”. Our lore tells us that God dod not want us to do this, just as a parent doesn’t want a child to do something that can harm him, and believe me, the potential for harm when speaking of genetic creation, is expontentially larger than we would first contemplate. (We didn’t forsee “chimera viruses” - opps!)

But God gave us Pokeymon to practice with, and tv came from somewhere, in part, to sedate our minds.”

Ooooh!

Time cube.

Jesus Wrote:

I would care because in Germany you can be jailed for thoughtcrime.

Er, no… it’s not a “thoughtcrime” that’s punishable. It’s the outright lying that’s punishable. Just as crying “fire” in a full movie theatre is punishable (if there is no fire or any reasonable cause to assume there’s a fire)

THE WAY I SEE IT

The way I see it, you’re an off-topic, all-caps-screaming, no-sense-making, flaming nutball.

Gerard,

on the UD blog, Mung has asked for a reference to German law that prohibits holocaust denial. I will not answer over there, because you have to log in, but the relevant part seems to be §130 StGB, Abs. 3:

Mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu fünf Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe wird bestraft, wer eine unter der Herrschaft des Nationalsozialismus begangene Handlung der in § 6 Abs. 1 des Völkerstrafgesetzbuches bezeichneten Art in einer Weise, die geeignet ist, den öffentlichen Frieden zu stören, öffentlich oder in einer Versammlung billigt, leugnet oder verharmlost.

[Jesus: If you call that a thought-crime…]

Sorry for not trying to translate this, my legal English would not be sufficient.

Jesus on June 30, 2007 3:10 AM (e)

I would care because in Germany you can be jailed for thoughtcrime.

It isn’t a thoughtcrime when someone has it up on a website.

It is a hate crime.

Nice to see Jesus showing up. Maybe he could expound on his position on hate crimes, lies, and mass murder.

Red Right Hand:

I think the link you get in return is where the KwickXML script stops to throw up an error message.

You ask about links in a comment with a failed link. Note that the abbreviated a link tag doesn’t work in comments, it is disabled. One has to use url (see the documentation and its example).

Yes, I know, it is stupid. KwickXML implementations sucks as all comment scripts, but still it allow more HTML than most.

Note: Also, I suspect that the PT script may be broken, since I can’t get tag nesting to work inside url tags. Or else the documentation is wrong.

Ronald Wrote:

It’s the outright lying that’s punishable.

More precisely, I think it is statements that are inflammatory and inciting public unrest that is forbidden or even punishable. It is not a thought crime, and holocaust deniers may even be free to voice their ideas outside the public sphere for all I know.

This seems, btw, to be not unheard of in the rest of Europe. At least Sweden has similar regulation. But AFAIK Sweden has no good reason to suppress authoritarians and denialists like that. Hate crime was rising due to growing neo-nazi movements and others, but it was still a rather harsh move.

Germany OTOH needed to convert an authoritarian culture to a democratic one after the war. Revoking the regulations now would support the denialists, so I can understand why they are still in place.

TL Wrote:

it is stupid.

To be more exact, it is both stupid and bad design, since the page source code is showing up all links as an a tag. So you get no hint what is wrong, and you can’t copy a successful link to work from. (Without first modifying it, but you still need to know where the error is.)

Chris torvik said:

To me it’s obvious that we did not entirely evolve from thunder and sunshine.

That made my day. Deserves a place right next to “what about pygmies + dwarves?”

What’s wrong Science Avenger? Does simplicity scare you? As Edison was quoted, “The highest intelligence is formatted in it’s simplist form.”

Ha, No Edison did’t really say that!!

HAHAHA

BUT HE SHOULD HAVE. OPEN YOUR MINDS. DON’T TRY TO COMPETE WITH ME. IM NOT HERE TO COMPETE - JUST TO FIND TRUTH.

IF YOU HAVE DATA THAT DISPUTES MY OPINION, I WELCOME IT. I ALSO APPRECIATE IT - AND WILL NOT SCOFF AT IT.

Chris Torvik: all the data you need are on talk.origins, although I don’t believe there’s anything yet on the use & abuse of capital letters. Maybe there ought to be.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 3, column 129, byte 375 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

“Have we found any missing links yet, other than viral genomes? Do we have any evidence of one genome from anything higher than a virus or bacteria, evolving into a completely new genome?

On the side of evolution, I do know of a human mutation (apparently a mutation) that made this man have an IQ of over 200.”

Chris Torvik -

IF YOU HAVE DATA THAT DISPUTES MY OPINION, I WELCOME IT. I ALSO APPRECIATE IT - AND WILL NOT SCOFF AT IT.

I’m sorry, I don’t believe you. I wish I could.

(Your belief if God is not what I’m arguing with here, I have no problem whatsoever with that.)

Buy you see, I can’t believe you, because wrote something so ignorant (see below). Sorry for the strong word but there is no polite way to say it.

I’ve learned through experience that truly honest people usually don’t try to pass themselves off as knowing something about a subject upon which they are completely ignorant.

However, I’ve bothered to reply, because you at least claim to be looking for a middle ground between extreme positions. It’s just that you are badly mistaken about what you perceive as one of the extreme positions. (Your comments about creationism are quite accurate, though.)

Feel free to prove me wrong by showing some humility and trying to learn something.

First we have the EVOLUTIONISTS. They say evolution is the only way to go because some viruses, bacteria etc. have been found to mutate into changing their number of chromosomes, i.e. become ANOTHER SPECIES entirely, by our chromosomal spe-cial definition. They say, if the viruses can mutate into another species, then so can everything.

I’m sorry, but it’s unbelievably arrogant and insulting of you to imply that people with scientific educations would believe something like this.

However, I offer you an olive branch. Why don’t you apologize for the mis-statement, and try to learn what people really believe?

Sadly, Chris, as you’ve so aptly demonstrated, the “mutation” you speak of works in reverse. …

Google Translate gives this english translation of the German text Carsten posted (post 185239): “With imprisonment up to five years or with fine one punishes, which committed an action designated of the kind under the rule of the national socialism in § 6 exp. 1 of the people penal code in a way, which is suitable, of disturbing the public peace publicly or in a meeting approves of, denies or plays down.”

Why would anybody think that breeding would cause a change in chromosome number? Breeding only picks which combinations reproduce; it can’t cause spreading of a mutation that hasn’t occurred.

Henry

Gary Jones/ctunie: Do the quote marks around your posts mean that you’re typing stuff you read elsewhere but don’t understand? It seems that way.

“With all the inbreeding of dogs” – wait, don’t forget the interbreeding too. Duh.

“However, the isolation and inbred effects have lead to purebred breeds that have more structural problems (like hip displasia), breeds that don’t live as long on the average, and breeds that might win medals at shows; however, in Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” category their blue ribbons would turn into last place losers.”

Uh, fitness is equated to winning medals at dog shows?

“Their inbreeding has lead to many more harmful mutations, as far as surviv-ability goes.”

Uh, you just said “that don’t live as long on the average”. Sounds rather Darwinian, so what the heck is your point?

why hasn’t even one of the breeds at least changed in chromosomal number, even a little?

Uh, like from 38 to 38.000001?

I can understand why you resist getting an education, because it might lead you to realize just how incredibly foolish you sound.

Actually it is the unsavory, unpopular, and marginal opinions that most need protection. That’s because most people are sheep and will take the easy, safe path.

Simply speaking against the universal relgion of the holocaust has become an act of courage - an act that increasingly is bringing esteem on the speaker.

This is as it should be.

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on June 29, 2007 4:07 PM.

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