YES, dear reader, the headline is true. It is equally true that George Washington has joined our staff here at the Curmudgeon’s blog. It’s all part of a hot new trend.
Haven’t you heard? The neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) are claiming Jefferson as one of their own.
There’s some background to this, so let’s slow down and take a look at the activities of Discoveroid Stephen C. Meyer. As we noted here, he somehow wangled a speaking gig at the once-prestigious Heritage Foundation. Before that, as we reported here, Meyer was one of three creationist “experts” who were on the 6-member panel selected by Don McLeroy to testify before the Texas Board of Education regarding standards for science education. And before that, Meyer was a central figure in the notoriously shabby peer review controversy.
As we previously reported, Meyer has a hot new creationist book to sell. The title of his ground-breaking tome is: Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (that’s a link to the Amazon listing). We haven’t read it but from what we’ve heard, Meyer’s key argument is based on his claim that DNA requires a DNA assembler — therefore Oogity Boogity! Verily, this breakthrough is the biggest intellectual accomplishment since the invention of the loin cloth!
As you can imagine, because this startling new evidence is the strongest argument against evolution the Discoveroids have come up with since Abbie Smith flipped a bird at Casey Luskin, they’ve been trumpeting it everywhere — at the Discoveroid blog: The Book That Changes Everything, and even beyond. Meyer somehow managed to slip a piece into the Boston Globe, here: Jefferson’s support for intelligent design. Meyer not only plugged the brilliant theme of his own book:
DNA functions like a software program. We know that software comes from programmers. Information — whether inscribed in hieroglyphics, written in a book, or encoded in a radio signal — always arises from an intelligent source. So the discovery of digital code in DNA provides a strong scientific reason for concluding that the information in DNA also had an intelligent source.
But also, in that same Boston Globe piece, Meyer managed to get in a plug for the ongoing Discoveroid campaign to hijack the reputation of the Founders by claiming that they were all supporters of intelligent design creationism. They figuratively exhume the corpse of poor old Thomas Jefferson each year and declare him an honorary Discoveroid. See: Another July 4th Hijacking.
Meyers’ own contribution to the “Jefferson is one of us” campaign, which he slipped into the Boston Globe article, included this:
Design is an inference from biological data, not a deduction from religious authority. Jefferson said just that, and based his political thinking on it. The evidence for what he presciently called “Nature’s God’’ is stronger than ever. Our nation’s existence, with its guarantee to protect each person’s “inalienable rights,’’ may be counted among the fruits of Jefferson’s belief in intelligent design.
Perfectly convincing stuff! Likewise, George Washington was giving his endorsement to your Curmudgeon when he said.
I shall make it the most agreeable part of my duty to study merit, and reward the brave and deserving.
Anyway, Meyers’ appearance in the Boston Globe was a major public relations triumph for the Discoveroids. That (and not a scientific discovery) was the hot news they announced at their blog. See: Stephen Meyer in the Boston Globe: Thomas Jefferson’s support for intelligent design.
But with all the Discoveroid public relations activity, it seems that the Boston Globe has readers who aren’t impressed. Here are some brief excerpts from two letters sent to and published in the Boston Globe about the Meyers article. The bold font was added by us.
First we read Creationism piece no way to honor Darwin’s birthday, written by Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard:
SHAME ON you for publishing two creationist op-eds in two years from the Discovery Institute, a well-funded propaganda factory that aims to sow confusion about evolution.
The advantage that traditional newspapers have over the Internet competition is quality control. If the Globe repeatedly gives its imprimatur to the latest nonsense from an anti-science lobbying organization, what’s the point of going to it for reliable, intelligent commentary?
Then there is Invoking Jefferson on intelligent design doesn’t cut it, by Owen Sholes, associate professor of biology at Assumption College:
IT’S TIME for the intelligent-design folks to pack up their revival tent and leave town. But here is Stephen C. Meyer using every kind of phony rhetoric to pretend ID has validity …
First, he invokes the support of Thomas Jefferson. This is using a celebrity to sell a product. Why didn’t he ask Pamela Anderson or Bono?
Intelligent design is nothing more than a Trojan horse for replacing science with religion. But it isn’t science, it’s fraud.
How’s that Jefferson campaign working for the Discoveroids? Have they gathered up any new converts or contributors as a result? It’s possible. After all, George Washington is doing a great job for us at the Curmudgeon’s headquarters.
So here’s our advice to you, dear reader: Get out there and grab yourself a Founder while there are still a few …well, lying around. As you can see, it’s the latest trend.
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