Discovery Institute: Censored by Vandals!

YOUR Curmudgeon has hot news from the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). Here are some excerpts from a new article at their blog, titled Vandalizing Bookstores and Censoring Books in the Name of Darwin. It’s by John West, and it seems to be the latest in a line of articles emphasizing the Discoveroids’ “martyrdom” theme.

Martyrdom? Sure. Every time their pseudo-science suffers a well-deserved setback, they add it to their long list of imagined grievances. For example, here they whine about:

the expelling of Ben Stein from the University of Vermont, the censorship of Michael Behe’s Bloggingheads.tv interview, and the lawsuit against the California Science Center over their cancellation of the pro-ID film, Darwin’s Dilemma.

And here they cry about “malicious computer hackers in what appears to be a coordinated attempt to suppress information about an upcoming conference on Darwin and intelligent design in Colorado.”

The number of savage atrocities suffered by these Seattle-based champions of creationism is far too long for us to list here, but we have no doubt that every Discoveroid could recite them in his sleep. Anyway, now they’ve got a new one, and we’re told about it by John West.

But first — who is John West? Most of you already know, so you can skip this indented paragraph:

West is a winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award. He’s a Senior Fellow at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute (the DI), where he is Associate Director of their Center for Science and Culture. That makes him one of the chief Keepers of their Wedge strategy, and the guru of the cdesign proponentsists (a term described here: cdesign proponentsists).

West also seems to have a history of making — let us say — somewhat exaggerated claims. See: Wild Charges of Evidence Suppression. Let’s see what he’s got for us this time. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Just in time for Academic Freedom Day, Feb. 12 (aka Darwin Day), graduate student Michael Barton at Montana State University boasts of regularly going into his local bookstore and purging books critical of Darwin from the science section of the store and reshelving them in the religion section. This past Sunday Barton posted a report about his most recent act of vandalism …

We won’t copy West’s quote, because we don’t trust creationist quotations. Here’s a link to Barton’s blog where he describes his activities: Reshelving antievolution books in the name of science. Barton says:

Today I went to Hastings and had my camera with me. The copy of Signature in the Cell I moved a few months ago was in neither the science nor religion section, and was probably purchased. Today I moved The Edge of Evolution and The Darwin Myth away from the shelve directly under where copies of Dawkins’s The Greatest Show on Earth were, and placed them next to – I just had to – the Adventure Bible and the Princess Bible in the religion section.

Okay, that’s what Barton did. Your Curmudgeon has done similar things in book stores when obvious shelving errors are found. We’ve moved alien abduction books from the “astronomy” shelf to the location where shoppers can find books about magic crystals, crop circles, and other nonsense subjects.

Anyway, now we know what West is complaining about. Let’s return to the Discoveroid blog article to see what West thinks about this Darwinist barbarity:

Whatever Barton claims, his actions constitute censorship, pure and simple. Barton is trying to hide books he doesn’t like in order to prevent others from being exposed to views with which he disagrees. Indeed, he is apparently so insecure about the ability of Darwinists like Dawkins to make their case that he thinks he has the duty to vandalize private bookstores in order to keep the books of Darwin’s critics away from the public. Barton’s activities are not only juvenile, they may well be illegal.

Censorship! Vandalism! Illegality! Exaggerate much, Westie?

Let’s think about this for a moment. If you, dear reader, were visiting a bookstore and you found a volume lying on the floor where it was dropped by a thoughtless customer, you’d probably pick it up and try to put it where it belonged. Or if you were looking at the shelf on Judaica and found a book on Catholicism, you’d helpfully move the misplaced book to where it belonged. How different is it to move a creationist book from the science shelf to the shelf for bible studies? Rather then vandalism, we regard such gestures as simple courtesy. Let’s read on:

Censors like Barton aren’t doing Darwinian evolution any favors. They merely prove to the public just how bigoted and intolerant the Darwinist establishment has become. Much like certain global warming fanatics, Darwinist ideologues increasingly place themselves above the law and try to exempt themselves of any sort of real accountability.

Go, Westie, go! Here’s the end of his rant:

Ironically, Darwin himself was a lot more fair-minded than his latter-day defenders. Writing at the beginning of On the Origin of Species, Darwin acknowledged that “a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”

O the irony! Westie thinks we should all behave more like Darwin. That’s good advice. But it’s not working. Somehow, the Discoveroids remind us more of William Jennings Bryan than Charles Darwin.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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22 responses to “Discovery Institute: Censored by Vandals!

  1. West’s quote of Darwin is a quote mine. Besides, isn’t Darwin the author of all horrors, including the Holocaust, Hitler, Stalin, the heartbreak of psorisis, etc., etc.? Why would anyone be better off following the example of this monster … or recommending that others do?

  2. Vandalism? I thought that meant destruction of property. I see no evidence of that. Censorship? The books are still in the bookstore. Bigoted and intolerant? OK, I can buy that. I’ll admit to being bigoted and intolerant about creationist BS, too. West sure goes out of his way to make a mountain out of a molehill. I rather doubt that this is much of a widespread practice of science backers.

  3. John Pieret says: “West’s quote of Darwin is a quote mine.”

    I’m shocked. Shocked!

  4. Well, Gee whiz…. I thought I was the only one moving Creationist Garbage around in stores, or turning it around so that it’s not abviously on sale there, and anything else Krixstian that’s around when I see it on a shelf at a store I’m shopping in……. And whenever I stay at a Hotel, I steal the bible out of the night table drawer, take it home, rip it up, and then throw it in the garbage! Is it a ‘SIN’ to steal a bible? Oh, noooooooo! I’m a B-a-a-a-d boy, Yeah! But it’s for a just cause….. Freeing human minds!!!!!

  5. Don’t laugh, James F. The Discoveroids are picking up strong support on this issue. See this at the website of Christian Web News. It’s a copy of West’s post. We may see support from Scientific American any time now.

  6. Michael says:

    And whenever I stay at a Hotel, I steal the bible out of the night table drawer, take it home, rip it up, and then throw it in the garbage!

    You’re proud of that?

  7. Dear Curmudgeon…. you’re right, I shouldn’t just be throwing useless bibles in the garbage, I should put them out in the bin that the garbage men pick up on Saturdays, and at least re-cycle the paper!!!!! ;-D

  8. Michael, for some reason you have the same ISP number as Deklane, whose comments are fine. If I put you on moderation, it means putting Deklane on moderation too. Instead, I’ll just edit your comments whenever it’s necessary.

  9. i never move books because i am lazy

    “Or if you were looking at the shelf on Judaica and found a book on Catholicism, you’d helpfully move the misplaced book to where it belonged.”

    Now there’s an interesting thought. Are you censoring Mr Christ’s Church’s attempt to inform Jews about the Messiah or are you removing some misleading heresy promoting the wrong church? If the latter, should you affix theses to the books instead?

    I believe Mr West should write a follow-up regarding this.

  10. If West thinks that’s censorship or vandalism, it’s obviously he has no idea what either term really means.

    On the other hand, it is, at a minimum, respectful of the bookstore policies to not go about the bookstore re-arranging things to suit one’s heartfelt convictions. I would not want Christians to file the atheism books under “fiction”; that I don’t interfere with their desire to find the books they want to read is simple courtesy.

    If you want creationism books to be filed under religion, or intelligent design books to be filed under philosophy, then by all means inform the manager of your request. If she chooses not to fulfill it, because she knows where her customers are going to go to find the books they want to purchase, then either accept the situation or shop somewhere else.

    Seriously, people, it’s that simple. If West wants to be this petty, leave him alone in his pettiness.

  11. Oh. Wow. A persecution complex. How very religious of them…

  12. LRA says: “Oh. Wow. A persecution complex.”

    It happens to great visionaries. It also happens to hopeless kooks. It’s so difficult to know the difference.

  13. Only the kooks persecute the great visionaries (who have reason and rationality on their sides). That is the major difference IMHO.

  14. The “conference” in Colorado was no such thing. It was the ID guys being nasty to the likes of Dawkins and presenting lots of big words to a largely ignorant audience.

    It was more about selling their books and talking up Jesus.

  15. Michael Fugate

    It is interesting to note that “Signature of the Cell” is listed in the Library of Congress Catalog as BL 263. B is Religion, Mythology and Rationalism. BL is Natural Theology and BL 263 is in the Religion and Science subsection. Reshelving the book in the Religion section seems appropriate.

  16. re: hotel bibles, I have found it more useful to bookmark and underline the more salacious and disturbing passages. Why not provide some entertainment to the subsequent occupants of the room?

  17. The Discoverrhoids’ blog doesn’t permit comments!

    Censorship!!!

  18. The only bible-reading I’ve ever done is in hotel rooms. I’m probably about 2% done. In any event thing about poor Rocky:

    “Guideon checked out, and he left it no doubt, to help with good Rocky’s revival.”

  19. Wow. One man moving some books around in a bookstore and West acts like it was a group of cloaked and hooded Darwinist having a bonfire in the Religious section. I can appreciate the sentiment, but it probably annoyed the clerks more than anything. I will admit that I’ve done a bit of moving myself. I kept everything in the same section, but moved the “Counter Creation Handbook” next to “Darwin of Trial” and other such rearrangements. Besides, I usually have to at least check out the arguments in ID books. I nearly laugh myself silly about them and have to immediately pick up something intelligent to regain control.

  20. darwinsbulldog

    Curmudgeon – Here‘s my response to West.

  21. darwinsbulldog says: “Curmudgeon – Here’s my response to West.”

    Nicely done!