Casey’s Creationist Talking-Points for Tennessee

Now that the word is out about the origin of the creationism bill pending in the Tennessee legislature (see Lauri Lebo on Tennessee in “Scientific American”), we know that the bill’s sponsor, Representative Bill Dunn, got it from David Fowler, head of the Family Action Council of Tennessee.

Where did Fowler get it? According to Lauri Lebo, Fowler said he drafted the Tennessee bill based on sample legislation from, and after speaking with, the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

We’ve referred to this as the theocratic anti-science axis. Okay, so where does that leave things? According to the National Center for Science Education: Opposition to antievolution bill mounts in Tennessee. In that article from a couple of says ago, they said:

As a second subcommittee hearing on Tennessee’s House Bill 368 approaches, the author of The Evolution Controversy in America and the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee are speaking out against the bill.

While the bill is still in committee, the Discoveroids, who are the creationist puppet-masters of the bill’s supporters, are undoubtedly at work coaching witnesses on the creationist side of this legislative debate. They’re also doing what we’ve seen them do when earlier political debates were raging in Louisiana and Texas. They’re posting talking-points at their blog, so creationist legislators and witnesses will have them as a handy reference. This is what they’ve posted today: How the Science Teachers’ Lobby Keeps Its Constituents in the Dark on Evolution.

That legislative script was written by Discoveroid Casey Luskin, everyone’s favorite creationist, and the only Discoveroid who lacks the title of “fellow.” We’ll give you some excerpts from those talking-points, with bold font added by us:

One of the most powerful education organizations in the country is the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), which stands alongside the rest of the Darwin lobby in holding that neo-Darwinian evolution should be taught in a one-sided, pro-evolution-only fashion.

Whoa — strong words indeed! Casey speaks of “powerful” organizations that make up the “Darwin lobby” that promotes “a one-sided, pro-evolution-only” method of teaching evolution. One day he may be writing about the powerful chemistry lobby that promotes a one-sided, anti-phlogiston method of teaching chemistry. Let’s read on:

This is an extreme position, as it seeks to ban scientific criticisms of evolution. Due to its exclusive and dogmatic nature, the NSTA’s position is analogous to the extreme position advocated by some religious fundamentalists who would seek to ban teaching about evolution in public schools.

Casey is deploying the ultimate insult — trying to keep creationism out of public school science class is “analogous to the extreme position advocated by some religious fundamentalists.” The Discoveroids are really going all-out. We continue:

But the Darwin lobby is smart. While it is trying to ban and censor the views of its opponents, the Darwin lobby has a particular narrative which tries to paint its opponents as the censors and the extremists. The narrative goes something like this (my paraphrase):

Get ready now, because you’re about to read Casey’s version of the rational side of the debate. This is how he phrases it, and he puts the argument of what he calls the “Darwin lobby” in quotes:

‘Dark forces of intelligent design and creationism are seeking to ban evolution from public schools and then force their religious beliefs into the science classroom. We must stand against censorship and religious agendas, so we must fight their agenda at any cost. Stand with us, the guardians of freedom of thought and the First Amendment.’

That is a fair description the creationists’ ultimate goal, but it’s not what they’re doing today in Tennessee. The Discoveroids know they have to proceed in a step-by-step manner to achieve what they want — full-blown theocracy. Creationists’ earlier efforts to ban evolution (in Tennessee) weren’t successful, and their attempts for “equal time” laws have also failed. So for the moment they’re doing only what they think they can get away with — until they’re able to go further. Observe that by stating the pro-science position as he does, Casey tries to make it seem wildly overblown.

What does Casey say in response to his strawman version of the “extreme” position of his opponents? He handles it the same way we’ve seen Discoveroids handle such situations in the past. In Discovery Institute — Deny, Deny, Deny! we described their tactic. At that time they invented this strawman version of their opponents’ argument:

There are people who apparently have a deep-seated need to believe that Intelligent Design proponents are really creationists in disguise, and that once they have control over the nation’s schools … they will proceed to outlaw any mention of evolution in schools, and will execute plans that involve, among other things, taking students on weekly field trips to Ken Ham’s Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

The Discoveroids then “rebutted” that exaggerated description by dwelling on trivia as a distraction, and then they just waived the whole thing away as a fantasy. We described the technique like this:

What’s really interesting about this Discoveroid article is their tactic of openly declaring the full truth of their motivations, but thinly disguising it as an absurdity that only their misguided adversaries believe. Yes — how ridiculous that the Discoveroids might actually be promoting an anti-science agenda!

That’s exactly what Casey is doing again. He vigorously denies that the Discoveroids want to ban the teaching of evolution. Well, duh! He’s the only one who raised the point, so it’s easy enough for him to dismiss. But in doing that, he tries to give the impression that he’s defeated all the arguments against the Discoveroids’ “academic freedom” campaign. Sorry, Casey. Although you may win in Tennessee as you did in Louisiana, no one with a brain is buying your argument.

Anyway, dear reader, look for this kind of nonsense during the coming battle over creationism in Tennessee.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Casey’s Creationist Talking-Points for Tennessee

  1. My favorite Discovery moment of all time, immortalized on video, was when Mark Ryland, an officer of the Disco Tute, denied that the DI had ever promoted teaching ID in schools. Then, Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center who defended the board at Kitzmiller opened his briefcase, pulled out a copy of the very document and said, “That’s not true. Here it is!”

    Ryland and the Disco Tute were screwed, blued and tattooed by their own kind. Irony is a hard mistress.

    But if you really want to meet the Disco Tute’s van Helsing, get a copy of Barbara Forrest and Paul Gross’ book, “Intelligent Design: Creationism’s Trojan Horse” and you’ll be amazed how well the dots connect. In their own words.

  2. The Discovery Institute has been drinking their own bathwater for too long. They forget that a long, well documented, historical record of their actions exists, including the wedge document and all the various efforts they have made over the years to subvert science and introduce supernatural hocus-pocus into public schools. Their duplicity is abundantly documented. For Casey to think that anyone would believe that the DI truly advocates real teaching of evolution is, as Darwin might have said, “absurd in the highest degree”.

    I wonder if Casey would support a bill requiring the teaching of the strengths and weaknesses of Intelligent Design. He seems overly positive that the strengths and weaknesses bill only attacks evolutionary science, and leaves ID out of it. That fits very well with the teflon nature of ID, always evolving to stay away from any testable criteria or standard of proof.

  3. I have given about two dozen talks at colleges, church and political groups, teachers organizations and workshops, etc., the latest at a college in Kentucky, mostly on the topic of ‘Intelligent Design is Not Science, But Politics and Religion, ‘ or similar title. I make my points mostly by using the IDiots own words – an easy thing to do as SC has often observed.

  4. Has the DI abandoned the Wedge document? Just curious.

    Actually, have they ever publicly said their mission is stated in the Wedge? Or is it just the inconvenient elephant in the room; don’t ask, don’t tell what we are really up to?

  5. Lynn Wilhelm asks:

    Has the DI abandoned the Wedge document? Just curious.

    Nope. After the Kitzmiller case, during which the Wedge was jammed up their wazoo, they put this up at their website: The “Wedge Document”: “So What?”

  6. There are people who apparently have a deep-seated need to believe that Intelligent Design proponents are really creationists in disguise…

    Yes, how could we come to such a conclusion?

  7. There are people who apparently have a need to convince us that Intelligent Design proponents are not creationists.

  8. Whenever you see 20 pages of bafflegab from the DI you’d better be wearing hip-boots.

    Simply stated the DI could write: The Wedge Document does not, never has and never will represent our strategy.

    However, you won’t find that simple statement in the “So What?” BS reply.

    Of course it’s their strategy and still is. Just look at the 5-10-20 year milestones and look at what the DI has done, is doing and continues to do: op-ed pieces, frantic attempts to get published, driving the wedge into public education (Teach the Controversy) and public discourse (Academic Freedom), even to the point of creating a fake research center to give the illusion they’re doing something “sciency.”

    The Wedge Document is alive and well. It’s how they get their funding. Theocrats? Hell, no! They ain’t no theocrats! They just want to replace scientific materialism with principles that are compatible with Christian philosophy. What’s theocratic about that?

    “Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”
    – the Wedge “ain’t no theocrat, no siree” Document