Invasion of the Discoveroid Body Snatchers

They’ve grabbed yet another carcass. Who? Who else? It’s the neo-Luddite, 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 previously reported on the Discoveroids’ intellectual necrophilia. See Discovery Institute Snatches Another Corpse, in which we discuss their appropriation of Jean-Jacques Rousseau for their intelligent design movement. That post links to some of their earlier grave-plundering activity — in their imagination they’ve absorbed the essence of poor old Thomas Jefferson. They also grabbed Alfred Wallace, but they can have him.

They recently tried to shanghai Charles Darwin himself (see Charles Darwin Joins the Discovery Institute) but no one took that pathetic effort seriously.

The Discoveroids’ Hall of Ancestral Carcasses must be like the underground lair of some mythical monster, with the bodies of victims piled high. Today they’ve dragged in another — James Clerk Maxwell. He wasn’t a biologist, and he died in 1879, but he’s famous and dead, so he qualifies for the Discoveroids’ cadaver collection.

Their new post is How James Clerk Maxwell Rescued the Humanities in Verse. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Few may realize that James Clerk Maxwell, the 19th-century physicist on par with Newton and Einstein who gave us electromagnetic theory, was a poet. One of his best takes materialists to task in playful yet incisive wit.

Maxwell was a poet? That’s nice. And he took materialists to task? Ah, so the Discoveroids hope to claim him as a fellow mystic. Their post continues:

The occasion was the meeting of the British Association of 1874. John Tyndall, president, was a strong supporter of Darwin and Huxley. In an epochal speech, he advocated extending what Darwin had done to all of science: seeking to rid science of all theological explanations.

[…]

… Tyndall’s main point was that materialism should henceforth be the philosophy of science. While theists viewed the address as an attack on religion, rationalists and skeptics have since considered this meeting a tipping point toward the metaphysical naturalism that continues to this day.

Egad! Tyndall proposed removing Oogity Boogity! from science. How beastly! Had the Discoveroids been there, they would have all collapsed on the fainting couch. Let’s read on:

Sitting in the audience was 43-year-old James Clerk Maxwell, the eminent physicist. He knew what Tyndall was up to. A committed and informed Christian and supporter of intelligent design, Maxwell perceived what would be the outcome of Tyndall’s program if unrestrained materialism took root: it would sweep away the humanities, and reduce all that is good and noble, including the human mind, to meaningless clashes of atoms.

They link to this earlier Discoveroid article claiming Maxwell to be an ID supporter. We have our doubts about that, and also about whether the triumph of science “would sweep away the humanities.” Anyway, the Discoveroid post continues:

Rather than respond with debate or a written treatise, Maxwell used the humanities to rescue the humanities. Employing his rapier wit and knowledge of history and philosophy, he wrote a poem.

The rest of the Discoveroid post is what they claim to be Maxwell’s poem. It’s a bit long, but here are a few interesting lines:

So, down through untold generations, transmission of structureless germs
Enables our race to inherit the thoughts of beasts, fishes, and worms.
We honour our fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers too;
But how shall we honour the vista of ancestors now in our view?

We’re not very good at interpreting poetry, so we’ll leave it to you to read Maxwell’s work — if it is his work. Is that enough to make him an honorary Discoveroid? If so, it doesn’t take much. But before we abandon Darwin’s theory, we’d like just a little more evidence.

Anyway, that’s the news — they’ve got a new stiff in the Discoveroid Hall of Carcasses. If you find their collection persuasive, please explain it to us.

See also: Discoveroids Denounce Their Own Tactics.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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18 responses to “Invasion of the Discoveroid Body Snatchers

  1. the rest of that poem can be found here along with his other poems:

    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/british-association-notes-of-the-president-s-add/

  2. Charley Horse

    His most famous unpublished ditty…..
    Roses are red
    violets are blue
    ID is b*&% sh$@
    You knew that, too

  3. Charley Horse says: “His most famous unpublished ditty …”

    He left this note instead of a deathbed recantation:

    Do not misappropriate me, Discoveroids,
    If you do I’ll afflict you with hemorrhoids,
    Your designer’s a joke,
    It’s time you awoke,
    The world’s not flat, it’s a spheroid!

  4. SC, you should sponsor a limerick contest…

    Interesting how the Discoveroids have so much trouble finding just one current leading scientist that would reject methodological naturalism, much less advocate intelligent design. Their only choice is to take scientists of the past and pretend that they would believe the same way as they did then were they to live in modern times. That’s dishonest, of course, but dishonesty is what they do best.

  5. There’s really no doubt that Clerk Maxwell was a Christian of very strong faith, and one of the greatest scientists of all time. But he was a physicist, not a biologist. And he didn’t posit supernatural origins of natural phenomena in his own day, and there is no evidence that he would do so if he were living now. Furthermore, if he didn’t accept evolution, which I do not know if he did, then he was a creationist, like virtually every other Christian who didn’t accept evolution. The Discoveroids are always trying to tell us intelligent design isn’t creationism…

    In addition, he had a whimsical sense of humor. Probably everyone here has heard of Maxwell’s Demon–it would take a Discoveroid to argue that Maxwell seriously believed in the existence of demons. At any rate, the first lines of this poem are not all the Discoveroids would wish them to be, are they?

    In the very beginnings of science, the parsons, who managed things then,
    Being handy with hammer and chisel, made gods in the likeness of men

    Besides electricity and magnetism, Maxwell contributed to the foundations of thermodynamics–and was one of the first to explain the behavior of gases in terms of atoms, which no one was even sure were real in those days. The Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution tells you what atoms and molecules do at high temperature. Maxwell knew how much COULD be explained in terms of atoms because he was one of the pioneers of atomic theory! A poem of his satirizing atoms and organized religion, both of which he took very seriously, is probably meant tongue-in-cheek.

  6. The whole truth

    “informed Christian”

    Impossible.

  7. This is remarkably thin gruel from the Discoveroids, even by their own woefully deficient standards. How do they find the time for these meaningless trivialities amongst all the demands of their vast cutting-edge experimentation and research? Oh, wait…

  8. Ed proposes:

    SC, you should sponsor a limerick contest…

    Sounds good, but you guys can do better than my own modest kick-off:

    There are some buffoons in Seattle
    Who struggle ‘gainst Science to battle
    With falsified data,
    Religious errata,
    And torrential mendacious prattle!

  9. Nope, last line is a syllable short.

    Maybe, And a torrent of mendacious prattlle.

  10. Alas, megalonyx, for want of a syllable, all was lost.

  11. Not quite all is lost, for, inspired by the Discoveroids tomb-raiding, I have undertaken my own exhaustive investigation into the annals of English poesy as the ultimate arbiter of scientific theory.

    And lo! All this time I have been overlooking the definitive conclusion of Alfred Joyce Kilmer:

    Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.

    Darwinism is doomed!!!

  12. There was a young gerbil named Casey
    whose eyebrows grew across his facey.
    If only somehow
    he could knit his brow
    I’m sure it would come out quite lacey.

  13. There was a young Cretard, Klinghoffer,
    With nothing but b.s. to proffer
    Cdesign proponentsists
    To malign their opponentsists
    Who vainly try Reason to offer

  14. That was good, Doc Bill. How about this?

    There once was a Sensuous Curmudgeon,
    Who daily creationists did bludgeon,
    But they kept on whining
    About intelligent designing,
    Saying: “You weren’t there, so who’re you to be judgin’?”

    [Grammar note: That’s “who” in the second line, not “whom,” so you know I’m doing the bludgeoning.]

  15. I don’t have a limerick to offer (yet… the day is young and I’ve not had enough Mt Dew), but back to the original point of the story, let me add this:

    Oh, HELL no!

    As not only an electrical engineer, but one who specializes in all-things RF-ey (aka electromagnetic waves), I will not let them try to sully the name of a great scientist. Anyone who works in the field of radio knows that Maxwell had as much in common with intelligent design as does SC or Doc Bill or… me. (Yes, he was sooooo into ID that the DI has to dig into his poetry!?!?! Really?!?!) He did experiments, he provided evidence, he published, his work was peer-reviewed and, last but not least, it was possible that Maxwell could have been wrong (read “falsifiable”). He let his experiments decide what he was going to do next, not some BS about ID.

    I’m not given to personal attacks (I’ve done one or two, I know), but this one is deserved: All you people at the DI? You are all putzes!

    (We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming on The Limerick Channel…)

  16. Charley Horse

    That is some very IDed poetry! Glad I revisited this topic.

    Gabriel Hanna…I did not know what Maxwell’s Demon was/ is.
    So, like all with a curious mind, I went looking. If you haven’t seen this,
    take a look.
    Java applet by Albert Smith
    Try to separate the fast (red) and slow (blue) molecules to make one side of the room warmer than the other.

    http://www.imsc.res.in/~sitabhra/research/persistence/maxwell.html

    I came real close to understanding what I read there…….

  17. Gabriel Hanna

    Maxwell was trying to say that the second law is a statistical law, not a law that applies everywhere in all situations like the first law does. He used the analogy of a glass of water and the ocean. Fill a glass of water. Pour it into the ocean. Scoop up a glassful of water from the ocean. You have the same amount of water as you did before, but it’s possible, though unlikely, to be exactly the same water. To say that “you can’t pick up the same water” would be only statistically true.

    So he thought of a demon that can see individual molecules and sort them without expending energy. There’s been more than explanation for why the demon can’t do it, thought I’m not sure what the definitive one is. It’s bothered people enough that there’s been 150 years’ discussion of it.

  18. To Hermann Stoffkraft, Ph.D., the Hero of a Recent Work Called Paradoxical Philosophy

    “But when thy Science lifts her pinions
    In Speculation’s wild dominions,
    We treasure every dictum thou emittest,
    While down the stream of Evolution
    We drift, expecting no solution
    But that of the survival of the fittest.
    Till, in the twilight of the gods,
    When earth and sun are frozen clods,
    When, all its energy degraded,
    Matter to æther shall have faded;”