Discoveroids Denounce Their Own Tactics

We’ve written several times about a ghoulish practice of 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).

Figuratively speaking, the Discoveroids like to dig up graves and use the decomposed remains found therein to enhance the intellectual pedigree of their creationism. For our most recent post on this gruesome practice, see Invasion of the Discoveroid Body Snatchers. So far they’ve desecrated the remains of James Clerk Maxwell, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Thomas Jefferson. They actually made a run at Charles Darwin, but his resting place in Westminster Abby was too secure. Their only success has been Alfred Wallace, but no one cares about him; he was bonkers when he wrote the stuff the Discoveroids swoon over.

We call their ghostly roster the Discoveroids’ Hall of Ancestral Carcasses. Who knows how many more cadavers are piled up in their Seattle headquarters? You can’t determine the number from the ghastly smell around the place, because … well, never mind.

Anyway, today the Discoveroids are furious. They seem to be in a tug-of-war over the body of C. S. Lewis, who is described by Wikipedia as “a novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist.” Their latest post is New Book Rescues C.S. Lewis from Attempted Scholarly Kidnapping. “Scholarly Kidnapping”? Egad! Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and their links omitted:

Today marks the official publication date of the latest title from Discovery Institute Press, The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, edited by Center for Science and Culture associate director John G. West and with a foreword by Phillip E. Johnson.

That’s important news! The Discoveroid post continues:

Why a book that seeks to clarify Lewis’s views on some of the most significant subjects that we deal with here at ENV? One obvious reason is that C.S. Lewis stands out as arguably the most influential Christian theologian of the 20th century, so his writing on science and culture matters.

The Discoveroid creationists would naturally consider the work of a theologian to be vital to their endeavors. Let’s read on:

Less obviously, there has been a shocking movement, by some Christians who ought to know better, to adopt Lewis as a spokesman for neo-Darwinism.

Oh no! The Darwinists are attempting to do some body-snatching! That is indeed shocking. How dare they do such a thing? Grave robbery has been the exclusive technique of the Discoveroids! We continue:

In his essay “Darwin in the Dock,” Dr. West writes about one such instance of scholarly malpractice.

[Skipping the quote suggesting that Lewis accepted evolution.]

That sounds pretty conclusive, but it turns out, as John West notes, that Peterson had done some “creative editing.”

Creative editing? That’s quote-mining! Like grave robbery, quote-mining is reserved exclusively for creationists. Here’s more:

This is a form of intellectual kidnapping — where a revered authority, or anyway the prestige of his reputation, is stolen by one side in a debate and kept captive against all the dictates of scholar responsibility and truth-telling.

Outrageous! Here’s the end:

In The Magician’s Twin, Dr. West and his co-authors seek to redeem the captive. We’ll have more to say on this in days to come. Meanwhile, like we said, as of today you can get your own copy of Magician’s Twin by going here [link omitted].

We wish them well in the battle over the remains of C.S. Lewis. He’ll be a fine addition to the Discoveroids’ Hall of Ancestral Carcasses.

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

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10 responses to “Discoveroids Denounce Their Own Tactics

  1. Liars, frauds and buffoons — and hypocrites to boot? I’m sure the DI would rage at the suggestion, although hypocrisy is the least of their sins. Speaking of grave-robbing, this item reminds me of the most famous case: Burke & Hare. Finally brought to justice in 1828, they admitted to some 16 murders — but denied ever having robbed a grave. They had some integrity; there were depths even they wouldn’t stoop to.

  2. The reason Lewis objected to evolution was that it was conflicted with his personal theology, which was that humans were created by god rather than an undirected process. That’s pretty much the same intellectual process underlying Intelligent Design, and other forms of creationism. Science and objective evidence had nothing to do with Lewis’ faith, and nothing to do with his objection to evolution. (Also similar to ID creationism). The one difference between Lewis and the Discoveroids is that Lewis did not lie about it.

  3. From what I read, Lewis fully accepted evolution, and would probably have an even stonger acceptance had he lived to see the exponentially increasing evidence from multiple independent lines. But note the DI’s word games, particulary “spokesman for neo-’Darwinism’,” which they use to fool their fans by falsely equating the science with the philosophy. Like Ken Miller, Lewis would have surely objected to Dawkins’ approach, as well as that of DI’s and that of the Biblical creationist groups.

  4. The whole truth

    “Christian theologian”

    Yeah, ID is all science and not a religious/political agenda. And I just saw a leprechaun run by.

    “a revered authority”

    LMAO. To whom? And that illustrates the way IDiots-creationists-dominionists-godbots think. It’s all about authority, and they want ALL the authority.

  5. Theology is generally of no particular interest to me – and is certainly to be numbered among the vast array of topics of which I know very little – but this blast from the Discoveroids really is deeply entertaining for several reasons.

    I suspect C.S.Lewis is particularly dear to the Discoveroids because of his religious conversion, an intelligent man who moved from avowed atheism to deeply-held Christian belief. And for Evangelicals, the whole business of winning converts is what the game is all about – an obsession I do not understand. To hold whatever beliefs and from whatever causes is one thing (and the right so to do is a cornerstone of human liberty), but whence this need to impose conformity of belief on others? I just don’t get it.

    But it is entertaining here that C.S.Lewis doesn’t line up in all respects with the narrow agenda of the Discoveroids, which is indeed well illustrated by Michael L. Peterson, the theologian and scholar the DI is attacking in their hack piece. Peterson’s essay (lengthy, but I found it of some interest, and others might as well) is here: http://www.asburyseminary.edu/sites/www.asburyseminary.edu/files/Lewis_on_Evolution__Intelligent_Design.pdf

  6. For a different perspective of C.S. may I recommend his letters to friends published as “Yours,Jack”. This gives a great insight into why he was a Christian and no, it doesn’t support the Discoveroid point of view.

  7. Megalonyx: “And for Evangelicals, the whole business of winning converts is what the game is all about – an obsession I do not understand.”

    Sure you do. We all started out that way, but most of us “grew up.” I still sometimes get the urge to “evangelize” my religion. But I quickly realize that its rules for behavior are too strict, so its membership will likely never exceed one.

    Pseudoscience peddlers a particularly interesting subset of “evangelists.” Peddlers of most pseudoscience are not always religious, either in terms of practice or belief in ultimate causes and fate. That includes peddlers of anti-evolution pseudoscience, where some vocal non-religious types like Discoveroid David Berlinski are quite comfortable and welcome among the fundamentalist majority, which itself had an uneasy mix of Christians, Muslims, and the occasional Jew.

    At the risk of “evangelizing” myself, I have to remind everyone that pseudoscience is the primary religion of these people, and that projection – their constant reference to the “religion” of “Darwinism” or “scientism” – is a key tactic to obscure that. And that we only help them when we emphasize their religion or what they “believe” (as if we can read minds) instead of what they say and do. Including what they avoid saying (details of their nonexistent “theory”) and doing (testing their nonexistent “theory”).

    Whether its magnets or salvation that they’re trying to sell you, the important thing to note is that they’re more obsessed with what you believe than what they believe. And that they can be reasonably suspected of selling something they don’t really believe in.

  8. @ Frank J: Many thanks indeed for link to article in reason.com, which is excellent!

  9. Ceteris Paribus

    It’s kind of creepy that the Discoveroids are showing this kind of concern for C.S. Lewis, who has been dead and buried for half a century. Sort of like the creepiness of the Mormons going around doing posthumous baptisms of notable corpses.

    But the Discoveroids are closer to practicing necromancy than resurrection, since the intellectual climate in which Lewis lived and operated was far different from that of the US then or now. We don’t know what Lewis would have done were he alive today.

    In his book “The Creationists”, historian Ron Numbers includes a short chapter on “Evangelicals and Evolution in Great Britain”. In it he notes that unlike the US, the British had an unfettered union of church and state, which left their evangelicals free to focus on personal piety rather than doctrinal purity. Even today it is possible for a British atheist to walk around openly in public, and even run for political office without much notice being given.

    In contrast, Numbers mentions that by the time British creationists even began to be organized in the mid 1930′s, the US creationists had been fighting for decades to control the classroom.

    In the 1940′s and 50′s British creationists repeatedly attempted to draw the prestigious C.S. Lewis into their protest of evolution, but Lewis refused. Numbers gives as the reason that Lewis feared that some of his own growing band of disciples “might take umbrage at his association with anti-Darwinists.” Numbers quotes Lewis giving his reason to refuse to preface the book of a creationist friend: “When a man becomes a popular Apologist he must watch his step. Everyone is on the lookout for something that might discredit him.”

    It seems the Discoveroids should just let Lewis rest in peace.

  10. But it is entertaining here that C.S.Lewis doesn’t line up in all respects with the narrow agenda of the Discoveroids

    More entertaining is that Lewis doesn’t line up with Chrisitian orthodoxy at all. He thought nonbelievers would get a chance to change their mind and be saved after death. Thus faith in-, belief in-, and acceptance of Christ as one’s savior during one’s life wasn’t technically necessary (according to him). Its a much more rational system, but its not really Christianity.