Food Fight: Discovery Institute and Richard Dawkins

The Discovery Institute is upset with Richard Dawkins. They posted this at their blog: Should Strident British Atheist Richard Dawkins Dictate Education Policy to US States? Barbara Forrest Apparently Thinks So. The title tells most of the story.

As you recall, Barbara Forrest has been urging people to send email to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, asking him to veto Louisiana’s new creationist-tolerant education law. Several others have cooperated in this effort, your Curmudgeon among them. To that end, we posted this: Send an email to Governor Bobby Jindal two days ago. Others have done so as well.

A notice about Barbara Forrest’s campaign was put up at Richard Dawkins’ chat forum: We Urgently Need Your Help Now!! As far as we know, it wasn’t done by Dawkins, just a member of that forum. In any event, it was merely a copy of Barbara Forrest’s email. Yet the Discoveroids say this in their blog:

British atheist and staunch Darwin defender Richard Dawkins’ official website is urging Americans to oppose the Louisiana Science Education Act. Newsflash for Richard, we’re not a British colony anymore.

It’s splendidly ironic. The Brits have a state religion; the US doesn’t. Yet the Discoveroids want Noah’s Ark (or whatever the deal is) to be promoted in state schools in the US, while Dawkins — an Oxford don and veddy British — is presumably opposed to such foolishness.

The Discoveroid blog continues:

[Barbara] Forrest and her friends, however, are calling for help from around the world. Forrest’s letter is being showcased and e-mailed all over the world by As usual the letter is full of falsehoods.

Amusing. Creationists getting upset about “falsehoods.” This affair is loaded with irony. Among the claims the Discoveroid blog article makes is this:

In fact, the LSEA [Louisiana Science Education Act] is a home-grown measure. Drafted by Democratic state senator Ben Nevers … . The LSEA echoes some of what Discovery Institute has called for in its sample academic freedom legislation, but the bill has been advanced by Louisiana citizens and has won overwhelming support from Louisiana legislators.

Yes, it certainly does echo some of the Discovery Institute’s Academic Freedom Act. Particularly this provision in the Louisiana bill:

D. This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

That self-serving claim telling us that the act “shall not be construed” to do what it’s intended to do is strangely similar to a provision in the Discoveroid’s own model act:

Section 7. Nothing in this act shall be construed as promoting any religious doctrine, promoting discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promoting discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.

Somehow, we feel that the United States will survive the threat to its sovereignty represented by a post at a UK chat forum. We’re more worried about the damage to school kids in Louisiana that will be caused by that state’s creationism-tolerance law.

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