Discovery Institute: Their Own Version of Newspeak

HE’S DONE IT again. Casey Luskin, the most tireless promoter of creationism of all the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids), has blogged two amazingly goofy articles back-to-back. This is his second one: Texas Darwinists Reject the Scientific Method of Analyzing “Strengths and Weaknesses” of Scientific Theories.

Casey’s article discusses creationism in the Texas educational system, about which we’ve reported before, for example: Texas Science Education: It’s up to Don McLeroy.

Rather than focusing on the minimal substance of Casey’s article (he’s on the creationists’ side), we’ll deal with his terminology. It’s a form of Newspeak. Here are some examples, with bold added for emphasis:

Over the coming months, the Texas State Board of Education will be deciding whether to remove or bolster its requirement that students learn the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories, “using scientific evidence and information.” The pro-Darwin lobby group National Center for Science Education (NCSE) does not want that standard to be applied specifically to evolution. In fact, Texas Darwinists want that language completely removed from the Texas Science Standards.

Translation: “Strengths and weaknesses” is a code term that refers to the rejection of reality by creationists. Evolution is doing just fine; there are no scientific data that challenge the theory. The alleged “weaknesses” of evolution belong in a course on the “strengths and weaknesses” of the Discoveroids.

The “pro-Darwin lobby group” is a group that advocates good science education. The only reason they exist is because of creationist lobby groups like the Discoveroids. Using Casey’s style of rhetoric, the US Naval Academy is a pro-Magellan, spherical earth lobby group.

The “Texas Darwinists” are the sane, educated people in Texas, who understand that Oogity Boogity has no place in science class.

Okay, here’s more from Casey’s article:

Texas Darwinists reject this approach [“strengths and weaknesses”] because they will accept nothing less than the one-sided dogmatic presentation of the pro-Darwin-only position in public schools.

Translation: The “one-sided dogmatic presentation” is a scientific education that allows no room for mysticism in science.

The “pro-Darwin-only position” means teaching science without also teaching Oogity Boogity nonsense about the magical Designer.

One more excerpt:

… in their [Texas Darwinists] dogmatic view, neo-Darwinian evolution has nothing that rises to the level of a weakness. Such authoritarian statements have no place in science, and they serve to indoctrinate students rather than teach students how to think critically and skeptically—like scientists.

Translation: The “dogmatic view” here is the insistence on reason and verifiable evidence, which excludes the magical Designer. The analogous “dogmatic view” in math is insisting that 2+2=4. How insensitive!

The “authoritarian statements” are hard-won, well-tested conclusions from generations of scientific work — which, by the way, overturned the genuinely authoritarian statements of clergymen who oppose science.

Teaching students “how to think critically and skeptically” (when spoken by a creationist) means destroying the students’ confidence in reason, so that they’ll be amenable to claims about the magical Designer.

That’s enough. It’s not easy, but after you get the vocabulary under control you’ll be better able to navigate the prose of the Discoveroids.

Update: See Discovery Institute: Creationist Gibberish.

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

3 responses to “Discovery Institute: Their Own Version of Newspeak

  1. I refuse to read Luskin’s drivel this time, my blood pressure is already high, and I am, in some sense, in a good mood.

    Luskin is either a moron in lawyer’s clothing or a lying sack of diarrhea. Or both.

    BTW Curmy, you have a spelling mistake up there. I believe “instance on reason” should be “insistence on reason”.

  2. Science recently reviewed “Doubt Is Their Product” (Sci 321:1296, 5 Sept 2008) a book about how industry tries to avoid the impact of scientific findings adverse to their products. The paradigm, of course, is the Tobacco Institute.

    You can read down the list of tactics and see the tracks of the Discovery Institute. It’s all there: producing false controversies, disputing evidence individually rather than collectively, influencing politicians rather than scientists, amplifying uncertainty in studies, shifting the burden of proof….

    Thsi book could have been written for the Discovery Institute. Or perhaps written by it.