Discovery Institute: Warping Minds, Warping Language

WE’VE PREVIOUSLY explored the strange, tangled form of language used by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). For example: Discovery Institute: Their Own Version of Newspeak.

Now we have another burst of babble from that “think” tank in Seattle — the gang who tirelessly promote Dark Ages thinking while shrieking: “Don’t call us creationists!” Here’s their latest blog article from the amazing Casey Luskin, with one of his typically inelegant titles: Ronald Wetherington, Campus Censor: Reviewer of Texas Science Standards Tried to Ban Conference on Intelligent Design from SMU Campus. [Addendum: See below.]

The background is that the creationist-dominated Texas State Board of Education has appointed three creationists to a six-member committee which will evaluate proposed new science standards. You can catch up on that issue here: Texas Science Education: Jumping off the Roof? Don’t just read our articles, check out what they’re saying at the National Center for Science Education: Antievolutionists asked to review draft standards in Texas.

As is frequently the case with Casey’s articles, we consider it a waste of time to deal with his substantive claims — he’s just following the creationist strategy of insisting that their dogmatic denial of the theory of evolution constitutes a “scientific controversy,” and we’re all familiar with that foolish strategy. Instead we’ll focus on his techniques — his tactics, if you will.

Here’s Casey’s opening paragraph, with bold added by us:

One of the three pro-Darwin-only scientists asked to review the Texas science standards (the “TEKS”) is Southern Methodist University (SMU) professor of anthropology Ronald Wetherington. Selected by Republicans Geraldine Miller and Pat Hardy, Wetherington has a history of trying to censor from students scientific viewpoints that dissent from neo-Darwinism.

Translation: “Pro-Darwin-only scientists” are competent scientists who understand evolutionary biology. “Trying to censor” means rationally excluding nonsense and superstition from science lessons. Here’s more:

If history is to be our guide, Wetherington is going to propose ardently dogmatic, pro-Darwin-only evolution education standards, and when pressed, he’ll deny that he’s trying to censor or stifle dissenting views.

Translation: “Dogmatic, pro-Darwin-only evolution education standards” means scientific standards, with no tolerance for superstitious claims in science classes. “Trying to censor or stifle dissenting views” means keeping nonsense like creation “science” and intelligent design “theory” out of science classes.

See how it goes? Here’s one more excerpt, from near the end of Casey’s article:

Does it sound like Wetherington was just checking to make sure the conference had undergone “legal scheduling”? Who is now hiding “behind a deceptive mask” or using “deliberate deception”? Wetherington’s attempt to backpedal from his censorious demands to cancel the conference has a major credibility gap.

This goes beyond mere Orwellian Newspeak. Is there any outfit in the world that is “hiding behind a deceptive mask” more than the Discoveroids? Their “theory” of ID has often been described as creationism wearing an ill-fitting lab coat; and it has been conclusively exposed as creationism in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

And as for having “a major credibility gap,” what can we say? Casey, we’d recommend that you look in the mirror, but — who knows? — maybe Discoveroids don’t cast a reflection.

[Addendum: A day after posting this item, we note that Casey’s clumsy title has been shortened to “Science Censor Appointed to Review Texas Science Standards.” Maybe his article has been otherwise edited, but it’s not worth the bother of checking.]

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