Discovery Institute: Idiot’s Guide to Evolution

FRESH from the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids), we present some thrilling excerpts from Introducing The College Student’s Back to School Guide to Intelligent Design. The article is by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. Casey says, with bold font added by us:

There are a lot of false urban legends promoted in academia about intelligent design (ID). They often start with myths promoted by misinformed critiques in scientific journals, court rulings, or even talks by activists at scientific conferences. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for this misinformation to then be passed down to college students, who may know very little about ID and lack the resources to correct their professors’ misinformed and misplaced attacks on ID. Not anymore.

At last! The creationists in Seattle are going to help us to clear up all those myths and misinformed attacks on ID. Let’s read on:

If you’re a college student, recently gone back to school and expecting to hear a lot of anti-ID views from your professors, we’re pleased to present this “Back to School Guide” for students as follows: The College Student’s Back to School Guide to Intelligent Design.

That’s a link to a pdf file which has the entire Discoveroid 20-page “book” available online. It’s a treasury of creationist lore. We continue:

The guide contains suggestions for helpful pro-ID books, articles, and websites for students to read when investigating the issue. Additionally, it contains “Answers to Your Professor’s Most Common Misinformed Objections to Intelligent Design.” Nine answers are given to common but false arguments against ID like “Intelligent Design Proponents Don’t Conduct or Publish Scientific Research” or “Intelligent Design Is a Science Stopper” or “Intelligent Design Has Been Refuted by the Overwhelming Evidence for Neo-Darwinian Evolution.”

We looked at one of those “common but false arguments against ID” sections. Here’s an example:

Objection #3: Intelligent Design Has Been Banned From Public Schools by the Federal Courts

The Short Rebuttal: ID has not been banned from America’s public schools by the U.S. Supreme Court or by any federal appeals court. The only court that has squarely ruled on teaching of ID was one federal district court (the lowest level of the federal court system), whose ruling is not binding precedent outside the small school district in Dover, Pennsylvania. Spend a day in law school and you’ll learn that judges get things wrong all the time. In fact, the district court ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover misrepresented the arguments given by pro‐ID expert witness biologists and wrongly denied the existence of peer‐reviewed scientific articles and research supporting ID. The judge who ruled in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case (Judge Jones) copied over 90% of his section on whether ID is science verbatim or nearly verbatim from an inaccurate brief written by plaintiffs’ lawyers working with the ACLU. Judge Jones’ ruling satisfied the textbook definition of judicial activism, and even eading anti‐ID legal scholars have argued his ruling is “dangerous” to religious, scientific, and academic reedom.

That’s followed by a long rebuttal, but we’ll skip that. It’s a re-hash of Casey’s lonely (and very extra-judicial) appeal of the Dover case, waged all by himself in his Seattle cubicle, endlessly wailing to the walls that the judge got everything wrong. We’ve described Casey’s efforts here: Creationism and the Real World.

We’ve done a whole series of articles on the Dover case, starting here: Kitzmiller v. Dover: Is ID Science? And there’s also the very informative Wikipedia article on the case.

Meanwhile, since the Dover decision, no school board in the nation has adopted a pro-ID policy. Well, there’s the peculiar case of Louisiana, where the schools are now allowed to use undefined “supplementary materials” in science class, but there hasn’t yet been a court test of that. There’s also the tragic situation in Texas, where a gang of creationists on the State Board of Education have mucked up that state’s science education standards. Again, no court test of their meddling has been initiated.

Here’s a bit more from Casey’s Discoveroid article:

The Darwinian educational establishment doesn’t make it easy to become objectively informed on the topic of evolution and ID. The way around the typical one-sided evolution curriculum is to investigate the issue for yourself. Yes, study and learn about the pro-evolution evolution viewpoint being taught. But also read material from credible Darwin skeptics to learn about other viewpoints. Only then can you truly make up your mind in an informed fashion.

Yes, “the Darwinian educational establishment doesn’t make it easy” kiddies. It’s true — educated, rational science teachers don’t make it easy for creationists to find blissful happiness in science class. Instead, what good schools do is have instructors who know their subject and who teach from well-written texts. So Casey’s right — it’s not easy to get your brain all messed up on creationism. It takes effort. But never fear. Casey and the Discoveroids are there to help.

We fully expect some deranged science teacher in Louisiana to hand out copies of the Discoveroid pamphlet as “supplementary material” to assist the kiddies in becoming good idiots. That’s when the creationism hits the fan.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Discovery Institute: Idiot’s Guide to Evolution

  1. Yes, my learned Curmudgeon, Casey really is a special case.

    I used to think he was just stupid, but as I read his scribblings (never far from my barf-bucked), I’ve concluded that he’s not merely brain-dead; he’s a a hyperactive tool in the Discoveroid propaganda mill.

  2. waldteufel says: “I used to think he was just stupid, but as I read his scribblings …”

    I’ve been tracking Casey as long as I’ve been tracking the Discoveroids. I think he sincerely believes what he says. That’s not a compliment. They probably keep him around because he’s reliable.

  3. I’ll have to take some more time to read through this carefully, but I didn’t see anything about “what happened and when”.

    The oldest question in the book:

    What is the theory of creationism/design?

  4. The Newtonian educational establishment doesn’t make it easy to become objectively informed on the topic of flat-earthism.

    The Pasteurian educational establishment doesn’t make it easy to become objectively informed on the topic of spontaneous generation.

    &c. &c. &c.

  5. TomS: “I’ll have to take some more time to read through this carefully, but I didn’t see anything about ‘what happened and when’.”

    As you’s expect I’ll be reading it for that very reason, in the rare case of finding something beyond the usual “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

    The first question I would ask (if I could be assured of not being banned from their blog) is whether Luskin agrees with Behe on life’s ~4 billion year history and common descent.

    As for the “‘Darwinists’ don’t understand ID” schtick, here’s a fun exercise for anyone interested: Find 2 obscure quotes that describe ID – one from a fan, and one from a critic. Include the former verbatim and follow it by saying that you nevertheless find ID unconvincing. Then pose as a fan of ID and include the latter quote verbatim. Then (in the rare event you can get a reply to both from DI folk) see which one of your aliases they think misunderstands ID.

  6. Luskin: “Tip #1: Never opt out of learning evolution. In fact, learn about evolution every chance you get .”

    Has he ever complained directly to the millions of parents who are hell-bent against their childern learning evolution? So if “Darwinists,” who have no problem with students learning anti-evolution propaganda on their own time are “censors,” what does that make those parents?

  7. Frank J says, “The first question I would ask (if I could be assured of not being banned from their blog)…”

    No problem with being banned, Frank, as they don’t allow any comments on their “blogs”. Wouldn’t want to confuse people by allowing contrary viewpoints.

    You can find a few eMail addresses if you really want to let them know what you think, though I doubt they would be very interested. For instance Casey’s is

  8. Thanks, Roger.

    I’ll try just for fun, but don’t expect an answer. In stark contast I did get a personal reply from WorldNetDaily’s Joseph Farah. I got him to admit that, despite his obsession with “Darwinists,” he thinks that OECs (thus most Discoveroids) are just as wrong. Farah is the “kind” of creationist that Discoveroids privately wish would shut up.

  9. The words on the blackboard on page 1 are German! No copyright violation there!

  10. Having ploughed through their “helpful”pamphlet I found a few illuminating points:

    One- Approximately 40% of his references and further readings are of the authors own writings. 50% of the rest are of the same three authors. Not exactly a wide area of expertise and research, eh? (For the remaining 10%, there is a rich history of quote mining…)

    Two- The mind numbing quote of whole thing: ID detects design not designers. Basically if we just avoid mentioning God, it becomes pure science and not religion. Please… If you’re looking for design, you’ve already committed to the idea that a designer is involved, at which point you have to postulate on the methods, motivations, etc of such designer, which inevitably leads into philosophy and religion.

    Finally-Lots and lots of recycled creationist material, all of it discredited. I particularly like the “junk DNA” and how we keep finding uses for that DNA, but Darwinists dismissing it as junk impedes this research. What processes do they think are driving these discoveries? Oh yeah, evolutionary biology! So evolution apparently both impedes and promotes research…

    Could say more, but my mind in still in slight shock.

  11. Albanaeon says: “Could say more, but my mind in still in slight shock.”

    You have to read creationists in small doses. Trust me, I know.