The picture we’re using for this occasion isn’t of Charles Darwin. It’s a detail from “Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky” by Benjamin West. It symbolizes the best of the Enlightenment — the overthrow of ignorance and superstition through freedom, reason, and science. Like the American Founding Fathers, Darwin was a product of the Enlightenment, thus he is despised by its opponents.
Rejoice, gentle readers! Tomorrow is Kitzmas, our annual festival in honor of the decision on 20 December 2005 by Judge John E. Jones III in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. This post continues a tradition that we began for this blog last year.
As you know, we are headquartered in our secret underground control room in the CITADEL — the Curmudgeonly Institute for Tactics, Advocacy, and Defense of the Enlightenment Legacy — the global nerve center for monitoring events throughout the Creosphere.
To gladden your hearts during this Kitzmas season, from our unique vantage point we herewith offer the Curmudgeon’s assessment of The Controversy for the year now ending.
At the close of 2008, we posted Intelligence Briefing: The State of the Creosphere. We are pleased to report that the adversary’s status has not improved since then.
The year 2009 was a good year. The twelfth of February was the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, and 24 November was the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species. As creationists cringed, prestigious institutions all over the civilized world gave appropriate recognition to both occasions.
Ardipithecus ramidus, or “Ardi,” was named as the Breakthrough of the Year by Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. See: Human-like fossil find is breakthrough of the year.
But those are events in the real world — the scientific community, industry, agriculture, medicine, and academia. The theory of evolution has no real-world rivals; and creationism is rightly to be found only in bible colleges, the natural domain of religious teachings. But sometimes creationism’s zealous devotees cause misguided mischief in legislatures, school boards, and in courtrooms. Therefore, notwithstanding the universally obvious and objectively verifiable failure of creationism, we must review what its retrograde agents have managed to accomplish.
We don’t concern ourselves much with young-earth creationists. They’re often a source of amusement, but almost everyone knows not to take them seriously. The problem is with the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids).
The Discoveroids enjoyed a modest victory in Texas when the deranged Board of Education in that state approved science teaching standards that mandate “examining all sides” of the evidence for evolution, instead of the old “strengths and weaknesses” standard. Both standards wrongly assume there’s a scientific counter-argument to evolution, so although there there was an opportunity for improvement, basically nothing has changed.
After that we took a mid-year look at how things were going. See Discovery Institute: A Bad Year So Far. We concluded:
Clearly, their legislative program is a failure. They’re not done with it, but the momentum they had hoped would result from Ben Stein’s cinematic efforts that accompanied last year’s legislative effort never really materialized. Their followers don’t realize this — or anything else — because they’re totally divorced from reality. Meanwhile, our would-be puppet masters in Seattle are huddled, working out a new wave of initiatives.
All the Discoveroids’ other state-wide initiatives failed in 2009. Not a single state (since Louisiana the year before) passed their Academic Freedom Act, although several considered it.
Since then the Discoveroids have posted a lot of bizarre articles at their blogs and they’ve trumpeted a new creationist book by one of their “senior fellows,” but brushing aside their extensive public relations activity — which is all they know how to do — they have no tangible results at all. Their “research” has provided no evidence to challenge the theory of evolution, their “experts” are ignored by the industries that employ biologists, and their supernatural “science” remains barren.
After burning through the millions of dollars provided by their donors, the Discoveroids have nothing to show for the resources they’ve wasted. Even their political efforts have come to naught. That’s cause for celebration!
And so, dear reader, as this article draws to a close we invite you to join us in a bit of Kitzmas merriment. Let us all raise our glasses and sing:
Roll me ooooo-ver,
In the Doooo-ver …
Merry Kitzmas, to one and all!
Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.