Discovery Institute: Whadaya Mean, No Controversy?

IT’S a sad situation. The neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) have been desperate, ever since they first devised their insidious wedge strategy, to convince the world that there is a scientific controversy about the theory of evolution, and that it should be taught in the science classes of government schools.

They keep cranking out books claiming that their “theory” of Intelligent Design (ID) is a serious scientific challenger to evolution. But so far they haven’t fooled anyone worth fooling. See Kitzmiller v. Dover: Is ID Science?

Alas for the ambitions of the Discoveroids, all of their books are greeted with either ridicule or indifference, in the same way the rational world routinely reacts to the ever-growing number of books aimed at the moron market with titles like: “Bigfoot Raped Me!” and “Aliens from Uranus Control the Illuminati.”

The simple truth is that if there were any controversy, the scientific world would know it, acknowledge it, and teach it. Such things have happened before, and will surely happen again. See When Gravity was a Theory in Crisis.

The Discoveroid’s latest Bigfoot-style breakthrough is, as you know, titled Signature in the Cell. It was written by Stephen Meyer. He’s a vice president of the Discovery Institute and a “senior fellow” over there. He’s also the guy who was mixed up in the infamous peer review controversy.

We’ve written about that book a few times, for example, Discovery Institute: “Signature in the Cell”, and also here: Creationist Website Praises Stephen Meyer’s Book. We’re not aware that any serious scientist has ever had anything favorable to say about it. but the Discoveroids continue to hype the thing. Well, why not — what else have they got?

In truth, they’ve got nothing. But they’re still trying to convince someone — anyone! — that Meyer’s book has conclusively demonstrated the existence of a genuine scientific controversy. This is their latest effort at the Discoveroid blog to promote that illusion: New Book, “Signature of Controversy,” Responds to Steve Meyer’s Critics. It says, with bold font added by us:

Critics of intelligent design often try to dismiss the theory as not worth addressing, as a question already settled, even as being too boring to countenance. Then they spend an amazing amount of energy trying to refute it.

The very evidence of the ongoing debate sparked by Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell should silence that tired trope that there is no controversy over evolution and intelligent design.

Isn’t that great? There’s no scientific evidence, just “evidence of the ongoing debate” — but that’s enough! What is literally an avalanche of ridicule is proof — proof! — of the existence of a scientific controversy. Let’s read on:

That controversy has reached a fever-pitch in less than a year since the book’s first release, marking Meyer’s volume as a book serious Darwinists must deal with. And dealt with it, they haven’t — in their responses, some critics have misread it, while others have simply failed to read it at all.

The controversy “has reached a fever-pitch.” Ohhhhhh! Now it’s got to be taught in the schools. Yes, along with haunted houses, telepathy, reincarnation, and similar scientific controversies. We continue:

Thus the defenders of Meyer’s book have analyzed these various hostile and futile attacks, and their responses to critics of Signature in the Cell have been gathered and are now published in a new digital book, Signature of Controversy: Responses to Critics of Signature in the Cell, now available for free download here.

If you want to see Meyer’s response to his critics, you’ll have to click over to the Discoveroid blog for the link. The article goes on a bit, but it’s getting tedious, so we’ll give you only one more excerpt:

The debate is raging; the controversy is real. Read Signature of Controversy and judge for yourself; each response contains links to the original critique in question, making it easy to follow the contours of the arguments. As the book’s editor, David Klinghoffer, writes in the Introduction …

Klinghoffer is the editor! If you don’t know who he is, you can find out here. He’s the ideal defender of Meyer’s book.

In conclusion, we’ll answer the question that we raised in our title: No, Discoveroids — there’s no scientific controversy about the theory of evolution. Sorry.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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5 responses to “Discovery Institute: Whadaya Mean, No Controversy?

  1. So this is why I haven’t seen any new Klinghoffer nonsense for a while. I had noticed that he hadn’t posted anything in the last couple of months on the DI or his beliefnet blog. I guess he’ll be back to his regularly scheduled tripe soon.

    BTW, I see if you go to the articles link to get a copy of “Signature of Controversy”, you have to sign up for one of the DI’s e-mail newsletters. For those who might want to see it without signing up for a newsletter, I found the following link, but hurry, it says it expires soon!

  2. Michael Fugate

    Here is a link to a meeting of Meyer and his critics held at BIOLA U on May 14. Both Art Hunt and Steve Matheson don’t think Meyer knows what he is talking about.

  3. Meyer should be grateful that he and Sternberg were never officially charged with academic misconduct.

  4. Gabriel Hanna

    Samuel Johnson pointed out that, if your standard of truth is what people write about, you have to believe in ghosts just as firmly as you believe in Julius Caesar. Now, he was saying that because he really did believe in ghosts, but it’s a good lesson nonetheless.

    Writing about something doesn’t make it real. If it did, we’d have to believe in ghosts and be working on a cure for “brain fever”, which seems to have mysteriously disappeared since the days when people were writing sentimental Victorian novels.

  5. Gabriel Hanna says:

    Samuel Johnson pointed out that, if your standard of truth is what people write about …

    Today he might say that it’s what people talk about on daytime TV. Were that the standard (and for many I fear that it is) we’d be in big trouble.