Bruce Chapman: Discovery Institute Founder

IT’s time we paid some attention to Bruce Chapman, the founder and president of the Discovery Institute — a/k/a the Discoveroids. Chapman’s Seattle organization devotes about half of its resources to supporting and promoting the neo-theocrats at their Center for Science and Culture. You can learn some financial details here: Discovery Institute: Their 2007 Tax Return.

Chapman’s position makes him Lord High Keeper of their Wedge strategy, and the ultimate leader of all cdesign proponentsists (described here: Missing link: “cdesign proponentsists”). He gets particularly indignant when his outfit is referred to as “creationists,” which is what they are. See: Discovery Institute vs. The Vatican and Fox News.

Chapman’s concerns are never far from promoting creationism. See Discovery Institute Gushes over “Expelled”. Perhaps the most revealing article we’ve written about Chapman was one of this blog’s first posts — Discovery Institute: Peek Behind the Curtain.

As Overlord of all Discoveroids, Chapman has his own blog, where you can — if you wish — follow the musings of this great man. His blog, by the way, displays promotional widgets hawking some creationist books that we’ve discussed from time to time, so although his position places him organizationally above the creationist activities in the Center for Science and Culture, Chapman’s views on creationism are apparently the same as theirs.

With that as background information, we present to you, dear reader, direct from Chapman’s personal blog, Looking for Life in All The Wrong Places:

Our colleague Jay Richards, co-author with Guillermo Gonzalez of The Privileged Planet, responds to the perfervid, unremitting efforts to posit, if not find, life in outer space.

That book, The Privileged Planet, is a “fine tuning” argument applied to Earth. It reminds us of the clerical opposition to Galileo’s theory that Earth was just another planet and not the center of the universe. “Fine tuning” is the sort of thing that some cosmologists apply to the entire universe in an effort to claim that everything is so perfectly arranged that it couldn’t have happened like that naturally; there had to be some guiding intelligence who set the dials so that everything would be as we see it. See Fine-tuned Universe.

But those claiming intelligent design for the universe as a whole at least have the advantage of knowing that we’ll never find other universes to use for comparisons, so their claim of unique fine tuning — although useless — is supremely immune to testing. The unique Earth proponents, however, are in a far more precarious position. If we find other life-bearing planets, the Discoveroids will find that they’ve been promoting yet another foolish bit of pseudo-science. Apparently, that makes Chapman nervous. Let’s read on:

People like Richard Dawkins and the New York Times — that condemn theorists who cite evidence for intelligent design — get weak-kneed and giddy when offered totally speculative aspirations to life discoveries by scientism’s guardians.

“Weak-kneed and giddy”? That’s in contrast to Discoveroid creationists who get hysterical and collapse on the fainting couch at the slightest suggestion that their version of creationism is nothing but ancient bunk sexed up with a bustle.

This is the end of Chapman’s brief article:

Like the economic theorist describing how to get out of a hole — “First, assume a ladder.” — the materialist indicates that all it takes to find life in other galaxies is a near-infinity of stars and a near-infinity of time. Theory conquers all.

“Life in other galaxies”? Whaaaa? Does Chapman know what a galaxy is? Anyway, he concludes by saying “Theory conquers all.” No, Chappy, in science it’s evidence that conquers erroneous theory. One day, perhaps, you’ll figure it out.

Okay, where does that leave us? Our appreciation of the Discoveroids’ enterprise is unchanged, but we’ll offer this parting thought:

You have often seen the Discoveroid lie about some kind of linkage between Darwin and Hitler. It comes up so often that we’ve posted about it more than once — for example: Hitler and Darwin. Indeed, one of the Discoveroid “senior fellows” (i.e., he’s a full-blown creationist) is Richard Weikart. He’s the author of a book titled From Darwin to Hitler, which is often promoted at the Discoveroid blog, as they repeat the malicious mantra: “No Darwin, no Hitler.”

Why do we bring this up? It’s to introduce a Curmudgeonly truism with which we’ll end this post. Unlike the creationists’ mantra, ours is factual: No Chapman, no Discoveroids.

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

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7 responses to “Bruce Chapman: Discovery Institute Founder

  1. Gabriel Hanna

    The fine tuning argument would only apply to earth if we found millions of solar systems and none of them had an earthlike planet. But we are not able to exhaustively survey the galaxy in this way.

    No doubt a discoveroid living on North Sentinel Island could argue that North Sentinel Island has been fine tuned to support life; those guys have been isolated for tens of thousands of years.

    I think it is fair to add that the Drake equation is pretty worthless as science. So many parameters are unknown that it will give you any answer you want for the number of earthlike planets or the number of alien civilizations. So if chapman is criticizing the Drake equation (I will not risk brain cells by looking) then he is as right as a broken clock.

  2. Gabriel Hanna says:

    So if chapman is criticizing the Drake equation (I will not risk brain cells by looking) then he is as right as a broken clock.

    Nope, he didn’t mention it. He didn’t mention much at all, really. He seems to feel that the search for life beyond earth is silly science and it’s bound to fail. But if he needs an example of silly science, he could find a good one a lot closer to home.

  3. Contemplating the universe is mind-boggling to be sure:

    It looks like the DI folks have had their brains boggled right out of their heads!!!!!!


  4. that condemn theorists who cite evidence for intelligent design

    Really, Chapman’s a bright guy, he should know better than to try to sneak that tidbit past us.

  5. Furthermore, no Discovery Institute, no “intelligent design” creationism.

    All of the ID proponents are fellows of the DI. All of the anti-science legislation is fostered by the DI. The DI advised the Dover Area School District, the Kansas state board, the Texas state board, Michigan, Ohio, New Mexico, North Carolina; the trail goes on and on.

    Do you see the other creationist organizations involved in these political and legislative efforts? No. Why? Because creationists are interested in creationism and the DI is interested in politics.

    Once you get that straight then you can address the DI as it needs to be addressed. Politically. Nothing to do with science; that’s a smokescreen.

  6. Doc Bill, I would offer an amendment to say that both the creationists and the DI are interested in politics, neither are interested in actual science, and the DI is the most useful smokescreen in the political arena.

  7. NDaBoonies

    Wonder if Dembski has computed the odds that the Earth is unique among the uncounted planets in the Universe?