Discovery Institute’s False Fourth of July

EACH year at this time the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) figuratively exhume the corpse of poor old Thomas Jefferson and declare him an honorary Discoveroid. Last year we posted Discovery Institute: Another July 4th Hijacking.

In terms of historical accuracy and intellectual honesty, this nefarious tradition is equal to the Discoveroids’ practice of hauling Hitler out of the bunker and declaring him an evolutionary biologist who was heavily influenced by Darwin.

They engage in historical perversion throughout the year, of course, not only on the Fourth. See: Thomas Jefferson Joins The Discovery Institute! Like today’s post (to which we’ll get shortly), that one was also written by Discoveroid Stephen C. Meyer.

Meyer is quite a guy. As we reported here, he was one of three creationist “experts” who were on the 6-member panel selected by Don McLeroy to testify before the Texas Board of Education regarding standards for science education. And before that, Meyer was a central figure in the notoriously shabby peer review controversy.

It is appropriate, therefore, that this year’s Fourth of July hijacking should be conducted by Meyer. This is what he posted at the Discoveroid blog today: We Hold Some Truths To Be Self Evident. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

In a welcome development, Americans want to refresh their acquaintance with the sources of our rights as citizens.

Yet there is one source, more basic than any other, that so far has not received the attention it deserves. I refer to the idea that there is an intelligent creator who can be known by reason from nature, a key tenet underlying both the Declaration of Independence — and, curiously, the modern and controversial theory of intelligent design.

Nice! That was very slick. He mentions the Declaration and the pseudo-science of creationism at the same time. Were we to attempt Meyer’s tactic of slinging two unrelated things together, we might come up something like this: The true American patriot naturally thinks of Discoveroids and leprosy.

Well, we can’t do it like Meyer does. He’s a professional. Let’s read on:

The birth of our republic was announced in the Declaration through the pen of Thomas Jefferson. He and the other Founders based their vision on a belief in an intrinsic human dignity, bestowed by virtue of our having been made according to the design and in the image of a purposeful creator.

[…]

Jefferson himself thought that there was scientific evidence for design in nature. In 1823, he insisted so in a letter to John Adams:

“It is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion.”

As you know, dear reader, the Prime Directive in dealing with creationists, and especially Discoveroids, is this: Always check their quotes! We did so, and we found that quote here. As expected, it’s quote-mined out of a longer sentence. We’ll copy the whole passage here, with the Meyer segment in red, so you can appreciate his — ah — intelligently designed propaganda. We’ll do more — we’ll put into blue something very interesting that Myer clipped out of Jefferson’s sentence:

On the contrary I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in it’s parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of it’s composition. The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces, the structure of our earth itself, with it’s distribution of lands, waters and atmosphere, animal and vegetable bodies, examined in all their minutest particles, insects mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organized as man or mammoth, the mineral substances, their generation and uses, it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their preserver and regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regenerator into new and other forms.

What was Jefferson thinking? The only thing we can be sure of is that Darwin didn’t publish Origin of Species until 1859, so Jefferson didn’t have Darwin’s theory in mind. And what was Meyer thinking when he — shall we say — re-arranged Jefferson’s words? Draw your own conclusions, dear reader. We continue with the Discoveroid 4th of July hijacking:

With such thoughts in mind, he wrote the Declaration, asserting the inalienable rights of human beings derived from “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

Yes! Jefferson’s 1823 thoughts were in mind when he drafted the Declaration in 1776.

We’re going to skip most of the Discoveroid article, but here’s how it ends:

The growing evidence of design in life has stunning and gratifying implications for our understanding of America’s political history — and for our country’s future. On the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the evidence for “Nature’s God,” and thus for the reality of our rights, is stronger than ever.

What’s that supposed to mean? Meyer takes the Flag, the Fourth, and the Declaration, which are very nice indeed, and then he pollutes them with a massive load of creationism, all jumbled together in some kind of propaganda package that’s presented to us as if it were apple pie. If you like that sort of thing, click over to the Discoveroid blog and read it all

Hey, if you really liked it, you have something to look forward to — they’ll be serving poison pie again on this date next year.

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

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10 responses to “Discovery Institute’s False Fourth of July

  1. I think the DI, some factions of the GOP, and others have made a religion of worshiping the founding fathers. Whatever they said is read like scripture (or quote mined like scripture) and is infallible.

    Jefferson was an enormous intellect and we’re lucky to have had him, but he only knew what an 18th century person would know, and even in his vision for the country he restricted equality to white males. He was a man of his times, just like the writers of the scripture were men of their times. This just demonstrates the DI’s unscientific point of view, in turning to “scripture” written by bronze age tribesmen or american founding fathers, to provide evidence in support of their new age woo.

  2. It’s the DI’s declaration of independence from rational thought.

    Nature’s God, Meyer? You’ve been spending way too much time hanging out with the 700 Club and revival meetings and Son of Dino Hovind, buddy.

    Finally, though, Meyer, your true colors are showing brightly. Thank you for this 4th of July squib.

    So, ID as a scientific “theory” is well and truly dead courtesy of the DI itself. Finally, something from those morons I agree with!

  3. The amusing thing is that, years after the time (1823) that Jefferson wrote the quoted letter, Darwin himself was still an avid fan of Paley’s Natural Theology and thus of the design argument. The voyage of the Beagle, which provided the first seed for Darwin’s theory, didn’t start until 5 years after Jefferson’s death.

  4. “… it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, …”

    Sounds like Jefferson was willing to admit his opinion was based on belief rather than knowledge. That makes him as bad an authority in this case as Meyer.

  5. retiredsciguy

    Meyer wrote, “The growing evidence of design in life …”

    WHAT evidence, Meyer? And when you say “growing” evidence, you are stating that you have more evidence supporting “intelligent design” today than you had yesterday. If so, what is it?

    Every single time creationists (or “intelligent design” proponents) claim there is evidence, “growing” or otherwise, that supports their particular scriptural interpretation, they must be challenged. They have no evidence; they know it; yet they continue to repeat their falsehood.

    Who was it that said if you repeat a lie often enough, more people will start to believe it?

  6. retiredsciguy says: “WHAT evidence, Meyer?”

    They’ve got loads of it, but the Darwinists keep it hidden. If they dare to reveal it, they’ll be Expelled!

  7. It’s only evident that the DI’s desperation is growing.

  8. retiredsciguy

    Curmy says,
    “They’ve got loads of it [evidence supporting intelligent design], but the Darwinists keep it hidden.”

    Huh? How does THAT work? Doesn’t the DI have their own website to get their word out?

  9. retiredsciguy

    Above I asked, “Who was it that said if you repeat a lie often enough, more people will start to believe it?” (I was referring to the DI’s repeating their mantra of having evidence supporting Intelligent Design.)

    Ok, I did some research (not much, but some). The quote is commonly attributed to Joseph Goebbels, but there’s some question about that, and it’s also attributed to Hitler. How ironic!

  10. retiredsciguy says:

    The quote is commonly attributed to Joseph Goebbels, but there’s some question about that, and it’s also attributed to Hitler. How ironic!

    Makes sense. The Discoveroids are in the propaganda business, so they’ll use the most effective methods.