Discovery Institute: More Recycled Nonsense

Casey Luskin is revisiting one of his topics. See High Risk Quote Mining. Casey is everyone’s favorite creationist among the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

The Discoveroid blog offers us Casey’s latest effort: NSF Spends Almost $2 Million Of Taxpayer Money Crafting Darwin Only Lessons. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

As discussed in my previous post, it’s best to just lay all the cards on the table: The goal of the Evolution Readiness Project is to get “young children” to “believe in” evolution. According to, NSF’s website, they’ve spent $1,990,459 of taxpayer-funded NSF dollars to bankroll this project.

That “believe in” business was clumsily quote-mined from the NSF website, as we demonstrated in our earlier post. We’re much more interested in Casey’s mention of the nearly $2 million that the NSF is spending. Our highly-developed Curmudgeonly instinct tells us that it must be funding time again for the Discoveroids, and they have to convince their patrons of the desperate need to fight the “Darwinist” beast. As we mentioned here, Discovery Institute: Their 2007 Tax Return, the Discoveroids spend about $2 million per year promoting creationism.

Let’s read on:

The agenda of the project is further clarified in the NSF Grant Award Abstract which states that it aims “to support a learning progression leading to an appreciation of the theory of evolution and evidence that supports it.” That’s fine, but why only the evidence that supports evolution?

Why? Well, Casey, we might shock you with what we’re about to say, so you’d better be near the fainting couch when you read this. Hey, Casey: There isn’t any evidence against evolution! If there were any, it would be taught.

See if you can grasp this, Casey: Back when Steady State was a viable theory, it was taught right along with the Big Bang. Today there are various theories attempting to explain dinosaur extinction, and they’re all taught. And let’s not even try to sort out all the versions of string theory that are being taught. Our point, Casey, is that when the scientific evidence isn’t conclusive, competing explanations are taught. It has always been thus. Casey’s article continues:

Before I say anything else, let me state that I am a firm advocate of teaching evolution. The scientific evidence that “supports” evolution should be taught. But that’s not all that should be taught.

Yes, Casey. Your scare quotes around “supports” gives us solid evidence of your firm advocacy. Here’s more:

The project justifies its dogmatic approach by promoting the myth that there is no scientific dissent from the consensus view on natural selection …

We won’t verify Casey’s next quote from the NSF, because we’re tired of always checking creationists’ quotations, but he probably got this one right. According to Casey, the NSF says:

Yet, essentially there is universal agreement among scientists that evolution by natural selection is the fundamental model that explains the extraordinary complexity and interdependence of the living world.

To counter the NSF’s claim about what is essentially universal agreement, Casey says:

Of course, it is not true that “essentially there is universal agreement among scientists” about evolution by natural selection. Over 850 Ph.D. scientists have now signed a statement expressing their skepticism

Lordy, lordy. How often are the Discoveroids going to beat that dead horse? Casey refers to that woeful list of “over 850” evolution skeptics who have signed on to the Discoveroids’ Scientific Dissent From Darwinism. But very few of them are biologists. They’ve got a lot of dentists, sociologists, proctologists, and maybe even chiropractors . Despite Casey’s telling us how “it’s best to just lay all the cards on the table,” he doesn’t mention Project Steve, which is now up over 1,100 “Steves.” Only 1% of the population have that name, which indicates that over 110,000 scientists support evolution. And unlike the Discoveroid list, the “Steve” list includes a large percentage of signers who are actually involved in the biological sciences.

You may want to read the rest of Casey’s article, because it starts like this:

Moreover, there is much scientific evidence that challenges neo-Darwinian evolution.

But we’ll leave that adventure up to you, dear reader. We’ve exhausted our daily quota of time we’re willing to spend on Casey’s writing.

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

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12 responses to “Discovery Institute: More Recycled Nonsense

  1. Without reading any of the sources quoted, I am willing to wager that none of them proposed intelligent design or any sort of metaphysical woo as an alternative explanation for whatever problems they were addressing.

    I think Casey is of the mindset that if you tell a lie often enough, eventually people will believe it.

  2. Unfortunately, the American public is so scientifically illiterate that the “Big Lie” often works.

  3. There isn’t any evidence against evolution! If there were any, it would be taught.

    It might not be taught, not on the lower levels anyway. Unsurprisingly, difficulties with an accepted concept are often not taught in elementary school, or in high school.

    As to whether or not there is evidence against evolution, that’s probably a contextual matter. There are unanswered questions with respect to evolution, which to sensible folk are just unanswered questions. It is no shocker that to an opponent of scientific (non-teleological–due to evidence, not to any prior commitments) evolution would understand unanswered questions to be evidence against its explanatory value. They’re wrong to take the stance that makes unanswered questions out to be evidence against evolution, because they have nothing that even begins to explain what evolution does. Yet in taking their stance, that unanswered questions would count as evidence against evolution is more or less a given.

    So I don’t mind saying that their entire approach is wrong, including the idea that unanswered questions are “evidence against evolutionary theory.” It’s just that from their standpoint it seems reasonable enough to say that there is evidence against (the only evidence-based) theory of evolution.

  4. Glen Davidson says:

    They’re wrong to take the stance that makes unanswered questions out to be evidence against evolution, because they have nothing that even begins to explain what evolution does. Yet in taking their stance, that unanswered questions would count as evidence against evolution is more or less a given.

    Hauling out the magical Designer as the default answer to unanswered questions is pure “God of the gaps.” By that same “reasoning” I could claim that UFOs from Uranus are the cause of all unsolved crimes. Hey, teach the controversy!

  5. Unsurprisingly, difficulties with an accepted concept are often not taught in elementary school, or in high school.

    Even stuff that IS accepted isn’t taught, if it’s difficult. Kids are fed a lot of simplistic and wrong notions about atoms, for example–as they move up they get a more realistic picture, but there’s no point in destroying their minds with the awful truth when they are young.

  6. i find it interesting that there are so many curmudgeons on the net… there’s you, and the "constructive" curmudgeon (who is actually more of a destructive one, but i’m not arguing about that), and the progressive curmudgeon

  7. I’m not sure why so many are eager to assume the mantle of curmudgeonliness:

    An avaricious churlish fellow; a miser, a niggard.

    I think most of us think it means “gruff yet kindly”. I certainly did, until I looked it up just now.

    You know I rarely look up words, I rely on context, and sometimes I am very surprised when I look things up.

  8. Incidentally, “churl” used to mean “man”, it was applied to the lowest rank of free men in Saxon times. From there the meaning shifted to “country fellow” and from there to “rude, ill-bred”.

    “Curmudgeon” is no doubt evolving into a more positive meaning.

  9. Gabriel Hanna says:

    “Curmudgeon” is no doubt evolving into a more positive meaning.

    After giving us all those definitions, you think that will save you from my churlish, miserly ways?

  10. I earned an honorary degree in Curmudgeon because of time in grade.

    What Luskin still hasn’t learned is that it’s our ball and we get to make the rules. Sorry, Casey, nobody wants you on their team. Story of your life, eh?

  11. Curmudgeon: “Casey refers to that woeful list of “over 850″ evolution skeptics who have signed on to the Discoveroids’ Scientific Dissent From Darwinism. But very few of them are biologists.”

    Don’t forget that only a small minority of those biologists reject common descent. And I’ll be that not one of them ever directly challenged “Discoveroid” Michael Behe, who accepts it.

  12. Good old Don Exodus. An oldie but a goodie. Not quite 850 names, but if you subtract all the non-biologists and dead people out of the list and contact people who thought they were signing something else you get this:

    However, as we all know, the Discovery Institute, Tire Repair and Hair Care center doesn’t truck much with the truth.