Discovery Institute Battles BioLogos

We’ve finally figured out the biggest problem facing 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).

Their problem is that they really don’t have anything to say. Oh sure, they can repeat a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about irreducible complexity, but there’s never been any substance to that slogan; it must be getting tiresome even for them. And it must be especially tiresome to keep boasting about the vast hoards of scientists who are supposedly rallying to their cause, when they always seem to be the same half-dozen people, and all of them are long-time Discoveroid “fellows.”

What else can they talk about? They can always get out into the country and visit their fellow-travelers, especially those in places like Louisiana where the creationism is thick and pungent — like the crawfish gumbo. There they can greet their followers and say things like: “Howdy, retard!” Well, it would be bad politics to actually say that, so such conversations must be very awkward affairs.

But things may be looking up for the Discoveroids. Now they have a serious adversary they can talk about. BioLogos, a theistic, pro-evolution group of scientists, has been generating immense discomfort among creationists, and it’s getting difficult to keep up with it. We’re witnessing a whole new development — quarrels among splinter groups of creationists, and also quarrels among religionists over evolution and creationism.

Our last post on this topic was More Denominational Discord Over Evolution. That’s about the latest in a series of disputes within the faith community over evolution, an issue BioLogos seems only too willing to confront — unlike a large number of religious denominations that accept science but won’t debate with their co-religionists who are science-deniers.

We can understand the shock that creationists must feel — especially young-earth creationists — to confront the fact that a group of their fellow Christians are also prominent scientists who accept evolution. What we don’t understand, entirely, is why the Discoveroids are so upset about BioLogos. After all, the Discoveroids claim to be a secular, scientific research outfit. They’ve never convinced anyone that they’re anything but creationists, but that’s their posture. So why, as an ostensibly secular group, are they flustered over BioLogos?

Well, aside from the obvious fact that BioLogos accepts evolution, there may be other reasons, and they all boil down to envy.

First, the BioLogos people are respected scientists — something that we’ve never heard said about the Discoveroids, unless it’s said by another Discoveroid or one of their brain-dead followers. So there’s professional envy. A second reason is that BioLogos founder Francis Collins is close to, and has been funded by, the John Templeton Foundation; and the Templeton Foundation won’t even consider funding anything related to intelligent design. A third reason may be social envy. The BioLogos people get invited to genuine science conferences, whereas the Discoveroids have to hold their creationist revivals mostly in churches or at bible colleges.

Anyway, the Discoveroids dislike BioLogos, and we’ve posted about this before. See: Discovery Institute and BioLogos: Not Allies, and then Discovery Institute and BioLogos.

Today the Discoveroid blog has another anti-BioLogos article. It’s titled Francis Collins, Evolution and “Darwin of the Gaps”. We’ll only give you a few excerpts. It says, with bold font added by us:

Francis Collins [founder of BioLogos] is one of the world’s most prominent theistic evolutionists, and now a prominent piece of President Obama’s government.

A bit of a dig there with that reference to Obama, but still, Francis Collins has a formidable resume. Let’s read on:

Much of Collins’s case for Darwinian evolution is based on so-called “junk DNA.” This is the part of the genome that does not appear to code for the production of proteins. In mammals, the vast majority of DNA has been dismissed as “junk.”

The case for Darwinian evolution is based on junk DNA? That’s a new one. The Discoveroids are obsessed with junk DNA. To them, it’s a serious affront to the skills of their magical mystery Designer, and they ceaselessly defend his workmanship with the claim that none of the genome is junk. The last time we laughed about that was here: Fearless Predictions of Creation Science.

We’ll skip a lot to get to the fun part of this Discoveroid post, which is at the end. Watch the wild spinning in their final paragraph. We’ll break it up into chunks so it can be fully appreciated:

But the argument from junk DNA — also called “ancient repetitive elements” (AREs) — depends on the premise that no function will ever be discovered for AREs.

Did you get that? Evolution is based on an “argument from junk DNA.” Actually, it’s not. There was a ton of evidence supporting evolution even before DNA was discovered. Like all new discoveries, DNA could have been a problem for evolution, but it’s not. Indeed, it’s extraordinarily useful in demonstrating common descent. The fact that it’s all junked up wasn’t predicted, and it isn’t essential to the theory, but junk DNA’s existence is a striking rebuke to those who imagine that DNA was intelligently designed.

So the “argument from junk DNA” is pure Discoveroid fiction. In this context, junk DNA means only that the creationists have a problem explaining its existence. Indeed, it’s the Discoveroids who have the burden of showing that every little scrap of junk DNA serves a purpose. Good luck with that. Evolution could survive with or without the junk, but the junk is incompatible with intelligent design. Okay, on with the Discoveroid paragraph:

Collins’s faith in Darwinian theory would be severely hamstrung if the premise were shown to be wrong.

We doubt it. Besides, one doesn’t have “faith” in a scientific theory. Faith is for beliefs that aren’t supported by evidence or logical argument.

Here’s the last of the Discoveroid paragraph, and please note their perversion of the classic fallacy known as God of the gaps:

It is a faith based on gaps in scientific knowledge. Hence, “Darwin of the gaps.”

This is genuinely funny stuff. The Discoveroids — from their position on the far fringe of reality — are now claiming that evolution has only a fragile, desperate grip on credibility, which is based solely on gaps in the intelligent design “theory.”

And so we leave the Discoveroids’ Seattle “think tank.” As we do so, we’re wondering: Are they really that dense? Is that how they actually think? If so, it explains a lot.

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

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10 responses to “Discovery Institute Battles BioLogos

  1. I’m beginning to like Francis Collins more and more. He likes to stir the pot.

    “Darwin of the Gaps”…pro-evolution logo apparel sold at a certain mall clothing chain.

    So, after the rather astonishing finding that much of the genome appears not to code for anything, but is bits and pieces of old retroviruses, erroneous duplications or other random sequences of molecules, the DI has decided that evolutionary theory depends on this DNA being “junk” and finding some use for these stretches of the molecule will disprove evolution. So how many centuries are they prepared to wait, while real scientists do the examination as they are motivated or when they receive funding? If they believe they can disprove evolution by this one test, albeit a very difficult one, why aren’t they sponsoring research now? Where are the ID scientists laboring away in labs?

  2. I agree to the opinion of Discovery Institutes.
    Here in Korea, many scientists have the same opinion with Discovery Institutes.
    They are some chairmans of universities, and many professors.
    We do not understand why you can not believe the Bible as it is.

  3. Hi there Mr Jung

    sorry to poke a hole in your claim but as only 29% of the Population of S Korea are Christians of any kind, I doubt severely that your claim holds any water whatsoever. Given that you can deduct around 10% of that number as they are Catholic and the Mother Church is pro evolution that leaves you in a very small minority of Yee Buckle Hatte seeker retards.

    In fact YOU God fearing faithees are in the minority, as 46% of the population stated they follow NO religion whatsoever. Buddhists are the rest and as far as Im aware Buddhists dont have an issue with evolution… certainly not the ones I know.

    whoops! Get back under the bridge…..

    Anyways….back to the OP. So, its a Darwin of the Gaps now is it? Well, as the gaps must refer to creationist beliefs then Mr Darwin could play a round of golf, go for a long stroll along the cliffs, and drive from John O Groats to Lands End waving at fans on the way theres that many “gaps”…in fact its more gap than theory when it comes to DI twaddle.

    God on the other hand is squeezed so thin now hes been relegated to a room the size of an Oxo Cube….or Time Cube.

  4. “We do not understand. why you can not believe the Bible as it is.

    There, that makes better sense.

    The DI has really gone off message since Kitzmiller. God, Hitler and attacks on random people who are mean to ID (Los Angeles County Natural History Museum scientist Kirk Fitzhugh, for example. Fitz who? Exactly.) and no science whatsoever.

    What ever happened to the Biologic Institute? Shouldn’t they be cranking out the evidence of design? Where are the papers, where are the metrics, where’s the theory, where’s the beef?

  5. Gabriel Hanna

    There’s a big difference between “No one has yet determined what the largest prime number is” with “It is proved impossible that there can ever be a largest prime number”. Likewise there is a huge difference between “Some of the junk DNA has been found to have a function” with “We can prove that all of it necessarily has a function.” It annoys me when people do not grasp the difference; it infuriates me when people deliberately blur the distinction as part of their PR campaign against science.

    @Sandman: and drive from John O Groats to Lands End

    600 miles might SEEM like a long drive… my dear wife and I once drove almost that far, in one day, for a cooking class she was attending.

  6. Curmudgeon: “This is genuinely funny stuff.”

    Broken record time: It’s funny to those of us who follow their antics. But the humor disappears quickly, to me at least, when I think that ~1/2 of the public either (1) doubts evolution but not irreversibly, or (2) accepts evolution (usually in caricature form) but thinks it’s fair to teach anti-evolution nonsense in science class. These people will hear DI sound bites (which the liberal media is usually happy to uncritically repeat), and say things like “what’s the harm, let them believe” or “I hear the jury’s still out about evolution.” The DI’s “Obama” dig was no accident. It reinforces the obnoxious evolution=atheism=liberalism meme to those who lack the time or interest to know better.

  7. Doc Bill: “What ever happened to the Biologic Institute? Shouldn’t they be cranking out the evidence of design? Where are the papers, where are the metrics, where’s the theory, where’s the beef?”

    The irony is that they don’t even need to find that elusive evidence of design. Especially since Behe and Dembski already claimed to have found it long ago. All the BI needs to do is state and test “what happened when” in biological history, and show that it contradicts the conclusions of mainstream science. And if they can show that it also contradicts the conclusions of at least one version of creationism (YEC, OEC, etc.) they can also back uo their empty claim that ID is not creationism.

  8. Curmudgeon: “…and the Templeton Foundation won’t even consider funding anything related to intelligent design.”

    You’re begging for a quote mine to pretend that TF is “expelling” the DI. In fact TF initially bent over backwards to give the DI the benefit of the doubt. But the DI “flunked” as it always does.

  9. “These people will hear DI sound bites (which the liberal media is usually happy to uncritically repeat)”

    Huh??? Last time I checked, Casey Luskin was appearing on Fox News, not CNN. How is that the “liberal” media?

  10. LRA: “How is that the ‘liberal’ media?”

    FOX is not liberal, as in “left wing,” of course. But they certainly annoyed many conservative scientists by not granting “equal time” to a mainstream science rebuttal of Luskin. Most far-right-wing nonscientists, however, were probably OK with (or clueless of) the very “liberal” double standard that FOX applied to the concept of “equal time.”

    FOX aside, the media in general, which, either because of its prior commitment to sensationalism, or simple cluelessness of the science, usually allows the public to maintain a caricatured view of evolution. Even when they don’t mean to.