Discovery Institute: Vesuvius of Vomit

Good morning, Vomiteers! [*Good morning, Curmudgeon!*] Are you ready for another episode of the Vomit Show from Seattle? [*Yes!*]

Okay! Everyone put on your Vomiteer headgear, gather ’round, and let’s go! It’s time for another blog post by 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 Discoveroids have a new post about the settlement of what we’ve been calling the Darwin’s Dilemma Exhibition Case. As you know, the actual case name is American Freedom Alliance v. California Science Center, California Science Center Foundation, Jeffrey Rudolph, et al. It’s sometimes abbreviated AFA v. CSC. We thought our last report on that shabby adventure in creationist litigation would be the end of it. That was “Darwin’s Dilemma” Case: Who Really Won? But this thing won’t end.

The Discoveroids’ latest is titled On the Fundamental Difference Between Darwin-Inspired and Intelligent Design-Inspired Lawsuits. To our delight it’s by Casey Luskin, everyone’s favorite creationist, and apparently he’s only one who isn’t a Discoveroid “fellow.” Last year your Curmudgeon compassionately remedied that cruel insult (see: Casey Luskin Is Named a Curmudgeon Fellow).

Before we begin to review Casey’s post it’s important to block a few things from your mind so that you can understand him. Actually, you can’t understand any Discoveroid post if you approach it like a rational, informed person. You must follow the sacred Fourfold Path.

First, you must forget all about the Constitution of the United States. Assume that there is no separation of church and state, and therefore the government is free to promote religion in its schools and impose theocracy everywhere. Second, forget all about what science is — you know, observing verifiable facts, framing testable hypotheses, and discarding ideas that fail such tests. You must open your mind — and your lab — to unobservable and untestable supernatural phenomena.

But you’re not ready yet. Third, forget everything you know about the creationist origins and characteristics of the Discoveroid “theory” of intelligent design. In case you’ve forgotten, in this post — Kitzmiller v. Dover: Is ID Science? — we described all the factual information that came out in testimony and cross examination during the Kitzmiller case. Fourth, pay no attention to the Discoveroids’ stated goal of destroying science and substituting religion in its place, as is clearly described in their wedge strategyi.e., to “reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”

Final check: (1) you know about the settlement of the California Science Center case; (2) you’ve adopted the mindset of the Discoveroids; and (3) you’re wearing your green and yellow Vomiteer costume. Okay, here we go, with bold font added by us. Casey starts out praising an article by Cornelius Hunter, about whom Wikipedia says:

Cornelius G. Hunter, Ph.D., is an adjunct professor of biophysics at Biola University. … He is known as an author and as a proponent of intelligent design. Hunter is a Fellow of the Discovery Institute, hub of the intelligent design movement.

Casey quotes Hunter as saying:

Unfortunately, the CSC case is typical. This is evolution in action. The only difference in this case is the evolutionists were found out.

Wowee! The CSC case exposed the evolutionists! Casey says:

I don’t necessarily agree with Dr. Hunter that evolutionary thinking entails “lies,” but I do agree with him that more than just science is driving the behavior of Darwin lobbyists. Politics is at work here as well.

Sinister stuff! Let’s read on:

In the case of the ID movement and the AFA lawsuit, we are simply asserting First Amendment free speech rights. AFA’s lawsuit, which was backed by abundant evidence of viewpoint discrimination, was not motivated by publicity-seeking. The purpose was to defend free speech.

Yet the settlement agreement mentioned none of that. Continuing:

ID is an intellectual idea, and proponents of that idea are facing illegal discrimination. If you’re a proponent of a scientific theory, sometimes litigation is necessary to defend your free speech rights to communicate your intellectual ideas.

Really? Since Galileo, what legitimate scientific idea has had to litigate for acceptance? Well, there was Scopes Trial, but Casey probably has an excuse for that. He goes on:

This doesn’t show a “political movement,” because the aim of the lawsuit is simply to open up intellectual discussion and debate. Opening up intellectual discussion and fighting discrimination on an important topic like biological origins is a public good, and it can be morally justified to file a lawsuit to achieve that end.

They still don’t get it. If they ever do some research that supports their “theory” it will be published in the science journals. Litigation won’t be necessary. If there’s a genuine scientific controversy — as there once was in the days when Big Bang theory was challenged by Steady State theory — both will be in the textbooks. Casey continues:

Moreover, the list of lawsuits filed by the Darwin lobby goes on and on: Kitzmiller v. Dover, Selman v. Cobb County, Freiler v. Tangipahoa, Edwards v. Aguillard, etc. etc. etc. If the ID movement filing a lawsuit makes it “political” (which it doesn’t), then why isn’t Darwinian theory considered a “political” movement because of its long history of suing? It’s hypocritical to attack the ID movement as “political” for filing a lawsuit when the pro-Darwin side has been doing so for years.

Casey somehow overlooks the fact that every one of those cases was based on creationists’ unconstitutionally promoting religion in public schools, whereas the CSC case was nothing but a dispute over a movie exhibition contract. Here’s Casey’s Constitution-free analysis, and in this excerpt, the bold font is his:

In that regard, consider the fundamental qualitative difference between recent litigation initiated by the ID movement and litigation that comes out of the Darwin lobby:

Darwin lobby litigation: In every Darwin-inspired case listed above, the Darwin lobby sought to shut down free speech, stopping people from talking about non-evolutionary views, and seeking to restrict freedom of intellectual inquiry.

ID movement litigation: Seeks to expand intellectual inquiry and free speech rights to talk about non-evolutionary views.

We warned you, dear reader — to understand Casey you have to ignore the Constitution and assume that theocracy and supernatural science are the norm. You also have to ignore the fact that creationists display their films at numerous churches and bible colleges, and no one ever thinks to interfere. Here’s his conclusion:

I truly wish it wasn’t necessary for the ID movement to have to file lawsuits, but if the Darwin lobby insists on illegally suppressing the pro-ID viewpoint, we will be forced to use the court system to assert our free speech rights. There’s nothing intellectually bankrupt or inappropriately political when your purpose is to defend free speech for scientists and educators to expand intellectual inquiry.

Wasn’t that fun? Okay, Vomiteers, you can take off your headgear now. We’ll let you know when the next episode is available.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Discovery Institute: Vesuvius of Vomit

  1. Casey is rather defensive. It’s interesting that the DI has gone from crowing about a victory to defending the moral right for the AFA to file a lawsuit. Maybe they’re seeing a lot of critical press, and/or the CSC’s news release is getting wide distribution.

    It’s also interesting that Casey refers to the “ID movement”. Since when is a scientific idea considered a movement. In SC’s example, was the Big Bang idea ever referred to as the “Big Bang Movement”? I don’t know what it was called before Hoyle dubbed it the Big Bang, but I know it was never a movement, nor was the alternative Steady State. Even the widely panned idea of continental drift was never referred to as a “movement”, and certainly no one sued anyone over it. The difference is, of course, that those were scientific, not religious ideas.

    The “ID movement” sure sounds political to me, like “Labor movement”, or “Tea Party movement”.

  2. “It’s interesting that the DI has gone from crowing about a victory to defending the moral right for the AFA to file a lawsuit.”

    Also it is possible there was a clause in the no fault settlement, that crowing about a “victory” was endangering, and so they altered the method of attack?

  3. Ed wrote:

    Even the widely panned idea of continental drift was never referred to as a “movement” …

    Ironically, of the examples cited Continental Drift actually is, literally, a movement.

    Ha, geology jokes crack me up, fracture-wise. You guys take me for granite when I’m only trying to be gneiss.

  4. Doc Bill says: “Ha, geology jokes crack me up”

    Gimme a break.

  5. Hey, it’s not my fault if the conversation slips into geology jokes.

  6. Gimme a break.

    Last time I said that, puns erupted all over the place.

  7. While a dip into geology jokes definitely strikes my funny bone, I couldn’t help but snicker at Casey here: “AFA’s lawsuit … was not motivated by publicity-seeking.” Yeah right, Casey. The DI paid for PRNewsWire press releases practically before the electrons were fixed upon the original complaint.

  8. Gary says: “puns erupted all over the place.”

    I gotta stratum you guys out. Okay, fissure cut bait!