No Evidence? No Problem! Start a Website!

We have a great lesson in pseudo-scientific propaganda today from 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).

As we reported yesterday, in Discovery Institute Celebrates Its Cult Founding, the Discoveroids are reveling in the 20-year anniversary of the publication of Phillip Johnson’s Darwin on Trial, which spawned the cult of intelligent design. Their bizarre movement has accomplished nothing in science, but they’ve managed to attract some very generous patrons who contribute to their operation, so they’re all making a good living slinging the ol’ mumbo-jumbo.

Except for a free ride at the expense of their patrons, what do they have to show for their efforts? Zero! We discussed that almost two years ago in Discovery Institute’s Recap: $20 Million For This?

Nevertheless, they need to put on a good show. Why? They know they’ll never impress the science community, and their record of success in the courtroom is non-existent. (They sometimes extract settlements when they sue for “viewpoint discrimination,” but no such case has ever resulted in a legal precedent in their favor.) So who are they trying to impress by putting on a show?

They have a few constituent groups. First (and most important) are their patrons, who probably don’t understand science, but they like to see that they’re getting some action for their contributions. Second, there are journalists who know nothing about science, but who need a “credible” source of creationist information they can easily obtain from the internet, to give their articles “balance.” And third, the Discoveroids have a large network of useful idiots in “public interest” groups named “Family” something-or-other. Such activists can apply political pressure on creationist idiots in various legislatures and on school boards.

So it’s for those constituent groups that the Discoveroids are putting on a big show about the 20-year anniversary of their cult’s founding literature. But bear in mind what’s not being celebrated. They have no scientific data to either refute the theory of evolution or to support their “theory” about a magic designer. Under these embarrassing circumstances, having nothing to brag about, what kind of show can they make?

That’s easy. When you have nothing else going for you, launch a flashy website. It won’t impress anyone who knows what’s going on, but the Discoveroids aren’t worried about that. So here’s the hot news at the Discoveroid blog: New Website Celebrates Darwin on Trial in Its 20th Anniversary.

Exciting, huh? Here’s one brief excerpt, with bold font added by us and their links omitted:

There’s a really nice looking new 20th Anniversary edition of Phillip Johnson’s seminal ID text out from InterVarsity Press. Reading or rereading Darwin on Trial is the most fitting way to honor the book that, more than any other, is responsible for lighting the fire that became the modern scientific critique of neo-Darwinism with its matched scientific alternative to evolutionary orthodoxy: intelligent design. But don’t stop there. We also announce the launch of a rich new website with articles by UC Berkeley legal scholar Johnson, his lectures (as above), articles about the book, a biography and other helpful resources.

So there you are, dear reader. Now you know how to celebrate twenty years of nothingness. Hey — that gives us an idea. In 2014, only three years from now, it’ll be the 40th anniversary of the publication of The Bermuda Triangle. Wow! We have plans to make!

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

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6 responses to “No Evidence? No Problem! Start a Website!

  1. First (and most important) are their patrons, who probably don’t understand science, but they like to see that they’re getting some action for their contributions…

    I don’t think that will be a problem. In fact, I would guess that Ahamson would be pleased with the way they spend his money and if they actually spent it doing science instead of proselytization, he’d probably get ticked off.

  2. They have no scientific data to either refute the theory of evolution or to support their “theory” about a magic designer.

    I observe that you put scare quotes around “theory”, but still you qualified your statement to speak of scientific data.

    I would note, rather, that there is no theory, and there are no data, scientific or otherwise, which ID can claim to account for. “Account for” in the sense of telling us why this and not something else. Or which ID gives even a speculation about what happened, where or when. Or anything about the motives, opportunities, or means of the designer(s) which would make a connection.

  3. Ceteris Paribus

    No evidence, and not even any news over there.

    Took a look at the book over at Amazon. Found out that this “really nice looking new 20th Anniversary edition” whose birth they will be celebrating all week with podcasts, is described as:

    Paperback, Deluxe Edition, October 5, 2010

    2010? But what’s a year plus or minus when the DI pretends that the young earth creationists and old earth creationists really don’t have any meaningful disagreement over much larger spans of time?

    The real curiosity is “Paperback, Deluxe Edition”. Is that simply oxymoronic commercial hype, or is that a hard core artifact of the syntax DI habitually uses for other concepts like, “Creation Science”?

  4. Their website appears to be a very intelligently designed way to display very unintelligently-written articles. A bit like using beautifully ornate giftwrap to package bull excrement.

  5. Curmudgeon: “Their bizarre movement has accomplished nothing in science…”

    Sadly I think we need a whole new language to truly put that in perspective. If the DI accomplished zero, then, technically the YECs and OECs that preceded them accomplished something, if only failed and mutually contradictory hypotheses of what the designer did when (if not how). But while that’s a “positive” in effort, it’s a zero in results. In contrast, the DI is a big zero in both. Or perhaps negative in both in that it actively discourages asking what, when, where how questions about its own “theories,” while insisting that it’s “not creationism,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. The DI’s “accomplishment” is also negative (compared to the zero of YEC and OEC) by virtue of its gradual “evolution” from “evolution can’t explain X” to “accepting evolution leads to every kind of evil behavior,” or what I call “Klinghofferism” in honor of the DI’s most “productive” member.

  6. Has anyone thought of this before? Political extremists for whom the “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated” of evidence is very inconvenient to their agenda, find the Internet a very convenient tool. It’s where a <1% fringe of rabid anti-science activists can pretend to represent the ~99%. Think of the DI as "Occupy the Internet."