Discovery Institute’s Uncivil Critics

Rodney Dangerfield

Rodney Dangerfield

They get no respect. Who? 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).

This is not a new theme. We wrote about it three years ago: Discovery Institute: They Get No Respect! The universal scorn which is heaped upon them is not just because they’re regarded as the biological equivalent of the Flat Earth Society. It’s also because, like the most primitive creationist websites, they keep recycling their old clunkers which were debunked years ago, and then they complain that no one takes them seriously.

The Discoveroids have posted several recent articles at their blog complaining about The Uncivil Style of Intelligent Design Critics. But what respect have they earned? To us the answer is none — none at all. Consider their latest article: Francis Galton’s Novel: A Vision of Horrors to Come.

It’s about Darwin’s cousin, who was a eugenics enthusiast. But Darwin wasn’t a fan of eugenics, and he said so in Descent of Man. We quoted him extensively in this post Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin. He specifically mentions Galton, and then he says:

Hence our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means.

It couldn’t be more clear that Darwin rejected eugenics; he thought it interfered with the natural process of evolution. Further, his theory wasn’t the spark that created the eugenics movement. Anyone who has only a casual familiarity with history knows that eugenics goes back at least as far as Sparta. The Athenians were also familiar with the idea. Plato (the darling of the Discoveroids and of mystics everywhere) actually recommended state-supervised selective breeding of children: The Republic by Plato, Book 5.

We’ve pointed this out before, and so have others. Do we need to take such claims seriously every time the Discoveroids repeat them? No, we don’t. The only appropriate response is scorn and ridicule.

Why do the Discoveroids endlessly attempt to blame Darwin for eugenics? We don’t know. It’s probably the same kind of obsession that keeps them insisting that Darwin is to blame for Hitler. So now what have they written about Galton? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Darwin’s cousin will never live down the dark side of his legacy. Yes, Francis Galton did some good things: weather maps, fingerprinting systems, social science work. But his baby, eugenics, was a monster that has risen again in his own words: a chilling novel that didn’t get destroyed.

His own family tried to destroy it. Francis Galton wrote a novel named Kantsaywhere that presented his vision of an ideal society, where science bred the best human stock and eliminated the unfit.

Aldous Huxley did it better. See Brave New World. Anyway, the Discoveroids claim that bits and pieces of Galton’s work survived, and they’re making the most of it. They say:

Galton got the message and took his cousin’s philosophy to its (arguably) logical conclusion.

Why — why? — doesn’t anyone respect the Discoveroids? Here’s how they conclude their article on Galton:

His novel-writing exercise never quite got around to “the rest of the story” — 164 million cold-blooded murders that would begin within the decade. As a result of those “unintended consequences,” Galton is no longer remembered as a legitimate scientist, but as the Father of Eugenics.

Whoopie — yet another nonsensical Hitler connection! And the Discoveroids complain that their critics are “uncivil.” We think we’ve been treating them with far too much gentility. Anything more than zero is too much.

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

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9 responses to “Discovery Institute’s Uncivil Critics

  1. It’s not that they don’t get any respect, it’s that they don’t get enough contempt.

    They deserve much, much more.

  2. John Kwok coined the phrase “mendacious intellectual pornographers” to describe the Disco Tute: mendacious because everything they do is on purpose and to further their own propaganda; intellectual pornographers because, seriously, they would be horrible at porn, and everything they do has no redeeming value.

    I would be tempted to use the term pseudo-intellectual because they think they’re really, really smart but they’re only smart in the sense that you could call Moe the smartest of the Three Stooges.

    I call for a fishing expedition! Bring me a single article published on the Disco Tute that isn’t an outright lie (anything by Klinghoffer), a misrepresentation (anything by Luskin), an outrageous distortion of fact (anything by West, Crowther, Wells) or just so pitifully stupid as to be beyond comment (anything my McLatchie), or any article that we could nod our collective heads and mutter, sagely, “I think they have a point, here.”

    One article. I defy anybody to bring back the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of Seattle.

    And, in addition to Ed’s contempt allow me to add mockery and derision.

  3. Ceteris Paribus

    If the creationists want to make an argument that eugenics is an evil created by immoral evolutionists, then they need to come into court with clean hands.

    Just last week the congregation of a church in Kentucky, of all places, voted to bar mixed race couples from participation in their holy rites. Funerals excepted, of course.

    That was an echo of the former laws against miscegenation that the godly supported with their scripture. The same scripture that still tells them that evolution with its concepts of change and speciation is a false and dangerous doctrine. Their bible tells them there are only created “kinds”, and that “like begets like” or there will be hell to pay.

    The Supreme Court finally ended the laws against interracial marriage in 1967. That’s a generation after Hitler was dead. But the creationists are still clinging to their idea of “kinds” two generations after the court spoke otherwise.

    The only moral response to the creationists’ preservation of their anachronistic beliefs is ridicule and derision

  4. There’s a comment that Doc Bill stated some time ago that I thought was so good, I added it to my “Random Quote Board”. It was:

    Nay, against this most uncivil hoard we must use uncivil means and that means, yes, tools of the Spanish Inquisition because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. We must use mockery, gales of laughter, pointing, sarcasm, derision and the occasional fart in their direction. In dealing with creationists I always ask myself What Would Gervais Do? Usually gets me on the right path.

    Pure gold, and I wholeheartedly agree with every word. Nuf said.

  5. Doesn’t he mean “horde?”

  6. Bob Carroll says: “Doesn’t he mean horde?”

    You mean Gary‘s quote of Doc Bill‘s comment? Probably.

  7. Yes, Horde it is! I always put in an intentional error for my fans to discover. Like an Easter Egg, or is that as an Easter Egg?

    In all seriousness, though, just for the Holiday* Season, I read what the Disco Tute barfs out with a great sadness. What a waste of talent, such as they have. Imagine a real Discovery Institute that celebrates science, uncovers and showcases the best of the best, and able to illustrate for the lay reader how all the different threads of research weave the tapestry of knowledge. Imagine Klingsnotter, rather than a twisted, sociopath, more like Bill Nye the Science Guy, a folksy science supporter who makes science fun.

    What happened to these people to turn them in to the twisted, sour, dried up husks they are today? Whatever it was, I want no part of it. Life is too splendid and short and, oh, look, there’s a squirrel …

  8. @Bob Carroll: Argh. I’m typically pretty good at catching misspellings, even when quoting someone. In this case, I cut and pasted the quote as is and completely missed that. You can see the original at
    @Doc Bill: Still a fan!

  9. I really should not complain about such trivia, but I can’t seem to stop. You would be perfectly justified in ignoring me. Usually, I try to disguise my grammatical twitch by disguising it in humor, but this time, brevity was the soul of twit. At least I resisted making it into: Didn’t he mean ‘whored?’