Discovery Institute: The Good Mystical Life

This is a revealing post 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).

It’s by David Klinghoffer, whose creationist oeuvre we last described here, and upon whom the Discoveroids have bestowed the exalted title of “senior fellow” — i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist. The title of his latest wonder is Indivisible Launches with a Bang!

It’s about a new book by Jay Richards and James Robison, Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It’s Too Late. You know who Jay Richards is — he’s a Discoveroid “Senior Fellow” (i.e., full-blown creationist), and co-author of the creationist classic, The Privileged Planet. Who’s his new co-author? That’s James Robison, the televangelist. The publisher is FaithWords, which “publishes books for the growing inspirational market.”

Okay, you’ve got the context. This is one Discoveroid reviewing a book that was written by another Discoveroid together with a televangelist. Let’s see what Klinghoffer says about it. The bold font was added by us:

Making the case that a society’s economic flourishing is “indivisible” from its moral values, the book may seem off-topic for us here. But it emphatically isn’t.

Discovery Institute, our institutional home, is unique among think tanks in being organized around the insight that every aspect of public and private existence follows from the fundamental question of how people in a society understand what it means to be a human being.

Maybe that’s their central idea, but their concept of a human being is somewhat different from ours. We’re a bit old-fashioned, but our ideal is men like George Washington and Ben Franklin. The Discoveroids’ concept is — shall we say — quite different.

Their central concept fits in with their 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.” That’s why we describe them as Enemies of the Enlightenment. Back to Klinghoffer’s article:

Are men just a species of hairless ape bearing no signs of ultimate purpose or design, or do we contain a spark of something transcendent? For a given culture, no question is further “upstream” than that. From our answer to it flow a myriad of attitudes that determine what it will be like to live in that culture — whether humane or degraded, rich or void in meaning, creative or barren, prosperous or wretched, safe or imperiled.

You do understand what Klinghoffer’s saying, don’t you? If you think evolution is a sound, well-established theory, then your life is degraded, void of meaning, barren, wretched, and imperiled. Nice guys, the Discoveroids. Let’s read on:

This is the essence of the modern conservative vision.

No, it’s the mindset of the pre-Enlightenment nightmare known as the Dark Ages. We continue:

The book that launched the contemporary conservative movement, Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences (1948), traced man’s devolving self-image through a line of influences with Darwinian theory as a lynchpin. Weaver saw every major deformation in our ruling political and social views as following from an error in how we think about being human. With “Darwinism… lurking in the background,” he wrote, “Politics, arts, everything, came under the rule; man was primarily a food- and shelter-finding animal.”

Richard Weaver? A bit of a feudal, Old South mystic. Sort of a gentlemanly William Jennings Bryan. It’s interesting that the Discoveroids find him so inspirational. Here’s more from Klinghoffer:

Believing that it makes sense to call yourself a “social conservative” or a “fiscal conservative” is as much an example of illusory thinking as imagining that how we think about life’s origins and our origins as human beings stands somehow apart from and irrelevant to how people will choose to live their lives, whether nobly and creatively or otherwise.

There’s a lot we could say about that paragraph, and none of it would be complimentary. Here’s the end of Klinghoffer’s gushing review:

That existence is a seamless fabric is equally an insight of Biblical religion (as the Israelites declared in their chief watchword, “The Lord is One”), of ancient Western philosophy and of practical wisdom. We wish Jay Richards and James Robison much success in bringing that message to an ever-expanding audience.

There’s not much we need to add. Indivisible is a book the Discoveroids regard favorably, and that tells you all you need to know.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “Discovery Institute: The Good Mystical Life

  1. Christine Janis

    Let’s keep this one for when the Discovery Institute next claims it’s all about promoting good science and a correct view of evolution.

  2. Robison is a hard-right, young earth creationist. So, anything writings from him would reflect that. I haven’t read the book in question, but I can imagine some of the creationist staples we would be treated to.

    As far as Richards and Klinghoffer are concerned, they should send a copy to Judge Jones (Kitzmiller vs Dover) so that he will know EXACTLY who they had in mind as the Designer.

  3. If the Curmudgeon can put up with another comment:

    I came across a Scientific American blog by Darren Naish regarding a mysterious bird called Hoatzin. Naish is a palaeozoologist affiliated with U of Southampton, UK. (I didn’t provide a link because some site owners don’t like them placed in comments). Apparently, the Hoatzin originated in Namibia, but somehow crossed the Atlantic to South America long after the two continents became widely separated. The article is dated Oct.5, 2011.

    Now, enter Curmudgeon’s favorite creationist, Casey Luskin. In an article in ENV called “The Case of the Mysterious Hoatzin: Biogeography Fails Neo-Darwinism Again” dated Nov.5, 2011, Luskin complains about Eugenie Scott then describes an article in Science Daily that he blasted for suggesting that these birds may have crossed via vegetation ‘rafts’ and favorable winds of the time. In fact, Naish provides a reasonable possibility in his blog.

    Presumably, Luskin is a fairly educated individual but seems to have a problem with reason. He wants everyone to admit that crossing the Atlantic is a wild guess and also admit that there could not have been common descent between the African and South American species! So, by the stroke of Luskin genius, no common descent could ever have occurred and Hoatzin proves that his Intelligent Agent created all living things. I can’t believe the mindset of this fellow, but he is most entertaining nonetheless.

  4. Ian says: “Presumably, Luskin is a fairly educated individual but seems to have a problem with reason.”

    It’s just standard creationism. Step one: find an unsolved problem. Step two: Attribute it to magic. Step three: Scan the literature for another problem and repeat.

  5. There’s a lot we could say about that paragraph, and none of it would be complimentary

    I’m not sure what you think is wrong with that paragraph. It seems dead-on to me. It is clearly wrong to think that how we view life’s origins stands apart from how we choose to live our lives. One view leads to a life committed to rationality, the quest for truth, a celebration of life, and a morality grounded in respecting the value of both humanity and the world in which we live. The other view leads to a life committed to denying reality, controlling through fear, demonizing otherness, and lamenting the baseness of our very existence. What’s there to disagree with?

  6. You forgot that Life A has warm cookies, too.

  7. @Doc Bill: Mmmmm! Coooo-keeeees! (he runs off to raid the kitchen…)

  8. @Leviathan: Well said!

    I’m surprised the DI hasn’t plugged the new ID tome:

    I ordered one yesterday.

  9. The (new) Inimitable One: “Are men just a species of hairless ape bearing no signs of ultimate purpose or design, or do we contain a spark of something transcendent?”

    Well, our species does have a rather self-desctuctive habit of “taking the bait” that most other species (including fish as I can personally vouch) are better at avoiding. As one of the few who still possesses the functioning “gene” that detects bait, I encourage everyone to avoid it, and instead ask Mr. Klinghoffer whether he agrees with Dr. Behe that humans and other apes share common ancestors. And make sure that plenty of Biblical literalist fans of the DI are present when he weasels out of an answer.