Confessions of a Discoveroid Lobbyist

We have long hoped for a renegade creationist to write a book about the lies, dishonesty, hypocrisy, and outright malevolence that drives the creationist movement. One of these days that book will be published.

Until then we’ll have to be satisfied when we stumble upon an unintentional exposé — like that which appears today at the blog of the Discoveroids — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page. It’s written by one of their chief propagandists and lobbyists, Joshua Youngkin, whose job is euphemistically described as “Program Officer, Public Policy and Legal Affairs.”

Like Klinghoffer yesterday (see Discoveroids Freak Out over Zack Kopplin), Josh is concerned with the recent public relations disaster they suffered, caused by the appearance of Zack Kopplin on the Bill Moyers Show (that post has a video of Zack’s performance).

Before we get to the latest Discoveroid post, consider this bit of Curmudgeonly insight — there are three kinds of people. The first group know what they’re doing and have no problem telling you about it. Then there’s the second type who have no clue, but they think they know and they’ll try to tell you. For example, if you see some kids marching around in support of some exotic cause and ask them what they’re doing, they might babble that they’re “speaking truth to power” — whatever that means. They don’t know, but they’re proud of what they imagine is their courageous behavior.

Then there’s the third type — those who, like the Discoveroids, never tell us what they’re really up to, because if the truth were known it would be their undoing. Sometimes the truth slips out — see this about their wedge strategy — but they never deliberately tell you that their career is all about spreading lies, ignorance, and irrationality.

If the Discoveroids ever did honestly tell us what they’re up to, they’d say that they’re “teaching lies to power.” They’re providing a toolkit of lies, misinformation, and irrationality to every politician who is receptive — and many are. Why? Because the lies, misinformation, and irrationality of creationism (and all science denial) are the keys to the kingdom of absolute power over an ignorant population.

Teaching kids science is a way of teaching them to think, and a thinking population is exactly what tyrants and would-be tyrants hate. That’s why the appearance of someone like Zack on a popular TV show is a big problem for the Discoveroids. Okay, that ends the Curmudgeonly digression.

Now let’s see what Josh has to say about Zack’s performance. His propaganda piece is titled Dear Bill Moyers: An Open Letter. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Dear Mr. Moyers: Recently on Moyers & Company you interviewed science education activist Zack Kopplin. After watching the interview, which addressed the subject of academic freedom legislation in the states, I see why you picked Zack. He is young, articulate, and bold.

These qualities partly explain why in 2012 Zack won both the Friend of Darwin Award and the Hugh Hefner First Amendment Award. The latter honor puts him in the company of Bill Maher (2003), Michael Moore (1999), the ACLU (1997), and Ed Asner (1981), to name a few.

Huh? Come on now! Maybe those people won the Hefner award — we don’t know or care about that one — but the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) can’t be giving awards to people like Michael Moore! Alarmed that we might be cheering for the wrong team, your Curmudgeon hunted down a list of everyone who has received NCSE’s Friend of Darwin Awards. We see some names we recognize, like Barbara Forrest, Victor Hutchison, Tammy Kitzmiller, Kenneth R. Miller, and many others we’ve written about — but there’s no mention of Maher, Moore, or Asner.

Nice smear job, Josh! It’s really a classic. But it won’t fly. Let’s continue reading his propaganda piece. After flinging filth as if he were a chimp in a zoo, Josh then begs Moyers to invite his side to appear on the Moyers show:

But why not have your producer now give Discovery Institute a call? Zack is a torchbearer for his cause. But he is also an outsider to the academic freedom lawmaking process, and so understandably missed the ball a few times, leaving your viewers in the dark.

Uh huh. Zack is an outsider — who somehow lined up over 70 Nobel laureates to support his most recent effort to repeal the Louisiana creationism law. Josh is now going to explain why the Discoveroids — his group in Seattle — are the insiders. Oh yeah — they’re the in-crowd, they’re what’s happening. Right! And this is where Josh lets slip a few items he should never have mentioned. It seems that Zack has pushed him over the edge.

Pay close attention, dear reader. So you don’t miss this, we’re going to put it in red font:

Discovery Institute, on the other hand, is on the inside, and ready to shed light from a privileged vantage point. We draft and amend academic freedom language, counsel lawmakers privately, testify publicly, and are otherwise intimately acquainted with the intentions behind and likely effects of academic freedom legislation.

That is the clearest, most straightforward description of what the Discoveroids do that we’ve ever seen — and it comes from one of them on the inside of their so-called think tank, who speaks from personal knowledge.

The rest of Josh’s article isn’t important. It’s also unimportant whether Moyers invites one of them on his show. Discoveroids appear here and there from time to time. It’s no big deal. What’s significant today is Josh’s admission of what the Discoveroids really do. You may be sure, dear reader, that we’ll be quoting those words in the future. Thanks, Josh!

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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30 responses to “Confessions of a Discoveroid Lobbyist

  1. Ohhhhhhh, myyyyyy!

  2. The DI just can’t seem to keep it’s mouth shut.

  3. waldteufel

    I, for one, would be very disappointed in Mr. Moyers if he took the bait and invited a DI shill to come on his show.

  4. alpha079er

    I’m not sure how some people can spend their lives selling lies. I wonder how much money Josh makes…

  5. The DI quote is red is very useful. This clearly shows their actions with legislatures, etc. Here in Oklahoma, for example, the creotards are claiming that the language for their anti-science bills are from ALEC and do not mention DI. The infamous Rep. Sally Kern was quoted in a news article in the major Oklahoma newspaper (‘The Oklahoman”) that the bill this year (HB 1674) came from ALEC. Silly Sally (also known as Krazy Kern) is a co-author of the bill and her spouse, the Rev. Kern testified for the bill at the House Common Education where two of us were given the grand total of two minutes each. The Rev. got four minutes and the Committee Chair is a creationist that voted for the bill, yet we did get a close vote (9-8) that may help with continued opposition. The bill is scheduled for the House Floor this coming week.

    Glernn Branch of NCSE has recently written that the claim that ALEC is responsible for the academic freedom acts is false and that the DI is . However, ALEC may push the bills that come from the DI template?

  6. vhutchison says: “Here in Oklahoma, for example, the creotards are claiming that the language for their anti-science bills are from ALEC and do not mention DI.”

    I assume you’re talking about the American Legislative Exchange Council. In Oklahoma, Gus Blackwell is one of the members, and as you well know, he sponsored a Discoveroid bill this year. Sally Kern is also a member. It seems like a wildly creationist outfit, and it’s difficult to imagine that there’s no Discoveroid connection.

  7. waldteufel “I, for one, would be very disappointed in Mr. Moyers if he took the bait and invited a DI shill to come on his show.”

    Oh, ye of little faith! You can bet Bill Moyers would make anyone from DI look like a blithering IDiot by the time he’d be done with him.

  8. Harken back to the Dishonesty Institute’s tax returns and what they say their mission is, then compare it to what Josh has just said as highlighted in red. I don’t think its quite the same mission statement. Perhaps someone should call the IRS?

  9. docbill1351

    The list of recipients of the HMH Award is here.

    It also includes Eugenie Scott of the NCSE and the American Library Association, and Penn and Teller. Of course the sneaky troll Youngkin only cherry-picked some “liberal” names to make Zack look bad. What I didn’t know is that Hef has been giving out the award, off and on, since 1981. Not bad going for an old geeze!

  10. docbill1351

    Here’s a good example of the DI making a “polite” request and getting its ass handed back on a silver platter.

    Note how “academic freedom” quickly dissolves into a Tooter Hissy Fit.

  11. @DocBill: That’s a good example of the DI getting … what’s that words the kids use now … PWNED

  12. waldteufel

    retiredsciguy, I have no doubt that Mr. Moyers could slice and dice any of the DI’s posse of clowns. I just hate to see them get any sort of attention by a genuine intellect like Moyers. They deserve only scorn and derisive treatment. I liked Zack’s dismissive attitude towards them. The discoveroids were clearly burned by him. 🙂

  13. @waldteufel: I doubt if anyone from the DI would venture on to Moyers’ program. They would have to be keenly aware of the fate that would await them, so our discussion is moot. I see your point, but I think exposing them for the fools (or knaves) they are has value, also.

  14. If the Discoveroids ever did honestly tell us what they’re up to, they’d say that they’re “teaching lies to power.” They’re providing a toolkit of lies, misinformation, and irrationality to every politician who is receptive — and many are. Why? Because the lies, misinformation, and irrationality of creationism (and all science denial) are the keys to the kingdom of absolute power over an ignorant population.

    This paragraph is one of your best.

    Look, we already knew they’re lobbyists. We knew that because they call scientists lobbyists, and they project.

    But you have to love their smug elitism. They want to be insiders like the Family– that organization that runs the Presidential Prayer Breakfast every year– smug with their talk of “key men” chosen by God to run the world.

    Discovery Institute, on the other hand, is on the inside, and ready to shed light from a privileged vantage point.

    Oh, your privileges! Your access to the powerful!

    Keep dreaming. All the other fundamentalist organizations wish they had as much power as The Family.

  15. I have to return to this quote.

    Discovery Institute, on the other hand, is on the inside, and ready to shed light from a privileged vantage point.

    Am I the only one who heard the song “I’m In with the In Crowd” playing in his head?

  16. @Doc Bill: Awesome link. I had to work tonight, but that was great reading while munching on my pizza dinner.

  17. Diogenes asks:

    Am I the only one who heard the song “I’m In with the In Crowd” playing in his head?

    I couldn’t get it out of my head while writing that post.

  18. @Doc Bill:
    Third the motion; that response to the IDiots by a geology professor is priceless!

  19. I must disagree strongly with you when you make this contemptuous remark: “For example, if you see some kids marching around in support of some exotic cause and ask them what they’re doing, they might babble that they’re “speaking truth to power” — whatever that means. They don’t know, but they’re proud of what they imagine is their courageous behavior.”

    The fact is that, since the civil rights era and the Vietnam protests, through the struggle to get people to face up to global warming, the opposition to the Iraq invasion, and down to the occupy movement, these “kids marching around” have been right about just about everything. It is their opponents (which apparently includes you) who don’t have a clue about what is going on, and are propelling the world toward disaster.

  20. Ceteris Paribus

    @Green Eagle: Curm can speak for himself, but you may be reading too much into his comment about kids and speaking truth to power.

    The struggle between reason and dogma has been going on in its present form for at least a couple of centuries in the western world, and in one place or another for a couple of millenia around the globe.

    Look around the topics of this blog and you will find that much of what Curm is about is helping to make sure that “kids” have access to an educational system that will continue to teach them to use reason and enlightenment, and to seek out and find the future causes worth supporting with their courage.

    Zack Kopplin, the center of gravity of what Curm posted about, is a great example of what is possible from the next generation. But you well know that the purveyors of dogma are working hard right now to make sure that future Zacks or Jessicas will not even understand what was at stake or what was lost, before they were born. Don’t count Curm on the dark side of that project without better evidence.

  21. @Ceteris Paribus — Thank you for finding the words I was searching for.

  22. Ceteris Paribus says: “@Green Eagle: Curm can speak for himself, but you may be reading too much into his comment about kids and speaking truth to power.”

    He somehow figured out my deepest thoughts. No problem. I found it amusing to have a flower child commenting here. I didn’t know there were any of them still around.

  23. The still-surviving Flower Children of Haight-Ashbury and Woodstock are now in their 60s and 70s. We have all gone to seed. (Maybe the term “Seedy Seniors” would be apt.)

  24. Ceteris Paribus

    I would gladly trade one A level theocrat from the Seedy Senior generation of the DI for three rookie Flower Children to be named later. Jefferson well knew that the future belonged to those then living, and they need to be ready for the task.

  25. Curmudgeon, I would have thought that you would be above cheap smears in reply to comments you don’t like. But I guess not. You do not have to be a flower child to know that what passes for the far left in this country has been right on issue after issue- from Jerry Rubin and Abby Hoffman, through our budget balancing California governor Jerry Brown down to Paul Krugman today. Yet those who don’t want to accept this fact (and that’s what it is- a fact) think they are absolved from dealing with it through the simple expediency of dismissing everyone on the left as addle-brained ignorant children.

    Well, we have to live with that, but I am surprised to find such thinking coming from someone who prides himself on his rationality.

  26. Okay, Green Eagle. You’ve had your say. So long.

  27. @Green Eagle: If you think what SC said was a “cheap smear”, then you’ve led a sheltered life. Frankly, it was a cheap smear only if you consider “flower child” to be an insult. Again, if you do, thin skin much?
    My friend, you take yourself and your politics waaaaay too seriously.

  28. Gone to seed! So, that’s what that stuff is.

    It’s all coming back, now. I was president of the Young Republicans chapter campaigning for Nixon (yes, for once this is a mostly true story) and the watch party schmoozer turned into a boozer starting with 7-and-7 becoming just 7, then I blacked out for 40 years and woke up with Paul Krugman in my bed. Does that guy ever shave?

    I tried to pick up, er, make the acquaintance, of a flower child once and I pulled out my best line, “Hey, what’s your sign?” and she flipped me off. I’m guessing Scorpio.

  29. docbill “Hey, what’s your sign?” and she flipped me off.

    Maybe that was her sign. Hard to picture you as a Young Republican, doc.

    Oh — one word for the dearly departed Green Eagle — Greece?

  30. I’m a little young to be a true flower child, but admiring Abby Hoffman? I’m thinking Mr. Bipolar Hoffman would fit in quite well with the conspiracy theorists on WND.