The Controversy: Mid 2013 Report

The year is half over, so let’s look at the current status of creationism. In one sense it can be said to be flourishing, because there are millions of wandering ignoramuses, but we’re not concerned with them — only with the major players, particularly the Discoveroids, described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page.

Our principal concern is with the Discoveroids because they’re the most politically active of all creationist groups, and their goal, never explicitly stated but inherent in their wedge strategy, is establishing a theocracy and suppressing all of science. We think of most other creationist outfits as relatively harmless peddlers of nonsense, like Answers in Genesis (AIG). Groups like that are discussed in our blog mainly for amusement.

Speaking of amusement, it’s quite amusing to note that AIG’s grandiose plans for building a super-duper replica of Noah’s Ark appear to be foundering in a flood of financial disappointments — see Ken Ham Keeps Getting Pounded.

Turning our attention to the Discoveroids, when the year began they were bursting with optimism — see Discovery Institute Sees a Big Year Ahead. Their brain-dead followers were filing “academic freedom” bills in several state legislatures and the future looked rosy — for those who yearn for a new era of Dark Ages ignorance.

Notwithstanding their expectations in the arena of legislation, the Discoveroids have had one defeat after another. Their “academic freedom” bills have failed to pass in Arizona, in Colorado, in Indiana, in Missouri (two bills), in Montana, in Oklahoma (two bills), and in Texas. No other Discoveroid bills are currently pending.

There’s still Stan Bingham’s North Carolina Bible Class Bill. It’s not a Discoveroid bill, so in the context of how they’re doing, it doesn’t count. It is, however, a bill to promote creationism, so we’re tracking it. Back in February it was referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the state Senate. There have been no hearings or votes, and nothing’s scheduled. The legislative session was scheduled to adjourn in “early July,” but they’re still in session. Nevertheless, there seems little hope for Bingham’s bill — at least this year. [Addendum: see North Carolina’s 2013 Bible Bill — It’s Dead.]

The only success the Discoveroids have enjoyed is in Louisiana, where the legislature once again refused to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act — see Louisiana Victory for Creationism and Voodoo. Here we’re using the term “success” loosely, as they barely held on to an earlier legislative accomplishment — one of their few.

In the arena of courtroom litigation, the Discoveroids’ biggie was the David Coppedge case, and they lost that one — totally. See David Coppedge Trial: Final Order Issued, and then The David Coppedge Case: It’s Over. We’re not aware of any other court cases they were promoting this year.

The endless case of John Freshwater is about to be decided by the Ohio Supreme Court. It’s not a Discoveroid case, but it involves a creationist in a public school, so it’s been interesting to follow. Our last post on that was months ago — Freshwater Oral Arguments Today.

And then there’s a lingering litigation mystery. We’ve never been able to learn what happened with John Oller’s litigation against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he is (or was when the suit was filed) a professor. See Louisiana Creationist Professor Sues University. That wasn’t a case the Discoveroids supported; Oller was too hard-core for them. But he had other supporters — see Ken Ham Supports John Oller’s Lawsuit. His case may have been settled by now, one way or another. If anyone knows anything about it, please let us know.

[Addendum: One of our clandestine operatives told us about this link to the docket of court pleadings in Oller v. Roussel et al. And here’s an updated docket: Oller v. Roussel et al, indicating that a jury trial is scheduled to start on 21 Jan 2014. Most of the pleadings require a subscription, but you can see the answer. It’s not terribly informative (the university denies all liability). Anyway, now we know that the case is still pending.]

Other than that, as we reflect on the first half of this year, there really hasn’t been any creationist success, and there’s been little serious activity worth noting. Oh, here and there we see an occasional school board make fools of themselves, but such comedies are mostly of local significance. So at this point we can report that 2013 has been a total disaster for what we might term “institutional creationism.” May it always be so.

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

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11 responses to “The Controversy: Mid 2013 Report

  1. Oller has for a long time tried to identify with ID. Way back in 1994, J. P. Moreland edited The Creation Hypothesis which was one of those early ID books where they talk openly about design as a subset of creationism– Moreland openly used the word “creationism” in that book many times, along with “theistic science.” Chapters in that book were written by IDers Dembski, Stephen Meyer, young earth creationist/IDer Charles Thaxton [he of Of Pandas and People], Old Earth creationist Hugh Ross, YEC Kurt Wise, and one John Oller. Oller’s chapter was entitled “Origin of the Human Language Capacity: In Whose Image?”

    (Stephen Meyer’s chapter in that 1994 book was openly creationist– he refers to a “scientific hypothesis of creation”, which he portrayed as a subset of creationism. The same idea would later be renamed “intelligent design”.)

    Oller was an English professor at UCLA and has falsely tried to pass himself off as a linguist, so he can call himself a scientist. In Louisiana during the textbook approval kerfuffle he testified as a scientific “expert.”

    He is a true ignoramus and very dishonest person, aggressively defending Andrew Wakefield’s “vaccines cause autism” fraud (as Dembski did also). Also like Dembski, he calls himself a “creationist” one day and then the next day takes umbrage if someone else calls him a creationist. Oller’s dishonesty is magnificently skewered by Barbara Forrest here.

  2. I just added an addendum to the post with a link to the court docket in the Oller case.

  3. lanceleuven

    Good news all round then!

  4. johnpieret

    I just checked the docket in the Oller case (the link you gave isn’t up to date). I appears that the deadline the defendants had to make a summary judgment motion has passed without them doing so. The case is presently scheduled to begin a jury trial on Jan. 21, 2014.

  5. You’re right, johnpieret. Here’s a link to a more updated docket: Oller v. Roussel et al.

  6. Our Curmudgeon’s State of the Cretards Address concludes:

    So at this point we can report that 2013 has been a total disaster for what we might term “institutional creationism.” May it always be so.

    Amen to that! But the fell cdesign proponentsists are an ever-morphing variety of Zombic Terminators, impervious to Reason, Logic, Insight, and Wooden Stakes.

    We continue to look to you for such splendid guidance in the Good Fight. As someone (possibly me) once said,

    “The price of intellectual freedom is eternal insolence.”

  7. I have fond memories of The Creation Hypothesis. It was the last book about evolution denial that I bought. I bought it in anticipation that there would be something in it about a creation hypothesis. (How naive of me!) And I remember my amazement at the mathematical howlers that Moreland’s chapter had. (Didn’t he have a friend to warn him about such embarrassment?)

  8. TomS asks of a creationist author: “Didn’t he have a friend to warn him about such embarrassment?”

    No warning should be necessary, because creationists cannot be embarrassed. Similarly, if you make plans to spend your vacation at the “Full Frontal Freedom Nudist Park,” you don’t need to be warned about what awaits you there.

  9. I just read (on his blog) that David Coppedge is now recovering from a bout with liver cancer – which I am glad to learn, because I wouldn’t wish that illness on anyone.
    He’s still grumpy about the trial too.

  10. Tomato Addict says: “He’s still grumpy about the trial too.”

    Well, it’s JPL’s loss, really. Without Coppedge’s guidance, they’re totally lost.