The Discoveroids’ War on Science

There has never been any mystery about the purpose of the Discovery Institute. We’ve been reminding you from the beginning of this humble blog that their Wedge strategy describes their intent to “… defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies …,” and to “… replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God … .”

The scientific worthlessness and theological nature of the Discoveroids’ sham theory of intelligent design (ID) were glaringly exposed in court after ID “experts” testified about their “theory.” See Kitzmiller v. Dover: Is ID Science?, and also Kitzmiller v. Dover: Who is the Intelligent Designer?

Despite the fact that the Discoveroids have no credibility among genuine scientists, they persist in their political drive to have their “theory” legislated into public school science classes — not overtly, but in the guise of teaching the “weaknesses” of evolution.

And while they spend millions of dollars lobbying the numerous retardates in state legislatures who are sympathetic toward creationism, they insist that they’re not creationists — in the vain hope of persuading some hapless judge somewhere that their efforts don’t violate the First Amendment. Their “Who me, creationist?” charade is no more convincing than the simulated innocence of a flasher who lurks around schoolyards exposing himself to children, and then swiftly closes his coat when any adult looks his way. We explained their shabby masquerade here: Intelligent Design, the Great Incongruity.

With that background, we turn to the Discoveroids’ blog and find this: Bill Nye and Science Lies. Whoa — that’s a hard-hitting title!

This one is by Bruce Chapman, whom we affectionately call “Chappy.” He’s the founder and president of the Discovery Institute. Implementing the anti-science wedge strategy is Chappy’s mission, so when Chappy speaks, creationists pay attention.

Here are a few excerpts from Chappy’s article, which we embellished with a bit of bold font for emphasis. We note that above his essay is a cartoon drawing of Bill Nye, with this legend: “Bill Nye, the Red Herring Guy.” There’s no getting around it — this is a hard-hitting essay. It starts out like this:

Maybe I am being too harsh, but science writer and sometime TV star Bill Nye has a lot to answer for. When a person sets himself up as a spokesman for something abstract called “science,” he should act responsibly. Imagine someone called “The Democracy Guy” or “The Medicine Guy” who rendered judgments on a subject he hadn’t fairly studied and did not accurately represent.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! According to Chappy, Bill Nye doesn’t know what he’s talking about — but the Discoveroids do. Right! Okay, what did Nye say lately to trigger Chappy’s wrath? He tells us:

Star of the former PBS show Bill Nye the Science Guy, a one time engineer and comic writer, Nye now believes he has found a role in combating the politicization of science. In a hagiographic profile from Nicole Brodeur of the Seattle Times, Nye makes the kind of straw man argument that exemplifies the very thing he claims to oppose: politics posing as science.

Politicizing science? Egad, wonders Chappy — what kind of scoundrel would do such a thing? The “offending” article about Nye is in the Seattle Times, which is published in the Discoveroids’ back yard. Here’s the article Chappy is complaining about: Bill Nye the Science Guy: ‘I have no trouble taking political stances’. What specifically got Chappy upset? He tells us:

Nye says he is confronting people in the country who “run around these congressional districts trying to change science education to fit this wrong idea” about evolution. And what is that wrong idea? That “the Earth is…10,000 years old.”

That was a quote from a Discoveroid, so it has to be checked. Going to the source, we see that the newspaper quotes Nye as saying something a little different:

“I have no trouble taking these political stances, because I think the evidence is overwhelming,” he said. “I can demonstrate that the earth is not flat and in the same way, with enough diligence, I can demonstrate that the Earth is not 10,000 years old. So, to use tax dollars to teach that as an alternative to scientific facts is inappropriate. Denying science is in nobody’s interest.”

[…]

“Conservatives are so far to one side that things are a little out of balance,” he insisted. “To run around in these certain congressional districts trying to change science education to fit this wrong idea is inappropriate … We are all hopeful in the scientific community that change will happen sooner rather than later.”

Fair enough. Nye doesn’t like politicians running around trying to change science education so that it teaches demonstrably false ideas. He didn’t mention the Discoveroids, specifically, nor did he say they want to teach young-Earth or flat-Earth as science. He implied, however, that what’s being politically promoted is as false as those doctrines.

For more on Nye’s recent declaration of activism, here’s a video. It’s slightly chaotic but it’s less than four minutes long. Nye is talking about his new “taking the gloves off” approach: [Oops, the video has vanished from YouTube.]

All of that seems to have struck a nerve, and Chappy is outraged. Let’s read some more from his essay:

He should name a congressional district where Young Earth Creationism (holding that the Earth is only 6-10,000 years old) is being seriously considered as a part of public education — especially a mandatory part. I don’t think he can. If he has been touring the nation’s congressional districts he must know this. But no, he is contesting a straw man.

That’s weak. Very weak. Although the Discoveroids are the only outfit we know of that runs around trying to legislate their way into public school science classes, Chappy seizes upon a couple of Nye’s phrases — “congressional districts” (instead of states), and the earlier reference to young Earth — and then he puts on an act of righteous indignation. We’re being falsely accused! Yeah. Uh huh. Chappy continues:

The idea he actually wants to vilify is intelligent design, but that is something very different.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, ID is different. Well, ID doesn’t promote the young-Earth variety of creationism. So what? It’s also true that William Jennings Bryan wasn’t a young-Earth creationist. They’re all anti-science activists, and creationism is just the beginning of their crusade to roll back the Enlightenment.

Skipping to the end, Chappy concludes:

Why doesn’t Mr. Science Guy talk about real science issues instead of straw men?

A stinging question indeed, to which we respond: Hey, Chappy — Bill Nye is doing just fine. Why don’t you Discoveroids start promoting real science instead of Oogity Boogity?

See also: Discoveroids’ War on Science Continues.

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

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13 responses to “The Discoveroids’ War on Science

  1. anevilmeme

    The Discoveroids are accusing others of building strawmen? Wow if irony causes cancer we’re all dead.

  2. Why doesn’t Mr. Science Guy talk about real science issues instead of straw men?

    I don’t know which part is more hypocritical. Accusing Bill Nye of building straw men,or getting confused about the real science issues. Maybe if the discoveroids ever start practicing any real science,or the YEC’s and ID’s stop taking verified scientific facts and molding them to fit Creation NonScience,the real science guy could go back to his very kool tv show. We still have Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman to watch.
    :))

  3. SC: ”Well, ID doesn’t promote the young-Earth variety of creationism.”

    Actually it does. And even more effectively than a direct pitch, because it omits any testable claims that call attention to its fatal weaknesses. As you know, the ID “big tent” scam indirectly peddles every brand of evolution-denial, because it conveniently leaves it to the audience to infer whatever pseudoscientific alternative they’re comfortable with, be it YEC, OEC, panspermia, etc.

    You call the DI’s blatant and quote-mining “weak.” It is extremely lame and pathetic to us, but unfortunately it’s all they need to scam ¾ of the public, most of whom are neither young-earthers nor hopelessly in denial of evolution. But most of whom are unlikely to check the parts they leave out. Worse, we only help them when we let them keep the “debate” on “weaknesses” of evolution, the designer’s identity, etc., instead of forcing them to elaborate on what they think the designer did, when and how. Whether they admit much of evolution (old life and sometimes common descent), or just evade the question and show their blatant double standard, it’s infinitely better than giving them more facts about evolution to misrepresent.

    We can’t stop them from quote-mining, and it’s not easy to get the public to think past the misleading sound bites. But we can make the quote-mining a bit less easy for them if we always acknowledge that ID and YEC are different strategies, and that at least one peddles what most of it’s advocates “know ain’t so.”,

  4. I love your phrase The Oogity Boogity. Do you mind if I use sometimes?

  5. Dave asks: “Do you mind if I use sometimes?”

    Go right ahead. I don’t own it.

  6. ID claims not to be young-earth creationism. That, in a technical sense, might be true. However, the activists who are trying to legislate ID into science classes are all biblical fundamentalists, and they clearly view ID as a stealth method of undermining evolution and allowing the teaching of biblical creationism in public schools. ID simply does not have a political constituency outside of this fundamentalist community.

    Since Nye made no mention of the Discovery Institute or of ID, Chappy could have ignored the article entirely. But Chappy does not like Nye (a) because he is popular, and (b) because he speaks the truth. So, Chappy tries to do damage control, and as usual, comes out looking smaller because of it.

  7. Ed says: “Since Nye made no mention of the Discovery Institute or of ID, Chappy could have ignored the article entirely. But Chappy does not like Nye (a) because he is popular, and (b) because he speaks the truth.”

    Precisely.

  8. Chapman is lying when he claims that taxpayer funding does not go to Young Earth Creationism. As Zack Kopplin and others have documented, at least 700 creationist schools in the USA are funded by vouchers, and many of those teach YEC, including living dinosaurs like the Loch Ness Monster.

  9. And what about that school district in Ohio that was recently in the news for wanting to include “creationism” ? (their exact word) Also, wasn’t that extremely strange Missouri bill explicitly about creationism?

    Discoveroid ignores facts. Film at eleven.

  10. Nye made no mention of evolution, either.

    I love the Straw Man the Tooters (looking at you, Chappy!) set up about mandatory teaching of ID.

    School boards may say, “We oppose the introduction of concepts like ID in the science classroom.” And the Tute will reply, “We have always opposed the mandatory teaching of ID in the classroom.

    Note the even Chappy can’t help himself with a big HOWEVER.

    Tute speak: HOWEVER we encourage phony “academic freedom” laws that “enable” students to be “exposed” to “both sides” of the “debate.”

    We need to continue to call these guys liars and con men at every opportunity.

  11. @Ed:

    The majority of the activist fans (school board members, local politicians, etc.) of the Discoveroids are Biblical literalists, and often undermine the DI’s half-hearted attempts to keep the designer unidentified. But probably only a minority of them are YECs. Mostly, they seem to be apparently aware that there is no evidence for a young earth or young life, but have learned to be vague on the “when” questions so not to disrupt the big tent.

  12. Techreseller

    Paragraph 4 vein. It should be vain. Though reading the DI diatribes does make me want to open a vein.

  13. Techreseller says: “Paragraph 4 vein. It should be vain.”

    Right. It’s fixed now. Thank you.