We’ve been noticing something about the Discoveroids, described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page. They don’t have any positive accomplishments to brag about, so their blog postings are becoming increasingly desperate.
As you know, their legislative crusade to get states to adopt some version of their anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism Academic Freedom Act has come to an embarrassing stage. This year, “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.
After their initial legislative victory in Louisiana back in 2008, and one more pathetic triumph last year in Tennessee, all other states that have considered passing such a law have refused to do so. As a result, the Discoveroids are left with the annual task of defending the Louisiana Science Education Act against an increasingly vigorous repeal effort.
In the arena of courtroom litigation, the Discoveroids’ only effort this year was the David Coppedge case, and they lost that one — totally. See The David Coppedge Case: It’s Over. The endless case of John Freshwater is about to be decided by the Ohio Supreme Court. It’s not a Discoveroid case, and neither is John Oller’s litigation against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Their efforts to infiltrate legitimate academic institutions aren’t going anywhere — their assault on Ball State University has been exposed and is unlikely to have results favorable to them. Aside from bible colleges, the Discoveroids have no real presence in academia, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be getting any.
We know they’re not doing any science, so what is it that the Discoveroids are doing these days? And more importantly, what have they got to show in the way of progress when the time comes to solicit more funds from their generous patrons?
It appears that they spend their time patrolling the news media, and savagely criticizing anything that is uncomplimentary to their theocratic efforts. We saw a good example of this recently — see Klinghoffer Responds to the Times Article.
Aside from that, all they’ve really done this year is promote Stephen Meyer’s book. They managed to goose its initial sales enough to squeak onto the New York Times list of best sellers for one week. After that it dropped precipitously — see Stephen Meyer’s Book — How’s It Selling? Nevertheless, they endlessly declare it to be a “best seller.” Besides touting the book at their blog, what they mostly do is defend it against reviews which have thus far been — shall we say — unflattering.
An example of this is the latest entry at their creationist blog: In National Review, John Farrell’s Predictable and Misleading Review of Darwin’s Doubt. It’s by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. His article is very long (there was a lot of criticism in the National Review) and most of what Casey writes isn’t worth repeating, but we’ll give you a taste of it. He says, with bold font added by us:
We’re beginning to see a formula, repetitive and predictable, among critical reviews of Darwin’s Doubt. … Meyer’s main argument concerns the cause of the origin of the Cambrian animals, not their pattern of appearance in the fossil record. Specifically, Meyer argues that the genetic information (as well as the circuitry and epigenetic information) necessary to produce novel forms of animal life is best explained by intelligent design, rather than by various unguided evolutionary processes (like the mutation-selection mechanism).
We’ll skip an ark-load of that stuff. Casey eventually gets around to Farrell’s review:
Now, writing in the conservative outlet National Review, longtime ID-basher and Huffington Post-contributor John Farrell employs the same strategy.
You can read Farrell’s article here: How Nature Works. This is the best part of Casey’s attack on Farrell:
Instead of addressing, or even accurately representing, Meyer’s main argument for intelligent design, Farrell devotes a significant portion of his review to criticizing the book for the alleged misuse of an ellipsis.
That “alleged misuse of an ellipsis” is one of the most amazing acts of quote-mining ever attempted. The ellipsis in Meyer’s book is in the middle of a quote that joins together two parts of a paper by University of California, Berkeley, paleontologist Charles R. Marshall that were, in the original paper, separated by 15 pages! Panda’s Thumb had a whole article about it — see Stephen Meyer: workin’ in the quote mines. Casey sees nothing wrong with Meyer’s quote, and he defends it for several paragraphs. This is typical:
As to Farrell’s charge that Meyer misuses an “ellipsis,” this too is contrived, because, though the two quotes are separated by fifteen pages, they occur in similar contexts and make the same point. … It is worth pointing out as well that even if Meyer had misconstrued Marshall’s position on the artifact hypothesis, it would have had no material bearing on the argument Meyer was making, which shows you how superficial Farrell’s review is.
Good, huh? There’s another ton of it which you can read for yourself. We’ll ignore all that and jump to the end, where Casey says:
On top of all of this, Farrell frames Meyer’s argument as a strictly negative critique of evolution based upon “personal incredulity,” ignoring (and thereby failing to address) Meyer’s extensive critique of the mutation-selection mechanism, as well as Meyer’s rigorous positive case for design. … This weak review is unworthy of a respected outlet like National Review.
So there you are. The Discoveroids are on a roll. But it looks to us as if they’re rolling downhill. And they’re picking up speed.
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