This may be premature because it’s not yet mid-November, but it seems like a good time to sum up the year’s accomplishments of the Discovery Institute — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page.
We haven’t done one of these since Discovery Institute: 2011 in Review. At that time we said:
[W]e note that aside from their usual flood of foolish anti-science posts, all they have to show for their efforts is their new love affair with Alfred Wallace, and their continuing efforts to blame Darwin for Hitler.
Nothing has changed. Those are still among their primary topics. We also discussed their dismal record in courtroom litigation and their failure to get any of their “academic freedom” bills passed. The year 2011 was a total bust for the Discoveroids.
As for their accomplishments in 2012, we didn’t bother with a year-end summary because there wasn’t much to sum up. Instead, we wrote about a few of their own summaries. They posted a year-end series about their Top Ten accomplishments for 2012. The only one worth mentioning was that they managed to get an Academic Freedom Law passed in Tennessee. Tennessee thus became the second state (after Louisiana) to enact an anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism piece of legislative insanity that was literally drafted by the Discoveroids, based on their heavily-promoted model Academic Freedom Act.
Then they told us about their Top Story for 2012. What was it? They claimed that the ENCODE Project was a “stunning vindication” of their prediction of intelligent design, i.e., that the genome will turn out to have no junk DNA. If that was their top story, 2012 wasn’t much for them. Oh,they also asked for money — see Discoveroids’ Year-End Request for Funds #2
Okay, that’s the past. Now what have they done in 2013? In courtroom litigation, they lost the Coppedge case — see The David Coppedge Case: It’s Over. They’re not actively involved in the other litigation we’ve been watching — John Freshwater’s case and the relatively new Kansas suit challenging the Next Generation Science Standards — see Kansas Creationism Lawsuit Update: 19 Oct 2013. Nor have they even mentioned the John Oller litigation.
In academia, they’ve been actively involved in the Ball State Imbroglio. We don’t know what they’ve accomplished there, if anything. Well, they do have one of their “fellows” on that university’s faculty — see Ball State University Hires Guillermo Gonzalez, and they may or may not have been a factor in the recent decision of the university’s President — see Jo Ann Gora Will Resign. That situation is still unfolding.
In legislation, all the bills they backed in 2013 failed to pass — see The Controversy: Mid 2013 Report, The last creationist bill we were following, which the Discoveroids never mentioned, also failed — see North Carolina’s 2013 Bible Bill — It’s Dead. Well, there may be something going on in Pennsylvania, but they haven’t mentioned it — see Pennsylvania Creationism: A Bill for 2013?
Well, what have the Discoveroids done? Each year they receive more than $4 million from their generous patrons, and at least half of that is devoted to their creationist public relations activities. Have they accomplished anything? As we glance through our posts about them, we don’t see anything they can brag about. They’ve had their revivals here and there. They blog about their disgust with science. They do their share of quote-mining. And they’ve been furiously promoting Stephen Meyer’s book, Darwin’s Doubt. That’s about it.
Why are things going so badly for them? It’s not too difficult to think of some reasons. They’ve been beating the same old drum for years now, and everyone who matters already knows what their game is. It’s possible that in another state or two, where the legislature is dominated by utterly crazed creationists, they may yet score a legislative triumph in years to come. But those states are hopelessly backward anyway, so any such victories — if they occur — will be little more than a confirmation of their existing lunacy. It won’t represent any progress for the Discoveroids’ cause.
We can confidently predict that they won’t be doing any science that supports their idea of intelligent design. In all the years that they’ve been doing whatever it is that they do, they’ve never even come close to finding any positive, verifiable evidence to either: (a) contradict evolution, or (b) support intelligent design.
Well then, what will the the Discoveroids be doing for the rest of 2013? They’ll publish some fund-raising posts, and they probably have at least one more propaganda barrage remaining for the year, along with their customary year-end blasts about the decision on 20 December 2005 by Judge John E. Jones III in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. While they’re doing that, we’ll be celebrating Kitzmas.
But the year isn’t over yet. They still have seven weeks left, and we could be faced with a year-end surprise. In that sense, this post of ours is a bit of a risk, but it’s a risk we’re willing to take.
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