Discovery Institute Embraces Martyrdom

This is splendid! As you recall, we recently posted Discovery Institute Catastrophes in 2013. They had absolutely no successes this year, and they suffered an Arkload of setbacks.

But now — undoubtedly to mollify their generous patrons — they’re posting a list of what they consider their Top Ten highlights of the year. They started a few days ago with number ten, and they’re working their way up the list, one day at a time, so they can finish the year with whatever they regard as number one.

Today they’re up to number six, and it’s quite amusing. Their new post is: #6 of Our Top-Ten Evolution Stories of 2013: How “Freethought” Bullies Threatened College into Cancelling Intelligent Design Course.

It’s by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. Some of you may not have been around back in 2010 when your compassionate Curmudgeon honored him — see Casey Luskin Is Named a Curmudgeon Fellow. Most of his long post today is just a copy of what he posted a few weeks ago, about which we wrote Discoveroids Suffer a Crushing Defeat.

Yes, Casey is claiming that the Discoveroids’ defeat at Amarillo College, a state-run, two-year community college in Amarillo, Texas, is one of their big highlights of the year. They were apparently embarked on a stealth campaign to infiltrate two-year community colleges with their kind of creationist course, using their books, thinking that no one would notice. But their plans were thwarted when the non-credit course was cancelled.

That probably explains why your irony meter blew itself out this morning. Their humiliating setback was featured in our post about their catastrophes for the year. We didn’t attempt to rank them in accordance with their importance. Our list was chronological, and that event was our number eight — the last in our list. But — to our surprise — it’s now featured among the Discoveroids’ top ten highlights for the year.

Okay, let’s see what they have to say. After copying his original post, Casey says … nothing. Nothing at all! Egad — today’s post is merely a repeat of the earlier one. What we saw as a creationist debacle, and one of their worst disasters for the year, is on the Discoveroids’ Top Ten list of wonderful events. What’s the thinking behind this?

All we can figure out is that they delight in their status as martyrs. It explains their obsession with the events cataloged in that thrilling Ben Stein “documentary” Expelled. The less respect they get, the better they like it. Complaining is so much easier than actually accomplishing anything. And for a certain kind of personality, it seems to be more rewarding.

The Discoveroids must love your Curmudgeon. We plan to continue thrilling them in the coming year. No, we don’t expect their thanks. Just knowing that we’re making them happy is sufficient reward.

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

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18 responses to “Discovery Institute Embraces Martyrdom

  1. Actually, I’m happy for the Discoveroids to revel in martyrdom in this fashion.

    It is better to do it this way than by means of explosive underpants, so let’s be grateful for small mercies…

  2. It’s not so much martyrdom as propaganda. They’ve got another example to go on their “Expelled” list to convince the faithful that ID is really-by-gum science that is just being suppressed by all those Godless scientists and the faithful can be confident that they are not just gullible rubes but that science actually supports their beliefs.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    My twin boys were on TV once, they were so excited. It was the local news doing some spot about soccer camp. They were 7 tops. The tape includes them colliding and falling to the ground. Hilarious and potentially embarrassing, but certainly not good soccer technique. But all they cared is that they were on TV. Same goes for the DI when they actually get some play, even if they get bumped hard.

  4. My late father used to say of someone like the typical Discoveroid that he would “whine and snivel even if hanged with a new silk rope.”

  5. Oh, it’s worse that you think! Much worse.

    This is their Number 6 HIGHLIGHT. It involves:

    1. A 2-year community college in Amarillo, Texas.
    2. A Continuing Education program, not for credit, at said CC.
    3. An honorary, community instructor with no credentials, not a professor.
    4. Basically an arbitrary guy borrowing a room at a public institution and using their facilities to advertise and conduct his “course.”
    5. Other courses offered by the CE of CC include “Flower Arranging” and “Poodle Grooming” taught by local hobbyists.

    The bottom line is that the Disco Tute can’t even arrange a quasi-public, hobby lecture on ID in the remote and very conservative panhandle of Texas.


    Golf clap.

  6. Since the DI seems to have a problem with “bullies,” my prediction for 2014 is that they will start blowing the whistle on the 1000s of science teachers who avoid teaching evolution (or water it down until its worse than worthless) and on the 1000s (millions?) of parents who pressure those teachers into doing it.

    Before you say “In your dreams,” ask yourself this: How can the DI claim with a straight face that they want students to “critically analyze” evolution if they don’t first “read the riot act” to those who don’t want evolution taught at all?

  7. Making pleasure and pain the same,
    gain and loss, victory and defeat,
    then engage in battle.
    Thus you will not incur evil.
    ~ Bhagavad Gita

  8. So Luskin is doing his Bagdad Bob impersonation again?

  9. John Pieret: >They’ve got another example to go on their “Expelled” list to convince the faithful…”

    The faithful (if you mean committed evolution-deniers) don’t need convincing. And even when they crave reinforcement, most prefer Biblical activists to the DI. Fence-sitters, however do need convincing and they get it in spades. Stop a person on the street, even one who looks not very religious or conservative, and ask if he has ever heard of the Quote Mine Project. Then ask if he thinks scientists might be covering up “weaknesses” of evolution.

  10. Frank, as wrapped up as many of us are in this battle against superstition being shoved into science classrooms, I think that most “people on the street” don’t give a hoot about science. Americans especially are incredibly ignorant about anything outside of their daily work-a-day world. If asked to define “science”, too many would blink and stammer gibberish.

    Surveys and polls have shown that many Americans can’t even locate the United States on an unlabeled globe or world map. Many don’t even know how many days are in a year, or that a year is one revolution of the earth around the sun. Hell, many think that the sun goes around the earth. And that ignorance and lack of curiosity is what the DI, AiG, ICR, and other purveyors of ignorance count on. So, depressingly, I think you’re right in your assessment.

  11. @waldteufel

    It’s probably even worse than I state it. 90+% of people are shockingly ignorant, indifferent and suspicious of science, while at the same time, uncritically friendly to some pseudoscience, be it astrology, fad diets, Biblical literalism, etc. In a way, how can you blame them? Science is complicated, counterintuitive and tells you what’s correct (i.e. can be independently validated) whether or not it’s what you want to be correct. Pseudoscience in contrast caters to wishful thinking, and comes in catchy sound bites that science can never compete with. It’s one long “sales pitch” that has people coming back for more whether or not it delivers what it promises, and it almost never does.

    Put that way it makes no sense whatever to obsess over “creationists,” whether that’s defined as “committed evolution-deniers on the street” or the anti-evolution activists who string them along. Certainly we must counter the falsehoods, logical fallacies, bait-and-switch word games, etc. of the latter, but that’s only half the battle. The harder, but necessary job, is to get the attention of those who can and do see the scam that anti-evolution activists are peddling. I think that’s slowly achievable, especially with the growing demographic that’s merely “unsure” of evolution. First get them to reject ID/creationism and be less suspicious of science, even if they remain mostly ignorant and indifferent about it.

  12. SC:

    That probably explains why your irony meter blew itself out this morning.

    Actually, mine did a victory lap, picked up a football and spiked it, THEN exploded. It was always a bit theatrical.

  13. Casey reminds me of Ah Q, the protagonist of Lu Xun’s novel “The True Story of Ah Q”, considered a masterpiece of Chinese literature. Chinese people consider Ah Q to symbolize the worst aspects of their national character– what communism and modernity were supposed to cure them of.

    From Wikipedia:
    Ah Q is known for deluding himself into believing he is the victor every time he loses a fight. In one scene, Ah Q is beaten and his silver is stolen. He slaps himself on the face, and because he is the person doing the slapping, he sees himself as the victor.

    When Mr. Zhao, an honored landlord of the village, beats Ah Q in a fight, Ah Q considers himself important for having even a tiny association with such a person…

    Yup. That’s Casey all right. Look at how they trumpeted the fact that Charles Marshall debated Stephen Meyer on the radio.

  14. Yes, Casey is claiming that the Discoveroids’ defeat at Amarillo College, a state-run, two-year community college in Amarillo, Texas, is one of their big highlights of the year.

    Casey rightfully does so because he and the other ID-creationists paid by the DI would be jobless if they ever would succeed.

  15. Martyrdom? Megalonyx’ “explosive underpants” notwithstanding, perhaps next year they’ll make it all the way to self-immolation.

    Well, I can dream, can’t I?

  16. The rest of the top 10 is a gas too, I absolutely recommend to read them (that’s to say: the first few lines of each). Some gems:

    “The project of developing the theory intelligent design encompasses not only an exploration, free of presuppositions, of the evidence of purpose in life and nature. It also includes an element of intellectual and historical recovery.”

    “the buzz phrase of the moment is “science denial.” It’s an all-purpose insult term intended to call up images of Holocaust denial”

    “While DID is strictly scientific in its content, it is not recommended for use in public schools.”

  17. Frank J:

    The faithful (if you mean committed evolution-deniers)

    Actually, I didn’t. ID is aimed directly at high school kids who (in all too few jurisdictions) are getting a sound education in evolutionary theory. The idea is that, since conservative Christian churches are hemorrhaging young people who are finding science and modern culture attractive, they need some way to say (and, they hope, have government schools say) ‘Science is wrong and your parents are right.’ You can find such ID stalwards as Meyer saying as much at Focus on the Family’s “TrueU.” Propaganda about godless scientists “bullying” ID advocates is, to them, an essential appeal to young people’s sense of “fairness,” the same sense of fairness that is driving the turn around in attitutes toward same sex marriage.

    I don’t think, ultimately, that it will work but I can see why the DI sees it as a “victory” more than a defeat.

  18. @johnpieret:

    I hope you’re right that “conservative Christian churches are hemorrhaging young people who are finding science and modern culture attractive,” because polls I recall (correctly?) suggested that churches in general, but not necessarily conservative Christian (and/or fundamentalist) ones are “hemorrhaging young people” in the last decade or 2. And that the concurrent increase in atheism among the young is not matched by an increase in acceptance or understanding of science.

    My own unscientific “poll” sees a lot more people attracted to new-agey stuff, and instant gratification in general. The spin that the DI and their trained parrots put on evolution-denial fits well with that trend. My perfect world would be one where organized religion goes away (but a strong moral code remains). The DI’s perfect world is an extreme authoritarian state (aka “theocracy”). But they and I realize that we will never get all that we want, and that any partial victory along the way is better than sitting back and letting “nature take its course.” If you listen to (Discoveroid) Medved on his radio show, his pragmatism often irritates many of his idealistic far-right fans. As you might know, once a week he features DI propaganda. Mostly without equal time for rebuttal, but when there is, it’s usually someone who will let Medved and his DI buddy bait-and-switch between “evolution or a better equivalent testable explanation?” and “design or no design?”