What’s Happening to Bruce Chapman?

When we recently posted about the Discovery Institute’s 2012 Tax Return, we made only passing reference to the change in status for Bruce Chapman, whom we affectionately call “Chappy.”

We’ve always referred to him as the founder and President of the Discovery Institute, whose position makes him Lord High Keeper of the Discoveroids’ Wedge strategy, and the ultimate leader of all cdesign proponentsists.

But as we just learned in reading their latest tax return, although Chappy is still Chairman, he’s no longer the Discoveroids’ President. That title now belongs to John West. Not only that, but Chappy’s had a cut in pay, from $154K on their 2011 tax return to “only” $135K on the 2012 return.

We didn’t make a big deal about it because it struck us as a normal … ah, evolutionary transition. Chappy was born in December of 1940, so he’ll turn 75 next year. He’s been successful in getting the Discoveroids’ under way and amazingly well funded, so it’s only natural that at this stage of life he would gradually relinquish his responsibilities in anticipation of retirement.

It never occurred to us that there may be something else going on — not until we read his newest post, which appears today at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog. It’s titled New York Times Escorts Darwinists on Holy Pilgrimage.

Holy pilgrimage? That’s a tad sleazy — the sort of thing we expect from the more primitive creationists who see everything, including science, as a religion, and who routinely claim that “Darwinism” is just another Satanic cult. We had thought the Discoveroids were (at least sometimes) above that sort of thing. Well, okay — no big deal. Chappy was being cute in his title. But as you’ll see, it’s not just the title. That theme is rampant throughout his entire essay.

To highlight what we mean, we’ll put certain phrases in red font. Then you can draw your own conclusions. Here it comes:

In case the editorials posing as front page news stories weren’t enough evidence of how theNew York Times regards itself — namely, as the Bible for scientism in general and Darwinism in particular — the Times is now conducting a pilgrimage to The Darwin Land. The paper’s advert says prices for the Scotland and England journey start at $5,150.

Here’s a link to what Chappy’s talking about: At Home With Darwin in Scotland and England. It’s an article describing what looks like a delightful educational tour. Then he says:

In Edinburgh, pilgrims will pass the Upper Room where 16-year-old Charles Darwin lived, then witness the more recent Blessed Relics of Dolly the Cloned Sheep in a local museum. Later, pilgrims tour the Grotto of Shrewsbury, the Shrine of The Origins’ Immaculate Conception at Down House, the Sacred Tomb of Darwin Papers at Cambridge and the Congregation for the Doctrine of Darwin Collection at the Museum of Natural History in London.

Wow! Chappy seems to be over-working the “Darwinism is religion” mantra. But he’s not done yet. Let’s read on:

When the journey is over Times pilgrims can crawl on their knees to Westminster Abbey, where Darwin came down to earth, and ask forgiveness for any of theistic beliefs that haven’t yet evolved.

Uh … Chappy, you’ve made your point. You can stop now. But it isn’t over. There’s one more sentence to his article:

During the journey there will be daily devotional readings from the latest issues of the Times itself.

So there you are. Now we ask you, dear reader: Is Chappy’s removal as President of the Discoveroids merely a normal event at the end of a long career, or is there perhaps some other reason why he’s being eased out? This is a delicate situation, so we ask that you be gentle in your comments.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

17 responses to “What’s Happening to Bruce Chapman?

  1. I saw something about that NYTimes tour — maybe it was email. I took it to be similar to Alumni associations running tours. I guess journalism is having financial problems these days.

    And the next day, I saw that Chapman post.

    Guffaws of laughter here.

    ID is dead, but the DI is still still attempting to resurrect the carcass.

  2. Nothing but the ramblings of a sad old man.

  3. docbill1351

    How could one determine if a Tooter has become delusional?

  4. That was a particularly tiresome and degrading article. Speculating that Chappy is entering his dotage is putting it kindly.

    It reminds me of the a conference somewhere in Indonesia not too long ago that one of the Discoveroids attended, devoted to Alfred Russell Wallace. Didn’t that Discoveroid attendee post breathless missives from the conference, and take side trips to locations where Wallace lived or did fieldwork? The Discoveroids treated that trip rather like a pilgrimage to the holy sites of the newly christened patron saint of IDism.

  5. They probably have some sort of agreement that the higher you are on the totem pole the less religious you can be. Chappy has retired from that so he can spend the last years of his life being himself.

  6. waldteufel

    I would agree that on a purely intellectual level, ID has been dead since at least Dover. The Discovery Institute is a vapid, and dead institution. But, because they have some credulous sugar daddies, they won’t do what fashionable corpses do: lie down, rot, dry up, and blow away.

    I think our beloved Chappy has sunk to the level of the confused granny from Toronto, Denyse O’Leary. The mask of pretend science has slipped entirely from the Tooters, and poor Chappy is projecting and further revealing to all that the DI is, and always has been, a fundie Christian creationist ministry.

  7. SC: “Holy pilgrimage? That’s a tad sleazy — the sort of thing we expect from the more primitive creationists who see everything, including science, as a religion, and who routinely claim that “Darwinism” is just another Satanic cult. We had thought the Discoveroids were (at least sometimes) above that sort of thing.”

    Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who heard of “Expelled.” Surely you’re kidding about the Discoveroids being “above” any verbal attack (I was going to write “above anything” but realized that that would be lowering myself to their level by suggesting that they would do what Hitler or the (creationist) 9/11 terrorists did).

    Discoveroids may not be Biblical literalists, but that does not mean that they are “above” YEC and OEC peddlers in any sense of the word. But I too was fooled 15+ years ago, as was NCSE. Recall their first version of the “creation/evolution continuum” whereby ID was the creationist position placed closed to evolution. The updated version a few years later more accurately depicted ID as overlapping all the other positions (flat-earth to progressive heliocentric old-earth). That was not due to Discoveroids backpedaling from old-earth-and-common-descent, but rather how they bent over backwards to placate flat- and young-earthers with their “big tent” strategy.”

    Since then I have argued that, on the most meaningful scale, ID is further from real science than even flat-earth YEC, in that it consciously avoids any testable “what happened when” hypotheses that other forms of creationism willingly subject to critical analysis.

    So are Discoveroids more “primitive” or “fitter” than Biblical creationists? Why not both, like bacteria, which will likely be here long after us “mere” eukaryotes are long gone.

  8. Curmy, you missed a couple of “red letter” opportunities in Chappie’s screed: “In Edinburgh, pilgrims will pass the Upper Room where 16-year-old Charles Darwin lived…”

    The Upper Room is a publication of daily devotionals. (http://www.upperroom.org)

    Here’s another near the end: “…pilgrims can crawl on their knees to Westminster Abbey, where Darwin came down to earth…”

    You gotta give Chapman his due, you know…

  9. waldteufel” “…further revealing to all that the DI is, and always has been, a fundie Christian creationist ministry.”

    If so, it would be the most liberal one ever, given how they hired Catholics like Behe, Jews like Klinghoffer and Medved, and even an agnostic like Berlinski. Don’t get me wrong, calling them a “fundie Christian creationist ministry” gives them even more credit than they deserve. A real “fundie Christian creationist ministry” would insist that all its members believe that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, and that Genesis be taken literally in at least one of its mutually contradictory versions. The DI does nothing of the sort. Of course it exploits Christian Fundamentalist Biblical literalists, but they’re only ~half of their target audience. But the media, and unfortunately even most critics pick up on the slightest pandering, if only because the language pushes everyone’s buttons.

    Almost always lost in all that obsession is how the DI subtly targets non-Fundamentalist-nonliteralists. Very few people in that very large group (as much as half of adult Americans) can name one Discoveroid, or heard of Dover. Yet millions of them have been parroting anti-evolution sound bites that have been “trickling down.” The DI has been taking the focus away from the lack of evidence and fatal contradictions of Genesis, and keeping it on the bogus “weaknesses” of “Darwinism” including how acceptance of it is, in their warped fantasy, the root of all evil.

  10. Some Christians would be offended by flippant references to holy things. Think of the reaction to Sarah Palin’s “baptism” language.

  11. waldteufel

    Frank J, I think the Discoveroids have hired Catholics, Jews, reputed agnostics and others who claim not to be biblical literalists simply because those people are useful fools for them, not because they want to be inclusive of other faiths or non faiths. The Discoveroids are more interested in killing science education than they are in the “spiritual purity” of their soldiers.
    From the standpoint of their ultimate goal of a Christian theocracy, the Discoveroids are not really different from any snake handlin’, psalm singin’, foot stompin’ group of fundies. Not in their methods, but in their goals. Don’t confuse the package with the poison inside, and don’t forget who their major financial backers are, and what they want.

    Frank, I do agree with you as to their targeting, as you say “non-Fundamentalist-nonliteralists.” That’s a major reason why, I think, they deploy and use non-Christian assets. . . this gives them the appearance among those non literalists that they are genuinely interested in science. Which, of course, is a cynical ploy.

  12. “When the journey is over Times pilgrims can crawl on their knees to Westminster Abbey, where Darwin came down to earth”

    Uh huh. We don’t do that kind of thing, you do. Literally, on your literal knees. Remember when Chuck Col son died– Colson, Nixon’s former thug, White House plumber, convicted felon, founder of CREEP, architect of the Southern Strategy, wannabe killer of peace protesters, and terrorist who wanted to bomb the Bookings Institution? That Colson, terrorist and IDcreationist closely associated with the Discovery Institute. When he died, the Discovernaughts canonized the terrorist thug and felon as a saint of the ID religion.

    Casey Luskin wrote a grovelling post about how one time he got literally on his knees to grovel before the holy ID saint who once wanted to hire mafia thugs to murder peace protesters.

    On your knees is your position, Chapman, not ours. We stand like men and women, not servilely crouched like you. Religion is your gig, not ours, and the only pejorative you can think up is to project your defining characteristics onto us.

    If you visit a Ku Klux Klan website, the very first thing they always say is that the white man is the victim of racism against him perpetrated by liberals and the civil rights movement. Projection. When you accuse us of being motivated by religion, it’s exactly as absurd. Projection. It only shows that you’re incapable of logic, and that what you THINK is logic, is any emotional, nonsensical blurt that helps assuage your feelings of insecurity, for a moment or two. Until the insecurity returns– then another blurt…

  13. So now the illustrious John West is the new Fuhrer of the Dishonesty Institute! Sieg Heil!

  14. Correction: should be [edited out].

    *Voice from above* As it should be, so it is!

  15. @Waldteufel:

    Yes, I know that the Discoveroids are funded by a radical group (Reconstructionists) that is strictly Christian, meaning not Jew or Muslim – but neither representative of even the great majority of self-described Christians, including many (most?) fundamentalists. And yes, most Discoveroids are fundamentalist Christians, maybe even Reconstructionist themselves. But I don’t buy the common assumption that, if Discoveoids ever get their way that Behe, Medved, Klinghoffer and Berlinski will be “expelled.”

    The way I see it, Discoveroids, if not the Reconstructionists, are getting their way now, even when they shed crocoduck tears about Dover. and what they call “censorship” by the “Darwin lobby.” Discoveroids laugh have distracted attention away from what they know are fatal flaws and hopeless contradictions of Biblical creationism, and getting to play the martyr to boot. They won’t be able to do any of that that if they do get their pseudoscience taught in most public schools. Should that happen, people, including students, will start asking hard questions about ID and Biblical creationism, and probably reject both in greater numbers than at present.

    Now it’s certainly possible that the Reconstructionists themselves are so radical that they would “expel” the aforementioned non-Christians. But I’m not convinced that Chapman, West, Dembski, Luskin, etc. would be guaranteed a job either. Furthermore, if the Reconstructionists do get their theocracy in the US, I even more strongly suspect that it would soon be taken over by a Muslim theocracy. If only because the radical Muslim terrorists – all creationists by the way – have even more (eternity vs a mere lifetime) invested in their theocracy, and will stop at nothing.

  16. Addendum:

    If the word “laugh” seems out of place in my last comment, I started writing, then incompletely deleted (like cdesign proponentsists!) that “Discoveroids laugh about their ‘losses’ in private, and the cockiness even shows in much of their writing.” Years ago I noticed that odd idiosyncrasy of political extremists – they alternate between a giddy “we’re winning!” and pathetic whining about how their opponents are unfairly winning. Never anything in between.

    I for one don’t try to have it both ways. I state plainly that I think we’re winning the “supply” battle and losing the “demand” battle. And that the latter is mostly not because of religion. Rather, most people, including those not at all religious, have uncritically bought into many popular misconceptions about science and scientists. When they are patiently shown their misconceptions, they overwhelming support science, even when devoutly religious.

  17. Techreseller

    well isn’t Chapman touchy. Calm down ol’ Chappie. YOu will give yourself a stroke. Hmmm now that I think about it ……………………