Discoveroids’ Revolutionary Revival Meeting

The Discovery Institute, as you know, has a long history of holding creationist revival meetings to promote their peculiar theory of intelligent design. Their events are usually held at churches, unless they can rent a place at a location that will give them some prestige, like a university or a museum. But this time they’re doing something new.

Their article announcing the event is You’re Invited! More than 100 Churches and Other Groups Will Co-Host “Science and Faith” Simulcast on Sunday, September 21. A simulcast? Hosted by more than 100 churches? This sounds like a major new development. Let’s see what’s going on. They say, with bold font added by us:

On September 21, more than a hundred groups across the United States and Canada will host a simulcast on “Science and Faith: Are They Really in Conflict?” The event features Oxford University’s John Lennox, Discovery Institute’s Stephen Meyer, and BreakPoint radio’s Eric Metaxas.

Who are those creationist stars? Two of the names are known to us. John Lennox isn’t officially a Discoveroid, but he participates in many of their revival meetings. Stephen Meyer is not only Vice President of the Discovery Institute, he’s also a Senior Fellow, whom the Discoveroids praise for his book about the Cambrian “explosion,” Darwin’s Doubt. He was a central figure in the infamous Sternberg peer review controversy.

The third name, Eric Metaxas, is one we’ve only run across once before. He’s an admirer of the Discoveroids, and he runs a group in New York that has hosted a speech by Meyer. We discussed that event in Discoveroid Stephen Meyer in the News. Okay, back to the Discoveroids’ announcement:

More than sixty co-hosting groups have agreed to make their simulcast available to the general public, so you are cordially invited to attend.

They provide a link for that, and later they have other links where you can see a list of the sponsoring organizations (they’re almost all churches), and where you can get even more information. Let’s read on:

Here is what’s on the agenda! Has science disproved God? Or do new scientific discoveries actually provide compelling support for faith?

Are those supposed to be alternative propositions? The answer to both questions is “no.” In this next excerpt, they sound just like Ken Ham:

More than half of teens in youth groups plan to pursue careers related to science or technology. Yet surveys show that nearly a third of Christian young people think “churches are out of step with the scientific word we live in,” and a quarter of them believe “Christianity is anti-science.” These views are likely reinforced when they attend college, where 61 percent of biologists identify as atheists or agnostics according to a recent survey.

We assume that the Discoveroids’ revival, like all religious revivals, is intended to increase church attendance. Very scientific. Their article continues:

Other questions to be addressed during the simulcast include:

• Just how “scientific” are the claims of leading atheists?
• Are human beings the result of an unguided Darwinian process?
• Does nature supply evidence of intelligent design?

Are you thrilled, dear reader? Are you motivated to tune in to hear the simulcast? If you’re still undecided, they wrap it up with this:

The simulcast will be of interest to everyone, but it will be especially helpful for parents and their middle school, high school, and college-age kids. Tell your friends!

So there you are. If you’re in the mood for some of that ol’ fashioned, down-home, foot-stompin’, hand-clappin’, psalm-singin’, floor-rollin’, rafter-shakin’, old-time creationism, now you know where to find it.

And there’s one thing you gotta admit: The Discoveroids know how to promote a scientific theory!

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

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31 responses to “Discoveroids’ Revolutionary Revival Meeting

  1. BYOS – Bring Your Own Snake.

  2. I’m glad I read docbill’s comment before going to bed, otherwise I’d have read it in the morning while drinking a cup of coffee and there’d have been a hot mess on my keyboard.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    Like other fundie groups I read about, they scream about how important the church is to supporting the way things should be … and in this case get 100 churches out of 450,000 to present their message. The percentage is so low to be improbable, that one can only assume that an intelligent designer had to be involved in keeping churches from presenting their simulcast.

  4. Just how “scientific” are the claims of leading atheists?
    These views are likely reinforced when they attend college, where 61 percent of biologists identify as atheists or agnostics according to a recent survey.

    Their emphasis is not on science but only to associate science with atheism, thus bolstering their claims regarding atheistic science. This message will readily be received by the 100 churches/groups they’re trying to appeal to of course. Do they give a reference for their “recent survey” source?

  5. Didn’t the Discotute have a floating revival meeting this summer on a cruise boat in Alaska this summer? I wonder how that went…

  6. promote their peculiar theory of intelligent design
    There is no theory of intelligent design.They may be promoting the idea that an intelligent design theory, if only someone could come up one, would be better than what we have. They might even be promoting that anything would be better than evolution.

  7. SC: “The Discovery Institute, as you know, has a long history of holding creationist revival meetings to promote their peculiar theory of intelligent design. Their events are usually held at churches…”

    What’s “peculiar” about a “theory” that can accommodate everything, except a “Darwinism” caricature that doesn’t even exist except in deniers’ fantasies? And they only are forced to hold it in churches because you “Darwinists” “expel” them everywhere else? 😉

    @TomS: I used to say that there is no theory of ID, but you know what? Really there is no theory other than ID. In their own words it “subsumes” everything else. Except of course when it’s the one-and-only alternative to “Darwinism” and they get amnesia that the “scientific” YEC of Morris, Ham, Ross, etc. ever existed. ID is the ultimate “heads I win, tails you lose” game.

    What I would like to see happen – but won’t – is that a “Darwinist” attends and pretends to be a big fan of ID, and keeps repeating facts of the chronology of the Cambrian – that it was over 500 million years ago, that it lasted ~10 million years, etc.. The DI is on record as agreeing with that chronology, but doesn’t like to say it too often, as it would alienate some big-tenters. Then the “Darwinist” can say how he can’t wait for ID “research” to tell us which “kinds” originated independently and which shared common ancestors. Particularly which Cambrian fauna were the ancestors to humans, and which were ancestors to monkeys.

    If the DI can “expel” a real Biblical creationist like Ray Martinez (from its website), it shouldn’t take long for our troublemaker to be out on the street. 🙂

  8. This is a bit puzzling. All along, the Discorrhoids have fervently (one might say religiously) insisted that IDiocy is science, not religion, even well after Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. Yet here they are, boisterously bursting from the proverbial closet, arranging a simulcast with a whole battalion of religious instances. Their involvement in such a thing can only further diminish their already tenuous averments about being a scientific organisation. Do they no longer care to cultivate a scientific image? Or are they wholly at ease with the cognitive dissonance?

    ——————————————————

    Curmy, typo: “The answer to both questions in is ‘no.’

  9. Con-Tester discretely says: “Curmy, typo”

    [*Looks up to the sky*] Why do these things happen to me? [*No answer*] Ah well, it’s fixed. Thanks.

  10. “Just how ‘scientific’ are the claims of leading atheists?
    These views are likely reinforced when they attend college, where 61 percent of biologists identify as atheists or agnostics according to a recent survey.”

    [DI’ers’] emphasis is not on science but only to associate science with atheism, thus bolstering their claims regarding atheistic science. This message will readily be received by the 100 churches/groups they’re trying to appeal to of course. Do they give a reference for their “recent survey” source?
    Actually, it goes beyond that. They intend to associate science with Communism–“atheistic” Communism, as they usually put it–and so vaguely suggest it’s actually treason to support what they call “naturalistic” science, including Darwinian evolution. (I’m sure if they could link it to Islam, they would, but even their creativity has its limits.)

  11. The other day I was discussing the issue of teaching creationism in schools with a person who does not follow the topic closely. When I offhandedly mentioned “Intelligent Design”, my friend got a puzzled look on his face and said “But, Intelligent Design is creationism”.

    No one is fooled. Even the casual observer knows ID is religious based creationism.

  12. Con-Tester is eager to know: “Do they no longer care to cultivate a scientific image?”
    All the relevant evidence provided by the benevolent SC this year points in one direction: no.

  13. Con-Tester: “This is a bit puzzling. All along, the Discorrhoids have fervently (one might say religiously) insisted that IDiocy is science, not religion, even well after Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. Yet here they are…”

    No. Here they have been all along. They have never tried very hard to hide that they are peddling a radical religious view. When the Wedge document was leaked 15 years ago their reaction was not denial but “so what?” Furthermore, Johnson and Nelson both made well-publicized quotes years ago that ID has no “theory.” So when we act like every admission like this is somehow “news,” we are the ones coming across to the public with “cognitive dissonance.” IDers like to have everything both ways, so they still often try to fool new audiences with what they previously admitted “ain’t so.” But that’s not the same as trying to hide the radical religious nature of ID. What they are trying to hide – and succeeding well enough to fool most critics – is that they know that evolution, including ~4 billion years of common descent, has so much evidence going for it that it’s insane to even pretend that any of the long-discredited YEC or OEC stories has a prayer.

  14. Rob: “No one is fooled. Even the casual observer knows ID is religious based creationism.”

    In fact their fans admit that ID “is” creationism. When that happens, ID peddlers are usually silent. But when a critic says the same thing, they throw tantrums. Why is that? Because that’s another part of their scam, and in fact, while “no one is fooled” one way, in another, they have almost everyone fooled:

    As I have been saying for years, ID “is” creationism as we critics define it, which is “any strategy to promote unreasonable doubt of evolution that suggest some pseudoscientific design-based alternate non-explanation.” But it is not creationism as most of public defines it, which is “honest belief in a literal Genesis.” ID certainly passively promotes that – in all its mutually-contradictory versions – but that is not the same as honestly believing any of them.

  15. Responding to the question posed by Con-Tester (“Do they no longer care to cultivate a scientific image?”), mnb0 says: “All the relevant evidence provided by the benevolent SC this year points in one direction: no.”

    I agree. They’re far more willing these days to say that their “theory” points to God, and they readily admit their designer would have to be transcendent. What does this mean in terms of their strategy? I think they’ve mostly given up on infiltrating academia and having their “theory” regarded as a legitimate scientific contender. Instead, they’re openly trying to build a groundswell of religious and political support for their goal of overthrowing science as a godless enterprise that produces nothing but evil (Hitler, etc.).

  16. @Frank J: Point taken, but this occasion seems inordinately overt on the part of the Discorrhoids. I’m not an American but from my admittedly limited view, it’s suspiciously like they’re either oblivious to their oxymoronic conduct, or they’re dismissing their critics, perhaps even taunting them, with a flip of the we’ve-got-enough-dupes-behind-us bird.

    The response given by mnb0 and SC suggests that the Discorrhoids are indeed dropping their pretence. I can see two possible reasons. Either they feel they have enough grassroots support for their spiel already, or they’re confident they can get it soon enough by dumbing down their puerile package even more. I’m not sure which option is the more depressing.

  17. • Just how “scientific” are the claims of leading atheists?

    Ah, the Disco Tute, all science all the time.

    Because, you see, there’s Christian science and Atheist “science.” And you always have to put Atheist “science” in double-quotes like you would selling day old “fresh” bread and “jumbo” brine shrimp.

    Totally “scientific” panel to have this discussion, too. Lennox, a Christian apologist and mathematician, Meyer a “philosopher” of science, and moderated, I assume, by evangelical Christian writer and broadcaster Metaxas.

    Perhaps I could save everybody some time on Sunday better spent with your mistress or personal “trainer” and take a stab at the topics:

    • Just how “scientific” are the claims of leading atheists? Not at all.
    • Are human beings the result of an unguided Darwinian process? Nope.
    • Does nature supply evidence of intelligent design? Yep.

    OK, now, who wants a beer?

  18. @SC, Con-Tester and mnbo:

    Yes I too see them becoming more overt in recent years, even though they didn’t have much of a pretense even 15 years ago. But let’s not be too quick to celebrate that. If there’s one big lesson they learned from Dover, it was that controlling the “supply” of anti-evolution propaganda is only half the battle – and one that they will lose if the judge is merely a Christian and Republican, and not a radical authoritarian like them. The other, and more important, battle is to influence “demand.” And that’s where, as much as it pains me to say it, they are doing a much better job than we are. We devote 99+% of our efforts to the “supply” issue, where the goal is to show how all forms of anti-evolution activism are alike and religious. Certainly that’s needed to keep it out of public schools. But it’s the worst thing we can say if we want to influence demand, if only because it risks the common reactions of “what’s the harm, let them believe?,” and “I guess evolution is true, but why not teach both sides and let the students decide?” As with biological species that share common ancestors, there are similarities and differences, and one needs to consider both to properly understand evolution. Since all forms of creationism share all essential features of classic pseudoscience, on one level, it doesn’t matter what other tactics they may use that makes them different from each other. But on another level those “devilish details” – e.g. the bizarre contradictions regarding “what happened when”, the “pseudoscience code of silence” that downplays them or evades them altogether – are exactly what we need to turn off those who might be scammed.

    Obsessing over Biblical literalists (other than the small % that are activists) is a waste of time, because (1) they are very unlikely to change their mind, and (2) most of the people who have “some problems” with evolution are not literalists or even committed deniers. If there is one poll result that has changed in 30 years, despite dramatic increases in evidence for evolution, and equally dramatic court losses for the anti-evolution movement, is s significant increase in the % that claims merely to be “unsure” of evolution. By several accounts, fully half of the public is either unsure or just leaning for or against evolution. And like it or not, most of them are at least moderately religious. They’re not interested in how ID/creationism “is religion,” but are very interested in the games that anti-evolution activists play to mislead people.

  19. “• Just how “scientific” are the claims of leading atheists?”

    Much more scientific than the claims of leading theologians, I would say. Or leading apologists, or leading creationists, or leading IDiots.

    It’s really a stupid question, as though being an atheist somehow makes one an expert in “science”? Of course, it’s all just a part of their campaign to sow distrust in science, since science is founded in reality, not scripture.

  20. @retiredsciguy.

    It’s not a “stupid” question, but a blatantly dishonest one. Whenever anyone calls them on that part of their bait-and-switch scam, IDers admit that they have a bigger problem with theists than with atheists. That’s because theists who accept evolution – and refuse to bear false witness about it – will not let them get away with the false dichotomy of “either nature did it this way or some designer did it some other way.”

  21. > “Are human beings the result of an unguided Darwinian process?”
    ————
    Maybe I haven’t been paying close attention, but don’t creationists usually use the term “random Darwinian process” or something like that?

    Is this another example of creationists admitting, by not admitting, that scientists are right when they insist that evolution is not random – it’s the opposite of random?

    This might be kinda like creationists (well, most of them) finally admitting years ago that yes – microevolution is real and observable, but blah blah blah, and so on.

  22. I think there is another simpler reason they have dropped the bait and switch…….. They are dying.

    No one is falling for it any more. They have lost the court battles. Their lobbing efforts ultimately fail. They can’t even take the stand in court but are more than happy to send their supporters a bill.

    They have exhausted the moderates that would support them.

    Now they need the fundamentalists to support them not for what they are but what they stand for.

    They are a marketing and lobbying firm. They are looking for clients. Not converts.

  23. Aarrrgh! Please make that “sow distrust” in my post above. No needle and thread needed. Thanks, Oh Mighty Hand!

    [*Voice from above*] It is done!

  24. James St. John: “Is this another example of creationists admitting, by not admitting, that scientists are right when they insist that evolution is not random – it’s the opposite of random?”

    Depends on what you mean by “creationist.” Anti-evolution activists, be they Biblical or IDer, know that evolution is not “random” as most nonscientists/nonmathematicians would define it. But they also know that they have a lot of leeway with words to fool target audience. If Darwinian processes are always random, as they’d like to imply, then using the adjective risks undermining that message, at least to more observant audiences. But those are rare, so they figure that adding “color” with emotional adjectives outweigh the risks.

    If you mean the much larger rank-and-file evolution-deniers, they just parrot what feels good, and don’t even notice when they contradict other deniers and activists.

    As for “microevolution” I think you meant “macroevolution.” I only know of one creationist (and activist), Ray Martinez, who insists that both macro and micro, never occur. But like a well-trained activist, he knows better than to define the words he use, and always evades requests to do so. Another activist, Michael Behe, has for 20 years admitted common descent, but insists that “macroevolution” is impossible. While that sounds contradictory, he apparently means that in-vivo saltation and/or front-loading occur, and does not consider that “macroevolution.” Many activists even before the ID scam would pretend that Gould’s “punctuated equilibrium” was like Goldschmidt’s “saltation.” Goldschmidt was no longer around to cry foul, but Gould made it clear that they were not the same thing. But anti-evolution activists continued to spread the lie to unsuspecting audiences.

  25. (typing too fast) –> rank and file evolution-deniers are a much larger group, and not necessarily taller and/or heavier than the activists. 🙂

  26. Speaking of Discoveroids, I decided to have some “batting cage practice” at the Amazon Review comment section for Meyer’s DARWIN’S DOUBT, after enjoying Dr. Janis’ informative comments there. A loyal Stephen-Meyer-fan was defending the book against all comers. After so many of his posts sounded like they could have come from Dr. Meyer himself, I Googled the commenter’s name, thinking that I would find that it was a pseudonym.

    It wasn’t a pseudonym. It was Meyer’s personal assistant! His bio on the Discovery Institute website fully described his science credentials (i.e., none.) He was an English major who got a Master’s in Teaching. Of course, that didn’t stop him from all of the requisite anti-science-academy posturing and pseudo-science nonsense.

    Surely that has to be embarrassing when low-level staff of the Dishonesty Institute are found helping to prop up book sales and reviews on the Internet. (Just kidding. If they were ever prone to embarrassment, they would find another kind of job.)

    Yes, I’m easily amused. But I did enjoy observing a Discovery Institute staffer working overtime in that manner. Needless to say, his comments were nearly as lame as Meyer’s book.

  27. Christine Janis

    Yeah, Prof T., it was especially entertaining when he piously asked me, after “congratulating” me for giving my students real science papers to read on the Cambrian radiations, why I was so one-sided as to not also make available the 50 ID peer-reviewed papers.

    I said that we were moving on to the Devonian in a couple of weeks time, and I wondered what they’d make of Joseph Kuhn’s paper claiming that Tiktaalik is known only from a couple of wrist bones. (Couldn’t resist the snark.)

  28. Prof. Tertius, Christine, there are 558 reviews of Darwin’s Doubt. Can’t you be more specific about where you were commenting?

  29. Christine Janis

    Diogenes

    It’s the one by “Truth Undiluted” that recently rose to the “most helpful positive review” after some recent revivalist meeting (which is why I checked it out).

  30. Christine and Prof. Tertius did excellent work at that Amazon review, but the insults directed at Christine are the most scurrilous I’ve ever seen. Stomach-turning.

  31. Christine Janis

    Thanks Diogenes

    I have reposted Nyikos’s remarks at other sites where he posts. Nyikos is a professor of mathematics at the University of South Carolina, who is a gadfly posing as an evolution supporter but clearly a creationist at heart.