Discovery Institute: How Long, O Lord?

The Discovery Institute — or perhaps their generous patrons — may be getting impatient to see some progress in persuading the scientific community to adopt their peculiar “theory” of intelligent design. Their Wedge strategy, drafted at their inception as both a manifesto and as a fund-raising document, predicted that they would have made considerable headway by now, but their grandiose promises have all failed to materialize. See: What is the “Wedge Document”?

In what we assume is an attempt to reassure their generous patrons, Casey Luskin — our favorite creationist — has posted this at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog: In the Darwin Debate, How Long Before the Tide Turns in Favor of Intelligent Design? That’s a good question! Casey says, with bold font added by us:

A student emails me to ask how long it will be before the “tide turns from Darwinism to ID.” He follows the debate over intelligent design and is aware that the Darwin lobby’s rhetoric typically fails to address ID’s actual arguments (which are scientific in nature), instead focusing on personal attacks or trying to claim ID is religion. This student feels it is obvious that ID has the upper hand in the argument, but wonders when the majority opinion will also recognize this.

We strongly suspect it’s not a “student” who asked that question. It’s probably a major contributor who is wondering when he’ll see some results from all the millions he’s poured into the Discovery Institute. This is Casey’s response:

I agree that in the long-term, the position of the anti-ID lobby is simply not sustainable. You can’t keep claiming forever that ID is just “religion” or “politics” when the ID camp is producing legitimate science, and even non-ID scientists keep making discoveries that confirm the predictions of ID. Or I suppose you can keep claiming whatever you want, but it will become increasingly difficult to get people to believe you.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Let’s read on:

What are my reasons for optimism? One of the strongest signs is that in head-to-head debates over ID and Darwinism, the ID proponent generally wins hands down.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! He continues:

In that respect, we’ve had many key intellectual victories in recent years, including:

What follows is a list of non-existent “victories.” You can click over there to see them. They include the “peer-reviewed” papers they’ve published (in their own captive journal), the cutting-edge research they’ve done (in their own captive lab), Stephen Meyer’s book Darwin’s Doubt, and the alleged attempts by “the Darwin lobby” to stifle criticism of “the orthodox evolutionary paradigm.” Then we’re told:

I could list many more successes, as well as ways that we could be hoping for more and doing more, but the point is this: ID has had plenty of intellectual “wins” of late, and the future is bright. The problem is that much of the public isn’t hearing about these wins for ID.

Ah, that’s the problem. They’re winning, but except for them, no one knows it. Casey explains why:

For the time being, ID critics control the microphone. They generally determine what students hear in the classroom, what the public reads in the media, and what scientists read in the journals. They can often prevent the public, students, and scientists from hearing the facts about ID. This has a major impact on the way many people perceive this debate because they can’t make a fair evaluation when they are only hearing one side of the issue, dominated by spin and caricature. This is one of the biggest obstacles facing ID.

Yes, it’s all about “control of the microphone.” But how difficult was it for special relativity to overturn Newtonian mechanics? How difficult was it for the cosmic microwave background to defeat the Steady State theory? How difficult was it for the accelerating expansion of the universe to defeat the theory that the Big Bang would eventually start slowing down and contracting because of gravity? In each case, the only thing necessary was evidence. Ah, well, moving along:

Don’t expect a revolution overnight. We are in this for the long haul, recognizing that it can take time for the truth to slip past the checkpoints that the Darwin lobby sets up to keep the public uninformed. In the end, though, I’m optimistic because the fundamentals of ID — the science underlying the inference to design in nature — are sound.

Yes, no one can deny the soundness of the Discoveroids’ methodology, which consists of pointing to something and saying: Look, look! Oooooooh, oooooooh! Design, design! And now we come to the end:

The truth will win out, though it may tarry in doing so. Or to put it another way, the tide of ID is already well on its way in. We need to focus on telling people about it.

To summarize Casey’s message: Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. We’re winning, really we are. Keep the money coming!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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38 responses to “Discovery Institute: How Long, O Lord?

  1. Christine Janis

    How long did it take epigenetics, which seems more Lamarckian than Darwinian as a mechanism, to be accepted by the scientific community? That’s something that appears to challenge the “Darwinian paradigm”, but it became accepted because of that little thing that eludes Casey — evidence.

  2. If Beeheehee has to admit publicly that if ID is science then so too is astrology, and if conspiracy in the form of “checkpoints that the Darwin lobby sets up to keep the public uninformed” is what is mustered in defence of ID, then the Discorrhoids are truly in need of some intellectual evolution.

  3. The only worthwhile nugget amongst all of that tripe is “The truth will win out,”.

  4. You can’t keep claiming forever that ID is just “religion” or “politics” when the ID camp is producing legitimate science, and even non-ID scientists keep making discoveries that confirm the predictions of ID.

    Ah, what legitimate science are they producing? And what discoveries confirm their “predictions for ID?” The green lab two-step?

    A key paper supporting their views of course is the 2004 retracted from publication paper by Meyer, which he continues to reference in all of his works as if it were a legitimate paper. I continue to chuckle at that. The only place you can find it is on the DI’s site and not in any scientific publication.

    Intelligent Design: The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories, by Stephen C. Meyer
    Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, August 4, 2004

  5. That post showed up yesterday in my RSS reader (I’m use “Akregator” on linux). Except, according to my RSS reader, the author was “davidk”.

    I did have a good laugh. It read like serious satire at the expense of the DI. However, I guess they really believe that stuff.

    Back to the author question. It seems likely that the article was first posted with “davidk” as the author. Then presumably they corrected it. Their RSS feed management is sufficiently incompetent that my reader did not pick up the correction.

    Seriously, how can one get the author wrong? Do they not even know who is making up this stuff? Is it all produced by a robot, with an author name added as a marketing tactic?

  6. Mike Elzinga

    Even if they were able to get laws passed that would force ID/creationist pseudoscience into public education, they would face the embarrassment of having that pseudoscience exposed as being as silly as it really is.

    “Spontaneous Molecular Chaos” can’t jump the “Cybernetic Gap;” therefore intelligent design.” David L. Abel.

    “N = 2^500, p is less than 2^-500, making Np less than 1; therefore intelligent design.” William A. Dembski.

    “If you open the door to a room full of junk, a computer won’t self-assemble; therefore evolution can’t happen.” Granville Sewell.

    “It’s too complicated for me to understand; therefore intelligence must have done it.” Michael Behe

  7. Typical conspiracy theorist claptrap

  8. Casey Luskin on a Saturday night
    Tried to convince us all that ID was right
    I do believe he thought he’d be creationists’ hero
    But when it came to data, he proved he had zero.

  9. Casey “The Lawyer” Luskin: “What are my reasons for optimism? One of the strongest signs is that in head-to-head debates over ID and Darwinism, the ID proponent generally wins hands down.”

    Just like a lawyer to think that good debating technique will “prove” a non-science idea over actual reality science.

    Science isn’t done in a courtroom, Casey.

  10. I will say this for the ID folks, to a lot of people actual evidence doesn’t seem to mean much. According to a Pew Research poll, a majority of Americans believe the Christmas story, lock, stock and barrell. The virgin birth, angels, the magical star, the whole nine yards. Eighty-one percent of Christians buy the whole thing.
    That’s why the ID people want to be in schools, give people a choice between science and a fairytale and science and they’ll take the fairytale every time. Well, as long as someone else does the real science and lets them reap the benefits.
    If it is a battle for hearts and minds, we do, in fact, have our work cut out for us.

  11. michaelfugate

    Genesis is a story and creationism therefore has a story, but what is ID’s story? Who is the designer, what, when, how, why? What are the predictions of ID? Does Casey mention them?

  12. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    We are in this for the long haul, recognizing that it can take time for the truth to slip past the checkpoints that the Darwin lobby sets up to keep the public uninformed.”

    This is what Casey means by “slip past the checkpoints”

  13. Pat Robertson weighs in on evilution:
    Slamming Science: Pat Robertson Claims Evolution Is To Blame For Lack Of Miracles In America
    https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/slamming-science-pat-robertson-claims-evolution-is-to-blame-for-lack-of

  14. The whole article is written in the bleating style of Casey Luskin #AttackGerbil. David Klinghoffer can never resist an ad hominem.

  15. @DavidK – Thanks for the link. Pat Robertson said, “We have been inundated with skepticism and secularism,” he continued. “And overseas, they’re simple, humble. You tell ‘em God loves ‘em and they say, ‘Okay, he loves me.’ You say God will do miracles and they say, ‘Okay, we believe him.’

    “And that’s what God’s looking for. That’s why they have miracles.”

    The folks who live in Liberia seem pretty “simple and humble.” Do you suppose that’s why Gawd gave them the miracle of ebola? What do you suppose things would be like in Liberia today if science-based medicine had not been brought in to fight the ebola epidemic?

  16. Kenny Walter

    Has anyone actually had difficulty finding the stuff that ID proponents put forth? At the risk of sounding like a free expression denier, I would love it if they had to prove stuff before they proclaim it as the truth. Given ample opportunity to provide their research and evidence, they can’t, because they have none. Unless we can run everything through the Design Filter and accept the opinion that follows as the whole truth nothing but the truth,so help me non specific Intelligent Designer. (wink-wink)

  17. He follows the debate over intelligent design and is aware that the Darwin lobby’s rhetoric typically fails to address ID’s actual arguments (which are scientific in nature), instead focusing on personal attacks or trying to claim ID is religion.

    Aside from the fact that there is no “Darwin lobby”, ID arguments are addressed all the time by actual scientists writing on their blogs etc. New books by the Discoveroids are generally taken apart almost as soon as they are published. However, it makes no difference how much this happens, how detailed the response by the scientists, the Discoveroids continue to promote the lie that the cowardly “Darwinists” never address the “science” of ID. Maybe this is because there is no science there to address, only rhetorical arguments.

    Casey believes ID is gaining ground. It would be interesting to compare the number and breadth of ID papers published each year with papers in the various fields supporting evolution. In fact, that would be a good metric for the Discoveroids – track the ratio of ID papers to scientific papers by year and report on the traction that ID is achieving within the scientific community. They could measure their success that way, and use the metric to brief their donors.

    Oh, yeah. That would involve collecting data. The antithesis of the ID methodology.

  18. @DavidK
    I find the Pat Robertson comment odd.
    Just last year he said creationism was silly and that it was taking people from god and that the earth was not 6,000 years old. (he was very clear in the video) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/05/pat-robertson-creationism-ken-ham_n_4733625.html

    He’s either bowing to pressure, going senile or his words were taken out of full context. I personally suspect the first 2 as the more likely options.

  19. Doctor Stochastic

    How long? About 98 cubits.

  20. Mike Elzinga

    @ Kenny Walter

    Has anyone actually had difficulty finding the stuff that ID proponents put forth? At the risk of sounding like a free expression denier, I would love it if they had to prove stuff before they proclaim it as the truth. Given ample opportunity to provide their research and evidence, they can’t, because they have none.

    I think you have to take into consideration the actual socio/political history of ID/creationism in the US. It was “provoked” in the late 1950s by Sputnik when one of the responses to Sputnik was to completely revamp the science curriculum in the public schools. That meant also teaching evolution; and that set off the fundamentalists.

    “Scientific” Creationism was formally started in 1970 when Henry Morris and Duane Gish founded the Institute for Creation Research and started making up crap to taunt scientists into public debates. Their crap was extremely provocative junk science, lies and quote-mining; and the scientific community was blind-sided into accepting these debate challenges.

    The objective of these sectarians was to completely swamp the teaching of the revamped science curriculum; evolution in particular. They never had any real science to present; but they won every time a scientist agreed to debate them in public because they gained publicity and “legitimacy” as a result.

    The media gave the early creationists a lot of free news coverage and the movement took off from there. It was on a roll and started to introduce bills in state legislatures promoting their junk science and requiring at least equal time and more. After that it became an uphill battle for the science community to get the crap out of the schools; but by that time, the followers of this crap started memorizing and believing all the talking points generated by the ICR.

    There was also the rise of the Christian Coalition and the political efforts of Lee Atwater and his protégé, Karl Rove, to throw red meat to the Religious Right and inflame them to muck up the political processes in the US elections.

    Having had a taste of political victory and power, they were not going to be stopped – even by court decisions going against them – from morphing their junk science to get around the law by court-proofing their language.

    Nowadays the ICR, the DI, AiG and other such organizations spend full time generating this pseudoscience crap for their sectarian followers.

    There is no particular rationality to any of it. The movement is now essentially an army of zombies programmed by years of memorized junk science to keep hammering at state legislatures, school boards, and state boards of education. They don’t think; they just react with the same spastic responses to everything new in science. They are like a latent virus waiting for the opportunity to take over a weakened host when the political winds are favorable.

  21. Here’s an interesting article that should get the ‘Roids rocks off; “http://www.livescience.com/49451-ancient-scorpion-fossil-land.html.” Scorpions with feet like appendages may have walked on land 433 million years ago. But we weren’t there to see it so the fossil evidence be d–ned.

  22. Dave Luckett

    Casey Loons, steamin’ and a-rollin’
    Casey Loons, you never have to guess.
    When you hear the Loony Tunes a-callin’
    It’s Casey at the throttle of the Woo-woo-whoop express!

  23. the 1999 Wedege Document aimed to have 30 published books and 100 scientific articles by their Felows within 5 years (i.e. by 2004). It also aimed “To see intelligent design theory established as the [italics]dominant[end italics] in science” within 20 years; that’s 5 years from now.

    What went wrong,I wonder.

  24. @Paul Braterman
    All those scientists and others with doubts about darwinism haven’t been able to provide a hint of what might be a mechanism which would produce a design in the world of life? When or where it might happen? All they have is that the design is the result of a design-producer? And that somehow, somewhere there’s got to be something wrong with evolutionary biology – please?

    Indeed, what went wrong!

  25. Quite so, Tom S. The really interesting thing about the IDiots is that they just don’t see that design without mechanism is vacuous. That’s because their assumption that the designer is also a miracle worker is so deep-seated that they don’t even recognise it as an assumption.

  26. “Can you also, Lucullus, affirm that there is any power united with wisdom and prudence which has made, or, to use your own expression, manufactured man? What sort of a manufacture is that? Where is it exercised? when? why? how?” Cicero (from Wikiquote) Academica II (Lucullus) XXVII, 87.
    There ought to be a parallel inferences to the “Intelligent Designer(s)” to
    “Powerful Manufacturers”.
    But also, because “necessity is the mother of invention”, there also had to be “Insightful Marketing” which knew what would fill the demand. We all know of clever products and well made which were a flop because nobody wanted them.

  27. michaelfugate

    One of the real issues is that no one seems able to distinguish ID from creationism – even the supporters of ID cannot sustain the ruse. The only conceivable designer is the Abrahamic God and the only conceivable design story is Genesis – everyone knows this. There is no science – only anti-evolution rhetoric.

  28. This is the latest in Luskin’s series on “An Imaginary Friend Writes.”

    No student. No email. Total fiction.

  29. PaulB thinks ” IDiots just don’t see that design without mechanism is vacuous”.
    Oh, but they do. This point has been addressed in their very own wedge document. I quote, but I won’t link:

    “The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built.”
    See? They begin with the very assumption.

    “This materialistic conception of reality”
    IDiots reject this, so they don’t need to bother about the assumption that their god – ooops, Grand Old Designer, blessed be his/her/its name – is a miracle worker.

    “Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies.”
    Here you have it again. Overthrowing materialism means IDiots don’t have to ask how their Grand Old Designer pulled it off.

  30. MichaelF sighs: “no one seems able to distinguish ID from creationism”
    That’s because IDiocy is a form of creationism. Creacrap only consists of two elements: Evolution Theory is wrong and Goddiddid.
    What I find interesting is how much bona fide apologists (those who claim to accept Evolution Theory and all science, though I have very strong doubts) have in common with IDiots.

  31. @mnbo
    I don’t know what you make of someone like Dobzhansky, who in his essay, “Nothing In Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution” referred to himself as a “creationist” because of his belief in God the Creator.

  32. I think that any meaningful theistic position faces insuperable problems, but since I’m not a theist they’re not *my* problems.

    Dobzhansky believed in God as the Creator of the Universe as a whole. Such a belief is non-scientific rather than anti-scientific. It was Darwin’s own view, according to his autobiography, at the time he wrote Origin of Species, and similar views are held by evangelicals like Venema and Catholics like Miller, who are eloquent protagonists of evolution and whom I therefore welcome, in this regard, as allies.

  33. Kenny Walter

    @Mike Elzinga-

    Take into account the socio-political aspects in America? Most certainly. Your post was well done, and quite relevant to the “Teach both sides/controversy” bs. I also take into account that biologists coined micro/macro, 2German philosophers created Creation Science/ID in the 1930’s(I think….date could be off) and the horrendous repeatacism by word play of the Panda book. My main point concerned their persecution complex, as if their grand and monumental, ground breaking new ID research/evidence wasn’t getting out there. It has, it does, and it’s always been about presuppositions not scientific study.

  34. michaelfugate

    Deuteronomy 6:16 -“You shall not test the LORD your God….”

    No wonder DI won’t do any science about creation.

  35. Mike Elzinga

    @ Kenny Walter

    My main point concerned their persecution complex, as if their grand and monumental, ground breaking new ID research/evidence wasn’t getting out there. It has, it does, and it’s always been about presuppositions not scientific study.

    Most of the crap that flows from these outfits makes good case studies in how to get basic concepts in science wrong at even the middle and high school levels.

    But, as case studies, these specific ones tend to kill one’s brains cells if one spends too much time with them. About 5 or 10 minutes of careful scanning of their materials is sufficient to spot the grotesque errors if one knows the science. It’s even quicker if one is already familiar with ID/creationist history and tactics.

    The “persecution complex” is a sectarian bonding technique peculiar to a rather melodramatic set of sectarians.

  36. @Mike Elzinga
    ost of the crap that flows from these outfits makes good case studies in how to get basic concepts in science wrong at even the middle and high school levels.
    The things that one can learn about by pursuing what creationism gets wrong! From the General Theory of Relativity and the languages and literatures of the Ancient Near East to US Constitutional law and film criticism.

  37. Mike Elzinga

    @ TomS

    For a number of years in the beginning of all this, the biologists were pretty much on their own. Even very few of us in the physics community tried coming to their rescue when Morris and Gish were bulling biology teachers with bogus physics.

    It has been nice to see the historians and literature folks recognizing the fake scholarship if the ID/creationists and stepping forward to call them out on it. The entire Religious Right has been concocting fake histories with the help of pseudo-historians such as David Barton. And their phony reconstructions of religious history and literature have been appalling.