Discovery Institute Attacks John Glenn

What John Glenn recently said about teaching evolution has been all over the news, and we knew it wouldn’t be long until we heard from the creationists. But before we get to them, here’s what the famed astronaut and former United States senator said, according to an article at PhysOrg: John Glenn: Evolution should be taught in schools.

John Glenn, who declared as a 77-year-old in a news conference from space that “to look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is to me impossible,” says facts about scientific discovery should be taught in schools — and that includes evolution.

You can imagine the anguish that causes creationists. Here’s more:

The astronaut, now 93 with fading eyesight and hearing, told The Associated Press in a recent interview that he sees no contradiction between believing in God and believing in evolution.

“I don’t see that I’m any less religious by the fact that I can appreciate the fact that science just records that we change with evolution and time, and that’s a fact,” said Glenn, a Presbyterian. “It doesn’t mean it’s less wondrous and it doesn’t mean that there can’t be some power greater than any of us that has been behind and is behind whatever is going on.”

That’s quite acceptable to your Curmudgeon, but you know it’s driving the creationists crazy. The first to react is the Discovery Institute. They just posted this at their creationist blog: John Glenn, Please Don’t Let the Media Tarnish Your Reputation. It doesn’t have a byline. They say, with bold font added by us:

Out of all the content in reporter Julie Carr Smyth’s interview with John Glenn, the Associated Press selected this for the headline, now echoing around the country: “John Glenn: Evolution should be taught in schools.” Since many readers never make it past the headline, this is the message they got from the AP: An American hero wants to keep Darwin in science class, with the implied background that nefarious creationists and other science deniers, the favorite bogeymen of the popular media’s imagination, must be plotting to push Darwin out.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s a media conspiracy! Then they attempt to soften their remarks:

Let’s be clear: John Glenn is a great American. [We’ll skip the rest of the reluctant praise they knew was essential.] So what did he actually say about teaching evolution? All that Ms. Smyth records is this:

Then they repeat the same words that PhysOrg quoted. Here’s their reaction:

It would not be appropriate to challenge an American hero on such an occasion, much less an honored senior citizen. If someone else had said this at a younger age, though, one wishes that a well-informed reporter had been present to ask some follow-up questions and bring greater clarity to the issues:

Then they give us the questions that someone “well-informed,” presumably a Discoveroid, should have asked, such as:

Sir, are you talking about Darwinian evolution, or just “change”? Change over time is uncontroversial, but if you mean Darwinian evolution as an explanation of how complex life forms arise, that’s defined as unguided, purposeless, blind change. Evolutionary theory is restricted to material processes, with no intelligence “behind” it. Do you not see a contradiction between that and belief that “some power greater than any of us… is behind whatever is going on”?

Oh yeah, some clever Discoveroid, maybe Casey, could have reduced Glenn to tears with that. How would Glenn have reacted? For some reason, that brings to mind the reaction of another astronaut when he was confronted by a Moon-landing denier: Buzz Aldrin punches Bart Sibrel after being harassed by him. Hey, if the Discoveroids can imagine putting questions to Glenn, we can fantasize about his response.

Okay, the Discoveroids’ relentless — but imaginary and therefore safe — cross-examination of Glenn continues:

You spoke about “some greater power” in your statement. Is that an intelligent power, or is it a material force like gravity? Do you believe that intelligence has power?

Wow — that’s a tough one! Glenn would have been squirming. Here’s more:

Is evolution (in the Darwinian sense) really a “fact of scientific discovery”? Or, instead, is it a paradigm through which a great many scientists interpret facts and thereby preserve, without their necessarily even realizing it, an ideology of materialism that frequently gets confused with what “science says”?

It’s lucky for Glenn that those Discoveroids weren’t there to rip him to shreds. We’re leaving out several of their questions, but you can click over there to see them all. If you bother to do so, note that their questions somehow fail to ask Glenn about all the evidence contradicting evolution. Oh, that’s right — there isn’t any. After their barrage of questions, they say:

It’s sad to see confusion about Darwinian evolution persisting in the media year after year. What matters is the evidence, not an argument from authority or the opinion of an aging hero that misguided reporters can latch onto and proclaim in bold headlines.

The Discoveroids would never latch on to someone with a good reputation who, in his dotage, embraced mysticism. Well, there’s Alfred Wallace, Philip Skell, Thomas Nagel, and probably a few others we can’t think of at the moment. But that’s different — they finally recognized The Truth, so it’s okay if the Discoveroids exploit them. Here’s how they finish:

Mr. Glenn, out of our respect for all you have done for America, there is still time to wipe off this bit of tarnish from your reputation, allowing your words to shine with clarity.

We don’t need to say anything, do we? Okay, but only this: Well done, John Glenn!

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

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18 responses to “Discovery Institute Attacks John Glenn

  1. I admit to having a good laugh at that ENV post.

    Glenn is not running for office or anything else. It seems to me that he is simply being honest. And honesty used to be one of those things that were valued by Christians. But I guess honesty no longer matters at the DI.

  2. Out of all the content in reporter Julie Carr Smyth’s interview with John Glenn, the Associated Press selected this for the headline, now echoing around the country: “John Glenn: Evolution should be taught in schools.” Since many readers never make it past the headline, this is the message they got from the AP: An American hero wants to keep Darwin in science class, with the implied background that nefarious creationists and other science deniers, the favorite bogeymen of the popular media’s imagination, must be plotting to push Darwin out.

    What, you mean they’re not? They consider evolution a fundamentally (so speak) wrong and savagely evil theory, and yet they’re willing to keep it in the schools as long as Genesis, er, pardon me, “intelligent design” is given “equal time”? Give me leave to doubt.

  3. @Neil Rickert: It’s not that honesty no longer matters at the DI; they’ve never shown any interest at all in honesty.

  4. waldteufel

    . . .and the slimeballs in Seattle wonder why they get no respect.

  5. waldteufel

    @abeastwood, Amen.

  6. Charles Deetz ;)

    Just a point of clarification needed for me … does the DI believe in a ‘creator’ or a ‘designer’? I thought they were all about the designer god, but this rant is pretty hard on Glenn from the perspective of a creationist.

  7. @Charles Deetz😉

    I’m not sure that ID cares any more about distancing themselves from creationism. I’d say that that campaign turned out to be a flop. It was too transparent to fool anyone, and too subtle for their political base.

  8. Derek Freyberg

    I notice that no-one at ENV thought fit to sign their name to that piece-of-sh*t commentary (I would have spelt it out, but don’t know what the Curmudgeon’s filters would have done to it if I had). I hold no brief for Glenn, since he insists on invoking creation, but to trash him like this for a merely accomodationist point of view (as in, teach the science but I believe in xxx) is truly disgusting; and ENV should be glad it doesn’t allow comments, because I think they would get them in plenty, and wouldn’t like them.

  9. “It’s sad to see confusion about Darwinian evolution persisting in the media year after year.”
    I totally agree. The website maintained by the IDiots from Seattle is a prime example.
    John G, my respect – coming from an obnoxious hardcore atheist. The world needs more people like you.

  10. “It would not be appropriate to challenge an American hero on such an occasion, much less an honored senior citizen.”

    Since when does the Dishonesty Institute have any qualms or reservations about criticizing anyone regarding their support of evolution? Problem with John Glenn is he’s too well known and a hero and they’d shoot themselves in the head if they berated him.

  11. Diogenes' Lamp

    The Discoveroids would never latch on to someone with a good reputation who, in his dotage, embraced mysticism. Well, there’s Alfred Wallace, Philip Skell, Thomas Nagel, and probably a few others we can’t think of at the moment.

    You forgot philosopher Anthony Flew.

    If Glenn had said, “Gravity should be taught in schools”, would the Decepticons shriek “Do you really mean mindless, purposeless gravity? Surely mindless, blind falling conflicts with your religious beliefs. You seem to be implying that proponents of Intelligent Falling want to keep Newton out of schools. Actually we don’t want to kick Newton out of schools; we just want to teach the strengths and weaknesses of the theory that objects fall towards the Earth. Also we want all modern forms of scientific theories about gravity, including General Relativity and quantum gravity, to be referred to as “Newton” . It makes our 2,000 year old Bible look slightly less ancient and obsolete when we exclusively describe a 21st century science by giving it the name of a 17th century dead man. By saying, ‘Gravity should be taught in schools’, you have tarnished your reputation, Mr. Glenn.”

    How the $%&* do the Decepticons conclude that because an astronaut says “Evolution should be taught in schools”, he has “tarnished” his reputation? “Tarnished”? $%*king Discovery Institute propaganda psy-ops fanatics. If Glenn had said, “Math should be taught in schools”, the Decepticons would prepare the Texan execution chamber.

  12. Diogenes' Lamp

    …After saying, “Do you mean blind, purposeless math?”

  13. michaelfugate

    Is evolution (in the Darwinian sense) really a “fact of scientific discovery”? Or, instead, is it a paradigm through which a great many scientists interpret facts and thereby preserve, without their necessarily even realizing it, an ideology of materialism that frequently gets confused with what “science says”?

    Yes, yes it is.
    No, no it isn’t. As per Glenn’s comment that he still believes in God despite evolution being true.

  14. This DI piece is a real winner! Often as their pieces may amuse, this one brought on a genuine belly-laugh when set alongside their policy statement from their website, to wit: Discovery Institute’s Science Education Policy (emphases in the original):

    As a matter of public policy, Discovery Institute opposes any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education. Attempts to mandate teaching about intelligent design only politicize the theory and will hinder fair and open discussion of the merits of the theory among scholars and within the scientific community. Furthermore, most teachers at the present time do not know enough about intelligent design to teach about it accurately and objectively.

    Instead of mandating intelligent design, Discovery Institute seeks to increase the coverage of evolution in textbooks. It believes that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, and they should learn more about evolutionary theory, including its unresolved issues. In other words, evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned.

    Their fantasy interrogation of Glenn really does show how deceitful are the weasel-words of their policy statement!

  15. Apologies for this one, as it is insanely off-topic here–but it is just too much damned fun and cries out to be shared: Chinese translation app looks into the souls of Republicans – in pictures

    Could almost be a Creative Challenge here to guess what Baidu would make of photos of Ham, Luskin, Westie, Klinghoffer &c &c

  16. Diogenes’ Lamp says: “You forgot philosopher Anthony Flew.”

    Ah, that’s the one! I knew I was leaving someone out.

  17. John Glenn had another bout with loonys. Remember when some crack pot yelled “The Earthquakes! The Earthquakes!” and then socked him in the face? The alert Glenn detained his own attacker.

  18. Why would the DI care that someone says that there’s no contradiction between believing in God and accepting evolution? They keep insisting that the designer they caught red-handed hiding in the “gaps” is not necessarily God. Behe even famously said that their designer might no longer even exist. Since the DI has not “expelled” him that is likely the official Discoveroid position. If they even seriously think they caught any designer.

    The answer of “why they care” is of course that they want it both ways. They want the rubes to think they found God, and critics to obsess over the designer’s identity, instead of asking them what their designer did, where, when and how.