Discoveroids’ Response to the Scopes Trial

Last week we posted Klinghoffer & The Scopes Trial, about the Discovery Institute’s promise that tomorrow they would reveal something special to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Scopes Trial.

We’ve been eagerly awaiting their announcement, and we think we found out what it is from something called Religion News Service. This press release appears at their website: For the 90th Anniversary of the Scopes Monkey Trial, Discovery Institute Documents the Intense Scientific Debate over “Darwin’s Doubt”. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

July 21 marks the 90th anniversary of the famed Scopes “Monkey” Trial in Dayton, Tennessee, a historical landmark that continues to confuse the controversy about evolution.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Are you confused, dear reader? The press release then explains the “confusion”:

Defenders of Darwinian theory present the conflict between unguided evolution and intelligent design as if it had not advanced one bit since Clarence Darrow jousted with William Jennings Bryan over Biblical literalism before a courthouse crowd in 1925.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Science has made enormous advances since then. It’s the creationists who are mired in the past. For example, see William Jennings Bryan Joins Discovery Institute, and also John West & William Jennings Bryan. Let’s read on:

The truth is very different. To commemorate the Scopes trial, Discovery Institute Press will publish Debating Darwin’s Doubt: The Scientific Controversy That Can No Longer Be Denied, a sequel to Stephen Meyer’s 2013 New York Times bestseller, Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design.

Wowie — a sequel! Aren’t you thrilled? The press release continues:

The new book documents the intense controversy sparked by Dr. Meyer’s book, which argues for intelligent design (ID) from evidence of the great Cambrian explosion [blah, blah, blah].


“The hip new buzzword is ‘denial,’” says the book’s editor, Discovery Institute senior fellow David Klinghoffer. “Darwin skeptics, intelligent design advocates, proponents of academic freedom for science teachers and researchers — all these are lumped together as ‘science deniers.’ The real ‘deniers’ are Darwinists who insist there is no real scientific debate about life’s origins. You could call them ‘debate deniers.’”

Yes, dear reader, Klinghoffer knows that you’re the real denier, because you deny that there’s a real scientific debate. Here’s more:

Among the book’s 44 chapters are 10 by Stephen Meyer, who received his PhD in philosophy of science at Cambridge University. Other authors, led by William Dembski, Douglas Axe, Ann Gauger, David Berlinski, Paul Nelson, and Casey Luskin, also take on the critics.

Ooooooooooooooh — all the Discoveroid intellectual giants! This is the last paragraph:

Klinghoffer noted, “We are making progress — in changing minds, yes, but also in deepening the argument for ID. Debating Darwin’s Doubt proves that, unequivocally. As the saying goes, ‘The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on.’ Darwinist defenders may not realize it, but we are leaving them behind.

So there it is — the Discoveroids’ promised response to the anniversary of the Scopes Trial. Now you know. Aren’t you excited?

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30 responses to “Discoveroids’ Response to the Scopes Trial

  1. Full disclosure: in my professional life, I was a biologist. I never knew anyone who thought about “…the conflict between unguided evolution and intelligent design as if it had not advanced one bit since Clarence Darrow jousted with William Jennings Bryan over Biblical literalism before a courthouse crowd in 1925.” In fact, I know of no scientist who cared about intelligent design at all, since the scientific evidence that evolution occurs and that it’s major driving force is natural selection is so overwhelming. There’s not even anything in the “intelligent design” nonsense to leave behind — as far as I can see, it has no theory, no data or experimental results and nothing that’s worth thinking about. IDers, if you come up with some real theory and some data, we can discuss your results.

  2. abeastwood, you’re nothing but a wretched debate denier!

  3. Diogenes' Lamp

    IDcreationist: There are no transitional fossils!

    Scientist: Here’s a list of 80 transitional fossils.

    IDcreationist: Uh… All parts of an irreducibly complex structure must appear simultaneously. IC structures can never evolve. What use is half an eye?

    Scientist: All claimed “irreducibly complex” structures have been found in reduced form. We have observed the evolution of IC structures. Here’s a list of half-eyes in nature that are useful to their owners.

    IDcreationist: Uh… um… all phyla first appear in the fossil record, fully formed, during the Cambrian explosion!

    Scientist: Half of all phyla do not appear in the fossil record at all because soft parts don’t usually fossilize. Of the phyla with a fossil record, several make their first appearance before or after the Cambrian explosion. Of those that first appear in the Cambrian explosion, they’re usually not fully formed relative to the living phylum members.

    IDcreationist: See? He’s arguing. That means there’s a controversy! Teach the controversy!

  4. Charles Deetz ;)

    @Diogenes … awesome takedown, but you forgot the ending whine “But ID is science!”

  5. michaelfugate

    Defenders of Darwinian theory present the conflict between unguided evolution and intelligent design as if it had not advanced one bit since Clarence Darrow jousted with William Jennings Bryan over Biblical literalism before a courthouse crowd in 1925.

    Au contraire David, biologists have continually widened the gap between evolution and intelligent design/creationism. In 1925, it was equivalent to the distance from the earth to the moon, now it is the earth to the nearest neighboring galaxy!

  6. I breathtakingly await this new book, hoping it finally documents all the evidence, in minute detail, for ID as well as all the many new scientific discoveries made, based on ID, over the past 90 years. Here’s an example:

  7. … Darwinists who insist there is no real scientific debate about life’s origins.
    Is it now just a matter of the origin of life on Earth?
    It has been a long time that the YECs have conceded that there is “micro-evolution”, under which they include the natural appearance of new species and genera (and who knows what else).
    ID appeared, in Pandas and People in 1989, pointing to the appearance of fins and scales of fish, and wings and claws of birds, seemingly drawing the line at the level of taxonomic class or thereabouts.
    And doesn’t Darwin’s Doubt concentrate on the Cambrian Explosion and the appearance of new animal phyla, essentially throwing in the towel on hundreds of millions of years of vertebrate evolution?
    So it isn’t so surprising to see the “debate” being now over the first appearance of life on Earth.

  8. LOL. We don’t like hip words like “deniers”. But words like “Darwinists” are OK.

  9. michaelfugate

    Here are some DK chapters from the new book:
    Introduction: No debate over darwinian evolution?
    Gripe-fest turns surreal
    Reviewing the reviewers: A taxonomy of evasion

    And one by Casey
    Hostile responses change a thoughtful reader

  10. The new book is at Amazon — Debating Darwin’s Doubt. And get this: the publisher is Discovery Institute Press.

  11. michaelfugate

    Wow! Out of 44 Chapters -13 are by Casey, 11 by Meyer, and another 8 by Klinghoffer – 32 out of 44! It’s like Casey’s chapter “Are Biologists Coming to Reject Neo-Darwinian Evolution? where he mentions one biologist Simon Conway Morris – that’s it one. Nothing like diverse opinions.

  12. waldteufel

    The Discoveroids drool out:
    “Darwinist defenders may not realize it, but we are leaving them behind.”

    Yes, we are left standing, scratching our heads in amusement as we watch the Dicoveroid Buffon Bus race toward intellectual oblivion.

  13. …Discovery Institute Documents the Intense Scientific Debate over “Darwin’s Doubt”

    The DI is confusing “debate” with “ridicule.”

    And it was hardly “intense”. As I recall, only a few scientists bothered to post anything at all about it, and then it was only a scathing online review or two. It appears to have gone largely unnoticed in the scientific community.

    I wonder if the book will describe the so-called “intense debate” with references to who was debating and in what form. Will they “Document” whose opposing views? Perhaps include an appendix with references to all the papers, conference minutes, etc. that would be generated during a scientific debate, both pro and con. Will they include chapters written by actual scientists describing the views of mainstream science on the issues? Alas, we know the answer. There will be no documentation of any debate, real or imaginary.

    Also, isn’t it interesting that when they publish their books, they pretend that no one ever provides any real scientific criticism of their writing – they supposedly just make attacks etc. but do not engage the issues – and yet here they are publishing an entire book claiming that there is “intense scientific debate” over one of their books.”

  14. Christine Janis

    @Ed The DI are probably deluded about DD because of the “intense debate” going on at the Amazon reviews, where a few scientists (myself included) do keep playing along and trying to keep the actual science in focus.

    These “debates” consist of, for instance, a creationist called Gervais consistently claiming that the only reason I obtained my PhD was because I performed oral sex on the members of my thesis committee. I wonder if there’s something about that in this new book.

  15. michaelfugate

    I am wondering how science would actually differ if every scientist opened his or her mind (or is it his or her heart?) to the possibility of an intelligence that could design/create a universe? I know the DI and Meyer in particular thinks this would make a difference – he believes something is lacking in current science – but he can’t articulate what difference it would make. Intelligence is not needed to adequately explain design in nature and even the purposes for those designs.

  16. SC said:
    …the publisher is Discovery Institute Press.
    So no one will touch this book, not even the religious sides of the publishing world. The “DIP” or more appropriately, the “VDIP” for Vanity Discovery Institute Press.

  17. @michaelfugate
    One of the minor difficulties with “Intelligent Design” is the fact that design, by itself, does not produce anything other than a plan. There must be an implementation of the plan, something must work on the materials according to the plan. The plan is needed to take account of the properties of the materials so that the desired goal is achieved.
    Yes, there is a difference between designing and creating. Creation is ex nihilo (from nothing). Design takes account of what is possible, given the prior state of things.
    So there is a lot of explaining to be done before one can even begin to take “Intelligent Design” seriously. Whatever ID is like, it is so different from any design that we are acquainted with, that nobody knows what to make of it.

  18. Thanks Tom S – I have often made this point elsewhere. And, either the designer or the builder where not particularly good!

  19. michaelfugate

    Its the old “MOM” problem – means, opportunity and motive – which is pretty difficult in relation to God (which is the DI’s designer).

    See if this helps from theologian Keith Ward,

    “God is a non-physical being of consciousness and intelligence or wisdom, who creates the universe for the sake of distinctive values that the universe generates.”

    I didn’t think so.

  20. Why resort to contrivance, where power is omnipotent? Contrivance, by its very definition and nature, is the refuge of imperfection. To have recourse to expedients, implies difficulty, impediment, restraint, defect of power.

    William Paley, Natural Theology

  21. James St. John

    > “Stephen Meyer, who received his PhD in
    > philosophy of science”
    This means that Meyer has no training or significant knowledge about fossils, the Cambrian, stratigraphy, neontology, genetics, etc.

  22. As the saying goes, ‘The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on.’

    And the Discovery Institute’s intellectual mutts sure do a lot of barking as the caravan of progress leaves them behind.

  23. The new book documents the intense controversy sparked by Dr. Meyer’s book

    “Intense controversy”? My memory was that the book (i) received a few positive reviews from (generally misqualified) fellow travelers, (ii) received damning reviews from the few experts that actually noticed its existence, and thereafter (iii) disappeared completely from the notice of anybody who is not either an ardent creationist or an ardent creationism-watcher.

    An “intense controversy” requires that both sides give two hoots — and a single hoot of laughter from the scientific community, followed by its complete disappearance from the scientific discourse, doesn’t cut it.

  24. I’m bitterly disappointed. I had hoped for a pungent critique of the “Inherit the Wind” version of the story. There is room for such a critique; see e.g. Phillip Johnson’s analysis in “Defeating Darwinism”. I am writing a piece on the subject and was hoping for usable material.

    Hrafn: Don Prothero’s shredding on Amazon of Darwin’s Doubt is masterly; for this, Matzke, and the DI’s responses see and links therein.

  25. And – one point we’ve all missed – why *Religion* News Service, if ID is all about science?

  26. Tom Rowland

    Christine Janis states that a IDiot accused her of

    the only reason I obtained my PhD was because I performed oral sex on the members of my thesis committee

    Funny… Replace “PhD” with “Discovery Fellowship” and members of my thesis committee” with “Luskin and Caseyand ” and we’ve found the ultimate qualification to be a “Creationist Gynecologist”, or whatever…

  27. michaelfugate

    Paul, Meyer – in the role of Bryan – answering Darrow’s questions – that would make an interesting book.

  28. Indeed, Michael. As far as I can make out (I’m still reading up on this), Bryan was an Old Earth creationist but wanted to hedge his bets because of McCready Price, Adventist YEC and founder of the Flood Geology school of interpretation. For Bryan read Meyer;for Price read Ham.

  29. michaelfugate

    Certainly from Bryan’s testimony – he didn’t think a Biblical day was a 24 hour day, but he reminds me of Sandy in “Creationist Wisdom # 596” as being completely uninterested in science.

  30. michaelfugate

    I know this is old news now, but if anyone wants to see what Stephen Meyer really thinks and why it is correct to say ID is all about religion see:

    “Return of the God Hypothesis”

    You also might be interested in Pennock’s rebuttal in “Debating Design”

    Also the review of Darwin’s Doubt on Biologos might be helpful.

    It is clear that Meyer thinks he can prove God’s existence through science.
    Many people have pointed out the flaws in this argument, but Meyer either can’t or won’t engage with those arguments.

    If and when science changes and it will change, then, under ID, God is in trouble; you are tying belief in God to human understanding of the natural world.