Anaxagoras Joins the Discovery Institute

It’s been almost a year since the Discovery Institute added to their zombie legion of long-deceased members. We’ve described their tactic as the creepy practice of retroactively recruiting dead people in order to add prestige to what’s going on in their Seattle ministry.

They have an illustrious roster of long-deceased members, and occasionally they find a new cadaver they can dig up for display in their gruesome gallery. It’s a bizarre activity but it’s safe, because the dead can’t complain about the ignominy of being displayed in the Discoveroids’ Hall of Ancestors — which must look like the lair of some mythical monster, with the bodies of victims piled high.

Here are links to their earlier body-snatching episodes, starting with Thomas Jefferson, and then Alfred Wallace (because of some foolishness he wrote in his dotage), and then Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and then they really got carried away when Charles Darwin Joins the Discovery Institute, but his resting place in Westminster Abby was too secure, and no one took that pathetic effort seriously, and then James Clerk Maxwell, and then — this one was also rather audacious — Superman, and then William Jennings Bryan (of all the carcasses they’ve stashed in their cellar, only Bryan’s belongs there, because he would have voluntarily joined the Discovery Institute), and then Abe Lincoln, and last time we wrote about their macabre membership drive was Thomas Aquinas Joins the Discovery Institute.

Today, dear reader, the Invasion of the Discoveroid Body Snatchers continues. This was to be expected, because it fits nicely with their recent austerity program, which has resulted in downsizing the number of their living personnel. This just appeared at their creationist blog: Intelligent Design Is Older Than You Think — A Lot Older.

It was written by Michael Flannery, a Discoveroid “fellow.” He’s some kind of librarian at the University of Alabama, and he’s also an adjunct instructor of history and sociology — splendid qualifications for a Discoveroid. A previous post of his inspired us to write Beyond Despicable, in which he blamed Darwin for the atrocities of Stalin.

Flannery also plays the Hitler card — see Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part VI. Further, he wrote a biography of Alfred Wallace, which was published by — who else? — the Discovery Institute Press. Okay, you know what we’re dealing with. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

The modern intelligent design movement may be traced to a seminal meeting organized by Phillip Johnson at Parajo Dunes in 1993, although the Wistar Symposium of 1966 and a persistent march of Darwinian skeptics certainly prepared the soil for that fertile meeting. But ID as a concept long predates the twentieth century. Just as modern materialism and physicalism have their roots in the ancient atomists (notably Leucippus, Democritus, Lucretius), so too ID has a deep and rich history.

There’s no doubt that the “theory” of intelligent design has a deep history — so do all varieties of Oogity Boogity. It probably goes all the way back to the days when our ancestors still lived in caves. How far back are the Discoveroids going today? We’re told:

If one figure can be identified as the founder of ID, Anaxagoras may well fit the bill.

Anaxagoras? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! He died around 428 BC, and according to Wikipedia, in his description of the matter of which the world was made: “He introduced the concept of Nous (Mind) as an ordering force, which moved and separated out the original mixture, which was homogeneous, or nearly so.” Mind as an ordering force? He sounds like a worthy Discoveroid. Flannery tells us:

One of the preeminent pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, Anaxagoras (ca. 500-428 BC) held many ideas that would seem strange to us. He believed in the infinite divisibility of matter and that all natural elements could only give rise to their own kind, thus nothing in nature could spring from that which was not like itself.

Uh huh. Not much evolution there. Flannery then refers to a biography of Anaxagoras and says:

[H]is view of an “immaterial moving cause,” the Nous or Mind, that set everything in motion, “paved the way for a fully teleological view of nature.” It has been said that his concept of Nous as an activating motive force in nature earned him the sobriquet “Mr. Mind.”

The guy is definitely a candidate for the Discoveroids’ cadaver collection. Flannery continues:

Far from being an opponent of evolution, Anaxagoras was actually an early contributor to it. “According to Plato and Aristotle,” writes the famous American geologist-paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn, “this philosopher was the first to attribute adaptation in Nature to Intelligent Design, and was thus the founder of Teleology” [link to Flannery’s source].

Clearly he was no opponent of evolution [*end sarcasm mode*]. Here’s more:

In proposing Nous, Anaxagoras employed the abductive reasoning that paved the way for a very long and venerable tradition of ID. … Anaxagoras offers some instructive lessons to those who claim that ID is little more than Christian creationism opposed to evolution and science:

Among those “instructive lessons,” Flannery gives us this:

Predating Christianity and Genesis, his contributions could hardly be called Christian or creationist.

Well, he didn’t predate Genesis, but we won’t quibble about that. This is from Flannery’s final paragraph:

It seems clear that if ID’s detractors had as much regard for science education as they claim, they would at least have to acknowledge the foundations of a concept that has a long and enduring history in Western thought. Science is much more than a bench-bound activity; it has historical and cultural contexts as well.

So there you are. Now you know that the Discoveroids’ mystical thinking has a long history. That’s why it’s such great science. And so we welcome Anaxagoras to the Discoveroids’ Hall of Ancestors.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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13 responses to “Anaxagoras Joins the Discovery Institute

  1. The inclusion of Anaxagoras as a ‘founder’ of ID, or at least a contributor and/or supporter of ID, makes sense. With the recent outflow of star personnel from the Dishonesty Institute, e.g., Luskin, Dembski (and maybe soon others?), adding Anaxagoras strengthens this void in their fellowship. Dead people have been accepted on their anti-Darwin sign-up list for a long time,so why not make Anaxagoras a fellow (in abstentia) of the DI, he can’t reject the honor they wish to bestow on him, and add him to the anti-Darwin statement list as well!

  2. Ghoulish stuff, a bit like the Mormon practice of posthumous baptism.

    But I’m puzzled the DI are now try to boast about such ancient antecedents when I am sure I have heard them wail that ‘Darwinists’ are stuck in the 19th century, unlike the cutting edge researchers of I.D. theory.

  3. Richard Bond

    It is hardly a surprise if a pre-scientific philosopher in a religious country attributed things that he did not understand to supernatural influences.

  4. ID is older than we thought!?! Really because I thought it was the oldest non-thought done?!? As people afraid of the dark invented gawd as their #1 mistake when they were busy picking fleas off each others backs.
    Besides it is very old so it is right! So I guess we are all wrong cuz the idea of a flat earth is also old so it must be right.

  5. Eddie Janssen

    The next one the DI will enlist will be Rembrandt van Rijn. I donate 10 dollars to the Curmudgeon’s favorite charity if they announce someone else.

  6. michaelfugate

    Disembodied minds – ooo…that’s original.

  7. Interesting how ID has changed so little since Anaxagoras.

  8. That’s the point, Ed. Change is anathema to creationists.

  9. michaelfugate

    That’s the point, Ed. Change is anathema to creationists.

    I think making sense is anathema to creationists. AiG has evolution from the ur-species on the Ark to present-day biodiversity in 4000 yrs. For canids, that appears to be one new species every 20 years and the ability to migrate from Ararat to Patagonia. Change on steroids!

  10. @michaelfugate
    It is much less than 4000 years. In the Law of Moses there are mentions of many different animals, classifying them as clean or unclean, traditionally written about 1500-1200 BC, about 1000 years after the Flood. In the story of Abraham, about 500 years after the Flood, there are mentions of cattle, sheep, goats and camels.

  11. Thank you Curmudgeon !……I love Wallace. He demonstrated that the deep sea trenches separating SE Asia and Indonesia from Australia prevented primates from crossing onto the Australian continent, even during sea level low stands(Snedden et al 2008, sea level eustasy)..At least that’s my understanding, with a little geology mixed in. Therefore tree dwelling kangaroos in Australia fill the ecological niches occupied by primates in SE Asia, like the orangutang. Love the guy. Brilliant. So does Clint Eastwood apparently. …..And Pi, whose novel featured “orange juice”, the fantasy primate he used in place of his mother, in his alternate story about his life as a lifeboat survivor in “Life of Pi”.
    Now inevitably, someone on this blog will know more about primates and island arcs than I and will humbly correct/redirect/shred my comment. Feel free. I’m a geologist, not a primate paleontologist. HOWEVER, I know what I like and I really like a lot of Wallace’s stuff.

  12. Here are links to their earlier body-snatching episodes, starting with Thomas Jefferson, and then Alfred Wallace (because of some foolishness he wrote in his dotage), and then Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and then they really got carried away when Charles Darwin Joins the Discovery Institute, but his resting place in Westminster Abby was too secure, and no one took that pathetic effort seriously, and then James Clerk Maxwell, and then — this one was also rather audacious — Superman, and then William Jennings Bryan (of all the carcasses they’ve stashed in their cellar, only Bryan’s belongs there, because he would have voluntarily joined the Discovery Institute), and then Abe Lincoln, and last time we wrote about their macabre membership drive was Thomas Aquinas Joins the Discovery Institute.

    Recruiting the dead I’d expect from DI, since one of their arguments has always been that this famous person or that (who, being dead, can’t object) was a “creationist” whether or not they’d ever heard of them, or of Darwin either.

    But Superman? Are “intelligent design” advocates really so desperate that they have to recruit “supporters” from the comic books?

  13. When will someone more sexy or “rock-star” status make the list? John Dillenger robbed banks because they were funding left wing, anti-creationist research in Nazi Germany.

    Jerry Garcia formed the Grateful Dead after reading Genesis on acid….