Discovery Institute Banned by Methodists

From time to time we mention that the National Center for Science Education has a list of Statements from Religious Organizations that support evolution. It includes Methodists.

Somehow, the Discovery Institute has just discovered that fact, and it has infuriated John West,whom we affectionately call “Westie.” He is vice President of the Discovery Institute, and he runs their creationist activities.

There are two posts on this subject at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog today, which we’ll ignore, and they’ve also issued a press release: United Methodist Church Under Fire for Banning Intelligent Design Group, says Discovery Institute . Here are some excerpts from their press release, with bold font added by us:

The slogan of the United Methodist Church (UMC) is “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.” But, according to Discovery Institute, UMC officials are now under fire for being closed-minded and intolerant after they banned the intelligent design organization, from sponsoring an information table at the denomination’s upcoming General Conference in May. Intelligent design is the idea that life and the universe show evidence of being the result of purposeful design rather than unguided processes.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The Methodists wouldn’t even let the Discoveroids have an information table at their conference. Westie is shocked — shocked! The press release quotes Westie:

“Preventing United Methodist leaders from even hearing about intelligent design isn’t open-minded, it’s intolerant and exclusionary,” said Dr. John West, Vice President of Discovery Institute. “Maybe United Methodist officials should change their slogan to ‘Closed Hearts, Closed Minds, Closed Doors’? As a private organization, the UMC has the right to exclude us as an exhibitor. But UMC officials’ embrace of censorship undermines their own professed commitment to open doors and open minds.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s censorship! This is an outrage! But the Discoveroids ought to be used to this sort of thing. It’s happened before — see Discovery Institute: Spurned by the Vatican. Let’s read on:

“As a United Methodist, I’m disheartened and appalled,” said Michael Flannery, a university professor who is also a Discovery Institute Fellow. “Methodist officials who are trying to stop discussion before it starts certainly don’t speak for me or for many other United Methodists in the pews.”

Michael Flannery? He’s some kind of librarian at the University of Alabama, and he’s also an adjunct instructor of history and sociology. The last time we wrote about one of his contributions to the Discoveroids’ blog was Anaxagoras Joins the Discovery Institute. The press release continues:

Discovery Institute is calling on those who think the United Methodist Church should live up to its slogan of encouraging open minds and open doors to contact Judi Kenaston, the chair of the UMC’s Commission on the General Conference, the group that made the decision banning Discovery Institute. “Urge Ms. Kenaston and the Commission to live up to their church’s slogan and be truly open-minded,” said West.

The Methodists must be trembling. The full force of the Discoveroid public relations apparatus is being mobilized against them. How long can they hold out against that kind of pressure? We shall see.

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27 responses to “Discovery Institute Banned by Methodists

  1. Perhaps someone should contact the Discovery Institute and demand that they post information about Buddhism, Islam, and the Flat Earth Society at their center and website.

  2. It’s the Wedge strategy in reverse, and it’s a growing movement.

  3. For a real kick, check out the correspondence between the DI and UMC which the Disco’Tute has published here. It’s a wonderful example of Westie’s bullying style!

  4. Perhaps someone should contact the Discovery Institute and demand that they post accurate information about evolution and climate change at their center and website.

  5. So, by this logic, when Anti-Abortionists hold a rally, they should be sure to invite Planned Parenthood and the local Pro-Choice groups.
    I have to assume that the UMC feels that groups that support their beliefs and agenda are the ones that should be included in their General Conference. Obviously they feel that the Discovery Institute does neither. Even though the DI here gave lip service to the UMC being a private organization, as you can see, they really don’t believe that. They insist that they should be included. So if the KKK wanted a table, the UMC should allow it? How about NAMBLA? Apparently private organizations aren’t allowed to draw any lines. OK, Christians, time to sign up for enrollment in Muslim Schools!

  6. Mike Elzinga

    I happen to know a little about the position of the United Methodist Church on this issue. Back in the 1970s and 80s I was giving talks on “scientific” creationism, and one of the churches where I gave these talks was the United Methodist Church.

    I also happen to know that the UMC has kept abreast of the ID/creationist movement and disapproves of their tactics and knows that ID/creationism is a fraud. Many of the ministers of this church have given a complete series of sermons on just what is wrong with what ID/creationism is attempting to do. They know the score on these people.

    That set of email exchanges between John West and the UMC, to which Megalonyx linked, is a marvelous exhibit of restraint by the officials of the General Conference of the UMC. West doesn’t know what the officials of that conference know about ID/creationism, and it appears that the UMC has taken the position of not informing the DI of just how much they know about ID/creationist history. Good for the UMC!

  7. The reaction by the DI when they come across an organization that sees through their pretense is to bully them. They sound like the fictional Darwin lobby they complain so much about.

    So, what have they accomplished? They’ve highlighted to their followers that a mainstream religious organization considers them to be wrong in their “science” and no different from other creationists. They could have remained silent and just taken the blow, however the DI is psychologically incapable of doing that. They are a lot like Ken Ham in that.

  8. Westie,

    They are being open minded towards science, what you’re peddling isn’t science.

  9. I posted a response on Stephen Myer’s facebook page where he whines about that. The link and my response is stored here:

  10. michaelfugate

    UMC and everyone else is ROFL when Westie says we are an educational and research organization. Not to mention when he claims DI and ID are not religious, yeah right.
    What part of no doesn’t Westie understand? What does he think will happen if he were to get a list of exhibitors?

  11. Derek Freyberg

    From the NCSE’s website on statements by religions:
    “The United Methodist Church (2008) *
    WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church has for many years supported the separation of church and State (¶ 164C, Book of Discipline, 2004, p. 119);
    Therefore, be it resolved, that the General Conference of The United Methodist Church go on record as opposing the introduction of any faith-based theories such as Creationism or Intelligent Design into the science curriculum of our public schools.”

    That would seem to cover it – the UMC doesn’t want ID in schools, so there’s not much point in allowing them into their General Conference to push materials that might be used to support the teaching of ID in schools.

  12. Dear Discovery Institute: someone is not “under fire” just because you’re upset with them.

  13. Derek Freyberg

    And I see that the Klinklepooper has added his whine to the package, making it three posts today on EnV bemoaning the failure of the UMC to allow the DiscoDumpsterDivers to shovel their sh*t at the General Conference. For a man who posts on a website that doesn’t allow comments, he has a strange view of the rights of the UMC. They’ve even posted a special page (linked to by the Klink) telling you how to make your voice heard. It’s tempting to write and say “good for you”, but I’ll leave that to others. It’s hard to believe that the Tooters have nothing better to do, but maybe desperation is setting in.

  14. The Discoveroids are whining about free speech and censorship, but those concepts have no applicability to a non-governmental organization. Their inconsistency is amazing, because they have no problem when a religious school throws out someone who teaches evolution.

  15. I assume, with your long experience, that “amazing” has a figurative meaning, SC.

  16. Wait, why would the Discovery Institute, which claims to care about science, want to discuss their “theory” with a church group? It’s almost as if what they’re peddling is religion, and not science.
    It is a head-scratcher.

  17. Has anyone from the D.I. complained about being excluded from U.M.C. events in the past? Why did it take Westie seven years to write a slasher piece about the U.M.C. policy decision? Is the U.M.C. having to deal with some issues from it’s own peanut gallery and the D.I. is hoping to cash in?

  18. michaelfugate

    Does anyone actually think the DI doesn’t want creationism/ID in public schools? That if an opening appeared they would be inside the door within the hour? That “academic freedom” bills weren’t proposed as a means to get ID in schools and trash-talk science in hopes evolution will lose out?

  19. I just read the Klingon’s whining. Is it just me, or is the DI kinda going overboard on this? Haven’t they already wasted untold mountains of money in order to spread their cult ideas on the public throughout America and abroad? Shouldn’t they be proud of that? Why do they care about one church conference?

    Is there something going on behind-the-scenes in Seattle, I wonder? It seems like the DI folks are just a tad stressed right now. Normally, they save their vitriol for biologists and geologists, not churchy types. Is it post-Kitzmiller anniversary depression? Is it post-Gerbil depression? Hmmm.

  20. It’s heartening to see the church in which I was confirmed (lo these many years ago) take a stand against the DI’s efforts to “wedge” creationism into public schools. Thanks, Mike Elzinga, for the information about the UMC’s stand.

    For what it’s worth, the Methodist church I attended in my childhood and youth placed less emphasis on being a “good Christian” than on being a good person.

  21. Dave Luckett

    I put it to the assembly that the crucial point is that it is a Church function that has excluded the DI. That’s why it galls the DI so much.

    The DI have long realised that their magical quackery is not going to get anywhere with scientists. Kitzmiller proved that they haven’t a leg to stand on in court. They’re steadily losing in the public arena. Pretense aside, they know that they can only appeal to religious groups.

    But many – probably most – of those have also rejected the DI’s nonsense. The Roman Catholic church, for example, specifically endorses the theory of evolution. The Clergy Letter project is a standing rebuke to them. So when a Protestant denomination with a tradition of individual testimony tells them that it will not entertain their nonsense either, it really stings. Religion is their real gig. Getting kicked by a religious group is a loss of turf, and that’s painful. That’s why the furious reaction.

    But the fury of that reaction merely reinforces what really matters to the DI. They’re a religious group. What matters to them is a patently religious idea – that God created living things miraculously, by fiat. They have no science, and not the slightest interest in pursuing science. They are only, solely, completely and entirely involved in smuggling a religious idea into public education in defiance of the Constitution. That’s their gig. That’s it. That’s all of it. The rest is camouflage, subterfuge and and downright lies, and every word they write demonstrates it again.

  22. Only that I suggest that the opposition to evolution is a social and political one, which uses religion.
    There is the revulsion to being related to the rest of life, especially to monkeys and apes, where the relation is so obvious – because it is so obvious. And there is the appeal of political authoritarianism.
    Other than “young Earth”, any appeal to Scripture is obviously bogus. There is much more Scriptural backing for the fixity of the Earth than for the fixity of species.

  23. Westie writes that as a private organization the UMC can do whatever it wants … BUT

    Oh, no, Westie, you can’t follow that statement with a “but!” The UMC can do whatever they want “period.” End of story.

  24. I’m sure that at the next Intelligent Design Prayer Service General Conference, the Ohio State University Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology will have it’s own booth.

  25. @Mark Germano: I think the LSCF* should have a booth there.

    *Legion of Sensuous Curmudgeon Followers

  26. “Preventing United Methodist leaders from even hearing about intelligent design isn’t open-minded, it’s intolerant and exclusionary,” said Dr. John West, Vice President of Discovery Institute. “Maybe United Methodist officials should change their slogan to ‘Closed Hearts, Closed Minds, Closed Doors’? As a private organization, the UMC has the right to exclude us as an exhibitor. But UMC officials’ embrace of censorship undermines their own professed commitment to open doors and open minds.”

    “Preventing United Methodist leaders from even hearing about intelligent design isn’t open-minded”—it’s impossible, given ID’ers’ relentless quest for publicity and confrontation.

  27. Preventing … from even hearing about hearing about intelligent design

    Indeed, there is no difficulty in finding out what is being said.

    But one can point out that many people have been asking about the positive substance, and have been prevented “from even hearing about it” – by its very advocates, who refuse to go beyond “something, somehow is wrong with evolution”. That being called a matter of petty details.