Discovery Institute Challenges the World

You have certainly heard about Darwin’s Doubt (Amazon listing), the book by Discoveroid Stephen Meyer, which is being wildly promoted by the Discovery Institute. One of the last times we wrote about it was “Darwin’s Doubt” Is Setting New Records, in which we reported that the Discoveroids were ecstatic that the book had received 700 customer reviews on Amazon.

Today at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog, they’re still wild about the book, but they’re furious that the scientific world is ignoring it. Their post, which has no author’s byline, is The Great Cambrian Whitewash. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Stephen Meyer’s book Darwin’s Doubt has been out for almost three years.It has over 700 reviews on Amazon (78 percent five-star, 6 percent four-star).

That’s a great indicator of scientific merit! We searched, and found a list of the Most Reviewed Items On Amazon. The top three are Harry Potter books. Lord of the Rings is number five, with 3,540 reviews. Anyway, back to the Discoveroids’ post:

When it came out in 2013, it ranked #7 for hardback nonfiction on the New York Times bestseller list. And last year, a follow-up book, Debating Darwin’s Doubt, addressed all the known objections to the original work.

Oh yeah, the sequel. The Discoveroids thought very highly of it — see The Discoveroids’ #1 Story for 2015 Is …. But somehow, fame and glory have been elusive. The Discoveroids think they know why. They say:

To read most of the scientific journals, though, you would think they know nothing about this. … It is simply not possible that the authors of these papers, and the editors of these journals, are unaware of the controversy. Meyer has raised a significant challenge to the usual Darwinian explanation for the sudden appearance of complex animal life in the fossil record. It’s time for the journals to face it and engage the scientific debate.

We sympathize with the Discoveroids. It’s not easy to be at the cutting edge. The frustration they feel must be like that experienced by the genius who proposed the Time Cube. The rest of their post is a wild rant against the cruel world which has denied them the recognition they deserve. We’ll give you a few of their better lines.

After criticizing an article in Nature about the Cambrian explosion, which somehow ignores Meyer’s book, the Discoveroids declare:

Such writing has all the comfort of Pravda telling the captives behind the Iron Curtain, deprived of alternative sources of information, that the famine will soon be over. Science should abjure a closed society. Besides, journals cannot afford the luxury of one-sided propaganda in this internet age.

Journals look foolish when they adopt the three-monkey posture, “Hear no controversy; see no controversy; speak no controversy.” The smart strategy is to deal with it openly, so that consumers in the marketplace of ideas can decide who has the better product.

Yeah, that’s how science should be done — let the public decide! Later in the rant, they return to the Cold War analogy:

Communist ideologues were masters at interpreting every economic condition, including the failures in Russia and the riches in the West, in terms of class struggle and economic determinism. Yet now we look back at the fruits of that closed system. Science should abhor iron curtains.

The Discoveroids think we’re trapped behind the iron curtain of science! And here’s the thundering conclusion:

What are they hiding behind that wall? What do they have to lose by engaging scientific challenges? … The time for détente, for glasnost, has arrived. Good things follow.

Will the world of science wake up and pay attention to the Discoveroids? The Soviet Union eventually collapsed. Perhaps the Darwin conspiracy will do likewise. We shall see.

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

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31 responses to “Discovery Institute Challenges the World

  1. When in doubt make false comparisons between evolutionary biology and communism, the donors love that $@&%.

  2. it ranked #7 for hardback nonfiction on the New York Times bestseller list

    Oops! Category error there at the NYT.

  3. Another lame example of the Tooters trying to show their generous, if drooling, patrons that ID has anything to do with reality.

  4. I can imagine the writer of this trash falling off a cliff, in agony, crying all the way down to the infinite abyss, or bottom of the barrel, why is everyone ignoring this magnificent book?

    I’ve seen it in my bookstore filed in the religion or clearance section where it belongs, if not in the dumpster, price cut to a couple of bucks. So 78% + 6% = 84% out of 700 reviewers, maybe total readers, which comes out to 588 people. Wow. I gave it a 1 star, that’s as low a ratting as I could give in my review.

  5. Christine Janis

    “It is simply not possible that the authors of these papers, and the editors of these journals, are unaware of the controversy.”

    Of course it is. Very few scientists have even heard of Stephen Meyer, let alone this book. Scientists don’t read books published by non-scientific publishers, at least not for any science updates.

    “It’s time for the journals to face it and engage the scientific debate.”

    I agree. It’s time for more real scientists in real science journals to join Charles Marshall and declare Darwin’s Doubt “a systematic failure of scholarship”

  6. Christine Janis

    From ENV

    “Meyer would grant Fox and Nature all the oxygen they could ever want.”

    Good, because oxygen levels were certainly Expelled from Darwins’ Doubt.

  7. michaelfugate

    I have no idea what it is that the DI want scientists to concede? Agent gods exist?

  8. Did it ever occur to the Discotoot that the way you get noticed in scientific journals is that you submit papers to them? Well, yes they probably have, but I have no doubt that their papers were rejected – they’re just not able to admit that their work doesn’t measure up to scientific standards. NO scientific papers are ever accepted because they sold a few copies on Amazon!

  9. Similarities between the DI and communism:
    – both want to shackle minds.
    – both lie about history.
    – both lie about their intentions.
    – both lie when they mess things up.
    – both have defectors that have revealed how dreadful their movements really are.
    – both don’t like what science is and how science is done (I’ve seen remarkable examples of this in Cold War-era paleontological literature from Russia and China).
    – both tell scientists what they “should” and “shouldn’t” do or say or think.
    – both have been failing and getting smaller through time.

  10. Well gee, that’s a bit of a cynical assessment. Oh. Right.

  11. Curse you, St John, for the unfortunate timing and location of your otherwise excellent post.

  12. michaelfugate

    I guess if you stick your fingers in your ears and shout “Nyah, Nyah, Nyah….”, then the Meyer’s book could be an alternative to science as reported in Nature.

    Here is the link to the paper – not sure if it is open access….

  13. The DI doesn’t want to have the Cambrian “explosion” taken away from them. They are right about one point increased oxygen levels can’t explain the origin of complexity of living things. But the implication of oxygen is that the explosion wasn’t actually about complexity but just increased size and fossilizability, so the “sudden” appearance of complex fossils does not mean that complex anatomy evolved suddenly. So the “explosion” goes away, and creationists have lost yet another talking point. Science progresses, creationism doesn’t so such losses are inevitable. But no less painful for being inevitable.

  14. @michaelfugate: I was going to put a reference to the paper version in — my copy of Nature just came today and I was fascinated by the article. Oh, and the references are all to real scientific articles published in real scientific journals. The DI writer is correct — the reference list has no mention of Darwin’s Doubt or other creationist nonsense.

  15. @michaelfugate & @abeastwood: No worries. The creationists popped up in the comments of the Nature article. What would a scientific article be without their “Were you there?” comments?

  16. Gerardus Bouw and Gordon Bane’s masterful A Geocentricity Primer / The Geocentric Bible 7 is now in it’s 2nd and 7th editions! (Respectfully; such a tour de force as this needed to be packaged as an omnibus.)

    “To read most of the scientific journals, though, you would think they know nothing about this. It’s time for the journals to face it and engage the scientific debate.”

    The astronomy establishment is blinded by its Galilean presuppositions!

  17. “tute says”to read the scientific journals, you would think they know nothing about this”.
    Some people are just stupid……

  18. Charles Deetz ;)

    Reading the Nature article, I don’t see how ID would even fit into this research and analysis. About as insightful and useful as discussing the power of god in the movie Diehard.

  19. @Gary, I saw some when I read the article. “we shouldn’t waste time and money on this question because there are more “important” things [- like not contradicting my religious belief]”….

  20. Christine Janis

    ” —–but I have no doubt that their papers were rejected ”

    Most unlikely that they were ever submitted. Can you imagine the publicity they’d rouse up if a particular journal and a particular editor rejected their paper? it would be Sternbergate all over again.

  21. I don’t doubt that Darwin’s Doubt has lots of favorable reviews on Amazon—but how many are from people who weren’t committable, er, I mean committed, creationists before the book ever came out? And how many are the result of organized campaigns to get rank-and-vile, that’s rank-and-file creationists to puff the book online?

  22. Erwin & Valentine’s book The Cambrian Explosion came out about the same time as Darwin’s Doubt. I would consider that book to be a more than adequate counter point from the scientific perspective. There are numerous other published papers and books that address the scientific view on the Cambrian – why does the DI expect scientists to respond to their book specifically? The scientific position is clearly stated already, and nothing in Darwin’s Doubt refutes it. Darwin’s Doubt just pop-sci from a non-scientist targeted to readers with little knowledge of evolution. The title alone indicates it’s level of scientific argument.

    The DI should publish scientific papers in scientific journals if they want scientists to directly respond to their ideas. Of course, that would mean doing actual research, which is apparently a non-starter for the DI.

  23. Wait a second, why would the ‘Tooters even WANT the Cambrian Explosion? OK, it presents a slight problem to pure Darwinian evolution, but the modern synthesis has already incorporated this into their model. Even if the ‘Tooters could get the CE within their 6000 year time scale, the very existence of the event really screams against any kind of “intelligent design.”

    The CE shows what can only be called a giant experiment, all kinds of creatures and body structures are tried out and most of them fail. The all powerful designer (Blessed be He!) is sort of a deranged Edison trying out thousands of “filaments” most of whom are destined to die out quickly?

    There is no sense in which the CE helps the DiscoTooters in any way, shape or form.

  24. Telling Ahmanson that no one is listening to them and that his millions are not contributing to the glory of Oogity Boogity seems questionable tactics from the DI.

  25. Eddie Janssen says: “Telling Ahmanson that no one is listening to them and that his millions are not contributing to the glory of Oogity Boogity seems questionable tactics from the DI.”

    He’s probably already asking why they aren’t making more progress, and this is their way of explaining the difficulties they’re up against.

  26. I suspect you’re right. The triumphalism of the IDiots sounds quite desparate in my ears. Perhaps you must start preparing for the nothingness after their downfall, now there is still time.

  27. but I have no doubt that their papers were rejected .

    To my knowledge the Tooters have never submitted papers. Yeah, they sneaked one in via a fellow creationist Tooter fellow, a highly unprofessional and unethical fellow at that, but even that paper, called Meyer’s Hopeless Monster, was pulled on publication day. Even when the ID-friendly Templeton Foundation offered generous grant money for “research” into ID, the Tooters failed to submit a single proposal. Should have been a slam dunk.

    Face it, the Tooters don’t want to do any work. They just want to sit there in their dingy second-floor walk-up over the smelly gym and count their donations.

    And why all the ballyhoo about the Cambrian Explosion? Simple. It was the subject of Meyer’s philosophy of science thesis. Yep, way back in grad school. And Meyer hasn’t made a single word of progress since. His “publication” was a rehash of his thesis, as was Darwin’s Doubt. Same old, same old. It’s all he’s got. It’s all he’ll ever have. I’m sure we can look forward to “Darwin Still Doubting” in the distant future.

  28. michaelfugate

    It is very clear how ID works. 1) Believe in God 2) Believe the God you believe in is an agent today 3) Find evidence that could be construed as consistent with beliefs 1 and 2 while ignoring all evidence that is inconsistent.

    1) is why they rail against materialism/naturalism – its a black and white world either you are for God or you are against God.
    2) is why they rail against theistic evolution – their god must be free to intervene at any time and at any place – especially the special creation of humans. It is why they can be all over the place accepting evolution at times and rejecting it at others – their “science” is entirely situational.
    3) is the god o’ the gaps theology that dominates their efforts – the Cambrian, consciousness, origin of life, etc. any place they sense uncertainty.

  29. michaelfugate

    What is hilarious is Meyer’s analogy to top-down v. bottom-up evolution of phyla. He uses an analogy to vehicles – claiming that humans poofed flight, rail, road and water vehicles as separate classes and then modified each of those into subcategories (e.g. air led to balloons, helicopters, planes, jet packs) to insist that God poofed phyla into existence first and then came classes, orders, families, etc. A bottom-up evolution makes much more sense for human transport than does top-down. Start with a few simple forms and through trial and error make them more complex. Idiot.

  30. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

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    To see most of the scientiists, though, you would think they know nothing about this. It’s time for the scientists to face it and engage in the mirth. The smart strategy is to deal with it openly, so that consumers in the marketplace of ideas can decide who has the better product (ProTip: It’s Accoutrements Inc.). Etc. Etc.

    Why aren’t more scientists wearing them in the lab?

  31. Interestingly, when I searched for “Creationism” on Amazon, the first book listed was “Darwin’s Doubt.”

    Appropriately categorized.