A Discovery Institute Plea for Tolerance

This is an old theme of the Discovery Institute, related to their endless complaints about “viewpoint discrimination.” At their creationist blog we find Tolerate Differences in Scientific, Not Just Political, Viewpoints. It was written by Sarah Chaffee, whom we call “Savvy Sarah.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us.

In his New York Times column recently, Nicholas Kristof offered A Confession of Liberal Intolerance. A liberal himself, Kristof acknowledges that universities welcome many kinds of diversity — except the political and philosophical kind. We could add another: viewpoints on evolution and intelligent design.

Clever, huh? Everyone knows that universities are biased toward what is currently called “liberalism” — which in previous generations was known as left-wing political thinking. The Discoveroids hope to use that as a vehicle to complain about bias against their “scientific theory” of intelligent design. Flat-Earthers, astrologers, alchemists, faith healers, Moon landing deniers, and others should pay close attention to Savvy Sarah’s argument, because they can use it too.

She quotes from the Times article, which speaks of conservative scholars staying “in the closet” early in their careers and then “coming out” after receiving tenure. Then she says:

This hostile environment sounds uncannily like the one ID proponents face. Think of Richard Sternberg, who as editor of Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington faced retaliation after publishing a peer-reviewed article favorable to intelligent design.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! She’s talking about the infamous Sternberg peer review controversy. A paper about intelligent design by Discoveroid Stephen Meyer was approved only by Richard von Sternberg, without submitting it to the usual process of peer-review. This is the statement issued by the journal when they withdrew Meyer’s paper: STATEMENT FROM THE COUNCIL OF THE BIOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON. Savvy Sarah gives us the Discoveroids’ interpretation:

Scientific orthodoxy in academia poses a threat to anyone who may not have the “correct” Darwinian perspective. At Discovery Institute, we’re very cognizant of this.

Yes. That’s why they created their own, in-house journal, BIO-Complexity. She continues:

[E]ducation benefits from consideration of multiple viewpoints. Indeed, testing ideas against each other is vital. That absolutely requires intellectual diverstiy [sic]. Yet we’ve seen case after case of universities that have forgotten this.

Then she gives one of our favorite examples:

It’s interesting, for example, to reflect on how differently Baylor University would have treated advocates of intelligent design and evolution skepticism if scholars and administrators valued such diversity in science. Perhaps Baylor wouldn’t have removed William Dembski from his post leading the Michael Polanyi Research Center, which engaged in ID-related research … .

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The Discoveroids never tire of reliving their old catastrophes. We wrote about that incident — see Intelligent Design’s Brief Shining Moment. Here’s how Savvy Sarah concludes her post:

Few have, like Kristof [the Times columnist], recognized the importance of political diversity in higher education. But thankfully that is changing, slowly. Fewer accept the value of diverse views on origins science. But one hopes that will change too.

The Discoveroids are dreaming of the day when the value of teaching their pseudo-science will at last be recognized. The only appropriate way to end this post is with a link to Cinderella singing Someday My Prince Will Come.

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

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17 responses to “A Discovery Institute Plea for Tolerance

  1. They want us to tolerate them?? You mean I missed the part where we bombed their buildings and took away their ‘let’s be stupid’ license?

  2. Tolerance in scientific inquiry? What a stupid concept. These folks seem not to grasp the idea that many of us DO cover intelligent design in our classrooms. Unfortunately for the DI it is to present the concept to the students who quickly and nearly unanimously conclude that it is a vacuous argument that cannot even be considered a theory.

  3. Everyone knows that universities are biased toward what is currently called “liberalism” — which in previous generations was known as reality-based thinking.

    There. Fixed it for you.

  4. Our Curmudgeon notes

    The Discoveroids never tire of reliving their old catastrophes.

    To be fair: what else have they got? To recap their timeline for achieving various milestones, as set out in The Wedge Document (1998):

    Five Year Goals (viz., by 2003):

    * To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory

    * To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science

    * To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda

    Twenty Year Goals (viz., by 2018):

    * To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.

    * To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, eithics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its influence in the fine arts.

    * To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.

    It is remarkable that, with barely 18 months remaining on their schedule without a single item of their 20-year plan acheived, that they still have donors with deep pockets…

  5. Eric Lipps

    Sadly, that’s not remarkable at all. There are always suckers and out-and-out nuts with trainloads of money.

    We can all breathe sighs of relief that their deep-pocketed donors have received so little value for their valuta.

  6. As a follow-on to Eric Lipps statement it might be logical to quote W. C. Fields: “You can fool some of the people some of the time and that’s enough to make a living”

  7. Savvy Sarah says “Indeed, testing ideas against each other is vital.” Actually in science, a field apparently unknown at the Discovery Institute, ideas are generally tested against reality. The more data that agrees with an idea, the more likely it is to be correct. Sorry Sarah, bronze age myths don’t count as data about scientific reality.

  8. michaelfugate

    When you send off your paper to be published and the Results sections consists of “My intuition is that my hypothesis is correct. Why waste time and money collecting data when one can just goes with one’s gut?”, it will likely be rejected.

  9. docbill1351

    The vapid “Savvy” Sarah is recycling the Gerb’s old articles! Awwwww, the hommage to our dearly departed (but not forgotten!) Attack Gerbil is touching.

    I’m so delighted that the Disco Tute sent vapid “Savvy” Sarah to Cut ‘n’ Paste school and she should be in line for a purple Participation Ribbon! A round of *golf claps* for vapid “Savvy” Sarah.

    We all know that Gruppen IDiot von Sternberg planned his escape well having long departed his honorary editorship before Meyer’s rotting corpse of recycled thesis material was found stinking up the news stand. And Dembski wasn’t bounced by Baylor because of “viewpoint discrimination,” nay, Dr. Dr. hung his own career by the rope of his antisocial, un-collegiate behavior, cut down by the very person who hired him, Baylor President Sloan. However, the stench of Dembski’s odious presence on the Baylor campus lingered for years such that the Distinguished Professor Sir Robert Marks the Second, Esquire, Piled Higher and Deeper, lost a grant, office space and a web server during Episode VI – Return of the Dumbski. If ever a person could earn a doctorate in “Never Darken Our Doorway Again” we would have Dr. Dr. Dr.

  10. @docbill1351

    I think I understand about one word in three of that.


  11. You have to read docbill’s rants as though they are being spoken by Lewis Black. Then it makes complete sense.

  12. @Ed

    I meant it as a compliment.

  13. Aw, colleges and universities set policies without consulting the Disco Tute. The entire field of science does the same. Aw.

  14. @Cynic: At some point, they should also heed W.C. Fields advice that stated, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then give up. There’s no sense in being a damn fool about it.”

  15. docbill1351

    You have to read docbill’s rants as though they are being spoken by Lewis Black. Then it makes complete sense.

    I am not worthy.

  16. docbill1351 says: “I am not worthy.”

    Your comments always make sense to me. Perhaps we both have worthiness problems.

  17. docbill1351

    Well, actually, I didn’t realize that I could channel Louis Black; I always thought it was my third grade teacher yelling at me about my penmanship.

    “You’ll never amount to anything, boy, if you don’t dot your i’s and cross your t’s!”

    But, thanks to Ed, it does sound good read en Black.