Discoveroids’ Fourth of July Creationism Lesson

Liberty Enlightening the World

Before we descend into the depths to discuss the latest from the Discovery Institute, we wish all of our American readers a happy Fourth of July.

Now then, try not to let it spoil your holiday, but as they traditionally do on this day, the Discoveroids have once again hijacked poor ol’ Thomas Jefferson. For an earlier example, see Thomas Jefferson Joins The Discovery Institute!, and for another Discoveroid post with the same distortions and quote-mining they’re using today, see Discoveroids Again Hijack the Fourth of July

At the Discoveroids’ creationist blog we find this year’s episode of intellectual body-snatching: We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident. It was written by Stephen Meyer. Not only is he a Director, Vice President, and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, he was a central figure in the infamous Sternberg peer review controversy. Here are a few excerpts from Meyer’s post, with bold font added by us for emphasis.

On Independence Day, it’s appropriate to review the sources of our rights as citizens. There is one source that is more basic than any other, yet that receives less than the attention it deserves. I refer to the idea that there is an intelligent creator who can be known by reason from nature, a key tenet underlying the Declaration of Independence — as well as, curiously, the modern theory of intelligent design.

This is ghastly stuff, but it’s our Curmudgeonly mission to show you what the Enemies of the Enlightenment are doing. Then Meyer declares:

The birth of our republic was announced in the Declaration through the pen of Thomas Jefferson. He and the other Founders based their vision on a belief in an intrinsic human dignity, bestowed by virtue of our having been made according to the design and in the image of a purposeful creator. As Jefferson wrote in the Declaration, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”

We’ve seen the Discoveroids and other creationists, quote-mine the Declaration before. We discussed it in Discoveroids Again Hijack the Fourth of July. This time, Meyer, like the rest of them, conveniently leaves out the Declaration’s first sentence. You know, the one that says the American people were assuming “the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” entitle them. But who or what is “Nature’s God” who functions according to the “Laws of Nature”? Does it sound like Yahweh? No, it doesn’t, and that’s why creationist quote-miners always skip Jefferson’s first sentence. Let’s read on:

Jefferson himself thought that there was scientific evidence for design in nature. In 1823, he insisted so in a letter to John Adams …

We discussed that same letter in the post we just mentioned. Meyer continues:

Taken to heart, Darwin’s view of man does undermine the vision of the Founders.Fortunately, discoveries in modern biology have challenged this perspective and vindicated Jefferson’s thinking.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! How does modern biology challenge Darwin’s perspective and vindicate Jefferson’s non-existent Discoveroid opinions? Here’s how, according to Meyer:

Since 1953, when Watson and Crick elucidated the structure of the DNA molecule, biologists have increasingly come to recognize the importance of information to living cells.

[…]

Software programs come from programmers. Information — whether inscribed in hieroglyphics, written in a book, or encoded in radio signals — always comes from a designing intelligence. So the discovery of digital code in DNA points decisively back to an intelligent cause as the ultimate source of the information in living cells.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — information! [*End Drool Mode*] See Phlogiston, Vitalism, and Information. And now we come to the inspirational end of Meyer’s post:

The growing evidence of design in life has stunning and gratifying implications for our understanding of America’s political history — and for our country’s future. On the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the evidence for “Nature’s God,” and thus for the reality of our rights, is stronger than ever.

We hope that didn’t ruin your holiday, dear reader. But it’s important to remain aware of the ceaseless efforts of those who want to undermine our civilization and return us to the ignorant, theocratic days of the Dark Ages.

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

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

20 responses to “Discoveroids’ Fourth of July Creationism Lesson

  1. Entirely disgusting. But in keeping with these creationist calls for christianizing America, Hobby Lobby, notorious for its anti-contraception stance, has published in the Seattle Times (home of the Dishonesty Institute), an absolutely disgusting one-page ad extolling the fact that America is indeed a christian nation, and like Meyer, quote mines far and wide, Jefferson, et. al, SCOTUS judges (all on the losing side of verdicts), and other nauseating attempts to make their case. But this is all in keeping with Meyer’s, the Barton’s, the DI, and the right-wing religious fanatics to remold America as an anti-science, pro-faith nation.

  2. “Information — whether inscribed in hieroglyphics, written in a book, or encoded in radio signals — always comes from a designing intelligence.”

    Here we go again. What is so f’ing hard to understand about the “information” accumulating- a little bit at a time – over billions of years?

  3. michaelfugate

    The Hobby Lobby ad was in my local paper too.

    Given that Jefferson died before 1859, the creationism charge is empty.

    Here is Jefferson on education:
    In a letter to Senator Joseph C. Cabell (9 Sept. 1817)

    Basic education should be available to all.
    Education should be tax-supported.
    Education should be free from religious dictation.
    The educational system should be controlled at the local level.
    The upper levels of education should feature free inquiry.
    The mentally proficient should be enabled to pursue education to the highest levels at public expense.

  4. Wasn’t IDiocy supposed to be scientific?

    “idea that there is an intelligent creator” “is one source (of our rights as citizens) that is more basic than any other.”
    And I always thought that Newton’s Law of Gravity was the most basic one. Apparently according to Twaddle Meyer (Dutch: kletsmeier) IDiocy even trumps that one.

    Time to use my checklist once again.

    1. Denial of Evolution Theory: check.
    “discoveries in modern biology have challenged this (Darwinian) perspective .”

    2. Paley’s False Watchmaker Analogy: check.
    “Software programs come from programmers.”

    3. God of the Gaps: check.
    Not quoted by our dear SC, so direcly taken from Meyer’s twiddle twaddle:
    “No theory of undirected chemical evolution has explained the origin of the digital information in DNA.”

    Twaddle Meyer is a full blown creacrapper. The way he connects his pseudoscience to politics only confirms it.
    And of course as a Dutchman living in Suriname I cannot refrain from pointing out that Thomas Jefferson, like all other Founding Fathers, is of exactly zero political relevance for me. Evidence: I today just had to work (but will be off Wednesday).

  5. MichaelF points out: “Here is Jefferson on education:”
    Jefferson sounds like a goddamn socialist!

  6. But even if the Founding Fathers were outright creationists, then what? The Declaration is from 1776, last time I checked we were well into the twenty-bloody-first century. It’s like saying we shouldn’t be eating potatoes because King Henry didn’t either.

  7. Ah yes, dear Stephen Meyers, who in recent articles was so vociferously in favour of Brexit (along with Klingy):

    Americans should welcome the prospect of their British cousins freeing themselves from the EU’s suffocating embrace

    But oddly, the only reasons Meyer gives for urging Britns to opt for Brexit is because he believes such to be in the best American interest, e.g.

    The reflexive hostility to U.S. interests was also clearly evident in the EU reaction to the U.S. war effort in Iraq

    Meyer seems to be blissfully unaware that the UK, then a full member of the EU, actually joined the US invasion of Iraq; nothing in our membership of the EU prevented that. And–given the outcome of that particular folly–one must add: unfortunately.

    In two days time, we finally get to see long, long awaited Chilcot Report, which is not expected to confirm Meyer’s view that the UK was wise to listen to the US rather than its European neighbours at the time of the Iraq war…

  8. Draken consults his non-Paley watch:

    last time I checked we were well into the twenty-bloody-first century

    That’s what I thought, too, until very recently. But I fear that on both sides of the Atlantic, the reactionaries are on a roll in their unceasing efforts to turn back the clock…

  9. It is true that 18th century deists like Voltaire believed in a “clock-maker” God. BTW, many of them used several of the standard “creationist” arguments to argue for preformationism (rather than reproduction).

  10. Charles Deetz ;)

    This is the part that frosts me, as alluded to by mnbo:

    the evidence for “Nature’s God,” and thus for the reality of our rights, is stronger than ever.

    And thus the designer has created ‘rights’. It’s bad enough that christian conservatives have decided that god has given us rights that aren’t in the bible, but now this is somehow scientifically supported by Meyer. Of wait he is just bringing his religious bias to his otherwise scientific writing … they need a better editor.

  11. Megalonyx echoes the Disco Toot:

    The reflexive hostility to U.S. interests was also clearly evident in the EU reaction to the U.S. war effort in Iraq

    I think Mr Meyer mistakes our concern for stability in the ME with hostility to (real or imagined) U.S. interests. Incidentally, it is also the EU which now has to cope with the tremendous fallout of Bush’s last blunder.

  12. docbill1351

    Poor widdle Stevie. He knew he was washed up after he got laid off from ARCO. An honest day’s work just ain’t his style!

  13. It seems like the DI is becoming more overtly religious every year, or perhaps more accurately, they are hiding it less every year.

    What happened to the old argument that they were just “following the evidence?”

  14. @DavidK & michealfugate:

    Hobby Lobby’s full-page ad promoting “The Christian States of America” must be in papers nationwide; it was in the Lafayette, Indiana Journal & Courier as well.

  15. Eric Lipps

    Software programs come from programmers. Information — whether inscribed in hieroglyphics, written in a book, or encoded in radio signals — always comes from a designing intelligence. So the discovery of digital code in DNA points decisively back to an intelligent cause as the ultimate source of the information in living cells.

    Not at all. Meyer’s analogy can be restated as follows: “All information created by human beings comes from an intelligent source. Therefore, all information comes from an intelligent source.”

    Put that way, it’s obviously ridiculous. Addressing specifics, since DNA is double-stranded and that it encodes information (that word again!) by way of only two combinations of four nucleotides, the information it contains is inescapably digital. So what? That proves nothing whatever about the origin of that information,

    I can’t help wondering whether people like Stephen Meyer are really stupid enough to believe the kind of stuff he’s spouting or are, rather, ripping off the rubes (I’m sure there’s good money in the creationist racket) in the name of religion.

  16. docbill1351

    happened to the old argument that they were just “following the evidence?”

    . What, that old chestnut? So last century!

  17. The DNA nucleotide sequence is *NOT* digital. Digital bits have only two values, generally referred to as TRUE and FALSE or ONE and ZERO. At any one location in the nucleotide sequence there are 4 possible values, not two. A triplet of digital bits has 8 possible encodings, while a triplet in the genetic code has 64 possible encodings (2^3 vs 4^3, respectively). What creationists have done is to misrepresent the data as being “digital” to further their eternally misinformed lame arguments. This is no surprise to anyone who has been watching their antics for years, if not decades.

  18. Zetopan notes

    The DNA nucleotide sequence is *NOT* digital. … What creationists have done is to misrepresent the data as being “digital” to further their eternally misinformed lame arguments.

    Precisely.

    What is particularly egregious (IMHO) is their use of “encode” to describe an activity which can only be performed by an ‘intelligent agent.’ But counter-examples abound, e.g., growth rings in trees ‘encode’ annual precipitation, geologic strata ‘encode’ rates of sedimentary deposits, &c &c.

  19. I beg to differ about “digital” being only “binary”, excluding “octal”, or “decimal” (as in “digital clock”), or “sexagesimal”. “Digital” is ordinarily meant in contrast to “analog”, in discrete steps rather than continuously varying.

  20. DNA is also not sequential. It’s a molecule, and reacts, or doesn’t react, with other molecules as it encounters them.

    Computer programs, unlike DNA, do not execute randomly.

    Also, computer programs require a processor to be executed. There is no CPU in the cell. Computer programs require memory to store data which can be accessed later. There are no memory banks in the cell.

    Computer programs do not split their code in half to be merged with a half of another, different, computer program, to form new and different codes, some of which might work and some not. Computer programs do not age. They do not occasionally mutate and destroy the computer they reside in.

    Living organisms do not have their DNA updated in an annoying fashion every year.

    etc.