Discovery Institute Celebrates Nothing

In the first month of this humble blog’s existence we wrote Discovery Institute — An Insider’s Tale. It presents recollections of the Discoveroids’ early days from the viewpoint of Ross Anderson, one of their first “senior fellows,” who wrote:

… I am a recovering Discovery fellow. For a few weeks back in 2001, I worked with Chapman and Co. — not on Darwinism, but on transportation …

Anderson described the early struggles of Bruce Chapman, the Discoveroids’ founder, until he attracted large sums for promoting intelligent design, after which:

Intelligent design was on its way to becoming an intellectual jihad in the nation’s culture war. Armed with a growing array of new books, issue papers, videos, and DVDs, the Science and Culture campaign openly aspired to drive a “wedge” (Discovery’s word) into the heart of Darwinism, to “defeat materialism” and replace it with intelligent design.

That’s when Anderson left the Discoveroids. He’s referring, of course, to their Wedge strategy, about which we wrote What is the “Wedge Document”?

With that as background, you’ll be ready to appreciate the newest post at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog: Celebrating Bruce Chapman, George Gilder, and 25 Years of Discovery Institute!, which has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

It’s been a year of special anniversaries. We have marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Center for Science & Culture, and the 20th anniversary of the publication of Michael Behe’s book Darwin’s Black Box [link omitted], which helped to launch the intelligent design revolution, as we document in the new hour-long video Revolutionary [link omitted]. Equally significant, 2016 marks the 25th year since a pair of daring visionaries and onetime Harvard roommates, Bruce Chapman and George Gilder, founded our institutional home, Discovery Institute.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] Their 25th year! This humble blog was around back when they celebrated their 20th anniversary, about which we wrote: Discovery Institute Celebrates Its Cult Founding. Anyway, their new post then says:

So we flew to Washington, DC, for a reception celebrating the achievements of Chapman and Gilder with friends from the world of politics. Thank you to our host committee, including Becky Norton Dunlop, Ken Blackwell, Ed Feulner, Ed Meese, Steve Forbes, and Grover Norquist.

Good grief — we recognize some of those names! Steve Forbes is no idiot — he’s the Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine. Edwin Meese, according to Wikipedia, was Ronald Reagan’s Attorney General from 1985 to 1988, “a position from which he resigned while under investigation from a special prosecutor.” They add that he now “serves as an Adjunct Fellow at the Discovery Institute.” Ah well, back to the Discoveroids:

This is obviously a busy and exciting time in the nation’s capital. We were delighted to see new and old friends and colleagues, including Discovery Institute Senior Fellows Bill Walton (currently co-heading the economics team for the Trump Administration’s transition to the White House) [Aaaargh!!] and Jay Richards, co-author of Privileged Planet and editor of The Stream.

The celebratory post continues:

Naturally, Bruce Chapman and George Gilder were in the spotlight at the Ritz-Carlton in McLean, VA. Discovery Institute president Steve Buri introduced Gilder with reflections on the past and future:

What follows is a huge quote from Buri’s introduction of Gilder. Here’s one small part of that:

Discovery has been changing minds and influencing policies for a quarter century. [Hee hee!] We take on big challenges, and we think long term. One of those big challenges is represented by our work on intelligent design — led by Senior Fellows Steve Meyer and John West — and our related efforts to defend scientists, teachers, and students who question Darwinian orthodoxy.

The Discoveroid post ends with this:

George Gilder was brilliant as always in sketching the guiding philosophy of Discovery Institute as only he can. We will share his remarks in a subsequent post. Happy anniversary, to us all, and not least to our friends George and Bruce!

It sounds like a whole lot of nothing. Hey — wait a minute. Only a few months ago they posted about the 20th anniversary of the founding of their creationist think tank — the Center for Science & Culture. That’s when we wrote Discovery Institute: 20 Years of Failure. We discussed the goals of their Wedge Document and said: “The Discoveroids have failed at everything. Their grand crusade has gone absolutely nowhere.”

That’s still true, but they’re celebrating. Well, at least they’re being consistent. They’ve accomplished nothing and they’re celebrating nothing. That’s what creationism is all about.

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

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10 responses to “Discovery Institute Celebrates Nothing

  1. michaelfugate

    Two old, rich, white males trading off Harvard degrees to further enrich the 1%. The Wikipedia page on Gilder highlights his views on women (barefoot and pregnant) and society “Secular culture is in general corrupt, and degraded, and depraved. Because I don’t believe in secular culture, I think parochial schools are the only real schools.”

    What could anyone possibly be celebrating?

  2. Being consistent is not high in the priorities of antievolutionism.

  3. michaelfugate

    Gilder’s bloviation on design:

    Throughout the history of human thought, it has been convenient and inspirational to designate the summit of the hierarchy as God. While it is not necessary for science to use this term, it is important for scientists to grasp the hierarchical reality it signifies. Transcending its materialist trap, science must look up from the ever dimmer reaches of its Darwinian pit and cast its imagination toward the word and its sources: idea and meaning, mind and mystery, the will and the way. It must eschew reductionism — except as a methodological tool — and adopt an aspirational imagination. Though this new aim may seem blinding at first, it is ultimately redemptive because it is the only way that science can ever hope to solve the grand challenge problems before it, such as gravity, entanglement, quantum computing, time, space, mass, and mind. Accepting hierarchy, the explorer embarks on an adventure that leads to an ever deeper understanding of life and consciousness, cosmos and creation.

    Evolution and Me:The Darwinian theory has become an all-purpose obstacle to thought rather than an enabler of scientific advance.National Review. July 17, 2006

  4. We were delighted to see new and old friends and colleagues, including Discovery Institute Senior Fellows Bill Walton (currently co-heading the economics team for the Trump Administration’s transition to the White House

    Yep, the Trump administration will usher in a new golden age for the ignorant!

  5. “… a pair of daring visionaries…”

    Or as Firesign Theatre put it, “Forward Into the Past!”

  6. Oh dear, I’ve gotten myself started on revisiting the Firesign albums. A lot of DI appropriate lyrics though.

    “We’re marching, marching, to shibboleth.
    With the eagle and the sword…”

  7. Holding The Line In Florida

    @Ken Phelps. Oh yes, let us not forget, “Everything You Know Is Wrong!” They were great.

  8. Careful, don’t crush that dwarf, hand me the pliers.

  9. As Senator Billboard Rawlins put it in Finian’s Rainbow: “Gentlemen, the festering tides of radicalism are upon us. But before I yield up our glorious South -and her sister commonwealth, the U.S. of A – I will lay down my life. I will do more – I will filibuster. Back, you crackpots! Forward, America! Forward to the hallowed principles of our forefathers. Forward to the sweet tranquility of the status quo. Forward… to yesterday! “

  10. Holding The Line In Florida

    Hey We are all Bozos on this bus!