When we recently wrote Discovery Institute — Desperate in South Dakota?, we weren’t joking about our title. It really did seem to us as if the Discoveroids were worried about the fate of their South Dakota Creationism Bill for 2017.
Now we found some more evidence. It’s a press release titled South Dakota Scientist Applauds Academic Freedom Legislation As Means To Foster Critical Thinking, issued by PR Newswire, which describes itself as: “the leading global provider of marketing and communications solutions that let you optimize and distribute multimedia content to actively engage all key audiences, across all traditional, digital, social and mobile channels, anywhere in the world.”
Amusingly, there’s no mystery about the origin of this “news.” Right below the title, the press release says: “News provided by Discovery Institute.” The contents of the press release weren’t being published by the press as actual news, so the Discoveroids decided to pay for the publicity. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
This year, South Dakota has an opportunity to encourage more scientific inquiry in the classroom, according to Discovery Institute. The legislature is considering an academic freedom bill, introduced by Senator Jeff Monroe. SB 55 says: …
We already know what it says. SENATE BILL NO. 55 is titled: “An Act to protect the teaching of certain scientific information.” As we said before:
Then the press release says:
“SB 55, under consideration by the South Dakota legislature, is a promising step forward for South Dakota science education,” said William S. Harris, PhD. Dr. Harris is the President of OmegaQuant Analytics, LLC (Sioux Falls, SD), and an NIH-funded biomedical researcher with over 300 scientific publications.
Hey, the Discoveroids found someone to promote their bill. But who is William S. Harris, PhD? And what is OmegaQuant Analytics, LLC? Their website says:
In 2004, Dr. Harris and his colleague Dr. Clemens von Schacky, a cardiologist and researcher in Munich, Germany, proposed the “Omega-3 Index” as a new risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and in 2009 Dr. Harris founded OmegaQuant Analytics, LLC, to offer the test to researchers, clinicians and the public. … OmegaQuant performs fatty acid analysis in Sioux Falls, SD for commercial and academic researcher collaborators, and for consumers interested in monitoring their nutritional status in both blood and breast milk.
The fatty acid test facility’s website also provides some information about William S. Harris, PhD:
Dr. Harris is an internationally recognized expert on omega-3 fatty acids and how they can benefit patients with heart disease. … Dr. Harris is a Professor in the Department of Medicine in the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota, and the President and CEO of OmegaQuant.
Not quite an expert on evolution, but he performs a useful service. So do creationist dentists. The Discoveroids’ press release gives us an example of his thinking:
“Scientific controversy over the ability of Darwin’s version of evolution (i.e., natural selection acting blindly on random mutations) to explain the expanse of life on this planet continues to grow with each new revelation of the exceeding complexity of even the “simplest” life forms, not to mention humans,” Harris said. “In my view, it is very important for today’s students to understand the evidence for and against important scientific theories like Darwinism and to honestly consider challenges even to such long-held dogmas.”
Darwinism is a “long-held dogma”? Wow — the Discoveroids have a real winner here. How did they find him? Being experienced in such matters, your Curmudgeon checked the the woeful list of Darwin-doubters run by the Discovery Institute — A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism. The 900 or so who have signed it are approximately 3/4 of 1% of the scientists represented by those who have signed the National Center for Science Education’s Project Steve — see ‘Project Steve’ Now Has 1,400 Steves.
Additionally, the Discoveroids are far less selective than NCSE in choosing their signatories. The Discoveroids’ list includes a significant number of MDs, dentists, engineers, meteorologists, industrial hygiene specialists, nutritionists, philosophers, political “scientists,” sociologists, and such. On the other hand, everyone on NCSE’s list of Steves has a PhD, and a majority of them are in a biological field.
Those who sign the Discoveroids’ list agree with this statement: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.” Harris’ name is on the list. He’s described as “Ph.D. Nutritional Biochemistry.”
There’s not much more to the press release. They quote Harris again:
“South Dakota students can only benefit from such an approach – and hopefully, legislators will seize this occasion to promote scientific inquiry,” added Harris.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, exposing the kiddies to Discoveroid propaganda can only be beneficial.
Okay, that’s enough. Now then, will this kind of artificial publicity help the South Dakota bill get passed into law? We shall see.
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