The Discovery Institute Is Frustrated

For years, the Discovery Institute has attempted to peddle their brand of creationism as a scientific theory, and except for a few victories in a couple of states with demented legislatures, they’ve had no success whatsoever. We explained their problem years ago in Intelligent Design, the Great Incongruity, where we said:

Traditional creationism is openly and honestly religious, while ID [intelligent design] is the Discoveroids’ “Don’t ask, don’t tell” version of creationism. ID creationists have repackaged their dogma into an ostensibly secular concept which they claim is a scientific theory. Despite ID’s complete lack of any scientific attributes, it is promoted as a scientific alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution. But it’s a flimsy disguise — a reversible coat with meaningless science jargon on the outside and miracles on the inside — a garment made for flashers.

[…]

Besides failing catastrophically in court, ID has produced nothing in the world of science, and has no utility in medicine, pharmacology, industry, or agriculture. It’s track record is indistinguishable from that of astrology.

[…]

The surprising thing is that the promoters of ID actually thought they could accomplish everything described in their Wedge strategy: attain scientific standing, popular appeal, bypass the Constitution, and achieve their political goals too. That, dear reader, is the Great Incongruity.

The Discoveroids are aware of their failure, but as long as their generous patrons keep the money flowing, they indend to continue their shabby crusade. Today they’re lashing out at their critics. Look what Klinghoffer just posted at their creationist blog: Say What You Want About Intelligent Design. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Literally, say whatever the hell you want. You can say things that are true. Or you can say things that are false. Either is fine, but with most mainstream media outlets, false is likely preferable.

Klinghoffer sounds angry, doesn’t he? Then he gets specific:

Writing at the slick science magazine Nautilus, Brian Gallagher demonstrates yet again that there is no accountability when criticizing ID is on the agenda. He tries to draw a line connecting last month’s story about Turkey eliminating evolution from 9th grade science class, with “fundamentalist” Christianity, with creationism, with intelligent design, and with academic freedom legislation. Let’s see how he scores on credibility.

Oh, how infuriating! This is the article that Klinghoffer is upset about: How to Weed Creationism Out of Schools. He quotes a bit from it, including this:

A creationist rebranding, “intelligent design,” which holds that evolution was God-guided, was also advanced as a credible alternative to evolution to be discussed in class for the sake of “academic freedom.”

These tactics haven’t been entirely unsuccessful. In 2008 in Louisiana, and then in 2012 in Tennessee, laws passed allowing teachers to discuss the supposed “weaknesses” of evolutionary theory — a loophole, some science-education advocates said, through which creationism would creep in.

Klinghoffer is outraged, and tells us:

Mr. Gallagher gets a point for at least linking to intelligentdesign.org, where we’re able to explain the meaning of ID ourselves rather than having the National Center for Science Education tell us what it means. Yet while oddly not quoting the NCSE, as these articles almost always do, Gallagher otherwise might as well be taking dictation from them. Let’s go through it briefly.

He lists some of the “mistakes” in Gallagher’s essay:

He repeats the myth about ID as “rebranded” creationism. Hardly. One is an inference from science, the other from the Bible. That’s a big difference.?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Here’s another “mistake” in Gallagher’s essay:

ID is not “advanced as a credible alternative to evolution to be discussed in class for the sake of ‘academic freedom.’” ID’s leading institutional proponent, Discovery Institute, warns against introducing intelligent design in public school classrooms.

Yeah, the Discoveroids would really hate it if ID were taught in public schools. At least, that’s been their position since Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. He says:

We support the idea of introducing students to objective, scientific sources on evolutionary theory’s strengths and weaknesses. That is called academic freedom.

• He [Gallagher] thinks academic freedom laws are a “loophole … through which creationism would creep in,” and cites as evidence a study reporting survey information from 2007 from around the country. That was the year before the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act, the first of two laws he points to, was passed. So the LSEA was inviting creationist sentiment into the classroom nationally before it was a law in one state? That’s quite a trick.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The Discoveroids were promoting their model law before Louisiana passed it. He continues:

And check out the gratuitous scare quotes in the phrase about “supposed ‘weaknesses’” of evolutionary theory. It’s the old “No weaknesses!” talking point. What weaknesses, I wonder, did Brian Gallagher investigate and conclude they only merited to be called “supposed”?

After reciting his list of Discoveroid talking points, Klinghoffer declares:

So it goes when the media turn to the subject of intelligent design and academic freedom. You can say anything you want, however distorted, and only we stand ready to correct you.

Klinghoffer rants a bit more, but we’ve given you enough. It’s good to see that the critics of intelligent design “theory” are having such an effect on the Discoveroids.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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25 responses to “The Discovery Institute Is Frustrated

  1. Michael Fugate

    ID is not an inference from science, but is intuited from superficial observation.

  2. Hans Weichselbaum

    ID might have failed in the academic world, but the idea is very popular with the religious public that rejects Bible literalism.
    ID appeals to common sense – the old argument from design – and many see it as a ‘scientific proof’ of God. Indeed, Stephen Meyer on his tour in New Zealand two years ago had that permanently projected on the wall during his talks: “The Scientific Proof of God”. People liked that.
    I was well hated by the crowd because I disrupted every question/answer session with nasty questions (I have studied this ID phenomenon and written a philosophy thesis on it).

  3. If you want to see how uninterested DI was in what is taught in the public schools, look at their posts after loosing the Dover trial. Exhibit A is a 10 part series on how Barbara Forrest, just one of the anti-ID witnesses at Dover, is just so, so wrong.

  4. Derek Freyberg

    My first thought, just on reading the title, was “Oh, goody! A frustrated DiscoTute sounds like fun.”
    My second thought, on reading the post, was “Come off it, Klingy, even you must remember ‘cdesign proponentsists’.Lying when you think the lie is undetectable is one thing – that’s usually why people do it. But lying when you know the lie is so easily exposed, that’s just dumb.” But what’s new about that from the DiscoTute?

  5. Eddie Janssen

    Maybe Klinghoffer should write an evaluation of the Wedge Strategy and give an assesment of the psychological state of mind of its makers as they were fabricating this revolutionary piece of paradigm shifting, no doubt trembling with excitement in their seats.

  6. Michael Fugate

    That is an interesting comment from Hans. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Meyer doesn’t understand either science or philosophy – despite his claim of a degree from Cambridge. Meyer muffs the teleological argument – God is an explanation of the order we see. That there is order doesn’t tell us there is a God. That he can’t see the difference is telling. If a God exists and said God imposed order on the universe, then galaxies, solar systems, stars, planets, life could arise and change without any additional supernatural intervention.

  7. ID has an another feature that’s useful – several of the creationists I know often cite evidence from ID, cautioning the listeners that the information’s “secular,” but still trustworthy. It can give people the impression that their beliefs really are scientific.

  8. I sincerely doubt that the title is correct. The IDiots from Seattle won’t be frustrated as long their paychecks come in.

    “He repeats the myth about ID as “rebranded” creationism. Hardly. One is an inference from science, the other from the Bible. That’s a big difference.”
    Agreed, Klinkleclapper. It’s big enough to call IDiocy a subset of creacrap. The two others are Old Earth Creacrap and Young Earth Creacrap.
    We can read too. And we notice that IDiocy
    1. rejects Evolution Theory with largely the same arguments as OEC and YEC;
    2. is fond of the God of the Gaps Fallacy;
    3. is fond of Paley’s False Watchmaker Analogy.

    The ‘rebranding’ refers to not using inference from Holy Scripture. The rest is just the same.

  9. “the idea is very popular with the religious public that rejects Bible literalism”
    We are talking a spectrum here, not sharply defined positions. Especially the line between theist evolution and IDiocy is blurred. I specifically refer to Plantinga and Craig.
    This is meant as an addition, not a contradiction.
    Do you have a link to your thesis? I’d like to compare it with my own findings.

  10. I have to thank K and SC for drawing my attention to the magazine “Nautilus”. I’ll have to look for it in my local bookstore.
    Does anyone have any comments about it?

  11. We support the idea of introducing students to objective, scientific sources on evolutionary theory’s strengths and weaknesses. That is called academic freedom.

    Are students also introduced to the strengths and weaknesses of creationism? Or is that a no-no because of the separation of church and state?

    In any case, I’m sure the DI would squeal like a stuck pig if the strengths (none) and weaknesses (a lot) of creationism and its illegitimate stepchild, ID, were included in the curricula.

  12. There really is “a line connecting last month’s story about Turkey eliminating evolution from 9th grade science class, with ‘fundamentalist’ Christianity, with creationism”. The link, involving ICR and the Turkish Ministry of Education, goes back decades: http://edis.sites.truman.edu/islamic-creationism-in-turkey/

  13. Eric Lipps

    Took a quick look at that link. It seems that fundamentalists are the same all over, whether Christian, Muslim or whatever: they hate reason, the modern secular world, the political left and of course modern science. Oh, and they also hate fundamentalists of every other religion, since they are convinced that theirs is the One True Faith.

  14. I’m not sure wwhether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but Adnan Oktar (“Harun Yahya”), glamour boy of Turkish creationism, is an ecumenical creationist, who incorporates ICR material, sends his Atlas of Creation to Universities in the West, and actively reaches out to the new breed of pseudo-Orthodox Jews (you know, the ones who want to boot women out of their airplane seats) in Israel

  15. The great DiscoTute Year of Frustration will presumably be 2018, when the “twenty-year goals” of their 1998 Wedge Document were to have been reached — i.e. the complete paradigm shift whereby evolution would have been laughed off the stage and Intelligent Design would have become the ruling paradigm in science and culture alike. They still have some months to go, but I fear 2018 will generally be a sad disappointment in this regard.

  16. Michael Fugate

    Coming back to this one: One is an inference from science, the other from the Bible.

    We get this from the Wedge

    [T]he Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.

    Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

    To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.

    Science? not so much.
    Bible? so much.

  17. Michael Fugate

    Must have botched a tag… Help from above?

    [*Voice from above*] All fixed.

  18. See the latest from the Vatican on this topic search Google for ” La Civilta Cattolica extremism”.

  19. Our Curmudgeon snarks

    Yeah, the Discoveroids would really hate it if ID were taught in public schools.

    Actually, I think they would–on the grounds that there is nothing to teach, and they know it. They can’t ‘replace’ science; they seek to displace science with Oogity Boogity, which is embraced by blind faith, not cold reason.

  20. Is there any example of the replacement of any generally accepted theory without there being a alternative theory?
    I think of the example of the Aristotlean-Ptolemaic theory. For a long time there were known troubles with the theory. It would make wrong predictins of the locations of the planets, for example. But not until Copernicus offered an alternative theory did people discard geocentrism.

  21. Michael Fugate

    58% of Republicans think colleges and universities have a negative influence on the US. The attacks on science by groups like the DI are likely part of the reason.
    http://www.people-press.org/2017/07/10/sharp-partisan-divisions-in-views-of-national-institutions/

  22. Michael Fugate

    Now we find that ravens – unlike many humans – can plan ahead. So much for human exceptionalism.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/13/raven-think-about-future-planning-science-experiment

  23. Is that why they had to reel in YEC Paul Nelson when he appeared in YEC film Is Genesis History. “Paul Nelson wrote an article at Evolution News dissenting from his role in the movie”

  24. TomS asks “Is there any example of the replacement of any generally accepted theory without there being a alternative theory?”

    I cannot think of any, but when I was taking high school biology in the early 60s, we knew that the 5 kingdom classification of life (Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista and Monera), which later became 6 when Monera was divided into Bacteria and Archaea, was wrong. In particular, groups like Algae and the Protista were such mixed bags with few clear affinities. However, it was convenient so it was used.

    These days, the taxonomic groupings are much clearer and the 6 kingdom model is not really appropriate but, last time I looked at biology texts, they were still organized along those lines. So here we have an example of something that is generally accepted as being faulty but not being replaced when something better comes along.

  25. I suggest that the rejection of the old without there being an alternative is the signature of politics. From anarchic revolution to the effectiveness of negative campaign ads.
    To push my point further, even in the arts, something like Dada is rare.

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