Another Indescribable Discoveroid Post


Your Curmudgeon is experiencing a bit of a linguistic crisis. Whenever the Discovery Institute promotes their crude propaganda alleging a linkage between Darwin and communism, Stalinism, or Lysenkoism, we always use a strong adjectives to express our revulsion. See, for example: Discovery Institute: Beyond Despicable from over five years ago where we said:

How many synonyms for duplicity are there? For misdirection? For excrement? Were you to list them all, you wouldn’t have begun to describe this thing.

Then, in Klinghoffer: Evolution = Communism, we said it was “one of the worst things we’ve ever seen at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog” and a “ghastly post.” Recently we wrote Discoveroid Post Beyond Description, which we said was a “ghastly ark-load of ordure” and wrote:

We’ve been tracking the rantings of the Discovery Institute for quite some time now, but today they posted what must be their all-time worst — in our humble opinion, of course. Imagine having a mile-high load of camel dung dumped on your home. That would be infinitely preferable to what we found today at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog.

That one was about what they called “Darwinian Lysenkoism.” We quoted the Wikipedia article on Trofim Lysenko which says:

Lysenko was a strong proponent of soft inheritance [Inheritance of acquired characteristics] and rejected Mendelian genetics in favor of pseudoscientific ideas termed Lysenkoism. … Lysenko did not believe that genes or DNA existed, and only spoke about them to say that they did not exist. …. Unable to silence Western critics, Lysenko tried to eliminate all dissent within the Soviet Union. Scientists who refused to renounce genetics found themselves at the mercy of the secret police. The lucky ones simply got dismissed from their posts and were left destitute. Hundreds if not thousands of others were rounded up and dumped into prisons or psychiatric hospitals.

Today they’re doing it again. This now appears at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog: American Lysenkoism, and the Darwinists Who Embrace It. It has no author’s byline, and fortunately, it’s brief. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

On a new episode of ID the Future, Tod Butterfield interviews Michael Egnor, pediatric neurosurgeon at Stony Brook University, about the science-destroying practice of Lysenkoism. Dr. Egnor discusses Trofim Lysenko, a Soviet agronomist who for several decades in the 20th century was allowed to use the power of the state to enforce belief in Lamarckism in the Soviet Union.

You know what’s coming. Let’s read on:

The government punished people who questioned the reigning view, and the results were catastrophic. Today the term Lysenkoism applies to any use of government power to enforce scientific orthodoxy.

Actually, we think it’s only the Discoveroids who use that term in an attempt to explain the failure of intelligent design to gain a foothold in academia. Their post continues:

It need not mean the Gulag; it could involve, for instance, the denial of federal grants to quietly enforce Darwinian orthodoxy.

Uh huh. And this is the end of their brief post:

Lysenkoism punishes dissenters from politically favored ideas, and holds science back. How? Download the podcast or listen to it here [link omitted], and find out.

So there you are — and as we said at the start, we’re all out of adjectives. What can be said about this kind of thing? A blizzard of bunk, a hailstorm of hooey, a hurricane of hogwash, a sandstorm of slander, a tornado of tripe? No, none of those is sufficient. Perhaps you can suggest something, dear reader. But beware of the profanity filters.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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31 responses to “Another Indescribable Discoveroid Post

  1. Christine Janis

    And another indescribable book from the DI

    As Puck Mendlesson notes in his review:

    t has become increasingly clear, in recent years, that the Discovery Institute’s project of trying to achieve some sort of scientific credibility for ID Creationism has been sidelined on account of its impossibility. But as a culture-war phenomenon, as a populist reaction of the irrational against the rational, and as a way of raising spirits in fundamentalist churches and raising revenue to keep the DI in business, the project goes on, with no hope of scientific success. Imagine what an actual scientist thinks when he reads easily-debunked garbage of this character. Can it persuade? Can it convert? It cannot. ID Creationism, as a scientific project, is dead (if, indeed, it ever was alive to begin with). ID Creationism, as a backlash against education and modernity, is alive and kicking, and this book is just another demonstration of the point.

  2. Michael Fugate

    Just how is ID supposed to improve science? We are still waiting for an answer and no doubt always will be.

  3. The DI equates dissenting from pseudoscience with dissenting from science. This is entirely appropriate for those who can’t tell the difference.

  4. Derek Freyberg

    @Christine Janis:

    Thank you for pointing us to that great review; I’m only sorry you didn’t quote the paragraph before the one you quoted, as it really sticks it to the DiscoTute, especially the last sentence:
    “And in all of this he relies upon the worst sources: Michael Behe, whose single-handed implosion on cross-examination sealed the fate of the fundamentalist school board in Kitzmiller v. Dover; Ann Gauger, who recently self-humiliated in epic fashion by claiming that population genetics can be squared with a two-person origin for the human species ten to fifty thousand years ago; Jonathan Wells, whose dishonesty is perhaps more broad and conspicuous than that of anyone else connected with ID Creationism; Stephen Meyer, whose dishonest work on the Cambrian explosion, Darwin’s Doubt, ignores whole groups of relevant fossils in order to make the explosion more sudden; Douglas Axe, whose conclusions about the probability of productive mutations are many, many orders of magnitude removed from reality. If Newton stood on the shoulders of giants, Leisola stands on the shoulders of moles.”

  5. An eruption of egnorance.

  6. Christine Janis

    @ Derek Freyberg.

    The review is excellent in general, but the point that I wanted to stress is that it’s a cultural war, not a scientific one

  7. Dear Curmudgeon, As I recall, “Beyond Despicable” elicited a response from the Disocveroids. Keep it up !

  8. Derek Freyberg

    @Christine Janis:
    I agree it is a cultural war – one can go back to the Wedge Document to see that.
    But the DiscoTute has always wanted to put a scientific spin on it, as shown by their failed attempt to sneak ID into the classroom in Dover. And they continue to argue that ID is science, even now – which is why the lack of scientific credibility of the institute as such, and of its leading “scientists”, is still relevant.
    However, and this goes to back your point, they would be of little more relevance than the Flat Earth Society if they were not in effect pushing Biblical creationism in disguise; and it is that cultural backstory that keeps them going.

  9. NICE COMMENT Christine. Cheers

  10. Christine Janis

    @ Derek Freyberg

    “And they continue to argue that ID is science, even now—”

    Um, they seem to have reneged on that, too. See this book (and Puck’s review there too) where they are basically acknowledging that the mysterious “Designer” is none other than a lowly carpenter from Nazareth.

  11. And who is DI’s audience for this mumbo-jumbo clap trap?

    I do understand that fundamentalists share some enthusiasm for ID. But I can’t help but feel that “Lysenko” and “Lysenkoism” are rare inclusions in the vocabularies of the great unwashed. It seems to me that the DI are becoming increasingly desperate.

    I shall henceforth be on the alert for breathless exhortations regarding Lysenko, and we shall know just who reads and swallows (and pretends to understand) this painful, bigoted ignorance.

  12. tedinoz asks: “And who is DI’s audience for this mumbo-jumbo clap trap?”

    The only thing I can figure out is that it keeps their generous patrons happy. And that, after all, is their prime audience. As for the drooler segment of their audience, the Lysenko stuff just floats over their heads, but it seems to be intellectual, so they don’t worry about it.

  13. The beneficial point about the D.I. is that they are exposed with all their rat-bag ideas. Imagine if they were in positions of power and secretly undermining reality. Or maybe some are. But going public allows us to shoot them down in flames in the hope we will convince their silent ones. Just as Lysenkoism folded, we can try to do the same to a long-entrenched superstitious belief.

  14. SC: “but it seems to be intellectual”

    In there is a fitting motto, I think.

    “The Discovery Institute: It All Seems Intellectual.”

  15. I think “it all sounds intellectual” is a good explanation for the DI. They are pitching to a slightly different audience than the complete idiots who listen to Ray Comfort or the praise de Lawders who go for Ken Ham or the ICR. The DI’s marks are people who are a little uneasy about theocracy and who don’t actually reject rational thought or the idea that you should have a reason to believe stuff. This is a step above the average creationist, most of whom dismiss reason, logical argument and knowledge itself as elitist effete stuff that only eggheads care about. The DI’s demographic requires the appearance and assertion of rational thought.

    But of course the DI only provides the appearance of it. And there’s a trap right there. Once you allow reason in at all, it can take over. The DI walks an uneasy tightrope. It must pretend to provide knowledge, but it must never encourage actual acquisition of knowledge. That gives the Enlightenment an approach.

    While it’s useless to argue from fact and logic with somebody who either can’t comprehend such things or thinks that they’re the work of the Devil, it might work on someone who grants that they exist, and are useful. Well, one can try, anyway.

  16. Puck Mendelssohn

    “But of course the DI only provides the appearance of it. And there’s a trap right there. Once you allow reason in at all, it can take over.”

    It is, indeed, as you say, an uneasy tightrope. They’ve decided to play the “our science is better than your science” game, and they’re pretty good at it. It’s pretty easy to read, say, Darwin’s Doubt by Stephen Meyer and, if you haven’t spent any time studying biology lately and don’t have your b.s. filter working, come to the conclusion that it’s really exciting how new insights into the origins of the diversity of life are coming from ID research! The stuff is well written and contains just enough technical whizbang language to make most people think that while they don’t want to dig into all the egghead details, this stuff is clearly solid and no joke.

    You can see that in the book reviews on Amazon. One of the most common negative comments about DI books by people who liked them is that they’re too technical and really tough to understand. This is quite funny, if you are accustomed to reading anything technical because actually, these books are all written at a very elementary level. I think it’s hard for someone who reads Darwin’s Doubt and who actually understands the subject to imagine what it is like for these people. They are lost in the technical details, without having gotten any of the technical details.

    And I think that’s sort of the point. Impress them with how real the ID “science” is, but also leave them feeling like they now know more than they’re ever going to want to know. “No point reading a book by a real paleontologist, I’ve got the general drift of it already.”

    But, yes. Now and then someone will say, “the Cambrian explosion is fascinating! I will go get some more books on it.” At that point, the jig may be up.

  17. Michael Fugate

    I liken it to those ads which claim “if you can pass this quiz your IQ must be 140”; they want you to believe that those who understand their “argument” must be really smart, much smarter than those who accept evolution. When in reality if you actually click on the ad your IQ must be <100 and if you believe the DI spiel who knows how low it is.

  18. Puck Mendelssohn

    One thing they have very much on their side is this: most people just aren’t the least bit interested in biology, and that includes most of the readers of these books. You might think somebody who wants to know what the scientific evidence for the earth being 6,000 years old is would be interested in biology, and they are, but only in a VERY limited sense: they have got the idea that biology poses a challenge to their religion, and they’d like that cleared out of the way. But as for being interested in how living things function, or phylogeny, or evolutionary mechanisms, or development — meh. Not so much. If they can be assured that biologists are wrong and their religion is right (or that a plucky new wave of biologists are upsetting the old paradigm and proving that their religion is right), that’s all they need to know. So, having read a book which, to their minds, proves that this is the case, why read anything else?

  19. “it could involve, for instance, the denial of federal grants to quietly enforce Darwinian orthodoxy.”
    The problem with strong language is that it loses its force when used too often. So I prefer to keep it simple. IDiots are liars, like all creationists. Templeton Foundation is willing to provide such grants. No IDiot ever has presented any research program.

  20. @DerekF: I object to exactly that very last sentence. It’s needlessly insulting.

    “If Newton stood on the shoulders of giants, Leisola stands on the shoulders of moles.”
    What have these nice animals done to be associated with IDiocy? I present the following correction, which I think a vast improvement:

    “If Newton stood on the shoulders of giants, IDiots stand on the shoulders of gnomes.”
    This little guy seems to agree:

  21. @Tedinoz: “It seems to me that the DI are becoming increasingly desperate.”
    Yes and no. They have made the mistake to publish the aforementioned Wedge Document (it already demonstrates that IDiots by definition are liars, because it implicitly admits that IDiocy isn’t science and that they want to undo the last scientific revolution, the one that saw Laplace apocryphically saying that he did not need that particular hypothesis). IDiocy like all creacrap consists of t three points: God of the Gaps, Paley’s False Watchmaker Analogy and Evolution Is Wrong, Doesn’t Matter How. You can’t do scientific research on the first two, so they repeat them as often as they think they can permit (and call that progress). But it never will be nearly enough. So they desperately must find ways to criticize Evolution Theory over and over again and call it research. But they never get tired of it, certainly not as long as their sponsors keep on falling for it. Sometimes I wonder if their sponsors, like Ahmanson, should be confronted with the goals formulated in the Wedge Document, but I usually conclude that cognitive dissonance will prevail. As long as the money keeps on flowing they won’t be too desperate. That’s why our dear SC’s financial reports are so interesting.

  22. There is a fatal flaw in evolution so you don’t have to worry about it.

  23. mnbo suggests that the Discoveroids

    made the mistake to publish the aforementioned Wedge Document

    Except, the DI didn’t publish it, it was leaked by a whistleblower (also known, at least in the UK, as a ‘mole’), according to the account in Wikipedia on The Wedge Document:

    Drafted in 1998 by Discovery Institute staff, the Wedge Document first appeared publicly after it was posted to the World Wide Web on February 5, 1999, by Tim Rhodes, having been shared with him in late January 1999 by Matt Duss, a part-time employee of a Seattle-based international human-resources firm. There Duss had been given a document to copy titled The Wedge and marked “Top Secret” and “Not For Distribution.” Meyer once claimed that the Wedge Document was stolen from the Discovery Institute’s offices.

    Discovery Institute co-founder and CSC Vice President Stephen C. Meyer eventually acknowledged the Institute as the source of the document. The Institute still seeks to downplay its significance, saying “Conspiracy theorists in the media continue to recycle the urban legend of the ‘Wedge’ document”. The Institute also portrays the scientific community’s reaction to the Wedge document as driven by “Darwinist Paranoia.” Despite insisting that intelligent design is not a form of creationism, the Discovery Institute chose to use an image of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, depicting God reaching out to impart life from his finger into Adam.

    In other words, the DI fully recognise just how damning this exposure is of their agenda, which they endeavoured to keep concealed.

  24. And, to properly update Newton’s metaphor:

    The Discoveroids lie flattened beneath the heels of giants–and are as persistent and malodorous as other forms of noxious excrement in which one might accidentally tread…

  25. We should be ashamed. We deny research grants to ID proects. Worse, we also deny them to phrenologists,astronomers, and people who want to launch themselves on rockets to prove the earth is flat.

    But why did we hear nothing from the DI when one of their own (then) Senior fellows, Wm Dembski, was forced out fo an academic position at Southwestern Baptist for not being creationist enough?

  26. @Mega enhances my knowledge and understanding: “Except, the DI didn’t publish it, …”
    Thanks, I always had assumed that they saw it as a proud announcement of a paradigma shift iso a sneaky agenda. Of course I was mistaken to underestimate their dishonesty. Equally of course it’s impossible to overestimate it, as PaulB confirms. Fortunately the only thing that surpasses their dishonesty is their incompetence.

  27. Puck Mendelssohn

    mnbo, you have a good point, and I should clarify. I, too, am a fan of moles, to the point that I’ve never understood why people try to remove them from their yards. Their little hills of dirt are, to me, a sign that the yard is doing what it’s supposed to.

    I certainly don’t mean to imply that the moles would endorse his work, as they appear to be much too clever for that. The point in his standing on the shoulders of moles is only that he’s standing on them while they burrow, hence slightly below ground level. And since Leisola seems like a jerk, and since the weight of a human being would ordinarily be fatal to a pair of moles, he seems like the sort of fellow who would do such a cruel thing, too.

    I did consider other possibilities, along the lines of “if Newton stood on the shoulders of giants, Leisola is standing in a deep mine shaft.” But the idea of Leisola being able to survive a nuclear first strike and then help repopulate the earth was too disturbing.

  28. Ceteris Paribus

    @ Paul Braterman:
    But why did we hear nothing from the DI when one of their own (then) Senior fellows, Wm Dembski, was forced out of an academic position at Southwestern Baptist for not being creationist enough?

    Possibly part of that question may be that the DI is forced by it’s own dishonesty to serve incompatible assessments of the age of the earth.

    I’m looking back at my notes from the 2005 Kansas School Board’s vain attempt to make room for both Old and Young Earth views to be taught in Public schools. It is clear that the Board was trying way too hard to stuff both “modern science” and “Old Testament Religion” into the same basket. Their agenda turned out to hold an opening which would accept the age of the earth to be reckoned simultaneously any where between 5,000 years and 4.5 billion years old.
    [see for details: ]

    So here’s my take on the continuing problems inside the DI: In the real world of biblical scholarship, it has long been known that the dating of Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are out of sequence. In fact, Genesis 2 is actually older than Genesis 1. But this does not bother Hebrew scholars at all, since they well know that the Scriptures as they are now situated were written and revised during and shortly after the end of their Babylonian captivity around 600 B.C.E. It just doesn’t bother them at all. But it is anathema to the current Christian Fundamentalists who will hold to their last breath that the earth is only six thousand years old, start to finish. (I’m allowing for the End of Times to happen just about any day now.)

    The outcome is that it appears to me that the D.I. has found itself holding a leper by the tail, and no way know how to either perform a miracle, and have a “young earth” or opt for the “old earth”. If the D.I. opts for a young earth, they lose any possible semblance of science. If they adopt an old earth, they will lose their pay-check. But it’s fun to watch them squirm!.

  29. The Disco Tute is on really hard times. Oh, boo hoo! Not much is happening in Republican legislatures with creationism bills (a few, mostly way, way fringe) and with the loss of their chief cook and bottle washing Attack Gerbil, Luskin, they have nobody to go out and whip up the rubes. I haven’t heard a peep out of the Tooters giving testimony at a State hearing on evolution/creationism, unlike the hay days when the Gerb was traveling to Louisiana, Kansas, Ohio, New Mexico and beyond.

    Also, the Tooters have lost their only “theorist” aka Dr. Dr. Willard the Dumbski who got fired for rolling his eyes at Noah. (Dembski took issue with Noah telling the snakes to go forth and multiply, an impossible task since they were adders.) Dembski trashing his own Nixplanatory Filter didn’t help.

    So, I think they are content to milk their donors for enough money to pay the bills. Not bad work if you think about it. Sit in a dingy office all day, play computer games, nap, drink coffee and get paid. What’s not to like being a professional creationist?

  30. To be fair (why, I sometimes ask myself), Steve Meyer is an unapologetic Old Earth creationist. He denies that the Cambrian explosion was the next natural step in a process going back a further 50 million years or more, but AFAIK does not deny its date

    And I do miss Luskin

  31. Theodore Lawry

    For America to have real Lysenkoism there must be other countries which have made great scientific advances by dropping “Darwinism.” So which countries and what advances. Japan and China, for example are politically and culturally independent of the West (they don’t have to circle the wagons around Darwin to fight creationists) so why haven’t they made great breakthroughs? And why doesn’t the DI tell us about them?

    It is really despicable that DI invokes Lysenkoism, which was the same sort of anti-evolution crime that they want to pull, and uses it to smear biology! Talk about the (would be) criminal blaming the victim. Vomit inducing indeed!