The Discovery Institute began with a grand plan to supersede evolution with a jazzed-up version of creationism they called intelligent design. It was fatally flawed from the beginning, as we explained in Intelligent Design, the Great Incongruity. But with that and their Wedge strategy, they attracted generous patrons who have been funding their creationist activities since 1995.
Regarding the Wedge, you can read the actual document at the NCSE website: The Wedge Document. Here’s a scan of the original: The Wedge. It’s a pdf document which begins with a graphic of Michelangelo’s God creating Adam. We discussed it and its lofty goals in What is the “Wedge Document”? The Discoveroids have failed to achieve every one of its objectives.
We’ve discussed their failures in several posts over the years. In 2015 we wrote Catalog of Discoveroid Creationist Catastrophes. We’ll list some of the items discussed there:
• Their two-pronged effort to promote their anti-evolution Academic Freedom bills — about which see Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws — accompanied by the release of a “documentary” staring Ben Stein, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. It was a box office flop, and it eventually ended up in bankruptcy court.
• Their various litigation efforts, the most spectacular of which was Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
• Their pathetic effort to penetrate the academic world in an effort to gain legitimacy for their “theory” of intelligent design. Other than bible colleges, this too has been a total disaster. See Intelligent Design’s Brief Shining Moment, about the short-lived Michael Polanyi Center at Baylor University, which was headed by William Dembski.
• Their sad effort to establish a creationist movement on college campuses with their IDEA clubs, about which Wikipedia has a writeup: Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center.
• The collapse of their grand crusade can be seen in search engine statistics. Check out this history of Google searches on “intelligent design”. It peaked during the Kitzmiller trial in 2005, and it’s been steadily — precipitously — trending downward ever since.
• The Discoveroids have been shut out of all legitimate science conferences. They can’t get papers about their “theory” published in legitimate science journals. They get no funding from government or from outfits like the Templeton Foundation.
So what are they doing with all the money they receive each year? They write books, many of which are published by their own Discovery Institute Press. They crank out ark-loads of podcasts, which impress no one, and blog posts where they complain about the negative press coverage they get and the “discrimination” they endure. But their generous patrons continue to fund them, so they carry on — accomplishing nothing.
As long as they continue to amuse us we shall follow their antics, but at this point their activities are becoming pathetic. However, considering their grandiose goals, that’s the most amusing thing of all.
Addendum: Be sure to look at this Wikipedia article: Discovery Institute intelligent design campaigns.
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