Discoveroids Have A New Accomplice

If you want to dig into the latest mess at the Discovery Institute’s website, you’re welcome to do so. We’re just going to skim the thing, but if it appeals to you, then go ahead and jump right in. The new article at their creationist blog is Biology Textbooks and the “God-Talk” Problem. It has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Another school year is around the corner. Undergraduate biology students will once again take up their textbooks on a quest to explore the intricacies of life. Of course, these students are rarely exposed to a balanced assessment of evolutionary theory, including its empirical challenges.

A balanced assessment? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s what creationists have been after ever since the Supreme Court ruled that public schools can’t teach creationism. Courts have also ruled that the schools can’t teach evolution and creationism — despite the Discoveroids’ futile Teach the Controversy campaign. So now they’re trying again to get a “balanced assessment” of evolution into the schools. This should be fun. They say:

[B]iology students will likely use a textbook that incoherently [Huh?] presents the case for evolution. Surprisingly, this muddle emerges from textbooks’ unprincipled use of theology [What?], of all things. In a recent journal article, “Damned if You Do and Damned if You Don’t: The Problem of God-talk in Biology Textbooks,” Stephen Dilley and Nicholas Tafacory argue that textbooks’ case for evolution falls prey to an intractable dilemma.

An “intractable dilemma” in the case for evolution? We took a look at that “journal article.” It’s in the second issue of a new journal from a website that calls itself the Blyth Institute. It’s not easy to find any information about them, but your Curmudgeon was able to learn a thing or two — from the Discoveroids.

As you know, the Discoveroids have their own, in-house “peer reviewed” journal, BIO-Complexity. If you visit their website, you will find this notice proudly posted:

The editors are please to welcome Günter Bechly and Jonathan Bartlett to the editorial team!

You already know who Günter is, but what about that other guy? The Discoveroids tell us at their BIO-Complexity website, right here:

Jonathan Bartlett is the director of The Blyth Institute, a non-profit organization focusing on research and education in a variety of STEM subjects.

So there you are. Now we know that Blyth Institute is — shall we say — buddy-buddy with the Discoveroids. And — big surprise — the Discoveroids are promoting a Blyth “journal” article urging a “balanced assessment” of evolutionary theory and its, ah, challenges. Do we need to dig any deeper? No, we don’t.

But if you want to read what the Discoveroids are offering today, go right ahead. And let us know if we’re missing anything we should know about.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “Discoveroids Have A New Accomplice

  1. Why go to the Discotute if you can go to the Original by Dilley and Tafacory?

    https://journals.blythinstitute.org/ojs/index.php/cbi/article/view/44

    That Dilley guy works at an university with its own Wikipedia page.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Edward's_University

    The “analysis” itself is behind a paywall. If you’ve money to waste you can order the entire magazine here:

    https://journals.blythinstitute.org/ojs/index.php/cbi/issue/view/4

    And look who we find too: good old Corny Cornelius! Fourteen pages on the “Random Design Argument”! Well well, looks like we’ve found a genuine IDiot magazine. I’ve no doubt that the future of evilutionist magazines like Nature, Scientific American and New Scientist is in great danger.

  2. Johnathan Bartlett is a contributor at Answers in Genesis….Answers Research Journal. https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=pIxkqQIAAAAJ&hl=en#d=gs_md_cita-d&u=%2Fcitations%3Fview_op%3Dview_citation%26hl%3Den%26user%3DpIxkqQIAAAAJ%26citation_for_view%3DpIxkqQIAAAAJ%3Au-x6o8ySG0sC%26tzom%3D300
    QUOTE FROM 2009: Mutations are normally classified according to their proximal effect on an organism’s fitness, whether beneficial, deleterious, or neutral. While this is a very useful first-pass categorization of mutations, the realization that mutations are not always haphazard, but in fact may be part of a regulated design, means that creationists should be looking for a deeper classification of mutations based on whether or not they conform to their organism’s design. Design-consistent mutations are those which occur within the pattern expected by the genome’s architecture, and design-inconsistent mutations are those which occur outside of the genome’s architecture. Features such as metabolic consistency, mutational mechanism, mutation rate, reversibility, and preservation of genome semantics can be used by biologists to assess whether or not a mutation is design-consistent or design-inconsistent.

  3. This article claims that there is negative refrences to God in biology textbooks.
    It has been a long time since I have been in school, but I don’t remember that sort of thing in STEM textbooks.

  4. TomS: That’s because they have no need for that hypothesis!

  5. Michael Fugate

    Another creationist outfit selling “science” to homeschoolers. They also run the alternatives to methodological naturalism conference with speakers such as Paul Nelson. They seem to be pushing the view that everything is religion – because values are religious.

  6. Why complain about STEM? I think that secular textbooks of history omit any mention of God’s action. Did God intervene in the Battle of Gettysburg? Language textbooks don’t say anything about God’s creation of the various grammars and vocabularies. It is less clear cut in literature, but here I need a lot of help. For example, Tolstoy’s novels, “War and Peace” etc. don’t invoke God, as far as I recall. But, of course, there is the famous discussions in Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov” about God, but I don’t recall God actually doing something in BK. Those all are packed with values.

  7. Karl Goldsmith

    As other people have pointed out they have links to YECs. Well The Blyth Institute book published two years ago has the only Editorial Review on the Amazon listing as a quote from a YEC! Well no surprise as one of the authors of the book is the afore mentioned YEC Johnathan Bartlett.

    Holy s&%t the only 990 showing on Guidestar (2010) shows Candian YEC Ian Juby as a director. So of the four listed back in 2010, Two are YEC.

    So the IDiots are getting even more pally with YECs, I thought the only IDiot to be a YEC was Nelson.

    Even Blyth Institute website claims, The Blyth Institute is a tax-exempt non-profit organization and only has 990 for 2010. Become a Blyth Institute Supporter page, is going on about what they are doing in 2016!

  8. All Tooters lie. I’ll go so far as to say that all creationists lie. (exempting a 6-year old) Furthermore, the Tooters are all YEC’s even though they lie when it’s convenient for them to state otherwise. For fun, go back in time to Stephen Meyer’s “testimony” to the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt where he was asked the age of the earth. A simple question with a simple answer: about 4.5 billion years old. Oh, boy, does Meyer tie himself in knots trying not to answer that question!

    So, this new dive into YEC is not surprising. The Tooters have, basically, one funder from what I can tell, and the Tooters will say anything to keep that funder happy and funding.

    How pitiful are the Tooters? They are really the bottom feeders of the bottom feeders. Even the Gerb and Dr. Dr. abandoned them. They are left with nothing. They don’t even have an Ark!!!

  9. Michael Fugate

    Dilley’s CV:
    https://www.stedwards.edu/sites/default/files/employees/cv/stephen-craig-dilley.pdf
    He wrote a paper “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of theology “ – so you know how he thinks.

  10. Karl, the Disco Toot (by way of Biologic Institute) already had YECs on board as far back as 2009 (archive). The mask dropped back then and they never really tried to put it back on again.

  11. @Draken: now that’s useful ….. on the downside it falsifies the distinction I often have made between IDiots and YECers; I have to admit that I was largely wrong, ie only right in a highly formal way. On the plusside (and that’s far more weightier) it puts the Discotute in even a worse light.

    Also it’s very nice to take a brief look at this golden oldie.

    https://evolutionnews.org/2009/08/eropean_scientists_working_in/

    “And [the anti-ID crowd] likes to say that there is no science being done by ID scientists.”
    We all here somehow must have missed the flood of publications on ID research.

  12. Oops. “And [the anti-ID crowd] likes to say that …..”

    [*Voice from above*] Big improvement.

  13. Myself, I don’t like to make it a matter of personalitiies.
    No ID science is being done.
    I don’t care whether an ID supporter does something scientific. Maybe something abut quantum compting, for example.
    What is missing is any work being done on what ID is, how ID produces something in the world of life, when or where, etc.

  14. Michael Fugate

    Dilley’s book Darwinian Evolution and Classical Liberalism is filled with DI authors –
    https://books.google.com/books/about/Darwinian_Evolution_and_Classical_Libera.html?id=XAIQOVWz2hEC

  15. TomS will wait a looooooong time for that. ID started as a con and remains a con. ID was invented to get around the 1987 Edwards vs Aguillard decision. Remember “Of Pandas and People” the creationist flagship “biology” textbook? It was being edited in 1987 and they had to swap out all mention of creationism with ID, leaving behind the transitional fossil “cdesign proponentsists.” Dembski’s “Design Inference,” a messy hodgepodge of circular mathematical nonsense, came out a decade later in 1998, and Behe’s “Black Box” in 1996.

    So, you see, boys and girls, ID had already been named as a way to un-mention odd-gay in the ook-bay even though everyone and their dog knows who the Grand Designer is. If that is not enough, Dembski himself was quoted in Touchstone magazine in 1999 saying: “Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” Yes, that is a seriously stupid sentence and it means absolutely nothing, but that’s ID in a nutshell – absolutely nothing. ID was born a con, invented on the spot, and the Tooters have spent the past 30 years or so trying to retrofit something – anything – to make it look legit. It would be like someone, say Douglas Adams, inventing the term “infinite improbability drive” and then trying to actually make one. More than that, convincing donors to fund your project!

    For the hard-working God-fearing salt of the earth Christian, ID is heresy, voodoo, magical science and why would anyone donate their hard-earned money to that enterprise? Hambo, on the other hand, has HIS BOOK which he waved in front of Bill Nye so many times. Furthermore, it’s the GOOD BOOK!!! Can’t argue with that. Old Hambo’s the real deal, but the Tooters – well, there’s something fishy about them boys.

    Unlike Old Hambo, the Tooters were never about spreading the Word. They were all about the pretense of driving a wedge into the fabric of society, about division, control and domination. That’s why they attracted Christian dominionist donors who share the same desire to transform and control society. The Tooters are all about one thing and one thing only: keeping their gravy train on the track. To maintain their funding they will say anything that’s convenient to say at the time, deny they ever said it, and say it again. Total con. Always was, still is.

  16. @docbill1351
    Agreed.
    But Creationism, as a denial of evolutionary biology, began with a minimum of substance. Even though Darwin made careful not to talk abut humans, the immediate reaction of “I ain’t descended from no monkeys”. After al, the similarity between monkeys and humans had been remarked upon for thousands of years. Despite that, nobody had thought of a comfortable explanation for that. The only refuge was to make it a matter of religion. Either that, or just retread some old-time arguments against something else.
    There was the old-time Epicureanism, and a battery of arguments against random motions of atoms. And there was the 18th century Preformationism, which had generated several arguments against Reproduction, which one could borrow as if they had any relevance against evolution.
    Whatever, nobody, ever since Darwin, has been able to come up with an
    alternative to descent with modification.
    The triad of the signature for the rhetoric against evolution:
    1. There is no substantive, positive description.
    2. There is no continuity to the narrative.
    3. It is parasitic upon earlier, abandoned arguments.