Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Discovery Institute has Opened an ID Center in Brazil! Quite Possibly the Perfect Retirement Job!

The Discovery Institute has opened another Intelligent Design 'Center' in Brazil.  I wonder if it will last as long as the previous one at Baylor?  I do want to point out one thing, this 'ID Center' is at the "Mackenzie Presbyterian University", please note the 'Presbyterian' part of the title of the school. I would like to remind everyone once again that the DI keeps claiming that there is nothing religious about ID . . . and yet 'Presbyterian'?

This is a 'center', it's not a 'lab', so I am a little confused as exactly what it's supposed to be. Their last 'center' was the the Michael Polanyi Center at Baylor and it was described as "the first intelligent design think tank at a research university." It was formed in 1999, reduced to a minor program within the Baylor Institute for Faith and Learning in 2000 and fully dissolved in 2003.  My point is that it was called a 'center' but turned out to be a website where Intelligent Design 'theorists' can post their 'papers' and then students can read them for some unfathomable purpose. I don't recall any actual work coming out of that center, so my expectations are pretty low for this one.

When I read this, it reminded me of when I worked with a man who was coming up on his retirement and he was looking for a new job, something that would let him continue working, but with much less stress than his current job, or even career field.  He used to say that he wanted to be a Drawbridge Operator.

The way he described it was fascinating.  According to him, there are a number of small drawbridges around Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York.  They are in out of the way places, over small waterways, with small towers to let the operator see the river.  Basically you wait until you hear a boat horn and you press a button to raise the bridge.  This happens only two or three times a day.  The rest of your day is spent relaxing in the sun, watching a little TV, reading a book.  He described it as the perfect retirement job because if the bridge fails to work, you call maintenance.  But, by law, the bridges had to have an operator physically present.  No stress, no serious physical labor, no mental anxiety and lots of time to read and maybe fish in the river.  For him it sounded perfect.  I bet 50 years ago he would have been looking for a lighthouse to move into.

This 'center' might be even better.  How about a job where you get paid to do nothing?  I'm not kidding.  In looking at the 'work' people who have similar jobs have been doing, like at the Discovery Institute in WA.  The common denominator seems to be a complete lack of results.  Here's what I see would be the list of duties:

  • Look busy.
  • Write an occasional meaningless blog post.
  • Once every few years give a lecture in front of a green screen that looks like a lab.
  • A least once a year tell people that your 'work' will be replacing real science any minute now -- the same message certain people started telling folks  over a century ago.  I wouldn't hold my breath.
  • Distribute these posts, lectures, and predictions to religious audiences around the country. 
  • If you have a degree in anything, you will be required to pen a philosophical book once every 10 or so years and the more scientific the book sounds, the better.
  • Finally, for fun, bitch and moan that no one outside your little group of theists takes you seriously!
See what I mean, the perfect retirement job! No expectations of actual results, some busy work, a rare lecture to audiences who already agree with the program, some whining, and you could probably keep 'working' on a book for years -- after all we are still waiting for Paul Nelson's 'Ontogenetic Depth' and also for Stephen C. Meyer to address the critics of his 'Darwin's Doubt' as he promised!  Since there are at least two unfulfilled promises, so why not add another! Think of all the time you can waste away spend until you decide to retire for real! If you keep your involvement to a minimum, you might never have to fully retire, but you can just act like you are.

Plus, if you 'work' remotely, you don't even have to move to Brazil.  Nothing against Brazil, I just hate moving.  I wonder what the job 'requirements' will be?  I don't expect too much, after all look at the gallery of people working at the DI itself.  How long can the list of duties and responsibilities be?  It might be a bit confusing, after all you would expect an organization claiming to do science be staffed primarily with scientists, but when you look at the DI itself you see very few scientists and lots of lawyers and philosophers.

It's not that I ever expect to even apply for the job, it's just nice knowing their are such jobs around, perfect for someone looking to slow down and not have any actual responsibilities.  You know the retail store Greeter-sort of job.


  1. It has occurred to me that it could be very lucrative to 'defect' to the Discovery Institute. I could weave a story about how my doubts about Darwinian orthodoxy piled up until I just couldn't face myself in the mirror anymore. I fought so hard to keep on believing, but the evidence finally gave me no choice! Portray myself as a whistleblower from inside the establishment, and tell tales about how all the evolutionists I know in academia know that evolution is a big lie. Or play the victim: when I failed to toe the party line, I was driven out! Disavow everything I've written in the past, and say I knew it was a lie when I said it.
    I suppose I'm throwing that option away by writing this: if I ever tried it, you'd be able to throw this comment up in my face (and I'm okay with that). Now I'll have to stick with more honest work. I wonder how hard it is to be a Craigslist scammer...

  2. I couldn't possibly do it with a Straight Face, and I love to play poker!