Friday, September 24, 2010

Now you know I am not a fan of the Discovery Institute

But before I talk about them, I want to make it clear that I am also not a fan of crackers and hackers. Deliberately interfering with web traffic with Denial of Service (DoS) or other attacks is a criminal act. What should happen when any group is subject to such an attack is to use the appropriate resources and identify the attackers and take appropriate legal action. DoS attacks are a crime in the U.S. and a number of other countries.

Of course when the Discovery Institute is the subject of such an attack, or I think I should say 'alleged' attack, what do they do? They spin! They get up on the tips of their pointy-toes and spin like the mad little pseudo-scientists that they are.

Here is an example, Jonnie West is whining about a DoS attack against the DI "Cyber Attacks Attempt to Shut Down Discovery Institute's Websites on Day of Event Challenging Darwinism" So without any evidence of who was attacking, or even why they were attacking he assumes it was 'Darwinists' and repeats his many old claims about a conspiracy by his Institute's detractors to silence them. Once again I will state that I am completely against these sort of attacks for any reason! In my opinion the best thing anyone can do for science is let the DI have their say. The more people hear about their foolish ideas, the easier they are to deal with.

But again does the DI attempt to actually identify the attackers? No, they will get more mileage by not identifying them. Besides if the attackers were known, the DI might be dragged into court and we know how they tend to avoid court.

Is the attack even a real one? There have been numerous instances in the past where a websites popularity is mistaken for a DoS attack. Well I guess we can rule that one out because I cannot imagine the DI being a popular web destination. But it is still within the realm of possibility, just not probability.

Could the attack have been orchestrated by someone other than an alleged 'Darwinist' -- like maybe a former ally of the DI who became disenchanted with their tactics and lawyer-ing word games? Most cyber attacks are from insiders not outside sources. Plus let us remember than in spite of the 'big-tent' approach, not everyone who is against real science is in the DI's corner.

No, West assumes pro-science supporters -- and uses the typical pejorative 'Darwinists' -- and then attempts to make it sound as if we are trying to close down discussion. No one I know is afraid of discussion. No one I know is even afraid of the DI. The only concern any of us have is their marketing success, pandering of politicians, and impact on the conservative religious audience they covert and how these things can damage science education in this country. We have repeatedly asked for the DI to bring their science to the table -- but rather than do they, they market, pander, and preach.

Like most things, in my opinion, rather than use the opportunity as a PR campaign, the DI should be using it's resources to identify and bring the attackers to justice. But justice doesn't seem to be on the agenda of the DI, not when they can spin.


  1. I do agree with you on this subject. But.....the first thing that came to my mind was the Discovery Institute's motto: God did it....Mia

  2. LOL, so since God did everything else, maybe God is a Hacker? Why not! I love it.

  3. About four years ago the Talk Origins Archive was hit by a hacker. While we speculated if it might be a creationist, in the end we decided it was just an ordinary Russian spammer.

  4. John,
    Speculation is one thing, that's to be expected, but West moved well beyond speculation to accusation and all the way to conviction. If he were a judge he would be holding all pro-science supporters for a crime committed by an unknown party.
    But then when does the DI require facts before passing judgment? I made a post earlier this year ( where Casey Luskin, another DI shill, had the audacity to say ""The moral of this story is this: Whether the case ultimately wins or loses in court, don’t speak out publicly on a case until you know the facts."
    And yet the DI has no problems making pronouncements in the Coppedge case without having anything resembling facts.
    Typical behavior, it seems.