Thursday, September 4, 2014

Response to 'That's Deception, not Concern' post

I got a couple of emails about how disingenuous I am for accusing the Discovery Institute (DI) of doing something everyone does when they use words to make a point.

I do agree everyone uses words to better their own position, that is a recognized tactic.  But the DI seems to be much less honest about it.  Did they ever mention their religious objective to euthanasia?  Wouldn't that have helped a reader grasp why they were making the argument?  In the past did they ever mention that their pet idea, Intelligent Design, isn't a scientific theory?  Did they forget to tell lawmakers and voters that the 'academic freedom' laws they helped write and get passed in Louisiana has nothing at all to do with academic freedom?  How often have we heard how ID is not Creationism, yet the religious underpinnings are clear for all to see?  That what I mean about being more dishonest about it.  I've seen many articles where a individual or group's motivation is included in most diatribes.  Most groups are proud of their positions and aren't afraid to tie into that motivation.  Do you ever see the DI being so open and honest?  I don't think so.

The problem is more that this indicates a pattern of behavior, not just playing lawyer-word games.  Here are a few others I've mentioned in the past:

  • Remember how the DI misrepresented the organizational affiliations on the 'Dissent from Darwin' petition? (here
  • Now about how the DI forget to mention that the reason most of the 'scientists' who signed their petition didn't sign for scientific reasons? (here)
  • One of their authors, Stephen C. Meyer, identified two reviewers of one of his books as not being ID proponents, when nothing could have been further from the truth. (here, the part near the end about Philip Skell and Norman Nevin)
  • How about the behavior of the DI before during and after the Dover trial?  You can check out Panda's Thumb for the good information, or read Lauri Lebo's 'Devil in Dover' -- but let me remind you of a couple of things: When the Conservative judge was announced, the DI pretty much said it was over and they won, yet after the trial they claimed the judge was an activist judge and tried to spin the ruling that was devastatingly against them.  Don't forget the three of their senior fellows bowed out of testifying.   They also claimed not to have given any help or advice on one hand and on another claimed to have advised Dover's school board not to pursue it . . . of course these comments differ sharply from what the Dover School Board members said during testimony.
  • My all time favorite will always be the bibliography given to the Ohio School Board trying to convince them of evolution's imminent demise (here).  After their shenanigans, they did add a disclaimer to the bibliography, but it doesn't change how they represented it in Ohio.
This list can get pretty long, but I hope you get the idea.  In my opinion, the Discovery Institute cannot be trusted to represent themselves in an open manner.  They fail to follow a standard methodology expected of all scientists, yet they demand a place at the lectern in science class for teaching their religion.  They do this using tactics that, again in my opinion, are reprehensible.

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