Tuesday, December 1, 2015

So There is Nothing Religious About Intelligent Design (Part IX)

What would a month be without another example of religion courtesy of those folks who claim not to be a religious organization, yes -- I give you the Discovery Institute.

I caught this one from one of my favorite blogs, The Sensuous Curmudgeon, and I doubt I could be in more agreement.  The source is from the DI: "Are Young People Losing Their Faith Because of Science?"  Now before diving into it, just read the title for a second.  If, and I mean a very large IF, the Discovery Institute (DI) was an actual scientific organization and the answer to the question poised was 'yes', then they themselves would be partly to blame, right?  It would only stand to reason, wouldn't it?  But since they aren't a scientific organization, the answer to the question would only be important if they were concerned about young people shifting away from faith-based beliefs.  Why would that be a concern for the DI?

In their post they claim to be addressing the following questions in their other material.  Oh, did I forget to mention that this wasn't just a post, it was an offer, a 'free' offer to download their  . . . well here it is in their own words:

"Download this free report from Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture for information and resources to equip yourself, your family, and your congregation on issues of faith and science." 
'Yourself, your family, and your congregation . . . faith and science' . . . sure no religious connotations there!  This 'free' report supposedly addresses several questions (My thoughts about their questions follow in italics):
  • What percentage of young people now enter college believing that “the universe arose by chance”? 
    I would hope that young people entering college wouldn't believe that at all -- since Science doesn't teach it.  Theists with a grudge against science try and paint science in this way, but actual science doesn't teach this.

  • What percentage of college faculty identify themselves as atheists or agnostics? 
    Why aren't they asking what percentage identify themselves as Christian or other theist?  The real question is should their religious identification make a difference?  If it does, then the school needs to take action!  Right now if a Christian biology teacher in a public school teaches their religion instead of actual science, they should be fired (John Freshwater for example).  That's how it should be!  Religious, or non-religious affiliation should not matter!  Imagine the hue and cry is a Islamic teacher made disparaging comments about Christian Creationism.  So the fact some of the teachers might be atheists or agnostics is an automatic problem?  It should be immaterial, and when it's not, action needs to be taken.

  • How many young adults with a Christian background think “Christianity is anti-science”?
    Since the Discovery Institute is one of the organizations that teach the distrust of science, anyone who follows their rhetoric and actually believes it could certainly believe Christianity is anti-science.  But the reality is the DI, and groups like Answers in Genesis (AiG) and the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) do not represent the vast majority of Christians nor Christianity as a whole.  Many Christians are scientists and many theists in the past have made many scientific breakthroughs.  Christianity is not anti-science, a small sect, notably Evangelical Christians, exhibit behaviors that are certainly anti-science.

  • What five big truths can help you counter the myth that belief in God is anti-science? 
    Not sure what five truths they are talking about, but if you go by the DI's history, they will attempt to paint many historical scientific figures by their religious beliefs and yet will, once again, fail to connect their science to their belief set.  Even in modern times, for example, one of the developers of the technology behind MRIs identifies himself as a Creation Scientist . . . and yet at no point in his actual scientific work does his religious beliefs appear.  Why is that?  It's not that Creation 'Scientists' are anti-science, it's that some of them do not let their religious beliefs get in the way of performing science.  On the other hand, what breakthroughs in various sciences are claimed by Creation 'Scientists' affiliated with religious organizations like the DI, AiG, or ICR?  Can anyone actually name any?  And if you can, can you point to where their religious beliefs enter into those breakthrough?  Not even the one-time golden boy of the DI, Michael Behe, has used his belief in ID in his work, only in his philosophical musings.

    They will also push their particular religious belief, intelligent design, as if it was actual science, but again forgetting to support it or demonstrate their scientific methodology.  If you read material by actual scientists rather than DI apologists, you see real science, you see the evidence laid out, you see the methodology used, you see scientists around the world dissecting and replicating their work.  When do you see anything of this for Intelligent Design?  Even Wikipedia describes it as psuedo-science, as much as someone keeps trying to edit that part out.

    They will continue to claim the use of human intelligence is an example of the 'theory of Intelligent Design', again forgetting to support the connection.  It would be a difficult connection for even them to make because they have yet to describe a theory of ID.

    They will more than likely keep twisting terminology, like 'Theory' and 'Academic Freedom' as ways of justifying their mistrust of science and scientific/educational institutions. 

    They might also continue to portray folks like David Coppedge, Richard Von Sternberg, and Guillermo Gonzales as 'victims' of religious persecution rather than the more accurate people who allowed their belief set to interfere with them performing a job and were held accountable. 

    Not sure what 'Truths' they will be marketing, but it might be entertaining.

  • What resources are available to help you engage young people and others who think faith is anti-science? 
    Instead of downloading the DI's marketing material, I would recommend a real education more than anything else and that would include actual science, not pseudo-science like Creationism/Intelligent Design.
Does this change in young people moving away from faith-based beliefs worry the DI?  It should since without their faith-based audience, there would be no funding, no marketing, and no Discovery Institute.  But my bottom line is connecting the DI back to something they keep officially denying, their religious motivations.  Why else would they offer this 'free' download. 

To be clear, I am not going to download it.  Would the report itself support their claims for not being religious?  I doubt it, not with this post announcing it.  So I don't believe to need the material.  I've download much of their marketing material already, like their lesson plans for teaching ID . . . another something they claim to be opposed to.  Yes, they claim to not advocate teaching ID in the classroom, yet they had lesson plans posted for how to do it.  This post is another that lays waste to their often made claims of not being religious, the material itself would add nothing to that.

In case you missed them, here are the other 8 posts (8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1) about the DI not being religious.  Take a peek and you will see that while they consistently try and distance themselves, they keep returning to their religious underpinnings.  I have said it before and I will continue to say it, the Discovery Institute is much more a religious ministry than anything else.  This post shows they have more in common with kennie ham (AiG), who is at least honest about being a ministry.


  1. I can go along with the DI being a ministry. However, I suspect that you and I part ways regarding the motives of the primary players on the front lines. You seem to think it's religious. I think it's primarily about money.

  2. I don't think we disagree that much. I feel religion is a way for power and control . . . money is part of it. Tell me Kennie Ham lives like a Catholic Priest?