Thursday, July 21, 2016

DI is celebrating 20 years of Intelligent Design . . . Why?

Here are the stated 20-year goals of the Discovery Institute (DI):

It's a little blurry, but I think you can make them out.  The reason I bring this up is because of this post from the DI: "Intelligent Design -- The Future! Join Us on August 12 to Celebrate 20 Years of Advancing Science and Culture".  I have to ask, what do they have to celebrate?

Look at the goals again, and it certainly leads to these questions:
  • Is Intelligent Design the dominant perspective in science?
  • Is design 'theory' being applied in any specific fields, in and outside of the natural sciences?
  • Does design 'theory' permeate our religious, cultural, moral, and political life?
Can anyone honestly answer 'yes' to any of these?  I know the DI will be placing some spin about how incredible the last 20 years have been, but have they achieved any of their goals?  That answer is not just no, a resounding No!

So one more question, what are they celebrating?  Twenty years of soliciting money from other people while continually failing?  Twenty years of refusing to perform any actual science?  Twenty years of publishing pseudo-scientific books and articles while failing to understand why no one in science takes them seriously? That might sounds kinda mean, but come on . . . what have they achieved?

Let's take a look at another set of goals, these are their five-year goals:
So now I have to ask:
  • Is Intelligent Design an accepted alternative and is there any actual scientific research being done form the perspective of 'design' theory?
  • Is design theory influencing any spheres other than natural sciences?  For that matter, is it actually influencing natural sciences?
  • Are there major new debates in education, life issues, legal, and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda?
Of these three, the only one you might be able to rationalize a 'yes' to is the second one.  But it would be a stretch.  Because the way 'design theory' is influencing natural science, or any other 'sphere', is in a negative way.  Has 'design theory' been used to develop any new scientific theories?  Has it been used to develop new medicines?  Has it been used in anything other than a continuation of the cultural debate that keeps springing up periodically when theists' religious beliefs feel threatened?  No, not at all!  So what does an organization who failed to reach any of their five-year goals in 20 years have to celebrate?

Here is the future, as I see it.  Since ID has been a failure in everything but raising funds for the DI, it's got to be time to replace it with something else.  Something that sounds even more 'science-y' and might have less of a close and personal relationship with Creationism.  

After all wasn't Creationism replaced by 'Creation Science' in an effort to convince some people that there was some rational basis for their religious beliefs?  Creation Science came around after Creationists started losing court cases (1968 Epperson v. Arkansas being the first big one).  And after 'Creation Science' lost it's big court challenge (1982  McLean v. Arkansas) it gave way to the more modern version of Creationism, Intelligent Design. Now if you look at a calendar, we find that losing a court case in 1982, it was 14 years before the establishment of the DI and the heavy marketing of ID. It's now been 11 years since ID lost it's big court case (2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District), so shouldn't the DI be planning for their next pseudo-scientific idea?

I mean that ill-fitting lab coat has got to be wearing a bit thin, so I would suggest keeping the celebrating to a minimum, you might rip it and expose the priestly garments you try and hide.

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