Monday, July 18, 2016

The Discovery Institute is again claiming "More Scientists Praise Douglas Axe's Undeniable"

Late last week I posted "Are Scientists really saying nice things about Doug Axe's new Book? Seriously?" in which we discussed how davey 'klingy' klinghoffer, of the Discovery Institute (DI), was claiming how scientists are saying very positive things about Doug Axe's new book "Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed".  If you recall klingy found three 'scientists' to say nice things and forgot to mention that the three were already deeply involved with the DI and their pet version of Creationism, Intelligent Design (ID), one was even a Senior Fellow at the DI.

Today klingy posted a new article "More Scientists Praise Douglas Axe's Undeniable", now you know I can't just take his word for it.  But before that, I want to quote klingy:

"We don't need to rely slavishly on what scientists say because, in an important sense, we are all scientists, capable of judging a big scientific idea like evolution, if not necessarily the technical details, for ourselves."
Do you see what he's doing here?  In one line he tries to denigrate scientists and claiming that we all can make our own judgments . . . sure . . . let's all go build a new rocket, after all, we are all rocket scientists . . . or let me perform knee replacement surgery on my wife . . after all,  . . . do you see where I am going?  This has been a recent theme in klingy, and the DI's postings.  Trying to tell people their opinion on scientific matters is just as good as actual scientists.  Why would they do this?

It's simple . . . when you don't have any science to support you, you have to rely on something else.  This tactic wants people to go with their own opinions, their 'intuition' and not give any credence to the people who are deeply educated and who study the subject at hand on a daily basis.  So . . . how many of you are going to take your car to a psychic the next time it breaks down?  Let's ignore MD's because they can't know as much as we do about disease and medicine, can they?  After all 'we are all scientists', right?  BTW, guess what the topic of Doug's book?  Yup!

OK, back to the immediate subject, are these 'scientists' also known supporters of the DI and ID?  Let's find out.  Here are the three, along with the credentials klingy posted:
  • Russell W. Carlson, Professor Emeritus, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia
  • Matti Leisola, D.Sc., Professor Emeritus of Bioprocess Engineering, Aalto University, Finland
  • Mark C. Biedebach, Professor Emeritus, Department of Biological Sciences, California State University, Long Beach
On the surface, it looks like klingy may have something.  I mean Biochemistry, Bioprocess Engineering, and Biological Sciences.  But shall we look a little deeper.
  • Professor Carlson . . . it took me a minute to remember where I had heard that name before.  He was one of the people who testified in Kansas back in 2005.  Do you remember when Kansas was dealing with adopting school standards that would have made it legal to teach religion as science.  They held a hearing on it and it does make interesting reading.  Needless to say, Carlson wasn't on the side of Science.  He's also a signatory of the "Dissent from Darwin" petition, the DI has tried to use so often to cast doubt of the scientific viability of Evolution.  You know, the list that everyone pretty much laughs at.  I think they have topped 800 names and they've only been collecting names since 2001. 

  • Professor Leisola . . . it was harder to find stuff on Matti because so much of it is in Finnish . . . and as a born-and-bred Brooklynite, you are lucky I speak English.  But I did find that Matti is on the editorial team of 'Bio-Complexity'.  Bio-Complexity is the journal of the Biologic Institute, the Discovery Institute's in-house 'lab', and guess who runs it . . . Doug Axe.  Yes, that Doug, the author of the book Matti said nice things about.  Like Carlson, he's another signatory of the Dissent petition.
  • Professor Biedebach . . . There is lots about Mark, just do a quick Google.  I just looked at the first few.  Just like the others, he's is a signatory on the DI's petition.  He's also previously said lots of nice things about one of Stephen C. Meyer's books, "Darwin's Doubt", which we have also discusses many times.  Mark's hooked up with Catherine Crocker, you know one of the martyrs for ID after her contract wasn't renewed at a college because she wasn't teaching the subject she was hired to teach, yea, that one.  Anything else . . . oh look, it looks like he's writing a new lesson plan to revolutionize the teaching of Evolution called Evolution vs Creation and right there on the page it says "Views expressed in the following are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent a position that could be taken by the University, The Department of Biological Sciences, or other faculty."
I think we can safely say these three are not very ringing endorsements for Doug's book.  Like everyone else who the DI has identified as a fan, they already support the DI and ID.  Why doesn't klingy just come out and say so?  At least I would respect if he would make the connections out in the open, but that's too much to expect.

I know why he fails to identify such potential conflicts of interest, because many people will just see the comments and the brief description without digging deeper to realize that the DI is doing what the DI does, it's their version of 'peer review'.  They publish something and get a few folks who already agree to say nice things then they start bragging.  It's one of their favorite tactics and one that means very little.  It took me more time to type this than it did to find out how closely aligned these 'scientists' are to the DI and ID.  I am sure I'm not the only one who will look, and I am also sure I'm not the only one that will be pointing this out to anyone interested.

So, to date, klingy has bragged about 6 people who said nice things about Doug's book . . . and as we found that all 6 have lots of ties to the DI and are known ID supporters . . . and not only that, klingy failed to mention that little fact.  Certainly should make you think.


  1. Thanks Ted, I was on Amazon uk and saw this book so decided to do some background work on these scientists. You seemed to have sown it up in your article. They seem to be unable to tell the whole truth or story for some reason.Steve

  2. Thanks Stephen! The bottom line is you cannot trust anything the DI says! You always have to do a little homework, but it's better that than getting played for a fool.

  3. No anti-supernatural confirmation bias here eh?