Monday, January 23, 2017

They Just Can't Help Themselves, the Discovery Institute that is.

I've said it before and I guess I get to keep saying it, whenever anyone says something about Evolution or Intelligent Design, the Discovery Institute (DI) will do their best to spin it and try and gain some traction for their particular religious point of view.

This time it's a review of a National Geographic TV series "Review: In Mars Miniseries, Life Is Discovered on the Red 2037!"  Fair warning, the review does contain substantive spoilers which could ruin the impact of watching the series.  It's a good show, so you might watch it without the DI trying to spoil it for you.

That being said, the poster, a Walter Myers III (who I don't recall hearing anything about before) was less than impressed.  He seemed to have two main issues: an assumption he doesn't like, and a lack of religious obsequiousness, which he also doesn't like.

The first the assumption, the series treats Evolution as if it actually occurs -- oh the horror that must be for a creationist.  He said:

"While an ID proponent can certainly enjoy the series, as I did, it's no surprise that evolution is simply assumed."
He doesn't say whether or not he enjoyed the show, but that an ID proponent 'can' enjoy it.  I know when I word things like that, I am talking about the realm of possibility, like 'Opera can be enjoyable', what I leave unsaid is 'not for me.'  When I am talking about something I enjoy, I would never use the word 'can' but express it in a more positive sense, like 'Opera is enjoyable'.  He might have said simply 'I enjoyed it!', and he didn't have to add the 'ID proponent' disclaimer, after all he's writing on the DI's blog, so he is an ID proponent.  I will have to check out his ID chops, but not just yet.

But what annoys him is the matter-of-fact way they treat Evolution.  In reality, don't most folks treat it that way?  Life has evolved, there is much too much evidence even but the most hard-core creationists to deny.  So much so that creationists had to create [pun intended] an artificial line between what they call micro-evolution and macro-evolution!  Since the program wasn't about evolution, the matter-of-fact treatment of the subject makes perfect sense to me.  I can see how an ID proponent would want to drag the script into a philosophical argument about evolution -- I mean an organization who argues about a Canadian Quilter over a quilt (Canadian Quilters Attack Intelligent Design) wants to drag everything into a philosophical argument about evolution.  Of course it has to be a philosophical argument since the DI hasn't been able to formulate a scientific one.

So I can see what he wants, too bad the series was based on a hypothetical Mars colony and not a pseudo-scientific replacement for a real scientific theory.  Since it isn't about creationism, I found their treatment of Evolution to be perfectly reasonable.  What I find funny is suppose the storyline did add something about the possibility of an 'intelligent designer' (code for the Christian God), the DI would have been crying from the rooftops about their success in being taken seriously . . . by a fictional TV series.

The other issue is a bit more subtle, the lack of religion.  Myers quotes the movie "Prometheus" with this:
'One of the archaeologists quips to the other, "There is nothing special about the creation of life. Anybody can do it. All you need is a dash of DNA and half a brain. Right?" '
Myers then ends with a further quote from Prometheus and a final note of his own:
' . . . the other archaeologist, Commander Shaw, playfully caressing the cross on her necklace, has a fitting rejoinder. "Well, if they made us," she asks, "then who made them?" Touché, Commander Shaw.'
Myers just had to bring in religion into the conversation, didn't he?  If you missed it, please note the "playful caressing of the cross on her neck", how obvious can you get?  So the ID proponent wants to insure any discussion involving evolution, even one in a fictional program, eventually gets connected to religion.  Gee, how . . . unoriginal.  I think Myers had to stretch a ton to inject religion into the discussion.  Since the Mars Miniseries didn't pay appropriate homage to one deity or another, Myers dragged in an Alien movie to do it for us.  Does anyone actually buy that to DI is a scientific organization, or that it ever was?  Anyone?

OK, two last things from me before I go wander off and annoy some other folks for the day. Myers takes a TV series by National Geographic that took a serious look at today's technology and extrapolated it into the future and created a fairly realistic idea of what a colony on Mars might be like.  True, they didn't make a documentary, but turned it into a dramatic series and typical artistic license.  To make his point, Myers then dragged in a Ridley Scott movie, which is a prequel to his Alien franchise (which apparently gets more evident in the next installment titled Alien: Covenant).  Talk about reaching!  What's no quoting Ace Ventura?

OK, my last thing, I said I was going to look up Walter Myers III.  I guess I haven't heard about him because he only has one other post on the DI's Evolution 'news' and Views site and it lists him as a new 'contributor', which I think is the first step to becoming a 'fellow' at the DI.  His background is architecture and studied philosophy at Biola University's Talbot School of Theology.  As yes, once more with feeling . . . there is nothing religious about the DI or ID . . . yea, sure!  I'm positive we'll be hearing more from Myers in the future.  If you Google him you will find he is certainly prolific in various places, almost always of a very conservative slant.  He seems to try and moderate some of the more virulent strain of Conservatism, but his slightly more moderate tone doesn't ring very true.  For example:
"The problem, in my view, with the LGBT movement is not that they have a particular view they are advocating for, but the manner in which they pursue it. . . 
 . . .I know the rejoinder from someone in the LGBT community will be that Christians are filled with hate and discriminate against gays. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Christians are called to love and accept all human beings, and simply see the gay lifestyle as being one of many different sinful lifestyles." (Walter Myers III: The LGBT Movement and the Pursuit of Ends)
He denigrate the LGBT community because part of that community is behaving in a way he doesn't like -- yet, at the same time, he ignores the portion of the Christian community who demonstrate hatred and discrimination toward gays . . . Marie Antoinette anyone?

I could just as easy say "The problem, in my view, with the Christian community is not that they have a particular view they are advocating for, but the manner in which they pursue it . . ."  Then I can point to examples of gay bashing, sexual re-orientation 'clinics', gay marriage protests, even business people and government appointees who want to exclude gay folks from receiving their services.

I guess if he needs a job, maybe little casey luskin's position is still open.  Ann Gauger was trying to fill it, but hasn't had nearly the output of little casey -- I guess casey's old office didn't have a green-screen.  Maybe Myers can fill in the empty space and provide a bit more entertainment.

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