Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Discovery Institute is So Predictable

Just a few hours ago I posted "Evolution, It's All The Fault of the Media!", which was my comments about a little davey 'klingy' klinghoffer post concerning Tom Bethell's new book.  I predicted there would be more coming on the subject and lo-and-behold, klingy has another one already:
"The Curious Romance of Darwinism and Creationism -- And Why Intelligent Design Must Be Silenced". He starts off with a common Discovery Institute complaint, typically poorly supported:

"One of the many smart observations in Tom Bethell's new book, Darwin's House of Cards, pertains to the curious relationship of Darwinism and Creationism -- and how that bears on efforts to suppress investigation of the theory of intelligent design."
I underlined the most interesting phrase, 'suppress investigation'.  What a crock, the sheer audacity of klingy and the DI amazes me, even after nearly a decade blogging about it!  If suppression were true there would be no Discovery Institute (DI), there would be no Intelligent Design (ID) idea, there would be no Biologic Institute -- you know the DI's in-house laboratory for  . . . doing what exactly?  Investigating ID!  While they have been notoriously silent on the topic, that is their stated purpose after all.

The DI likes to sell that they are the little David attacking the Science Goliath, but the reality is they are a religious ministry using any tactic to market their religion.  No tactic too low nor tactic too reprehensible, as evidenced by posts like this.  It's sort of a: We can't compete on the science, so we will claim they are being unfair and suppressing all our  . . . well whatever, it's sure not science.

What klingy, and I guess Bethell, are calling suppression, is the lack of the scientific communities immediate and overwhelming acceptance of the brilliance of the DI's philosophers, lawyers, and pseudo-historians by tossing aside 150 years of actual, verifiable, and useful science and replacing it with the DI's self-admitted religious philosophy.  A philosophy, I might add, that has accomplishing no scientific advances, no medical cures, and no results of any kind.  Just because the scientific community is unwilling to embrace it, doesn't mean it is being suppressed!  The unwillingness comes from a number of different avenues, not the least of which is the DI's own lack of evidence supporting their own idea.

When you add in the religious underpinnings of ID, well documented in their own guiding document, and the failure of ID proponents to effectively defend ID as science during the Dover Trial, is it any wonder the majority of the scientific community dismisses it?  They dismiss it much in the same way they dismiss tarot cards, numerology, and astrology.  In multiple school systems across the country, including right here in Ohio, creationists have tried for decades to have their religion inserted into the science curriculum.  Failing that, they re-packaged Creationism into 'Creation Science' and it failed as well.  The current incarnation is called 'Intelligent Design' and it's met with so little success that the DI, and their friends, have to invent excuses, like the idea of suppression!  Every scientist says basically the same thing, 'show me the evidence' . . . and yet there has not been any evidence forthcoming.

You know, for a journalist Bethell doesn't seem to do his homework very well.  According to klingy, Bethell wrote:
"But so far, no intelligent rebuttal of intelligent design has appeared." 
Really?  I guess he ignored the Dover Trial, and every time they [the DI] publish one of their philosophical books pretending to be science, real scientists have plenty to say about it.  They put people in front of green screens, self-publish philosophy books (like Bethells's -- it was published by the Discovery Institute Press) and papers, and give lots of interviews mainly made up of whining . . . and they can't understand why no one takes them seriously.  Even the DI's efforts to edit the ID entry in Wikipedia keeps getting rebutted to the point where Wikipedia suspends editing for a time.  Bethell also said:
"Intelligent design is not a deduction from a philosophy but an inference from observed facts."
However, only ID proponents defined it as such, the rest of the world defined it as:
"Intelligent design is a creationist religious argument for the existence of God, presented by its proponents as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" but found to be pseudoscience." (Wikipedia: Intelligent Design, 7 Feb 2017)
Just for fun I tool a look at the history of the ID link in Wikipedia.  Just in this year alone, there have already been 23 edits. Someone tried to change the heading to:
"This article is about a scientific theory that abductively reasons for a creationist viewpoint. For generic arguments from "intelligent design", see Teleological argument. For the movement, see Intelligent design movement. For other uses of the phrase, see Intelligent design (disambiguation)."
The rationale used for this change was :
"(More accuracy, less venom. It is NOT(!) a form of creationism, it is purely scientific theory. It appeals to all of those with a creationist viewpoint, but it is purely scientific in standard. See: William Dembski's Design Revolution!)"
Four minutes later is was changed back to:
"This article is about a form of creationism. For generic arguments from "intelligent design", see Teleological argument. For the movement, see Intelligent design movement. For other uses of the phrase, see Intelligent design (disambiguation)."
With the rationale:
"(Reverted 1 pending edit by Cobaltblueeyes to revision 758109363 by Dave souza: the contention that it's a scientific theory has been repeatedly debunked)"

Twenty-three edits in 5 weeks, no wonder Wikipedia slows things down.  But the effort is pretty consistent.  Little klingy's final quote from Bethell talks about how one group of university professors reacted to an on-campus institute whose sole purpose was ID research.
"Polanyi Institute to debate these issues, with Darwinians and ID opponents included on the board. But the Institute was shut down after vehement protests from Baylor's biology faculty"
So the question isn't whether or not this 'institute' should have been shut down, the question is who establishes science curriculum.  According to the school, the 'institute', funding by a grant from the DI, was downgraded for passing off their ID material as if it was the position of the school itself -- which it was not.  If I recall, the teachers in Dover PA refused to read the statement approved by the school board because ID is not science!  I posted this back in 2008:
"There has to be some leveling set of standards, or else nothing we teach will actually prepare our students for the future. Science should be taught in science class, and what determines science? Science has a huge community of people working in scientific fields. They have developed, over time, a methodology for what is science and what is not. Is it unanimous, no, but what developed by a committee ever is? But the vast majority of members of that community agree that Creationism/Intelligent Design does not belong in Science class. "(Who determines School Curriculum Standards?)
So, in my opinion, teachers at every level should put up a fight when politicians, and that what school boards and university trustees are, want to change an entire discipline into a pseudo-discipline.  In every public school in the nation teachers should rise up when politicians threaten their disciplines.  History teachers know Darwin did not cause Hitler and the Holocaust.  Math teachers know that pi does not equal 3, and science teachers know ID is not science.  Who decides what math is included in Mathematics courses?  Who decides what rules of grammar are used in English courses?  The determining factor of whether or not something should be included in a science course are not those arm-chair creationists at the DI, but the scientific community using the scientific methodology so easily dismissed by those same creationists.

Little klingy finishes with one last outlandish statement:
"ID, unlike creationism, challenges Darwinian evolution on its own turf. That is not acceptable. Creationism for the Darwinist is a welcome foil. On the other hand, ID, which practices science where Darwinism is ultimately an exercise in philosophy, must be silenced."
Since when?  Where has ID challenged actual science on it's own turf?  Where is the science supporting ID, where is the evidence that stands up to objective scrutiny?  Where are the actual peer-reviewed papers?  I am not talking about the DI's version of pseudo-peer-review, but actual peer-review.  Where is anything that would give ID scientific legitimacy?  

There isn't anything, and that is why ID doesn't belong in science class.  The scientific community has been asking for years and the silence has been so deafening  It's only in religious circles that ID gets any acceptance at all, and then only in Evangelical religious circles.  Even most non-secular schools have rejected ID and the DI's marketing campaigns, like "Teach the Controversy" and "Evolution is Just a Theory".  Just today the Christian News Wire put out this press release:
"Richard Weikart, Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, will present at Athanatos Christian Ministry's apologetics academy"
Sure and how many times does the DI claim not to be a ministry?  Anyone, outside of their own apologetics, actually believe that bit of fiction?  Over the years they have presented talks and many religious gatherings!

It's not because ID proponents are being suppressed, it's because they add nothing to the amazing picture that science paints of the world.  If the DI succeeds in destroying science their own Wedge Strategy document makes it clear that science is only the first step.  They will target every other area of learning until the only perspective is a specific religious one, their religious one.  The incredible mosaic painted by science will become a blank canvas filled with one color and serve absolutely no purpose.  At best the DI, and ID, is a footnote as the latest effort to make science a casualty, not of a failure -- because science most certainly hasn't failed, but a casualty of a philosophy that offers nothing but philosophy.  Decking it out in an ill-fitting lab coat doesn't make it science.

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