So the Discovery Institute…boy there’s a hell of a seg-way! But there are few examples that illustrates the gullibility of adherents and the manipulative duplicity of Rightwing opportunists and ideologues. This is a group with connections to Scooter Libby, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, ubiquitous of the last Bush Administration, and Alexander Haig of the Rightwing Hudson Institute, which draws its funding, from among others, Monsanto, Exxon-Mobil, DuPont and PhRMA. DI’s founder, Bruce Chapman was a fellow at Hudson. Chapman served in the Reagan Administration. Seeing a pattern emerge yet?
The Discovery Institute, if you aren’t familiar is a nonprofit (Of course it is) public policy think tank headquartered in Seattle. I’ll let their mission statement speak for itself:
The mission of Discovery Institute is to advance a culture of purpose, creativity and innovation…Mind, not matter, is the source and crown of creation, the wellspring of human achievement. Conceived by the ancient Hebrews, Greeks and Christians, and elaborated in the American Founding, Western culture has encouraged creativity, enabled discovery and upheld the uniqueness and dignity of human beings…Linking religious, political, and economic liberty, the Judeo-Christian culture has established the rule of law, codified respect for human rights and conceived constitutional democracy.
Sure. In other words, they are modern day bigots who have just learned how to end run around most skepticism by those not paying close attention. Apart from that, the first sentence means nothing and might have been written by junior high school students. So Western culture encouraged creativity, huh? That will come as news to the Eastern inventors of Algebra and the concept of “Zero,” or to the Chinese who invented gunpowder and conceived of the rocket, Egyptian pyramid builders, or the Africans who discovered fire, or the first farmers in the eastern Mediterranean who invented beer(Thanks, by the way) or the Nubians who may have invented the first true antibiotic 5,000 years ago. I could go on, but then that would be stupid.
Indeed, the Judeo-Christian culture did conceive of the rule of law (which they might have “borrowed” from the Persians and dozens of proto-Mesopotamian cultures), only to violate those laws more times than we can recount here. But for craps and giggles let’s name a couple; Iraq, rendition, Native Americans, smallpox-laced blankets torture, drone strikes on civilians, chemical weapons, landmines, the term “collateral damage, cluster bombs…
But the meat and potatoes behind the Discovery Institute is their whole sneaky propaganda effort is at its very core a fraud. They are fundamentally about forcing creationism into school curricula, and make no mistake there is no difference between “Intelligent Design” and creationism. Inventing, in my rarely humbled opinion, themselves as a non-profit think tank, they should be more accurately described as a non-profit think virus. They are slick and smooth with their positions and strategies, but susceptible to extreme sarcasm and actual knowledge, both of which I will use here to shed a bit more light on DI.
At the heart of discovery Institute is without doubt a cynically bigoted Christian fundamentalism and an effort at control through the political process.
But the anchor of their total argument lies in one simple anti-intellectual belief; when scientists cannot immediately answer a question or riddle in nature, the final answer must then be god. It is a dangerous, undemocratic and fascistic position, because by ending the argument in the cul-de-sac of god it shuts the door to freedom of thought and true religion. It becomes a short step from there that some future Rightwing religionist government could even legislate against arguments which might undermine the prominence and pre-eminence of god.
It happened before in history, just like I never would have believed Obama would commit war crimes or become George W. Bush 2.0 when I voted for him in 2008, but it has happened, Especially a god wearing a stars and stripes team jersey.
But what DI and the Intelligent design/creationists attempt is a failure to grasp the fundamental tenant of all science, and that is observations and understanding must be drawn from nature, not the opposite, in which mankind assigns belief and perspective to nature. In simpler terms, understanding the reason a building doesn’t withstand a tornado is in the measurement of construction, wind speed and pressure rather than the idea that the tornado must have been angry or evil in attacking the building. That foolish and retro-evolutionary attitude is present in the featured book, “No Free Lunch,” by William Demski, a theologian and senior fellow at DI’s Center for Science and Culture-the DI’s pseudo-intellectual Brown Shirts.
Demski and others pretend that because science hasn’t yet “explained” the complex evolution of sight and the human eye that god must be responsible. How else could something as complex as the eye behold the beauty of a butterfly or a sunset unless the all mighty intervened. Of course, those same eyes also invented by god allow us to look the other way to racism, suffering and all sorts of atrocities. Indeed, the violence, lack of compassion, the cruelty and misery that innocent and guilty eyes alike behold makes a better case for the devil than for god.
But think about the titles of books promoted by DI and ask how they contribute to knowledge, science and the progress of humanity. Titles like, “Evolution and Ethics: Human Morality in Biological & Religious Perspective,” “Science and Christianity: Four Views,” or “The God of Miracles: An Exegetical Examination of God’s Action in the World,” which are instead more political polemics and an argument for a single religion’s national hegemony. And this is DI’s tease for “Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology By: Craig, William Lane and Smith, Quentin, Publisher: Oxford University Press:
Contemporary science presents us with the remarkable theory that the universe began billions of years ago with a cataclysmic explosion, the “Big Bang.” But was this explosion created by God? The question of whether Big Bang cosmology supports theism or atheism has long been a matter of discussion among the general public and in popular science books, but has received scant attention from philosophers. This book sets out to fill this gap by means of a sustained debate between two philosophers.
In this volume, William Lane Craig, a Discovery Institute Fellow, and Quentin Smith defend opposing positions…
Remember that argument when you were a kid, if god is all powerful, can he create a rock so heavy he can’t pick it up? In doing so god establishes himself as no longer all powerful, right? It’s a silly exercise, and it is meant to be. Even at 12 I tired quickly of it, but apparently the eternally 12 year old thinkers at DI can’t seem to mature past those abstracts. If there is no god, who created the universe? Sure, but who invented god? Well, god was always there. Well then, why can’t the universe have always been there…?” No substance, just abstract argument based on antagonism not knowledge.
The best way I can describe the Discovery Institute is that it might look like a cancer, with all of these fibers extending in all directions to other social cancers like the rightwing Hudson Institute, and champion of Rightwing Israeli nationalism and talk show host, Michael Medved who frequently has DI or DI’s anti-science/Christian fundamentalist spawn, the Center for Science and Culture, on his syndicated radio program.
E=(GOD)MC2 Talk about political correctness. The insistence that god, religion or religious concepts and arguments must be inserted in all things. For the Right to eschew “communism”…
Currently their Gatling gun efforts at trickery and propaganda deals with the “inexplicable” eruption of diverse life during the Precambrian era, a massively expansive period that extends from the beginning of the planet and ending approximately 540 million years ago, or roughly 90% of the lifespan of the planet. It is a time, which should be evident from the time frame, unless you believe as many fundamentalist Christians do, that people and dinosaurs lived side by side,that the climate of the planet changed from literally barren rock towards something more hospitable to life.
Their focus is on the so-called Precambrian explosion, which witnessed over the course of some seventy million years an unprecedented and exponential diversification in life.
Again, the key here is seventy million years, and while I would get into the smallest of details here, or a biological and evolutionary treatise, an awful lot can happen in 70 million years. They are Illustrating the issue so simply as to make it appear as if this explosion happened over a really busy weekend, but think about what can happen in even a fraction of that time.
65 million years ago there were giant dinosaurs ranging the planet. Africa and South America were separated by a small channel of ocean, there was no Florida, India was separate from Asia and Europe was largely an archipelago. The dinosaurs were gone within a million years, replaced by emerging mammals that clung to trees or scavenged. Only 1.8 million years ago, a mere blink of the eye in geologic terms, as the first humans were still far more ape-like than we appear now(insert political party joke here), a mile thick ice sheet covered Chicago, Moscow and Helsinki. In that time the oceans have risen from a period that once allowed early humans to inhabit islands in the Pacific such as New Guinea and Indonesia with the most primitive of travel.
What this illustrates is that a great deal can change in just a few million years, and to frame the growth in diversification of life over the course of 70 million years upon which would be, by today’s standards, as an explosion is nothing short of a lie at worst or extreme idiocy at best. And for those fans of sarcastic reasoning? If cowboys rode around on dinosaurs, what happened to all the dinosaurs? And mankind 6000 years ago, on the eve of the birth of writing slew freaking dinosaurs and didn’t write about it? Not a cartoon or cave painting? Then again, we might be attempting to conversate with political zombies who believe The Flinstones is a documentary.