Discovery Institute Reeling

Bush and ID

The Discovery Institute is in major damage control mode right now. They have a page called “3 Myths About the Dover Intelligent Design Trial”. It allegedly refutes three myths that occurred during the trial and portrayed by Nova on its recent broadcast. Actually, its job is to create three myths.

Their lies begin even before they get to the three supposed myths. Their introduction states:

The program features the usual cast of characters: anti-ID activist Eugenie Scott, Darwinist Ken Miller, and apparently Judge Jones himself (currently on his second annual self-congratulatory globe-trotting tour — be sure to catch him on your local NPR station and Air America).

This is one of the crudest lies I’ve seen them make. They’re portraying Judge Jones as some sort of extremist leftist liberal wacko. Judge Jones is a Republican, who was appointed to the federal bench by fundie heart-throb George W Bush, upon the recommendation of fundie idol and slang-word inspiration then-Senator Rick Santorum.

The program will attempt to show that intelligent design is creationism and therefore more religion than science. Like the misleading “Evolution” miniseries PBS produced in 2001, this is an attempt to stifle scientific inquiry and censor science by making talking and researching about intelligent design out of bounds.

It has nothing to do with stifling scientific inquiry or censoring science. It’s about only teaching science in science classrooms. The fundies are welcome, even encouraged, to do all the research they want on ID creationism. If they ever get any evidence that meets the standards of science, then we’ll be happy to include it in the classroom.

Myth #1: There are no peer-reviewed scientific papers supporting intelligent design.
Judge Jones said that ID “…has not generated peer-reviewed publications.”

FACT: Judge Jones is simply wrong. Discovery Institute submitted an amicus brief to Judge Jones that documented various peer-reviewed publications, which he accepted into evidence. This is a fact-based question which is hard to get wrong. The fact is that there are peer-reviewed papers supporting intelligent design. [emphasis in original]

THE REAL FACTS: It may be hard to get wrong, but the Discovery Institute managed to do it! I am not aware of any peer-reviewed publications supporting ID creationism. The few articles published by creationists don’t mention the creationism. They are just about some small aspect that happens to be consistent with both real scientific theory and ID creationism. They need to publish something that only supports ID creationism and contradicts established scientific theory. They haven’t, because they don’t have anything.

Myth #2: Intelligent design is not scientific because it isn’t testable.
Judge Jones said, “…nor has ID been the subject of testing and research.”

FACT: For two days during the trial biologist and flagellum expert Dr. Scott Minnich presented slides from his own mutagenesis experiments performed in his lab at the University of Idaho. In his experiments, he knocked out every flagellar gene, one by one, and found that the flagellum is irreducibly complex. These tests were given to Judge Jones, but apparently he ignored them. [emphasis in original]

THE REAL FACTS: They aren’t going to get ID creationism accepted as science by giving their results to a judge. They have to give them to a peer-reviewed journal! Until it passes that test, it isn’t science, and the judge should ignore it!

Myth #3: Intelligent design is the same as creationism.
Judge Jones said that ID is “a mere re-labeling of creationism.”

FACT: Creationism typically starts with a religious text and tries to see how the findings of science can be reconciled to it. ID starts with the empirical evidence of nature and seeks to ascertain what inferences can be drawn from that evidence. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design does not claim that modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural. [emphasis in original]

THE REAL FACTS: ID creationism started with the Bible. Then they looked for a way to disguise it so they could sneak it into the schools. That’s the true history of ID creationism. Once they dreamed up their stealth tactic, they worked backward from “the empirical evidence of nature” to see how they could get back to their creation myth.

They also create another myth in the above paragraph. They state:

…the scientific theory of intelligent design…

That is clearly a lie. ID creationism does not meet the definition of “theory”. They’re making up their own definition here. Their own boy, Michael Behe, admitted on the witness stand that his definition of “theory” was so loose that it could include astrology as a “scientific theory”!

I was going to say “Nice try, Discovery Institute!”, but I can’t. Their web page is a very poor and ineffective attempt to cover up their total defeat in Dover.

4 Responses to “Discovery Institute Reeling”

  1. Jr. Says:

    Remember kids, evolution is only a theory. Just like gravity.

  2. The Watcher Says:

    “ID starts with the empirical evidence of nature and seeks to ascertain what inferences can be drawn from that evidence.”

    It then fails miserably. ID has nothing to do with generating a rational conclusion about the evidence. It’s basically fundies throwing up their hands and saying, “We can’t figure out how this all works, so it must be a big, powerful skydaddy! QED.”

  3. ParrotLover77 Says:

    The main reason they are pissed about the decision is that they thought at least one of their “own” (ie, ultra-conservative appointed by fundie W Bush) isn’t siding with them — he’s instead upholding law. Honestly, if you can’t get W-appointed conservative judge to buy the crap you are selling, you need to get out of the game. That’s your core audience!

    They know they’ll lose when put up to a politically middle-road or liberal judge, but one that leans towards their political side? Doing his job instead of supporting their faith-based pseudoscience?! That’s gotta STING.

    It gives me “faith” in the American system of justice that it seems (with the possible exception of the SCOTUS — we will see) that fundie-approved judges in courts all across the land seem to actually be wiley libertarian-style conservatives in real life, not the fundie ten-commandments-outside-the-courtroom style conservatives the fundies were hoping for. Good for them.

  4. Ron Britton Says:


    A lot of conservative judges have a lot of common sense and will uphold the law. My fear is, ironically, the very thing that fundies are always bitching about: “activist judges”. Roy Moore was one. If by dumb luck (or deep-South courts), they manage to get one of these separation cases up to the Supreme Court, I think we’re all screwed.