When You Haven’t Got a Clue, Call Yourself the IDEA Center!
One of the offshoots of the Discovery Institute is called the IDEA Center. Its purpose is to form a lot of little creationism clubs around the country. Just like there are local clubs for photography, single parents, off-roading, and hundreds of other lifestyles and hobbies, now there is a local club for mouth-breathers and droolers!
Officially, “IDEA” stands for Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness. I don’t need a club. I’m already aware of both. Evolution is a valid scientific theory that explains all of the observed data and makes testable predictions. ID creationism is a cynical smokescreen created by religious fundamentalists to weaken public education, destroy the natural sciences, and obliterate the First Amendment. This is not hyperbole. The Discovery Institute’s own Wedge Document admits as much, although not quite as explicitly.
Anyway, the IDEA Center started off as an on-campus creationism club at the University of California, San Diego. I know. It boggles the mind that people that ignorant of science can somehow get accepted to the University of California. Maybe they were all liberal arts majors or something. (We don’t want biology to be a prerequisite for poetry, and vice versa.)
ID creationism was invented by Phillip Johnson, who was a professor at UC Berkeley(!). His qualifications were impeccable: He taught law! This is typical in pseudoscience. Crazy things like chiropractic, chelation therapy, homeopathy, etc., are invented by people who are total buttfuck ignoramuses and have no clue how things really work. Rather than go through all of the time and effort required to find out, they realize that it’s much easier to just dig around inside their ass and see what they can pull out.
So one day in 1999, Phillip Johnson somehow managed to get a speaking gig at UCSD. Why the school didn’t immediately lose its accreditation is beyond me. In the audience were Casey Luskin and some of his fellow brain slugs. Collectively, they had maybe three neurons among them, which they had to pass around in order to have a thought. It was sort of a creationist version of the Graeae from Greek mythology (The Graeae were three witches who had one eye and one tooth among them, which they had to pass around. Fortunately Casey Luskin and his friends have most of their teeth. I think they have all of their eyes, too, but they sure don’t use them to look at the evidence for evolution!).
Luskin managed to earn both a B.A. and M.S. in Earth Sciences at UCSD. It’s hard to fathom how a creationist can get all the way through a master’s program in geology. He’s apparently an old-Earth creationist, but still the mind reels. How does he reconcile the standard geological theory of how the Earth formed and cooled over billions of years with his idea that after the Earth formed, God had to blow on it to cool it off? (Or some such crazy notion. These old-Earth creationists will have to explain their ideas to me some time. I still can’t figure out what they believe.)
Luskin and his friends decided that UCSD was doing too good of a job educating people about the origin of species, so they decided to try to sabotage their fellow students’ educations by forming a creationism club. Thus was born the UCSD IDEA club. They later expanded it into the IDEA Center and spread the cancer to colleges and high schools around the world.
The IDEA Center’s Advisory Board is the same small set of clowns who show up at the Discovery Institute and just about everywhere else ID creationism scorches the Earth: Michael Behe, William Dembski, Mark Hartwig, Phillip Johnson, Jay Wesley Richards, and Jonathan Wells. And as an added bonus, their board also includes a couple of non-DI folks, but they’re real winners: young-Earth creationist John Baumgardner (who has some fancy computer models of Noah’s flood—hoo boy!) and Dennis Wagner of Access Research Network (Kevin Wirth’s boss!).
In the “Truth is Funnier than Fiction” department, here is an actual photograph off of the IDEA Center’s web page:
Honest to God! The “Intelligent Designer” Isn’t God!
I found this passage in Wikipedia rather amusing:
The center through most of its existence maintained a requirement that those founding new IDEA Clubs or running existing clubs, so-called “club leaders”, be Christian. The reasoning was given as “the IDEA Center Leadership believes, for religious reasons unrelated to intelligent design theory, that the identity of the designer is the God of the Bible.”
(Irony italics added) It sure is amusing that the Discovery Institute swears up and down that their intelligent designer isn’t God, but it’s almost impossible to find an ID creationist who isn’t convinced that it is God. And if it doesn’t have to be God, then why did IDEA Center insist that it was? But the saga continues:
By January 2006 the requirement had been dropped and replaced by a requirement that club leaders accept the IDEA Center’s mission statement which stated “we consider it reasonable to conclude that the designer may be identified as the God of the Bible.”
All that seems to do is drop the requirement that leaders be Judeo-Christian. They’re still saying that their creator is God. But ID creationism isn’t creationism because the creator isn’t God! Right.
As of March 2008, the statement includes both the statements “we consider it reasonable to conclude that the designer may be identified as the God of the Bible” and “IDEA Center Leadership believes that the identity of the designer is the God of the Bible”
So they still haven’t fixed their story. ID creationism is such a feeble smokescreen for the fundie agenda they can’t even keep its motivations secret!