Casey Luskin doesn’t know how to read his own website

25 07 2007

Most of the time the Disco Institute and it’s hivemind simply aggravates me, but every once in a while they make me laugh. Such was the case when I popped over to the intentionally deceptively titled “Evolution News and Views” site and saw Casey Luskin’s plug for a new Granville Sewell article about how evolution will be taught someday, i.e. they believe it’ll become some sort of quasi-religious science where faith that evolution will be understood someday precedes science (although plenty of creationist cranks are content to state that now). Anyway, the end of Luskin’s intro paragraph reads;

Sewell continues to explain that this result would not be opposed by the Discovery Institute, which is not trying to push ID into schools

I guess he didn’t look to see that the odious Explore Evolution is featured on the left hand side of the page. This thin, seemingly worthless book has had the handwriting of the Disco Institute all over it for some time, although it’s always nice to have things confirmed. The Disco crew may swear up and down that they don’t care about getting ID into schools, but the evidence clearly shows otherwise. I’ve never heard a “textbook” (as Explore Evolution purports to be) marketed to any group other than schools, and plenty of our favorite Discovery Institute fellows showed up for 2005 Dover Trial (and some of the ones that didn’t even get on the stand won’t stop crying about it), although, despite much saber-rattling from some ID folk, Of Pandas and People II The Design of Life has yet to come out and put all us snooty “darwinists” (as if such a group still existed) in our place.

Despite Luskin’s memory lapse, however, we should have a look at what Sewell says about the future of evolution in public education;

But for most ID proponents, this will be a quite satisfactory outcome, certainly a huge improvement over the current sad state of affairs, where Darwin’s natural selection is the only scientific theory around which enjoys widespread legal protection from scientific criticism in the classroom. The Discovery Institute , which actively promotes ID as a scientific theory, does not (contrary to common belief) support the teaching of Intelligent Design in science classrooms, they only hope that biology instructors will be allowed to “teach the scientific controversy” over Darwinism.

Perhaps after a few generations in which biology texts point optimistically toward future discoveries which may uncover the mechanism of evolution, eventually some will begin to recognize the obvious, that there is no possible explanation without design. Until then, I will be happy with texts which simply acknowledge that the idea that the survival of the fittest can turn bacteria into giraffes, and cause human consciousness to arise out of inanimate matter, is doubted by some scientists.

Yes, they don’t want to teach intelligent design, they just want to, erm, teach intelligent design. From passages like this it is made to sound as if the Disco Institute just wants students to be told there’s a “scientific controversy” regarding evolution. Indeed, it seems like the fellows at the DI are going to an awful lot of trouble if all they want is for someone to say “There’s a scientific controversy. I can’t tell you it’s name, what it’s about, why it’s wrong, or anything else. Just know there’s a controversy.” Maybe, however, this does play into their hands; if teachers can talk about intelligent design they can’t refute it and show how bankrupt it is, so by telling kids that there’s a controversy and referring them to crackpot creationist texts they can bypass all open criticism of their ideas (and we all know that the DI would never, ever try to do something like that. How many peer-reviewed papers on ID have their advocates published now? Oh wait…)

At least when I’m dealing with creationists they’re usually up-front about their religious convictions; the DI takes a far more sneaky approach in an attempt to dupe teachers and students who might not be familiar with them or their cheesy wares. Why they’d want to be scientifically bankrupt AND liars, I don’t really know.


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25 07 2007
Chris Harrison

I think the DI fully realizes they don’t stand a chance of getting ID taught in public schools. Explore Evolution is the next best thing, because even though it (presumably) doesn’t advocate ID, its critical look at evolutionary theory, which is what IDists are usually concerned with (ie, metaphysics). They don’t like materialism, and evolutionary biology is their focus because it is probably the biggest mainstream scientific idea that grates against teleology.
I wonder if the new head of Texas’ Board of Education (a creationist) will get an email from the Disco. Inst. wherein they try to convince him to get EE to be a public textbook. The next “showdown” might be in my home state Brian!

Oh yeah, and I sent an email to one of the folks at the DI asking if I could get a review copy of EE so that I could sit down with a biology professor here at UT to review it, but I’ve not heard back.

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