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The Discovery Institute and ‘True Freedom of Scientific Inquiry’

Andrew McDiarmid is a “media relations specialist” at the Discovery Institute. He recently wrote to geologist Callan Bentley to ask permission to use a picture he took of a natural formation in an upcoming Stephen Meyer book. Callan quickly said no, telling McDiarmid:

I hold the Discovery Institute in the lowest regard, and it sounds like the new book will be a further perversion of reason in the name of pseudoscience. As a science educator, I could never support such an effort! I will not grant reproduction rights to any of my photos or drawings to any creationist effort such as the one you describe here.

Best wishes for your good health, and the speedy demise of the sham institution that employs you.

McDiarmid responds:

I’m sorry to learn that you do not support true freedom of scientific inquiry. As Charles Darwin himself stated, “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”

I only hope the materialist, reductionist scales fall off your eyes one day. Until then, I feel sorry for your students.

And I feel sorry for anyone who thinks that this has anything at all to do with the “true freedom of scientific inquiry.” Callan isn’t preventing Meyer from publishing his book. He isn’t violating his “freedom” to do anything. He’s just not letting him use the picture he took. Seriously, do Christian colleges have a class in martyrdom that is mandatory for all freshmen? Striking the Persecution Pose 101?

Comments

  1. oranje says

    Remember, it’s only relativism until you tell them that not every word salad is a scientific theory. Then it’s not being open to freedom.

  2. raven says

    The Dishonesy Institute pseuduoscientists are the intellectual heirs of Saint Cardinal Bellarmino.

    The guy who burnt Giordano Bruno at the stake for Heliocentrism and almost torched Galileo.

  3. says

    The Darwin quote is, in fact, a quote mine. Here it is in context:

    This Abstract, which I now publish, must necessarily be imperfect. I cannot here give references and authorities for my several statements; and I must trust to the reader reposing some confidence in my accuracy. No doubt errors will have crept in, though I hope I have always been cautious in trusting to good authorities alone. I can here give only the general conclusions at which I have arrived, with a few facts in illustration, but which, I hope, in most cases will suffice. No one can feel more sensible than I do of the necessity of hereafter publishing in detail all the facts, with references, on which my conclusions have been grounded; and I hope in a future work to do this. For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this cannot possibly be here done.

    Far from advocating that every insupportable “theory” like ID or Sasquatch or alien-built pyramids deserves “equal time” with science, Darwin was pointing out that that he had many more facts in support of his theory but could not fit them all in the scant 490 pages he had at his disposal in the Origin.

    Also, be sure to check out Callan’s subsequent post about intelligent geologic folding:

    http://blogs.agu.org/mountainbeltway/2013/02/15/friday-fold-clear-evidence-of-the-work-of-the-intelligent-folder/

    Hilarity abounds.

  4. says

    One issue that I’m seeing more often in whines about Freeze Peach is a sense of entitlement to association. If someone doesn’t want his work associated with yours, he doesn’t have to permit you to use his work.

  5. raven says

    Fall From Grace | Inside Higher Ed
    www. insidehighered.com /…/a_professor_s_departure_raises_questio…

    Aug 15, 2011 – “To protect the church and college from false teachers and contrary orthodox … made when they signed the Form of Subscription should be fired,” said another. … One — John Schneider — has now left the tenured position he held for 25 … The controversy at Calvin surrounding Schneider is notable in part in …

    The creationists are big fans of Stalinism.

    They will purge and exile anyone they can. John Schneider was recently Expelled from Calvin college for not being creationist enough. This same source says the biology department is keeping their heads down and hoping they don’t lose them. Grand Rapids is already pretty cold. Hard to say what their Siberia would be like from Northern Michigan.

    This happens a lot at bible colleges. It’s happened at Olivet, La Sierra, and Wheaton among other places. Their idea of freedom of scientific inquiry is similar to the old Soviet model of Joseph Stalin.

  6. DaveL says

    In the eyes of the Disco ‘tute, scientific inquiry is only truly free when it is no longer bound by things like facts or reasoning. Only then is it free to push an ideological agenda.

  7. says

    This happens a lot at bible colleges. It’s happened at Olivet, La Sierra, and Wheaton among other places. Their idea of freedom of scientific inquiry is similar to the old Soviet model of Joseph Stalin.

    Heck, the “Isaac Newton of Intelligent Design,” Willaim Dembski, was threatened with firing by the seminary he teaches at because he made the modest suggestion that the Biblical Flood was probably rooted in a local, rather than global, event. He was only spared when he recanted and said “[a]s a biblical inerrantist, I believe that what the Bible teaches is true and bow to the text, including its teaching about the Flood and its universality.”

    Free inquiry indeed.

  8. Alverant says

    If the Dishonesty Institute* was really for true freedom of scientific inqury, then it should also give equal time to non-christian religious creation stories.

    *Thanks, raven. BTW, I’m going to start using that.

  9. abb3w says

    Somehow, the folk at the Discovery institute don’t seem to understand that what “true freedom of scientific inquiry” actually means is they are welcome to go visit the Burgess shale themselves and take whatever photos they want to study and publish.

  10. raven says

    Heck, the “Isaac Newton of Intelligent Design,” Willaim Dembski, was threatened with firing by the seminary.

    I remember that.

    He is also a fellow at the Dishonesty Institute in Seattle.

    wikipedia:

    The paper included Dembski’s statement admitting error regarding Noah’s flood.”[40][42] Southwestern Seminary president Paige Patterson, a young Earth creationist, “said that when Dembski’s questionable statements came to light, he convened a meeting with Dembski and several high-ranking administrators at the seminary. At that meeting, Dembski was quick to admit that he was wrong about the flood.

    “Had I had any inkling that Dr. Dembski was actually denying the absolute trustworthiness of the Bible, then that would have, of course, ended his relationship with the school,” he said.”[40] ––—

    There it is, fundie xian style freedom of scientific inquiry. Follow the party line or get fired.

  11. naturalcynic says

    Somehow, the folk at the Discovery institute don’t seem to understand that what “true freedom of scientific inquiry” actually means is they are welcome to go visit the Burgess shale themselves and take whatever photos they want to study and publish.

    This is similar to every other type of scientific inquiry at the DI. At least they asked in this case. They do not want to actually do the work themselves, that would be too time and resource intensive. They want to use their time and resources more profitably by figuring out ways to distort somebody else’s work.

  12. peterh says

    “Seriously, do Christian colleges have a class in martyrdom that is mandatory for all freshmen? Striking the Persecution Pose 101? ”

    Bleating victimhood is one of the fundies’ fundamental tools.

  13. Doc Bill says

    The point about visiting the Burgess Shale should not be overlooked. The Cambrian Explosion has been the mainstay of the Tooters for how long, a decade or two? Meyer first wrote about it in 2004 or maybe earlier.

    Yet, none of those miscreants have ever taken the time, or made the effort to hike up to the Burgess Shale. Granted, it’s a moderately tough hike: 6 miles out and 2600 feet up and the same back. We left at 7am and got back around 5pm. Long day there and back. You have to book way in advance; you can’t solo hike. Ranger and a crew of 12 only. Getting lost or injured up there alone would be bad news.

    But, all things considered, NONE of the Tooters have ever made the trip and they could probably drive there from Seattle. Why is that?

  14. says

    There it is, fundie xian style freedom of scientific inquiry. Follow the party line or get fired.

    Strangely … or not … there was no Expelled-like outrage in the ID community when Dembski’s job was actually threatened because of his views.

  15. tbp1 says

    If there’s a Hall of Fame for masterful putdowns, Bentley’s letter, especially the sig line (“Best wishes…”) should be in it. It’s perfect: short, clear, to the point, written in plain language, and devastatingly courteous. I don’t think it would be possible to improve on.

  16. sezme says

    @Doc Bill (#13) … it’s a moderately tough hike: 6 miles out and 2600 feet up and the same back….

    Sounds like my walk to grade school. Two miles in each direction. Uphill both ways. In two-foot snow drifts. Under a hot blazing sun.

    I feel your pain.

  17. says

    Is Martin Cothran still serving Kentucky Fried Sophistry at the DI?

    Bleating victimhood is one of the fundies’ fundamental tools.

    And blaming victims is another. Funny paradox, that.

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