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Baghdad Bob is alive and well and living in Seattle

I’m on the Discovery Institute’s mailing list, and they send me lots of crap. The latest was dunning me for money like most of them, and also promoting some bogus seminar series for “cultural leaders”, but what was most striking was how delusional they’re getting. I’ve highlighted a few telling phrases.

As our faithful followers know, over the past few years we have seen an enormous amount of evidence that the Darwinian scientific paradigm is crumbling. 2012 brought about advancements in science that have left Darwin enthusiasts scrambling for a response. One of the hardest blows to Darwinian evolution came from the ENCODE project, which destroyed the myth of “junk” DNA. Noted atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel even commented in his new book Mind and Cosmos that the Darwinian worldview is “ripe for displacement.”

As Darwinism loses both its scientific and cultural power, it is important to have up-and-coming leaders who are adequately prepared to influence society towards an analytical mindset of following the evidence wherever it leads. That’s why Discovery Institute is continuing our expanded Summer Seminars on Intelligent Design this coming July. Focused on cultivating future scientists and cultural leaders, these seminars seek to influence and inform the next generation, not only in the hard sciences, but also in the humanities.

As someone who reads extensively in the scientific literature, as someone who knows many researchers in evolutionary biology, I can tell you that all those claims of evolution’s imminent demise are total bullshit. Go to your university libraries, and look for yourselves; I don’t know anyone who isn’t a crackpot or a religious fanatic or a blithering ignoramus who is trumpeting the failure of evolutionary biology.

But wow is it revealing how desperately the creationists will lie.

Hey, “cultural leaders”: I don’t recommend that you take a cruise on a sinking ship. Skip the DI’s summer parade of pretense.

Comments

  1. raven says

    I can tell you that all those claims of evolution’s imminent demise are total bullshit.

    They’ve been saying that for over a century.

    It’s like the imminent coming of jesus in the Apocalypse. They’ve been saying that for 2,000 years, it never happens, and they never get tired of predicting it…soon.

  2. hexidecima says

    aw, they are on their knees praying so hard for evolution to go away. Poor things, I do love to watch them intentionally sin when supposedly trying to support their god.

  3. redwood says

    Some comic sans rants I like to imagine being read in a Donald Duck voice, but this one seems better with a Goofy narrator.

  4. Ulysses says

    Darwinism loses both its scientific and cultural power

    This is known as “whistling past the graveyard.”

  5. Brent says

    Let’s not forget the basic goal of the guys at the Discovery Institute: to scam the right-wing religious nutjobs out of as much money as possible as quickly as they can. The problem is that they have a lot of competition for those same discretionary spending dollars. Not only must they take money that otherwise might be spent on Benny Hinn and other larcenous televangelists, but they have to compete against right wing political talk radio. Money to pay for Glenn Beck’s private channel comes out of the same wallets that fund DI. I’d venture that DI is losing wallet share among the tens of millions of suckers given the growth in all sorts of other paranoid and religious media.

    In that situation, DI can do one of two things: they can ask for more money because evolution is winning or they can try and cobble together a story about how DI is on the verge of victory. Given how wrong the Republican echo chamber was about the results of the 2012 election, building a fundraising campaign around weakness is probably not a good idea right now. So the best way for them to continue the scam is to try and position themselves as being on the edge of victory — one of the few things in the far right bubble that’s winning, given that Republicans are losing, talk radio is shrinking, and core wedge issues like gay marriage and abortion are becoming losing battles.

  6. Mr Ed says

    For the sake of argument lets assume evolution is disproved that doesn’t make their alternative Biblical creation true.

  7. thumper1990 says

    …it is important to have up-and-coming leaders who are adequately prepared to influence society towards an analytical mindset of following the evidence wherever it leads. That’s why Discovery Institute is continuing our expanded Summer Seminars on Intelligent Design this coming July.

    Well, that’s another irony meter gone.

  8. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    A sure sign of science denial:

    “(Insert dominant, successful theory here) is on the verge of collapse! And then we will rule the world. Bwaahaahaaa!”

    And then it doesn’t happen and the only explanation they can entertain is conspiracy. These folks are just flat stupid.

  9. says

    That’s a win for them. They don’t openly peddle Biblical creationism, although many (Dembski, Wells, Nelson, for example) are clearly religiously motivated.

  10. anteprepro says

    Speaking of crackpots, holy shit this Nagel guy is a crank on this issue. From wikipedia (emphasis mine):

    In his Mind and Cosmos (2012), Nagel argues against a materialist view of the emergence of life and consciousness, writing that the standard neo-Darwinian view flies in the face of common sense. [9] He argues that the principles that account for the emergence of life may be teleological, rather than materialist or mechanistic. [10]
    Nagel is an atheist and not a proponent of intelligent design (ID). He writes in Mind and Cosmos that he lacks the sensus divinitatis that would allow him see the world in terms of divine purpose. He disagrees with both ID defenders and their opponents, who argue that the only naturalistic alternative to ID is the current reductionist neo-Darwinian model.[11] He has argued that ID should not be rejected as non-scientific. He wrote in 2008 that “ID is very different from creation science,” and that the debate about ID “is clearly a scientific disagreement , not a disagreement between science and something else.”[12]
    In 2009 he recommended Signature in the Cell by the philosopher and ID proponent Stephen C. Meyer in The Times Literary Supplement as one of his “Best Books of the Year.” [13] Nagel does not accept Meyer’s conclusions but he endorsed Meyer’s approach, and argued in Mind and Cosmos that Meyer and other ID proponents, David Berlinski and Michael Behe, “do not deserve the scorn with which they are commonly met.”[14] Nagel’s views on ID have been criticized by some from the scientific community.

    On his book, the blurb sez:

    The modern materialist approach to life has conspicuously failed to explain such central mind-related features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, and value. This failure to account for something so integral to nature as mind, argues philosopher Thomas Nagel, is a major problem, threatening to unravel the entire naturalistic world picture, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology.

    Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history, either. An adequate conception of nature would have to explain the appearance in the universe of materially irreducible conscious minds, as such.

    Nagel’s skepticism is not based on religious belief or on a belief in any definite alternative. In Mind and Cosmos, he does suggest that if the materialist account is wrong, then principles of a different kind may also be at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic.

    In spite of the great achievements of the physical sciences, reductive materialism is a world view ripe for displacement. Nagel shows that to recognize its limits is the first step in looking for alternatives, or at least in being open to their possibility.

    Same old shit. “ID really really is scientific really”, “scientific explanations are too reductionist, ergo science is wrong, ergo MAGIC”, “as goes evolution, so goes astrophysics”, and the almighty “I’m an atheist, but…”. I guess the Disco Institution laps it up because Nagel is an atheistic Consciousness fetishist patting them on the back, instead of the typical clueless Bible thumper. Philosophers really love to step in it.

  11. anteprepro says

    Disco Institution

    Sorry, that might have been taken the wrong way. I meant to say Disco, didn’t mean to say “Institution” instead of “Institute”. That was just a brainfart, not a potentially ableist insult. Apologies.

  12. says

    The Wedge document came out in what.. 1996 or 97? It stated purpose was to end “Darwinian materialism” or whatever with in 5 years. It’s 2013 now… a full 10 or 11 years after they were to crush evolution. Yet, evolution is still around but they believe it is “crumbling.” Any bets that in another 10 or 15 years these creationist-idiots will make the same claim of a “crumbling” evolution, while the rest of science progress and continues on.

  13. anteprepro says

    The Wedge document came out in what.. 1996 or 97? It stated purpose was to end “Darwinian materialism” or whatever with in 5 years.

    If I’ve scaled it correctly, 5 years in Creationist is 3.75 million years in reality (or 11.475 million if using age of the universe as point of reference). Really, I think they’ve made quite a lot of progress given that time frame.

  14. flybywire says

    it is important to have up-and-coming leaders who are adequately prepared to influence society towards an analytical mindset of following the evidence wherever it leads

    This is where the irony made my head explode.

  15. raven says

    Let’s not forget the basic goal of the guys at the Discovery Institute: to scam the right-wing religious nutjobs out of as much money as possible as quickly as they can.

    They aren’t hurting for money. Or weren’t last I checked.

    The Dishonesty Institute is funded by two ugly xian Dominionist sources, a billionaire named Howard Ahmanson and a fundie xian foundation to ca. $4 million a year.

    Still, there is no such thing as too much money. They are paid well for doing nothing but lying. But with more money they could be paid even more.

  16. Sastra says

    Ah, but I think the “enormous amount of evidence that the Darwinian paradigm is crumbling” is overshadowed by the enormous amount of evidence that the atheist/new atheist paradigm is crumbling. And that latter assertion is coming out of forums which accept evolution — or, rather, which accept a woo-infested, top-down, Creative Principle driving force spiritual version of “evolution.”

    It’s all the same. Any discovery or theory or study or even anecdote which can be twisted or warped enough to look as if it’s supporting some form of mind/body dualism (It couldn’t just be a mindless process at work here!) is co-opted as “evidence” that naturalism is now a dead theory. Then you shift the subject to how awful it would be if the evolutionists/atheists were right — or if they manage to convince the majority they’re right. Everyone losing their faith and denying their spiritual nature! No more art, love, or morality! Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!

    The DI is very wise to try to distance themselves from the Christian God. The more they can make it look like they’re simply shoring up “spirituality” by attacking materialistic atheism the more support they will gain from the wonderful people in the Moderate Middle. People in the Moderate Middle have just enough God to keep themselves thinking they’re moderate sorts of people, the kind who avoid the extremes and hang around in the middle, where the Truth always lies. The Discovery Institute may be trying to keep their Young Earth base, but my guess is that THIS is the group which is making them salivate.

  17. says

    Those claims of evolution’s imminent demise are exactly like the claims that people are “wising up” to climate denialists. They’re exactly like the claims that “Big Pharma” is losing on the topic of vaccination. In fact, they’re exactly like the claims that Pharyngula and FtB are losing audience as people “catch on” about Atheism+. If the people making these claims weren’t doing damage in the world, it would be tempting to let them hang on to the comfort of their mistaken beliefs.

  18. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I’ve taken to pointing out that the cranks are too irony impaired to appreciate the deliciousness of using a modern high-speed computer, chock full of semiconductors, and the internet to proclaim loudly that science doesn’t work.

    They hate that.

  19. Azuma Hazuki says

    This is all pretty demented. Even if someone were for some reason to reject the entire fossil record, we have much better and harder evidence in the form of the genetic record, especially retroviruses and the bizarre fusion of ape chromosomes 2p and 2q that resulted in human chromosome 2.

    Are they truly ignorant of this, or do they just not give a rat’s ass?

  20. Moggie says

    Haven’t creationists been predicting the imminent downfall of “Darwinism” since the 19th century? I almost admire their resilience. I sound more desperate than them if I have a project which goes a week over deadline.

  21. Brent says

    Haven’t creationists been predicting the imminent downfall of “Darwinism” since the 19th century?

    Yes, just like the Marxists confidently predicted “the historical inevitability of Marxism-Leninism.” That has worked out so very well for them.

    Like all fundamentalist belief systems, if what you are doing isn’t working, then do more of it.

  22. says

    Recent UD post:

    Summer Seminar Deadline Extended By One Week
    April 16, 2013 Posted by News under News
    No Comments

    The Discovery Institute has announced that the deadline for applications to attend the 2013 summer seminars on intelligent design has been extended by one week. The new deadline is Monday, April 22. Successful applicants will have all of their expenses covered and will get to spend a week in Seattle hanging out with many of the leading…

    There you are, expenses covered, get to hang out with the illuminating “thinkers” of ID, and they still can’t fill the roster with religious rubes. I might go, if they weren’t intent on eliminating all critical thought, but there’s the rub…

    Darwinism is crumbling! And they still can’t get enough dumbasses to take them up on a free seminar on the up-and-coming science of ID.

    Just go preaching at the churches, you know they’re the only sheep gullible enough to swallow your IDiot lies.

    Glen Davidson

  23. Amphiox says

    The “Darwinian” view was long ago superceded by the New Synthesis, which then got supplemented by Evo-devo. What all of these share is the primacy of the concept of evolution, and that will not change.

    We are well beyond the point of “theory”, scientific or otherwise, here. Evolution as a broad concept is a proven truth.

  24. says

    Oh, rats. I actually looked, and they only want college juniors and seniors.

    No doubt the only reason we couldn’t go.

    Uh huh.

    You have to be recommended, or some such thing, by a pastor hack apologist professor. If you’re dumb enough, and yet a junior or senior in college, you get to go. Not likely that many stellar biology majors end up there.

    Glen Davidson

  25. Andy Groves says

    If I’ve scaled it correctly, 5 years in Creationist is 3.75 million years in reality (or 11.475 million if using age of the universe as point of reference). Really, I think they’ve made quite a lot of progress given that time frame.

    If you read the Discovery Institute press releases in the original Hebrew, it should be clear that “year” is actually meant as an indeterminate period of time. So I predict that Darwinian materialism will crumble any day now. Just you wait. Probably around the same time that Paul Nelson comes up with his definition of Ontogenetic Depth.

  26. w00dview says

    Those claims of evolution’s imminent demise are exactly like the claims that people are “wising up” to climate denialists. They’re exactly like the claims that “Big Pharma” is losing on the topic of vaccination. In fact, they’re exactly like the claims that Pharyngula and FtB are losing audience as people “catch on” about Atheism+.

    After witnessing the shitfit they threw over simple harassment policies I have no problem putting the Slymepitters in with the usual anti-science cranks and liars. Quote mining, tone trolling, persecution complexes, conspiracy theories; the anti-feminist wing of Atheism is fuelled entirely by the same denialist behaviour they abhor in creationists, AGW deniers and anti-vaxxers.

  27. says

    Errm, I hate to say it, but evo-devo didn’t supplant the neo-darwinian synthesis. It’s more like a really cool and interesting detour into some specialized organisms…but we like it because we’re among those organisms.

  28. sosw says

    Those claims of evolution’s imminent demise are exactly like the claims that people are “wising up” to climate denialists.

    Sadly I’m not quite that optimistic about that particular example; the denialists seem to have quite a bit more actual influence than the creationists. Even if they aren’t converting people, they’re succeeding in keeping up a public impression of a “controversy”.

    For the sake of argument lets assume evolution is disproved that doesn’t make their alternative Biblical creation true.

    It’s hard to imagine how evolution could even hypothetically be replaced by anything so radically different that it wouldn’t still be called “evolution” (even vast changes to the current understanding wouldn’t make that label inaccurate). Common descent at the very least is pretty much inevitably true in light of the evidence we have.

  29. Amphiox says

    Errm, I hate to say it, but evo-devo didn’t supplant the neo-darwinian synthesis. It’s more like a really cool and interesting detour into some specialized organisms…but we like it because we’re among those organisms.

    That’s why I said “supplemented”.

  30. DLC says

    There is no Darwinian Theory! Evolution is Debunked! “Intelligent Design” is proven!
    Wait, this was opposites day, wasn’t it ?

  31. cubist says

    The real threat posed by the DiscoTute, and Creationism in general, is political. Yes, yes, from a purely scientific view, Creationism (its cryptic ID morph included) sucks great green rocks with a Dixie straw—but don’t be too heartened by that fact. Science-hating zealots can do a lot of damage to lab budgets when said zealots gets themselves elected to the relevant public offices, after all. And given the percentage of the American public which thinks Creationism is correct, it’s clear that said zealots have a damn good chance of being elected.
    Us on the pro-science side of the divide need to be more politically active than we are, IMAO.

  32. Jerry says

    Notice the part of the Disco Tute’s announcement where they welcome humanities majors as well as ‘hard sciences’? That’s not just because they can’t fool most science majors, so they have to find more vulnerable targets. It’s not just because they’re desperate to fill seats. They want to convert social science and education and political science majors, who will then influence or teach the next generation with their garbage, or fill political offices with empty minds. This is advance planning.

  33. unclefrogy says

    it is not about truth the money is important but with religion it is about power and control of people now and forever in every aspect of life. There is no area for free thought nor action, given half a chance every thing will be prescribed and proscribed if history is any guide.
    It will never be enough. the religion they are offering is every bit as totalitarian as any other political scheme you could name.
    uncle frogy

  34. jimoliver says

    “…towards an analytical mindset of following the evidence wherever it leads.”

    This is the part that gets me – follow the evidence for something that isn’t quite yet defined exactly, and then get to the part where we don’t know yet. And instead of saying, “We don’t know yet – we should research this.”, we say “GOD did it!!” ??

    How does that make sense with regard to following the evidence? It’s almost the exact opposite of following evidence – it’s LEADING evidence.

    Why and how does the leap occur, from thinking “I wonder how it does that…” to “I know – GOD!!” ? It’s a transition I can’t follow.

    I guess it’s one more DoubleThink instance where if you want to be int he club, you have to take the pledge.