Dispatches from the Creation Wars

More Dishonest DI Spin

The Discovery Institute’s mid-winter festival of deceit continues with this absurd post about the recent Time magazine article on ID. This passage is particularly dishonest:

Time lists three authors for the story: Michael Lemonick, Noah Isakson, and Jeffrey Ressner. But in the interest of full disclosure, the magazine should have listed a fourth: Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) and Darwin spin-doctor extraordinaire. Scott is quoted in the article, but she should have been credited as one of the writers, for Time’s reporters simply recycled her spin in their own words. The writers’ effort to attack ID as a sinister secret plot to foist religion on unsuspecting students comes straight out of the NCSE’s playbook.

In the interests of full disclosure, let me say that Genie Scott is a friend and a colleague. I respect and admire her both for her knowledge and brilliance as a spokesperson for quality science and for her kindness and charm as a person. But that full disclosure sets me apart from John West, the associate director of the Discovery Institute and the author of that passage, because, unlike him, I am not going to hide things that might impact on the validity of my statements on the subject. The fact is that the plan to smuggle religion into science classrooms wrapped in a veneer of scientific respectability is not a “sinister secret plot”, it is precisely what the folks at the Discovery Institute themselves have said many times over. But boy, it sure does get under their skin when you quote their own words to them that establish the truth of that motivation.

What better admission of that motivation could you find than Phillip Johnson, the godfather of the ID movement, saying, “If we understand our own times, we will know that we should affirm the reality of God by challenging the domination of materialism and naturalism in the world of the mind. With the assistance of many friends I have developed a strategy for doing this….We call our strategy the ‘wedge.’” Further detailing the goals of the Wedge strategy, Johnson said in 1999, “The objective is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to ‘the truth’ of the Bible and then ‘the question of sin’ and finally ‘introduced to Jesus.’”

Likewise William Dembski, the most influential and well known ID “theorist”, who has said that, “Intelligent design readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” Or Dembski’s former assistant director at the Polanyi Center at Baylor, Bruce Gordon, who forthrightly said that the ID movement has been “hijacked as part of a larger cultural and political movement” and has become “an exercise in Christian ‘cultral renewal’,” a clear reference to the DI’s Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture.

The fact is that if the media portrays ID as a plan to restore the role of Christianity in society wrapped in scientific-sounding language, it is not because they are borrowing a page from the NCSE playbook, it’s because they are reading the words of the DI’s many fellows who have admitted that to be their motivation and their goal. They are upset by this not because the media is lying about them, but because they are telling the truth about them and using their own words to do it.

Comments

  1. #1 Mike Catalano
    January 28, 2005

    It is unfortunate that the DI folks try to spin this as science vs religion. My main objection to ID and the older versions of creationism is the proponent’s misuse and inconsistent use of the Bible and the Christian religious tradition. As a Christian, it pains me to read the arguements that are put forth in support of creationism.

  2. #2 Les Lane
    January 28, 2005

    Accusing others of spin is natural for the DI, since their audience recognizes neither spin nor irony.

  3. #3 Jeremy Mohn
    January 29, 2005

    It’s quite humorous when a representative of the Discovery Institute calls someone else a “spin-doctor.” Their comment-free “blahg” seems to exist for the sole purpose of spinning news stories that are critical of the ID movement.

    If they’re not all about spin, why don’t they allow comments? How long will it be until Trackbacks are denied?