The Discovery Institute has no shame

By Phil Plait | March 30, 2009 1:00 pm

The Disco ‘tute is a group of people in Seattle who claim to be all about Intelligent Design, but are in fact just trying to impose their religious views on everyone else. This has been so well-documented — kinda like evolution and the fact that the Earth is billions of years old — that it would be crazy to deny it.

So for them to actually accuse a pro-evolution board member on the Texas BoE of having her religion bias her actions, well… it’s like Jeffrey Dahmer telling you to be a vegetarian.

Even Salon Magazine slaps them down.

Whenever I picture what life must be life at the ‘tute, all I can see in my mind are people running around with their pants on fire.


Comments (36)

  1. Wow, that is pretty bad. The hypocristianity is strong in that one.

  2. Mike

    The discovery institute.. sigh. Just, sigh.

  3. ugh!!! Does the Stupid ever burn out?

  4. Todd W.

    Ouch…my head explodeded…

    Oh, and minor typo: what life must be life at the ‘tute

  5. Jeff

    What concerns me about ID is that is a rather sophisticated version of creation “science” that might snooker in some non-scientific people. If people are not grounded in basic scientific method, ID might sound convincing. They are not fooling me, and there agenda is obviously hiding behind the curtain .

    The creationists after Bishop Ussher’s demise started with some rather crude institutes/debates through the 19th and 20th centuries, and those were laughable. I remember one debate between an anthropoligist and a creationist at my university, and of course outside it was a circus with people passing out scripture etc. The “debate” itself was a farce .

    But then about 1990-2000, they tried a less crude, more sophisticated tack, called “ID”, this might sound more scientific and take more people in. But still scientists can cream these ID people in debates. I’d like to see a lot of big high-profile debates between prominent scientists and ID people.

  6. coolstar

    The Science & Society add has a mistake: former rep. Porter’s name is misspelled: it’s Jon Porter (assuming this is the incompetent republican who got his ass deservedly whipped by my colleague Dina Titus last Nov. 4).

  7. coolstar

    oops “ad” for “add” obviously…..

  8. Jeff, their whole PURPOSE is to snooker people. They will lie, distort, obfuscate, and do everything within their arsenal of deceit to promote their agenda. These people have the moral integrity of (Goodwin’s Law).

  9. Joshua Schroeder

    Co-opting arguments is what creationists are all about. They are trying diligently to make sure that we all understand how “a-religious” they are as an institute, going as far as to recruit avowed agnostics like David Berlinski and those who adhere to mainstream anathema such as (Moonie) Jonathan Wells. Their goal is “big tent creationism” as outlined by Philip Johnson et al. in the mid-nineties, and they will continue to adhere to this talking point in order to convince themselves and everyone else that their cause is somehow mainstream and pluralistic. It’s essentially a coalition-building enterprise: a political maneuver ripped straight out from the pages of political action committees and lobbyist playbooks. It’s a smart method to apply to the American arena of public discourse because organized, multilateral caucuses are much more likely to be given a seat at the discussion table than disorganized, parochial advocates. While there are hundreds of thousands of qualified scientists who dispute the Discovery Institute, the media has repositioned the argument by “balancing” the majority scientific community against the two dozen or so active Discovery Institute fellows who are trying to make hay while the sun shines.

  10. Yeah, they may run around with their pants on fire, but, can they do this:

  11. One more thing, this post brings to mind a song:

    Burn baby burn! Burn baby burn! Burn baby burn! Burn baby burn!

    To mass fires, yes! One hundred stories high
    People gettin’ loose y’all gettin’ down on the roof – Do you hear?
    (the folks are flaming) Folks were screamin’ – out of control
    It was so entertainin’ – when the boogie started to explode
    I heard somebody say

    Burn baby burn! – Disco inferno!
    Burn baby burn! – Burn that mama down
    Burn baby burn! – Disco inferno!
    Burn baby burn! – Burn that mama down

    Satisfaction (uhu hu hu) came in the chain reaction
    (burnin’) I couldn’t get enough, (till I had to self-destroy) so I had to
    self destruct, (uhu hu hu)
    The heat was on (burnin’), rising to the top, huh!
    Everybody’s goin’ strong (uhu hu hu)
    And that is when my spark got hot
    I heard somebody say

    Burn baby burn! – Disco inferno!
    Burn baby burn! – Burn that mama down, yoh!
    Burn baby burn! – Disco inferno!
    Burn baby burn! – Burn that mama down

    Up above my head I hear music in the air – I hear music!
    That makes me know there’s (somebody) a party somewhere

    Satisfaction came in a chain reaction – Do you hear?
    I couldn’t get enough, so I had to self destruct,
    The heat was on, rising to the top
    Everybody’s goin’ strong
    That is when my spark got hot
    I heard somebody say

    Burn baby burn! – Disco inferno! (Aah yeah!)
    Burn baby burn! – Burn that mama down
    Burn baby burn! – Disco inferno, yeah!
    Burn baby burn! – Burn that mama down
    Burn baby burn! – Disco inferno! (Aah yeah!)
    Burn baby burn! – Burn that mama down
    Burn baby burn! – Disco inferno, yeah!
    Burn baby burn! – Burn that mama down

    I just can’t stop
    When(till) my spark gets hot
    Just can’t stop
    When my spark gets hot

    Burning, burning, burning, burning…

  12. Swift

    BA, I think you may have made a typo. Did you mean to write they have “no shame” or “no brains”? Just checking. 😉

  13. scotth

    My only suggestion is with the title. It could be “The Discovery Institute still has no shame” or even “The Discovery Institute proves once again it has no shame” In fact, they are probably proud.

    I really think that these guys believe they are correct. It takes a severely damaged mind to cling to a belief in as transparently absurd an idea as a <10k year old Earth and other aspects of literal genesis belief. I look forward to the day when this kind of belief is commonly recognized as a sign of crazy just as publicly attesting a geniune belief that the Earth is flat or the US gov't is mostly run by space aliens would be. At that point, if anyone is still listening, it only be for amusement. There are some claims that are so strongly at odds with everything we know about the universe (literally, everything) that holding them should preclude the holder of holding any position of responsibility. And they certainly should be kept a mile from anything to do with education.

    This has the feel of a very unpopular post.

  14. @ Scotth:

    At that point, if anyone is still listening, it only be for amusement.

    Sadly, I doubt this is the case. We tend to overestimate the level of education in this country, particularly with regards to science. The Disco Institute feeds off these people, who look to it for an affirmation of their ignorance and a crutch upon which they can lean so the burden of thinking is lifted from their shoulders.

  15. scotth


    Indeed, that is why I said, “I look forward to the day” (whether that day ever comes or not)

  16. zer0

    Ummmm… JREF just got banned on youtube?!?!

  17. What I expect to see happening is the whole S&W will go the way of the “Teach the Controversy” and “It’s only a Theory” tactics and the ‘Critically Analyze” will become the new watch words. That is until the next Dover-style lawsuit and they evolve (pun intended) into some other tactic. Ever since Edwards v. Aguillard the whole Intelligent Design movement has been undergoing a pretty constant evolution. They have been doing their level best to distance themselves from connections to Creationism, they have been claiming the mantle of scientific ‘theory’ without any actual science. The evidence during the Dover trial, not just the ‘crdesign proponentist’ cut and paste typo, but the testimony of Michael Behe himself . . . they all show how quickly this particular leopard will change it’s spots, usually in response to a defeat.

    Ted Herrlich,

  18. “Like Jeffrey Dahmer telling you to be a vegetarian?” More like Joan Rivers criticizing others for their fashion choices!

  19. RickK

    I can’t remember what show it was – some variety comedy show. But the scene is this:

    Wife walks in to find husband and other woman in bed.

    Wife: “What’s THIS!!??!!”

    Husband and girlfriend get out of bed and methodically get dressed. The husband says “What’s what?”

    The wife says “What do you mean??? Who is SHE and what are you DOING!?”

    Husband buttoning shirt: “Honey, what are you talking about?”

    Wife, now apoplectic: “YOU’RE SLEEPING WITH HER IN OUR BED!”

    Husband’s eyes never leave wife’s: “Who? What are you talking about?”

    Girlfriend, now dressed, gives husband a quick goodbye kiss and leaves.

    Wife watches her go, then rounds on husband: “I want a divorce!”

    Husband, calm, like nothing has happened: “Honey, what are you talking about? Don’t be silly. What’s for dinner?”

    Wife, now confused at his complete denial of the whole incident, eventually settles down and makes him dinner. In the end the wife is wondering if she actually saw what she saw because her husband’s denial has been so consistent and flagrant.

    The moral of the story – if you keep denying reality, over and over, and get others to join you in the deception (some intentionally, some who just don’t know any better), then eventually you can even wear down your opponents.

    This is the creationist approach. Just keep lying. Never admit to lying no matter what evidence is presented. Never admit a mistake. Never surrender an argument, regardless of how completely it has been refuted. Cook up a soundbite for every scientific advancement in evolution or geology or astronomy. Never pass up a chance to whine about being unfairly excluded from the conversation. But most of all, just keep lying.

    Imagine all the little Discotute and ICR people singing like Dory in “Finding Nemo”: Just keep lying. Just keep lying. Just keep lying and lying …

    And you know what? When you get out into the general American internet public (think Yahoo!Answers), the lying strategy works like a charm. The school of fish just keeps getting bigger.

  20. @ Scotth:

    Missed the first part. Sorry.

    Still, these guys breed so copiously, will the supply of dimwits ever run out?

  21. Gary Ansorge

    Was it Hitler who said ,”If you tell a big enough lie, loud enough and long enough,,,people will eventually believe you,,,”?

    The DiscoTute probably has, as their eventual goal, to throw doubt upon the scientific method and any form of reason. I expect they also “question” geological sedimentary dating and the physics of nuclear decay half life dating techniques. Once you call those methodologies into doubt, it’s but a skip and a jump to discounting ALL rationality.
    Then it’s back to the dark ages, unquestioning obedience to authority and effective slavery of all those not in the hierarchy of godly power,,,

    The Founders would be so proud,,,(snark)

    GAry 7

  22. OK, off-topic…maybe.

    I was reading the newspaper the other day (yes, some of us still do that) and I saw one of the advice columns…Ann Landers or Dear Abby, I don’t remember. And the letter was a plaintive cray from a woman who had engaged in a (from her side, anyway) monogamous relationship with a guy who swore that he was faithful. AND…they always, always used condoms.

    And then one day he went away, and soon afterwards she found out she had a venerial disease. Dear Abby, how can this happen?

    OK, we all know that condoms aren’t 100% effective. But something abount this letter seemed…funny. Like a morality parable on the folly of relying on condoms to do something that ONLY ABSTINENCE (according to certain parties) can guarantee.

    And, like the (false) story of the 12-year-old girl who defended herself from an intruder with her daddy’s shotgun, it made it into the national press, where it will be read and accepted by…however many newspaper readers are left out there.

    So: conspiracy theory, or plausible scenario? Is somebody trying to undermine confidence in proven means of preventing both pregnancy and the spread of venereal disease by planting little stories like this in unexpected places?

    And if so…what else should we be on the lookout for?

  23. scotth

    After the reading the following story, I want to amend my above post with “And probably shouldn’t be a congressman from Illinois”.

  24. Lawrence

    The quote is from Goebbels, not Hitler.

  25. Some people have brains

    Some people have Central Nervous Systems


  26. Ah good, old, reliable Discovery Institute. All they do is whine, moan and engage in stunningly obvious and transparent doublespeak. Of course it’s kind of a new low for an institute founded by evangelical millionaires to fight the “scourge of Darwinism and atheism” is accusing a Christian of defending science standards out of religion…

  27. What makes my head ‘splode most here is this:
    ‘Casey Luskin, a Discovery Institute lawyer, and its guy on the Austin scene, was psyched by the outcome. “These are the strongest standards in the country now,” he says. “The language adapted requires students to have critical thinking about all of science, including evolution, and it urges them to look at all sides of the issue.” ‘

    So we have Casey Luskin calling for students to have critical thinking!

    Excuse me for a moment, be right back.
    [Bang, bang, OW! Bang, bang!]
    There, much better now. I forgot what I was saying… My head!

  28. TheBlackCat

    Some people have brains

    Some people have Central Nervous Systems

    And some people have diffuse nerve nets.

  29. Glen

    “Once again, a defender of evolution has appealed to religion rather than science to justify his or her views.”

    This quote deserves an award of some sort. I’m undecided as to which sort… but it’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. It deserves *something*. I mean, if it was in The Onion, I’d have a little laugh. But these people are serious! It’s… well… “mind-numbing” is the only description that really expresses it.

    Hey, if a creationist dies because of his own stupidity, does he get a Darwin Award?

  30. Flying sardines

    No surprise there. The disco’tute shame? That’s like asking if they’ve got oh, say the intelligence they claim to be “designed” with. :-(

    @ Glen : Hey, if a creationist dies because of his own stupidity, does he get a Darwin Award?


  31. Steve

    “Once again, a defender of evolution has appealed to religion rather than science to justify his or her views.”

    What Glen said. I’ve never seen a better example of the pot calling the kettle black. Deserves some kind of award… hey, do they have awards for infamy?


  32. Nankay

    “Whenever I picture what life must be life at the ‘tute, all I can see in my mind are people running around with their pants on fire.”

    Thanks a lot for making coffee come out my nose.

  33. So, “Jeffrey Dahmer was an atheist and believed in evolution. Ergo, everyone who is an atheist and believes in evolution is a potential psychopath and serial killer.”
    Do these morons imagine that there has never been a psychopath who claimed to be a Christian? For their information, one of the UK’s most infamous serial killers – Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper – claimed at his trial that God ordered him to kill…
    Come to think of it, anyone who claims to derive his morals from the Bible – with its depraved stories of murder, sacrifice and genocide, sanctioned by a supposed God, who is the most revolting, bigoted and bloodthirsty monster in all of literature – is probably FAR more likely to become a psychopath or serial killer than the average atheist, who DOESN’T derive his morals from Bronze Age fairy tales!

  34. nil

    I am an athiest and believe in evolution.emotion of shame or any other is simply an illusion. their is no ‘soul’ there is only nothingness of the multiverse on and on all the way down and up. That is all.


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