politics,  religion,  science

Intelligent Design: money and PR instead of science

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The book Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for American’s Soul by Kenneth R. Miller mentions this organization – Discovery Institute – which has a 4 million a year budget to promote their “Intelligent Design” nonsense. In 1998, as they were trying to get funding, a document known as the Wedge Document was written. It included their goals including a five year goal for “one hundred scientific, academic, and technical articles by our fellows.” This hasn’t panned out for them. They can’t write scientific papers because they have no real science. One of their senior fellows admitted in 2004 that “Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a real problem. Without a theory, it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful institutions, and a handful of notions such as “irreducible complexity” and “Specified complexity” – but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.”

Unfortunately what they have been able to do is a lot of PR work, as well as infiltrating school boards and schools. They’ve been big on pushing the idea of “balance” – an idea that is problematic in so many contexts, not just that of creation and evolution. We see the problems with “balance” when reporters treat climate change deniers and climate scientists as equal, or in the context of balance with anti-vaccine and vaccine promoters. Not everything should be treated equally. You can have your own opinion, you don’t get to have your own facts.

Miller discusses Allan Bloom’s book about education (disagreeing with parts of it but saying):

“The danger [students] have been taught to fear is not error but intolerance. Relativism is necessary to openness, and this is the virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than fifty years has dedicated itself to incubating. Openness – and the relativism that makes it the only plausible stance in the face of various claims to truth and various ways of life and kinds of human beings – is the great insight of our times… The point is not to correct the mistakes and really be right, rather it is not to think you are right at all.”

Bloom says this is a problem in most fields of academia but one that natural sciences have avoided. Miller says no, science is under attack by groups like the Discovery Institute that would bring relativism into science.

It’s really creepy to think that we’re stuck with hugely funded “think tanks” pouring money into trying to dismantle science and education. This isn’t about religious freedom – people still have the ability to believe what they want. It isn’t about parental rights either, because parents have the ability to teach their child to disagree with what teachers say. This is about trying to dismantle the basic premises of science and how science works. It’s about using money to hide truth.

Check out my review of one of the Answers in Genesis videos.

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