Thursday, February 02, 2006


Scalded Dog

Back in December, after the Dover decision came down, we wrote "that the news out of Dover is grim beyond all belief for the ID crowd has been convincingly demonstrated by the feverish output on the Evolution News and Views blog since the decision. No, matter how Discovery spins the decision, in the end all they've succeeded in proving is that you can't spin a silk purse out of a sow's ear."

"The game is up," we said then. "Men such as Howard Ahmanson who have bankrolled the Discovery Institute... will be looking at their investments over the coming months and asking themselves hard questions about the likely payout."

Of course, it didn't take a genius to predict that Judge Jones' ruling would prompt a cool-headed re-appraisal of the ID strategy by those advisers and financial backers on the right who see themselves as hardened practicioners of realpolitik. They will ride one horse until it breaks down, and then they will find another. There are always plenty of horses.

The hysterical tone and frantic pace of the posts on the Evolution News and Views blog -- written, for the most part by true believers who saw lucrative fellowships and career paths coming to an abrupt end-- was enough to give that game away. (Here in Kansas, we would have said they were howling like a scalded dog.)

Even so, it's gratifying to learn that our prediction is already beginning to play itself out up there in latte land.

An article by Roger Downey in the Seattle Weekly, which you really must read if you haven't already, confirms that the money flowing into the Discovery Institute has begun to dry up as a result of the Dover ruling:
What will the long-term impact [of the Dover ruling] on the Discovery Institute be? A number of former contributors have already cut back or eliminated support. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has pledged nearly $1 million a year for 10 years to the transportation arm of the institute, is known to be both uncomfortable with the adverse publicity that's come its way through funding an anti-Darwin organization and concerned that some of the funds earmarked for transport issues have been applied to other areas of Discovery's operations, including a substantial portion of Chapman's $120,000-a-year salary.

While trying to maintain a position above the partisan fray, the Discovery Institute has found itself more and more isolated ideologically. Former fellows have departed, concerned by what they see as a drift away from policy issues toward doctrinaire religiosity


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