Saturday, July 08, 2006


Discovery Doesn't Go There

The Discovery Institute, though located in far off Seattle, is so concerned about defending science in Kansas that they've set up a special "Stand Up for Science" website complete with an online petition.

"Should public schools censor scientific evidence just because it challenges Darwin’s theory of evolution," asks the astroturf site, "or should teachers present ALL [for some reason, ideologues just love all caps] the scientific evidence, including both the strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory."

This, they say, is exactly what the Kansas state science standards call for.

Those who haven't followed the battle over intelligent design in all its many permutations may be surprised to learn that Discovery, which aims to "replace materialistic explanations [read scientific explanations] with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God, now maintains the posture that it is "standing up for science."

Discovery's method is modeled on the success of those who briefly don the scientist's white lab coat to peddle diet, hair loss, and male enhancement nostrums on cable television infomercials. The timing is designed to have maximum impact on the Kansas school board primary election coming up on August 1.

Interestingly, this is not Discovery's first foray into Kansas politics. In May 2005, Discovery sent 23 of its "experts" -- at taxpayer expense -- to testify at the Kansas science hearings. Back then, however, the "Stand Up for Science" guys weren't quite so stand up.

At the hearings, each so-called expert faced a probing cross examination from attorney Pedro Irigonegaray. It was enormously entertaining for RSR to watch them squirm as they tried to avoid giving a direct answer to Irigonegary's questions -- especially those about the age of the earth, which many of Discovery's experts believe is less than 10,000 years.

Here's an excerpt from the cross examination of intelligent design activist Dan Ely, a cardiovascular physiologist:

Irigonegaray: Do you accept that human beings are related by common descent to prehominid ancestors? Yes or no?

Ely: No.

Q: What's your alternative explanation how the human species came into existence if it is not through common descent?

A: Design.

Q: And design would imply a designer?

A: Implies a designer, but we don't go there.

We don't go there.

If Discovery's going to meddle in the Kansas school board election, in the education of Kansas school children, if its going to demand that "teachers present ALL the scientific evidence" shouldn't they really "go there" first?

Shouldn't Discovery fess up and tell us what they really believe?


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