When Disco Dudes Attack

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Bruce Chapman of the Discovery Institute says I made false claims about them, but he doesn’t actually dispute a single fact in my LGF article. I was going to ignore this post at their anti-evolution blog, but on second reading it struck me as a pretty good example of the kinds of misdirection the Discovery Institute commonly employs, so we’ll go through it to see how many obfuscations we can spot.

Here’s the actual audio clip of the CBC broadcast again, so we can check the Disco Institute’s claims against the CBC’s report.

MP3 Audio

The blog site Little Green Footballs has slandered Discovery Institute, whether intentionally or not, by implying that we are in league with Islamic radicals in Turkey.

First sentence, first lie, first misdirection, and first egregious error. That’s one action-packed sentence.

The lie: there was no “slander,” because I didn’t make any false claims.

The misdirection: I did not “imply” the Discovery Institute was in league with Islamic radicals. I stated outright that the Discovery Institute is in league with Islamist creationists, a fact that is indisputably true, as we’ll see in a minute.

(We can argue whether creationism is a “radical Islamic” position, but when even Islamist shill Inayat Bunglawala believes in evolution, it strongly suggests that the creationist position is a radical one.)

And the egregious error: “slander” means a “false spoken statement.” The word for which Chapman was searching is “libel,” meaning a “false published statement.” Which is also incorrect, of course.

Continuing on…

They base this fantasy…

Second sentence, second falsehood. There’s no fantasy, except the fantasy straw man they set up in the first sentence.

…on a CBC radio report of a year ago that was so poorly researched that it called Discovery Senior Fellow David Berlinski “Paul Berlinski” and referred to us as the “Christian Discovery organization.”

The CBC did mistakenly refer to David Berlinski as “Paul,” a fact which I noted in my article.

But the CBC did not make a mistake about the name of the Discovery Institute; listen to the audio above and you can hear it correctly identified by its full name. The part Chapman took out of context is a description of the group as a Christian organization.

Back to the Disco…

Then they interview a host of people of varying views in Turkey who are critical of Darwinism and imply that they are all connected. They seemingly imply Discovery’s involvement in this situation based on the fact that Berlinski was invited to speak at a conference held by the municipal government of Istanbul last year. Big deal.

Just a blatant, reeking distortion of the clip I posted, a large portion of which consists of an interview with the Disco’s own David Berlinski.

Here’s a complete transcript of what Berlinski had to say about their collaboration with Turkish Islamic creationists; first, a clip from the Turkish creationism conference in which he participated, sponsored by the Islamist AKP party’s Istanbul Municipal Authority:

Berlinski: There is astonishingly little experimental evidence in favor of Darwin’s theory. [This is] not about replacing Darwin’s theory, that’s not gonna happen anytime soon. But about areas that I find deeply challenging within biological theory itself, it may be rewarding to you to think about.

Then, interviewed by the CBC, Berlinski made it very clear that he’s actively in favor of cooperating with Turkish Islamists to spread the “intelligent design” agenda. (Actually, the Turks don’t bother with the ID facade; it’s hardcore creationism all the way. Surprise!)

Berlinski: I think these ideas, these ideas, are current everywhere. There’s a long interesting tradition of design theoretic arguments within Islamic theology that goes straight back to the 9th century. And there are outstanding figures within Islamic theology who participated in these discussions … there’s no reason to be surprised, this is a very rich tradition. We need to get together, we need to talk. There needs to be an exchange, a current needs to flow.

This is a hot issue. We’re in the midst of a world-wide religious revival. I mean, historians 500 years from now will talk about the religious revival of the late 20th, early 21st century. There are a billion Muslims out there who are taking Islamic doctrine very seriously. Christianity too.

Notice that despite the Discovery Institute’s frequent denials that their agenda is religious, here’s one of their main spokespersons waxing rhapsodic over a “world-wide religious revival.”

These are the facts behind the article I posted. The rest of the Discovery Institute’s response is a lengthy refutation of a straw man argument, that I claimed they were “somehow soft on Islamic radicalism and terrorists” — which I simply did not.

Chapman launches into a discourse on Turkish politics and the “moderation” of the AKP (the “Justice and Development Party”) that has nothing to do with what I posted, so I won’t get into that too much except to note that the AKP is far from “moderate” by any definition Westerners would normally use. Here are some documents at the Stephen Roth Institute on the AKP, if you’d like to explore further. (Hat tip: Thanos.) And here’s another article on the AKP’s Islamist agenda: AKP Forming Closer Links with the Gulen Movement.

Chapman finishes by denying any connections with Turkish kook Harun Yahya (connections I never alleged), then boasts about the Disco Institute’s associations with journalist Mustafa Aykol. Who … uh … just happens to be a former volunteer for Harun Yahya. Oops!

So at the end, it’s nothing but smoke and mirrors and misdirection. Sleazy, deceptive business as usual for the Discovery Institute.

UPDATE at 7/28/08 4:55:17 pm:

Derbyshire at The Corner:

I have banged on here at NRO about the corroding dishonesty of the Intelligent Design project, arguing that it arises from the very nature of the thing: pretending, in hopes of winning the occasional church/state lawsuit, to be one thing (a pure-science research institute), while in fact being a different thing (a Christian-proselytizing lecture agency, pressure group, and publisher). There is nothing wrong with being either of those things: the corruption stems from being the one while pretending to be the other. Not only is this dishonest in itself, it does no good to either cause.

Charles Johnson over at Little Green Footballs has been doing a few rounds with the Discovery Institute, in which the DI sleaze tactics come through loud and clear. It makes for entertaining reading. Plenty of links to follow.

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