Biologist Reviews ‘Intelligent Design’ Creationist Textbook

Here’s a terrific, detailed review of one of the textbooks created by the Discovery Institute in order to sneak their “intelligent design” creationism into American science classrooms. John Timmer precisely identifies the slippery tactics of this dishonest organization: A biologist reviews an evolution textbook from the ID camp.

The Discovery Institute, as indicated by its wedge document, wishes to eliminate science’s focus on natural causes. The group views this focus as the source of society’s increasing materialism, which makes it anathema in the belief system of Discovery’s members. Stephen C. Meyer, the lead author of Explore Evolution, heads the Discovery Institute and is mentioned by name in the wedge document, as is coauthor Paul Nelson.

Evolution has been singled out for special ire by Discovery, as it provides an explanation for the origin of humanity based solely on natural processes. Although the ID movement has not developed a research program or even proposed a scientific formulation of its ideas, it has gotten a surprising amount of traction with its attack on the science of evolution. Tapping into a rich vein of American thought that dates back roughly a century, the group’s members have used popular books and appearances in the press to argue that the scientific theory of evolution is on the verge of abandonment, having been pushed to its most recent “inevitable” collapse by new molecular evidence.

More significantly, however, Discovery Institute fellows have been attempting to have their arguments against evolution incorporated into the US public school system. They testified in favor of education standards in Ohio and Kansas that targeted evolution for special criticism—Kansas’ standards went even further and eliminated reference to science’s search for natural causes. In the wake of the Dover case, however, both states have reversed these policies, leaving Discovery without a foot in the door of the US education system.

EE appears to be part of a strategy to change that. In June, Louisiana became the first state to enact a law specifically enabling the use of supplemental materials for the critical evaluation of evolution; similar legislation has been introduced in several other states. EE appears to have been intelligently designed to be the sort of supplemental text that’s appropriate under the Louisiana legislation, and so it’s likely to be making an appearance in classrooms there. But EE may appear in other states, as the approval process for supplementary material is often far less strict than that governing textbooks.

Read the whole thing. Timmer’s review completely tears this so-called textbook to shreds.

This is the kind of craziness promoted by the Discovery Institute:

Another PhD the authors found is Christian Schwabe, who apparently has established a career studying a protein called reflexin, along with its relatives. But every couple of years he publishes a paper in which he argues in favor of his belief that the genomes of all modern and extinct species originated during the formation of life billions of years ago. According to Schwabe, those genomes have continued to exist, hidden underground as stem cell-like entities. Whenever these cells sense a favorable environment above ground, they head for the surface and self-organize into a fully formed, multicellular animal. No, I am not making this up.

This isn’t simply evidence-free (although it is); it’s borderline deranged. And yet, in the hands of Discovery’s authors, it becomes a serious scientific controversy about the existence of the tree of life. And, if there’s any controversy, then students should apparently think twice before accepting that science actually knows anything about the evolution of life on earth.

“Borderline deranged.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

And guess who’s taking another bash at me? Sacking Little Green Footballs’ Outrageous Claim That ‘Discovery Institute Is in League With Islamist Creationists’.

Earlier this year, the popular blog Little Green Footballs (LGF) made an outrageous attempt to link Discovery Institute to the Muslim creationist Harun Yahya (a.k.a. Adnan Oktar). Their post claimed, “Discovery Institute is in league with Islamist creationists, a fact that is indisputably true,” specifically referring to Yahya / Oktar.

A perfect example of the lies and distortions in which this organization trades. I neither said nor implied that the Discovery Institute collaborates with Harun Yahya (although one of their Turkish associates, Mustafa Aykol, is a former volunteer for Harun Yahya), and to say that I was “specifically referring” to him is simply a lie.

Read it for yourself; here’s the post to which DI shill Casey Luskin is referring, with an audio clip featuring one of the Discovery Institute’s Senior Fellows, David Berlinski, boasting about their collaboration with Islamic creationists: When Disco Dudes Attack.

And yes, it is indisputably true that the Discovery Institute is collaborating with Turkish creationists. Clearly, that little “discovery” of mine has hit a very sensitive nerve at the Dishonesty Institute.

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