Discovery Institute Raises Stink About Vatican Evolution Conference

The Discovery Institute is seriously pissed off about being dissed by the Vatican, and they’re raising a stink about it through the media: The Associated Press: Rome meeting snubs intelligent design, creationism.

ROME (AP) — A Vatican-backed conference on evolution is under attack from people who weren’t invited to participate: those espousing creationism and intelligent design.

The Discovery Institute, the main organization supporting intelligent design research, says it was shut out from presenting its views because the meeting was funded in part by the John Templeton Foundation, a major U.S. nonprofit that has criticized the intelligent design movement. …

Organizers of the five-day conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University said Thursday that they barred intelligent design proponents because they wanted an intellectually rigorous conference on science, theology and philosophy to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species.”

While there are some Darwinian dissenters present, intelligent design didn’t fit the bill, they said. “We think that it’s not a scientific perspective, nor a theological or philosophical one,” said the Rev. Marc Leclerc, the conference director and a professor of philosophy of nature at the Gregorian. “This makes a dialogue very difficult, maybe impossible.”

But the Vatican didn’t only dismiss “intelligent design.” In his opening address, one of the Cardinals in charge of the event also had strong words for young earth creationism:

In addition to intelligent design, creationism has come under disdain at the conference. In his opening address, Cardinal William Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, spoke dismissively of fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. who want schools to teach biblical creationism alongside, or instead of, evolution.

Uh oh. The physicists and molecular biologists at “Answers in Genesis” aren’t going to be happy about that.

And the outrage doesn’t stop there; the Discovery Institute’s Islamic counterparts are also seething and complaining, after one of their shills was thrown out of the opening session:

Oktar Babuna, a representative of a prominent Turkish creationist, Harun Yahya, was denied the right to speak at the opening session Tuesday. Participants took the microphone away from Babuna when, during a question-and-answer session, he challenged them to give proof of transitional forms of animals in Darwinian evolution.

Organizers said he hadn’t formulated a question and was just stating his point of view.

Babuna said afterward that the conference was clearly undemocratic. A statement from Yahya said, “Although there are discussion parts, they want this discussion to be one-sided.”

UPDATE at 3/5/09 8:16:59 pm:

Video of Oktar Babuna spewing idiocy for several minutes before getting the hook:

Youtube Video

(Hat tip: Killgore.)

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