Discovery Institute on the Dover Trial

My biggest regret about the Dover ID trial is that the Discovery Institute isn’t on the stand. They’re the ones who have been pushing ID since forever, through their Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. Just to refresh your memory, here’s what they wrote in 1998:

THE proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built.
[…]
Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its damning cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for the supernatural. The Center awards fellowships for original research, holds conferences, and briefs policymakers about the opportunities for life after materialism.

How well have these words held up over the years? The CSC’s current “About” page says,

Started in 1996, the Center for Science and Culture is a Discovery Institute program which:

  • supports research by scientists and other scholars challenging various aspects of neo-Darwinian theory;
  • supports research by scientists and other scholars developing the scientific theory known as intelligent design;
  • supports research by scientists and scholars in the social sciences and humanities exploring the impact of scientific materialism on culture.
  • encourages schools to improve science education by teaching students more fully about the theory of evolution, including the theory’s scientific weaknesses as well strengths.

Pennlive.com tells us about their involvement in the Dover ID trial:

The Discovery Institute, one of the nation’s leading organized proponents of intelligent design, said it warned the Dover Area School District not to institute a policy on the concept because of the risk it would be found “somehow unconstitutional.”

Mark Ryland, the director of the Discovery Institute’s Washington office, said that he met with Dover representatives whom he did not name before the district implemented a curriculum change on intelligent design. He said that he “advised them not to institute the policy” but that they “didn’t listen to me,” according to a transcript of an American Enterprise Institute forum he attended on Oct. 21.

Once upon a time, they were about overthrowing materialism (you know, the notion that your car runs on gasoline, rather than being pulled by invisible unicorns). Now the best they can manage is a feeble “teach the controversy, if it isn’t too much trouble, and please don’t hit me with that First Amendment”.

Recall, too, that the modern ID movement was founded by Phillip Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial. Well, guess what? You got your trial. Why aren’t you out there pitching in and presenting all of the evidence for supernatural gods you thought you had?

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