Monday, March 28, 2005
Commenter Ken Cope catches the fact that the Nader press release, featured in the post below, and the fellow he has partnered with in condemning the Schiavo decisions, both emanate from The Discovery institute, home of crackpot, creationist drivel.
Wesley J. Smith wrote a couple of consumer books with Ralph back in the early 90's but has since made quite a career fopr himself as a self-anointed bioethicist and expert in "life" issues. (He also has a sub-specialty in knocking the "dangerous" animal rights movement.)
So the chief anti-stem cell, cloning hysteric on the right, it turns out, is involved with the Discovery institute which has a broad agenda to discredit science:
On March 3, 1999, an anonymous person obtained an internal white paper from the CRSC entitled "The Wedge Project," which detailed the Center's ambitious long-term strategy to replace "materialistic science" with intelligent design. The paper describes the CRSC's mission with a sense of urgency:
"The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. If we view the predominant materialistic science as a giant tree, our strategy is intended to function as a "wedge" that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when applied at its weakest points. The very beginning of this strategy, the "thin edge of the wedge," was Phillip Johnson's critique of Darwinism begun in 1991 in Darwinism on Trial, and continued in Reason in the Balance and Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds. Michael Behe's highly successful Darwin's Black Box followed Johnson's work. We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions."
Phase I, "Scientific Research, Writing, and Publicity" involves the Paleontology Research Program (led by Dr. Paul Chien), the Molecular Biology Research Program (led by Dr. Douglas Axe), and any individual researcher who is given a fellowship by the Institute. Phase I has already begun, the paper argues, with the watershed work of Phillip Johnson, whose Darwinism on Trial sparked the intelligent design movement. The Center hopes that more Christian scientists will step forward and engage in research that would support the intelligent design theory.
Phase II, "Publicity and Opinion-Making" involves communicating the research of Phase I. The Center plans to do this through book tours, opinion-making conferences, apologetics seminars, a teacher training program, use of opinion-editorials in newspapers, television program productions (either with Public Broadcasting or another broadcaster), and the printing of publications to distribute. Phases I and II are to be implemented over the next five years (1999-2003). Phase II is
"to prepare the popular reception of our ideas. The best and truest research can languish unread and unused unless it is properly publicized. For this reason we seek to cultivate and convince influential individuals in print and broadcast media, as well as think tank leaders, scientists and academics, congressional staff, talk show hosts, college and seminary presidents and faculty, future talent and potential academic allies. Because of his long tenure in politics, journalism and public policy, Discovery President Bruce Chapman brings to the project rare knowledge and acquaintance of key op-ed writers, journalists, and political leaders. This combination of scientific and scholarly expertise and media and political connections makes the Wedge unique, and also prevents it from being 'merely academic.' Other activities include production of a PBS documentary on intelligent design and its implications, and popular op-ed publishing. Alongside a focus on influential opinion-makers, we also seek to build up a popular base of support among our natural constituency, namely, Christians. We will do this primarily through apologetics seminars. We intend these to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidence's that support the faith, as well as to "popularize" our ideas in the broader culture."
Phase III, "Cultural Confrontation and Renewal" begins sometime in 2003 and may take as long as twenty years to complete. It involves three things: (1) "Academic and Scientific Challenge Conferences"; (2) "Potential Legal Action for Teacher Training"; and (3) "Research Fellowship Program: shift to social sciences and humanities". The white paper describes Phase III as the renewal phase because it seeks to fill the void left behind by materialistic evolution (attacked in Phase II) with its own intelligent design model:
"Once our research and writing have had time to mature, and the public prepared for the reception of design theory, we will move toward direct confrontation with the advocates of materialist science through challenge conferences in significant academic settings. We will also pursue possible legal assistance in response to resistance to the integration of design theory into public school science curricula. The attention, publicity, and influence of design theory should draw scientific materialists into open debate with design theorists, and we will be ready. With an added emphasis to the social sciences and humanities, we will begin to address the specific social consequences of materialism and the Darwinist theory that supports it in the sciences."
The plan is working.
Battle on Teaching Evolution Sharpens
Propelled by a polished strategy crafted by activists on America's political right, a battle is intensifying across the nation over how students are taught about the origins of life. Policymakers in 19 states are weighing proposals that question the science of evolution.
The proposals typically stop short of overturning evolution or introducing biblical accounts. Instead, they are calculated pleas to teach what advocates consider gaps in long-accepted Darwinian theory, with many relying on the idea of intelligent design, which posits the central role of a creator.
"It's an academic freedom proposal. What we would like to foment is a civil discussion about science. That falls right down the middle of the fairway of American pluralism," said the Discovery Institute's Stephen C. Meyer, who believes evolution alone cannot explain life's unfurling. "We are interested in seeing that spread state by state across the country."
Some evolution opponents are trying to use Bush's No Child Left Behind law, saying it creates an opening for states to set new teaching standards. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a Christian who draws on Discovery Institute material, drafted language accompanying the law that said students should be exposed to "the full range of scientific views that exist."
"Anyone who expresses anything other than the dominant worldview is shunned and booted from the academy," Santorum said in an interview. "My reading of the science is there's a legitimate debate. My feeling is let the debate be had."
Despite some disagreement, Calvert, Harris and the Discovery Institute collectively favor efforts to change state teaching standards. Bypassing the work of a 26-member science standards committee that rejected revisions, the Kansas board's conservative majority recently announced a series of "scientific hearings" to discuss evolution and its critics.
The board's chairman, Steve Abrams, said he is seeking space for students to "critically analyze" the evidence.
That approach appeals to Cindy Duckett, a Wichita mother who believes public school leaves many religious children feeling shut out. Teaching doubts about evolution, she said, is "more inclusive. I think the more options, the better."
"If students only have one thing to consider, one option, that's really more brainwashing," said Duckett, who sent her children to Christian schools because of her frustration. Students should be exposed to the Big Bang, evolution, intelligent design "and, beyond that, any other belief that a kid in class has. It should all be okay."
Fox -- pastor of the largest Southern Baptist church in the Midwest, drawing 6,000 worshipers a week to his Wichita church -- said the compromise is an important tactic. "The strategy this time is not to go for the whole enchilada. We're trying to be a little more subtle," he said.
To fundamentalist Christians, Fox said, the fight to teach God's role in creation is becoming the essential front in America's culture war. The issue is on the agenda at every meeting of pastors he attends. If evolution's boosters can be forced to back down, he said, the Christian right's agenda will advance.
"If you believe God created that baby, it makes it a whole lot harder to get rid of that baby," Fox said. "If you can cause enough doubt on evolution, liberalism will die."
This is a wonderful group for a left wing icon to be involved with, don't you think?
Hopefully, this Schiavo mess will begin to open people's eyes a bit about what the religious right is really after or it won't be liberalism that will die, it will be reason.
Oh and please, please somebody ask Lynn Cheney to explain how that conservative mother's comment "I think the more options, the better" squares with her book Telling The Truth in which she concludes "In rejecting an independent reality, an externally verifiable truth, and even reason itself, he [Foucault] was rejecting the foundational principles of the West."
The right wing relativists at "The Wedge Project" are applying Foucault's theory in real time, right before our eyes and I haven't heard any outcry from Lynn at all. How odd.
digby 3/28/2005 07:13:00 AM