The Discovery Institute Confuses Me Sometimes

There are times when the Discovery Institute makes me scratch my head. I happened across ENV today and here are the two top stories as of today:

And then this one:

What gives? One moment they are chiding ID proponents for thinking that ID supporters want ID taught in schools, and then the very next article the ID supporters are complaining that they aren’t allowed to teach ID in schools.


You misinterpreted their arguments.
Would you want to FORCE (mandate) a YEC scientist into trying to fairly teach evolution on a Christian College campus?
Odds are slim to none that they’d get it right, wouldn’t you say?
Rather, why not invite an evolutionary scholar in to give a presentation, or even to teach a whole segment of the course on “A Scientific Perspective on the Development of Biological Life” and have a better shot at fairness?
The seeming totalitarianism of those who won’t even admit to the “appearance of design” in nature as potential evidence of a “designer” is what they have every right to protest.
It’s one thing to disagree with an inference from the evidence, but quite another to entirely disallow the topic to even be discussed.


That’s a fair criticism of my first post. There is a difference between mandating and encouraging.

In the sciences, research comes before curriculum. You have to earn your place in the classroom by doing the science.


I keep wondering how many of the readers of ENV—and how many of those pre-ordering the Behe video series—realize that Behe affirms Common Descent via evolutionary processes.


Here is an example of that likely confusion, where it sounds like Stephen Meyer convinced Dennis Prager that he should reject evolutionary biology:

1 Like

The scientific evidence apparently has also convinced Prager that anthropogenic climate change is: a “fraudulent, make-believe, created myth.”


A man who has his own university cannot be ignored!



Politics… pure and simple.

In a current thread, the Judge in the Diver trial lines up the chain of legal precedent in federal courts since Scopes!:

  1. you cant write laws banning the instruction of Evolution.

  2. you cant write laws requiring equal time for Creationism instruction, because Creationism is religious, not scientific.

  3. you cant teach “Creation Science” because it is just another label for Creationism.

  4. you cant teach “Intelligent Design” because thats just another label for Creationism.

Everythimg about ID’s history appears to be about doing an end-run around prohibitions on teaching the Bible.


You are miss reading them. I’m pretty sure @Agauger will agree with me on this (at least I hope so). They do not want ID to be prohibited (policy statement and second article and Kansas), but they also do not want it to be mandated (first article and Dover). They want there to be freedom for teachers to teach it if the want to do so, not to avoid it if they do not want to teach it.

They do seem to be consistent here.


If the ID camp agrees that teachers can ALSO teach Satanism… then they will be sufficiently consistent.

Until then… they are just another bunch of Pro-Theocracy lobbyists.

That’s nonsense. Teachers don’t have freedom to teach what they want! There is a State curriculum. A state approved textbook. Every science teacher needs to be certified as a science teacher. And science includes evolution and doesn’t include ID. That is the law. If a teacher in a public school should even mention any kind of creationism - TE, EC, ID, OEC, or YEC they can be fired immediately.

Fired immediately? I suppose your inclusion of the word “can” allows for the fact that it is not at all certain that they would be. And I find such a firing “immediately” doubtful for a number of reasons including:

  1. “Mention” of the kinds of creationism is hardly shocking event nor any violation of law. One aspect of teaching science in K-12 schools is relating the topic to our society. So I see nothing wrong with a teacher answering a student’s questions or even briefly explaining the variety of views on origins within the school’s surrounding community, such as “Young Earth Creationists are people who believe, usually with religious reasons in mind, that the earth is quite young, even 6,000 years according to Bishop Ussher’s chronology published in the 1600’s. That’s just one kind of YEC. There are many other variations.” and “Old Earth Creationists often have very similar religious beliefs as YECs but affirm that the world is much older, even billions of years.” I don’t think either of those mentions would get a teacher “fired immediately.” I don’t think you do either, Patrick. :wink:

  2. Teacher tenure and teacher’s unions constitute extremely formidable barriers when some teacher is “fired immediately.” Indeed, even when the firing actually happens, it can take many months and even years for it to take place. That far from immediate.

You’re right, even a letter from the fire breathing attorney’s at FFRF isn’t enough to get a teacher fired. The teacher’s union is quite powerful around here. So no teacher will be fired immediately (if ever) for answering a student’s question abut creation.

It is all public theater now. Look at the recent happening in Arizona. Both sides were fighting and in the end reason and the law prevailed.

To be clear, FFRF rarely goes after individual teachers, we go directly to the Superindent level. We try to keep the name of the teacher out of the public. But most of the time if a teacher or coach gets all Kim Davis on us “I am doing this on God’s authority” on us, we go right at them and demand that they be fired for having Kindergarten students color a “Jesus loves me” coloring book.

Have any of them ever said that the Dover verdict was correct?

They think it was right to strike down the Board of Educations rule. They are upset that Judge Jones when farther to rule that ID was not science. There is much ink spilt about why he is not qualified to make this determination. They wish he had struck down the Dover board’s rule, or modified it to “optional” teaching of ID, and that he had stayed away from ruling that ID was creationism and not allowed in science class.

They say that here, but have they said anything to that effect to their target audience, for example in ENV?

I believe they have been consistent in opposing mandating ID. They want activist boards to work with them so they can prevent another disaster like Dover from happening again. Of course, they also emphasize that instead of mandating ID, teachers are “free to teach the controversy” (i.e. ID).

I don’t think this is a distinction without a difference. I disagree with both for obvious reasons, but I don’t see a good reason not to work with this distinction.

That’s what happens in Federal Court when it is a Constitutional issue at stake. This wasn’t a civil suit between a parent and a school board, this was a Federal Constitutional issue. Judge Jones says that it was a First Amendment Establishment Clause issue - he had to determine if ID was religion or not. He ruled that ID wasn’t science. Further he ruled that ID was Creationism. And from previous rulings Creationism was religion. So ID was religion and not allowed to be taught in schools.

1 Like

No Boards of Education should be talking to DI just like they shouldn’t be talking to the Pastor of the First Baptist Church in their community about what is taught in their local schools. Boards of Education have the duty and responsibility to educate all the children in their district according to the State curriculum using State Dept of Education approved textbooks and state certified science teachers. Teachers are NOT free to teach the controversy. If any Board of Education is found to be in talks with DI on anything, the Board of Ed can be sued and a cease and desist injunction can be placed on the Board.

Don’t be silly. People have the right to talk to one another. Talking to one another is different then teaching the controversy.