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Monday, August 22, 2005

Rapture Monday, guest host edition

Posted by: Jambo / 11:02 AM

The Hammer family hitting the road for a much deserved vacation bumps the Rapture Index up a point to 153, firmly in the Fasten Your Seatbelt range. Coincidence? I don't think so.

After looking around the Rapture web site I just have to say "People believe this shit but can't except evolution?" Man, at least the folks who believe in astrology seem to know, when they really think about it, that it's all fake. They do know that, right? On the plus side it did remind me of one of my favorite bumper stickers of late, "When the rapture comes, can I have your car?"

But I've got a more sensitive stomach than Hammer does so I don't think I can wade thru the weekly doings of the religiously correct the way he can. The last thing we need is for me to get a little woozy, pass out on my keyboard and have a week's worth of 3WN be nothing but "gggggggggggggggggggggg..."

(But if you play this post backwards it says "Turn me on dead man, oh here's to my sweet Satan" followed by a smashing recipe for lentil soup.)

So instead of the usual litany of guffaw/horror inducing fundie highlights for the week here is some info, copped from a long and sadly uncritical (liberal press my ass) NYT story about the Discovery Institute, the folks building a bridge to the 15th century with Intelligent Design "Theory". Surprise surprise, they're right wing religious zealots rather than scientists. My favorite line from the article? The description of the institute as "the institutional love child of Ayn Rand and Jerry Falwell". The scary think is that some there might consider that a compliment.

These successes follow a path laid in a 1999 Discovery manifesto known as the Wedge Document, which sought "nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies" in favor of a "broadly theistic understanding of nature."
There you have it. Who needs any more than that to decide that the crap they're pedaling has no place in the nation's science debate?

President Bush's signature education law, known as No Child Left Behind, also helped, as mandatory testing prompted states to rewrite curriculum standards. Ohio, New Mexico and Minnesota have embraced the institute's "teach the controversy" approach; Kansas is expected to follow suit in the fall.

Detractors dismiss Discovery as a fundamentalist front and intelligent design as a clever rhetorical detour around the 1987 Supreme Court ruling banning creationism from curriculums. But the institute's approach is more nuanced, scholarly and politically adept than its Bible-based predecessors in the century-long battle over biology.


Many of the research fellows, employees and board members are, indeed, devout and determinedly conservative; pictures of William J. Bennett, the moral crusader and former drug czar, are fixtures on office walls, and some leaders have ties to movement mainstays like Focus on the Family. All but a few in the organization are Republicans, though these include moderates drawn by the institute's pragmatic, iconoclastic approach on nonideological topics like technology.


Other than Dr. Berlinski, most fellows, like their financiers, are fundamentalist Christians, though they insist their work is serious science, not closet creationism.

"I believe that God created the universe," Dr. Gonzalez said. "What I don't know is whether that evidence can be tested objectively. I ask myself the tough questions."

But of course if it can't be objectively tested it isn't really science, is it?
A watershed moment came with the adoption in 2001 of the No Child Left Behind Act, whose legislative history includes a passage that comes straight from the institute's talking points. "Where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why this subject generates so much continuing controversy," was language that Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, tried to include.
If the answer is "Because a bunch of right wing religious nut-jobs spend a lot of time and money pushing a bogus and completely unsupported hypothesis on a public too intellectually lazy and/or poorly educated to know when they are being lied to" then count me in on "teaching the controversy.
"All ideas go through three stages - first they're ignored, then they're attacked, then they're accepted," said Jay W. Richards, a philosopher and the institute's vice president.
OK Jay, here's an idea for you. If fundamentalist Christians really want to make it into heaven they should tithe 10% of their yearly income to the writers of 3WN. I hope the ignoring and attacking stages are relatively short and we can move right to the acceptance stage so I can start cashing my checks. Since ALL ideas go thru these stages I can just sit back and wait for the riches to roll in, right? Idiot.


the institutional love child of Ayn Rand and Jerry Falwell

WTF? The guy obviously hasn't read Rand. Or about Rand. Here's one clue for you:

"The severe, disciplined, passionate devotion to the pursuit of knowledge, i.e., of truth, motivating a rational man, has nothing to say to, and cannot cooperate with, the blind whims and fantasies of mystics."

By Blogger Joey de Vivre, at 9:18 AM  

Well that's what makes it a love child, two people who would/should not normally get together. I'm guessing he was saying that it combined the cult like certainty in their reasoning of Randians and the religious fanaticism of Robertson.

By Blogger Jambo, at 11:32 AM  

I think you're putting words in his mouth. One hardly needs to add Ayn Rand to Jerry Falwell (or to Pat Robertson) to get cult-like certainty.

Perhaps (this is just a guess) the guy was talking about the Discovery Institute's non-ID work, which was hinted at but not exposed in the NYT article. Maybe they do pro-free market stuff, too.

In any case, if there were ever any true Rand-followers there, they'd have fled years ago.

By Blogger Joey de Vivre, at 2:56 PM  

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