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Discovery Institute

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The Discovery Institute (DI, not in any way associated with the Discovery Channel) is a non-profit religious "think"-tank notoriousfamous for its attempts to get intelligent-design creationism taught in American schools. It has set out many of its goals in the Wedge Document (1999). Ironically, DI has its headquarters in liberal Seattle, Washington.

The Discovery Institute is behind the growing number of "Academic Freedom Acts" being introduced in various state legislatures across the United States with varying degrees of success. These "academic freedom" statutes represent a more sophisticated approach to sneaking creationism into public schools than those advanced by Discovery Institute fellow Wendell Bird in the 1980s (prior to the founding of the Discovery Institute in 1990) by omitting any references to creationism whatsoever. Instead, the Discovery Institute proposed language for a new breed of "Academic Freedom Acts" in 2007.[1] This proposed model "academic freedom" statute made its way into a number of bills in various states, such as that in Louisiana (passed in the Senate, died in the House), which would permit teachers "to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught". As such, the Discovery Institute significantly broadened its program of attempting to permit schools to "Teach the Controversy", going well beyond the Wedge Strategy (solely directed to intelligent-design creationism) to other politicized fields of science to which right-wingers object, such as climate change.

The Discovery Institute attempts to inject intelligent design creationism into secondary education through the publication of various creationist textbooks such as Of Pandas and People (1989, the subject of the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial of 2005). Pandas, written in part by Discovery Institute fellows William Dembski and Jonathan Wells, was re-titled The Design of Life: Discovering Signs of Intelligence in Biological Systems in 2007 - presumably in an attempt to duck the shame attendant on the original name following the Kitzmiller case. It remains in print at least as of 2009. The Discovery Institute published Explore Evolution: The Arguments For and Against Neo-Darwinism in 2007. The DI toutsrepresents the book as "the first biology textbook to present the scientific evidence both for and against key aspects of Darwinian evolution".[2]

In their own words[edit]

The Discovery Institutes's original banner. Yes, the kerning and compression really were that bad.

The Discovery Institute describes itself as follows[3]:

The point of view Discovery brings to its work includes a belief in God-given reason and the permanency of human nature; the principles of representative democracy and public service expounded by the American Founders; free market economics domestically and internationally; the social requirement to balance personal liberty with responsibility; the spirit of voluntarism crucial to civil society; the continuing validity of American international leadership; and the potential of science and technology to promote an improved future for individuals, families and communities.

However the vast majority of the material on their homepage seems to be associated with intelligent design and evolution. Furthermore, in their defense of the Wedge Document they are happy to support the statements:

Discovery Institute's Center ... seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies.
Discovery Institute's Center ... wants to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialistic worldview, and to replace it with a science consistent with Christian and theistic convictions.

Global warming denial[edit]

In line with the extreme wingnuttery that usually accompanies creationism, the Discovery Institute demonstrated Gore's Law by endorsing Global warming denialism.[4]

Senior Fellows at the Discovery Institute[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. [1]
  2. Explore Evolution- "Explore Evolution: The Arguments For and Against Neo-Darwinism (Hill House Publishers Ltd., Melbourne and London, 2007) is the first biology textbook to present the scientific evidence both for and against key aspects of Darwinian evolution."
  3. Discovery Institute - About Discovery
  4. See here and here for two such examples.
  5. Discovery Bio