Discovery Institute and Absurd Evolution Marketing Lessons

On October 22, 2008, Casey Luskin wrote “Darwin Defender Daniel Bolnick Illustrates How to Market Evolution to the Public.” He is criticizing an op-ed written by Daniel Bolnick, leader of the Texas 21st Century Science CoalitionDr. Bolnick is a professor at UT Austin, and has at least 21 scientific articles on the subject of evolution.The op-ed appeared side-by-side with the young earth creationist and head of the Texas State Board of Education, Don McElroy.  Bolnick’s piece focuses on the proposed changes to the Texas science standards.

Casey Luskin gives us a list of 6 lessons (although 2 overlap each other) of how to argue for evolution:

Lesson 1: Vaguely Assert Massive Support for “Evolution” From the Scientific Literature

No matter how ID proponents spin the evidence for evolution, there is “massive support” for evolution in scientific literature. I would argue that every paper published on the subject of paleontology supports evolution as no fossils have been found contrary to evolution. Of course evidence for evolution can be found in a litany of other areas.  A pubmed search for “evolution” yields 229,000 articles. Is that massive enough?

Lessons 2 & 3: Re-label Evidence Against “Evolution” as Religion and Claim That Such Evidence Doesn’t Exist

I will agree that intelligent design is not religion although many evolution proponents have said so before. ID is based on religious motivation, but is in fact pseudoscience. It uses meaningless science sounding words such as irreducible complexity without actually proposing hypothesis that are later tested. What about there being any evidence against evolution? Well, I am not aware of any exists and Luskin does not offer any. Surely this would have been the time since he says the lack of evidence “claim is easy to refute.”

Lesson 4: Dogmatically Assert the “Overwhelming” Evidence for Evolution (But Don’t Discuss the Evidence)

Of course there is overwhelming evidence for evolution. From genetic sequences to transitional fossils to laboratory experiments, the evidence is mountainous. Even more telling is that nothing has been found to disprove evolution. Luskin brings up the fossil record as if the “fossil record has posed major problems for Darwinian evolution.” That’s funny, I don’t remember any fossils being found that are contrary to evolutionary theory.

As far as Bolnick not discussing the evidence, I can only think that it was an op-ed piece in a small paper with very little room for a scientific discussion. Besides, discussion of evolutionary evidence is easily found for anyone. The evidence for ID? I am still looking….

Lesson 5: Change the Topic from Science to Religion

Isn’t this just lesson 2 (Re-label Evidence Against “Evolution” as Religion) over again?  I know it must be hard to argue against reality, but does he need to repeat himself to boost his list?

Lesson 6: Demonize your Opponents

Intelligent Design proponents are more guilty of this than anyone. Their favorite method is to call all evolution proponents atheists. Of course religion should have no effect on facts and evidence, but evolution is often grouped with atheism. Don’t forget the use of the derogatory term “Darwinist” as if evolution proponents worship Charles Darwin as a god.

For contrast, read my Top 10 Intelligend Design Tactics.

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One Response

  1. I am not sure that any good scientist doesn’t think about their work or results as it relates to evolution. For example, why would such and such bacteria have or not have said function. What might be the selective pressure for gain or loss of such ability. Thinking about your science in terms of evolution will usually point to the significance of your research, especially when your research is basic science. If you don’t consider evolution, then how would you answer the “why” did this happen aspect of your research?

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