Re: Politicized scholars put science on the defensive
- From: brickbat <brickbat@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2005 02:38:47 GMT
In article <1124558688.440685.203910@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
"kuff (Isaac Adams)" <kuff00@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
A similar incentive will be found by the increasing number of
"Christian" lawyers being graduated by religious colleges. Religion has
found a voice these days, and a pretty aggressive one at that. Maybe we
will become a theocracy before Iraq!
> When President Bush plunged into the debate over the teaching of
> evolution this month, saying, "both sides ought to be properly taught,"
> he seemed to be reading from the playbook of the Discovery Institute,
> the conservative think tank here that is at the helm of this newly
> volatile frontier in the nation's culture wars.
> After toiling in obscurity for nearly a decade, the institute's Center
> for Science and Culture has emerged in recent months as the ideological
> and strategic backbone behind the eruption of skirmishes over science
> in school districts and state capitals across the country. Pushing a
> "teach-the-controversy" approach to evolution, the institute has in
> many ways transformed the debate into an issue of academic freedom
> rather than a confrontation between biology and religion. ...
> Financed by some of the same Christian conservatives who helped Mr.
> Bush win the White House, the organization's intellectual core is a
> scattered group of scholars who for nearly a decade have explored the
> unorthodox explanation of life's origins known as intelligent design.
> Together, they have mounted a politically savvy challenge to evolution
> as the bedrock of modern biology, propelling a fringe academic movement
> onto the front pages and putting Darwin's defenders firmly on the
> Like a well-tooled electoral campaign, the Discovery Institute has a
> carefully crafted, poll-tested message, lively Web logs - and millions
> of dollars from foundations run by prominent conservatives like Howard
> and Roberta Ahmanson, Philip F. Anschutz and Richard Mellon Scaife. The
> institute opened an office in Washington last fall and in January hired
> the same Beltway public relations firm that promoted the Contract With
> America in 1994. ...
> As much philosophical worldview as scientific hypothesis, intelligent
> design challenges Darwin's theory of natural selection by arguing that
> some organisms are too complex to be explained by evolution alone,
> pointing to the possibility of supernatural influences. While mutual
> acceptance of evolution and the existence of God appeals instinctively
> to a faithful public, intelligent design is shunned as heresy in
> mainstream universities and science societies as untestable in
> laboratories. ...
> >From its nondescript office suites here, the institute has provided an
> institutional home for the dissident thinkers, pumping $3.6 million in
> fellowships of $5,000 to $60,000 per year to 50 researchers since the
> science center's founding in 1996. Among the fruits are 50 books on
> intelligent design, many published by religious presses like
> InterVarsity or Crossway, and two documentaries that were broadcast
> briefly on public television. But even as the institute spearheads the
> intellectual development of intelligent design, it has staked out safer
> turf in the public policy sphere, urging states and school boards to
> simply include criticism in evolution lessons rather than actually
> teach intelligent design. ...
> 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." ...
> Many of the research fellows, employees and board members are, indeed,
> devout and determinedly conservative; pictures of the 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.
> But even as intelligent design has helped raise Discovery's profile,
> the institute is starting to suffer from its success. Lately, it has
> tried to distance itself from lawsuits and legislation that seek to
> force schools to add intelligent design to curriculums, placing it in
> the awkward spot of trying to promote intelligent design as a robust
> frontier for scientists but not yet ripe for students.
> The group is also fending off attacks from the left, as critics liken
> it to Holocaust deniers or the Taliban. ...
> The institute would not provide details about its backers "because they
> get harassed," Mr. Chapman said. But a review of tax documents on
> www.guidestar.org, a Web site that collects data on foundations, showed
> its grants and gifts jumped to $4.1 million in 2003 from $1.4 million
> in 1997, the most recent and oldest years available. The records show
> financial support from 22 foundations, at least two-thirds of them with
> explicitly religious missions.
> There is the Henry P. and Susan C. Crowell Trust of Colorado Springs,
> whose Web site describes its mission as "the teaching and active
> extension of the doctrines of evangelical Christianity." There is also
> the AMDG Foundation in Virginia, run by Mark Ryland, a Microsoft
> executive turned Discovery vice president: the initials stand for Ad
> Majorem Dei Glorium, Latin for "To the greater glory of God," which
> Pope John Paul II etched in the corner of all his papers.
> And the Stewardship Foundation, based in Tacoma, Wash., whose Web site
> says it was created "to contribute to the propagation of the Christian
> Gospel by evangelical and missionary work," gave the group more than $1
> million between 1999 and 2003.
> By far the biggest backers of the intelligent design efforts are the
> Ahmansons, who have provided 35 percent of the science center's $9.3
> million since its inception and now underwrite a quarter of its $1.3
> million annual operations. Mr. Ahmanson also sits on Discovery's board.
> The Ahmansons' founding gift was joined by $450,000 from the MacLellan
> Foundation, based in Chattanooga, Tenn.
> "We give for religious purposes," said Thomas H. McCallie III, its
> executive director. "This is not about science, and Darwin wasn't about
> science. Darwin was about a metaphysical view of the world."
> The institute also has support from secular groups like Verizon
> Foundation and the Gates Foundation, which gave $1 million in 2000 and
> pledged $9.35 million over 10 years in 2003. Greg Shaw, a grant maker
> at the Gates Foundation, said the money was "exclusive to the Cascadia
> project" on regional transportation. ...
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