Discovery Institute Plays 'I Have a Secret'

As the Texas State Board of Education prepares to adopt new science textbooks for public schools this year, we expect to see plenty of junk science thrown around by evolution deniers. And among the most prominent evolution deniers are the folks at the Discovery Institute — the Seattle-based outfit that promotes the concept of “intelligent design.”

For those who don’t already know, “intelligent design” proponents suggest that life as we know it is far too complex to have developed without the guidance of an “intelligent designer.” In 2005 a federal judge in Pennsylvania, after an exhaustive accounting of the evidence, wrote in Kitzmiller v. Dover that “the writings of leading [‘intelligent design’] proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity.” He even noted how proponents in the 1980s had simply replaced “creation” with “intelligent design” in written materials in light of court rulings that it was an unconstitutional promotion of religion for public schools to teach creationism as science. He wrote:

“The overwhelming evidence at trial established that [‘intelligent design’] is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.”

Well, that kind of talk makes the folks at the Discovery Institute mad. Today, for example, they published a blog post about their frustration that people think they must mean God when they’re talking about an “intelligent designer”:

“Intelligent design considers the evidence of nature and infers the activity of a designer. But science does not say who or what that designer is. It just doesn’t, much as some believers might wish it did. On claims about the supernatural, ID is simply agnostic. It must be. Why can’t these people understand that?”

Yeah, why is that? Go figure.

So who might have done it if not God? The Discovery Institute isn’t saying. But we have a candidate:


Well, you have to admit that this makes as much sense as arguing that “intelligent design” proponents aren’t talking about God. Right?

As for Texas, publishers have submitted their proposed textbooks and other instructional materials for public school science classrooms. Review teams appointed by the State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency will soon begin their examination of those materials. The state board’s final vote on the science textbook adoption is scheduled for November. Stay tuned. The Texas Freedom Network will be monitoring the adoption process all the way through.

5 thoughts on “Discovery Institute Plays 'I Have a Secret'

  1. The most simple debunking to the ‘design not evolution but not necessarily G*d’ is the question: Who designed the designers?
    While the hypothesis that life on Earth is engineered is not by itself insane (just very improbable), it only shifts the burden to the origin of the proposed designer. In the end there either must be an undesigned designer ab initio (G*d) or one of the designers developed naturally without intelligent input (=> some kind of evolution). So even if ID was true for us (again, highly unlikely), it would not solve the basic problem (as the proponents falsely claim). The origin of life is an unsolved problem. The problem with that problem is that we might never be able to solve it beyond reasonable doubt. Ironically this is not for lack of explanations but because there are several competing scientific hypotheses/theories that all could explain the origin of life with no way to determine which working path was actually ‘chosen’ in history.

  2. One of many major problems with The Discovery Institute is that they have an agenda to replace real testable science with the teaching of myths, fables, legends and fairy tales. Besides which they want to teach only one set of these fairy tales, even more only one discredited interpretation of these myths. It is an outdated and outmoded interpretation of a book of tales written by bronze age goat herders who having indulged one too many times on hallucinatory substances.