Another conspiracy theory about the Discovery Institute
There’s an amusing dispute going on between the Discovery Institute and Little Green Footballs, the latter of which recently unveiled some very interesting details about links between Islamic and Christian creationists. Needless to say, the DI folks are demonstrating their usual haphazard acquaintance with the truth.
I agree that the dispute is amusing, but not for the reasons that Sandefur thinks. For starters, the Little Green Footballs blog is highly biased about this subject. Here are some things that Wikipedia says about LGF:
Little Green Footballs (LGF) is a political blog run by California web designer Charles Johnson. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Johnson -- who describes himself as "pretty much center-left before 9/11" - transformed his blog's discussion of bicycle racing, programming, web design, and the occasional humorous news item into a very active discussion of the War on Terror, Islam and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Media observers have described the site as "right wing"; observes Johnson: "I'm not pretending I'm giving equal time to both sides. But I do think what I'm advocating, and what I believe in, is the right side."
For "promoting Israel, and Zionism" and "presenting Israel's side of the conflict," LGF won the "Best Israel Advocacy Blog" award from the Jerusalem Post in 2005 . According to Gil Ronen, a reporter for Internet news outlet, Israel National News: "If anyone ever compiles a list of Internet sites that contribute to Israel’s public relations effort, Johnson's site will probably come in first, far above the Israeli Foreign Ministry's site." . . . .
R. J. Smith, writing in Los Angeles Magazine, stated that LGF is a "dysfunctional mix of beautiful photos Johnson takes on coastal bike rides and constitutionally protected hate speech" which "believes all Muslims are terrorists until proven innocent."
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) called Little Green Footballs "a vicious, anti-Muslim hate site" and claims that the FBI has "investigated several threats of physical harm against Muslims posted by Little Green Footballs readers".
Columnist Antonia Zerbisias has described LGF as a "virulently anti-Muslim/Arab website".
Journalist Eric Boehlert has written that LGF "oozes disdain for Arabs and journalists (and most of all, Arab journalists)" and is "obsessed with proving that all MSM reporting from Iraq and the Middle East is biased in favor of Islamic terrorists."
Columnist Andrew Sullivan described LGF as "enthusiastically pro-torture".
Vanity Fair theater critic James Wolcott characterized the LGF community as "sort of like a disorganized Nuremberg Rally, a lot of angry ruffians with nowhere to go...."
LGF blogger Johnson is also a co-founder of Pajamas Media. A better name would be "BVD media."
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LGF says in an article titled "Audio: The Discovery Institute Collaborates with Turkish Creationists,"
Last year CBC radio had a segment devoted to Islamic creationism in Turkey, with some amazing revelations:
The Institute for Creation Research has been heavily involved with Turkish creationists for years, supplying propaganda and teaching materials and DVDs, to the point where Turkey’s school system has purged the teaching of evolution in favor of creationist pseudo-science.
The Discovery Institute is also “working closely with their Turkish counterparts,” and the DI’s David Berlinski (CBC mistakenly calls him “Paul”) explicitly says that Islamic creationists are allies of US creationists.
What is wrong about the DI working closely with "creationist" counterparts who share the same idea of doubting Darwinism? And what's wrong with Berlinski's statement that "Islamic creationists are allies of US creationists"? Isn't that what the preceding statement said, i.e., "The Institute for Creation Research has been heavily involved with Turkish creationists for years"?
Another LGF article drivels,
I did not “imply” the Discovery Institute was in league with Islamic radicals. I stated outright that the Discovery Institute is in league with Islamist creationists, a fact that is indisputably true, as we’ll see in a minute . .
(We can argue whether creationism is a “radical Islamic” position, but when even Islamist shill Inayat Bunglawala believes in evolution, it strongly suggests that the creationist position is a radical one).
Here Johnson contradicts himself -- he first says that the question of whether creationism is a "radical Islamic" position is arguable, then implies that he thinks the question is not arguable because even an "Islamic shill" believes in evolution.
And the egregious error: “slander” means a “false spoken statement.” The word for which Chapman was searching is “libel,” meaning a “false published statement.”
That is hardly an "egregious" error -- in informal usage (though not in formal legal usage), both libel and slander can be oral or written.
Johnson then quotes one of Berlinski's statements in a Turkish creationism conference sponsored by the Islamist AKP party’s Istanbul Municipal Authority:
Berlinski: There is astonishingly little experimental evidence in favor of Darwin’s theory. [This is] not about replacing Darwin’s theory, that’s not gonna happen anytime soon. But about areas that I find deeply challenging within biological theory itself, it may be rewarding to you to think about.
Johnson then quotes from a CBC interview of Berlinski:
Berlinski: I think these ideas, these ideas, are current everywhere. There’s a long interesting tradition of design theoretic arguments within Islamic theology that goes straight back to the 9th century. And there are outstanding figures within Islamic theology who participated in these discussions ... there’s no reason to be surprised, this is a very rich tradition. We need to get together, we need to talk. There needs to be an exchange, a current needs to flow.
This is a hot issue. We’re in the midst of a world-wide religious revival. I mean, historians 500 years from now will talk about the religious revival of the late 20th, early 21st century. There are a billion Muslims out there who are taking Islamic doctrine very seriously. Christianity too.
So on the basis of just those few statements by someone associated with the Discovery Institute (who, BTW, happens to be an agnostic), Johnson concludes that DI's agenda is religious:
Notice that despite the Discovery Institute’s frequent denials that their agenda is religious, here’s one of their main spokespersons waxing rhapsodic over a “world-wide religious revival.”
BTW, an article on the website of the National Center for Science Education says,
Adding to the creationism sightings around the world, Reuters (November 22, 2006) ran a story on Islamic creationism in Turkey, where "[s]cientists say pious Muslims in the government, which has its roots in political Islam, are trying to push Turkish education away from its traditionally secular approach." The main source of antievolution propaganda in Turkey is Harun Yahya -- a pseudonym probably for a pool of writers, headed by Adnan Oktar -- which, as Taner Edis told Reuters, "has managed to create a media-based and popular form of creationism." Efforts to popularize "intelligent design" in Turkey are lagging, Reuters suggests, because most Turks "see no need to avoid naming God," but Education Minister Huseyin Celik recently told CNN Turk that "intelligent design" should not be disregarded just "because it coincides with beliefs of monotheistic religions about creation." (emphasis added)
In fact, some Moslem fundies -- like some Christian fundies -- might even regard ID as blasphemous or sacrilegious because they might see it as implying doubt of god's word by suggesting that there is a need to provide evidence to support creationism. Ironically, the Turkish education minister said that ID "should not be disregarded just 'because it coincides with beliefs of monotheistic religions about creation' " whereas the Darwinists say that ID should be rejected for that reason.
Darwinists don't give supporters of ID (or other scientific or pseudoscientific criticisms of Darwinism) any Brownie points for repudiating creationists -- the Darwinists will use the term "intelligent design creationism" in any case. So supporters of ID have no reason to not be friendly towards creationists.