Discovery Institute defends Young Earth creationists


I’ve been attacked by the Discovery Institute’s Uncommon Descent. That’s not interesting. What’s interesting is the reason; they caught me making fun of Young Earth creationism.

In my last post, I described Evolve or Die, a children’s book published in 2008 that I recently came across, as an “antidote to creationism”, and poked fun at Young Earth creationists for believing that carnivores were vegetarians, and dinosaurs coexisted with humans, in a perfect world before the Fall. This, at any rate, is what they say they believe, as perusal of the UK Creationist Christian Schools Trust policy on teaching evolution, or of the contents of Ken Ham’s  Creation Museum, will quickly verify. (For documentation of all this in earlier blog posts, see here and here and here.)

Creation_Museum_10For saying this, I would expect criticism from openly creationist sources such as Answers in Genesis or Creation Ministries International. But Uncommon Descent isn’t supposed to be like that. It claims, as you can see, to serve the Intelligent Design community. This is not supposed to be creationist, and I have seen the Director of the Centre for Intelligent Design, the Discovery Institute’s UK franchise, go red in the face denying that creationism and Intelligent Design have anything to do with each other.

Others have drawn attention to the Discovery Institute’s cries of “gagging order” when Ball State University stopped the teaching of theocentric Intelligent Design as science, and their support for the Bryan University administration as merely asserting its rights when it suddenly demanded that their faculty members profess belief in a literal Adam and Eve. A double standard; demanding unconstitutional privilege for creationism in the name of academic freedom, while turning a blind eye when such freedom is trampled on by the creationists themselves.

It is worth quoting the words with which the DI’s mendaciously mistitled Evolution News and Views  defends the Bryan administration against its own faculty:

[A] private institution like Bryan with a religious or philosophical mission inevitably draws lines for its teachers. If you want to retain the mission, you can’t at the same time tell faculty that “Anything goes.” 

Remember that when next you hear the Discovery Institute argue for the “academic freedom” to teach creationism in publicly funded schools.

But their explicit defence of Young Earth creationists against their critics is something new. For the record, here’s the actual article. No author name given. Yes, that’s all of it, including what I accept as a full and fair embedded quote from what I wrote.  A pity the surrounding text is so incoherent[1], but my assertion that the DI is defending creationism is an extraordinary claim, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary (if tedious) evidence:


And just to spell it out, they describe my review of a 5 year old book as part of the latest attack on the poor beleaguered creationists, because I scurrilously refer to what creationists believe, thereby unfairly accusing them of being “liberals who believe in the Hippie’s [sic] Guide to nature”. And the interesting bit is, not the boring banality and involuted illogic of Uncommon Descent, which is standard, but the fact that they think their job includes defending Young Earth creationists.

One final detail. I am not a defender of Darwin, just as when I talk about the chemical elements I am not a defender of Lavoisier, or when I invoke classical mechanics I am not a defender of Newton. Physics, chemistry, and biology are very different from what they were in the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries respectively, even if the creationists Intelligent Designers refuse to notice.

Illustration: Creation Museum tableau showing humans living peacefully before the Fall with vegetarian tyrannosaurs. Public domain photo, taken with permission to share by Anthony5429, obtained through

Technical note: I use HTML nofollow for links to DI and other creationist sites, so as not to boost their click counts and advertising revenues.

[1] They even muddle up the title of my review with that of the book I was reviewing.

Posted on May 10, 2014, in Creationism, Education and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Christopher Clifford

    Thank you professor for another fresh perspective on this weighty issue. My wife and I, being self appointed experts in poo-laden squishiness, will reflect on your words this afternoon as we proceed with our three year old son to the excellent Ordovician exposures in southwestern Ohio. Photos forthcoming, of the fossils of course…


  2. Well done! A badge of honour, my friend! I look forward to the day such intellectual lunatics try to attack me 🙂


  3. I have to admit to some confusion here. I’ve always considered ID and Biblical YEC as nominally different forms of supernaturalism on a continuum of ideas about the origins of biodiversity. The YEC occupies a fairly discrete piece of that continuum whereas what is called ID covers a much broader set of ideas and, by some definitions, even overlaps YEC. They all might disagree about age of the Earth and other important details, but in the end they are promoting a very similar worldview and tend to close ranks when one of their several “theories” is challenged.

    So I guess I’m not surprised that an IDer would be troubled by an attack on a YECer. As the defender noted in the article, it indeed can be “difficult to fix, freeze, and frame the target.”


    • Agreed, all creationists (Old Earth or Young Earth) are IDers, and most of the DI IDers are actually creationists, with one notable interventionist evolutionist (Behe) and a few other oddities. But if DI were sincere in saying its concern was with the purported science of ID, they wouldn’t see YECs as allies despite this overlap. It’s a giveaway. And you’re spot on; they present a moving target.


  4. God Bless the Discovery Institute for their defense of True Christian science, and shame on you for your ungodly Darwinist beliefs! Repent or burn in Hell!

    Yours in Christ,
    Jim Solouki


    • I am allowing this comment for the sake of openness. However, I will not do so again. You are indulging in crude and obvious Poe, whose only possible purpose is to demonstrate your superiority to the poor benighted individuals that you are so smugly parodying.

      As I have said elsewhere (to you) there’s a war on, and you don’t get your opponents’ footsoldiers to change sides by sneering at them.

      I ration sincere creationists to two comments. But you on the other hand deserve special treatment; and here it is – once is enough.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: