Monday, August 22, 2005

Discovery Institute in the New York Times

Discovery Institute in Seattle is in the news - the front page of the New York Times Sunday and Monday. Discovery is not a one-song band; it has wide interests. Its Cascadia Project is proposing solutions for regional transportation problems. There is a program on technology with star George Gilder. Our friend James Na is a fellow in foreign policy. And more ... But the NYT is very concerned about the Center for Science and Society and its work in intelligent design.
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.
The NYT discovered that Discovery is interested in some issues and has programs based on them and raises money to carry out the programs. Surprise. I spend money on what I am interested in also. They found only one clearly liberal donor that stopped giving and that might have been for one the of other programs. The others have stayed on. Discovery President Bruce Chapman gives his analysis of the NYT research and story. Has Discovery carried out research? Yes. Has its fellows published books? Yes - Link Have they published papers in peer-reviewed journals? Yes Link James Na summarizes it well:
The actual Discovery policy position, however, is very mild: it wants schools to teach evolution as the dominant paradigm, but also wants the pupils to be exposed to some of the scientific gaps and problems associated with the evolutionary theory, which is invariably taught in schools as an almost god-given truth. It does NOT support mandating the teaching of intelligent design.

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