Tag Archives: Biologic Institute

Pulling the wool over the eyes of the faithful

Occasionally I watch videos, or listen to podcasts, distributed by the Intelligent design crowd at the Discovery Institute. So, I wasted a few minutes on this video below where one of their tame scientists, Ann Gauger, spoke “authoritatively” on population genetics and why this proved Darwin wrong!

It’s a load of old rubbish, aimed at convincing the gullible with sciency sounding words, but causing giggles from real biologists. However, I was interested in the background chosen for the interview. Could this be a lab in the much vaunted ID Biologic Institute? The one set up by the Discovery Institute to do “real” research. The lab where no journalist or non-ID scientist has been allowed access.

Well, it turns out that the background is false. It’s a green screen, using a stock photo (see The Disco ‘Tute’s fake laboratory).


Stock photo used for background in video

Why go to such trouble?

Well, I guess the simple answer is they don’t have a lab, or access to a lab, they can use as an impressive background – so they fudged it. But of course, there’s more to it than that.

The whole purpose of forming the Biologic Institute was to impress. I mean, to impress their convinced adherents (because no-one in the scientific world is impressed by such a façade). It’s the “silo effect” such ideological communities go in for. They can maintain beliefs because they have their own tame experts and members of the community usually self-censor. The faithful can go along with the pretence their beliefs are supported by scientific evidence and avoid having to deal with real science and scientists.

The ID community provides the amenities require for such a blinkered outlook. They even have their own list of “scientists” rejecting Darwinism. The faithful can thus repeat the lie evolutionary science is on its last legs. That high ranking scientists have proven it wrong.

The Discovery Institute and the Biologic Institute also provide another element of the façade – peer reviewed publications supporting ID. To this end they have established their own “scientific journal” – BIO-Complexity. This presents a veneer of a peer-reviewed journal – but look at it. A small handful of papers, all by the same people listed under the “staff” of the Biologic Institute.

Again, this fools no credible scientist but it can be used to fool the faithful.

But what a a situation – having to lie to your own supporters.

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Designer spin II

Logo Credit: LOLcats tradition

Another area of political spin by intelligent design (ID) proponents is their claim to actually be doing scientific research on ID.

Biologic Institute

This was the Discovery Institute’s motive for setting up the Seattle-based Biologic Institute in 2005. They describe its purpose as:

“developing and testing the scientific case for intelligent design in biology and exploring its scientific implications. Its founding was made possible by Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, which continues to support its ongoing work.”

No reporter seems to have been able to get access to the Institute’s laboratories or offices. And one suspects they don’t actually house any scientific equipment. More like photocopiers, computers and internet access necessary for carrying our “reinterpretation research” – placing their own spin and interpretation on the scientific results of others.

The Biologic Institute’s web site is typical of other ID and “creation science” web sites – propaganda pieces attacking evolutionary science. None of the detailed descriptions of the work of their science staff common for web sites of genuine scientific institutes.

And what about this from a recent post by the Institute’s director Douglas Axe (see Oxford University Seeks Mathemagician):

“the public . . .  tend to see only one side of science—the confident, assertive, authoritative, we-know-what-we’re-talking-about side. Science-speak often comes across with a hint of arrogance, but since science itself depends on the goodwill of the public for its very existence, it usually corrects itself on those occasions when it oversteps its bounds.”

Strange sort of rhetoric for the director of a scientific institute! And what a title for comment on an advertisement for a Research Associate position at St John’s College, University of Oxford. A mathematician working in evolutionary science has to be labelled a “mathemagician!”


Another little spin has been their establishment, last year, of a scientific journal – BIO-Complexity.

It has all the appearance of an on-line, peer-reviewed scientific journal. A large Editorial Team, submission guidelines, and publication schedule.

But look at the details.

So far it has published four (4) “research articles” and one (1) “critical review.” All papers include authors on the Editorial Team

Douglas Axe
Ann K Gauger
William Dembski
Robert Marks
Ralph Seelke

These are well-known for their propaganda pieces attacking evolutionary science. And Bill Dembski had claimed of this journal that ID proponents will get no preferential treatment!”

Yeah, right!

Not exactly a reputable scientific journal. More an in-house journal purely for ensuring publication without genuine peer review. (Unless you define your peers as people with the same ideological beliefs and adherence to the ID dogma). And getting names and articles into the indexed scientific literature.

Hardly “developing and testing the scientific case for intelligent design in biology and exploring its scientific implications.” Just more of the same – attempting to present a scientific sounding argument against the findings of evolutionary science. (The never actually do any work to offer evidence for ID).

Tools for the religious apologetics ghetto

And these characters have done it all before. A number of “research fellowships,” “research institutes” and “research journals” have been established by them in the past. They never seem to last for more than a year or so. But leave their debris scattered throughout the internet.

This doesn’t fool anyone in the scientific community. But it is handy if you want to provide your adherents with sciency sounding publications.

In other words it’s an asset for the religious apologetics ghetto.

See also: Designer spin

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