DI C(R)SC and Finances

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In its latest come-on for money, the Discovery Institute makes a claim:

Our budget is a fraction of what pro-evolution groups have to spend, and the mainstream media are largely hostile and biased on this issue.

So I thought that I would have a look at the Form 990s for 2003 of the DI and the pro-science 501(3)(c) that engages the DI, the National Center for Science Education.

In 2003, the Discovery Institute reported $4,233,814.00 total revenue, $3,544,031.00 in end-of-year assets, and $2,499,077.00 total expenses. Of those expenses, $338,977.00 went to officers and directors, $627,285.00 went to other salaries and wages, and $122,809.00 went to travel. (In 2002, I noted that the DI could cut its travel budget in half and fund a research study. I’ll note that $60K is the level of funding for some NSF postdoctoral research fellowships.)

For comparison, let’s look at the figures in 2003 for the NCSE.

In 2003, the NCSE reported $659,270.00 total revenue, $540,943.00 in end-of-year assets, and $658,841.00 total expenses. Of those expenses, $122,040.00 went to officers and directors, $230,380.00 went to other salaries and wages, and $16,803.00 went to travel.

The DI is composed of more than just the CRSC , though, I’m sure someone will point out. But the claim that the CRSC is financially at a disadvantage seems bogus to me. First, to make any sense of the claim made at all, one would have to go beyond NCSE’s budget and include groups whose stated purposes are far broader than defending the teaching of evolutionary biology in science classrooms. In that case, the same argument that would be deployed to say that a fraction of the DI’s reported budget is involved in the EvC issue would also apply to any group outside of NCSE that opposes them as well. It’s tough to figure out what might be meant by the vague basket of “pro-evolution groups”, but mostly groups that have something to do with evolutionary biology simply aren’t putting much, if any, effort into combatting antievolutionist outfits like the DI CRSC. That job primarily rests with NCSE, whose budget is, as the official tax documents relate, much less than that of the DI CRSC, contrary to the original claim. Second, the DI CRSC is but one of many antievolution organizations whose malign purposes are backed by big cash flows. Look at Answers in Genesis, who reported total revenues of $9,016,228.00 in 2003. There are many antievolution groups raking it in, but only one NCSE.

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DaveScot at Uncommon Descent is now blaming judges for the lack of scientific research in intelligent design:

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And it's a dud. They've got two complaints posted, neither of which are particularly stunning.... Read More

22 Comments

So much money, so little worthwhile research.

Does the Roman Catholic Church count as a pro-ID institution? Because recent statements imply that it does. How about the well-heeled Christian Conservative political machine, which recently featured President Bush promoting ID? Or again, the many religious radio stations and publishers who push ID and its more honest cousin, “creation science”? There is fat, powerful juggernaut trying to crush real science in this country. Any claim to victimhood is disingenuous in the extreme.

Slightly OT, but did anyone notice Bill Dembski on CNN this morning? I think the topic of conversation was GWB’s latest comment on ID, but I only saw it in passing.

So the fraction seems to be 8/1. That’s a perfectly good fraction.

Why isn’t the Disco Institute complaining about how much more money the out-front biblical creationists (the Jennies?) are receiving?

If they did just spend some of that money researching something, maybe they’ll learn something.

Uh-huh. But what about all those slick, professional pro-evolution websites, like this blog? I’ll bet that your funding is in the millions! Scared to let us see those donation records?

Well, I have to admit that in the past year, the largest contribution I made to any one organization was to TalkOrigins, and I always make my ID friends buy the beer, so…a few hundred thousand folks like me and we could engender a true imbalance.

In earnest, this is one of the most outrageous things I’ve seen in a while, and there have been outrages on top of outrages. For centuries the church–and we all know, this is just “the church” in a crappy disguise–has done everything it can to suppress crucial science, and the fat, healthy, mobile and connected Christians of today benefit each moment of their lives by the courage and sacrifice scientists have made in the teeth of ignorant persecution. And now they are going to complain about funding? Put it on our bill, deduct the cost in misery for the Dark Ages, and give science the difference. We could terraform Mars for what you owe us.

Answers in Genesis is currently building a $35 million musuem. Raking it in is putting it mildly.

From the fundraising letter linked above.

Biology professor P.Z. Myers at the University of Minnesota, for example, has called for “the public firing and humiliation of some teachers” because they question Darwin.

This has got to be a gross distortion. Can anyone say what they are referencing? Paul

Free speech and academic freedom are cherished principles in America. They are too important to be sacrificed to the intolerant demands of extremists on any issue.

If you support the right of scientists and teachers to speak their mind about evolution, will you help us?

I absolutely support the right of scientists and teachers - and priests and garbage collectors and Wal-Mart operatives - to speak their mind about anything. And if what they say demonstrates that they are incompetent to do their job, then I fully support their right to find alternative employment.

Let’s recast those statements:

Free speech and freedom of belief are cherished principles in America. They are too important to be sacrificed to the intolerant demands of extremists on any issue.

If you support the right of priests and teachers to speak their mind about Christianity, will you help us?

Would the Discovery Institute disagree with those statements? Now let’s see what happens if a Baptist minister tries to say that the Mormons have the right idea - or that the Trinity, the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection are all metaphors for humanist ideals. How might the Discovery Institute react?

Freedom of speech is indeed a valuable and cherished idea. That doesn’t mean one should be insulated from the consequences of that freedom. Or is that the implication of the Discovery Institute’s pitch?

R

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I did not get 1c for this “advertisement,” but here goes: It’s appalling how little NCSE gets. Join now and make a difference.

I suspect they’re counting all biology (and, heck, perhaps all science) funding out of national agencies like NSF as funds against them.

Plus the yearly budget of all science journals that publish articles about evolution.

Never mind that these are all research and “furthering of knowledge” funds. If you’re the DI, you probably don’t understand the difference between research and propaganda, and you think that winning in the court of public opinion is the same thing as being right.

-Rob

Comment #41126 Posted by Greg Peterson on August 3, 2005 04:02 PM

In earnest, this is one of the most outrageous things I’ve seen in a while, and there have been outrages on top of outrages. For centuries the church–and we all know, this is just “the church” in a crappy disguise–has done everything it can to suppress crucial science, and the fat, healthy, mobile and connected Christians of today benefit each moment of their lives by the courage and sacrifice scientists have made in the teeth of ignorant persecution. And now they are going to complain about funding? Put it on our bill, deduct the cost in misery for the Dark Ages, and give science the difference. We could terraform Mars for what you owe us.

Hear, Hear!

One of the marvelous things about science is just how few scientists it took and takes (compared to the number of hairdressers, t.v. producers, insurance salesmen, marketers, management consultants, telephone sanitisers, priests, preachers, ministers, and the rest of the population) and how little money is needed (at least up till the post-WWII period through to the present day, but science budgets are still a pittance compared to military ones) to conduct the research that has advanced the quality of life of all people. Modern society owes more to the Michael Faradays and the Edward Jenners of history than to any pope (or messiah) who ever lived. Sincerely, Paul

In 2003, the Discovery Institute reported $4,233,814.00 total revenue

How much of that came from Ayatollah Ahmanson …?

Oh, that’s right — they won’t say.

Rob Knop Wrote:

Never mind that these are all research and “furthering of knowledge” funds. If you’re the DI, you probably don’t understand the difference between research and propaganda, and you think that winning in the court of public opinion is the same thing as being right.

I’m sure that the DI, if not their target audience, knows the difference between research and propaganda. Unless you count “research” into finding ever more creative ways to misrepresent evolution

The Darwinian Pressure Group, Delta Pi Gamma, missed its first car payment due to lack of funds and inability to recruit a wealthier pledge class. (Thanks, Harold!)

We’re at risk of losing our red M5 unless we can turn the situation around.

Does the DI run a competitive process to select proposals? Maybe a scientist shd propose a study to examine the hokum ID/C is. Interesting eh?

Let’s review all those figure again using the dollars-per-actual-research metric…

I’ll ante up the next payment on the M5 and donate my carport to keep it covered!  Package deal only.

Bill -

Sell the car, take the bus, and spend the extra money on beer. That’s how the Darwinist Pressure Group is supposed to operate. I ought to know.

Everyone Else -

I certainly don’t support humiliating people on purpose.

As for firing and suing teachers who teach lies instead of the curriculum, which would include creationists posing as science teachers (or inserting creationism as “science” into other class times), but also racists, holocaust deniers, and the like, it has to be done, and we need to get it done more often.

You can BE any of those things and teach, as long as you have the self control to teach the curriculum in school, and restrict your rants to areas like the internet, the bar stool, call-in radio shows, soap boxes, vanity presses, etc. But you can’t TEACH that crap.

I say suing because here in America, it’s probably a lot easier to get a lawsuit going than to get a school board to rein in an inappropriate teacher.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on August 3, 2005 1:40 PM.

The reaction to Bush’s statements was the previous entry in this blog.

The Comics Curmudgeon on evolution in B.C. is the next entry in this blog.

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