Move over Jon Stewart: The Discovery Institute issues own “fake news”

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Well, it had to happen at some point. With the vast experience accumulated in their now decade-long attempts to pass fake science for real, and probably inspired by Bill Dembski’s recent appearance on the Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show”, it seems that the Discovery Institute has now decided to issue their very own “fake news”.

Rather incredibly, in fact, a completely fake, rather unfunny parody of a radio interview with Barbara Forrest appears today on the DI’s own web site under their “News” headline (see right column here), without any indication it is fiction. Obviously, Dr. Forrest’s work truly has hit a nerve with the DI, since as reported on PT yesterday, they have already issued an utterly dishonest attack on her testimony at the Kitzmiller trial, based on selective quotation and misrepresentation of the court’s proceedings. What’s worse, the DI’s own Evolution News blog, already known for its cavalier disregard for truth and even basic, trivially verifiable facts, has picked up the interview and also reported it as if it were real in an “update” to their previous item on Forrest.

Now, there are two, non mutually exclusive possibilities to explain this. One is that the DI operatives are so accustomed to any fiction that fits their prejudice, they are unable to distinguish it from reality. The second is that this is just a prank, and they believe the parody interview is so crude and obvious, it doesn’t need any disclaimer.

Personally, I tend to agree with the latter, more generous interpretation, which also conveniently explains why the various DI sites also don’t attach disclaimers to all their other preposterous claims, such that ID is actual science, that evidence for it is published in the peer-reviewed literature, and that it is accepted by an ever-increasing number of “scientists”.

So, thanks for making your standards clear, folks.

Acknowledgments Thanks to Jack Krebs for bringing the DI ‘s fake news to my attention.

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71 Comments

That is utterly hilarious. Must be the funniest thing I ever read. Well done DI. Brilliant.

In leaning toward the “more generous interpretation” Andrea forgets that the Discovery Institute has hired Creative Response Concepts, the same public relations firm that represents Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The DI’s fake news story is completely consistent with that firm’s approach.

RBH

I don’t know how it all got started, but a posting in the PT thread regarding Dr. Forrest had that fake interview just about verbatim. Post #50122 by evopeach. Only the date is different, I think. Perhaps DI is lifting their fake news from the PT site comments now. Congrats on being such an important site.

Be still my aching sides.

But as Russell (comment 50209) pointed out, so many words with so few mistakes was uncharacteristic of evopeach, and was therefore obviously lifted from somewhere else.

Interestingly, the DI seems to have corrected some spelling errors

On PT Wrote:

MW Yes, it is. You’re on the air? Your question, please. Called I’m on the air?

MW Yes you are. Called With the doctor?

MW That’s right. Your speaking with Dr. Barbara Forrest, Ph.D. Called I’m on the air, right? Well here’s my question. I’ve got these bunions that are just acting up fearfully, and I was wondering .…

on the DI site

MW Yes, it is. You’re on the air? Your question, please. Caller I’m on the air?

MW Yes you are. Caller With the doctor?

MW That’s right. Your speaking with Dr. Barbara Forrest, Ph.D. Caller I’m on the air, right? Well here’s my question. I’ve got these bunions that are just acting up fearfully, and I was wondering .…

WNBLAT does not seem to be a valid call sign for radio stations

There was an error in your submission:

You’ve entered the station’s call letters as: “WNBLAT”

US radio stations all have call signs of three or four letters, starting with either a K or a W, and Canadian stations all have call signs starting with a C (or a few that start with a V).

Also, translators in the United States start with a W or a K which is followed by 3 numbers, then 2 letters.

Please try again.

“Marvin Waldburger” returns zero hits on google.

I find this whole thing truly bizarre. The DI is becoming a real joke.

For an organization that claims to want to do real science and participate in scholarly dialog, they’re acting more and more each day like petulant school boys. Their blogs are total crap; they delete any posts that disagree with them; they practically slander their opponents with misrepresentations.

Did they suffer some sort of office-wide acne outbreak that mentally transported them all back to the 10th grade or something?

They are truly in a downward spiral, and if Dover goes against them they will probably be in need of an aggressive intervention and possibly a stay someplace they can get some help.

Let’s take up a collection and ship them a few cases of Prozac.

Next week:

“Evoutionists smell of poo”

Jon Stewart is in no danger.

Hey SteveF, Take it easy with the bong hits, eh?

I guess the ID crowd finds the primitive and obviously rudely insulting (in Robert O’Brien’s style) fake interview “clever beyond measure” (remember Berlinski’s eloquent false accusations of TR?). Indeed, one of the trolls above appeared here with a version of such an evaluation of that lowlife drivel.

It really is astonishing just how little regard for reality the creationists have. The DI may believe this parody is too obvious to need a disclaimer, but reading it, I’m quite assured that the vast majority of their supporters will not be able to figure that out. We’d better be ready to deal with quotes from that fake interview when they’re presented by creationists as factual, as they inevitably will be.

I have been reading quite a few documents on this whole ID thing and I am absolutely amazed that anyone with a rational brain could believe this crap. I am glad we don’t have such morons in our system up here in Canada trying to debunk evolution. We would laugh them off the face of the earth. If the ID people have their way, American biologists will become the laughing stock of the scientific world.

That interview was completely true and candid, and I was there myself so I can testify to it. The DI would never attempt satire, as they are clearly without any sense of humor, so it must be true. And did I say that I was present for the interview too? And I think satire would be too difficult a form of humor for the DI even to attempt. Knock-knock jokes would be more up there alley. Like, “Knock knock. Who’s there? Pandas Thumb. Pandas Thumb Who? Pandas Thumb commenters hate christians.” See, that would be more their style of humor. Also, I hear from a friend of a friend that they were there at the taping of the segment and they told another friend that it was real, and I believe them.

a modest experiment

This parody interview is clever beyond measure.

-Schmitt.

And I was worried about quote mining. It appears the DI has found the ultimate method for crafting quotes by creating their own source material. It takes a little more work generating false primary sources material, but if well written the newly created work could be mined for some time by several authors.

While the DI has ridden into town proclaiming “there’s gold in them there hills”, it appears that the DI had only salted their mine claim with fools gold.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Bob Davis, You are getting annoying. You jump from blog to blog and post crap that you think is funny. It isn’t. Your modest experiment makes no sense. AND YES, I’VE READ YOUR WEBSITE THREE TIMES. I still don’t get it. 60 million beakers? Precambrian conditions? No hypothesis?? What is your friggin point of doing this? Grow up, little boy. You deserve this flame.

BDIAI- eh. Jump from blog to blog? I sometimes comment at the blogs I read. I used to comment at them before I had a website. Now I comment at the same ones while I also have a website. Should I stop commenting because I have a website? Or because you find me annoying? Or because you don’t understand the modest experiment? Or because I link to my site in comments? Sure, I’m a blog whore. So? Some of the best bloggers around are blog whores.

As for the fact that you don’t get it, and don’t find it funny, well I guess those two go together. It is amazing some of the letters I get, some correcting the experiment in detail, some thanking me. Someday I’ll grow up, but until I turn 13 next year, I think I deserve the right to act like a pre-teen.

With all love and respect, Bob

Adam wrote “the vast majority of their supporters will not be able to figure that out.” Nearly quaranteed. I’ve seen a PhD-level creationist taking Sci.Am’s last April’s Fool seriously until I explained it.

Bob Davis, You are far, far from the best blogger around, despite being a blog whore. Please learn the difference between “their”, “there”, and “they’re”. Your “experiment” must be a joke—that’s the only thing I take from your website. It really isn’t a very funny joke either. [***INAPPROPRIATE COMMENT EDITED - AB ***] Get a clue about the world around you and don’t jump into things that are way, way over your head—you’re drowning and you don’t even realize it yet.

[*** EDITED TOO - AB *** ]

To BobDavis Just Doesn’t Get It:

I’m a member of the Panda’s Thumb contributors, and even though this isn’t my thread, I need to tell you that your comment about Hitler is unacceptable here. I’d like to ask you to edit it out of your post, please.

Thanks,

Jack Krebs

“BobDavis Just Doesn’t Get It”, you’ve just fallen foul of Godwin’s Law, you automatically lose.

How embarrassing :P

I am glad we don’t have such morons in our system up here in Canada trying to debunk evolution.

You do. So does Australia and the UK.

American money is behind all of them.

I’ve seen a PhD-level creationist taking Sci.Am’s last April’s Fool seriously until I explained it.

Remember Discover Magazine’s tuba-playing Neandertals?

ID/creationists not only aren’t terribly bright, but they are utterly completely totally humor-challenged.

Could lead to dancing, ya know.

Basic rule, folks: no matter how inane or irritating someone else’s posts are, comparing them to Nazis is unacceptable. Let’s not get carried away.

Folks, people need to make copies of the DI homepage, the parody, and the page on Dr. Forest that cites it as real news. The DI might try to cover this up.

Got ‘em.

I apologize for my Nazi comment earlier. It was inappropriate and uncalled for. Bob Davis has been irritating me for a while now and my anger got the best of me. His “modest experiment” schtick is wearing on me and eroding my etiquette and manners. He never gives a hypothesis and he thinks he can replicate precambrian conditions exactly. He also thinks 60 million beakers is the equivalent of 60 million years. I’m not sure what is point is with this “experiment”, but there definitely is a point on this microencephalic’s cranium. Take your coprophilial simian nonsense elsewhere. And i’m not kidding.

I apologize for my Nazi comment earlier. It was inappropriate and uncalled for. Bob Davis has been irritating me for a while now and my anger got the best of me. His “modest experiment” schtick is wearing on me and eroding my etiquette and manners. He never gives a hypothesis and he thinks he can replicate precambrian conditions exactly. He also thinks 60 million beakers is the equivalent of 60 million years. I’m not sure what is point his with this “experiment”, but there definitely is a point on this microencephalic’s cranium. Take your coprophilial simian nonsense elsewhere. And i’m not kidding.

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 4, column 28, byte 145 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

Man, I’ve posted under the name steve for a year and a half, only to have some dummy come by and muddy the good reputation of the name. I hereby rename myself Steve S.

Flint: “(Incidentally, I’m an engineer. Sorry about that.)

Please. Perhaps I generalize. I do not mean all (or necessarily even that many) Engineers are creationist wackos.

It just seems like the vast prepondreance of those creationist wackos who actually have scientific credentials, their backlground is in physics or engineering.

I hereby rename myself Steve S.

Are you short, furry and bi-colored?

So I just watched the Jon Stewart “interview” with William Dembski. To responce of the last comment made my the evolutionist..about how we must teach it and stick to it because it’s what we’ve learned and made advances from in the last hundred years..isn’t that the point? We advanced from the lantern to the electric light. No one says, Hey lanters have been with us faithfully illuminating our living rooms all this time surely we cannot accept this new false source of light. Our advances have been because of this lantern. Yes. Sure. Whatever..but what when the electric is what the lantern advances TO…do you see what I’m saying? If science points to evolution fine, if design fine..but to accept or deny something simply because it is tradition to do so is either way equally stupid and unscientific.

Mr. Miles:

the theory of evolution is the electric light. Mr. Dembski is saying that he has a lot of mathematical calculations that show that we were better off with oil-fueled lanterns, or possibly with dried dung campfires in the desert, a la Bronze Age.

Then let the science show that, Mr.Dembski speak and be wrong, but people act like it’s something they have to defend against or be afraid of. It’s still the Theory of evolution just as what Dembski says is still a theory, but whatever the source is let us see what does come to light and not forego conclusions with dung references.

Mr. Miles:

“Science” has already shown that. And by the way, calling evolution “just a theory” is wrong. There’s the fact of evolution (i.e., species change over time), and there’s the theory of evolution (shorthand for “the theory of how evolution works”, exactly like the “the theory of gravity” would be shorthand for “the theory of how gravity works”).

Science is constantly refining the theory of evolution; but the fact of evolution is just as certain as the fact that, if you jump from a cliff, you will fall.

Trying to make it appear as if there were two “theories” in competition is uninformed at best, disingenuous at worst.

Miles: “Then let the science show that, Mr.Dembski speak and be wrong, but people act like it’s something they have to defend against or be afraid of. It’s still the Theory of evolution just as what Dembski says is still a theory, but whatever the source is let us see what does come to light and not forego conclusions with dung references”

I am sorry to play the blame game, but the adversarial nature that evoltutions(and really the science community as a whole) take against ID is thier own fault.

If IDers wants to work on some of thier more scientific claims such as Irredicible Complexity and CSI, then they definately should. There is nothing in science that says they should not. In fact, I am sure that any scientist here will agree that extreme idea’s can lead to some of the best discoveries. Some might argue that ID is “not science” but if ID sticks to the testable models, I am sure no one has a problem with accepting them as part of the scientific community.

The problem comes with how IDers present themselves. And it is what makes all the difference, and it’s the reason why they are treated the way they are.

Lemme ask you this. How many String theorists do you see out there getting politicians to lobby for teaching String theory in schools?

How many String theorists do you see out there attacking the teaching of “Particlism Physics” in schools?

How many String theorists out there spend most of thier time and effort making instructional videos for laymen so they can win by opinion instead being accepted by the scientific community?

This is a political war. Not because we want it to be, but because IDers want it to be. Period. They are not content to let the science speak for itself.

We are willing to let the cards fall where they may in scientific terms, but ID needs an attitude adjustment.

They need to stop appealing to politicians to get thier views taught. I mean honestly, this is just such a damning piece of proof against them. I can’t recall any worthwhile scientific theory that had to be approved by judges and the public to be taught in schools before it was approved by the scientific community.

Another thing, when IDers theories clash with standard science.…

Good reaction: Respecfully disagreeing and trying to prove thier point. If thier proof is decent, but not conclusion, continue working on said proof to make it more conclusive. If it is not, give it up and move onto another model

Bad reaction: Throwing thier hands up in the air, and declaring that there is a conspiracy to prop up evolution within the scientific community.

They need to get rid of thier martyr complex. They need to get rid of thier appeals to the masses. These are damning examples of why ID is not content to let thier science speak for itself.

And yes I realize that the Discovery Institutes stance at the moment is not teaching ID, but teaching the controversy. This may even be worse.

I won’t even bring up the Wedge Document or the “Of Panda’s and People” textbook scandel. IDers own actions show why this is not about science for them.

Then that is a shame.

There is an old saying “Religion/church is either a beggar or a tyrant dictator”. Right now, the ID people are begging. They are begging to get a foothold into science. They are begging to be allowed to speak and to be heard. In my view, history teaches us that the moment they have enough power, they will dismantle and murder any theory they do not agree with. Given a chance, it is my view, that they will forbid the teaching of evolution in schools. This rejection of any theory that does not conform to their world view is not rejected based on evidence, but pure religious reasons. For that reason, science can never convince the ID people that they are wrong, because no amount of evidence will ever convince them.

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This page contains a single entry by Andrea Bottaro published on September 30, 2005 12:46 PM.

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