Chris Mooney on the origins of the Discovery Institute

As previously blogged, PT buddy Chris Mooney has a new book out. See blog attention from Thoughts From Kansas, Pharyngula, Science And Politics (Helpful tip: “Buying thrillers written by the other Chris Mooney is not going to help the cause….”), Stranger Fruit, TPM Cafe, and others.

An adaptation of his chapter “Creation Science 2.0” is now up at American Prospect Online. It is entitled “Inferior Design.” In my previous post I quoted Mooney’s setup for his chapter, which describes what happened to “two talented young political thinkers,” liberal Republicans at Harvard who made the case for reforming Republicanism in the 1966 The Party That Lost Its Head.

In “Inferior Design,” Mooney gives the punchline:

Their critique was both prescient and poignant. But the authors – Bruce Chapman and George Gilder – have since bitten their tongues and morphed from liberal Republicans into staunch conservatives. Once opponents of right-wing anti-intellectualism, they are now prominent supporters of conservative attacks on the theory of evolution, not just a bedrock of modern science but also one of the greatest intellectual achievements of human history. Chapman now serves as president of the Discovery Institute; Gilder is a senior fellow there.

So not only have Chapman and Gilder become everything they once criticized; their transformation highlights how the GOP went in precisely the opposite direction from the one that these young authors once prescribed – which is why the anti-intellectual disposition they so aptly diagnosed in 1966 still persists among modern conservatives, helping to fuel a full-fledged crisis today over the politicization of science and expertise.

Chris Mooney (2005), “Inferior Design,” American Prospect.