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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.



Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Discovery Institute Silences Student Dissent

The Seattle-based Discovery Institute called the cops to stop some Southern Methodist University students from distributing flyers against intelligent design at the Darwin vs. Design conference (or, as they termed it, the "indoctrination seminar") on their own campus:

We began handing out fliers and were receiving mixed reviews - until a tall, lanky, and toothy man jittered his way over to us and demanded to know who was handing out these fliers. We all took responsibility, and he began ripping the flyers out of our hands, saying that we could not distribute anything of the sort. I told him we paid to go to school here and that we were students who could walk anywhere on our campus, and that it just so happened that we walked into McFarlin, and it also just so happened that we had fliers to distribute.

He didn't take too kindly to that, and in two minutes' time, we had two police officers who all of a sudden had a real job to do watching us instead of sleeping the night away in the back. I'm sure if we had been distributing thank-you notes expressing our gratitude for the institute coming to our campus, he would've given us a warmer reception.

So much for wanting to "teach the controversy." But, obligingly from one of the Discovery Institute members himself, no one at the DI believes there's a controversy, either.

The night was wrapped up when, somehow, one of our flyers made it to the front of the stage, where the journalist asked the other men on stage about the quote regarding the institute's true purpose (see first quote mentioned above) being that it wants to replace modern science with "a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions."

To my shock, one of the men on stage said, "Yes that's true, and I don't see anything scandalous about that."

Nothing scandalous about trying to replace science with Christianity? Nothing scandalous about the fact that religion keeps being brought up during what is supposed to be a scientific conference? Clearly, the institute's dictionary must define the word "scandalous" differently from the dictionaries we own, because it sure appears to be pretty scandalous. And that sums up the night in question, after it ended with us being escorted out by the police.

Here's a link to another DI attempt to squash dissent, this time at the premier of the film Icons of Evolution.

After 45 minutes of quietly handing out flyers downstairs where people are entering for the presentation, Mr. Bruce Chapman [founder of DI] arrives. [Note: this is the Bruce Chapman that I mention in the column at left. - Kristine]

He is handed the flyers and is livid. He talks to himself saying, "This isn't science" and walks up the stairs. He then comes back down after going halfway up the stairs and says to Carl and Ken that he hopes they will be in attendance as he is going to talk about them.

5 minutes later, two campus security officers arrive and tell them that the folks upstairs putting on the presentation want us removed from the property. They are specifically told that they cannot hand out the flyers on school property but instead could do it out on the public sidewalk about 100 feet away. (The security folks were good-natured about it.) They left the flyers on a table across the hallway and went upstairs. Approximately125-150 flyers were handed out.

The next time you hear Discovery Institute members whining about not having freedom of speech, just remember that their idea of "speech" is to fillibuster the entire cosmos.

Shimmies as always to RedStateRabble and to David Leaf in the comments.

UPDATED: SMU posts a response.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Cats Staff said...

I don't think it works to call it scandalous...I mean who doesn't like hearing about a good scandal. I think it should be called silly. People should be made to feel embarrassed for believing in such things. Right now it's acceptable, just 'controversial'.

Cat want's to know if you've heard of 'Interfaith Companion Animal Chaplains'... Nancy just left me a comment about them

April 18, 2007 3:25 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I think it's scandalous, and I take this very seriously.

I have never heard of the Interfaith Companion Animal Chaplains before and that woman seems kind of loopy. (“Truth is FOUND WITHIN YOURSELF!” Oh, please. If I had found “truth within myself” I’d still be in my hometown, staring at the wall.)

April 18, 2007 4:53 PM  
Blogger Cats Staff said...

I think it's scandalous that the school hosted the event, unless they were just renting out the facilities and they didn't have a choice because they have no policy against letting people who believe silly things using their facilities.

When I say it it should be treated like something that's silly I'm thinking of the long term. In the short term we need to take it seriously when it effects education. In the long term I think it needs to be treated like the flat Earth idea. If you stop someone on the street and ask them if the Earth is flat or round they would answer round and they would know that they would be laughed at if they said flat...because it's silly (Of course we know that the Earth is banana shaped). I think in the long run (when I think in terms of long runs I'm thinking generations or even century's, although we can hope it happens faster) the idea of a 6000 year old Earth should simply be considered so silly that no one would dare admit to believing in it.

April 19, 2007 2:54 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

The earth is banana-shaped?

Oh no!

Way of the banana master, indeed. We all gonna get peeled. ;-)

the idea of a 6000 year old Earth should simply be considered so silly that no one would dare admit to believing in it

I agree. I wish it were so. But as I said to Scotius in another post, William Jennings Bryan was shamed into admitting that he didn't think the 6 days were 6 literal days. People back in the 1930s quailed at such ideas. Now they don't. If anything, America has become more religiously extremist than even 80 years ago.

I don't get it, but the attitude today seems to be, "Yeah, it's silly, so what? It's what I believe! And 3 x 5 = 35. You got a problem with that? Too bad!" It's so blatantly anti-intellectual, so defiant. It's as if people think they're rebels fighting some big empire - "Don't try to oppress me with facts!" Okay. But then don't try to oppress me with lies.

April 19, 2007 9:33 AM  
Blogger Joshua said...

"I think it's scandalous that the school hosted the event, unless they were just renting out the facilities and they didn't have a choice because they have no policy against letting people who believe silly things using their facilities."

That is, in fact, precisely what happens. It's well-known that scam organisations like the DI and AiG love to rent out space at universities just to leech that extra bit of legitimacy. (Can you blame them? They don't have any of their own, so they need to borrow it.) Rarely, if ever, are they actually invited by the universities.

What's infuriating is that the school's haven't caught on to this blatant abuse of their reputations. I guess a few thousand bucks for hall rental fees is worth more than the integrity and respectability of the institution.

April 20, 2007 11:01 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I guess a few thousand bucks for hall rental fees is worth more than the integrity and respectability of the institution.

Universities are strapped for cash, let's face it.

At least the students stood up for the university. More and more that is what is happening because the administrators cave in to pressure.

April 20, 2007 2:30 PM  

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