Saturday, January 2, 2010

Who Pays Wesley J. Smith?

Well, well. You've heard me gripe about the smooth but fact-less exaggerations made by Wesley J. Smith regarding end of life care and aid in dying. His blog at FirstThings is one screed after another of religious ideology - and the far right kind - that has no time for science or fact. But he's got articles galore and a gazillion nasty books - in short, the man has influence.
His "theory" of "human exceptionalism" skirts God talk. He's a connected, articulate lawyer who dabbles in bioethics; his opponents in the field have accused him of playing loose with the facts in order to reach his preferred conclusions.

Here's a little bit, from the book I'm reading, about the Discovery Institute, for which Smith is a Senior Fellow.

In the evolution wars, the campaign on behalf of intelligent design deserves special mention because it achieved success in many communities by brilliantly employing an intellectual and scientific vocabulary to attack "elitist" scientists who reject religious attacks on Darwin's theory. The intelligent design movement is spearheaded by the Discovery Institute, a think tank based in Seattle and bankrolled by far right conservatives. The slick, media-savvy right-wingers who run the Discovery Institute prefer to downplay religion and highlight the anti-Darwinist views of a handful of scientific contrarians, many with ties to the religious right. That their views are almost universally rejected by respected mainstream scientists is seen by the intelligent design crowd as evidence of a liberal establishment conspiracy to protect its Darwinist turf. Institute spokesmen constantly compare their contrarian faith-based researchers with once scorned geniuses like Copernicus and Galileo - a contention conveniently ignoring the fact that the Catholic Church, not other seekers of scientific truth, was the source of opposition to the heliocentric theory of the solar system. Intelligent design does not insist on the seven days of creation but it does rest on the nonscientific hypothesis that the complexity of life proves the existence of a designer.

Susan Jacoby, The Age of American Unreason, pp 27

He may talk a good one but he is of a brand that will deny facts and statistics, endorse quack scientists, get funding from religious backers, and denigrate the diminishing American intellect for the sake of adherence to unprovable faith. He's no scientist; he's a marketing shill for the religious right.

If I had to pinpoint one of the greatest crises in this country, it would be the lack of sound scientific education and thought. The Discovery Institute is treasonous in this sense, diminishing our excellence in education and our future strength as a world leader by misdirecting us down a path of anti-intellectualism and anti-science. Smith is only one of their well-paid voices.

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2 Comments:

Blogger curt maynard said...

Who Pays Wesley J. Smith?

ZOG

January 12, 2010 at 12:39 AM  
Blogger L A Neumann said...

Hilarious, Curt. But I don't have room for anti-semitic conspiracy theories on my blog. Thanks for coming by, though. Ann

January 12, 2010 at 5:03 AM  

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