Dodo Prey Fights Back
Irked at falsehoods promulgated by Randy Olsen’s film Flock of Dodos, the intelligent design (ID) think tank Discovery Institute (DI) is fighting back. The film presents a viewpoint that what ID lacks in science it makes up for in public relations. The DI is convinced the reverse is true. In an attempt to rebut what it claims are outright lies in the film, the institute opened a new web URL HoaxOfDodos.com that attempts to set the record straight. It shows that Randy Olsen lied about textbooks not using Haeckel’s embryos as evidence for evolution. And it shows that Olsen also inflated figures of the DI’s budget by 500%, making the false claim twice in the film.
Also, in response to undying attacks that the DI had a secret “Wedge Document” that, when stolen, exposed a conspiracy to insert God back into public education (see a year-old story in the Seattle Times), the DI has published its response again on the site. The response explains how “Darwinist paranoia fueled an urban legend.” The internal fundraising memo (stolen by a copyist and posted on the internet) said nothing that was not already public information. Nevertheless, conspiracy theories took off, especially in the hands of Barbara Forrest, a secular humanist, who brandished it as a call to arms for scientists against a perceived threat by religious zealots. DI’s response prints the key parts of the alleged conspiratorial letter with explanatory (and often ironic) comments. One example:
The best and truest research can languish unread and unused unless it is properly publicized.
It’s shocking but true—Discovery Institute actually promised to publicize the work of its scholars in the broader culture! What’s more, it wanted to engage Darwinists in academic debates at colleges and universities! We are happy to say that we still believe in vigorous and open discussion of our ideas, and we still do whatever we can to publicize the work of those we support. So much for the “secret” part of our supposed ”conspiracy.”
Hoax-of-Dodos also contains other articles defending the DI and its staff against smears in the media.
We remind all that DODOs are evolutionary related to DINOs (see 10/29/2005 commentary). The Wedge response ends with a final thought: “Don’t Darwinists have better ways to spend their time than inventing absurd conspiracy theories about their opponents? The longer Darwinists persist in spinning such urban legends, the more likely it is that fair-minded people will begin to question whether Darwinists know what they are talking about.” Compare the DI’s response to that of the Darwin Party in the next entry.