Discovery Institute

Discovery Institute: Evolution Deniers Being 'Persecuted' Just Like In Scopes Trial

Earlier this week a South Dakota state senate committee tabled a bill promoted by the “intelligent design” group Discovery Institute that identified "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, [and] human cloning" as scientifically controversial areas and, in the words of the National Center for Science Education, "would, in effect, have allowed public school teachers to miseducate their students about science — and would have prevented state and local educational authorities from intervening."

Although the bill didn’t make it out of committee, it had some high-profile backers, including a state representative of Concerned Women for America and a representative from the South Dakota Family Policy Council. In addition, the Discovery Institute flew in a spokesman, Casey Luskin, to testify on behalf of the bill, which seems to have been loosely based on the Institute’s model legislation.

Luskin told the committee that while in the days of the Scopes trial teachers were persecuted for teaching evolution, today teachers are being “persecuted” and “censored” for dissenting to “Darwin’s theory and other controversial scientific topics.”

“The old Scopes trial stereotype of teachers fearing persecution for teaching the evidence for evolution has been overturned,” he said. “Today, it’s the teachers and students who are raising questions about modern neo-Darwinian theory who are being stifled.”

Jay Richards claims Marriage Equality is Incompatible with 'Individual Rights' and 'Limited Government'

Intelligent Design activist Jay Richards of the Discovery Institute, who recently coauthored the book Indivisible with televangelist James Robison, appeared on Phyllis Schlafly’s radio program Eagle Forum Live this week where he argued that those who believe in individual rights and limited government should oppose the rights of gays and lesbians to marry. Richards maintained that stopping the legalization of same-sex marriage is needed to defend the rights of individuals, and argued that since marriage is “outside the jurisdiction of the state” same-sex couples cannot take part in it.

Richards: We argue that there are other pre-political realities besides just the individual that a limited government has to recognize and marriage is one of those realities, it’s a universal human institution, we find it in every time and place, in every culture, every religious tradition has this basic concept of marriage as between one man and one woman with a special connection to children. So a limited government is going to recognize that institution rather than try to redefine it, so that’s why we think, in fact, if you believe in limited government you need to believe in laws that protect marriage as it actually is historically. The institution of marriage is one of those things that is outside the jurisdiction of the state, so quite apart from the consequences, we think, if you believe that government should recognize individual rights, then you need to believe that the government is also going to recognize the rights and realities of this institution which it can’t dictate.

Back to School with the Religious Right

The Religious Right continues to target public schools in a variety of ways that disrupt education and threaten religious liberty, according to a report released by People For the American Way Foundation (PFAWF). The report provides an in-depth analysis of the struggle over the future of our public education system by focusing on six categories: creationism; textbook controversies; sexuality education; religion and public schools; anti-gay activity and censorship.

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