Sunday, September 24, 2006

Discovery Institute's major new publication?

Well they probably think so if quote on a Starbuck's coffee cup counts as a peer reviewed article. See for more details!

Tip of the antennae to Karl over at Inoculated Mind for uncovering this report.

The quote reads:

"The morality of the 21st century will depend on how we respond to this simple but profound question: Does every human life have equal moral value simply and merely because it is human? Answer yes, and we have a chance of achieving universal human rights. Answer no, and it means that we are merely another animal in the forest.
Wesley Smith senior fellow with the Discovery Institute "

Sounds harmless right? Just a little new age fluff, eh? Well think again about the assumptions here. First does every human life have equal moral value? If yes, why do we have the death penalty? Why are conservatives so opposed to equal protections for same sex couples. Why is torture without oversight OK?

On the other side what is wrong with being an animal in the forest? Are we not animals? Does the discovery Institute really think that the fact that we are animals and evolved from other animals mean that there is no rational basis for morality? Of course that is exactly what they think. This quote is reactionary politics disguised as new age fluff, something the Discovery Institute and it's PR spinners are real good at. Shame on Starbucks for not seeing this quote for what it is.

Hmmm I wonder if this counts as a major milestone in the Discovery Institute's Wedge Strategy. Certainly they are pretty excited about this!

Maybe Starbucks ought to put the last paragraph from Origin of the Species on a cup. Society would be better served.

" It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. "

But then, most great ideas well explained probably don't fit well on a coffee cup.

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