Sunday’s post lambasting the Discovery Institute (and our political and media elite’s insistence on taking them seriously no matter how wacky their proposals) has generated a number of emails from folks offering more detailed information on Discovery and its operations. It’s not pretty.
They may have cleaned up their “official” budget by now, but I’ve been assured that in past years at least 40-percent of the Gates Foundation’s roughly $1 million/year grant to the Cascadia Project went directly to Discovery to cover “overhead”. This included a $60,000 line item to help pay the salary of Discovery Executive Director Steven Buri, who I’m told has absolutely no expertise nor interest in transportation planning. Of course, I expect Discovery would deny using Gates Foundation money to subsidize its Intelligent Design campaign, but if they want to refute my allegations I challenge them to release the original budget documents (not some bullshit, made up spreadsheet,) or better yet, sue me for libel, so that I might use the discovery period to shed some light on the shady accounting Bruce Chapman has used to sucker the world’s richest man.
My point is that through his foundation’s 10 year/$9.35 million grant to Cascadia, Bill Gates — who frequently bemoans the state of our nation’s science education — is directly funding the operations of an organization dedicated to undermining the scientific method, and teaching creationism in our public schools. I mean… what the fuck?
But worse than the money is the undeserved credibility Gates and others grant Discovery by perpetuating the fiction that there is actual thinking going on in its tank. A real think tank starts with a problem and then goes about creatively devising a solution; propaganda mills like Discovery start with a solution, and then go about marketing the problem. And what is Discovery’s solution to the many challenges facing our nation in the 21st century and beyond? Here are the institute’s goals as enunciated in its infamous Wedge Document:
- To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
- To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.
Five Year Goals
- To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.
- To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.
- To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.
Twenty Year Goals
- To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.
- To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its influence in the fine arts.
- To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.
That is what Bill Gates’ fortune is helping to fund.
Of course, the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree, and so despite its charade of scholarly objectivity, Cascadia has its own ideologically predetermined solutions. That’s why, for example, anti-light rail zealot Ted Van Dyk was so eager to give Discovery’s Bruce Agnew a rhetorical blowjob in today’s Crosscut. Van Dyk, Agnew et al have their own transportation plan, and it resolves around “governance reform” that would create a four-county, regional transportation commission, largely designed to dilute the power of Seattle’s pro-rail voters, while forcing us to fund their priorities, rather than our own. To Van Dyk’s credit, at least he’s honest about his cabal’s ultimate goal:
It would stress immediate priorities such as addressing the urgent Alaskan Way Viaduct and Evergreen Point Bridge, which are aging and structurally vulnerable. It would not stop light rail construction in place, but it would limit construction to a line running from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to either Convention Place, Husky Stadium, or Northgate. Future funding would be focused more greatly on express bus, bus rapid transit, and normal bus service; dedicated transit lanes; HOV lanes; tolling; and selective repair and expansion of long neglected local roads and lifeline highways. Citywide trolleys definitely would not be part of the scheme.
That too is what Bill Gates’ fortune is funding.
Of course, I suppose there are those civic leaders who agree with Discovery’s “Big Bore” pro-roads/anti-rail agenda, just as I suppose there are those who support its goal of imposing a world view “consonant with Christian and theistic convictions”; I just wish they’d be honest about it. But for the rest, it is time to wake up and recognize Discovery for what it is, and stop granting credibility and money it has not earned.