Discovery Institute

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.

Santorum Calls For Public Schools To Undermine The Teaching Of Evolution

During a meeting with the editorial board of the Nashua Telegraph, Rick Santorum urged public schools to begin teaching claims that undermine evolution, no matter their scientific veracity. He blamed “the left and the scientific community, so to speak,” for the inability of schools to teach about the role of God or a Creator, and said that “maybe the science points to the fact that maybe science doesn’t explain all these things.”

Such attacks on the teaching of evolution are nothing new from Santorum, who attached language in the Conference Report of the No Child Left Behind Act that says a “quality science education” include topics that challenge biological evolution as part of his “teaching the controversy” campaign. He also endorsed the Dover, Pennsylvania school district’s requirement that teachers offer textbooks on “Intelligent Design,” which was developed by proponents of Creationism, and the teaching of “Intelligent Design” was declared unconstitutional in Kitzmiller v. Dover. In fact, the “teach the controversy” approach originates from the anti-evolution Discovery Institute, and the National Center for Science Education points out that evolution “is not scientifically controversial, nor are resources for each side of comparable quality – evidence for evolution comes from peer-reviewed literature whereas evidence against evolution is built on flawed assumptions and popularized misconceptions.”

Watch:

Santorum: There are many on the left and in the scientific community, so to speak, who are afraid of that discussion because oh my goodness you might mention the word, God-forbid, “God” in the classroom, or “Creator,” or that there may be some things that are inexplainable by nature where there may be, where it’s better explained by a Creator, of course we can’t have that discussion. It’s very interesting that you have a situation that science will only allow things in the classroom that are consistent with a non-Creator idea of how we got here, as if somehow or another that’s scientific. Well maybe the science points to the fact that maybe science doesn’t explain all these things. And if it does point to that, why don’t you pursue that? But you can’t because it’s not science, but if science is pointing you there how can you say it’s not science? It’s worth the debate.

Robison: "Godliness Is The Solution" To Our Economic Problems

For the last year, Religious Right groups have been actively promoting the book "Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem" by Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Jay Richards.

In it, Richards lays out the Biblical case for unfettered free market deregulation and claims that minimum wage laws, fare trade practices, and foreign aid are all unbiblical.  Richards asserts that it was God who created the free market system and therefore every result of that free market system is "a stunning example of God's providence over a fallen world," meaning that there is nothing wrong with inequality because it is all part of God's master plan.

Today, Richards was the guest on James Robison's television program where Robison positively gushed over his book, calling it "as important of a read as anything anybody is going to read right now apart from the Bible." During the interview, Robison claimed that our country will never work its way out of its economic problems until Christians who understand that "godliness is the solution" are put in charge: 

This is my firm conviction. If the church of Jesus Christ does not stand up today and become the light that not only pierces the darkness but illuminates the way, out of the despair and out of the quote 'recession/depression,' whatever you want to call it, if we don't take the lead and put principle leaders in place who understand basic laws of poverty and wealth, who understand the damage that greed can impart to the whole community and all of society, but understand that government is not the solution - godliness is the solution. I don't think we're going to solve the economic crisis without having a kingdom mentality in the lives of Christians where God rules in our heart. You quote [Abraham] Kuyper, a Dutch theologian philosopher who said there is not one square inch on planet Earth that Christ hadn't said "mine" over. That means we're the overseers of it right? That means we're the stewards of what God has entrusted to our watch care.

Is Biblical Economics Becoming Part of the Religious Right Agenda?

For months now, Jim Garlow has been telling anyone who will listen that they need to read the book "Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem" by Jay W. Richards because it perfectly explains how economic issues should be handled from a biblical perspective.  He even dedicated a segment during the first Pray and Act webcast to promoting the book and its ideas:

If we have 535 people in Washington, DC - House and Senate - who are voting through laws that cause grandchildren and great-grandchildren of yours yet unborn to be saddled with a debt they cannot handle, that is called thievery.

There's a law against stealing: Thou shalt not steal. We have no right to steal from future generations. So the whole economic issue is a biblical issue.

Debt like we have in America is immoral. It is wrong. There should be a screaming up. This could cause a suffocation and a complete destruction of all we hold dear. The taxation is becoming oppressive.

The reason that we have these kind of bad laws passing in our Congress is very simple: what percentage of the people making the laws are attending a church where the Bible is being taught? Let me go further though: if it's a small percentage that are there, let's just pick an arbitrary number - 10%, 15%, 20% - are attending a church where the Bible is being taught, let me ask you a question, how many of them are going to a church where biblical economics is being taught so the person who goes to make the laws has the moral foundation, the biblical background, to be able to vote through the right kind of laws? We have been silent and I believe the spirit of God is stirring something at a deep level.

Garlow brought it up again the second Pray and ACT webcast and preached a sermon on it at his church last weekend:

I preached then, and in four Sunday services, on a topic about which I had never taught: the biblical economic principles related to the current crushing national debt and the oppressive taxation. The Bible has much to say about civil governance (and how peace and tranquilly can be experienced in our communities) and has much more to say about the underpinnings to our national economic situations than I had previously anticipated. If you have the time or interest, you can hear it at http://www.skylinechurch.org/skyline/?page_id=26. And, as I have stated before, I commend Jay Richard’s exceptional book, Money, Greed and God to everyone.

To date, Garlow had pretty much been all alone in recommending the book and its teachings, but that looks like that is about to change as the Family Research Council has announced that they will be hosting an event featuring Richards and his book in December:

Jay Richards is a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute and a Contributing Editor of The American at the American Enterprise Institute. In recent years he has been a Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and a Research Fellow and Director of Acton Media at the Acton Institute.

He has written many academic articles, books, and popular essays on a wide variety of subjects. His most recent book is Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem.

I had resisted reading this because for a long time it seemed that only Garlow was recommending it, but now that it looks like it might be becoming a playbook for the movement, I guess I'll have to actually take a look at it.

Creationists boost Islamic Fundamentalists in Turkey

Fundamentalist Christians are not generally big boosters of Islamic fundamentalism. But it appears that American creationists hate Darwin and the science of evolution even more, and are aggressively helping Islamic fundamentalists undermine both science and the secular governmental traditions in Turkey. According to an article in the Washington Post, the teaching of evolution is under attack by Islamic fundamentalists armed with materials created by American creationists. The article opens with an anecdote that, with one exception, will be all too familiar to U.S. science educators:

Sema Ergezen teaches biology to Turkish students interested in teaching science themselves, and she has long struggled with her students' ignorance of, and sometimes hostility to, the notion of evolution.

But she was taken aback when several of her Marmara University students recently accused her of being an atheist, or worse, for teaching anything but the doctrine that God created the Earth and everything on it.

"They said I was a liar if I called myself a Muslim because I also accepted evolution," she said.

Anti-evolution forces are blossoming, according to the article, thanks to American backers of creationism and intelligent design:

Translated and adapted for a Muslim society, the purported proofs that Darwinism and evolution were wrong came directly from American proponents of Christian creationism and its less overtly religious offshoot, intelligent design.

Ergezen's experience has become increasingly common. While creationism and intelligent design appear to be in some retreat in the United States, they have blossomed within Muslim Turkey. With direct and indirect help from American foes of evolution, similarly-minded Turks have aggressively made the case that Charles Darwin's theory is scientifically wrong and is the underlying source of most of the world's conflicts because it excludes God from human affairs.

"Darwin is the worst Fascist there has ever been, and the worst racist history has ever witnessed," writes Harun Yahya, the most assertive and best-known critic of evolution in Turkey, and long a favorite of more conservative American creationists.

The article notes that Turkey, with it secular government traditions, has been more open to scientific understandings of evolution than other Muslim countries, but that's changing with the help of American institutions like Seattle's Discovery Institute and The Institute for Creation Research in Dallas.

To many Turkish scientists and educators, this is a worrisome development. The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was an advocate of science, education and, some say, even evolution. Turkish science has been especially strong in the Muslim world. If Turks close their minds to evolutionary thinking, advocates say, it won't be long before religion and politics shut off other scientific pursuits.

To John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas, however, the news could hardly be more encouraging.

"Why I'm so interested in seeing creationism succeed in Turkey is that evolution is an evil concept that has done such damage to society," said Morris, a Christian who has led several searches for Noah's Ark in eastern Turkey. Members of his group have addressed Turkish conferences numerous times.

The Discovery Institute of Seattle, which researches and promotes intelligent design as an alternative to creationism and evolution, also sent speakers to Turkey after being invited by the Istanbul municipal government in 2007. President Bruce Chapman said the institute helped bring Turkish evolution critic Mustafa Akyol to a 2005 Kansas school board hearing on teaching critiques of evolution.

The Post quotes Aykut Kence, an American-trained scientist with a doctorate in evolutionary biology, who has been targeted by local creationists circulating leaflets with pictures of him and Mao, equating the teaching of evolution with communism. Where have we heard that before?

After a decade in the trenches, Kence said he believes aggressive creationism "is part of a larger plan to convert people to a more conservative Islam."

The Islamic-oriented government, elected in 2002 and reelected in 2007, has telegraphed its views on evolution by adding doses of creationism to a required public school course on "Religion and Morals," proponents of evolution say. This year, the editor of one of the nation's prominent science journals, Science and Technology, was fired by government officials over her magazine's plans to put Darwin on its cover.

Major Religious Right conferences like the Values Voter Summit have devoted many hours in recent years to talking about the threats posed by radical Islam. Will they now add the Discovery Institute and the Institute for Creation Science to their list of those aiding and abetting the nation's enemies? Or is their hatred for Darwin and secularism so strong that they're willing help those pushing for a more theocratic Islamic government in Turkey?

God Wants You To Vote McCain

David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute and the author of the new book, “How Would God Vote?: Why the Bible Commands You to Be a Conservative.” He recently explained to the National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez that the purpose of the book is not to boost any candidate’s electoral chances, but simply to inform readers that, well, “the Bible commands you to be a Conservative” … and, as such, a vote for Obama is essentially a vote against God:

Lopez: Are you actually arguing that the Bible argues for the election of John McCain over Barack Obama? That voting for Obama is to vote against God?

Klinghoffer: It would probably violate federal tax laws if I told you the Bible endorses a particular candidate. I work at a think tank, after all, a 501(c)(3) organization. But even if I didn’t, I wrote this book not to inflate anyone’s election chances but to give readers and voters the tools to read the Bible as a guide to thinking about a range of issues. If on that basis, you concluded that a Biblical worldview was at odds with Obama on most issues, or on certain key litmus test issues, yet you went ahead and voted for him anyway, that would be a vote against giving God a voice in our public affairs. It would be a vote to silence God’s influence in that area, as far as it’s in your power to do so. In a real sense it would be a vote against God.

GOP Candidates Wrestle with Creationism

Last Thursday, the American Enterprise Institute hosted a debate on “Darwinism and Conservatism” in which Discovery Institute fellows John West and George Gilder sought to persuade conservatives that the scientific theory of evolution is incompatible with their political ideology, no doubt by attempting to link evolution to eugenics and abortion. That same night, the idea was tested in a more practical theater: the Republican presidential debate. John McCain was asked whether he believes in evolution – his answer, after a pause, was yes. Then the co-moderater asked for a show of hands:

Amid Right-Wing Tour, McCain Visits Anti-Evolution Group

For much of the last year, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) has been cozying up to the Right Wing, apparently in anticipation of the Republican primary campaign for president next year. In his 2000 run, he lambasted Jerry Falwell and James Dobson as “agents of intolerance” and he attacked opponent George Bush for speaking at South Carolina’s Bob Jones University, which at that time had a ban on interracial dating. This time around, he’s made amends with Falwell, he’s trying hard to win over Dobson, and he’s open to speaking at Bob Jones. And next week, McCain will have an opportunity to solidify his creationist credentials.

As ThinkProgress notes, McCain has an ambiguous record when it comes to science education. In 2005, he said that “Intelligent Design” creationism should be taught alongside evolution, but a year later, he said that creationism should “[p]robably not” be taught in a science class.

So while McCain’s upcoming address at a Discovery Institute lunch in Seattle is ostensibly about globalization, it ought to give him the chance to articulate his position on whether creationism belongs in public schools. The Discovery Institute is the most active promoter of “Intelligent Design” and increasingly the public face of creationism, working with school boards to undermine the teaching of evolution and sending fellows, such as young-earth creationist Paul Nelson, to present ID as a scientific theory.

If McCain were to stake out his decision on education policy based on science, he could do worse than to begin in his home state at the Grand Canyon, which the National Park Service notes is “a world-renowned showplace of geology” going back hundreds of millions of years but which has become a central front in the political debate surrounding evolution. If he makes his decision based on appeasing the Right Wing, he might find his anti-evolution position a difficult sell among the rest of the voting public.

Creationism: Discovery Institute Not 'Gloomy' about Intelligent Design

Claims group, citing anti-evolution decisions by school boards in Louisiana, South Carolina, and Lancaster, California. See also: American Prospect on the “new stealth creationism” on the horizon.

Ouachita, Louisiana School Board Promotes Anti-Evolution Teaching

Discovery Institute calls creationism-in-science-class “free speech.”
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Discovery Institute Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Wednesday 04/11/2012, 3:50pm
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... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 11/29/2011, 6:15pm
During a meeting with the editorial board of the Nashua Telegraph, Rick Santorum urged public schools to begin teaching claims that undermine evolution, no matter their scientific veracity. He blamed “the left and the scientific community, so to speak,” for the inability of schools to teach about the role of God or a Creator, and said that “maybe the science points to the fact that maybe science doesn’t explain all these things.” Such attacks on the teaching of evolution are nothing new from Santorum, who attached language in the Conference Report of the No Child... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/01/2011, 2:03pm
For the last year, Religious Right groups have been actively promoting the book "Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem" by Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Jay Richards. In it, Richards lays out the Biblical case for unfettered free market deregulation and claims that minimum wage laws, fare trade practices, and foreign aid are all unbiblical.  Richards asserts that it was God who created the free market system and therefore every result of that free market system is "a stunning example of God's providence over a fallen world,"... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 09/24/2010, 12:04pm
For months now, Jim Garlow has been telling anyone who will listen that they need to read the book "Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem" by Jay W. Richards because it perfectly explains how economic issues should be handled from a biblical perspective.  He even dedicated a segment during the first Pray and Act webcast to promoting the book and its ideas: If we have 535 people in Washington, DC - House and Senate - who are voting through laws that cause grandchildren and great-grandchildren of yours yet unborn to be saddled with a debt they... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Sunday 11/08/2009, 8:28pm
Fundamentalist Christians are not generally big boosters of Islamic fundamentalism. But it appears that American creationists hate Darwin and the science of evolution even more, and are aggressively helping Islamic fundamentalists undermine both science and the secular governmental traditions in Turkey. According to an article in the Washington Post, the teaching of evolution is under attack by Islamic fundamentalists armed with materials created by American creationists. The article opens with an anecdote that, with one exception, will be all too familiar to U.S. science educators: Sema... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 08/05/2008, 10:50am
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute and the author of the new book, “How Would God Vote?: Why the Bible Commands You to Be a Conservative.” He recently explained to the National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez that the purpose of the book is not to boost any candidate’s electoral chances, but simply to inform readers that, well, “the Bible commands you to be a Conservative” … and, as such, a vote for Obama is essentially a vote against God: Lopez: Are you actually arguing that the Bible argues for the election of... MORE >
, Tuesday 05/08/2007, 5:53pm
Last Thursday, the American Enterprise Institute hosted a debate on “Darwinism and Conservatism” in which Discovery Institute fellows John West and George Gilder sought to persuade conservatives that the scientific theory of evolution is incompatible with their political ideology, no doubt by attempting to link evolution to eugenics and abortion. That same night, the idea was tested in a more practical theater: the Republican presidential debate. John McCain was asked whether he believes in evolution – his answer, after a pause, was yes. Then the co-... MORE >
, Wednesday 02/14/2007, 7:12pm
For much of the last year, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) has been cozying up to the Right Wing, apparently in anticipation of the Republican primary campaign for president next year. In his 2000 run, he lambasted Jerry Falwell and James Dobson as “agents of intolerance” and he attacked opponent George Bush for speaking at South Carolina’s Bob Jones University, which at that time had a ban on interracial dating. This time around, he’s made amends with Falwell, he’s trying hard to win over Dobson, and he’s open to speaking at Bob Jones. And... MORE >