(Updated) An Unintelligent Venue?

Think Progress and Michael van der Galien at ModerateVoice freaked out about information about an upcoming event in Seattle on February 23. From Think Progress,

Today is Darwin Day, commemorating the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and of the publishing of On the Origin of Species. The National Academy of Sciences, “the nation’s most prestigious scientific organization,” declares evolution “one of the strongest and most useful scientific theories we have.” President Bush’s science adviser John Marburger calls it “the cornerstone of modern biology.”

Yet, on February 23, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will be the keynote speaker for the most prominent creationism advocacy group in the country. The Discovery Institute, a religious right think-tank, is well-known for its strong opposition to evolutionary biology and its advocacy for “intelligent design.” The institute’s main financial backer, savings and loan heir Howard Ahmanson, spent 20 years on the board of the Chalcedon Foundation, “a theocratic outfit that advocates the replacement of American civil law with biblical law.”

This time the TP people should have stopped progressing and thought a bit.

If one actually takes the time to read *ahem* the DI press release, the event isn’t being hosted by the Discovery Institute at all. It is being hosted by the World Affairs Council.

The World Affairs Council and CityClub are pleased to present a special luncheon with Senator John McCain.

Senator McCain will be speaking about his vision for the United States in the World. What is the role of the US in the global community? How should the US position itself over the next decade? What are the challenges, and how should they be addressed? What are the future global impacts on Washington State? United States Senator John McCain will address these topics of global relevance and their relation to the Puget Sound region.

And what totally anti-science company located in Seattle is sponsoring this event? No not Microsof! It’s that evil, all-knowledge-is-satanic, destroy-the-world-with-777’s company – Boeing.

Um. Oops.

While I agree, McCain’s rudder seems to be stuck in a permanent right turn and he isn’t drifting but forging full speed ahead into a conservative camp where only the SS fear to tread, I don’t think this event is one of those cases.

No matter what you think about (un-) Intelligent Design and the Discovery Institute (and anyone who reads my blog will be clear on where I stand on that point), this speech isn’t about that.

Shame on you Think Progress. Shame on you Michael. This just plays into the hands of people like Ann Coulter who will then screed off about some left-blogosphere plot to overthrow pandas or something.

But the venue? For John McCain. While conservative, it wasn’t quite as unintelligent as one might think.


In all fairness, as Michael points out at Moderate Voice, the Discovery Institute is a co-presenter of the speech.

But let’s look at the other co-presenters, shall we?

Discovery Institute
Initiative for Global Development
Leadership Eastside
Leadership Tomorrow
Seattle Works 
[especially dodgy bunch this]
Trade Development Alliance
University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies
Washington Policy Center

So, just as long as Michael is willing to include the University of Washington and the Seattle Works in his list of right-wing religious pandering organizations, I will humbly admit to the error of my ways.

But somehow looking at that list, I don’t think this is a speech where one needs to get too worked up or worried that DI is one of many.

I have to admit that I cannot possibly get worked up about this. It seems to me that it is quite logical for Republicans who have Presidential aspirations to talk with / to think-tanks like The Discovery Institute. Whether one likes it or not, the ‘Religious Right’ is an integral part of the Republican Party.

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