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Skepchick Quickies 9.30

Sorry for the delay in getting these up this morning, I’m recuperating from a long weekend of hedonism with an old friend. Didn’t do anything involving deep-frying beer but we did eat our weight in fried potato products.

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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15 Comments

  1. I’m honestly really surprised by the Gates thing. I’m no Windows fan, but his foundation does give a ton of money to worthy educational orgs. Very disappointing they decided to slip some to DI.

  2. Gate’s foundation isn’t Gates. Hopefully this will trickle-up and get fixed, but who knows what he thinks?

    It’s really difficult to find what Bill thinks about evolution or creationism when so much of the content about him is about the “creation of the software industry” and the “evolution of operating systems.” As Rorschach would say, “Hrrrm.”

    Another thread of this discussion is this quote:
    Denis Hayes, director of the Bullitt Foundation, described Discovery in an e-mail message as “the institutional love child of Ayn Rand and Jerry Falwell,” saying, “I can think of no circumstances in which the Bullitt Foundation would fund anything at Discovery today.”

    Institutional love child of Ayn Rand and Jerry Falwell – what does that even mean? I’m going to write him and ask.

  3. I guess it was all their hard work of praying that made the hurricane miss Maine and hit Canada this weekend.

    This made me picture praying as some kind of Super-saiyan power. They get all spiky hair, yell “AMEN-AMEN-AAAAAA”, and create an energy bubble that deflects any incoming hurricane.

    Can you guess how many people praying does it take to achieve that?

  4. The Gates’ Foundation donation seems to be a exclusively to the Cascadia program at the DI:
    http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2005/08/26/gatesfoundation/index.html

    All of the money promised to DI was prior to the Kitzmiller trial and probably prior to DI being exclusively known as a ID think-tank.

    This was probably the result of a good sales man at DI talking about a program that actually could address real problems (Transportation in the Pacific Northwest) rather than fake, religious ones. Now being the DI, they are playing off of the PR saying, look a non-religious organization has granted us money. I am pretty sure it was a bad decision by a member of the organization, and they didn’t want even worse PR from pulling the support after promised. I am really not as critical of Gates in this case, and can clearly see how they could have been weaseled into making the donation, and how DI’s books could move the money to support ID rather than Cascadia (such as the $50,000 for the chairman’s salary, man I really should get a job in the non-profit industry).

    Seems that DI was very good at selling their image prior to Kitzmiller:
    “The David and Lucile Packard Foundation gave $200,000 to Discovery’s Cascadia center in 2002. Chris DeCardy, a spokesman, says that ‘we now know they focus on intelligent design, and with the investments we make in science, it’s not an area we would support.’”

  5. I was just taking a look at the Gates Foundation website, and I noticed that the donation was a one-time lump sum, back in 2000. It was reported on both Daily Kos and Pharyngula in August of 2005. I searched the whole Gates Foundation site and found not a single more recent reference to the Discovery Institute.

    At this point, I’m choosing to believe this was a one-time slip in judgment on the part of the foundation – they fund a *lot* of good stuff worldwide, they’re bound to pick some bad apples on occasion, I guess. Pity.

    Has anybody figured out what this “Cascadia Transportation Initiative” they were helping was? I’m a Seattle girl, but I’ve never heard of it, and Google provided no love on the subject.

    (All of that said, and with the greatest love for this blog and all the people who maintain it… is this really *news*, given that it happened in 2000 and was reported in several places in ’05?)

  6. @jrose:
    http://www.cascadiaproject.org/about.php
    I looked up a little bit of info on Cascadia. Firstly, it was formed before DI was formed, so I at least give it brownie points for that. What I never realized is the DI is not just a creationist think-tank, but also has other projects under its roof. With the narrow bit of information about Cascadia, I might even have called it a good project, if it wasn’t under the DI banner, at least the public face it puts on. Depending on how DI is run, it could actually be a completely independent organization that shares resources, (at least to the effect that the president of DI is able to take $50,000 for his yearly salary) or personnel with the DI. It has made its own website, and someone on Wikipedia thinks that it is to distance themselves a bit from DI and ID. I could easily see a centrist or conservative Republican (doesn’t actually need to be a Republican, but I suspect that’s how DI acquired them) starts the organization, DI contacts him when it forms to share resources and he doesn’t realize how crazy they are until its too late, and now wants to distance himself from them. I could also easily see it as a front for generating income into the DI, but I think I will give them the benefit of the doubt. I also have not heard of any initiatives they started, but I am not that into transportation politics of the Pacific Northwest.

    Cascadia didn’t just lure Gates in, but he is getting the brunt of the info, since he is the one with the most money. There is some info in the Salon Article I linked to before.

    I would think this would be the same as if he donated money to an organization to provide medical treatments to children, and ends up finding out later that the main medical treatment is acupuncture and chiropractic.

  7. I’m completely willing to give the Gates Foundation the benefit of the doubt on this. I think Protesilaus has a pretty good take on it. Ever since I read this article back in January:

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/04/news/newsmakers/gates.fortune/index.htm

    – I’ve had a decent opinion of the Gates Foundation and the thought the Gates put into it.

    “Institutional love child of Ayn Rand and Jerry Falwell”? That must have been one angry, f-ed up night of conception.

  8. @doctoratlantis: Institutional love child of Ayn Rand and Jerry Falwell – what does that even mean? I’m going to write him and ask.

    I think is means bucket of crazy ice cream meets handful of fundie nut-fudge sauce topped with self-loathing sprinkles, an unbridled anger at the human race, and the tears of cute children (just the cute ones).

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