With the marketing campaign for the anti-evolutionary film Expelled! ramping up, it seems like the Intelligent Design movement is well prepared for its next big PR campaign: whiny, content-free victimhood. While I, among others, missed it when it was first announced in July, the Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center (IDURC)’s new Casey Luskin Graduate Award is now one of my favorite entries in this category.
Others have already deftly skewered the sheer absurdity of the award itself, where even the top prize is just a Behe book, a couple of ten dollar bills, and a certificate sure to be chiefly composed of clip-art. But the real point of the award seems to be the on-message persecution posturing: aside from Luskin’s honorary patting of himself on the back, the winners are all being kept dramatically anonymous, “for the protection of the recipient.” In fact, it’s worth quoting the litany of laughable fears in full:
The many students, professors, and scientists who have been denied degrees or tenure, and removed from positions and jobs for no other reason than acceptance of—or even sympathy to—intelligent design theory is very telling of the importance of keeping these bright young minds out of the crosshairs of those opposed to open-minded investigation and critical thought.
Oh, the phony humanity! Of course, this hushed air of secrecy is even more ridiculous in light of the fact that the mystery first-place recipient was so easy to figure out. Given the list of majors, it was almost certainly IDEA Club President Hannah Maxson, a Cornell University graduate already closely involved with the folks at IDURC (making the award even more incestuous). Worse, the fact that Ms. Maxson is already a very public and unabashed ID advocate makes this little vaudeville act about protective anonymity even more ridiculous. That said, I do hope she’s enjoying the book she almost certainly already owned, the two nights worth of bar tabs, and especially the super-duper secret club certificate she can’t show to anyone for fear of unbrightening her young mind. Luckily, next year’s likely winner, IDURC director Sam Chen, now has plenty of time to think up some better prizes to award himself.
Of course, where there are winners, there are also losers. Amongst Intelligent Design creationists who have no chance of winning this prestigious award is Rich Scott, who was profiled in Newsweek a while back. What horrors of oppression did Mr. Scott report?
Scott, despite his initial fears, found no such discrimination in any of West Chester’s science departments. Once his professors found out that he believed in intelligent design, they strove to help him find ways to write his papers without sacrificing either scientific knowledge or his personal beliefs. “They were very impressed that I was willing to take a stand and they helped me a lot.”
Ooooo, that’s not quite the answer IDURC was looking for. Too bad Mr. Scott, maybe you can learn to stay on message next time.