In the history of biology, the scientist’s relationship with nature gradually changed from telling stories about direct observations of nature to carrying out complex experiments to test complex theories (Bazerman 1989). Myers (1990) argues that professional science is now concerned with the expert “management of uncertainty and complexity” and popular science with the general assurance that the world is knowable by and directly accessible to experts.
This last sentence, I think, touches on a fundamental difference between evolution discourse and intelligent design (ID) discourse and can help explain the social success of Discovery Institute propaganda.
As I wrote last week, the Wedge strategy is one way in which the Discovery Institute (DI) is trying to challenge the dominant scientific discourse (evolution) with an alternative, pseudoscientific discourse (ID). The register or style of language in which the DI has been communicating their religious message is distinctly popular science, a much more accessible style than, say the scholarly tone of evolutionary biologists.
Herein lies the key to their relative success – ID discourse exudes certainty, accessibility, knowledge, conviction, factuality, and the like, all in an easy-to-digest format (from youtube videos to ID rap lyrics) making their ‘analyses’ sound far more plausible than those of ‘self-doubting and difficult to understand’ evolutionary scientists.
Gee, James Paul (2005). An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: Theory and Method. New York: Routledge.