Earlier this week, Nick Matzke published an article at Science that uses modern phylogenetics techniques to analyze how creationist (or antievolution, if you prefer) legislation has evolved in the post-Dover era (note: I have not read the paper yet). This seems to have struck a pretty sensitive nerve over at the Discovery Institute. On the Evolution News and Views blog, the DI’s John West published an article that all but accuses Matzke of misappropriation of taxpayer funding because he acknowledges funding support from an NSF grant that doesn’t appear to be obviously connected to the content of this particular piece of research.
Needless to say, that accusation is as silly as it is groundless, which Matzke explains here. Regardless of the merits (or obvious lack thereof) of the allegation, I’m rather curious regarding West’s motivations for making such a claim. It seems ugly, intemperate and ill-advised even by the DI’s standards. Are they upset that creationists are once again getting a black eye in a prominent and respected scientific journal? Is the fact that the article was written by somebody who was instrumental in the ID movement’s failure during the Dover trial what’s driving this response? Something else entirely?
Whatever the reason, I view this accusation by West as a particularly egregious example of bad behavior on the part of the DI, and I wanted to bring it up for discussion here.