Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Gates of Creationism?

Salon has a good story up about the funding from the the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the Cascadia Project which turns out to be a front organiztion for the Discovery Institute, the Creationist think tank profiled in the NYT article I discussed earlier.

    Greg Shaw, Pacific Northwest director [of the Gates Foundation], explains that the grant to Discovery underwrites the institute's "Cascadia Project," which strictly focuses on transportation in the Northwest. The Discovery Web site lists several program goals, including financing of high-speed passenger rail systems and reduction of automobile congestion in the Cascadia region, which encompasses Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. (The Gates Foundation, which is based in Seattle, gives a small slice of its money -- about $40 million in 2004 -- to groups that aim to improve life in the Pacific Northwest.) Poor transportation is a key problem for low-income families, Shaw says, and "when Cascadia came to the Foundation, there was a sense that there had not been a regional approach to studying transportation. Cascadia's plan to solve the transportation problem "was very much a bipartisan state, local and regional approach with a variety of states and counties and mayors." He didn't know if people at the foundation were aware of Discovery's I.D. work at the time they decided to fund Cascadia. "It is absolutely true that we care about sound science as it pertains to saving lives," he says. "The question of intelligent design is not something that we have ever considered. It's not something that we fund."

Indeed, it seems clear more than one group (Verizon and the Bullitt Foundation, for example) gave money to Cascadia without being aware of its Creationist ties

Although the Salon article suggests otherwise, it seems clear that support for the Cascadia project ends up in part supporting the administration and structure of the Disovery institute. Evan Dodds remarks:

    It frustrates me a little bit that their grant monies are obviously comingled a little bit. For instance, the director's salary is strongly supported (50k out of 141k) by money from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation... money (part of a nearly $10 million grant to the Institute in 2003) that an article in the PI claims was "exclusive to the Cascadia (transportation) project". Ok, sure.

Clearly there is more to this story. I mean really, what is really going on in an institution whose two priorities are "fighting against the teaching of evolution and trying to advance rail transit"?

There is an evolving discussion of this over at Pharyngula


And on the lighter side here is Mark Fiore's flash cartoon Supernatural Selection.


At 12/30/2005 2:06 AM, Blogger Tony said...

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