• Casey Luskin – Poster Boy for How NOT to Argue

    Casey Luskin, once again, shows us why he is not a person to take seriously. He, like his buddy Meyer, fails a very basic area of research in promoting his ideas. His latest article shows some oddly rational thinking, but his scholarship failure undermines his entire point.

    The article is If Evolution Has Implications for Religion, Can We Justify Teaching It in Public Schools? (warning, link to creationist website).

    In this article Casey actually makes some good points.

    Evolutionary biology is a science, so it can be legally taught in public schools when it’s treated as a science and isn’t promoted as a support for atheism or materialism.

    So Casey admits that evolutionary biology is a science. That’s a pretty impressive admission for the ID crowd. The whole ‘materialism” thing is a bit confusing because no one has ever been able to provide evidence of something that was non-materialism. But that’s a whole ‘nother animal as my granddad would say.

    Thus, while it may sound odd to hear that we can (sometimes) declare something constitutional to teach in public schools even though it touches upon religion, there’s good legal precedent for such a finding.

    This is another pretty powerful admission. Evolution (and most of the sciences and mathematics fields) have confirmed statements that do touch upon the beliefs of various religions. There are no talking snakes. The Earth is not 6,000 years old. Heck, even the science of history disagrees with much of the Bible. But we still teach history.

    Casey talks a bit about the Lemon test. It’s not a check at the supermarket to see if the fruit is fresh. It’s a legal test developed during the Lemon v. Kurtzman trial. It resulted in a three part test to see if a government program violated the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment.

    • The statute must not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religious affairs. (also known as the Entanglement Prong)
      1. Factors.
        1. Character and purpose of institution benefited.
        2. Nature of aid the state provides.
        3. Resulting relationship between government and religious authority.
    • The statute must not advance nor inhibit religious practice (also known as the Effect Prong)
    • The statute must have a secular legislative purpose. (also known as the Purpose Prong)

    Teaching evolution has a strong secular purpose. It’s good science. It’s predictive, it’s repeatable, it is supported by dozens of independent fields. As Casey describes, while the implications of evolution cause a rejection of some parts of the Bible, that in and of itself is not enough to run afoul of the Effect Prong. And the Entanglement Prong is also a non-issue since this occurs in a school science course, which is intended to teach science.

    Case cites a couple of legal cases that support these ideas. Then Casey screws up. Here’s his last two paragraphs.

    In this manner, one can legally justify teaching evolution while being sensitive to the fact that it has larger implications that touch upon the religious beliefs of many Americans. This reasoning offers the best of both worlds. It allows science to be taught in the science classroom while respecting the beliefs of people who have religious objections to evolution.

    Many evolutionists, however, would probably dislike this way of thinking. Why? Because the very same approach would justify teaching about intelligent design in public schools.

    That first paragraph is actually good. I’m honestly shocked by the reasonableness and validity of Casey’s discussion here.

    But that last paragraph is a problem.

    First of all, “many evolutionists” do think exactly this way. It’s not a problem. It’s what scientists and concerned citizens have been battling for over 50 years. I applaud Casey for supporting this.

    Because the very same approach would justify teaching about intelligent design in public schools.

    That’s where the problem is. Casey has done all of this work, supporting the idea of teaching evolution, but made a fatal mistake in his conclusion. Because he conflates a science with a religion. Because teaching science in science class is OK, Casey assumes that we should also teach his religion in science class.

    Casey, Casey, Casey. Just because you keep saying that ID is science, that don’t make it so. ID is not predictive. ID does not have a mechanism. And ID is most certainly a religion. Here is where Casey’s scholarship failure comes into play.

    While Casey cites 4 legal opinions. He fails to cite the one most relevant to this discussion. The results of the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District trial. Let me quote some lines from Judge Jones’ decision.

    • For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the religious nature of ID [intelligent design] would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child. (page 24)
    • A significant aspect of the IDM [intelligent design movement] is that despite Defendants’ protestations to the contrary, it describes ID as a religious argument. In that vein, the writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity. (page 26)
    • The evidence at trial demonstrates that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism. (page 31)
    • The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory. (page 43)
    • We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. …It is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research. Expert testimony reveals that since the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena. (page 64)

    Oops. ID is religious. ID is a religious argument. ID promotes God. ID is creationism. ID is a religious view. ID is not a scientific theory. ID fails to be a science at all.

    Casey, like Meyer, when writing, you should use all of the references that are directly applicable to your argument. To do otherwise is cherry-picking at worst or a failure of scholarship at best. I know that Casey knows about the Kitzmiller case, he’s written about it before (another creationist site.

    In conclusion, Casey makes a fantastic argument and shoots himself in the foot by failing to consider all the relevant cases.

    Category: CreationismEvolutionfeaturedResearchScience


    Article by: Smilodon's Retreat

    • Nicholas J. Matzke

      My reading of Luskin’s last bit there is slightly different. I think he’s saying, “ID is science, so it can be taught in public schools even though it has positive implications for religion.”

      The hilarious thing about this is that it contradicts previous DI/Luskin rhetoric about how Judge Jones etc. should not have ruled on the Is-ID-science question. I guess they really do think judges should decide these issues, they only complain because they lost when exactly this question came up.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        If ID was science, I could agree. But since it’s most expressly not science, then the religious side of it is not an implication, but the reason for ID to exist.

        • sombodysdad

          Of course ID is science as it makes scientifically testable claims.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Name one.

            • sombodysdad

              From “Darwinism, Design and Public Education” page 92:

              1. High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.
              2. Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.
              3. Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.
              4. Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.


            • SmilodonsRetreat
            • sombodysdad

              We have defined it. Your strawman arguments and misrepresentations expose you, not ID.

      • sombodysdad

        Science is not decided by judges. That is why the Dover “decision” is laughable.

        • SmilodonsRetreat

          It must be, since the ID side REQUESTED that Judge Jones rule on the nature of ID as a science…

          Of course, you are correct in reality. But since ID proponents do no science to support ID, have no research programs to find the designer or figure out how it makes changes, or look for evidence of design… then ID is not science.

          • sombodysdad

            ID proponents do science. And we have found evidence for design. Also we have posited a mechanism for making changes- see “Not BY Chance” Spetner 1997

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              They do science, but they do not do ID science. You have not found evidence of design. You might THINK it is, but it’s not.

              The vast majority of people like you have no clue about the mass of evidence that ID proponents lie and say doesn’t exist.

              “Not by Chance” is a strawman argument. No biologist thinks that living things are around by chance. So, you can ignore that.

            • sombodysdad

              You didn’t read the book so you have no idea if it is a strawman argument or not. You are dishonest.

              Natural selection is only non-random in the sense that not every organism has the same probability of being eliminated. It is still all chance, as in differing accumulations of genetic accidents, errors and mistakes.

              We have found evidence of design. You just don’t know what evidence is nor do you understand what ID is. And it is obvious you don’t grasp what evolution is supposed to be.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Well, I guess we’re done. Feel free to look around. I think you’ll find that I know a lot more about science and evolution than you think.

              If you’re actually interested in learning what is going on, then feel free to read the links I’ve provided. I’ve got about 30 articles showing Meyer’s dishonesty in Darwin’s Doubt and plenty of evidence that shows your claims are false.

            • sombodysdad

              You are confused as ID does not argue against mere evolution. Your articles on Meyer are a joke and prove that you don’t know what you are talking about.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              You can say whatever you like. You have no evidence. You probably haven’t even read the articles I wrote. It’s about 35,000 words… take you a day or two to read that and look up the references.

              Oh, By the way.. ID is against evolution. http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2014/01/28/intelligent-design-is-anti-evolution/

              And since there’s no ID research program, that’s all it can be.

              You have yet to support your first claim that ID is testable.

            • sombodysdad

              I say what reality says. And ID is OK with evolution. Your article proves that you don’t know what is being debated.

              ID is testable- Behe said how to test it. meyer has said how to test it. Dembski has said how to test it.

              OTOH no one can test the claim that natural selection can produce any bacterial flagellum.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Ummm… those were not MY words. Those were the leaders of the ID movement.

              Great. Give me a quote. How to test ID. I’m waiting. Hint, there’s nothing in Meyer’s books about it.

    • Doc Bill

      The proper phrase by Marshall is “systematic failure of scholarship.”

      It’s not a failure in the sense our DI Attack Gerbil is a neophyte to science or untrained in language arts or in researching published material. On the contrary, the DI touts the Gerb’s earth science degree and his scientific “research” and his law degree. The DI promotes the Gerb as a spokesman, IDEA Club coordinator and research director. The Gerb’s own voluminous list of citations in his published dreckophile attest to his skill and thoroughness. He was Meyer’s research assistant and presumably responsible for the carefully constructed quote mine.

      Thus, a reasonable reader can only conclude that the Gerb’s omission of the most relevant, and damning, citation – Kitzmiller – is deliberate with the intention of misleading the reader. Princeton professor of philosophy Harry Frankfurt who wrote the wonderful little book, On Bullshit, has a simple term for what Gerbie does for a living – lying.

    • sombodysdad

      ID is not religious. ID does not require God. IDists and Creationists know there is a difference between ID and Creation. And unlike evolutionism, ID makes scientifically testable claims. Judge Jones obviously didn’t pay any attention to the people who really understand what ID is. What do you say about a judge who ignores the experts and sides with the people on an agenda?

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        I say that you’re right. He sided with experts in evolution and scientific processes (while the ID side barely showed up at all and Behe contradicted himself in his own testimony). He ignored the people with an agenda, that is, to get God into the science classroom.

        Tell me, have you read the entire transcript? I have. There is significant talk from the school district about god.

        Is ID about god? Well, the majority of people I talk to about it seem to think so. Of course, they can’t say it, because then they automatically lose. But that’s what they really think.

        Tell us, do you have any evidence for a non-deity designer? Of course you don’t.

        Here, this might interest you: http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2012/10/06/why-intelligent-design-must-be-religious/

        • sombodysdad

          Evolution was never being debated. And ID is not about God. No one cares what people think.

          The judge bought a literature bluff of all things!

          Dr Behe responded to Jones and he demonstrated that Jones is a dolt. Behe Responds to Dover Intelligent Design Opinion

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Behe was IN the courtroom and Jones stated that Behe was the main reason he ruled the way that he did.

            Behe was a moron in the court room.

            • sombodysdad

              Yes Behe was laughing at the idiotic judge. Behe talked over the heads of the judge and lawyers.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Well someone was laughing… Have you read the entire transcript of the case? Not that you could understand it through the ID filter in your brain.

            • sombodysdad

              Yes, I have read it. Did you have a point? Did any of the evolutionary experts provide any evidence that IC structures can arise via natural selection and drift? No.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I guess you didn’t read the transcript then. Would you like a link? Does the name Kevin Padian mean anything to you?

            • sombodysdad

              I read the transcript. I have read peer-reviewed papers. I take it that you didn’t read Behe’s response.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Yes, I’ve read Behe’s response and it’s meaningless. If it was such a trial breaker, why didn’t he use it in the trial?

              Again. there were plenty of actual experts involved.

              Peer-reviewed papers? Really? I read those too. Let’s see, how many has Behe published about Intelligent Design? Oh yeah.. none. Three peer-reviewed papers in the last 15 years. And one of those is a pay-for-print publication out of China.

              Kevin Padian on the other hand, an actual evolutionary biologist… 13 in less than 6 years (4 times the publications in less than half the time) as well as another 5 or 6 presentations at science meetings and another 10 or 11 chapters in science books.

              So, by that measure Behe is useless.

            • sombodysdad

              How is Behe’s response meaningless when he laid bare Jones’ decision? Padian doesn’t have any evidence that natural selection can produce anything, let alone IC structures.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              First you have to show that IC structures exist. No one has done that. THEN we can argue about whether evolution can or cannot make them (hint, they can… as the research I’ve written about shows).

              Run along. Quit spamming and just pick a point to argue.

    • sombodysdad

      The National Academy of Sciences has objected that intelligent design is not falsifiable, and I think that’s just the opposite of the truth. Intelligent design is very open to falsification. I claim, for example, that the bacterial flagellum could not be produced by natural selection; it needed to be deliberately intelligently designed. Well, all a scientist has to do to prove me wrong is to take a bacterium without a flagellum, or knock out the genes for the flagellum in a bacterium, go into his lab and grow that bug for a long time and see if it produces anything resembling a flagellum. If that happened, intelligent design, as I understand it, would be knocked out of the water. I certainly don’t expect it to happen, but it’s easily falsified by a series of such experiments.

      Now let’s turn that around and ask, How do we falsify the contention that natural selection produced the bacterial flagellum? If that same scientist went into the lab and knocked out the bacterial flagellum genes, grew the bacterium for a long time, and nothing much happened, well, he’d say maybe we didn’t start with the right bacterium, maybe we didn’t wait long enough, maybe we need a bigger population, and it would be very much more difficult to falsify the Darwinian hypothesis.

      I think the very opposite is true. I think intelligent design is easily testable, easily falsifiable, although it has not been falsified, and Darwinism is very resistant to being falsified. They can always claim something was not right.- Dr Behe

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        Then it’s been falsified. Done deal.

        By the way… WHICH bacterial flagellum?

        • sombodysdad

          Falsification requires evidence and there isn’t any evidence that natural selection can produce any bacterial flagellum. You lose.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Interesting. So what is the evidence for INTELLIGENT design?

            Have we produced a flagellum from scratch? Of course not. That’s not a requirement and you know it… or maybe you don’t.

            • sombodysdad

              The bacterial flagellum is evidence for ID. Living organisms are evidence for ID. The laws that govern the universe are evidence for ID. The earth and all of the factors that make it habitable for intelligent , technological organisms, is evidence for ID.

              What is the evidence that natural selection can create new multi-protein complexes?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              There’s plenty of evidence on this very blog. Look at the “evolution” category or the “research’ category.

            • sombodysdad

              “Evolution” isn’t being debated. And there isn’t any evidence that natural selection can produce multi-protein complexes. That didn’t happen with Lenski’s experiment, so you have nothing.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Sigh, you really need to learn some things before saying stupid stuff you get from creationists.

              Evolution of Associated Proteins

            • sombodysdad

              MULTI-PROTEIN COMPLEXES- Can you even read?

            • RexTugwell

              Apparently not. I recently asked him for a blog on the universe from nothing that he “[had] to do a blog on” but points me instead to a post about some “research” that is “bleeding edge research. This isn’t even quite to the hypothesis stage yet. This is a proof of concept.” Apparently the universe was everlasting after all. So I ask myself which absurdity is it? Something from nothing or something from eternity?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I’ve explained it to you a couple of times. Not to mention that science changes as new information comes in. It is most like nothing from nothing. But you don’t like that because you are stuck in the world of people and fuel and the like. The net energy of the known universe is still zero.

              Again, you come in here bashing the current state of the understanding of science, not because it’s wrong, but because you personally don’t like it. You don’t like because you don’t understand it.

              Of course, you accept without question a concept that has no evidence or support or even a consistent concept, all because you agree with the broader implications (which also have no supporting evidence).

            • RexTugwell

              Until you have a firm grasp of the real concepts of “nothing” and “infinity” you’re simply embarrassing yourself by advocating such nonsense.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              And yet, I’m just repeating the known information about the universe.

              I’ve said this before, you’re problem is not with me, but with science. Because science generates concepts and implications that you, for whatever reason, disagree with… you reject science. Yet, you presumably still do to the doctor and drive cars and use computers.

              That’s a personal problem with you, not with science, not with me, not with science reporting, not with my understanding of science.

    • sombodysdad

      “The Design Revolution”, page 25, Dembski writes:

      Intelligent Design has theological implications, but it is not a theological enterprise. Theology does not own intelligent design. Intelligent design is not a evangelical Christian thing, or a generally Christian thing or even a generally theistic thing. Anyone willing to set aside naturalistic prejudices and consider the possibility of evidence for intelligence in the natural world is a friend of intelligent design.

      He goes on to say:

      Intelligent design requires neither a meddling God nor a meddled world. For that matter, it doesn’t even require there be a God.

      In his book “Signature in the Cell” Stephen C. Meyer addresses the issue of Intelligent Design and religion:

      First, by any reasonable definition of the term, intelligent design is not “religion”.- page 441 under the heading Not Religion

      ID doesn’t say anything about worship- nothing about who, how, why, when, where to worship- nothing about any service- nothing about any faith nor beliefs except the belief we (humans) can properly assess evidence and data and properly process information. After all the design inference is based on our knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

      “Intelligent Design is based on scientific evidence, not religious belief.”- Jonathan Wells “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design”

    • sombodysdad

      Here is a paper that blows evolutionism- natural selection and drift- out of the water even though it was written to refute one of Dr Behe’s claims: Waiting for Two Mutations: With Applications to Regulatory Sequence Evolution and the Limits of Darwinian Evolution

      Unless any ole mutations will do there just isn’t enough time in the universe for natural selection to produce multi-protein machines.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        You are really, really dumb. And obviously haven’t read the paper you referenced. Try reading the paper instead of creationist reviews of said paper. Here let me quote from the first paragraph of the paper.

        “In addition, we use these results to expose flaws in some of Michael Behe’s arguments concerning mathematical limits to Darwinian evolution.”

        And from the conclusion
        “A second problem is that in a subdivided population, A mutants may become fixed in one subpopulation, giving more opportunities for the production of B mutants or perhaps leading to a speciation event. It is difficult to analyze these situations mathematically, but it seems that each of them would increase the rate at which changes occur.”

        In other words, this article does not support Behe, but refutes him.

        Geez, creationists are dumb.

        • sombodysdad

          I am smarter than you will ever be and I read the paper. Unlike you I was able to understand it.

          And I said it tried to refute Behe- you are too stupid to understand what I wrote. The paper says that to get a BINDING site from an existing site would take over 25 million years for a fruit fly population- two specific mutations.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            random? or not?
            1 individual or not?
            You agree or disagree with the authors conclusions?
            Do you know what a binding site is? Your words please?
            Are you aware that a SPECIFIC binding site is not required? Another paper you didn’t read.

            • Doc Bill

              You’re dealing with a JoeG sockpuppet. It’s pointless, both JoeG and talking to it. Nighty night, Joey.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I wonder if this is his dad’s account or maybe John Paul’s…

              It did have that ring of idiocy with arrogance. Still, this particular account has behaved itself.

        • RexTugwell

          Maybe Behe never responded to Durrett and Schmidt’s paper because they’re just mathematicians and not biochemists.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            You mean like Casey Luskin is just a lawyer and Dembski is just a mathematician and Meyer is a geologist… ?

            And Phillip Johnson is a lawyer and Behe is a chemist…

            I could go on and on.

            Maybe you should look up the fallacious argument about discussing the credentials of people instead of their claims and evidence.

            • RexTugwell

              Relax, Smiley. I just wanted to get you to demonstrate your confirmation bias by proving that you weren’t even aware of Behe’s response to Durrett and Schmidt. If I recall, you recommended the Durrett and Schmidt paper to me a few months back. Weren’t you the least bit curious if Behe responded to them? I was. I’ll have to find that thread. That was another fun one.

              In fact, I think it’s great that they’re mathematicians. Behe schools them on a couple mathematical points. One of which they conceded that reduced their calculation of Behe’s alleged overestimation by a factor of 30!

              And just for the record: Behe is a biochemist. I know you know that but you chose to lie again about him. tsk tsk

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Oh my. A “Gotcha” question… whatever will I do? I should hang my head in shame. Oh wait… nevermind.

              Here’s the thing. Behe is a joke. He doesn’t publish hardly anything, much less pro-ID work. He was destroyed in the Kitzmiller trial.

              In the great history of the sciences, he’s utterly meaningless.

              When he publishes evidence of ID, then I’m sure we’ll all hear about it. Until then, his work and his responses are meaningless.

              As far as bias, yes, I am biased against a known con-man who admitted in a court of law that ID has nothing. Let me know if he does anything meaningful, since you follow him so much.

              I am curious as to your thoughts on the other ID “thought” leaders I mentioned. But that’s kind of meaningless too. The ID revolution is over, and it’s been dead for well over a decade. It’s only people who have a particular cultural need to support it that do support it. The vast majority of whom are evangelical Christians.

            • RexTugwell

              Not a “Gotcha” question whatsoever. I just wanted to make sure you didn’t weasel your way out of my observation of your confirmation bias by saying something like “Yeah I read it but it was meaningless”.

              A simple “Yes Rex, I do indeed have confirmation bias and prefer not to read literature that is contrary to my views” would have sufficed. But since you’ve chosen to unload on Behe, I’ll simply say that yes Behe is a joke to one whose own life is a joke.


            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I told you. I do have a confirmation bias. Against people who don’t publish support for their own ideas.

              There is STILL no support for ID.

              All you seem to have for an argument is attacks against a person who is honestly looking at the world instead of talking about science. You’ve been here for years and never talked about science. Never talked about predictions made by ID (there are none). Never talked about the evidence supporting ID (there is none).

              So, your opinion means exactly jack.