First Calvert now Luskin?


I have always found it fascinating how ID proponents try to avoid dealing with the real issues and instead focus on strawmen. For instance, Calvert and now Luskin are obsessed with the idea that:

Darwinian logic often contends that because a given proportion of ID proponents are creationists, ID must therefore be creationism. It’s a twist on the genetic fallacy, one I like to call the Darwinist “Genesis Genetic Argument.” As noted, it implies that each any and every argument made by a creationist must be equivalent to arguing for full-blooded creationism.

Much is wrong with this claim. If it were only so simple.

What scientists have pointed out is that there is a strong link between creationism and Intelligent Design which helps understand the scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design. In other words, creationism is the explanans for the scientific vacuity of ID.

Intelligent Design arose from the ashes of Edward v Aquillard to fight the materialism of the world in what the creationists hoped to be an acceptable variation on a theme. Creationism became Intelligent Design, Creator becames Intelligent Designer etc but the arguments did not change much from the appeal to ignorance so common amongst other creationist ‘arguments’.

Forrest in a recent new paper titled “Understanding the Intelligent Design Creationist Movement: Its True Nature and Goal” which was quoted and linked to originally by Calvert but is now only mentioned as a title (IIRC), describes the creationist history of the Intelligent Design movement.

In other words, science does not reject ID because it is creationism, science rejects ID since its creationist history has forced ID to remain scientifically vacuous.

So let’s see why the Discovery Institute is spending so much effort on attacking Forrest and Judge Jones?

Judge Jones Wrote:

As Plaintiffs meticulously and effectively presented to the Court, Pandas went through many drafts, several of which were completed prior to and some after the Supreme Court’s decision in Edwards, which held that the Constitution forbids teaching creationism as science. By comparing the pre and post Edwards drafts of Pandas, three astonishing points emerge: (1) the definition for creation science in early drafts is identical to the definition of ID; (2) cognates of the word creation (creationism and creationist), which appeared approximately 150 times were deliberately and systematically replaced with the phrase ID; and (3) the changes occurred shortly after the Supreme Court held that creation science is religious and cannot be taught in public school science classes in Edwards. This word substitution is telling, significant, and reveals that a purposeful change of words was effected without any corresponding change in content, which directly refutes FTE’s argument that by merely disregarding the words “creation” and “creationism,” FTE expressly rejected creationism in Pandas.

leading to the inevitable conclusion that

Judge Jones Wrote:

The weight of the evidence clearly demonstrates, as noted, that the systemic change from “creation” to “intelligent design” occurred sometime in 1987, after the Supreme Court’s important Edwards decision. This compelling evidence strongly supports Plaintiffs’ assertion that ID is creationism re-labeled.

And about the renewed attempts by ID to circumvent the courts, Judge Jones remarks

Judge Jones Wrote:

Moreover, ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.

And finally the Judge remarks that

Judge Jones Wrote:

It is our view that a reasonable, objective observer would, after reviewing both the voluminous record in this case, and our narrative, reach the inescapable conclusion that ID is an interesting theological argument, but that it is not science.


Judge Jones Wrote:

In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.

And that is why ID is rejected by science and many theologians. And that is why Judge Jones and Barbara Forrest are feared by many ID proponents because they have clearly outlined not only the scientific vacuity of ID but also its true motives and goals and its creationist foundations and motivations.


The Wedge Document is perhaps the most recent of the “honest” evidence we have of the ulterior motives of the fundamentalists who push ID/Creationism.

If it weren’t for the drives of certain sects to proselytize and seek the powers of civil government for the enforcement of sectarian doctrines, there wouldn’t be these attempted putsches by these sectarian groups. There are a number of sects who may have similar world views but would prefer to live apart and who do not feel the urge to proselytize (e.g., the Amish). These sects are not the ones causing the problems.

There is a big difference between the arguments of the proselytizing sects we see engaged in the political activity to get ID/Creationism into the schools and the epistemological arguments that were made in the Middle Ages and early Renaissance by people like Thomas Aquinas for example.

During the time that science (natural philosophy) was beginning to emerge, there was a genuine question about the relative ranking of evidence obtained from scriptures and the Church and evidence obtained from observation and reasoning about the natural world. Aquinas suggested the evidence from the spiritual world and holy books were more trustworthy and less subject to corruption whenever there was disagreement between evidences from the differing sources.

Of course the Church was a major political and moral influence in Western civilization at the time. However, during the following centuries and through the Age of Enlightenment, these epistemological questions got sorted out and natural philosophy (science) began to take the more prominent role, especially in areas involving the natural universe.

But the loss of political and moral authority grated on the leaders of a number of sects, and it seems to be the descendants of these sects that are trying to reassert themselves politically. They can no longer do this by admitting blind faith in their doctrines. They have to appear rational and reasonable, hence their emphasis on reasoning, logic, and the attempts to demonstrate that their sectarian doctrines meet the highest standards of scientific evidence (even if they have to distort science in the process).

It has never really been about the science; it’s the political power they want, and in order to obtain it, they have to show that they deserve exclusive access to the powers of civil government for the enforcement of their doctrines. Of course, they aren’t going to admit this openly; although in private, they often do.

Science recognizes that good science can come from bad origins. Chemistry derives from alchemy. Alchemy was a pseudoscience that grew up into a rigorous discipline. Creationism is a pseudoscience that refuses to grow up and, frankly, has nothing to contribute if it did. ID is it’s (third?) effort to look grown up, but putting on lab coats for press releases doesn’t make you a scientist, a fact they just can’t seem to grasp.

Casey Luskin Wrote:

Darwinian logic often contends that because a given proportion of ID proponents are creationists, ID must therefore be creationism. It’s a twist on the genetic fallacy, one I like to call the Darwinist “Genesis Genetic Argument.” As noted, it implies that each any and every argument made by a creationist must be equivalent to arguing for full-blooded creationism.

Say what? The contention doesn’t imply the equivalence at all. Perhaps Luskin meant to say that those who contend such a thing implicitly assume the equivalence, but he would have to provide evidence for that. Which he can’t, because it’s a silly straw men – neither “Darwinian logic”, whatever that is, nor Darwinians contend any such thing. That so many leading ID proponents are creationists is just one of many pieces of confirming evidence that ID is creationism.

[But hey, according Flint, Luskin is a lawyer doing what all lawyers do, amorally producing briefs for his client, and so can’t possibly be stupid and ignorant no matter how stupid and ignorant he appears, and we can’t blame him for doing his job, and refuting his arguments is a waste of time. I’m not sure what brand of logic that is.]

Popper’s Ghost wrote “I’m not sure what brand of logic that is.”

That’s “Lawyerish Logic.” Pay them, and lawyers will argue either side of any question. That’s why they’re replacing lab rats in some experiments, because there’s some things lab rats won’t do.

PvM Wrote:

Much is wrong with this claim. If it were only so simple.

It is simple, but too many of my fellow “evolutionists” insist on complicating it by taking the IDers’ bait and leaving it with an ambiguous “ID ‘is’ creationism.”

ID indirectly promotes creationism - all brands, YEC, OEC, front loading, saltation, even TE to those who don’t know that TE scientists are among ID’s chief critics.

ID does not specifically endorse any particular brand of creationism, and there is no indication that any ID activist personally believes any. In fact they either admit an old Earth and sometimes common descent, or mostly just evade the questions. ID sympathizers among the rank and file, OTOH, do seem to infer creationism, mostly YEC, from ID.

If we just put it that way, no IDer can deny it (not that they wouldn’t still try).

Since I’m much misunderstood on this issue, I need to repeat that I don’t deny the common roots of the strategies, or the role of Edwards v. Aguillard in forcing a change in strategy. But the trend toward “don’t ask, don’t tell” began before Edwards v. Aguillard and was the result of a growing awareness among activists that (1) the evidence did not support YEC or OEC accounts, and (2) the irreconcilable differences between those and other accounts was not going away, and was counterproductive to the primary goal of promoting unreasonable doubt about evolution.

That’s “Lawyerish Logic.”

No, it’s a stupid caricature of lawyers, propagated by ignorant morons.

P.S. Judge Jones is a lawyer. Which side paid him for his conclusion?


Even if the caricature were valid, it wouldn’t preclude Luskin from being ignorant and stupid – putting him in the same class as Flint and Burnett.

Frank J Wrote:

ID indirectly promotes creationism - all brands, YEC, OEC, front loading, saltation, even TE to those who don’t know that TE scientists are among ID’s chief critics.

Frank J, you make a good point. We can more easily demonstrate that ID promotes creationism than that it is creationism*. Wrt TE, this seems to be Behe’s latest stance, based on his seeming acceptance of both Common Descent and the fact of evolutionary change over time. His only remaining objection now appears to be that “random” mutations cannot account for the changes we see, and that the evolutionary paths taken are IC.

* Until we ask the question “what is/are the designer(s)?” Dembski treats this question as “outside the realm of the ID theory”, but it is the most obvious question to ask if you accept the idea of ID.


As I see it, the main strategic difference between ID and classic creationism is not “what is/are the designer(s)?” but “what did the designer(s) do, when and how.” Despite much indirect pandering to YECs and OECs (and pleading with them to cover up their differences) the only position ever elaborated by any IDer is Behe’s position (if you can call a tepid endorsement, with no indication of interest in testing it “elaborated”). While it is close to TE in terms of belief, Behe’s ID couldn’t be more different in terms of strategy. When IDers like to bash Dawkins and atheists, dig a bit deeper and they always admit that TEs are ID enemy #1. BTW, the only reason I think that Behe commits to that position instead of playing dumb like most ID leaders is that the cat was out of the bag even before “Darwin’s Black Box,” and presumably before other ID leaders could warn him not to admit so much.

Back to the strategic differences: After Edwards v. Aguillard, any creationist without a death wish knew to omit the designer’s identity. But why would they mostly keep retreating from the testable and teachable parts — the “what happened, when, and how”? In fact creationists started doing that before Edwards v. Aguillard, as evidenced by the early “Pandas” drafts. The reason is simple: the evidence was just not supporting anything that would comfort the rank and file YECs or OECs that the activists needed for political support. And the irreconcilable differences that undermine both YEC and OEC were not going away.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on July 10, 2007 11:44 AM.

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