Ken Miller swats Casey Luskin

| 95 Comments

For the three people who don’t read Pharyngula, Ken Miller is guest-blogging on Carl Zimmer’s Loom, swatting Casey Luskin’s latest attempts to spin the Kitzmiller trial testimony on irreducible complexity.

PZ feels almost sorry for Luskin. I don’t: I saw him hovering outside the meeting room of the Ohio State Board of Education during our wars here. No sympathy at all on my part.

Added in edit: All three parts of Miller’s smack-down of Luskin are up on The Loom now: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Part 3 is particularly interesting, with Miller looking at why Luskin is attempting to rehabilitate the ID position in the light of its epic failure in Kitzmiller.

95 Comments

Of course, we all know that the DI’s Attack Mouse, Luskin, was blowing smoke against his mirror. Poor cub reporter and idiot savant (without the savant part) Luskin couldn’t possibly understand what he was writing as evidenced by the mish-mash of what he produced.

However, it’s enlightening for Miller to expound on the real science.

We thank you, Dr. Miller, for that.

As for Luskin, he’ll simply retreat into his little Seattle mouse hole, nibble on DI mouldy cheese and return again.

See you soon, Casey!

I first met Casey the same day I met Wes Elsbery and Matt Inlay (F2F) down at Uinversity of California, San Diego. The event was a talk by Jon Wells about creationism, sponsored by Casey’s first IDEA club.

We had all helped Nick Matzke draft a reply to the just published “Icons of Evolution.” The task ahead was to pass out an abbreviated version to people entering the auditorium.

Casey seemed to me a squirmy little worm then, and I doubt he will ever change.

Luskin claims a masters degree in earth science, and he claims a law degree.

He doesn’t do science, and he doesn’t practice law. What he does is perform as a PR shill for a propaganda machine that would make Josef Goebbels blush.

waldteufel said:

Luskin claims a masters degree in earth science, and he claims a law degree.

He doesn’t do science, and he doesn’t practice law. What he does is perform as a PR shill for a propaganda machine that would make Josef Goebbels blush.

If I were Herr Goebbels, if Herr Goebbels was still alive today, and I was compared to someone like Mr Luskin, I’d blush bright red,

From embarrassment.

OT: Does anybody have easy access to the evolution and education journal that was posted here? http://pandasthumb.org/archives/200[…]omments-open

Seems it’s not free anymore and I’d like to use some of the info in my anatomy and physiology class (which starts Monday). Neither of my institutions has a sub.

“For the three people who don’t read Pharyngula…” Cool. I thought I was the only one. This sounds good though. I’ll have to check it out.

I am entirely sympathetic to Ken Miller but alas there is a certain sense of futility in all this, the situation being “let’s play a game”:

1: IGNORE ALL THE STRAIGHTFORWARD EVIDENCE FOR EVO SCIENCE.

2: COME UP WITH AN OUT-IN-THE-WEEDS ARGUMENT THAT YOU’D NEED AN ADVANCED DEGREE TO UNDERSTAND PRECISELY HOW BOGUS IT IS.

3: DRAW THE OTHER SIDE INTO DISPUTES OVER THE MATTER THAT DRIVE THE DISCUSSION EVEN FARTHER OFF INTO THE WEEDS IN ORDER TO MUDDY THE WATERS.

4: DECLARE VICTORY.

As propaganda it works very well. The only relief is that it fails badly in court.

Cheers – MrG http://www.vectorsite.net

Well, having still failed to perform any actual research, Luskin is now reduced to trying to move goalposts that are set in stone. I suppose he could be forgiven for trying to change the argument, now that it has been shown to be completely wrong, but claiming that the argument was never made is not going to work. Oh well, what can you expect from people who spend their time crying over a three year old decision that they never even bothered to appeal?

Of course Luskin never did have any answer for any of the genetic evidence. He consistently ignored the fact that not only does exapation destroy the IC argument, but that all of the genetic evidence is consistent with descent with modification as well. If these clowns ever had any real conviction that they were right, they would be doing genomic sequencing instead of making up nonsense that anyone could see right through. “By their works ye shall know them” - indeed.

The second part of Miller’s guest stint at The Loom is up and, if anything, Luskin fares even worse.

iml8 Wrote:

I am entirely sympathetic to Ken Miller but alas there is a certain sense of futility in all this, the situation being “let’s play a game”:

Here are the game rules in detail.

Frank J said:

Here are the game rules in detail.

The fundamental game underlying the rules is DISTRACT ATTENTION FROM THE BODY OF EVIDENCE THAT WE CAN’T TOUCH TO BOG DOWN THE ARGUMENT IN SIX-SIGMA BS. (BS == “Blatant Sophistry” of course.)

I’m sure Ken Miller realizes the IC argument (and its like) is a tiresome diversion – tripping it up does little to make the case for evo science, it’s effort that buys nothing in itself. If you have a cold you have to deal with it, but overall the situation is a loss.

The worthwhile effort is making the case on the basis of the clear evidence for evo science, and Miller can feel satisfaction in having done so. There’s an older edition of the Miller-Levine text at the local library and it’s actually fairly fun reading. I think I may buy the up-to-date version.

Getting muddy over IC and the like is hard to avoid but not very satisfying. It’s the stuff that makes the positive case for evo science, like the recent SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN special issue, that Luskin and company really don’t like. People might get interested. They might believe it.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net

iml8 said:

Getting muddy over IC and the like is hard to avoid but not very satisfying. It’s the stuff that makes the positive case for evo science, like the recent SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN special issue, that Luskin and company really don’t like. People might get interested. They might believe it.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net

But the catch is that, battling IC and the other stillborns of Intelligent Design theory is exactly like having to unclog a sewer pipe: sure, it’s smelly, you get utterly filthy and the possibility of you dying from poison gas looms everywhere, but, if someone doesn’t hold their breath to do it, the situation will only get worse, and stinkier. And you can’t solve it simply by dowsing it with Drain-O and hoping that it will go away.

What’s really annoying about all this is that Kitzmiller v. Dover was over and done with some three years ago, and Casey is *still* using it as his meal-ticket!

Stanton said:

And you can’t solve it simply by dowsing it with Drain-O and hoping that it will go away.

Oh, I acknowledge the unfortunate necessity, but I point out that the evo science community ends up dancing to the tune of Luskin and company.

It is useful to remember this is a distraction from the real effort, the one that makes money, which is selling evo science on its own merits.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net

For those of you who haven’t read the Loom yet, I am re-posting this:

Dear Ken,

Great job of course, and so masterfully done. After Luskin is finished in “deconstructing” blood clotting, I wonder whether he’ll set his sights next on plate tectonics. Having graduated from a leading center of research on plate tectonics, I wonder whether he’ll claim now that it is really a “fantasy” concocted by some misguided “geologists”.

Any chance you might choose to remind Behe here at this blog that perhaps he ought to start writing the definitive textbook on Klingon biochemisty? Am sure it would be far more lucrative for him - and especially his publisher too (since it publishes the “Star Trek” books) - now that the latest “Star Trek” film will be debuting this spring. I sometimes think that he and Dembski are really in it for the money, and if that’s the case, then what better way of promoting themselves by writing ample prose related to “Star Trek” science fiction masquerading as pseudoscience.

A belated Merry Kitzmas and a Happy Monkey to You.

With all best wishes,

John Kwok

Muchas gracias, DU.

David Utidjian said:

It is available here:

http://www.isaiadis.com/blog/wp-con[…]_the_Eye.pdf

all 209 pages.

-DU-

Dear Mr. G,

Sorry, but I beg to differ with you here:

iml8 said:

Stanton said:

And you can’t solve it simply by dowsing it with Drain-O and hoping that it will go away.

Oh, I acknowledge the unfortunate necessity, but I point out that the evo science community ends up dancing to the tune of Luskin and company.

It is useful to remember this is a distraction from the real effort, the one that makes money, which is selling evo science on its own merits.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net

The only reason why Luskin and the rest of his mendacious, quite pathetic, ilk, represent a “distraction” is the dire threat that they pose to quality American science education - which Ken notes eloquently in his latest book - as demonstrated recently by Bobby Jindal’s endorsement and subsequent signing of the Louisiana Academic Freedom Act (And Jindal, having studied biology at mine and Ken’s Ivy League undergraduate alma mater, should have known better than to try promoting the mendacious intellectual pornography known as Intelligent Design creationism.).

I personally think the best way of dealing with IDiots like Luskin, Dembski and Behe is to laugh at them. Hence, that is why I refer sarcastically to their membership in the Dishonesty Institute IDiot Borg Collective, tell them that Klingon Cosmology is far more credible than Intelligent Design creationism and endorse Ken’s suggestion that Behe ought to be writing a textbook on Klingon biochemistry.

Let’s make it a New Year’s Resolution here at PT that we should all spend our times laughing at the IDiots lurking here.

Regards,

John

John Kwok said:

Let’s make it a New Year’s Resolution here at PT that we should all spend our times laughing at the IDiots lurking here.

Hey, no problem. If people want to amuse themselves by trading insults with the Darwin-bashers, don’t think I’m gonna stand in their way.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net

Poor Casey. He has to move more goalposts again! He will probably say that each “kind” has its own irreducibly complexityness, and that the blood clotting looks kinda the same for different kinds because the designer used a similar design for similar kinds. Or something. (Either way, obviously Behe was still wrong though.)

386sx said:

He will probably say that each “kind” has its own irreducibly complexityness …

Do you recall how the DI folks replied to the homologies between the bacterial flagellum and the TTTS? “Now you have TWO irreducibly complex systems to worry about!”

I can’t make this stuff up, and I’m fair at making stuff up. “Some irreducibly complex systems are more irreducibly complex than others.”

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net

Casey’s continued solitary crusade to rehabilitate Behe’s testimony is like arguing that Pickett’s Charge was really a terrific success, but everyone at Gettysburg was too stupid to realize it.

John Kwok Wrote:

Let’s make it a New Year’s Resolution here at PT that we should all spend our times laughing at the IDiots lurking here.

As long as it doesn’t backfire with the non-IDiot lurkers, and as long as it doesn’t feed the trolls who only want to hijack threads.

Meanwhile, you saw my comment on The Loom (on Part 2 of Miller’s article), but for the benefit of PT lurkers, I copied it below:

Dr. Miller,

Thanks for another excellent take-down. Of course, as you know, your work is far from done, because Luskin is targeting a different audience, one that will make excuses, not only for ID’s steadfast avoidance of testing its own ideas, but of its downplaying of irreconcilable internal disagreements regarding what the designer did when. Thus he is not worried that it’s not just “Darwinists” who think that “dolphins are supposedly descended from land-dwelling vertebrates,” but Behe himself. If Behe’s average reader can paper over that, so can Luskin’s.

Frank J said:

… and as long as it doesn’t feed the trolls who only want to hijack threads.

That’s one of the problems with trading insults with Darwin-bashers. They seem to like it.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net

iml8 Wrote:

The fundamental game underlying the rules is DISTRACT ATTENTION FROM THE BODY OF EVIDENCE THAT WE CAN’T TOUCH TO BOG DOWN THE ARGUMENT IN SIX-SIGMA BS. (BS == “Blatant Sophistry” of course.)

Unfortunately the majority of the audience - including many (most?) nonscientists who accept evolution - lacks the time and/or interest to truly digest the multiple lines of independent overwhelming evidence that supports evolution, and consigns every conceivable alternative to the dustbin of failed hypotheses.

Unfortunately the audience needs sound bites. And the anti-evolution activists are skilled at delivering them. IDers in particular are also skilled at keeping the discussion in the category of “weaknesses” of evolution, and out of any category that would make the audience ask hard questions about their alternate “theory.”

IMO, the only way we can compete (outside the legal arena, that is) is to not let them control the terms of the game, but rather to show how they play games - quote mine, define terms to suit the argument, bait-and-switch concepts (e.g. evolution with abiogenesis), etc.

Dr Miller’s second article highlights something I have never understood about ID’s irreducible complexity and evolution argument: how can removing parts from an existing system say anything definitive about how the system actually came about?

Of course they do. Because insults distract from the facts. And they don’t have the facts on their side.

Does anyone know if any of the changes of creationism to intelligent design occurred in Behe’s sections of the book Panda’s and People? Since Behe is a fan of Denton’s (at least, before Denton wrote his second book that pretty much admitted that his first book was bogus) I would expect that he would follow Denton’s style and not mention creationism at all.

Oh well, what can you expect from people who spend their time crying over a three year old decision that they never even bothered to appeal?

Didn’t the board that might have made that appeal have a major change of membership shortly after the trial? That could have something to do with it. ;)

——-

Having graduated from a leading center of research on plate tectonics, I wonder whether he’ll claim now that it is really a “fantasy” concocted by some misguided “geologists”.

Yeah, and South America and Africa were designed to look like they fit together. Ha.

Henry

Dear Mr. G,

‘Tis true but only up to a point:

iml8 said:

Frank J said:

… and as long as it doesn’t feed the trolls who only want to hijack threads.

That’s one of the problems with trading insults with Darwin-bashers. They seem to like it.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net

That’s why we ought to refer to them as - and I believe quite aptly - as mendacious intellectual pornographers. Believe me, they strongly resent being called that which is a most accurate term describing their modus operandi.

Regards,

John

iml8 said: That’s actually a fairly common gambit among the Religious Right crowd: “The Constitution does not really specify a separation between church and state. That’s an interpretation by liberal judges.” Sure it is.

Sure, but the Discoveroids actually have a well-funded long-term plan to break down that “wall of separation.” That’s the difference between them and some solitary, seat-of-the-pants guy like Freshwater in Ohio – whose hearing resumes today, by the way. To the Discoveroids, ID is just a tool they’re using to get into court. It’s obvious that they have no interest in science.

Inasmuch as there’s anything to IC, it shows that the system could not have evolved _only by the addition of single parts_ _from simpler systems doing the exact same thing_. Since evolution does not proceed only by the addition of single parts- we can also have deletions, duplications and so on- and the precursor needn’t have been doing the exact same job- there’s cooption- IC systems clearly can evolve. And Muller showed, before the IDiots were even born, that interlocking complexity is a predictable consequence of evolution.

Maybe our best response to creationists saying “This system is irreducibly complex” is just to respond “Great! Since irreducible complexity is produced by evolution, this system must have evolved!”. That will confuse and annoy them in equal measure.

Stephen Wells said:

Maybe our best response to creationists saying “This system is irreducibly complex” is just to respond “Great! Since irreducible complexity is produced by evolution, this system must have evolved!”. That will confuse and annoy them in equal measure.

There’s another response: IRREDUCIBLY COMPLEX SYSTEMS COULD NOT HAVE EVOLVED!

“So does that mean reducibly complex systems could have evolved.”

Reluctantly: YES.

“So why couldn’t a reducibly complex system have lost parts of itself until it couldn’t lose any more and still work? That means that the irreducibly complex structure evolved from a reducibly complex one.”

Alas they will have an answer for this, and in reality they are winning the game, since the game was never any more than trying to bog everything down in red herrings anyway. And it works only too well.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net

They’d just ask where the reducibly complex one came from.

But the answer is quite obvious:

Henry J said:

They’d just ask where the reducibly complex one came from.

It came either from a Klingon Intelligent Designer or the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

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