Casey Luskin: Fish in a Barrel

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Casey Luskin is blathering about the new Smithsonian exhibit on human origins, playing the hoary old creationist ‘gaps in the fossil record’ tune. He must have been reading Duane Gish again. James Kidder has a nice takedown. Recommended reading.

31 Comments

Nice demolition of Luskin, and he managed it without even bringing up the most powerful argument: we would know plenty about human origins if we had never found a single fossil, just from examination of living species (and especially of their genomes).

By the way, I’m amazed how much Luskin’s article resembles the text of “Big Daddy?” – not in detail, but in general tone. Check this:

Casey:

“Ardipithecus ramidus is offered as an alleged “a human-African ape common ancestor,” yet the exhibit doesn’t disclose that when “Ardi” was first discovered it was reportedly “crushed to smithereens” such that it resembled “Irish stew.”

The exhibit also touts Sahelanthropus tchadensis as the “oldest fossil human,” even though this species is known from only one skull and a few jaw fragments, which some paleoanthropologists have suggested might have belonged to a female gorilla.”

Jack Chick:

“LUCY: Nearly all experts agree that Lucy was just a 3 foot tall chimpanzee.”

and

“NEANDERTHAL MAN: At the Int’l Congress of Zoology (1958), Dr. A. J. E. Cave said his examination of this famous skeleton found in France over 50 years ago is that of an old man who suffered from arthritis.”

Jack Chick is a step up for Luskin.

RBH said:

Jack Chick is a step up for Luskin.

One often gets the impression that Luskin is not even capable of “reading” a cartoon.

You would think Luskin would open up Evolution News and Views to comments, what with him being interested in teaching the controversy and all.

I’ve just went through that exhibit and it is million mile improvement over the older Smithsonian exhibit. It’s not tucked away in a far corner like the old exhibit. The hall plus the new Oceans hallway are great. Hopefully they’ll redo the dinosaur wing next. They have updated it a little, but it needs a major over hall. I am glad they went through and showed that in several cases there are multiple fossils. And not every species of hominid is based on a few scraps.

I find it amusing that whilst the internet filters at my workplace (an environmental chemistry laboratory) are fine with James Kidders website and blog, blogs like those from Casey Luskin and the Disco’tute are flagged as ‘Society and Lifestyle’ and subsequently blocked.

Even the unintelligent filters on our servers know the difference between science and pseudo-science.

Natman said:

I find it amusing that whilst the internet filters at my workplace (an environmental chemistry laboratory) are fine with James Kidders website and blog, blogs like those from Casey Luskin and the Disco’tute are flagged as ‘Society and Lifestyle’ and subsequently blocked.

Even the unintelligent filters on our servers know the difference between science and pseudo-science.

They detect intelligent design? Workable versions of The Explanatory Filter?

Natman said:

I find it amusing that whilst the internet filters at my workplace (an environmental chemistry laboratory) are fine with James Kidders website and blog, blogs like those from Casey Luskin and the Disco’tute are flagged as ‘Society and Lifestyle’ and subsequently blocked.

Even the unintelligent filters on our servers know the difference between science and pseudo-science.

I wish it were the case here. I can get to Panda – fortunately, and the DI – unfortunately, but I have to wait to head home to read Kidders takedown.

Luskin’s job is misrepresenting news about evolution. I think he does it very well.

“Ardipithecus ramidus is offered as an alleged “a human-African ape common ancestor,” yet the exhibit doesn’t disclose that when “Ardi” was first discovered it was reportedly “crushed to smithereens” such that it resembled “Irish stew.”

So what is Luskin implying here? a. Bone fragments crushed to smithereens cannot possibly be interpreted or understood? b. Scientists cannot reconstruct bone fragments? or, c. Scientists reconstructing the bone fragments do so according to whim or in accordance with preconceived doctrine and the results are either not reliable or are deliberately deceptive? Which means… what? Scientists are guilty of ideological blindness? Simple incompetence? Or deliberate falsehood? Sounds like some strong claims bordering on libel.

Am I missing something, or did Luskin equate evolution with science? He states: the exhibit proudly explains that evolution predicted we’d lack evidence for evolution; that’s how we know it’s true! Quoting the educators guide he has: Consider the following from the educator’s guide: Misconception: Gaps in the fossil record disprove evolution. Response: Science actually predicts gaps in the fossil record.

Scientists are guilty of ideological blindness? Simple incompetence? Or deliberate falsehood? Sounds like some strong claims bordering on libel.

Isn’t that pretty much what most anti-evolution arguments do? Or at least the most commonly used ones?

scripto said:

You would think Luskin would open up Evolution News and Views to comments, what with him being interested in teaching the controversy and all.

You just showed exactly why the Disco dudes are such a fraudulant farce!

May the farce be with them!

RBH said:

Jack Chick is a step up for Luskin.

Heck, Jack Chick is a step up from Luskin.

Luskin:

Luskin equate evolution with science? He states: the exhibit proudly explains that evolution predicted we’d lack evidence for evolution; that’s how we know it’s true! Quoting the educators guide he has: Consider the following from the educator’s guide: Misconception: Gaps in the fossil record disprove evolution. Response: Science actually predicts gaps in the fossil record.

Smithsonian:

Misconception: Gaps in the fossil record disprove evolution.

Response: Science actually predicts gaps in the fossil record. Many species leave no fossils at all, and the environmental conditions for forming good fossils are not common. The chance of any individual organism becoming fossilized is incredibly small. Nevertheless, new fossils are constantly being discovered. These include many transitional fossils—e.g., intermediary fossils between birds and dinosaurs, and between humans and our primate ancestors. Our lack of knowledge about certain parts of the fossil record does not disprove evolution.

Looks like Luskin selectively quote mined the Smithsonian guide. A form of lying.

As James Kidder pointed out and the guidebook states, it is geology and paleontology that predicts gaps in the fossil record not evolution. Fossilization is a rare occurrence that preferentially happens in some environments and not others.

Although punctuated equilibrium (Gould and Eldridge), would also predict gaps at the species level, long periods of stasis followed by rapid evolution.

And of course, Luskin ignores the huge number of impressive transitional fossils we do have, including in the hominid lineages.

I rarely read more than a few sentences of anything Luskin writes. It is always a mixture of lies and ignorance and not worth the time.

It looks like the Dishonesty Institute is going back to its YEC roots. Luskin’s commentary is the usual creationist lies, quote mines, and ignorance that could have been written 50 years ago by the 6,000 year old earth groups.

Being a creationist and being a xian, IMO are incompatible. Being a creationist forces people to lie and try to torture logic and reality to fit 2 pages of ancient mythology. And since it doesn’t really work, they end up hating anyone who points it out to them. The more ambitious end up trying to destroy modern civilization to make the USA safe for ancient stories.

Casey always reminds me of that Iraqi minister for Information.

Casey forgives you all, though.

Mike Elzinga said:

Natman said:

I find it amusing that whilst the internet filters at my workplace (an environmental chemistry laboratory) are fine with James Kidders website and blog, blogs like those from Casey Luskin and the Disco’tute are flagged as ‘Society and Lifestyle’ and subsequently blocked.

Even the unintelligent filters on our servers know the difference between science and pseudo-science.

They detect intelligent design? Workable versions of The Explanatory Filter?

No one knows if they have a workable version of the explanatory filter because they only try them out at the Discovery Institute, and they have no positive control.

Always a pleasure reading a post of yours.

Dale Husband said:

scripto said:

You would think Luskin would open up Evolution News and Views to comments, what with him being interested in teaching the controversy and all.

You just showed exactly why the Disco dudes are such a fraudulant farce!

They have “Uncommon Descent” which allows comments, but not if it’s inconvenient to their propaganda.

I’d be the last one they’d allow to comment because I’d ask Luskin if he agrees with his DI colleague Michael Behe that, “gaps” or not, humans share common ancestors with other species in a biologically continuous lineage going back billions of years. Luskin clearly wants his audience to disagree with that, but he also needs Behe, and people like him (e.g. PT’s Steve P.) under the big tent.

The irony is that, despite their increased pandering to the Jack Chick crowd, the only clear position offered by any DI person concedes almost everything to evolution.

So yes, Chick is a step up from Luskin.

Ah well, to all in big tents and purposes…

Charles Darwin: ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.’ Ch XIV ‘Recapitulation and Conclusion.’ pp463-465.

“On this doctrine of the extermination of an infintude of connecting links,… Why is not every geological formation charged with such links? Why does not every collection of fossil remains afford plain evidence of the gradation and mutation of the forms of life? We meet with no such evidence and this the most obvious and forcible of the many objections which may be urged against my theory…” Answer: “Only a small portion of the world has been geologically explored. Only organic beings of certain classes can be preserved in a fossil condition, at least in any great number. Widely ranging species vary most, and varieties are often at first local,- both causes rendering the discovery of intermediate links less likely. Local varieties will not spread into other and distant regions until they are considerably modified and improved; and when they do spread, if discovered in a geological formation, they will appear as if suddenly created there, and will simply be classed as a new species…”

Got it Luskin you bonehead? Darwin saw this a couple of hundred years ago; WAKE UP!!

I forgot who said it, but the person who introduced Casey Luskin as the Discovery Institute’s “spokesweasel” was right on the mark.

Roadrash548 said:

I forgot who said it, but the person who introduced Casey Luskin as the Discovery Institute’s “spokesweasel” was right on the mark.

“Methinks it is like a Luskin?”

Ouch!

Weasel? There otter be a law!

”.…playing the hoary old creationist ‘gaps in the fossil record’ tune.”

“Gaps” implies all other areas to support evolutionary change. But anyone who takes a little time to read-up on the subject will easily find many evolution authorities admitting that evolutionary change is not seen in the paleontological crust of the earth. Gould 2002 says the “literal signal” of the fossil record is abrupt appearance of species, enduring in a state of stasis, followed by abrupt disappearance.

Of course Gould has a different interpretation of “literal signal.” But the fact remains: special-separate creation-species immutability is seen and supported by scientific evidence.

Ray Martinez said:

Of course Gould has a different interpretation of “literal signal.” But the fact remains: special-separate creation-species immutability is seen and supported by scientific evidence.

You still will not impress us by lying, Ray. That, and why is it that you insist on a literal interpretation of the Bible, and yet, refuse to obey the Commandment against bearing false witness?

Ray Martinez said:

”.…playing the hoary old creationist ‘gaps in the fossil record’ tune.”

“Gaps” implies all other areas to support evolutionary change. But anyone who takes a little time to read-up on the subject will easily find many evolution authorities admitting that evolutionary change is not seen in the paleontological crust of the earth. Gould 2002 says the “literal signal” of the fossil record is abrupt appearance of species, enduring in a state of stasis, followed by abrupt disappearance.

Of course Gould has a different interpretation of “literal signal.” But the fact remains: special-separate creation-species immutability is seen and supported by scientific evidence.

So Ray, besides taking Gould totally out of context and utterly misrepresenting P.E., could you give at least a partial list of those “many evolution authorities” and some of the scientific evidence that supports “special-separate creation-species immutability?” No? I didn’t think so. Thanks anyway.

Keelyn said:

So Ray, besides taking Gould totally out of context and utterly misrepresenting P.E., could you give at least a partial list of those “many evolution authorities” and some of the scientific evidence that supports “special-separate creation-species immutability?” No? I didn’t think so. Thanks anyway.

He could thank us better by ceasing to post here altogether.

But that would be tantamount to wishing for the moon.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on April 13, 2010 12:07 PM.

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