Saturday, April 18, 2009

Casey [Luskin] at the Bat

In my opinion that is exactly what it looks like. Oh I am sure that Casey will spin a different story. Here is the story I caught off of PZ Myers Pharyngula blog. A Molecular Immunologist from Ireland, named Rhiggs, engaged in an email exchange with the DI's own 'lawyer-playing-at-scientist' Casey Luskin. "Casey Luskin Email Debate"

Well to his credit Casey volunteered to enter this debate, that is he stepped up to the plate when Mr. Rhiggs asked:

"I am aware of the multitude of publications on ID and related topics. However, on reading these I haven't found any direct research which has provided positive evidence of ID. It seems to be more philosophy-based. Surely someone has done some actual experiments to verify the claims of the ID community as opposed to simply casting doubt on other theories. I would be interested in reading about them. Could you please direct me to the appropriate sources?"
Well needless to say, Casey did what the Di does and produced a diatribe long on claims and poor on detail, style over substance. I guess he's not used to actually having people question him in great detail on his claims. Well Casey offers 4 main areas:
(1) An explanation of the "positive case for design"
(2) An explanation of how ID uses the scientific method, a positive method of making scientific claims
(3) A listing of much peer-reviewed research supporting ID, presenting much data that represents research done by ID proponents supporting ID's claims
(4) Some of the pro-ID experimental research is specifically discussed . . .
He followed each of his ideas with links to source material, most of it on the DI's own websites or the IDEA Center, a site that pretty much parrots the DI, and if you look at the IDEA center's Advisory board you might recognize a few names:
We are pleased to announce that our Advisory Board includes: John Baumgardner, Michael Behe, William Dembski, Mark Hartwig, Phillip Johnson, Jay Wesley Richards, Dennis Wagner, and Jonathan Wells. (
However, Mr. Rhiggs took exception to his claims and his links.
"I have gone to the links you sent me and despite your claim that "there is much positive, research-based evidence for ID", I have failed to find any. The link you sent me to "peer-reviewed research supporting ID, presenting much data that represents research done by ID proponents supporting ID's claims" DOES NOT present much data. It predominantly presents essays from ID proponents in which they 'argue' for a central ID idea, although they never seem to 'show' that this idea is correct, thus they cannot and should not 'conclude' that ID is the best explanation."
So what does Casey do, he 'interprets' and changes the subject.
"I am puzzled by your reply. You stated "I have failed to find any" research supporting ID. But then you stated that the pages "DOES NOT present much data," and it seemed like you were saying that there is some, but not "much." I just wanted to clarify and allow you to explain what you are trying to say: are you saying there is "not any" research, or potentially "some" research supporting ID?"
See what I mean? Instead of dealing with Mr. Rhiggs criticisms of the data presented, he attempts to change the subject and locks onto just a couple of words and tries to get Rhiggs to agree that there is some evidence. He then does what he does best and repeat mantras with little to no understanding of the topic. However Mr. Rhiggs doesn't fall for it. He quotes chapter and verse back at Casey.

"Let me first clear up the confusion over whether I think there is NO or SOME evidence for ID. Having read the link you sent me in your original email that you described as containing…

“…peer-reviewed research supporting ID, presenting much data that represents research done by ID proponents supporting ID's claims”

…I did not find any data that provides positive evidence for ID, thus I worded my response that this link ‘DOES NOT present much data’ because this is what YOU claimed (see the bold letters in your original sentence). My position is that there is definitely NO evidence. You may disagree, but in my opinion, review-type articles which discuss others work and make new arguments are NOT evidence of the arguments in their own right. These arguments need to be validated by experimentation . . ."

His reply goes much further and once again takes Casey's comments apart piece by piece. Then a month goes by and he doesn't hear from Casey again. So he sends him a reminder and Casey takes once last wimpy little swing:
Hi again—thanks for your kind reply. I assure you that I don’t ignore arguments. You don’t know me and I am not that kind of person. In fact, I’ve been traveling a lot for work lately, but in the last week over the course of 2 long plane flights I’ve managed to find time to work on replying to you. I’m nearly done with the reply and I hope to finish it on another flight I have later this week. FYI, my reply is already over 5000 words, and it begins by saying, “Greetings after an undesired delay on my part. I appreciate the time you took in your extensive reply. Because you put in so much time, you deserve a reply. I apologize that it took a while to reply--I've been busy a lot over the past couple weeks, including much traveling, and in fact I'm finally getting some free time now that I'm on a flight.” Thanks again—I hope you will hear from me soon.
The fun part are the dates, Casey's last reply was over 13 months ago . . . and then NOTHING!

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville--great Casey has struck out.
(Casey at the Bat 1888)

While I hate using the word 'great' when discussing Casey Luskin, but I do like the fact he took three swings, and missed on each one. Then he apparently tucked his pride between his legs and ran away.


  1. Hi Ted,

    Nice synopsis of my encounter with Luskin.

    Your blog looks good too. I'll be back!