Monday, August 23, 2010

Luskin wiffs again . . . and again . . . and again.

Over on The Skeptical Teacher blog is a terrific article, but I just wish Matt hadn't had to go through listening to Casey Luskin to write it. I mean there had to have been something better to do like clipping toenails, weeding, or smashing your own fingers with a hammer. In other words Matt is braver than I. I'm not sure I could listen to Luskin with a straight face.

OK, well here is a link to "My Thoughts on Attending Casey Luskin’s Intelligent Design Talk at the University Club of Chicago". The title is kinda long, and so is the post -- but it's a great read.

Luskin seems to be the point man for testing out new tactics. I mean who better than a lawyer to play word games. He explains his role as someone who can help teachers teach evolution "more objectively". Anyone else see this as nothing more than an extension of the 'teach the controversy', teach all sides', 'free speech' and 'academic freedom' tactics. What Matt says, and I agree is that they are searching for the right phrase that will allow them to slip their pseudo-science under the radar. But no much how much mayo you use, pseudo-science is still pseudo-science.

Luskin then stays true to the Discovery Institute script and alludes to ID proponents being discriminated against or censored. I almost wish it were true, but it is nothing but another tactic. Let me put it this way, along the same way Matt put it, is it censorship or discrimination to teach Astrology in an Astronomy class? No! Teaching a non-science viewpoint is not being discriminatory or censoring anyone. You do not teach English in Math class, why would you teach theology in science class? You wouldn't and, more importantly, you shouldn't!

Little casey also tries to make the claim that ID is being distorted by the media and that simply because of their unwillingness to name the designer, they should be accepted as science. Uh . . . didn't Phillip E. Johnson name the designer? Didn't Michael Behe? Didn't Bruce Chapman? Yes, but since they did not do it 'officially' it's O.K. to claim that they haven't identified the designer. It certainly didn't stop them from saying so in the "Wedge Document". It sure didn't stop a Federal Court from calling it Creationism by any other name in the Dover Trial.

Casey also knows well how to LIE! Apparently he also referenced a paper by Stephen C. Meyer that was central to the Sternberg Peer Review Controversy. Of course, does Luskin mention that the peer-reviewed paper he just referenced was pulled because it did not go through an actual peer review? No, that would be something called honesty. Something I am not sure Luskin understands.

He then goes on to do more mis-direction and keeps trying to tie known man-made objects as a comparison to so-called designer-done. This argument has been tried over and over again and it doesn't work for one very simply reason, the appearance of design is not proof of design! I bet Casey never actually reads a book, he just looks at the covers and calls himself an expert on the contents.

I really like Matt's Test for Design Inference:

1. Take two sets of a dozen drinking glasses.

2. Drop one set from a significant height into a clear plastic box so that they smash apart into a random jumble of broken glass at the bottom of the box. This is the “naturally caused” pile of broken glass.

3. Take the second set of glasses and break them up with a hammer or whatnot in a very specific manner and then place the pieces into the bottom of a second box so that the pile of broken glass appears random. This will be the “intelligently designed” pile of broken glass.

4. Do all of this out of view of the ID-proponents (the test must be blinded), and then ask them to apply their method to identify the “naturally caused” pile from the “intelligently designed” pile. Of course, the entire procedure would have to be performed many times to get a correct read on the statistics.

5. If there really is something to the ID method of “inferring design”, then the ID-proponents should be able to determine correctly the “intelligently designed” piles of glass at a rate significantly higher than chance (well over 50%).

The fact that I’ve never seen any ID-proponent perform, or even seriously suggest, such a blinded test of their design inference methods speaks volumes, folks. And remember: they’ve been at this for 20 YEARS!

He . . . OH I have had enough. Please read the article, it is great, especially Matt's comments. Luskin does no more than the normal parroting the DI party line and adds nothing new. of course he fails to mention many things like how ID has added nothing to science, or how "Complex Specified Information" and "Irreducible Complexity" have absolutely no support. He even manages to quote-mine Richard Dawkins for God's sake. I really don't see how Matt put up with it. Casey Luskin is a mouthpiece and not a very effective one, he apparently had a real hard time addressing any actual questions and got frustrated at some point and did a standard attack on Judge Jones, the judge in the Dover Trial.

Nothing new, but Matt's takedowns are well worth the read!

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