WE’VE ALL SEEN that creationist flim-flammers do well when they’re preaching their “science” to audiences of fools, but how do they do when they get out into the real world? Not well, it seems. They’re essentially nowhere in the scientific community, nowhere in industry, agriculture, or medicine, nowhere in academia (other than bible colleges, where creationism is entirely appropriate), and nowhere in the cinema. They do, however, have a rap music offering, which you can listen to here: Atom Tha Immortal.
Outside of a few religious denominations — where their beliefs are their own business — the only arena where creationists have had any success is in elective politics. Many states, alas, have legislators like Ronda Storms in Florida, Ben Nevers in Louisiana, Bill Hardiman and John Moolenaar in Michigan, David Grimes in Alabama, Robert Wayne Cooper in Missouri, Michael Fair in South Carolina, and Steve Abrams in Kansas. There are also state-level school board officials like Kathy Martin in Kansas and Don McLeroy in Texas. Local school boards are likely to be infested with creationists. This is inevitable with “down-list” political contests where publicity is minimal and an enthusiastic band of supporters can put a creationist into what is regarded as a minor office.
We’d like to add to that long list of “nowheres” that creationists also nowhere in the world of litigation. Here are two recent examples:
First there is Kent Hovind, about whom we have previously written. See: Kent Hovind: Creationist Role Model. This now-imprisoned tax evader has just lost his appeal: United States of America versus Kent Hovind (PDF file). The opinion is 18 pages long, and the only interesting thing in there is how many not-so-clever ways Hovind tried to get around the clear evidence and legal consequences of his wrongdoing. He must have figured that he could flim-flam a federal appellate court as easily as he was accustomed to doing with his creationist followers.
It’s a per curiam decision, meaning “by the court,” which tells us that all three judges on the appellate panel concur in the opinion. No dissents. On page 7, after giving the factual background and the applicable standards of review, the court bluntly says:
Kent and Jo Hovind raise multiple issues for our consideration. Their arguments fail. We address each argument in turn.
And then follows a dreary list of failed arguments. Read it if you like. What we learn from it is this — creationists can’t apply the skills they use in creation “science” to jive their way out of a criminal conviction.
And then there’s the Dover case from three years ago, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, which the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) are still “appealing” in their own peculiar way.
No, their appeal isn’t in court, and there’s little scholarly debate about the case in the academic law reviews. This “appeal” is being conducted entirely by the losing side, alone, as they sit in their cubicles in Seattle writing blog articles about how Judge Jones somehow got everything wrong. Casey Luskin, our favorite Discoveroid, is actually re-arguing the “correctness” of the ID witnesses’ testimony.
This isn’t like some armchair general, arguing that Robert E. Lee should have handled things differently at the Battle of Gettysburg. Those are interesting arguments, and if Lee had done things differently, history may have had a different outcome. Perhaps if Lee hadn’t engaged on the third day, or if on that day he had attacked the Union flanks instead of the center, or maybe something else … These are decisions still worthy of discussion among military history buffs.
But that’s not what the Discoveroids are doing when they re-live the Dover trial over and over again. They’re arguing — to continue our Civil War analogy — in a way that no diehard devotee of the Lost Cause ever does. In effect, they’re claiming that Pickett’s Charge was absolutely the right thing to do, and it actually carried the day. Lee was victorious, but everyone there was somehow too stupid to realize it, and now history has made a bad judgment call.
It’s been sad, really, watching Casey flailing about with his silly blog articles. Here’s an example — the first in Casey’s dreary series: How Kenneth Miller Used Smoke-and-Mirrors to Misrepresent Michael Behe on the Irreducible Complexity of the Blood-Clotting Cascade (Part 1). Want more? Here’s the second part, and here’s the third.
Your Curmudgeon has watched Casey’s series appear at the Discoveroid blog, and we’ve ignored it. There are two reasons for this. First, we don’t know enough about the “blood-clotting cascade” to discuss it at a professional level. Casey doesn’t either, but creationists don’t know what they don’t know. We could have taken the time to become familiar enough with the subject to deal with it, but the second reason we’ve ignored his series is because Casey’s articles don’t mean anything anyway. The world of science ignores the Discoveroids, and as for those who cling to whatever the Discoveroids have to say, see: Creationists: Ignorant, Stupid, Insane, or Wicked.
But now Casey’s alternate history and alternate biology series has been slammed — hard! — and rightfully so. As noted here at Panda’s Thumb, Ken Miller, lead scientific witness for the winning side in the Dover trial, has published an absolutely devastating rebuttal to Casey’s series. Miller’s article is here: Smoke and Mirrors. It’s splendid, and well worth your time to read it.
Will Miller’s powerful and irrefutable rebuttal ruin Casey’s reputation? To properly answer that, you must forgive us as we indulge in an internet cliche: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!
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