Creationism and the Real World

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!

Addendum: If you can handle more Discoveroid parts splattered all over the place, here’s Ken Miller’s Part Two And here’s the third and final part: Looking Forward.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “Creationism and the Real World

  1. 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.

    And a Righteous bitch-slapping it is!

    Miller’s rebuttal is a microcosm of the Dover Trial, and amply illustrates why the “cdesign proponentsists” got their asses handed to them: when it comes to science, they are full of crap. And mendacious misrepresentation of their position, as well as that of their opponents, serves them poorly.

    Casey Luskin has been bitch slapped so many times now, he reminds me of the hunter who ventures into the woods, only to encounter a bear which proceeds to rip his gun out of his hands, tear his clothes to shreds, and sodomizes the hunter. Next day, the hunter is back in the same place — and the same bear disarms, disrobes, and has his way with him again. On the thid day, the hunter yet again repeats the process …. as the bear is tearing the hunter’s clothes off for the third time, he pauses, turns to the hunter and says:

    “Say, you don’t really come here for the hunting, do you?”

    And so it seems with Casey Luskin — perhaps he likes getting bitch slapped by real scientists?

  2. Longie says: “And so it seems with Casey Luskin — perhaps he likes getting bitch slapped by real scientists?”

    Yes, he probably likes it. I imagine that he sees himself as a genuine player in the great game of science. People like Ken Miller take the time to respond to his scribblings. He gets to rub shoulders with “giants” like Behe and Wells. Casey is probably a happy man.

  3. I know it’s early, but after seeing how he was shredded in part two of the series, I’m going ahead and nominating Luskin for the Curmudeon’s coveted “Serial-Raped Hunter” Award – 2009.

    He, like the hunter, must get some sort of perverse pleasure out of his own humiliation and suffering at the hands of those more powerful than himself.

  4. Longie says: I know it’s early, but after seeing how he was shredded in part two of the series, I’m going ahead and nominating Luskin for the Curmudeon’s coveted “Serial-Raped Hunter” Award – 2009.

    I wouldn’t want to discourage the lad. What if he quit? I like him where he is, doing what he does. Until he gets fired, or their funding dries up, we’ll always have amusing material to work with. Besides, he’d probably just feed on the attention.

  5. Longie, I’ll just have to second that nomination. At this point I suspect there will be no other nominations so, Curmy, you might as well hand Luskin his prize, a pair of pink patent leather buttless chaps.

  6. Longie, I’ll just have to second that nomination. At this point I suspect there will be no other nominations so, Curmy, you might as well hand Luskin his prize, a pair of pink patent leather buttless chaps.

    While I appreciate the seconding of Luskin’s nomination for Serial-Raped Hunter of the Year, I must resist the temptation to award him the coveted prize by acclamation just yet. After all, there are many other worthy anti-Evolutionists out there for have 360 remaining days in which to out do Luskin’s achievement for inviting intellectual mugging, not the least of which is the infamous Creationist Kent Hovind, who will be spending the balance of this year behind bars in prison for his tax-evasion conviction.

    If anyone on the Creationist side is likely to accumulate an impressive record of inviting Serial rape — intellectual or otherwise — it ought to be the convicted felon Hovind. In deference to same, we must withhold our final ballots until the end of the year.

  7. Longie says: “… we must withhold our final ballots until the end of the year.”

    There are so many candidates. Texas has Don McLeroy, Florida has Ronda Storms. They’re all over the place. Besides, I already have the burden of administering the coveted “Buffoon Award,” which has previously been won by Casey’s boss, John West.

  8. mightyfrijoles

    Curmy wrote:
    “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.”

    What they haven’t learned is to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. But these people all think they are above everything including the law. So they pay and complain. Well, Hovind’s “specialness” got him where he is today and where he deserves to be and it closed him down. Another plus.

  9. “Local school boards are likely to be infested with creationists.”
    Remember as well, that they don’t want “the system” to work. A bunch of them are against public schooling. This means that if they win they get creationism in public schools, and if they lose they cripple their district with legal fees defending their bad decisions from the inevitable lawsuits.