Casey Luskin Pretzels Himself

Until today we’ve been ignoring the dozens of posts about Casey’s New Book that have appeared at the blog of the neo-Luddite, neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

All those Discoveroid posts have either been praise from Casey himself or from other Discoveroids, or else they’ve been frantic efforts to defend the book against those in the real world who bothered to criticize it. But today’s post by Casey is worth mentioning because it’s really funny. The title is McBride Misstates My Arguments in Science and Human Origins. He begins with this, and we’ve left out his links:

I will now conclude my response to Paul McBride’s rebuttal to my chapter “Human Origins and the Fossil Record,” in Science and Human Origins. We’ll see how McBride misrepresents my thesis.

Because we’ve ignored Casey’s book (despite the impressive fact that it’s published by the Discovery Institute Press), we’ve paid no attention to either McBride’s criticism or to Casey’s previous rebuttals thereof. The posts in our humble blog, going back more than four years, provide ample evidence of our opinion of Casey’s work, so we automatically assume that McBride’s criticisms are infinitely more valid than Casey’s attempts to evade them.

We’re going to skip over McBride’s first two points and instead we’ll jump right to third. Casey labels that one “Misrepresenting My Conclusion,” about which Casey says:

McBride closes his review by stating:

[Casey quotes McBride:] Luskin’s case to reject common descent is thoroughly unconvincing, and he gives little cause to make an exception for humans. In addition, if the hominin fossil record is so definitively problematic there should be a testable alternative framework by which we can interpret what we do find. And what is this alternative? Luskin does not propose one. I can only imagine we are meant to tacitly know. The graceful hand of the Intelligent Designer was involved in our Special Creation, and the rest is mere detail.

Nicely put. Here’s Casey’s response, with bold font added by us:

McBride is correct that I did not propose an alternative explanation, but that was not the purpose of my article. He goes on to misstate my thesis. In his telling, my argument in the book is this: “The graceful hand of the Intelligent Designer was involved in our Special Creation, and the rest is mere detail.”

That wasn’t Casey’s argument? Then what, pray tell, could it have been? Let’s read on:

Of course my chapter says nothing of the kind. It’s simply a scientific critique of the mainstream scientific viewpoint on human evolution. There’s nothing about “special creation” or even like a scientific alternative view like intelligent design.

Are we supposed to believe that Casey wrote a book with other Discoveroids, which was published by the Discoveroids and praised by the Discoveroids, and which has virtually dominated the Discoveroid blog for months — but it wasn’t about intelligent design? Somehow, we are skeptical. Casey continues:

If McBride is so quick to emphasize the possibility that “The graceful hand of the Intelligent Designer was involved in our Special Creation,” then perhaps he thinks the evidence I raised in my chapter suggests that.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Here’s more:

McBride is welcome to draw any such inferences that he likes, but that’s not the argument I made in this book.

All right, Casey. This is your chance to clear things up. You’ve told us what your argument wasn’t. Now tell us: What was your argument?

Casey says:

Internet evolutionists who are excited about McBride review of our book will, I hope, take a second and more critical look at his critique. McBride didn’t deal with the vast majority of my arguments, and on those points where he did respond he fell short of engaging my position. In one case, he cites a paper that supports my thesis, not his. And he overstates or misstates my argument in multiple places.

Come on, Casey — we’re waiting. Tell us what you were trying to say!

Okay, here it comes, right at the conclusion:

At the end of the day, I leave this exchange more confident than before that the evidence supports the abrupt appearance of our genus Homo.

Oh — abrupt appearance. But of course, the book isn’t about creationism.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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24 responses to “Casey Luskin Pretzels Himself

  1. Will their divinity neutral reverse engineering strategy ultimately lead to the release of a “honestly, this isn’t the bible” version of the bible that has all references to god replaced with TBA place holders?

  2. Casey is correct on every point, especially the one that “abrupt appearance” is not creationism. It most assuredly is not!

    “Sudden appearance” is creationism. “Sudden,” not “abrupt.”

    Perhaps English is a second language for kiwi McBride which explains his confusion.

    You guys are going to drive me to make a “Leave Casey Alone!” video. You can find the template I’m going to use at YouTube under “leave britney alone.” Enjoy and remember, LEAVE CASEY ALONE! HE’S JUST A GERBIL! A HELPLESS, LITTLE, FURRY GERBIL. HIS EYEBROWS AREN’T BAD, THEY’RE JUST DRAWN THAT WAY!!!

  3. SC said:

    But of course, the book isn’t about creationism.

    No, it’s about intelligent design. There’s a HUGE difference between ID and creationism. Vast. Colossal. Big. And HUGE. Ya see, ID is about an “intelligent designer” who suddenly makes things appear; “creationism” is about God who suddenly makes things appear. I hope this clears up any confusion.

  4. Gabriel Hanna

    It’s the usual-try to cast doubt on the Darwinian version of events, but suggest nothing scientific to replace it. It’s a strategy of FUD.

  5. Gabriel Hanna says: “It’s a strategy of FUD.”

    The new term is “strengths and weaknesses.”

  6. Ceteris Paribus

    Casey says:

    McBride didn’t deal with the vast majority of my arguments, and on those points where he did respond he fell short of engaging my position.

    Ah, yes, sounds familiar. Casey admits in public that he used the tactic of introducing multiple arguments faster than a whole battalion of clowns exiting a mini-car in the center ring of the circus.

    Other,,wise known as the “Gish Gallop” debate tactic, invented by creationist Duane Gish, who would then proclaim victory in any debate where the opponent of course would not be able to answer all of Gish’s points in the alotted time.

    I call a foul on Casey for not giving proper credit to Gish as the originator of the ploy. But that’s the way it goes – creationists do not like to acknowledge common ancestors, and each of them likes to believe they were specially created for their work.

  7. McBride is correct that I did not propose an alternative explanation, but that was not the purpose of my article. He goes on to misstate my thesis…

    Let’s assume for a minute that’s true. How does it feel, Casey? Creationists accuse Darwin of claiming “something came from nothing,” which he neither stated nor implied. Darwin did not propose an alternative explanation for the origins of life, because that was not his purpose. Evolution concerns the speciation of existing life. How ironic that someone associated with the DI is accusing another of “misstating” a “thesis.” Turnabout is fair play. Pardon us for not being especially sympathetic to this particular outrage.

  8. Watching a lawyer writing on science can be about as disturbing as engaging an accountant to perform neurosurgery.

    Luskin’s specious claims here remind me of a local election for Sheriff some years back in York County SC (back of beyond, but not without its charm). Let’s call the candidates ‘Smith’ and ‘Jones.’ Smith plastered the county with posters reading, “VOTE SMITH! WE DON’T NEED A SHERIFF WITH A DRINK PROBLEM!”

    Did Smith actually say Jones was an alcoholic here? Not by the lights of Luskin Logic — Smith said “nothing of the kind.”

    The Discoveroids only want to ‘defeat materialism’, and brandishers of any and all varieties of Woo are their tactical allies — but they have to avoid any discussion about specific Woo (which is why they never call out the YEC’s, or highlight Westboro Baptists as fellow ‘dissenters from Darwin).

    And one wonders just how they envision a world in which their Wedge Strategy had actually succeeded in ‘displacing materialism.’ Whatever their fantasies of such a world might be, there can be little doubt what the reality would be: a return to the religous wars of the 17th century and lots of ‘My god can beat up your god’ bloodshed

  9. The whole truth

    What a useless, destructive existence luskin and his IDiot comrades are entombed in by being eager, chronic, professional liars.

  10. Gabriel Hanna wrote: nothing scientific to replace it

    May I suggest a slight modification:

    nothing to replace it

  11. Watching a lawyer writing on science can be about as disturbing as engaging an accountant to perform neurosurgery.

    Well put, Megalonyx. In as much fairness as I can generate regarding Casey, I think he believes that he’s put the matter to rest, and in a court of law he’d probably be right: “This scenario cannot possibly be true, and my client must be innocent, because of this, this and this,” thereby raising reasonable doubt.

    Unfortunately for Casey and the rest of the discotuters, the raising of reasonable doubt isn’t sufficient in the scientific world. Once you’ve raised the doubt, you have to offer an alternative solution to whatever question is being investigated, and show how your answer makes more and more accurate predictions. Most importantly, you have to show your work: the methods you used, the results you obtained, and the conclusions you’ve drawn, because there are always more scientists out there who might just think they have an even better answer than yours.

    The IDiots fail at this, of course, because they have no theory, formulate no hypotheses, do no experiments, and draw their conclusion (there’s only one possible conclusion to an IDiot–the one he or she started with) by means of rectal extraction. Oh, sure, they use sciencey-sounding words, and pretend to be doing scientific things; but SC had them pegged long ago as nothing more than a PR firm attempting to sneak creationism into the public education system.

  12. Casey says: McBride didn’t deal with the vast majority of my arguments, and on those points where he did respond he fell short of engaging my position.

    That’s total bullsh*t, or, to use an equivalent but more polite term, total Discoveroid. The only thing Casey can do to defend his book of lies is to lie about those who expose his lies.

    It is, however, greatly amusing to witness the DI flailing away in defense. Clearly they did not expect the sort of chapter-by-chapter detailed analysis that McBride authored to appear almost immediately after the book was published, and for that analysis to be linked to so widely and discussed by so many others. Had they remained silent, their readers would no doubt have never heard of it since they most likely do not read science blogs, however that’s not something the DI is capable of doing.

    The DI’s actions remind me a lot of David Barton, who lies about history while claiming that actual historians are the liars. Or the various anti-vaxxers, who lie about medical matters while claiming that doctors and medical researchers are the ones who are lying. The only difference between these cranks and the DI is that the DI is better funded and organized, and has been at it a little longer.

  13. Ed remarks on

    …the various anti-vaxxers, who lie about medical matters while claiming that doctors and medical researchers are the ones who are lying

    Indeed — and it is worth noting here that Phillip E. Johnson, lawyer, born-again Christian, and Father of the Wedge Strategy, is also noted for his published insistence that the HIV virus is not the cause of AIDS.

    These folks really don’t have much time for reality….

  14. McBrides review is still the top review at Amazon.

    I also find it amusing that Casey classifies his book exactly as Judge Jones did in Dover. Little more than a critique of Evolution without any substance of their own theory.

  15. Gabriel Hanna

    Pete Moulten: in a court of law he’d probably be right: “This scenario cannot possibly be true, and my client must be innocent…

    …because a) he was at his mother-in-law’s house and nowhere near the scene of the murder on the night in question, b) the so-called victim clearly attacked him, making it a case of self-defense and not murder, and c) we have shown conclusively that the victim was killed elsewhere and the body moved to where our client happened to innocently stumble upon it. The defense rests.”

    This is the Discoveroid strategy. Their case against evolution quibbles over facts in isolation, but you can’t put the objections together into any coherent picture of what happened when.

  16. Megalonyx says: “Watching a lawyer writing on science can be about as disturbing as engaging an accountant to perform neurosurgery.”

    Don’t judge all lawyers by the behavior of those retained by the Discoveroids. Remember, there were all those Supreme Court cases where the creationists went down in flames — those cases were won by lawyers (and lost by lawyers on the wrong side). And more recently, the Kitzmiller case was won by well-informed lawyers — and Judge Jones is a lawyer too. Ditto in the Coppedge case — JPL is being defended by lawyers.

  17. SC:Don’t judge all lawyers by the behavior of those retained by the Discoveroids.

    Yes, x% of lawyers win cases for their clients and (100% – x%) lose them. They get paid either way and are often perceived as colluding together the better to bill their clients. It is this mercenary quality that gives lawyers their dubious reputation.

  18. Gabriel Hanna says: “It is this mercenary quality that gives lawyers their dubious reputation.”

    Those on the side we don’t like are indeed perceived as mercenaries. But they’re mostly committed to one side or the other, and they rarely switch back and forth from side to side. Those who vigorously defend creationists are unlikely to seek clients on the other side, and vice versa. So that’s not mercenary behavior, strictly speaking. It’s rare that someone’s ideology is always available to the highest bidder.

    Yes, many criminal defense lawyers got their training as prosecutors, and then they go on to make a career of defending criminals. Well, white-collar criminals can afford to pay well, and somebody’s got to defend them, so whatcha gonna do? But although I have no statistics, I don’t think that’s common throughout the profession.

  19. @SC: Probably isn’t common, but it’s the perception.

  20. Regarding the title of this post, “Casey Pretzels Himself.”
    Could this be what is euphemistically referred to as “code?”
    [Insert winky face here.]

  21. NeonNoodle asks:

    Could this be what is euphemistically referred to as “code?”

    I’m not responsible for your wicked thoughts.

  22. Its a somewhat lesser but still important point that Luskin provides no direct link back to McBride’s actual review. The link in the term “rebuttal” doesn’t lead to it, it leads to a McBride rebuttal of Jonathan McLatchie’s comments.
    No real content analysis of Casey’s post is necessary: you can pretty much throw the whole thing out based on lack of citation and incorrect citation. You cannot trust a guy who does not cite the document he is (supposedly) responding to.

  23. Curmy enjoins:

    Don’t judge all lawyers by the behavior of those retained by the Discoveroids.

    Full agreement on that; my post wasn’t a jibe at lawyers doing law, but at lawyers ‘doing’ science as if they were scientists. Luskin’s background in geology (and one wonders what prompted him to move from that discipline into law?) does not qualify him to practise science, though his personal religious convictions do prompt him to shill as an advocate of the anti-science Wedge strategy.

  24. William Harvey (the guy who discovered the circulation of blood) said that Francis Bacon “wrote science like a Lord Chancellor”.