A bit of background is required here. Everyone’s favorite creationist, Casey Luskin, was recently speaking at some creationist event. During a heated exchange with Abbie Smith, which she later described here: Casey Luskin, Abbie flipped a bird at Casey.
Upon experiencing this “Darwinist” atrocity, Casey did the blogging equivalent of bursting into tears and collapsing on the fainting couch. He produced an amazing narrative which appeared on the Discoveroid blog: Civility of Darwinists Lacking at Academic Freedom on Evolution Event in Oklahoma. The picture which adorns this post is our subtle commemoration of that event.
It’s Casey Luskin again. At the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids), we find his latest offering: A Primer on the Tree of Life (Part 1). Casey says, with bold font added by us:
Evolutionists often claim that universal common ancestry and the “tree of life” are established facts. One recent opinion article in argued, “The evidence that all life, plants and animals, humans and fruit flies, evolved from a common ancestor by mutation and natural selection is beyond theory. It is a fact. Anyone who takes the time to read the evidence with an open mind will join scientists and the well-educated.”
We left out the link and a footnote from that paragraph. Casey continues:
The take-home message is that if you doubt Darwin’s tree of life, you’re ignorant. No one wants to be ridiculed, so it’s a lot easier to buy the rhetoric and “join scientists and the well-educated.”
We agree with that first sentence, but the second isn’t quite true. Casey, for example, doesn’t mind being ridiculed. We continue:
But what is the evidence for their claim, and how much of it is based upon assumptions? The truth is that common ancestry is merely an assumption that governs interpretation of the data, not an undeniable conclusion, and whenever data contradicts expectations of common descent, evolutionists resort to a variety of different ad hoc rationalizations to save common descent from being falsified.
That’s Casey’s standard line — scientific conclusions are all a matter of assumptions. But wait! Casey mentions data that contradicts those expectations. Perhaps we’re finally going to learn about the long-suppressed anti-Darwin evidence to which the creationists so often allude, but somehow never produce. Let us read on:
Some of these ad hoc rationalizations may appear reasonable — horizontal gene transfer, convergent evolution, differing rates of evolution (rapid evolution is conveniently said to muddy any phylogenetic signal), fusion of genomes — but at the end of the day, we must call them what they are: ad hoc rationalizations designed to save a theory that has already been falsified.
You gotta love Casey! The theory of evolution has already been falsified! Who knew? Let’s read some more:
Because it is taken as an assumption, evolutionists effectively treat common ancestry in an unfalsifiable and unscientific fashion, where any data that contradicts the expectations of common descent is simply explained away via one of the above ad hoc rationalizations. But if we treat common descent as it ought to be treated — as a testable hypothesis — then it contradicts much data.
Okay, we can’t take any more. Casey hints that he’s going to be posting a Part 2, and perhaps — finally — the data that contradicts evolution will be presented. But even if it is, remember Casey’s dictum: It’s all based upon one’s assumptions.
For another view of things — the Curmudgeon’s own — consider an earlier post of ours: Where Are The Anachronistic Fossils? One brief excerpt:
I want to see something that had to be specially created — perhaps a Pegasus — a species that can’t fit into the tree of life. In other words, if evolution theory is wrong and species exist that couldn’t possibly have evolved, then show me the evidence!
Anyway, we breathlessly await Casey’s Part 2 — the thundering conclusion to his brilliant creationist research. We promise to keep an open mind.
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