Discovery Institute: Casey Luskin is Behe’s Parakeet


Isn’t he cute?

We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Ken Miller’s “Only a Theory” Misquotes Michael Behe on Irreducible Complexity of the Blood Clotting Cascade, which appears at the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). From the long, graceless title, you can tell it’s by Casey Luskin, everyone’s favorite creationist. Casey says, with bold font added by us:

Recently, I posted responses to some errors in Kenneth Miller’s book Only a Theory and promised to end the series with a look at Dr. Miller’s treatment of the irreducible complexity of the blood clotting cascade.

If you’re not familiar with it, we posted briefly about Miller’s book last year when it first came out: “Only a Theory” by Kenneth R. Miller. That has a link to the book at Amazon.

Casey then links to some of his earlier posts at the Discoveroid blog in which he attempted to critique Miller’s testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. We’re certain that the scientific world studied those in detail. Or maybe not. Casey is so unsuited to discuss science that we suspect he’s baffled about unraveling of a roll of paper in the bathroom.

Let’s read on in Casey’s article:

Those posts showed that in his Dover trial testimony, Dr. Miller misrepresented Michael Behe’s arguments regarding irreducible complexity and the BCC.

Ah yes, Michael Behe, one of the intellectual giants of the ID movement. His colleagues at Lehigh University are so impressed that they issued this statement: Department Position on Evolution and “Intelligent Design” to distance themselves from Behe’s infamy. If you want to see the powerful effect that Behe’s testimony had in the Dover litigation, see: Kitzmiller v. Dover: Michael Behe’s Testimony.

Behe’s claims about the the blood clotting cascade are of such titanic importance to the Discoveroids that they now refer to this allegedly mysterious phenomenon by the initials “BCC” — that’s vital to know if you hang around with Discoveroids. Casey then goes through a torturous argument defending Behe’s claims about the BCC, and attacking Miller’s alleged errors.

Verily, as Thomas Huxley was known as Darwin’s Bulldog, Casey has become Behe’s parakeet.

We don’t want to disappoint you, but we cannot continue with Casey’s article. It’s just too convoluted. But if you like, click over to the Discoveroid blog and read the whole thing. Casey has been waging a lonely, single-handed campaign to re-argue the Dover case, and this is the latest installment in that sad and futile effort. We discussed an earlier phase at the end of this post: Creationism and the Real World, and that has a link to a devastating reply by Miller.

If you’re a fan of Casey’s, you’ll be thrilled to know that he promises to post further installments at the Discoveroid blog. We plan to ignore them.

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

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14 responses to “Discovery Institute: Casey Luskin is Behe’s Parakeet

  1. Hmmm. Budgerigar – pretty good eating

  2. Gabriel Hanna

    Behe’s own testimony was probably the most important reason the Dover trial went the way it did.

    His willingness to accept intelligent design based on no research whatever, coupled with his refusal to accept evolutionary mechanisms despite being confronted with textbooks and papers all dealing with that, and his assertion, “I haven’t read them but they won’t satisfy me as evidence”, is what convinced the judge that the ID project is not scientifically honest.

  3. Gabriel Hanna

    The immune system is the third system to which Professor Behe has applied the definition of irreducible complexity. Although in Darwin’s Black Box, Professor Behe wrote that not only were there no natural explanations for the immune system at the time, but that natural explanations were impossible regarding its origin. (P-647 at 139; 2:26-27 (Miller)). However, Dr. Miller presented peer-reviewed studies refuting Professor Behe’s claim that the immune system was irreducibly complex. Between 1996 and 2002, various studies confirmed each element of the evolutionary hypothesis explaining the origin of the immune system. (2:31 (Miller)). In fact, on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fifty-eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not “good enough.” (23:19 (Behe)).

    We find that such evidence demonstrates that the ID argument is dependent upon setting a scientifically unreasonable burden of proof for the theory of evolution. As a further example, the test for ID proposed by both Professors Behe and Minnich is to grow the bacterial flagellum in the laboratory; however, no-one inside or outside of the IDM, including those who propose the test, has conducted it. (P-718; 18:125-27 (Behe); 22:102-06 (Behe)). Professor Behe conceded that the proposed test could not approximate real world conditions and even if it could, Professor Minnich admitted that it would merely be a test of evolution, not design. (22:107-10 (Behe); 2:15 (Miller); 38:82 (Minnich)).

  4. Gabriel Hanna says: “Behe’s own testimony was probably the most important reason the Dover trial went the way it did.”

    And remember, Behe is probably the best they’ve got. No one knows more about “irreducible complexity” and “purposeful arrangement of parts” than he does. Well, there’s not much to know, but all that stuff comes from him, and it’s the guts of ID. If he can’t make a go of it, the game’s over.

  5. Note to Casey in the rare case that he’s interested in reading any constructive criticism:

    Let’s ignore for the moment whether Behe is right or wrong about evolution or the BCC. As you know, he’s in 100% agreement wih mainstream science about the ~4 billion year history of life and common descent. As you also know, no other DI fellow, not even those who seem to disagree with him, are so clear about their position on those central claims of biology. So if you don’t like being called his “parakeet”, and think he’s wrong on one or both of those issues, here’s you chance to do what real scientists do, and challenge him directly.

    Oh, and Mike, if you’re reading, the offer stands to you to challenge Casey and any other DI person you think is wrong (e.g. “YEC” Nelson).

  6. Tired of the waah.

    However, this article from pubmed made me smile… because it is from the journal *bj reviews* (no lie!)$=relatedreviews&logdbfrom=pubmed


    Ok, seriously, it really is a decent article. *giggle*

  7. Can’t get in to read it.

  8. Is Behe’s parakeet a more potent and dangerous foe than an attack gerbil?

    The answer of course is no, they are one and the same and the only threat Luskin presents is to himself. Perhaps he should be put in protective custody?

    Anyone have an extra straitjacket handy? (I’d lend him mine, but I’m currently using it.)

  9. omg. attack gerbil? please tell me you saw the South Park with pan-flute deportation and attack gerbils a la Cloverfield…


  10. Curmie, I’m happy to send you the pdf.

  11. Great minds and all that:

    I, too, couldn’t be bother with the convoluted exigesis Luskin is trying to sell but focused on the whine that Miller failed to live up to the “principle of charitable reading” and suppoedly ignored or miscomprehended the contexts of Behe’s claims or the distinctions he made, generally construing Behe’s argument in the worst way possible.

    In other words, supposedly doing exactly what Luskin and the other discoveryless crew make their stock in trade.

    Oh, and if you think that Behe’s testimony at Dover was the worst thing he’s done to the ID movement, you’ve got another think coming.

  12. LRA, thanks, but there’s no need. I don’t have time do do what I do now. One less article to read is a blessing.

  13. John Pieret wrote: “Oh, and if you think that Behe’s testimony at Dover was the worst thing he’s done to the ID movement, you’ve got another think coming.”

    Maybe, but in terms of bad publicity it’s hard to top his admissions that (1) science would have to include astrology if it included ID, and (2) that the designer might no longer exist.

  14. Gabriel Hanna

    Maybe, but in terms of bad publicity it’s hard to top his admissions that (1) science would have to include astrology if it included ID, and (2) that the designer might no longer exist.

    I think they are topped by his admissions that no amount of scientific evidence will satisfy him that the immune system evolved, and no lack of scientific evidence counts against ID.