THAT picture was first used here: Casey Luskin is Behe’s Parakeet, and it’s time to deploy it again.
Casey Luskin is our favorite among the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids), and his latest article at the Discoveroid blog only enhances our opinion of him: Misrepresenting the Definition of Intelligent Design.
The article is typical of Casey’s Discoveroid writing, long and agonizingly twisted, so we’ll excerpt only a small portion that contains the essence of his message. As most of you will recognize, his references to the “Dover trial” refer to the creationist fiasco resulting in the superbly reasoned opinion by Judge John E. Jones III, issued on 20 December 2005, in the case of TAMMY KITZMILLER, et al., Plaintiffs, v. DOVER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., Defendants. That’s the 139 page opinion (pdf file). You may want to look at this Wikipedia article about the case, which has a great deal of worthwhile background information.
Also, the “Ken Miller” Casey talks about is Kenneth Miller, a key witness against the creationists. Okay, enough introduction. Casey says, with bold font added by us:
At the Dover trial, Ken Miller asserted under oath that intelligent design is merely “a negative argument against evolution” which requires an appeal to the supernatural:
[Casey quotes Miller:] It is what a philosopher might call the argument from ignorance, which is to say that, because we don’t understand something, we assume we never will, and therefore we can invoke a cause outside of nature, a supernatural creator or supernatural designer.
That didn’t find its way into Judge Jones’ opinion, but Miller did so testify on the first day of the trial. Casey continues to discuss Miller’s testimony:
Dr. Miller even stated this holds true in all cases: “The evidence is always negative, and it basically says, if evolution is incorrect, the answer must be design.” (Day 1 PM Testimony, pp. 15, 36-37.) These are outright misrepresentations of ID made by Dr. Miller, and it’s likely you’ll hear these same mistakes at any anti-ID lecture Dr. Miller gives.
Miller said that. It’s in the trial transcript at the same link we just gave you. It was a part of his answer to this question: “And is this not a completely negative argument? I mean, it sounds like this is an attack on evolution?” Miller’s full response was this, with Casey’s quoted portion shown in blue:
This is in every respect a completely negative argument. And if one combs the pages Of Pandas and People or, for that matter, if one looks at Dr. Behe’s book or if one looks at the writings of other people who consider themselves to be intelligent design advocates, all that one finds is example after example, argument after argument, as to why evolution couldn’t produce this, didn’t make that, and doesn’t provide an explanation for the following.
I have yet to see any explanation, advanced by any adherent of design that basically says, we have found positive evidence for design. The evidence is always negative, and it basically says, if evolution is incorrect, the answer must be design. Never considers an alternative idea.
Okay, back to Casey. Now he says:
At the Dover trial, ID proponents were extremely clear that ID is not merely a negative argument against evolution, but a strong positive argument. Michael Behe refuted Miller’s testimony by stating: “This argument for design is an entirely positive argument. This is how we recognize design by the purposeful arrangement of parts.” (Day 10 AM Testimony, p. 110.)
We don’t think Casey is insincere in his fawning over Behe’s testimony. He believes in Behe, and if Behe says his argument is positive, then it must be positive. Behe’s mere declaration that it’s positive is sufficient to refute Miller’s testimony. There’s no need to actually provide any positive evidence; Behe’s word is authoritative — at least for Casey.
It obvious to us that Casey literally doesn’t know what’s going on here. All that Behe ever says, in effect, is: “I’m totally stupefied by this (e.g., the flagellum). Therefore … Oogity Boogity!“ Casey truly thinks that’s a positive — and persuasive — argument for ID.
Casey’s article goes on and on, rehashing the testimony of other ID “experts” on the same theme. Click over there to read it all if you like. We’ll give you only one more excerpt:
ID proponents have made it clear that ID appeals to an intelligent cause, and necessarily not to a supernatural one.
Oh. Their “theory” isn’t necessarily religious. Okay. We’ve said this before, and we’ll probably have to repeat it from time to time:
ID is utterly untestable, and therefore it’s a scientifically worthless concept. Every creationist claim that “X couldn’t possibly have evolved, therefore the mysterious designer did it” is unquestionably the declaration of a negative proposition — specifically: “X couldn’t have happened by any natural means.” That’s the entire substance of ID.
If a creationist makes an assertion such as “X is impossible,” then he has the burden of proof — or rather, the burden of coming forward with credible, verifiable evidence. How can that burden be met? Unless a proposition’s denial clearly contradicts something known to be true, negative propositions literally can’t be established, because they require an infinite number of observations and tests. They can be easily disproved, however, merely by proposing a plausible evolutionary explanation. It’s not necessary to show that a possible evolutionary pathway is what actually happened — merely showing that such a possibility exists is sufficient to refute a claim that “this had to be designed.”
So where does this leave Casey, Behe, and the rest of the ID-creationists? It leaves them where they’ve always been — on the outside, where they belong, frantically trying to mobilize political muscle to force their way into scientific respectability.
The only new feature of their anti-science crusade is that they’re suffering from Dover Derangement Syndrome (DDS). Sorry, Discoveroids, your condition is incurable.
If you want to read more about the Dover case, check out: Kitzmiller v. Dover: Is ID Science?
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