Casey and Kitzmiller — the Case He “Forgot”

Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist, has posted another great article at the blog of the 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).

You remember Casey’s recent claim that The Discovery Institute “Forgot” About Kitzmas. Shortly thereafter he complained about a Media Blackout on Intelligent Design.

Now he’s back, repeating his year-end performances from the past five years, blasting the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District decision again. He seems to have forgotten the case in the same way the Klan has forgotten Brown v. Board of Education.

Casey’s new post is titled It’s Time for Some Folks to Get Over Dover. As you’ll see, it’s a silly rehash of his arguments from prior years. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Judge John E. Jones’s 2005 ruling in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, venerated each year by the Darwin faithful on the decision’s December 20 anniversary, gave an easy out to critics who were hoping for a convenient way to dismiss intelligent design (ID). In several recent articles here I’ve looked back on Dover‘s unimpressive legacy.

Yes, “in several recent articles” Casey has shown us that he truly forgot all about that decision. He continues:

But federal judges cannot settle scientific debates, and a court ruling has no ability to negate the evidence for design in nature. Spend a day in law school, and you’ll quickly learn that judges are not inerrant.

Had there been any such evidence presented at the trial, the outcome might have been different. Casey then presents his personal list of all the errors Judge Jones allegedly committed in deciding the case. It’s a list he’s presented before, and there’s nothing new here, but we’ll mention a couple of his grievances. He claims that Jones:

Adopted a false definition of ID by claiming that ID requires “supernatural creation” and is merely a negative argument against evolution;

Hey, Casey: The “negative argument” issue is one we’ve previously discussed here: Dover Derangement Syndrome. As for the “supernatural” issue, here’s a quote — a long quote — from the Kitzmiller opinion (the full text is here). The bold font was added by us, and Jones’ references to the trial transcript are omitted:

Dr. Haught testified that this argument for the existence of God was advanced early in the 19th century by Reverend Paley and defense expert witnesses Behe and Minnich admitted that their argument for ID based on the “purposeful arrangement of parts” is the same one that Paley made for design. [transcript references]. The only apparent difference between the argument made by Paley and the argument for ID, as expressed by defense expert witnesses Behe and Minnich, is that ID’s “official position” does not acknowledge that the designer is God. However, as Dr. Haught testified, anyone familiar with Western religious thought would immediately make the association that the tactically unnamed designer is God, as the description of the designer in Of Pandas and People (hereinafter “Pandas”) is a “master intellect,” strongly suggesting a supernatural deity as opposed to any intelligent actor known to exist in the natural world. (P-11 at 85). Moreover, it is notable that both Professors Behe and Minnich admitted their personal view is that the designer is God and Professor Minnich testified that he understands many leading advocates of ID to believe the designer to be God.[transcript reference].

Although proponents of the IDM [the Intelligent Design movement] occasionally suggest that the designer could be a space alien or a time-traveling cell biologist, no serious alternative to God as the designer has been proposed by members of the IDM, including Defendants’ expert witnesses [defending Intelligent Design]. (20:102-03 (Behe)). In fact, an explicit concession that the intelligent designer works outside the laws of nature and science and a direct reference to religion is Pandas’ rhetorical statement, “what kind of intelligent agent was it [the designer]” and answer: “On its own science cannot answer this question. It must leave it to religion and philosophy.” [transcript reference].

Let’s move on to Casey’s next brilliant criticism of Jones’ opinion. He claims that Jones:

Presumed it is permissible for a federal judge to try to define science, settle controversial scientific questions, and explain the proper relationship between evolution and religion;

If the basic issue in the case is whether a state agency is promoting religion, and the state’s operatives deny it and claim they’re promoting science, then what’s a judge supposed to do? In this case, the judge did what the parties agreed he should do. Here’s another long quote from Jones’ opinion, and to appreciate what the parties’ agreement meant, you need to understand the Lemon test which both sides agreed controlled the case:

The parties are in agreement that an applicable test in the case sub judice to ascertain whether the challenged ID Policy is unconstitutional under the First Amendment is that of Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971), (hereinafter “the Lemon test”).

[…]

As the National Academy of Sciences (hereinafter “NAS”) was recognized by experts for both parties as the “most prestigious” scientific association in this country, we will accordingly cite to its opinion where appropriate. NAS is in agreement that science is limited to empirical, observable and ultimately testable data: “Science is a particular way of knowing about the world. In science, explanations are restricted to those that can be inferred from the confirmable data – the results obtained through observations and experiments that can be substantiated by other scientists. Anything that can be observed or measured is amenable to scientific investigation. Explanations that cannot be based upon empirical evidence are not part of science.

[…]

We are in agreement with Plaintiffs’ lead expert Dr. Miller, that from a practical perspective, attributing unsolved problems about nature to causes and forces that lie outside the natural world is a “science stopper.” [transcript references]. As Dr. Miller explained, once you attribute a cause to an untestable supernatural force, a proposition that cannot be disproven, there is no reason to continue seeking natural explanations as we have our answer.

ID is predicated on supernatural causation, as we previously explained and as various expert testimony revealed. [transcript references]. ID takes a natural phenomenon and, instead of accepting or seeking a natural explanation, argues that the explanation is supernatural. [transcript references]. Further support for the conclusion that ID is predicated on supernatural causation is found in the ID reference book to which ninth grade biology students are directed, Pandas … Stated another way, ID posits that animals did not evolve naturally through evolutionary means but were created abruptly by a non-natural, or supernatural, designer. Defendants’ own expert witnesses [Behe] acknowledged this point.

[…]

Prominent IDM leaders are in agreement with the opinions expressed by defense expert witnesses that the ground rules of science must be changed for ID to take hold and prosper. William Dembski, for instance, an IDM leader, proclaims that science is ruled by methodological naturalism and argues that this rule must be overturned if ID is to prosper. … The Discovery Institute, the think tank promoting ID whose CRSC developed the Wedge Document, acknowledges as “Governing Goals” to “defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies” and “replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.”

This is getting far too long, and it’s all material we’ve discussed previously, in detail. Does Casey say anything else that’s worth our time? Well, there’s this:

An analysis of the ruling showed that over 90% of Judge Jones’s section on whether ID is science was copied verbatim or nearly verbatim from an ACLU brief submitted about a month before the ruling was issued.

That’s yet another old clunker. Judges often copy large portions from the briefs of the prevailing party — not because they’re taking orders from such party, but because they find that those arguments are legally correct and should be adopted by the court. It’s a very common practice, and only Casey finds it bothersome. Indeed, like many judges, Jones required the parties to submit their versions of the “findings of fact” and “conclusions of law.” Much of the winning side’s submission will find its way into the court’s final opinion. That’s utterly routine. Let’s jump to Casey’s final paragraph:

No wonder ID critics ardently promote the myth that ID is dead: the only way they can win the debate is if they convince people that there’s only one side worth considering. Those who care more about scientific truth than about politics or power can rest assured that the future of ID is bright. The more ID proponents are granted free speech to make their case to the scientific community, the more others are going to agree.

Okay, Casey. We’ll continue this dialogue next year around Kitzmas time. Unless you “forget” the Kitzmiller case then too.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Casey and Kitzmiller — the Case He “Forgot”

  1. “Casey’s new post is titled It’s Time for Some Folks to Get Over Dover.”

    It’s time for Casey to take his own advice.

  2. Luskin: “Those who care more about scientific truth than about politics or power can rest assured that the future of ID is bright. The more ID proponents are granted free speech to make their case to the scientific community, the more others are going to agree.”

    I have never read anything more Orwellian. “Scientific truth”??!!?

    Luskin, you don’t need free speech to “make your case to the scientific community”. You need evidence. That’s all. Got any?

    I didn’t think so. As Paul (above) said, “Get over Dover”.

  3. The advocates of ID have ample opportunity to make a case for ID.
    I suggest that the first thing that is needed is a description of ID. And the 6 W’s can guide them to giving a description.

  4. Those who care more about scientific truth than about politics or power can rest assured that the future of ID is bright.

    The DI, in it’s wedge document, declares openly that it cares more about politics and power than science. This view is reflected in much of their writing, including the little rants by Casey. So, he cannot be writing to fellow ID creationists.

    On the other hand, those in the population that care more about science are unlikely to ever visit the DI webpages.

    So, who is he writing to? His fantasy readers, who he imagines he is influencing? I agree with the earlier observation that these posts must be written for his donors, although I also think he lives in a fantasy world where the DI is somehow changing the world.

  5. Little Luskin squeaks that it’s time for “some people to get over Dover.”

    Let’s see, now, who talked about Kitzmiller the most in 2011. The Disco Tute website lists 18 articles referencing Kitzmiller and, with some overlap, 26 articles mention Dover.

    Contrast that to the Panda’s Thumb with 2 references and the great Pharyngula mentioning Kitzmiller only once this year.

    It seems pretty clear who’s obsessing over Kitzmiller!

  6. Doc Bill says: “Let’s see, now, who talked about Kitzmiller the most in 2011.”

    I haven’t counted, but I’m sure I mentioned it dozens of times. And why not? When discussing The Controversy, it’s an important case.

  7. IMO politically motivated religious BS made up by the DI that is rightfully ignored by the vast majority of scientist should not be named “The Controversy”. I agree that the DI has been and is currently still assulting science and that science has to be defended. There have been intense fights to keep relgion out of the class room. However, contrary to the DI’s “Teach the Controversy” campaign there has never been a scientific controversy on ID because ID is just not science.