Casey’s Big Three Evolution Flaws

The more specific they get, the better we like it. Who? You know — 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).

We have a new post by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. He seems to be the only Discoveroid who isn’t a “fellow,” so a couple of years ago your Curmudgeon compassionately remedied that cruel insult (see: Casey Luskin Is Named a Curmudgeon Fellow).

Casey’s post is What Are the Top Three Flaws in Darwinian Evolution, as Taught Today in Public Schools? After all the research the Discoveroids have been doing, we know you’re interested in learning about Casey’s top three, so here are some excerpts from his most informative post, with bold font added by us and his links omitted:

We often receive e-mails from students seeking information on evolution.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Who’s going to seek information from the Discoveroids? Well, maybe it’s students from Ace Online Bible College. What information are they looking for? Casey tells us:

Recently a university student posed this question: “What are the top three flaws in evolutionary theory being taught in public schools today?”

The top three? One significant flaw would be sufficient, but still, it’s an interesting question. Here’s Casey’s response:

Unfortunately most public schools do NOT teach about the flaws in evolutionary theory. Instead, they censor this information, hiding from students all of the science that challenges Darwinian evolution.

Yeah, yeah. It’s all a giant conspiracy. Let’s get to the good stuff. What are Casey’s three flaws that the Darwinists are censoring? This is the stuff their “academic freedom” laws will unleash on the public schools. Here we go:

(1) Tell students that the fossil record often lacks transitional forms and that there are “explosions” of new life forms, a pattern of radiations that challenges Darwinian evolutionary theory.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, the fossil record is incomplete, and it always will be. Darwin recognized this and explained it in Origin of Species, Chapter 9. Not every dead animal fossilizes, those that do are difficult to find, they may not be in the precise location of their ancestors, and the geological record is often chaotic. Nevertheless, a large number of rather striking transitionals have been found (see List of transitional fossils), and only a few would be sufficient to support the theory. Casey’s “flaw” should be flipped around: Hey Casey — how do you account for the existence of any transitional fossils?

As for Casey’s “explosions,” he is surely referring to the Discoveroids’ favorite, the so-called Cambrian explosion. That was a period of roughly 50 million years, during which the simple organisms then alive had time to pass through literally billions of generations. We’ve discussed that in The Mystery of the Cambrian “Explosion”.

We continue now to Casey’s second flaw:

(2) Tell students that many scientists have challenged the ability of random mutation and natural selection to produce complex biological features.

That’s a flaw? Casey links to the Discoveroids’ sad little list who signed their Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.. We’ve discussed it here: NCSE’s “Project Steve” Now Has 1,200 Steves. On with Casey’s miraculous list:

(3) Tell students that many lines of evidence for Darwinian evolution and common descent are weak

Then he gives examples of a few “weak” ones, including — get this! — Haeckel’s Embryo Drawings. Somehow, Casey neglected to mention the existence of supertanker-loads of strong evidence supporting evolution.

So that’s Casey’s advice to a student who sought it. As we said at the start of this post, the more specific the Discoveroids get, the better we like it. Stay the course, Casey!

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

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16 responses to “Casey’s Big Three Evolution Flaws

  1. I wasn’t expecting much from Casey on this… and I got it.

  2. docbill1351

    Poor old Attack Gerbil Second Class Luskin! Westie went down to his cage and said, “Luskin, I’ve got a job for you.”

    “Awww, Mr. West,” Luskin whined as he licked an itchy hindquarter, “do I hafta? I’m so tirrrrrred!” Luskin flopped melodramatically onto his bed of cedar shavings, but regarded Westie closely through one half-closed eye.

    “Pull yourself together, hamster! Johnny Wells needs to buy a new mankini for summer and he’s short of cash. I ain’t gonna loan that fat walrus a plug nickel so we need to drum up some royalties for “Icons of Evolution.”

    Thinking furiously of a way to weasel out of work Luskin propped himself on an elbow and picked at a hangnail. “I thought that old rag was out of print,” he lied hopefully.

    “What are you talking about, pea brain,” Westie replied scornfully, “you can get ’em like brand new at Half Priced Books and Pulp R Us. Just write up some promotional nonsense and get that old porker off my back.” The memory of “that old porker” on his back made Westie clammy even after all these years.

    Westie opened Luskin’s cage, tossed in a piece of cardboard and a crayon, slammed the door and strode off. Looking back over his shoulder Westie shouted, “Four hundred words. Thirty minutes. And don’t forget the freaking moths this time. You know how Johnny feels about moths.”

    A shudder ran through Luksin’s fat, furry body as he thought back to that night with Wells and the moths. Not going there again, Luskin thought, I’d rather do rehab again.

    Luskin rolled over on to his ample tummy, nibbled on the end of the crayon, said to nobody in particular, “Mmmmmm, burnt orange!” and began to write:

    “We often get letters …” No, telegrams. No, phone calls. No, tweets. No, packages. No, e-mails. Yes, that’s it:

    “We often get e-mails from …”

  3. @Doc, how can anyone add a comment after a story like that? It’s hard enough just to type while shaking with laughter, much less come up with a coherent addition to the thread.

    great story!

  4. Number 3 suggests this:

    Ask for the evidence for something like “the Earth is round”, or “1+1=2”, or “why airplanes fly”. I bet you’ll get lots of “weak” – or just plain wrong – answers. Does that mean that there are “big flaws” in the shape of the Earth, arithmetic, or aviation?

  5. At the end of the article Casey provides a link to a student apologetics guide for ID, in which the basic arguments of ID are laid out. There are the usual deceptions, mischaracterizations and lies, but the entire package seems to boil ID down to one single premise – that because we design things that are complicated and have functions, everything in the universe that is complicated and has a function must be designed. There is no explanation or support for that unwarranted leap of faith, of course, nor can there be. It’s simply William Paley’s argument for God, restated in sciencey-sounding verbiage to conceal it’s underlying religious objective. Everything else in ID is invented to support that one idea.

    The most amusing parts of the guide are its attempts to show that ID is a positive science, and not just an attack on evolution. In fact, on page 8, the guide offers four testable predictions of ID:

    (1) Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns that perform a specific function (e.g. complex and specified information).
    (2) Forms containing large amounts of novel information will appear in the fossil record suddenly, “fully formed” and without similar precursors or evolutionary intermediates.
    (3) Convergence will occur routinely. That is, genes and other functional parts will be re-used in different and unrelated organisms in a pattern that need not match a “tree,” or nested hierarchy.
    (4) Much so-called “junk DNA” will turn out to perform valuable functions.

    It goes on to explain how these have all been found to be true. However, correct me if I am wrong, but are any of these inconsistent with evolution? How are any of these unique predictions of ID? On the last one, the junk DNA assertion, note that the guide says “Much” instead of “All”. They’re backing away from Well’s assertion that there is “no” junk DNA. If you are in the pseudo-science biz, you must be very careful not to predict anything which could be disproved!

  6. Ed says: “In fact, on page 8, the guide offers four testable predictions of ID”

    Casey wrote about those two years ago, and in response I wrote this: Tests for Intelligent Design! Now that I think about it, that old post should link to this one.

  7. aturingtest

    I dunno… Casey’s number three sounds an awful lot to me like just a generalized assertion of his entire premise: “The third significant flaw in evolution is that it has flaws.” Your case is pretty bad when you promise “three significant flaws,” and then can really only deliver two (weak ones there, at that).

    Ed: re the guide’s “four testable predictions of ID”: those don’t even sound like predictions to me- they sound more like observations, things already seen, and now rationalized as verified predictions. Kind of like psychics claiming, after an event, to have predicted the event.

    And I have to say that whole “[r]ecently a university student posed this question” thing positively reeks of the old “fake a question to expound an answer” trick. There used to be (still is, for all I know) an irritating radio DJ named Casey Kasem (another Casey!- coincidence? think about it!) who did this a lot, with listeners supposedly writing or phoning in with patently fake “questions” for him to answer:
    “Hi, Casey, Linda from Jersey here, and I have just been up all night wondering- has there ever been a successful rock band whose two guitarists were brothers and both only five feet tall? I’m dying to know, love your show!”
    “Hi, Linda! Why, yes, oddly enough brothers Malcolm and Angus Young of AC/DC are each only about five feet tall! Put ’em together, and you have a ten-foot pole , or you would if they were Polish instead of Scottish, ha-ha! Thanks for asking! Now, here’s ……* by AC/DC!”

    *Pick your AC/DC song here- they’re all pretty much the same.

  8. @SC – once again, I am reminded that I should read through the Curmudgeonly oeuvre that existed before I discovered the blog. I have to say, beyond your wisdom, possibly the best part of the linked article “Test for Intelligent Design” is the list of anagrams of “Discovery Institute” contributed by megalonyx in the comments. Priceless.

  9. Casey did better than I thought, he got 0.5/3 right. I believe that some legitimate scientists do argue over how much evolution is driven by natural selection – versus sexual selection, genetic drift, horizontal gene transfer, etc… But those have empirical evidence backing up the fact that they occur; the question is really how much they occur. ID has no empirical evidence behind it at all.

  10. docbill1351

    Ah, morning. Coffee! Warm and sunny! FRIDAY! Cleaned up all the empties and signed the pledge … again!

    Harrumph!

    Luskin! Can’t hold his tequila, I tell you. I know a lot of young people and I was once one myself. Two things. Number one, five minutes after you hit the college campus as a Freshman you forget high school. Totally. That’s for babies and you’re an adult. You don’t think about high school, again, unless you’re a real loser like Bruce Springsteen. Number two, no student refers to “public schools.” Evah! High school, yes. Middle school, yes. Elementary school, sure. But “public schools?” No way. The only people who talk about public schools are creationists. (artistic license here; stay with me)

    Therefore, there was no Letter to Luskin from a college student. Luskin lied about that as a premise for his little essay. It’s really pathetic when you think about it. The DI had to pretend to get an enquiry to justify pumping Wells’ book! It’s too rich.

    And, second or fifth, all of Luskin’s points came right out of Wells’ pulp fiction. Now, this is interesting. There are about 2 million documented species of “life” representing about 10% of what scientists think is really out there. That’s 20 million creepy crawlies and ragweed. How many does the DI reference in anything they write? Two: finches and moths. And it’s not even the entire beast, it’s beaks and pigmentation and they miss the evolutionary points on both. Whoop-tee-DOO!

    As for other “designed” parts identified by the DI, how many do they present? About a dozen, all of which have naturalistic explanations. For an organization that’s been doing its thing for over 20 years that ain’t much.

    No wonder they can’t afford an office for Luskin.

  11. johnpieret

    The biggest flaw in evolutionary theory is that people with their fingers buried knuckle deep in their ears and shouting “I can’t hear you” cannot learn it.

  12. NeonNoodle

    Very patronizing attitude, coming from a gang whose mathematical skills are summed up by the equation 1+1+1 = 1

  13. @docbill1351
    Re Letter to Luskin:
    You’re right. And, why would a student positing an earnest inquiry request a top three countdown (using aturingtest’s Casey Kasem analogy)?

    Well actually, to answer my own question, a lazy and/or cheating creationist student could be getting answers to his homework or open-book test this way.

  14. Tomato Addict

    NeonNoodle wrote: “… a gang whose mathematical skills are summed up by the equation 1+1+1 = 1”

    1+1+1 = 1 is only true for exceedingly small values of the number 1.

  15. TA said:

    1+1+1 = 1 is only true for exceedingly small values of the number 1.

    Or binary.

  16. @docbill1351
    Hope you don’t mind a wee contribution (I feel so giddy and inspired upon reading your post):

    “Boss”, stammers Luskin, “could I have Sire Wells’ old mankini? I don’t mind neon colors, snags, holes, or stains.”
    “It’s a Fellow-Mankini”, screams West. “Besides, the customized front is only suitable for senior officers, and even we must compete for it against each other on games night, taking turns as Christian martyrs or gladiators. But, uh, I’ve divulged…” Suddenly turning and forcing a grin and convivial tone, “I’d consider it a personal favor, though, if I could take a gerbil foot for luck.”