Casey Luskin: “What Is Intelligent Design?”

The newest post by Casey Luskin at the Discoveroids’ blog is one that we recommend. That is, we recommend reading it the day before your next colonoscopy exam, because it’s guaranteed to prepare you for the procedure. Casey’s post is titled What Is the Theory of Intelligent Design?

We already know what the Discoveroids’ “theory” is. It’s revealed in their founding document. See What is the “Wedge Document”? Its “Five Year Strategic Plan Summary” says:

The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. … [Discussion of a few Discoveroid books.] We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

If that’s not clear enough, the second of the Wedge Document’s two “Governing Goals” is:

To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.

Everyone knows what intelligent design is all about. Nevertheless, Casey’s entire post is dedicated to denial. That’s why his work is so widely recommend for colonoscopy prep.

Casey begins by complaining about some negative comments that were posted in the review section of the Amazon listing for Stephen Meyer’s new creationist book, Darwin’s Doubt. Casey had posted a glowing review, and it attracted over 250 comments. Discoveroids never allow comments at their blog (they tried it briefly a couple of years ago and quietly killed the experiment) so Casey isn’t used to receiving such visible and uncontrollable feedback. One of the comments to his review asked:

What’s the “scientific theory of ID”? Who or what is the designer and how can we tell? What did it do and how can we tell? How did it do it and how can we tell? Where did it do it and how can we tell? When did it do it and how can we tell? Please pass on my thanks to all your colleagues for never bothering to answer these questions.

Oh, how uncivil! Alas for Casey, the Discoveroids can’t censor what shows up at the Amazon website. That’s why he posted his response at the Discoveroids’ blog, where he’s sheltered from the cruel world. In the safety of his creationist cocoon he writes:

Even though we’ve answered such questions numerous times, they are reasonable things to ask, and as a result I’m more than happy to answer them yet again — not at Amazon for perpetually disgruntled critics, but here at ENV for everyone else to see.

What follows is a very long essay. It doesn’t even try to answer those questions at the Amazon site that Casey found so offensive. That deficiency shouldn’t be overlooked. In fact, Casey doesn’t say anything that we haven’t seen before, but the case for intelligent design is usually presented in bits and pieces. This time Casey tosses everything into one big pile, so in that sense it’s useful as a reference. It summarizes the intellectual accomplishments of Casey and his comrades. This is their declaration of dogma. Perhaps one day it will be inscribed on creationism’s tomb.

The first half is a huge ark-load sub-titled “What Intelligent Design Is Not.” It’s a bunch of denials, and you’ve seen it all before. Casey claims it’s not creationism, it’s not theology, it’s not about the supernatural, and it’s not “merely a negative argument against evolution,” But of course, it is all those things, and the whole world knows it. Just read the Kitzmiller opinion.

The next part of Casey’s rambling post is sub-titled: “What the Theory of Intelligent Design Is.” This section is yet another ark-load of Casey’s old material.

First he says: “ID uses a positive argument based upon finding high levels of complex and specified information.” Yes, except CSI has no more meaning than “Abracadabra,” and there isn’t any positive argument. All of their “evidence” consists of phenomena which science hasn’t yet explained to the Discoveriods’ satisfaction, so they list a few (like the whole universe and the origin of life) and say that those things are explained as the work of their designer. But such things could be explained equally well as the work of the tooth fairy or any other imaginary agency — see Intelligent Designer or Zeus?.

Then he says: “Intelligent Design is a historical science that is methodologically equivalent to neo-Darwinism.” In this section, Casey goes beyond being “Not even wrong.” He’s not even using language as it was meant to be used. He’s merely chanting syllables. For example, he says:

[I]ntelligent design is primarily a historical science, meaning it studies present-day causes and then applies them to the historical record to infer the best explanation for the origin of natural phenomena. Intelligent design uses uniformitarian reasoning based upon the principle that “the present is the key to the past.”

[…]

[B]y studying causes like intelligence in order to recognize its causal abilities and effects in the present-day world. ID theorists are interested in understanding the information-generative powers of intelligent agents. ID theorists then try to explain the historical record by including appeals to that cause, seeking to recognize the known effects of intelligent design (e.g., high CSI) in the historical record.

Right. The Discoveroid creation scientists observe that we use intelligence to make things today — for example, underwear is manufactured in factories. Therefore it’s oh-so-logical for the Discoveroids to infer that a similar agency was at work in the past to manufacture new biological features. We make underwear; the designer makes flagella. It’s logical!

Casey’s next claim, more than any of the others, is what makes his essay a colonoscopy keeper. He says: “Intelligent design uses the scientific method.” That’s a very long part of his essay. We read it, we’ll never get those minutes back, but we’re not going to spend any more time writing about it. We leave that experience to you, dear reader. But if you go there without our benevolent guidance, we must caution you: Read it only when there’s an unoccupied bathroom nearby.

So there it is. The Discoveroids have put their best case forward. It’s there to be seen and appreciated for what it is — and what it isn’t. If this is the best they can do, then how — how? — can they tolerate themselves?

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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52 responses to “Casey Luskin: “What Is Intelligent Design?”

  1. Maybe they have a new definition for the scientific method that works for them

  2. Perhaps it is beginning to get attention, the question about what is the “theory”. Perhaps with further effort, it will be made clear that there is no answer forthcoming to the question. Perhaps it will be perceived by enough people to make a difference that it is a failure of evolution denial not to have an alternative.

  3. Where to start!

    How about the part where Luskin documents ID “proponents” declaring that they believe the Designer (blessed be he) is God of the Bible, but, oh, no, that’s not a conclusion of the “science” of ID. Of course not.

    Or how about the part where Luskin quote mines Behe! What!!!! A creationist quote mining another creationist????

    Whenever you see an ellipsis in ANYTHING a creationist, especially Luskin, writes it means the original quote has been bent.

    Here’s what not-very-smart, lying-like-a-dog Attack Gerbil Luskin writes:

    When ID proponents say that ID does not identify the designer, they are, in Behe’s words, “only limiting … claims to what … the evidence will support.”

    So, according to Luskin this is what ID proponents think. OK, Behe representing ID proponents. OK.

    BUT! What did Behe really write. Turns out it was this:

    In speaking of “miracles”–relying for rhetorical effect on that word’s pejorative connotations when used in a scientific context–Ruse and Futuyma are ascribing to me a position I was scrupulous in my book to avoid. Although I acknowledged that most people (including myself) will attribute the design to God–based in part on other, non-scientific judgments they have made–I did not claim that the biochemical evidence leads ineluctably to a conclusion about who the designer is. In fact, I directly said that, from a scientific point of view, the question remains open. (Behe 1996, 245-250) In doing so I was not being coy, but only limiting my claims to what I think the evidence will support.

    Behe is clearly not taking a position of ID proponents in general, rather, he is limiting his argument strictly to his own, personal views. Notice how Luskin changes Behe’s meaning by removing the first clause, the “but” and the “my” and “I.”

    Luskin quote mines Behe. That’s got to be a headline!

  4. Would Luskin have the temerity to write about the disgraced creationist textbook that was the star witness in the Kitzmiller trial and the source of the famous transitional word fossil cdesign proponentsists?

    Why, yes he would! Casey writes:

    One of the earliest works on ID, the textbook Of Pandas and People, explains that ID merely seeks to infer “intelligent causes” and is compatible with a wide variety of religious and nonreligious viewpoints, including pantheism and agnosticism:

    Wow! Just WOW! “Pandas” was demonstrated without a doubt to be a creationist textbook. It started as a creationist textbook, it was marketed as a creationist textbook, but after the Supreme Court ruling of 1987 the word “creationism” was replaced by “intelligent design” leading to the famous transitional word fossil. For Luskin to claim at this date that “Pandas” is an ID textbook is just such an astounding admission that ID is the same thing as creationism that I am at a (not quite) loss for words!

    Luskin’s entire essay is a stunning religious apology from start to finish. For a guy who used to be the Disco Tutes spokesperson this has got to go down in history as the most abjectly stupid thing he’s ever written. And that’s saying something!

  5. ID is primarily a historical science, meaning it uses principles of uniformitarianism to study present-day causes and then applies what it has learned to examine the historical record. It does so in order to infer the best explanation for the origin of the natural phenomena being studied. As Pandas explains, scientists have “uniform sensory experience” with intelligent causes (e.g., humans), thus making intelligence an appropriate explanatory cause within historical scientific fields.

    Setting aside the reference to “Pandas” as an ID text, this statement illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding of uniformitarianism – or maybe just a convenient lie.

    Suppose for a moment we could travel 10 million years into the past. Every single force of nature that we could measure would be operating exactly the same as they do today. Natural processes, such as evolution, would be occurring in the same manner. The only thing we would not observe would be intelligent creatures designing artifacts, writing computer codes, etc. It would be a world without any obvious intelligent cause and effect.

    The ID “theorists” take the one thing they observe that is truly new, and use that to explain everything that has happened in the past – and label it uniformitarianism.

    I think even Luskin understands what uniformitarianism is, and he’s lying.

  6. Casey’s scribbling at the Disco Tute’s ENV site reminds me of the neighborhood bully yelling taunts at the other kids from behind his mommy’s skirts.

  7. From the article, I thought Casey Luskin was actually asking himself that question, i.e., “What is Intelligent Design as it’s clear he hasn’t the slightest idea what he’s talking about nor any clue as to how to answer his own question.

    makagutu said:
    Maybe they have a new definition for the scientific method that works for them”

    Yes, that’s the whole point of ID, to allow the ghostly, spook-ridden fantasy world of the supernatural a niche in the “old” definition of science and the scientific method. So on the test answer sheets it’s allowable to say “None of the above” or “The Grand Spook did it” or something on that order. No further explanation is required.

  8. Among my favorite “Intelligent Design theories”:
    Why is there a smile on the Mona Lisa? Because it was intelligently designed?
    Explain the motivation of Hamlet. Intelligent design.
    Describe the events of World War I. Intelligent design.

  9. “What is the Theory of Intelligent Design? How to be an Informed Critic” by Mike Keas at “Science & Faith” in The Christian Post
    http://blogs.christianpost.com/science-and-faith/what-is-the-theory-of-intelligent-design-17377/

    “Be sure to read beyond part one (what ID is not) and actually get to part two (what ID is). There you will learn this brief definition:
    Intelligent design is a scientific theory that argues that the best explanation for some natural phenomena is an intelligence cause, especially when we find certain types of information and complexity in nature which in our experience are caused by intelligence.
    You will also encounter three major subpoints regarding what ID is.
    1. ID uses a positive argument based upon finding high levels of complex and specified information
    2. ID is a historical science that is methodologically equivalent to mainstream evolutionary biology
    3. ID uses the scientific method”

    This is a definition or even a description?

  10. Christine Janis

    OK, this isn’t so much a “theory” as a “hypothesis”.

    As a hypothesis, it can be used to make predictions that can be tested. A prediction from ID is that “God could do anything he wanted to, he could even put rabbits in the PreCambrian”.

    Does the PreCambrian record show the presence of rabbits?

    No. Ergo, the hypothesis is falsified.

  11. Doc Bill says:

    Wow! Just WOW! “Pandas” was demonstrated without a doubt to be a creationist textbook.

    Typical Darwinist! What you fail to understand is the true meaning of the Kitzmiller case. The judge’s ruling doesn’t matter. He was a fool! Nor does it matter what the Darwinist witnesses said. The only important stuff was the testimony of people like Behe. That’s what the Discoveroids keep quoting over and over, in the hope that some of it will penetrate your thick skull.

    It was the same with the Coppedge litigation. His side is all that matters. Until you learn how the legal system works, you will be forever lost in a Darwinist fog.

  12. Charles Deetz ;)

    Just watched a review of Banana-man’s new ‘movie’. Both he and Luskin fail when they set themselves up to make significant arguments and explanations of their positions. While they are playing to their base, even they have to be hungry for real meat to move ID/creationism forward. They keep having to circle back or distract with other issues.

  13. Lost in a Darwinist fog, swimming in the Lake o’ Fire. Great, just great!

  14. Agents can arrange matter with distant goals in mind…

    That’s true – intelligent agents can do that.

    As best as I can understand the somewhat slippery definition of specified complexity, it describes something that is both complex and designed with some “distant goal” in mind – but since no objective measurements are possible, it devolves to something that you just know when you see it, like Paley’s watch. Discoveroids see it everywhere.

    I have no problem with complexity – life is truly amazingly complex. However, specification, which I read to mean goal directed or intentional, seems to me to be an entirely religious concept. There is no evidence whatsoever that present life was intended to exist in the form that it exists today, or that any cell – no matter how complex and machine-like it is – was intentionally created to serve the specific purpose it happens to serve today. To assume a “distant goal” for life is to assert a non-scientific belief. “Specified complexity”, all by itself, should disqualify ID as science.

    It’s also impossible to apply. For example, suppose a tree on the edge of a stream falls in such a way that is spans the stream, forming a bridge. Local people take up the habit of walking across the fallen trunk rather than wading across the stream. Observing this, would a Discoveroid determine that the fallen tree had specified complexity? The tree is certainly complex, especially at the molecular level, and it clearly serves the purpose of bridging the stream. To take it further, suppose the local people, inspired by the fallen tree, manage to push another tree over further upstream so that they have two bridges. The second one is clearly intentional, but how would a Discoveroid, arriving at the scene, distinguish between the two examples, and declare one to be the product of intelligent design and the other one not?

  15. Considering how many times CSI and ID have failed, as in the eye, bacterial flagella, and blood clotting factors stories, its amazing that they still keep it up. In short, if you are too stupid to figure out how it evolved, then it must have a load of CSI and therefore ID explains it.

  16. Biokid says: “its amazing that they still keep it up.”

    They’ve gone so far out on that limb they can’t back down now. Some of them must realize that they’re not getting anywhere in the scientific community and they never will. Their only allies in academia are those who are already creationists, but they’ve spend years promoting that nonsense so they’re totally committed to it. Life is much easier for Hambo, because he’s only preaching to the choir.

  17. References. I don’t know why Luskin provides references when he writes this stuff. Does he think it adds legitimacy to his fiction?

    Look at those names! All creationists and most of them, maybe all, I did’t chase them all down, fellows of the Disco Tute. And the “journals” where these guys publish are the in-house Disco Tute journals. It’s like Arkansas on Puget Sound!

    One name, though, caught my eye: the late Jon Davison. A crackpot’s crackpot, Jon was banned from more forums than I’ve had hot dinners. His rants were epic and he didn’t like anybody. Not anybody! He had no time for the Tooters or other scientists or evolution or creationism. The perfect curmudgeon, if you will, not sensuous at all. Davison’s pet theory was “Proscribed Evolutionary Hypothesis” which said something like the earliest organisms had the “blueprints” for everything we see today and that evolution has stopped. Something like that. Going from memory, and my memory is going. Anyway, old Jon was definitely in the same league as Jack Chick and the Time Cube, and there he is referenced by Luskin.

  18. docbill1351 asks: “I don’t know why Luskin provides references when he writes this stuff. Does he think it adds legitimacy to his fiction?”

    Don’t be so critical of Casey. Look at all he’s achieved. He has a job. He gets to rub shoulders with world-famous scientists like Behe, and he has a voice on a world-famous blog — which has the same Google page rank as my humble blog.

  19. Ceteris Paribus

    TomS quotes Mike Keas re the scientific definiton of ID:

    “Intelligent design is a scientific theory that argues that the best explanation for some natural phenomena is an intelligence cause, especially when we find certain types of information and complexity in nature which in our experience are caused by intelligence. [emphasis added]”

    Mark Crislip – a doctor of infectious diseases and blogger of science-based medicine – claims that the phrase “in my experience” contain the most dangerous words that a medical doctor can ever say to you.

    Simply, human experience is too easily influenced by perception errors including the fallacy of bias confirmation, causing observers to see what they want to see. As Crislip puts it:

    “There may be two sides to gun control and foreign policy but in the sciences, including the medical sciences, either you have the data or you do not [emphasis added]. You don’t include flat earth theories in discussions of geology and you do not include intelligent design in discussions of the origin of life.

    Mike Keas fails the “either you have the data or you do not” test.

  20. “The social consequences of materialism have been devastating”
    Exactly what??? Oh I remember…
    giving women equal rights and voting.
    allowing mixed race marriage.
    fighting for the gay rights.
    YES!!!! DEVASTATING–to religious bigots.

  21. You “curmudeons” are hilarious. What a bunch of true believers and intellectual pygmies. At the root of your “thinking” is pure will and emotion and plenty of imbecilic self-satisfaction.

  22. CJ – I would go one step further – ID is not even a hypothesis, but rather is a conjecture; indeed a conjecture that has no support for even becoming a hypothesis.

  23. Christine Janis

    @ Douglas E.
    “CJ – I would go one step further – ID is not even a hypothesis, but rather is a conjecture”

    Of course. But that wouldn’t have been as much fun as demonstrating that it was falsified by the lack of the Edicaran lagomorph.

  24. Christine Janis

    “At the root of your “thinking” is pure will and emotion and plenty of imbecilic self-satisfaction.”

    Did you forget to mention the Lake ‘o Fire that we’ll all be subjected to when we meet our Maker?

  25. Christine Janis asks: “Did you forget to mention the Lake ‘o Fire that we’ll all be subjected to when we meet our Maker?”

    That’s coming. Then he’ll be gone. Unless he’s a hit-and-run, in which case he’s voluntarily gone.

  26. Oh, I think that the Tooters are still holding out for the bunny! 🙂

  27. Ed, as for your analogy of a bridge formed by a tree that fell over. Note that bridges are irreducibly complex. If you saw out a section, it collapses. Same with natural arches.

    They also have specified complexity: they have many parts (complex) and match an independently given pattern (bridge).

    — Diogenes

  28. Ceteris Paribus

    This is serious business here. We are talking about being sent to theEternal Lake of Fire; not at all the same as the mere Lake ‘o Fire.

    There, according to some of the more progressive theologies, Satan’s little helpers are only allowed to roast you for 50,000 or so years. After that, you are sentenced to be totally Annihilated, after which your name is scrubbed from the divine data files as if you never even existed.

  29. Gee, Kevin, do you feel better now? This is a blog about science, for those who understand science or wish to understand science. It appears that you do not fit either category.

  30. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    Kevin blurted …

    “You “curmudeons” are hilarious. What a bunch of true believers and intellectual pygmies. At the root of your “thinking” is pure will and emotion and plenty of imbecilic self-satisfaction.”

    NO U !

  31. So ID “theory” says that “irreducible complexity’ and “specified complexity’ are evidence for intelligent input because “we find certain types of information and complexity in nature which in our experience are caused by intelligence”.

    Let’s expand this argument a bit:
    I have painted my sitting room green because I find the colour aesthetically pleasing. We find green objects in nature. Therefore, any green natural object is green because I find the colour green aesthetically pleasing.

    Very convincing.

    A couple of points ID proponents have a tendency to ignore:
    1) Why is “irreducible complexity” held to be evidence for “intelligent input’ when it was predicted on the basis of evolutionary theory in 1918?
    2) What observation or measurement could demonstrate than any aspect of the natural world is not the work of an “intelligent designer”?

  32. Douglas E wrote: ID is not even a hypothesis, but rather is a conjecture
    I suggest that ID is not even a conjecture, because it makes no positive, substantive statement. It does not tell us who, what, where, when, why or how. We have no idea of what sort of process “design” is, how it produces its results, why the human body is so similar to that of chimps and other apes, … In the book of Meyer, the article of Luskin, the comment on the article Keas, and all of the literature of ID we find nothing about “what happened and when”. Why or how it turned out that the human body is so similar to that of chimps and other apes, for example. Was that because some designers wanted humans to serve similar purposes as chimps? Did the design events happen 10 thousand years ago, or 10 million or 10 billion? How many designers were there, and how many are there today? What are the constraints on what the designers can, or would, or will do?

  33. CSI cannot be measured or quantified. For eg: what is the CSI of a rock compared to that of a chicken? How can you conclude one is designed and the other is not?
    Human design creates artificial objects not found in nature. We recognize human design because we know humans and what they’re capable of. This cannot be extended to living things until & unless we have evidence that life is the product of a designer and we know the nature of that designer. To the best of our knowledge, life is made of naturally occurring chemicals which self-assemble and self-propagate, making a designer unwanted and redundant.

  34. Even if living things are creatures of God, even if they are intelligently designed, this does not give an explanation for the structure of the vertebrate eye, or tell us why birds fly.
    If someone wants to know about the “infield fly rule” in baseball (or “leg before wicket” in cricket), it would not be helpful to follow the practice of the advocates of “Intelligent Design” and tell us that the IFR is a good rule.
    If someone wants to know what is the “theory of intelligent design”, it does not address the question to tell us how good a theory it is, how it is scientific, how there is evidence for it. The question is simple: What is the theory?

  35. @TomS:
    Douglas E wrote: “ID is not even a hypothesis, but rather is a conjecture.”
    I suggest that ID is not even a conjecture, because it makes no positive, substantive statement.

    Shouldn’t ID simply be considered a religious belief? All it says is that a god created everything. That’s it. No matter how much verbiage IDers expend trying to convince the legislators who control education that ID is a science, it all boils down to this: ID is a religion.

  36. @retiredsciguy:
    I don’t know what a religion is. But I would say that ID looks to me most of all like an advertising campaign or a political slogan. “Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs are the best cereal in the whole wide world.” I’d go so far as to say that the religious aspect of it is just an excuse. What it’s really about is that it’s yucky to think that I’m physically related to monkeys.
    To say that God created everything, there would be lots of scientific theories that are more challenging to that than is evolutionary biology. That I stand in a personal, individual relationship with my Creator, wouldn’t that be problematic for reproductive biology? Are “kinds” creatures of God, or are they just human concepts?
    But as far as “Intelligent Design” is concerned, it makes a point of not saying that things are created by God. ID has no content at all, like “Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs are the best cereal in the world”.

  37. @TomS: You’re right. Good points. ID is simply an idea concocted to get creationism into classrooms.

  38. The inventors of ID continue to claim that all ID concerns itself with is the detection of design in nature, not its explanation. Only the detection.

    This is the equivalent of a physicist claiming that his field of study is only concerned with is the detection of dark matter (or dark energy) but not understanding what it is or how it works.

    Any real scientist wants to understand the subject they study, not merely detect it. Another reason ID is not science.

  39. Perhaps ID rests somewhere between conjecture and religion. Not sure what that never-never land would be called, but I am sure that the clever folks here can come up with some suggestions!

  40. Douglas E says: “Perhaps ID rests somewhere between conjecture and religion.”

    It’s a religious conjecture.

  41. True, but I was hoping for something snappier 🙂 The IDead Zone, Pseudoscientific Creationism; Quack Woo; etc

  42. Ceteris Paribus

    But ID proponents seem to violate the rule which tells religious people they should “not covet” .

  43. Pope RSG said:

    Shouldn’t ID simply be considered a religious belief? All it says is that a god created everything. That’s it. No matter how much verbiage IDers expend trying to convince the legislators who control education that ID is a science, it all boils down to this: ID is a religion.

    (long, slow clap) Here, here!

  44. For years I’ve been describing the “theory” of ID like this:

    Sometime or other, some intelligent agent(s) designed something biological, and then somehow manufactured that thing in matter and energy, all the while leaving no independent evidence of the design process, the manufacturing process, or the presence (or even existence) of the designing and manufacturing agent(s).

    I get 43 Google hits on the phrase “all the while leaving no independent evidence”, all on the first page being links to my definition left as comments on various sites. The oldest on that first page is 5 years old. I still haven’t seen an ID proponent fill in any of those blanks.

  45. Well, so far we have suggestions that ID is not a theory, not even a hypothesis, maybe a conjecture, possibly a religious belief, or an advertising campaign, a political slogan, or a concoction to get creationism into classrooms.

    All that really matters is that ID is definitely NOT science, and therefore has no place in ANY science classroom — public, private, parochial — at ANY level — primary, secondary, college.

    “Intelligent Design” is an abomination dreamed up by a group of creationists as an attempt to skirt a Supreme Court ruling. That’s it; that’s all there is; nothing to it of any intellectual merit.

    And certainly no scientific merit.

  46. RBH says:

    For years I’ve been describing the “theory” of ID like this:

    Unaware of your description, I’ve been posting this one for years:

    An unknown intelligence (whether it’s a solitary creature or a vast swarm is never addressed), with utterly unknown characteristics (mortal or immortal, sexual or asexual, plant or animal, physical or spiritual), whose home base is unknown, and whose ultimate origin is a mystery (evolved, created, or eternal), who arrived on earth somehow at some unspecified time (or several times), and then in some unspecified way (technological or magical), for unspecified reasons, did something (or maybe several things) to influence the genetic characteristics of some (but maybe not all) of the creatures on earth.

    I got only 10 Google hits on “whether it’s a solitary creature or a vast swarm.” So you’re way ahead of me.

  47. The Curmudgeon says “He has a job.” You know that’s a really good point. Luskin seems to me to most insincere of all the creationists I’ve seen. It does seem like he is just doing it for a paycheck. Possibly it is just that his oratory skills are so poor but I really think the guy figures he could be a working stiff or head up a creationist organization he’d prefer the latter. A lot of people do jobs they don’t exactly love, it is the way of the world.
    Evolution vs intelligent design can be easily discerned in all biological specimens. A designer starting with a clean sheet of paper wouldn’t be limited by the stock of previous generations, there would also be no need for optimized designs. If I.D. were true every species would have its own perfect set of structures no junk DNA, no modified structures. Now trees falling over rivers that is a toughy…

  48. Troy sagaciously points out, “If I.D. were true every species would have its own perfect set of structures — no junk DNA, no modified structures.” (Punctuation added.)

    To which we might add, “no vestigial organs or skeletal parts, such as pelvic and leg bones in whales, tail bones in humans, etc.”

    Some time ago Berkeley Breathed lampooned Intelligent Design in his strip “Bloom County” by asking the question, “Why do men have nipples if we are intelligently designed?”

  49. Troy says: “If I.D. were true every species would have its own perfect set of structures no junk DNA, no modified structures.”

    This is where old-time creationists like Hambo have the advantage. Any observed peculiarities can be explained (by them) as the result of Adam & Eve’s sin. The Discoveroids, having devised their theory to avoid the First Amendment’s ban on teaching religion, are unable to use that all-purpose explanation, so they’re stuck with a designer who all too often does sloppy work — which they can nevertheless detect as being intelligently designed.

  50. Christine Janis

    @ retired science guy

    Be careful about the tailbones in humans. Creationists quite rightly point out that the coccyx is an essential point for the attachment of the muscles of the pelvic floor (although not, of course, the genuine additional tail bones that sometimes appear in humans).

    What rather takes the wind out of the creationists’ sails, about the coccyx being some useful and unique human feature, is that *every* mammal that loses an external tail retains a coccyx, even those that have close relatives with tails (e.g., many rodents). So it clearly is a retained “tail base” despite being functional. (I actually have data on this. Must write this up sometime. Right after I do laundry, perhaps.)

  51. @Christine

    (Stan says “hi!”)

    Regarding tailbones in humans, it was Berlinski, on video, no less, who muses to Genie Scott that the human female would be more alluring with a feline tail and why didn’t evolution provide that?

    Genie, ever diplomatic, lets the issue drop.

    One has to wonder, however, what goes on in the mind of a creationist.

    That said, though, a female cat tail that twitches when she’s annoyed would be a nice indicator for us clueless guys!

  52. Christine Janis

    ‘(Stan says “hi!”)’

    Enough of your ad hominems.

    But yes, I remember that Firing Line debate. 50 shades of Berlinksi, and all of them nauseating.

    You can tell Stan that my tail is twitching.